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on 15 April 2017
I am willing to believe this book is magnificent etc etc and in fact I am now buying the hardback because I want to read it - but this 2014 Penguin edition I bought sucks. The font is microscopic and the print is grey. Virtually impossible to read comfortably. And of course the many footnotes are in an even smaller font! How in the world a world class publisher like Penguin can print a 600 page book with microscopic grey print I do not know. The only reason is obviously the cost. A bigger font would mean more pages. But this is an insult to John Eliot Gardiner and to JSB. And to Penguin.
Sorry.
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on 24 September 2016
Good and gets better as it goes on, but needs editing or a reader prepared to skip. Such an eloquent and persuasive man when talking and on the rostrum, but this book indulges itself in too many prolix asides and footnotes of slender relevance. I say this in spite of my immense gratitude for his peerless performances of the cantatas and Passions.
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on 5 March 2015
John Eliot Gardner really knows his subject. The problem can be that the weight of knowledge slows the story of Bach, and the number of explanatory notes makes reference heavy at times. However, Gardner's liking for his subject shines through, and you keep on reading absorbed in the man portrayed. As a straight read, it is impressive; as a "dip in " tome, it is fascinating. John Eliot Gardner has produced a real survey of Bach's life, times and music; enjoy it in whichever way you choose, and it will give you enlightenment and pleasure. Worth the effort.
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on 5 February 2016
A very thorough and revealing insight into Bach's life and his antecedents. Those with a much deeper knowledge of the many other Baroque composers referred to and to Bach's vast panoply of works will enjoy it even more. It's a big read so make sure you have lots of time to spare.
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on 18 July 2017
Read it with excerpts of the cantatas to hand. A wonderful insight into the creative mind. Gardener is totally immersed in his subject.
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on 29 December 2013
Gardiner's love of Bach shines through, deservedly classical music book of the year in most lists. Bought as a present for a dedicated muso who was delighted and has bought the boxed Monteverdi set of the Cantatas.
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on 28 January 2014
I looked forward to the publication of this book and have not been in any way disappointed - indeed quite the opposite: it wholly exceeded my expectations. I have read it slowly, listening to the many pieces he refers to and analyses (you really do need a complete works box-set). For me Bach is indeed the voice of god, and this book is the perfect accompaniment.
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on 16 April 2014
Surely the definitive work on J.S.Bach, both from the biographical and the musical aspects, whilst acknowledging the earlier books on this unique genius.
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on 4 July 2015
A great book. Scholarly and spiced with anecdote.
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on 29 July 2016
Very good - a definitive work. Difficult to get now in hardback but worth the persistence.
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