Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach : The Learned Musician

4.24 (958 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 8-13 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Although we have heard the music of J. S. Bach in countless performances and recordings, the composer himself still comes across only as an enigmatic figure in a single familiar portrait. As we mark the 250th anniversary of Bach's death, author Christoph Wolff presents a new picture that brings to life this towering figure of the Baroque era. This engaging new biography portrays Bach as the living, breathing, and sometimes imperfect human being that he was, while bringing to bear all the advances of the last half-century of Bach scholarship. Wolff demonstrates the intimate connection between the composer's life and his music, showing how Bach's superb inventiveness pervaded his career as musician, composer, performer, scholar, and teacher. And throughout, we see Bach in the broader context of his time: its institutions, traditions, and influences. With this highly readable book, Wolff sets a new standard for Bach biography.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 640 pages
  • 155 x 234 x 46mm | 686g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 42 black and white illustrations; 42 black and white illustrations
  • 0393322564
  • 9780393322569
  • 84,443

Review quote

"A monumental work that must find its way into the library of every musician and every dedicated lover of music." -- Isaac Stern "It's unlikely that anyone will fashion a finer tribute to [Bach's] genius." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review "A magisterial biographical portrait...necessarily learned, but also user-friendly, helpful and entertainingly informative." -- Chicago Tribune "Likely to be the standard one-volume Bach biography for some time to come." -- New York Review of Books "A work of clarity worthy of its subject and his music." -- Wall Street Journal "Undoubtedly the most important Bach biography since Phillipp Spitta's life written over a century ago." -- The New Republic
show more

About Christoph Wolff

Christoph Wolff is Adams University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, where he taught from 1976 to 2012. A former director of the Bach Archive in Leipzig, Germany, he is the author of numerous works of music history including Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography, and Mozart at the Gateway to His Fortune: Serving the Emperor, 1788-1791, winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. Wolff lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
show more

Rating details

958 ratings
4.24 out of 5 stars
5 49% (471)
4 31% (294)
3 16% (153)
2 3% (28)
1 1% (12)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X