Kent Nagano discovers Bach
The first chord hits me with full force, bouncing off the walls of the nave and filling the entire space within seconds. That chord, which so abruptly emanates from the organ, is potent, powerful, majestic. Nothing remains untouched by it; everyone can hear and feel it. My whole body feels it.
The vast space seems to resonate. That first sound penetrates deep into the farthest corner of the church, instantly charging the building with its tremendous energy, straining it to bursting point.
All of a sudden, a single voice separates itself, escapes the tension of that stunning chord, seems to run away from that group of notes, returns and beckons the next. That one, deeper, follows it. They chase each other, unite and part again. Suddenly, a third voice rings out. I gasp for air.
What’s this? I hear a play, a conversation. Sometimes like a chat, then again like serious talk. I now think back to that time, remembering that first chord, which shook me so deeply half a century ago. I see myself in our own church as a child, around five years of age and completely under the spell of that configuration of tones. It is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Kent Nagano will be conferred at a special ceremony.