Bach: A Musical Biography

Bach: A Musical Biography

by Peter Williams


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Bach: A Musical Biography by Peter Williams

J. S. Bach composed some of the best-loved and most moving music in Western culture. Surviving mostly in manuscript collections, his music also exists in special and unique publications that reveal much about his life and thoughts as a composer. In this book, Peter Williams, author of the acclaimed J. S. Bach: A Life in Music, revisits Bach's biography through the lens of his music. Reviewing all of Bach's music chronologically, Williams discusses the music collection by collection to reveal the development of Bach's interests and priorities. While a great deal has been written about the composer's vocal works, Williams gives the keyboard music its proper emphasis, revealing it as crucial to Bach's biography, as a young organist and a mature composer, as a performer in public and teacher in private, and as a profound thinker in the language of music.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107139251
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/01/2016
Pages: 718
Sales rank: 753,435
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.80(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Peter Williams (1937�016) held the first Chair in Performance Practice in Britain at the University of Edinburgh, where he was first Director of the Russell Collection of Harpsichords and latterly Dean of Music. He was also the first Arts and Sciences Distinguished Chair at Duke University, North Carolina. His first book on Bach was for the BBC in 1970. After then, he focused chiefly on music for the organ (with the three-volume Organ Music of J. S. Bach, Cambridge, 1980�4); on music for the harpsichord (with Art of Fugue, 1986, and Bach: The Goldberg Variations, Cambridge, 2001); and on music for ensemble (with Musical Offering, 1986). In more recent years, he focused on biography, with The Life of Bach (Cambridge, 2003) and J. S. Bach: A Life in Music (Cambridge, 2007).

Table of Contents

Part I. Life and Works: 1. Early years, 1685-1703: background, family, studies; 2. First appointments, 1703-1708: a young musician's activities and early works; 3. Weimar, 1708-1717: the gifted player at a ducal court; 4. Cöthen, 1717-1723: other opportunities for the maturing composer; 5. Leipzig, the first years: a cantor's life, his duties, cantatas, Passions, publications; 6. Leipzig, the middle years: other activities; 7. Leipzig, the final years: a concentration on the language of music; Part II. Observations on the Life and Works: 8. What was said, what can be inferred; 9. An epilogue.

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