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Books With A Past
The story of a revolution in music and technology, told through a century of recordings of the remarkable music of Johann Sebastian Bach In "Soundabout," his remarkable second book, Paul Elie tells the electrifying story of how musicians of genius reinvent Bach for our time, at once restoring him as a universally beloved composer and revolutionizing the ways that music figures into our lives.
As a musician in eighteenth-century Germany, Bach was on the technological frontier--restoring organs, inventing instruments, and perfecting the tuning scheme still in use today. Two centuries later, pioneering musicians took advantage of amazing breakthroughs in audio recording to make Bach's music the sound of transcendence in our time. The sainted organist Albert Schweitzer used wax-cylinder recordings to spread Bach's sacred works with missionary zeal. Pablo Casals, cutting 78s at Abbey Road Studios, made Bach's cello suites existentialism for the living room. With "Fantasia," Leopold Stokowski introduced children to Bach at his most abstract, inventing the movie soundtrack in the process. Glenn Gould's "Goldberg Variations" opened and closed the LP era and made Bach the byword for postwar cool; and Yo-Yo Ma has brought Bach into the digital present, where smartphones, video, and multimedia put the sound of Bach all around us.
"Soundabout" is a gorgeously written story of music, invention, and human passion--and a story for our time, for it shows that great things can happen when high art meets new technology.
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