Jacques Loussier and the Pekinel Twins play Bach

I heard a track by this combination on the Breakfast Programme on BBC Radio 3 yesterday morning and thought I’d include something on here; it’s basically the Jacques Loussier Trio, which is famous for its Jazz re-workings of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with the addition of the identical twins Güher  and Süher Pekinel on pianos.

Apparently some members of the Radio 3 audience didn’t take kindly to Ian Skelly’s decision to play something by this combination, but I have to say I loved it; it really put a spring in my step. I’ve remarked before on this blog that many Jazz musicians are great admirers of Bach (who was himself a talented improviser).  It’s not difficult to understand why this is the case, particularly in the case of the keyboard works, because the music always has such a rich and compelling  harmonic progression built into it – just what a Jazz musician needs. Bach’s compositions are so well constructed that they can cope with being pulled around more than those of any other composer I can think of. Above all, despite the change of musical vocabulary and the addition of a rhythm section, the best Jazz versions still somehow manage to sound  like Bach….

From the following clips you can see that the twins play from sheet music – I think the arrangement was written  by Jacques Loussier – while Loussier’s contribution is largely improvised. In the clip they play versions of Bach’s Triple Concerto in D minor BWV 1063 (with Jacques Loussier) followed the Concerto for Two Keyboards in C minor, BWV 1060  (without Loussier)…

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3 Responses to “Jacques Loussier and the Pekinel Twins play Bach”

  1. “Bach’s compositions are so well constructed that they can cope with being pulled around more than those of any other composer I can think of.”

    Indeed. Bach often recycled his own works as well.

    • telescoper Says:

      I think that’s actually true of the two pieces played here; Bach often arranged and transcribed parts of his own work to incorporate them somewhere else. That was largely because he was required to write so much music by the terms of his employment!

      • Indeed. BWV 1060 is probably performed more often in the reconstructed version with violin and oboe than in the surviving version for two harpsichords. In fact, I would have experienced it live again in the near future but unfortunately will be travelling. (Also on the programme is another reconstruction, from harpsichord back to oboe, BWV 1055, as well as all three violin concertos (one for two violins) by Bach (at least all the ones we know about).) However, I had a Baroque concert last Saturday and have two others scheduled a week from today and on 16 March. Still, I would like to be able to go; what a great programme!

        Yes, Bach did have to write quite a bit. However, many wrote much more (and if not quite as good, very nearly so). Vivaldi wrote about 150 violin concertos and about 400 concertos altogether. Telemann wrote about 6000 pieces of music. Bach did have the distractions of 2 wives and 20 children, though, while Vivaldi was an unordained priest who managed to avoid the distractions of the young girls in his orphanage (many the illegitimate children of society folks). Telemann lived 20 years longer than Bach and for the last 45 years of his life had a very comfortable position in Hamburg. Nevertheless, 6000 is quite a number. I’m not as familiar with Telemann as with Bach, Vivaldi or Händel, as his works aren’t performed as often, there aren’t as many recordings etc. However, I’ve never heard anything by him I didn’t like.

        Many of Telemann’s works are lost. Bach wrote 4 orchestral suites. Telemann wrote about a thousand(!), of which only a few more than a hundred have survived.

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