Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Life and Works of Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was one of many Johanns in his family. His parents died when he was an older kid, leaving him to be raised by older siblings. He was a musical genius fairly early on and he knew it. He had 20 kids and bounced around a few esteemed musical jobs before settling in Leipzig.

I had always thought of him as a "Lepzig guy". However, it appears here that he was primarily the "family man" there. A lot of his more wild years and creative output happened earlier in his career where he worked in other cities in Germany. During his time, he seemed to be well renowned as an accomplished musician, yet not nearly venerated the way he is today. He managed to keep incredibly busy, teaching, performing and composing, while also having a large family. Here he is portrayed as a boisterous man, capable of having a good time, yet fairly socially inept. He would tutor individual students while writing great works for others. He has a produced a very significant output. However, there are some works credited to him that may not actually be his. (He kept notebooks of music for others that included some of his own work as well as those of others.

What would Bach be like today? Perhaps a David Byrne or Peter Gabriel? Or maybe a Yo-Yo Ma? Nah. He'd probably just be a pop-punk musician that incorporates some Organ with his guitar.

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