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Bach's Birthday
Part 3: 2007-2012

2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

 

Continue from Part 2

Year 2007

Heidelberg, Events for Bach's Birthday

Tom Dent wrote (March 20, 2007):

Two 'Musicals', an early morning service, substantial chunks from the Musical Offering, and the film of Dominique de Rivaz: http://www.studentenkantorei.de/kirchenm.htm

any other plans?

 

Bach's Birthday

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 21, 2007):
Best wishes to all on BachTag.

Everyone should play their favourite Bach music today: I will be listening to "Mache Dich Meine Herze" from the SMP (BWV 244).

Hoch soll er leben!

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (March 21, 2007):
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For mot of us through out the world; Today at 9:27 hours Eastern US Mainland Daylight Savings time is Bach's Birthday. However, that will be soon yesterday in Guam USA and Asia.

Anthony Olszowy wrote (March 21, 2007):
[To Douglas Cowling] I would like to take this opportunity this March 21 to thank all my fellow listers and lurkers for this list. I began trolling the Internet in the mid nineties looking for more information regarding the cantatas (Simon's short commentaries come to mind), when I stumbled upon one of the earliest versions of this list. So much informed commentary, so much passion, I find it easy to overlook the interim flame wars between partisans of one point of view or another.

My special thanks to Aryeh. I have been involved in volunteer arts administration for over a decade and a half, and I know how these things can consume one's work day--and spare time. He does a truly magnificent job under sometimes trying circumstances. This site is truly a gold mine of both information and opinion.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2007):
[To Douglas Cowling] I'm listening to a bunch of non-Bach all day...and waiting to do the Bach thing on March 31st. Maybe I'll slip in one Bach piece today anyway.

All having been discussed in zillions of rounds before, about the offsets of the old calendar he was born under, etc etc:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Birthday.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Life-2.htm

The Bizet symphony is so pretty!

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 21, 2007):
Norouz, Spring, Bach's Birth Anniversary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norouz
Wishes for Norouz to all our Kurdish, Iranian, and other members, a holiday that may coincide with Bach's Birth Anniversary and Spring. Ja! Der Lenz ist da, sei kommen über Nacht

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 21, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>I'm listening to a bunch of non-Bach all day...and waiting to do the Bach thing on March 31st.<<
A more reasonable assumption, taking into account all the variables involved would point to April 1 rather than March 31st to mark the return of the sun to the same position this year that it had on the day and place when and where Bach was born.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] Bach was born on a date that they wrote down as March 21st, 1685, old calendar.

During his youth, there in Germany, they removed ten days from the calendar. Ten whole days, not fragments of days.

This effectively shifts his birthday to March 31st 1658, new calendar. All day of March 31st, judged by the positions of earth and sun returning every year to the same relative spots. We don't know what time of day he was born, but it was during that day that's now called March 31st, local time in Germany.

How in the green, blue, or brown earth does this make April 1st "more reasonable" than March 31st?

Granted, for those of us who live six time zones (or whatever) west of the places that Bach lived, we should be celebrating this from about 6:00 p.m. on March 30th through 6:00 p.m. March 31st, to get the whole German day of March 31st. But that's still not April 1st.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 21, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] the messiah must have come:
Lehman and Braatz seem to ALMOST concur on something.
will wonders never cease?

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 21, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>How in the green, blue, or brown earth does this make April 1st "more reasonable" than March 31st?<<
In your calculations you have forgotten to consider the Vernal Equinox. Have you ever noticed that spring officially begins at different times and sometimes on a different calendar date depending upon which year you happen to be in? This consideration, reflecting the imperfection of our current calendar, is behind finding the same position the Sun had during the 24 hour period during which Bach was born. This is called a Solar Return which this year would point to April 1st as being a more reasonable choice (making it more correct particularly for anyone living in the USA) for bringing anyone into closer harmony with the same position of the Sun (against the backdrop of constellations commonly referred to as the Zodiac) that it had on the day when Bach was born.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 22, 2007):
Creating Holidays [was: Bach's Birthday]

Bradley Lehman wrote:
< I'm listening to a bunch of non-Bach all day...and waiting to do the Bach thing on March 31st. Maybe I'll slip in one Bach piece today anyway. >
I am sure that no one of this list needs a special day on which to listen to Bach.

