Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Father Bach

On this date 260 years ago, Johann Sebastian Bach, aged 65 years, blind and relatively unknown (except to his admiring fellow composers) outside of his native Germany, passed on to greater glory.

In the late nineteenth century, the French composer Emmanuel Chabrier offered the following meditation on Bach’s legacy as he recalled admiring a grove of magnificent and aged chestnut trees during an excursion in the French countryside:

“I stood there looking at these venerable trees whose roots have still enough strength and sap to bring forth young little chestnut trees, which grow there under the wings of their great-great-grandfathers. What power! They make me think of Father Bach who is still breeding new generations of musicians and will go on breeding them forever.”