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Johann Sebastian Bach, irascible and turbulent, writes music of sensuous delight and deep religious fervour. He's touchy, he's fabulously rude, he has impossibly high standards (he stabs a bassoonist for playing badly), and he's constantly in trouble with his patrons.
Music is the family business – but the burden of their father's genius weighs heavily on his sons. Wilhelm is brilliant but self-destructive. Tense, industrious Carl is more successful than his father, but knows he is less talented. As the years pass, their rivalry provokes furious arguments about love, God and above all music. What is it for – to give pleasure, like a cup of coffee in the sun, or to reveal the divine order that gives life its meaning?
Beautiful, profound and funny, Nina Raine's play Bach & Sons is a gripping family drama and an anthem to the art that draws us together and sings of our common humanity. It premiered at the Bridge Theatre, London, in June 2021, directed by Nicholas Hytner, with Simon Russell Beale playing J. S. Bach.