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Bach Books

Bach and the Dance of God
by Wilfrid Howard Mellers





Bach and the Dance of God


Wilfrid Howard Mellers

Oxford University Press


HC / 324 pp


Bradley Lehman
wrote (April 27, 2003):
Anybody here have thoughts about Wilfrid Mellers' book Bach and the Dance of God? Interesting exploration of meaning and theology in Bach's music.... (It's been about 10 years now since I read a library copy; about time to read it again!)

He has also written books about Couperin, Beethoven, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, et al.

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (April 27, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] Hmm... sounds good-maybe I'll check it out if I run into it

Peter Bright wrote (April 27, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] Well, I have read his book on Dylan ('A Darker Shade of Pale) – an interesting writer, although I found his style rather dry and overly academic in that partciular book.

Uri Golomb wrote (Amay 1, 2003):
[To Bradley Lejman] I am familiar primarily with the chapter on the Mass in B minor (BWV 232), and the appendix on performance issues. My general impression: it is a fascinating book, full of insights -- and of wild speculation... The Mass chapter contains detailed analyses -- mostly blow-by-blow (that is, describing each musical event as it comes, with little or no reference to the movement's overall structure) -- of all movements, and Mellers seems to believe that every movement (and virtually every bar, every chord, every phrase) has deep theological-symbolic significance. I sometimes get the impression that he refuses to accept that any movement of the Mass expresses pure joy: finding some hints of suffering or struggle even in the Laudamus (and the suffering is not that of a singer and violinist struggling with difficult virtuoso parts...) He is very good at pointing out sources of internal conflict and dissonance in movements usually considered peaceful and "law-abiding" (e.g., Gratias, Confiteor). I sometimes feel he over-states the case in these, but that's still better than viewing these movements as purely peaceful, perfectly and undisturbedly balanced.

So -- certainly worth reading, but needs to be approached carefully.

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