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HIPster Wars - News from the Bach Front - Communiqué 59
on 14 November 2014
"Bahamas Air Control - can you hear me? We need assistance. Over."
"It's the Bahamas Air Control here. You're coming over loud and strong. Identify yourself! Over."
"It's Sir John Eliot Gardiner here, but you can call me . . . Biggles! Over."
The air-traffic controller stared at his boss; they both rolled their eyes.
"Yeah, whatever Jeggy. Now, what's the problem this time? Over."
"Well I am in a spot of bother. I was flying over the Bermuda Triangle with a squadron of planes and I'm afraid that most of my command has gone missing! It's rather awful. Over."
"You're not flying TBB Avengers are you? Over." the air-controller asked in horror.
"Gosh no. Monoplanes are so garish. We're flying Gloucester Gladiators - so much better to strafe those Huns like Klemperer, Furtwangler and Karajan. I look rather sporty with these goggles and a silk scarf training in the wind. It's just like a fox-hunt in Dorset. Tally-ho! Over."
"We need more information, Jeggy! Over."
"Well, we were hoping to traverse the Matthew Passion. I filed a flight-path with Deutsche Grammophon. Johann Sebastian Bach took off with us but he promptly dropped from view. I suspect he ditched in the sea - the tweediness and inane tempi got to him. The English Baroque Soloists never had any torque to their name. It's getting rather dark here; I can hear some scratching away so I presume some - but not all - of the poor buggers are still airborne. Over."
"What else? Over!"
"Well there were a number of soloists in the squadron. Most of them appear to be staying the journey - not that any of them is making a lasting impression with the exception of Barbara Bonney. This traversal is rather chilly as well; perhaps that's another reason why Bach dropped away. We've also been buffeted by errors of intonation; our phrases are clipped and some would say our wings as well but we fly on resolutely - Douglas Bader would be proud of us as we reach for the skies! Some venomous critics have attempted to shoot us down with ack-ack by ridiculing my treatment of Bach's halo around Jesus - they say it brings Percy Grainger and his famous terry towelling suit to mind. Still others liken this performance to Stainer's Crucifixion, albeit at a lower pitch and with clipped phrasing. I emphatically refute that. I won't have any of this 'Bach as Bruckner' prattle. Over."
Static flared at that point.
"We have also used up most of our fuel," Jeggy revealed over the crackles. "After all, this traversal is a race against the clock and we're not weighed down by any spirituality. The final chorus is at hand and we're pretty much sprinting along like a whippet."
"Jeggy, there is not much we can do for you," the air-traffic controller sighed. "Whenever you take to the skies, the composer goes missing - and you don't have to be anywhere near Bermuda for that to happen: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler, Janacek, Rachmaninov. Might it be an idea to turn around your biplane and return to Madrigal Island where you belong? Over."
All communications were lost at that point. The body of one Johann Sebastian Bach subsequently washed up on a beach. The hunt continues for this brave aviator.