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A Bach A to Z

Reflections on the life and works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

    A is for 'Art of Fugue'

    'The composer took a single great theme and subjected it to contrapuntal variations of immeasurable variety, poetry and imagination.'

      B is for 'B Minor Mass'

      'It seems an extraordinary thought but Bach almost certainly never heard the B minor Mass complete.'

        C is for Cantatas

        'Of all Bach's music, the cantatas are particularly rich in tunes and repeated motifs.'

          D is for Dance

          'Bach is Dance music - even in pieces like the preludes and fugues there are minuets, bourees, gigues, passepieds..'

            E is for Emotion

            'I find Bach consoling, it's almost like meditation.'

              A Bach A to Z
              F is for Faith

              'All that Bach is doing is telling, in the most faithful and sublime of ways, the Christian story, and he does it brilliantly.'

                Letter G
                G is for 'Goldberg Variations'

                'The mind drifts and, suddenly, we are at the end and the aria is returning, but now poignantly different.'

                  H is for Harpsichord or Piano?

                  'I thought 'it's got to be on a harpsichord, anything else is a violation of history' and then I heard the Gould recording and said 'forget it'! '

                    Letter I
                    I is for Improvisation

                    'Organists were required to invent fantasias and fugues on hymn tunes as part of the church service'

                      Letter J
                      J is for Jazz

                      'It seems Bach's influence is as all pervasive in jazz as it is in the classical world' 

                        Letter K
                        K is for Kapellmeister

                        'The word translates from German as 'chapel master', and refers to the most senior (and highly paid) musician at a court'

                          Letter L
                          L is for Leipzig

                          'Leipzig had prosperous, ambitious inhabitants, who demanded church music of the highest quality'

                            Letter M
                            M is for 'Musical Offering'

                            'Frederick wanted to humiliate the man he called "Old Bach"'.

                              Letter N
                              N is for Numerology

                              'Had Bach been a numerological practitioner he could not have taken the religious oath required of all pastors.'

                                Letter O
                                O is for Oratorio

                                'Like so much of Bach's great music, the Christmas Oratorio takes us on a journey' 

                                  Letter P
                                  P is for 'Passions'

                                  'One of the most significant aspects of the drama of this Passion is of course what it does to our perception of ourselves'.

                                    Letter Q
                                    Q is for Quotations

                                    'Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass?' 

                                      Letter R
                                      R is for Religion

                                      'I think Bach does for me some of the things which religion does for other people'

                                        Letter S
                                        S is for Space

                                        'For some reason I thought of space - the planets, the solar system and way way beyond.'

                                          T is for Temperament

                                          'We have lost kaleidoscope of colour in which every key had a different character'.

                                            Letter U
                                            U is for Ubung

                                            'A summation of Bach's musical and spiritual thinking on the liturgy'

                                              Letter V
                                              V is for Veit Bach

                                              Veit marked 'the beginning of music in his descendants'

                                                Letter W
                                                W is for Walking

                                                'We must remember that Bach was merely another 20-year-old wanderer at the time'

                                                  Letter Y
                                                  Y is for Youth

                                                  'Bach is always a young person for me, someone who is energetic in his music making...who is flesh and blood'

                                                    Letter Z
                                                    Z is for Zimmermann Coffee House

                                                    'Frequenting a coffee house has many of the overtones that clubbing might have these days'

                                                        A Bach Blog

                                                        Bach Blog

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