Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Johann

Today in 1685 in Eisenach, Germany, Johann Sebastian Bach was born. The world would be a poorer place without him.

One of my favorite CDs for the office is The Goldberg Variations, scored for a string quartet. But it's hard to go wrong picking something of his.

He spent a large part of his life as a playing musician - an organist, mostly - and much of his composed music was considered too old-fashioned or too ornamental. He changed jobs a lot, until 1723, when he became a choirmaster in Leipzig where he remained until his death in 1750. Most of his jobs were for one church or another, in fact, but he happily wrote secular music when he worked for Prince Leopold of Cothen - until his wife (the prince's) disapproved of such a frivolous expense as chamber music. But whatever kind of music Bach wrote, he did it gloriously.

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