Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

One of the world’s premier interpreters and conductors of Bach music is the Japanese musician Masaaki Suzuki. And he gets Bach, unlike many Westerners. I am sick and tired of discussions of Bach by secularists who do everything they can to avoid, dismiss, denigrate and intentionally ignore the fact that J.S. Bach was an orthodox Lutheran Christian. It is the height of intellectual dishonesty to do so. But not Suzuki. I was reading my friend, Pastor Weedon’s blog and he has a great post of some YouTube clips of Suzuki performing Bach and Robin Lee offered this comment [the Bach clips follow]. Note in the YouTube video Suzuki’s clear confession of Christ and the Resurrection, offered in a humble and winsome manner. There is much to learn here.

I like what Masaaki Suzuki wrote in the liner notes to the first recording of Bach Collegium Japan. Responding to the question of how the Japanese could “dare play the music of Bach”, Suzuki wrote:

”... [T]he God in whose service Bach laboured and the God I worship today are one and the same. In the sight of the God of Abraham, I believe that the two hundred years separating the time of Bach from my own day can be of little account. This conviction has brought the great composer very much closer to me. We are fellows in faith, and equally foreign in our parentage to the people of Israel, God’s people of Biblical times. Who can be said to approach more nearly the spirit of Bach: a European who does not attend church and carries his Christian cultural heritage mostly on the subconscious level, or an Asian who is active in his faith although the influence of Christianity on his national culture is small?”

More on: Music, J. S. Bach

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles