Contributors are Gregory G. Butler, Jen-Yen Chen, Alexander J. Fisher, Mary Dalton Greer, Robert Hill, Ton Koopman, Daniel R. Melamed, Michael Ochs, Mark Risinger, William H. Scheide, Hans-Joachim Schulze, Douglass Seaton, George B. Stauffer, Andrew Talle, and Kathryn Welter.
Christoph Wolff suggests the possibility that Bach's three festive works for Christmas, Easter, and Ascension Day form a coherent group linked by liturgy, chronology, and genre. Daniel R. Melamed considers the many ways in which Bach's passion music was influenced by the famous poetic passion of Barthold Heinrich Brockes. Markus Rathey examines the construction and role of oratorio movements that combine chorales and poetic texts (chorale tropes). Kerala Snyder shows the connections between Bach's Christmas Oratorio and one of its models, Buxtehude's Abendmusiken spread over many evenings. Laurence Dreyfus argues that Bach thought instrumentally in the composition of his passions at the expense of certain aspects of the text. And Eric Chafe demonstrates the contemporary theological background of Bach's Ascension Oratorio and its musical realization
The position of Johann
Sebastian Bach as one of a numerous family of musicians is unique. Of no other
composer can it be said that his forefathers, contemporary relations, and
descendants were all musicians, and not only musicians, but holders of very
important offices as such. All his biographers have therefore given some account
of his family antecedents before proceeding to the history of his life; and I
have found myself obliged to follow the same course. In other respects I have
adopted the plan made use of by the older biographers, of keeping the account
of his life distinct from that of his compositions.
Every biography is
necessarily based on that written by his two sons, four years after his death,
published by Mizler, and the one published in 1802 by Forkel, who was intimate
with the sons. Hilgenfeldt’s account follows these, and in later years further
information has been acquired from the searches into archives, and other
ancient documents, by C. H. Bitter and Philipp Spitta. Any details concerning
the life and works of this remarkable man are interesting; and it is probable
that researches will be continued for some time to come. Thus, last year (1898)
a “celebration” took place at Ohrdruf in memory of Bach’s school career there;
and[vi] Dr Friedrich Thomas took the opportunity of publishing some details of
the Bach family which had escaped Spitta.
The name of Bach is
reverenced by Thuringian organists, and I this year had interesting
conversations with his successors at Arnstadt and Mühlhausen, Herr Kellermann
and Herr Möller. But the chief music-seller at Arnstadt told me that “Bach’s
music is out of date; no one has now any interest in such old-fashioned
This new Pocket Guide looks at all Bach's music, sacred and secular, and explores why he speaks so profoundly to our age about both the spiritual and the sensual in life.
Among the features of this easy-to-use book:
The Bach Top Ten
Bach: The music work by work
Performing Bach today
Bach: The life year by year
What people said about Bach
Accessible and easy to use, Nicholas Kenyon provides for the first time an up-to-date survey of all Bach's major works in the light of the latest research, from Masses to Cantatas, Concertos to Suites, and recommends the best CDs and further reading.