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Bach Books
The Cantatas of J.S. Bach
by Alfred Dürr

1

The Cantatas of J.S. Bach

A work-by-work commentary on the Bach cantatas. It includes all the cantata librettos in German-English parallel text.

Author: Alfred Dürr, Honorary doctorate from Baldwin-Wallace College Ohio and Oxford University.
Translated into English by Richard Jones, Editor for the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music

ISBN-10: 0199297762
ISBN-13: 978-0199297764

Oxford Unevrsiry Press

June 2005 [HC]; Sep 2006 [PB]

HC & PB / 984 pp

Buy this book at: Amazon.com [PB] | Amazon.com [HC] | Amazon.co.uk [HC] | Amazon.co.uk [PB] | Amazon.de [Deutsch]

Petition

Petition to Oxford University Press regarding the pricing of the book

 

New Book Coming out on The Cantatas

Paul T. McCain wrote (January 10, 2005):
A new book is forthcoming from Oxford University Press on Bach's Cantatas. Does anyone know anything about it?
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0198167075/

Thomas Shepherd wrote (January 10, 2005):
[To Paul T. McCain] Try: http://www.oup.co.uk/isbn/0-19-816707-5
Which has all the details

Its going to cost a packet though! £150 sterling - that's about 280 US dollars!!!

Paul T. McCain wrote (January 10, 2005):
[To Thomas Shepherd] Sounds fantastic, but....holy cow, what a price!!

This sadly goes to show how limited a market there is for a book like this, which is to say, how few actually listen to Bach's cantatas.

If they were more popular the publisher would print thousands more copies and the price would be somewhere around $50 instead of over $200 dollars!

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 10, 2005):
Paul T. McCain wrote:
>>A new book is forthcoming from Oxford University Press on Bach's Cantatas. Does anyone know anything about it?<<
Alfred Dürr's reference book on the Bach Cantatas is IMHO the most thorough and reliable in terms of current Bach scholarship of any books in this category. Although I would never want to be without some of the insights provided by Spitta, Schweitzer, Smend, Whittaker, etc., the latter have based some of their observations upon speculations regarding the dates of composition or even authorship that have proven to be erroneous in light of more recent research. It would appear that Christoph Wolff has, for the most part, deferred to Dürr's analyses and has offered very little significant, new material to aid in the understanding of Bach's cantatas. The only other recent scholar to do some substantial pioneering work in this field is Eric Chafe who has opened up some new directions for study and analysis; however, he does not cover all the cantatas.

Certainly, for English-speaking musicologists, conductors, musicians/performers, and listeners who have a serious interest in Bach's cantatas, a great gap will be filled with the publication of this translation. I heartily recommend this book (if you can afford it.)

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 10, 2005):
[To Paul T. McCain] Yes, it might appear expensive. But it also represents some 40+ years of work by the author (and countless associates), and the book is 900 pages! That's actually a rather low price, by academic-library standards, for hardbound reference books.

Furthermore, some of the individual volumes of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe cost as much as or more than that, to buy both the score and the book of critical notes. Scholarship is real work. The NBA price list: http://www.baerenreiter.com/html/completeedi/gabach.htm

Uri Golomb wrote (January 11, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Yes, it might appear expensive. But it also represents some 40+ years of work by the author (and countless associates), and the book is 900 pages! That's actually a rather low price, by academic-library standards, for hardbound reference books. >
Sorry, but in this case I must agree with the others (e.g., Francis Brown): the English edition IS over-priced. I'm not sure that the academic-library standard is the right standard in this case, not when a book is explicitly targeted for "music lovers in general" (OUP's own words). It invites comparisons with OUP's other recent Bach ventures (the BAch Composer Companion, Wolff's BAch biography), as well as with the book's original German editions -- and none of these comparisons seems to justify OUP's price.

For example: I bought this book in the German original (paperback, admittedly -- but firsthand) for 17 pounds, the Oxford Composer Companion to J. S. Bach (hardcover) for about 40 pounds, and Wolff's biography (hardcover) for 35 pounds. I'd understand if the Dürr book were to cost 50 pounds -- but 150? More than all these three books combined?

