The Life of Bach
Bach, like Shakespeare, is known largely by his works, exceptional in quantity as well as quality, and only a few original documents convey any idea of his life and character. Peter Williams's 2003 look at Bach's biography asks many questions about the so-called evidence. What was he like as a young man, as a father, as an ageing church servant? What were his preoccupations? What music did he know and how did he compose and perform such an amazing amount of music? Was he a disappointed man? Reading the available documentation critically, especially from the viewpoint of a performer, and going back to the first substantial 'biography' of Bach, namely his Obituary, Williams suggests new interpretations of the composer's life and his work. In addition, he asks if our understanding of Bach has been hindered by the unremitting deference displayed towards him since his death.
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Early years 16851703
First appointments 17031708
Leipzig the first decade
Leipzig the second decade
Leipzig the final years and the first personal descriptions
Anna Magdalena appointment arias Arnstadt Art of Fugue audition Bach's bass Brandenburg Buxtehude canons cantatas cantor capellmeister chamber music chapel choir chorale Christoph church Collegium composer composer's concertos copy Cothen counterpoint Dok II Dresden duke Emanuel ensemble Erdmann Erfurt father Forkel French Friedemann genres German Goldberg Variations Gottfried Silbermann Graupner Halle Hamburg Handel harmony harpsichord hymn imply instruments Italian J. S. Bach Johann Johanniskirche kind known Kuhnau later Leipzig Leipzig cantatas less Lutheran major Marchand Mattheson melody Miihlhausen minor movements Muhlhausen musicians Obituary authors Obituary's Ohrdruf opera organ music organist Orgelbiichlein Pachelbel partitas Passion performed perhaps period pieces player playing preludes presumably prince probably published pupils Reinken Scheibe Sebastian seems Silbermann solo sonatas St Matthew St Matthew Passion St Thomas's string style suggest suites Telemann theme Thuringia tuning various violin Vivaldi Walther Weimar Weissenfels Well-Tempered Clauier young Bach