Was J.S. Bach a Punk?


Oh, my.

But for better or worse, I like being reminded that superhuman geniuses weren’t necessarily super in every regard. Maybe because it gives the rest of us hope or reassurance? Plus, it’s too easy to typecast artists into archetypes, like so:

Paragon: Bach, Verdi, Palestrina, Beethoven
Punk: Berlioz, Liszt, Wagner, Boulez
Batshit: Schumann, Scriabin, Ravel

…regardless of historical truth. Which is inevitably more interesting.

So What’s your fave bit of Bach? I can’t stop listening to the Wachet Auf cantata. Especially the famous part that happens at 14:40 in this recording. It’s kinda my favorite melody right now. :pacman:

12 comments to Was J.S. Bach a Punk?

  • smgear

    There’s plenty of reasons to love Bach, but your little snippet clues into one of my favorite reasons which is that all the counterpoint and endless variations stem from incredible origin melodies. Perhaps this isn’t generalizable, but from my own humble experience, there are two main types of melodies – ones that you write to fit a chord structure (most of what we do these days) and those that you pull out of the ether and write a tune around. Bach had the ability to start with remarkably emotive ‘ether’ melodies which were capable of both standing alone (sonatas) or being endlessly shaped and modified (fugues on up). Or at least that’s my simple analysis.

    I think my most beloved Bach are the partitas and sonatas. I can play a few notes on any instrument and I’m immediately in ‘that place’.

    Every generation has done ‘contemporary’ arrangements of bach and I think its a testament to the source material that the shortcomings of any of those were generally due to the arranger/performer. Most are quite enjoyable though. After playing the ‘bach double’ with my brother throughout childhood, hearing the Grappelli/South swing version was a tremendously liberating experience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TRjTeQ-sIM

    Bach On!

  • Oinkus

    That is just wild , Django too! I think the people that heard Bach and were inspired to become musicians is a pretty long list . Been awhile since I listened to anything classical but the Brandenburg Concerto is way up there for me.

  • Homesick

    Funny you should mention him, I just downloaded the Cello suites, by Yo Yo Ma. Super nice music. Such majesty & tone. Much of it flies above me, bt the glimpses I catch are sufficient …

  • Sebastian Enriquez

    well, I love Bach; he even had the same name like me (except from Johan and Bach :cuss: ). I love Gavotte, one of the best songs/melodies I know on guitar.

  • w. koba

    “musical offering” is another set of gems, and the story of its composition might lend itself to a “thug bach”.


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