What Made Bach Great? Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750 (edit)

What Made Bach Great? Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750 (edit)

Since the beginning of my channel I’ve been wanting to make a video on BA People have asked me why haven’t you made one on him yet? well, one of the reasons is I Wasn’t sure what to call it and what it would be about Because there’s so much to talk about But I think I’m just gonna call it. What makes BA great and I don’t mean that in a trite way I mean what makes his music? Still relevant over 300 years later. Why am I talking about it right now? That’s what I wanted to explore but I like to begin with this Johann Sebastian Bach was born in 1685 And died in 1715 During that time. He left a legacy that musicians and music historians would be delving into for centuries to come His limitless musical explorations expressed the order of the physical and biological universe in exquisite mathematical precision and detail his musical was written to express the divine beauty in all creation and His influence on all successive composers is unparalleled and remained so to this day, so when I knew I was coming to Germany And I was close to life saying I said There’s no way I’m going to pass up the opportunity to come here To see the streets were bombed and walked we’re right now in the rock museum, which is about Onto the arch of the church that he was the Kapellmeister. It’s pretty surreal experience to be here Before I go on with my pilgrimage to Leipzig I want to talk about some of the monumental works of Bach’s lifetime Many of you might be familiar with the air on the g string Jesu joy of man’s desiring I’m talking about the monumental the landmark works that he wrote there’s about eight of them or so that if you really want to know about BA you should really Know these pieces or be familiar with them. There are the two books of the well-tempered clavier. The first was written in 1722 When he was 37 years old There are 24 preludes and fugues in that as our the second book which was written in 1742 20 years apart Also has 24 preludes and fugues, these are just the most brilliant works of counterpoint and harmony and melody Really in the history of music. These are the things that Hyden and Mozart and Beethoven and Schaumburg and everyone study We’re gonna talk about some of them in at just a moment. Uh, then I think you’d have to say the Brandenburg Concertos The Goldberg Variations The orchestral Suites the mass and b-minor The st. Johannes Passion the st. Matthew Passion these six cello suites And lastly is the art of fugue bwv 1080 This was written in the last decade of Bach’s life It is a series of fourteen fugues and four canons based on a single subject. It was the culmination of his experimentation with monothematic Contrapuntal writing Wants to be familiar with if you want to know and understand the Greatness of Bach why people still talk about him 300 years after his death some of these pieces are immense the Johannes passion is An hour and a half long, the st. Matthew Passion is over two and a half hours long. These are just just Amazingly moving grand works of just just monumental scale But let’s get into what makes Bach’s music extraordinary I want to talk about box use of harmony and to do that I’d like to begin with a particular box cantata, which is cantata number 54 veter Stay here ductus unda which translates to Stand firm against sin or just resist sin. Its opening chord is one of the most striking in all of Bach’s harmonic arsenal It was really unprecedented for the time there’s a great video of Glenn Gould Discussing this exact thing that was actually in my original edit of this video that was taken down Let’s go head over to the church and check it out That less little clip I played had a very sophisticated Harmonic moment in it. It’s in bar 20. This is the emajor Prelude from the first book of the well-tempered clavier That was actually ondrea’s shift playing it But there’s one point in bar 20 where the bass note goes to G and you have this That is a G major 7 sharp 5 chord that’s actually out of the melodic minor scale That is not a sound that you hear again until the 20th century. You could say. Oh, that’s just a simple suspension Bacchus specifically went to that sound He heard that sound that is a hundred and fifty years ahead of its time. You don’t hear that in Mozart You don’t hear it in Beethoven. You don’t hear it in the Chopin You don’t hear those sounds until you start getting to Keith Jarrett Really now there are some 20th century composers if you listen to Allen rothorn he has an oboe concerto that you’ll hear Lydian augmented chords That’s a perfect example 1950 the Allan Roth Soren oboe concerto he goes in the strings right to this Sound C major seven sharp five resolving down the C major and then Then it goes down to this C-major over B fives the BNF sharp. These are the kind of sounds Bach was using in 1722 230 years before At the end of the beefs ondrea’s ship actually goes from this a diminished chord down G E major seven resolving up to E major These sounds are all through box music take the very first Prelude from the well-tempered clavier in C major He uses major 7th chord to use his dominant 7th chords over the tonic. He has so many sophisticated harmonic devices that he uses another great example of sophisticated harmony and Suspension after suspension is from the Johannes passion the st. John passion. Let’s check out the opening of it The idea that there was a person that lived over 300 years ago and was able to imagine these sounds that were so far So advanced is really astounding now There’s many many Bach pieces that I could suggest you listen to what I presented Here the eight or nine works that I suggested to start with the well-tempered clavier book one Listen to it. There’s some beautiful beautiful versions of it if you want to learn even more about BA There’s a great documentary here on YouTube called a passionate life. It’s by Sir John Eliot Gardiner He’s a British conductor and he did a fantastic fantastic Documentary on Bach back in 2013. You should definitely check it out That’s all for now, please subscribe here to my everything music YouTube channel If you’re interested in the Beato book go to my website at wwlp.com You can also become a member of the Beato club. There are PDFs available. There’s extra lessons. There are live streams Check it out on my website as well. Thanks for watching

