Lewis Kaplan is honored with the presentation of the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Read the press release from The Consulate General of Germany
Professor Lewis Kaplan releases his long-awaited DVD:
The Bach Chaconne: God, Music, and Numbers
A Performance and Lecture by Lewis Kaplan
Salzburg: An Instructive Faculty Concert
Lewis Kaplan, Violin, in Wiener Saal
A thrilling musical analyses
Bach und die Zahlen
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21……
is an inexhaustible theme. In his faculty recital Lewis Kaplan treated
it thrillingly and comprehensively. It was a most enjoyable performance
further enhanced by Kaplan’s program notes.
Kaplan introduced the
themes sequentially that Bach used in the Chaconne . It is constructed
not only on the four note bass theme which is the starting point
for the 32 variations but on the five variations of this theme which
follow. The bass theme does not appear in its simple form but is
imbedded in a rich interplay. For the Thomas Cantor (Bach) the bass
theme by itself would not have presented enough of a challenge.
Kaplan projected what
might have been occurring in Bach’s mind. He stressed Bach’s
belief that all music was at the service of God and pointed to Bach’s
striving for perfection. As an example of this he related Bach’s
visit to Frederick the Great of Prussia and his improvisation on
Frederick’s theme. Bach amazed everyone , however, about a
year later Bach sent to Frederick an extraordinary work, “A
Musical Offering” further demonstrating his virtuosity as
Kaplan presented examples
of Bach’s striving for perfection through the use of music
and numbers. In variation 21, he uses a trumpet call with a three
note motif sounded nine times ( in the 8 measure variation). Another
example was his use of the Fibonacci number series, the Golden Section.
In concluding, Kaplan said that ultimately everyone would have to
draw his own conclusion regarding Bach’s use of numbers.
“And now I will
play the Chaconne – forget about themes A , B , C , etc….”
And he played –
with passionate expression which for him was the most important
thing. He played with the conviction of an enraptured narrator,
one who thoroughly knows his tale but seeks new ways to experience
it. He performed with beautiful phrasing and especially thoughtful
differences between legato and non-legato. It was an intense experience!