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Bach Family

The Bach family

Francine Renee Hall wrote (April 22, 2003):
I just received as a gift a set of Hänssler Classics CDs called 'The Bach Family'. Has anyone heard it, got any good or poor vibes from it?

Thanks!

Thomas Radleff wrote (April 22, 2003):
[To Francine Renee Hall] Though usually I do not like Rilling´s recordings too much, I still have & keep this 3-CD-set. Some of the post-JSB works are hardly available on any other record, but all the pre-JSB pieces can be heard on one of these Alt-Bachisches Archiv compilations that we´ve been talking about some days ago - much better, in my ears.

Nevertheless, some pieces are great, e.g. Johann Christian Bach´s Dies Irae, and Wilhelm Friedemann´s Vater Unser. The booklet is very informative (at least in the edition that I have), and the whole set is a rich Bach-family-sacred-works-encyclopedia.

Francine Renee Hall wrote (April 23, 2003):
[To Thomas Radleff] Thanks for the info!

 

Bach descendant

Michael Dunn wrote (February 12, 2004):
Apparently actor Kyle McLaughlin claims to be descended from JSB!
Anyone know more about this?

Teri Noel Towe wrote (February 12, 2004):
[To Michael Dunn] I do not know anything specifice about this chap's claim (to be candid, I have never heard of him), but there is an article in Bach Perspectives 5, the 2002 Membership Gift from the American Bach Society, that sets forth in detail the remarkable story of how it was discovered that the only known direct descendants of Johann Sebastian Bach, the descendants of one of the daughters of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, are here in the USA.

I suspect that you can get more information about obtaining a copy of Bach Perspectives 5 at the ABS website, www.americanbachsociety.org.

I hope that this helps.

 

CPE Bach SMP

John Pike wrote (March 10, 2005):

I see there is an interesting new release, which may be reviewed on BBC Radio3 this Saturday morning:

C.P.E. Bach St Matthew Passion:
Thomas Dewald (tenor), Daniel Jordan (baritone), Jochen Kupfer (baritone), Zelter-Ensemble der Sing-Akademie zu Berlin, Joshard Daus (conductor)
CAPRICCIO 60113
<>

 

Bach Ganealogy

Peter Smaill wrote (June 7, 2005):
In the aftermath of the "sexy" Bach dialogues, could we have a look at the genealogical interest which surrounds him?

The starting point is the observation that he sired 20 children, eight surviving. Yet the monograph "Basically Bach" by Herbert Kupferberg states that there were, by the end of the nineteenth century, no descendants at all.

This I doubt from other passing references; but is there anyone today claiming to be the most direct descendant, the leading genealogical heir ?

The second observation by the geneticists is the amazing predisposition to high musical talent, evident in the Bach Archive but presumably a spent force after CPE Bach, JC, WDF; any later Bach geniuses than this generation?

Bach also has genealogical interest as being the youngest son of old parents, a situation long thought to predispose to high intellect unless foetal abnormalities occur.His mother Elisabeth was about 41 when Bach was born; father Ambrosius of the same order, around 40. Incidentally I do find when meeting other Bach enthusiasts, and musically-interested company generally, that they are often (by no means always) children of older parents -late thirties onward at the date of birth.

On this I offer no scientific proof, but the theme was explored recently by the venerable UK "Spectator" magazine.

It may, overall, be the case the a combination of old genes in Bach and cousin intermarriage resulted over several generations in the shrinking of the Bach line, rather than the exponential growth which his own procreative powers would suggest. Bach's last living sibling Marie Salome died in 1727 aged 50, so at 66 he outlived his brothers and sisters by a fair gap !

John Pike wrote (June 8, 2005):
[To Peter Smaill] I suspect that "environment" plays a role here, if it is true. Older more mature parents may be better at bringing up children in the vital early years.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 8, 2005):
< His mother Elisabeth was about 41 when Bach was born; father Ambrosius of the same order, around 40. >
Elisabeth Lämmerhirt. Davitt Moroney in writing his Bach bio went to the Eisenach phone directory in 1999, and remarked that there are still 13 Lämmerhirts listed there.

And Peter Williams in his bio also made the point that both JSB (as genealogy compiler) and CPEB (as Obituary writer) wanted to emphasize the musical skill coming not only from the Bach side but also the Lämmerhirt side.

Doug Cowling wrote (June 8, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] It would be interesting to see if a DNA trail could be established. If scientists had samples from known relatives (are there any marked graves for the Bach family?), they could then test in the present populations of the areas associated with Bach to see if there are descendants. And in the future perhaps even discover DNA material on the original manuscripts.

Then we could clone JSB!

John Pike wrote (June 8, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] absolutely fascinating.

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 8, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote: >>Elisabeth Lämmerhirt. Davitt Moroney in writing his Bach bio went to the Eisenach phone directory in 1999, and remarked that there are still 13 Lämmerhirts listed there.
And
Peter Williams in his bio also made the point that both JSB (as genealogy compiler) and CPEB (as Obituary writer) wanted to emphasize the musical skill coming not only from the Bach side but also the Lämmerhirt side.<<
Both Moroney and Williams should then be interested in whether a certain Maren Lämmerhirt-Bach or her progeny are musically gifted. It seems that she has keyboard abilities as a secretary working for the Department of Education at Cologne University. Her contact information is available at: http://www.uni-koeln.de/ew-fak/seminar/histphil/abphilo/sekretariat.html

Moroney and Williams should probably investigate this modern-day confluence of these prestigious musical family lines!

John Pike wrote (June 8, 2005):
[To Thomas Braatz] Goodness gracious!

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 8, 2005):
[To Doug Cowling] Eek!!!

Robert Sherman wrote (June 8, 2005):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] Tom DeLay won't let us.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 9, 2005):
[To Robert Sherman] You seriously wanted him to?

Robert Sherman wrote (June 9, 2005):
JSB the II

[To Cara Emily Thornton] It does make an interesting question. If it becomes possible, with high confidence that it will really work with no Dolly-the-sheep bad side effects, to clone long-dead people, would it be irresponsible to clone Bach? Or would it be irresponsible not to?

I don't know the answer but I want society to be able to evaluate it seriously. I don't want pietistic-posing politicians to foreclose the possibility of that evaluation.

Doug Cowling wrote (June 9, 2005):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] PEOPLE, IT WAS A JOKE!!!!!

Please don't start a cloning flame!

Peter Smaill wrote (June 10, 2005):
Thanks indeed for the news of Lammerhirt descendants, which is news to me.

5 out of 10 though-descendants presumably of Bach's Lammerhirt grandfather, but not JS himself. The Kupferberg quote is now to hand:

"altogether, Johann Sebastian Bach had twenty children, seventeen grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren and one great-great-. The last survivor was a great granddaughter, Carolina Augusta Wilhelmine, daughter of Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst. She died on May 13th, 1871. Thus the great Bach line ended."

So we have a bit of a mystery in terms of the depletion of descendants.

CS Terry noted in his essay,"A Genealogical Problem," that there were seven musician Bachs surviving according to Riemann's Musik Lexikon of 1929. However, whether they were related in any degree is not clear, no certainty that any are descendants of JSB. Terry in the end however concurs that "since 13 May 1871 Bach's blood has ceased to flow in mortal veins."

Terry also notes that there were Bachs in England in 1642, a Bach marriage at St Martin in the Fields in 1709, and a rather posh union of Sally Bach in 1776 to a Charles Tenison of Hill Hall, Surrey.… A cousin of JSB's first wife, Johann Christoph Bach (b. 29 August 1676) taught the clavier in England. (Not to be confused with JSB's son, Johann Christian, the "English Bach," 1735-1782 and buried in St Pancras Churchyard, London.)

Now, what became of Johann Christoph, who travelled via Hamburg to London in the time of Handel?: and did he correspond with his cousin and her musical husband? Perhaps we shall never know ....

Ludwig wrote (June 10, 2005):
[To Peter Smaill] With as many little Bachs that JS fathered---there should be many many more today of them (more than the Jones, Smith and Williams families) and probally there are although their particular line is no longer directly from JS Bach.

Catherine Bach the actress perhaps could trace her lineage back to the family of J,S. The main problem with lineage geneology in western society is that is based on paternal geneology and not on maternal. One can not trace easily backwards anyone who might be a direct descendent of JS Bach paternally but this is very easily done with DNA analysis of the Maternal line and in fact one can trace one's lineage back more than 30,000 years by this method.

Joel Figen wrote (June 10, 2005):
Ludwig wrote:
< this is very easily done with DNA analysis of the Maternal line and in fact one can trace one's lineage back more than 30,000 years by this method. >
Mitochondrial DNA analysis traces the maternal line, as you say. Analysis of the Y chromosome does exactly the same for the male line. At least there's a touch of equality here :)

Doug Cowling wrote (June 10, 2005):
[To Joel Fugen] Given that there is no direct DNA evidence for Bach such as Beethoven's hair, are there authentic gravesites of close relatives on both sides which could hypothetically provide the DNA from which a model for a direct descendent of JSB be postulated? I don;t know the science, but could that model than be tested in the population to see if there are direct descenents still alive.

Joel Figen wrote (June 10, 2005):
[To Doug Cowling] An adequate study might conceivably be designed without digging up any bones, just by looking for people and testing DNA. It's rather like solving a crime.

This seems a little like the case of an African tribe that claimed to be Jewish. DNA testing revealed that they were indeed not merely Jews but descendents of the ancient priesthood. This was done by looking at markers in the Y chromosome. If we just got a sample from all the living Bachs and Lämmerhirts it might be possible to figure it out. Anyone up for stealing a few toothbrushes? :)

Is JS Bach's burial site known? If we're going to start digging, we might consider starting with him.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 10, 2005):
[To Robert Sherman] I tend to think that there are certain things which might be good, but if they go bad, the consequences will be so terrible that the risk is not worth it. Quite frankly, I put nuclear energy in that category. I don't think they should ever have developed it in the first place. I think cloning also falls into that category. As long as human beings continue to be imperfect, there is always a chance that it could be used as part of some nefarious genetics program - not to mention the misunderstandings about who the clone is and is not.

And I think the government does have the right to make that kind of decisions - though why they are not willing to permit cloning, though they permitted the development of nuclear energy and even have the temerity to make use of it for nefarious purposes, I do not pretend to understand. It's the same deal as with abortion: they think abortion is wrong - but then they think it's just fine to drop bombs on people. It sounds like they respect human life only before birth - after, is another matter. I think the real issue with the unborn has little to do with 'respect for human life' and everything to do with keeping women 'in their place'.

My two cents' worth.

 

Johann Ludwig Bach

Continue of discussion from: Hermann Max - General Discussions [Performers]

Lex Schelvis wrote (May 14, 2006):
This morning I attended a concert in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam (one of the better places to hear Bach) by Das Kleine Konzert & Rheinische Kantorei, director Hermann Max. They played a cantata by Johann Ludwig Bach: 'Die Weisheit kommt nicht in eine boshafte Seele', the Motette 'Der Geist hilft unserer Schwachheit auf" (BWV 226), and 'Ich hab' in Gottes Herz und Sinn' (BWV 92). The big surprise for me was the composition by Johann Ludwig, everybody always told me he was a minor composer, but I don't agree, now that I've heard this cantata. I should have known, Bach probably played 18 cantatas by his cousin in 1726, so he really must have liked the music. (I still don't like the Luke Passion though.)

