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1. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned
2. Lute Suites for Guitar (Classical
3. Johann Sebastian Bach: Life and
4. Johann Sebastian Bach (Getting
5. The Worlds of Johann Sebastian
6. Toccatas, Fantasias, Passacaglia
7. Complete Preludes and Fugues for
8. Simply Bach: The Music of Johann
9. 101 Chorales Harmonized by J.S.
10. 8 Little Preludes and Fugues:
11. Organ Music
12. The Solo Lute Works of Johann
13. Johann Sebastian Bach; The Master
14. Six English Suites (A Kalmus Classic
15. Johann Sebastian Bach: His Life
16. St. John Passion in Full Score
17. Bach: Sonatas for Flute and Piano,
18. Johann Sebastian Bach: Two And
19. Goldberg Variations: BWV 988 (Dover
20. Art of the Fugue (Kalmus Edition)

1. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician
by Christoph Wolff
Paperback: 624 Pages (2001-09)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$13.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393322564
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. A landmark biography of Bach on the 250th anniversary of the composer's death, written by the leading Bach scholar of our age. Although we have heard the music of J. S. Bach in countless performances and recordings, the composer himself still comes across only as an enigmatic figure in a single familiar portrait. As we mark the 250th anniversary of Bach's death, author Christoph Wolff presents a new picture that brings to life this towering figure of the Baroque era. This engaging new biography portrays Bach as the living, breathing, and sometimes imperfect human being that he was, while bringing to bear all the advances of the last half-century of Bach scholarship. Wolff demonstrates the intimate connection between the composer's life and his music, showing how Bach's superb inventiveness pervaded his career as musician, composer, performer, scholar, and teacher. And throughout, we see Bach in the broader context of his time: its institutions, traditions, and influences. With this highly readable book, Wolff sets a new standard for Bach biography. 42 b/w illustrations.Amazon.com Review
The Learned Musician is an apt subtitle for this intellectual biography, which assesses the career of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) with the scholarly rigor one would expect from a Harvard professor. Opening with a 1737 attack by a critic who labeled Bach a pedant who spoiled the natural beauty of his creations with "an excess of art," Christoph Wolff cogently compares the German composer to English scientist Isaac Newton. Both men "brought about fundamental changes and established new principles" in their chosen fields, he argues; both sought to reveal God's harmonious ordering of their world. While Wolff conscientiously covers the basics of Bach's life, including his two marriages and the musical achievements of his gifted family, the author's primary focus is on his performing (Bach was an unrivaled organist) and composing. From the Goldberg Variations through the Brandenburg Concertos to Art of the Fugue, Wolff carefully analyzes Bach's innovations in harmony and counterpoint, placing them in the context of European musical and social history rendered in nicely atmospheric detail. Casual readers may find this dense tome a bit daunting, but serious music lovers will relish the deeper understanding it conveys of a genius who transformed Western music. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book! A must for any serious student of Bach.
Wolff has written an amazing biographical work. Not only does it provide great detail of the life of Johann Sebastian Bach, but it also has many great examples of Bach's work in the context of the narrative, providing a very insightful view into the artistic and intellectual development of one of the most brilliant musical minds to have ever lived. All works are referenced by BWV number, so just pop open youtube and listen along as you read the text.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great book, but...
...I'll get my one major quibble out of the way immediately - you'll only get the best out of it if you have some musical knowledge, and I have only a little. Without some comprehension of his or her art, the life of a great artist, especially one untainted by scandals or crises, is in danger of becoming just a procession of dates, names and places. The whole appeal of J.S. Bach is bound up in his extraordinary musicianship, first as virtuoso keyboard player, then as composer of many different forms. It seems to me that, if you don't grasp this extraordinary art, you don't really grasp Bach.

Professor Wolff naturally grasps it. He is a professor of music and director of the Bach-Archiv in Leipzig. He speaks learnedly and enthusiastically of "ritornellos" and the "Oberwerk" and "Brustpositiv" of an organ and the daring dissonance in BWV38 as a result of a third-inversion dominant-seventh chord, while the musically uneducated among us (such as myself) wonder, "What's THAT?" And of course his musical examples at the end are lost on us. Professor Wolff has sought to bring Johann Sebastian Bach to us, and has succeeded very well, but he is handicapped not by his inabilities, but by ours.

Nevertheless, I think he could have done slightly better for those of us who love Bach but who lack his musical erudition - perhaps a glossary of the musical terms used therein, even a rudimentary explanation of some of the technicalities behind this extraordinary music, would have helped the reader (this one anyway) feel less at sea in parts. OK, this is not a "baroque music for dummies" book, but such additions would have helped.

Shorn of musical technicalities, what's left, even for the ignorant, is the story of an extraordinary talent emerging from a family of musicians (there were so many of them that, in Thuringia, people commonly referred to a musician as a "bach"). It follows Sebastian Bach, tragically orphaned at 9, as he develops not only formidable keyboard technique but also outstanding compositional skills, ever keen to develop his art, never afraid to learn from others and from other countries (the famous trip to see and hear Buxtehude, where he was given release for four weeks and stayed for four months, is an example). It follows his ever-upwards trail from Lüneburg to Arnstadt to Weimar to Cöthen, and finally to Leipzig. Professor Wolff's profound research illuminates a world very different from ours, right down to salaries and expenses typical for the 18th century.

I confess to having thought of Bach as an obscure figure in German country churches and small local courts, and perhaps even a bit of a musical fuddy-duddy. Professor Wolff makes it clear that, not only were Bach's extraordinary abilities indeed widely appreciated at the time, but also that he was a daring musical innovator. However, it seems to me that here there arises an odd disconnect. Brilliant, widely-appreciated musician he was, but his style fell completely out of fashion after his death, and by the time the young Felix Mendelssohn resurrected the St. Matthew Passion in Leipzig, the only memory left of Bach was that of a great organist.

Why were Bach's compositions so completely forgotten for so long among the general public? One explanation was Albert Schweitzer's; Bach represented the apotheosis of contrapuntal composition - Bach had said everything there was to say, so music changed. Another was that the idea was that music was improving all the time, and that old stuff was irrelevant and unworthy of attention. I would have liked Professor Wolff's take on this.

One of the sad aspects of this account is the indication of just how much of Bach's output has been tragically lost, largely because of the way the estate was split up after his death among his various offspring - Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach was a careful custodian of his father's work, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was not. For a cantata lover such as myself, his lists of the five annual cantata cycles and just how much of them we no longer have are especially saddening, but I guess we have to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.

