Category Archives: classical music in commercials

Bach in Commercials: Good for Classical Music or Not?

I was reminded today about this now-old American Express commercial.  It uses a truncated version of the Prelude of the Bach G Major cello suite, performed by Robert Burkhart.

I mention it here for two reasons.

First, are things like this good for the general cause of classical music or not?

Yes vote reasoning: It resulted in a lot of people hearing Bach who hadn’t before and may have discovered the music, especially through the YouTube video. My personal trainer, a sharp guy and a great person, had never heard of the composer when I was explaining my participation in Bach in the Subways Day to him. So sure, this is good exposure.

No vote reasoning: It uses a “great work” functionally, as background music in a television commercial, and cutting a huge chunk of the piece out.  Maybe bowdlerized isn’t exactly the right word, but certainly the integrity and architecture of the movement is destroyed as performed here.

Second, regardless of the commercial, Robert has a great-looking website (although it needs a bit of updating) with a particularly well-organized biography and great photos. It’s worth looking through.


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Filed under cellists, cello websites, classical music in commercials, Robert Burkhart