Nostalgia and Grace, by Carolyn Lee (page 4)

Exploring Bach (continued)

I read everything I could about Bach's life and gained the impression of what it used to be like to be a church musician-the sheer day-to-day demand of services and rehearsals in freezing churches, the poor wages and maddening church politics, the constant requirement for new music which had to composed “out of hours”, probably often during the night. All these frustrations and many more had been Bach's daily bread. He had even fathered nineteen children, ten of whom had died in childhood.

But to listen to his music you would never know. There was an energy and serenity in it that always restored my spirits, a sober joy, and sometimes a frank exultation that seemed far removed from his ordinary life. I read that he inscribed his music manuscripts “To the Glory of God”. However difficult his life had been, he had maintained a disposition of serving God, and I could feel this in his music, whether it was an organ fugue, a cello suite, a church cantata, or an Italian concerto.