100 thoughts on “What Made Bach Great? Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750 (edit)

  1. Finally I can say that Bach is a REAL GENIUS.
    I am fed up of the misuse of the word genius. (Applied to JBieber, Madonna, Spice Girls….)

  2. Can you do a video on Bach's guitar music (not written for the guitar, but the music that is normally played on guitar and lute)? Mabye have a classical guitarist on to talk about it. There are so many gems there.

  3. Haven't re-found the recording, hence the interpretation, but a 'turn' in one of the Brandeburg concertos so solidly rocked it made my jaw drop. Any ideas out there which one I'm thinking about?

  4. Simply the best music ever written. No doubt about it. It is out of this world. Kind of Blue by Miles Davis is close but… Thanks to Rick to talk about Bach.

  5. Cant listen to Bach without going into the zone…
    Cello Suites… played by Pablo Casals
    Check out the French harpsichord player Jean Reynaud.. the bastard was only born in 1991 but is simply phenomenal.

  6. Really really good video Rick.had me blubbing at the St J P… cant hear him without experiencing the most intense emotions.
    Any musician from any genre gets Bach's genius straight off..
    The amazing thing was that he was doing all this of course without modern recording implements.
    So he's composing the St J P etc in his head… possibly only actually hearing them performed once in hi lifetime…
    Now THAT'S a head fccc

  7. It kinda doesn't make sense how good he was. Even if you're not a huge fan of his work, you can still look at what he was doing and admire what he did with music, and there's always something to take away from it. And the amount of stuff he did makes it obvious that he knew what he was doing. He could make a piece that sounded good forwards as well as backwards, and not only that but if you played both at the same time they would harmonize and have counterpoint. Just an absolute monster of harmony and musical movement. When you look at some of the people we call "genius" today….it's honestly laughable.

  8. Hasn't anyone told the Karl Sagan story yet?
    The Golden Record was the gold-plated CD put on the outside of the Voyager spacecraft as a kind of showcase of humanity. The committee, chaired by the great astronomer Karl Sagan, was debating what music to put on it – Beethoven? Duke Ellington? Ravi Shankar?
    "What about Bach?" someone asked.
    "Oh, that would just be showing off," said Sagan.

  9. Story 2. The BBC's classical music radio channel, Radio 3, had the great idea of playing everything Bach ever wrote, from BWV 1 to BWV 1080, in order, over the Xmas season. What about doing another composer next year, someone asked. Mozart? Beethoven? Brahms? "Well, the trouble is," the controller of radio 3 said at the time, "That Mozart and co wrote a lot of stuff that wasn't very good. Juvenalia, hack jobs, just off days.
    "But Bach…the man never wrote a wrong note."

