Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Nicely Balanced Review of Gardiner's Bach Biography

Here, in the New York Review of Books. I agree with the reviewer's arguments about the shortcomings of approaching Bach predominantly through his chorale works, as Gardiner does (understandably, given the comparative advantage he holds in his unrivaled knowledge of them), to the exclusion of the equally voluminous instrumental works. In any case, I'm enjoying immensely, and learning a great deal, from Gardiner's carefully supported, if somewhat controversial, efforts to make Bach, the man, appear as a more ordinary (if supremely gifted), flawed, and therefore interesting human being (a truly difficult trick to pull off).

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