Dan Moller, "The Way of Bach: Three Years with the Man, the Music, and the Piano" (Simon and Schuster, 2020)

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A tale of passion and obsession from a philosophy professor who learns to play Bach on the piano as an adult.

Dan Moller grew up listening to heavy metal in the Boston suburbs. But one day, something shifted when he dug out his mother's record of The Art of the Fugue, inexplicably wedged between ABBA's greatest hits and Kenny Rogers. Moller was fixated on Bach ever since.

In The Way of Bach, he draws us into fresh and often improbably hilarious things about Bach and his music. Did you know the Goldberg Variations contain a song about his mom cooking too much cabbage? Just what is so special about Bach’s music? Why does it continue to resonate even today? What can modern Americans—steeped in pop culture—can learn from European craftsmanship? And, because it is Bach, why do some people see a connection between music and God?

By turn witty and though-provoking, Moller infuses The Way of Bach with philosophical considerations about how music and art enable us to contemplate life's biggest questions.

Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and a PhD Candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast.

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