For the interested ones: only this week the concert is on internet:

Go to www.avroklassiek.nl, click on 'Luisterkamer' left on the screen, then 'Radio-archief' on the right side of your screen, then on 'Zondagochtend Concert'.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 14, 2006):
Lex Schelvis wrote:
< They played a cantata by Johann Ludwig Bach: 'Die Weisheit kommt nicht in eine boshafte Seele', the Motette 'Der Geist hilft unserer Schwachheit auf" (BWV 226), and 'Ich hab' in Gottes Herz und Sinn' (BWV 92). The big surprise for me was the composition by Johann Ludwig, everybody always told me he was a minor composer, but I don't agree, now that I've heard this cantata. I should have known, Bach probably played 18 cantatas by his cousin in 1726, so he really must have liked the music. >
Johann Ludwig definitely derserves to be performed more frequently. His double-choir motet, "Das ist meine Freude" is superb, and its repreated "Das" prefigures Bach's opening of "Komm Jesus Komm".

Eric Bergerud wrote (May 15, 2006):
Two of J.L. Bach's works (including 'meine Freude') are on the charming CD "Bach Family Motets by the Calre College Choir under Timothy Brown. It carries what is now a budget price tag. (It does look as though the days of the $5.00 CD are gone. Hope that's a good thing for the business.)

 

CPE Magnificat

Continue of discussion from: Bach o Ring Tones [General Topics]

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 24, 2006):
Mike Mannix wrote:
< How do I get a ringtone which plays opening of CPE Bach Magnificat? >
Inasmuch as the Rössl-Majdan CPEB Magnificat has never appeared on CD, I ask again for worthy recordings to be recommended of this work. I used to hear it as bearing many similarities to the Magnifof Prolific Papa but longer.

Thanks,

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 24, 2006):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] I think the Choir of King's College, Cambridge recorded on Argo.

Richard wrote (June 25, 2006):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] This Magnificat was probably performed in the presence of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1749 . It is of course an homage to his Music by his son, and quotes several themes of Sebastian's own Magnificat which was written 26 years earlier.

The Amadeo-Vanguard recording is rather disappointing with very bad choir singing and an awful recording. There is a good performance conducted by Kurt Thomas on DHM 05472 77461 2 but this CD seems to be deleted.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 25, 2006):
Family discography (was C.P.E.B)

[To Richard] Thank you, Richard,

I now have more than a few recordings of Johann Christoph Bach's "Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte" and of his "Wie bist Du denn, O Gott, in Zorn auf mich entbrannt" and a few other such "family members' cantatas" that I have come to the conclusion that a full discography of the works of the rest of the family would be very useful to many of us as the recordings increase all the time.

I am happy, if interest is there, to make a list of what I have but I am sure that Aryeh and others here have these too.

Mike Mannix wrote (June 26, 2006):
I seem to have stirred it up with my recommendation of CPE Bach Magnificat as a ringtone.

My own recording is Ledger (Decca Ovation) with King's college and Acad of St Martin in the Fields.

For those who have never heard it, the work is notable for the uncompromising speed of its initial 'attack'. I can't think of any sacred choral work which begins with such fury. Sorry, I don't know how the origianl tempo is marked; presto, maybe! This makes it perfect for ringtones.

My first experience of it was under the late Roger Bullivant at a Sheffield Bach Society performance. Although it is a reworking of the JSB Magnificat, it stands by its own strengths and weaknesses.

The finale is especially effective, illustrating what a splendid composer CPEB might have been if he had not been 'trapped' in the stylistic no-man's land between the Baroque and Classical periods.

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 26, 2006):
[To Mike Mannix] Now no one reading the emails on this forum will ever forget that the opening of this piece begins with a fury...thanks to the ring tone discussion. Fortunately for Bach he lived in a time when ring tones didn't dominate the world of sound. Why even the Western Mockingbirds that live in my nieghborhood now mimic the ring tones of various cell phones---adding diversity to what fills the airwaves. When you pick a ring tone you just never know where it may finally find a home.

Julian Mincham wrote (June 26, 2006):
Mike Mannix wrote:
< The finale is especially effective, illustrating what a splendid composer CPEB might have been if he had not been 'trapped' in the stylistic no-man's land between the Baroque and Classical periods. >
I have to register disagreement with this statement. A hearing of the 6 symphonies Wq 182 or a number of the concerti and piano sonatas should dispel any doubts as to whether CPE was a 'great' composer or not. I would suggest that his main handicap was not the stylistic changes which were taking place throughout his formative years, but the shadow of his father. It does him great credit, I think that he forged his own individual pathwayand developed a style of originality and great emotional intensity at a time when 'pleasant diversion' -----something in which his younger brother JC Bach excelled----was the norm.

Had it not been for the overshadowing reputation of his even more eminent father I think we would today be celebrating CPE as one of the handful of really great Baroque composers, on a footing with Handel and Telemann.

Richard wrote (June 26, 2006):
[To Julian Mincham] I do not find the finale very interesting, the fugue looks endless and very scholastic. On the contrary CPE Bach seems to have found his way through the pre-romantic style. It a matter of taste of course...

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 26, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< I think that he forged his own individual pathway and developed a style of originality and great emotional intensity at a time when 'pleasant diversion' -----something in which his younger brother JC Bach xcelled----was the norm. >
I thought to let this discussion pass, but I want to register my agreement with Julian's statement. Indeed, it may be CPE's originality itself, not just his father's eminence, which contributed to his secondary reputation. Without any real research into dates etc., (and so correction is welcome) I have long thought of him as providing a link with subsequent composers, especially Haydn's Sturm und Drang (sp?) pieces.

Raymond Joly wrote (June 26, 2006):
[To Ed Myskowski] I think both writers below are perfectly right. I remember reading that in the second half of the 18th century, when people said "Bach", they meant Carl Philipp Emanuel. Is that true?

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 26, 2006):
[To Raymond Joly] That is NOT correct. They meant Johann Christian Bach who was of course VERY POPULAR.

It is he who---like Liszt later on--- may be deemed the founder of the NEW MUSIC, post-baroque music. I prefer all the other Bachs whom I have heard at all, well not the ones with barely no recorded music, to J.Ch. Bach. But it is he whom they meant.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 26, 2006):
Richard wrote:
< There is a good performance conducted by Kurt Thomas on DHM 05472 77461 2 but this CD seems to be deleted. >
Ah, but a deleted CD is a different matter than an LP NEVER transferred.Burns of CDs are fairly easy. Transfers of gems never digitized are another matter.

I wonder whether we cannot start to make a discography of C.P.E's Magnificat. We have the Rössl-Majdan, the Thomas, the Ledger, and one Doug mentioned on ARGO (an LP, I assume). A listing with soloists and choir would be good. The old Rilling is easily available but I understand it if from the 1970s when I walked out on Rilling's series of h-moll Messe and the two Passions as they were so bad. Inter alia in the MP no Gamba, UGH.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 26, 2006):
Mike Mannix wrote:
< My own recording is Ledger (Decca Ovation) with King's college and Acad of St Martin in the Fields. >
Please, Mike, Doug, and others, do indicate whether any recording to which you refer is on CD and whether the soloists and the chorus are German. Extraordinary singers can of course be non-German but, as also with French
and Russian vocal music, I vastly prefer native speakers. And I think I shall find a friend to transfer my Rössl-Majdan, however bad the choir was said to be. It has a deep meaning for me as a performances, not necessarily as a work.

Too bad that no Bach Daughters wrote music.

Thomas Jaenicke wrote (June 26, 2006):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] At JPC/CPO you can find another old recording of the Magnificat (+Symphonies Wq. 173 & 180) coducted by Haenchen with Hruba-Freiberger, Bornemann, Schreier, Bär, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Kammerorch." CPE Bach". I haven't listened to this recording but normally Haenchen is in the same class as Rilling, IMHO

Neil Mason wrote (June 26, 2006):
[To Ed Myskowski] Yes, Sturm und Drang indeed.

I recently conducted one of his oratorios which could be regarded as a textbook example of this.

Mike Mannix wrote (June 26, 2006):
A friend once asked me who it was freed the keyboard from its formalist sonata-based restrictions, paving the way for Beethoven.

The answer is CPEB with his wild fantasias and his strange changes of tempo and mood.

Unfortunately these are too ill-disciplined - as though he was unable to sustain a single train of methodic thought for long.

Has anyone heard his contributions to the Anna-Magdelena Notebook? His individual style comes across clearly, even though he was a mere child.

To escape from the restrictions of the ultimate musical teacher at such a young age is an achivement indeed!

Mike Mannix wrote (June 26, 2006):
Will do Je Suis,

As a Brit I am not familiar with the name Rosel-Majdan at all. The CPE Magnificat appearas to have had a performance life in UK before the Leger, St Martin in field Decca recording of 1976.

The Bach women have been airbrushed from history. Little is known about them. The resdicovery of the Anna Magdelena portrait would be a significant event, if it were to happen.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 27, 2006):
Richard wrote:
< I do not find the finale very interesting, the fugue looks endless and very scholastic. >
Sometimes "scholastic" is just what's needed. "Sicut locutus est" in J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243) is happily academic -- I've always though of it as an old-fashioned hommage to his predecessors, the Bach "patres" who taught him his craft. Its austerity is the perfect foil to the explosion of orchestral colour around it.

Bach's Magnificat is my Desert Island Choice -- you hear a microcosm all ofBach's vocal and choral styles in 23 minutes.

Ed Myskoeski wrote (June 27, 2006):
Mike Mannix wrote:
< Unfortunately these are too ill-disciplined - as though he was unable to sustain a single train of methodic thought for long. >
I promised myself not to get distracted from BWV 10, too late now. One person's <ill-disciplined> is another's Sturm und Drang.

My only recording of the CPE Bach Magnificat is a 1965 Archiv LP, including Hertha Töpper, A; Ernst Haefliger, T; NDR Hamburg Symphony, Adolf Deter. I originally discovered this music when there was an overnight classical music program in Boston which used the beginning of the opening chorus (Wq215/1), as theme music at midnight, for about fifteen years in the 1960's and 70's, without identifying it . I heard it what must have been thousands of times, thinking it was Bach pere, but never able to figure out what. And knowing it, like one of Jean's mockingbirds learning ring tones. One day (about twenty years ago) I saw the LP in a second hand bin, and took a chance. The rest is history.

I haven't looked at it for many years, but at the time it did send me into a wonderfully ill-disciplined frenzy of listening to all the CPE I could find. Now that I have it off the shelf again:

(1) The entire recording is in the same character as the Richter/Bach recordings. The A/T duet and A aria (Wq 215/6&7) are superb! I wish I had the Rossl-Majdan for comparison, Yoel. It appears neither of these recordings is available on CD. Time for you to recommission a turntable, or send me your R-M LP?

(2) Naturally, because there was plenty of liner paperboard on a 12 inch LP, there was plenty of room for liner notes. I don't believe I ever took the trouble to read these previously, or perhaps I did and absorbed them subliminally (if that is an OK word internationally). You know, thought I invented something I actually borrowed. It is a common defense for plagiarism these days.