I wonder on what day the gentlemen celebrate Christmas as any historical Jesus as narrated in the Gospels (two of them that have nativity stories) certainly don't indicate Dec. 25th and rather would be surprised if either gentleman worried very much about the created date of Christmas. Bach's today date is at least what was written on his birth certificate, it would seem, and the fact that the calendar changed, so celebrate both days, if you so will.

Whew, anything to battle over.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 22, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>How in the green, blue, or brown earth does this make April 1st "more reasonable" than March 31st?<<
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< In your calculations you have forgotten to consider the Vernal Equinox. Have you ever noticed that spring officially begins at different times and sometimes on a different calendar date depending upon which year you happen to be in? This consideration, reflecting the imperfection of our current calendar, >
Our current calendar is about as well tuned to the perturbations of the solar system as we are able to measure. We now occasionally add or subtract a second to the very official clock. The major remaining imperfection is agreeing on when we had decided to start counting, requiring many different calendars around the Earth. If we could all start from the same beginning, all practical imperfections would be overcome. As some may have noticed, I have proposed that we start from the best current scientific measurement of the condensation of the rocky planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) about 4.56 billion years (current earth circuits) ago. As a compromise with CE calculations, we could call the current year 4,560,000,007 CEC, or 007 EC (or CEC if that would make the transition easier) for short. Among friends, so to speak.

< , is behind finding the same position the Sun had during the 24 hour period during which Bach was born. This is called a Solar Return which this year would point to April 1st as being a more reasonable choice (making it more correct particularly for anyone living in the USA) for bringing anyone into closer harmony with the same position of the Sun (againthe backdrop of constellations commonly referred to as the Zodiac) that it had on the day when Bach was born. >
This is incorrect, a fundamental misunderstanding of how calendars (cultural) relate to earth circuits about the sun (astronomical years) and earth rotations (astronomical days).

One way (but certainly not the only possible way) to reconcile the fact that years divided by days (it's only arithmetic, not to worry) leaves a fraction of slightly less than 1/4 is to add a day now and then, very close to once every four years

The added day happens in Leap Years, formalized in the Gregorian calendar, according to this brief history:

<The Gregorian calendar resulted from a perceived need to reform the method of calculating dates of Easter. Under the Julian calendar the dating of Easter had become standardized, using March 21 as the date of the equinox and the Metonic cycle as the basis for calculating lunar phases. By the thirteenth century it was realized that the true equinox had regressed from March 21 (its supposed date at the time of the Council of Nicea, +325) to a date earlier in the month. As a result, Easter was drifting away from its springtime position and was losing its relation with the Jewish Passover. Over the next four centuries, scholars debated the "correct" time for celebrating Easter and the means of regulating this time calendrically. The Church made intermittent attempts to solve the Easter question, without reaching a consensus.

By the sixteenth century the equinox had shifted by ten days, and astronomical New Moons were occurring four days before ecclesiastical New Moons. At the behest of the Council of Trent, Pope Pius V introduced a new Breviary in 1568 and Missal in 1570, both of which included adjustments to the lunar tables and the leap-year system. Pope Gregory XIII, who succeeded Pope Pius in 1572, soon convened a commission to consider reform of the calendar, since he considered his predecessor's measures inadequate.

The recommendations of Pope Gregory's calendar commission were instituted by the papal bull "Inter Gravissimus," signed on 1582 February 24. Ten days were deleted from the calendar, so that 1582 October 4 was followed by 1582 October 15, thereby causing the vernal equinox of 1583 and subsequent years to occur about March 21. And a new table of New Moons and Full Moons was introduced for determining the date of Easter. <end quote> (source: Calendars and their History)

The astute reader will note this was adopted in Rome in 1582. Bach was born in 1685, why the disagreement, the delay? I am more scientist than historian, so I will leave that to others, if there is ongoing interest.

The key point for the current discussion is that the calendar (cultural) was corrected by adding ten days, so that Oct. 4 (Old Style) became Oct. 14 (New Style?), or in official RC Church calculations, Oct. 15, 1582 was the day after Oct. 4. It is a matter of personal preference (and gemiatric significance?) whether Mar. 21 OS should now be celebrated on Mar. 31, but that is the correct alternative, astronomically and culturally.