In summary, apart from the minor problems for the musically uneducated, Professor Wolff has done us all a great service by making the great cantor of Leipzig so much more accessible, and enjoyably so.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bach for Scholars
Bought for my wife...she reads a lot of biographies & this one was
so detailed as to make it difficult to read unless you're a Bach scholar.
Too much info that she did not need...maybe fine for someone needing the
intimate details of Bach's life to the level of nausea though.

4-0 out of 5 stars The archaeology of Bach: Much From Little
The great problem we face, studying Bach, is that there are only a few records from his life from which to construct a biography. And, perhaps, half his prodigious music is lost. Bach musicology is its own academic sub specialty and Wolff one of Bach's better known and scholarly biographers. The difficulty must always be trying to tease out inferences from so little extant material and piece together some kind of fabric that provides insight into such profound music. Wolff's attention to detail and his ability to draw threads from such slim pickings are the skills of the archaeologist who can "read" into seemingly nothing, something which may prove significant as the pieces come together. This makes his biography both enlightening and, at times, tedious. I found it worth the effort, because Wolff does draw a coherent and well articulated picture of the man and the inspiration for his music. As long as you can be discerning about when to skip the non essential details and redundant repetitions...Very worth while even for the non academic non specialist.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Biography I've Ever Read on Herr Bach!
Reading this biography, I found out even more about the Master than I had ever read about before from other sources! Mr. Wolff is to be congratulated for his efforts in brining more facts to light about "old" Bach. His writing sets up the atmosphere in which Bach and his predecessors and descendants lived and worked in. You can almost see and hear all the activity of Bach's father's house when he was a child: musicians, students and instrument makers coming and going all day long. Bach himself was just totally immersed in this environment and besides his family heritage for being musicians, how else could have been anything else but a musician and one of the world's greatest composers of ALL time?
The 17th Century and first half of the 18th was certainly a "golden age" for anyone who had definite talent and ability. IT seems in those times that people weren't interested so much in a person's "credentials" as they were in if they could simply carry out the duties of an organist/choir director or capellmeister. You can play and compose? You were hired. Unlike today when everyone is trying to impress the rest of us with how many "little letters" they have after their name and how many "institutions" that they've studied at.
The author states, when he covers Bach's Leipzig years, states that he must have worked on the average of about 16 hours a day, or thereabouts. Composing, private music lessons for his own children and Thomas Schule students, rehearsals with the Collegium Musicum, drafting and composing a new cantata EVERY week, and then the general running of his domestic household. And STILL he found time to father 22 children by two wives. Enough said on that matter.
The author also presents Bach and his life in a more positive light than other sources that I've read from. He shows that Bach wasn't so much the isolated mystic as some other authors have portrayed him. He was in constant contact and good friends with some of the leading composers of the day such as Weiss, Hasse, Zelenka, Telemann, not to mention his famously lengthy visit with Dietrich Buxtehude. Unfortunately, on three separate occasions, Bach missed meeting Handel.
Long and short of it: buy this book and just enjoy reading it. It's lively and informative and really puts Bach life in perspective with his music. ... Read more

2. Lute Suites for Guitar (Classical Guitar Series)
by Jerry Willard
Paperback: 96 Pages (1992-01-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0825699797
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The complete works for lute solo by Johann Sebastian Bach. Newly transcribed and annotated, including historical and performance notes. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good, clean edition
Willard has done a more than adequate job with the arrangements of the lute suites in this collection. The fingerings are, like many other editions, somewhat predictable, but nonetheless quite functional and reasonable. It goes without saying that advanced Bach for the classical guitar presupposes a reasonable level of familiarity with the idiom if one is to make full use of the scores. In that regard, this collection excels. A solid and professional edition.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great edition for professional and student alike
I have to say that what Jerry Willard did in publishing his edition of J.S. Bach's Complete Works was to not inflict upon the music his musical conception, through over-fingering or ornamentation. It is perfect for the professional guitarist who wants a very reliable transcription in the accepted "guitar keys", as well as a great study version for any student of the guitar. Like his other publication of the Bach Inventions for the guitar by the same publisher, it is a diet staple both for me and my students.

It is generally accepted that one must study these suites with a great teacher who has familiarity with the style, (which Jerry Willard is!)and to read alot about performance practice to determine for yourself what the best choices are. All this is possible if you own this edition. In the end, Willard leaves the choices to us.

Excellent book!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great transcriptions at a great price!
This is a great compilation! These transcriptions are very musical, given the limitations of transcribing for modern guitar from a 13 course baroque lute...of course it was necessary to drop a lot of bass notes and the bass lines and even mid-register voicing just can't be made to match the original pieces all that well. You may want to alter some of the fingering, but everyone except rank beginners do this as a matter of course. The one star review is harsh and unnecessary. Go for it! My 1980s copy is well-loved and well marked up!

1-0 out of 5 stars Save your money
I must first say that the only reason that I've given this book one star is because that's the lowest amount that I could give it and Bach's Lute Suites are in the book and the book didn't fall apart. This book gives you no real performance notes, no true historical perspective of the music and how it should be interpreted, and the fingerings are adequate at best. As a teacher,and performer I can only recommend this book if the Frank Koonce Bach book is out of print or you can't afford something else. Shame on you Ariel Publ. and Jerry Willard.

4-0 out of 5 stars haven't run into a better one yet
About the fingerings I must say that in some pieces I tend to alter them a lot, but this is most of the time a matter of personal taste and style. It's just in a few cases that they realy need to be changed, and this is perfectly normal in a book that covers all of Bach's works for lute.
Concerning the musicall content, this is a very good edition. I also liked the "ottava bassa" indications on the basses. This way you get a clear picture of the original bassline, and anyone that has ever played this suites knows how important they are.
Price is also very appealing. ... Read more

3. Johann Sebastian Bach: Life and Work
by Martin Geck
Hardcover: 752 Pages (2006-12-04)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$8.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0151006482
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Two hundred and fifty years after his death, Johann Sebastian Bach remains one of the most compelling figures in the history of classical music. In this major study of the composer's life and work, Martin Geck follows the course of Bach's career in rich detail--from his humble beginnings as an organ tuner and self-taught court musician to his role as Kapellmeister and cantor of St. Thomas's Church in Leipzig. Geck explores Bach's relations with the German aristocracy, his position with regard to the Church and contemporary theological debates, his perfectionism, and his role as the devoted head of a large family.
The focus in this comprehensive, thoroughly researched book is on the extraordinary work that came of the composer's life. From the Goldberg Variations to the Brandenburg Concertos to the Art of the Fugue, Geck carefully analyzes Bach's innovations in harmony and counterpoint, placing them in the context of European musical and social history. Always fresh and stimulating, this definitive work reintroduces Bach's enormous oeuvre in all its splendor.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is given an expansive and detailed treatment in Geck's 2000 book.It is filled with details, ranging from the minor (e.g., according to a cousin of his, Bach "has a taste for hard cider and 'yeast brandy'") to the major ("The Lutheran faith is of the utmost significance for Bach's creative work").

