If ever a composer showed polyphony in all its great strength, it was surely Bach. Nobody has shown as much as he, in works which normally seem so dry, as much imagination and original thought.
His melodies were indeed unusual, but they were always varied, rich in invention, and they are not at all like those of other composers. His serious temperament drew him primarily towards elaborate music which was grave and profound.
It was only his personal reflections which made him, right from the youth, a composer of pure and powerful fugues.
Carl Philipp Emanuel
Bach is a continuous stream of process, not a punctuated string of big moments. He never gives us exactly what we want; he is continuously pushing us further back from the goalpost: there is a sense in which his music is deeply human, but also a sense in which it refuses to join us on our own ground, and I think that's a valid, if perhaps short-sighted, criticism.