The Ashgate Research Companion to Johann Sebastian Bach provides an indispensable introduction to the Bach research of the past thirty-fifty years. It is not a lexicon providing information on all the major aspects of Bach's life and work, such as the Oxford Composer Companion: J. S. Bach. Nor is it an entry-level research tool aimed at those making a beginning of such studies. The valuable essays presented here are designed for the next level of Bach research and are aimed at masters and doctoral students, as well as others interested in coming to terms with the current state of Bach research. Each author covers three aspects within their specific subject area; firstly, to describe the results of research over the past thirty-fifty years, concentrating on the most significant and controversial, such as: the debate over Smend's NBA edition of the B minor Mass; Blume's conclusions with regard to Bach's religion in the wake of the 'new' chronology; Rifkin's one-to-a-vocal-part interpretation; the rediscovery of the Berlin Singakademie manuscripts in Kiev; the discovery of hitherto unknown manuscripts and documents and the re-evaluation of previously known sources. Secondly, each author provides a critical analysis of current research being undertaken that is exploring new aspects, reinterpreting earlier assumptions, and/or opening-up new methodologies. For example, Martin W. B. Jarvis has suggested that Anna Magdalena Bach composed the cello suites and contributed to other works of her husband - another controversial hypothesis, whose newly proposed forensic methodology requires investigation. On the other hand, research into Bach's knowledge of the Lutheran chorale tradition is currently underway, which is likely to shed more light on the composer's choices and usage of this tradition. Thirdly, each author identifies areas that are still in need of investigation and research.
Robin A. Leaver is professor emeritus of sacred music, Westminster Choir College, Princeton; currently visiting professor at the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University, and Honorary Professor at Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has written the program notes for the Bach Choir of Bethlehem since 1984 and contributes from time to time to the program books of the Bach Collegium Japan. Past president of the American Bach Society, Dr. Leaver is the editor of monographs in the series Contextual Bach Studies (Scarecrow/ Rowman & Littlefield 2006- ), and the General Editor of The Yale Journal of Music and Religion. Recent Bach studies include contributions to Exploring Bach's B-Minor Mass (Cambridge University Press, 2013), which he co-edited with Yo Tomita and Jan Smaczny; the Bach-Jahrbuch (2013); Bach: The Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute (2014), and Bach Perspectives 10 (2016). He is currently researching the liturgical contexts of Bach's music.
Preface: Robin A. Leaver I. Sources 2 Documents (Hans-Joachim Schulze) 3 Manuscripts (Yo Tomita) 4 Printed Editions (Gregory Butler) II. Contexts 5 Households (Tanya Kevorkian) 6 Schools (Markus Rathey) 7 Church (Robin A. Leaver) 8 Courts (Andrew Talle) III. Musical Influences 9 The Alt-Bachisches Archiv (Stephen Rose) 10 Other Composers (Kirsten Beisswenger) IV Genres and Forms 11 Vocal Music (Mark A. Peters) 12 Keyboard music (David Yearsley) 13 Instrumental and Chamber Music (David Ledbetter) 14 Chorales (Robin A. Leaver) 15 Canons, Counterpoint, Pedagogy (Paul Walker) 16 Compositional Technique (Ulrich Siegele) 17 Sons and Pupils (Stephen Roe) 18 Early Posthumour Printed Editions (Matthew Dirst) 19 Recent Research Developments (Manual Barwald) 20 Chronology (Robin A. Leaver)