Music and music-making offers so much at any time, but during this challenging time of pandemic, I have witnessed with amazement and gratefulness how my colleagues’ practice of music-making has fostered in them broader creative thinking skills and a fierce determination to connect, to communicate, and to comfort others. What a joy it is to participate in such a community!
Personally, alongside the sorrow and stress of lost employment, illness of family and friends abroad, and global suffering, this quiet time has offered an opportunity for renewal and refocusing. I am grateful for the space to be more attentive to and patient with my playing, to develop new musical skills, and to find inspiration in the rhythms of the natural world through gardening and my newly acquired hobby of open-water swimming. I’ve gravitated in my practicing, as I know many musicians have, towards the teaching pieces of J.S. Bach, and have chosen to share with you the Fantasia that begins the Clavier Book that he gifted to his wife Anna Magdalena in 1725. The two Clavier Books of Anna Magdalena are such tender and touching documents of family life, filled with keyboard pieces by her husband, young sons, and friends, and with sacred songs meant to bring assurance and comfort in the face of disease and death, with which the Bach family was well-acquainted. You can hear Charles Daniels singing one of those songs in my offerings below.