I enjoyed a live performance of Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp last evening. Regarded as one of the most influential composers of the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries, Debussy (1862-1918) was influenced by many composers who came before him, including J.S. Bach. Some researchers say that Debussy structured parts of his music mathematically, as Bach was known to do.
Here are Debussy’s comments on Bach: “And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity — on each page we discover things which we thought were born only yesterday, from delightful arabesques to an overflowing of religious feeling greater than anything we have since discovered. And in his works we will search in vain for anything the least lacking in good taste.”