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Hearing Bach's Passions


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About the Author

Daniel R. Melamed is Professor of Music at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. He is the author of J. S. Bach and the German Motet, co-author (with Michael Marissen) of An Introduction to Bach Studies, editor of Bach Studies 2, and has published articles, reviews and musical editions on J. S. Bach and members of the Bach family.


Melamed has a user-friendly prose stlye.... the picture he draws is a useful corrective, and there are apercus and helpful observations. * Peter Williams, Times Literary Supplement *
an enormously useful guide to the issues around current research and performance ... performers and listeners alike will learn something they did not know from this brief work, and the publishers should be congratulated on this revision and reprint. * David Stancliffe *
A very interesting book. * Robin A. Leaver, Eighteenth-Century Music *
A comprehensive introduction not only to the issues confronting scholars and performers of Bach's music in the early twenty-first century, but also to the wider field of musicology and its potential contribution to the experience of modern audiences. Daniel R. Melamed's engaging prose is at once concise and informative, and the often complex, esoteric ideas he tackles are made to appear accessible and even familiar. Hearing Bach's Passions will be engaging and though-provoking for specialists and non-specialists alike, and essential reading for anyone looking for an accessible introduction to Bach's sacred music and the issues surrounding its scholarly interpretation and performance. * Music and Letters *
A very readable, helpful book for any listener of Bach's music. It will be of great assistance to performers of that music as they make decisions that will affect their performance. * Cross Accent *
Hearing Bach's Passions, a slim but rich volume, is at once scholarly and accessible. Richly detailed enough for the musicologist to appreciate, the book is aimed primarily at the non-specialist, and contains no systematic analysis of musical sources, no printed musical examples, and no footnotes or endnotes. Melamed's goal is threefold: first, to discuss how we hear these works in our own time; second, to explore how listeners in the eighteenth century might have heard them; and third, to suggest ways to bridge that temporal gulf. * Bach Notes *
Melamed's book belongs to that group of writings on Bach's Passions that are accessible to a general audience while at the same time offering valuable additions to scholarship. Moreover, Melamed constructs a sophisticated response to the many persistent and fiercely guarded myths surrounding the Passion repertory associated with Bach. * Notes *
An erudite and sophisticated examination of the passions. As pleasurable to read as the many insights into Bach and his world are absorbing. His concern is to enrich our understanding of these works by clarifying aspects of their original purpose and meaning, leaving us to wonder at how such artefacts from the past manage to transform themselves into works of the utmost importance to us today. * Early Music Performer *
Written in clear prose that is highly accessible to the non-specialist, Melamed ... has provided readers with a scholarly work that requires no technical musical knowledge ... Based on the most recent scholarship the book opens up the debates surrounding this repertory to music lovers, choral singers, church musicians, and students of Bach's music. * Horace Mann Magazine *
Melamed provides illuminating summaries of central debates in Bach scholarship ... This book would richly reward anyone whose curiosity was arounsed by Melamed's Goldberg article. * Uri Golomb, Goldberg *
Daniel Melamed opens our eyes to all that separates us from Bach's Passions, and in so doing gives us new ways of getting closer to them. At once learned and approachable, this book belongs on the shelf of everyone who cares about these inexhaustible masterpieces. * Joshua Rifkin *
Hearing Bach's Passions is an invaluable resource that condenses into a single, readable volume an enormous amount of material. It is unique in approaching the famous St. John and St. Matthew Passions, as well as the less familiar passions according to St. Mark and St. Luke, as case studies illustrating significant problems, issues, and methodologies in current Bach research. Anyone seeking a scholarly yet accessible view of Bach's passions will want to read this book. * Stephen A. Crist, Emory University *
Melamed's study bridges the centuries-old gap between modern concert performances of Bach's passions and the composer's concept of them as liturgical presentations in eighteenth-century Leipzig. It provides new insights that will allow today's listeners and performers to come closer to a true understanding of the music as well as the size and role of Bach's performing forces. * Thomas Lancaster, Director, Bach Society of Minnesota *
An extremely useful and illuminating study of the issues at hand. It is indispensable to those interested in getting up to date with recent scholarship. This book will be an extremely valuable addition for those concerned with issues of performance practice, authenticity and scoring. * John Butt, Early Music *
An extremely useful and illuminating study of the issues at hand. It is indispensable to those interested in getting up to date with recent scholarship. This book will be an extremely valuable addition for those concerned with issues of performance practice, authenticity and scoring. * John Butt, Early Music *

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