Praise for "Reinventing Bach" "This intelligent, wide-ranging book brings Bach's eternal music into conjunction with the forces of history. Paul Elie makes us realize how even great music, if it is to last over time, must change in order to stay the same." --Wendy Lesser"By juxtaposing the LP and the iPod, Elie reminds us of how technology has democratized and universalized Bach . . . Elie has many strengths and strands: detailed and beautifully described moments of listening, engagingly narrated summaries of scholarship, alert attention to telling facts, and a loving knowledge of many different kinds of music, including Robert Johnson and Led Zeppelin. There's plenty of audiophile information--wax cylinder, recording, mono, stereo, different kinds of tape, 78s, long-playing records, CD's, iPods--and a lot on the placement of microphones. Wearing his learning lightly (with wonderful endnotes as a ground), Elie is polyphonic and contrapuntal . . . Elie's book is held together by chain of voices following one other as they make an entrance, step back, overlap, and enter again to reveal a new aspect against the changing conversation: Schweitzer to Casals to Stokowski to Gould to Ma. Other voices too move in and out, filling out the progressions: Tureck, Schoenberg, Einstein, Jobs, even the musically fantastic Mickey Mouse. The voice hovering over all is Elie's own, modest, serious, attuned to the whole . . . It is a pleasure to read such a serious and inventive book on Bach, and that's saying something." --Alexandra Mullen, "Barnes and Noble Review""Thoughtful and elegant . . . Elie remains throughout a thoughtful guide." --Guy Dammann, "The Guardian" "In "Reinventing Bach," Elie weaves . . . several lives together in order to make an effective case that Bach's music, like all classical music, can never be 'played' exactly, with total fidelity to the source; fidelity isn't even the goal. Performed live, it has always been 'interpreted' by conductors,
Paul Elie, for many years a senior editor with FSG, is now a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. His first book, "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," received the PEN/Martha Albrand Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle award finalist in 2003. He lives in New York City.