by Mike Telin
“To transcribe the music of Bach is to undertake the spirit of Bach,” harpist Parker Ramsay said during a Zoom interview. “He would often transcribe his own music for other instruments, as well as music of other composers.”
On Friday, September 18, Ramsay’s debut recording, Bach: Goldberg Variations, will be released on the King’s College Recordings label. The album will be available on CD and to stream and download via all major digital music services. Recorded in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England, the album includes liner notes by Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Tim Page and leading Bach scholar Burkhard Schwalbach.
Ramsay noted that people have been transcribing Bach’s music for many years for a variety of instruments including the Moog synthesizer. “I love Wendy Carlos’ Switched-on Bach,” he said. “It’s just incredible.” In his recent New York Times essay, Ramsay muses on Bach, transcriptions, and instrumentation.
When asked why he chose such an iconic work for his debut recording, Ramsay said that he wanted to present the harp as an instrument that is not just capable of playing new music or idiomatic music, but one that is worthy of the great works in the classical canon. “I also wanted to highlight all the different types of education that I have had.” [Read more…]