My Bach

Lend your voice to Bach 360º

Thursday, March 07, 2013

"Bach lifts my spirits, even if I'm having a bad day."

Through March 31, Easter Sunday, WQXR is bringing you the complete works of Bach. The Bach 360º festival is 10 days of non-stop Bach and we want to hear your Bach stories: your first experience with Bach, great performances you’ve seen, what the music means to you.

Call 347-286-1059 and tell us your Bach stories. Below is a sampling of responses we've received:


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Comments [45]

Sarah E. from Bronx

I loved the 360 Bach, but would like you to do the same kind of thing with different members of the classical club. A 360 with Handel(my all-time fav) would be great, but you could also do what TCM do and have a star of the morth. It would be a great way of giving airtime to writers who donot get the love that the big boys like Bach, Handel, and Haydn get. Thank You.

Apr. 08 2013 04:27 PM
Gerald Ridge

Thank you all for producing Bach 360.
I look forward to a reprise next year.

Apr. 08 2013 09:13 AM
Paul Hummel from Fairview, NJ

Thanks for the Bach 360 Festival, especially during the Easter season. The music was wonderful.

Columbia University's WKCR-FM has had their own Bach Festival during the Christmas season for the last thirty years.

I hope that Bach 360 will be an annual programming feature as well so I can enjoy the music of the master on a regular basis during the two most joyous times of the year.

Apr. 01 2013 12:12 AM
V. Friesen from Jenkintown, PA

Bach transcends language, so there are literally no words to describe the experience of his music. Like Mozart and Beethoven, something ineffable passes through us. I use the analogy of a celestial event: that Mozart danced effortlessly with the angels, that Beethoven struggled mightily with the Titans, but only Bach spoke directly with God. Thank you for this wonderful gift.

Mar. 31 2013 10:05 PM
gg from Syosset

WQXR - thank you for this magnificent Bach festival. Loved it. Bach taught me about music: what is rhythm, dance, harmony, different musical voices. Bach also taught me about religion & soul. Thank you to bring all this together for all to experience - from New York.

Mar. 31 2013 10:04 PM

Dear dear Bach, without whom I would have long ago dismissed this trivial world as a petty joke. As a teen I found Bach, the sole shred of evidence to the contrary, and such forceful evidence it is!

I latched to him and he has kept me interested in life ever since. His gift to humanity is without peer. His music, it is beyond any music possible, it is the only human(?) achievement which can never be surpassed: Newton, Einstein, Da Vinci, Euler, Turing, Shakespeare... these men are great within their time and context, but others shall build on their work and see farther. But no one will ever surpass, or even match, the breath-taking, flawless perfection that is Bach.

Thanks WQXR.

Mar. 31 2013 09:39 PM

As Bach360 ends. I'd like to thank WQXR for a heroic act of Bactivism. Hearing pieces previously unheard, my appreciation for his music grew even greater than I had imagined it would. Bach's music has always been special to me - Listening to his music is like hearing the world through a stethoscope. For the brief moments his pieces last, it feels like I gain an greater understanding of how the world around me works. It's been a pleasure getting lost in the mystery of his music these past ten days and I can't thank you enough.


Mar. 31 2013 09:39 PM
Raisa from Staten Island

Thank you so much for this incredible Bach marathon. Since I first played the Little Preludes as a piano student, I felt a special affinity to Bach's music. As a professional musician, I've been fortunate to further explore his immense musical offering. Now as an organist and a choir director at a Lutheran church, I can play Bach to my heart's content.
Among many excellent contemporary interpreters of Bach, I especially admire Fr. Sean Duggan -- I attended his recitals in NY in 2000, followed by his annual appearances in Bethlehem, PA. I believe he is in the process of recoding Bach's complete keyboard repertoire.

Mar. 31 2013 09:13 PM
Leslie Greaves from Manhattan

These ten days have been magical for me. I have been listening to Bach every possible moment my life allows -- and I mean every possible moment -- including when I'm sleeping.

I'm saddened that this special ten-day Bach airing will soon be over. Hopefully WQXR will regale us with another Bach treat soon.

Thank you, Bach, and thank you, WQXR.