  10. Bach is my most fave! I really also like Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, but Bach is my go-to when I want to stimulate my brain; e.g. Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould! You named all my other faves too!

  11. I will always have trouble believing somebody hundreds and hundreds of years ago knew how to read or write sheet music or could play an instrument being there was no technology, no running water, no metronomes, electricity, no electric timers, no good schools or teachers, etc.

    It’s simply impossible.

  12. Our quest for Peace and the fixed, irreversible quelling of man's own inhumanity towards man, all the warring particles and ills of this world, both destroying and self destructive, never forsaken by intent but ever failing in their attempts, was perhaps at the heart of the answer given when the world renowned physicist, poet and etymologist, Lewis Thomas was once asked: What if anything and out of all, would he place on board the spacecraft Voyager for NASA to send into space as a suitable estimation by which any future civilization might come to know something of our own?” He replied:

    "I would send the complete works of J S Bach outer-space, but I fear that would be boasting".

    Boasting? No. As much as I understand and rejoice in what he meant, I feel he seems to have missed what it is that makes Bach's music so worthy of such an honour: that it is beyond human and yet, all too human at once, an inflection of the security of God, and an inspection of the frailties of man within the profession of but one faith: the faith of human fellowship. Suffice it to say, if Bach's music were all we had, we would have it all.

  13. Rick..here’s my story : i was a mailman for thirty years and during my time I met a guy who plays in the symphony and loves to fish and I was was really new to the guitar but I was really into ..so I asked one day if he wanted to go fishing on the big lake eire and ,we went and on the way he explained how Bach harmonized all his music back then for the whole ride out there for a hour and half .. I never said more than that’s cool wow that entire 1.5 hrs their …that’s was 8 year ago and we’re still great friends even when he’s half my age @62…soooo ur story of JSB WASSSS SOOOO GOOOD .. thanks for ur lessons and ur utube friends …u all know who you are and thanks for sharing

  14. do you have other classical reviews? (would like to have them even longer too, perhaps giving a v detailed analysis of one composition)

  15. Growing up loving and learning music – some contemporary, but mostly classic & romantic – I always downplayed Bach as boring.
    But then a couple of his pieces really caught my fancy. Slowly, I've come to appreciate more & more of his work.
    Eventually, I'll probably revere him as much as Rick does.
    Thanks, Rick, for accelerating that process!


  16. Yes, isn't that the subtext of this marvelous clip: it takes a spirit like Bach's to recognize Bach's genius! Big thanks, Rick. This is what the internet is for.

  17. I think it is worth mentioning that most of bachs music has connotations to a higher being, and is a continuous praisal of this higher being, in his case a Christian god

  18. And then you have all of Bach's choral works, his organ works, his cantatas, the Musical Offering, St Matthew's Passion, his partitas…and on and on. Bach is beyond astounding.

  19. Wish Glenn Gould was still here. Thank you Rick for bringing us closer to the greatest composer in history.
    I don't want to imagine a life without his incredible work. Thank you Mr. Bach.

  20. when he talks about the Gmaj7 #5 chord; that's pretty incredible, I didn't know that. And I admit when I hear that little part; it suddenly sounds like jazz for a second XD.

  21. (From Mihail Balasa). I really think you should have listed some of his organ works in your list of Bach's greatest. I mean when you think Bach, you have to think organ first and foremost (I'm a violinist not an organist so I'm not showing bias for my own instrument).

  22. Mr.Beato, I have a question for you. Has any composer ever written music that could not be played properly by his or her contemporary musicians?

  23. I didn't know you were such an Arthur Feidler-level scholar.

    I just thought you were a multi-talented rock-pop producer guy who paid attention to stuf going on arond you and applied yoursef.

