Bach’s Life & Work on BBC4

Johann Sebastian Bach has long been called "the fifth evangelist", his music displaying a sense of fervent devotion to the biblical texts he set. His ambition to compose vast cycles of sacred music for every feast in the church year, has left us with over 200 cantatas as well as magnificent choral works including the St. John and St. Matthew Passion, Christmas Oratorio and B Minor Mass. He is heralded as one of the greatest composers of all time, his music finding a place within the hearts and souls of all those who experience it.

But who was the man behind the music? What did he think, feel and believe? What inspired him and what drove him to write such ground-breaking compositions?

Professor John Butt, Bach scholar and director of the Dunedin Consort explores Bach's life and work. He considers the composer's motivation and his character speaking to composers and musicians in order to delve into Bach's personality and purpose. Gathering together the evidence available to us today, he attempts to reconstruct something of this musical great in all his complexity; this man who revolutionised the music of his time but, all the while, looked beyond, dedicating each composition "to the glory of God alone".

Listen to the programme on the BBC website.

Cantairí Avondale will be performing Bach's Jesu Meine Freude BWV 227 in this year’s Summer Concert on Sunday May 13th, at Belfield Church, UCD.