Yoshizen's Blog

J. S. Bach — Helmut Walcha

One morning,  when I was drifting, I heard a pipe organ music of  J.S. Bach, in the back of a TV drama.

Then,  I decided to go west to listen the sound of original instrument in the original acoustic environment.

Before, I was an enthusiast of  Baroque music, especially Bach’s organ Music.  So, I made a long list of the church and the name of the town where the recording was made for the German Gramophone Archive Record.

Then I took a ship to Siberia, Russia.  When the ship left Yokohama Port, I saw off  Japan  with my eyes getting fuzzier as it may be the last time to see her ever again.


After long journey through frozen land scape of Russia, I reached to  Helsinki, Finland.  The Helsinki Cathedral was my starting point of 100 of the church organ pilgrimage, covering many famous Alp Schnitger, Silbermann organs etc.    (The beauty of this plan was, if we go to the Church on  Sunday, there is the organ music played on, could be 300 years old original instrument, in the unique acoustic of the church. Free of charge.—- On top of this, many organ concerts, festivals held there)


Then I came across a charity concert of  Bach’s organ music to help restoration of old organ in Frankfurt.  The Organist was the most famous organist Prof; Helmut Walcha,  whose recording captured me into Bach’s organ music. (Prof; Walcha is a blind man, thus he played hundreds of organ music just from his memory)

Before concert start I was talking with a man sat next of me, about the different sound of each organ all over the Europe, since it was nearly the end of my journey,  I had covered most of the famous organs already.

The man was rather surprised of my journey, and he took me up  to organ booth and introduced me to the organist, Prof; Walcha  himself. ——- the man was the Manager of  Prof; Walcha.  ( Can you believe such a lucky coincidence.  ! )

Prof; Walcha talked about a tour of Japan and his friend, Musicologist Keisei Sakka.   And I had happened to attend a special  lecture by Prof; Sakka about the evolution of  Music Tonal System as a part of my Sociological study.  ( Tonal System evolved under the Christian monastic life and their Protestant Ethos of the devotion of the own life to perfect it — unlike a superficial glorification in the Catholic church, where how much gold was used to decorate the organ was the matter, but in the Protestant church, how three sounds of Trinity harmonize perfect was the matter. ) —– (I wrote about how Natural Tonal System was created.)

———-It was the incredibly lucky coincidence to fulfill my pilgrimage.

And it made one of the best moment of my whole life. What I could ask more.


Some ignorant criticize Bach’s music, saying that they are too abstract, even mechanical.   In fact it was the self confession of how he is ignorant and having no ear to appreciate the music.  Under the most strict rules of such as the Fugue, still able to create such soul-shaking striking music is the work of nothing but the genius. ——– Achieve  total freedom under the strict rules, is the Zen.

Unlike Romantic School’s sticky emotional melody,  Polyphonic Baroque Music, especially Bach’s music can eliminate the thought.  (Rather constant rhythm / no syncopation, and three-part polyphonic keeps waving complex tonal pictures,  which  refuses our own imagination —– makes us just listen the sound, not a story or any notion—– yet it gave us very comfortable relaxed feeling)

It’s suite to the Zenist.


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