On-Demand Video: The Bach Lounge

Period instruments, jazz interpretations and contemporary visions of Bach mingle. With pianist Alessio Bax, trumpeter Dave Douglas, the Luce Trio and more.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


On Saturday, March 23, The Greene Space was the setting for The Bach Lounge, a two-part evening featuring cross-genre interpretations of J.S. Bach's work. Watch the archived videos below.

Bach Lounge features musicians from across the musical spectrum sharing how Bach that has touched them most through performance. Period instrument performances, jazz interpretations and contemporary visions mingled, illuminating each other — and the music.

Guests included pianist Ethan Iverson, jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas, composer/performers Andrew McKenna Lee and Florent Ghys, violinist Jennifer Koh, cellist Jan Vogler, pianist Benjamin Hochman and period instrument ensembles from Julliard415. Hosted by WQXR's Terrance McKnight and David Garland.


Bach Lounge: Part One
7pm (1 hour and 40 minutes)

Alessio Bax, piano
Antonio Campillo Santos, flute, with Ignacio Prego, harpsichord
Andrew McKenna Lee, guitar
Matt Herskowitz, piano
Dave Douglas, trumpet, with Matt Mitchell, piano
Jennifer Koh, violin

Bach Lounge: Part Two
9pm (2 hours)

Ethan Iverson, piano
Jan Vogler, cello
Juilliard415, period instrument ensemble
Florent Ghys, double bass
Benjamin Hochman, piano
Luce Trio, saxophone/guitar/bass
Rob Schwimmer, theremin, with Vicky Chow, piano


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Comments [31]

THANK YOU for the Bach 360 festival! I would have appreciated knowing in advance when to tune in for some of my favorite pieces, as I unfortunately can not listen 24/7 without sleep, and even as an Early Music lover, don't find ALL Bach equally enthralling. The WKCR Bach Festival gets me through the Jingle Bells consumerist X-mas season with my sanity intact, and this was an unexpected bonus. Since you have several other "channels" on your website, why not add an All-Bach one for year-round? (You could even play each cantata in its liturgical place!) My only regret is that I won free tickets to Talley's Folly this week, so I have no chance at the 157 CD set of the complete works of Bach! I guess a bird in the hand....

Mar. 28 2013 08:24 PM
Paul Martin

Hush all stingy complaints! It should be no great sacrifice to give up a week so that those who love and appreciate great art - and Bach is nothing if not the greatest art - can deepen their appreciation. This entire project is in many ways a much more stylish and satisfying improvement on WKCR's wonderful yearly BachFest, and I actually appreciate it more than the November Beethoven run that WQXR has done - partly because so much Beethoven is played on a regular basis so that to devote a month to him seemed overkill... but the same cannot be said for Bach, since he certainly has many more riches to offer than Beethoven. A major challenge for listeners however is one of coming to terms with Bach as a spiritually motivated composer, and not just a musical genius. It's a difficulty which I believe many have with Arvo Part as well... In any case I certainly hope WQXR will do this EVERY year, and the week leading up to Easter is much the perfect occasion. Vielen Dank!

Mar. 28 2013 01:02 AM
Soundsofjoy16 from Ny

Who really tires of seeing a homerun struck cleanly out of the park? A goal scored in a top level game? Bach is the special talent so different from all the rest (of the baroque period). Influenced The whole classical period that followed. (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven). I love the awesome talent ant freedom of Mozart. I like Bach... After listening to Bach360 I realize how light and free really is this music. Not just cerebral but deeply emotional. To hear people report what Bach has meant to them has been deeply moving. This gas been like watching the world cup or the olympics.... I can't wait for free time to listen more. Don't want to miss a note. The cantatas! Glenn Gould renditions! Period instruments v. Modern! The green space concerts and interviews! The dance overtones! It has been a great education and a joy! Thank you so much for this unforgettable days.

Mar. 27 2013 08:18 PM
Martha B. from UWS

I'm sorry, but this makes me so angry! WQXR listeners are so unwilling to expand their horizons and listen to music in a new way. I agree, some Bach is boring and cerebral but much of it isn't. If you can't deal with a week of new programming, you shouldn't be a classical music fan! Classical music is for humanists, for thinking people, for openmindness. Not such juvenile attitudes!

Mar. 26 2013 07:36 PM
Larisa from NJ

This is great to listen Bach ,
his music put me in the the philosophical mood .
Such a wonderful pleasure .
I can listen Bach all month along....
Thank you !

Mar. 26 2013 05:15 PM

One of the things I was worried about when I first heard of this Bach 360 event was that people were going to end up in slanging matches over this.
Mr. Preston with all due respect insulting someone for not liking Bach is not going to change a lot of folks minds. Really the classical music audience is not so huge that any station can afford to alienate a segement of it.
Personally Bach's not one of my favs, I must add this does not I think mark me as a philistine - I recognize Bach's tenchical brillance and anyobody how has written music since Bach owes him a debt for formalzing the rules of Harmony and his championship of the tempered scale - but to my ears alas a lot of Bach sounds a lot like all the rest of Bach. There is something cold and mechanical about a great deal of his work. He's an excellent mechanic but a being a good mechanic does not mean one is a good race car driver...
Again all personal responses - and I did give it a shot - but after about two days I was done. i've listened to WQXR in the morning for 8 years now - yesterday was the first time I didn't turn on the radio first thing.
that felt very bad.
i just hope that when this 360 event is over we don't have any long term negative fallout from this - we all love muisc. Let's not get so angry if we don't all love it all the same way.