< Furthermore, some of the individual volumes of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe cost as much as or more than that, to buy both the score and the book of critical notes. >
Yes, but these volumes are intended for a limited audience: they are purchased by performers and scholars, not by music lovers in general. (For the latter, Baernreiter offers paperback study scores of selected works, at a much cheaper price). Obviously, when the company is going to sell fewer copies no matter what the price, it is forced to charge more in order to cover considerable editing and printing costs.

With Dürr's book, however, the reverse will happen: OUP will sell far fewer books because of the higher price. I'm no expert on these matters, but I strongly suspect that they'll make a GREATER profit by selling MORE copies at a cheaper price. Otherwise, people are likely to buy the Oxford Composer Companion and the Wolff biography (now availble in paperback, and both together costing less than 40 pounds), rather than invest 150 pounds in Dürr's book.

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 11, 2005):
Everyone with some interest in Bach knows that Alfred Dürr is the REAL THING. He knows how to write for scholars and fans alike. He covers every corner and enriches the understanding of the professional performer as well as the occasional listener. I remember doing a comparative reading of liner notes in the discussion of Cantata BWV 208. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV208-D.htm

Examples for his writing can be found in the BCW, by using the words "Alfred Dürr" in the Search box.

You can also use the Index to commentaries: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/index.htm and look under the column BCW for the commentary for each cantata. Most of these commentaries have been contributed by Thomas Braatz, who did his own translations from Dürr's original German text.

IMO, this is an essential book, which every Bach lover, all members of the BCML included, should have at his disposal. BUT NOT AT THIS PRICE!!!

Eric Bergerud wrote (January 11, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] Academic books actually turn a nice although small profit - monographs from companies like Oxford double so. The pricing is aimed at libraries and people who need or desire to stay on top of a field. In my view, it's works like this that the Lord invented public libraries for. Believe me, the author won't min. His reward will be standing in the field, not a bulging bank account.

Charles Francis wrote (January 11, 2005):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< IMO, this is an essential book, which every Bach lover, members of the BCML included, should have at his disposal. BUT NOT AT THIS PRICE!!! >
The English version benefits from economy of scale as some 400 million use English as a first language, while the German market is limited to a potential 120 million speakers. So why does the English version costs over 10 times more than the German original? Is this another example of exploitation by the music industry or is it that in English culture only "academics" and "professionals" are expected to read such books?

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 11, 2005):
[To Charles Francis] Probably both. They certainly didn't pay the translator enough for that to account for the huge difference.

Paul T. McCain wrote (January 11, 2005):
If I may add something here...I'm president of a publishing house and I can tell you that Oxford's business plan for books like this is selling them first and foremost to institutions as reference books and so that is why they charge such a high price. I suspect their print run on this book is no more than 2,000 copies, if that many, perhaps only 1,000. They hope to sell it to institutions and will reprint as need be.

They are not interested in selling this book to a general market. That's not what drives sales of books like this.

Obviously, they are not giving much of a discount to the normal book distribution channel. If they were Amazon would not have it listed at retail price.

Welcome to the interesting and wonderful world of academic book publishing.

By the way, here is my publishing house: www.cph.org
Concordia Publishing House
St. Louis, Missouri

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 11, 2005):
[To Paul T. McCain] Well, yes and no. Oxford publishes quite a few books that are both for the specialist and the generalist. If they were like Norton, who has a good music list, they would have published it at a much lower price with a higher print run - as you know, unit cost plummets as print run increases. It could be that the bean counters just assumed that no one would be interested, so they took the low print run tack. But Oxford is not the most savvy of publishers for books like this.

Paul T. McCain wrote (January 11, 2005):
[To Kirk McElhearn] Kirk, yes, you are right and you affirm my point! Oxford's business plan is precisely what I describe.

I too think that with a bit of aggresive marketing to non-academic areas the book could be priced for substantially less than they are pricing it now.

But...the reason the price is so high is precisely the reason I just provided!

Oxford has enough experience with books like this to know how not to lose money on them and that means they charge a very high price and know that they will sell most of their inventory to institutions that will pay for it.

That's the way the cookie crumbles in academic publishing, I'm afraid.

Perhaps if everyone on this list were to rise up and send in letters protesting, and get twenty other people to do the same, Oxford might reconsider, or might consider bringing the book out in paperback to a larger market.

