Praise for Why Bach?


  • "Why Bach? offers a marvelous new way for lay people like me to be able to read about music… I couldn't tear myself away from it… The self-playing scores and clever annotations let me see and hear what the text drew my attention to… I was immensely interested in the prose. It was always the prose of a writer, geared to the pleasure of the reader… The immediately human rendering of musical passages via metaphors is permanently illuminating." - Helen Vendler, Professor of English, Harvard University, MacArthur Award winner

  • "Brown's fascinating commentary sent me to my books, scores, and piano.... The technology behind the excerpts is amazing." - Joseph Kerman, Professor of Music Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

  • "Brown articulates with joy and close observation the singular, transcendental quality of Bach's music.... Why Bach? is a fascinating exploration to which I'll return again and again for refreshment and insight." - Richard Powers, MacArthur Award-winning novelist

  • "I've learnt so much from this wonderful website about why I love Bach the way I do. Brown puts into words and crystal-clear theory all sorts of things I'd previously felt only as intuitions. With no musical background, I always struggled to understand why I liked Bach - Why Bach? has been a gift in opening my understanding." - Alain De Botton, best-selling author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Architecture of Happiness, and other books

  • "Why Bach? is really remarkable.... Beautifully and engagingly written; the excerpts are very well chosen and their accessibility is extraordinary." - Steven Ledbetter, Program Annotator, Boston Symphony and other orchestras

  • "The discussion is so particularly effective because Brown engages the reader specifically as listener; very well done indeed." - Christoph Wolff, University Professor of Music, Harvard University

  • "A wonderful approach to discussing music. Why Bach? is not only a treatise on Bach but an introduction to music in general and how it works. This online book is worth much more than
    its $9.99 cost; if you want a musical education by example, you couldn't find a better way to learn."
    - Kirk McElhearn, Digital Music Specialist, author of iPod and iTunes Garage, co-author of Podcasting. From his review of Why Bach?

  • "I have never been able to get so far into the mind of Bach - to the extent that I can glean anything of such genius - with any other book.... With Why Bach? I can get an idea of what he was thinking when he composed, despite my having only elementary musical training.... I keep on diverting to Wikipedia to read up on the other composers that are mentioned, diatonic scales and such. What pleasure!" - Johann Schoonees, Research Engineer

  • "Ideal for music appreciation courses." - Joseph P. Swain, Professor of Music, Colgate University
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