Bach was unappreciated, and "Few of Bach's works appeared in print during his lifetime."Geck sheds some signficant insight as to why Bach was only given the position as Cantor of the Thomaskirche at Leipzig after it had first been offered to Telemann, Graupner, and Fasch (and turned down): "he does not come from Leipzig and, unlike the others, has no university training.What matters here is Bach's own plan for his life: although he chooses advanced schooling and an education over an apprenticeship, thereby keeping important doors open, he is, to a much greater degree than the three other kapellmeisters, a self-made man, one who set his sights high early on and is willing to work hard to achieve his goal.This ethos grows out of the craftsman's approach and will inform that of the educated artist."

Still, as a court musician in the chapel of Duke Johann Ernst in Weimar, "When Bach performed his music for religious services at court, he could count on an alert and knowledgeable audience---rather than narrow-minded, frivolous aristocrats interested only in hunting."Yet later on he fell out of favor, and was actually imprisoned for a month, composing "The Well-Tempered Clavier" in "a place where dismay, boredom, and the lack of any sort of musical instrument made this way of passing the time essential."

Geck notes that Bach's later position as Cantor of St. Thomas' Lutheran Church obliged him to perform the teaching of a number of academic subjects (e.g., Latin, grammar)---which he could pay someone else to do for him---but "Buying his way out of teaching the academic subjects does not free the cantor of his responsibility for teaching music classes, giving individual lessons, or meeting his many other pedagogical obligations at this school with fifty-five boarding students."

Geck argues that "The Bach of the last phase (of Leipzig) is no old man gathering his waning strength to bring in a last harvest." "As we can recognize today, with the premiere of the (St. Matthew Passion) on 11 APril 1727, the great period in which Bach concentrated on composing Lutheran church music comes to an end."Concerning Bach's being a Lutheran and yet composing his famous B Minor Mass, Geck suggests that "He is not cozying up to Catholicism.The term 'Catholic mass' should be understood ecumenically..."

Was Bach a "conservative" composer?Geck responds that "there may be musical standards that, once he established them, became a Rubicon he did not want to cross again."He also makes the significant observation, "Insisting that Bach was unappreciated during his lifetime has become part of the Bach hagiography."Nevertheless "More than once he was deemed to be one of the most important composers of his time."

This is an excellent study of the man, and his music.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

2-0 out of 5 stars BACH NO HUMANIST
This book, like most written about J. S. Bach within the last hundred years, paints a man who wrote "J. J." at the top of his compositions as a humanist!(The two "Js" stand for "Jesu Juva," a Latin inscription meaning, "Jesus, Help Me."These same manuscripts were ended with S.D.G. = Soli Deo Gloria or, To God, Alone the Glory.)

Men like Geck, with long strings of letters after their names, rush to derail the abundant and irrefutable proofs that J. S. Bach was a devout, believing and practicing CHRISTIAN, and they misrepresent him as a humanist.Some books, like this one are downright silly in proposing that a man who set to music more than five hundred deeply spiritual and Christ-centered cantata texts, did so while not believing a word of what he set. To accept the Bach as a humanist would mean that on every Sunday (except during Lent) and on all the major Feast Days, from 1723 to 1750, Bach's choirs sang a lie and he directed those lies.

Bach never wrote words himself, or set to music words of anyone else who believed or espoused the Humanists mantra: That mankind's strength comes "from within."Read the words to the recitative for bass in the Christmas Oratorio that state: "My Jesus, when I die, I shall not die eterally.Thy name upon me Thou dost write, which puts the fear of death to flight!"No one, who reads the texts to Bach's Pentecost cantatas can come away with any doubt that the composer truly believed in an in-dwelling Holy Spirit and in the life-changing qualities of that infusion of God's power.

To the unbeliever, these words are suffocating and seem excessive.But further familiarization with the texts Bach chose, reveal other, innumerable instances of just what he believed.Bach did not believe, as humanists would propose, that man is basically good.Bach did not believe that man can improve himself by merely being kind to others and by drawing upon some mysterious, self-contained strength.

To confirm this, read the margin notes he wrote in his Calov Bible.The book is in the library of Concordia College in Missouri, USA.The "New Bach Reader" contains all these notes with very clear explanations of them.

Further, Geck's book indicates that Bach was a pietist.This is clearly WRONG.Bach put up with a pietist rector in Muehlhausen and stomached the incursion and growing popularity of pietism, but he was an ORTHODOX LUTHERAN and he retained and practiced all the elements of that strong faith, inculcated in him and his father, Ambrosius, all his uncles and ancestors, going back to the earliest known ancestor, Lips Bach!

J.S. Bach set to music and wrote in his second wife's "Notenbuch," arias, recitatives, chorales and choruses that support the teachings of Martin Luther: That man's salvation comes only through the grace of God, as a gift.It cannot be "earned" or "bought" as the Roman church had taught.He believed, as Luther did, "By Adam's fall, we sinned, all."Further, as Luther knew, Bach knew that good works are not the recipe for eternal life.

Humanists believe doing good is what makes a person better.Luther (,St. Paul) and Bach believed people are worms to start with and that once you had accepted Christ's gift of salvation, one would WANT to do "good" in order to serve their new Lord and his creation.Geck apparently does not share or understand this, so he (and others) attempt to ignore or twist Bach's Orthodox Lutheran beliefs to suit the revisionist and humanist view of what the sermons and cantata texts in the Thomaskirche stated clearly.

This is a long treatise on Bach's beliefs, but a full explanation is required to point out how misguided and uninformed Geck and the others are, when they minimize, debunk or distort Bach's beliefs and replace them with what most of "academe" thinks is a smarter and better-informed interpretation of them.

The book does reveal Geck's sometimes extravagant conjectures about known happenings in Bach's life, but I could not discover anything new and useful.Instead, I found a tiresome re-hashing of popular fable and baseless and untruthful revisions in what Forkel and Spitta wrote about when it came to the great Sebastian's beliefs.

Michael Lonneke
Round Hill, VA

3-0 out of 5 stars Some interesting content, annoyingly disturbing translation
This book is a strange combination of some interesting content (especially the part about the works; the biographical information is dry and gives no idea what kind of a person Bach was), and some very misguided choices in translation. Aside from the occasional translation error, the translator seems not to realize that the "historical present", which is used in German, does not exist in English (other than rarely). This gives, as another reviewer pointed out a sensation of cognitive dissonance. As I translator myself, I'm used to seeing this is French (the language I work from), but when I read a French book using this, it is rarely as disturbing as it is here. The translator should have normalized this into English, that is, using the past, but also should have normalized the disturbing shifts of time from the past to the present that occur on nearly every page.

