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25 Books About Johann Sebastian Bach, Books About the Bach Family of Musicians and My Cute Bach Coloring Book

 

Directly to the Bach Books? Now.

At the very top, it is clearly the smallest book on Bach's life that has ever been published. Of course, you can no longer buy it new, but "only" second-hand ... but in the very best quality. Nobody would think of reading it. But: It is a complete shortened Bach biography by Johann Nikolaus Forkel, the author of the first real Bach biography well over 200 years ago. Click here to go straight to the beginning of the list.

 

 

In my German counterpart of this website, I send my readers directly to JPC, a reliable and long-established online music retailer, or to my wife Renate's shop. However, it doesn't make any sense for you to pay a high shipping fee, because the books arrives from Germany. There is an exception with three publications, which can only be ordered in my wife's shop. To make it convenient for you, I installed a link next to each recommendation, which leads interested folks to Amazon instead. Please note that you must double check the price, as the  hint close to the picture of the book is just an approximate scale and might have changed since I wrote this page.

 

 


700 Bach Biographies Since 1750. Which Is the Best Today?

 

The Bach biographies among the Bach books. Here, too, Johann Sebastian Bach ... is not an easy subject in any specific area. But we won't leave you alone with this, either. Now Peter, the author of this website and my husband, is certainly the most easy-going of the "serious Bach experts" and so, of course, his recommendations are completely different from what you would get from journalists at the Süddeutsche Zeitung, from professors at music academies and, in particular, from the world's best Bach Archive and New Bach Society in Leipzig and Eisenach, both Germany. The first biography of Bach by Johann Nikolaus Forkel, published in 1802, can be found - for reasons of space - at the top of the Bach books. And there almost at the bottom of the page.

 

But if you are looking for something to read directly - here and now - about Johann Sebastian Bach, then you are better off in a different place than here (... namely not in this "book corner"). But there you will find an exciting offer: A short biography in exactly the length you would like. From ultra-short to reading material for exactly one hour. Plus or minus. The following link provides an immediately readable selection on the subject of Bach short biography.


Bach Books and More Bach Books

January 2021

€ 43,07

To Amazon

"Michael Maul, the internationally renowned Bach researcher and artistic director of the Leipzig Bach Festival, presents his first Bach biography in a special format. In 140 episodes, each illustrated full-page, he reviews Bach's life. Sensitive and inspiring, he tells the story of the incomparable composer's eventful life, who, according to Beethoven, should actually be called "the sea". On the basis of an intimate knowledge of Bach's work and life, Maul turns to a broad audience, which he wants to infect with his enthusiasm for the most important cantor of St. Thomas of all time and ultimately make listen to the music. The volume is published in German and English." (Quote; Source: Amazon)

 


June 2017

$ 16,11

To Amazon

"A richly illustrated description of daily life in Leipzig in the 1730s. This is the only book about J.S. Bach that presents colorful accounts of his career in a detailed context of the even more colorful everyday world around him. Written by a master storyteller and celebrated interpreter of Bach's music. After decades of singing Bach's music and lecturing on Bach and the world of the early 18th century, renowned Bach tenor David Gordon has collected his favorite material into one volume. The Little Bach Book is a light-hearted scholarly look at Bach and the world around him, with a special focus on Leipzig, the city where he lived for 27 years and wrote most of his great masterpieces. It is an electronic selection of historical anecdotes, scholarly explanations, fun facts, old illustrations, timelines, a bit of pathos, facts about daily life, and true stories about Bach and his world around 1700." (Quote; Source Amazon)

 

The Little Bach Book by David Gordon really doesn't fit into any pigeonhole. And yes, it is my recommendation even for German Bach fans. It's about the time in which Johann Sebastian Bach lived. It's about everyday life between 1685 and 1750 and is definitely not a biography. And after David Gordon personally convinced me of this - because I was just convinced that it is definitely a 701st Bach biography - I am now so excited about reading it that I want to help him spread the word about this little gem. So here is some initial information, more can be found via the link below. I was, and I am so enthusiastic and excited about The Little Bach Book that it got its own FAQ on my website. Why don't you take a look there first?

