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Bach was not simply a compliant servant of the clergy of the church but expressed his own views as to how the Christian doctrine appealed to him and also how he thought it applied to his fellow man. And it leaps over all the boundaries of nationality, of date, of period.

The Preacher Gave the Sermon. Bach Made it Sing.

Music is not always the compliant hand servant, the maid servant of text.  It can operate according to its own rules and it can function quite differently. 

The amazing thing about Johann Sebastian Bach more than any other composer I can think of is that he tolerates such a diversity of different interpretations.  You can play him on an organ.  You can play him on a Moog synthesizer.  You can play him sung by a mass choir, a huge symphony orchestra or a minimalist ensemble of just one voice or one instrument per part.  And he still comes through.  You can transcribe his cello music for mandolin, for any single instrument and it still packs its punch and comes over with extraordinary pathos and attractiveness, too. 

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Videos

Gardiner, author of the new book, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, has a unique perspective on Bach. He is both a historian and a world-renowned conductor who has throughout his career made hundreds of recordings on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label. Bach, the orphan rebel, had a suspicion of authority that ran deep throughout his life, and made him an often domineering and unpleasant person to deal with.

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