  24. My introduction to classical music was through Mel Blanc….I feel lucky to have even a remedial influence through cartoons that continues to shape my perspective on SOUND! And that perspective continually helps me distinguish sound from noise.

  25. Inspired music creates a ladder, which allows divinity to step down into this dimension. Climbing up or back …visiting or returning , the authentic angel spreads light like the suns zenith experienced in a 100 acre field.

  26. Many composers have produced astounding works over the centuries, but I like to think that Bach gave them the musical alphabet, the rules, the frameworks within which they could work. To call him influential would be a vast understatement. I think the true gift is that his works are not just technical marvels of clever and intricate yet unplayable harmony. They are actually tuneful, relaxing, glorious, majestic yet subtle. There's something in his work for everyone.

  27. I'm fairly certain Bach already saved the human race.
    At some point some alien challenged a human, probably somebody played by Keanu in the film adaptation, to give them a reason not to wipe us out, and Keanu played the alien Bach.
    And Keanu reasoned; "One of us came up with this."
    And the alien said. "ok then."

  28. Well I know next to nothing of music theory but even I, when learning the basics of fugue and counterpoint and seeing his pieces visualised can see what a force of nature Bach was. To think someone could compose something like that is crazy, then you remember he could improvise it on the spot in live performances

  29. woo hoo a bit of classical. why not, we love jazz and fusion and rock and folk and country and why not go back and learn.. music is the thing we can share no matter who we are.

  30. If you listen to the beginning of Horizons by Steve Hackett & the beginning A Whiter Shade of Pale, you'll hear Bach's influence.

  31. Hi Rick, Do you have an opinion on Wendy Carlo's, Switched On Bach? That was my introduction and I've never looked back,

  32. The St. Matthew Passion (BWV244) is an extraordinary choral work. When listening to it, a person can feel the presence of God and Jesus. Bach was a devout Protestant Christian and his music was his way of worshipping the Lord God Almighty. God used Bach to give humankind an insight into what lies in store for believers in heaven.

  33. I love how Rick is equally passionate about Alice in Chains and Bach. That’s why this is such a great channel. For anyone new to Bach, I would recommend checking out Sheep May Safely Graze. It may not be Bach’s most complex piece. But it’s stunningly beautiful.

  34. Why the rasping Yiddish inflection, Bach is pronounced "barsh (the"A" is like the "U" in button.) in his part of Germany by many and "Bark" most everywhere else….your "Bahch' needs 'humbug' to make it complete….if you want to be authentic, roll your R's….no…that's twerking…your "R-r-r-r''s"

  35. Hey Rick! Beethoven used some pretty out chords in the late quartets. Not to mention the Dom 7 chord in his 3rd symphony that had a major and minor 7th. Pretty out!

  36. Did Bach possess an intimate knowledge of every instrument? Is that an absolute precept to compose a great piece? Enjoy your tutorials.

  37. I'd be careful, because Bach might have you take this down. He's pretty strict about people playing his stuff on the Internet, unless he gets some residuals.

  38. Though I grew up with classical music(ex six year old "conductor"of Beethoven's symphonies)through my brother being a city symphony first violin-he turned me on to Cream,whose inimitable bassist vocalist composer Jack Bruce ,loved the basslines of JS Bach.

  39. Please do a video about Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. People need to learn how much more beauty there is than just the first 8 measures.

    Also, I don’t know enough about music theory to be able to tell what magic he plays at the end when he resolves like six chords in a row in such a way that it literally brings tears to my eyes. And all those dissonant chords!!! I’d LOVE to see you break that down for us, and what better time than Halloween?! Cheers!

  40. A relatively accessible and enjoyable work I would heartily recommend is The English Suites, all 6 of them, and preferably on a harpsichord. But especially #6 in d.

    richard hargrove

    Sex, drugs, and Rock and Roll!? What are kids coming to these days? What happened to the traditional values like wine, women, and song?

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