Procol Harum

the Pale

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Swinging Bach

AWSoP helps Europe celebrate Bach (not)

Wilfried van Damme writes to BtP, during the Europe-wide celebrations 250 years on from JS Bach's death in 1750

Last Friday I saw an announcement in my Dutch TV-guide for Swinging Bach, a live broadcast of a concert from Leipzig. The concert was said to 'connect jazz, rock and classical music', featuring Bobby McFerrin as 'the big star of the evening'. The article also announced performances of The Jacques Loussier Trio (!), The Turtle Island String Quartet, The Jeri Stivin Ensemble, and The King Singers (which all appeared indeed). The brief announcement ends with the following two sentences. "The German ['German' is not a translation here of Dutch 'Duits' (German), but is
apparently part of the band's name]
All Star Band consists of well-known German rock musicians. They will play Procol Harum's hit A whiter shade of pale [sic], which clearly owes much to Bach.'

Upon reading this, my first reaction was: why didn't they invite the maestros themselves? Well, maybe they did. Anyway, I soon realized that this was a wonderful exposure for AWSoP, and I was in fact becoming curious about the performance this German All Star Band would deliver.

Swinging Bach turned out to be a Eurovision broadcast that could be received 'live' in "ten European countries" (including at least the Netherlands and Germany, but excluding at least Belgium and England) as well as Japan, and that would be broadcast at some later date in several other countries. But no AWSoP - in fact, despite the announcement, there was no 'rock' dimension in the entire concert, which moved between and frequently mixed Bach and jazz.

The announcement in my TV-guide evidently draws on some (official) press release, one that turned out to be premature. There may be Whalers who know more about the initial plans to include AWSoP, and perhaps even about the reasons for eventually not having the German All Star Band appear during the concert ? And did 'Gary's office' ever receive an invitation to partipate?

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