The biographical section is, as I mentioned, dry and static; you get no feeling that Bach ever ate a meal or went to the bathroom. It is fact after fact, date after date, written document after written document. The parts about the music itself are more interesting, but the overall feeling this book leaves is one of confusion. The decision to separate Bach's life and work is curious; the two were intertwined (especially because the author talks so little about Bach as a person, there's nothing else to hold up to the light).

All in all, this is not a good book for someone wanting to understand Bach's life. Alas, in spite of the many books about Bach, not many of them do so. Others are also plagued by translation errors, or academic prose, and a real humanist biography of Bach is needed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Temporal schizophrenia?
Other reviewers (three at the time of writing) have adequately addressed the scholarly content of this book, so I shall confine myself to a stylistic problem that none of them mentions.Perhaps it didn't disturb them?It certainly did me; in fact, it drove me crazy.

And that is (if you will forgive me), that the author cannot make up his mind whether he spoke of Bach in the past or the present tense.For instance, on p. 38 we have:

`Eisenach not only provides his musical world but is also the site of his upbringing and education' (etc.)

But then:

`The hymnal, the catechism, Latin texts -- these elements dominated the early education of young Bach.'


`At all events, he sets out on foot in March 1700 for Lüneburg, to arrive there before Easter.His classmate at the Ohrdruf lyceum, Georg Erdmann, released from school several weeks earlier, may have accompanied him.'

These examples, perhaps not particularly egregious, are merely chosen at random from those that pervade the book.

German is sufficiently like English, that it seems safe to assume that this is a characteristic of the original, and not of the translation (especially since we're told that the translation is `skillful').It would be interesting to know for sure; I looked at Amazon Germany's website, but Search Inside was not enabled.

Sad to say, the mannerism also affects the analysis portion of the book, contaminating not only syntax but semantics.On p.355 we read:

`Bach continues his experimenting.For the very next Sunday, the fourteenth Trinity Sunday, he writes an opening chorus for the cantata BWV 25...'

Since we have by now grasped the fact that Bach is dead, we can safely assign this event to the past.But then we have:

`Taking a broad view of Bach's music, the musicologist Gerd Rienäcker speaks of a "consciousness of catastrophe," located in Luther's theology but...' (etc.)

Is Rienäcker a denizen of the 18th century, or the 20th?Or is it the 19th?We have no easy way of telling.

I personally find all this, as Caligula supposedly found Gemellus's cough, very irritating.While I would not go so far as to suggest Caligula's remedy, I would certainly hope that enough people will expostulate with the author and/or publisher that it will be corrected in future editions.

The rating is a compromise between five stars for content and two for style.If you're a music student, this review probably won't -- and shouldn't -- affect your purchasing decision; but if you read merely for pleasure, you may want to take note.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Biography and A Musical Analysis
It's strange that with someone as famous as Bach that we really know very little about his personal life. In this book Martin Geck has written as much as we know, and has had to expand that with some of the generally accepted rumors. He has done a very good job in this area. That takes about a third of this book.

The other two thirds of the book is on Bach's music. In this area, the book is absolutely supurb. Mr. Geck has been a professor of musicology at Dormund University. He has written about the other German major composers and now has produced this masterpiece on Bach.

He covers every aspect of Bach's music from technique, to the impact on the listener. Surprisingly his analysis is not too technical so the average enthusiast can understant what he is saying. The last section of the book is called Horizons, and while fairly short (30 pages or so) he offers some opinions on Back's art, theology, symbolism and other aspects of his work that are seldom covered. ... Read more

4. Johann Sebastian Bach (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)
by Mike Venezia
Paperback: 32 Pages (1998-08)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$3.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0516263528
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A brief biography of the prolific eighteenth-century composer and organist who created some of the world's greatest instrumental and religious music. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny, short, packed with info
I was surprised at first by how small this book was (both in size and number of pages), but it's funny and actually contains quite a bit of information for a young child.My 5 year old likes it and retained a good many little biographical information after just the first reading.Great read for elementary level students.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny and fabulous
This book has both my boys (ages 6 & 4) laughing and singing (there is a made-up ditty about Heinrich the Pizza Man) and wanting to read the whole book repeatedly. The silly illustrations along with actual images make Bach's history understandable and interesting to the very young. Now we're all listening to the Brandenberg Concertos!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Books
All of the Venezia books are really great.They are funny yet informative and really help children to learn about Artists and Composers. ... Read more

5. The Worlds of Johann Sebastian Bach (An Aston Magna Academy Book)
by Raymond Erickson
Hardcover: 512 Pages (2009-04-15)
list price: US$34.99 -- used & new: US$21.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1574671669
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The Worlds of J.S. Bach offers both traditional and new perspectives on the life and work of the man who is arguably the central figure in the Western musical tradition. It appears at a time when, because of the fall of the Iron Curtain, extraordinary new discoveries are being made about Bach and his family at an increasing rate - thus this book is able to incorporate important information and images not available even in the recent anniversary year of 2000. After making the case for the universality of Bach's art as an epitome of Western civilization, The Worlds of J.S. Bach considers in broad terms the composer's social, political, and artistic environment, its influence on him, and his interaction with it. Renowned specialists in history, religion, architecture, literature, theater, and dance offer the perspectives of these disciplines as they relate to Bach's milieu, while leading Bach specialists from both the U.S. and Germany focus on the man himself. The book is an outgrowth of the "celebrated" (Boston Globe) multidisciplinary Academies sponsored by the Aston Magna Foundation for Music and the Humanities with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. * Makes accessible in English much recent German-language scholarship on Bach * Incorporates the latest important discoveries concerning Bach, including, with illustrations, an unkown aria and the oldest known autograph manuscript (by the composer at age 15) * Contains biographical information not found in any of the standard reference works and other biographies * Over 200 black-and-white and color illustrations with detailed captions both support and extend the content of the essays ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The title tells it all
The essays in the book are scholarly while remaining accessible toan interested reader.Students of history as well as music lovers will find this a rewarding experience. ... Read more

6. Toccatas, Fantasias, Passacaglia and Other Works for Organ
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Paperback: 176 Pages (1987-07-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486254038
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Over 20 of the composer’s best-loved, most often performed compositions, including the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565; Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582; the Fugue in B minor on a theme of Corelli, BWV 579, and many more. Reproduced directly from the authoritative Bach-Gesellschaft edition.
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The largest-size of the 3 Dover JSBach Organ-Music volumes
With this volume we get some of the most striking, popular and yet profound of J.S. Bach's organ music:the 4 Toccata and Fugue pairs, the g-minor Fantasia and Fugue, the great c-minor Passacaglia and Fugue, and a number of other thoroughly-beautiful works (e.g., the Fantasias in G-major {"Pièce d'Orgue"} and c-minor).This way, the other 2 volumes of 1) Preludes & Fugues where the Preludes are strictly preludes, plus 2) the initial volume of trio-sonate, the 3rd-part of the Klavierübung and various Chorale-Preludes and workings around, are properly balanced and complemented to give the overwhelming bulk of Bach's entire organ oeuvre.

