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Nobuya Sugawa — “Bach Sequence” (Concert Imagine, 2020)

Abstract:

Reflecting on the profound musical journey encapsulated in my latest album, “Bach Sequence,” I am humbled by the receipt of the Excellence Award at the 78th Agency for Cultural Affairs National Arts Festival in Japan (2020). This endeavor stands as a testament to my enduring passion for the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach, specifically delving into the intricate world of Partitas Nos. 1 to 3 for solo violin—a challenge that both captivated and stretched the limits of my craft as a saxophonist.

Bach’s influence, a consistent muse throughout my career, transcends classical genres, permeating diverse musical styles. The album is a celebration of the interconnectedness of music, highlighting Bach’s universal language evident in his mastery of harmonic patterns and ingenious use of the cycle of fifths. The program for “Bach Sequence” serves as a journey through the intricacies of Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002; Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004; and Partita No. 3 in F major (original key E major), BWV 1006.

Navigating the complex terrain of transposing violin pieces to the saxophone, I aimed not only for technical prowess but also for an emotive and nuanced interpretation of Bach’s timeless creations. The album unfolds in a sequence mirroring the interconnectedness of Bach’s influence across diverse musical landscapes, reimagining these masterpieces through the lens of the saxophone—a melodic instrument that becomes a vessel for the profound expression of Bach’s genius.

In the pursuit of bringing Bach’s Partitas to life on the saxophone, “Bach Sequence” transcends classical interpretation, becoming a testament to the enduring legacy of a musical giant and the ever-evolving nature of artistic expression. It is an invitation to explore the rich tapestry of Bach’s compositions, woven together with the expressive threads of the saxophone, serving as a conduit for listeners to experience the profound beauty and universality of Bach’s music. The album encapsulates the harmonious dialogue between past and present, classical and contemporary, showcasing the enduring legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach in the vast spectrum of musical expression.

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Publication date:

ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music

As I reflect on the profound musical journey captured in my latest album, “Bach Sequence,” I am deeply honored to have received the Excellence Award at the 78th Agency for Cultural Affairs National Arts Festival in Japan (2020). This album, a testament to my enduring passion for the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, has allowed me to delve into the intricate world of Partitas Nos. 1 to 3 for solo violin—a challenge that both captivated and stretched the limits of my craft, given the inherently melodic nature of the saxophone.

Johann Sebastian Bach, a titan in the realm of classical music, has been a consistent muse throughout my career. His profound influence extends far beyond the confines of classical genres, permeating diverse musical styles from jazz to pop. In a recent conversation, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the significance of Bach’s legacy and my personal connection to his timeless compositions.

Bach’s music, in my view, is indispensable for musicians across genres. His mastery of harmonic patterns, particularly his ingenious use of the cycle of fifths, resonates as a universal language. Whether one is immersed in the intricate world of classical compositions or exploring the improvisational realms of jazz, Bach’s influence is omnipresent, weaving a seamless thread connecting disparate musical landscapes.

In crafting the program for “Bach Sequence,” I sought to highlight the pervasive influence of Bach on my artistic endeavors. Each piece performed is a nod to the interconnectedness of music, demonstrating that Bach’s legacy extends beyond the boundaries of a single composition or era. The album is a journey through the intricacies of Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002; Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004; and Partita No. 3 in F major (original key E major), BWV 1006, where I aim to showcase not only technical prowess but also an emotive and nuanced interpretation of Bach’s timeless creations.

The intricate dance of Allemandas, Correntes, Sarabands, Gigas, and Chaconnes unfolds in a sequence that mirrors the interconnectedness of Bach’s influence across diverse musical landscapes. Through my own arrangements, I endeavor to breathe new life into these masterpieces, reimagining them through the lens of the saxophone—a melodic instrument that, in my hands, becomes a vessel for the profound expression of Bach’s genius.

As I navigate the complex terrain of Bach’s compositions, I am acutely aware of the challenge posed by transposing violin pieces to the saxophone. The saxophone, with its inherently lyrical nature, demands a delicate balance between technical precision and expressive depth. Each note, each phrase becomes a canvas upon which I paint the rich tapestry of Bach’s musical language.

In the process of recording “Bach Sequence,” I found myself immersed in a deeply introspective exploration of Bach’s intricate counterpoint and emotive depth. The dialogues between Allemandas and Gigues, the gentle lilt of Sarabands, and the triumphant cadence of Chaconnes became a vessel through which I sought to convey the universality of Bach’s music. It is my hope that listeners will not only hear the notes but also feel the essence of Bach’s genius in every nuanced nuance.

Conclusion: A Harmonious Tapestry

In the pursuit of bringing Bach’s Partitas to life on the saxophone, I embarked on a profound journey that transcended the boundaries of classical interpretation. “Bach Sequence” is more than an album; it is a testament to the enduring legacy of a musical giant and the ever-evolving nature of artistic expression.

Through this musical odyssey, I have come to realize that Bach’s influence is not confined to a specific genre or time period. His music, with its intricate patterns and timeless beauty, serves as a bridge connecting diverse musical landscapes. As a saxophonist, I find myself not merely interpreting Bach but engaging in a continuous dialogue with a musical language that resonates across centuries.

“Bach Sequence” is an invitation to explore the rich tapestry of Bach’s compositions, woven together with the expressive threads of the saxophone. It is my sincere hope that this album serves as a conduit for listeners to experience the profound beauty and universality of Bach’s music, transcending the boundaries of classical and embracing the interconnectedness of all musical genres. In the intricate dance of notes and phrases, we discover the enduring legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach—a legacy that continues to shape and inspire musicians across the vast spectrum of musical expression.

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