Saturday, February 09, 2019

All things to all men …

… Gods, Gurus, and the Search for the Holy Grail: Bach Recordings from 2018 | The Hudson Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Among the Bach devotee’s sincere affection and understanding of his music, veneration for the man frequently evinces an odd marriage of nineteenth-century hero worship with modern-day alternative spiritualities and occultism. He is Christ, Übermensch, and the astrology column in a glossy magazine all rolled into one. Surely many of the practices and attitudes sketched above may, in some forms, be culturally accept­able and even beneficial. Yet, I can’t help but wonder if it is really healthy for us, as a whole culture, to idolize him. Is it fair to use him as the “gold standard” against which all others must be measured? Certainly, it seems reasonable to think that Bach himself would be horrified to find himself a golden calf of classical music worship.

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