Toccata and Fugue in Dmin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipzR9bhei_o
I was directed to Malinowski's work by Edward Tufte (you may be able to figure out why) and feel I should pass it on.
He got it immediately and he recommended I check into Bach especially Fugues, that's when I found our that scary music they played in movies was Bach Toccata Fugue in D minor. Fugues are perfect because everything repeats just in different keys or paces. So I was able to cram it into 256B of ROM (well enough of it for everyone to get what song it was).
That's when I first fell in love with Bach.
Most counterpoint students would try as hard as possible to make their fugue subjects short, simple and constrained to a very small range. Otherwise they'd risk the overall texture getting too thick and the voices jumping around each other and accidentally creating an incoherent mess.
Meanwhile, Bach's fugue subjects-- like BWV 542-- are playing the lead while accompanying themselves. It's like van Halen's solo in Eruption, except Bach copy/pastes his solos on top of each other so that they help each other asplode together.
In it he meets Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, then one of the world's superpowers.
> Bach was crafty both in his music and life, and he adored puzzles, games and general inventive mischief.
> walking 280 miles just to watch one organist perform
> a dizzying array of professional demands, awkward taskmasters, petulant critics, vain royalty and personal tragedies.
Also worth noting "the violent, thuggish world of the young JS Bach": https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/21/secret-bach-te...
I suspect Bach's place at the top is received rather than recognized, which is not to say he doesn't deserve it. His skill lays in counterpoint and other facets of harmony. His music has structural elegance and ornamental beauty, not the full orchestral rabble rousing of Beethoven or delicate pianism of Chopin. Not exactly directly translatable to a poster or trailer.
So far, learning about "canons" has been pretty impactful, along with the enjoyable storytelling.
"It's very hard to perceive counterpoint, and there is a limit to how much we can perceive at once. 2 voices is hard and takes practice, 3 voices is even harder, but you can have these flashes where you hear clearly voices playing off one another and its like getting a glimpse into the divine."
My favorites are the small pieces in the Well Tempered Clavier I & II.* The Art of the Fugue is also worth checking out.
* see also Shostakovich's cycle of preludes & fugues that it inspired.
: Keyboard Partita No.1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JF3YzTG7lU