From Library Journal
Organized alphabetically, this reference includes over 1000 entries by 28 scholars and performers on every conceivable subject even remotely relating to J.S. Bach: his compositions, family, era, musical instruments of the period, and past and present interpreters. Appendixes include a list of Bach's compositions (including BWV numbering, date of composition, scoring, first publication date, location of the autograph score, and page in the complete works publications), text incipits, chronologies of lives and compositions, a glossary of terms, a map of Bach's Germany, and a family tree. The entries vary in length from a hundred words to several pages, and some subjects are singled out for more extended essays, for example, fugue, number symbolism, reception, and revival. Most entries are clearly written, although the analytical material can be quite technical. Editor Boyd was on the editorial team of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1995). This is an excellent first volume of a new series of extensive composer-based reference books from Oxford.ATimothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Oxford University Press is inaugurating a new series of composer companions with an impressive work on J. S. Bach. Edited by the noted Bach scholar Boyd, this first English-language A^-Z
encyclopedia on Bach has more than 900 entries written by 44 contributors. The contributors are well chosen, writing on their interests--Russell Stinson wrote the entry on the Orgel-Buchlein
("Little Organ Book") and has also completed a book on the same collection of organ chorales. The consultant editor is John Butt, who edited The Cambridge Companion to Bach
(1997), which includes essays on Bach's life and works as well as on his influence on modern music.
The Oxford volume provides short and long entries, many with bibliographies, on aspects of Bach's life, family, pupils, and employers; musical and technical terms; and individual works. Short articles include descriptions of cadenza fantasia, timpani, and watermarks. There are also a number of entries for current Bach festivals and twentieth-century musicians noted for Bach interpretations, such as Glenn Gould and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Extensive essays cover Bach's major works (Brandenburg Concerto, Mass in B Minor) and types of compositions (chorale, fugue). One of the longest entries, reception and revival, surveys Bach's impact on various national musical traditions. Another discusses recordings. Black-and-white illustrations of Bach, his sons, places important in his life, a family tree, manuscripts of his works, and a map of his Germany enhance the text. Appendixes list Bach's works by category and title both with BC (Bach Compendium) and BWV (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis) catalogue numbers. A "Thematic Overview" at the beginning of the volume lists entries by topic. There is also a brief glossary of musical terms.This volume should be considered a significant resource in the study of one of the most amazing composers who ever lived. Recommended for academic, public, and, of course, music libraries.