The Brandenburg 300 Project Honors Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father and Renaissance Man.
Born 20 years after Bach, Benjamin Franklin got his start in the same year that Bach completed the Brandenburg Concertos (1721). The New England Courant, which was the first truly independent newspaper in the colonies, was established by Ben’s older brother James. His wealth from publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanac” and the Pennsylvania Gazette came from this start.
“A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity.” [Wikipedia]
Benjamin Franklin is my favorite founding father, and the historical figure I have most measured myself against. A polymath with a great sense of humor, he was courageous in the face of Colonial tyranny and a persuasive diplomat who brought countries to our aid when we needed it, and the Colonies together for a common goal. I liked to measure myself against him and Linus Pauling when I was growing up. My Mom asked me why once, noting that I would likely never exceed them. I replied, “Why measure yourself against people you can be better than? I would rather be 50% a Benjamin Franklin than 200% a fool.”
Franklin is known to have played the violin, the harp, and the guitar. He also composed music, notably a string quartet in early classical style. He developed a much-improved version of the glass harmonica, in which the glasses rotate on a shaft, with the player's fingers held steady, instead of the other way around; this version soon found its way to Europe.
Much has been written about Benjamin Franklin. Selected links:
"02) Brandenburg 11: Franklin" (2013). Brandenburg 300 Project. 4.