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The Cantatas of J.S. Bach by Alfred Dürr - Petition

 

 

Call for Petition

Uri Golomb & Aryeh Oron
wrote (June 11, 2005):
We are people of various nationalities, ranging professional musicians to amateur listeners, who are united by our passion for Bach's music. As people who take a lively interest in Bach's cantatas, we were delighted to learn that Oxford University Press (OUP) are planning to publish an English translation of Alfred Dürr's celebrated book The Cantatas of J. S. Bach:
UK: http://www.oup.co.uk/isbn/0-19-816707-5
USA: http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Music/MusicTheoryAnalysisComposition/?view=usa&ci=0198167075
We are deeply dismayed, however, by the price at which this book is offered.

Many of us are already familiar with Dürr's superb book in the German original. The sixth edition of this book is now sold by Barenreiter at 27.95 euros. We recognise that, in pricing their edition, OUP need to take into account the extra costs of translation (of Dürr's text as well as of the cantatas' libretti). We still fail to understand, however, how this warrants a price tag of 175 pounds (UK) or $340.- (USA). This book is presumably targeted at the same audience as the late Malcolm Boyd's Oxford Composer Companion: J. S. Bach, Eric Chafe's Analyzing Bach Cantatas and Christoph Wolff's Bach: The Learned Musician; yet it costs more than these three books together (even in their hardcover editions).

We are angered by OUP's decision to charge more for a translation of an existing book than OUP themselves charge for three new books, which surely represent a level of scholarship and originality commensurate with Dürr's and Jones's. We are also puzzled by this decision: at this price, individual readers are unlikely to purchase the book at all (we suspect that even many libraries would balk at this price). As many members of our international community (with about 600 members of the Bach Cantatas Mailing List) can attest, this book has a potential market beyond that of musicians, musicologists and libraries; Dürr's elegant and lucid writing appeals to scholars and amateurs alike. Yet this market is unlikely to materialise if OUP persist in their current pricing policy.

We acknowledge that the author, translator and publishers of this invaluable book deserve financial reward and compensation for their work and investment. We believe, however, that they are more likely to receive their reward by bigger sales at a reasonable price, rather than through the sale of a handful of copies at an inflated price.

Following feedback from members of the BCML, I opened a special e-mail address to which you are invited to send your requests regarding the pricing of this important book. The e-mail address is: durr@bach-cantatas.com

My intention is to compile all your messages and to send them to Oxford University Press. I hope that in that way we might persuade the people in OUP's mangement to re-consider the pricing of this book and make it more affordable to the growing community of Bach lovers around the world.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Uri Golomb, PhD in Musicology at Cambridge University, UK
Aryeh Oron, Bach and Jazz Music Fan
WebMaster of Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com
RingMaster of J.S. Bach Web Ring: http://b.webring.com/hub?ring=jsbachwebring
Moderator of Bach Cantatas Mailing List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas
Moderator of Bach Recordings Mailing List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings
Moderator of Bach Musicology Mailing List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachMusicology


Messages

Jay Kauffman wrote (June 11, 2005):
Durr Bach Cantata

Hello - I would have loved to obtain a copy of the new English translation of the Alfred Durr Bach Cantata book - unfortunately I must tell you that the US cost of over 300.00 is really prohibitive and I cannot help but think that price will really preclude many Bach lovers from obtaining this important book. Please consider selling more copies at a reasonable price rather than just a few at an inflated one. Thanks for your consideration --Jay Kauffman

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 11, 2005):
OUP asks an exorbitant price for a translation of Dürr's book

To whom it may concern:

I wish to add my support to the petition being placed before you concerning the exorbitant price that Oxford University Press is asking for a translation of a standard reference work on the Bach cantatas by Alfred Dürr published by Bärenreiter. I am thoroughly familiar with this reference book in the German original which no doubt is the best work available in this specialized area of musicological expertise. Its potential for becoming a general reference book on a topic that concerns a much larger listening and performing public that is only now becoming acquainted with the largest portion of Johann Sebastian Bach’s output as a composer has been grossly underestimated by OUP.

