I bought Hildesheimer's Mozart this year (I'll read it next year), and I'd like a good biography of Bach, but I have no idea what's available or how it is rated.
What do you recommend?
Incidentally, I have the German edition of the Hildesheimer, so if anyone knows of a German Bach biography that hasn't been translated into English, that would be fine.
There is Christoph Wolff, 'The Learned Musician,' a big well-researhed biography, and John Eliot Gardiner "Music in the Castle of Heaven'. Gardiner, of course, is the conductor who performed a lot if not all of Bach's Cantatas.
"Hildesheimer's clearly makes Mozart into a child of the Sixties."
I have the 1945 edition of "Mozart" by Bernhard Paumgartner, which, in the course of 550 pages, goes into Mozart's life in great detail, including a comprehensive listing of all his works.
I'm happy to read other Mozart suggestions, but I am really interested in Bach, thanks.
"I very much utterly, totally loathe, hate and despise the movie Amadeus!"
I may as well go on record as saying I think Goedel, Escher, Bach is a somewhat grotesque and over-rated book. (lol!)
I really enjoyed Albert Schweitzer's book. Oldie but goodie!
Everyone gotta have the Bach Reader. Know your primary sources :)
I’ve read Wolff and enjoyed it. I haven’t read Gardiner yet but plan on it.
I think it was Sir Hubert Parry's that I read in my youth.
I have never found a good general Bach biography that I liked. I'd strongly recommend Gardiner's book but be aware that it is focused on the cantatas to the exclusion of almost everything else, with hardly a mention of the music for violin.
I second the suggestion of Wolff's bio of Bach. An excellent book. For Mozart or Beethoven, I suggest Maynard Solomon's bios.