Bach's Musical Universe: The Composer and His Work

February 23, 2021
Bach's Musical Universe: The Composer and His Work

A concentrated study of Johann Sebastian Bach's creativeoutput and greatest pieces, capturing the essence of hisart.Throughout his life, renowned and prolific composer JohannSebastian Bach articulated his views as a composer in purelymusical terms; he was notoriously reluctant to write about his lifeand work. Instead, he methodically organized certain pieces intocarefully designed collections. These benchmark works, all of themwithout parallel or equivalent, produced a steady stream oftransformative ideas that stand as paradigms of Bach's musicalart.In this companion volume to his Pulitzer Prize–finalistbiography, Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician, leadingBach scholar Christoph Wolff takes his cue from his famous subject.Wolff delves deeply into the composer's own rich selection ofcollected music, cutting across conventional boundaries of era,genre, and instrument. Emerging from a complex and massive oeuvre,Bach's Musical Universe is a focused discussion of a meaningfulselection of compositions?from the famous Well-Tempered Clavier,violin and cello solos, and Brandenburg Concertos to the St.Matthew Passion, Art of Fugue, and B-minor Mass.Unlike any study undertaken before, Bach's Musical Universedetails Bach's creative process across the various instrumental andvocal genres. This array of compositions illustrates the depth andvariety at the essence of the composer's musical art, as well ashis unique approach to composition as a process of imaginativeresearch into the innate potential of his chosen material. TracingBach's evolution as a composer, Wolff compellingly illuminates theideals and legacy of this giant of classical music in a new,refreshing light for everyone, from the amateur to thevirtuoso.