J.S. Bach: A Listener's Guide to His Choral Music introduces the general listener to a genre of music that is mistakenly supposed to be "difficult." A vivid biographical sketch of Bach's life and times provides the necessary background. The book then takes on the question "What is a cantata?" and guides the listener systematically through fugue, recitative, and aria.
The author chooses 30 of Bach's 200 church cantatas that are especially likely to be performed live, and explores them in detail. Studies of the two great oratorios, the St John Passion and the St. Matthew Passion, follow, together with a detailed analysis of what Bach himself probably thought to be his finest work, the Mass in B Minor.
The book is accompanied by a 75-minute CD featuring complete tracks from five of the finest cantatas, as well as several tracks from the two Passions, the Mass, and "Magnifcat."