New CD – Bluesy Bach & Friends

I’m very excited to make this secret project public today: I have a new CD released this week that is, believe it or not, called Bluesy Bach & Friends and you can order it from CD Baby.

Track Listing

  1. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
  2. Ave Maria
  3. Bachulele Minuet 
  4. Arioso Für Elise
  5. A Little Night Music

Summary

The CD Bluesy Bach & Friends takes great compositions from the masters Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig Beethoven and Amadeus Mozart and reinterprets them with a bluesy groove with jazz and classic rock influences.

Some Helpers

Bluesy Bach & Friends was produced, recorded and mixed at Pamaku Music Studios, Seattle WA. Recorded on a MacBook Pro using Logic Pro X. Graphic design and layout with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Thank you to everyone who supports my music. Bluesy Bach and Friends was recorded on Ibanez Artcore Expressionist and Fender Modern Player Marauder electric guitars, a Schecter Stargazer electric bass, an Eastman double bass and a Big Island tenor ukulele.

Bluesy Bach & Friends CD Front Cover

Bluesy Bach & Friends CD Back Cover

More Info

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring was my first venture into rearranging Bach to take on a blues groove.  “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is, per Wikipedia, “is the most common English title of a piece of music derived from the 10th and last movement of the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 (“Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life”), composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1716 and 1723.”

Bach scored this piece for choir, trumpet, violin, optionally oboe, viola, and basso continuo.  My arrangement is scored for scored for four electric guitars, violin 1, violin 2, viola and cello, contrabass, electric bass 1, electric bass 2, timpani and two drum kits.  The guitar plays the violin 1 melody and the double bass plays the choir lines.  A preview of the score and the full score are available for purchase in the sheet music store.

Ave Maria

The second release in my “Bluesy Bach” project, was Ave Maria.  This is based on the Bach/Gounod version of Ave Maria originally titled in French, Méditation sur le Premier Prélude de Piano de S. Bach. Gounod merged his melody for Ave Maria over Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C major, BWV 846.

Gounod’s arrangement originally was composed for violin or cello with piano and harmonium. In my arrangement for Bluesy Bach of course I have drums, electric guitar playing the melody along with clavinet (thinking of you Stevie Wonder!), celesta and electric bass. I hope you like it and I hope the Blessed Mother will be pleased.  The Latin and English translation of Ave Maria is shown below.

Áve María, grátia pléna,
Dóminus técum.
Benedícta tū in muliéribus,
et benedíctus frúctus véntris túi, Iésus.[10]
Sáncta María, Máter Déi,
óra pro nóbis peccatóribus,
nunc et in hóra mórtis nóstrae. Ámen.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Bachulele Minuet

This “Bluesy Bach” adventure took me into ukulele land with the release of Bachulele Minuet.

Johann Sebastian Bach gave two notebooks of music to his wife, Anna Magdalena. The second notebook of 1725 contains a number of compositions from various composers of the time that were favorites of the Bach family. Included in the notebook is Menuett, BWV Anhang 114, popularly known as Minuet in G major, which became focus of my attention in my ongoing “Bluesy Bach” series of recordings. This recording is my own unique approach to this piece which I hope you enjoy.  By the way, during my research on this song I learned that for many years this Minuet (Menuette in French) was ascribed to JS Bach, however it is now attributed to Christian Petzold.

You might also want to check out the song “A Lover’s Concerto”, which was based on the Minuet in G major. The song was recorded by the girl group The Toys and reached number 2 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Arioso Für Elise

Arioso Für Elise was released as “Opus 4” in my series of “Bluesy Bach” recordings. With this recording I  expanded the title from “Bluesy Bach” to “Bluesy Bach and Friends”.  In this tune I combined elements from Beethoven’s “Für Elise” with Bach’s “Arioso”.

The Arioso a sinfonia from Bach’s Cantata BWV 156.  In German is titled, “Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe” (I am standing with one foot in the grave). BWV 156 is a cantata for church that Bach composed for the third Sunday after Epiphany and first performed it on January 23, 1729.

Beethoven’s Für Elise (Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (WoO 59, Bia 515)) was not published during his lifetime.  It was actually not discovered until about 40 years after Beethoven’s death.  There has been much debate on exactly who “Elise” might have been. At any rate, it is a delightful melody and has been very popular for good reason.

