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Concerts of Cantatas, Bach Festivals, Conferences
Discussions - Part 1

Concerts in England

Tony Collingwood wrote (June 17, 2001):
Can anyone tell me where I can get details of upcoming performances of any of the Bach cantatas (and other Bach choral works, especially the Matthew Passion) in England.

Peter Petzling wrote (June 18, 2001):
(To Tony Collingwood) Why don't you start your search with a look at the website
of the London Bach Society: www.bachlive.co.uk.

They offer a free mailing list. There are some concert schedules as well -- and they are no more than an e-mail away from your keyboard.

Peter Petzling wrote (June 18, 2001):
(To Tony Collingwood) Here are a few more references that you might find useful.

1. There is a Bach Choir in Sheffield - they seem to offer several venues at the Cathedral - but they might sing Händel or Byrd in a given year. (www.sheffieldbachchoir.org.uk )

2. The Sheffield Bach Players, however, perform in Doncaster at Priory Methodist Church - twice a year.

3. The Yorkshire Bach Choir is quite active and worth a search. They have made bold to sing the Lutheran Masses in F and A major.

4. St. Albans' Bach Choir is particularly proud to refer to its committment to perform the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) - but clearly not every year.

5. Jesus College Chapel in Cambridge offers a lot of singing during the academic year. For the feast days of the church you will find very fine offerings. I recall a noteworthy amount of Bach -- some cantatas and mottets. If East Anglia is within reach Jesus College Chapel would be a prime location for you.

That is all I have to offer.

 

Cantata Cycle in Basel, Switzerland

Charles Francis wrote:
List members from North Switzerland, South Germany or the Alsace, may be interested in the Bach cantata cycle taking place at the Predigerkirche in Basel, Switzerland. The Cantata performances take place every second sunday, with solo singers and instrumentalists, and are free. http://www.bachkantaten.ch/index.htm

This weeks concert is the last for 2004 and features Kantate BWV 61 "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland" and Kantate BWV 147 "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben"

The performers this week are:

Sopran: Maria Cristina Kiehr
Alt: Alex Potter
Tenor: Hansjörg Mammel
Bass: Marcus Niedermayr

Trompete: Simon Lilly
Oboe,Oboe d'amore: Katharina Arfken
Oboe, Ob. da caccia: Sarah Humphrys
Fagott: Donna Agrell
Violine: Regula Keller
Violine: Basma Abdel-Rahim
Viola: Katharina Bopp
Viola: Elisabeth Stähelin
Violoncello: Reto Cuonz
Violone: Matthias Müller-Mohr
Cembalo: Marc Meisel
Orgel: Jörg-Andreas Bötticher

Charles Francis wrote (December 14, 2004):
Taking advantage of the recent $5 billion investment in the Swiss railways, my wife and self attended last Sunday's concert in the current Basel cantata cycle. As in Bach's day, entry to the church was free (the cycle being performed by a pool of 80 volunteers with an option for the satisfied consumer to make a donation for costs at the end of each concert). Sixteen musicians took part in Sunday's performance, which included BWV 61 and BWV 147 (four singers, and twelve instrumentalists). As might be expected at this epicentre of HIP, all cantatas were performed according to the most modern scholarly conventions (One Voice Per Part, etc.).

The popularity of Maria Cristina Kiehr ensured that the church was filled to capacity. Some 500 people lined the seats, stood in the isles and at the back of the church, while others sat on the floor. Fraü Kiehr sang without vibrato, giving a good approximation of a mature boy's voice, but one that to my ears was lacking the purity of an Emma Kirkby. The alto part was sung by a countertenor, Alex Potter, who to his credit avoided sounding like one. The bass, in customary One Voice Per Part manner, was inaudible at the back of the church.

Various thoughts came to my mind during the concert. Scheibe's remark concerning Bach measuring the capability of his singers by the dexterity of his own fingers seemed apt. Was it the chosen tempo on this occasion or Bach's inability to respond to the limitations of the human voice? Then there was the issue of the inaudibility of
the words - yes an artefact of One Voice Per Part, but there again Bach did run a thriving business producing booklets for his congregation. But still, I did feel the balance would have been improved in the choruses and chorales by a few extra singers. However, I'm willing to consider as an alternative that the orchestra was playing too loud. In particular the continuo section struck me as somewhat top-heavy (strictly speaking, bottom heavy). A suitably historic (and rare) Chest organ had been obtained for the occasion, but its powerful timbre simultaneously combined with harpsichord and violoncello, left me reaching for the bass attenuator.

