Johann Sebastian Bach

This is the old 1911 content from the WikiPedia article on Johann Sebastian Bach []. Since it was just taking up space in the article it was removed, but I wanted to save it if someone needs it later as a resource for adding to the existing article.

The following was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. As such, it may not yet be properly adapted to Wikipedia (obsolete, typos, no accidental links, etc.). It is included as a stub of sorts to inspire people to modify it:

BACH, JOHANN SEBASTIAN (1685-1750), German musical composer. The Bach family was of importance in the history of music for nearly two hundred years. Four branches of it were known at the beginning of the i6th century, and in 1561 we hear of Hans Bach of Wechmar who is believed to be the father of Veit Bach (born about 1555). The family genealogy, drawn up by Johann Sebastian Bach himself and completed by his son Philipp Emanuel, describes Veit Bach as the founder of the family, a baker and a miller, " whose zither must have sounded very pretty among the clattering of the mill-wheels." His son, Hans Bach, " der Spielmann," is the first professional musician of the family. Of Hans's large family the second son, Christoph, was the grandfather of Sebastian Bach. Another son,


Heinrich, of Arnstadt, had two sons, Johann Michael and Johann Christoph, who are among the greatest of J. S. Bach's forerunners, Johann Christoph being now supposed (although this is still disputed) to be the author of the splendid motet, Ich lasse dich nicht (" I wrestle and pray "), formerly ascribed to Sebastian Bach. Another descendant of Veit Bach, Johann Ludwig, was admired more than any other ancestor by Sebastian, who copied twelve of his church cantatas and sometimes added work of his own to them.

The Bach family never left Thuringia until the sons of Sebastian went into a more modern world. Through all the misery of the peasantry at the period of the Thirty Years' War this clan maintained its position and produced musicians who, however local their fame, were among the greatest in Europe. So numerous and so eminent were they that in Erfurt musicians were known as " Bachs," even when there were no longer any members of the family in the town. Sebastian Bach thus inherited the artistic tradition of a united family whose circumstances had deprived them of the distractions of the century of musical fermentation which in the rest of Europe had destroyed polyphonic music.

Johann Sebastian Bach was baptized at Eisenach on the 23rd of March 1685. His parents died in his tenth year, and his elder brother, Johann Christoph, organist at Ohrdruf, took charge of him and taught him music. The elder brother is said to have been jealous of Sebastian's talent, and to have forbidden him access to a manuscript volume of works by Froberger, Buxtehude and other great organists. Every night for six months Sebastian got up, put his hand through the lattice of the bookcase, and copied the volume out by moonlight, to the permanent ruin of his eyesight (as is shown by all the extant portraits of him at a later age and by the blindness of his last years). When he had finished, his brother discovered the copy and took it away from him. In 1700 Sebastian, now fifteen and thrown on his own resources by the death of his brother, went to Lüneburg, where his beautiful soprano voice obtained him an appointment at the school of St Michael as chorister. He seems, however, to have worked more at instrumental than at vocal music. Apart from the choristers' routine, his position provided only for his general education, and we know little about his definite musical instructors. In any case he owed his musical development mainly to his own incessant study of classical and contemporary composers, such as Frescobaldi (c. 1587), Caspar Kerl (1628-1693), Buxtehude, Froberger, Muffat the elder, Pachelbel and probably Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741), the author of the Gradus ad Parnassum on which all later classical composers were trained. A prettier and no less authentic story than that of his brother's forbidden organ-volume tells how, on his return from one of the many holiday expeditions which Bach made to Hamburg on foot to hear the great Dutch organist Reinken, he sat outside an inn longing for the dinner he could not afford, when two herring-heads were flung out of the window, and he found in each of them a ducat with which he promptly paid his way, not home, but back to Hamburg. At Hamburg, also, Keiser was laying the foundations of German opera on a splendid scale which must have fired Bach's imagination though it never directly influenced his style. On the other hand Keiser's church music was of immense importance in his development. In Celle the famous Hofkapelle brought the influence of French music to bear upon Bach's art, an influence which inspired nearly alibis works in suite-form and to which his many autograph copies of Couperin's music bear testimony. Indeed, there is no branch of music, from Palestrina onwards, conceivably accessible in Bach's time, of which we do not find specimens carefully copied in his own handwriting. On the other hand, when Bach, at the age of nineteen, became organist at Arnstadt, he found Lübeck within easy distance, and there, in October 1705, he went to hear Buxtehude, whose organ works show so close an affinity to Bach's style that only their lack of coherence as wholes reveals to the attentive listener that with all their nobility they are not by Bach himself. Bach's enthusiasm for Buxtehude caused him to outstay his leave by three months, and this, together with his habit of astonishing the congregation by the way he harmonized the chorales got him into trouble. But he was already too great an ornament to be lightly dismissed; and though his answers to the complaints of the authorities (every word of which makes amusing reading in the archives of the church) were spirited rather than satisfactory, and the consistorium had to add to their complaints the grave scandal of his allowing a " strange maiden " to sing in the church,1 Bach was able to maintain his position at Arnstadt until he obtained the organistship of St Blasius in Mühlhausen in 1707. Here he married his cousin, easily identified with the " strange maiden " of Arnstadt; and here he wrote his first great church cantatas, Aus der Tiefe, Gott ist mein König and Gottes Zeit.

