Sunday, November 18, 2012
Last week, one of the freebies was a biography of Johann Sebastian Bach by Rick Marschall that is part of the Christian Encounters series. The biographies in the series place their emphasis on the spiritual lives of the subjects, with special attention to how their faith informed their lives and art.
It made sense to me as I started to read the book this morning to cue up some of the Bach on the ipod. Bypassing the Brandenburg concertos, I settled on the Weihnachts Oratorium.
It's close enough to start playing Christmas music, right?
In the introduction, the author talks about his own introduction to Baroque music, and his mother's urging that he not only listen to the music, but follow along with a translation of the words.
Naturally, through the wonder of the internet, it's a matter of seconds to find an interlinear translation.
The music alone is transcendent, glorious, even without knowing the sense of what is being sung. But viewing the translation - understanding more of the heart of what Bach was conveying - lifts the listening experience out of the mortal realm into the spiritual, which is exactly what Bach intended.
Not exactly how I meant to spend this time, but more than worthwhile.