J. S. Bach as Organist

J. S. Bach as Organist

His Instruments, Music, and Performance Practices
Edited by George Stauffer and Ernest May
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/22/2000
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21386-0
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A Selection of the Performing Arts Book Club

... a valuable book of scholarly yet highly readable studies on the organ's greatest composer... every organist and anyone interest in the music of J. S. Bach should have it." —Robert Parkins, Early Keyboard Journal

No one interested in Bach's organ music can afford to do without it." —Russell Stinson, Current Musicology

... among the most important and accomplished studies on eighteenth-century performance... indispensable." —Performance Practice Review

Johann Sebastian Bach showed a more sustained interest in organs and organ composition than in any other field of musical endeavor. As a young man he first won plaudits as a virtuoso on the organ. Later, in Weimar, he used the instrument for forging a new international style, amalgamating French and Italian practices. And in the final years of his life, he returned to the organ to express some of his most poignant thoughts.

In J. S. Bach as Organist, George Stauffer and Ernest May have brought together specialists from six countries to present the latest findings on Bach's relationship to the organ during all periods of his career. The first part of the volume, "The Instruments Used by Bach," opens with Ulrich Dähnert's survey of the organs Bach played and tested, followed by Hartmut Haupt's description of Bach organs in Thuringia. Harald Vogel discusses registration and tuning in North German organs of the period, and John Brombaugh weighs the influence of Bach and his times on twentieth-century organ building. Marie-Claire Alain then makes a plea for an acquaintance with early organs and stresses the importance of historical practices for the present day performer.

In the second part, "Bach's Organ Music," Christoph Wolff discusses Bach's earliest training and the influence of Reinken, and, in a second essay, the rediscovered Handexemplar of the Schübler Chorales. Ernest May surveys the chorale preludes, and George Stauffer categorizes the fugue types in the free organ works. We

Author Bio

George Stauffer is Associate Professor of Music History at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of CUNY and organist of Columbia University. He is author of The Organ Preludes of Johann Sebastian Bach and of articles in Bach-Jahrbuch, Early Music, and The Organ Yearbook.

Ernest May is Associate Professor of Music History and Organ at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He has edited Cantata 113 for the Neue Bach-Ausgabe and has contributed articles to the Harvard Dictionary of Music, Bach-Jahrbuch, and other publications.


““ . . . a valuable book of scholarly yet highly readable studies . . . every organist and anyone interested in the music of J. S. Bach should have it.” —Early Keyboard Journal “ . . . a very perceptive and informative guide . . . ” —Early Music “ . . . this book is a must.” —The American Organist “ . . . invaluable and entertaining . . . ” —American Music Teacher “ . . . among the most important and accomplished studies on eighteenth-century performance. Its comprehensiveness, clarity, and scholarship make it indispensable.” —Performance Practice Review In J. S. Bach as Organist, specialists from six countries explore Bach’s relationship to his favorite instrument during all periods of his career. J. S. Bach as Organist is a book for scholars, performers, and students. Authoritative and wide-ranging.”

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Table of Contents


*The Instruments Used by Bach
Ulrich Dähnert, "Organs Played and Tested by J. S. Bach"
Hartmut Haupt, "Bach Organs in Thuringia"
Harald Vogel, "North German Organ Building of the Late Seventeenth Century: Registration and Tuning"
John Brombaugh, "Bach's Influence on Late Twentieth-Century Armerican Organ Building"
Marie-Claire Alain, "Why an Acquaintance with Early Organs Is Essential for Playing Bach"

*Bach's Organ Music
Christoph Wolff, "Johann Adam Reinken and Johann Sebastian Bach: On the Context of Bach's Early Works"
Ernest May, "The Types, Uses, and Historical Position of Bach's Organ Chorales"
Werner Breig, "The 'Great Eighteen' Chorales: Bach's Revisional Process and the Genesis of the Work"
Christoph Wolff, "Bach's Personal Copy of the Schübler Chorales"
George Stauffer, "Fugue Types in Bach's Free Organ Works"
Friedhelm Krummacher, "Bach's Free Organ Works and the Stylus Phantasticus"
Laurence Dreyfus, "The Metaphorical Soloist: Concerted Organ Parts in Bach's Cantatas"

*Matters of Performance Practice
George Stauffer, "Bach's Organ Registration Reconsidered"
Robert L. Marshall, "Organ or 'Klavier'? Instrumental Prescriptions in the Sources of Bach's Keyboard Works"
Luigi Ferninando Tagliavini, "Bach's Organ Transcription of Vivaldi's 'Grosso Mogul'"
Victoria Horn, "French Influence in Bach's Organ Works"
Peter Williams, "The Snares and Delusions of Notation: Bach's Early Organ Works"

Calendar of Events in Bach's Life as Organist