Bach's mastery of the keyboard attracted universal attention, and prevented his ever being unemployed. In 1708 he went to Weimar where his successes were crowned by his appointment, in 1714, at the age of twenty-nine, as Hofkonzertmeister to the duke of Weimar. Here the composition of sacred music was one of his most congenial duties, and the great cantata, Ich hatte viel Bekümmerniss, was probably the first work of his new office. In 1717 Bach visited Dresden in the course of a concert tour, and was induced to challenge the arrogant French organist J.-Louis Marchand, who was making himself thoroughly disliked by the German musicians who could not deny his powers. Bach was first given an opportunity of listening secretly to Marchand's playing, then a competition on the organ was proposed, and a day was fixed for the tournament at which all the court and all the musical celebrities of the town were to be present, to see nothing less than the issue between French and German music. Marchand took up the challenge contemptuously; but it would appear that he also was allowed to listen secretly to Bach's playing, for on the day of the tournament the only news of him was that he had left Dresden by the earliest coach.

This triumph was followed by Bach's appointment as Kapellmeister to the duke of Cöthen, a post which he held from 1717 to 1723. The Cöthen period is that of Bach's central instrumental works, such as the first book of the Wohltemperirtes Klavier, the solo violin and violoncello sonatas, the Brandenburg concertos, and the French and English suites.

In 1723, finding his position at Cöthen uninspiring for choral music, he removed to Leipzig, where he became cantor of the Thomasschule, being still able to retain his post as visiting Kapellmeister at Cöthen, besides a similar position at Weissenfels. His wife had died in 1720, leaving seven children, of whom Friedemann and Philipp Emanuel had a great future before them. (For his sons see BACH, K. P. E., below.) In December 1721 Bach married again, and for the beautiful soprano voice of his second wife he wrote many of his most inspired arias. She was a great help to him with all his work, and her musical handwriting soon became so like his own that her copies are difficult to distinguish from his autographs. In 1729 Bach heard that Handel was for a second time visiting Halle on his way back to London from Italy. A former attempt of Baeh's to meet Handel had failed, and now he was too ill to travel, so he sent his son to Halle to invite Handel to Leipzig; but the errand was not successful, and much to Bach's disappointment he never met his only compeer. Bach so admired Handel that he made a manuscript copy of his Passion nach Brockes. This work, though almost unknown in England then as now, was, next to the oratorios of Keiser, incomparably the finest Passion then accessible, as Graun's beautiful masterpiece, Der Tod Jesu, was not composed until four years after Bach's death. The disgusting poem of Brockes (which was set by every German composer of the time) was transformed by Bach with real literary skill as the groundwork of the non-scriptural numbers in his Passion according to St John.

