Monday, November 9, 2009

Bach Minuets

In the process of redecorating and remodeling our bedroom and bathroom, a piece of furniture was moved into a spare bedroom where it still sits. It's an antique music cabinet, and I had forgotten about it until I was in this spare room the other day trying to find a remote place to play my horn. I took a break from practicing to rummage through the old cabinet and found some delightful things. There were no fur coats in there or a portal to Narnia, but there was a book of piano music—Selections from Anna Magdalena's Notebook.

Anna Magdalena, a court singer, married Johann Sebastian Bach in 1721. Bach presented an elaborate notebook to Anna on her 24th birthday, and over the years she filled it and a second notebook with music composed by her husband, a few family friends, and some of her fifty gazillion children. They are delightful little pieces, and although they look very simple on the page, they can be difficult if one is meant to actually count the music and do as it says.

I played a few of these on a harpsichord at my sister's wedding years ago. Since I don't have an actual harpsichord, I have set my piano on the artificial harpsichord setting and have played two minuets for you—two because they were often played in pairs. So, sit back and enjoy your tea, and when I fumble over various notes and rhythms, especially during the second piece, applaud anyway as a gracious guest would be expected to do. Brava.


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