Although some added cost (above and beyond the price that Bärenreiter asks for the original book) is understandable for the task of translating this book into English, the emphasis upon the ‘added extras’ is certainly exaggerated: the translation of the German libretti into English, except for the fact that it is convenient for an English-speaking reader to have this right at hand without having to turn elsewhere, is not a spectacular ‘extra’ as is evidenced by the many, most likely superior, English translations that can be referred to on the Bach-Cantata-Website. Another ‘extra’, the updating of information in Dürr’s original to make it current by incorporating the results of Bach scholarship and research since Dürr’s last edition, is similarly a matter of convenience to the reader, but certainly not a unique compilation or extension that can not be accessed elsewhere with relative ease. Again, the Bach-Cantata-Website has the most up-to-date listing of all available composition and performance dates of the Bach cantatas, a reference which any reader can quickly access as needed. When considered with these facts in mind, these ‘added extras’ certainly do not warrant such an exaggerated price increase.

It is my sincere hope that Oxford University Press will reconsider its overrated price for this single volume.

Sincerely,

Thomas Braatz

Stephen FitzGerald wrote (June 11, 2005):
Durr's book on Bach Cantatas

The potential market for the English edition of Durr's book at this price must be so small as to barely cover the costs of translation, production and distribution. But the potential market at a reasonable price must surely be considerable (and ultimately profitable for OUP) including the many people who perform the cantatas and the audiences that fill the concert halls. I live in Sydney, Australia. At present in this city alone there are two ongoing Bach cantata performance series. One by the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, with two performances a month over ten months from March to December. The other is a project to perform the complete cantatas over several years (with the Christmas Oratorio thrown in for good measure) by the Sydneian Bach Choir and Orchestra. The halls for both series are packed.

I neither play nor sing nor read music. But I am a Bach enthusiast. And I buy books on Bach, and I imagine there are many others among the Bach devotees at these performances, and others around the world, who do the same. With only a little enterprise, the marketing and sales department of OUP could tap the potential. But I can imagine the reaction when their promotional flyer accompanying the concert mail-outs or in the foyer or on the seats in the hall or insein the program asks a price (in Australian dollars) of $416. Sadly, no sale.

Stephen FitzGerald

Eric Bergerud wrote (June 11, 2005):
Durr book pricing

It is my strong belief that Oxford is making a serious mistake charging "library only" monograph fees for the English translation of Alfred Dürr's The Cantatas of J. S. Bach. It is reasonably priced in the German edition. I am most convinced that an English edition, which would appeal to Bach lovers throughout the world, not just the UK and the USA, would have a long and successful run. I might point out that at present there are several complete Bach cantata cycles in print on CD and more are on the way. (One cycle comes from Japan, a market where a German language book would make no sense, but an English version could sell hundreds of copies.) Obviously it is a type of music that has a wide and varied audience: musicologists, amateur singers & players, those interested in Protestant church music and general Bach fans. As it stands, only a handful of individuals will pay the price projected. If priced at trade, this work will do very well. I do urge that you think this over again.

Eric Bergerud
Professor of History
Lincoln University, Oakland California

Eric Bergerud; 531 Kains Ave; Albany, CA 94706; 510-525-0930

Ehud Shiloni wrote (June 12, 2005):
Petition for reason and good judgment with respect to Durr's book pricing

I am adding my voice to the petition for a more reasonable judgment on the appropriate pricing level.

While I myself am not a scholar, I did buy both Wolff's book and the Oxford Companion [soft cover editions], and I am using both for occasional reference.

There is no chance at all that I will ever consider buying Durr's at anywhere near the indicated price level.

Please reconsider.