Fortunately, birthday celebrations were not a big deal at the time, so kids did not feel cheated. If they had, and had complained, Bach would have cuffed them, if he had been around yet.

Which he wasn't, because he was not born for over a hundred years, 1685 CE (315 BEC for the very hip). Why they were still using OS calendar where he was born, when Rome had modernized over a hundred years earlier is another matter for history, not science. Certainly, Bach had nothing against the likes of Vivaldi, so the fault probably doesn't lie with him.

Happy Birthday, JSB. Some of us will celebrate again in ten days, just in case. To emphasize, that will be Mar. 31. The following day will be April Fools. Somehow, I believe JSB would find this discussion appropriate for remembrance of his birth.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (March 22, 2007):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] True no one needs a special day to listen to a Bach work although I follow such a practice with the Cantatas----I listen to one for each Sunday of the Liturgical year it was written until I have finally gone through all of them. At Christmas, Easter,et al I listen to the Magnificat, the Passions, but I have yet to discover an appropriate time for the Mass in B minor (BWV 232) but perhaps Bach's Birthday would be appropriate since most of the material from the Cantatas has the seeds of it in the Mass in B minor. As far as the secular works---they get played anytime of the year.

 

Year 2008

Bachs Birthday [was: Universal Faith for Bachians]

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 21, 2008):
Malvenuto wrote:
> I wish you are Happy Easter but Easter wishes are best sent to your coreligionists rather than to all.<
Perhaps one of the calendar experts can figure out how often Good Friday (for some, but not all Christians), the Vernal (Spring) Equinox (ecclesiastic, not astronomical), and Bachs Birthday (Gregorian, not Julian calendar) coincide?

As soon as I wrote all of that, I realized that two out of three occur every year, ecclesiastic equinox (thanks for the <usno> link to clarify the distinction from astronomical equinox, which was yesterday, March 20, in 2008) and Bachs Birthday, both always on March 21. So the real question: how unusual is it for Easter to occur on March 23; i.e., for an ecclesiastic (as distinct from astronomical, thanks for that as well) Full Moon to occur on Saturday, March 22?

Rough guess: about every 28 years for the full moon, and one in seven times it would fall on saturday, about once in 200 years. Enjoy the rarity, less than once in a lifetime (human, anyway, so far).

And Happy Birthday to Bachians, Happy Spring to Northern Hemispherians, and Happy Day of Equality to all Earthlings (with minor tinkering to accomodate the Christian ecclesiastic equinox convention).

I am going out on a limb here, without checking: I will bet there are twenty-seven Sundays after Trinity in 2008. Radio hosts who have the opportunity to program the cantatas on the liturgically correct day will have a rare opportunity for completeness.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 21, 2008):
< Rough guess: about every 28 years for the full moon, and one in seven times it would fall on saturday, about once in 200 years. Enjoy the rarity, less than once in a lifetime (human, anyway, so far). >
Check out that link I sent yesterday: http://www.assa.org.au/edm.html
One of its pages lists hundreds of years of the Easter dates, and March 23rd is rare. The last one was 1913. The next one after 2008 is 2160. March 22nd is possible but rare, too.

My wife dug out a 1980 calendar she had saved (sentimental value, and it's not made of paper) and we have that on one of our walls, because 1980 and 2008 are identical all the way down...except for the placement of Easter, of course. All the dates/days are the same, month by month. And I've been wondering rather idly, is that true of all calendars that are 28 years apart...or does it rely also on crossing a year multiple of 400 with regard to the leap day observance?

Anyway, as usual, I'm celebrating Bach's birthday not today but on the 31st, which is where it would be according to our current calendar. Old discussions about the 31st: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Birthday.htm

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 21, 2008):
[To Bradley Lehman] Thanks for the quick reply.

I was just about to post a correction: Easter can be on March 23, if the Full Moon is on either March 21 or 22, so about one-half as rare as my rough guess, but still once in a good lifetime (roughly 100 years). And still a rough estimate, corrections invited.

I also neglected to check that Bach was born on March 21 Julian, not Gregorian as I stated, and so not on the equinox at all, as Brad points out.