For what it is worth.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 11, 2005):
Paul T. McCain wrote:
< Perhaps if everyone on this list were to rise up and send in letters protesting, and get twenty other people to do the same, Oxford might reconsider, or might consider bringing the book out in paperback to a larger market. >
Probably not - however, I'd check the on-line remainders dealers in about a year... I've bought some pretty expensive stuff from places like that, or simply through Amazon marketplace dealers who buy books cheap. I got a heavy-duty encyclopedia about Henry James, that retails for $160, that way - I paid $30.

Thomas Shepherd wrote (January 11, 2005):
[To Paul T. McCain] I guess it would be slightly cheeper buying through OUP USA at: http://www.us.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Music/MusicTheoryAnalysisComposition/ offering the book for a mere 225 US dollars.

I can't see anywhere on OUP's web sites an email address for the BCML to forward the recent set of messages of sadness about their high pricing policy. I would love to own and use this book as my German is practically non-existent. Perhaps OUP might consider a paperback edition in a few years? but I suspect that will depend upon initial sales of the hardback. I might, though, go along to my local public library and suggest they buy a copy (but with contractions in UK local authority spending on their library services, it is likely that they will be hostile to £250 when dozens of more popular books can be bought with the money!).

Eric Bergerud wrote (January 11, 2005):
[To Kirk McElhearn] Any good publisher knows that that the real money is in trade - if there's a market. Obviously this is OSU saying something about what they think about Bach Cantatas, or rather how many people they think care about them. Just enough to cover a nice 2,000 copy run (do the math) but not enough to bag 10,000 on initial offering with another 2,000/year for a decade - numbers that would argue for a trade version. And no, translation isn't THAT expensive. Publishing is still very much of an art (pity the SIX editors that turned down J.K. Rowlings: she's only modern literature's first billionaire): that said, the bean counters usually get it right. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy: if you expect to sell 1,000 copies world wide, marketing will be pretty well restricted to notifiying internet lists and putting the title in your catalog. It may be that Cantata World is more of a German place than we would like to think.

Eric Bergerud wrote (January 11, 2005):
[To Thomas Shepherd] Actually, sending an email to OSU might not be such a bad idea if it sounded like it had any weight behind it. Heaven only knows at what level this marketing decision was made. If you could convince them that the interest is there (tell them to look at Wolf or Boyd's sales figures) it's technologically very simple to greatly increase a publishing run: indeed we may be entering the day when out of print books will disappear.

Thomas Shepherd wrote (January 11, 2005):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< …indeed we may be entering the day when out of print books will disappear. >
Does that mean we should buy at OUP' s asking price for fear that the book may disappear forever? - If its that sort of blackmail, I can see many of us will be faced with a dilemma when it is published in March - to buy or not to buy. It may be that I spend the next couple of months asking around friends and family for a sub………

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 11, 2005):
Thomas Shepherd wrote:
< I can't see anywhere on OUP's web sites an email address for the BCML to forward the recent set of messages of sadness about their high pricing policy. I would love to own and use this book as my German is practically non-existent. Perhaps OUP might consider a paperback edition in a few years? >
As one of OUP's authors, I have some connections with the production staff and will put in an inquiry about a possible paperback edition of the Dürr book.
http://www.oup.co.uk/isbn/0-19-816707-5

I'm also curious about how much this English-language edition is really an update taking the hottest new topics of scholarship into account (as to research into performance practices), or mainly a translation of earlier work for broader accessibility.

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 11, 2005):
"overpriced" books priced institutionally

< But...the reason the price is so high is precisely the reason I just provided!
Oxford has enough experience with books like this to know how not to lose money on them and that means they charge a very high price and know that they will sell most of their inventory to institutions that will pay for it.
That's the way the cookie crumbles in academic p, I'm afraid. >
Similar experience here, different publisher. I wrote a reference book nearly ten years ago, still in print. (It's a concordance of all the sung words in a hymnal.) My publisher priced it institutionally, i.e. for academic libraries and church offices, at about $70. Part of the price is perhaps due also to the copyright issues in all that material, not only the production costs...that's what they told me, anyway. It's sold few copies, probably because of that sticker price that puts it out of the range of casual dabblers.

The business still trickles in on it occasionally; I had an inquiry about it just last week from an acquaintance trying to find a distributor to sell him the software version of it (also still in print). I get about enough royalty on this project, annually, to buy a sandwich!

The Amazon entry for this book claims it's out of print, which is not true. I'll write to them to correct that.