Yours truly

Ehud Shiloni
[Amateur Bach Aficionado]

George LeFurjah wrote (June 12, 2005):
English translation of Alfred Dürr's celebrated book The Cantatas of J. S. Bach

I am an amateur Bach student, a singer, and someone who loves the Bach Cantatas. I have a modest library of Bach scholarly works that I study in an attempt to gain a greater understanding of this awesome (in the original meaning of the word) body of work. I would buy this book if it were $50 or even $75 but not at the current price of $340. I urge OUP to reconsider their pricing, so that people like me, who number in the many thousands, could have an opportunity to own and study this book. An additional point is that neither do I have a library nearby that is likely to purchase this book.

George LeFurjah

Suzanne Tiemestra wrote (June 12, 2005):
Pricing

Dear Uri,

I, too, am very disappointed to learn of OUP's pricing of the A. Durr translated edition. I have a book on Latin American Choral Music published by Greenwood which sells at about US $70 by the publisher, but as little as $35 by various retailers. Why? I think it has to do with the publishers' target customers: libraries. I think they figure that average folks won't buy the book, but that libraries will. So they price the books at the maximum that the market will bear. It is all about maximizing profits, not disseminating information. Publishers, even university presses, have joined the rest of the business world in squeezing every bit of profit possible, and service to the community and the world is of no concern to them in practical terms.

I think that the publishers who use this current manner pricing of books are, in the long run, shooting themselves in the foot. As books about classical music become harder to own individually, the interest and expertise in the music becomes less common, diminishing the market for them. It is hard for people to spend enough time in libraries to use books such as Durr's, which would probably be kept in the reserve shelves so that people can't check them out and take them home. People will just turn their interest elsewhere, and the publishers (and classical music) will be diminished.

Thank you for letting us know about this particular situation.

Suzanne Tiemstra
Grand Rapids Cantata Choir/Coro del Sol
6242 Acropolis Dr., SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546-7102
www.grcantatachoir.org
stmstra@iserv.net
home 616-949-2528
choir 616-575-SING (7464)

Benoit Arsenault wrote (June 12, 2005):
Bach's Cantatas [0-19-816707-5]

To whom it may concern,

Let it be known that I am dismayed at the exorbitant price for the Bach's Cantatas English translation of the Alfred Dürr's book.

I wish you would reconsider your pricing policy and take in account the numerous amateurs of the music of J.S. Bach that are interested in increasing their knowledge of his oeuvre.

Thank you.

Benoit Arsenault
1457 Vimont
Montreal, Qc
Canada

John Pike wrote (June 12, 2005):
Pricing of English Translation of Durr book on Bach Cantatas

Dear Aryeh and Uri,

I entirely agree that the pricing of this book is extortionate compared to the German original, even allowing for translation costs. I agree with all your comments about how the public and OUP would both be better served by selling more copies at a reasonable price, than a handful at such an inflated price. I have the German original of this book but would certainly buy an English translation if it were offered at less than UKP 40.

Dr John Pike, Bristol, UK

Anthony J. Olszowy wrote (June 12, 2005):
Grossly overpriced translation of Durr's monograph

I too would like to add my voice to the petition to OUP regarding the horrendously overpriced translation of Durr's excellent text. Please, please, pay some attention to your chief market!

Anthony J. Olszowy
Barrister and Solicitor
Brantford, Ontario, Canada

J. Reilly Lewis wrote (June 13, 2005):
To Whom It May Concern!

I am the founder and music director of the Washington Bach Consort. I have been blessed to have been able to spend my entire life studying, savoring and performing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. In fact, next year, the 30th anniversary of the Consort, I will have completed a cycle during which I have performed in live concerts all 215 of the existing Bach cantatas. I have an extensive library of scores, facsimiles and books on the subject and certainly one of my most prized possessions is the two-volume set by Alfred Dürr: Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach. Most of these I bought while still a student and during my many trips to the former German Democratic Republik. The only way I was able to build this library in the first place was a combination of second hand book stores, student discounts, the incredibly fortuitous monetary exchange in East Germany and cost-effective promotions by publishers. Imagine then my shock and my disdain when I learned that the newly issued English translation by OUP of the coveted Dürr books were priced at $340.00. Allowing for reasonable profit and the costs of translating (not even updating!) the original text, this cost still seems way out of line. As has already been pointed out below, this exceeds the cost of all three recent original puiblications on Bach (harbound no less) by Boyd, Chafe and Wolff!

