Endless metamorphosis of Bach takes has its turn in the world of hip hop
It looks like J.S. Bach has triumphed once again in the unending and endlessly fascinating attempt by each generation to make him their own in contexts other than church or traditional concert hall.
Today's Berliner Morgenpost gives the thumbs-up to last night's premiere of Flying Bach, a multimedia, hip-hop-meets-The Well Tempered Clavier dance show at the New National Gallery in Berlin. You don't have to speak German to appreciate glimpses of what's happening on stage in the two-and-a-half-minute video that's posted with the review.
The review says that director Christopher Hagel has successfully walked the perilous rope bridge that connects popular and high culture. There are moving visuals inside the gallery space. The succession of Preludes and Fugues -- some played piano, others on harpsichord (probably for rhythmic clarity) -- become part of a play-like narrative that, as far as I can make out, is focused on the intermingling of cultures.
Bach was appropriated by the Big Band movement, by disco and techno freaks and any number of modern dancers. Now it's hip hop's turn.
Here are a couple of fascinating recent examples.
The first is unaccompanied-Cello Suite No. 1-meets-hip hop, where even silence is used creatively (the two dancers, performing in Rotterdam in 2008, are Michal Rynia and Besim Hoti, choreographed by Ed Wube). The second is music only, a little something fashioned from Nun komm, der heiden Heiland: