Bach Jumps Off the Page

Why Bach? 
by Daniel Brown
Crosstown Books (New York, 2018)

Daniel Brown refers to this work as “an audio visual appreciation.” It marries musical analysis with the modern capability of textual links to audio examples that he used in his earlier work Bach, Beethoven, Bartok: Confluence in Music, concentrating this time on the glories of Bach. The audio function makes this an exciting way to experience the insights the author brings to Bach’s work, but it is his tone and the spirit of his presentation that makes it outstanding for the non-specialist.

A Straw in the Wind

When they reach the river they all find
a clearing where the current seems to slow,
but heavy lying mists obscure their sight.
No judging distance to the farther bank,
and anyone who steps into the flow
immediately disappears, enveloped.

These souls submit to many difficulties.
They find themselves in such a weakened state
that progress is well-nigh impossible.
Their reason is confounded; they can make
no sense of what their eyes and ears reveal.
At first their limbs cannot obey their will;
their tongues are loose and inarticulate,
and as they make their way they presently
forget the feel of solid ground, the clear-
eyed sight of that bright world where everything
appears exactly as it is, the rest
untroubled of the still place they have left.