Legend has it that when Johannes Sebastian Bach was quizzed about his prolific ideas for compositions, he replied, "I have so many ideas that I'm lucky if I don't trip over them each morning." A comical image of the portly Bach in his nightshirt and slippers, yawning and kicking light bulbs became stuck in my mind (another light bulb joke I guess...) Why is it that in today's art world we tend to idolize either ideas (in academia and with conceptual art), or objects (in museums, galleries, and in the craft "ethic")? All creative persons are acutely aware of how their best ideas and objects are conceived--some call it magic, some call it grace.
Bach told us where his ideas came from when he inscribed his manuscripts with "I.N.J." In Nomine Jesu ("In the name of Jesus"), or with "J. J." Jesu Juva ("Help me, Jesus") Upon completion, Bach would write "S.D.G." Soli Deo Gloria, ("To God alone, the glory"). These notations can be found here on the front and back of my favorite Bach piece, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, here transcribed for piano. My young daughter now takes lessons and recently came to this piece. Her teacher said it is one of the hardest to master--for the tune sounds simple but the right hand never rests. All those quarter notes, all that joy. This porcelain music bears the admonishments of my teacher--slow down, speed up, turn the page, practice more, etc. My reward for playing well was a gold star.
Above the star is another connection to morning, a detail from a painting entitled Morning Prayers in the Bach Family. Here the prayers are music, being both sung and played on violin and harpsichord. What illuminates music, art, prayer? See the logo on the light bulb, a monogram of Chi Rho.