This Sunday we have the second movement from J S Bach’s Orchestral Suite No 3 in D Major, BWV 1068, more commonly known as Air on a G String.
This version is performed on original instruments from the time of Bach by the early music ensemble Voices of Music. (That should make for some very expensive violins.) This piece is a favourite at weddings.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is considered by many to be the greatest composer ever. It comes as a surprise, therefore, that this is the first of his compositions I have suggested on a Sunday.
Bach composed cantatas for the Lutheran church and the choral works St Matthew Passion, St John Passion, Christmas Oratorio, B Minor Mass and Magnificat. A Magnificat is a musical setting of the Virgin Mary’s words of joy (My soul doth magnify the Lord) that she spoke to her cousin Elizabeth after she conceived.
Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos are also much loved, likewise the Goldberg Variations. Bach composed flute sonatas, harpsichord concertos, orchestral suites, and of course violin concertos. His cello suites are very well known and will feature in another blog.
Bach became more famous a hundred years after his death than he had ever been while he was alive. But he never desired to become famous. His only desire in composing music was to glorify God. Today his music is played and studied around the world, and it is used in nearly every Christian denomination.
It is said that Bach signed off all his pieces with ‘Soli Deo Gloria’ – ‘To the glory of God alone!’ Truly, if there is a composer who can bring one closer to God, it is Bach.