Penguin Book

Music in the Castle of Heaven

John Eliot Gardiner

As a boy, John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing on the stairs in his parents' home, where it was hanging for safety during the Second World War, one of only two authentic portraits of Bach in the world. He is now widely regarded as the greatest living interpreter of Bach's orchestral and sacred music; his concerts are sell-outs and his recordings are definitive. For much of his life, he has also been studying Bach's life and trying to understand how Bach achieved what he did and and why his music has the impact on us that it does. It is the fruits of that lifetime's thought and practice which he now shares with us in this extraordinary book. Gardiner begins by placing Bach in the late C17th Germany where he grew up, showing the overwhelming importance to him of the Lutheranism which would permeate much of his work from his earliest days to the very end of his life. He explores Bach's unique family circumstances (a multi-generational firm of working musicians) and his contemporaries (Vivaldi and Handel especially) and shows how distinct Bach was from any of them, especially in never composing an opera. But the core of the book is Gardiner's descriptions of Bach's music, particularly his music with texts, which allows him to show us the composer at work in wonderful detail and to help us understand his mind and personality. Fully grounded in all the most recent Bach scholarship, but moving way beyond it, this is a unique book about one of the greatest of all creative artists.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner is one of the world's leading conductors, not only of Baroque music but across the repertoire. He has conducted most of the world's great orchestras and in many of the leading opera houses. He founded the Monteverdi Choir and Players and L'Orchestra Revolutionnaire et Romantique. He lives in London and Somerset.

Publication date
  • Arts and Culture
  • Biography and Memoir
Format TPS
234 x 153mm
16pp colour
Random House Inc (Knopf) (PRH Rights)
Janklow & Nesbit (UK) Ltd
Janklow & Nesbit (UK) Ltd
Janklow & Nesbit (UK) Ltd
Audio (Unabridged)
Janklow & Nesbit (UK) Ltd
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