B i o g r a p h y
I first became interested in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach at the age of six while hearing my father, John Sr., an NYU music graduate, practicing piano. I remember asking him if he could teach me to play “that”…… Bach! Piano lessons with my father would soon commence and continue on a daily basis up to and throughout my college years. This course of study would later include a significant amount of music theory and counterpoint.
I attended Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri, now University, from 1972 to 1976, graduating with a Bachelor in Music Education degree, with a major in piano and minor in church organ.
In 1978 I secured a music teaching position in the school district of my hometown of Fair Haven, New Jersey. There, I taught for thirty-one years until retiring in 2009.
During my retirement, I have devoted myself to the studying and practicing of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music on both piano and organ. Though I have written many compositions for the piano, it wasn't until 2010 that I began composing what would become my “Thirty-One Original Goldberg Variations” based on Bach’s Goldberg Aria. This work was inspired by my father’s great appreciation for the Bach Goldberg Variations.
As I always considered Bach’s music “tutorial”, that is, written not just to play and enjoy but also to learn by, it made perfect sense to me that Bach, the teacher, might then expect me to be able to compose my own variations after memorizing his thirty. So I did.
As with his, each one of my variations is a unique contrapuntal composition within itself, constructed over the bass line of his original Goldberg Aria. All of my variations are in traditional forms such as Canon, Prelude, Fugue, Minuet, Trio, Bourree, and Gigue, just to mention a few.
Not only do I recognize Johann Sebastian Bach to be the greatest composer to have ever lived but also as the only musical “prophet” as well. By leaving no melodic or harmonic possibility unexplored, he was able to foretell all musical styles beyond his own time, including Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, Modern and Jazz. I have often said, “After Bach, there is nothing new”.
Though I do suggest that one play Bach's original Goldberg Variations first in order to fully appreciate the “Frank” Goldberg Variations, it is not necessary to do so.
John L Frank
Did You Practice Your Bach Today?