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"A rose on a boundless snow-covered plain of silence ..." BACH: The Man and His Music

Dates: (Contact Mark for next scheduled class)

Cost: $250

Format: Tuesday evenings, 6:30–8:30, for eight weeks.

Instructors: Anthony Lee, Stephanie Zaepfel, and Mark Heinemann

For:

  • People with no musical experience who love music
  • People with an interest in music as a hobby, who want to increase their musical ability and understanding.
  • Professional musicians who want to gain more insight into performance and interpretation of Bach’s music

 

 
 

Imagine a time before radio, TV, planes, or automobiles; all celebrated noisemakers that surround us constantly…

In truth most of us have not lived a life without being bombarded by constant sound. In the rush of our lives we have had to tune out the ever present tension of having to cope with and process so much noise.

Now let's take deep breath and let all that tension melt away. We are going on a voyage, and travel back three hundred years, to a time when life was simpler. The only sound we hear now is that of nature: the wind in the trees, birds, horses on cobble stones, and silence. A vast, boundless snow-covered plain of silence.

Off in the distance we can see the steeple of a church and hear distant strains of something that is compelling, that draws us closer. As we draw nearer the sound gets louder and we can recognize qualities of joy, elation, devotion, majesty. We are at the entrance to the church now and quietly we enter as the music inside engulfs us. There, sitting at the organ with both feet flying and hands racing across the keyboard is Bach deeply absorbed in an improvisation he is creating. We stand there, not daring to move, lest we disturb him, and bathe in the musical feast that is pouring out of the instrument.

More than any other composer Bach, was able to take existing forms of music, unify them and bring them to their highest form of expression. Dedicating all of his works "Soli Deo Gloria" (for the glory of God alone), Bach was aware that his music was not something that he thought up, but rather that he was the channel for a higher power. It is his profound love and faith which permeates his music, as well as his ability to capture the infinite shades and feelings of the human condition, that touches us so deeply. Hear Sleepers Awake, Jesu Joy of Man’s desiring, Air on a G string, and you will know to the core what is difficult at best to express in words.

Like an experience of coming home, his music invites us in and makes changes by degrees, repeating phrases that catch the ear and through repetition and slight variations welcome and bring you to new shades of sonic splendor.

This is similar to witnessing a rainbow on a crisp autumn day. Take a walk and witness the ephemeral beauty of nature that is ever changing and can be missed in an instance when we look away. When we turn back we discover a new hue has been added, something illuminated, more brilliant, remarkable and stunning in light of our simple existence. How can such a thing like that exist and yet there it is before us. It cannot be denied. This is the world we live in where the inexplicable is an everyday event. Nature, the spirit world and our existence mix and it is so mystifying; so many feelings rise up in us as we try to make sense of it all. Bach was an enormous channel and reservoir of creative energy which was able to express those mysteries so eloquently and in such detail through the medium of music. Through studying his music and experiencing it in every area of your life, you too can explore and discover the possibilities of your own creative potential.

Cook, dance, speak, sing, relate, run to his music and let it light the spark of your imagination to try your hand at one of our greatest gifts: the ability to express ourselves through the creative mediums and add our unique vision of the world to inspire and share with ourselves and others.

Elements of this highly interactive course:

  • Gain an overview of Bach’s extensive musical outpouring, from his sacred works to the secular.
  • Work with movement, poetry and visual arts to experience music in new ways.
  • Listen to sound and silence in nature.
  • Immerse yourself in Bach’s music to foster your own creative exploration and development.
  • Hear performances of Bach’s music by instructors and guest artists, on a variety of instruments.
  • Learn about the history, social conditions and environment that gave birth to the Bach family.
  • Experience elements of surprise (we can’t tell you in advance, because then it wouldn’t be a surprise!)

Who Is This Course For

  • Anyone who loves music!
  • Anyone open to a creative adventure
  • People with no musical experience who love music
  • People with an interest in music as a hobby, who want to increase their musical ability and understanding.
  • Professional musicians who want to gain more insight into performance and interpretation of Bach’s music
  • Anyone interested in experiencing music with your thoughts, feelings and body integrated as one whole.

 

 Instructors 
   
 

Anthony Lee

Anthony Lee has been organist at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, Boulder, since 1971, and has had his choral works performed and recorded by Thomas Edward Morgan and the Ars Nova Singers. Anthony studied at the College for Church Musicians, and has been performing, composing and teaching organ and church music professionally for about 42 years. He reveres Bach as the greatest composer ever and has a particular sympathy for him because of the troubles he had with church authorities.

 
   
   
 

Stephanie Zaepfel

Stephanie Zaepfel is a Somatic Movement Educator certified by the School of Body-Mind Centering. Stephanie’s work deepens awareness of inherent body wisdom, through the medium of touch, movement and emotional expression. Stephanie has been running ultramarathons for 7 years and in 2000 she completed the Leadville Trail 100-mile race.