All of these are beautifully reproduced from the authoritative Bach-Gesellschaft edition at a fraction of the price those volumes would cost otherwise![Those who're unhappy about the page-turns had better blame the Bach-Gesellschaft instead!]

Most highly recommended, yet again!Bravo Dover!!! ... Read more

7. Complete Preludes and Fugues for Organ
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Paperback: 168 Pages (1985-03-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 048624816X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This volume reproduces all 25 of Bach’s complete sets of preludes and fugues (i.e. compositions written as pairs), from the authoritative Bach-Gesellschaft edition. Organists and music lovers can enjoy Bach’s beautiful compositions in one convenient edition—ideal for reading, study and performance. Table of contents.
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Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book IS complete for those works that are SPECIFICALLY Preludes AND Fugues (and are otherwise not part of something else)
Another steal!Beautifully reproduced at an attractive size (I could have liked it slightly larger) and lightish weight from the Bach-Gesellschaft authoritative edition that still hasn't been dethroned by the Neue-Bach-Ausgabe.

Of course, those who insist on the "St.Anne" E-flat pair or the E-major (BWV566) Toccata will need to turn to the other two volumes published by Dover.[Personally I wouldn't have minded all three volumes published in one larger-sized book;however, those who don't wish to carry more weight around than necessary can then be happy with the 'status quo'.]

Very warmly recommended - what lovely music here present like the great A-minor, B-minor, E-minor and 3 C-major pairs!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars You give a little, you take a little...
This book contains some of the most wonderful music ever composed, which are perfect in themselves, yet this book has several flaws in its presentation of them:You will find that the print is somewhat small in this book, which is good or bad, depending upon your eyesight.And the last major issue I found (besides the fact that the book doesn't contain "all" of the Preludes and Fugues) was that there were several page turns which were placed in rather undesirable places.But as the title of this review suggests, for such an inexpensive price, the book serves its basic duty.

5-0 out of 5 stars More detail on the contents
As other reviewers have mentioned, the term "complete" does not mean that every prelude and fugue by Bach is contained.Here is a complete list of its contents:

Prelude and Fugue, C Major (BWV 531; BG XV, 81)
Prelude and Fugue, D Major (BWV 532; BG XV, 88)
Prelude and Fugue, E Minor (BWV 533; BG XV, 100)
Prelude and Fugue, F Minor (BWV 534; BG XV, 104)
Prelude and Fugue, G Minor (BWV 535; BG XV, 112)
Prelude and Fugue, A Major (BWV 536; BG XV, 120)
Prelude and Fugue, D Minor (BWV 539; BG XV, 148)
Prelude and Fugue, G Major (BWV 541; BG XV, 169)
Prelude and Fugue, A Minor (BWV 543; BG XV, 189)
Prelude and Fugue, B Minor (BWV 544; BG XV, 199)
Prelude and Fugue, C Major (BWV 545; BG XV, 212)
Prelude and Fugue, C Minor (BWV 546; BG XV, 218)
Prelude and Fugue, C Major (BWV 547; BG XV, 228)
Prelude and Fugue, E Minor (BWV 548; BG XV, 236)
Prelude and Fugue, C Minor (BWV 549; BG XXXVIII, 3)
Prelude and Fugue, G Major (BWV 550; BG XXXVIII, 9)
Prelude and Fugue, A Minor (BWV 551; BG XXXVIII, 17)
Eight Short Preludes and Fugues (possibly spurious)
1. C Major (BWV 553; BG XXXVIII, 23)
2. D Minor (BWV 554; BG XXXVIII, 27)
3. E Minor (BWV 555; BG XXXVIII, 30)
4. F Major (BWV 556; BG XXXVIII, 33)
5. G Major (BWV 557; BG XXXVIII, 36)
6. G Minor (BWV 558; BG XXXVIII, 39)
7. A Minor (BWV 559; BG XXXVIII, 42)
8. B-flat Major (BWV 560; BG XXXVIII, 45)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just a note on BWV 552 "St Anne"
People below complained that BWV 552 "St Anne" does not appear in this book. BWV 552 is part of Clavier Uebung III, which includes more than a dozen other pieces (mostly chorale preludes). According to Clifford Bartlett, in actual practice, the prelude was played separately from the fugue; the rest of Clavier Uebung III was sandwiched between the prelude and fugue. Furthermore, often only pieces of the Clavier Uebung were played, rather than the whole thing. Hence, one might argue that BWV 552 stands in contrast to other pieces clearly marked "Prelude and Fugue."

5-0 out of 5 stars Bach Preludes and Fuges
As a young organ student, I enjoyed the basic challenge and ease of reading the clean print in this fine manuscript. ... Read more

8. Simply Bach: The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach -- 25 of His Most Loved Masterpieces (Simply Series)
Paperback: 80 Pages (2009-12)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$8.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0739051822
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Simply Bach is a collection of the most famous compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. Phrase markings, articulations, fingering, and dynamics have been included to aid with interpretation, and a large print size makes the notation easy to read. Titles: Air on the G String (from Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major) * Aria in D Minor (from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach) * Arioso (Sinfonia from Cantata No. 156) * Ave Maria * Badinerie (from Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor) * Bourrée (from Suite in E Minor) * Bourrée No. 2 in B Minor (from Partita in B Minor) * Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 (First and Third Movement Themes) * Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (First Movement Theme) * Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 (First and Third Movement Themes) * Cello Suite No. 1 (Prelude) * Chorale (from St. Matthew Passion) * Gavotte (from French Suite No. 5) * Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring * Minuet in D Minor (from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach) * Minuet in G Major (from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach) * Musette in D Major (from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach) * Polonaise in G Minor (from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach) * Prelude No. 1 in C Major (from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1) * Prelude No. 2 in C Major (from 12 Short Preludes) * Sheep May Safely Graze * Toccata in D Minor * Violin Concerto in A Minor (First Movement Theme). ... Read more

