When Johann Bach passed away in 1750, no one thought his music would survive. He was already considered passe, yesterday's flavor of the month, having written in a completely outdated style.
"It would be one of the great shocks in music history that he, today, is [among] the greatest composers of all time. The people of his day, and even his own sons, thought he was old-fashioned and past it," noted Jeffrey Siegel, the man behind the Keyboard Conversations series, now celebrating its 20th anniversary at George Mason University's Center for the Arts.
Siegel, himself a virtuosic pianist who has performed with orchestras nationally and internationally, presents his family-friendly "Spellbinding Bach" on Sunday. This program is one of more than a hundred Keyboard Conversations he has created that are successfully received.
"In all the 22 cities where I do these programs, the audiences are a mixture of the very avid music lover and also the novice, and my job is to not bore one or lose the other," Siegel continued. "The real guiding light for me was Leonard Bernstein in that this is not a lecture with musical examples; this is a concert performer who speaks a brief amount of time in nontechnical language and informally about the piece of music before performing it in its entirety."
|Where: George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax|
|When: 7 p.m. Sunday|
|Info: $19 to $38; 888-945-2468; cfa.gmu.edu|
In "Spellbinding Bach," Siegel presents works of the composer that include the "Italian Concerto," and "Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue." He also delves into the iconic Toccata in D Major and the lively G Major Partita.
"What we believe to be a plus is that prior to the performance, we speak to the audience about the music, giving examples from the pieces they're going to hear," he said, while pointing out that there is also a Q&A afterwards.
And to those people who still find Bach's music on the boring side, Siegel quips, "It's not possible for someone to be dull who has produced 21 children."