I suppose when you love someone many things remind you of her. Well, I love the Church and I often see signs of her everywhere. Yes, even in a Bach Fugue. In this case I am reminded of the Church more as the Body of Christ, than the Bride of Christ. Yet in Him both are one, for a man clings to his wife and they become one (cf Gen 2:24 inter al).
In the video below an organist plays Bach’s Fugue in C Major (BMV 564). Like any musical fugue, the organist begins by announcing the theme, playing it with his right hand. Soon enough the left hand answers and eventually the feet play the theme in the pedal. The fugue then takes the theme through a series of math-like progressions. But always the basic theme is being developed.
Now consider that the organist is Christ, the head of the body, and that the organ is the the Body of Christ. The organ, like a body has many parts and makes many different sounds. There are diapasons, the reeds, the flutes and the string pipes. The reeds are made up of various sounds like the trumpet, oboe, and vox humana. The string pipes make different sounds too such as viola, salicional, dulciana and so forth. The Flutes too come in many varieties as do the diapasons. And there are wonderful “mixtures” that give brightness and the deep low notes of the pedal sometimes as low as the 32′ contra Bombarde that makes the whole building shake. Yes, this too is an image of the Church. And Christ is able to make beautiful music with this wonderful variety.
And how does he make this music? Just like with a fugue, he announces the basic fugal theme that underlies every other aspect of the song. And this theme is the truth of the Gospel. And every voice of the Church takes up that theme and sings it out, but it is Christ who plays. And he develops and enriches the theme in a kind of “development of doctrine” that he leads the Church to proclaim with ever greater intricacy. But always there is the basic theme, the fundamental truth.
Yes, here too is an image of the Church in a fugue and in virtuoso organist making beautiful music through unity with a wondrous instrument.