Books & Music

Our Bach Bookshelf  updated 20 September 2016


During his lifetime Bach assembled a large library of books. Writings on Lutheran theology and the literary work of the day provided a rich source of reference material and thought for the composer. Some volumes in his Library are well annotated by him and, in the absence of a substantial number of personal letters and papers having survived, they provide us with some precious insight into the composer’s character.

Our own Bach bookshelf reflects the work of contemporary scholars. The differing approaches provide  fascinating reading material, carefully researched and written by leading Bach scholars and authors today.  Our selection also includes volumes that will enlighten the reader about the composer’s life, the fashion and taste of the age too, with one that is an absorbing series of chapters on the dissemination of Bach’s music in 19th century England, complete with detailed footnotes and references.


** Hearing Bach’s Passions - Updated Editionby Daniel R. Melamed, published by Oxford University Press  (2016), Paperback ISBN 978-0-19-049012-6, 171 pages

** Bach & God  by Michael Marissen, published by Oxford University Press New York, (2016) Hardback, 257 pages $35 (£24.50 at current rates/check). ISBN-13: 978-0190606954       Click on the link to read a description of the book. There will be a review published in the March 2017 edition of Bach Notes , the LBS Journal.


Bach’s Numbers: Compositional Proportion and Significance by Ruth Tatlow  published by Cambridge University Press, (2015).   ISBN 978-1-107-08860-3 (Hardback)  Price: £84.99 Paperback edition will follow.

This long awaited book by Bach Scholar Ruth Tatlow will appeal to performing musicians as much as academics and composers, theologians and any amateur interested in Bach, theology and numbers.


Leipzig City of Music in pictures by Michael Maul,   Volume 1: From the Beginning to the 18th century   published by Lehmstadt Verlag (2014)   224 pages with about 222 color illustrations  24 x 27 cm, hardcover, dust jacket, sewn (German only)  ISBN 978-3-942473-88-0

Price: 24,90 € (D) 25,90 € (A) 34.90 SFr

"It will be the standard work on the City of Music - for years to come."  Ralf Julke, Leipziger Internet Zeitung, November 21, 2014 )

The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach Vol II: 1717-1750 Richard D P Jones published by Oxford University Press (2013) 

" From that city of dreaming spires comes, long awaited, the second volume in the most comprehensive study of Bach’s musical development now in print.  .... This book qualifies immediately as a towering work of outstanding musical analysis."   Peter Smaill writing in London Bach Society's Journal "Bach Notes" March 2014

J S Bach at His Royal Instrument: Essays on his Organ Works by Russell Stinson published by Oxford University Press (2013) ISBN 978-0-19-991723-5 Price £32.50 Hardback

Bach edited by Yo Tomita, Queen's University Belfast,  published by Ashgate Publishing (2011) ISBN 978-0-7546-2891-0 Hardback Price £140 (Website Price £126)

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician by Christoph Wolff
published by Oxford University Press (2002)   ISBN  0199248842

The New Bach Reader Ed. H.T.David & A. Mendel, rev. Christoph Wolff,  published by W.W. Norton (New York, 1998)  ISBN 0393319563

J S Bach: A Life in Music Peter Williams published by Cambridge University Press (2007) ISBN 13: 9780521870740

The English Bach Awakening Ed. Michael Kassler published by Ashgate (2004) ISBN 1840146664

The Cantatas of J.S. Bach Ed. Alfred Dürr, Trans. Richard Jones
published by Oxford University Press (2006) ISBN  0198167075

Bach's Oratorios by Michael Marissen, published by Oxford University Press (2008) ISBN 978-0-19-536717-1  The Parallel German-English Texts with annotations.

Bach's Dialogue with Modernity Perspectives on the Passions by John Butt, published by Cambridge University Press (2010)  Hardback ISBN:9780521883566  Price £68

The Faber Pocket Guide to Bach by Nicholas Kenyon, published by Faber (2011) ISBN 978-0-571-23327-4 rrp £8.99. Reviewed in Bach Notes, Spring 2011 edition


Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter