DURING the past nine days, BBC Radio 3 has been having a Bach bonanza.
Since 16 December, it has been broadcasting all the music by Johann Sebastian
Bach in a festival called "A Bach Christmas". Contributing to a series of
audio-diaries that interspersed the music has been Peter Dyke, assistant
organist at Hereford Cathedral, who is also music teacher at the cathedral
In 1705, the 20-year-old Bach walked 260 miles from Arnstadt to Lübeck so
that he could meet and learn from the elderly composer Dietrich Buxtehude, the
virtuoso organist at the Marienkirche in Lübeck. Last summer, Mr Dyke followed
that same route, not walking, but by car. Though it took him less than a week,
he was still able to visit many of the same sites and churches along the way.
"It was an amazing journey to take, and the distance was even more
impressive when you consider that in Bach's day few people moved outside the
villages and towns in which they lived." Mr Dyke plays a lot of Bach's music,
and wanted to get "a flavour of the scenery and surroundings that inspired his
creativity". Selections from his audio diary have been broadcast in slots of
five or ten minutes during the evening concerts of the Bach festival.