Ignorance is bliss, I will just go ahead and enjoy the day anyway.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 21, 2008):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I was just ato post a correction: Easter can be on March 23, if the Full Moon is on either March 21 or 22, so about one-half as rare as my rough guess, but still once in a good lifetime (roughly 100 years). And still a rough estimate, corrections invited. >
Easter falling on March 22, its earliest date, is very rare: 1761, 1818, 2285. It did not occur during Bach's lifetime.

2008 will have 27 Sundays after Trinity so dust off your favourite "Wachet Auf" for November 23, 2008. Alas, most modern lectionaries do not use the Parable of the Virgins for the last Sunday before Advent.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 21, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] Thanks, Ed. Most interesting observations.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 21, 2008):
[To Bradley Lehman] Thanks, Brad, for the interesting information.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 21, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thanks, Doug.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 22, 2008):
Doug Cowling wrote:
>2008 will have 27 Sundays after Trinity so dust off your favourite "Wachet Auf" for November 23, 2008. Alas, most modern lectionaries do not use the Parable of the Virgins for the last Sunday before Advent.<
What a tease. I will wait until the work comes up for discussion, but I did look ahed to realize that the Parable of the Virgins is the Gospel for the rare Trinity 27.

Is the idea that the lectionaries for the last Sunday before Advent have the option to draw from any of the possible Sundays after Trinity (23 to 27)?

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 22, 2008):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Is the idea that the lectionaries for the last Sunday before Advent have the option to draw from any of the possible Sundays after Trinity (23 to 27)? >
In Bach's day, the one-year lectionary was fixed and a late Sunday like Trinity 27 rarely appeared and so those scriptural passages were not reaed publically. It may have been the only occurrence in Bach's lifetime.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (March 22, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] As I recall, in the Polish Lutheran Church, they always do Wachet auf (as in, the whole congregation sings the chorale at the service) and the Parable of the Virgins is read on the last Sunday before Advent, regardless of the number of Sundays after Trinity. I think they call that last Sunday before Advent 'Eternity Sunday', or something to that effect.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 22, 2008):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] Thanks, Cara, for adding this information.

Diane Laaksonen wrote (March 22, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] The Parable of Virgins is in the common lectionary for Nov. 9, 2008. I am planning a performance of Wachet Auf for that Sunday.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 28, 2008):
Cara T. wrote:
>As I recall, in the Polish Lutheran Church, they always do Wachet auf (as in, the whole congregation sings the chorale at the service) and the Parable of the Virgins is read on the last Sunday before Advent, regardless of the number of Sundays after Trinity. I think they call that last Sunday before Advent 'Eternity Sunday', or something to that effect.<
Seems like only yesterday, but a lot of chat has intervened. Pardon the delayed response. I thought this was an interesting idea, how does the fixed (by conventional calendar) <last Sunday before Advent> intersect with the variable <last Sunday after Trinity>, as determinded by the date of Easter.

Thanks for the response. I guess we should let it rest until it comes up toward the end of the year, and without distracting from the chronologic cantata discussion. Lookng forward to the scarce Trinity 27, given the early Easter! A lot of liturgical territory, in the interim.

 

Year 2010

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 7, 2010):
Bachs Birthday

This morning Brian McCreath noted (www.99.5allclassical.org) that there are several special events planned in Boston USA for Bachs 325th birthday, Mar. 20, 2010, including a performance by Emmanuel Music. Details available at www.wgbh.org.

We no longer have a Sunday AM cantata broadcast, but it has been replaced by a Sunday evening Bach hour, including liturgically correct cantata broadcast, or other appropriate choral music during tempus clausus (?, hope that is close), such as now, for Lent. The internet version of the Bach hour is available throughout the day, I believe. Worth checking out, if you are not already familiar with it.

George Bromley wrote (March 7, 2010):
[To Ed Myskowski] can you pick up "The Bach Hour" on windows media player? so I may hear it here in the UK ?

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 8, 2010):
George Bromley wrote:
< can you pick up "The Bach Hour" on windows media player? so I may hear it here in the UK ? >

Thanks for your interest. I listen via FM radio, as I am local. I do not have the hi-tech facilities to participate that way, despite my frequent posts.

I know that Glen Armstrong is able to tune in from one of my favorite geographic locales, Prince Edward Island, CA. You should be able to access either of these sites:
http://www.wgbh.org
http://www.99.5allclassical.org

for more info. Perhaps Glen or others can help with specific software requirements.

