Today I resumed violin lessons with my violin tutor, MS, after a ten-year hiatus.

In some ways there was a sense of deja-vu. Here I was, at 11 am, seated at the same spot in her living room, and we were working on a piece I had learnt (J. S. Bach G minor solo sonata, 1st movt, Adagio) over a decade ago.

But there were differences too, apart from the obvious fact that we both looked proportionately older.

I feel I am approaching this work differently, I can hear the difference in my playing. This is not to say that my playing has necessarily improved; just that I am approaching this work in my forties, and it speaks to me very differently than it did all those years ago.

That’s the beauty of Bach. The more you listen to him, the more the wisdom of his music seems to become manifest. And coupled with that wisdom is a very positive emotion; joy doesn’t quite describe it. It’s far more subtle than that.

All I can say is that it evokes a deep sense of peace when I hear him, and it relaxes me when I play him.

After all that orchestral playing it felt good to go Bach to basics.