The German church cantata of the eighteenth century was the culmination of a long tradition of Lutheran "sermon music" that used the proclamation, amplification, and interpretation of scripture to teach and persuade the listener. Bach's cantatas also served this didactic purpose and typically incorporate numerous allusions to scriptural passages or themes in their librettos. Unfortunately, many of these passages remain obscure to the twentieth-century musician because they demand a much closer familiarity with the Bible than is common today. The Handbook to Bach's Sacred Cantata Texts identifies scriptural references for the wording, imagery, and themes that Bach's listeners would have known. In addition, the religious or literary theme of each text is summarized within the specific context of the cantata as a whole. With interlinear translations and a full complement of indexes.
This book explores the dramatic thrust of each of Bach's four major works for choir and orchestra: Christmas Oratorio, St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, and Mass in B Minor. It guides the reader, movement by movement, through each work with an integrated presentation of commentary and text translation that pays particular attention to the interaction of text and music, suggesting reasons for Bach's musical choices.
This is the only English translation of this important book by the world's most distinguished Bach scholar. This work is widely regarded as the most authoritative and comprehensive treatment of the Bach cantatas. It begins with a historical survey of the seventeenth-century background to the cantatas, and performance practice issues. The core of the book is a work-by-work study in which each cantata in turn is represented by its libretto, a synopsis of its movements, and a detailedanalytical commentary. This format makes it extremely useful as a reference work for anyone listening to, performing in, or studying any of the Bach cantatas.All the cantata librettos are given in German-English parallel text. For the English edition the text has been carefully revised to bring it up to date, taking account of recent Bach scholarship.
This volume is a guide to the resources and materials of Bach scholarship, both for the non specialist wondering where to begin in the enormous literature on J. S. Bach, and for the Bach specialist looking for a convenient and up to date survey of the field. It describes the tools of Bach research and how to use them, and suggests how to get started in Bach research by describing the principal areas of research and citing the essential literature on each piece and topic. The authors emphasize the issues that have engaged Bach scholars for generations, focusing on particularly important writings; on recent literature; on overviews, collections of essays and handbooks; and on writings in English. Subjects covered include bibliographic tools of Bach research and sources of literature; Bach's family; Bach biographies; places Bach lived and worked; Bach's teaching; the liturgy; Bach source studies and the transmission of his music; repertory and editions; genres and individual vocal and instrumental works; performance practice; the reception and analysis of Bach's music; and many others. The book also offers explanations of important and potentially confusing topics in Bach research, such as the organization of the annual cantata cycles, pitch standards, the history of the Berlin libraries, the structure of the critical commentary volumes in the Neue Bach Ausgabe, and so on. This book opens up the rich world of Bach scholarship to students, teachers, performers, and listeners.
Bach’s Operas of the Soul is the first introduction to Bach’s sacred cantatas for the general music lover. In clear and accessible language, Mark Ringer examines this vast output of masterpieces as the great musical dramatic creations that they. Bach’s sacred cantatas represent an almost superhuman artistic and spiritual achievement, arguably the richest investment by a great composer within a single genre. But outside of a handful of pieces, they remain a closed book to a majority of serious listeners already familiar with Bach’s large-scale religious works. Nevertheless, the same musical-dramatic genius of Bach’s Passions is fully evident in virtually all of the composer's sacred cantatas. Ringer approaches the sacred cantatas as sermons in musical-dramatic form, un-staged operas, planned for each occasion of the church year. Bach’s era relished dramatic contrast, and his use of the human voice offers a constantly changing pallet of vocal colors. The singers play ‘roles’ throughout the cantatas from penitent sinner, to ardent believer, to Christ himself. This book is accompanied by online audio tracks of select Bach canatatas from the Naxos music library. It will be of use to readers interested in opera and vocal music who have already come to love Bach’s Passions and who want to familiarize themselves with this wide array of masterpieces.