(3) The notes by Gisela Gantert include:

CPE Bach's importance as a composer of keyboard and chamber music has long been recognized and respected by musicologists; he is regarded today [1965] as the essential pathfinder for the masters of the classical period. <Bach is the father, we the children. Whoever among us can do anything well has learned it from him ...>, wrote Mozart about the son of the Cantor of St. Thomas's. This is not exactly the source sought by M. Joly, but in the vein. Unfortunately, the Mozart quote is undocumented, so it is difficult to be sure he was referring to CPE, not JC, or even JS, nor to confirm its authenticity. Opinions? Job for a grad student? Otherwise, the liner notes and recording are superb.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 27, 2006):
Mike Mannix wrote:
< As a Brit I am not familiar with the name Rosel-Majdan at all. The CPE Magnificat appearas to have had a performance life in UK before the Leger, St Martin in field Decca recording of 1976. >

I am not sure that being a Brit has to do with it. I am an American and yet I listen to this woman forever and she of course is an Austrian. Go to Aryeh's short bios, rather outdated as so many more of her live performances have appeared on CD since the time we put that together. I understand Richard's objections to the performance as a whole (I haven't listened in years).

However extraordinary singers are very important to me.

Back to being a Brit, well I have heard of and heard Janet Baker in many things and I ain't no Brit.

Richard wrote (June 27, 2006):
[To Douglas Cowling] You are right of course. it is an archaic homage. But the musical language is very poor compared with Sebastian 's density. I don't feel that Emmanuel was very happy wit his fugues...

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 27, 2006):
Haenchen and Aw (was: CPE Magnificat)

Thomas Jaenicke wrote:
< At JPC/CPO you can find another old recording of the Magnificat (+Symphonies Wq. 173 & 180) coducted by Haenchen with Hruba-Freiberger, Bornemann, Schreier, Bär, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Kammerorch."CPE Bach". I haven't listened to this recording but normally Haenchen is in the same class as Rilling, IMHO >
Haenchen is a man about whom I primarily know one thing.There is a series of 10 small volumes of Mahler Pseudepigrapha that appears in a bilingual Dutch-German edition of which I have a single volume-ette. Haenchen is of course the pseudepigraphist himself and while I find the volume-ette obvious, others have been offended by what they perceive as a hoax.

And of course, as you note, he calls at least one of his orchestras after C.P.E.B. himself. There are a few Haenchen Bach Family orchestral CDs at Berkshire which I have not investigated.

 

Johann Ludwig Bach

Johan van Veen wrote (August 2, 2006):
Some time ago there was a short exchange regarding the works of Johann Ludwig Bach.

I have become acquainted with his music through recordings by Hermann Max, which were broadcast by WDR Cologne. In the 1980's (I think) he recorded four cantatas for Carus, which I liked a lot. I am happy to refer to a recent reissue of these recordings.

The four cantatas are:
Mache dich auf, werde licht; Ja, mir hast du Arbeit gemacht; Er machet uns lebendig; Die mit Tränen säen
Performers: Barbara Schlick, Mary Nichols, Wilfried Jochens, Stephen Varcoe, Jugendkantorei Dormagen; Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max
http://www.carus-verlag.com/index.php3?BLink=CDNeuerscheinungen

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 2, 2006):
Johan van Veen wrote:
< Some time ago there was a short exchange regarding the works of Johann Ludwig Bach.
The four cantatas are:
Mache dich auf, werde licht; Ja, mir hast du Arbeit gemacht; Er machet uns lebendig; Die mit Tränen säen
>
The Tallis Choir of Toronto has performed his "Das ist meine Freude" several times and it is a first-rate work which deserves wider currency. It is characterized by great antiphonal shouts of "Das, das" between the two choirs which have alwareminded me of the similar effects in "Komm, Jesu, Komm" and even of the opening of the SMP (BWV 244).

And while on the subject of Bach motets ...

The Tallis Choir is going to perform all six motets in concert next season (I need to start eating my vocal Wheaties!). We'll perform them with organ and cello. As contrast between the motets, we're thinking off asking the cellist to play movements from the unaccompanied cello suites.

Any suggestions? Are there movements you would think would work well?

John Pike wrote (August 2, 2006):
[To Douglas Cowling] I have that recording mentioned by Johan. I agree. There's some very nice music in there. A pity he and several other Bach's are overshadowed by the great master himself.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 2, 2006):
Bach Family

[To John Pike] For its concert, "The Funeral of J.S. Bach", the Tallis Choir of Toronto also performed Johann Christoph Bach's "Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf", which Wolff suggests was copied by Sebastian in preparation for his own funeral. Again a fine, fine work, echoes of which can be heard throughout Bach's own choral works.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (August 3, 2006):
[To Johan van Veen] The Chapelle des Minimes (Brussels) has performed 'Die mit Tränen säen' on April 23rd, 2006: http://www.minimes.be/avril2006.jpg
On the same day we had another concert where we performed other works by the Bach family (Johann, Johann Christoph, Johann Christoph Friedrich): http://www.minimes..be/avril%202006sablon.jpg
I particularly liked 'Fürchte dich nicht' by Johann Cristoph.

 

Recordings recommendations for cantatas by Js Bach's sons

Barry wrote (November 8, 2006):
I appreciate that this question is a little ot, but I hope it's close enough for people not to mind too much.

I am very fond of JS Bach's cantatas. From these, I have explored similar works by his predecessors and contemporaries such as Buxtehude and Telemann.Reading the discussions of BWV 80b, and the modifications attributed to WF Bach, I wondered about the cantata output, if any, of Bach's sons.Can anyone recommend suitable recordings, preferably on period instruments? Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

 

Bach and 16 vestal virgins

Rick Canyon wrote (November 10, 2006):
Article in the Times of London: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2446338,00.html

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 10, 2006):
[To Rick Canyon] Maybe we can make the Supremes pay royalites for using the Minuet in G for ³Symphony of Love²

Eric Bergerud wrote (November 10, 2006):
[To Rick Canyon] I suppose after 275 years Bach's music must now be considered in the public domain. Clearly another case of a skilled artist being born in the wrong generation. Does anyone know if there is a Bach family of any kind? You'd think with all of those kids that there'd be some people today that could trace their blood line to JSB. (With all of this Bach numerology and religious code built into his music that I've been hearing about, maybe there'd be a book in it. Something like "Bach Decoded." Or maybe if someone examined his scores very very closely one could find out that in musical code he predicted the Chicago Fire, the Franco-Prussian War, the 2000 American election and other historic catastrophes.)

Peter Smaill wrote (November 11, 2006):
[To Eric Bergerud] Until last year I have followed the orthodoxy that there were no direct heirs to Bach following the death on 13 May 1871 of the great granddaughter Frau Ritter. (per Charles Sandford Terry). However , the Bach scholar William Scheide maintains that successors to W F E Bach, extant first in Russia and then in the U S A, are alive to this day.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (November 11, 2006):
[To Peter Smaill] The problem with the past is that women had no rights. However Genetics have shown that they are very important in tracing our DNA family history.

Bach had several daughters. So their genes are called by another name these days. However, I have often wondered if Catherine Bach, the actress and sometimes singer, had JS Bach genes in her.

Rick Canyon wrote (November 11, 2006):
Ludwig wrote:
< However, I have often wondered if Catherine Bach, the actress and sometimes singer, had JS Bach genes in her. >
Is she the one married to Ringo Starr? (probably 'was'married by now) or, is that Barbara Bach? or, are Catherine and Barbara one and the same? Regardless, the idea of Bach's line being continued through Ringo...

 

The old wig

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 27, 2007):
>>Let's not forget that one of JS Bach's sons referred to him as "the old wig".<<
< My questions: >>Documentation? Which son? Under which circumstances? When? To whom?<<
BL:: >>
Johann Christian Bach, the London dude. References:<<
[NBR ("New Bach Reader") Norton, 1945/rev.1966/rev.1998, p. 378-379:]
"Bach's sons, with the possible exception of Johann Christian (who is rumored to have referred to Johann Sebastian as "the old wig"), held his father's work in high esteem...."
I guess that a reference in the NBR to an undocumented rumor will have answered my questions about this thing on the top of Bach's head: "Spitzname" (Spitz = top, peak, etc.). >
The corresponding passage was on page 270 in the 1966 edition: this is the introduction to a section of the book about the posthumous publications of Bach's collected chorales.

Looking at the two of these side by side, The Bach Reader vs The New Bach Reader, I see that Wolff has altered several other things in this same paragraph, but he left the above-quoted bit about JC Bach unchanged.

I guess he considered it OK enough to leave it as it was, instead of removing it or altering it; and the other alterations show that Wolff did have this paragraph open for alteration. Some of the alterations are even in the same sentence as this.

Any who don't like it (for citing/perpetuating an insufficiently documented rumor instead of rigid tumid evidence) can apparently blame either David/Mendel or Wolff, by choice. Or whatever else is handy and open to speculation.

But the Bach family members probably said lots of things about one another to lots of people, information existing now (if at all) only as rumors. Take for example the rumor/legend--duly included in both the NBR and Bach-Dokumente--about JSB finding a couple of coins in discarded fish heads. That's from a document written by a Bach enthusiast in 1786, outside the family. The incident being reported had happened more than 80 years earlier, if at all. Fishy.

If John C Bach ever called his dad "the old wig", his buddy Abel probably knew about it. They were very well acquainted, collaborating in a series of jobs. Additionally, John C did some other things his dad wouldn't necessarily have approved of, such as changing religions to get a job. It's also possible that John C really said, or that somebody mis-heard, the homophone "the old Whig" (i.e. misunderstanding or misrepresenting his late father's political tendencies); or that John C's alleged remark was simply some clever bit of rhyming slang. Those Bachs and the way they played around with stuff. And homophonic music, the new-wig style, as opposed to polyphonic.

I'm wondering which language John C said the thing in.

Somewhere in PDQ Bach's biography (I've misplaced my copy) there's an explanation of his composition "Peruckenstuck" (hair piece). But, the Bach Reader was there ahead of it with the "owig" quip.

Eric Bergerud wrote (January 28, 2007):
[To Bradley Lehman] I haven't the foggiest concerning relationship between JSB and his kids: one has been a chore for yours truly and find double digit figures hard to imagine in that regard. I have two copies of Mozart's "Great" Mass (McCreesh and Nicoll Matt). This work is one Mozart's that musical scholars believe shows clear influence on Mozart on the part of JSB. According to the liner notes on both CDs (Both are very good: Matt's is excellent SACD and is paired with a lovely series of JSB chorales rather than other works by Mozart) Mozart wrote the work soon after being loaned several JSB works (maybe including the Mass in B via CPE Bach) by his patron Baron van Swieten. I bring this up because young Mozart created a close friendship with JC Bach in London and many musicologists have found substantial influence on the part of JC Bach on Mozart's work. However, it does not appear that Mozart came to JSB through JC which might say something. (It may also say nothing and it is very possible that JC did peak Mozart's interest in things Bach and we just don't know about it.)

