Front cover of the CD " The Bach Stops Here"
From the Artist:
There are those "purists" who will raise appalled eyebrows at a treatment of Bach's music such as this. What would old Johann say could he but hear some of his masterpieces subjected to the wheezing brass reeds of the lowly harmonica; an instrument obviously meant for simple folktunes around a smoldering campfire? Would he be outraged, smugly tolerant, or pleasantly surprised? We can never be sure, admittedly, but the chances are excellent that he would nod his head in assent if the musical values were carefully adhered to, so that the spirit and essence of the baroque flavor emerged in a contemporary guise. Bach might even agree that an instrument of the masses, such as the mouth organ, might just make a bit of his music a little more accessible to some of those masses. Who can tell? He might even be prompted to dash off a little gavotte or bouree for harmonica . . . .
This collection of interpretations was the result of many years of frustration at the lack of suitable material for the harmonicist with a bent for classical music. While in recent years a few serious composers have written concert pieces for the harmonica - Villa-Lobos, Vaughn Williams, Milhaud, to name a few - there is nothing at all from the Baroque through the Romantic periods written for the instrument, for the simple reason that the harmonica did not exist in it's present chromatic form until this century, and in Bach's time, not at all.
Musicologists have long contended that Bach's music is so pure and architecturally well structured that it transcends all restrictions on tone color and performance. This music virtually begs to be executed and even if the performer elects to interpret with a tin whistle or kazoo, Bach's music will still survive unscathed if that interpretation maintains valid parameters of good taste and precision. Witness the multitude of transcriptions for guitar, piano, symphonic and concert bands, synthesizers, scat singers, Japanese kotos, and what have you. Why not harmonicas?
Multi-track transcriptions of pieces by J. S. Bach, played on harmonica.