Saturday, April 23, 2011
Thunderstruck by the Music of J.S. Bach (A Book Review)
As someone who is thunderstruck by J.S. Bach's music, I was delighted to see that booksneeze.com was offering, in exchange for an honest review, a copy of Johann Sebastian Bach by Rick Marschall. This book is part of the Christian Encounters series published by Thomas Nelson.
A comprehensive, yet concise biography of Johann Sebastian Bach's life, the book centers on his career as the most influential Baroque composer, and his creative work life. It also includes a bit about his family, his children, Luther (his spiritual mentor), and a few quick, interesting legends that make him feel more like someone we might have known personally.
The biography begins with the historical setting of the Enlightenment period in which Bach was born. Readers are told a bit about the differences between the religious groups of his time, such as the Pietists, the Lutherans, the Catholics, and Calvinists.
My only criticism of this book is that I would've liked to have been given a more personal, emotional portrait of Johann Sebastian, and less of a factual, historical record of his working life and the time period in which he lived. While there are many beautifully done and memorable passages, such as Bach's humble regard of his musical talent and devotion to God, if you're more interested in the facts and background setting of this composer's life, then I would recommend this book to you.