I hope that the powers at OUP will reconsider and price this admittedly worthwhile and most welcomed addition to the Bach canon at a level that can truly be enjoyed and accessed by all.

Sincerely,

J. Reilly Lewis
Music Director
Washington Bach Consort
Washington Cathedral Choral Society

Dr. Jan Harrington wrote (June 13, 2005):
Sirs:

I am also dismayed at the cost of this book which has been so long awaited! I own the book in German and have long wished that it could be available to our conducting students as a part of their libraries in English.

Hopefully OUP will find a way to make this book more available to those who need this invaluable book. There is no other volume on the market so throrough, authoratative and helpful as this. We would make it required reading for our graduate conductors and I am sure the rest of the academic community in the US feels the same.

Thank you,

Dr. Jan Harrington
Chair - Choral Department
Indiana University School of Music
Bloomington, IN
USA

Carmen-Helena Téllez, DMus wrote (June 13, 2):
Petition to OUP

Dear Dr. Golomb:

Please add my name to the petition which is being signed by scholars and performers to request that Oxford University Press review its pricing of the translation of Alfred Durr's book "The Cantatas of J.S.Bach."

I believe that with sensible pricing this volume will become required material in private libraries and in the classroom, among professionals, students and Bach lovers everywhere. The English translation will guarantee a market, not only in the United States, but in the rest of the world, in a manner that the original German text made impossible. This however can only occur if the price is not prohibitive.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Carmen-Helena Téllez, Dmus
Professor of Music, (Choral Conducting, Latin American Music)
Indiana University

Cinthia Alireti wrote (June 13, 2005):
Sirs:

As a graduate conductor and professional, I am also dismayed at the cost of Durr's book. It is essential for our conductor career and for music students in general, especially now that a good English translation is in the market. But, as a student, I can assure you that this book will remain in the reference part of the library because no student can afford it in their school period or in begining of professional life. Besides that, the popular use of it, which depends on its price, contributes for more honest performances of Bach's cantata.

Thank you,

Cinthia Alireti

Carolina Gamboa wrote (June 14, 2005):
Dear OUP

As a Doctoral student in choral conducting specializing in Baroque repertoire I would like to join the petition of my colleagues regarding the Durr book on Bach's cantatas.

I am sure every conducting student with interest in the Baroque period would buy this book if the price is more affordable.

I would like to ask you to re-consider the price of the book to make it affordable to students and young music professionals.

Thank you very much,

Carolina Gamboa
DM Indiana University

Students and Colleagues -

Please take a minute to join this petition.

Jan Harrington

David Griggs-Janower wrote (June 14, 2005):
Durr cantatas translation

I've long awaited a translation of this wonderful book (books!). I would buy it in a flash if it were reasonably priced. I certianly won't buy it anywhere near the price being suggested!

David Griggs-Janower
janower@albany.edu
228 Placid Drive
Schenectady, NY 12303-5118
518/356-9155; 518/442-4167 (w)

Albany Pro Musica
PO Box 3850
Albany, NY 12203-0850
Ph: (518) 438-6548
www.albanypromusica.org

SUNYA Music department fax: 518/442-4182
UAlbany Chamber Singers: www.albany.edu/~singers
UAlbany Chorale: www.albany.edu/music/chorale

Michael Oriatti wrote (June 14, 2005):
Durr Engl transl petition

Dear Publisher:

I have long anticipated arrival of a published English translation of Alfred Durr's invaluable book, "The Cantatas of J. S. Bach." However, the high price which I am told you are offering per copy, I deem cost prohibitive to those such as myself who would otherwise purchase.

