Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Bach

Joel Sirkes Bach (1762-1821), the long-lost grandchild of J.S. Bach. His work recently turned up during a search of the PDQ Bach archives at the University of South North Dakota at Hoople.

Composer of a series of 18 symphonies based on the blessings of the Amidah. Why 18? He was trying to fix the last one, as part of a polemic against the new Enlightenment Romanticism, but died in the middle.

His Second Sonata for Clarinet, Keyboard and Percussion foreshadowed the Klezmer movement in its daring adoption of Eastern European folk motifs and styles of ornamentation. He remains one of the best sources of early documentation of this style. The shift from clarino to trumpet between the second and third movements expressed his longing for the rapidly-disappearing instrument. Use of the ophicleide and ocarina in the Bulgar-Rondo, however, is gratuitous.

As Kapellmeister of the Altneuschul in Prague, he created choral settings for many zemiroth, bringing consciousness of the beauty of Sabbath observance to the early Enlightenment, although they were only rarely performed at the Hamburg Temple, and then only at the after-dinner services.

His untimely passing at the tender age of 59 was due to a großbass blokflöte falling on his foot, which subsequently became gangrenous.

His biography has recently been reprinted by Yashar Books.

Oh, that's the exegete and halachic decisor Bach? Never mind.

2 comments:

dilbert said...

Peter Schickel(sic?) would be proud.

Mikewind Dale said...

Was he related to Otto Haish?