9. 101 Chorales Harmonized by J.S. Bach (Belwin Edition)
by Bach, Johann Sebastian
Paperback: 96 Pages (1985-03-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$8.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0769243975
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bach's Little Instruction Book
During my university years, this book was the instruction book for Music Theory I and II. If you harmonized in the style of Bach, you were ok. Years later, when playing organ for a German Lutheran church, where the hymnals contain the vocal line and 17 verses, no harmony, this came in very handy. I simply harmonized every verse differently according to the text, as Bach had done. The pastor came to me one day and said, "We like your playing. You play like old country". That was one of the highest complements of my musical career, all because of this book. ... Read more

10. 8 Little Preludes and Fugues: Organ Solo (Organ Collection)
Paperback: 36 Pages (1986-11-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$6.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0793572878
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Contents: Prelude and Fugue in A Minor * Prelude and Fugue in Bb * Prelude and Fugue in C * Prelude and Fugue in D Minor * Prelude and Fugue in E Minor * Prelude and Fugue in F * Prelude and Fugue in G * Prelude and Fugue in G Minor. ... Read more

11. Organ Music
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Paperback: 360 Pages (1970-06-01)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$12.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486223590
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Bach-Gesellschaft edition. Includes 93 works, 6 Trio Sonatas, German Organ Mass, Orgelbüchlein, 6 Schubler Chorales, 18 Choral Preludes.
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Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Collection, page turns, index leaves a little to be desired.
This music is a single binding of several of J.S. Bach's collections. The music is well-printed, but a few of the page turns are in awkward or nonsensical places (i.e. a 2-page piece would have a page turn). However, many of these would be easily fixed by having an assistant or by photocopying some of the pages. There is also virtually no index/table of contents, but one of the other reviewers has conveniently posted a T.O.C. which I have printed out and it works very well. The only problem with having printed one is that the book is smaller than 8 1/2 by 11 inches, so you have to cut the margins a little. Also, I was able to cut it down to 1 page front-and-back by using 2 columns instead of one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent republication of items from the definitive Bach-Gesellschaft edition for organ!
To begin with, I emphatically disagree with those who prefer spiral-bindings - with me those pages rip out of the binding all too quickly![If the book wishes to close, have a few other volumes on hand to hold it open for those pages that so need it.Also, let me please encourage my fellow-organists to practise memorising the majority of these pristine jewels of the organ repertoire!]What I wish HAD been included with these works would have been the BWV - and ideally also the Schmieder - catalogue numbers!

Otherwise, I wholeheartedly welcome this durable, well-laid-out, well-engraved volume - an absolute steal, especially at the price!!Of course, if you want others of his works for the instrument, you really have to get the other two volumes that Dover has issued (most definitely recommended in both cases!!!) - that way nobody will question what pieces are available in what book.[Any works not included can then be downloaded from at least one Internet Website that has the complete works of JS Bach available for the purpose - and for free!]

I'll also go on record as giving an extra endorsement for this volume of organ music as facilitating practise in reading music printed in alto and tenor clefs - it's a good tool for preparing those who need to read orchestral scores.

In one phrase:most highly recommended!![This is not to belittle Bärenreiter, Henle or other publishers issuing high-quality editions at higher prices for this or that reason - I can use them too!However, it's seldom that one has to seek those out for the most part given the outstanding quality Dover has come to represent.]

5-0 out of 5 stars More detail on contents
The summary table of contents and alphabetical index provided in this volume never worked for me, so I compiled my own complete table of contents:

Six Trio Sonatas
3 E-flat major
13 c minor
26 d minor
40 e minor
50 C major
66 G major

Clavierübung Part II
81 Praeludium pro Organo pleno ("St. Anne")
92 Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit
94 Christie, aller Welt Trost
98 Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist
102 Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit (manualiter)
104 Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist
105 Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr'
107 Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr'
113 Fughetta super: Allein Gott in der Höh; sei Ehr;
114 Diess sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot'
118 Fughetta super: Diess sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot'
120 Wir glauben all' an einen Gott
124 Fughetta super: Wir glauben all' an einen Gott
125 Vater unser im Himmelreich (2 vers.)
132 Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam (2 vers.)
137 Aus tiefer Noth schrei' ich zu dir (2 vers.)
142 Jesus Christus unser Heiland, der von uns den Zorn...
147 Fuga super: Jesus Chrisus unser Heiland ...
150 Duetto I
153 Duetto II
156 Duetto III
159 Duetto IV
162 Fuga a 5 pro Organo pleno

Das Orgelbüchlein
171 Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland
172 Gottes Sohn ist kommen
173 Herr Christ, der ein'ge Gottes-Sohn
174 Lob se idem allmächtigen Gott
174 Puer natus in Bethlehem
175 Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
176 Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich
177 Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her
178 Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schaar
180 In Dulci Jubilo
181 Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich
182 Jesu, meine Freude
183 Christum wir sollen loben schon
184 Wir Christenleut'
186 Helft mir Gottes Güte preisen
187 Das alte Jahr vergangen ist
188 In dir ist Freude
192 Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin
194 Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf
196 O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig
198 Christe, du Lamm Gottes
198 Christus, der uns selig macht
200 Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund
201 O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross
203 Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ
204 Hilf Gott, dass mir's gelinge
206 Christ lag in Todesbanden
207 Jesus Christus, unser Heiland
208 Christ ist erstanden (3 vers.)
212 Erstanden ist der heil'ge Christ
213 Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag
214 Heut' triumphiret Gottes Sohn
215 Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, heiliger Geist
216 Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend'
217 Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier (2 vers.)
218 Dies sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot
220 Vater unser im Himmelreich
221 Durch Adam's Fall ist ganz verderbt
222 Es ist das Heil uns kommen her
223 Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
224 In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr
225 Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein
226 Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten
227 Alle Menschen müssen sterben
228 Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig

Six Schübler Chorales
231 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
234 Auf meinen lieben Gott
236 Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten
238 Meine Seele erhebt den Herren
239 Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ
242 Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom HImmel herunter

Eighteen Chorale Preludes
247 Komm, heiliger Geist
254 Komm, heiliger Geist
260 An Wasserflüssen Babylon
263 Schmücke dick, o liebe Seele
266 Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend
270 O Lamm Gottes unschuldig
276 Nun danket Alle Gott
280 Von Gott will ich nicht lassen
282 Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland
284 Trio super: Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland
286 Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland
290 Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr' (2 vers. & trio super)
304 Jesus Christus, unser Heiland (2 vers.)
310 Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, heiliger Geist
313 Vor deinen Thron tret' ich

317 Christus, de runs selig macht
318 Komm, Gott, Schöpfer, heiliger Geist
319 Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott (2 vers.)
325 An Wasserflüssen Babylon
327 Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend' (3 vers.)
334 O Lamm Gottes unschuldig
338 Von Gott will ich nicht lassen
240 Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland (4 vers.)
348 Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr' (2 vers.)
356 Jesus Christus, unser Heiland

3-0 out of 5 stars Great study edition for quick reference
Six amazing Trio Sonatas, the powerful "St. Anne", pages of heartfelt Chorale preludes, all in one volume!

