J.S. Bach

Ripple, Affect: Tan Dun’s "Water Passion"

Water Passion

By Thomas May

In 2013 Tan Dun traveled to the Thomaskirche in Leipzig to conduct his Water Passion in the very space where J.S. Bach had introduced the Saint Matthew Passion nearly three centuries ago (most likely in 1727). The gesture underlined the kind of cross-cultural counterpoint that lies at the heart of the Chinese composer’s oratorio. The full title reads Water Passion after Saint Matthew, yet Tan also models his work on his reading of Bach’s monumental precedent; it might even be titled Water Passion after Saint Matthew after Bach—the second “after” being taken simultaneously in its dual senses of “according to” and “post-dating” (for a contemporary world).

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Mix A Little Midori Into Your Summer

If you take a look at a print copy of Ravinia’s 2012 Calendar, you will notice that only one solo performer has the honor of having her photo appear on it not once but twice. Indeed, Ravinia Park will open for just her on two nights—Tuesday, July 3, and Thursday, July 5. “She,” of course, is Midori, one of a number of exciting violin soloists Ravinia will host this summer, a group that includes as Miriam Fried, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman and Steans Music Institute’s alumnus Erik Schumann.

Even a superficial review of her career reveals that Midori's musical path has been adventurous and extraordinary. When she made the front page of the New York Times, it was with the headline “Girl, 14, Conquers Tanglewood with 3 Violins.” Midori began playing the violin when she was three, after her mother, the violinist Setsu Goto, heard her humming a Bach concerto, a piece Setsu had been practicing two days earlier. Midori would then go on to astound the Juilliard Pre-College audition panel with another piece of Bach’s—the famously difficult Chaconne.

It would seem fitting, then, that Midori will perform the complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by J.S. Bach here. There can be no doubt that the winning duo of Midori and Bach will conquer Ravinia. Make sure you’re there to see it, because this performer carries excitement wherever she goes.