What makes Bach great?

(Andrew Cox) #1

Interesting video from Rick Beato:

Rick mentions the Well Tempered Clavier (Books 1 and 2) amongst the central works that people should listen to.

That lesser known descendant from a (military) cadet branch of the family, PDQ Bach, of course brought us the Short Tempered Clavier.

Edit: Looks like Rick’s video attracted a copyright complaint. I would have thought Bach might be public domain by now. Ah well.

Edit2: Rick’s reposted as above.

(Jim Conn) #2

I think what made Bach great was that he was employed to be a musician and had he not been any good in those rolls he would have been unemployed very quickly and lets not forget he was also a genius. As Beethoven once said of Bach “he is not a stream but a vast ocean” and the literal meaning was that in the German language Bach means a small brook.
Works that I would say to listen to are,
The Violin Partitas and Sonatas
The Keyboard Partitas
The Goldberg Variations
The Art of Fugue

That’s just for Starters but I could fill a book with suggestions.

(Andrew Cox) #3

In the video Rick spoke about the breadth of his harmonic experimentation, pointing out some chords that were not used again by later composers until the 20th century. Come to think of it the 1950s oboe concerto he played an excerpt from could have resulted in the copyright takedown.

Edit: It was actually a Glen Gould discussion that raised the complaint.

(Michael Bush) #4

Bach has my vote for greatest composer ever…not because he will necessarily preferable to everyone’s modern tastes, but because he’s he fountainhead of virtually all modern music. He invented modern music notation, and his chord structure and theory practices are the standard - everything is a response to him. Even the second Viennese school is a response to Bach (since it was intended to be the opposite). And, he did all this as a church organist…the 18th century equivalent of a praise band.

My “must-listens” for Bach include:

Goldberg Variations
Cello Suites
English Suites
Violin Sonatas
St. Matthew Passion
…many others

PS My personal “top 5” are:


(Greg Steiniger) #5

image https://roon-community-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/original/3X/1/f/1f1fb85d25047d206359476035de3e2ae817fd5a.jpeg

I thought it was the brooding duck lips and early 90s glam metal hair

(Andrew Cox) #6

Rick also made this video: