Concert-goers can 'lie Bach' and enjoy the music Sunday

Friday, November 11, 2011

At 9 p.m. Sunday in the sanctuary of Greencastle's Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, DePauw University faculty pianist Katya Kramer-Lapin will play J. S. Bach's famous "Goldberg" Variations.

In an unusual twist, the audience is invited to bring sleeping bags or comforters and lie down to experience the concert. (Pews and chairs will be available for those who prefer to sit.)

"Sit 'Bach', or lie 'Bach,' and meditate," says DePauw cello professor Eric Edberg, who directs the Greencastle Summer Music Festival, which is sponsoring the free concert.

Logistical support is provided by Edberg's first-year DPU seminar class, which is studying alternative presentation of classical music.

"The story is that this piece was commissioned by the Russian Count Kaiserling, who had insomnia," Edberg explained. "His teenaged servant Johann Goldberg, evidently a very accomplished musician, would play for Kaiserling in the wee hours of the morning while the count tossed and turned in bed.

"So as legend has it, this music was written to be listened to while lying down."

While the story may be fiction, the idea that listening to music lying down, with the body relaxed, appeals to both Kramer-Lapin and Edberg.

"We want the audience, especially college students, to experience music in a different way," says Kramer-Lapin. "We hope that whether people are lying on the floor or sitting in a pew, they will relax and allow themselves to enter a meditative state in which images and feelings flow freely."

The concert is intended as a peaceful study break for DePauw students, a number of whom are already planning to attend, some in pajamas with sleeping bags in hand.

The general public is invited as well, whether in regular clothes or sleepwear. Admission is free.

The Goldberg Variations, one of Bach's greatest works, lasts approximately 90 minutes.

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