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MP3 Alex Jacobowitz - The Art of Touching Wood: Music of Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach Goldberg Variations, Two-Part Inventions, Partita, Brandenburg Concerto No 1, et al. interpreted by virtuoso marimba artist Alex Jacobowitz

26 MP3 Songs in this album (51:27) !
Related styles: Classical: Bach, Classical: Keyboard Music, Type: Instrumental

People who are interested in Glenn Gould Pablo Casals Yehudi Menuhin should consider this download.

Alex Jacobowitz — “A virtuoso conquers the hearts of his audience” Jüdische Rundschau

“The problem is not so much playing music written for ten fingers with only four mallets, but rather bringing life to the rosewood bars, while touching the hearts of each member of the audience,” explains Alex Jacobowitz. The Jewish musician from New York, who lives in Jerusalem since 1989, tries to achieve this goal on an instrument that is not very well known to people in this part of the world and if at all, only from their children’s music school: the xylophone. But Alex Jacobowitz’s concert xylophone, also known as a marimba, is certainly not a “children’s instrument.” Nine-feet-long and weighing over 200 pounds, it is more comparable to a piano, and its rosewood bars are arranged on the principle of alternating white and black keys. They rest on a wooden frame over resonating air columns, and are played using two mallets in each hand, which produces a distinctively warm and sometimes mystically floating sound.

Jacobowitz was strongly influenced by the life and work of Joseph Gusikow, a chassidic xylophone virtuoso in the 1830’s who amazed composers like Liszt and Mendelssohn with his “Holz- und Strohfiedel” (wood and straw instrument). Like Gusikow, Mr. Jacobowitz tours throughout Europe, astonishing his audience with a deeply original musicianship tied to a formidable technical prowess.

After numerous solo concerts in the US, including New York’s Lincoln Center, he left the concert hall behind and began street performing, which allowed him to more directly communicate with his audience. But it is not only his unusual instrument, united with an extraordinary musicality, but also his charming way of integrating his audience with funny as well as informative explanations that bring him the fame of a “Leonard Bernstein of the Marimba” (St. Galler Tagblatt).

“For me, music is a language that brings me closer to the Creator,” says the orthodox Jew, who wears a kippa (traditional Jewish head covering) on top of his black curls as an outward sign of his inner beliefs. Following ancient Jewish tradition, he unites his musical growth with a service of his hands and a dedication of his heart. But he also knows when it’s time to separate music and tradition — he doesn’t play the instrument on the Jewish Sabbath and holidays.

While many of his fellow xylophonists have specialized in the contemporary musical literature written expressly for the marimba, his repertory primarily consists of music of the 18th and 19th centuries; he feels most drawn to the music of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.

The study of classical percussion normally includes a number of orchestral instruments, such as timpani, cymbals and drums in addition to the xylophone. While still in music school in New York, Alex Jacobowitz realized the immense potential of “his” instrument, enabling him to choose “...either to be a little cog in a big orchestra, which I had already done; or to be my own conductor, with the xylophone as my personal orchestra.” For him the choice was easy. Indoors or outdoors, the 40-year-old musician is today one of the few professional soloists of his instrument. Though he began xylophone and marimba study at the relatively late age of 19, by the age of 21 he won first prize of the “DCI Individual Keyboard Competition” in Montreal — but impressing judges isn’t his highest musical ambition. “My most important musical goal is sharing my music with as many people as possible. This is why verbal communication with my audience is so important,” he explains. In 1998

Mr. Jacobowitz published A Classical Klezmer — Travel Stories of a Jewish Musician.

Track Information:
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
1 Aria 4:11
2 Variation 25 3:48
3 Aria da capo 2:02
Notebook for Anna Magdalena
4 Menuet, BWV Anh. II 114 1:07
5 Musette, BWV Anh. II 126 1:07
The Two-Part Inventions
6 No.13 a minor, BWV 784 1:15
7 No.4 d minor, BWV 775 1:04
8 No.8 F major, BWV 779 1:01
The Well-Tempered Clavier
9 Prelude C major, BWV 846 2:18
Prelude, Fugue & Allegro BWV 998
10 Fugue C major 1:32
11 Prelude g minor, BWV 999 1:19
12 Fugue g minor, BWV 1000 4:30
13 Toccata d minor, BWV 565 2:36
Suite No.2, BWV 997
14 Fugue a minor 1:33
Partita No.3 E major, BWV 1006
15 Prelude 3:49
16 Gavotte en rondeau 3:01
17 Menuet I 1:26
18 Menuet II 1:42
19 Menuet I da capo 0:45
Suite No.1 G major, BWV 1007
20 Prelude 2:57
21 Menuet I 1:22
22 Menuet II 1:34
23 Menuet I da capo 0:44
Brandenburg Concerto No.1, BWV 1046
24 Menuet I 1:42
25 Menuet II 1:25
26 Menuet I da capo 1:43
Total time: 52:14

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