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 30, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< But the Bach family members probably said lots of things about one another to lots of people, information existing now (if at all) only as rumors. >
Funny. I always considered the wig comment to be a term of affection about a towering musician who was decidely old-fashioned to his 'galant' children.

Charles Burney remembered Handel's wig:

"Handel wore an enormous white wig, and when things went wella t the Oratorio, it had a certain nod, or vibration, which manifested his pleasure and satisfaction. Without it, nice observers were certain that he was out of humour".

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 30, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>Funny. I always considered the wig comment to be a term of affection about a towering musician who was decidely old-fashioned to his 'galant' children.<<
This must be due to a difference between the Anglo-American and German cultures.

The OED shows no similar, pejorative use for 'wig' so that "the old wig" translated literally from the German does not carry the same meaning in English as it does in German.

I sincerely hope that neither Wolff nor anyone else would ever consider translating literally "the old wig" from the English used in the NBR rumor report into German without coming up with a better equivalent!


The Grimm brothers' DWB gives two main meanings for "Perücke" ("wig") in German:

1). the actual wig as we know it often attached to scholars, lawyers, and governmental figures and representatives (the German has a strong sense here that the use of Latin language and terminology by these individuals is implied)

2). the wig as a pars pro toto making a mocking, sneering, derisive comment about the wearer (most frequently applied pejoratively to governmental figures or scholars as above)

Although the following example uses the word 'gelehrt' instead of 'alt' before 'Perücke', the situation in which it is used is very similar. Here is a selection from a biographical entry in the MGG1 by Eric Werner (Bärenreiter, 1986):

>> Nach gründlichem Studium dieses Werkes und einiger Kantaten, die sich im Besitz Zelters oder Felix' Großtante Levy befanden, begann er, mit einem kleinen Chor von 16 Stimmen bei sich zu Hause die Passion zu probieren. Das war sowohl aus technischen wie aus Geschmacksgründen kein leichtes Unternehmen. Denn J. S. Bach war vom Publikum vergessen, von den meisten Musikern als »gelehrte Perücke« verschrieen.<<

("After having thoroughly studied this work (SMP (BWV 244)) and several cantatas, which were found in Zelter's or Felix's great aunt Levy's possession, he [Felix Mendelssohn] began rehearsing the Passion at home with a small choir of 16 voices. This was not a simple undertaking for technical reasons as well as those having to do with matters of musical taste. For the public had forgotten J. S. Bach who was denounced/trashed/slammed by most musicians as the "scholarly wig" ["gelehrt" = in a figurative sense can be both positive or negative depending upon the context; here, however, the context is "Perücke" which clinches the notion that only the negative sense prevails in this pars-pro-toto epithet.]")

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 30, 2007):
>>Funny. I always considered the wig comment to be a term of affection about a towering musician who was decidely old-fashioned to his 'galant' children.<<
< This must be due to a difference between the Anglo-American and German cultures.
The OED shows no similar, pejorative use for ‘wig’ so that “the old wig” translated literally from the German does not carry the same meaning in English as it does in German.
I sincerely hope that neither
Wolff nor anyone else would ever consider translating literally "the old wig" from the English used in the NBR rumor report into German without coming up with a better equivalent! >
1. It still hasn't been ascertained here that JC Bach (of London) said the thing in German in the first place! However wigged out he may have been about Poppy, or not, he still could have said the thing in English.
Or perhaps French or Italian!

2. In lieu of beating up The New Bach Reader or Wolff or Mendel/David or anybody else: have you checked every single entry referencing JC Bach in the Bach-Dokumente, to make sure this isn't already covered clearly in there?

3. Whether JC Bach actually said the thing: does this in any material way lessen the stature of JS Bach or his achievements? Or, JC Bach's own? (i.e. "Why bother?!")

Julian Mincham wrote (January 30, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< 3. Whether JC Bach actually said the thing: does this in any material way lessen the stature of JS Bach or his achievements? >
Definitely! If he said that, I'm not listening to any more cantatas!

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 30, 2007):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Definitely! If he said that, I'm not listening to any more cantatas! >
Dude, don't flip your wig. (Anybody ever say that to Handel? In English?)

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 30, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The OED shows no similar, pejorative use for Owig¹ so that ³the old wig² translated literally from the German does not carry the same meaning in English as it does in German.
I sincerely hope that neither
Wolff nor anyone else would ever consider translating literally "the old wig" from the English used in the NBR rumor report into German without coming up with a better equivalent! >
That makes sense as the officials of court and government continued to wear wigs long after they had ceased to be fashionable. Wig-makers were particular targets of violence in the French Revolution because they were linked with the Ancien Regime. The TV mini-series about the life of Wagner showed Richard Burton as the young composer chafing under the restrictions of court and wearing a wig. I wonder if Beethoven was the first composer to toss aside his wig and go au naturel as a declaration of independence that he wore no aristocrat's livery. Schubert was certainly idolized for his curly locks.

The tradition of bureaucratic wigs continued in England -- and even in Canada! -- until quite recently. Judges and lawyers still wear them in England. I remember reading a late 19th century letter which made fun of a new bishop who appeared for the first time in church wearing his parliamentary wig.

Hierarchy and social position seems to have dictated the style and use of wigs. I wonder if Bach wore a style of wig which announced his profession as a Cantor. The next generation of independent, freelance composers would certainly have considered him an "old wig".

"Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming,
flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair, hair, hair, hair,
hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair"

Julian Mincham wrote (January 30, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Dude, don't flip your wig. >
Man my wig is waxed and wicked---but never flipped. Flipping (or tossing) is what we do with pancakes. But only on Pancake day or the special celebration of St Sedgwicke's Plenitarentiary./

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 30, 2007):
< Hierarchy and social position seems to have dictated the style and use of wigs. I wonder if Bach wore a style of wig which announced his profession as a Cantor. The next generation of independent, freelance composers would certainly have considered him an "old wig". >
Well, the booklet notes of this fine album: Amazon.com
start off with "Bach Rid of His Wig -- Notes on The Art of Fugue". And the cover art is this painting of dewigged Bach, by Pascal Mohlmann: http://www.bach-net.org/inventions.html

Excerpt from the notes:
"When we consider Bach himself, we notice at second glance that he has finally taken off his wig -- 250 years after the Hausmann portrait. We see a human being! A somewhat corpulent man with a stubbly beard who outdid most of his genial colleagues as a musicians. The human quality revealed to us for a moment in this portrait increased our desire not to continue to spin Bach into his own mystical web. We simply want to play his music, and, if necessary, to adapt his music to the instruments available to us, just as he adapted his music to the instruments available to him. Respect need not mean keeping one's distance. What one wants to view respectfully from close up is something that one can take one's time to absorb into oneself. What one regards with tender esteem brings with it an invitation to pleasure. After all, the best baker in town has a practical goal in mind, namely that people eat his bread."

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 30, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Well, the booklet notes of this fine album: Amazon.com
start off with "Bach Rid of His Wig -- Notes on The Art of Fugue". And the cover art is this painting of dewigged Bach, by Pascal Mohlmann: http://www.bach-net.org/inventions.html >
What a great imaginary portrait!

The private Handel looks very different as well: http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/handel_5.jpg

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 30, 2007):
< The private Handel looks very different as well: http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/handel_5.jpg >
Those oddly-spaced black keys on the dude's clavier would give my fingers a headache. And that one arched eyebrow, what's up with that? Nice chair! And the coat buttons almost suitable for staving off swordplay from polemicists.

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 31, 2007):
Source: http://www.mdr.de/geschichte/personen/108204-hintergrund-122049.html

From MDR, TV-Guide for Middle Germany

History of Middle Germany

Subject: Bach's Heirs

Author: unlisted (This TV-Guide has a disclaimer stating that they are not responsible for the articles on their web-site.)

[This report is somewhat like what you would expect to read in a report written by a grade-school student when told to write a short summary on the Bach family with emphasis those who became beneficiaries of Bach's wealth and goods after his death. This then appears as a humorous (not deliberately written this way) concatenation of facts, rumors and incorrect information which the writer then pastes together using a vivid imagination.

The reason I am sharing this is that the writer is German and obviously still has a good sense for what "die alte Perücke" ("the old wig") means in German even today.

>>. Sein Testament begünstigt allerdings auffällig den Jüngsten, Christian (1735-1782), der den Vater respektlos "alte Perücke" nannte.<<

"Bach's will, however, conspicuously favored his youngest son, Christian (1735-1782) who disrespectfully called his father ,an old wig'."

[I do not understand, after looking at the actual distribution of money and goods, how the claim can be made that J. C. Bach 'was conspicuously favored' by this father. Did Bach even have a will? The distribution went according to the then existing laws. The distribution of the scores and parts, however, must have been agreed upon prior to Bach's death.]

Chris Rowson wrote (January 31, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Source:
.Author: unlisted (This TV-Guide has a disclaimer stating that they are not responsible for the articles on their web-site.)
.The reason I am sharing this is that the writer is German and obviously still has a good sense for what "die alte Perücke" ("the old wig") means in German even today. >
I´m not sure that an MDR TV guide is authoritative for the interpretation of the alleged "old wig" remark. The writer´s "good sense" for its meaning is a modern interpretation.

I suspect the remark is affectionate. Let´s not forget that JC Bach himself regularly wore a wig, so I don´t think the connotation of being old-fashioned is that strong. I also remember Burney´s anecdote of JC being asked to play in the style of his earlier days and replying that he no longer had the hand for it. I think he knew what a fine training he had had.

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 31, 2007):
[To Chris Rowson] Let's also not forget (see Wolff's bio, page 402) that it could run both ways. JSB allegedly said about JC Bach: "The boy progresses surely by his stupidity!" (borrowing his words from verse by Gellert)....but that JSB went ahead and gave JCB three keyboard instruments anyway.

=====

< http://www.mdr.de/geschichte/personen/108204-hintergrund-122049.html From MDR, TV-Guide for Middle Germany >
...readily available by googling "alte Perücke Bach", hit #3...

< [This report is somewhat like what you would expect to read in a report written by a grade-school student when told to write a short summary on the Bach family with emphasis those who became beneficiaries of Bach’s wealth and goods after his death. This then appears as a humorous (not deliberately written this way) concatenation of facts, rumors and incorrect information which the writer then pastes together using a vivid imagination. >
While fantasy writing for television viewers is being criticized in that way, let's also not forget scenarios like the following, largely inspired by the BCML/BCW:

Pregnant young Anna Magdalena has finished her kitchen duties, and put at least the youngest children to bed. Relieved, she settles down to a table by firelight to start the evening work. Her task is to prepare handwritten copies of violin parts, which will be used in ensemble sight-reading at tomorrow morning's worship service. She glances gratefully and admiringly at her husband, who managed to finish the music on time yet again this week, and who is supervising the several other copyists at the table...while also making copied parts himself. What a genius!

So as not to disturb the sleeping children or the concentration of the music-copying team, young Emanuel works his own music lessons quietly on the equal-tempered clavichord in the next room. He could have used the more brand equal-tempered harpsichord, but it's just too dang loud, so he makes do with the clavichord. Setting to work, he opens his stepmother's music book and proudly composes his own new march into it, with sure strokes of the pen. Papi and Maggie will be so pleased! And if he shows enough talent, maybe Emanuel too will be allowed to sight-read the church music someday with the big boys. Or grow up to write some himself, for pay. Or at least to tune the church harpsichord, in equal temperament, since that's easy enough for Papi to do in way under 15 minutes. How hard could it be?

