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Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven download epub

by John Eliot Gardiner


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Bach might be John Eliot Gardiner's godfather, a few centuries removed.

Bach might be John Eliot Gardiner's godfather, a few centuries removed. Gardiner actually grew up under the eye of the bewigged Lutheran cantor: a portrait of him had been entrusted to Gardiner's parents – who raised their brood with sung graces at mealtimes and traditional country dances afterwards – for safekeeping during the war. On his way upstairs to bed, the young Gardiner always flinched from the zealot's "forbidding stare"

Originally published in Great Britain as Music in the Castle of Heaven by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, London.

Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random. Originally published in Great Britain as Music in the Castle of Heaven by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, London. Gardiner, John Eliot. Bach : music in the castle of heaven, by John Eliot Gardiner. pages ; cm. ISBN 978-0-375-41529-6 (hardback).

John Eliot Gardiner’s book is not intended as a straight biography so much as a thematic examination of Bach . Mr. Gardiner is best known as a busy conductor of his own ensembles and others, specializing in period practice and, in particular, the performance of Bach

John Eliot Gardiner’s book is not intended as a straight biography so much as a thematic examination of Bach the composer as man and musician. Gardiner is best known as a busy conductor of his own ensembles and others, specializing in period practice and, in particular, the performance of Bach. The founder of the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists (among other groups), he led them on an international Bach Cantata Pilgrimage through 50 cities (including New York) in 13 countries in 2000, the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death, performing each of the 198 surviving sacred cantatas at the appropriate time of year and recording most of them.

John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing one of the only two authentic portraits of Bach every morning and evening on the Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most .

John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing one of the only two authentic portraits of Bach every morning and evening on the Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most unfathomable composers in the history of music.

John Eliot Gardiner takes us as deeply into Bach’s works and mind as perhaps words ca.

John Eliot Gardiner takes us as deeply into Bach’s works and mind as perhaps words can. The result is a unique book about one of the greatest of all creative artists. David Jones wrote (December 25, 2013): I think Gardiner is in the doghouse with a lot of Bach scholars, chiefly because of his stubborn insistence on more than one voice per a part and the lack of "earlier than thou" sound in his orchestral conducting; his sound is colorful and vibrant.

In this remarkable book, John Eliot Gardiner distils the fruits of a lifetime's immersion as one of Bach's greatest living .

In this remarkable book, John Eliot Gardiner distils the fruits of a lifetime's immersion as one of Bach's greatest living interpreters. Explaining in wonderful detail how Bach worked and how his music achieves its effects, he also takes us as deeply into Bach's works and mind as perhaps words can.

Johann Sebastian Bach mastered a stunning variety of musical forms: works for solo instruments, chamber pieces, vocal music, concerti and . Yet his overlooked choral music may be his best and is certainly his most abundant.

Johann Sebastian Bach mastered a stunning variety of musical forms: works for solo instruments, chamber pieces, vocal music, concerti and music for the orchestra. It includes works of great joy, like the Gloria from the Mass in B minor; moments of tenderness and mercy, like the chorales from the St. Matthew Passion; and music of unutterable beauty, like the cantata "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" (BWV 147), which contains the famous movement "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.

John Eliot Gardiner uses his extraordinary immersion in Bach's music to illuminate Bach the man more brilliantly . I have two concerns about Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven.

John Eliot Gardiner uses his extraordinary immersion in Bach's music to illuminate Bach the man more brilliantly than in any previous work, and has created his own deeply moving work of ar. - -Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire. It is quite challenging to read, assuming (as it does) that readers have more than a passing knowledge of European history and of music (both of which I have). Gardiner also tends to interject anecdotes about himself and his own experiences on occasion, a habit that I find detracted slightly from my overall enjoyment of the book.

Bach was born in Thuringia just decades after the region suffered unspeakable devastation in the Thirty Years’ War.

In his new biography of the composer, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, John Eliot Gardiner seeks to penetrate the conventional Bach myth and reveal a more complete, more human vision of the most admired musician of the Baroque era. Bach’s life, Gardiner argues, was not the straightforward life of the archetypical diligent German protestant, a hard-working, pious family man whose art exists on a plane separate from and above its creator. Bach was born in Thuringia just decades after the region suffered unspeakable devastation in the Thirty Years’ War.

One of the Best Books of the Year* The Economist * The Christian Science Monitor * Financial Times *Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most unfathomable composers in the history of music. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who seems so ordinary, so opaque—and occasionally so intemperate? 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.


Comments: (7)

MEGA FREEDY
This is, and I am sure it will continue to be, one of the most interesting, well researched and valuable of books written on J.S. Bach and his times to date. I began it the day it arrived and have barely put it down. That is saying a lot as I have been buying and listening to and reading about Bach for the past 50+ years.
Just a quarter of the way into its more than 600 pages, I can report that this book should prove to be invaluable to anyone interested in Bach, the Baroque, and the musicians of that era and before. It is Gardiner's clear and compelling writing, the depth of his research, and his emphasis on Bach's life that is so very compelling. Who was Bach? Why was he that way? And how did his life shape his music? Answering these questions are the objectives of the book. He does it better than anyone I have read. There is much new information discovered only in the last decade or more.
I will revise this review when I've finished reading, but I wanted to send a dispatch that in the first four chapters, this is proving to be a wonderful and instructive read. And a last note: the footnotes are terrific.
Delan
Well, its taken me a very long time to read this book and its not a fault of the book. This is part biography of Bach (though not as much as many may like), part biography of various pieces of his church music and the imagination that birthed it, and in large part evocative description of Bach's sacred music itself. There is much to commend here. Gardiner is one of the foremost experts on Bach today, and not because he has read nearly everything there is to read about Bach, although he has probably done so judging from the footnotes and endnotes (the former are all worth reading as they are full of gems, the latter are typically only citation details). Gardiner is himself a musician and conductor and has undertaken one of the most interesting and unique feats of musical exploration ever conducted (pardon the pun, and see below).

