Ode to Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was pretty awesome. Awesome enough for me to own this shirt.

While I’ve always appreciated Bach for his robust theology and amazing musical ability – it was not until the weekend that I learned that Bach was a coffee snob. He wrote a cantata describing his love for the bean. The Coffee Cantata. Here’s a rough English translation of some of the lyrics:

Recitative Schlendrian
You wicked child, you disobedient girl, h! when will I get my way; give up coffee!

Lieschen
Father, don’t be so severe! f I can’t drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat.

Aria Lieschen
Mm! how sweet the coffee tastes, more delicious than a thousand kisses, mellower than muscatel wine. Coffee, coffee I must have, and if someone wishes to give me a treat, ah, then pour me out some coffee!

The piece was a moral treatise on the place of coffee in daily life. The protagonists were a father and a recalcitrant coffee addicted daughter who would not forgo her daily java. The father demanded she do so lest she forfeit the right to marry and she relents… seemingly. Although in a sub clause of sorts she indicates she’ll only marry a fellow coffee snob – sage advice indeed.

The uplifting final movement brings the father, daughter and narrator together to sing a song expounding on the benefits of coffee and proclaiming it “natural”. Hurrah.

Here’s a performance from YouTube:

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

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