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J.S. Bach's Major Works for Voices and Instruments

A Listener's Guide

Melvin P. Unger

Designed for the music lover in need of a better understanding of the dramatic thrust of Bach's four major works for voices and instruments, this guide is based on extensive program notes prepared for the renowned Baldwin-Wallace College Bach Festival, an annual event with a tradition of presenting the four masterworks in cyclical fashion going back to the festival's founding in 1933 by Albert Riemenschneider. Giving priority to the most prominent auditory and dramatic features of the music, it guides the listener through each work, movement by movement, and with an integrated presentation of commentary and text-translation. Particular attention is given to the interaction of text and music, suggesting reasons for Bach's musical choices.

The libretti are rendered according to the new critical edition of Bach's works (Neue Bach-Ausgabe). Scriptural texts appear in italics; chorale (hymn) texts are printed in bold. The book also includes a helpful glossary of terms, an index of movements, and a bibliography.
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Scarecrow Press
Pages: 152Size: 5 x 8
978-0-8108-5298-3 • Paperback • February 2005 • $41.00 • (£27.95)
978-1-4616-0394-8 • eBook • February 2005 • $40.99 • (£27.95)
Melvin P. Unger is Director of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory in Berea, Ohio.
Part 1 Preface
Part 2 Introduction
Chapter 3 1. Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248)
Chapter 4 2. St. John Passion (BWV 245)
Chapter 5 3. St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244)
Chapter 6 4. Mass in B Minor (BWV 232)
Part 7 Bibliography
Part 8 Glossary
Part 9 Index of Movements
Part 10 About the Author
This guide helps listeners to better understand the dramatic thrust of Bach’s four major works for voices and instruments: The Christmas Oratorio, St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, and Mass in B Minor. Unger (Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory) takes the listener through each work, movement by movement, paying particular attention to the interaction of text and music. The volume is based upon extensive program notes prepared for the Conservatory’s Bach Festival, held annually since 1933.
Reference and Research Book News

I would certainly include this book in a recommended reading list.
Peter Williams; Musical Times