All Bach's most colossal achievements, such as the Passion according to St Matthew and the B Minor Mass (for discussion of which see ORATORIO and MASS), date from his cantorship at Leipzig. But, important and congenial as was his position there, and smooth as the course of his life seems to have been until

his death in 1750, he must have had quite as much experience as can have been good for him. He was often ruffled by the town councillors of Leipzig, who (like his earlier employers at Arnstadt) were shocked by the " unecclesiastical style " of his compositions and by his independent bearing. But he had more serious troubles. Of his seven children by his first wife only three survived him. By his second wife he had thirteen children, of whom he lost four of the six sons. For the head of so large a family his post was dignified rather than lucrative, and few documents tell a prouder tale of uncomplaining thrift than the inventory of his possessions made after his death. One can only be thankful that he did not live to see anything but the wonderful promise of his son Friedermann, who, in the words of the brilliantly successful K. Philipp Emanuel Bach, was more nearly capable of replacing his father than all the rest of the family together. The prospect of complete loss of the tradition of his own polyphonic art he faced with equanimity, saying of the new style, which in the hands of his own son, Philipp Emanuel, was soon to eclipse it for the next hundred years, " The art has advanced to great heights: the old style of music no longer pleases our modern ears." But it would have broken his heart if he had forseen that Friedermann Bach was to attain a disreputable old age after a dissolute and unproductive life.

The brilliant successes of Philipp Emanuel led to his appointment as court-composer to the king of Prussia and hence, in 1747, to Sebastian's being summoned to visit Frederick the Great at Potsdam, an incident which Bach always regarded as the culmination of his career, much as Dr Johnson regarded his interview with George III. Bach had to play on the numerous newly invented pianofortes of Silbermann which the king had bought, and also to try the organs of the churches of Potsdam. Frederick, whose musical reputation rested on a genuine if narrow basis, gave him a splendid theme on which to extemporize; and on that theme Bach afterwards wrote Das musikalische Opfer. Two years after this event his sight began to fail, and before long he shared the fate of Handel in becoming perfectly blind.2

Bach died of apoplexy on the 28th of July 1750. His loss was deplored as that of one of the greatest organists and clavier players of his time. Of his compositions comparatively little was known. At his death his MS. works were divided amongst his so^s, and many of them have been lost; only a small fraction of his greater works was recovered when, after the lapse of nearly a century, the verdict of his neglectful posterity was reversed by the modern upholders of polyphonic art. Even now some important works are still apparently irrecoverable.

The rediscovery of Bach is closely connected with the name of Mendelssohn, who was amongst the first to proclaim by word and deed the powers of a genius too gigantic to be grasped by three generations. By the enthusiastic endeavours of Mendelssohn, Schumann and others, and in England still earlier by the performances and publications of Wesley and Crotch, the circle of Bach's worshippers rapidly increased. In 1850, a century after his death, a society was started for the correct publication of all Bach's remaining works. Robert Franz, the great song-writer, did good service in arranging some of Bach's finest works for modern performance, until the experience of. a purer scholarship could prove not only the possibility but the incomparably greater beauty of a strict adherence to Bach's own scoring. The Person of Bach-scholarship, however, is Wilhelm Rust (grandson of the interesting composer of that name who wrote polyphonic suites and fantasias early in the ipth century). During the fourteen years of his editorship of the Bach-Gesellschaft he displayed a steadily increasing insight into Bach's style which has never since been rivalled. In more than one case he has restored harmonies of priceless value from incomplete texts, by means of research and reasoning which he sums up in a modest footnote that reads as something self-evident. His prefaces to the Bach-Gesellschaft volumes are perhaps the most valuable contributions to the criticism of 18th-century music ever written, Spitta's great biography not excepted.

