Archives for posts with tag: Johann Sebastian Bach


Yesterday, the Silver Birch Press blog included a post with praise for J.S. Bach from notables past and present. Thought we’d start our day with some more quotes about this musical master.

“Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass?” MICHAEL TORKE, American composer (b. 1961)

“Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance…poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music…Bach and Mozart are never too far from physical movement.” EZRA POUND, American expatriate poet and critic (1885-1972)

“[Bach was] the immortal god of harmony.” LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, German composer and musician (1770-1827)

“I think that if I were required to spend the rest of my life on a desert island, and to listen to or play the music of any one composer during all that time, that composer would almost certainly be Bach. I really can’t think of any other music which is so all-encompassing, which moves me so deeply and so consistently, and which, to use a rather imprecise word, is valuable beyond all of its skill and brilliance for something more meaningful than that — its humanity.” GLENN GOULD, Canadian pianist (1932-1982)

Listen to the wondrous Glenn Gould play Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 at

Illustration: J.S. Bach’s monogram, as found on a postcard from the good folks at


Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my cat Clancy and his love of Bach — especially the Brandenburg Concertos. (Listen to the joyful sound here — with Glenn Gould at the piano.) Every time we hear this sublime music via KUSC-FM (which is currently holding a fundraising drive), I try to shoot a picture of my in-bliss feline, while his ears move to the music and his eyes narrow until it’s hard to spot his pupils.

Clancy’s reaction (and mine) to the music made me wonder what people of note had to say about composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) — and I’ve found some interesting (and moving) quotes below.

“Bach opens a vista to the universe. After experiencing him, people feel there is meaning to life after all.” HELMUT WALCHA, German Musician (1907-1991)

“Creativity is more than just being different…What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” CHARLES MINGUS, American jazz bassist (1922-1979)

“Any species capable to producing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach cannot be all bad.” LEWIS THOMAS, American physician/poet/essayist (1913-1993)

“It may be that when the angels go about their task praising God, they play only Bach.” KARL BARTH, Swiss Theologian (1886-1968)

“Once I understood Bach’s music, I wanted to be a concert pianist. Bach made me dedicate my life to music…” NINA SIMONE, American jazz musician/singer (1933-2003)

“To strip human nature until its divine attributes are made clear, to inform ordinary activities with spiritual fervor, to give wings of eternity to that which is most ephemeral; to make divine things human and human things divine; such is Bach, the greatest and purest moment in music of all time…He has reached the heart of every noble thought, and has done it in the most perfect way.” PABLO CASALS, Catalian cellist/conductor (1876-1973)

“…in his [Bach’s] works we will search in vain for anything the least lacking in good taste.” CLAUDE DEBUSSY, French composer (1862-1918)

“Harmony is next to godliness.” JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, German composer/musician (1685-1750)