Bach by David Schulenberg (Professor of Music, Chair of Music Department, Professor of Music, Chair of Music Department, Wagner College)
Bach has remained a figure of continuous fascination and interest to scholars and readers since the original Master Musicians Bach volume's publication in 1983 - even since its revision in 2000, understanding of Bach and his music's historical and cultural context has shifted substantially. Reflecting new biographical information that has only emerged in recent decades, author David Schulenberg contributes to an ongoing scholarly conversation about Bach with clarity and concision. Bach traces the man's emergence as a startlingly original organist and composer, describing his creative evolution, professional career, and family life from contemporary societal and cultural perspectives in early modern Europe. His 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 also illuminates how Bach incorporated his contemporary environment into his work: he responded to music by other composers, to his audiences and employment conditions, and to developments in poetry, theology, and even the sciences. The author focuses on Bach's evolution as a composer by ultimately recognizing Bach's world in the specific cities, courts, and environments within and for which he composed. Dispensing with biographical minutiae and more closely examining the interplay between his life and his music, Bach presents a unique, grounded, and refreshing new framing of a brilliant composer.