I n Ingmar Bergman’s 1978 autobiography Laterna Magica, he wrote about Bach’s joy: “All through my conscious life, I had lived with what Bach calls his joy. It had carried me through crises and misery and functioned as faithfully as my heart, sometimes overwhelming and difficult to handle, but never antagonistic or destructive. Bach called this state his joy, a joy in God. Dear Lord, may joy not leave me.”

It was an astonishing confession, coming...

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