Overall, an interesting and enjoyable event, which I'm glad I attended. Further info on the new enabling Swiss train timetable at: http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=111&sid=5401407

Gabriel Jackson wrote (December 14, 2004):
Charles Francis writes:
"Overall, an interesting and enjoyable event, which I'm glad I
attended."
What did you enjoy, exactly?

Continue of this discussion, see: OVPP - Part 14 [General Topics]

 

Bach Vespers in London

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 20, 2006):
Visitors to London might be interested in visiting St. Anne's Lutheran Church, where reportedly Bach cantatas are sung monthly in the original liturgical context of Vespers: http://www.stanneslutheranchurch.org/bach_vespers.htm

If this is the case, it would be one of the few places in the world where Bach's music could be experienced as part of a liturgical sequence. Most churches which offer "Bach Vespers" are in reality a loosely-structured sacred concert with a reading and a couple of prayers thrown in.

Ludwig wrote (February 20, 2006):
[To Douglas Cowling] Do they do this all year around?

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 20, 2006):
[To Ludwig] I can't tell from the website. Do we have a spy in London?

Ludwig wrote (February 20, 2006):
[To Douglas Cowling] The reason I ask is that you have not felt cold until you have been to London on a cold bone chilling day with fog and high humidity there. It seems to take forever and a day to get warm again even when properly dressed for the whether.

Chris Rowson wrote (February 21, 2006):
[To Ludwig] It looks to me like the Bach services are probably about once a month. But the website does give an email address for the Cantor: cantor@stanneslutheranchurch.org

Chris Stanley wrote (February 21, 2006):
[To Ludwig] The last time there was fog in Central London was in the 1950s. I walk for half an hour to work and back and just wear a suit . I don't own an overcoat. What is the question about Bach Vespers in London?

Thomas Jaenicke wrote (February 22, 2006):
[To Douglas Cowling] to contiue the topic of Bach cantata performances in liturgical context, St Anne & St Agnes perform a Bach vespers once a month (3rd sunday). There is a breack during the summer month.

When I lived in London (until 1999) there were a charismatic pastor, a dedicated cantor and enthusiastic musicians, both professionals and amateurs. The ensemble (Lecosaldi) have already performed all the extant cantatas and were in their second cycle.

Sadly both the pastor and the cantor have left the church but obviously the music is still going on as we could witness during the BBC's Bach Christmas, where a Bach vespers was recorded at St Anne & St Agnes.

Every time I have to visit London I try to include in my diary a 3rd sunday of the month!

 

Bach Cantata Cycle on BBC Radio 3

John Garside wrote (January 23, 2009):
How strange that I should find two reasons to post in the same day!

The BBC Radio 3 web site sends out a "Music Matters" post every so often. I include a fragment with today's date on it as follows:

"Some complete musical cycles are programmed over a season, or even a whole year - a Ring cycle, a set of complete Beethoven symphonies - but the Royal Academy of Music has taken the idea of musical completeness and long-termism a stage further. Within the next decade, they're putting on Bach's complete sacred cantatas, all 200 of them, one Sunday a month. The idea is to showcase Bach's music - most of it originally written for the liturgy of St Thomas' in Leipzig where Bach was Kantor - in a secular context, to reveal the richness of music that only rarely makes it into concert programmes. John Eliot Gardiner performed the whole lot in a year in churches all over the world, but students, singers, and scholars tell us how the Academy's cycle will put the cantatas at the centre of London's musical life."

I shall perform further research to discover exactly when they may be listened to. They may even have them as podcasts later, who knows.

John Garside wrote (January 23, 2009):
Further to my previous post, it is unclear whether the BBC will be broadcasting these concerts, however they will be discussing them during the Music Matters broadcast on Saturday the 24th of January at 12.15 UK time on BBC radio 3. You should be able to listen to that via the web via: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/programmes/schedules/2009/01/24

I shall seek further enlightenment.