Still, Emanuel already entertains the nagging suspicion that Papi would always like Friedemann best. Had he known English at the time, the rhyme "smother brother" would have crossed his fertile young mind, but fortunately he didn't, so he doesn't think that after all. We can be absolutely certain that he didn't think that, or consider slipping a taste of Papi's brandy secretly into Friedemann's cup to get him on the path to alcoholism. Such things are surely far from innocent young Emanuel's mind. Instead, he admires the yet-lovely shade of Prussian blue in big sister's already fading dress, and he dreams of royalty. Maybe I'll get a job with lousy pay working for the king, and then I'll show everybody. As he loses himself in improvisatory thought, his fingers roaming the keyboard, beads of perspiration gather on his countenance. So much better than a stupid trained bird, he thinks: birds can't sweat like this. Or play this quietly, lost in a world of pondering his genius father's music lessons.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 31, 2007):
Chris Rowson wrote:
< I suspect the remark is affectionate. Let´s not forget that JC Bach himself regularly wore a wig, so I don´t think the connotation of being old-fashioned is that strong. >
My grandchildren call me the old Dude when they think I am not listening. They haven't yet figured out that old dudes hear everything.

I am grateful that they recognize that I am a dude, and not just some guy. I think they are being affectionate.

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 31, 2007):
[To Ed Myskowski] My wife and daughter had the following conversation last year:

"A 'dude'? Is Daddy a dude?"
"Yes!"
"And is Grandpa a dude too?"
"Yes."
"Is Mama a dude?"
"No way!"
"What makes Daddy a dude?"
"God did!"

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 31, 2007):
Flights of Fantasy [was: the old wig]

Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>While fantasy writing for television viewers is being criticized in that way, let's also not forget scenarios like the following, largely inspired by the BCML/BCW:
...Still, Emanuel already entertains the nagging suspicion that Papi would always like Friedemann best. Had he known English at the time, the rhyme "smother brother" would have crossed his fertile young mind, but fortunately he didn't, so he doesn't think that after all. We can be absolutely certain that he didn't think that, or consider slipping a taste of Papi's brandy secretly into Friedemann's cup to get him on the path to alcoholism. Such things are surely far from innocent young Emanuel's mind.Instead, he admires the yet-lovely shade of Prussian blue in big sister's already fading dress, and he dreams of royalty. Maybe I'll get a job with lousy pay working for the king, and then I'll show everybody. As he loses himself in improvisatory thought, his fingers roaming the keyboard, beads of perspiration gather on his countenance. So much better than a stupid trained bird, he thinks: birds can't sweat like this. Or play this quietly, lost in a world of pondering his genius father's music lessons.<<
How about following this with another flight of fantasy and hyperbole masquerading as fact intended to confuse the casual reader as documented in Ross W. Duffin's "How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony", Norton, 2007, p. 148:

>>They [those who claim that Bach's 'Well-Tempered Clavier' sounds best in EQ = Equal Temperament] could even ascribe to Bach the ultimate justification for ET with his famous 'Well-Tempered Clavier', whose forty-eight preludes and fugues explore each of the twelve major and minor keys. Whatever temperament you use for, say, Telemann as a choice for historical performance, Bach could always be an exception and validate the triumph of ET. Those days ended for good in early 2005 when keyboard scholar and performer Bradley Lehman deciphered and published Bach's encoding of the temperament he intended for his famous collection. There is no question that Lehman convincingly solved Bach's puzzle, and the bad news for defenders of ET in Bach is that Bach's temperament is not ET. It is unique but nonetheless one of the family of circulating temperaments -- with similar kinds of tempered intervals to those of Bach's contemporary Johann Georg Neidhardt, for example -- usable in all keys but shaded to favor slightly some keys over others. In fact, the "sample irregular temperament given back in figure 7 is Bach's own "well temperament" as deciphered by Lehman. This was Bach's ideal for keyboard music, not ET. So, in spite of his highly chromatic writing in all keys, ET defenders can no longer claim Bach as their secret champion, as the man who was such a great musician that he anticipated and justified the ultimate victory of ET in the modern era.<<

Will Bradley Lehman now find anything at all to criticize in this above statement which has now, with one keen stroke by Ross Duffin, lifted Lehman's reading of Bach's squiggles from theoretical guesswork to the level of established fact which will force musicians playing Bach to change the ways their instruments should be tuned? Will Bradley Lehman now confirm that everything stated above is logical and reasonable considering all the musicological studies that have been done in this area and the serious criticisms expressed by experts in the field of temperaments regarding Lehman's so-called 'Bach' Temperament (a misnomer, if there ever was one)?

 

Baroque royality: Living descendents?

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (March 22, 2007):
I'm curious-- are there any direct living descendents of Johann Sebastian Bach alive; and by direct I mean from him-- not his cousins or brothers.

Also curious about Telemann-- he had several children and one grandson (Georg Michael) that was an organist in Riga, but when G. Michael died, apparently G.P.'s manuscripts were either parceled off or thrown out-- which makes me think there weren't any direct heirs left.

Handel and Vivaldi didn't have any children (well that we know of), but I'm curious about brothers or sisters or cousins carrying on the family name.

Thanks for any leads on this.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (March 22, 2007):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] IF we are examining the parternal line there are no direct legitimate heirs (no offense intended but Bach could have some illegitimate grand children which would have in those days be considered scandalous and hence secreted)living that we know of. However, Bach had some 20 children by two wives and there is bound to be some of his genes floating around somewhere out there.

On the maternal line ---there probally are some direce Bach direct descendents but to find them we are going to have to have a sample of Bach's DNA (that is if who is resting in his burial space is really him) and a sample from one of the women. There are many Bachs in the world today probally related in the distant past to JS. such as Barbara Bach the actress etc.

As far as Vivaldi is concerned ----since he was a Priest it is not likely ---if he kept his vows---that he had any children.

Handel is a different story---there could be some but as you say we do not know about them.

On the other hand; we do know about Mozarts children and his wife who died in 1860 or there abouts.

Peter Smaill wrote (March 23, 2007):
[To William Rowland (Ludwig)] As previously discussed, orthodox belief pre WW2 was that the Bach line had died out ithe late nineteenth century.

However, the Bach scholar William Scheide (the owner of the Haussmann portrait and several original manuscripts) discovered descendants of W F Bach in the U.S. , who had come via Russia. Although I heard this at first hand from him at Princeton I have no further details to hand. Perhaps one of our band has the chapter and verse.

 

Bach family motets, Clare Cambridge conducted by Brown

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 26, 2007):
I have to mention a recently acquired delight: the Regis CD of 11 motets of the Bach family, by members older than Johann Sebastian. Timothy Brown conducts the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. The recording was made in 1995, and this Regis publication is a reissue (unfortunately without texts or translations): Amazon.com | Amazon.com

It also pops up at amazon.co.uk, et al. Search for "bach motets brown".

The price is near 0. I got mine from here: Berkshire Record Outlet

The music is exquisite. Roster below. Some of these compositions were in JSB's own repertoire as conductor, for his choirs at Leipzig.

The performances by Brown's group are gentle, clear, and lovely: with a small mixed choir singing one-per-part most of the time, and accompanied by theorbo, organ, and "bass violin".

1. Lieber Herr Gott
Composed by Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703)

2. Unser Leben ist ein Schatten
Composed by Johann Bach (1604-73)

3. Herr, du lässest mich erfahren
Composed by Johann Michael Bach (1648-94)

4. Nun hab'ich überwunden
Composed by Johann Michael Bach

5. Es ist nun aus
Composed by Johann Christoph Bach

6. Der Gerechte, ob er gleich
Composed by Johann Christoph Bach

7. Ich lasse dich nicht
Composed by Johann Christoph Bach

8. Fürchte dich nicht
Composed by Johann Christoph Bach

9. Sei lieber Tag willkommen
Composed by Johann Michael Bach

10. Unsere Trübsal
Composed by Johann Ludwig Bach (1677-1731)

11. Das ist meine Freude
Composed by Johann Ludwig Bach.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (April 26, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< I have to mention a recently acquired delight: the Regis CD of 11 motets of the Bach family, by members older than Johann Sebastian. Timothy Brown conducts the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. The recording was made in 1995, and this Regis publication is a reissue (unfortunately without texts or translations): Amazon.com | Amazon.com >
You have two URLs here: One is for a Brilliant CD. The other for a Regis CD. The Regis at list $12.99 is hardly near 0 in price, as you have stated. I already have both the old Rilling The Bach Family (which still assigns
"Ich lasse dich nicht" to JSB) and the Goebbel Die Familie Bach. Each is a 2CD set with full texts and notes.
I find this ongoing issuance of non-text-, non-notes-bearing CDs for all kinds of vocal music an abomination. One of the reasons that I buy CDs at all is for booklets (texts minimal). There is endless music to download on operashare. It is texts and notes that I expect from CDs. Two of the Bach family works, "Wassers g'nug" and "Im Zorn auf mich" I have endless recordings of, all with texts and notes. This is also a matter that I bitched about last night re the Harnoncourt JP DVD, no cast for all intents and purposes and we thus are relying on what
information seems to have been gleaned from places other than the DVD and its stupid, idiotic, and insipid booklet.To return to present matters: The Brilliant is very cheap, as expected. The Regis does not seem cheap for a textless issue.

 

Wq 215/4 "et misericordia" question

Yoël L. Arbeitman (Malvenuto) wrote (January 10, 2008):
A while back, one or two years (tempus fugit) I asked here about any really good recording of the CPE Bach Magnificat since my only recording, that of Prohoska with HRM, remains on LP only and I haven't heard it for over six years.

This last week or so I've gotten two CD couplings of Dad's and Sonny's settings. The one is dreadful and the other is simply wonderful although the soloists and their nature in the resp. magnificats in this wonderful CD are very dissimilar.

The uninteresting CD for both works is that of Ledger. Less said, the better. The terrific CD is that of the Collegium Aureum, Tölzer Knabenchor, Schmidt-Gaden, etc.(super-cheap from sellers).

The JSB has three boy soloists and the whole performance is more than one could ask for. However there are endless recordings of JSB's and anyone may like this or that.

The CPE coupling has Ameling and Lehane (two great females).But here's really my question: On the Ledger, as I likewise recall on the Prohaska, no. 4, the long "Et misericordia" is choral, sung by a chorus. On the Schmidt-Gaden in the six recitations of this one sentence beginning "Et misericordia" it seems to me that in the 2nd recitation the sentence is done by two sopranos and in the fifth recitation by an alto and a soprano. Various of the choral presentations of the same sentence are so subtlety produced by the different parts of the four part chorus that that which in the Ledger is a boring repetition, here seems a really well-crafted and appealing musical section.

Is this all up to the conductor and not clearly notated by CPE?

Other than that I really was deeply impressed by Maureen Lehane.

