The Soul of Bach

  • Nov 23, 2010
Listening to Bach's music is the most humbling experience a musician can have. The range of his music is astounding. And the volume of it. Then, finally, the quality of it. It all sounds perfect, but soulful. Perfectly soulful. Bach was also a great organist. So great, in fact, that even the oldest organists had to admit that he was better than the organists who came before him. That was a great achievement, because you know older musicians never want to admit that anything could be as good as what used to be. He was a master of form-witness Mass in B Minor-the supreme master of contrapuntal writing. Witness Art of the Fugue. And Bach was the supreme manipulator of the II-V-I progression, still used today in the American popular song and in jazz improvisation. Well, Bach was a great improviser, too. Just give him a theme, and move out of the way. Finally, he had an unshakable belief in music, and this is what gives his music a transcendent quality three centuries later. Wynton Marsalis Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center ©1996 Oregon Bach Festival From the introduction to "Creative Journeys" an audience development publication of the Oregon Bach Festival. Read All