I therefore petition that you reduce price to an offer that is fair and reasonable. Otherwise, your endeavor to promote and carry such a significant item at current rate is both counter-productive and bad policy.

Sincerely,

Michael Oriatti
Doctoral Student
Indiana University
Bloomington

Kirk McElhearn wrote (June 15, 2005):
Please add my name to the petition

I want to see this book at an affordable price!

Kirk
Author of: iPod & iTunes Garage
http://www.mcelhearn.com/ipod.html

Dr Dorottya Fabian wrote (June 15, 2005):
petition support

I would like to add my support to this petition regarding the pricing of Durr's tranlated book on Bach's cantatas. AT this price even reasonably salaried academics will be hard pressed to purchase a copy, but it is certainly prohibitive for students who are more likely not to speak German and thus in need of this English version. This pricing decision simply does not make any sense, it is anti educational and limits, rather than fosters information flow which could surely be regarded as an important mission for any publisher.

School of Music and Music Education
The Univeristy of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2052
http://music.arts.unsw.edu.au/aboutus/staff/dfabian.php

Boyd Pehrson wrote (June 16, 2005):
Durr Book

Dear OUP editors,

We are enthusiastic and excited about your new J.S. Bach's Cantatas book by Alfred Dürr translated into English by Richard Jones (0198167075), due Aug 15, 2005. However, the hardback edition price of $340.00 (US) is prohibitive and out of reach to all Bach musicians, teachers, scholars, students and lay readers. Our hope is that OUP will soon print a popular and reasonably priced format of this work. A low priced format would make it available for college and commercial bookstores across America to carry the work on their shelves.

Boyd Pehrson,
Santa Barbara, California, USA

Rebecca Lloyd wrote (June 16, 2005):
Pricing of Durr translation

Dear Uri,

I would like to add my voice to the petition for OUP to reduce the price of the English translation of Durr's important scholarly work.

I very much welcome the publication of this translation - not least because it will be very useful as a resource for the undergraduates I have been teaching. But not at this price. I would buy the book if it cost £50 or less but would not pay the ridiculous sum currently proposed.

Please reconsider.

Many thanks,

Rebecca Lloyd (PhD Candidate, Department of Music, King's College London).

Rianto Pardede wrote (June 17, 2005):
OUP English Translation of Alfred Dürr's The Cantatas of J. S. Bach

As with other individual who is interested in JS Bach's vocal works, I'm one of the potential/prospective buyer of Alfred Dürr's The Cantatas of J. S. Bach (OUP's English edition, to be published). However, knowing that it will be priced pretty much higher than the original German edition, I don't think I'll give second thought buying this edition. I've been thinking of buying the original.

I hope OUP reconsider the pricing of this book, and make it more affordable to the growing community of Bach lovers around the world.

Rianto Pardede
Indonesia

Francis Browne wrote (June 19, 2005):
The Cantatas of J.S. Bach by Alfred Dürr - Petition

I support this petition about the excessive price of the translation of Dürr’s book on Bach’s cantatas in the hope that somebody at the Oxford University press will have the shrewdness to realise what a marketing opportunity is being lost.

The present price of the book puts it beyond what individual readers can afford. But worldwide there is probably more interest in Bach’s cantatas than there has ever been. The outstanding sales figures of the Brilliant Classics cycle of cantatas, the strong interest in continuing cycles of Suzuki, Koopman and John Eliot Gardiner, the popularity of the Bach Cantatas website and the number of performances of the cantatas all show that there are many people who would be interested in purchasing the book at a reasonable price. But the current price reflects the pricing of academic books with a limited market and is clearly aimed at institutions. I suspect the sales figures for Christoph Wolff’s biography of Bach and the Oxford Composer Companion would reveal a market of committed lovers of Bach’s music who would happily purchase Dürr’s book if it were comparably priced.

