Elizabeth Anderson > Programme Proposals > Mr Bach Comes to Town

Mr Bach Comes to Town

for children of all ages

Douglas Lawrence as Johann Sebastian Bach - organ
Karl Philip Emanuel Bach - flute
Elizabeth Anderson - harpsichord

written and directed by Elizabeth Anderson

The Childrenís Bach is a surprise-packed programme that will teach children about J.S. Bach, his family of 20 children, his music and his instruments.

Mr Bach rudely interrupts whilst Elizabeth is playing his Chromatic Fantasia on the harpsichord. Elizabeth is unable to continue the performance, as Mr Bach insists on showing the children his preferred instrument, the organ. Itís lucky that she has already been able to give the children a quick tour of the harpsichord, because Mr Bach enthuses so much about the organ that she canít get a word in edgeways. One thing leads to another, and before we know it, Mr Bach has introduced his eldest son, Karl Philip Emanuel Bach. "Thatís a bit of a mouthful isnít it? You can call him Karl". He tells the children to say "Good afternoon Karl", but Karl seems not to register. Mr Bach has forgotten that Karl doesnít speak English. "How do you say "Hello Karl" in German?" he asks. Oh yes "hallo Karl". When the children greet him in German, Karl Phillip Emanuel becomes quite animated, and agrees to play his flute for them.

Elizabeth teaches the children to sing the two-bar theme of the Goldberg Variations. This is put to the words: "Bach sang great soul: Couldnít stand rockín roll". Karl Phillip Emanuel demonstrates with Elizabeth to show how the theme can be played forwards, backwards and upside down at the same time, and also in canon. The children join in, singing the theme in canon. Elizabeth, Karl and Mr Bach then take turns to sing with the children, and play the 14 canons from the Goldberg Variations to the Childrenís accompaniment. The programme ends with the children singing at the tops of their voices, accompanied by harpsichord, flute and organ.

Could Mr Bach ever have imagined such a performance of his music?

After the show, the children are invited to look more closely at the instruments and to play them.

The presentation outlined above is of 45 minutes duration not including the "hands on" time afterwards. Recommended for ages 4 to 400, the show can also be adapted to suit high school students.

Music performed in Mr Bach Comes to Town

  • Minuet in G major
  • Bist du bei mir for soprano and organ
  • a movement from an obligato sonata for flute and harpsichord
  • Mr Bach Comes to Town: a jazz fugue by Alec Templeton
  • Theme from the Goldberg Variations
  • sections of the following will be heard
  • D minor Toccata for organ
  • Chromatic Fantasia for harpsichord
  • 14 canons on the Goldbergs Theme

Copyright © 2003 Elizabeth Anderson. All rights reserved.