A unique recording and film project, giving context to Beethoven's place in the history of music:
Johann Sebastian Bach’s masterwork, the Well-Tempered Clavier (1717-42), launched a new age in the history of music, paving the way for Beethoven and the greatest musical masters of all times. Bach’s two books of Preludes and Fugues in all the keys are foundational to the entire tradition of western music as we know it, which is why it is often referred to as the "Old Testament" of music (complemented by the "New Testament" which are Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas). The Well-Tempered Clavier has provided a set of organizing principles that have been the basis for all other music since. To understand Beethoven’s story and his music, we must begin with Bach.
In August 2017, pianist George Lepauw, along with a world-class film and audio crew, gathered in the historic Jakobskirche (Saint-Jacob’s church) in Weimar, Germany, over the course of a week, to record, and to film, an epic performance of both books of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Bach’s masterwork lasts nearly five hours in its entirety (equivalent to four CDs in a box set), making the recording and film sessions very intense and challenging.
Your support is needed now to edit the audio tracks and the film recorded during the month of August. It is critical that enough funds are raised now in order to stay on schedule for a release in 2018!
Weimar is the town of Goethe, Schiller, and is also quite significant for Bach, who was Court Organist and Concertmaster from 1708 to 1717, at a crucial time in his musical development and career. It was while living in Weimar that he first conceived the idea to compose the Well-Tempered Clavier, which is why the project took place in that town.
Unique features of this multimedia album project will include:
-A dedicated website and mobile app; as well as a CD/Blu-Ray Box Set
-The technology on the website and app will allow users to listen to the 96 pieces (or 48 pairs of Preludes and Fugues) of the album in various orders, and not only in its automatic linear (1-96) order. Alternate orders will include reverse chromatic, circle of fifths, minor/major only, etc. Users will also easily be able to curate their own orders, so as to listen to this work in the way they prefer with absolute freedom and interactivity. Contextual historical information and cross-referencing will also be included in the site for a full educational experience in addition to the pleasure of listening or watching.
-Several “film” versions: a film of the recording sessions, viewable in two parts (approx. 2.5 hours each) or as individual tracks (3-5 minutes each); a documentary on the making of the recording, with music, interviews, historical information on the music and Bach, formatted for entry into film festivals and for television and digital streaming platforms
If this first major media project comes to the light of day, with your help, and receives a welcome reception from critics and the public, it is IBP's hope that it will open the doors to doing something along the same lines for Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas, in time for Beethoven's 250th birthday in 2020.
Your support is therefore essential to IBP's Beethoven@250 success!
George Lepauw, Project Leader and Pianist
As founder and Artistic Director of the International Beethoven Project, and as a concert pianist with more than two decades of concertizing experience, George has participated in and closely followed the evolution of the classical music world. George will lead the team for this album project and ensure its high artistic standards. “A prodigious pianist” (Chicago Tribune) recognized for his “singing tone” (New York Times), and someone who “likes to shake it up” (Chicago Tribune), George is an artist and cultural activist who uses music and the arts to inspire and bring people together, following upon Beethoven's idea of "brotherhood." Named Chicagoan of the Year (2012) for Classical Music (Chicago Tribune), George represents the ideal 21st-century musician, intensely focused on his art yet wholly engaged with the world. In 2010, George led the production of, and performed in, the historic first recording of Beethoven’s long-lost Trio Hess 47, which reached 24th place on the Classical Billboard Charts and made worldwide news. George began his piano studies at age three in Paris with Aïda Barenboim, mother of Daniel Barenboim, and furthered his studies with Elena Varvarova, Brigitte Engerer, Vladimir Krainev, Rena Shereshevskaya, Ursula Oppens, and Earl Wild, among others. He has also been supported and guided by Maestros Daniel Barenboim, Carlo Maria Giulini and Kurt Masur. He holds degrees from Georgetown University (Literature and History) and Northwestern University (Piano Performance). More information at www.georgelepauw.com
Mariano Nante, Filmmaker and Co-Producer
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mariano Nante directed the 2015 award-winning documentary “Pianists Street” (La Calle de los Pianistas), which won the Silver Condor for Best Documentary Film from the Argentine Film Critics Association, among other prizes. As Project Co-Producer, Mariano will oversee all artistic and technical aspects of the audio and visual productions in their capture and editing phases, ensuring consistency of vision and execution across the audio recording, the film, and the VR projects.
Martin Mirabel, Filmmaker and Co-Producer
French author and filmmaker Martin Mirabel just completed the first documentary on young piano star Lucas Debargue, “Lucas Debargue: Musical Time” (a preview can be seen starting at minute 1:39 at https://vimeo.com/202560485), which will be distributed internationally on major television networks in fall 2017. He will direct the documentary of the recording sessions and co-produce the album’s film/VR content.
Harms Achtergarde, Audio Producer
Weimar-based audio producer and engineer, Harms Achtergarde has made hundreds of recordings in his career across a wide range of classical musicians and ensembles in Germany. His work has led him to work for recording labels, television stations, film productions, and advertising agencies.
Anne Ludwig, Production Assistant
Berlin and Weimar based, Anne Ludwig is a multi-disciplinary artist with an interest in photography and film.