Welcome to the official ‘Bach To Me’ website!
“Georg Voros has taken prog music to new levels of adventure and intrigue with Bach to Me” Prog Magazine – UK
“Voros’s complexly nimble drum work is allowed space to shine alongside Mackay’s Hammond and synths, which defer to the drummers artistry.” John Collinge, Progression Magazine – Canada
“A very nice blend of Classic & Prog! Love it! A must!” Denis Champagne, Prog Core Live Radio – Canada.
“An Amazing Release from an Amazing Drummer.” Leon Economides, RockFest, MixFM – South Africa
“Georg Voros has taken the music of Bach and skilfully adapted it to the progressive rock genre – a triumph!” Shaun Geraghty, The Prog Mill, Stafford Radio – UK
“plenty of musical change-ups making the music complex in a very different way. Recommended.” Jerry Lucky, The Progressive Rock Files – Canada
“This is cool. Very original thinking!!!” – Lee Nicholas, Also Eden – UK
“Wonderful playing… on a world stage with class!” – Gary o’ Toole, Steve Hackett, Genesis Revisited – UK
Bach to Me is the brainchild of drummer and composer Georg Voros. A life-long fan of Progressive and Symphonic Rock, Georg’s debut album is an unusual offering in that it features reworks of some of the celebrated classical master J.S. Bach’s greatest music, including an original composition in collaboration with keyboard wizard Duncan Mackay.
Georg’s renowned drumming skills are a feature on Bach to Me, with the addition of some very special guest musicians with associations to artists such as It Bites, Kate Bush, Camel, Solstice, Dave Matthews and Alan Parsons.
If the prospect of Classic Prog Rock with a modernistic approach excites you, then this album is for you with clear references to bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes and Focus.
“Nice going! Very different and musical! “ – Dom Famularo, Global Drumming Ambassador – USA
The story behind the album…
(Taken from the inside pages of the album CD)
The creation of this music has been an immensely enjoyable, rewarding and at times strangely discomforting experience.
This debut album is nothing like I intended, as I already had a full albums worth of original material ready and which I specifically wrote for my first release. How I came to record this collection of Bach compositions happened by (happy) accidental circumstance and I can’t quite pinpoint exactly where and how this happened. You see J. S. Bach along with W.A. Mozart has always been one of my favourite classical composers and the thought that planted the seed in my mind to attempt this album probably sparked in the shower. For some strange reason all my ideas, good or bad, seem to sprout while I’m in the shower? Maybe the flowing water acts as some kind of nourishment for the dormant seeds?
It was always going to be a Prog album
Why Brandenburg Concerto no. 1?
I felt this was a wonderful piece of music that might just translate well into my intended final result, which to tell the truth I wasn’t exactly sure what that was going to be. This album unfolded every time I sat down to work on it. However, one factor did start to emerge… it was definitely going to be a ‘Progressive Rock’ album, the kind of music that I grew up with and to which I have a great affinity. I also knew that it had to be pleasing on the ear, well executed and pay homage to my musical influences.
When I played pre-production mixes to certain people the comparisons were indeed very flattering – who wouldn’t want to be compared to ELP, Camel, Rick Wakeman and Yes. Maybe you don’t hear these influences and that’s okay as this album is what you make of it. For me it’s been immense fun, a lot of hours of hard work and at times frustration, but A LOTTA FUN.
Finding the originality
Is there an original sound here? I’d like to think so in having given this work my personal touch and that the drumming is originally inspiring. And that I sound like Georg Voros and not a copy of ……….. !
On the arrangements: now this is something that I am extremely proud of and which I do call my ‘own’ as the interpretation to apply whatever intention to this selection of Bach’s music could have been approached from many angles. For sure, to take a piece of music written for orchestra and then decide what sound should be assigned to what part was probably one of the most challenging aspects. I mean Bach didn’t exactly have a part in mind for distorted guitar or a Moog synth did he? So aside from my drumming, this is where I feel my stamp has been put on this music.
Whilst in the process of working on this record a lot of people asked if I was making a ‘drummer’s album’? My younger drumming students particularly asked this question a lot. I must confess that I personally find a lot of albums recorded by drummers a bit uninspiring at times, in the sense that they can sometimes be a bit one dimensional where the music (if there is any) plays a supporting role to drumming gymnastics. So be it! A lot of people like this and I do as well, but only to a certain extent.