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 23, 2009):
[To John Garside] Thanks for your contribution and welcome aboard.
This new series is already listed in the Schedule.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concerts/Concert-2009-UK.htm
More info on this series at RAM website:
http://www.ram.ac.uk/events/Bach+cantatas.htm

Julian Mincham wrote (January 23, 2009):
[To John Garside] Further to this the Academy are also giving a series of monthly concerts of the cantatas on one Sunday every month staring this Sunday with BWV 30 and 128. Orchestra to be led by either Rachel Podger or Madeleine Easton. next concert is 194 and 124 on Feb 22.

Teri Noel Towe wrote (January 23, 2009):
The Bach Cantata Series at the RAM

John Garside writes:
< the Royal Academy of Music has taken the idea of musical completeness and long-termism a stage further. Within the next decade, they're putting on Bach's complete sacred cantatas, all 200 of them, one Sunday a month. The idea is to showcase Bach's music - most of it originally written for the liturgy of St Thomas' in Leipzig where Bach was Kantor - in a secular context, to reveal the richness of music that only rarely makes it into concert programmes. >
Information on the series can be found on this page: http://www.ram.ac.uk/events/

The first concert in the series takes place this Sunday, 25 January.

Teri Noel Towe wrote (January 23, 2009):
Additional information on the Bach Cantatas series at the RAM can be found on this page, and a downloadable brochure, in pdf format, also is available from this page: http://www.ram.ac.uk/events/Bach+cantatas.htm

John Garside wrote (January 24, 2009):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thank you Aryeh,

For once, and the rest of the series, I'm sorry that I made the move to Germany. Otherwise ... :-)

Thank you so much for BCML and the link.

John Garside wrote (January 24, 2009):
Teri Noel Towe wrote:
< Additional information on the Bach Cantatas series at the RAM can be found on this page, and a downloadable brochure, in pdf format, also is available from this page: http://www.ram.ac.uk/events/Bach+cantatas.htm >
Perhaps someone can explain why the picture at the top of the page on the link provided shows a picture of someone and his son now "proven" not to be Bach. No underbite therefore not JSB.

Or am I wrong?

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Face of Bach [General Topics]

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 24, 2009):
John Garside wrote:
"For once, and the rest of the series, I'm sorry that I made the move to Germany. Otherwise ... :-)"
There are so many Bach Festivals and several cantata series in Germany (although not as many as in Holland), that give you enough opportunities to attend live Bach performances all over the year. The BCW contains a list of all known Bach Festival and cantatas series around the world.
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Links/Links-Festivals.htm

If any member is aware of Bach Festival / Cantata Series missing from this page, please inform me OFF-LIST.

John Garside wrote (January 25, 2009):
[To Aryeh Oron] Oh Aryeh! Did you not notice the smiley at the end? I certainly wasn't complaining, far from it, but the grass is always greener ... ;-)

Thank you for drawing my attention to the list. Sadly few in the vicinity of Bonn. Aachen, I think, is the closest. I must examine Holland and Belgium to see whether there are any there close by.

Being able to make the pilgrimage each year to Weimar and Leipzig etc. makes up for it. No it doesn't, boo hoo! ;-)

 

Major Bach Events

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 4, 2009):
I have created pages for Major Bach Events, a page for a year.
The pages aim to list chronologically all the major Bach-related events around the world, including: Festivals, Conferences, Competitions, etc. See:
2009: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concerts/Event-2009.htm
2010: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concerts/Event-2010.htm
Linked from BCW Home Page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/
and from other pages.

In case I have missed an event, please do not hesitate to inform me, either through the Bach ML or off-list.

Russell Telfer wrote (November 7, 2009):
[To Aryeh Oron] Responding to Aryeh's post, I would like to draw attention to an event - it won't be a major event to others, but it certainly is to me: a performance of BWV 107, BWV 117 and BWV 177 at Wilton Parish Church by David Stancliffe of Salisbury on 15th November, in a week's time. With a scratch (top class) orchestra and choir, and soloists out of this world. Fortunately it is relatively easy to attract top class pros to events like these, and I won't make a dig about the trumpets.

In May last year he performed three other cantatas, BWV 31, BWV 132 and BWV 2,1 all beautiful works (which aren't?). The soprano soloist was out of this world, though not literally. Shortly afterwards David Stancliffe became seriously ill, but he is definitely the kind of chap who should be last out of the balloon, so it was wonderful that he was restored to full health and is going to give us another event.

