In February of 1685, James II became the last Catholic king of England when his brother Charles II died. To historians, and to those living under the rule of kings, it was a momentous event, but it was nothing compared to what was coming. The next month, in Germany, a child was born who would change the world more than any mere monarch could. That child would plant seeds that are still blossoming today. He gave people new melodies to hum as they struggle under the burdens of their kings, prime ministers, and presidents, and rhythms to dance to when their working days are done.
71 years before Mozart was born, and 85 years before the birth of Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach brought his unique sensibility to a planet that has not been the same since. Words are cheap, and as Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician,” so I will let some of the man’s music speak for itself, starting with this piece from one of his minuets:
I am (obviously) not a classical musician. Classical music is for perfectionists and I am an imperfectionist. But every musician, regardless of genre or instrument, would do themselves a favor by learning how to play a few pieces of Bach’s music to get inside the mind of one of the art form’s great minds. Here is my take on part of his Bourree in E minor: