What can I tell you about the mighty J. S. Bach? Looking over my comparatively meager two-foot-long shelf of Bach CDs, I realize that I've never heard a dud from this composer, so you won't get much critical insight from me. Widely acknowledged to be the greatest of all baroque composers, J. S. Bach (1685-1750)--to borrow a phrase from Duke Ellington--is one of the inimitables, one of those composers whose masterly fugues, concerti, and keyboard sinfonias taught me the basics that underpin all music: alluring melody, counterpoint, rhythmic invention, and an unbridled work ethic that exhorts composers to make music that is useful.

The folks at Town Hall have organized Bach Around the Clock, a free, daylong festival aimed at those who want to explore the many sides of ol' J. S. For the kids, there's a family concert at the hangover-friendly time of 1 pm, though things really get going in the afternoon. Highlights include two of Bach's late contrapuntal masterworks, Musical Offering (2 pm) and Goldberg Variations (3 pm). Keyboardist Byron Schenkman tackles selections from Book II of The Well-Tempered Clavier (5 pm) while Bach's progeny (who were in their day more popular than their father) are represented by W. F. Bach's Duo for two flutes (6:30 pm). The engaging Anna Mansbridge has choreographed period dances to the first two movements of Bach's Trio Sonata (6:50 pm). If you can't make the afternoon or early evening performances, try to catch soprano Terri Richter singing Cantata 202, AKA "the Wedding Cantata" (8 pm). Check www.townhallseattle.org for a full schedule. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI

Bach Around the Clock runs Sat April 19 (Town Hall, Eighth Ave and Seneca St, 652-4255) from 1 to 9 pm, free.