Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bach to the Baroque

Detail from a Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach (1748) by Elias Gottlob Haussmann

It would be a gross negligence, an injustice, if we didn't celebrate the birth date of the Baroque master, Johann Sebastian Bach, born on March 21, 1685.

My appreciation for Bach's music is beyond words, but, oddly, I don't get passionate about it. Whereas with Schubert or Mozart, I can endlessly praise or gush with enthusiasm, listing every precious compositional nuance, each moment of brilliance or inspiration. With Bach, I have no desire to champion his greatness.

Perhaps it is because Bach requires no champions. His music is so undeniably superb that I cannot even begin to imagine how anyone could not admire it. Perhaps it just isn't a particular listener's "thing" but, even so, they must be able to discern the quality, to value it intellectually, dispassionately.

The music is masterful in precision, balance, and progression. Cool and composed, the intricate sounds are the perfection of the Baroque.

Statue of Johann Sebastian Bach (1908) by Carl Seffner, in Leipzig

But I'll stop blathering and allow the music to state its case.

Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BMV 565

Brandenburg Concerto no.5, BMV 1050

"Sheep May Safely Gaze" from BMV 208, performed by Emma Kirkby

Air on the G String, from BMV 1068, performed by Sarah Chang


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