Gardiner is a leader in the recent trend (since the '70s) in musical exploration which attempts to play the music of a particular composer or era (for Bach, the Baroque) in the way its original hearers would have experienced it. As such, performances will be played on period instruments (ie. gut strings rather than steel, instruments crafted using original techniques rather than modern, etc.) and played in the way they likely would have been originally played (ie. in churches rather than concert halls, unamplified, and often at a much quicker pace than modern sensibilities usually gravitate toward). Gardiner's "insider" perspective on Bach's music as interpreted through Bach's life and religious convictions as well as through having stood in Bach's place as conductor throughout a full church calendar cycle is really what makes this book special.

Gardiner is at his best as an author when he is at his best as a conductor. The book describes at great length not only the musicology and the performance but also the psychology and theology of some of Bach's most well known works. These descriptions often sore along verbally, mirroring the score itself as it is playing back in the mind of the author. I have to admit that prior to reading this book, Bach was already my favourite composer. However, while reading this book, I purchased (or was given by a friend who himself masterfully plays Baroque music on period instruments) several CDs of Bach's music, as many as possible of which were conducted by Gardiner, performed by his famous Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists and recorded in churches or cathedrals. I have to advocate for this way of reading this book. Listening to the very work, performed (or as Bach might have preferred to think of it, offered) as close as possible to the way it would have originally been sung and played, while reading Gardiner's often emotional and spiritual descriptions of the works is among the closest experiences I've ever come to reading in four dimensions. Many will classify this as a biographical/historical work, but there are profound observations of psychology, theology, philosophy, liturgics and worship here as well. I did not always agree with Gardiner's rendering of Bach's Lutheran psychology or of Bach's own spiritual struggles. I thought perhaps where Gardiner sometimes detected doubt in Bach's scoring of a particular portion of the gospels or other Scripture, one could just as easily interpret a tried but steady faith or a determination to believe the promises of God despite the upheavals of this earthly life (Bach lost an uncle and both parents by the time he was 10, and he lost his first wife and several of his children - 10 if I recall). Or perhaps as is more likely, it is a combination of all of the above. But even where I wondered if Gardiner was misinterpreting the inspiration behind some of Bach's scores or some of his margin notes in his favourite Bible commentaries, I know that I am far richer for having had someone like Gardiner lead me into the inner world of Bach's mind and his music.

Gardiner is somewhat uniquely qualified to write this book. Not only has Bach been in the forefront of his consciousness since he was a child and his family had a famous original portrait of Bach hanging in their stairwell, "overseeing" the home, but Gardiner set out on a unique and mind-blowing "Bach cantata pilgrimage" in 2000 with his orchestra and choir, playing all (yes, ALL) of Bach's sacred cantatas in a 52 week period in churches around Europe and the US. This meant that they performed nearly everyday for a year, sometimes more than once a day, something that Bach himself would have done in his post as Thomascantor in Leipzig. When one does this, one really get's inside the head and heart of the great master even as he himself was inhabiting the seasons of the church year, recounting and witnessing as they do to the history of redemption through the life and work of Christ.

If someone wants a basic and general introduction to Bach, I highly recommend not this. If you want an in depth biography of the life of Bach this is also not your book. However, if you want to begin to understand Bach's sense of sacred mission, his motivations, and above all the tapestry of his sacred music itself in all its variation, complexity, energy and beauty, this deep-dive is your guide.
Dark_Sun
Because of my long-held fascination with, and love for, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, it only seemed natural that I would eventually begin seeking out biographies of the great composer. Many years ago, I read Christoph Wolff’s masterful “Bach: The Learned Musician.” Now I have just completed another fascinating study of Bach’s life: “Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven” by John Eliot Gardiner.

Gardiner is, of course, the famed British conductor who specializes in “historically informed performances” of early music. As his marvelous book attests, he is both an excellent Bach scholar and a formidably talented writer. Gardiner faces the same limitations of other writers seeking to tell Johann Sebastian Bach’s story in any kind of lucid and detailed manner: there is precious little in the way of empirical historical data about Bach to guide biographers. Bach wrote almost nothing about himself, his surviving children left very little in writing about him, and the letters he wrote (that still exist) only reveal something of his curmudgeonly personality, but not much else.

What Gardiner attempts to do in “Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven” is to explore Bach’s life primarily through his music – more specifically, his cantatas, passions, and other vocal works. In this, I think Gardiner succeeds very well. He includes as much biographical information as he can find, and then turns to an analysis of many of Bach’s most important works to give readers a glimpse of not only Bach’s innate musical genius, but of his humanity as well.

I have two concerns about “Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven.” It is quite challenging to read, assuming (as it does) that readers have more than a passing knowledge of European history and of music (both of which I have). Gardiner also tends to interject anecdotes about himself and his own experiences on occasion, a habit that I find detracted slightly from my overall enjoyment of the book.

Now that I am finished reading “Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven,” I feel that I have come to know the enigmatic Johann Sebastian Bach better through John Eliot Gardiner’s writing. Bach seems more “human” somehow – not only the colossal musical genius who has been a major influence on all genres of music for nearly three centuries now, but also an ordinary and flawed man who suffered much grief during his lifetime, and who persevered through a deep and abiding Christian faith that was the driving force behind everything he composed. Despite my minor criticisms of it, I think this is an excellent biography that I can easily recommend. (4½ Stars ^ 5)
Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven download epub
Music
Author: John Eliot Gardiner
ISBN: 1400031435
Category: Arts & Photography
Subcategory: Music
Language: English
Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 3, 2015)
Pages: 672 pages