Saturday, September 18, 2010

By The Brook

Music owes as much to Bach as any religion does to its founder.

Robert Schumann
If you want to know what nature does go into the forest, sit by a brook, watch and listen.

Most people who have ever read Vagabond Journeys are not classical music lovers. That's a shame and a condition I wish I could change. Don't mistake me. There is nothing wrong with preferring country music, folk, rock or jazz. I enjoy the best of those kinds of music myself. But I was blessed with an ear for concert music and opera when I was very young.

There are and were many inspired composers. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Mahler, Wagner (a particular favorite of mine), Strauss, Stravinsky, just to name a few, were all inspired composers.

Johann Sebastian Bach was not one of them. Bach was beyond inspiration. He was music. Music issued forth out of him like breath. Every serious music student has sat with Bach, watched and listened to him describe music effortlessly. They have analyzed his chorals and fugues. And at last the music they make is traced right back to the source.

Someone estimated that if you sat down with a ball point pen and printed music paper just to copy all the music that Bach wrote and worked at it 7 hours a day, 5 days a week it would take about 40 years. And Bach did it with an ink well, a quill pen, in a house full of kids, with no electricity and no indoor plumbing. Plus he had a fill time job as choir director and organist at the cathedral.

And the music? It's astonishing. Crystal clear, beautiful, grand and never repeats itself. He was gifted, that's certain. But more than that he was a gift to the entire world.

If nothing else one should hear the opening section of the B minor mass. It's a long 4 part fugue for chorus and orchestra. It lasts 10 to 12 minutes depending on who's conducting (I suggest van Karajan). And the chorus only repeats the two opening words: Kyrie Eleison. Bach was not a Catholic and the Mass was written at various times but altogether it is a work of pure genius. If you want other suggestions, ask me.

"Bach" is the German word for "brook."

DB - The Vagabond


Let us now praise middle names.

These are the middle names of some famous and infamous wh dwellers.
Who are they?


Good luck


Nance said...

I'm a classical music dummy, or I was until I discovered Joshua Bell. His violin made me realize that I long for the music that has been informing our culture all along, in snippets and bits, turned into lullabies and jingles, but running like a current or an underground brook beneath my consciousness.

I'll take your suggestion.

Liz said...

Your title can only bring my favourite composer's work to mind.

Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony.

There you will hear the best cuckoo ever transposed to the woodwind to play alongside the cheekiest quail.

pacifica62 said...

There is no doubt that the music of Bach is nothing short of magnificent. I have always felt that a person could never just sit down and compose music like this. I believe that Bach arrived on earth full of this music and took it upon himself to write it down on paper. Like a mad fiend, the music just poured out of him. It had to be heard. I am not a religious person but I feel that a mere mortal could not compose music such as this without looking directly into the face of God. Where does all this magnificence come from otherwise?

Rose said...

Classical music to me is clear music, balanced themes, and defined harmony. Rather than the heavy rock crap that is out today..........

Yes, sitting by a brook and listening to nature and watch and listen is a nice description!

Hugs, Rose

Ally Lifewithally said...

There is nothing better than sitting by a stream and just listening ~ taking in all the beautiful sounds and smells of the countryside ~ Ally x

Gerry said...

I think you have given me more curiosity to listen to Bach with your portrait of him. Now I am going to pay more attention to him when I do listen to him.