Playing To The Crowds

Picture left by Lucinda MacPherson, picture right by Anna Kunst

Did you hear a rather classy busker entertaining the queues at the flower market on Sunday?

The last time David Juritz busked in Chiswick was back in 2007 at the start of a 50,000 mile world tour.

David busking on world trip, can you guess where? Answer below.

Now back on his home turf, the virtuoso violinist, and long time Chiswick resident plans on performing in St Michaels on June 19th as part of The Bedford Park Festival. The two concerts will include Mozart’s Divertimento and Flute Quartet, which he and flautist, Paul Edmond-Davies, another Chiswick resident, played at the first concert they ever staged for The Bedford Park Festival a grand total of 30 years ago.

The festival has been a firm fixture for David and Paul these three decades and they look forward to revisiting the Divertimento, as David describes the piece as, “a trio with all the charm, grace and humour you’d associate with Mozart as well as extraordinary emotional depth.”  “The Divertimento is just a gorgeous piece of music. It’s very exciting and challenging, and a great opportunity for musicians to show off a bit.”

They’ll be joined by his “musical besties” Judith Busbridge, co-principal viola at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and cellist Adrian Bradbury.

David has just released his own arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, a piece of music which allegedly came about when a Russian ambassador who suffered from insomnia asked the composer to write a restful piece to soothe him off to sleep. At the time, Bach employed a talented young harpsichordist called  Goldberg, so the variations became associated with this name as he was thought to be the first musician to perform them.

It was originally written for two manual harpsichord with two keyboards, but is now more usually played on the piano.

Can you guess in which country the picture of this venue was taken? Answer at bottom of feature.

David’s arrangement introduces different instruments, adding colour to the piece.

But how do you make a variation of a variation?

“Bach has done all the work for you really,” explains David, although writing this new arrangement posed several technical problems, especially around the allocation of parts.

“ Every instrument has its own sort of language. The guitar, for instance, is a totally different sort of animal to the piano, and has a different “attack” to, say, a cello, so when you are arranging a piece of music you try and work out what is going to work best for which instrument.”

“What I hadn’t realised when I started was that the guitar is a very low pitched instrument.  The music runs through a wide range. It meant that a lot of the material I had to put right up into the highest register of the guitar, almost off the finger board which meant that its incredibly difficult to play.”

Fortunately, David was working with one of the best guitarists in the world,  Craig Ogden who was unfazed by the technical challenges thrown at him.

.” “ Because it was Bach, I was very reluctant to change a single note that he had written.” There is a long and very coherent narrative running the whole way through with each variation leading to the next one.

“By and large the writing is so clear its almost indestructible; but I didn’t want to be the first person that proved that you could do some damage to Bach!”

That this new arrangement came about at all appears a happy accident, driven by an overenthusiastic promoter.

“I rather foolishly told a promoter I was going to make a new arrangement and then forgot about it for a few months. Then when I looked at it I thought “Gosh, this is going to be a real problem” and was going to forget the whole thing, but, unfortunately, the promoter had already published all the publicity for it and started selling tickets so I couldn’t back out!”

Fortunately, David stuck with it, and has been adjusting and refining his arrangement over the last four years until its launch last month, and its already proved to be a hit with almost 100,000 streams on Spotify and its first review extolling the “engaging and engaged” performances which “totally won over” the critic.

“Its fantastic fun to play. It starts off gentle, but the imagination and brilliance of the writing is more and more astonishing the more you play it.”

“And requests have already started to come in to play gigs, so it’s great to be getting back to normal.”

Getting back to normal at the Chiswick Flower Market Photograph Anna Kunst

Mozart with Friends – the Juritz Concert will be performed at 5pm and 7pm, St Michael & All Angels Church on Saturday 19th June.

To book and find out more about the Bedford Park Festival visit: https://www.bedfordparkfestival.org/e/309/mozart-with-friends-the-juritz-concert

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1759) Goldberg Variations, arranged by David Juritz; David Juritz (violin), Craig Ogden (guitar), Tim Hugh (cello), NIMBUS NI6414 1CD [79.40] is available on big streaming platforms and on CD from Presto Classical

Answers to picture teasers: Hong Kong and  France

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See also: Chiswick Flower Market in Pictures

See also: Bedford Park Festival 2021

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