Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Death In Leipzig: J.S. Bach, 1750

Statue of composer J.S. Bach in Leipzig, Germany

While looking over my usual list of sites, I discovered that today marks the passing of one of the great three "B's" in classical music, Johann Sebastian Bach,  He gave us some of the most sublime music in western culture and it would be an oversight, especially as a Lutheran, not to honor this master of the Baroque and pillar of Lutheranism. Here is a taste of genius whose work was largely forgotten for a century following his death.

From the St. Matthew Passion, here is the final recitative and chorus, a lullaby to Jesus as he lies in his tomb:

The gavotte from the Cello Suite No. 6:

Themes and variations from Goldberg Variations, Nos. 1-5. The performance is by the dazzling and eccentric Canadian pianist, Glenn Gould, who was well-known for quietly "scatting" during his performances.  He drove sound and recording engineers batty.

Last we hear the Gigue Fuge. This composition is proof that not all Lutherans are stuffy.

Bach's music has been a part of me for so long that I couldn't begin to tell you when I first heard it other than to say it had to be in church at a very early age. The preludes. fugues, harmonies, the shear wonder of his work, it's all in my blood. And I can't play a single note of it. Wouldn't have it any other way. I simply listen and let it flow.

Music’s ultimate end or final goal…should be for the honor of God and the recreation of the soul.
                                                                   Johann Sebastian Bach - Leipzig, 1738


Photo: stlpublicradio.org, flickr/seabamirum

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