Bach the musician is an unfathomable genius; Bach the man is all too obviously flawed, disappointingly ordinary and in many ways still invisible to us. In fact we seem to know less about his private life than about that of any other major composer of the last 400 years. Unlike, say, Monteverdi, Bach left behind no intimate family correspondence, and very little beyond the anecdotal has come down to us that can help in painting a more human portrait or to allow a glimpse of him - as son, lover, husband or father. Perhaps there was a fundamental reluctance in him to pull back the curtain and reveal himself; unlike most of his contemporaries, he turned down the opportunity to submit a written account of his life and career when the opportunity arose. The limited, heavily edited version that we have inherited is one he himself spun and handed down to his children. It is not surprising some have concluded that Bach the man is something of a bore.
- From Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven by John Eliot Gardiner