"Stinson presents a well-focused study of a narrow field, making the book attractive to amateur musicians and Bach enthusiasts." --Music and Letters
"The chief strength of the monograph, as one might expect from Stinson's earlier books, is its detailed discussions of musical texts and their transmission." -James Garratt, University of Manchester
"This fascinating study combines history, biography, and musical analysis in revealing the signal importance of J. S. Bach's organ music in the lives and work of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms. Conversely, it defines the crucial role of these four masters in the Bach renaissance of the 19th century. Stinson's splendid book is absorbing, eminently readable, and arguably the most impressive contribution yet to the growing field of Bach reception."--Robert L. Marshall, Sachar Professor of Music emeritus, Brandeis University
"Stinson takes us on a stimulating and often surprising journey through countless sources recording the infectious enthusiasm that Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms felt for Bach's organ music. Many of these materials, together with the insights that Stinson derives from them, are entirely new, and throughout we gain a vivid impression of what it must have been like to encounter Bach's organ music for the first time. Stinson's book will surely teach us that music from that past need not be relegated to an exhausted, mummified state, and that our changing perspectives--just like those of these nineteenth-century pioneers--furnish us with the enduring potential to experience it afresh and thereby stimulate our own creative potential."--John Butt, Gardiner Professor of Music, University of Glasgow
"This book will captivate you and hold your attention as it takes you on a journey into the minds and lives of four early receiveres and promoters of the Bach tradition." --CrossAccent
In this penetrating study, Russell Stinson explores how four of the greatest composers of the nineteenth century--Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, and Johannes Brahms--responded to the model of Bach's organ music. The author shows that this quadrumvirate not only borrowed from Bach's organ works in creating their own masterpieces, whether for keyboard, voice, orchestra, or chamber ensemble, but that they also reacted significantly to the music as performers, editors, theorists, and teachers. Furthermore, the book reveals how these four titans influenced one another as "receptors" of this repertory and how their mutual acquaintances--especially Clara Schumann--contributed as well. As the first comprehensive discussion of this topic ever attempted, Stinson's book represents a major step forward in the literature on the so-called Bach revival. He considers biographical as well as musical evidence to arrive at a host of new and sometimes startling conclusions. Filled with fascinating anecdotes, the study also includes detailed observations on how these composers annotated their personal copies of Bach's organ works.
Stinson's book is entirely up-to-date and offers much material previously unavailable in English. It is meticulously annotated and indexed, and it features numerous musical examples and facsimile plates as well as an exhaustive bibliography. Included in an appendix is Brahms's hitherto unpublished study score of the Fantasy in G Major, BWV 572. Engagingly written, this study should be read by anyone interested in the music of Bach or the music of the nineteenth century.
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