The Music of J.S. Bach: Analysis and Interpretation - Vol. 4

The Music of J.S. Bach: Analysis and Interpretation - Vol. 4

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The Music of J.S. Bach: Analysis and Interpretation - Vol. 4

The Music of J.S. Bach: Analysis and Interpretation - Vol. 4

Read FREE!

Synopsis

This volume contains contributions by nine scholars on two broad themes: the analysis of Johann Sebastian Bach's orchestral works, especially his concertos, and the interpretation and performance of his music in general. The contributors are a diverse group, active in the fields of performance, organology, music theory, and music history. Several work in more than one of these areas, making them particularly well prepared to write on the interdisciplinary themes of the volume. Part 1 includes Alfred Mann's introduction to Bach's orchestral music as well as essays by Gregory G. Butler and Jeanne Swack on the Brandenburg Concertos. Part 2 offers ground-breaking articles by John Koster and Mary Oleskiewicz on the harpsichords and flutes of Bach's day as well as essays by David Schulenberg and William Renwick on keyboard performance practice and the study of fugue in Bach's circle. Paul Walker explores the relationships between rhetoric and fugue, and John Butt reviews some recent trends in Bach performance.

Excerpt

The present volume of Bach Perspectives, like its predecessors, is a collection of essays on topics of great interest in current Bach studies. It falls into two parts, each treating a distinct theme. Part 1 is devoted to Bach's activity in the concerto genre, with two contributors focusing on the use of ritornello form in these works. Part 2 turns to issues of interpretation, in both the general sense of musical and textual criticism and the more specific sense of contemporary as well as historical performance practice.

Alfred Mann, one of the founding members of the American Bach Society, provides an introduction to part 1 that raises questions about the definition and development of Bach's “orchestral” music. Issues of genre and structure are the subjects of the two following essays, which discuss what are no doubt Bach's best-known works of this type, the Brandenburg Concertos. Gregory G. Butler considers the precise genre assignment of the Fourth Brandenburg Concerto, and Jeanne Swack offers a close study of the first movement of that work.

Part 2 opens with two essays on the material culture of Bach's world as embodied in musical instruments of the period. John Koster reinterprets the history of harpsichord building in early eighteenth-century Germany, whereas Mary Oleskiewicz examines surviving instruments as well as music by the flutist-composer Johann Joachim Quantz, gaining a new perspective on one of Bach's best-known flute works, the trio sonata from the Musical Offering. The present writer then considers certain changing aspects of performance in Bach's keyboard works, and William Renwick takes a close look at a hitherto neglected collection of preludes and fugues attributed to Bach in an eighteenth-century manuscript. Fugue is also the subject of Paul Walker's reexamination of traditional views on the relationship of contrapuntal composition to rhetoric. Finally, John Butt offers a survey of trends in Bach performance during the past two decades, paying particular attention to the sacred cantatas and the Brandenburg Concertos.

This volume has been a collaborative effort in several senses of the word.

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