 

 


May 2000

€ 22,90

To "Bach 4 You"

After reading the first Bach biographies, one thing was clear to Peter Bach Jr. ... he would never have the expertise to write a biography about Johann Sebastian Bach himself. And the world didn't need another one, either. Because there are and have been around 700. And you really can buy some of them - today and probably in the future too - hot off the press and new in parallel. So you really are spoiled for choice when deciding on one biography or the other and - scientists and Bach connoisseurs may forgive me - you are buying a pig in a poke. Even if they were or still are all very, very successful cats. It all depends on your taste. Do you prefer detailed or clear? Do you prefer it to be relaxed or serious? On many, many pages in two volumes and extremely extensive or compactly written? Or do you prefer a normal book size? Written in the last century or a few years ago? And that's where my Bach Biography for Children comes into play. When it was finished, it became clear that such a biography for children - like so many real "literary works" - can also be just the thing as "light fare" for adults. And so here is the suggestion for you. So this Bach biography ... for you as an adult. Or for your kids. Between the ages of 12 and 22, it's probably not the right thing. Kids are no longer young enough or old enough. But otherwise? Just listen to the audio version, the audiobook.

 


January 2000

$ 34,32

To Amazon

The True Life of J.S. Bach. This suggests that around 700 Bach biographers today and over the last 270 years have been wrong. There was already an outcry from Bach experts and in the press when this work was published. Eidam, the author, has been accused of many things. That's right: Eidam's biography is completely different. It is the perfect read for anyone who wants to get to know Bach in the most entertaining way possible. Eidam is aggressive, attacking colleagues and musicologists head-on. He criticizes, he makes fun of. He cites facts in a completely different way and justifies them in a "really cross-brushed" way.

 

Eidam's work is the favorite Bach biography of the author of this website you are currently reading. He says that he does not want to read about Bach in such a serious and dignified way as, for example, the best-known current biography by Bach expert and Bach connoisseur Christoph Wolf offers. He started this biography of Eidam three times and broke it off three times. Eidam's offer, on the other hand, is almost - with a smile - a little bit for lateral thinkers and someone who is not averse to one or other conspiracy theory. He has already read Eidam's publication three times and is looking forward to reading it a fourth time on his next vacation.

 

That is what Amazon says Zitat: "Klaus Eidam's book aims to correct the images of Bach that have emerged from numerous older and more recent Bach biographies and from research into individual aspects of Bach's life and work. By freeing Bach as a person, as a composer and as a musician from such images of Bach, Eidam aims to uncover the gaps in our knowledge of Bach and fill them with the help of his own research. He comes to the conclusion that Bach was neither a "man of God who made music" nor a composer of the Enlightenment, as he was portrayed, particularly in Bach research in the former GDR. He was neither a scholar nor a theorist, but a self-taught researcher for whom music was "the continent whose exploration occupied him throughout his life like the great Amundsen's exploration of the Arctic". During the exercise of all his offices - secular as well as ecclesiastical - Bach worked with the greatest patience and tenacity to realize his ideas as a musician. Eidam presents a wealth of material on the resistance Bach faced from the authorities, for example as cantor of St. Thomas in Leipzig, where he was "mobbed", even "made into an imperson". Eidam denies that Bach's contrapuntal style was already considered antiquated during his lifetime. As a master of harmonic counterpoint and the discoverer of tempered tuning, Bach always had a special position in his epoch anyway."

 


June 2008

German !

€ 19,90

To "Bach 4 You"

We owe our current level of data in the genealogy of the Bach family to a very large extent to Bach author Helga Brück. Her Bach book has contributed significantly to the completion of the one American line. And we also owe her the contact to many Bachs on the other side of the "big pond". There are still three copies in the Publishing House that we "snapped up" back then ... but ... certainly not for for a long time.

 


February 2019

$ 9,99

eBook

Novel

To Amazon

"Everyone has heard of Johann Sebastian Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier – but hardly anybody knows anything about his journey to F sharp major.

 

In March of 1700, shortly before his fifteenth birthday, Johann Sebastian Bach set off on his journey. His destination: to create perfect music, music that unites heaven and earth in harmony. His search finally brought him to Lübeck, where he became acquainted with Andreas Werckmeister and the well-tempered tuning. In this tempering – and that is new! – you can play everything, all keys, in major and minor. But perfection has its price: All notes are "tempered" a bit, which means falsified; the music has a touch of artificiality from now on. And not only the notes and pitches – nature and people are also being tempered. Gardens are laid out with geometric precision, rivers are canalized, cities redesigned. Night becomes day thanks to street lighting, the pocket watch makes it possible to take along the time with you, the tuning fork enables choral pitch. The journey into an artificial world has begun. When Bach completed the Well-Tempered Clavier, he was overcome with profound doubt: Is not his work "only of this world" – perfect, artificial, profane?

