15 April 2010

J.S. Bach

I'm favorably impressed with the story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal (D7) about the expanded/renovated Bach Museum in Leipzig, Germany. Reading it, I almost feel as if I've been there myself.

Bach was born on March 21, 1685, so we've just passed the 325th anniversary of that event.

To celebrate, I played my Buxtehude CD in my car while driving about a bit yesterday afternoon. Buxtehude -- a Swede or a Dane depending on who is counting -- was probably the greatest composer of the generation before Bach's, and an important influence on him.

Anyway, the WSJ reports that the Bach museum in Leipzig includes materials on how Bach scholars conduct their research. "Visitors learn about Bach's penmanship, as well as the paper and ink he used. The display even explains how to date a Bach manuscript."

Near its end the story notes that Bach's music was not universally adored during his own lifetime. It quotes one music critic from the day, J.A. Scheibe, who complain of JSB's "bombastic and intricate procedures [that] obscure beauty by an excess of art."

Philistine. Jeesh.

Just on a lark, I went to a translation website to find out if the proper name "Scheibe" translates into any German word. It does. Intriguingly, "scheibe" means "disk." The association of music with certain "disks" lay far in the future ... but there you go. The philistine caught a break with his name.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.