‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the city
The critics were trying their best to be witty; 
They printed their lists of the past year’s best fare, 
In hopes that their trendy young readers would care; 
But the readers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While vacuous pop idols danced in their heads; 
And the Maestro in PJs, and I in my drawers, 
Had just settled in to examine some scores, 
When out on the lawn, such cacaphonous sound, 
I sprang from my desk thinking Zorn was in town.
I rushed to the window, allegro con brio,
Tore open the shutters — I just had to see!  Oh, 
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow 
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, 
When, what should my wondering eyes linger over,
But an old harpsichord and eight ghostly composers, 
With an old kappelmeister conducting the flock — 
I knew in a moment it had to be Bach. 
More rapid than Valkyries, onward they came, 
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Mozart! now, Lassus! now, Schoenberg and Dvorak! 
On, Cage! on Beethoven! on, Haydn and Bartok! 
To the dominant seven! To suspended six-four! 
Now dash away! dash away! appoggiatur’!” 
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; 
So off to a new key they all modulated, 
For Bach would leave no variation unstated. 
A caseura, and then on the roof could be heard
A cadence resolved with a picardy third.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around, 
Down the chimney old J.S. Bach came with a bound. 
He was dressed up for Weimar in 1710 
And his fingers were stained with the ink from his pen; 
An un-finished score could be seen to protrude
From his pocket — the title said “Die Kunst der Fugue.” 
His eyes—how they twinkled with genius – none finer!
He did, after all, write the Mass in B Minor.
His mouth was a droll as a tonicization, 
His wig was a white as unspoiled glaciation;
He carried a record of naughty and niceness –
That list was as long as the Bach Werke Verzeichnis! 
His belly looked like it could use a supporter   
And shook when he laughed, like a Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte.
He was chubby and plump, a well tempered old master,
And I laughed when I saw him, then wished I’d thought faster; 
A wink, and a line from a two-part invention, 
Soon showed me that I should feel no apprehension; 
He spoke not a word, but went straight to composing, 
A Musical Offering – it looked quite imposing,
Then humming some bars from the St. Matthew Passion, 
He rose up the chimney in a glorious fashion; 
He sprang to the keys, raised his hands to the sky
And away they all flew, at Allegro Assai, 
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

3 Responses to “A Visit From J.S. Bach”
  1. ron houser says:

    Bravo! A real tour de farce!

  2. chris sahar says:

    Simply sondherful! (clue – composer of the musical Into The Woods)

  3. Sparky P. says:

    Ahhhhhhhhh, Bach!

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