Last words of Bach, true or myth?
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,027
    Anybody know about the veracity of this?
    "Don't cry for me, for I go to where music is born".
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  • Liam
    Posts: 3,577
    Well, since those were unlikely to be his actual last words, being English, doing a search for "Weine nicht um mich, denn ich gehe dorthin, wo Musik geboren wird" gives thin results - even "wo Musik geboren wird" yields nothing definitive so far as I can see.

    That's hardly dispositive, but it is perhaps indicative.

    Of course, someone who has the sense of the the original German cognate might have been might do a more indicative search.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,143
    This entry hints that a certain scepticism might be in order.
  • This reminds me of Bohler's depiction (shown below) of Bruckner entering Heaven. His old pals Liszt and Wagner are the first to greet the Jolly Austrian with open arms; Schubert, Schumann, and Weber are still a bit confused as to where they are; Mozart (the life of the party) is gossiping with Beethoven, Gluck, and Haydn about which of their fellow musicians has just joined them; Handel lords over it all with benign pontifications.

    But Bach? Just keeps pluggin' away on the Heavenly Organ. Like it's his thing. No biggie.
    1159 x 900 - 273K
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  • Liam
    Posts: 3,577
    Bach is playing for Palestrina, Victoria, Lassus, Byrd, Tallis, Josquin et al., whose reaction goes unrecorded as they are too busy singing. Not necessarily accompanied by Bach...
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,143
    Then there is this version, which does at least have a named author.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,577
    Well, probably not rhymed metrical English:

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/14/bachs-deathbed-chorale/
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,026
    dedcbabd
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,027
    Hmm, seems to me nothing really definitive about this. I must say, it does seem something that Back MIGHT say...
    Whoever said it, it's not bad for last words...
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,640
    I thought he might have said, " You know, I always hated that mixture."
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Charles,

    No. Just before he died, he said, 'Apres moi, la periode Classique"
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,013
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    Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden,
    So scheide nicht von mir,
    Wenn ich den Tod soll leiden,
    So tritt du denn herfür!
    Wenn mir am allerbängsten
    Wird um das Herze sein,
    So reiß mich aus den Ängsten
    Kraft deiner Angst und Pein!

    When I one day must leave here,
    Yet do thou not leave me;
    When I my death must suffer,
    Come forth thou then to me!
    And when most anxious trembling
    Have once my heart possessed,
    Then free me from my anguish
    Through thine own fear and pain!
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,013
    Or this ... which chorale always brings a brook (Bach) of tears streaming down my face ... my favourite Bach chorale, from the St John Passion, which contains the very best of Bach's chorale writing.

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    Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein
    Am letzten End die Seele mein
    In Abrahams Schoß tragen,
    Den Leib in seim Schlafkämmerlein
    Gar sanft ohn eigne Qual und Pein
    Ruhn bis am jüngsten Tage!
    Alsdenn vom Tod erwecke mich,
    Dass meine Augen sehen dich
    In aller Freud, o Gottes Sohn,
    Mein Heiland und Genadenthron!
    Herr Jesu Christ, erhöre mich,
    Ich will dich preisen ewiglich!

    Ah Lord, let thine own angels dear
    At my last hour my spirit bear
    To Abraham's own bosom,
    My body in its simple bed
    In peace without distress and dread
    Rest till the day of judgment!
    And then from death awaken me,
    That with mine eyes I may see thee
    In fullest joy, O God's own Son,
    My Savior and my gracious throne!
    Lord Jesus Christ, give ear to me,
    I would thee praise eternally!
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,577
    Chuck

    Likewise for me for that chorale. Supernal is almost insufficient to describe it, particularly after all that precedes it. I sense it (were one to compare it to Michelangelo's Creation of Adam) as an aural reverse touch from Adam to God, not of creation, but of utterly humble and hopeful entrustment in glorification.
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  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,013
    In about two months, it will be 50 years since I first sang the St John Passion (and hence the chorale), with the then Oratorio Society of Charlottesville-Albemarle (now the Oratorio Society of Virginia), under its founding director Charles C. Bradley, Jr. I sang the role of Pilate, which I sang from the chorus. The experience, especially the concluding chorale, marked a transformation in my life, which would soon undergo many changes and challenges.
  • I don't know his last words, but it is said that he dictated the organ chorale, Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit (BWV 668), from his deathbed. I always play it at funerals.
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  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,027
    Unfortunately that has been shown to be a myth. C.PE. added it to the art of the fugue to sell it.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • CGM
    Posts: 430
    For more about BWV 668, see here. The author concludes,
    What is actually now understood to be the case is that BWV668a was a piece that was just lying around (Bach was an inveterate re-worker of old material), which Bach decided to put more work into as he lay dying, meaning that although it was not composed out of nowhere, it was still the very last thing that he worked on, and thus a significant artistic statement.

    For slightly more about its incongruous inclusion in The Art of the Fugue, see here.
  • Illuminating, CGM - many thanks.