Cover: Bach: Essays on His Life and Music, from Harvard University PressCover: Bach in PAPERBACK


Essays on His Life and Music

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Product Details


$56.00 • £44.95 • €50.50

ISBN 9780674059269

Publication Date: 01/01/1994


480 pages

7 x 10 inches

88 line illustrations, 52 halftones, 30 musical examples, 27 tables


A fascinating and eminently readable account of many of the issues that have been uppermost in Bach research in recent years.—Barry Cooper, The Times Higher Education Supplement

Wolff has [produced] fundamental work about the composer, from his earliest music (‘newly discovered chorales’) to his last (Art of Fugue, parts of the B Minor Mass), sacred and secular, vocal and instrumental, all represented in this book… Every one of these essays…has the knack of presenting new information that triggers further thought… One does constantly sense a fresh conception of the composer.—Peter Williams, The Times Literary Supplement

Not since Spitta’s monumental Johann Sebastian Bach has there been as refreshing a look at Bach’s work as in this collection of essays by one of the world’s preeminent authorities… Wolff’s essays on Bach are a must for every musician, whether layman, performer, or composer. For the latter the essays will provide especially valuable insights into the process of composition.—John Rinehart, Antioch Review

What there is to know about Bach, Christoph Wolff knows. And everything Wolff…knows about Bach’s life, he has poured into this new and magisterial biographical portrait… [Bach] is user-friendly, helpful, and entertainingly informative. Direct and illuminating commentary on Bach’s major works, and on the major musical issues that Bach confronted, fill the book… [Wolff’s] main text surrounds the facts of Bach’s life with an invaluable sense of context—additional facts about musical life, courts, patronage, church doctrine, ecclesiastical and municipal politics… Wolff has provided every lover of Bach with a book to learn from.—Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

This volume will be useful not only to conductors, performers, and scholars, but to other listeners, myself included, who will be stimulated by it to find ever deeper levels of meaning in Bach’s many-splendored genius… Christoph Wolff functions here as a philologist and palaeographer deciphering a complex manuscript, as a biographer contemplating the mysteries of continuity and change in the composer’s long and productive career, as a demythologizer reviewing the legends about Bach with which we all grew up, as a social and intellectual historian placing the musical oeuvre into its total context, as a sensitive listener who even after all these years of research has not lost the capacity to hear and admire the miracle that is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.—Jaroslav Pelikan, Sterling Professor of History, Yale University, author of Bach among the Theologians

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