Music in the Castle of Heaven: A Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach  – ★★★★
In this biography, Gardiner strikes at the very heart of J. S. Bach’s genius, presenting to us a complex and sometimes contradictory musician who was also a very empathetic man.
“I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well“. Johann Sebastian Bach
The music of Bach is complex, inventive, awe-inspiring and brimming with mathematical precision and religious fervour. The man behind it appears equally stern and unapproachable. But, who was Johann Sebastian Bach really and how it came about that a cantor operating in a small region of Germany managed to compose music of such brilliant contours, imaginative force and spiritual depth? In this non-fiction, British conductor John Eliot Gardiner aims to shed light on these puzzling questions. Music in the Castle of Heaven is an illuminating account of Bach’s life and music that starts from the premise that to understand Bach’s art, we have to first immerse ourselves in the very essence of his time and place of birth. Numerous factors influenced Bach and made him into a musician we know today – familial, historic, socio-economic, cultural, educational – and without knowing these we cannot even begin to fathom the workings of Bach’s mind.Continue reading “Review: Music in the Castle of Heaven by John Eliot Gardiner “