Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bach for the Bailouts

The Guardian's Music Blog has a wonderful suggestion for a soundtrack to match the biblical feeling of watching the markets and banks of the world come tumbling down from the heights of hubris.

J.S. Bach, it turns out, wrote Cantata 168 during a Weimar Banking crisis of the 1720's, and the scripture he considers in the lyrics have pointed significance. As Paul Lay recounts:

"The opening bass aria is a pungent, ardent attack on the money men of 1720s Weimar, around the words "Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort!" literally "Give an account of yourself, word of thunder", but sometimes translated as "Thine Accounting! Judgment Day!" The bass vents his spleen amid a swirl of music like a demented broker seeing all his screens turn red, who thrashes around before finally pledging to be a good steward who puts his trust in the lord."