The return I have derived from this book is not monetary. It's never recouped the investment of time and effort I put into it, and I don't expect that it ever will. The joy is in knowing that a good reliable source is available on that material, for worship planners and researchers to use.

Also, I got an unexpected bonus. Some years ago we got a new pastor on our church staff. At some point before we were really acquainted yet, I visited her in her newly-set-up office, and the conversation turned to music and hymns. She exclaimed that to plan worship services she has this wonderful resource book on her shelf, and she pulled it off the shelf to show it to me. I glanced at it and said, "Oh, I wrote that." She blinked, paused, and almost passed out, having not made the connection yet that it was written by one of her own parishioners. "You're that guy?!?!?" Priceless.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 11, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< The Amazon entry for this book claims it's out of print, which is not true. I'll write to them to correct that. >
You have to tell them. And, if you have copies to sell, set yourself up to sell them directly through Amazon.

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 11, 2005):
< Does that mean we should buy at OUP' s asking price for fear that the book may disappear forever? - If its that sort of blackmail, I can see many of us will be faced with a dilemma when it is published in March - to buy or not to buy. >
Oxford's other page for this book says mid-July: http://tinyurl.com/6yq9v

Dale Gedcke wrote (January 11, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
"Similar experience here, different publisher. I wrote a reference book nearly ten years ago, still in print. (It's a concordance of all the sung words in a hymnal.) My publisher priced it institutionally, i.e. for academic libraries and church offices, at about $70. Part of the price is perhaps due also to the copyright issues in all that material, not only the production costs...that's what they told me, anyway. It's sold few copies, probably because of that sticker price that puts it out of the range of casual dabblers."
MY COMMENTS:

Back in the late 1970s, I learned the hard way what one has to do to earn a good return on your work in writing a book. Two other authors invited me to join them in writing a book on X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry. That technology is in widespread use for rapid analysis of the elemental composition of materials. It is frequently used in production control of material such as cement, aluminum, metals, ceramics and other materials.

The thousands of hours I put into writing that book were justified because it would support sales of my company's products. But, I had to write it on my own time in return for royalties. I think in the best year, the royalties were no better than 100 US$.

What I learned is this:

a) If you want to get a good return on your invested time, write a romance novel for women to read in paperback binding. The volume is large enough to get a payback.

b) If you are tempted to write an engineering or scientific book, you will only get a payback if you are a professor in a university, and you can force the students to buy and use your book for the course you teach. The university will allow you to write the book on their time while they pay your salary. Thus, your investment is already compensated at zero volume. The royalties are all pure income over and above your costs.

c) Writing books for a small market does not generate a good return on investment.

However, I have to admit that book I wrote was of great utility for my employer. It's just that the number of paying customers was not large enough to give me a payback from royalties.

Dale Gedcke,
B. Eng., M.Sc., Ph.D.

 

Dürr's translated book on the Cantatas

Aryeh Oron wrote (May 5, 2005):
I received the following message from Dr Deryck Taylor, who is not a member of the BCML. The discussion mentioned in his message can be found at the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Books/Bachs-Cantatas[Durr].htm

Should we do something to change the situation?

Dr Deryck Taylor wrote (May 5, 2005):
There seems to be some amazement, which I share, at the price of this book, originally promised by Oxford University Press for the end of April 2005 at 150 Pounds. This incredulity and dismay is expressed by a number contributors to the Cantata website (all entries dated 11th January).

The current story (May 5) is worse. I ordered the book from a major English bookseller in April, the month of promised publication, in trepidation at the price, only to be told it wasn't available. The OUP website gave no indication of this at that time. I let the order stand. NOW I discover from the website (if you can any longer believe it) that the publication date is the end of May - and the price 175 Pounds, an 18% increase. What a way to treat a niche market! (Why not postpone to July and call it a round figure of 200 Pounds for convenience, dispensing with the small change? ).

My love of the cantatas contests with my disinclination to capitulate to OUP's business practice.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (May 5, 2005):
[To Aryeh Oron] What can we do? Set up a petition?

Uri Golomb wrote (May 5, 2005):
[To Aryeh Oron] I expressed my opinion on this at the time (it's on: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Books/Bachs-Cantatas[Durr].htm), and this recent development has not changed my opinion. At 175 pounds, this book is grotesquely overpriced. YOu can still buy the German original for 27.95 Euros (about 20 pounds) in paperback (go to http://tinyurl.com/bwrgq, and then search under author "Dürr A."). So basically we're asked to pay 150 pounds for translation and sturdy covers.

