Saturday, October 20, 2012

St. Jean-Sébastien

"When Gregory XIX came to Rome after the papal election, he brought with him from his Burgundian monastery the violin on which he was accustomed to play Bach’s partitas and sonatas, and when he sought to canonize the composer as St. Jean-Sébastien, he deemed it a matter of courtesy first to gain the approbation of Lutheran leaders," begins Nicholas Clifford's review of Paul Elie's new book — Heaven’s Playlist.

You have to pay Commonweal to read beyond that tantalizing first sentence of its review of Reinventing Bach, but a little research shows it refers to a "book written just after the Second World War by the German author Johannes Ruber, called Bach and the Heavenly Choir, [which] tells the fictional story of a violin- playing Pope Gregory, who reigned after the Second World War and attempted to get Bach's name entered in the list of saints" — Johann Sebastian Bach and the heavenly choir.

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