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Click to enlargeBach, J.S. - 2-Part Inventions (Palmer) [Alfred Publishing Co.]

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During his lifetime, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was better known as a virtuoso performer than as a composer. He was a dedicated student of the keyboard, always teaching, exploring and expanding his knowledge of the instrument. His Two-Part Inventions, which were not published during his lifetime, are an example of his desire to examine the wealth of harmony that two-part 18th-century counterpoint can provide. The 15 inventions found in this book are not keyboard exercises, but warm, melodic pieces that are a delight to play and that expose the intellectual and mathematical genius of J. S. Bach.

This Alfred edition was carefully and methodically prepared by Willard A. Palmer. It is based on several sources, including Bach's Autograph of 1723, the manuscripts of Bach's son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, and the manuscripts of Bach's student Heinrich Gerber. The extensive and thorough explanation of trills, mordents and appoggiaturas are helpful and precise, making this issue of Bach's Two-Part Inventions the most practical and attractive one available.

The portrait presented on our cover was painted by Johann Ernst Rentsch, the elder. Although the identity of the subject is uncertain, many believe that the work depicts Bach as a young Konzertmeister at the court of the Duke of Weimar in 1715.

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