 

For us, Bach's life consists primarily of biographical gaps. We know some things; but we don't know much. These gaps offer a novelist his chance. The facts were my fetters but they were also my source of inspiration. I did not invent anything 'freely' in the meaning of arbitrarily, though." Jens Johler

 

Jens Johler by no means turns the historical facts around.... Instead, he is writing a great of development novel in which private motifs and the course of time intertwine like fugue themes.  Harald Asel, rbb Inforadio" (Quote; Source Amazon)

 


June 2021

$ 20 - $ 45,00

To the Artist's Shop

Stepping Stones to Bach was created to connect amateur pianists and students to the orchestral, choral and various instrumental masterpieces of J.S. Bach. These 48 arrangements make excellent recital pieces, technique studies, warm-up and sight-reading exercises, and building blocks for learning more difficult works. I grouped them into 2 sets of 24 selections as a tribute to The Well-Tempered Clavier.

 

Pianists of all ages can enjoy playing Bach’s music from this volume without having to spend months perfecting a single piece. Themes from various iconic compositions such as the Brandenburg concertos are adapted to the easy/intermediate piano level, with the melodic and harmonic essentials left intact. Closing cadences are added at suitable points, resulting in a manageable and satisfying playing experience.

 

I recommend streaming my Stepping Stones to Bach playlist, a supplement to this volume, on Spotify or Apple Music. It will be especially useful for younger students, for stylistic reference and fostering the habit of listening to classical music. (Quote; Source: elenorebeintman.com)

 


June 2015

€ 6,99

To "Bach 4 You"

Johann Sebastian Bach's life, depicted in twenty-three drawings for coloring. A mini biography written by Peter Bach Jr. accompanies the drawings, which were lovingly drawn by Briana Bach-Hertzog, a cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach (second cousin, 9th generation). The Coloring Book is in two languages, German and English.

 


January 1925 /

Reprint / New 1970 - 1990

€ 22,90

German Only!

Used, Top Condition

To "Bach 4 You"

 

We couldn't find even one single used copy on the internet in English!

It is probably the most successful Bach biography ever. But is it a Bach biography at all? Absolutely not, say Bach experts as well as Bach personalities in Leipzig and there in the Bach Archive and the New Bach Society. And many people who have studied the subject say the same. But what is it then? Is it a Bach novel? The "Little Biography of Anna Magdalena Bach" is not that either ... but the book is written like a biography. Some small details – Bach experts will vehemently disagree with me here – are wrong and publications are still circulating today that are based on clearly false "fake news" from this work. This is of course not good.

 

But anyway: Ester Meynell's "Little Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach" about her life with her Johann Sebastian Bach was printed again and again by countless publishers, and the print run ran into several hundred thousand copies. Why? Because it is so "easy going" to read. At the right length. Pleasant to consume. Exciting. Popular. It is definitely the easiest way to get to know the Baroque composer.

 

Caution, Bach lovers: This book exists only in German anymore. You must be able to understand German. LOL

 


October 2005

Paperback

$ 15,00

To Amazon.

"Although we have heard the music of J. S. Bach in countless performances and recordings, the composer himself still comes across only as an enigmatic figure in a single familiar portrait. As we mark the 250th anniversary of Bach's death, author Christoph Wolff presents a new picture that brings to life this towering figure of the Baroque era. This engaging new biography portrays Bach as the living, breathing, and sometimes imperfect human being that he was, while bringing to bear all the advances of the last half-century of Bach scholarship. Wolff demonstrates the intimate connection between the composer's life and his music, showing how Bach's superb inventiveness pervaded his career as musician, composer, performer, scholar, and teacher. And throughout, we see Bach in the broader context of his time: its institutions, traditions, and influences. With this highly readable book, Wolff sets a new standard for Bach biography." (Quote; Source Amazon)

 


1908 / July 2012

Reprint / New

Paperback

Volume 1

$ 18,95

To Amazon.

Albert Schweitzer's great Bach biography has gained worldwide recognition, and this is the 44th-49th thousandth edition. Some pictures and many examples of music. A sought-after and important edition.

 


1908 / July 2012

Reprint / New

Paperback

Volume 2

$ 13,76

To Amazon.

The second volume, matching the text below the picture above.

 


August 2013

Paperback

Written in German and English

€ 10,00 

To the Bachhouse Shop

The richly illustrated book shows 82 copperplate engravings on Bach's biography on 176 pages. They come from the Bachhaus collection.

 

The book sees itself as a "picture album of Bach's biography", says author and Bachhaus director Jörg Hansen. It is written in German and English throughout, and shows copperplate portraits of people Bach was involved with during his life. 

