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Engaging Bach
The Keyboard Legacy from Marpurg to Mendelssohn


Part of Musical Performance and Reception

  • Date Published: March 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521651608

£ 67.99

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About the Authors
  • More than any other part of Bach's output, his keyboard works conveyed the essence of his inimitable art to generations of admirers. The varied responses to this repertory - in scholarly and popular writing, public lectures, musical composition and transcription, performances and editions - ensured its place in the canon and broadened its creator's appeal. The early reception of Bach's keyboard music also continues to affect how we understand and value it, though we rarely recognize that historical continuity. Here, Matthew Dirst investigates how Bach's music intersects with cultural, social and music history, focusing on a repertory which is often overshadowed in scholarly and popular literature on Bach reception. Organized around the most productive ideas generated by Bach's keyboard works from his own day to the middle of the nineteenth century, this study shows how Bach's remarkable and long-lasting legacy took shape amid critical changes in European musical thought and practice.

    • Illuminates how the reception of Bach's keyboard works affected various aspects of musical thought and practice to 1850
    • Focuses on a repertory often neglected in studies of Bach's reception, complementing the sizeable literature on the nineteenth-century revival of Bach's church works
    • Presents a broad-based inquiry into Bach's historical legacy, contextualising his music within cultural, social and music history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Dirst, a performer himself, is a lively writer and makes many useful observations.' The Times Literary Supplement

    'This concise volume is a welcome and valuable addition to the burgeoning genre of Bach reception literature.' Early Music America

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521651608
    • length: 202 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 180 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 7 tables 38 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Why the keyboard works?
    2. Inventing the Bach chorale
    3. What Mozart learned from Bach
    4. A bürgerlicher Bach: turn-of-the-century German advocacy
    5. The virtuous fugue: English reception to 1840
    6. Bach for whom? Modes of interpretation and performance, 1820–50.

  • Author

    Matthew Dirst, University of Houston
    Matthew Dirst is Associate Professor of Music at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston, and also serves as Artistic Director of the period-instrument group Ars Lyrica Houston. An acclaimed harpsichordist and organist, he is the first American musician to win major international prizes in both instruments. Winner of the William H. Scheide Prize (2004) from the American Bach Society for an essay on the reception of Bach's music in America, he pursues research and performance in more or less equal measure. His publications address the music of Bach and its reception, while his recordings feature music of François and Armand-Louis Couperin, Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Adolf Hasse and J. S. Bach.

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