The doctor is in!

DrBach
J S Bach Reconstructed

Even though Johann Sebastian Bach had a life full of tragedy and heartbreak, his music focused on a joy and peace found not in himself, but in God. Examine his writings and compositions and you will find that his source of life sprung from a well that never ran dry. This wellspring gave him purpose and an ability to cope with the deep sorrow and despair that can come from such circumstances. With the sudden death of his first wife and with the Job-like experiences of losing half of his children in premature deaths, he was able to share a faith and hope through his music that transcended these heart-wrenching tragedies.

Perhaps there is something to be learned from Bach’s life even today. Come along and explore some of his incredible music. The doctor is still in!

BWV 75 – The Wretched Shall Eat (from Part II)

Jesus makes me spiritually rich.
If I can embrace His spirit,
I will long for nothing more;
for my life will grow with it.
Jesus makes me spiritually rich.

Who rests in Jesus alone,
and is driven by self-denial,
which in God’s love
he practises in faith,
has, when earthly things have disappeared,
found himself and God.

What God does, is well done,
I will cling to this.
Along the harsh path
trouble, death and misery may drive me.
Yet God will,
just like a father,
hold me in His arms:
therefore I let Him alone rule.

(English Translation from Emmanuel Music)

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Imagine!

An imagination is a wonderful thing…so is good music!

George Washington Inn
George Washington Inn

“I sat in the lush green grass of early summer, beneath the dappled shade of two young oak trees, a strong sun piercing the leafy canopy above my head. Delicate clumps of daffodils about my feet bowed gracefully as they prepared to retire after a long spring, adorning the lawns in front of this great house.

I imagined guests arriving up the long winding gravel driveway in horse and carriage, each and every one dressed in fine cloth from exotic far off lands. I imagined a small group of musicians sitting in the great hall welcoming the guests arrival, with the most up to date popular music. One of those pieces could very well have been this beautiful Sonata in F by the then very famous George Frideric Handel.” Johnnie Lawson, Muzica Clasica de Relaxare-Relaxation-Classical Music

There’s no need to imagine any longer. Make those dreams come true. Bring your lawn chairs or blanket this summer, relax on the inn’s front lawn and enjoy some of the finest baroque and early American folk music as it wafts through the ocean air from under the portico of George Washington Inn.

Bach reinvented

Perhaps the world’s longest xylophone.

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A little Bach goes a long way! It’s still being enjoyed in ways he would never have imagined. How many years later? 263 years and counting.

Come join us this summer for some more Bach at the inaugural Washington Music Festival – July 19-21 at George Washington Inn and Estate! You will find baroque music wrapped up in an exciting new package.

Moving forward

Recently a composer was having a premiere of his latest piece performed in a major music hall when the orchestra suddenly shut down and packed up right in the middle of the piece to keep from going into overtime. Apparently the orchestra’s union had given the members instructions to do so. Today budgets are under stress and funding has been cut by cash-strapped organizations. People have many choices from which to select their preferred listening venue.

Joshua Bell

Joshua Bell, world-renowned violin virtuoso, has made a profound statement about music today. “We need to keep finding ways of reaching young people in environments that make them feel comfortable, without altering the music,” Bell said. “We don’t need to add drum beats to great classical works to reach younger people. That’s not the point at all.” He continued, “They can connect with great classical music, but sometimes it means finding the right venue, or the right time of day, or the right way to present it where they feel embraced. We should always be experimenting with things like that.” (See article by James Chute/U-T)

We hope you will come and experience our exciting new venue this summer. The setting for the inaugural Washington Music Festival is a beautiful ten acre oceanfront lavender farm with a replica of George and Martha Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon as its iconic focal point.

Handel and his music

GFHandelGeorge Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-born British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in the same year as Bach (1685) to a family that was indifferent to music. He received critical musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) and becoming a naturalized British subject in 1727. By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

Within fifteen years, Handel, a dramatic genius, had started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera, but the public came to hear the vocal bravura of the soloists rather than the music. In 1737 he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively and addressed the middle class. As Alexander’s Feast (1736) was well received, Handel made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was only partly successful with his performances of English oratorio on mythical and biblical themes, but when he arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital (1750) the criticism ended. It has been said that the passion of Handel’s oratorios is an ethical one, and that they are hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by the moral ideals of humanity.[2] Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man.

Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, with works such as Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks and Messiah remaining popular. Handel composed more than forty operas in over thirty years. (from Wikipedia)

The music of George Frideric Handel will be heard this summer at the inaugural Washington Music Festival. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear some baroque music that remains as radiant as ever!

Fire and a cantata

The Muhlhausen Fire of 1707
In May 1707 a fire ravaged the town of Mühlhausen, where a young twenty-two year old Johann Sebastian Bach was employed as the organist at the Lutheran church of St. Blasius. Fires, as you might imagine, were devastating to the inhabitants of a city. Fortunes and families alike were often wiped out (we don’t know to what extent Bach was personally affected). The Mühlhausen fire seems to have destroyed nearly a quarter of the town. A pastor in the town approached Bach and asked him to compose a cantata based on Psalm 130. Perhaps this pastor sensed that the fire was the result of the Lord’s judgment for the sin of the town. Bach notes on the score that the work was composed for an event of mourning–perhaps some kind of ‘memorial concert.’

Bach used sparse instrumentation for this work: one violin, two violas, a bass instrument, oboe, bassoon, with the choir and soloists. The cantata (interlinear German/English text here) begins with the first two verses of Psalm 130. The words “Out of the depths I cry, Lord, to you (Aus der Tiefe ruf’ ich, Herr, zu dir).” The voicing is intentionally low to represent the “depths.” In the “ruf”/”cry”, one clearly hears the dissonance and the word is lengthened. The quicker rendition of the second line may intend to show a glimmer of hope: “Lord, O hear my calling, incline your ear unto my voice and hear my prayers (Herr, höre meine Stimme, lass deine Ohren merken auf die Stimme meines Flehens).”

Tragedy can inspire. Bach knew personal tragedy like few of us, yet he seemed to always grow stronger in his faith. Many of his cantatas were composed out of a right response to tragedy and sorrow.

Bach composed several hundred cantatas over his lifetime, of which only 209 have been preserved or discovered.

Source: Psalm 130 in the Hands of a Young Johann Sebastian

Psalm 130

Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Music is a dream!

The Lady in Number 6 is one of the most inspirational, uplifting stories of the year. This movie will surely be a blockbuster! 109 year old Alice Herz Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and oldest holocaust survivor in the world, shares her views on how to live a long happy life. She discusses the importance of music, laughter and having an optimistic outlook on life. “Life is beautiful!” she laughs, “life is beautiful!” She holds no hatred, just gratitude.

Want to catch some of her inspiration? All the more reason to come and enjoy a little Bach and some inspiring baroque music at the Washington Music Festival!

Read more about Alice Sommer: A Garden of Eden in Hell

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Planting and reaping

BlehmSowingReaping

Nothing beautiful happens without a lot of planning and effort. Not only will it be appealing to the eyes, but something sounds charming about a baroque music festival on an oceanfront lavender farm here in “America’s Provence”! Come check it out this July when all the lavender is in full bloom!

Here’s a ink to ticket info: https://washingtonmusicfestival.wordpress.com/ticket-info/

Sound the trumpets

This summer is off to a great start with incredible weather. The snow-capped Olympic Mountains seem more majestic than ever and there’s lots of activity on the waterfront. Someone caught a huge halibut yesterday and their excitement was heard from the inn’s balcony overlooking the strait.

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Here are a couple of photos taken this morning from the new stage platform where beautiful music will be heard at the inaugural Washington Music Festival this summer. Enjoy some rousing baroque music on this beautiful day! Imagine trumpeters like these playing at the Olympic Peninsula’s exciting new baroque venue. If you have any contacts like this, you know where to send them.

The new stage

The cement for the new stage platform was poured this morning. With a couple days of curing, it will be set. Then all we’ll need is the some music! This will provide an exciting new venue for baroque music on the Olympic Peninsula.

Enjoy these photos from all the activity that took place today here at the inn. Click on the pictures to enlarge the photos.

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