Oh, finally before I forget: On the Collegium Aureum the JSB is done in German-Latin while the CPE is done in Italian-Latin (on the Ledger both are in Italian-Latin). This is rather strange on the C.A. where the two performances share a tenor at least.

Aryeh's discography gives 1972 for the JSB Bach. The CD only gives a recording date (1966) for the CPE Bach.

Evan Cortens wrote (January 10, 2008):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] I myself have been searching for a good recording of the CPEB Magnificat as well, so far I've heard the Lewis/Washington Bach Consort (1999) and the Rilling/Stuttgart Bach Collegium ones, and I'm afraid I can't report back favorably on either. I'll have to check out Schmidt-Gaden!

A few comments on CPEB's setting of the Magnificat:

- Source-wise, this is certainly a very tricky piece. While a number of good articles have been written on it (see references below), there is still no critical edition, though one is currently being prepared by Christine Blanken for the CPE Bach Complete Works. I don't know when it will be available, but whit is, it will be quite cheap:
they're selling most volumes for $20, if you can believe it. There is, to my knowledge, one printed edition of the work, but it basically reproduces D-B P341, CPEB's first autograph score, written in 1749 in Berlin and likely performed as a test piece in Leipzig, when he applied for his father's job, an audition that was unsuccessful.

- CPEB wrote two completely different settings of the "Et misericordia", one for the first performance, and one sometime later, perhaps in the 1760s, perhaps as late as 1767, as the parts containing only this movement are in the hand of Michel, CPEB's principal copyist in Hamburg, whereas earlier parts contain the new "Et misericordia" as an insert-leaf, with the old version crossed out. The earlier setting, in E minor and 3/4, begins with all voices together in homorhythm and including a lengthy duet for soprano and alto; this is likely the
version on your recording, as it is the one contained in the printed score mentioned above. The later setting, also in E minor but in 4/4, begins with a measure of soprano alone before the three lower voice parts enter and is quite a bit shorter than the earlier setting. I haven't yet found a recording that uses this version.

- The size of CPEB's Hamburg choir, unlike his father's, is a pretty open and shut case. Hamburg, a city that seemed to enjoy its bureaucracy, kept extensive pay records for musical performances. Often these records only indicate a cost, but many times they include a complete breakdown of how many voices and instruments there were, how much each player/singer was paid, and sometimes even all of their names. This evidence indicates that there were eight singers in this choir. Furthermore, CPEB or his copyists often wrote the names of the
singers on their parts, indicating that the parts weren't shared. Another point of interest is that in his Hamburg passion settings, CPEB would often indicate who he was writing an aria for write in the score, "aria for H. Lüders", and such, making sure that each of his 8 singers got at least one.

- I looked over all of the Berlin parts for the "Et misericordia", and all of the parts contain all of the notes. In other words, if your recording alternates between solo and tutti, that was the conductor's decision and isn't supported by the evidence. One part does include a "solo" marking and "tutti" marking, but I'm not sure what effect this would have, as the part would have been used by one singer (see above, point 2), and there doesn't seem to be a corresponding ripieno part that drops out.

- My thoughts on Latin pronunciation: I think that German Latin pronunciation is probably correct for both CPEB and JSB, however I can't really back this up with hard and fast evidence at this time. Many recordings use Italian latin, as you know... Nevertheless, in my opinion, it's probably best to pick one and stick with it, rather than switch based on the piece. Interestingly, the Reilly/Washington recording, in the "Fecit potentiam" (Tenor aria), the tenor begins in German Latin and switches to Italian half way through... oops!

Hope this helps, and thanks for the recording recommendation,

References:

Blanken, Christine. "Zur Werk- und Uberlieferungsgeschichte des Magnificat." Bach-Jahrbuch (2006): 229-271.

Rifkin, Joshua. " '…wobey aber die Singstimmen hinlänglich besetzt sein müssen…': Zum Credo der h-Moll-Messe in der Aufführung Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs." Basler Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis 9
(1985): 157-72.

Sanders, Reginald. "Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Liturgical Music at the Hamburg Principal Churches." PhD diss., Yale University (2001).

Wollny, Peter. "Anmerkungen zur Überlieferungs- und Aufführungsgeschichte des Magnificat Wq 215 von Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach." Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs geistliche Musik. Frankfurt (Oder), 2000: 15-29.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 10, 2008):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< This evidence indicates that there were eight singers in this choir. Furthermore, CPEB or his copyists often wrote the names of the singers on their parts, indicating that the parts weren't shared. Another point of interest is that in his Hamburg passion settings, CPEB would often indicate who he was writing an aria for write in the score, "aria for H. Lüders", and such, making sure that each of his 8 singers got at least one. >
The lack of such personal notes in J.S. Bach's scores and parts is baffling. Handel, Vivaldi and other contemporary composers all occasionally write the names of singers in their scores.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 10, 2008):
Latin Pronunciation

Evan Cortens wrote:
< My thoughts on Latin pronunciation: I think that German Latin pronunciation is probably correct for both CPEB and JSB, however I can't really back this up with hard and fast evidence at this time. Many recordings use Italian latin, as you know... Nevertheless, in my opinion, it's probably best to pick one and stick with it, rather than switch based on the piece. >
Rome did not attempt to impose Italianate pronnciation on the whole church until 1903 and it was resisted even then by German-speaking countries. However, it's unlikely that the Italian singers at the Dresden court adopted German pronunciation. Making fun of regional pronunciations goes back to the early Renaissance. As early as the 15th century, we find singers making fun of the pronunciation of Latin in other countries. An English treatise made the following jingoistic comment:

³The English doe carroll, the French sing, the Spaniards weepe, the Italians caper with their voices, the others barke, but the Germanes doe howle like Wolves.²

Evan Cortens wrote (January 10, 2008):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< The lack of such personal notes in J.S. Bach's scores and parts is baffling. Handel, Vivaldi and other contemporary composers all occasionally write the names of singers in their scores.>
Yes, very interesting! It's interesting to note as well that the older Handel edition (the HHA) often keeps the names of the singers in the score, rather than writing Soprano/Alto/Tenor/Bass.

Perhaps the reason we don't see this in JSB is a result of his functional concept of the music? Whereas a Handel opera or oratorio is an occasional work, written for a specific time and place, JSB cantatas are more generic, intended to be performed on one day of the church year, yes, but also to be reperformed at a later date on that same liturgical occasion. However, if this is true, one could reasonably ask why we don't see singer's names on secular cantatas, works which certainly fit into the same occasional category.

I should mention also that the Magnificat Wq 215 doesn't have parts with singers names, the only place I've observed this is in the passions and the inauguration cantatas.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 10, 2008):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< However, if this is true, one could reasonably ask why we don't see singer's names on secular canta, works which certainly fit into the same occasional category. >
Especially works like the "Coffee" (BWV 211) and "Peasant" (BWV 212) Cantatas which have such a strong sense of particular occasion.

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 10, 2008):
[To Evan Cortens] Evan, thanks for this especially well-pointed and informative posting about CPE Bach! It identifies so many important issues....

Is there any chance the "solo" and "tutti" markings would be a simply a heads-up for the performer to know (ahead of rehearsals) which sections will require them to blend into ensemble, and which are soloistic? It might not have anything to do one way or another with adding any more singers on the part, but merely an aid to preparation.

My idea on this is that it would rather be like using "piano" and "forte" markings in a solo part (either instrumental or vocal) to give some indication what the accompaniment is going to be like; not so much to inflect the part itself with any sudden dynamic changes, but only to suggest what the whole ensemble will be doing overall.

Apropos of your Rifkin reference listed below, you might also check out Rifkin's new edition of the B minor mass: his attempt to tease apart the CPEB changes from the father's original: http://www.music.qub.ac.uk/tomita/bachbib/bb-review_Rifkin-BMM.html
The preface of the edition, in both German and English: http://www.breitkopf.com/fileDownload.php?fileId=3268

We had some discussions of the edition in May 2007, but (as I recall) none of us had actually seen or used it yet.

The Blanken edition of the CPEB Magnificat will of course show up here in due time: http://www.cpebach.org/cpeb/
I haven't picked up those offprints yet, but I've browsed through the shelved copies of the keyboard volumes at a music library and am eager to play more of that music.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 10, 2008):
Solo/Tutti

Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Is there any chance the "solo" and "tutti" markings would be a simply a heads-up for the performer to know (ahead of rehearsals) which sections will require them to blend into ensemble, and which are soloistic? It might not have anything to do one way or another with adding any more singers on the part, but merely an aid to preparation. >
This is certainly the way the markings are used as early as the "choral" works of Monteverdi.

And speaking of "solo" markings, has anyone worked what Beethoven intended at the "Pleni Sunt Coeli" of the Missa Solemnis where the score is marked "solo" in the voices but the full orchestra comes in -- in Gardiner's recording, the soloist markings are observed and the singers are all but obliterated.

Yoël L. Arbeitman (Malvenuto) wrote (January 10, 2008):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< I myself have been searching for a good recording of the CPEB Magnificat as well, so far I've heard the Lewis/Washington Bach Consort (1999) and the Rilling/Stuttgart Bach Collegium ones, and I'm afraid I can't report back favorably on either. I'll have to check out Schmidt-Gaden! >
Thank you so much, Evan, for this most informative reply.

As I recall, at least at Amazon.com one could not find it by searching Schmidt-Gaden but only by searching "Magnificat Aureum".

Another thought, just a personal response on my part, for the first time the alto aria really made me think more of a Mendelssohn oratorio than of Papa Bach.

Evan Cortens wrote (January 11, 2008):
Hello Brad, thanks for your kind words, I'm glad you found my post enjoyable.

Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Is there any chance the "solo" and "tutti" markings would be a simply a heads-up for the performer to know (ahead of rehearsals) which sections will require them to blend into ensemble, and which are soloistic? It might not have anything to do one way or another with adding any more singers on the part, but merely an aid to preparation. >
While I'm not familiar with CPEB or JSB using "solo" and "tutti" markings in this way, it certainly doesn't rule out the possibility... further study is required!

< My idea on this is that it would rather be like using "piano" and "forte" markings in a solo part (either instrumental or vocal) to give some indication what the accompaniment is going to be like; not so much to inflect the part itself with any sudden dynamic changes, but only to suggest what the whole ensemble will be doing overall. >
These dynamic markings seem almost universal in JSB and CPEB though, i.e. a piano is present at virtually every entry of the soloist in an aria, whereas these "solo" and "tutti" markings in the part are comparatively rare. Another possibility is that they are a direction to a copyist, as a solo/tutti marking in a score would be; one sees this use in contemporary prints of Schütz. It was much more practical for them to print a set of parts with directions for how to make more than to print a score, requiring people to copy out a full set of parts. Of course, one must keep in mind the time frame here... the Magnificat part I referred to with these markings is a fair bit later, and not in the hand of one of CPEB's main copyists.

< Apropos of your Rifkin reference listed below, you might also check out Rifkin's new edition of the B minor mass: his attempt to tease apart the CPEB changes from the father's original.
[snip]
We had some discussions of the edition in May 2007, but (as I recall) none of us had actually seen or used it yet. >
Yes, I'm familiar with the edition. As one often sees with Rifkin, his work doesn't just focus on one aspect of something but provides a thorough consideration of all related issues. I've found the preface and critical report (only in German) very helpful, and I haven't even been working with the mass directly. It's certainly a top-notch edition and fixes many of the oversights in the original NBA edition, almost 50 years old at this point.

