Friday, August 21, 2009

The Silence Before Bach

“Bach is the only thing that reminds us that the world is not a failure.’’ - Emil Cioran

The virtual indestructibility, malleability, and sheer power of J.S. Bach's music affords artists of all sorts a catalyst for expressing their ideas. If you have the chance to get to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in the next week, you can catch "The Silence Before Bach," a rarely shown film by Catalan director Pere Portabella that reinforces, in wildly imaginative and beautiful ways, the idea that the world as we know it would be unrecognizable without Bach. I got a chance to see the film yesterday, and found Ty Burr's review for the Boston Globe spot on. "The Silence Before Bach" is firmly in the category of European art film, so you may or may not learn factual information you didn't already know about Bach, but what you do know may be transformed.

And speaking of transformation, try to tune in just after 8am this Sunday, when I'll have Bach's Cantata No. 199, "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut," in the intensely beautiful, painful, and ultimately joyous performance by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson with Craig Smith and Emmanuel Music.

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