What more could one ask for?...

Let's start with with a spiral binding, this book is so thick that it needed to have its spine broken in several places so sit flat.Every page turn still threatens to unbalance it and send it falling off the rack onto my hands.
Speaking of page turns, I think the folks at Dover take pride in their ability to put page turns in the most inconvenient possible spots.
I have no hesitations to buy a Dover score, because it's the best value for your money.However, I only use these scores to look for and try out new pieces.In the end, however, when I really want to work on a piece, I'm sure to get a copy of a good edition like Barenreiter of Henle to perform from. ... Read more

12. The Solo Lute Works of Johann Sebastian Bach: Edited for Guitar by Frank Koonce
 Spiral-bound: 142 Pages (1989)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0849755018
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
By Frank Koonce. For guitar. Intermediate Guitar Solo Level piece for the Guitar Events with the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC) Festivals Bulletin 2008-2009-2010. Classical. Music Book. Published by Neil A. Kjos Music Company (KJ.WG100). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great place to order books
I often need to order books for my son in college.Many of the books are recommended by his music professor and are not available at the college bookstore.I can always find them on Amazon at the best prices.

5-0 out of 5 stars yea
Buy this now. Just make sure to get the 2nd edition, which is a vast improvement on the first.

5-0 out of 5 stars As good as they come
While I agree with all the previous reviews, they just don't do justice to this beautiful collection, which is as perfect as they come. It is designed with the reader in mind, with fold out pages and a plastic spiral binding (more durable than it looks) that make pages easy to read and turn.
The book begins with an overview of the source manuscripts, how-tos of ornamentation, and information on the interpretation of the rhythms, including their relation to the dances they represent. This short introduction is concise and easy to understand, without being 'dumbed down'. The scores themselves are clear (though not always with enough room for my own scribbly notes), and have useful notes and commentaries on each piece that are extensive and unobtrusive to the score.
My favorite part of the book is it's strivings to keep close to the originals, offering alternatives and the interpretations of other musicians. The last 36 pages have photocopies of the source manuscripts, which are a bit too small to site read, but are an incredible asset to the material.
In short, his book is a totally awesome, completely user friendly, and overflowing with information, without being overly technical or dense. Thank you Mr. Koonce!
Definitely well worth the price- support your local music shop!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Classical guitar and Bach, match made in Heaven
If you play classical guitar, then this is a must have book for your collection. Bach played on classical guitar is a match made in Heaven. Frank Koonce did an excellent job in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The definitive
My teacher had a copy of this book years ago-- Bach is one of the best composers for classical guitar, and also one of the most difficult.Pick up a good Segovia CD, and if the song is by Bach there's a 99% chance it's in this book.

The whole thing is really well done.It's bound so that you can remove and re-add pages if you want.Some pages flip out.The back contains a set of pictures of many of the pieces as they were originally written or transcribed.

This is a hidden gem of a book. ... Read more

13. Johann Sebastian Bach; The Master and His Work
by Gurlitt Wilibald
 Paperback: 149 Pages (1957)

Isbn: 0570013100
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14. Six English Suites (A Kalmus Classic Edition)
by Bach, Johann Sebastian
Paperback: 156 Pages (2001-04-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$6.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 075790663X
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Bach's Six English Suites have been newly engraved from the acclaimed Hans Bischoff edition. These fresh, easily read pages will make lessons and work towards performance more simple and exciting. Included is a lengthy preface by Bischoff, discussing materials used to develop this edition, along with various footnotes throughout the text to clarify performance. ... Read more

15. Johann Sebastian Bach: His Life In Pictures And Documents
by Hans Conrad Fischer
Hardcover: 191 Pages (2005-08)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$180.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080063764X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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The monumental work of J. S. Bach—some 250 cantatas,280 organ compositions, the great Passions, oratoriosand masses, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the BrandenburgConcertos, the Art of the Fugue—stands as a high-watermark of Western civilization. Yet that work isunderstandable only in light of Bach's profound Christianfaith, asserts Hans Conrad Fischer. Born under the shadowof Wartburg Castle, where Martin Luther in seclusion hadtranslated the New Testament into German, Bach saw hiswork as a daily engagement with Christian mysteries, oftensigning his manuscripts SDG–soli deo gratia or for God'sglory alone.

This lavish volume celebrates Bach unabashedly. Theengrossing text, enhanced with dozens of portraits, photosof locales and artifacts, maps and manuscripts, brings Bach,his faith, and his achievements directly to the reader. So toodoes the accompanying CD-ROM, including 17 keyselections sampling Bach's best-known pieces from eachgenre and period of his life. It conclusively presents J. S.Bach's genius as not only musical but also religious, onethat still effectively presents Christian faith to today's largelysecular public. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Soli Deo Gloria
Always a pleasure to find another biography of my favorite composer.This one is a delight.It is easy to read and has many interesting illustrations.Thank you for recommending it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Bach Bargain
If you know someone who loves Bach's Music, this is the perfect, impressive yet inexpensive gift. Wonderfully illustrated, this one volume and accompanying CD covers Bach's life, times, contemporaries and music. With many full-color photos as well as smaller black and white illustrations, this "coffee Table" book would ordinarily sell for two or three times the price it is being offered at now.The CD recording is a nice touch for non-musicians that provides a good overview of Bach's music as well as further illustration of the text.

4-0 out of 5 stars short and sweet
In this simply written and beautifully appointed volume Hans Fischer has provided a general overview of the life and times of one of the greatest composers ever to live. This is no substitute for the likes of Christoph Wolff's massive (600 pages) intellectual biography Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician, but for that very reason it is all the more accessible and enjoyable for the non-specialist. Fischer concentrates on Bach's life and times, and there is little analysis of his music per se. Born in Eisenach, home of the famous Wartburg Castle where Luther translated the Bible into German while imprisoned, Bach (1685-1750), was the youngest son of a family of eight children (four of whom survived). By age 10 both his mother and father died within a year, so the orphan Bach was raised by his brother. In his own two marriages he fathered 17 children.

Fischer insists that to understand Bach you must move beyond mere technical or intellectual analysis and grasp the centrality of Bach's deeply held (Lutheran) Christian faith. His organizing theme is that, in Bach's own words, the composer's lifelong goal was a "regulated sacred music to God's honor." His life was centered around the daily prayers, life, and worship of the local church. Indeed, writes Fischer, Bach "completely subordinated himself to the liturgy." At the top of many of his compositions Bach wrote the letters "JJ" (Jesu juva, Jesus help), and at the end, of course, the three letters "SDG" (Soli Deo Gloria, for the glory of God alone).