2 The same surgeon operated unsuccessfully on both composers..

Within these limits, tti&t i», "^-j(t of dramatic expression in just so far as " the end of drama is not character but action," there is nothing good that Bach's art does not express. He has plenty of humour, if the term may be applied to art which is, so to speak, always literal,—art in which a jest is a jest and serious things are treated with familiar directness, and all, whether in jest or earnest, is primarily beautiful. In Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan Bach answers the critics who censured him for his pedantry and provincial ignorance of the grand Italian operatic style, by making effective use of that style in Pan's prize-aria (" Zum Tanze, zum Sprunge, so wack-ack-ack-aekelt das Herz "), nobly representing his own style in Phoebus's aria, and promptly caricaturing it in the second part of Pan's (" Wenn der Ton zu miihsam klingt"). Midas votes for Pan—" denn nach meinen beiden Ohren singt er unvergleichlich schon." At the word " Ohren " the violins give a pianissimo " hee-haw " which is fully as witty in its musical aptness as Mendelssohn's clown-theme in the Overture to the Midsummer Night's Dream; and in the ensuing dialogue their prophecy is verified. As with many other great artists, Bach's playfulness occasionally showed itself inconveniently where little things shock little minds. The hilarious aria, " Ermuntre dich," in the church cantata, Schmiicke dich, o Hebe Seek, is one instance, and the quaint representation of the words " dimisit inanes" in the Magnificat is another. This great work, one of the most terse and profound things Bach ever wrote, contains, among many other subtle inspirations, one conception with which we may fitly end our survey, for it strongly suggests Bach himself and the destiny of all that work which he finished so lovingly, with no prospect of its becoming more than a family heirloom and a salutary tradition in his Leipzig choir-school. In the Magnificat he sets the words " quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae " to a touchingly appropriate soprano solo accompanied by his favourite oboe d'amore. With the next sentence " ecce enim beatam me dicent " the tone brightens to a quiet joy, but Bach takes advantage of the syntax of the Latin in a way that defies translation, and the sentence is finished by the chorus. " Omnes generationes " seem indeed to pass before us-in the crowded fugue which rises in perpetual stretto, the incessant entries of its subject now mounting the whole scale, each part a step higher than the last, and now collecting in unison with a climax of closeness and volume overwhelming in its impression of time and multitude.


No attempt is here made at chronological sequence. The changes in Bach's style, though clear and important, are almost impossible to describe in untechnical language; nor are they of such general interest as to make it worth while to expand this summary by an attempt to apportion its contents among the Arnstadt-Miihlhausen period, the Weimar period, the Cothen period (chiefly remarkable for instrumental music and comparatively uninteresting in its easy-going choral music), and the last period (1733-1750) in which, while the choral works became at once more numerous and more terse (e.g. Jesu, der du meine Seele) the instrumental music, though never diffuse, shows an increasing preference for designs on a large scale. (Compare, for example, the second book of the WoUtemperirtes Klavier, 1744, with the first, 1722.)

I.—CHURCH Music A. With Orchestra

190 church cantatas: besides several which are only known from fragmentary sets of parts. Of the 190, 40 are for solo voices, about 60 (including some solo cantatas) are more or less founded on chorales, and the rest, though almost invariably containing a chorale (for congregational singing), are practically short oratorios and frequently so entitled by Bach himself.

3 wedding cantatas: the Easter oratorio (exactly like the above-mentioned oratorio-cantatas; and the Christmas oratorio (six similar cantatas forming a connected design for performance on six separate days).

The Passions according to St Matthew and St John.

Funeral ode for the Duchess Eberhardine (now known to be arranged from portions of the lost Passion according to St Mark).

4 short masses (i.e. Kyrie and Gloria only) mainly compiled from church cantatas.

Mass in B minor. Magnificat in D. A few other ecclesiastical Latin choruses.



B. Without Orchestra

5 motets a capella (but there is reason to believe that these, except Komm Jesu komm, were intended to be .partly supported by the organ). A sixth motet has an obligato figured-bass accompaniment.

A few early choruses, mostly turned to account in later works.

A large collection of plain chorales, including1 several original melodies. '


Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan and Der zufrieden gestellte Aeolus; both entitled Dramma per Musica, but showing no more essential connexion with the stage than Handel's Acts and Galatea.

7 solo and 7 choral cantatas, of which latter three were almost entirely absorbed into the Christmas oratorio and the B minor mass. Of the solo cantatas two are Italian (one of these being Bach's only developed work for voice and clavier) and two are burlesque.

Several tunes with clavier bass, almost foreshadowing the modern song.

III.—INSTRUMENTAL Music A. Orchestral

7 clavier concertos arranged from violin concertos and other sources.

3 concertos for two claviers (two being arranged from concertos for two violins).

2 concertos for three claviers.

The 6 Brandenburg concertos, for various combinations.

2 violin concertos, and a colossal torso of a concerted violin-movement forming the prelude to a lost church cantata.

I concerto for two violins.

4 orchestral suites. (The symphony in F in the same volume of the B. G. is only an earlier version of the first Brandenburg concerto.)

B. Chamber Music

3 sonatas for clavier and flute; a suite and 6 sonatas for clavier and violin, 3 for clavier and viola da gamba; 2 trios with figured bass; 2 flute-sonatas and a violin suite with figured bass; 6 sonatas (i.e. 3 sonatas and 3 partitas) for violin alone; 6 suites for violoncello alone.

