Bach, the ocean.

by jadanmendoza

When I first found out that Bach composed more than one thousand works, I became really interested in understanding how it was that one man could be able to come up with so many pieces of music. After doing some research and going through some of his works, I realized that he was such a prolific writer because he decided to explore music in way that, at least in my opinion, could be considered obsessive (but no less impressive for being so). One example of his profound explorations of musical techniques and forms is in his work “The Well-Tempered Clavier”. This collection of works totals 48 pieces, which the textbook calls “a kind of encyclopedia of fugue composition”. The book includes fugues for every possible key and mode, that is, a composition for each of the 12 keys, in major and minor modes.

While trying to find more information on Bach’s compositions, I found out that many important composers admired not only Bach’s dedication but also his musical talent. Here are some of the quotes I found:

Not Brook but Ocean should be his name.
– Ludwig Van Beethoven (“Bach” is the German word for “brook”).

Now there is music from which a man can learn something.
– W. A. Mozart

Bach is like an astronomer who, with the help of ciphers, finds the most wonderful stars.
– Friederick Chopin

…the most stupendous miracle in all music!.
– Richard Wagner

Study Bach. There you will find everything.
– Johannes Brahms

I find it extremely interesting that many of Bach’s most outstanding “successors” have praised his work. In this sense, I believe Bach succeeded not only in providing a solid framework for other composers to study and appreciate, but also in capturing the essence of the music of his era.