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Performance Practice of the Instrumental-Vocal Works of Johann Sebastian Bach

Karl Hochreither - Translated by Melvin P. Unger

A translation (with revisions by the author) of Karl Hochreither's 183-page book, Zur Aufführungspraxis der Vokal-Instrumental Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs (Merseburger, 1983), this book summarizes the insights gained in a lifetime of researching and performing Bach's cantatas and oratorios. By relating the historical evidence to present-day actuality he helps practicing musicians make the necessary decisions. He also provides a path into the literature (particularly that of the eighteenth century) to enable interested readers to broaden their knowledge of the subject.

Because the book successfully combines a thorough working knowledge of Bach works with scholarly research, it is an important source for Bach scholars and conductors alike. While remaining readable and practical, it offers great insight into the cultural milieu of the music. It pursues style authenticity without falling into the trap of rigid historicism.

The book's value as a reference and research tool is enhanced by approximately fifty figures, some one hundred and fifty references to individual works by Bach, copious documentation (nearly six hundred endnotes), and two indexes.
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Scarecrow Press
Pages: 240Size: 5 3/4 x 8 3/4
978-0-8108-4258-8 • Hardback • April 2002 • $89.00 • (£60.00) - Currently out of stock. Copies will arrive soon.
Melvin P. Unger is director of the School of Music at the State University of New York at Fredonia.
Part 1 1. Continuo Practice
Part 2 2. Regarding the Instruments
Part 3 3. Regarding the Question of Scoring
Part 4 4. Marginal Remarks Regarding Performance
Part 5 5. The Chorale in Bach's Vocal-Instrument Compositions and Its Interpretation
The book is full of useful references...Much credit should be given to the translator, Melvin Unger, for clarity of the English text...a convenient guide for performers looking for ideas for 'authentic' interpretation...represents essential reading for everyone seriously engaged in the performance of Bach's works as well as those of his contemporaries.
Eighteenth-Century Music

I would certainly include the book in a recommended reading list.
Musical Times

Pertinent and interesting reading…detailed and perceptive research.
Early Music Today

In my mind, I have no doubt that this book is an essential reading for everyone who is engaged in performing Bach's works.
Bach Bibliography

It is the rare organist or choir director who will not be informed or challenged by reading this book.
The American Organist