Mr. Cope's Cave: Bach In The Day... 

I need some music. I haven't had nearly enough lately. Anymore, sometimes I go for days without music. And after awhile, I can feel it. Sort of a gnawing, empty spot in my whatever-it-is that feeds off music. I start to wonder what's wrong with me. Why am I so sad? Why am I so grouchy? Why am I so unanchored... amorphous... angsty? 

Then I get it. I need some music.

And I mean the real stuff. The stuff that reminds us how remarkable men and women can be when they're not being dumb. When they're not spouting political nonsense. Or religious nonsense. Or doing anything advertisements tell them they ought to be doing. Or playing with their shiny, moving-picture devices. Or gorging on anything from Carl's Jr. Or following Taylor Swift's Tweets. Or being absorbed into themselves like some sort of desperate, drifting jellyfish who can find nothing to feed on but its own gelatinous substance.

I mean the sort of music that men and women create to add more beauty to the world, more structure and reason and transcendence and poetry to our existence. The sort of music that Bach wrote. J. S. Bach, or as we called him back in aspiring musicians' school, "good ol' Johann."

Tell you what... there has been very little new added to music since Bach. Virtually anything you hear, from movie scores to whatever they play in Viagra commercials to Lollapalooza to the simple little ditty you can't get out of your head, Bach did first. Before Bach, all was boring. Bach was to music what the Enlightenment was to civilization. What Shakespeare was to literature. What Apollo 11 was to space exploration.

Look, I admit it's a gross exaggeration to say Bach invented music, but I'll say it anyway. Bach invented music. And he invented a lot of it. If you strung all the notes Bach wrote end-to-end like pearls on a gold chain, it would reach from... oh hell, I have no damn idea how far it would reach. But it'd be a long, long ways, trust me.

He wrote so many things that could be my favorite Bach composition, I gave up decades ago trying to pick which was my favorite Bach composition. The one I'm picking for today is a contender, for sure—the first unaccompanied cello suite. It's miraculous to me how much music good ol' Johann packed into this music, one note at a time.

This rendition is by Mischa Maisky. I'd never heard of him before, but I prefer his version to Rostopovich's. And if you've ever been through aspiring musicians' school, you know that's saying something.

Also, it appears that, after Maisky is through with the first suite, the video goes on to Yo Yo Ma playing all six cello suites. If you have the time, let it roll. They're all good. Trust me.

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