I have a copy of Whitaker’s book on the cantatas republished by the Oxford University Press in 1981 in two paperback volumes of 700 pages each. The price on the cover is £8.95 for the two volumes. This work has given me a wealth of instruction and delight, and my experience must have been the experience of many. This translation of an equallyoutstanding work ought to achieve the same results, but cannot do so unless it is made more easily available.

By pricing Dürr’s book at an affordable level or failing that by bout a paperback edition within the foreseeable future Oxford University Press would increase the revenue from this book and also would fulfil what I’m still sufficiently optimistic or naive to believe should be the aim of an academic press: to make the insights of scholarship available to the general public.

Francis Browne

Aaron Mitchell wrote (June 22, 2005):
overpriced text

If the information I have received is true (it is hard to believe):

I disagree with your decision to inflate the price of this text (over $300) and am one of many, I believe, who would be interested in purchasing this valuable resource but, with the price tag unreasonably high, will be abstaining. At this price you may sell single copies to institutions (although even among those I would guess some will not participate) but there are many within those institutions (and without) who would purchase their own copy were it not for the price.

I don’t know what stage the publication is at, but if reconsideration of pricing is an option at this point I would highly recommend it.

Aaron Mitchell, Graduate Assistant
Division of Ensembles & Conducting
College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati

Thomas Shepherd wrote (June 23, 2005):
An anecdote

To whom it may concern.

A fortnight ago I went into the new Trafford lending and reference library at Sale Waterside. I was armed with the OUP web-site publicity material about Durr's book and left it for the purchasing manager to see. She most courtesy responded this morning and said that as a policy the library services do not purchase books over 150 pounds sterling. This is a great pity. Had they been prepared to buy a copy as a library reference book, I would have been quite prepared to spend a few minutes on a regular basis consulting it. The library is only a two minute walk from home. She said however that it might be possible to get a copy through inter-library loans in a couple of months. I guess that regularly consulting an inter-library loan copy will be quite awkward.

At a lower price I would buy a personal copy and from the reaction I got from the library staff it would seem that they would buy a copy too. So OUP loose two purchases and two dollops of profit.

Yours sincerely

Thomas Shepherd
Sale, Cheshire, England.

Dr. Th. Jaenicke wrote (July 6, 2005):
Duerr - Cantatas of J.S. Bach

Sirs,

I wish to join the many lovers of the church music of J.S. Bach in expressing my disbeliev in the sound pricing of this edition of Duerr's book. A price of over US$ 300 is prohibitive to any amateut and even music libraries will consider twice (or more!) before parting from such a sum. Are you really sure with this pricing you did the right decission. Please consider again.

May be we should consider taking German lessions instead!

Sincerely yours

Dr. Th. Jaenicke

Dr. Jaenicke wrote (July 6, 2005):
Duerr - Cantatas of J.S. Bach

To whom it may concern

Sirs,

I wish to add my voice to the chorus of dismayed people wondering about the pricing of the american translation of Duerr's book on the cantatas of J.S. Bach.

The cost of translation can not be a valid argument for such an inlated price. I myself was involved in translating a textbook and know the meagre fee the translators are paid. Similarly, the updating of the edition can't count for this inflation of the price compared to the German edition.

The decission to sell the book at an pricce which excludes not only the normal book buying public but also smaller libraries may be valid economically. Nevertheless, you should consider asking for a more moderate price to target a wider public and selling a greater number of copies.

Many potential reader will abstain spending the asked for price and turn to the German edition, reading with a dictionary at hand and saving the extra money for scores, tickets or recordings - or, most profitable, a profound German class!

Sincerely yours

Dr. Th. Jaenicke
Reader
Germany

Kurt Jensen wrote (July 8, 2005):
Durr's Bach Cantatas

To whom it may concern;

Let me add my name to the growing list of listeners--intellectuals and sensualists alike--whose devotion to the music of Bach (and specifically to the Cantatas) is abiding, rich, and much deeper than perhaps one may expect. I know a fair amount about books and the market, and I can only surmise, along with others here, that libraries--particularly University libraries--are indeed the target audience. I'm familiar with the notion that the cost of one book is often meant to carry the losses of another; I'm also familiar with the kinds of marketing and sales information that inform pricing decisions.

