The Genius of Bach
Every musician in the world has, at one time or another, come into contact with the works of J.S. (Johann Sebastian) Bach. This German composer, father of classical music as we know it, was, quite plainly, a genius. Those of you that are musicians reading this are probably rolling your eyes and thinking "old news!" to yourselves. But I just think that often we over look Bach as the true genius that he is. I mean, take a look at his fugues. The flawless and seamless integrations of counterpoint and sequences. The tasteful use of tonicizations and modulations, all using imitative melodies. Pure genius. All the part-writing guidelines taught in theory courses around the world, created by Bach. Simply, genius. I don't need to waste your time anymore ranting on this, I just wanted to state my opinion on how I feel he is underrated and overlooked as the true genius he is. To close, I provide some examples of lovely and ingenious Bach pieces.
- Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (yes, the famous one)--take special note of the fugue and the way he plays with the theme, modulating and incorporating thirds/sixths.
- Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor--listen to the harpsichord figured-bass improvisation in the first movement, and just enjoy the lush melody of the second movement...listen for the theme being played with.
- any of the concerti for 2, 3, or 4 harpsichords (some are based on his violin concert)--listen for the counterpoint and cooperation/interraction of the multiple harpsichords.
- Prelude No. 1 from "The Well Tempered Clavier, Book 1"--listen to the same pattern being tonicized and molded to express the building mood/intensity of the piece.
- Prelude No. 20 from "The Well Tempered Clavier, Book 2"--the first half, repeated is a complex "winding up" melody. The second half, is the exact reverse..."unwinding" melody.
- Little Fugue in G Minor--again, listen to the flawless counterpoint.
- "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" Organ Chorale--no ingenious counterpoint here, just listen as Bach uses the power of the pipe organ to really create the theme of the piece (title).
- "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"--listen to the modulation to the minor and seamless integration back into the major.
- many more, will be posted as soon as I remember them/clarify title. Expect: lute pieces, orchestral suites, and more preludes/fugues from the "WTC" books.