Bachanalia
October 23, 2019 12:32 PM   Subscribe

"I’ve talked to people who feel they know Bach very well, but they aren’t aware of the time he was imprisoned for a month. They never learned about Bach pulling a knife on a fellow musician during a street fight. They never heard about his drinking exploits."
posted by clawsoon (31 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
We hear a complaint about him improvising for too long during church services.

Wait a minute, this sounds like rock and/or roll!

On a related note, I only found out last week that Chopin, my favorite composer, showed effusive romantic affection for other men.
Give me a kiss, dearest lover/friend*, I believe you still love me and I fear you, as if you were my tyrant - I do not know why, but I'm scared of you. I swear that only you have power over me, you and only you. - Maybe it is the last letter I write to you. 'Till death yours
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:51 PM on October 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Wins Mefi for best title pun.
posted by ipsative at 12:51 PM on October 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


In 1705, a 20 year old Bach also walked 250 miles, from Arnstadt to Lübeck, to meet his musical hero Dieterich Buxtehude. The BBC recently did a documentary series retracing his path.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:57 PM on October 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


At first I wasn't sure if the article was satire or not. It half-sounds like something a couple of bored sophomores would come up with. "LOL and then maybe Mr. Rogers travelled back in time and they both got arrested for peeing in public, lol that's hilarious!"
posted by clawsoon at 1:02 PM on October 23, 2019


Bach-Turn-Over
posted by chavenet at 1:02 PM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


That enormous gift, 20 children, and no known direct descendants (last I read).

Something wrong there.
posted by jamjam at 1:03 PM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


We hear a complaint about him improvising for too long during church services.

I'm really enjoying picturing the entire congregation sighing and rolling their eyes when they realize Johann is launching into another one of his 20-minute organ solos.
posted by skewed at 1:09 PM on October 23, 2019 [22 favorites]


A great book that touches on this aspect of Bach’s personality while mostly being about his interactions with Frederick the Great and the history behind The Musical Offering is Evening in the Palace of Reason. I definitely recommend it if you find stories like this compelling.
posted by invitapriore at 1:19 PM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]




Was eight gallons of beer over two weeks really a lot in that time and place? It's comparable to a six pack a day even now. And yet we don't even know he drank it all, or given the phrasing "enough to purchase" that there was eight gallons....

Sorry to harp on this, but I sense someone straining to paint a particular picture.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:49 PM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Bach is dead.
posted by SansPoint at 1:50 PM on October 23, 2019


I'm pretty sure the author got some stuff mixed up with the guy from Skid Row.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:56 PM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]




This reminds me that I had assumed Mozart was some old stuffy composer until I saw Amadeus.
Not sure why they never told us the truth about him when I was in 8th grade music class...
posted by MtDewd at 2:40 PM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


We viewed these composers through a glass darkly. That glass was the Victorian Era.
posted by clawsoon at 2:52 PM on October 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


More like Bad-Tempered Clavier, amirite?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:19 PM on October 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


In 1705, a 20 year old Bach also walked 250 miles, from Arnstadt to Lübeck

That's nothing. In 1998, the 36 year old Proclaimers walked 500 miles, and they walked 500 more.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:22 PM on October 23, 2019 [11 favorites]


Not sure why they never told us the truth about him when I was in 8th grade music class...

Easy: he would have inspired the students to misbehave.

I laugh like Mozart and the entire orchestra turned around and GLARED AT ME when we were watching that movie.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:10 PM on October 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


And that time he got in trouble for sneaking a girl into the organ loft!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:26 PM on October 23, 2019


And that time he got in trouble for sneaking a girl into the organ loft!

'She's picking up Good Vibrations' — The B(e)ach Boy(s)
posted by jamjam at 5:00 PM on October 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


That enormous gift, 20 children, and no known direct descendants (last I read).

21 children.

Johann is launching into another one of his 20-minute organ solos.

He's not the only one who did long organ solos.
posted by hippybear at 6:15 PM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Claude Debussy was so prolific in his earlier piano pieces, they are sliced apart and put back together seamlessly depending on mood and moment in the Untitled Goose Game, programmatically. Mic drop.

Or maybe piano drop, a'la Heiffer's stint at the golf course. Because piano drops are the best.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:06 PM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Claude Debussy's music lends itself to many forms. Art Of Noise did a remarkable album based on his music and his life. I recommend.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 PM on October 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


ryanshepard: "In 1705, a 20 year old Bach also walked 250 miles, from Arnstadt to Lübeck, to meet his musical hero Dieterich Buxtehude. The BBC recently did a documentary series retracing his path."

No longer available (that I can see) at the BBC site, but I DO see all five episodes in iTunes within the Slow Radio podcast (ach, one isn't downloading for me, but the others are) - and apparently on the BBC Slow Radio page.

Thanks for that, ryanshepard!
posted by kristi at 7:50 PM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Then there's Peter Schickele's Bach Portrait, a parody of Copland's Lincoln Portrait among other things. Schickele assures us that every quotation from Bach is accurate. Every quotation is Bach complaining about money.
posted by dannyboybell at 8:04 PM on October 23, 2019


Not sure why they never told us the truth about him when I was in 8th grade music class..

Amadeus is a drama written by a modern man and Tom Hulce is an actor with a considered choice of affectations and mannerisms for dramatic purposes that are not, I promise, based on an antique tape recording of mozart's own laugh. they made, as jonathan frakes explains, it up.

mozart's letters and personal history are those of a serious artist and, soon enough, adult, with adult problems and an adult's way of foolishly mishandling them. a thousand thousand fart jokes have no bearing on that. it is a fact, and a pity, that such trivia both real and invented will engage unmusical adolescents more than great music ever can.

Amadeus
is good art. a historical fiction. they made it up. Mozart made art too, and it's just as good. Nobody withheld any truth from you. Mozart's music is the truth about him, and whether it engages you or not is between you and your own ears, with or without the crutch of a good and irrelevant story.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:49 PM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


hippybear: " Johann is launching into another one of his 20-minute organ solos."

Given the progeny, I'd say Johann launched into plenty of long organ duets as well.
posted by chavenet at 1:17 AM on October 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


Johann laid some major pipe (organ).
posted by e1c at 10:10 AM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Mozart's music is the truth about him, ...

indeed
posted by invitapriore at 10:52 AM on October 24, 2019




Wait a minute, this sounds like rock and/or roll!

WHAT'S CREEPY IS THAT THERE'S A GHOST PLAYING THE KEYBOARD ABOVE HIM WHY DOES NOBODY COMMENT ON THIS JEEBUS I MEAN I KNOW IT'S HALLOWEEN BUT STILL!
posted by hippybear at 9:22 PM on October 30, 2019


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