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In the depths of winter in 1705 the young Johann Sebastian Bach, then unknown as a composer and earning a modest living as a teacher and organist, set off on a long journey by foot to Lübeck to visit the composer Dieterich Buxterhude, a distance of more than 250 miles. This journey and its destination were a pivotal point in the life of arguably the greatest composer the world has yet seen. Lübeck was Bach’s moment, when a young teacher with a reputation for intolerance of his pupils’ failings began his journey to become the master of the Baroque.
More than three hundred years later, the writer Horatio Clare set oﬀ to recreate this walk, following in Bach’s footsteps. The result of this journey is Something of his Art, an imaginative evocation of what the twenty-year-old composer would have seen and felt on his long journey is a sustained visualisation of the landscape, light and wildlife of early eighteenth century northern Germany. Bach becomes Clare’s walking companion, a vestigial but real presence, as he acutely observes the season and places he passes through.
Horatio Clare was born in 1973. He is the author of A Single Swallow, Running for the Hills, Down to the Sea in Ships, Icebreaker, The Light in the Dark and Orison for a Curlew. He is also the author of two books for children: Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot and Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds.