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Getting a buzz from Bach: interview with Elizabeth Anderson

The Australian Chamber Choir is busily rehearsing all six Bach Motets for its recitals in November at the German Church in East Melbourne. We offer you a glimpse behind the scenes courtesy of Elizabeth Anderson, the renowned harpsichordist, alto and choir manager.

Elizabeth, tell us a bit about your background. What brought you to music?

When I was two, my parents immigrated to Australia as “ten pound Poms”. I attended primary school in Launceston and for some reason a lot of the kids there went to Sunday school. I wanted to join in, so my parents took me to the Congregational Church in Launceston. I sang in the church choir from the age of six and started learning piano soon after that. My family wasn’t particularly musical but I always had a feeling for it. On the advice of my wonderful piano teacher, I moved to Melbourne for university and picked up harpsichord as a second instrument. I’ve never looked back. 

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A tribute to the 'Bach' Motif

Based on a presentation by Thomas Bell, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Amongst others, Schumann, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Liszt impressively showed their admiration for Bach by composing music on the name 'Bach'. The 'Bach' motif is a succession of notes important or characteristic to a piece, B flat, A, C, B natural. In German musical nomenclature, in which the note B natural is written as H and the B flat as B, it forms Johann Sebastian Bach's family name. Robert Schumann composed the Fugue in B flat on the name 'Bach' in 1845, 95 years after the death of Bach, and it is part of a set of six fugues all based on the same theme.

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