Inspiration in music

As some of you know, I am a classical cellist & cello teacher in addition to my full-time job as mama to Elisabeth and James.

I have pretty eclectic taste in music ~ I like everything from Renaissance music to my favorite band for the last, well, many years, Dave Matthews Band. But the music of Bach is my true love. I have often said that I hope the last thing I hear before I die is the sound of Bach's music. (And no, I am not superstitious about that.)

One thing has been on my mind for the last couple weeks more than any other music:

Bach Cantatas BWV 82 & 199 ~ Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, mezzo-soprano

Edited: A cantata is a religious vocal work written to accompany the Sundays and feasts of the year, in Bach's case in the Lutheran church.

I could listen to this all day long, especially the opening Aria of BWV 82, "Ich habe genug". I normally would not describe either the oboe or mezzo-soprano voice as favorites of mine, but in this setting, they are both otherworldly.

The melody is hauntingly beautiful, and the oboe's timbre -- so opposite to the warm, deep resonance of my own instrument -- is perfectly plaintive here. Michael Steinberg, in his liner notes, describes the melody as "both ornate and achingly expressive," which perfectly describes it, I believe. Far from being angst-ridden or whiny, it's deeply peaceful, and perfect for a snowy winter day. The string accompaniment is murmuring and just sparse enough -- Bach was a true genius.

Winter day

And Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's singing? Oh, my, just a little bit of heaven! She's achieved a perfect balance of expression and restraint. She was originally a violist before her singing career took off, though, and I think that explains her approach a bit. She has a lovely, light voice; it's mellow, but also full of pain when appropriate.

So there's my music review for anyone wondering if that snippet about my being a musician on my About page was for real. It is! And I encourage all of you, regardless of your feelings one way or the other about classical and/or classical vocal music, to listen to this at your first opportunity! (It is available on iTunes, for you technophiles.)

PS: We had Elisabeth saying that Bach was "the greatest composer that ever lived" when she was 20 months old. ;)