Yes, the book is worth quite a lot (I know the German original). You could even argue that Barenteir have underpriced it (but then, for them it's a 6th edition). It's a set of lucid, authoritative and informative notes on all of Bach's cantata, including texts and translations. And, for several of us, 175 pounds on good Bach scholarship is money well spent. But one could buy Richard Stokes' book of cantata texts and translations (http://tinyurl.com/7c5ae) for under 30 pounds, and OUP's own Oxford Composer Companion: J. S. Bach for 20 pounds (http://www.oup.co.uk/isbn/0-19-860620-6); thus, for about 50, you'll get full texts and translations, and notes on each and every cantata -- plus a lot more. That leaves you 120 pounds or so to spend on, say, the Cambridge Companion to Bach, Wolff's Bach biography (and/or another biography) and several books on specific works (the Cambride Companions to the B minor Mass, the Goldberg Variations and the Bradenburg Concertos; Stauffer's book on the B minor Mass (BWV 232); etc. etc.). Alternatively, you can invest that money in high-quality scores of several of Bach's masterpieces. (For example, for less than 70 pounds, you buy the Art of Fugue and the WTC edited by Richard JOnes, the translator of Dürr's book; it would cost you even less if you buy the WTC in paperback. information from http://tinyurl.com/8lqxp).

Quite why OUP would expect an individual buyer (as opposed to a library) to spend so much money on a single book, when the same sum can be spent on authoritative, high quality material on all of Bach's oeuvre (not "just" the cantatas), is beyond me.

< Should we do something to change the situation? >
Since BCML represents a significant proportion of the book's target audience, perhpas we should write to them about this. We can write to them individually, or we can organise some sort of petition; or we could simply write our opinions on this list, and then refer them to the webpage, where they can see what we think about this. Perhaps Aryeh could ask them to write to the list and explain the reasoning behind their strange decision. This should be interesting.

Eric Bergerud wrote (May 6, 2005):
[To Uri Golomb] Uri might be right on this matter. A scholarly monograph in today's market is published with a run of maybe 1,000 copies or less. The buyers are expected to be libraries. (David Bell has written a very interesting article in a recent New Republic about the looming impact of the internet on this sector of publishing. I suspect that he's right that the monograph, although not the book, will become extinct.) A publishing house does very well if it breaks even on one of these books - they normally lose money. I bet there isn't a university press in the country that turns a profit. (Oxford is not really a university press in the normal sense of the word. I wouldn't mind owning them.) This would all change if the publisher thought there was a trade market for a title. If they were pushing this work for $40 I'd buy it. If OUP thought that perhaps 3,000 others would, the price would drop like a stone. It couldn't hurt to try.

Johan van Veen wrote (May 6, 2005):
Uri Golomb wrote:
< Quite why OUP would expect an individual buyer (as opposed to a library) to spend so much money on a single book, when the same sum can be spent on authoritative, high quality material on all of Bach's oeuvre (not "just" the cantatas), is beyond me. >
Perhaps they don't expect individual buyer's to purchase a book like that. If that is so, they just don't know the market very well. They should know that there are so many Bach lovers in the world who are interested in buying and reading a book like that.

Uri Golomb wrote (May 6, 2005):
[To Johan van Veen] I assume you're right on both counts. Here are two facts which OUP are surely aware of:
1. Barenreiter found it worthwhile to produce six editions of Dürr's German original, selling the 6th edition at quite a cheap price in paperback. Presumably, then, sales were reasonably good. And this is just within the German-speaking market (which is smaller than the English-speaking market -- but, admittedly, might contain a higher proportion of Bach lovers...)
2. OUP produced a paperback edition of their own Bach Companion. As I understand it, most publishers produce paperbacks only after they sold a certain amount of copies of the hardcover edition. (There are exceptions: several Cambridge UP series come out simultaneously in hardcover and paperback). If I'm right on this, then presumably they sold enough copies (by their own standards) of the hardcover edition to justify a paperback. And this Bach Companion appeals to the same readership as Dürr's book.

Surely, these two facts suggest that there is a market for Dürr's book... If only the price were lower!

Paul McCain wrote (May 6, 2005):
[To Uri Golomb] I am in the publishing business and Eric's comments on the economics of publishing a book of this sort are precisely correct.

