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CLASSICAL  June 2005

CLASSICAL June 2005

Subject:

Durr's Book on Bach Cantatas - Call for Petition

From:

Aryeh Oron <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 12 Jun 2005 01:13:56 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (61 lines)

Dear Classical List members,

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 Durr'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=3Dusa&ci=3D0198167075

We are deeply dismayed, however, by the price at which this book is
offered.

Many of us are already familiar with Durr'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 Durr'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 Durr'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 500 members of the
Bach Cantatas Mailing List) can attest, this book has a potential market
beyond that of musicians, musicologists and libraries; Durr'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: [log in to unmask]

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

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