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On-line Book Review

YO TOMITA

FRONT COVER
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List of articles in this issue

TITLE Musik und Kirche. 4/1999 -- 69. Jahrgang. "Bach 2000".
PUBL. DETAILS Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag  (1999) 212-292; paper back. Price: DM 15
ISSN 0027-4771
TO ORDER Bärenreiter-Verlag, Heinrich-Schütz-Allee 35, D-34131 Kassel, Germany.
SUMMARY
DESCRIPTION Collection of short articles, covering diverse aspects of Bach's life and works from a commemorative perspective; other featured articles include Bach in internet, conductors of Bach's cantata and Bach's chorus.
WORKS COVERED BWV 248/46 (Geck) and many brief references to other works.
READERSHIP Musically informed public and scholars. 
RESEARCH 
CONTRIBUTION
Neat summary of the current image of Bach from diverse points of view
 


Established in 1928, the Musik und Kirche has been one of the most important journals for Bach Studies. To illustrate its significance, it may be sufficient to point out that the Bach Bibliography contains 579 entries of articles published in this journal to date, which is ranked third after the Bach-Jahrbuch and the Musical Times. Subtitled "Bach 2000", this special commemorative issue not only reflects this heightened mood among Bach lovers but also features, however brief, recent development in research and performance that enhance our better understanding of his life and works.

As you can see from the list of articles in this issue, it contains six main commemorative articles by some of most well-known scholars; they are all interesting readings. The opening article by Martin Geck is particularly so; he observes that BWV 248/46 is to contain Bach's Credo, and by touching upon various issues that have been argued by other scholars in the past, he puts this unusual view in context. In the article that follows, Ulrich Siegele portrays an overview of Bach's life from a unique perspective, an able composer in dilemma, the topic he discusses elsewhere in great depth (e.g. in Bach-Handbuch). The article by Georg Christoph Biller--the present Thomaskantor--may of particular interest if you are a Thomanerchor fan, for he tells us the history of the choir since the time of Bach from his point of view; it is the first time that his article came under my attention. This is followed by an article by Thomasorganist, Ullrich Böhme.

All the articles are fascinating readings, as they are written with non-specialist in mind. They are all short (between four and seven pages long) and no references (i.e. notes) are provided; thus they are not written for specialists but for general readership. As a book (though it is a journal), it will continue to be as valuable as it stands at the moment. For research purpose in particular, the future scholars will find this volume very useful for their studying our 'current image' of Bach.

On page 263, I am delighted to find my Bach Bibliography being mentioned with a comment--"ein Standardwerk der Zukunft."

Published on-line on 22 February 2000


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