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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Miracles Of Bach

I first listened to Bach's partita number 2 for solo violin about 35 years ago. I never heard it played like this, however.

Around the year 1720, God spoke to Johann Sebastian Bach, and out came the partitas. 277 years later, the God did the same again, with Hilary Hahn, and out came her playing of the music. That's how it seems to me, at least.

Visitors to Pale Green Vortex will know that the word 'God' is used carefully and sparingly around here. It is a word that comes fraught with difficulty, prejudice, and misunderstanding. When it does get used hereabouts, in a positive sense at least, it does so more as a manifestation of myth and archetype, of a mystical realm, maybe, outside any literalism or dogmatism. It is Source, the root of manifestation. Its use may or may not have much to do with the way it is commonly perceived within the mainstream monotheistic religions.

Yet God is the word most appropriate for what can manifest through this piece of music in the hands of the right violinist. Bach's composition is a miracle. and, to compound the miracle, it is played by Hilary Hahn, at the age of seventeen or eighteen. Did she know what she was doing? For what she was acting as divinely-inspired vessel?

"On a visceral level, it pierces my soul": thus goes one comment on YouTube. It is a clumsy mish-mash of ideas and images; nevertheless, it approximates to my own experience of listening to Hilary Hahn playing the Bach partitas. This music is typically stark, skeleton-like, even, in keeping with Bach's composing it for one Prince Leopold, who was a no-frills Lutheran. Hilary Hahn, however, imbues it with warmth, clothes it in flesh, a wonder which goes to enhance, rather than detract from, its spiritual power. This is a miracle which, I provocatively suggest, only a woman could achieve.

So we have the superficial, the herd, the thoughtless and soul-deprived, following the trends heedlessly; those who fail to give birth to hope, as related in my previous blog piece. And we have Hilary Hahn playing Bach. Far, it seems, one from the other.

At all times, maybe, this has been the pattern. A sea of floundering beings; and, scattered amongst them, individual sparks of real inspiration, of divinity. Flashes of grace, of wonder, of connection with Source; of devotion to the Good, the True, the Beautiful. At times these rare beings can manifest more-or-less publically; at other times they need to lay low, their deeper realities lived in secret, for fear of ridicule, persecution, torture, or worse. Or they may take on a disguise, living esoterically under cover of the exoteric. Whichever, my heart goes out to the beings who embody something of the divine spirit, the world soul, the daimon, the God, the goddesses and gods. I give mighty thanks.

Find Hilary Hahn playing Bach Partita no 2 on, surprise, surprise:  www.youtube.com