 

Almost all of them come from the collection of the Bachhaus Eisenach, which is thus documented. In addition to numerous other illustrations, it also contains recommended listening, and there is a Spotify playlist to accompany the book (the link can be found on the Bachhaus Facebook page).

 

Because: "We wouldn't care about many of the people depicted today if they weren't connected to Bach and his music," says Hansen. Most of the copperplate portraits depicted in the book can currently still be seen in their original form in the exhibition of the same name "Bach & Friends" at the Bachhaus.

 


1873 / November 2015

Reprint / New

Paperback

$ 50,93 

To Amazon.

"This monumental study of Johann Sebastian Bach ranks among the great classics of musicology. Since its first publication in 1873–80, it has remained the basic work on Bach and the foundation of later research and study. The three-part treatment describes in chronological sequence practically everything that is known of the composer's life: his ancestry, his immediate family, his associations, his employers, and the countless occasions on which his musical genius emerged. Author Philipp Spitta accompanies this biographical material with quotations from primary sources: correspondence, family records, diaries, official documents, and more. In addition to biographical data, Spitta reviews Bach's musical production, with analyses of more than 500 pieces, covering all the important works. More than 450 musical excerpts are included in the main text, and a 43-page musical supplement illustrates longer passages. Despite the scholarly nature of this work, it also has the rare distinction of being a study that can be read with considerable enjoyment and great profit by every serious music lover, with or without a substantial background in the history of music or musical theory." (Quote; Source Amazon)

 


1873 / November 2015

Reprint / New

Paperback

$ 43,40 

To Amazon.

"Volume 2 of a 3-volume study. Detailed information on almost everything known about Bach's life and family; also perceptive analyses of over 500 compositions with more than 450 musical excerpts." (Quote; Source Amazon)

 


1873 / November 2015

Reprint / New

Paperback

$ 35,00 

To Amazon.

"Volume 3 of a 3-volume study. Detailed information on almost everything known about Bach's life and family; also perceptive analyses of over 500 composition with more than 450 musical excerpts." (Quote; Source Amazon)

 


 

March 2015

$ 34,95

To Amazon

 

"John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing one of the only two authentic portraits of Bach every day on the stairs of his parents’ house, where it hung for safety during World War II. He has been studying and performing Bach ever since, and is now regarded as one of the composer’s greatest living interpreters. The fruits of this lifetime’s immersion are distilled in this remarkable book, grounded in the most recent Bach scholarship but moving far beyond it, and explaining in wonderful detail the ideas on which Bach drew, how he worked, how his music is constructed, how it achieves its effects—and what it can tell us about Bach the man." (Quote; Source: Amazon)

 


March 2012

$ 19,33

To Amazon

"This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare s finesse to Oscar Wilde s wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim s Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library." (Quote; Source: Amazon)

 


December 2006

$ 40,95

To Amazon

"Two hundred and fifty years after his death, Johann Sebastian Bach remains one of the most compelling figures in the history of classical music. In this major study of the composer's life and work, Martin Geck follows the course of Bach's career in rich detail--from his humble beginnings as an organ tuner and self-taught court musician to his role as Kapellmeister and cantor of St. Thomas's Church in Leipzig. Geck explores Bach's relations with the German aristocracy, his position with regard to the Church and contemporary theological debates, his perfectionism, and his role as the devoted head of a large family. The focus in this comprehensive, thoroughly researched book is on the extraordinary work that came of the composer's life. From the Goldberg Variations to the Brandenburg Concertos to the Art of the Fugue, Geck carefully analyzes Bach's innovations in harmony and counterpoint, placing them in the context of European musical and social history. Always fresh and stimulating, this definitive work reintroduces Bach's enormous oeuvre in all its splendor." (Quote; Source: Amazon)

 


Tadaa ... Almost the Smallest Bach Book on Earth ... It Is a Wonderful Gift for a Bach Fan ... Instead of Flowers or Wine

 

At the very top of this page, you saw the smallest Bach book ever published. But there is another one that is only slightly larger. Of course, this slightly larger, small Bach booklet is not meant to be read. Although ... it is actually a real book and there are not just meaningless pages of text in it, but the real abridged version of the first Bach biography by Johann Nikolaus Forkel. You can still buy it, it's the ideal little gift for a Bach fan: although it's only available second-hand, it's in top condition. To Bach 4 You.

 

 

By the way, there is another exciting page about Bach books, more precisely, about the bibliography on Johann Sebastian Bach and his family. It is FAQ 144 and there you can read how unbelievably many books, newspaper and magazine articles and also in the last 30 years blog articles and the like have existed for more than 270 years.

 

 


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