< The Blanken edition of the CPEB Magnificat will of course show up here in due time: >
I confess, I only have a few volumes of the CPEB edition at this point, but I do plan to purchase many more. They have a generous grant from the Packard Humanities Institute to subsidize the production of volumes, thus allowing them to produce books for $20 and $35. Compare that to the NBA, for instance, where a volume of music plus critical report could easily run you $300. (While on the topic of cost, I should mention that the Rifkin edition above is also quite a steal, $90 for the whole thing, with critical report, again, a fraction of the cost of the NBA edition.) The whole team over at the CPEB edition is excellent and they're doing great work!

Evan Cortens wrote (January 11, 2008):
< Thank you so much, Evan, for this most informative reply. >
Thank you for the kind words, I'm glad you found it helpful.

< As I recall, at least at Amazon.com one could not find it by searching Schmidt-Gaden but only by searching "Magnificat Aureum". >
Thanks for the heads up! I often shop on ArkivMusic.com, and I hadn't bumped into this recording.

< Another thought, just a personal response on my part, for the first time the alto aria really made me think more of a Mendelssohn oratorio than of Papa Bach. >
Too often CPEB is written off as "pre-classical" or something to that effect; his sacred music is often ignored entirely (see the H-G Ottenberg bio, for instance, which barely even mentions the fact that he worked for over 20 years in a position much like his father's, providing over 200 performances of church music per year). He really does have a unique compositional voice!

Yoël L. Arbeitman (Malvenuto) wrote (January 19, 2008):
Evan Cortens wrote:
<< Thank you so much, Evan, for this most informative reply. >>
< Thank you for the kind words, I'm glad you found it helpful. >
<< As I recall, at least at Amazon.com one could not find it by searching Schmidt-Gaden but only by searching "Magnificat Aureum". >>
< Thanks for the heads up! I often shop on ArkivMusic.com, and I hadn't bumped into this recording. >
Although ArkivMusic is a fine reference source indeed, there is one problem with making them your sole shopping place (there are such problems with any one place): Arkiv only lists and stocks VERY MUCH IN PRINT items. Many of the treasures I seek are sort of out of print.

Indeed I guess this item is oop and sellers offer it at amazon. Alas, many items in this same series, the existence of which I have just become aware of, are not to be obtained. One must find such things while they exist and therefore Arkiv is only for quite current things.

<< Another thought, just a personal response on my part, for the first time the alto aria really made me think more of a Mendelssohn oratorio than of Papa Bach. >>
< Too often CPEB is written off as "pre-classical" or something to that effect; his sacred music is often ignored entirely (see the H-G Ottenberg bio, for instance, which barely even mentions the fact that he worked for over 20 years in a position much like his father's, providing over 200 performances of church music per year). He really does have a unique compositional voice! >
I am certainly not prepared to make any sweeping statement about CPhE. I was only offering a personal perception on one aria in a single work.

Evan Cortens wrote (January 19, 2008):
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote:
< Although ArkivMusic is a fine reference source indeed, there is one problem with making them your sole shopping place (there are such problems with any one place): Arkiv only lists and stocks VERY MUCH IN PRINT items. Many of the treasures I seek are sort of out of print.
Indeed I guess this item is oop and sellers offer it at amazon. Alas, many items in this same series, the existence of which I have just become aware of, are not to be obtained. One must find such things while they exist and therefore Arkiv is only for quite current things. >
Very true! Amazon is great for used things as well, and I often find their in-print selection is better as well... just that ArkivMusic is better organized...

< I am certainly not prepared to make any sweeping statement about CPhE. I was only offering a personal perception on one aria in a single work. >
My apologies! I certainly didn't mean my comments toward you, rather to the "musicological establishment" (whatever that means). Certainly attitudes are changing now, especially with the rediscovery of the majority of CPEB's sacred compositions in the Sing-Akademie collection. I suppose it's really more a problem with the traditional historical narrative, one that seeks to identify a given genius for each period of time and focus solely on them, hence: Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. I don't think people are teaching music history in this same way anymore. (Note that I certainly don't mean to diminish the greatness of these composers!)

 

JEG and SDG to release a new CD of Johann Christoph Bach music

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 23, 2009):
On April 16, 2009 at Cadagon Hall, JEG and his ensemble gave a concert of music by Johann Christoph Bach (1642 - 1703), who was Bach's first cousin once removed. There were several funeral related cantatas performed along with a wedding piece. This was recorded live, and will be released on the SDG label. This concert was given a fantastic write up in Early Music Review, a FANTASTIC resources of CD, concerts, choral society concerts/events, and new scholarly edition reviews-- all put together by Clifford Bartlett, a Handel specialist who is a mover and shaker in early music circles in the United Kingdom. I really can't say enough good things about this publication, it makes any other magazine about early music/ classical music look absolutely anemic. You can see some extracts online at http://www.kings-music.co.uk/emr.htm. The next issue will feature many reviews of J.S. Bach recordings.

 

W. F. BACH 300

Michael Cox wrote (November 22, 2010):
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

300 today

Born: November 22, 1710 - Weimar, Thuringia, Germany
Died: July 1, 1784 - Berlin, Germany

"Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was the eldest, and by common repute the most gifted son, of J.S. Bach; a famous organist, a famous improvisor, and a complete master of counterpoint." (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Bach-Wilhelm-Friedemann.htm)

In his novel Friedemann Bach (1857, later edition Leipzig 1909) A. E. Brachvogel describes imaginary conversations between Johann Sebastian and his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann. (I picked up this book in a church in Leipzig for just one euro!)

In one scene father says to son that he, the son, had only heard good music in his father's house, but that when they arrived in Dresden they would hear only "murderously bad music" (mordschlechte Musik). In Dresden Friedemann would hear "no intelligent music" (keine gescheite Musik).

Does this sound like something that Bach would have said to his son in real life?

Had Schütz been totally forgotten in Dresden? Surely Bach was aware of his existence.

One commentator writes: "Schütz was ...unquestionably, the most talented German composer of his century...Oddly, although he lived until just over a decade before Bach's birth despite being almost exactly 100 years older, Schütz had next to no influence on Bach." http://studhalter.blogspot.com/2008/12/schtz-geistliche-chormusik-1648.html

Another commentator, by contrast, speaks of the "large influence" of Schütz on later German music, including Bach - and we might add today, his son W. F. Bach.

"Schütz was of great importance in bringing new musical ideas to Germany from Italy, and as such had a large influence on the German music which was to follow. The style of the north German organ school derives largely from Schütz ...; a century later this music was to culminate in the work of J.S. Bach." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Schütz)

Adolph Bach (no relation) mentions that Schütz was influential in introducing into German musical language such Italian terms as Adagio, Allegro, Andante, Solo, Arie, and Violoncello.

(A. Bach, Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache (1938; 6th edition, Heidelberg 1956, p. 235).

This book is a very useful and informative one. It was first published during the Nazi period but was reprinted unchanged as late as 1956. It is heartrending to read the accounts of the Judeo-German spoken by hundreds of thousands of Yiddish-speakers who were still alive in 1938 when the book was first published but later perished in the Holocaust. It is odd and insensitive that a university textbook should not be updated after such a harrowing and traumatic period as the Second World War.

Watch this old film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCmvZzUbnr0&feature=related

And listen this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs2zBomTR_Q&feature=related

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 22, 2010):
Michael Cox wrote:
< Watch this old film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCmvZzUbnr0&feature=related >
This clip from the 1941 film "Friedemann Bach" is fascinating. Sebastian's "duel" with Marchand is reworked as a contest with Friedemann. Given the date of the film, one wonders if this is an allegory of the German defeat of
France.

 

Bach & Carl: Latin Music, German Tradition: 1750-1800

William Hoffman wrote (July 6, 2011):
Bach's Latin Music, His Vocal Music, and Music of Other Composers, 1750-1800

Bach's second oldest son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, was most responsible for preserving his father's music, including music of the Bach Family and Latin Church Music of other composersl, as well as church music annual cycles and other sacred music of his father's colleagues.

Latin Music

Christoph Wolff, "Preface" (English translation, Edward Olleson), Antonio Caldara <Magnificat in C Major>, edited by Christoph Wolff (Kassel, New York, Bärenreiter, No. 3518; 1969); M2020 C25 M3.

Besides the Caldara <Magnificat>, Latin vocal music works "were not added to Bach music library merely to be studied but also to be performed, including:
J. Baal - Missa in A*
J. L. and J. N. Bach - Mass in C*, Mass in e*
G. B. Bassini [6 Masses in parts]
C. Bernhardt [2 Masses in scores]
J. C. Kerll - Missa Superba
A. Lotti [Sanctus in score and parts]
G. P. da Palestrina [Mass in parts]
M. G. Peranda [Kyrie in parts]
J. C. Pez -- Missa San Lamberti*
J. C. Schmidt [Mass in score]
J. H. Wilderer [Mass in score and parts]

* BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Work-Perform.htm .
[music] See below, C.P.E. Bach Estate Catalog 1790.

"After Bach's death, the major part of this library passed on to his son Carl Philipp Emanuel." The Estate Catalog 1790 includes both music C.P.E. Bach composed and collected as well as earlier music of his father (pp. 68-81) and the Latin music (pp. 87-88]. The J. S. Bach's manuscript score of Caldara's <Magnificat> in score with the <Suscipe Israel> original insert is listed on Page 88.

C.P.E. Bach's Estate Catalog (1990)

The catalog begins with C.P.E. Bach's music; followed by his father's; brothers [Pages 82-83] Wilhelm Friedemann, Johann Christoph Friedrich, Johann Christian, and Johann Bernard; Music of the Bach Family (Altbachisches Archiv) from his father [ Pages 83-85] (The J. L. Bach 18 cantatas were bound separately)]

Then annual cycles of church music probably collected by C. P. E. are listed, beginning with Georg Benda (1); Telemann (4) [Page 86], Stözel (3), Fasch (1) and Forster (1`) [Page 87]. The last three composers cycles contain missing works primarily for late Epiphany and various Trinity Time Sundays, the catalog notes.

Then Latin Music is listed from his father [see above list, Page 87] followed by two Masses of Zelenka in score, one Mass of Hasse in score, one Kyrie of J. G. Graun in parts; one Mass of Benda in score, one Matthew Passion of Keiser, a Passion-Cantata of Hiller, the Brockes Passion of Telemann in score, a Passion of C. H. Graun in score, a Matthew Passion of Telemann in score and parts, Telemann's 1763 Passion in score, Telemann's <Seliges Erwägen> Passion in score and parts [Page 88],

More church music inherited from his father is found on Page 88: Caldara's <Magnificat> in score, Lotti [see above], the Sebastian Knüpfer motet "Erforsche mich, Gott" in score and parts, 16 Ricercari von Girolamo, Frescobaldi, as well as church music of C. H. Graun, Telemann, Sellius, Hasse, Baron von Grotthuz, and chorales of Altnikol and Johann Gottfried Bach.

