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Ahhhh, Bach . . .

  • May 4, 2011

A Slightly Askew View of the Oregon Bach Festival.

AN OVERTURE Welcome to the Ahhh, Bach blog. This first, tentative entry is a simple overture, an invitation to follow our weekly ruminations relating to this year's Oregon Bach Festival. What qualifies us to write a blog for OBF? Virtually nothing. In fact, our knowledge of classical music is largely limited to "Stairway to Heaven." But as you'll see in the quiz at the end of this post, that's really the whole point. Just as we can savor a glass of Willamette Valley pinot noir despite the fact that our palate is of insufficient sophistication to detect the subtle tones of rhubarb, bark and Gummi Bear that the connoisseurs insist lurk therein, so too can we enjoy the wonders of OBF performances despite not knowing our sonatas from our elbows. Truth is, knowledge can sometimes interfere with experience. Like reading the list of ingredients on that hot dog you're about to eat, or knowing the payoff of your Uncle Chester's "pull my finger" gag. We'd hate for you to miss any part of the OBF experience because you might feel your brow is insufficiently high or your shirt insufficiently stuffed. Because that's not what we're all about.

Which brings us to the title of this blog. It's inspired by an episode from the 1972-'73 season of "M*A*S*H," wherein Radar O'Reilly develops a serious crush on a new nurse who is deeply into classical music. Knowing nothing about the subject, he's afraid to approach her until Hawkeye gives him this advice: If she brings up classical music in any way, shape or form, just nod sagely and say,

"Ahhhh, Bach. . ."

It didn't exactly work out for Radar, but it works for us. This blog will not discuss intricacies of composition, review performances or elucidate the subtle tones of harmony that lurk therein. There are people who are actually qualified to do precisely that. Rather, we hope to focus on the ephemera, the tangential relationships and the quirky pop culture tie-ins that connect great art with everyday lives. We hope you'll enjoy the experience and, of course, come back for more. And if we should happen to bump into each other in the lobby or at a reception during the Festival, just nod sagely and repeat after us, "Ahhhh, Bach." POP QUIZ Think that "Stairway to Heaven" reference up there was entirely gratuitous? Wrong! There are three degrees of separation between the sublime cellist Yo-Yo Ma (June 23, Silva Concert Hall) and the mighty Led Zeppelin. Go to our Facebook page and post your guesses. We'll have the answers next week, when we'll take a slightly askew view of Joan of Arc in giddy anticipation of Marin Alsop's OBF conducting debut (July 2, Silva Concert Hall) of a Honegger cantata. (We admit it: We had to look up "cantata" just now. Turns out, it's something like "a little musical drama." Cool.) Until next time, here's a little heavenly music to accompany you as you step up to the challenge. Read All