Mar. 26 2013 12:53 PM

I feel sorry for Patricia and her dislike of Bach's music. What's not to like about it? We must give a lot of credit to WQXR fo the incredible undertaking of playing ALL the music Bach composed. I can listen to Bach's music at breakfast, lunch, dinner and any time in-between. I therefore applaude WQXR for giving me the possibility to turn on the radio at any moment of the day (and night) and hear some of Bach's great compositions, no matter which ones.

Mar. 26 2013 12:31 PM
Peter Feldman from New York City

Dear Patricia Berman: If you are a supporter of WXQR and must turn to another radio it means that you are giving your money to the wrong cause. There are many poor people who need your help more than WQXR.

Mar. 26 2013 08:58 AM


Mar. 26 2013 08:53 AM

Kudos to WQXR for this amazing video and Bach marathon! My cat Johann and I are truly enjoying it! It would be wonderful if it were to become an annual event!

Mar. 25 2013 07:19 PM
Peter Feldman from New York City

Dear Seth: I do not have any interest to know how people lived in times of Bach. We live in the XXI Century and many things happened since Bach lived. I was in his church in Leipzig and that was enough for me to connect with Bach. I do not have to live in his times when medicine was primitive and people died like flies. Also I do not need to be educated in music by WQXR, Carnegie Hall or the New York Philharmonic as they pretend, if I want that I can attend a College of Music. Fortunately I have many recordings in CD and DVD as well as access to WONDERFUL classical music online at many radios of the World infinitely much better than WQXR that should learn from them for example France Musique or even WRR from Dallas. I will not miss WXQR if they disappear which is a real possibility considering the way that they handle their business as they believe that they are EXQUISITE.

Mar. 25 2013 02:13 PM

I understand the initial frustration some people are having with Bach-only for 10 days. My first reaction was a little surprise as well even considering that Bach is one of my favorite composers. However, I now see this as opportunity for radio to be both entertainment and education and go deeply and specifically into one corner of music. Classical radio can sometimes seem like a playlist of unconnected music that spans hundreds of years of stylistic changes and periods (well, I guess it is that). But think about how fortunate we are to live a time where we have all the world's music from different countries and time periods in our pockets! We are spoiled musically. Imagine living in Bach's time where all you might have heard in your town was - Bach - or just a handful of other composers. They couldn't turn on the radio or easily access a plethora of music. Perhaps if you are feeling dissatisfied with Bach for 10 days try turning dissatisfaction into gratitude for the fact that you can really listen to an iPod or computer and gather a collection of recordings of your favorite music from any time period whenever you like. What if you became curious about what it would have been to live in a time where there was a limited number of composers and styles that you could listen to? And think about how many of the composers you may rather be listening to that were profoundly influenced by Bach and maybe ask, Why?

Mar. 25 2013 01:12 PM
Peter Feldman from New York City

I left several comments criticizing the Bach Festival but they were removed. WXQR publishes only praises. Is that democratic or hypocritical?

Mar. 25 2013 09:48 AM
Herb Spark from San Diego, CA

Now the eternal question has been definitively answered: Does Heaven exist?
I reply with sublime joy: Yes; it's here right now on our own little planet.
For those who complain: Why whine; there are plenty of internet stations w/ all one composer or one period and infrequent (if annoying) commercials, so just get a taste of those until regular wqxr programming resumes.
For those with wider-ranging tastes: go to YouTube and check out 2 astounding musicians, Astor Piazzolla and Hiromi Uehara, among multitudes of other greats.

Mar. 24 2013 07:09 PM
Yva from Brooklyn, NY

I have long been a great lover of classical music. I watched WQXR.org over the internet tonight for the very first time, and I loved every second of it. What a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Bach! I look forward to tuning in again to this experience. Thank you.

Mar. 24 2013 12:03 AM
Ken Laufer from Manhattan

Providing the lyrics for the first movement of the final Cantata on your Bach Lounge tonight was a nice touch and a delight for those of us watching the webcast. But where were the words for the remaining recitatives and arias?

Mar. 23 2013 11:50 PM
Paul Martin

So sorry! Didn't wait long enough... I'm really hearing it now: it's Bach! Thank you! Thank you! (Are you really going to do this for a whole week?!)

Mar. 23 2013 10:53 PM
Paul Martin

Just tuning in, at 10.25pm... it's clever... it's inventive... it's wishful thinking... what it's not is Bach.

