– A Karen Blessing

So. . . in addition to seeing things, I’m now hearing things too.  But don’t lock me up just yet.  You might like this.

While doing business errands in the city, I had to stop at a drug store, where a two CD set of J. S. Bach begged me to buy it.  Back in the truck, I popped it into the CD player and listened to Anne Sophie Mutter, Sir David Willcocks, The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. . . 40 selections, performed by talented artists, and for TWELVE BUCKS.

Blessed?  You bet!  I’m not a student of  music by any means, I can’t even read music.  But I know that I love Bach.  Think about it:  the man died in 1750, and in January 2010, we still hear what he wrote.  How does this happen, that something composed  almost 300 years ago, remain for us to enjoy today?  We can choose to hear it all day long if we want to, not just for one moment at a concert.

How many people who lived in Europe in the 1600’s and 1700’s ever got to hear Bach?  At numerous concerts?  And 40 selections of his work?  He may have been the only person in Europe that ever heard what I did on those two pieces of plastic!  (though probably his wife did as well).  But really, how does one create something valuable enough to outlast one’s life, and that by 260 years?  And to have it listened to in a place not yet discovered at the time of  composition,  to have it enjoyed by someone driving a pickup truck, on paved roads (not cobblestone, Mr. J. S.), by putting a piece of plastic (“what’s plastic?”) into a machine on the dashboard (“dashboard?”) of my truck, to fill the speakers (“speakers?”  never mind, Mr. Bach) with his concerts, oratorios, the toccata and fugue, parts of the St. Matthew Passion, in a pickup truck in Canada. And all this for twelve bucks,  available to anyone who wandered into the store with cash.  This is astonishing, and Mr. Bach would have been most astonished as well.

Unfortunately, we’re used to it.  The wonder went away with the avalanche of music that is available to us. The bigger question in my mind is this:  is it even possible that any of us could do something that will still be influential in 300 years?  Mr. Bach didn’t have to invent electronics and plastic.   All he had to do was to provide something worth preserving. So, in 2310, will there be a
trace of anything that bears our fingerprints still around?  (For the moms reading this, J. S.’s mom can answer that in the affirmative!)

Johann Sebastian Bach

Will there?  Don’t answer that quickly.

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