Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is a German composer, who is considered the greatest music genius of Baroque period.
In his compositions, J.S. Bach took such musical techniques as counterpoint and fugue to the highest level. Counterpoint focuses on melodic interaction. Fugue focuses on having different instruments playing the same imitation with a few variations.
Bach contributed his talent to every musical genre, and demonstrated his greatness in all of them: clavecin, organ, orchestra, choire, core music, development, variations on his own works or his contemporaries. All are true exemplars and precious gems.
In his works, Bach knew how to combine the essence of the music in the past and that of his time, popular music and religious music, from folk music to the professional. Therefore, his works are a collection of European music in the 17th and 18th centuries. In arts, when a person can synthesize the past, he/she is the one to establish a foundation for future development.
Which school of music does Bach belong to?
There is such a question because in European music research, people usually categorize musical eras and alternating trends that are more and more advanced. This is not necessarily true. Supposing that Bach belongs to pre-classical period or pioneering in classical music is not satisfying. Saying that he founded the classical is not adequate, since it is not over exaggerating to say that he establishes to foundation for every school and genre of music.
Bach is now mentioned in every genre of music. His works appear in children’s and world-class musicians’ contests. Many institutions, musical organizations are named after him. He is also the topic of countless books, papers, conferences, the father of many tonal and atonal music schools, impressive and realistic schools, the father of modern music, and the founder of European music.
Beethoven said: “He should be called not Bach [‘brook’] but Mer [‘sea’]”
The first to appreciate Bach’s music is Mozart. The profundity in Bach’s music affected Mozart’s works, especially his well-known Requiem, which deserves to be considered the successor of Mass in B minor.
After Mozart, Beethoven famously said that “Erist kei Bach – er ist sin ozean”, which means “He should be called not Bach [‘brook’] but Mer [‘sea’]”. In German, Bach means a stream. Beethoven revised the word to articulate his boundless admiration for Bach’s music.
Bach is a great source of inspiration to today’s musicians
Bach’s greatness was only recently recognized since the 19th century. Particularly, in 1829, a hundred years after Bach composed Mass in B minor and 80 years after his death, thanks to Mendelssohn’s efforts, St. Matthew Passion was performed.
It was only until the romantic era did musicians begin spreading and profoundly study Bach’s music. Well-tempered clavier was Chopin’s favorite books. Bach’s works were always played in Schumann’s and Liszt’s performances.
In our time, Bach’s music is at its zenith. Bach is a great source of inspiration to many exceptional musicians and performers at present.
Please find below the performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s great work Air
Bach wrote 4 suites for orchestra, of which the third one, D-dur BWV.1068, is the most famous for its grandeur, power and extraordinary beauty of Chapter 2, known as Air on G-string. This chapter has been transformed to perform on different instruments, but none of them could fully articulate as well as his original work for the string instruments: