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June 1, 2015

Download the Complete Organ Works of J.S. Bach for Free

“The best proof we have that life is good is that to each of us, on the day we are born, comes the music of Johann Sebastian Bach,” writes J.M. Coetzee in Diary of a Bad Year. “It comes as a gift, unearned, unmerited, for free.” Details and directions HERE at Open Culture

Posted by gerardvanderleun at June 1, 2015 11:01 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

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In 1955, about the time rocknroll reared its ugly head, Glenn Gould recorded Bach's Goldberg Variations, and flat made the world stop. Nobody had ever heard of this 23-year-old, and so his first Town Hall concert in New York City was somewhat sparsely attended - until intermission. The audience rushed for telephones, and by the time Gould came out for the second half the hall was packed.

Two years later his manager arranged for an 8-concert tour of Russia, and the same thing happened. Do yourself a favor and look up Glenn Gould Russia sometime on utube, and ask yourself whether any rocknroll musician ever had that kind of effect on the world. Brilliant and articulate people, then and since, have been tongue-tied in trying to express what it meant to hear the music of Bach performed by someone who, apparently for the first time, could demonstrate to them what it really meant.

Contrary to what the movies would have us believe about Mozart, J.S. Bach was God's Musician. He had a long and fruitful life - over a thousand major works, 22 children, long periods where he was producing perfectly realized polyphony virtually on demand every week for a high-Lutheran church service, all the while continuing to put out major studies for virtually every instrument from clavier to organ to lute to violin to viola to cello - to the most sublime solo cantatas, essentially a long song of about 15 minutes, for the human voice.

Listen to Bach, then learn something about what you're hearing, and then go back and listen some more. Eventually you will realize that every bit of "modern" music that's caught your ear during your days as a consumer was literally prefigured 300 years ago by the guy who just showed everybody what was possible, and how to do it.

Posted by: Rob De Witt [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 1, 2015 5:39 PM

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