Cover image for J.S. Bach
J.S. Bach
Boyd, Malcolm.
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxv, 626 pages : illustrations, map, music ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1410 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.B1 J15 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



As well as being an authoritative and convenient resource for scholars, students, and performers, the Oxford Composer Companion to Bach provides the ordinary Bach/Baroque music enthusiast with information not usually found in programme or sleeve notes, exploring the life and works of Bach andthe historical context in which he lived. Topics covered include: genres (eg chorales), structures (eg fugue), individual works (eg St John Passion), compositional practices and techniques, people and places, institutinos, instruments, performing practice, festivals and performers, reception ofBach's music, stylistic influence and parodies, and Bach scholarship. The main alphabetical text is supplemented by useful endmatter, including a family tree, chronology, list of works, openings of vocal works, and a glossary of specialist terms.

Author Notes

Malcolm Boyd, formerly at the University of Wales, Cardiff, is the author of a number of acclaimed books on music.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Oxford University Press is inaugurating a new series of composer companions with an impressive work on J. S. Bach. Edited by the noted Bach scholar Boyd, this first English-language A^-Z encyclopedia on Bach has more than 900 entries written by 44 contributors. The contributors are well chosen, writing on their interests--Russell Stinson wrote the entry on the Orgel-Buchlein ("Little Organ Book") and has also completed a book on the same collection of organ chorales. The consultant editor is John Butt, who edited The Cambridge Companion to Bach (1997), which includes essays on Bach's life and works as well as on his influence on modern music. The Oxford volume provides short and long entries, many with bibliographies, on aspects of Bach's life, family, pupils, and employers; musical and technical terms; and individual works. Short articles include descriptions of cadenza fantasia, timpani, and watermarks. There are also a number of entries for current Bach festivals and twentieth-century musicians noted for Bach interpretations, such as Glenn Gould and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Extensive essays cover Bach's major works (Brandenburg Concerto, Mass in B Minor) and types of compositions (chorale, fugue). One of the longest entries, reception and revival, surveys Bach's impact on various national musical traditions. Another discusses recordings. Black-and-white illustrations of Bach, his sons, places important in his life, a family tree, manuscripts of his works, and a map of his Germany enhance the text. Appendixes list Bach's works by category and title both with BC (Bach Compendium) and BWV (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis) catalogue numbers. A "Thematic Overview" at the beginning of the volume lists entries by topic. There is also a brief glossary of musical terms.This volume should be considered a significant resource in the study of one of the most amazing composers who ever lived. Recommended for academic, public, and, of course, music libraries.

Library Journal Review

Forty pages longer than its predecessor, this edition of a standard work on J.S. Bach, first published in England in 1983, includes information obtained from Eastern European sources inaccessible to scholars a decade ago. In some cases, whole chapters have been recast, and Bach scholar Boyd (The Oxford Composer's Companion: Johann Sebastian Bach) embraces the current emphasis in Bach scholarship on the interplay between Bach's social setting and his music. This 250th-anniversary year of Bach's death is producing many Bach works, including Christoph Wolff"s singular Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician (LJ 3/15/00). Boyd's work is authoritative and provides commentary on a wide body of Bach scholarship. This edition supersedes the other editions, though libraries owning the 1997 American second edition may cringe at having to replace it so soon.DBonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

As a resource for students, scholars, and lovers of music, Boyd's volume offers succinct, incisive information about Bach's life and works in a volume of signed articles. The first in an announced series, "Composer Companions," it is similar in design, format, reliability, and usefulness to other Oxford reference titles. Boyd, a prolific scholar who has published extensively on Bach, edited this volume in consultation with John Butt. "Note to the Reader" indicates that citations to well-known reference sources like New Grove (CH, Feb'81) are not included, leaving room for more specific articles and monographs. English-language citations predominate, but research published in German and other European languages is included. Walter Kolneder's L"ubbes Bach Lexikon (Bergisch Gladbach, 1982) is similar in format and purpose, but Boyd's volume is more current and offers information in greater depth. Volumes in the composer companion series published by Cambridge, which comprises collections of essays, do not compare with this title. C. A. Kolczynski; Boston Public Library

Table of Contents

List of contributors/advisors
List of plates
List of commonly cited works
Thematic overview
Note to the Reader
A-Z entries (headword list available)
Family tree
List of works
Openings of vocal works
Glossary of specialist terms