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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Old World Vs. New World Pt. 4

posted by on September 20 at 14:03 PM

Bach Vs. ABBA


The Hilliard Ensemble doing there best ABBA

Today’s classical selection is from a CD called Morimur featuring Christopher Poppen on Violin, and The Hilliard Ensemble on choral parts. It’s a pretty high-falutin’ study of how Bach’s infamously difficult Chacone for solo violin from his Partita in D Minor BWV 1004 is actually structured on choral music he composed for various religious ceremonies.

On the CD is the whole Partita played by Mr. Poppen on a baroque violin, which I think is ever so slightly larger and deeper-toned, then current violins. There is also quite a few selections of Bach’s choral arrangements sung by The Hilliard Ensemble. Then at the end, the Chaccone is played alone, with the accompanying relative choral parts.

It’s a bit abstract, but basically Mr. Poppen and his friends are making the world’s first mash-up. From this study, I’ve sampled a choral piece called Christ Lag In Todensbanden (Christ Lay In Death’s Bondage).


If there is anything as structured, as baroque in the pop music of today as Bach was in his day, then it certainly is the exacting hit-making machinery that was ABBA. No single performer or band has had the ability to quantify what needs to be part of a song to work as a pop hit then ABBA. Which is why, for a decade, ABBA was able to rack up top ten hit after top ten hit, and why 30 years on, love them or hate them, we are still entranced by their talent.


But I’ve chosen a cheaters way to connection here, by giving you a cover version of their biggest hit, Dancing Queen, performed by a Swedish vocal jazz ensemble called The Real Group. Not just content to do a whole vocal arrangement of the song, the “group” becomes the band and back-up for Frida, who graciously joined them on this cover. I know it’s not the original, but this version has just as much spark. You’ll see.

The Hilliard Ensemble - J.S. Bach - Christ Lag In Todesbanden
The Real Group - Dancing Queen (Med Frida)

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