Tuesday, February 09, 2010


It happened. Something I thought would never happen, but it has. My favorite composer has changed. It used to be Beethoven, and it is now Bach.

Mind you, my favorite piece of music is still probably Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto. However, taken together, I like Bach better than Beethoven now.

What, you might ask, achieved this stupendous transformation in my thinking? (Ok, it might not seem quite so stupendous for some of you, but it is true that I don't change things like this very often.)

There are two books that achieved this change. One is Glory and Honor, by Gregory Wilbur. That was a book that shattered most of my misconceptions about Bach as being a money-grubbing grump. In fact, while he did stand up for the money due his office, he was one of the most genial composers ever. He was quite the husband and father, and his home was always open. Composers and musicians were always traipsing through his house.

The second book was actually one I haven't read, but heard about: Evening in the Palace of Reason, a very interesting book about the smack-down of Fredrick the Great of Prussia. You can read enough of it on Amazon to get the idea of it. Bach was simply unparalleled in counterpoint, and here is one of the proofs.

Ultimately, it was also the spiritual aspect. Very few composers have ever submitted all their work to God the way he did. And there, I think, lies the difference for me. Beethoven is great and all, and wrote some great stuff, but it's not so universally spiritual as Bach. Bach also appeals to the mind more than Beethoven.

That's all for now.

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