If anyone is interested, I can give more details. Strongly recommended.

Russell Telfer wrote (November 7, 2009):
Re my recent post, I don't know how I missed it out, but one of the salient points about this concert is that the conductor for this performance is a senior churchman, ie the Bishop of Salisbury.

There aren't many of that exalted rank who press the right button, or baton, when in front of a crack Bach orchestra.

Apologies for the extra post.

Ed Myskowski wrote (N8, 2009):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< it won't be a major >
More cole Porter:
How strange the change from major to minor

RT:
< event to others, but it certainly is to me: a performance of BWV 107, BWV 117 and BWV 177 at Wilton Parish Church by David Stancliffe of Salisbury on 15th November, in a week's time. [...] I won't make a dig about the trumpets. >
EM:
At every opportunity, I advocate the report of concert performances (major or otherwise), if only to emphasize that the primary experience of music is through live performance. To be absolutely authentic, this was the only experience for Bach and his listeners.

One could argue (although I will not, at the moment) that listening to a largish choir in concert is more authentic to the original Bach experience than the HIPpest of HIP recordings.

OK, what is the dig about the trumpets? Come on, we can dig it.

Russell Telfer wrote (November 8, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< OK, what is the dig about the trumpets? Come on, we can dig it. >
I hope no real musicians will be offended by this, but in more than one amateur orchestra I've been associated with, getting trumpet players was the hardest task for an amateur Bach orchestra. Because. They. Have. To. Be.
Paid.

I'm not saying that they're all "difficult" but to a varying extent many pros in the other sections will come and perform at these events for the love of it.

The reasons: the relative scarcity of Bach cantata events, the sheer joy of being invited to take part. But the trumpet budget on occasion outreaches the fee for the conductor. It must be all that blowing.

Maybe this was a selective experience. Other members may like to comment.

(But you HAVE to have good trumpeters, don't you!)

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 9, 2009):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< But the trumpet budget on occasion outreaches the fee for the conductor. It must be all that blowing. >
First off, thanks for responding to my inquiry. In that instance (re the trumpets), I really did not have a clue what you meant.

In fact, there has been some previous discussion implying that the circumstances may have been exactly the same for Bach. I have no experience or expertise on the topic, hence my opinions are all the more fixed! Did not Bachs favorite trumpet virtuoso die more or less in performance, reportedly from over-exertion? Perhaps it is hazardous duty pay.

This strikes me as a topic on which Doug, with his vast (or certainly, at the very least, half-vast) experience may have some wisdom and/or wit to share.

It is encouraging to see a few extra folks (albeit, all regulars) joining the discussions. It really only takes an additional voice or two to liven things up. Thanks to all.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 9, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Did not Bachs favorite trumpet virtuoso die more or less in performance, reportedly from over-exertion? > Perhaps it is hazardous duty pay.

You're talking about Gottfried Reiche: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottfried_Reiche

Reiche wrote 122 fanfares to announce the hours of the day, of which only one survives in the famous oil painting. That fanfare served as the opening theme for CBS Sunday Morning News for many years.

You can hear that music here: http://abel.hive.no/trumpet/bach/reiche/abblasen.html

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 9, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Did not Bach's favorite trumpet virtuoso die more or less in performance, reportedly from over-exertion? Perhaps it is hazardous duty pay. >
No, he died the next day, the idea he died during a performance is false. The cause of death was linked to smoke from the torches from the previous night's performance. That seems unlikely, but then during the 18th century, there were all sorts of myths still present about "bad air" causing sicknesses and death.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 9, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< No, he [Gottfried Reiche; thanks to Kimfor identity] died the next day, the idea he died during >a performance is false. The cause of death was linked to smoke from the torches from the >previous night's performance. That seems unlikely [...] >
Well, I wrote quickly from memory, hoping for some clarification. Fortunately (actually carefully), I wrote more or less during performance. Perhaps it is worth pursuing further?

In particular, why is smoke from the previous nights performance unlikely? Was there any smoke from the actual performance? Why the smoke: tobacco or spectacle? Or these days, anything goes?