If all else fails, write me off-list and I will get you in touch with Brian McCreath for guidance. For many years Brian monitored BCML, I expect he still does so, although I have not confirmed that recently.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 8, 2010):
[To Ed Myskowski] If they do one, it will probably show up here: http://www.wgbh.org/article/?item_id=3313294

Brad Lehman (Googling "wgbh podcast")

Glen Armstrong wrote (March 8, 2010):
[To Ed Myskowski] Accessing Brian McCreath's program(me) is more troublesome for me than earlier, but I did manage to get his playlist for today: the only Bach seems to be a flute sonata, BWV 1031. Whereas before I seemed able to hear his show at any time, now that appears not the case. My shorter attention-span and impatience may be the causes: "seems" and "appears" are my way of avoiding definitives.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (March 8, 2010):
To Glen Arpstrong] I just tried this: http://www.wgbh.org/995/
and scrolled to the bottom of the page until the Bach Hour appeared.
Clicking on the image below "Listen now" I could listen online to the programme.
Is it what you are looking for?

Neil Halliday wrote (March 8, 2010):
Thérèse Hanquet wrote:
< I just tried this: http://www.wgbh.org/995/ >
and scrolled to the bottom of the page until the Bach Hour appeared.

Thanks for the link. Jacob's motet is lovely.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 8, 2010):
[To Thérèse Hanquet] Thanks Therese (and others), on behalf of Brian McCreath, for providing technical feedback. Because of the change in format, I expect it will be helpful for Brian to know that there is world-wide-web interest in the Bach hour, in order to assure its continuance. The venue is non-commercial, supported by donations ...

Alas, from my limited FM perspective, more or less on Brians block, I do not listen quite as regularly on Sunday evening, as I once did (usually still abed) on Sunday AM.

What a fine tradition, started by Robert J.Lurtsema, ca. 1973 when the first H&L Brown Box was released, continuing uninterrupted with minor modifications: a weekly radio broadcast of a Bach cantata, now shared with the world.

Thanks, Robert J. I know you are listenihng.

 

Year 2011

Bach's Birthday

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 21, 2011):
It's Bach's birthday ... Kiss a Lutheran today!

George Bromley wrote (March 21, 2011):
Happy Birthdat Bach

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 21, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Especially recommended for folks winding down from St. Patricks Day festivities.

On the Boston front, in addition to the Cantata Singers BMM performances:

(1) Brian McCreath interviewed Richard Egarr on the radio Bach Hour, with extensive reference to (and endorsement of) Bach/Lehman tuning. Available for a week, I believe, at: http://www.99.5allclassical.org

and with a sreference to Brads site: http://www.larips.com

Not much new to astute BCML readers, but nice to confirm that we are on (either side of) the cutting edge.

(2) Nicholas Kitchen played a large chunk of the <Six Solos for Violin without Bass Accompaniment>, with special mention and program publication of the point that Bach referred to three (one-half) of the group as Partia, not the common transcription to Partita. Bach’s intent remains unexplained, but Nick considers it potentially significant, and a question worthy of pursuit. BCML sleuths on the case?

The concert was in a new venue, opened last summer in Rockport MA, the Shalin Liu Performance Center, with stunning acoustics, seaside location and views. Nick performs from a digital display of Bachs fair copy of the score, with foot controlled page turning, and with large screen projection for the audience to share. The relation between the sound, and the subtleties of Bachs notation, is enlightening.

I pass this link along from the program, without yet having visited the site: http://goo.gl/F7tdv

to read <Evolving Pairs: The Sonatas and Partitas [sic] for Violin by Johann Sebastian Bach> written by Nicholas Kitchen.

A couple relevant thoughts, from notes spoken from the stage:

The key relationships among the solo violin works, and many internal details, can be represented as zig-zag spirals. I notice the analogy with Brad Lehman’s larips site-name. I trust neither of them is going up the down staircase? Or if they both are, probably OK.