Mar. 31 2013 08:38 PM
DENISE OTIS from Manhattan

Thank you so much for Bach 360. The last 10 days have been such a joy. And I do hope you will do it again next year, even if you don't do such a total immersion.
I can't remember when I first heard Bach, but one of the high points in my life was singing the B Minor Mass with the Boston Symphony under Koussevitsky as a member of the chorus when I was in college.

Mar. 31 2013 08:13 PM
Andrew Alexander from Harrodsburg, KY, USA

Thank you WQXR for playing the music of JS Bach. Thanks to Arnold Blackburn and Wolfgang Hofmann and others I have a greater understanding of who JS Bach was, what he did, and the music he left us. There are some Lutherans who call JS Bach the "Fifth Evangelist" with whom I agree. There are places in his music where I think JS Bach can only be talking to God. Whether singing or playing his music there is always something to learn. In short: "You never outgrow your need for Bach."

Mar. 31 2013 08:04 PM
Steve Lewent from New York City

Bach has long been No. 1 with me, so I have really enjoyed Bach 360. I am impressed and delighted that WQXR had the daring to actually do it! (But who else?) I echo the suggestion of making it an annual event, but how about an all-Bach webstream, to go along with the others you have set up? I might not listen to it full time, but to have Bach always available would be perfect for those occasions when the radio isn't offering quite the right thing.

Mar. 31 2013 05:10 PM
Robert from NYC

My Bach: Actually my first introduction to Bach was playing a couple of the two-part inventions as a young student of piano. I just enjoyed playing them so much and as much as I was not so enthused about practicing much as a child I always loved playing these two pieces. Then at age 14 I saw an ad in a magazine to join the Columbia Record Club and one of the introductory selections to choose 6 for the price of one (then $4.95 / album) was *Bach at Zwolle* with album cover photo of E. Power Biggs facing the camera and sitting at but with his back to the console of St. Michael's Church in Zwolle, Netherlands. I was just blown away at the 4 manuals and draw knobs with carved in wood heads. I had to have that album and ordered it. It is still one of my favorites with my still favorite rendition of the St Anne P&F. I knew nothing about organs other than I would hear one in church-when I went. So when my brother asked why there were so many keys I told him the organ is tuned in 1/4 tones unlike the piano which is tuned in 1/2 tones, LOL, a totally fabricated assumption, that I believed true. Anyway, it was this album that inspired me to study organ. I still have the album and recommend it to anyone who loves the organ but not familiar with the album. I've tried to find it on disc and wrote Columbia but most of those earlier masters of Biggs were destroyed and gone forever. But I've seen the album a month ago offered on eBay. In particular listen to the St Anne's, I think you'll agree it's still the best rendition of the piece. I adore BACH. Burt Bach-a-rock is cool.

Mar. 31 2013 01:30 PM
Nina from Washington Heights

Thank you for this wonderful gift.

Mar. 31 2013 12:20 PM
Mary Humphrey from Mamaroneck, NY

My husband and I will be married fifty years in 2013. We took the choice of music for our wedding very seriously. For the processional we chose "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" instead of the more traditional "Here Comes the Bride." Whenever I hear the Bach I am reminded of our special day.

Mar. 29 2013 07:02 PM
Susan Schwartz-Giblin, PhD from New York, NY 10075

Thank you for your wonderful contribution to March radio listening. I love waking up earlier than usual, just to turn on WQXR for Bach 360. However, I wonder why I haven't heard Rosalyn Tureck's piano and/or harpsichord discs? One of my most extraordinary Bach memories was hearing Rosalyn Tureck playing The Goldberg Variations first on harpsichord and then after a dinner break, on piano at Carnegie. She was a true Bach scholar and wonderful keyboard performer. Was she missing ... or did I just miss her?

Mar. 29 2013 11:01 AM
Mary Heller from Poughkeepsie

Thank you for "Bach to Bach" music these 10 days! I am wondering if you have in the WQXR files "Play Bach Jazz" by the Jacques Loussier Trio, with Jacques Loussier on piano, Christian Garros on drums and Pierre Michelot on bass. We have 3 volumns, on a London LP label, recorded in England for Decca Records. It is a lot of fun to hear Bach in the jazz mode!

Mar. 27 2013 10:32 PM
R Vecchione from New York

This has been absolutely outstanding! I would love to buy the entire set of the WQXR presentation. Brilliantly done!

