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35.  Prelude and Fugue in F major from Book 2







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


I have long been intrigued and excited about the possibilities of mapping one set of paradigms onto another apparently totally different set of paradigms. The Bach to Bach project, mapping the Bach Flower Remedies onto the Bach Preludes and Fugues is in this sense a natural exploration to make. There are all sorts of connections between things, but we have to ‘tune in’ in order to hear them. The Bach to Bach connection, however, did not come from a strategy, an idea or even a vision. It emerged from an experience of musical energy. While practising the Prelude and Fugue in C minor from Book 1 of Das Wohltempierte Clavier I suddenly felt the Impatiens quality of the energy. I instinctively and intuitively went to the very different Prelude in E flat minor from book 1 and immediately felt the change of energy to Clematis. These were, as we have already seen, the first two of the Flower Remedies to be discovered by Dr Edward Bach, and so it is perhaps not surprising that these were the first two of my Bach to Bach connections to reveal themselves It has always seemed very simplistic - and indeed dangerous - for any one religion or ideology, one way of seeing and understanding reality, to claim a monopoly. And yet that is where so much of our Western thinking seems to remain, whatever the religious, scientific or political flavour. Sadly in the music world also it is still quite commonplace for musicians of one genre to have little or no regard for musicians of quite different genres. There are still many classically trained musicians who do not explore the popular music world at all and who always remain really scared of improvising. There are many excellent young musicians in the pop and jazz worlds who have no interest in exploring the world of classical music, and many who are scared of the discipline needed to learn to read traditional music notation. In both directions this narrowness is sad because it comes from a closing down rather than an opening out of possibilities. The intention behind mapping is to counter the prevalence of either/or thinking and open to the both/and possibilities. The serious application of traditional Eastern both/and logic to modern Western either/or dilemmas. But serious does not mean that it is not fun! The mapping of quantum physics onto Dionysius the Areopagite’s thinking about orders of angels creates spaciousness in the mind - about the deep relevance of both to understanding the ever-changing but eternally-the-same reality. Richard Rohr’s mapping of the Enneagram onto the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer creates spaciousness for the prayer to resonate differently for different personality Types. Tsultrim Allione’s mapping of the ancient Tibetan practice of Chod onto the Western psyche’s need to do real work with the Shadow is really powerful and transformational. Real work which could yet prove to be of enormous importance in converting the catastrophic urge of humanity to self-destruct. In the musical world mapping like this has been around a long while, some examples much more successful than others. Think of the central section of Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia with its amazing journey through Western music on the back of Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, Mahler’s song from Des Knaben Wunderhorn which he used in his second Symphony. Think of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with the mapping of both rock and blues numbers and atonal orchestral interludes onto a traditional Catholic Mass. Think of the extraordinary mapping of sexual and spiritual energies onto a simple chord with harmonics in Stockhausen’s Stimmung. These are inspirational examples of what is possible. Bach to Bach, then, is an example of a way of thinking to inspire you to explore in your own way. Receive, explore, transform. See where it leads you. See what connections you can find. If ultimately we are all connected, then there must be m. I recently attended an evening with performance poet Ian MacMillan. Taking a few randomly chosen words and phrases from members of the audience, Ian improvised a magnificently surreal story in the form of rhyming couplets. Unseen and unimagined connections brought to life.