Spitta's Johann Sebastian Bach
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Content and styleEdit
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Spitta's Bach biography gives a chronological account. This includes the discussion of Bach's compositions: these are discussed within the chronological account at the time they were composed. Only for the sixth and last part, covering the last decennia of the Leipzig period, some compositions are grouped by type in subsections.
Spitta writes in long paragraphs and very few divisions in subsections. Coming from a Protestant background himself, he is able, like Albert Schweitzer after him, to give insight in the religious context of Bach's time.
Significance for Bach studiesEdit
Spitta's biography went down in history as "... the most ... comprehensive and important single work on Johann Sebastian Bach". For over a hundred years after its publication biographers rarely revisited primary sources, they just took the facts from Spitta's work. Only by the late 20th century criticisms about Spitta's accuracy and interpretation were raised.
- Spitta 1992 Vol. I, p. xix
- Eidam 1999/2001, Introduction
- Klaus Eidam. Das wahre Leben des Johann Sebastian Bach. Piper, 1999. ISBN 3492040799
- Philipp Spitta. Johann Sebastian Bach.
- Erster Band (Book I–IV). Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel. 1873.
- Zweiter Band (Book V–VI). Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel. 1880.
- Johann Sebastian Bach: His Work and Influence on the Music of Germany, 1685–1750 in three volumes. Translated by Clara Bell and J. A. Fuller Maitland. Novello & Co. 1884–1885.
- (in German) Wolfgang Sandberger. Das Bach-Bild Philipp Spittas: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Bach-Rezeption im 19. Jahrhundert. Vol. 39 of Beihefte zum Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, ISSN 0570-6769. Franz Steiner Verlag, 1997. ISBN 9783515070089