Bach and Mozart
Essays on the Enigma of Genius
The essays in this volume, by one of America's leading authorities on Bach and Mozart, serve a single objective: to promote a deeper understanding of those two great composers both as supremely gifted creators and as human beings. Author Robert L. Marshall draws on a diverse range of interpretive strategies including both textual and musical criticism. Life and work are treated together, just as they were intermingled for the composers.
After a preliminary historiographical contemplation of the "Century of Bach and Mozart," fifteen numbered chapters follow in roughly chronological succession. Among the issues addressed: the artistic consequences of Bach's orphanhood, his relationship to Martin Luther, his attitude toward Jews, his relationship to his sons, the stages of his stylistic development, and his position in the history of music; and, moving to Mozart, the composer's portrayal in Amadeus, his wit, his indebtedness to J. S. Bach, and aspects of his compositional process.
The volume concludes with a factually informed speculation about what Mozart is likely to have done and to have composed, had he lived on for another decade or more.
ROBERT L. MARSHALL is Sachar Professor of Music emeritus, Brandeis University.
Young Man Bach: Toward a Twenty-First-Century Bach Biography
The Notebooks for Wilhelm Friedemann and Anna Magdalena Bach: Some Biographical Lessons
Bach and Luther
Redeeming the St. John Passion--and J. S. Bach
Bach's Keyboard Music
The Minimalist and Traditionalist Approaches to Performing Bach's Choral Music: Some Further Thoughts
Truth and Beauty: J. S. Bach at the Crossroads of Cultural History
Bach at Mid-Life: The Christmas Oratorio and the Search for New Paths
Bach at the Boundaries of Music History: Preliminary Reflections on the B-Minor Mass and the Late-Style Paradigm
Father and Sons: Confronting a Uniquely Daunting Paternal Legacy
Johann Christian Bach and Eros
Bach and Mozart: Styles of Musical Genius
Mozart and Amadeus
Bach and Mozart's Artistic Maturity
Mozart's Unfinished: Some Lessons of the Fragments
Epilogue (ossia Postmortem). Had Mozart Lived Longer: Some Cautious (and Incautious) Speculations
"One finds throughout the book many.quotable aperçus [such as this:]. 'In the uncompromising, intricate stylistic and expressive musical idiom of Bach, Mozart . . . had come to recognize a hitherto largely unacknowledged and undeveloped part of his own musical personality.' Marshall helps us understand both." Kenneth Slowik, EARLY MUSIC AMERICA
"Wonderful subject[s], which Marshall handles with characteristic mastery . . . Marshall speculates, not implausibly, that Mozart at some point would have come to the New World -- to America. I think he would have loved it, and it him. This is fun stuff. And Professor Marshall throughout his book is learned, meticulous, and deep." Jay Nordlinger, NEW CRITERION
"Robert Marshall's Bach and Mozart is the summation of a life spent in the service of these two giants of 18th century music. Prof. Marshall blends scrupulous scholarship with a keen sense of aesthetics, shedding light on myriad aspects of both composers. Readers seeking enlightenment in hitherto unexplored directions will find this essential work stimulating and enlightening." Robert Levin, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
"What is a genius? What makes a composer great? In this captivating and erudite collection of essays, Robert Marshall approaches some of the biggest questions about the two greatest composers of the eighteenth century, Bach and Mozart. In a fascinating polyphony of methodological approaches, from biography to style criticism to cultural studies, Marshall paints a new, sometimes provocative image of the two composers and their works. The book provides a fresh perspective for musicologists and performers and for admirers of Bach and Mozart." Markus Rathey, Robert S. Tangeman Professor of Music History, Yale University
"What a delightful, stimulating, brilliant collection of essays! Sometimes playful and humorous, often profound, always intelligent, with many surprising insights into the personalities of two great composers and wonderfully evocative descriptions of some of their finest music. Robert Marshall writes beautifully, with crystal-clear, jargon-free prose throughout." John A. Rice, independent scholar and member of the Akademie für Mozart-Forschung in Salzburg
"Marshall, who knows everything about Bach . . . , synthesizes and pursues his earlier studies that show Bach, and now Mozart, as synthesizers of genius-composers with a talent for synthesis, genial synthesizers-in their own right. The always limited biographical evidence, scrutinized minutely, yields a convincing picture of choices and likely motivations. The mix of infinite information and suggestive conclusion could not be more ideal. Short of conclusiveness also means long on stimulation. I found the Mozart essays particularly rewarding in that respect. A public readership...unquestionably benefits from the kind of thoughtful, inquisitive, suggestive mind that Marshall always brings to bear and that is the guiding spirit of the majority of these essays. Would that more of us had such a gift." Marshall Brown, BACH: JOURNAL OF THE RIEMENSCHNEIDER BACH INSTITUTE
"Marshall seeks to get into the minds of composers to understand both their compositional processes and what motivated them to create. His characteristically clear writing...breaks away from nineteenth-century hagiography . . . [and] sits side by side with close analytical readings of musical works and of the autograph scores. Marshall is willing to speculate boldly when evidence runs out. The essays in this collection offer a refreshing boldness in the way Marshall presents his ideas and his ability to champion Bach and Mozart even as he urges a more human view of them and their flaws. This adds up to a new way of thinking about "genius."" Daniel R. Melamed, MOZART SOCIETY OF AMERICA NEWSLETTER
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