It is difficult to make the case that, with Durr's book, you have a "sleeper" best-seller on your hands, as some authors are wont to do. This simply isn't true. But you do have a core group--large enough, certainly, to sustain a publishing project of Durr's significance, and one that justifies a claim to some certain marketability and reader appeal.

The recent recording projects of, among others, Koopman, Gardiner, Harnoncourt, and others, suggest that there is some economic sense in producing materials for this audience, and further that there is some level of demand--small though it may be. I can optimistically suppose that Gardiner's--the most recent of these recording enterprises I'm aware of--indicates a growing, albeit minority, interest in this music and its place in Western Music history.

As an intellectual, aesthetic, and musical enterprise, producing Durr's book in an economically feasible fashion makes clear sense; as a business enterprise, the sense of publishing this book may be more debatable. But I do believe that, based on the many, many recordings of this music that have been produced in the last decade or so, as well as the enduring appeal of Bach's music, a case can be made, persuasive enough to justify easing back on the price of this volume.

I'm sure that OUP Press would not like to be considered as among the "impedimenta" that Bach himself complained interrupt the transmission of music, ideas, and experiences that comprise Bach's Cantatas in full measure.

Kurt Jensen

Allen Hackett wrote (July 12, 2005):
Thank you Oxford University Press for publishing Malcolm Boyd's J.S. Bach. It is my favorite Bach resource and I often pull it out for enlightenment while enjoying his cantatas recordings. Great book!

I am sorry that I will not be able to enjoy the English version Alfred Durr's book because of the high cost. I understand this is a great book and I hope you will reconsider your marketing strategy so to allow myself and others the opportunity to get closer to Bach.

Sincerely,

Allen Hackett
Chico California USA

Dr Sharon A. Hansen wrote (July 25, 2005):
Reasonable price

Good day.

As Director of Graduate Choral Studies, I am requesting that Oxford price reasonably Dürr's celebrated book, The Cantatas of J. S. Bach.

This is not a book that should only live in libraries, which can afford an exorbitant price.

This is a book every choral musician should own.

But not at $340.00.

Thank you.

Dr. Sharon A. Hansen
Professor of Choral Music
Chair, Graduate Choral Conducting
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Peck School of the Arts
Department of Music
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201
USA
414.229.4595 voice
414.229.2776 fax

Robin A. Leaver wrote (August 17, 2005):
Durr-- Bach Cantatas

Please add my name to the list petitioning OUP to think again about the pricing of Duerr's Bach Cantatas. I have read the comments of others and endorse their concerns.

OUP have been giving mixed messages about this work over the past few years -- though it was approaching 30 years ago that OUP first raised the possibility of such a translation. Recent successive press releases from OUP have seen a steady increase in original the price that was first announced. It was also planned to be a two-volume set, which might have been a stated reason for the inflated pricing policy, but it has now appeared and is in one volume -- a volume that is not likely to prove durable since it lacks a sewn reinforcement of spine, which I would have thought was a necessity with a book of this bulk.

This is really an important book and many would want to have their own copy. It also needs to be available to students and therefore, like the German edition, should be available in a soft-back format, and reasonably priced. Given its current high price -- which can be mitigated somewhat if you are a member of the American Musicological Society -- it is not likely to have the circulation it deserves.

Robin A. Leaver
Past-President of the American Bach Society
Professor of Sacred Music, Westminster Choir College of Rider University
Visiting Professor of Graduate Studies, the Juilliard School.

Peter C Tukker wrote (August 20, 2005):
Alfred Durr: The cantatas of J.S.Bach

Ever since I purchased the first edition of Mr. Durr's book on the cantatas I have wondered how long it would be before it would be available in English. I am sorry to see that for most of us it will still not be available because of the prohibitive pricing. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. With best wishes, Peter C Tukker.


