Johann Sebastian Bach: Vol 1
Spitta’s monumental study of Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the great classics of musicology. Since it was first published in 1873-1880, it has remained the basic work on Bach and the foundation for later research and study. It may never be superceded as the most ambitious coverage of its subject, since Spitta combined a genius for historical scholarship, great musical understanding and an incredible energy in gathering source material that has seldom been matched.
In this gigantic tome Spitta describes in chronological sequence practically everything that is known of thlife of J.S. Bach: his ancestry, his immediate family, his associates, his employers and the countless occasions on which his musical genius emerged. Spitta accompanies this biographical material with innumerable quotations from primary sources: correspondence, family records, diaries, official documents and more.
Along with biographical data Spitta gives full information about Bach’s musical production, with analysis of more than 500 pieces, all Bach’s important work. More than 450 musical excerpts are included in the main text, and a 43-page musical supplement illustrates longer passages.
In order to give a full picture of Bach’s achievement, Spitta covers thoroughly Bach’s musical universe: Baroque musical forms, major trends and influences from France and Italy, Bach’s contribution to the evolution of forms and more.
Despite the scholarly nature of this work, it also has the rare distinction of being a study that can be read with considerable enjoyment and great profit by every serious music lover, with or without a substantial background in the history of music or musical theory.
Publisher: Dover Publications
Author / Composer: Philipp Spitta