A tale of passion and obsession from a philosophy professor who learns to play Bach on the piano as an adult.
Dan Moller grew up listening to heavy metal in teh Boston suburbs. But one day, something shifted when he dug out his mother's record of The Art of the Fugue, inexplicably wedged between ABBA's greatest hits and Kenny Rogers. Moller was fixated on Bach ever since.
In The Way of Bach, he draws us into fresh and often improbably hilarious things about Bach and his music. Did you know the Goldberg Variations contain a song about his mom cooking too much cabbage?
Just what is so special about Bach’s music? Why does it continue to resonate even today? What can modern Americans—steeped in pop culture—can learn from European craftsmanship? And, because it is Bach, why do some people see a connection between music and God?
By turn witty and though-provoking, Moller infuses The Way of Bach with philosophical considerations about how music and art enable us to contemplate life's biggest questions.
Moller, a philosophy professor, meticulously details his attempts at a long-held dream of playing Bach's Fugue in C Minor, a desire that came over him "one night... like a sickness." He dove into the task, but began suffering neurological problems and carpal tunnel syndrome in his arms and hands, then eventually adjusted his body to continue playing. Yet, when he heard himself recorded, he was taken aback to discover he was off tempo, and struck by "the way hearing our own alien-sounding voice on a recording can be, or the way overhearing our friends talking about us can jolt us to our core." The narrative weaves in and out of Moller's struggles, while relating a history of Bach and his contemporaries, detailing Moller's obsession with the composer through a dissection of Bach's intricate notations, and contemplating the nature of genius and musical craftsmanship. Moller offers insight into what makes Bach's style and execution so unique, and delves into Bach as a family man and conflicted composer. Rather than success in the end, he finds "there was a perverse, existential joy in having a fixed direction but no terminus." Classical aficionados and students will applaud this sincere account of grappling with the greats.