From: Uri Golomb & Aryeh Oron
Sent: September 16, 2005
To: Oxford University Press
Subject: English translation of Alfred Dürr's book The Cantatas of J. S. Bach

Dear Sir/Madam at Oxford University Press,

We are writing on behalf of a large group of people of various nationalities, ranging from professional musicians to amateur listeners, who are united by our passion for Bach's music. As people who take a lively interest in Bach's cantatas, we were delighted to learn that Oxford University Press has published an English translation of Alfred Dürr's celebrated book The Cantatas of J. S. Bach. We are deeply dismayed, however, by the price at which this book is offered.

Many of us are already familiar with Dürr's superb book in the German original. The sixth edition of this book is now sold by Barenreiter at 27.95 Euros. We recognise that, in pricing your edition, you needed to take into account the extra costs of translation (of Dürr's text as well as of the cantatas' libretti), as well as Dürr's revision of his text. We still fail to understand, however, how this warrants a price tag of 175 pounds (UK) or $340.- (USA). This book is presumably targeted at the same audience as the late Malcolm Boyd's Oxford Composer Companion: J. S. Bach, Eric Chafe's Analyzing Bach Cantatas and Christoph Wolff's Bach: The Learned Musician; yet it costs more than these three books together (even in their hardcover editions).

We find your pricing policy puzzling and potentially self-defeating. The book can attract many readers: Dürr's elegant and lucid writing appeals to scholars and amateurs alike. It is also an invaluable resource for undergraduate students pursuing courses on Bach's music in general, and Bach's cantatas and vocal music in particular, in universities, conservatoires and music academies alike. None of these markets, however, are likely to materialise if you persist in your current pricing policy.

We urge you to have a look at the webpage we devoted to this issue on the Bach Cantatas website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Books/Bachs-Cantatas[Durr]-Petition.htm
In this page, you can view the reactions of various musicians and music lovers to your pricing of this book -- including world-renowned scholars like Robin Leaver. As the writers on this page can attest, this book has a potential market beyond that of musicians, musicologists and libraries, if only its price were reduced.

We acknowledge that the author, translator and publishers of this invaluable book deserve financial reward and compensation for their work and investment. We believe, however, that they are more likely to receive their reward by bigger sales at a reasonable price, rather than through the sale of a handful of copies at an inflated price. We therefore hope that you can be persuaded to re-consider the pricing of this book and make it more affordable to the growing community of Bach lovers around the world.

Sincerely yours,

Uri Golomb, PhD (Cantab)
Mr. Aryeh Oron, Bach and Jazz Music Fan
WebMaster of Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com
RingMaster of J.S. Bach Web Ring: http://b.webring.com/hub?ring=jsbachwebring
Moderator of Bach Cantatas Mailing List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas
Moderator of Bach Recordings Mailing List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings
Moderator of Bach Musicology Mailing List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachMusicology


From: HOLMES, Sarah / Oxford University Press
Sent: November 8, 2005
To: Uri Golomb & Aryeh Oron
Subject: English translation of Alfred Dürr's book The Cantatas of J. S. Bach

Dear Uri Golomb and Aryeh Oron

The Cantatas of J S Bach

Thank you for your email of which has been forwarded to me, in which you raise the concerns of many Bach scholars and enthusiasts at the price of the translation of Alfred Durr’s book.

While the hardback edition was primarily intended as a library purchase, I am delighted to be able to let you know that we do intend to bring out a paperback edition of the book (details of exact timing and price are still under discussion) during the second half of next year, which I hope will make it accessible to the wider market/individual Bach enthusiasts to which you refer.

I hope that this is good news.

Meanwhile with best wishes

Sarah L Holmes
Music Books, Oxford UK


The Cantatas of J. S. Bach by Alfred Dürr: Discussions | Petition

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Last update: ýNovember 9, 2005 ý22:58:15