the rub – therein – lies, pilgrim

photo-9After establishing a daily practice of the chorales for which this little blog is named, I am pausing to consider #15 for a second day. Reasons:

1) It’s the first recognizable tune I’ve encountered yet, so I can measure my playing by my ear of how I know this tune should sound.

2) It is a gem among, quite frankly, a glut of serious clunkers.  Here we can see Bach’s true mastery of harmony and counterpoint.  Plus that Bb – C# interplay is pure gold.  Previously (and I know I’m only 5% into the mix), there have been some very sexy moments, and hints of genius, but mixed in with the total tripe of where bad, 8am music theory class exercises  get their inspiration.  Also, PS, this is NOT the harmonization that you’ll find in your everyday hymnal – I know the tenor line of that one like the back of my hand.

3) Following the point immediately above, I wanted to get this under my fingers because it is, in the words of one of my teachers, “…simply too good to fuck up.”

4) I get a little tweaky on 9/11 anniversaries, even though I have maybe, at closest, three degrees of separation from anyone who lost their lives twelve years ago. The complexity of death in the face of promised redemption through death doesn’t escape me on this anniversary. This tune, mutually illuminated by this text – wherein life, like death, swallows death as it (death) would do with life – drives that home.  The old leaven certainly doesn’t work in this bakery.

So we’ll play it one more time, I think.


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