File Size: 53852 KB
Print Length: 672 pages
Publisher: Vintage (October 29, 2013)
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Just a quarter of the way into its more than 600 pages, I can statement that this book should prove to be invaluable to anyone thinking about Bach, the Baroque, and the musicians of this era and before. It truly is Gardiner's clear and compelling writing, the depth of his research, and his focus on Bach's life that is so very compelling. Who was Bach? Why was he or she doing this? And how do his life shape his music? Answering these questions are the objectives of the book. He does it better than anyone I use read. There is much new information found out only in the last decade or more.
We will revise this review when I've finished reading, but I wanted to send a dispatch that in the very first four chapters, this is proving to be a wonderful and instructive read. And a last note: the footnotes are terrific., John Eliot Gardiner is arguably the best interpreter of Bach currently performing/recording. His complete Bach Cantata " Pilgrimage" and the ensuing recordings are the best that We have ever listened to. The booklets that ship with the CDs (or are available, free, on line from his web site) give a hint at the scholarly research that Gardiner did in the preparation of the Pilgrimage. This book is the icing on the cake. Although perhaps a little " dense" for the reader with a just passing interest in Bach, this book delves, in great detail, into the geographic, cultural, political, religious, and anthropological world of Bach and shows he or she fit (and often do not fit) into this world. Historically, there is actually hardly any surviving biographical information on Bach, but weaving cloth what is known, with modern writings and accounts, and making logical hypothèse, Gardiner has created the most complete tapestry of Bach up to now. The heart of the book is when Gardiner starts discussing person choral works, how they relate to the scriptures on which they are based, that they relate to each other, and how they relate with the theological and political environment of the time. As We possess the complete recorded routine (which I cannot recommend highly enough), it is truly illuminating to become each cantata while you are reading Gardiner's descriptive prose. Certainly not every one of Bach's 194 cantatas are described in detail, but enough are to get an extremely solid grasp of Bach's genius. Were this being presentes as an advanced course at a University, it might easily be two semesters worth of material.
NOTE: Purchase the print out version of this publication. I started reading it on a Kindle, but the copious footnotes and references to plates not necessarily in close distance to the text made reading this a tedious task, at best. Reading printed version was infinately more fun., This is truly an excellent work, and all the reviews here are correct in that respect. " Erudite, " " thoroughly researched, " etc. Just what must be clearly understood before embarking on the journey that is reading this book is this work is much more about the music than the man, and furthermore this work is heavily focused on Bach's choral work. Naturally, such works are Gardiner's passion (no juga intended given the exhaustive analyses of Bach's Interests in this book) beginning with how he obtained his own start in music and what his own professional musical concentrations are and have been. This specific is all well and good and sensible given Bach's own upbringing and his tenure as Thomaskantor in Liepzig. The publication also, for the same reasons, has a great deal of talk on Lutheranism and Bach's cantatas. Again, goes with the territory. For one steeped on the clavier works either from one's own piano lessons or listening to Glenn Gould, or to one familiar with the cello works noted by Casals and Mother, again the choral emphasis seems heavy. Most importantly from my perspective of wanting to determine more about the man himself, We disagree with most testers here because to me this book does not read as about the man but rather about his choral works. Contrast this method with that of Solomon's Mozart or Thayer's Mozart biographies. With Solomon and Thayer we learn much more about the men behind the timeless songs. Here we learn less about J. S. Bach the man and more about how Lutheranism influenced Bach's choral works and how those works are made musically. When the reader would like to determine read more about Bach the man in general, this may not be the location to start one's research.
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