Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yesterday was Bach's birthday

Thee I was browsing through the murder mysteries and trash novels for the gym at my local library yesterday, when an older lady in running gear, lean and not mean-approached. "It's Bach's birthday! Why didn't you play more Bach on the radio today?"

I don't know-I suspect there was plenty of Bach sent out across the Central Ohio airwaves, and worldwide on the web-but for many people one can't have too much Bach. Since recordings became widely available beginning 100 years ago-you can hear any of Bach's works sliced, diced, played by saxophones and synthesizers, or by historically informed performers attempting to recreate Bach's music as Bach they say intended,. It's all good.

I reiterate: Lucky the music loving kid growing up in Boston. You could take the streetcar to Back Bay of a Sunday morning and hear Craig Smith and his peerless choir at Emmanuel Church perform the Bach cantata appropriate fort that day. This Bach cycle went on for years. RIP: Craig Smith.

One must revere Bach. Who was more astonishing as he practically re invented the canon of Western music after my beloved Monteverdi? Revere but not always love. For me, the lack of blood and guts, poison, murder and freewheeling nookie is sometimes a problem. I like raunch in music. That said, I've heard Bach's violin partitas described as 'pure music'. I can only agree:

My own introduction to Bach was the 4th cantata, appropriate for this time of year, Christ lag in Todesbanden

A good high school choir. No xylophones here. I think Bach attracts wide re instrumentation because as a composer he offers everything-including spirituality and challenges hard to resist.

I love the fact of 2 wives and all those children-and the fact that JS himself spent a weekend in the hoosegow fro drunken brawling-then went home to write the St. Matthew Passion. What's not to love?

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