“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”
— Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach signed each of his works S.D.G. “To God alone be the glory.” Do you think that he asked the Lord’s blessing over each of his works as he was composing them, even as we ask the Lord’s blessing over each meal?
Listen to Bach’s Cantata BWV 191 “Gloria in excelsis Deo” – Chorus. Note the period instruments! What kind of music did Bach imagine would be sung in heaven?
Although a prolific composer with over 1000 pieces documented, Bach simply thought of himself as a church musician, not a composer. He was a man whose identity was formed by being in Christ, not by seeking the praise of men.
First movement (chorus) from cantata BWV 191 “Gloria in excelsis Deo” (Glory be to God on high), performed by the J. S. Bach Foundation of St Gallen under Rudolf Lutz. Further information on the Bach Foundation at www.bachstiftung.ch.
Over 200 years after his death, Bach speaks to us directly; he is a poet, a painter and an architect in music. Johann Sebastian Bach has something to say to everyone: in time of grief, in happiness, in loneliness and in collective joy. His music expresses our most important experiences — life, death and love.
If you would like investigate this fascinating man further, visit the Bach timeline at The Bach Choir of Bethlehem.