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To commemorate the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach's death, keyboardist/scholar Carol Lems-Dworkin of Evanston, Illinois, has released an unusual new CD called, Bach's Ornaments: A Lecture Performance.
The recording focuses on four of Bach's major ornaments and their associated signs -- Trills, Turns, Mordents, and Appoggiaturas. Lems-Dworkin performs 33 excerpts of Bach's music, demonstrating his ornaments as sound-in-context, rather than merely signs over notes. A booklet explaining these often controversial ornaments accompanies the CD, along with a copy of the manuscript of Bach's famed "Explication," an ornament table he wrote for his son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, and the only one surviving to the present time that explains how he wanted his ornaments interpreted.
Carol Lems-Dworkin concertized extensively in major venues, made six Bach recordings, was the Music Director of Kendall College, and served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, Chicago State University, National Louis University, and Barat College. This particular combination of performance prowess and academic experience makes Lems-Dworkin uniquely qualified to explain and perform Bach's ornaments.
"Her pianism is extraordinary," said the New York Times of her Town Hall performance. For her recital at Orchestra Hall (now Symphony Hall Center), a Chicago Tribune reviewer said, "Here was the Gothic Bach of great vaulted arches and heaven-climbing spires." He added, "There too was the obverse of this grandeur, the simple devout Bach musing at his keyboard, far removed from the world. It was complete piano playing and superb music making." In a recording review, Clavier Magazine said, "Bach playing to move the heart."
Although the piano is the instrument of choice for this disk, there are two short examples played on harpsichord and clavichord, earlier instruments for which Bach's music is particularly well-suited. "Since we only have the one Bach ornament table with which to work," says Lems-Dworkin, "by extension its recommendations might just as well apply -- with careful interpretation, of course -- to other musical instruments -- even the human voice."
Updated August 2010
Contact Carol at email@example.com