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Bach's Changing World:


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The Leipzig middle-class evolved with the cooperation and gratitude of an extravagant, greedy, and disinterested absolutist ruler. Bach's Changing World documents how this community and other German communities responded to a variety of religious, social, and political demands that emerged during the years of the composer's lifetime. An accepted, admired, and trusted member of this community, as evidenced by the commissions he received for secular celebrations from royalty and members of the middle-class alike -- in addition to functioning as church composer -- Bach shared its values.

Contributors: Carol K. Baron, Susan H. Gillespie, Katherine Goodman, Joyce L. Irwin, Tanya Kevorkian, Ulrich Siegele, John Van Cleve, and Ruben Weltsch.

Carol K. Baron is Fellow for Life in the Department of Music at Stony Brook University, where she was co-founder and administrator of the Bach Aria Festival and Institute.


"Offers much insight into the community in which Bach lived and worked. . . . [Katherine R.] Goodman artfully weaves methodologies from gender studies, literary history, and musicology. . . . The translations that end the volume will be useful for musicologists and church historians. . . . The volume is well-illustrated with engravings of everyting from gardens, to Prussian troops, to oil lamps, to the marble altar at St. Thomas' church." GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW [Susan Lewis Hammond]

Excellent and thought-provoking. . . . [The] translators [of Siegele's important essay] have done English readers a great service. . . . The volume goes some way to combating romanticised notions of Bach. THE CONSORT

A marvellous account of the Leipzig . . . in which Bach lived and worked. . . . If you enjoy the Coffee Cantata, read the chapter by Katherine Goodman on coffee and women poets. . . . This [book] fascinated me. --Clifford Bartlett, Early Music Review

Written in an engaging style, Bach's Changing World is an informative and satisfying read that makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the era in which Bach lived and worked, whilst also simultaneously providing new or alternative insights into the life and occasionally the works of the man himself. --Elise Crean, Queen's University, Belfast, Bach Bibliography website

Cogently introduced. . . . An important addition to musical and theological history. . . . Makes a significant contribution to the literature on German history and the 18th century. CHOICE

Visually elegant, with a generous selection of illustrations of Leipzig life [some of them rarely used in modern publications]. By viewing Bach within his intellectual context, Baron and her contribuors open an important and stimulating path. EARLY MUSIC, 2007 [Stephen Rose]

Carol Baron and her colleagues have done Bach studies a marvelous service. This volume should prove to be not only a signal contribution to the too-small bibliography on Bach's cultural contexts but also a ready resource for its desired growth. General readers and music lovers, too, will find this accessible book highly worthwhile. --Michael Marissen, Professor of Music, Swarthmore College, and author of The Social and Religious Designs of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and co-author of An Introduction to Bach Studies


First Published: 09 Jun 2006
13 Digit ISBN: 9781580461900
20 black and white, 2 line drawing illustrations
Pages: 284
Size: 6 x 9
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: University of Rochester Press
BIC Class: AV

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Transitions, Transformations, Reversals: Rethinking Bach's World
  • 2  Tumultuous Philosophers, Pious Rebels, Revolutionary Teachers, Pedanti Clerics, Vengeful Bureaucrats, Threatened Tyrants,
  • 3  Family Values and Dysfunctional Families: Home Life in the Moral Weeklies and Comedies of Bach's Leipzig
  • 4  Bach in the Midst of Religious Transition
  • 5  Bach's Situation in the Cultural Politics of Contemporary Leipzig
  • 6  The Reception of the Cantata during Leipzig Church Services, 1700-1750
  • 7  From Salon to Kaffeekranz: Gender Wars and the Coffee Cantata in Bach's Lei
  • 8  A Treatise on Liturgical Text Settings (1710), by Johann Kuhnau
  • 9  Random Thoughts About Church Music in Our Day (1721), by Gottfried Ephraim

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