Friday, July 8, 2022

J. S. Bach, and Music "To the Glory of God Alone"

As I am doing research for my book on the kingdom of God (Godworld: Enter at Your Own Risk), I've been attending various different expressions of Christendom. I recently attended a service that actually had an organ. The organ was actually played. A piece by J. S. Bach was featured during the prelude. Believe it or not, there was no audience applause. The moment was far too reverent and worshipful for that.

I can listen to Bach every day, and I do. In my opinion, there's more real music in a single bar of Bach than in an entire set of contemporary worship music. You can listen to a composition of Bach a hundred times and still hear something new each time. Beethoven once called Bach "the original father of harmony." Bach's music is incredibly complex and yet absolutely beautiful. 

Attending organ concerts every Friday night in Basel was a high point of my life for sure. I cannot understand why this generation is content with the pabulum they get on Sundays. Let's not forget that Bach wrote his music "SDG" --  soli Deo gloria, "to the glory of God alone." He wrote chorales the week prior to their debut on Sunday. Bach's mastery of harmony and counterpoint was complete. 

In Bach there is something that touches your core, something profound. Words can't describe it. Bach is the apex of western music, arguably of all music. His complete works comprise 154 CDs. He composed (and performed) all of it while raising a large family. The sheer magnitude of his work is unfathomable. Listen to his Toccata and Fugue in F Major and see if you don't agree. 

You will simply not believe what you hear. 

As a classically trained musician, I am so inspired by Bach. One of the greatest gifts God can give a person is an appreciation of Bach. His music -- and organ music in general -- has become a part of my DNA, and I feel myself so blessed that his music will be with me forever. 

There is something special about hearing Bach's organ music played live, in person, among the people of God, who have gathered not to applaud man but the One who alone merits our adulation. Bach plows through every mode and chord to make your head explode and your heart burst.

Gratia Deo.