Borrowing Brains: Bach

Two questions: First, what’s an informative and engaging biography of Johann Sebastian Bach?

Second, just for fun, what’s your favorite Bach piece, and why?

My girls and I thank  you.


13 Responses

  1. Even though it’s cliche, can’t help but love Cello Suite No.1.

  2. I love the opening “Kyrie” from the B-minor mass. It’s incredible.

    There are tons of great cantatas. Try Cantata no. 80 – “Ein feste Burg” (A mighty fortress). Cantata 147 has the “Jesu bleibet meine Freude” movement that everyone knows.

  3. One of my favorites:

  4. +1 on Cello Suite No. 1.

    Chorale for Organ, BWV 650: “Kommst du nun, Jesu von himmel her unter” is a sentimental favorite since it was our wedding recessional.

    I’ve loved Partita No. 2 in D Minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1004: Chaconne ever since I read this story just after I moved to DC.

    But at the end of the day, you just can’t beat the Brandenburg Concerti.

  5. The Brandenburg Concerti…don’t ask me to select one. I love all things Bach, and my brother Dave and I have listened to the Brandenburg pieces so often that we can whistle them together…if we aren’t looking at each other. ;)

  6. 1. J.S.Bach: The Learned Musician by Christoph Wolff
    2. The St. Matthew Passion

  7. The Largo ma non tanto from his concerto for two violins is indescribably beautiful.

  8. Double Violin Concerto- BWV 1043. A good view on YouTube from the BBC Proms-

    Your daughter may enjoy this album by Hilary Hahn-

  9. I have on my to read list:
    Pelikan, Jaroslav. Bach Among the Theologians. Wipf & Stock, 2003.
    Stapert, Calvin. My Only Comfort: Death, Deliverance, and Discipleship in the Music of Bach. Eerdmans, 2000.

  10. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring…I love almost everything by Bach, but that is such a perfect piece of music. And I do love the Brandenburgs, too.

  11. There’s a great video biography of his life called Glory To God Alone: Life Of J.S. Bach.

    You can find it at Vision Video:

  12. In addition to the Pelikan and Stapert books, check out Robin Leaver’s Glosses from the Calov Bible. Concordia, 1985.

    “Aus liebe” from St. Matthew Passion
    Sonata in E minor for Flute and Continuo BWV 1034

  13. I really enjoyed “The True Life of J. S. Bach” by Klaus Eidam. It’s interesting and readable, and corrects some common misconceptions that many biographies seem to have.

    My favourite pieces that Bach wrote are probably either his French Suites or English Suites (both are for keyboard – piano is my favourite).

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