From the very beginning I knew I wanted an album that showcased great music, with my drumming playing a musically supportive role. However, that didn’t mean it had to be boring and that I was just going for the obvious. Not at all, my underlying intention with all the drum parts I created was, “how can I make this interesting and maybe a little different”? A lot of thought went into some of the drumming you hear and I hope the end result is that there are people out there of the opinion that I did indeed create something interesting rhythmically, and which is also inspiring.
To solo or not to solo?
Then of course because it is a ‘drummer led’ album the question was often raised … “are you going to play a drum solo”? Believe it or not, this was the furthest thought from my mind when the idea for this album hatched, which is a bit strange considering that I grew up in the era of the ‘drum solo’- ala Neil Peart, Carl Palmer and the like. I love drum solos and have played many in the course of my career, but I was hesitant to include one on this album. But then I thought, “why not, but if I do, how can I make it different”.
Enter the original composition ‘For Johann’…
A tribute to the master
The initial idea for this piece of music was nothing like you hear, however the primary objective of this piece was for it to be some form of tribute to the great master. So when this track started to become a reality, I approached it in the same spirit that Bach may have composed a piece.
You see an inevitable result of making this album was that as I researched and delved more into his music, it struck me what a musical genius he truly was. Bach’s mastery of counterpoint melody and the way he managed to get something so intrinsically complex to sound quite simple at times amazed me. So initially the foundation of ‘For Johann’ was to present a solo drum piece that was going to feature mainly complex four limb patterns, leaning towards Bach’s counterpoint approach. With that in mind I sketched out ideas so that I had some kind of format to put into place, as you would when writing a song or piece of music. In other words I wanted the solo to have some kind of flow and not just consist of a collection of clever ideas for the sake of it. I also wanted the drum solo to be ‘music’. Then another thought struck – probably in the shower! What if I played some musical accompaniment to my solo?
This idea sparked from a performance I witnessed a few years back when the drummer and percussionist from Jamiraqui played a show with a didgeridoo player. Different? You bet. Aside from their actual live playing the three musicians also ran backing tracks that consisted of ‘soundscape’ pads. For those not familiar with that term think of lush strings and synthesized sounds. The performance was amazing and stuck in my mind because they had taken what would have been a mainly drumming only event, to making it more musical and importantly, more accessible. So I thought if I did something similar and played some tasty keyboard sounds over my drumming, that it would take the piece to a different space and also be different? This excited me and I firmly decided that this was how it was going to be. Or was it?
To working with a master
Enter what you hear on the album… but let me back track a little. When I was around 16 years of age I used to (virtually every weekend) frequent a place called ‘The Branch Office’. This was around 1974. The Branch Office was the coolest live music venue in Johannesburg that showcased innovative music and at the time keyboard wiz Duncan Mackay and his amazing band enjoyed a permanent residency there. I was a complete ELP freak and what Duncan was doing was very similar, so for me this was musical heaven. The core of the band featured Duncan and a fine drummer called Mike Gray. Duncan’s talented brother Gordon joined the band for while on guitar, violin, piano and vocals. Both units astounded me because aside from Duncan pulling off the most ridiculous level of playing (ala Keith Emerson) with his hands, he also played bass pedals and sang! It was spectacular to behold. I never forgot this and subsequently bought his solo albums to follow.
Duncan was and still is one of my musical heroes so I thought what if, Duncan Mackay were to play on ‘For Johann’? What if I played my drum parts first and he then laid down his incredible keyboard playing afterward? Wow, what a different approach that would be – almost like reverse engineering! I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be when I asked him, but to my delight he was excited at the prospect of doing it. Wow!
Collaborating with Duncan on this piece has been one the musical highlights of my career. From marveling at his unbelievable musicality at The Branch Office those many years ago to have him playing on my album was indeed a dream realized – another equally awe inspiring moment was when my childhood drumming idol Carl Palmer endorsed my first book ‘Rhythm of the Head. An interesting analysis of this piece of music was given by a professional classical musician who after listening to it paused thoughtfully and then said… “this is modern classical music”.
Brilliant guest musicians and thank you
This album is littered with fantastic musicians and it is an honour to have such a high calibre of players guesting. Thank you to each and every one of you, this album would not sound the same if wasn’t for all your combined talents.
To those of you who pledged in the Indiegogo ‘Bach to Me’ crowdfunding campaign, I thank you greatly! You’ve helped to make this music come alive.
I’m truly proud of what has been created here and sincerely hope that you enjoy the result of my many showers, and that you come to call this ‘good music’. That is the biggest compliment! Boom boom!
Georg Voros – October 2014
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