John Pike wrote (May 10, 2005):
[To Uri Golomb] I picked up a copy of the Bärenreiter edition in German for about 30 Euros in Berlin in February. Although my German is not up to it yet, I intend to learn some more German and some more about the cantatas simultaneously. Kills two birds with one stone, and is an enjoyable way of improving my German.

John Pike wrote (May 10, 2005):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Should we do something to change the situation? >
Uri Golomb wrote:
< Since BCML represents a significant proportion of the book's target audience, perhpas we should write to them about this. We can write to them individually, or we can organise some sort of petition; or we could simply write our opinions on this list, and then refer them to the webpage, where they can see what we think about this. Perhaps Aryeh could ask them to write to the list and explain the reasoning behind their strange decision. This should be interesting. >
I think this approach is an excellent idea.

 

Dürr's translated book on the Cantatas

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 10, 2005):
A while back (early May), Deryck Taylor stated:
>>There seems to be some amazement, which I share, at the price of this book, originally promised by Oxford University Press for the end of April 2005 at 150 Pounds....The current story (May 5) is worse. I ordered the book from a major English bookseller in April, the month of promised publication, in trepidation at the price, only to be told it wasn't available. The OUP website gave no indication of this at that time. I let the order stand. NOW I discover from the website(if you can any longer believe it) that the publication date is the end of May - and the price 175 Pounds, an 18% increase. What a way to treat a niche market! (Why not postpone to July and call it a round figure of 200 Pounds for convenience, dispensing with the small change? ).<<
I happened to see the listing for this book on the OUP US website while searching for another book. The news is bad all around:

Bach's Cantatas
Alfred Dürr
$340.00, Not Yet Published
hardback, Aug 2005

A quick search of all music books offered by OUP turned up the following listings of the of the only music books that are more expensive than Dürr's book:

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians $2,200.00 hardback

The New Grove Dictionary of American Music
$725.00 hardback

Richard Taruskin
The Oxford History of Western Music
$699.00 hardback

One thought: Perhaps OUP is including an NBA version pocket score of each cantata referred to in the book. That might make the book worth the price that they are asking.

 

A sample of Dürr

Francis Browne wrote (September 28, 2005):
My apologies if this has already been mentioned on the list, but it may be of interest to some members of this list to note that on the OUP website there is a substantial sample - 74 pages of the introduction - of the exorbitantly priced translation of Duerr 's book on the cantatas that can be downloaded as a pdf file.
http://www.oup.co.uk/isbn/0-19-816707-5

Perhaps if hundreds of people download this, OUP might realise there is a potential market for a more reasonably priced edition.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 28, 2005):
[To Francis Browne] Thanks for this link! The book is on reserve at all the local universities and I could make a trip to Leipzig for that price. At least we will have the complete introduction.

Thanks again,

John Pike wrote (September 28, 2005):
[To Francis Browne] How very helpful. Thanks!

 

English translation of Alfred Dürr's book The Cantatas of J. S. Bach

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 9, 2005):
I have very good news for you.

Do you remember the petition to Oxford University Press (OUP) regarding the pricing of the English translation of Dürr's book about the Bach Cantatas? Many BCML members as well as other Bach fans and scholars have joined the petition.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Books/Bachs-Cantatas[Durr]-Petition.htm
About two months ago I sent the petition to OUP.

Yesterday I received the following message.

================================================================
Dear Uri Golomb and Aryeh Oron

The Cantataof 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
================================================================

Sometimes petitions are effective.

John Pike wrote (November 10, 2005):
[To Aryeh Oron] This is indeed very good news. Well done, Aryeh!

Thomas Shepherd wrote (November 10, 2005):
[To Uri Golomb & Aryeh Oron] Well done Uri & Aryeh and all others who have gently and firmly cajoled OUP about the price of the English translation of Dürr's book. It would be nice now to see our collective and individual thanks & felicitations go to OUP and encourage them in a positive manner to release the paperback as soon as possible. I've just left a brief note of thanks to Sarah Holmes (our heroine and champion) at her OUP mail box: http://www.oup.co.uk/intranet2/staff/holmess.

Others may wish to give her encouragement as well

The paperback will do me fine though it might have been a great stocking filler for Christmas 2005 rather than 2006.

