J. S. Bach: A Life in Music

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 15, 2007 - Music
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Peter Williams approaches afresh the life and music of arguably the most studied of all composers, interpreting both Bach's life by deconstructing his original obituary in the light of more recent information and his music by evaluating his priorities and irrepressible creative energy. How, even though belonging to musical families on both his parents' sides, did he come to possess so bewitching a sense of rhythm and melody and a mastery of harmony that established nothing less than a norm in Western culture? In considering that the works of a composer are his biography, the book's title A Life in Music means both a life spent making music and one revealed in the music as we know it. A distinguished scholar and performer, Williams re-examines Bach's life as an orphan and family man, as an extraordinarily gifted composer and player and as an ambitious artist who never suffered fools gladly.

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J. S. Bach: a life in music

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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 ... Read full review



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About the author (2007)

Peter Williams held the first Chair in Performance Practice in a British university (Edinburgh), where he was also first Director of the Russell Collection of Harpsichords and latterly Dean of Music, and the first Arts and Sciences Distinguished Chair at Duke University, North Carolina. His books include The European Organ (1966), Bach: The Goldberg Variations (Cambridge University Press, 2001), Figured Bass Accompaniment (1970), The Organ in Western Culture, 750–1250 (Cambridge University Press, 1993), The Chromatic Fourth During Four Centuries of Music (1998) and The Organ Music of J. S. Bach (Cambridge University Press, second edition 2003).

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