The subtitle of this book is important. Perhaps a full third of the book includes gorgeous plates of autographed manuscripts, engravings of churches and towns, period portraits of people close to Bach, along with important primary documents. For example, it is common knowledge that Bach came from a long line of family musicians; Fischer includes the entire Origin of the Musical Bach Family in which Bach documented what he knew about his 53 ancestors back to the sixteenth century and Vitus Bach, a baker in Hungary. Or again, it is fun to read the city council of Leipzig's Contract of Employment as the Cantor of St. Thomas's (where Bach spent 27 years). Among the 14 enumerated points: "That I will make music in the two major city churches as well as I can" (#2), and, "That I will not leave town without the Mayor's permission" (#13). For about $1300 you might purchase Hänssler Classic's 172 CDs of the Edition Bachakademie (the complete works of Bach). Or buy this book and enjoy the delightful CD that comes with it, A Musical Journey Through the Life of Johann Sebastian Bach, which includes 17 extracts from the Hänssler edition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bach: His Life
H. C. Fischer has given in his book a helpful, informative and well reseached view of the man J. S. Bach whose music we hear yet in this time and enjoy no less than when he wrote.

5-0 out of 5 stars The glory of Bach
It really is impossible to capture the glory that is the music of J.S. Bach in the printed page, but this book comes very close.Coupled with a CD of music samples taken from the Edition Bachakademie (a 172-CD set that is the only complete recording of the music of J.S. Bach), this book is a wonderful introduction and survey of the Bach's life and music.

The CD itself is a wonderful collection of seventeen pieces, ranging from just a little over a minute to nearly ten minutes, excerpts or complete renderings of Bach compositions.These include a generous sampling of organ pieces such as the Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor, harpsichord pieces including The Art of the Fugue, and pieces for other instruments and combinations.Included also are portions of the Brandenberg Concertos, the St. Matthew Passion and the Mass in B-Minor, arguably his best piece (and argued by some as the best music ever written).

Bach's work was primarily liturgical and religious in nature.At the conclusion of a great many of his manuscripts, he inscribed the letters SDG, which stand for Soli Deo Gloria, for God's glory alone.Bach was employed as a church organist in Germany, having come from a distinguished musical family (in fact, figuring out which Bach is which can sometimes be a struggle even for scholars).Living a few generational after the Reformation, Bach brought the fullness of the theological impulses together with the richness of the Baroque tradition of music, then in full flower, together in a magnificent form.

This book gives insight into the spiritual and historical forces that helped shape Bach and his music.It has a lavish presentation style, with full-colour portraits of people and places of significance in generous number throughout the text.There are photographs of some of the great organs of the time, too.It is a uniquely fortunate work of fate that J.S. Bach's career should coincide with that of the Silbermann family's ascendancy in organ building, for they reached heights in craftsmanship rarely reached even today.

Bach was a man of strong passions - such is obvious from his music, but also is demonstrated in various aspects of his life apart from music.He was more than once called before church councils to answer for his behaviour, and was involved in physical brawls that required police and court interventions.Bach was very opinionated, to the point of exasperation of those around him, but often got his way.

This book introduces in a very inviting manner.Author Hans Conrad Fischer writes in a lively, interesting fashion for beginners and experienced music fans alike.This book makes a wonderful introduction to Bach, a good refresher for Bach, and is especially good for exploring the historical and spiritual contexts that surround Bach's music.
... Read more

16. St. John Passion in Full Score
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Paperback: 60 Pages (1993-12-16)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486277550
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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One of the most moving of all the musical settings of the Passion of Christ, and one of the most frequently performed of all religious choral works. In its solos and choruses, Bach’s choral masterpiece follows the biblical text that relates the events leading to Christ’s crucifixion, death and resurrection. Contemplative reflections in freely composed verse and highly expressive chorales intersperse the narrative to comment poignantly and powerfully on the events as they unfold. Reprinted here from the authoritative Bach-Gesellschaft Edition published by Breitkopf & Härtel of Leipzig.
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Es una obra muy interesante
Juan Sebastian Bach escribió 3 pasiones, la mas conocida es la de San Mateo y la de San Juan, esta obra es muy solemne, lleva el toque caracteristico de toda la musica de Bach, la representación mas grande deesta obra estuvo bajo la batuta de Felix Mendelsohn. En la obra estáplasmada toda la pasión de Jesucristo según el evangelio de San Juan,valdría la pena que escucharas esta obra, No te arrepentiras! ... Read more

17. Bach: Sonatas for Flute and Piano, Volume 2
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Paperback: 56 Pages (1986-11-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$7.40
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Asin: 0793554209
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Contents: Sonata No. IV in C major ¥ Sonata No. V in E minor ¥ Sonata No. VI in E major ¥ Sonata No. VII in G minor. ... Read more

18. Johann Sebastian Bach: Two And Three Part Inventions For The Pianoforte (1894)
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Hardcover: 46 Pages (2010-05-23)
list price: US$30.95 -- used & new: US$22.62
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Asin: 116195578X
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This scarce antiquarian book is a selection from Kessinger Publishing's Legacy Reprint Series. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature. Kessinger Publishing is the place to find hundreds of thousands of rare and hard-to-find books with something of interest for everyone! ... Read more

19. Goldberg Variations: BWV 988 (Dover Classical Music for Keyboard)
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Paperback: 64 Pages (2006-10-06)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$4.29
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Asin: 0486452824
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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According to legend, this monument of keyboard literature was written for one of Bach's students, who played it to soothe and entertain his insomniac master. Starting the theme with a stately Aria, the "Goldbergs" travel through 30 variations, exploring thematic possibilities while showcasing the composer's brilliant sense of motivic possibilities.
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Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Fine but not the best
This edition of the Goldberg Variations is fine and I've been happy with it for years, but it does not provide the detailed guidance on ornament execution and clarification of the voice leading that I have now found in the Schirmer edition by Ralph Kirkpatrick. If you are anything like me (an amateur, no doubt!) you will save yourself countless hours by spending a couple dollars more for the Schirmer edition.

1-0 out of 5 stars Read carefully before buying: sheet music only
Perhaps it was the word 'Paperback' or the association of Amazon.com as a bookshop that lured me into buying this book because it is no study about the inside of BWV 988 as I expected, but the sheet music only with a short introduction. ... Read more

20. Art of the Fugue (Kalmus Edition)
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Paperback: 88 Pages (1985-03-01)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$7.98
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Asin: 076924081X
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Art of the Fugue Book Piano By Johann Sebastian Bach / ed. Carl Czerny Brand: Alfred Publishing Model Number: 00-K03051 ... Read more

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