Ten church works of Benda are found on Page 89, followed by five church works of Fasch, and 18 church works of C. H. Graun (Pages 89-90). Page 91 lists Easter Music ("I know that my redeemer liveth" and the "Hallalujah" chorus ) from Handel's Messiah, which C. P. E. conducted in a benefit concert in late March 1786, along with his arrangement of the <Credo> from his father's <Mass in B Minor>, and three of his own works after intermission: a symphony, <Magnificat> and famous setting of <Heilig> (Sanctus).

Bach's Music Performed: 1750-1800

The most important study of the performance of Bach's music from 1750 to 1800 remains Gerhard Herz, "JSB in the Age of Rationalism and Early Romanticism" (1935 dissertation in German), in <Essays on J. S. Bach> (Ann Arbor MI: UMI Research Press, 1985). Herz found that some 45 Bach works were performed, primarily cantatas by sons Carl and Friedemann, but also by Carl: the <Credo> as well as music from the St. Matthew and St. John Passions and Christmas Orartorio. Motets and chorales were performed by the Thomas Choir in Leipzig under Bach student and successor Friedrich Doles. As many as three Passions once attributed to Bach may have been performed: "Farlau's SMP copy (c.1756) was one of three presumed Bach Passions performed in Leipzig by Kantor Friedrich Doles, as recalled later by student Johann Friedrich Rochlitz. The other two "Bach" Passions in Doles' possession were copies of the apocryphal St. Luke Passion, BWV 246, and the Passion oratorio, "Jesu, deine Passion," later attributed to Weimar capellmeister Ernst Wilhelm Wolf (1735-1792) [Thomas Braatz, BCW Article: "Early Performances of Bach's SMP", BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/SMPDaten.htm .

Other important studies of Bach's music from 1750 to 1800 include: Karl Geiringer, <The Bach Family>(1954); <The New Grove Bach Family>, ed. Christoph Wolff (1983); and B. F. Richter, "The Destiny of the Cantatas of JSB Belonging to the Thomas School in Leipzig" (<Bach Jahrbuch> 1906).

William Hoffman wrote (July 6, 2011):
Much of Bach's music was presented by son's Friedemann and Carl, who generally observed the following practices:

1. They did not present church cantatas on all Sundays and feast days.

2. They did not always present their father's works only on the occasions for which they originally were written.

3. They parodied a few of their father's works, using new texts, making arrangements or pastiches.

4. They did not complete their own<Jahrgange, or annual church cantata cycles; instead they presented works from other composers' <Jahrgange> in their music libraries, fashioned pastiches, or presented original music.

From thesis draft, "Early Bach Reception History: Music Transmission Before 1750," (1994), 22 pages with bibliography.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 7, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Bach's second oldest son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, was most responsible for preserving his father's music, including music of the Bach Family and Latin Church Music of other composersl, >as well as church music annual cycles and other sacred music of his father's colleagues. >
Thanks for the details, as well as the *headline*, re preservation of JSB church works.

Evan Cortens wrote (July 7, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Much of Bach's music was presented by son's Friedemann and Carl, who generally observed the following practices:
1. They did not present church cantatas on all Sundays and feast days.
3. They parodied a few of their father's works, using new texts, making arrangements or pastiches. >
Thanks for your interesting posts on the provenance of Bach sources! I do have a question about your point 1 below as specifically regards C.P.E. Bach. It's my understanding, derived especially from Reginald Sanders's excellent dissertation on the topic, that CPEB was required to present church cantatas on all Sundays and feast days during his time in Hamburg (1768-1788). Does your comment, perhaps, refer to his time in Berlin, when he wasn't employed as a church musician?

Also, as regards point 3, I'm not familiar with any examples of CPEB parodying his father's works (i.e., the use of a new text with old music). He does, for instance, reuse bits of JSB's SMP in his 1769 Matthew passion, but with their original texts. (I.e., an example of pastiche.) That said, this is just off the top of my head...

Evan Cortens wrote (July 7, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< C.P.E. Bach's Estate Catalog (1990)
The catalog begins with
C.P.E. Bach's music; followed by his father's; brothers [Pages 82-83] Wilhelm Friedemann, Johann Christoph Friedrich, Johann Christian, and Johann Bernard; Music of the Bach Family (Altbachisches Archiv) from his father [ Pages 83-85] (The J. L. Bach 18 cantatas were bound separately)]
Then annual cycles of church music probably collected by C. P. E. are listed, beginning with Georg Benda (1); Telemann (4) [Page 86], Stözel (3), Fasch (1) and Forster (1`) [Page 87]. The last three composers cycles contain missing works primarily for late Epiphany and various Trinity Time Sundays, the catalog notes.
Then Latin Music is listed from his father [see above list, Page 87] followed by two Masses of Zelenka in score, one Mass of Hasse in score, one Kyrie of J. G. Graun in parts; one Mass of Benda in score, one Matthew Passion of Keiser, a Passion-Cantata of Hiller, the Brockes Passion of Telemann in score, a Passion of C. H. Graun in score, a Matthew Passion of Telemann in score and parts, Telemann's 1763 Passion in score, Telemann's <Seliges Erwägen> Passion in score and parts [Page 88],
More church music inherited from his father is found on Page 88: Caldara's <Magnificat> in score, Lotti [see above], the Sebastian Knüpfer motet "Erforsche mich, Gott" in score and parts, 16 Ricercari von Girolamo, Frescobaldi, as well as church music of C. H. Graun, Telemann, Sellius, Hasse, Baron von Grotthuz, and chorales of Altnikol and Johann Gottfried Bach.
Ten church works of Benda are found on Page 89, followed by five church works of Fasch, and 18 church works of C. H. Graun (Pages 89-90). Page 91 lists Easter Music ("I know that my redeemer liveth" and the "Hallalujah" chorus ) from Handel's Messiah, which C. P. E. conducted in a benefit concert in late March 1786, along with his arrangement of the <Credo> from his father's <Mass in B Minor>, and three of his own works after intermission: a symphony, <Magnificat> and famous setting of <Heilig> (Sanctus). >
Apologies for the separate email, I should have noted this along with my other response. For those interested in which works (by other composers, and by himself) C.P.E. Bach was performing in Hamburg, including the works of Benda, Forster, etc, the best source on this is Reginald Sanders's dissertation. In a length appendix, he gives every occasion during Bach's 20+ year tenure for which he had to provide music, and lists, when known, which piece(s) was/were performed.

It's really a great read, and highly recommended for anyone interested in the day to day running of an office very similar to JSB's in Leipzig, but with much more extant documentation.

One very tiny point of clarification. The "Heilig" presented at the 1786 benefit concert was the one for two choirs (Wq 217/H 778), not the much smaller version for single choir (Wq 218/H 827). While I'm rambling, it's worth noting as well that the version of CPEB's Magnificat presented in 1786 differed in significant ways (e.g., addition of trumpets, replacement of "Et misericordia" movement) from the version written in 1749 (for CPEB's audition for the Leipzig job). The currently available modern editions of this work are a real mess, and thus the few recordings of this work are too. A new edition, edited by Christine Blanken, is in preparation by the C.P.E. Bach: Complete Works folks. It'll be in two volumes: a Berlin version, and a Hamburg version.

William Hoffman wrote (July 7, 2011):
[To Evan Cortens] As to Carl's cantata performances in Hamburg, 1768-88, Eugene Helm in the CPEB section (9) of <The New Grove Bach Family> (1983: 265) says that for the 200 musical performances yearly in the five churches, "Like his predecessor Telemann, he naturally sought suitable music wherever he could find it to supplement his own compositions, often manufacturing 'inaugural music' here or a Passion there out of bits and pieces of his own and others' works." I don't know if Telemann did pastiches but he repeated cycles and also recycled whole or parts of annual cycles simultaneously among the churches of Erfurt and Frankfurt (1722-1730). I also note that Carl's estate included 10 annual cycles: Georg Benda (1); Telemann (4) [Page 86], Stözel (3), Fasch (1) and Forster (1), noting all three Stözel cycles missing mostly cantatas for omne tempore periods of late Epiphany and throughout Trinity. The Telemann cycles included the "Angel", "Lingisch" and "Nuernberg" years but no description of the Stözel cycles like the "Saitenspiel" that Dad probably partially performed (1734/35), Trinity +13-18.

As for Carl doing parodies, most were done by Friedemann (like Cantata 80 in Latin!), altho Carl did extensive revisions of Cantatas 102, ?25, and ?30 and may have done German contrafactions (Luther) of Dad's Kyrie-Gloria Missae, BWV 233 and 235.

Evan Cortens wrote (July 7, 2011):
[To William Hoffman] Thanks for clearing this up for me! It sounds like a better way to say your point one, for CPEB at least, would be "did not present original church cantatas on all Sundays and feast days." Am I understanding you correctly?

Though some of the models for CPEB's pastiches have been identified—I mentioned the use of JSB's SMP, but the Mark passions also reuse Homilius, for instance--there remains much more work to be done in this department. I think part of the issue is that oftentimes CPEB is reusing music that is unknown today, whether because it's lost, or simply forgotten.

William Hoffman wrote (July 8, 2011):
[To Evan Cortens] Friedemann in Halle (?1748-56) was responsible only for original cantatas on feast days. David Schulenberg has a new bio, <The Music of W. F. Bach (Univ. of Rochester), 2010. While he does cover Freddy's music, especially for keyboard, he has very little to say about Freddy's treatment of his Dad's Music. There is a Daniel Melamed article (?Bach Perspectives) much better, and I don't think Schulenberg cited this in his biography. His college text on Baroque Music is excellent and costly $100 each for text and printed music but scanty on listening examples except keyboard. Schulenberg also has a book on Daddy Bach's keyboard music tho I find Victor Lederer's new book -- a listeners guide, very good as an introduction.

There is a new Carl Bach edition based on the recovery of the Berlin library and I think plans for a new Freddy Bach edition.

Evan Cortens wrote (July 8, 2011):
[To William Hoffman] Info on the new CPEB edition available at: http://cpebach.org/ The volumes are all incredibly cheap, and very well done. Highly recommended.

The new WFB edition is already under way, being published by Carus Verlag in Stuttgart. Info here:
http://www.carus-verlag.com/index.php3?BLink=ID4cdd03d7bfea5 (if that
link doesn't come through, just google "friedemann carus",and it's the first result)

The article you're thinking of, I think, is "Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's Halle Performances of Cantatas by His Father" by Peter Wollny, who wrote his Harvard diss on WFB, and is the managing editor for the new Carus edition. This article appears in Bach Studies 2 (as Chapter 12), edited by Daniel Melamed, and is indeed cited several times in Schulenberg's new book. Link here: http://cornell.worldcat.org/oclc/34146723

 

Johann Christian Bach CD of Sacred Music to be released on Harmonia Mundi

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (October 3, 2011):
Harmonia Mundi will be releasing a new CD of J.C. Bach's sacred music (a unjustified neglected genre I must say), including:

A full Requiem (using two compositions) and a Miserere.

Generous sound samples are available @
http://www.harmoniamundi.com/#/albums?view=playlists&id=1724

 

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Last update: ýNovember 29, 2011 ý10:01:45