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