Simon James Plays Bach

Bach sampler

Some of the finest, intricate, beautifully structured music ever written. J S Bach was the culmination of the Baroque era and the zenith of counterpoint which style defines it.

All musicians aspire to play Bach and the sense of satisfaction when you finally disentangle the complex counterpoint and achieve what you believe to be a clean and lucid performance is second to none. Audiences however do not always share this sense of enlightenment and may not respond as rapturously as a fellow musician. It is worth remembering that it must still sing with the passion of Verdi or sparkle with the inimitable touch of Mozart or you will not have served well the music you love. I set out to record my Bach in 1984 thanks to the generous support of a sponsor who was both a friend and a student of mine and whose generosity extended to financing my Wigmore Hall debut in 1985 for which I was determined to have the Bach recording ready. I had already recorded Daybreak with the engineer Mike Skeet of Whitetower Records using innovative digital equipment but we had to edit on analogue tape. Now we could afford Bob Auger’s digital editing suite in his house in Bix, one of only two such studios in the country at that time. Bob had worked extensively for CBS Masterworks and was more than qualified to handle my Bach but what I most remember about the sessions is that he served enormous gin and tonics at 11.00am instead of the usual tea and biscuits, though you could still have the tea and biscuits if you preferred. The elevenses have made some of my memories a little hazy but we finished on time and released the recording on high quality cassette as we had done with Daybreak. Only a few hundred but a very good sound. At that time CDs were still in their infancy and vinyl was beyond our reach financially so it is with great personal pleasure that I have been able to re-master the recordings with Klaus Genuit at Hansahaus and release them for download through Choice Of Music based in Hamburg, Germany.

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