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June 8, 2005
Vol. V, No. 13

"Get Bach!"
I would tell you about the previously unknown Bach aria that's been discovered in Germany but you probably already know about it because it was all over the mainstream media today. It was on ABC. It was on CNN. It was on the local Fox affiliate, for gosh sakes. Why don't they mind their own business. Don't they know there's a war on? When the Downing Street Memo was uncovered, did I send out a Rampage announcing it could lead to President Bush's impeachment? No, I was reporting on the rediscovery of Bach's tuning system. How did it come to this -- scooped by USA Today!

Back in the days before I started, the Internet was a very different place. There were websites that listed Bach's works and there were plenty of web pages with MIDI versions of Bach's works but there wasn't much discussion about Bach. What there was sounded pretty high-brow -- intimidating, condescending and sometimes downright mean. For sure, there didn't appear to be any room for humor. In fact, I remember one poor guy who innocently posted a Bach joke on a website and was subsequently castigated up and down the web for daring to post a joke about Bach. What would happen, the joker's detractors asked in horror, if someone mistook this joke for actual information about Bach!

Since the birth of four years ago, the Internet and things in general have changed a great deal: websites dedicated to Bach abound with much more humane discussions about his music and hey, the Old Man's making headlines around the world. I wish I could take all the credit but all I can say is I was there.

With things going so well, you might think I'd be tempted to hang up my keyboard. Unfortunately, wherever people are trying to do some good, you can be sure there are others working against them. I could point you to any number of websites today that insist that Bach wasn't so great or that he was a product of his influences and nothing more. And still no sense of humor. There was an article recently on Bach's Prelude and Fugue in E Minor. The E Minor is a great little piece of craftsmanship and deserves to be played and written about but honest to goodness, halfway through that article I wanted to shoot myself. If you want to get people enthusiastic about a subject, you can't bore them to death.

Putting someone on a pedestal is generally considered a bad thing. Not so with composers. We put them on pedestals all the time, especially the great ones. But seriously, I'm not sure it's a good thing and no composer has ever been put on a higher pedestal than Bach. For years, I actually avoided learning most of his works because I was intimidated by his reputation, or rather, the people who guarded it.

After I spent some quality time with Bach's organ works, I discovered a secret that I knew I had to share with as many people as possible. That secret was that Bach is perhaps the most accessible composer who has ever lived and that anyone who wants to can play his music. When I created, I wasn't a Bach scholar. I was just a guy who enjoyed playing the organ works of Bach. I wanted to let people know that, like me, they could take Bach down off the too-high pedestal created by others and put him up on one of their own creation.

I've stuck to my business for the past four years. Too bad the mainstream media can't stick to theirs.

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Updated Pages
Articles Library:
Added is "In the footsteps of the young Johann Sebastian Bach" by Aldo J. Baggia, The Diapason, July 2001. "Following Bach's footsteps in the northwestern part of Thüringen proved to be an interesting experience, because it showed how attached he was to the area. The ancestors of his family lived in Wechmar, a very small village forty kilometers from Eisenach. Veit Bach, the great-great-grandfather of Johann Sebastian, established his home there in the sixteenth century after having left Hungary because of religious persecution. Along with his son, Hans, he owned a bakery and a mill; the ancestral home is a half-timbered house, now a museum, with ample cooking space suitable for a baker. The house is in the heart of the village and is now its focal point as well."

RAMPAGE FLASHBACK (It was four years ago today, about)
Getting Religion – May 31, 2001
This week I'd like to share with you an article that appeared on May 20th in the New York Times. Written by author Bernard D. Sherman, the article is entitled "Coming to Fresh Terms with the Sacred in Bach."
Click the following link for more:

Support our BLOGgers and be sure to leave a comment or two! The link below leads to the main BLOG page and the links below that lead to the individual BLOGs. If you are interested in contributing by writing your own BLOG, please reply to this email.

Susan Burkhalter
"ORGANISTS' NEWS" - INSTEAD OF BLENDED SERVICES, WHY NOT EDUCATE OUR YOUNGER PEOPLE? There were several good letters on this topic in The American Organist’s May issue, including one from Wayne Earnest. But before I begin...
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Victor Frost
"V 05" - Continuing my discussion of organ works from my pen available here
for free download. The discussion about my opus 24 Preludes began last month (the...
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Vic Kovacs
"That Easter Day With Joy Was Bright" - These words are taken from my opening hymn on Easter morning. I apologize for not writing sooner, but things were very hectic recently. The organ was repaired despite lots of trouble between me and the staff/vestry of the church. My music preparations were...
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Dan Long
"Practice Update (6/2/05)" - Progress on the D Minor Fugue (BWV 539) has been great. I've made it back to the beginning of the last line on the first page. The first two pages are really dense – not much fluff. It's no wonder that I had trouble getting through this piece – it's tougher...
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Peter Stapleton
"The New Int'l Competition for Old Organists" - The New International Competition for Old Organists
C.J. Young, Free-lance gerontologist, Boston Massachusetts
It’s all very well to hand out scholarships and prizes to young organists. But what about the old organists?
First, consider that....
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Have a great week!

Dan Long

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