Mar. 27 2013 09:06 AM
Coralyn Gorlicki from Edison, NJ

Because I was born on March 21 I receive a special gift every year on that day. I get to hear a lot of Bach's music then since he was also born on that day; WQXR always plays the music of the "Birthday Boy" on his birthday. This year I get a special treat as they are playing Bach's music for eleven days! He is one of my favorite composers.

Mar. 26 2013 09:18 PM

Too much of a good thing can be awfully boring.

Mar. 26 2013 08:59 PM
Stuart McCalley, MD from Greenwich, CT

I have been listening to WQXR Bach 360 non-stop since last Thursday. I feel as though my soul has taken wings as this music fills my days. Now back at work after a long weekend of Bach, I still manage to keep it in the background. I am particularly fond of the B minor Mass and of his organ preludes and fugues. Many years ago I was taken by the words of Dr. Lewis Thomas, a physician, scientist and scholar who wrote inciteful essays in the New England Journal of Medicine on everything from DNA to Bach. He said that the best way for us to send out signals to other galaxies was to play Bach on the Voyager satellite as it hurled farther and farther into space. What could be more a more perfect way of telling other beings what humans are capable of doing!

Mar. 25 2013 05:20 PM
Kenneth FALVO from Delray Beach Florida

Air, water, sunlight, and Glenn Gould playing the Well Tempered Clavier-the Essentials of Life.

Mar. 25 2013 02:34 PM
Bob Pliskin from White Plains, NY

It was during the summer of 1952. I, who was a Pfc stationed outside of Stuttgart, had gone to visit a friend who was studying medicine in Geneva. One night, we went to a concert by L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande given on an evening, in a courtyard in Geneva’s Vielle Ville. The concert was of two Brandenburg Concertos, one of which was the fourth. I felt as if the music was lofting me up into the sky as it circled upward in the courtyard.

Mar. 24 2013 01:04 PM
Martin Gliserman from Highland Park, NJ

Silvan Tomkins (a psychologist) talks about "affluence scripts" and says they involve things that "promise and deliver intense and/or enduring positive affects of excitement or enjoyment. These script the sources of the individual's zest for life." Bach is an "affluence script" for me--from the single keyboard works to the B minor to the Musical Offering. I discovered the Well-Tempered Clavier first year in college and this would be the fiftieth year being always amazed, soothed, awed, moved. Thanks for these rich days of Bach.

Mar. 22 2013 11:24 PM

Happy Birthday to "The Great One"

Mar. 22 2013 08:55 PM
Anita Hollander from Manhattan

A few years back I played a role in an independent film who never spoke, but spent the whole film playing Bach's Prelude #1 in C on piano. I had to learn it well, because I was to spend the entire shoot playing the piece over and over again while acting through the music - and being shot from every possible angle. It was the most amazing experience I ever had acting, playing piano and getting to know that wonderful Bach composition.

Thanks for this wonderful programming!

Mar. 22 2013 03:45 PM
Marianne and Celtic Creme from Nutley, NJ

Celtic Creme, Celtie to all of her friends, furry and the like is a 10 lb. PoOdle who was raised on Bach and others. When we were fortunate enough to bring Celtie into our lives as a puppy, my gosh, we had to go to work so we could feed her; I would leave WQXR on the radio for her to listen to all day till I arrived home at 6:45pm.

I worked 'on the air' in radio but the type of format I played was 'kind of jumpin'. I played adult standards and Big Band music and being that it was on a medium market station, there was a tendency for some static to stream through the signal. That would've bothered her so I would put WQXR on and she loved it, in fact, she still loves it 'Bach to Bach', Oops ~ back to back!

So thank you WQXR for all the music and joy that you bring to us and to our furry friends. Thank you for reading this and now, Bach to Bach, I mean back to Bach...hmmmmm.

Mar. 22 2013 10:08 AM
Jen from Willimantic, CT

I studied music in college so when it came for my husband and I to get married, he left it up to me to select the music for our wedding. Of course, Pachelbel's Canon in D is very popular and I chose that for the bridal party's entrance. However, for the bride's (that would be me) entrance, I chose Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. To me, it is a very wholesome piece, and perhaps our human's (Bach's) attempt to similate god. When ever I hear it, I can't help myself from smiling and have a sense of fullfilment. Could not have picked better music to walk down the aisle.