Teddy Kaufman wrote (November 10, 2005):
[To Uri Golomb & Aryeh Oron]
Well done.

Thanks.

Santu de Silva wrote (November 10, 2005):
[To Aryeh Oron] Good work! I was so convinced that you would get absolutely no response!

 

Dürr in paperback

Francis Browne wrote (February 18, 2006):
On Amazon.uk a paperback edition of the English translation of Durr's book of the cantatas is listed for publication in July this year- price £40. Since I am used to waiting several years for works on Classics to appear in paperback, I strongly suspect that the prompt appearance of this paperback at an affordable price is due at least in part to the campaign organised by Aryeh Oron and Uri Golomb.

I'm sure that I am not alone in wishing to thank them.

 

Dürr: The Cantatas of J. S. Bach

Thomas Shepherd wrote (June 14, 2006):
Its nearly available in UK - price £40
http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199297764

Can't find it on the USA OUP website: http://www..oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Music/MusicTheoryAnalysisComposition/

Petition pressure or good marketing practice? ( Remember the petition?
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Books/Bachs-Cantatas[Durr]-Petition.htm

Or good old-fashioned marketing on OUPs part? - I suspect the latter.

Still it may be summer holiday reading!

 

Dürr: The Cantatas of J.S.Bach -at last!

Francis Browne wrote (July 19, 2006):
I am delighted to hold in my hands the paperback edition of the translation of Alfred's Duerr's work on the cantatas -£38 from Amazon.. When Aryeh launched his campaign for this book -that cost £175 in hardback - to be made available for ordinary lovers of Bach I dutifully wrote but thought to myself that we would have to wait years for a paperback edition, that would then be almost as expensive as the hardback. That is what usually happens to Classics books I would like to buy.

I am delighted to be proved wrong .Since it is almost unheard of for a reasonably priced paperback to appear the year after first publication,I can't help thinking that the campaign run by Aryeh and Uri Golomb had some influence on the OUP.Many thanks.

(On first sampling the translation seems accurate and lucid. The translations of the cantata texts are excellent - they put me out of a job. The updating to take account of recent Bach scholarship is integrated with the main text and so will be best appreciated by examining the discussion for particular cantatas)

Thomas Shepherd wrote (July 19, 2006):
[To Francis Browne] Spit!

Mine's still on order and promised today/tomorrow and I wanted to be the FIRST to post as a proud owner of the book!

I see that it is to be launched in USA in September:
http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Music/MusicTheoryAnalysisComposition/

Eric Bergerud wrote (July 19, 2006):
[To Francis Browne] Good to hear about the book. However, when trying in my feeble way to make sense out of the fine points several librettos I was using several translations and normally found yours the best. So I hope the work you've done so far stays on the site. Translation is something of an art in itself and I think you have helped many us greatly in appreciating the cantatas.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 20, 2006):
Francis Brownr wrote:
< The translations of the cantata texts are excellent - they put me out of a job. >
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< Translation is something of an art in itself >
If you read history with a critical (not to say jaundiced) eye, it often appears that the major junctions have been either:
(1) Misunderstandings, due to vague translations, or
(2) The translators intent.

Thankfully, this is no longer a problem (visualize an ironic glance).

 

Durability of Dürr softcover

Phil Roberts wrote (April 26, 2008):
I'm thinking about ordering Alfred Dürr's cantatas of Bach and am wondering about the durability of the softcover edition. Is there anyone here who has had it and used it for some time and is it holding up well to use?

Thanks

Julian Mincham wrote (April 26, 2008):
[To Phil Roberts] Not too well actually. I have had my copy for over a year and use it constantly but even with care the spine is beginning to split.

Having said that, even the purchase of two copies is a lot cheaper than the hardback--or it was when I got mine for exaclty one fifth of the hard back price at that time. it may be less expensive now--I haven't checked.

Jean Laaninen wrote (April 26, 2008):
[To Phil Roberts] I bought it, and I took it to a stationers to have a spiral binding put on it. They put a double binding--half and half on the spine linked, and it works excellently with no damage to the book itself. Without this extra binding that I added the book (or its owner) tended to be clumsy. I can't remember exactly what happened, but I think I knocked over two or three items and broke something before I made up my mind to take it and the Schweitzer volumes to be fixed this way. The ease is awesome. Paperbacks generally present some problem if used a lot. I also use this method with some of my music.

 

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

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