C. Clavier and Organ Music Bach's own collections are:—

1. Das wohltemperirte Klavier for clavichord: two books each containing 24 preludes and fugues, one in each major and minor key; with the object of stimulating tuning by " equal temperament "instead of sacrificing the euphony of remoter keys to that of the more usual ones.

2. Klavi-er-Ubung (chiefly for harpsichord) in four books comprising: (i) 15 two-part inventions and 15 three-part symphonies, (ii.) 6 partitas, (iii.) The Goldberg Variations. 4 duets, and an important collection of organ choral-preludes, with the " St Anne " prelude and fugue in E flat, (iv.) The Italian concerto and French overture.

3. The 6 " French " and 6 " English " suites.

The other clavier works fill two Jahrgange of the B.-G.

Bach's collections of organ music are (besides that included in the third part of the Klavier- Obung}:—(l) 6 sonatas. (2) 4 groups cf 6 organ preludes and fugues. (3) Das Orgelbiichlein, a coltection of short choral-preludes carefully planned—all the blank pages of the autograph being headed with the titles of the chorales intended for them—but not half executed. (The projected whole would have been a larger volume than the WoUtemperirtes Klavier). (4) 18 larger chorale-preludes, including Bach's last composition. (5) The 6 Schiibler " chorales, all arranged from movements of cantatas.

Besides these there are the three great independent toccatas and the Passacaglia. The remaining choral-preludes fill one Jahrgang, and the other organ works two more.

D. Unclassified

Two important instrumental works cannot be classified, viz. Das musikalische Opfer, the volume of compositions (two great fugues, various puzzle-canons, and a splendid trio for flute, violin and figured bass) on the theme given to Bach by Frederick the Great; and Die Kunst der Fuge, a progressive series of fugues on one and the same subject, written in open score as if entirely abstract studies, but all (except the extreme contrapuntal tours de force) in admirable clavier style and of great musical value.


A. Choral

J. N. Forkel's statement that Bach wrote 5 Jahrgange of church cantatas (i.e. enough to provide one for each Sunday and holy day for five years) would indicate that some 80 are lost, but there is reason to believe that this is a great exaggeration. Not more than six or seven cantatas are known to be lost, by the evidence of fragments, text-books, &c.

Forkel also says that Bach wrote five Passions. Besides the great Matthew and John Passions there is in an indisputable Bach autograph one according to St Luke; but it is so worthless that the best plea for its authenticity offered by responsible critics is that only I a personal interest could have induced Bach to make a copy of it. The lost Passion according to St Mark must, judging by the movements preserved in the Trauer-Ode, have been larger than that according to St John.

Was there a genuine Lucas-Passion ? If so, Forkel's report of five Passions would be explained. Several lost secular works are partly preserved in those portions of the Christmas oratorio of which the sources are not definitely kiuwn, but which, like the other duplicated numbers, are fair copies in the autograph.

B. Instrumental

Three violin concertos and one for two violins; known only from the wonderful clavier versions.

Most of the first movement of the A major sonata for clavier and flute which was written in the spare staves at the bottom of a larger score. Some of these have been cut off.


Arrangements for harpsichord alone of 16 concertos, generally described as by Vivaldi, but including several by other composers.

4 Vivaldi concertos arranged for organ.

Many of these arrangements contain much original matter, such as entirely new slow movements, large cadenzas, &c.

Concerto in A minor for 4 claviers and orchestra, from Vivaldi's B minor concerto for 4 violins. This, though the most faithful to its original, is the richest and most Bach-like of all these arrangements, and is well worth performing in public.

2 sonatas from the Hortus Musicus of Reinken, arranged for clavier. (The ends of the slow movements are Bach.)

Finishing touches to cantatas by his uncle Johann Ludwig Bach. Also a very characteristic complete " Christe eleison " inserted in Kyrie of Johann Ludwig's.


Bach's autographs give the name of the composer on the outside sheet only. He was constantly making copies of all that interested him; and where the outside sheet is lost, only the music itself can tell us whether it is his or not. The above-mentioned Passion according to St Luke is the chief case in point. The little music-books he and his second wife wrote for their children are full of pieces in the most various styles- and the editors of the Bach-Gesellschaft have not completely identified them, even Couperin's well-known " Les Bergeries " escaping their scrutiny. A sonata for two claviers by Bach's eldest son, Wilhelm Friedermann, was detected by the editors after its inclusion in Jahrgang xliv. The second of the 3 sonatas for clavier and flute is extremely suggestive of Bach's sons, but Philipp Emanuel ascribes it to his father. However, he might easily have docketed it wrongly while arranging copies of his father's works. It has a twin brother (B.-G. ix. Anhang ii.) for which he has not vouched.

