Johann Sebastian Bach: Life and Work

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 738 pages
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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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KirkLowery - LibraryThing

Be prepared for a detailed discussion of Bach's voluminous work. This is written by a German musicologist, and while this is biography, it is not history. If you love music like I do, you'll find it fascinating. But it is still a challenging read. Read full review

Johann Sebastian Bach: life and work

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Geck (musicology, Univ. of Dortmund, Germany;Ludwig van Beethoven ) adds to the voluminous literature on Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) with this monumental tome intended for musical ... Read full review

Contents

What Do We Know about Bach?
3
Transmission of the Works
23
From Matins Singer to Hofkapellmeister
35
Cantor at St Thomas and City Music Director in Leipzig
115
Director of the Collegium Musicum and Composer
189
Aesthetic Controversies Private Initiatives
205
The Universalist
219
The Bach Household
259
The Art of the Toccata
471
The Organ Chorales
498
Inventions and Sinfonias
525
The Concertos
550
The Sonatas and Suites
579
The Late Cycles
608
Bachs Art
643
Bach as a Christian
653

The Early and Weimar Cantatas
277
The Leipzig Cantatas
326
The Passions
385
Secular Cantatas and the Christmas Oratorio
415
The Magnificat and the Masses
436
The Motets
453
Rhetoric and Symbolism
660
Proportion and Numerical Relations in Bachs Music
670
Acknowledgments
677
Bibliography
697
Index
721
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Martin Geck is the author of numerous works on classical music, including a survey of its history from Beethoven to Mahler. He is a professor of musicology at the University of Dortmund in Germany.

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