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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

Happy Birthday, Bach

J.S. Bach, Public Domain
J.S. Bach, Public Domain

Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21, 1685.

J.S. Bach, a German composer and musician of the late Baroque period is known for his broad offerings of orchestral music, including but not limited to the Brandenburg Concertos.

His well-known instrumental compositions, such as the Cello Suites, have been a great source of joy and solitude for many. As an amateur cellist, I will admit that the Cello Suites had a hand in my decision to study and play the cello later in life.

Since the 19th century, Bach has been regarded as one of the most prominent composers in the history of Western music. He was remarkable— a gift to the world. For his music to be played with so much love and respect, three hundred and thirty-eight years later, I think he deserves a cake.

When my children were younger, living on our farm and engaged in our homeschool, we celebrated famous composers. As active musicians, we often acknowledged these events by performing music and sometimes baking a cake.

It was customary for us to read and write about these masters as a way of honoring and learning. It is one thing to pick up your instrument and play and another to consider the composer and his life circumstances and comprehend the possible inner workings of such geniuses. We cannot honestly know because we were not present.

However, acknowledgment is vital—examining the life and times and the creation process of various compositions. Connecting the musical, historical, and social dots brings more clarity and depth of meaning to the music itself. It is a way to broaden the experience while mingling our creative souls throughout the ages. In honor of Bach’s 338th birthday, I share ‘Sarabanda’ from Cello Suite No. 1 by J. S. Bach. Shelby Trevor, Violin (2023 version). © 2023

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