J.S. Bach: A Life in Music

J.S. Bach: A Life in Music

by Peter Williams

J. S. Bach: A Life in Music is a fresh approach to the life of the extraordinarily gifted composer.See more details below


J. S. Bach: A Life in Music is a fresh approach to the life of the extraordinarily gifted composer.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Williams (The Organ Music of J.S. Bach, 2d ed.) has created a well-rounded portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach that leavens erudition with entertaining turns of phrase. Williams takes as his starting point the obituary notice published in 1754; relying chiefly on that and other contemporary accounts, he interweaves life stories with sparingly used but helpful musical examples in a chronological framework with more specific evaluative chapters at the end. Williams betrays his love for the organ by including many digressions on the construction and qualities of the instruments Bach encountered while detailing his relations with performers and methods of teaching and providing interesting tidbits about the locales in which he served as court or church musician. Williams wisely avoids idle speculation but does include comments phrased as questions to encourage more thought from the reader. A glossary, bibliography (almost exclusively devoted to primary-source material and historical titles), and indexes round out the volume. Williams's book falls between Martin Geck's recent exhaustive Johann Sebastian Bach: Life and Work and Christoph Wolff's earlier and still valuable Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician. Highly recommended for academic and music collections and for public libraries with a knowledgeable clientele.-Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
2007 Outstanding Academic Title — Choice Magazine

"… its freshness of approach and practical knowledge of the music are enthralling."
—The Herald

"Peter Williams' observations in this … well-written volume add an imaginative and fresh dimension that will keep the 'little grey cells' charged. … This … volume could be a useful 'precursor' and we are the beneficiaries as a result."
—The Journal of the London Bach Society

"...Williams is a master of deconstruction, asking questions and speculating on every phrase of the text in a concise and precise manner, thereby revealing lines of thought that inspire further thinking and research by the reader. Definite answers are rarely possible, but this is a biography that inspires engagement, and is a necessary part of any library of anyone passionately interested in the life and work of the greatest of all composers."
—Choir & Organ

"… Williams is a writer both erudite and compelling … this is a biography unafraid to raise awkward questions and make a gallant attempt to answer them. … William's study, a substantial read, fills an important place in English language Bach literature."
—BBC Music Magazine

"Williams's book is dense and challenging ... a rewarding read, certain to enthral equally any lover of Bach's music and admirer of the techniques of forensic enquiry."
—Musical Times

“...It is in this combination of musicology, common-sense psychology and an almost Shakespearean sense of drama that I find Williams at his best”.
—Newsletter of the American Bach Society

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Product Details

Cambridge University Press
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5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

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