My arrangement used electric guitar (Ibanez Artcore Expressionist semi-hollow body), Hammond organ, drums and percussion. The tracking was recorded with Logic Pro X digital audio workstation.  Mastering was performed by SoundLAB. I would like to thank my friend Michael Powers for arranging and mixing assistance.

A Little Night Music

A Little Night Music was my Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik project and this recording is of the first movement: I – Allegro.  My version is essentially a rock quartet, with guitar, bass, organ and drums with jazz and blues-rock influences.  This is definitely one of my longer recordings, clocking in at about 8 minutes 20 seconds.  I arranged and recorded this because I like what Mozart did and wanted to experience his music through my own interpretation.

 

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Ringtone

The Eine Kleine Nactmusik ringtone is here.  I created a ringtone for Bluesy Bach Opus 5 – Eine Kleine Nactmusik and so…….Here is the free link for the mp3 version. But…..YOU can help support independent music creation, by going to my music store page and buy the ringtone that is already in the Apple .m4r format.  Once you are there please BUY things for ANY amount you choose to pay.  All payments may be done SECURELY through PayPal.

Bluesy Bach and Friends – Opus 5

My latest recording, Bluesy Bach and Friends – Opus 5 (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), is now released!

Form

As I mentioned in a previous post on my Mozart project, this recording is of the first movement: I – Allegro.  My version of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is essentially a rock quartet, with guitar, bass, organ and drums with jazz and blues-rock influences.  This is definitely one of my longer recordings, clocking in at about 8 minutes 20 seconds.  I have heard that Spotify favors shorter music because I suppose people have shorter attention spans these days due to the clickable nature of the Internet.  But I didn’t do this to please Spotify.  I arranged and recorded this because I like what Mozart did and wanted to experience his music through my own interpretation.

Where it’s At

You can get your own copy and listen to Bluesy Bach and Friends – Opus 5 (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik) from wherever it is most convenient for you.  It is available in my music store. It is also on CD Baby or through digital distributors like Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and many more!

Sheet Music Coming

As you can see from Mozart’s score it was written for Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello and Contrabass.  My arrangement is for Electric Guitar, Electric Bass,  Hammond Organ, and Drums.  Coming soon will be the sheet music for my complete score.

Here is the cover artwork for the tune.  I think it’s pretty cool!

Bluesy Bach and Friends Opus 5 Cover Art

Here is an alternate version of the art that I considered using but it scared me just a little too much to go with!

Christopher J Mozart

 

Mozart

Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus

So, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Several months ago I began one of my more ambitious projects so far:

To create my own arrangement and recording of a work by Mozart. Sure, I have already dabbled in works by Bach and Beethoven, but really, who could approach Mozart, being the child prodigy that he was? Well, I decided to try anyway. My choice, of course, was Mozart’s most popular work ever, Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major), K. 525.

In this project I am only focused on the first movement: I – Allegro.

My approach is not to fundamentally change the composition, but to apply my own arrangement, instrumentation and groove to it in the spirit of what I have done already in the Bluesy Bach and Friends project. Per the all knowing Wikipedia, “The work is written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass but is often performed by string orchestras.” My version is more of a rock quartet, with guitar, bass, organ and drums. I have attached a snippet of what I have so far and if you have to apply categories to this, it has jazz and blues-rock influences. Stay tuned for the full release in the not too distant future.

Mozart Eine kleine Nachtmusik Score
Eine kleine Nachtmusik Score

Mozart, again

(This is a repost.  The first post was written with the new WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg editor, and for some mysterious reason it would not display on mobile devices even though it did appear on desktop web browsers.  So if you are reading this on a desktop there is nothing new here!)

So, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: 

Several months ago I began one of my more ambitious projects so far:

To create my own arrangement and recording of a work by Mozart. Sure, I have already dabbled in works by Bach and Beethoven, but really, who could approach Mozart, being the child prodigy that he was? Well, I decided to try anyway. My choice, of course, was Mozart’s most popular work ever, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major), K. 525.

In this project I focused on the first movement: I – Allegro.

My approach is not to fundamentally change the composition, but to apply my own arrangement, instrumentation and groove to it in the spirit of my work in the Bluesy Bach and Friends project. Per the all knowing Wikipedia, “The work is written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass but is often performed by string orchestras.” My version is more of a rock quartet, with guitar, bass, organ and drums. I have attached a snippet of what I have so far and if you have to apply categories to this, it has jazz and blues-rock influences. Stay tuned for the full release in the not too distant future.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart Eine kleine Nachtmusik Score