Four absurd church cantatas are printed for conscience' sake in Jahrgang xliii. More important than these, because by no means too obviously ridiculous to deceive a careless listener, is the well-known 8-part motet, Lob, Ehr' und Weisheit (blessing and glory and wisdom). A closer acquaintance shows that it is really very poor stuff; and it was finally crowned with absurdity by the discovery that its composer was a contemporary of Bach,—and that his name was Wagner.

The beautiful motet, Ich lasse dich nicht, has long been known to be by one of Bach's uncles (Johann Christoph).


Almost the only works of Bach published during his lifetime were the instrumental collections, most of which he engraved himself. Of the church cantatas only one, Gott ist mein Konig (written when he was nineteen, but a very great work), was published in his lifetime.

Of modern editions that of the Bach-Gesellschaft is, of course, the only complete one. It is, inevitably, of very unequal merit. Its first editors could not realize their own ignorance of Bach's language; their immediate admiration of his larger choruses seemed to them proof of their competence to retain or dismiss details of ornamentation, figured bass, variants between score and parts, &c., without always stopping to see what light these might shed on questions of tempo and style—especially in the arias and recitatives, which they regarded as archaic almost in direct proportion to the depth of thought really displayed in them. In the 9th Jahrgang Wilhelm Rust introduced scholarly methods, with the happiest results. The Wohltemperirtes Klavier (Jahrgang xiv.) was edited by Kroll, who also made his text accessible in the Edition Peters (which till then had only Czerny's—an amazing result of corrupt tradition, still widely accepted). Kroll's and Rust's volumes are far the best in the B. G. On Rust's death the standard deteriorated; his immediate successor seems more interested in reprinting in full an early version of a work of which Rust had given only the variants, than in digesting his own materials (Jahrgang xxix.); and in his next volume (Jahrgang xxx. p. 109) the bass and violin are a bar apart for a whole line. The last ten volumes, however, are again satisfactory, and in Jahrgang xliv. the French and English suites are re-edited. Part of the B minor mass was also worked over again; and Kroll's text of the Wohltemperirtes Klavier was supplemented by the evidence of the British Museum autograph. The

Steingraber edition of the clavier works, edited by Dr Hans Bischoff, is incomparably the best, giving all the variants in footnotes and clearly distinguishing the extremely intelligent nuances and phrasing signs of the editor from the rare but significant indications of Bach himself. Nor does this wealth of scholarship interfere with the presentation of a straightforward, single text; though in addition there is every necessary explanation of the ornaments and kindred matters.

We have seen no other editions that distinguish Bach's text from the editor's taste—the disappointing publications of the Neue Bachgesellschaft1 by no means excepted. We may remark that the older vocal scores of cantatas in the Edition Peters are, though unfortunately but a selection, far better than the complete series issued by Breitkopf and Hartel in conformity with the Bach Gesett-schaft, and therefore accepted as authoritative (see INSTRUMENTATION). The English vocal scores published by Novello are generally very good though covering but small ground. The Novello score of the Christmas oratorio contains a fine analytic preface by Sir George Macfarr^n.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.—J. N. Forkel, Uber Bach's Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke, translated (London, 1820); C. H. Bitter, John Sebastian Bach (Berlin, 1865); Ernest David, La Vie et les auvres de Bach (Paris, 1882); P. Spitta, Johann Sebastian Bach (Leipzig, 1873 and 1880); E. Heinrich, Sebastian Bach's Leben (Berlin, 1885); A. Pirro, L' Esthetique de Jean Sebastian Bach (Paris, 1907); and L' Orgue de Jean Sebastian Bach_ (Paris, 1907); A. Schweitzer, /. S. Bach: Le Musicien poete. Spitta's biography superseded everything written before it and has not since been approached. With corrections in the light of Rust's B. G. prefaces it contains everything worth knowing about Bach, except the music itself.

(D. F. T.)

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