J.S. Bach – Sonatas for Violin and Keyboard

by richibi

though Bach wrote several works for solo violin – 
the astonishing feat of keeping you entertained
for again, like his work for the cello, with one
note only at a time for a couple of nevertheless
rapturous hours – this performance of the sonatas 
for violin and keyboard, which at the time would’ve
been the harpsichord, is live, complete, and too
sublime not to take precedence over his equally
mesmerizing solo stuff, unavailable anyway yet
cohesively on the Internet, before taking leave
of this mighty master, as we eventually must, 
for more contemporary pastures 
 
Bach was the end of an era, of civility, of order,
of, after Newton, the apparently clockwork
universe, where all would be ultimately
mathematically comprehensiblethough God, 
somewhere beyond the paradoxically
indecipherable still infinite, would remain
obstinately for a while the watchmaker
 
you can hear this in Bach’s music, each intricate
piece coming to an always thoroughly satisfying
end, like absolution, like sonic grace 
 
 
this would change, the dissolution of the idea
of God, the basis of the rights of kings, would
logically have to founder on the primacy of
individual rights, democracy, and the
positioning of the heart at the centre of
philosophical speculation, which is to say, 
after a Classical intervention, the Romantic
Age  
 
yes, of course, it was saying, to staunch and
irrevocable reason, indeed the mind, but the
heart has also its ratiocinations of which
reason knows naughtas Blaise Pascal,
1623-1662, iconic mathematician, physicist,
philosopher, had so incisively stated, who
even so early had understood the ineluctable
place of passion in the affairs of men   
 
 
you’ll note the more languid pace of the violin
that the keyboard at this point cannot accomplish,
but that the pianist here mimics with only spare
use of the hold petal, which would give notes
otherwise a too reverberant, too self-indulgent 
tone 
 
 
the music of Bach by the time of Mozart was
considered unfashionably dated, and was lost
for nearly a hundred years, to be revived
decisively by conductors and performers only
in the mid-nineteenth century, Mendelssohn
among the most noteworthy of these proponents 
 
today I can think of no other more consistently
profoundly satisfying composer, pace even the 
very Homer of music, the monolithic Beethoven  
 
but of course that’s just my opinion   
 
 
Richard
 
psst: Polling Abbey is a monastery in Upper
         Bavaria, a short distance from Munich
 
 
 
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