'Zum Spielen und zum Tantzen', a Kinaesthetic Exploration of the Bach Cello Suites through Studies in Baroque Choreography
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Abstract. - The dance titles of J.S. Bach's cello suites, derived from French court dance, clearly meant more to the composer than just abstract reference. In Bach's time, dance practice permeated social life, and it was indispensable for a musician to have an intimate knowledge of the fashionable dance forms. The movements and gestures of these dances inevitably had a profound influence on performance style. In my fellowship project have investigated how the practice of baroque dance could influence my interpretation of the Bach Suites. Learning the essentials of this style and its original choreographies and frequently accompanying dancing, I also explored the dance aspect of the cello suites by way of experiments with historical tempos as well as melodic and rhythmic reductions of the musical material. The project offers a recontextualisation of Bach’s work that emphasizes the close links between the expressive gestures of music and dance. The results have both artistic and pedagogic potential as tools to discover essential aspects of dance character in baroque music.
Norwegian Research Fellowship for the Arts Programme. The Norwegian Academy of Music. - 2013