We hear about the precarious life of a musician dependent on patronage and the whims of the German nobility. We hear Bach's acerbic wit and cut to his conducting a choir where we realise he is not just a perfectionist, he has low levels of tolerance. We see he has a bad temper and is stubborn, so will fall out with those he depends on financially and get into petty quarrels. We also appreciate the humour of Bach's witty lines and put downs.
Johann Sebastian Bach, irascible and turbulent, writes music of sensuous delight for his aristocratic patrons, and gives voice to his deep religious faith in music for the church. He’s touchy, he’s fabulously rude, he has high standards (he stabs a bassoonist for playing badly) and he’s constantly in trouble with his employers.
For the two hours without interval, the groundlings will stand as the crowd being swayed by the political speeches of Brutus (Ben Whishaw) and Mark Antony (David Morrissey) or as the inhabitants of the battle scenes at Philippi.