Sunday November 22, 7:30 p.m.
On Monday, November 23, 1936, the cellist Pablo Casals walked into EMI's Abbey Road studios in London, hundreds of miles from his hometown of Vendrell, Spain, across a continent wracked in turmoil by the coming Anschluss, to record the Suite #3 in C Major, BWV, 1009, by Johann Sebastian Bach, a twenty-two minute composition consisting of six movements each of which is a transformation of a popular dance form. This was the first session in a project that would take almost three more years in London and Paris to produce the first recording of Bach's six suites for unaccompanied cello - the first album of music for a solo instrument other than keyboard or guitar. Bach's cello suites are notable for their masterful evocation of complex counterpoint, infectious dance rhythms, and heart-wrenching soulfulness from a solo string instrument, and are considered by many prominent critics to be among the very greatest music compositions ever written; and Casals recording of them begun on 11/23/36 is widely held to be one of the most significant events in the history of the recording medium.
On Monday, November 23, 1936, the blues guitarist Robert Johnson walked into Don Law's makeshift recording studio set up in a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas, hundreds of miles away from his hometown of Hazelhurst, Mississippi, across a country wracked by the Depression, to record eight of his original songs, about twenty two minutes worth of music, each of them a transformation of a popular dance form. This was the first of Johnson's five recording sessions made over the next seven months in Sam Antonio and Dallas producing seminal recordings of a new, personalized and sophisticated country blues pioneering the use of the guitar as an obligato instrument to the voice, creating a style that was the single most influential force in that strain of urban blues that gradually evolved into rock and roll. Robert Johnson's guitar playing is notable for it's masterful evocation of complex counterpoint, infectious dance rhythms and heart-wrenching soulfulness from a solo string instrument, and the sessions that preserved twenty-nine of his songs are widely held to be among the most significant events in the history of the recording medium.
To commemorate the eve of the 62nd anniversary of this remarkable confluence of musical history, the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center proudly presents EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC SERIES #6 in which some of Brooklyn's most exciting artists, including singers, dancers, and painters, will produce solo experiments based on what Messrs. Casals and Johnson recorded on that fateful day in 1936!
THIS PROGRAM IS SPONSORED, IN PART, BY THE RE-GRANT/DECENTRALIZATION
PROGRAM OF THE BROOKLYN ARTS COUNCIL, WHICH IS MADE POSSIBLE WITH
PUBLIC FUNDS FROM THE NEW YORK STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS
Assistant Treasurer, ANS