A review by the editor,

Swingle Singers
The Swingle Singers

This is an exceptional production in every way and is essential viewing for anyone who enjoys, studies or plays Bach.

One of our personal “tests” of a good movie comes afterwards, how often we remember different scenes, how long it lingers with pleasure in the memory. “Bach & Friends” has indeed stood the test of time.

Here you will see and hear performances and comments from a huge range of artists, each giving his or her insights into what Bach’s music means and how each feels it should be expressed. The performers speak with quiet insight as if interviewed in an intimate setting – the producer knows how to “bring them out”.

All of the performers are without exception, brilliant. Together with the more usual performances on the organ, violin and piano we meet the Swingle Singers and their founder-conductor, the Chromatic Fantasy played very convincingly on the clarinet, Bach on the ukulele, banjo, mandolin and other unusualities. An improvisation on two pianos provides high drama as the players bob and nod to one another and the tension mounts!

And that’s not all. The production cannot be faulted in any way whatsoever. The lighting, the settings some quite stunning, the sound quality, camera work and editing, all rate unquestionably 110%. A delight for ear and eye in themselves quite apart from the content.

If you are a little concerned at the outset that the comments interfere with the music, fear not, for on the second 90-minute DVD the performances are given complete on their own. The “movie” DVD is all of two hours long, yet the time passes so quickly you don’t feel it – though you may experience a slight mental overload at the end. Note: when you put in the DVD you will get some previews – to start right in press the “play” link at the bottom.

The 2-DVD set costs $39.95 plus shipping, available from Michael Lawrence Films. This set is a MUST for Bach-lovers, music students, colleges and conservatories.

We’ve been recording, producing, researching and writing about Bach and Baroque since the 1960s – and being English, we’re not naturally given to linguistic superlatives! But this 2-DVD set is truly outstanding in every way. Just get it!

John Bayless & Anatoly Larkin
Live dual-improvisation on B-A-C-H
“Off we go and soon we are in completely uncharted territory.”