Mar. 22 2013 09:31 AM
Claire from New Jersey

In the mid-60s, when I was 15 or 16, my neighbor Phyllis K.--a teacher in Hillsdale, NJ--gave me a vinyl 33 rpm of the Goldberg Variations. My mother loved classical music but her passions were opera and the classical era or later--I had never been really exposed to Bach. This record changed my life--I listened to it for hours--and gave me a lifelong passion for baroque and earlier music. Phyllis, thank you if you are out there!

Mar. 21 2013 10:43 PM
Pablo from Manhattan

I discovered Bach when I was a child and my father was hearing his work through Walter(then Wendy)Carlos in a fantastic recording of synthesizer, then came the rest and infinite genial work.....what can be said...inspiring, poetic....mathematical, rythmic, universal!!!!

Mar. 21 2013 06:10 AM
Rick Kurdach from Central Jersey

I am a guitarist; not the best out there; somewhere in the intermediary and not always drawn to classical. When I first discovered the Bourees and the guitar transcriptions, they became my inspiration. Listening to J Williams & S Isbin helped with timing, phrasing and they are a joy to play and provides me with happiness and I only hope I'm doing Bach justice when I play them for friends. I found an arrangement of Air on the G String and am always praticing it. Nothing tops this beautiful piece for inner peace.

Mar. 20 2013 11:08 AM

Two Words from the episode M*A*S*H:

"Ah, Bach!"

Mar. 19 2013 04:01 PM
Birgit Matzerath from Maplewood, NJ

I’ve had excellent experiences with Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier as a support in difficult times. Book 1 was my companion throughout the immigration process from Germany to the US, Book 2 has been my companion through the first years as an independent musician and private teacher.
Currently, I’m taking people in my community on a “listening journey” through Book 2 - we started in February with an introductory lecture, and have been meeting every other Sunday morning at the Ethical Culture Society In Maplewood, NJ for a mini-recital, where I play four Preludes and Fugues at a time. In between the recitals, I encourage people to listen to the pieces, and simply see what the music does for them.
Bach has a way of creating order out of chaos, of resolving conflict, of balancing differences that one can feel, even if one does not know in every detail how he does it. I’ve heard more than one person say that they can feel its beneficial impact
We have two mini recitals left, 3/31 and 4/14, and the project will end with a performance of the entire work on Sat April 20th.
Information can be found at the website of the Ethical Culture Society:, and on my blog, “Music, Life and other Challenges”

Mar. 19 2013 03:24 PM
Barbara Pearl from New York

I played the piano from the ages of 6 to 70 when my arthritis intervened. I first heard Bach's Italian Concerto in high school when it was played on my date's car radio. I fell in love with it immediately but it didn't occur to me that such a piece was something I might be able to play. Several years later a friend mentioned that he was working on it. That was the germ of the idea to play it myself, which I eventually did. I must admit that I never played it well, but I still love it.

Mar. 18 2013 07:07 PM
vinnie from Poughkeepsie

It is no wonder that Douglas Hofstadter chose to discuss Bach in his Pulitzer Prize winning book "Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid".
A mathematician, an artist and a composer who clearly understood the intricate beauty of their art. As I play Bach on my piano, I smile, I laugh, I cry and I sigh. As you humbly recognize more and more of his secrets, you only wonder how much more you still don't understand....

Mar. 16 2013 04:39 PM
Mary Jenkins from NYC

I've always loved choral singing and the first of Bach's major works I had the privilege to sing was probably the most challenging: the B Minor Mass during my freshman year in college. This was in 1956, before the work was ever done by the NY Philharmonic. Since then, I've sung the St. Matthew Passion, the St. John's Passion, the Christmas Oratorio and several cantatas. His work provides the greatest of musical and spiritual experiences.

Mar. 15 2013 06:07 PM
Hannah Reimann from New York, NY

JS Bach means a lot to my family. My grandfather played Bach, my Dad played Bach, my sister plays Bach, I play Bach and I would like all of my students to play Bach on the piano. Many have and do which fills me with joy. My Dad taught me my first Minuets and I pass those onto them. One of my favorite teachers, Kenneth Cooper, is an expert at playing Bach. Everyone should hear him interpret Bach's work and improvise -- what a thrill.

