The Essential Bach Choir

Boydell & Brewer, 2000
ISBN: 0-85115-786-6 (paperback)

Andrew Parrott

Seeking to understand the very medium of Bach’s incomparable choral output, Andrew Parrott investigates a wide range of sources: Bach’s own writings, and the scores and parts he used in performance, but also a variety of theoretical, pictorial and archival documents, together with the musical testimony of the composer’s forerunners and contemporaries.  Many of the findings shed a surprising, even disturbing light on conventions we have long taken for granted.

utterly fascinating and ultimately convincing (Gramophone)

As presented so fully, the single-voice case seems pretty conclusive. (Independent)

stimulating, thought-provoking and meticulously researched (BBC Music Magazine)

a pleasure to read, fluently written and clearly set out (Early Music Review)

a brilliant piece of research…a superb book – and it’s going to lead us all to think more carefully about how we approach the performance of Bach. David Hill, BBC Radio 3

There can be few musicological questions more pressing…[Parrott] adds the evidence of his own exhaustive research to present a strong and fascinating case. (The New York Times)

I was gripped by this book; it is compulsive reading. if you profess the faith of Bach you simply cannot afford to be without it. (Classical Music)

This book is timely…anyone interested in Bach’s music will need to read [it]…a mass of fascinating detail about contemporary performing practice. (Early Music)

Andrew Parrott, one of the most eloquent of Rifkinsmen on page and stage, has made a dignified contribution to the debate… a document which will itself no doubt be a subject of study in years to come.  (Times Literary Supplement)

An eagerly awaited book…[on a] truly revolutionary idea… highly recommended for anyone interested in Bach’s vocal works.  (The Musical Times)

a book which consolidates, reinforces and on occasion extends Rifkin’s theses … It is recommended to all those who wish to form their own impression of the state of the controversy surrounding Bach’s choir.   (Die Musikforschung)