The evolving pairs can be related to powers of two (2^x), and to octaves and organ pipe length. Eight (2^2) foot is mid-range, four foot up an octave, two foot up two octaves. Thirty-two foot (2^5) is down two octaves. According to Nick, Bach never inspected an organ without asking for more 32 foot (pipes? coupling?). Perhaps an overstatement? BCML sleuths on it.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 21, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< The evolving pairs can be related to powers of two (2^x), and to octaves and organ pipe length. Eight (2^2) foot is mid-range >
Eight is in fact 2^3 (two cubed), I believe the mid-range is correct.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 21, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< On the Boston front, in addition to the Cantata Singers BMM performances: >
One more series of events worthy of note, although I was not able to fit attendance into my schedule. Peter Sykes, harpsichord, sponsored by the Cambridge Society for Early Music, played the Goldberg Variations at five different venues on five consecutive nights, finishing at his home, Christ Church, on March 21. This was the Grand Finale of the CSEM Bach Year. The Board of Directors for this venerable (since 1952) organization includes Christoph Wolff, well known to BCML readers.

 

Year 2012

OT? (HB2U)^2(HBDJ)(HB2U)

Bruce Simonson wrote (March 21, 2012):
Okay, folks, altogether now:

Hoch soll er leben
Hoch soll er leben
Drei Mal hoch

PS: OS, nochmal, nach 10 Tagen.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 22, 2012):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< PS: OS, nochmal, nach 10 Tagen. >
With Easter (whatever your choice of date calculation!) on the horizon, it is perhaps time for the annual calendar discussion? In simpler times, Passover was the Vernal Equinox (first day of Spring), perhaps ascertained at Stonehenge (GMT) and communicated around the planet via smoke signals.

I will review the data before commenting further, in order not to add to confusion.

Much good music on the radio (and available via internet) in the Boston area in honor of the nominal BBD, Mar. 21, including many transcriptions. Especially notable, solo violin works for marimaba, and guitar, and the Dm keyboard (harpsichord) concerto for guitar and string quartet, with guitar sounding appropriately plucky, and accurate.

I did not notice any OVPP cantata performances, perhaps next year (or perhaps I missed them).

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 22, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I will review the data before commenting further, in order not to add to confusion. >
Here is what I find, from a quick search:

<Thomas Jefferson's birthday is remembered today as falling on April 13. But the scrupulously accurate amateur scientist had his tombstone list his birth date as April 2, 1742 O.S. – or “Old Style.”

The discrepancy between countries led to some unusual situations. Two of the greatest of all Renaissance writers, Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare both died on precisely the same date – April 23, 1616. But they didn't pass away on the same day at all!

Cervantes died in Spain after the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, but Shakespeare passed away in England under the Julian calendar.

Thus, Cervantes, who wrote “Don Quixote,” actually died 10 days earlier than Shakespeare.
So is today Bach's birthday? No, not really. It now falls on March 31, so you still have time to send a birthday card.

E-mail Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk: jkaczmarczyk@grpress.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ArtsWriter> (end quote)

Anthony Kozar wrote (March 23, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< So is today Bach's birthday? No, not really. It now falls on March 31, so you still have time to send a birthday card. >
I only learned about this date issue in the last year, but I've been celebrating on Mar. 21st for too long to want to change my habits. ;-)

I am slowly building up my own "para-liturgical" calendar of important dates that I use to help me decide what music to listen to. March 21st is the biggest holiday in my musical calendar! What I propose that Bach lovers
everywhere do is to make Bach's birthday an 11-day-long celebration from March 21-31 (sort of like an "octave" in the liturgical calendar). The 2nd most important "feast" of the Bach lover's calendar is a 10-day celebration almost exactly opposite in the year: from Sep 25 (Glenn Gould's birthday) to Oct 4 (Gould's death).

And even if it is fictional, I am really attracted to the idea that J.S. Bach -- a burgeoning of musical creativity -- had his auspicious birth at the Vernal Equinox.

I've already listened to about 11 hours of my favorite Bach recordings in the last two days. What are others doing to celebrate?

Claudio Di Veroli wrote (March 23, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< So is today Bach's birthday? No, not really. It now falls on March 31, so you still have time to send a birthday card. >
.... to my mother! That's her birthday! Oh thank you, now I have found why I love Bach so much! It's because the astrological coincidences of their birthdays, plus the alignments of the ascendent planets, produce strong forces within and without, which influence ...

(no, I definitely do NOT believe in astrology or any other form of modern urban superstition).

Apologise for the offtopic.

Avaniceday!

