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6. Prelude and Fugue in D minor from Book 1




Try speaking this in the rhythm of the opening of the Fugue subject!


Experiencing links between apparently unrelated phenomena and ideas has always been a big part of my life. If we take on board at some level of consciousness the mystical oneness of all then finding connections or emotional resonances between different phenomena does not seem at all surprising. Yet in fact this Bach to Bach project has already surprised me twice over. Firstly, as I have already said, when I started to compose the pieces which have become the Musical Remedies I had no idea what the pieces were. The moment of revelation when I suddenly saw the chart of the Flower Remedies on top of the piano was like thick clouds blowing over very quickly to reveal a pristine cloudless sky behind. The clarity of the connection had on some level been there from the beginning but it needed the parting of the clouds to clear the mental obfuscation. Much of life seems like this in fact. It’s like St Paul’s ‘seeing through a glass darkly’ rather than ’face to face’. For the most part it’s definitely the darkness but when the light appears it is extraordinary. I was truly amazed by the clarity of the connection of my music to the Flower Remedies and that undoubtedly gave me the determination and will to complete the writing of all thirty-eight pieces rather than just the first nine. The second surprise was several years later when I first sensed a connection - an emotional resonance - between the Bach Remedies and some of the 48 Preludes and Fugues. I had been practising some of these pieces for a few months without seeing hearing or dreaming any connection with the Flower Remedies. But the day when the connection was revealed was again like the sudden parting of the clouds. The fact that it was the first two of the Flower Remedies, Impatiens and Clematis, is really interesting because they are so different from each other. And yet Dr Bach put both of these Remedies into his most famous and most used Remedy of all, the Rescue or Recovery Remedy. So although the irritable impatient energy and the detached daydreaming energy appear so radically different, Dr Bach had the wisdom to see that our mental and emotional confusion in times of crisis can be in need of both at the same time. So many of our confusions in the contemporary world seem to stem from our inability to see that we need opposites at the same time. All our obsessions as a culture and our prioritising either/or philosophies over and above holistic experiences lead us into further confusion. We so often feel compelled to align with one view or another as being ‘right’. Insights into the necessity of both/and do not come from propositions made by the head but from holistic experiences of body, mind and spirit. The path of interconnection opened up by holistic experiences can take us beyond male/female, beyond light/dark, beyond science/religion; it can bring much joy. Exploring life with an openness to finding connections to the bigger picture we find that we see what we need to see, meet who we need to meet, hear what we need to hear. This is not about false optimism or about being fatalistic. It is about finding a real balance between discipline and freedom. Playing the piano demands a real discipline, a clear intention, a being emotionally and intellectually present, a physical awareness of the present moment. When all these are realised then there can be a genuine experience of freedom. The freedom to hear the inner intended sounds become externalised as sound vibrations; the freedom to experience the flow of physical energy connecting mind body and piano together; the freedom to communicate emotionally without the perennial linguistic dangers of being misunderstood. Once again we see how playing the piano can be seen as a spiritual discipline, the deep purpose of which is to experience and communicate freedom.