In the depths of the winter of 1705, the young composer 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 visit the composer Dieterich Buxtehude, 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 towards becoming the master of the Baroque.
More than three hundred years later, the writer Horatio Clare set off to recreate this walk. 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, a sustained visualisation of the landscape, light and wildlife of early eighteenth century 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’s previous books include A Single Swallow, Down to the Sea in Ships, Running for the Hills (which won the Somerset Maughan Award) and Orison for a Curlew, which Little Toller published.
Jacket by Ed Kluz, who also designed the jacket for The Tree by John Fowles and King of Dust by Alex Woodcock, also published by Little Toller, and Patrick Leigh Fermor’s final book, The Broken Road.