The Aesthetic of Johann Sebastian Bach (L’Esthéthique de Jean-Sébastien Bach), by the celebrated French musicologist André Pirro (1869‒1943), was originally published in 1907 and reissued in 1973. It is offered here for the first time in English, as translated by Joe Armstrong. Pirro’s work is based primarily on an examination of the close relationships between language and music in Bach’s vocal works and provides us with an extensive and well-researched “lexicon” of the expressive resources of Bach and his contemporaries. Pirro’s study thus serves as a still sound basis for understanding and interpreting Bach’s instrumental works. Pirro’s engaging analysis that has informed and even moved discerning readers for more than a century. This translation introduces his work to a new audience of performers, music teachers and their students, composers, musicologists, and all who wish to have a greater understanding of the expressive import of Bach’s music.
An innovative study of the ways in which theological themes related to earthly and heavenly 'treasures' and Bach's own apparent attentiveness to the spiritual values related to money intertwined in his sacred music.
The Reader's Guide to Music is designed to provide a useful single-volume guide to the ever-increasing number of English language book-length studies in music. Each entry consists of a bibliography of some 3-20 titles and an essay in which these titles are evaluated, by an expert in the field, in light of the history of writing and scholarship on the given topic. The more than 500 entries include not just writings on major composers in music history but also the genres in which they worked (from early chant to rock and roll) and topics important to the various disciplines of music scholarship (from aesthetics to gay/lesbian musicology).
In Tears into Wine, renowned Bach scholar Eric Chafe challenges the scholarly consensus, arguing that Cantata 21 is an exceptionally carefully designed work, and that it displays a convergence of musical structure and theological purpose that is paradigmatic of Bach's sacred work as a whole. Drawing on a wide range of Lutheran theological writing, Chafe shows that Cantata 21 reaches beyond the scope of the individual liturgical occasion to voice a breadth of meaning that encompasses much of the core of Lutheran thought. Chafe artfully demonstrates that instead of simply presenting a musical depiction of the soul's journey from sorrow to bliss, Cantata 21 expresses the various stages of God's revelation and their impact on the believing soul. As a result, Chafe reveals that Cantata 21 has a formal design that mirrors Lutheran belief in unfolding revelation, with the final movement representing the work's "crown"--the goal toward which all of the earlier movements are directed.
Bach & God explores the religious character of Bach's vocal and instrumental music in seven interrelated essays. Noted musicologist Michael Marissen offers wide-ranging interpretive insights from careful biblical and theological scrutiny of the librettos. Yet he also shows how Bach's pitches, rhythms, and tone colors can make contributions to a work's plausible meanings that go beyond setting texts in an aesthetically satisfying manner. In some of Bach's vocal repertory, the music puts a "spin" on the words in a way that turns out to be explainable as orthodox Lutheran in its orientation. In a few of Bach's vocal works, his otherwise puzzlingly fierce musical settings serve to underscore now unrecognized or unacknowledged verbal polemics, most unsettlingly so in the case of his church cantatas that express contempt for Jews and Judaism. Finally, even Bach's secular instrumental music, particularly the late collections of "abstract" learned counterpoint, can powerfully project certain elements of traditional Lutheran theology. Bach's music is inexhaustible, and Bach & God suggests that through close contextual study there is always more to discover and learn.
This volume draws together a collection of Robin A. Leaver’s essays on Bach’s sacred music, exploring the religious aspects of this repertoire through consideration of three core themes: liturgy, hymnology, and theology. Rooted in a rich understanding of the historical sources, the book illuminates the varied ways in which Bach’s sacred music was informed and shaped by the religious, ritual, and intellectual contexts of his time, placing these works in the wider history of Protestant church music during the Baroque era. Including research from across a span of forty years, the chapters in this volume have been significantly revised and expanded for this publication, with several pieces appearing in English for the first time. Together, they offer an essential compendium of the work of a leading scholar of theological Bach studies.
Originally composed in Weimar and later revised in Leipzig, J. S. Bach's chorale preludes have been a source of some puzzlement. However, Bach scholar Anne Leahy argues that through the careful examination of the links among the music, hymn texts, and theological sources some answers may be had. In her book, Leahy considers the critical relationship between the texts of the hymns and their relationship to the chorales, outlining a theological pattern vital to fully grasping the guiding philosophy of these compositions. J. S. Bach's "Leipzig"" Chorale Preludes: Music, Text, Theology is ideally suited for Bach scholars and those with a general interest in the intricate relationship between text and music in the composition of religious music.