Saturday, March 26, 2005

Flashes from the Past: "At times stubborn and irritable..."

At times stubborn and irritable, he called a colleague a "Kippelfagottist" or "nanny-goat bassoonist" and almost got killed in a duel. As a 20 year old, he was also so excited about hearing a new organist that he left his job for a month and walked 200 miles to hear the music. Apparently it was worth it because after he arrived, he wrote his employer to tell him he needed to stay an extra month just to listen.

Yes this was Johann Sebastian Bach. We have fewer details of his boyhood, but from the few stories passed down to us we can see traits of stubborness and determination. As a child, he broke into a cabinet to steal music that he was forbidden to play because it was 'too hard'. Apparently at night, he gradually copied the entire manuscript by hand and learned the music in secret.

Said Beethoven later of Bach: "His name ought not to be Bach ("Bach" means "brook" in German), but ocean, because of his infinite and inexhaustible wealth of combinations and harmonies."

Spiritual Lives of Great Composers
Johann Sebastian Bach

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