When Bach and Beethoven and all those guys were doing their thing, it was an absolute pinnacle of our consciousness, and ever since then we've been re-exploring different avenues of it.
Tune your fiddle and have a seat.
If you are reading this you are probably not a fan of classical music. Most people aren't. But whether you prefer jazz, rock, folk, new age, easy listening or whatever your choice, you should know that if your favorite musician had formal training in a music academy or college department he or she had to analyze Bach chorals as part of the training.
Johann Sebastian Bach was the organist and music director of his very large church. Bach was a Lutheran. He composed, rehearsed and conducted a cantata every week to commemorate what the Sunday service was about. These cantatas were written for orchestra, chorus and usually solo singers. In between he managed to write an enormous amount of music. It was calculated that if a modern day musician sat down with a ball point pen, in good lighting and worked a 40 hour week it would take him many decades just to copy out what Bach wrote. And Bach did it with a quill pen, an inkwell, by candle light in a house full of his children.
Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and many others were inspired composers. I have a different feeling about Bach. Bach wasn't inspired. Bach WAS music. Music flowed out of him like breath. It was a divine exhalation. And that's why every true musician needs to know it.
I used to know a folk singer who graduated with a Bachelors degree in music. For her honors thesis she did an analysis of the Bach B minor Mass, a formidable task for any music student. It's a personal thing I know, but I happen to believe that the B minor Mass is the greatest piece of music ever written.
Far from my intent is to proselytize and try to make a classical music lover out of you, if you don't want to be. But if you don't listen to anything else you should listen to the amazing opening chorus of the Bach Mass It lasts 10 to 12 minutes depending on the conductor. It starts with a few basic chords and then begins a slow stately fugue for orchestra and chorus. During it the chorus sings only two words, Kerie Eleison, the opening two words of the Mass. It is a work of pure genius.
It's true that ever since Bach composers and musicians have been trying to re-explore and recapture that genius, to reinvent that wheel, to regain that amazing level of consciousness that brought such music to the world. And some have succeeded. Bach is always there to show us the way.
DB - Vagabond Journeys
Join me for a happy Wednesday.
PS: Whenever I write on classical music people seem to find out about it ahead of time and all head for the hills. Hence, no readers, no comments.