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Interpreting Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier: A Performer`s Discourse of Method Hardcover – September 10, 1984

ISBN-13: 978-0300030587 ISBN-10: 0300030584 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (September 10, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300030584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300030587
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,437,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dhamaryder on March 10, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading the review below i wondered if maybe this book IS what I was looking for. So I found it and took it out of the library. I couldn't put it down. I devowered the first 40 pages very quickly(and I'm a slow reader) and realized I had to own this book. It's extremely insightful. It's true, it's not one of those goes through documenting every entrance of the subject, countersubject, and episodes. i mean really, who needs that? Most of that jumps right out from the music anyway. And he does talk about the difference between analyses that close your ears to the music and analyses that open your ears. this is definitely in the latter category. Although I have to say, you'd never guess that by looking at the cover.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Hartford on March 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
I had to write to counter the poor review below. This is Kirkpatrick at his best. You can find plenty of books that will explain the mechanics of fugue writing. Here is "A Performer's Discourse on Method." Kirkpatrick knows what he's talking about. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. F. K. Monkman on June 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Yes, I also wanted to bump the rating (a full five being insufficient for this modest tome). As an example, one of my favorite passages:
"Too often historical authenticity can be used as a means of escape from any potentially disquieting observance of esthetic values, and from the assumption of any genuine artistic responsibility. The abdication of esthetic values and artistic responsibilities can confer a certain illusion of simplicity on what the passage of history has presented to us, bleached as white as bones on the sands of time. We are all familiar with those simplistic notions with which it has become customary to regard the ancient Greeks. Some of us are capable of imagining a welcome objectivity in sixteenth-century music sung without any expression or any artistry whatsoever. A certain attractiveness is to be found in the notion that it has been rendered unproblematical. Whether or not Bach is a composer to render unproblematical is anyone's privilege to decide."
Quite probably though (going on performances I've heard) there are those even today who might well take exception to the above.
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5 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Robertson on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for an analysis of the expositions and episodes of the fugues in the Well-Tempered Clavier, this book is not for you.

If you are looking for an analysis of the harmonic progression in the preludes, this book is not for you.

If you are looking for debate on which tempi to choose, this book is not for you.

In fact, it is hard to say who this book IS for!

The book consists mostly of philosophical discourse on melody, rhythm, and harmony. The author uses only a few examples from the WTC. I would summarize that philosophical discourse for you, but it was lost on me.

Ralph Kirkpatrick was a well-known harpsichordist, and was especially renowned for his catalogue of the works of Domenico Scarlatti. This book was published at the end of his life. He had apparently lost most of his mental faculties by that time, and the book was probably accepted for publication only because of his name. It is unfortunate that Kirkpatrick did not write such a book in his younger years.
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