QT #29 Ben Wensel

# QuaranTiny Series

For QuaranTiny Concert #29, cellist Ben Wensel, who often joins us for our cantatas as well as for our improvisation performances,  has sent us the following three, wonderfully evocative works - straight from his home studio.   Prelude in G Major (J.S. Bach):  I chose this because of the overwhelmingly sunny quality of this prelude. G Major! It's also so familiar and affirming in it's essential Bach-ness - one of several pieces by Bach that live in the collective/popular conscious. I think it's representative of Bach's music to many people . If you were walking down the street and pointed at a passing pedestrian and shouted, "sing something by Bach!" this is very likely what you'd get. This, or possibly a black eye from someone who doesn't like to be yelled at when innocently walking down the street.  Song of the Birds - Catalan Folk Song (arr. Casals/Wensel):  This is a simple and beautiful melody. I studied the Casals arrangement when I was growing up and learned the story of his relationship with this music. Casals performed Song of the Birds, which is based on a folk tune from his native Catalonia, as an encore and protest of the Franco regime after every concert he played during his exile from Spain/Catalonia. I've always enjoyed playing it but can't always arrange for the orchestral or keyboard accompaniment required in Casals' version. So I made an unaccompanied arrangement for myself. There are other solo arrangements out there, but now there's one more. I really enjoyed working it out and hope people enjoy listening to it. Julie-O (Mark Summer): Apparently this piece is featured in the background of an Apple watch commercial. That was just recently brought to my attention and I'm not sure how to feel about it. Nevertheless, Julie-O is a fun listen and fun to play. Mark Summer composed this piece in 1988 and in doing so added a significant and persuasive work to the growing non-classical/Classical repertoire. The melody and harmony are straight ahead Pop (in the very best way possible). The "extended" technique is familiar to those who have ever spent an afternoon, or several, trying to teach themselves guitar."