J.S. Bach

J.S. Bach

J.S. Bach

J.S. Bach


This superb reference work on Johann Sebastian Bach is the first volume in a new species of Oxford Companion that will focus on major composers. Illustrated with twenty-four black-and-white plates, this volume boasts over a thousand alphabetically arranged entries that cover Bach's music, his life and times, scholarship on Bach, and the performance of his music. Readers will find entries on the various genres that Bach worked in (including chorales, fantasia, sonata, concerto, missa), his many individual works (such as St. John's Passion, The Goldberg Variations, Brandenburg Concertos, Passacaglia, Well-Tempered Clavier, The Christmas Oratorio, and The Art of Fugue), places important to his career (such as Muhlhausen, Weimar, and Leipzig), and important contemporaries (Handel, Rameau, Vivaldi, Telemann, among others). There are also entries on instruments (harpsichord, organ, clavier, and so on), Bach performance practice, stylistic influences on his work, and other biographical details. The book concludes with a family tree, a chronology of Bach's life, a list of his works, and a glossary of terms. Bach was one of the giants of classical music, a composer of astonishing powers of invention. In The Oxford Composer Companion: J.S. Bach, music aficionados will have at their fingertips a treasure chest of information on this major figure.


This volume, and the series of Composer Companions that it inaugurates, owes its inception to Michael Cox, who saw the need for a book to which one might turn for ready and reliable information about anything to do with Bach and his music. Although not the first of its kind (it is preceded by at least one German and two Japanese Bach lexicons laid out on similar lines), it is perhaps the first English- language attempt to deal comprehensively with the subject in an A-Z guide. I am grateful to Michael Cox not only for the initial idea and for inviting me to take it up, but also for his continued interest and support. Thanks are due also to his colleagues at Oxford University Press, particularly Pam Coote, Alison Jones, Wendy Tuckey, and Mary Worthington.

For agreeing to proof-read the whole volume I am indebted once more, as so often in the past, to David Wyn Jones, and the project has benefited in various ways from the help I have received from Beryl Boyd, Konrad Küster, Paula Lawrence, Mary Oleskiewicz, and Eva Zöllner. To these names should be added those of the 40 or so distinguished scholars who have contributed articles to the volume, and whose involvement with it has in many cases gone far beyond that. The assistance I received from Gill Jones and her library staff in the Music Department of the University of Wales, Cardiff, did much to ease the editorial process.

Above all my thanks go to John Butt, who interpreted his role as consultant editor in the most generous way possible, brought his energy and expertise to bear on practically all aspects of the volume, and proved in every respect to be the ideal Bach companion.


Cardiff, October 1998 . . .

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