Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven

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Bach was a masterful composer whose works are technically demanding and incredibly complex. Conductor John Eliot Gardiner, a master musician himself, has spent a lifetime studying Bach and in this book tries to understand the man behind the music. Bach left few writings, but his music is full of joy; Gardiner contends that the music is the key to the real Johann Sebastian.

Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven looks particularly at Bach’s oral compositions; Gardiner theorizes that the texts chosen represent Bach’s own feelings and experiences. For Bach, composing and performing music was a form of worship, and all was done to the glory of God. But he had many textual choices, and a lot of freedom within his employment mandates – so why did he choose certain texts over others? To really understand Bach, Gardiner walks the reader through a history of Bach’s Germany, following the events of Bach’s life within his surrounding culture. He places compositions in their historical context, and then delves into various pieces in detail, explaining the music theory, the text, the performance. This book beautifully interweaves history, biography, and music theory. It is written with love and admiration that the author wishes to share with others. It requires time to savor, ideally with some great recordings of Bach’s music in the background.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 672 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2013-Oct-29
ISBN 9780375415296 Buy this Book
Issue February 2014
Category History


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