by Iza Wojciechowska Whether or not you’ve known it, or whether or not you’ve wanted to, you’ve heard the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. You’ve certainly heard him on the radio or on CD if you listen to even a bit of classical music; but if you steer clear, you’ve still heard him. You’ve seen a commercial for American Express or iTunes, or you’ve heard old Nokia ringtones, or you’ve simply been around music during Christmas. Bach, arguably more than any other composer, is ubiquitous, even now, more than 250 years after his compositions were written. But how did he get that way? One answer is: technology. Paul Elie, a former editor at FSG and a creative writing professor (mine, in fact), has written an astounding book that traces the evolution of Bach’s music through the evolution of technology. From the creation of wax cylinder recordings, through LPs, CDs and MP3s, each stage in technology’s progress coincided with a major breakthrough for Bach’s music. In Reinventing Bach, Elie presents this history, interweaving the story of Bach with those of the musicians who played his music, as well as with his own.