Simply Delightful Music from Another Son of Bach

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Serenity. © Charles Thibo

Those Bachs! Passionate musicians and accomplished composers all of them! Quite a family. Awe-inspiring, actually. Here’s another gem: Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach’s Sonata for Cello and Harpsichord in G Major (F. X/2). A wonderful piece of music to start into an early morning. Leaving the house with the sun just rising, driving through the countryside with Bach’s sonata in the ear – serenity.

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Judgment Day Cast in a Baroque Oratorio

Das Jüngste Gericht – a painting by Wassily Kandinsky from 1922.

Is it possible to make Man confront his many sins, to make him repent and to improve his behaviour? I have my doubts, and  maybe it is a sign of our time that the divine element has less and less place in our lives and can no longer serve as a moral beacon for many. Dieterich Buxtehude, a contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach, however was a firm believer in the Lutheran god and expected the fear of Judgment Day being stimulating enough to encourage the citizen of Lübeck to repent and return to the right path. “Das Jüngste Gericht” (Judgement Day, BuxWV Anh. 3) is the title of an oratorio Buxtehude most likely composed for his Abendmusiken, the amateur concerts he conducted in Lübeck.

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The Quest for Harmony – Now and Then

Equilibrium restored. © Charles Thibo

A peaceful morning after a stormy night. A thunderstorm has battered the countryside during the night, torrential rain and gusts replaced the almost unbearable heat. Equilibrium has been restored. But it is unstable and easily disturbed. In the papers I read more and more often about droughts – in Western Europe. Farmers are suffering considerable losses, drinking water is becoming scarce. Our planet is a fragile thing and our climate is even more fragile. Will humanity be able to preserve this delicate equilibrium?

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Listening to the Rain, Listening to Vivaldi

The next morning… © Charles Thibo

I remember that night in Rome. It had been hot, extremely hot for several days. The air stood still, and combined with the exhaust fumes of the cars, buses and motorcycles, the atmosphere was suffocating. I refrained from breathing as good as I could and only by 10 o’clock in the evening, I would start to feel at ease. But this night was different. When I returned to my hotel after work, I saw those towering clouds in the south-west. By the time I sat down for dinner at the Piazza delle Coppelle, the sky had turned black. By the time I got off the tram, the first gusts blew the dust the street. And I had to run. Fast. Just as I made it to the hotel, big raindrops started to fall evolving into a torrential rain that lasted several hours into the night. What a relief! I lay on my bed, breathing the fresh, cool air and I listened to Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in B Minor, RV 390. How good it felt, how incredibly good.

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