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J. S. Bach: A Life in Music
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Table of Contents

1. Early years, 1685-1703; 2. First appointments, 1703-8; 3. Weimar, 1708-17; 4. Coethen, 1717-23; 5. Leipzig, the first years; 6. Leipzig, the middle years; 7. Leipzig, the final years; 8. Observations, descriptions, criticisms; Epilogue; Postscript.

Promotional Information

J. S. Bach: A Life in Music is a fresh approach to the life of the extraordinarily gifted composer.

About the Author

Peter Williams (1937-2016) held the first Chair in Performance Practice in Britain at the University of Edinburgh, where he was first Director of the Russell Collection of Harpsichords and latterly Dean of Music. He was also the first Arts and Sciences Distinguished Chair at Duke University, North Carolina. He authored many books, including The European Organ (1966), Bach: The Goldberg Variations (Cambridge, 2001), Figured Bass Accompaniment (1970), The Organ in Western Culture, 750-1250 (Cambridge, 1993), The Chromatic Fourth during Four Centuries of Music (1998) and The Organ Music of J. S. Bach (Cambridge, 2003).

Reviews

'Peter Williams is a master of putting question marks where they belong. He is wise enough to admit that definite answers are rarely possible. Nevertheless, guided by the 1754 Obituary, he gives splendid food for thought with his penetrating insights and truly erudite suggestions.' Gustav Leonhardt
Review of the hardback: '... its freshness of approach and practical knowledge of the music are enthralling.' The Herald
'... it is in this combination of musicology, common-sense psychology and an almost Shakespearean sense of drama that I find Williams at his best.' Newsletter of the American Bach Society
Review of the hardback: '... Williams is a writer both erudite and compelling ... this is a biography unafraid to raise awkward questions and make a gallant attempt to answer them ... William's study, a substantial read, fills an important place in English language Bach literature.' BBC Music Magazine
Review of the hardback: 'Peter Williams' observations in this ... well-written volume add an imaginative and fresh dimension that will keep the 'little grey cells' charged ... [This] volume could be a useful 'precursor' and we are the beneficiaries as a result.' The Journal of the London Bach Society
Review of the hardback: 'Williams's book is dense and challenging ... a rewarding read, certain to enthral equally any lover of Bach's music and admirer of the techniques of forensic enquiry.' Musical Times
'... a biography that inspires engagement ...' Choir and Organ
2007 Outstanding Academic Title -- Choice Magazine
"... its freshness of approach and practical knowledge of the music are enthralling." --The Herald
"Peter Williams' observations in this ... well-written volume add an imaginative and fresh dimension that will keep the 'little grey cells' charged. ... This ... volume could be a useful 'precursor' and we are the beneficiaries as a result." --The Journal of the London Bach Society
"...Williams is a master of deconstruction, asking questions and speculating on every phrase of the text in a concise and precise manner, thereby revealing lines of thought that inspire further thinking and research by the reader. Definite answers are rarely possible, but this is a biography that inspires engagement, and is a necessary part of any library of anyone passionately interested in the life and work of the greatest of all composers." --Choir & Organ
"... Williams is a writer both erudite and compelling ... this is a biography unafraid to raise awkward questions and make a gallant attempt to answer them. ... William's study, a substantial read, fills an important place in English language Bach literature." --BBC Music Magazine
"Williams's book is dense and challenging ... a rewarding read, certain to enthral equally any lover of Bach's music and admirer of the techniques of forensic enquiry." --Musical Times
"...It is in this combination of musicology, common-sense psychology and an almost Shakespearean sense of drama that I find Williams at his best". --Newsletter of the American Bach Society

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