Bluesy Bach – Opus 1 (Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring)

Bach’s music intimidated me at first.

It seemed too complex, massive and like a river or the jet stream, an endless spaghetti bowl stream of notes. But, yet in spite of that I somehow ended up working out my own arrangement of Bach music!

So now I’m off on a new adventure to blend 300 year old classical music, or more accurately, Baroque music, with the Blues. Some might say, “If Bach ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it.”  But I said, what the heck…..To give it my own interpretation and flavor, being a fan of the blues and R&B in general, I set out to look at Bach through blue colored glasses. Or should I say, a blue ear piece.

My first venture into rearranging Bach to take on a blues groove is with his, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”. Per Wikipedia, it “is the most common English title of a piece of music derived from the 10th and last movement of the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 (“Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life”), composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1716 and 1723.

Bach scored this piece for choir, trumpet, violin, optionally oboe, viola, and basso continuo. My arrangement is scored for electric guitar, electric bass, fretless bass, double bass, piano, timpani/percussion and drums with the guitar playing the violin 1 melody and the double bass playing the choir lines.

Here it is:  I titled it, “Bluesy Bach – Opus 1 (Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring)“.  I decided to tag it as “Opus 1” to leave the door open for some future bluesy Bach explorations.  You can grab a high quality (320 kbps mp3 or flac file) from my Music Store page, or if you are into streaming, just listen on Spotify when it appears on my artist page in  a few days.  You can also buy the song on Amazon.com.

The common English lyrics are as follows:

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.

Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.

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