34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
For the specialist, not first-timers
, May 17, 2007
This review is from: J. S. Bach: A Life in Music (Hardcover)
This book provides a useful different way of looking at Bach's life and music by working almost sentence by sentence through the well-known Obituary of 1750/1754 by C.P.E. Bach and Agricola. Williams doesn't hesitate to grapple with thorny issues, nor to question interpretations/speculations we may have become comfortable with and wrongly begun to treat as if they were fact.
I bought the book because I greatly admire Peter Williams' previous writings on Bach and organ music. I was slightly disappointed with this book, however.
I'm an amateur musician who has read a lot about Bach. For me, core references are Christoph Wolff (2000) 'Johann Sebastian Bach; the learned musician' (scholarly and fascinating to read), and 'The New Bach Reader' (David & Mendel/ Wolff). I'd suggest not bothering with the Williams book unless you are already familiar with such books. You'll only value what Williams questions in a sentence or two if you're familiar with arguments over the same issue in other places.
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