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Wendy Carlos – Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major

This is an absolute classic. Not only when it comes to the involvement of women in the production of electronic music, but it is a milestone for the development of the electric soundscape in general while being crucial for the prominence and commercial success of classical music as well.

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 is taken from Wendy Carlos’ ‘Switched-on Bach’ that brought a radically new approach to the interpretation of classical music, by being one of the first records to play classical pieces only with electronic instruments, namely a Moog Synthesizer. It was also the first classical record to sell more than 500.000 copies making it a certified platinum album and later earning Wendy 3 Grammy awards.

Wendy Carlos has also been a pioneer of synthesized environmental sounds, with her 1972 album ‘Sonic Seasonings’ and later went on to write and produce film scores, for movies like ‘A Clockwork Orange’, ‘The Shining’ and the original 1982 version of ‘Tron’.

Her personal and her professional intersected many times as she started taking female hormones only in 1968 and she still released ‘Switched-on Bach’ under her birth name of Walter Carlos. And it was only the commercial success of that record that allowed her to make a full transition and undergo surgery in 1972. She had her first public appearance after the operation in 1979, with an interview in playboy, where she described her artistic development as well as her personal transition and the medical process.

 

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