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 24, 2012):
Claudio Di Veroli wrote:
< Apologise for the offtopic.
Avaniceday! >
I recently heard an anecdote re a former Boston Symphony conductor (Leinsdorf, I believe) whose response to this greeting was an acerbic:
<I may have other plans.>

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 24, 2012):
Anthony Kozar wrote:
< What I propose that Bach lovers everywhere do is to make Bach's birthday an 11-day-long celebration from March 21-31 (sort of like an "octave" in the liturgical calendar) >
New England USA (from Boston) FM classical radio has adopted the entire month of March, with special emphasis on the 21st, but continuing on. Available via www.wgbh.org.

AK:
< And even if it is fictional, I am really attracted to the idea that J.S. Bach -- a burgeoning of musical creativity -- had his auspicious birth at the Vernal Equinox. >
EM:
Not fictional so much as a misunderstanding due to astronomic inaccuracy, not quite up to 21st C. standards, over the centuries. The Easter paradox is stranger yet. The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus were originally correlated with the equinox. That was too simple for clerics, and it has been tinkered with in various and disputatious ways for seventeen centuries, give or take.

AK:
< I've already listened to about 11 hof my favorite Bach recordings in the last two days. What are others doing to celebrate? >
EM:
My favorite was a broadcast by WGBH of a transcription made and played on guitar by a Chinese lady (alas, I did not record her name), with string quartet, of the Dm keyboard concerto. This may still be available for web listening, and the artists name should be available on playlist, which I will make it a point to recover. I believe the recording was from a studio performance, not commercially available, but perhaps to come.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 24, 2012):
Bach-Concertos-Xuefei-Yang [was: OT? (HB2U)^2(HBDJ)(HB2U)

Ed Myskowski wrote:
< My favorite was a broadcast by WGBH of a transcription made and played on guitar by a Chinese >lady (alas, I did not record her name), with string quartet, of the Dm keyboard concerto. >
It is in fact a commercial release, info available here: Amazon.com

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 24, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< It is in fact a commercial release, info available here: Amazon.com >
Regarding the WGBH broadcast on March 21 for Bachs birthday (March 21, O.S., astronomically equivalent to March 31, 2012), the segment including studio commentary (by Simone Dinnerstein as well as Xuefei Fang)and performances (recorded and commercially available, I believe) will be aired again on FM 99.5 today, March 24, at 5:00 PM EDT (2100 UT), and also remains available, via www.wgbh.org

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 25, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Regarding the WGBH broadcast on March 21 for Bachs birthday [...], the segment including studio commentary (by Simone Dinnerstein as well as Xuefei Fang) and performances (recorded and commercially available, I believe) will be aired again on FM 99.5 today, March 24, at 5:00 PM EDT (2100 UT), and also remains available, via www.wgbh.org >
Sorry to belabor the point, but this was a live performance, as well as discussion. Some of the works performed have also been released commercially, and there may be broadcast of commercial recordings in conjunction. Enjoy. I have intended to provide enough info so that those interested can find access. If not, inquire here.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 25, 2012):
Calendrical Ephemera

Ed Myskowski wrote:
< The Easter paradox is stranger yet. The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus were originally correlated with the equinox. That was too simple for clerics, and it has been tinkered with in various and disputatious ways for seventeen centuries, give or take. >
I sense the eyes rolling back as we explore yet new calendrical minutiae!

To be precise, Easter was originally the first Sunday after the Jewish Passover which was calculated after the new moon in the Jewish lunar calendar. Thus, in the patristic period, the historical link between the Jewish and Christian feasts remained. By the early middle ages, the link between the two feasts had been severed for polemic reasons, and the modern formula established for Easter being the first Sunday after the equinox.

The date of Good Friday as an historical event has been narrowed by scholars to two possibilities:

April 7, 30 CE
April 3, 33 CE

To give this a Bach calendar angle, we know that cantatas were not sung during Lent and Holy Week except when the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) fell on a Sunday. Thus, when Palm Sunday and Annunciation fell on a Sunday, Bach revised BWV 182 "Himmelskönig Sei Willkommen" so that it wonderfully melded both the Christmas and Passion themes.

