The Soul of Bach
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.
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.
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.