Comments: Bach's Lullaby

How can such beauty exist together with the horrors in the world? Blake asked that of the Tyger: "Did He who made the lamb make thee?'--the old question that has no answer. Thank you for Bach and Suzuki.

Posted by Rosemary Molloy at February 26, 2009 07:22 PM

Gracias mil.

Posted by Jesus B Ochoa at February 26, 2009 07:33 PM

Why has inspiration deserted the human race?

I see the reasons every day in the haphazard pollution discarded thoughtlessly and randomly by humankind in general. Bach and other masters were thankfully free of such negativity.

The likelihood of a modern-day Mozart surviving the global schooling system is as likely as a whale, driven to insanity by US military sonar, surviving a mass suicidal beaching.

Posted by Daniel at February 26, 2009 08:08 PM

i'd make the age old argument, without all the "horrors" of the world, we would have no idea the "beauty" of JSB. zin, zang, etc. etc...

Posted by sloweducation at February 26, 2009 08:35 PM

i'd make the age old argument that without all the "horrors" of the world, we would have no idea the "beauty" of JSB. yin, yang, etc. etc.

Posted by sloweducation at February 26, 2009 08:37 PM

Virtually all of Bach's music has a soft jazzy swing. Little wonder it's never ceased to inspire jazz musicians.

That’s an interesting observation. Some people argue that all western music has a swing element to it not just jazz. Some say one element of swing is a slight speeding up of the tempo as a piece of music progresses. I read somewhere that African drummers were impressed with the technical ability of jazz drummers but that they had a terrible sense of time as in speeding up and slowing down. They also criticized western musicians for not being able to play eighth notes evenly. However that may all be I have loved Bach for years and used to listen to his music for hours. I have a few flute sonatas that I still like to play and never fail to get emotionally involved with the beauty of Bach’s music which I never quite feel with other composers to the same degree for some reason.

Posted by Rob Payne at February 26, 2009 11:13 PM

Your music posts are the best.

I would like to request a post about what the heck it is conductors do.

Posted by Guest at February 27, 2009 12:55 AM

Thank You Mr. Chazelle,

Nice to read the comments of someone who is MUCH farther in Bach than I. I was sorting through my collections of St. Matthew Passions tonight so this was an especially appropriate addition to my evening.

Posted by J Larson at February 27, 2009 04:04 AM

"I would like to request a post about what the heck it is conductors do."

I second that motion.

Posted by Donald Johnson at February 27, 2009 08:45 AM

"prolonged and repeated exposure to this music" = music for the soul!

Posted by Rupa Shah at February 27, 2009 09:47 AM

when one gets so involved in a piece of music, it ( music i.e.) can make one forget one's manners!
Many thanks ( missing from my previous comment) Prof Chazelle for the post.

Posted by Rupa Shah at February 27, 2009 01:38 PM

Nothing to say except "thanks." Really, thanks.

I wrote a children's book about Bach for an educational publisher. In it I used the incident in which Maria Barbara, Bach's second wife, would sneak into the loft to listen to him play, and the church fathers chided him for allowing this "stanger maiden" into the church. The editors changed it to "strange maiden," because the original would confuse the kids, but of course it hardly means the same thing, does it? So much for American education.

Posted by catherine at February 27, 2009 01:39 PM

What does "stanger maiden" mean?

Posted by Guest at February 27, 2009 07:30 PM

Wonderful Post.

As Beethoven himself said, "His name shouldn't have been Bach (brook); he is an ocean.

Posted by Paul Avery at February 28, 2009 03:54 PM

wow! I just spent five minutes crying at my office desk. Thank you...

Posted by Peter Hinow at March 3, 2009 12:17 PM

i am pleased to announce that i am now the #1 hit on google for "stanger maiden." unfortunately i don't know what stanger maiden means, so googling myself for the answer proved useless.

Posted by Guest at March 3, 2009 08:39 PM

I think the way to go is to heavily publicize my "Stanger Maiden" Cafe Press store, then when someone buys one of my t-shirts, I can ask them.

Please no ban me, I stop now.


Posted by Guest at March 3, 2009 09:06 PM

Superb. Thank you

Posted by waldo at March 4, 2009 03:05 AM
Bach is not much into "mood" and "attitude." All that Sturm und Drang stuff will have to wait for later generations.
I hadn't realized this until I read Hermann Hesse observing the same thing in Das Glasperlenspiel. In that narrative, the excessively rationalist future society eschews the passions of the Romantic era as degenerate, but they worship Bach as a kindred spirit. That's not to say he's cold or emotionless, but he does tend to elevate, rather than excite, the listener. Posted by Cris at March 4, 2009 10:43 AM