Not questions directed to Kim, specifically. In fact, thanks to Kim for stirring them. Reiches death is one of the many little interesting details surrounding Bach, fun to investigate further.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 9, 2009):
< Well, I wrote quickly from memory, hoping for some clarification. Fortunately (actually carefully), I wrote more or less during performance. Perhaps it is worth pursuing further? >
Well that means you thought he died during the performance of the music itself, which is a common myth, and its cited in the Wikipedia article. Honestly, the more tragic thing is that the man died, and I'm sure Bach must have been saddened and affected by the loss.

< In particular, why is smoke from the previous nights performance unlikely? Was there any smoke from the actual performance? Why the smoke: tobacco or spectacle? Or these days, anything goes? >
It was an evening / outdoor performance of a serenata for the Elector of Saxony, hence the torches. Unlikely because during the 18th century, they had silly ideas about "bad air" causing illnesses. He died the next day anyway, so the cause-effect relationship seems highly unlikely. But again, the bottom line is the man died. Medical science of the period ruined Bach and Handel's eyesight and was a contributing factor in one of their deaths. And Mozart had some of the best doctors of his day, but they contributed to his death as well.

William Hoffman wrote (November 9, 2009):
As I wrote last year in BCW discussion of BWV 215: Gottfried Reiche probably died of natural causes. He was 64. As the leader of the stadtpfeifer he was responsible for directing all manner of civic celebrations outdoors, especially traditional evening serenades with illumination by torches, and often with fireworks. Further, the first trumpet part in BWV 215 wasn't as challenging as the solo in BWV 213, parodied as the aria "Grosse Herr" in the XO, or the first trumpet in the opening and closing movements of BWV 248a(IV), just discussed.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 9, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< As I wrote last year in BCW discussion of BWV 215: Gottfried Reiche probably died of natural causes. He was 64. >
Thanks for the reminder. So much for the hypothesis of hazardous duty pay. Leaving open, then, the original question of why trumpeters are so pricey, as raised by Russell.

If a trumpet player over-exerts himself, collapses, and dies, is that not a natural cause?

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 9, 2009):
Gottfried Reiche, trumpet [was: Major Bach events]

The entry in Boyd, OCC, for Reiche includes:

<he died age 67 [b. feb. 5, 1667, d. Oct. 6, 1734] after being overcome by torch smoke during a performance of the cantata [BWV 215]> (end quote)
Reference: biograhy (1987) by D. L. Smithers.

OTOH, a Grove entry by Christoph Wolff is cited on BCW: <he died the following morning [after the BWV 215 performance] from the exertions of his office>.

Sounds like the same old, same old, to me. If he died at the age of 67 from the exertions of his office, that would be natural causes, no? If, OTOH, he died as the result of smoke inhalation, some entity might in fact have been deemed liable. You get the picture.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Gottfried Reiche & Bach [Bach & Other Composers]

 

BCW: New Section - Bach Festivals & Cantata Series

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 5, 2009):
I have launched a new section on the Bach Cantatas Website - Bach Festivals & Cantata Series.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/index.htm
Linked from the Home Page of the BCW and from other pages.
My goal is to present all the Bach Festivals & Cantata Series around the world and to document their history by presenting posters or brochures from all the years of their existence.

The info presented for each festival or cantata series:

- Name
- Location
- Venues
- Years (year of first festival; frequency)
- Months (for festivals: the regular month/s in which the festival takes place every year; for cantata series: from month to month)
- Artistic Director (if there have been several along the years, name and years for each)
- Ensembles (which participate regularly in the festival / cantata series)
- Website
- History & Mission (in English, up to 500 words)
- Logo
- Posters or brochures for every year from the very first to the most recent (PDF or jpg format)

The complete list of Bach Festivals & Cantata Series is presented at:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Links/Links-Festivals.htm
I have written to most the Bach Festivals & Cantata Series in the list above, and received various responses:
- Some were very enthusiastic and already provided info and material, or promised to provide the info and material after some search and preparation.
- Some messages were rejected (I wonder why a festival publishes its e-mail address and then rejects incoming messages. How do the festival organisers expect to contact with artists, promoters, potential attendants, etc.?).
- Some have not responded (see the remark above).
- One festival refused to be presented on the BCW!

With a deep search over the web and the info and material already received from many festivals/cantata series, I have built the initial version of the new section.
So far over 100 Bach Festivals & Cantata Series are already presented.

With your help this new section can be much more comprehensive. After all the BCW is a collective effort. There are several ways for providing such help:
a. If you have personal contact with the organisers of a Bach festival/cantata series not presented yet in the new section, you can help by contacting them and encourage them to send me info and material.
b. If you have at your disposal brochures/posters/flyers/programmes in a digital format (jpg or PDF) this is fine. Please send it to my personal e-mail address and not to the Bach ML's.
c. If you have brochures/posters/flyers/programmes in printed form, please scan it and send it to me in a digital format.
d. If you are aware of a Bach festival/cantata series missing from the list above, please inform me right away.

And please do not hesitate to flood me with material. I shall handle all of it, sooner or later.

I am looking forward to your contribution.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (December 5, 2009):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< I have launched a new section on the Bach Cantatas Website - Bach Festivals & Cantata Series.
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/index.htm
Linked from the Home Page of the BCW and from other pages.
My goal is to present all the Bach Festivals & Cantata Series around the world and to document their history by presenting posters or brochures from all the years of their existence.
The info presented for each festival or cantata series: >
Aryeh, you NEVER cease to amaze me with the information you provide on the BCW. Thank you so much for this.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 5, 2009):
>One festival refused to be presented on the BCW! <
<If you cannot take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.> H[S]Truman, Pres. USA, 1945-52.

 

BCW: Annual calendar of Major Bach Events

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 7, 2009):
About a month ago I informed you of the addition of Major Bach Events tables to the BCW.
The major Bach events tables includes all the known Bach festivals, competitions, etc. around the world.
You can find there side by side both the major Bach Festivals, such as Leipzig, Thuringia, Oregon, Carmel, etc. and the most esoteric, such as the one-day Bach Marathon in Lexington, KY on the 325th Anniversary of Bach's birthday.

To allow those of you who plan attending as many Bach Festivals as possible, I have recently added Printable Annual Calendar of 2010 Major Bach Events.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concerts/Annual-2010.pdf
Linked from: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concerts/Event-2010.htm
In the Annual Calendar I placed those events to which exact dates are already set.
You can see that there is hardly an open slot in the Annual Calendar.

Description of the festivals can be found in their websites and in the newly announced section of Bach Festivals & Cantata Series: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Links/Links-Festivals.htm
The concerts of Bach's vocal works (including concerts not associated with festivals) are listed in the world-wide Schedule of Bach's vocal works: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concerts/index.htm

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 7, 2009):
< the most esoteric, such as the one-day Bach Marathon in Lexington, KY on the 325th Anniversary of Bach's birthday. >
Those of you traveling over Boston MA to reach this Marathon, might consider the alternative of stopping and traveling through Boston. You can participate in an ongoing series of weekly cantata performances by Emmanuel Music, and with a bit of creative planning, stay near Boston in the original USA Lexington (MA). I believe this is carried over from a UK Lexington, although I did not confirm that at the moment.

Lexington MA is generally accepted as the birthplace of the American Revolution (April 1775 CE), although the actual first armed resistance was a few months earlier, right here in Salem, Feb 1775, where some fisherfolk with guns refused to let General Leslie cross the river. It is celebrated by a brass plaque on a chunk of granite, and more enjoyably, by a very decent breakfast spot, creatively named Leslies Retreat.

Breakfast for two (or full crew) on me, for the first team to undertake the two Lexingtons for Bach, with a side trip to Salem. No cheating by locals, this only applies to those heading on to Kentucky (although if you are exceedingly clever, you could start from home in Lexington MA and qualify).

 

Bach Vespers in Toronto

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 13, 2010):
Muniini K. Mulera wrote:
< Indeed I was thinking recently that I should send you a personal e-mail to inquire about Bach choral performances in the GTA. >
The Church of the Redeemer at Bloor and Avenue Rd has a continuing series of Bach Vespers. During their music conference, "The George Black Festival of Word and Music in Liturgy", May 14 - 16, they will be performing Cantata BWV 4, "Christ Lag in Todesbanden" during the Saturday afternoon Vespers. On the Sunday morning service, they will be performing another Bach cantata as well as my adaptation of a German mass by Johann Hermann Schein, who was Bach's predecessor as Cantor of St. Thomas in 1616-30.

