Monday, February 6, 2012

Masterpieces of Music: Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)

The world of classical music lovers divides easily into two large groups: those who love Bach most of all and those who love Beethoven most of all. (There are also the Wagnerians, but we try to keep them sedated.) Lists of the greatest composers usually have B and B in first and second place--even the one in the New York Times last year. I'm a big fan of both because, really, they are both indispensable and so different from one another. My "masterpieces of music" series, since it is in chronological order, means that here is where the post on Bach should go. But I have already done many, many posts on Bach! Here are most of them. The third post I ever put up on this blog was on a Bach fugue:

A few days later I put up a longer post on Bach and talked about where preludes came from:

Later on I did a post on counterpoint that focuses on Bach:

Here is a post just on one Bach fugue: the C major from Bk 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier:

One of the most popular posts on the blog is this one, where I compare Nigel Kennedy playing Bach with a lot of other violinists and even a lutenist:

Here is another post talking about Bach cantatas:

And here is one on the Bach family: the greatest dynasty in European culture:

October last year was devoted to Beethoven piano sonatas and string quartets by Shostakovich and Haydn. But in November I put up a post on Bach and invertible counterpoint:

December saw this post on the prelude to the First Cello Suite:

And this one on a mirror fugue from The Art of Fugue:

So there you have it, a collection of the best posts on Bach. Let's end with the apotheosis of the Baroque concerto:


Nathan Shirley said...

What a collection!

It's funny how humans have to compare all things and select one of two things to root for. Beethoven vs Bach, Beethoven vs Mozart, Beethoven vs Brahms, Chopin vs Liszt, Shostakovich vs Prokofiev, Stravinsky vs Schoenberg, etc, etc.

Personally I love them all... well not Schoenberg!

Bryan Townsend said...

I figure all discussion is good if it leads us to some new insights. It's not so much who is better, but why they might be...

Nathan Shirley said...

Good point.