Many years ago now I did A-level music and the set composer that year was Bach. Let me say now that I think Bach should be the set composer every year, just as Shakespeare should be set for English, but I digress.
I remember this particular music lesson very clearly. There were only two of us doing A-level music that year and let’s just say that my co-student wasn’t the most reliable at turning up to lessons. So there I was on my own and after I’d sat down the music teacher, one Bryan Western, just said, “Listen to this.”
Then he went to the back of the classroom where there was a record player in a small side room (this was a very long time ago!) which was connected to speakers in the classroom and he put on (very loud) the opening movement of Bach’s St John Passion.
It was, without doubt, the best lesson I ever had.
The opening movement of this great choral work is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating pieces of music ever composed. If you don’t know it then listen to this:
After that lesson I acquired my own recording of Bach’s St John Passion and I became totally obsessed with it. I’ve gone on to discover many other great pieces of music but I don’t think I’ve ever loved another piece of music as much as I loved the St John Passion at the age of 17.
In 1993 I was lucky enough to get the chance to sing the St John Passion with the choir I sang with in Windsor. I remember it was 1993 because I had just got married and I told my husband we had to be back from our honeymoon in time for the concert. Fortunately he understood!
Was there a moment in your life when you suddenly fell head over heels in love with a work of art?