This is a preview of my Friday “10 Things” newsletter. Friday editions are free for everyone.
Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.
It’s the first week of January which means here in the US, the public domain was just infused with all sorts of new (old) content. Included this year are the later Sherlock Holmes publications (YES!) and Metropolis, an early film of art deco dystopia.
Millions of documents, images, and other media now live in the public domain, making them freely available to anyone. We can use those works as inspiration for creating our own, standing on the shoulders of giants, and bringing our own creative ideas into the never-ending mix.
As such, here are some things on content, creation, and the public domain that I thought were pretty awesome.
Since the start of this unique project, more than 350 of the total of 1080 works by Johann Sebastian Bach have been performed and recorded in special ways. They include some remarkable highlights, such as the St Matthew Passion in the Grote Kerk, in Naarden, the Six Cello Suites at beautiful Amsterdam locations like the Concertgebouw and the Rijksmuseum, and Brandenburg Concerto no. 4 in Felix Meritis, in Amsterdam.
Informative texts, interesting facts and interviews with the performers provide a wealth of background information. All the works are performed by the Netherlands Bach Society and many guest musicians, and you can watch and listen to recordings of the complete works. In personal interviews, the musicians themselves talk about what touches them in the music or why they enjoy playing it so much. In order to keep close to Bach, the recordings are made at suitable venues, but we also look for unusual recording locations. Cantatas are filmed in a church, for instance, and chamber music at the musicians’ homes or at special locations in the Netherlands.
Of course, these works are available for performance by anyone since they are part of the public domain, allowing new generations to experience the work of a master and be inspired to create their own masterpieces.