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About the Book

Bach has remained a figure of continuous fascination and interest to scholars and readers since the original Master Musicians volume on Bach appeared in 1906. More than a century later, understanding of Bach and his music has evolved in ways that could hardly have been anticipated even in 2000, when the second Bach biography in the series came out in a revised edition. Now author David Schulenberg contributes an entirely new life-and-works of Bach that clearly and concisely conveys the most recent information about the composer while providing a comprehensive survey of the music.

Schulenberg traces Bach's emergence as a startlingly original performer and composer, describing his creative evolution, professional career, and family life from contemporary perspectives on society and culture in early modern Europe. Bach's experiences as student, music director, and teacher are examined alongside the music he produced in each of these roles, including early compositions for keyboard instruments, the great organ and harpsichord works of later years, vocal music, and other famous instrumental works, including the Brandenburg Concertos. Schulenberg illuminates how Bach responded to music by other composers, to his audiences and employers, and to developments in poetry, theology, even the sciences. At the same time, Schulenberg reveals Bach's social and cultural context in the cities, courts, churches, and concert spaces for which he composed. The result is a refreshing new framing for the contemporary reader of one of the greatest musicians in world history.

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