"No man ever steps in the same river twice" (Heraclitus)


If you ask a musically educated Central European who the greatest composer of all time is, the name Johann Sebastian Bach almost always comes up.

When asked to name great composers, the names Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and others come up.

Only a few insiders mention Monteverdi and Verdi and Debussy.

What is the reason that Bach stands above all others?

The reason seems multifaceted when you consider that Bach has more in common with Schubert, Mahler and especially Debussy than with Mozart and Beethoven.

All these heroes touch each other in their creative work, and they touch us with their creative work.

They differ from each other in their distance from different poles of human thought, just as planets move at different distances from different solar systems.

An OPEN SPACE, what is that?

From the perspective of the sad human being, the universe is an OPEN SPACE without tangible boundaries.

This being lost seems to me the basic constant of human emotionality and its guided and misguided activity.

Debussy's music creates a mirror image of this infinite space. It invites us to enter and feel the infinite space.

Monteverdi's music fills this space with erotic and at times religious passion and relies on this passion to instil meaning into the space.

Mozart and Beethoven, on the other hand, try to explain this space to us, to justify it in its causality. Space becomes a teaching piece, a pedagogical object.

If we consider that man feels completely lost in the face of the infinity of the universe, it explains why he follows Mozart's and Beethoven's didactic pieces passionately, but in the end does not experience any redemption from them.

It explains why Schubert's music is so close to the struggling human being. It shows man that he is not alone in his grief.

Debussy's music turns to the courageous. It invites us to enter the open space and fill it with passion and desire. Perhaps this quality makes Debussy the most important composer in Europe.

But there is also Johann Sebastian Bach's music.

It doesn't just invite you into infinite space - as Debussy's music does. Nor does it fill the space with fervent passion like Monteverdi's music.

Bach's music comforts. It lets people feel the infinite space, invites the human heart, which is terrified of the cold empty universe, to surrender fearlessly. It gives man the illusion of being secure in an infinite coldness.

Mozart and Beethoven are connected with people and their emotions.

Monteverdi, Schubert and Mahler transcend these emotions.

Debussy's music opens the space to the universe.

Bach's music gives us confidence and peace on this journey.

He makes it with his divinity. I understand it without knowing a God.