1685

Denis Arnold

  • Interpreting Bach’s ‘Well-Tempered Clavier’: A Performer’s Discourse of Method by Ralph Kirkpatrick
    Yale, 132 pp, £14.95, January 1985, ISBN 0 300 03058 4
  • Bach, Handel, Scarlatti: Tercentenary Essays edited by Peter Williams
    Cambridge, 363 pp, £27.50, April 1985, ISBN 0 521 25217 2
  • Handel: The Man and his Music by Jonathan Keates
    Gollancz, 346 pp, £12.95, February 1985, ISBN 0 575 03573 0
  • Sensibility and English Song: Critical Studies of the Early 20th Century: Vols I and II by Stephen Banfield
    Cambridge, 619 pp, £27.50, April 1985, ISBN 0 521 23085 3

Even those of us who believe that the European Music Year is an invention of Saatchi and Saatchi can hardly deny that la generazione dell’ottantacinque was a formidable crew. How J.S. Bach, Handel and Domenico Scarlatti all came to be born in 1685 must be ascribed to chance; no juggling with the facts of cultural history can possibly account for it. Indeed, the common factor between them is precisely that they were all outsiders in one way or another: Bach because he was a Kantor, Handel because he worked in England, Scarlatti both because he lived in Spain and because he remained a very specialised keyboard player and composer. The insider would have been an Italian opera composer playing the European market. He would have been unlikely to be a virtuoso player. That was to come in Mozart’s time with the invention of the pianoforte.

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