On the eternal relevance of Bach
“Bach opens a vista to the universe. After experiencing him, people feel there is meaning to life after all.”
These are the words of Helmut Walcha, a blind German organist who recorded all of JS Bach’s organ works in the aftermath of World War II. In the shadow of the 20th century’s darkest trauma, Bach restored his faith in humanity.
Walcha is not alone, of course. Many artists, musicians, scientists and thinkers have commented on the all-encompassing relevance of Bach’s music, unbound by time and place and impervious to trends. Bach today is heard not just in Leipzig but from Lima to Lagos.
And on May 21st, star harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani & violin virtuoso Jennifer Pike will be performing a programme where Baroque meets contemporary, with four works by Bach, including two violin sonatas, a partita for solo violin and a keyboard toccata. This is coupled with works for violin & harpsichord including a sonatina composed in 1945 by neoclassical composer Walter Piston and a new work by British composer Jeremy Pike (Jennifer’s father).