Please see the following short excerpt from my feature film,"My Father's House," during which, when I ask my Dad what his relationship to music is, he says,"It's Bach und Bach und Bach."

Mar. 14 2013 11:44 PM
John Beasley from New York

Many years ago, still early in my develoment as a singer, I was a member of a chamber choir in Winston-Salem (which still exists), Piedmont Chamber Singers, then under the direction of Donald Armitage, a marvelously sensitive conductor and organist then based at First Presbyterian Church. One of our concerts included Cantata 21 with its transcendently jubilitory fugal final chorus. During that performance, the gates of heaven opened for me, as it were. It changed my musical life forever.

Mar. 14 2013 11:10 AM
graham barkham

As someone who came late to classical music, at the beginning I tended to compare what I heard on QXR to the rock and song book music I love. Now, due mainly to an appreciation of JS Bach and some other composers, there isn't much room in my life for music other than classical music. My favorite JS Bach piece is the 6th Brandenburg concerto, though I will be almost as happy to hear any of the violin concerti or any of the cello suites.

Mar. 14 2013 10:19 AM
Susan Sukovich from Cranford, NJ

When I was very young and singing in the combined church choir on holidays, I used to find myself squeezed in next to the organ in the choir loft. Our organist was a large man with rather thick hands- not the kind usually associated with keyboards- and a round face, much like JS Bach. At the end of one service he began playing the most wonderful postlude I ever heard. As I peeked around the corner to see the music I noticed the page was black with notes- more than I had ever seen in all of my years of piano lessons. And then I realized he was playing without turning the pages- stops, multiple keyboards, feet, thick hands and a heavy name bracelet hanging off his wrist. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen or heard. It was of course a piece by JS Bach, and I have been hooked ever since.

Mar. 14 2013 09:58 AM
Mary Frances from NYC

And so what about those of us who really dislike Bach? It will be ten days of torture - much like ten days of fundraising.

Mar. 11 2013 06:51 PM
Robert Marcus from Brooklyn, NY

I would love for all my listener colleagues to hear Bach's Magnificat as conducted by the the young Daniel Barenboim, With Janet Baker, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Robert Tear. This is a performance filled with gusto and bravado. I think, then as now, Barenboim is amongst the best choral conductors around. Words are clear and the tempi magnificently on the move.

Mar. 10 2013 07:36 PM
Robert P. Odenweller from Bernardsville, NJ

Bach is my desert-island composer. Your 10-day Bach around the clock should be adequate explanation of why. His experimentation with music plumbed the depths of modes and the well-tempered nature of the Western scales. One can only wonder how many more days of music we would add to those ten if the sheet music left over after his death had been preserved rather than used to wrap fish. My time machine fantasy would be to intercept those pages, but that idea has already been preempted years ago by another.
My favorite of all time is The Goldberg Variations. When I go on a long trip, Andras Schiff’s is the first to go into the CD player, and it eases the driving even when traffic or weather intervene. Thus far, I prefer Schiff’s as the best I’ve heard, although I’ve been told that Rosalyn Tureck’s is wonderful, and I’ll be getting hers to add to my collection. Glenn Gould’s is mannered and quirky, and tolerable on occasion. My least favorite is Simone Dinnerstein, who is technically strong, but needs about ten years to add something of her soul to it. I’d be intrigued to see if Stephen Hough might take it on; it is a bit distant from his usual repertoire, but I would trust him to make a sound analysis of it, and his ability to interpret it expertly is a given.
Over the years I had the privilege to sing a lot of Bach, including the Mass in B Minor and solo parts in the St. Matthew Passion, with my active period being between 1952 and 1980. My daughter continues at a far higher level than I ever aspired to, being both an active operatic soprano and having her “own” baroque group in Venice, Italy, the Venetia Antiqua Ensemble. She, along with seven instrumentalists, all of whom are selected from the Venice Baroque Orchestra and play on period pieces, has a new season of concerts in Venice this year.
I’ll look forward to staying tuned for the duration.

Mar. 10 2013 02:47 PM

Dear WQXR - thank you so much for this! I can't wait. Please can you make this an annual event ?

Mar. 08 2013 07:22 PM
Olivia from NYC

I am SO excited for this...which made me realize what a geek I am! ;)
Bach now and forever!

Mar. 07 2013 05:28 PM

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