Johann Sebastian Bach dominates the field of organ music like no other composer dominates any other repertory. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Bach's organ works have long attracted scholarly attention. Still, the subject has by no means been exhausted. The sheer number of Bach's surviving organ compositions will always prevent anyone from having the "last word" on the subjects, either the music's stylistic diversity, or its complexity. In addition, Bach's organ works have exerted a profound and lasting influence on later generations, including many of the greatest composers, performers, conductors, critics, and scholars in the whole history of music.
In J. S. Bach at His Royal Instrument
, author Russell Stinson delves into various unexplored aspects of these masterpieces. Drawing on previous research and new archival sources, he sheds light on many of the most mysterious aspects of this music and its reception. Beginning with a critique of the literature, Stinson questions recent hypotheses regarding authorship and provenance of several of Bach's most famous pieces. From there he discusses the music itself, revealing compositional procedures that not only illuminate key aspects of the chorales, but those of the composer's contemporaries and predecessors as well. From there, Stinson turns to reception. From Mendelssohn and Schumann to Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, Stinson shows how Bach's music has remained a part of Western culture for nearly three hundred years. J. S. Bach at His Royal Instrument
casts new light on these foundational pieces of Western music, and is essential reading for students, scholars and fans of Bach, and "the king of instruments."
A wonderfully readble work of high scholarship ... Anyone with a serious interest in Bach should certainly engage the book carefully and in depth. (Jonathan B. Hall, The American Organist