Johann S. Bach was born 236 years ago yesterday. People talk about the genius of Mozart (especially after Amadeus) but think about Bach: Such a talented performer another organist heard him practicing for a competition and ran away; a man who composed a cantata a week for nearly 30 years in Leipzig; and a teacher who wrote student exercises that were legit masterpieces.

To wit:

This one was ostensibly to teach passage work in the violin but it is a glorious example of making a single-line instrument sound contrapuntal. Also, it sounds like springtime.

(Salt Lake City peeps can hear one of my favorite big Bach works this Saturday at the local cathedral: The St. Matthew Passion. If you’re here, you should really go–a church is this piece’s element more than a concert hall.)