Christmas and J.S. Bach. The two are inseparable. Think of Columbia University radio station WKCR’s annual holiday Bach festival, think of the composer’s extraordinary Christmas Oratorio. It’s music that certainly evokes festive, celebratory images, yet the sense of order is what keeps me calm at a time when chaos and pressure lurk around the corner.
That’s what I love about my friend Daniel Martyn Lewis’ Bach: the sense of order, the purity, the lack of artifice, yet with plenty of grace, fluidity, style and taste. I first met the Australian born/Wales based pianist more than ten years ago, when he was in New York to play Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The program also included Bach Solo Violin Sonata. He played it note for note on the piano, as written, not making anything pianistic. Just Bach’s notes. And it worked, I was captivated. In another season Daniel played a magnificent Well-Tempered Clavier Book I at St. Peter’s Church. He recorded Book II a few years ago, and I hope the public will hear it soon.
In the meantime, Daniel has a new YouTube channel, BachPianist (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXoRBp2eyBNL8np0_iKd3jA). His first three videos will bring order and calm and joy on Christmas Eve and beyond.
Till soon – happy holidays!