Mar. 23 2013 10:28 PM
Joseph Yenna from Brooklyn, New York

Bach 360 has been an amazing experience. Even my young children (15 and 10) have been enjoying it both on the radio and on the live webcast. I am very surprised that there would be even one detracting comment among regular listeners of WQXR. This immersion in Bach can only help one to better appreciate music as a whole. The performances, the interpretations and the commentaries are more than the equivalent of an advanced class in Bach, provided for free! Thank you, WQXR, for Bach 360.

Mar. 23 2013 10:15 PM

Bach 360 may be the best programming on radio I have heard in years. I was just having dinner in an upper east side restaurant where several patrons were animatedly discussing the wonderful Bach festival on WQXR and how much they were enjoying it. I loved Beethoven Awareness month too. But Bach wrote so much and was amazingly inventive and also somehow modern. I know it's a risk to present one composer for a week. I am learning so much from this kind of immersive exposure and am loving the music, the spirituality, and the fun. Thanks to you at WQXR for taking the risk!

Mar. 23 2013 09:40 PM
Robert Preston

Re the comment by M. Paskewicz: "With all due respect, not all of your listeners love Bach enough to want to listen to ten straight days of his music! Sadly, I am taking a ten-day hiatus from WQXR and instead am listening to streaming classical music on other NPR stations. I hope you will think long and hard before doing something like this again."

Dear M. Paskewicz: You are either deaf, heartless, or brain-dead, or all three. THIS IS AN EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME, AND I AM A JULLIARD GRADUATE, NOT A DILLETANTE. I feel sorry for you that you can't connect with the awesome power of Bach's music, nor the uniqueness of WQXR'S overall presentation. There is no other composer whose imagination was so limitless and whose creative energy was so inexhasutible. Just turn to another radio station - there is plenty of junk out there.

Mar. 23 2013 08:59 PM
Ned Boyajian from New York City

Thank you so much for Bach 360. I also loved Beethoven Awareness Month. There is something significant to be gained as a listener from the deep concentration on a particular composer's work. I hope you keep this up, maybe adding schools of composers into the mix for future offerings? Meantime, thank you again for this rich, inventive exploration of Bach. Bravi!

Mar. 23 2013 08:43 PM
Ken Laufer from Manhattan

The Bach chorale played in Dave Douglas' trumpet jazz improve in the Bach Lounge is the one used by Alban Berg in his Violin Concerto. The first 4 notes, especially the 4th one...is almost atonal in its lack of a definite key center! I could not hear this improvisation without thinking of the Berg Concerto!

Mar. 23 2013 08:42 PM
J. Palermo from New York City

The idea of having ten days of Bach has been amazing! I have heard so many different pieces of Bach's music that I have been transported into a kind of ecstasy. I want them all! Unfortunately, my pocket book will not allow such a thing, at least not at the moment.

Matt Herskowitz was excellent not only in his technique but in his improvisations. I thoroughly enjoyed watching and hearing him. Bravo and kudos to him. I would like to hear more of him.

Mar. 23 2013 08:11 PM

I love listening to this complete program, the education is wonderful. Any and all (in print) information that you might include would be appreciated. Carol from NY's idea is a good one .. playlists posted in advance. I'm not sure, but can't remember seeing any playlists posted on this site. Thank you for an enlightening radio / web experience.

Mar. 23 2013 08:59 AM
wendell sweda from Santa Monica

I am in heaven! Thank you very much for this much needed tribute to the whole family of Bach.

This provides real solace in today's world of "instant" everything and so-called "Top 10 or 20" pop classical hits which we've heard thousands of times before and are for the present frozen in the netherlands for another few days of pleasures!

Mar. 23 2013 03:06 AM
M. Paskewicz

With all due respect, not all of your listeners love Bach enough to want to listen to ten straight days of his music! Sadly, I am taking a ten-day hiatus from WQXR and instead am listening to streaming classical music on other NPR stations. I hope you will think long and hard before doing something like this again.

Mar. 22 2013 05:57 PM
Johanna Roman from Manhattan

Thank you all with WQXR for the 10-day BACH FESTIVAL! I've been glued to the radio on this first day and thrilled by all the fabulous performances! I do have a life, but I may have to put it on hold for the next 9 days to enjoy my life with BACH!

My wish has always been to hear his music first thing on awakening and the last sounds before faling asleep at night.

Mar. 21 2013 06:08 PM
Carol from NY

Will any playlists be posted in advance? It would be very helpful to anticipate some things.

Mar. 21 2013 12:04 PM
Jeff Spurgeon

Thanks, D. -- You're right, and we'll correct it.
(You're sharp-eared, and we appreciate it.)

Mar. 21 2013 10:46 AM
D Tremper from NJ

I know this is not the spot for this, but can't find any other venue on the website for this comment.
I think I heard an omission in a Naomi Lewin prerecorded Bach spot- it was on the chorale between 7 and 8 AM I think it was, 3/21. She was interviewing someone and mentioned Holy Lutheran Church. Isn't it Holy Trinity or something else? or did I just miss something. Thanks for "listening in" to it.

Mar. 21 2013 09:07 AM

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