Volume VIII, Number 2
In This Issue
My purpose, in this series of articles, is to examine Bach’s relationship to Pietism in light of the new research that has been carried out in theological circles over the past two decades. Many church historians, including Peter Erb, Ernest Stoeffler, and Dale Brown, no longer describe Pietism as a separatist movement that sprang to life at the end of the seventeenth century and quickly spread throughout northern Europe, eventually reaching America. Rather, they argue, it needs to be seen as the outgrowth of a reform movement that began shortly after the Reformation and continued well into the nineteenth century. In response to this more comprehensive — some call it revisionist — view of Pietism, music historians have begun to reevaluate and reinterpret the movement’s influence on church music. In the case of J. S. Bach (1685-1750), a reappraisal is important not only because of his stature as a composer, but also because he was active as a church musician during the period in which Pietism reached its peak in Germany.
Our group of seven sees the Grand Wash Cliffs miles and hours before we get close to them. Such are the dynamics of light, air quality, and grandeur supporting our boat trip. Western light reflects tan and pink on the gray-green-white cliffs and highlights their two-tiered structure. As the easterly movement of our boats creates new visual angles, the colorful images of the cliffs are mirrored on the water's surface.