Bach Project - John Bayless & Anatoly Larkin Dual Improvisation on Bach
Dr. Anatoly Larkin
I’ve been challenged today by a young man named Anatoly Larkin.
We’re gonna give it our best shot. (John Bayless)
In the Baroque period in the time of Bach, events were staged.
They were happenings. Spontaneous, combustible moments, if you will,
where keyboard players, organists, harpsichordists would duel.
And these contests were the reality moments in that period
where they would get together and see who would outdo the other.
During improvisation you have to think on your feet.
You discover new things and
over time you build almost an intuition
about what the other people is thinking
and those are the magical moments. (Anatoly Larkin)
Off we go and soon we are in completely uncharted territory.
We modulate keys and end with this really
Rachmaninoff, Liszt-like fanfare almost.
I remember reading a story, this famous story
of Bach and his competitor. Bach had been challenged,
he had been challenged to a duel, if you will,
to improvise. And each contestant
was given a period to warm up. (John Bayless)
The one who was challenging
was this French keyboard player named Mauchant.
Mauchant goes to the site, and he, I can just see it,
he peers in and leans his ear in to the sanctuary
where the organ was and he listens to Bach warming up.
It’s more than he can bear.
He bolted. He bailed. He left town.
And all the public was there to see this and what did Bach do?
He did this big six-hour improvisation marathon.
I would have loved to have been there.