Tomorrow, the Fifth Sunday of Lent falls on March 25. Catholics and Anglicans will transfer Annunciation to Monday, but in Bach's day, they would have sung a Marian cantata. During Bach's Leipzig tenure, Lent 3 (Oculi) fell on March 25 in 1731, but no Annunciation cantata is recorded. It would be interesting to look closely at the texts of the existing Lady Day cantatas and see if any of them have a mixing of Christmas and Lenten themes.

And most tantalizing, In 1742, Easter Day fell on March 25. How did Bach celebrate the Annunciation and the Resurrection on the same day?

Your eyes may now roll back to the rest position.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (March 25, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< And most tantalizing, In 1742, Easter Day fell on March 25. How did Bach celebrate the Annunciation and the Resurrection on the same day? >
He didn't. Easter takes the higher priority in the liturgical calendar.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 25, 2012):
Easter & Annunciation

Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< He didn't. Easter takes the higher priority in the liturgical calendar. >
Do we know if March 25 had civic or social customs attached to it in Leipzig? In England, it was the beginning of the legal year and an occasion for the payment of rents.

Although Kim is absolutely right about the priority of Easter, there is a curious Northern devotional tradition that Christ appeared to the Virgin Mary before he appeared to the Three Maries at the tomb. The iconography of
Christ and Mary is almost identical to that of Gabriel and Mary:
http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/110001940
http://tinyurl.com/7s96tsv

If anyone could have created a musical metaphor for this devotional conceit, it would have been Bach.

Anthony Kozar wrote (March 25, 2012):
[To Ed Myskowski] Thanks very much. I enjoyed the samples. Guitar does sound like a natural medium for those three (violin) concertos. I can understand why they chose to record with string quartet instead of "strings & continuo", but it still seemed to me like some of the guitar figuration was occasionally lost.

Another interesting set of transcriptions that I found (but do not yet own) are Marina Piccinini's recording of the flute sonatas with the Brasil Guitar Duo playing the accompaniment. All modern instruments, but a very pleasant combination of timbres that, IMHO, is successful at bringing out the counterpoint (judging solely from the online samples): Amazon.com


Thanks again.

(I suppose this belongs more on [BachRecordings] but it seems disruptive to switch lists mid-discussion ...)

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 25, 2012):
Anthony Kozar wrote:
< Thanks very much. I enjoyed the samples. Guitar does sound like a natural medium for those three (violin) concertos. I can understand why they chose to record with string quartet instead of "strings & continuo", but it still seemed to me like some of the guitar figuration was occasionally lost.
[...]
(I suppose this belongs more on [BachRecordings] but it seems disruptive to switch lists mid-discussion ...) >
It was my error to post to BCML, rather than BRML! Thanks for ponting it out gently. I agree with the decision to continue without disruption. I listened again a few hours ago, a bit more carefully, to the repeat FM broadcast of the Dm keyboard concerto, by Xuefei Yang for guitar and string quartet. I anticipate that I will acquire the CD. Any further comments I will post with a new thread to BRML.

Thanks for the Bach birthday discussion. WGBH radio host Cathy Fuller expressed the celbratory sentiment nicely: <No one could translate hope into music like JSB!>

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 25, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<< The Easter paradox is stranger yet. The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus were originally correlated with the equinox. That was too simple for clerics, and it hbeen tinkered with in various and disputatious ways for seventeen centuries, give or take.>>
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I sense the eyes rolling back as we explore yet new calendrical minutiae! >
EM:
Some of us thrive on the minutiae, while trying not to lose sight of the forest (sum of the trees?)!

DC:
< To be precise, Easter was originally the first Sunday after the Jewish Passover which was calculated after the new moon in the Jewish lunar calendar. Thus, in the patristic period, the historical link between the Jewish and Christian feasts remained. >
EM:
Doug is correct that I was simplistic in implying a direct coincidence of both Easter and Passover with the Equinox (capitalized to give it proper, equal, status!). The original Christian correlation was Easter following Passover, subsequently Easter becoming a Sunday feast, I believe. The precise relation of Passover to the Equinox was already complicated long BC, by the need to correlate the monthly (moon) and annual (solar) calendars. Jewish clerics can take responsibility for that. The evolving complexity of the relation of Easter to Passover (and Equinox) is the responsibility of Christian clerics.

If that is not clear, the lack of clarity may in fact be the intentional result of the efforts of the clerics, of whatever stripe.

 

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Last update: ýApril 1, 2012 ý16:11:34