More information at their website: http://www.theredeemer.ca/pages/GeorgeBlackFestival.html

Julian Mincham wrote (April 14, 2010):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thank you very much indeed. Will definitely be there.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 14, 2010):
Muniini K. Mulera wrote:
<< Indeed I was thinking recently that I should send you [Doug Cowling] a personal e-mail to inquire about Bach choral performances in the GTA. >>
EM:
GTA = Greater Toronto Area?

DC
< The Church of the Reat Bloor and Avenue Rd has a continuing series of Bach Vespers. >
EM:
It is my understanding of BCML guidelines that on-list posts regarding local performances of Bach works are on-topic. If that is correct, no need to take discussion of GTA performances off-list, via personal e-mail.

I personally enjoy hearing about all performances, and commenting on those from my block, when relevant. It is not as if we are overwhelmed by concert reports, or have I been missing something?

A special favorite of mine: posts from performers. Therese Hanquet (among others) has been enjoyable in this regard recently. We could use more.

 

Performance of BWV 54 and 182 in Brussels

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (April 14, 2010):
Ed's recent post reminded me that I should give a little report of the last performance of the Chapelle des Minimes, on March 21st 2010. The poster of the concert is still accessible here: http://www.minimes.be/images/concerts/2010-03-21_affiche_concert.pdf

It is not quite correct any more, as Benoit Jacquemin fell ill two weeks before the concert (but after the posters were printed...) and had to be replaced by our artistic director, Julius Stenzel. The choir had thus one rehearsal with Benoît and two with Julius before the week-end of the performance. This was not too much of a problem as their instructions on performance are generally consistent with each other, but we felt sad for Benoît who is a very dedicated and competent conductor.

Our program did not require a soprano soloist, and we had only male singers as soloists this time (with the Chapelle des Minimes, the soloists are different for each performance, and there may be male as well as female altos). This time, the alto was a singer which we did not know (but should have!) and which was truly outstanding: Piers Maxim. Here is a link to his website: http://www.piersmaxim.com/

The choir had no part in the short cantata BWV 54 (which we enjoyed listening to), but much to sing in BWV 182. I will comment each one a bit.

The opening chorus is fun to sing, as it has a dance-like quality that we tried to emphasise. Julius suggested that we accentuate the first beat in the melismas (and even one first beat out of two a little stronger than the other) in order to make them "light"; also we made a contrast between "Himmelskönig" (dynamic, affirmative) and "sei willkomen" (softer and more legato); I think this worked well, giving dynamics throughout the piece. One part I particularly like in this chorus is, on bars 21-22, the "bouncing" on "Himmelskönig" - exhilarating!

#7 is a kind of motet, with a very light accompaniment. It starts rather straight but becomes more and more complex and interesting (and difficult to sing!) as it goes, except for the sopranos which have the cantus firmus. There are interesting transitions, like between bars 45 and 46 for the altos, where the character changes from the "agitated" mood of "in den Himmel eine Stätt" to the cantabile of "uns deswegen schenke".

The last piece for the choir is the closing chorus (with da capo), again light and joyous, except in the mentions of "Leiden" (suffering). As I feel it, the music conveys well this idea of "movement forward" of the text: going to Jerusalem, and also following the path that Jesus traces.

The instrumentists were as good as usual. Special mention for the flute in the alto aria, played by Jean-Pascal Hinnekens.

All in all a perfect piece for this first day of spring.

Our next concert will be on April 25, with two Bach cantatas and a motet of Schütz:
http://www.minimes.be/images/concerts/2010-04-25_affiche_concert.pdf
I will try to comment it

Jean Laaninen wrote (April 20, 2010):
[To Thérèse Hanquet] Thanks for keeping us up to date with your group's presentations.

 

Cantatas in Stockholm

Michael Cox wrote (November 21, 2010):
NOTICE:

The Stockholm Bach Sällskap (Stockholm Bach Society) gives regular performances of Bach's Cantatas. I have not heard them perform but have seen advertisements. I don't know whether they have recorded any of the cantatas.

See (in Swedish) http://www.stockholmsbachsallskap.se/index.php?c=program

Katarina Bengston wrote (November 22, 2010):
I'm sorry I haven't yet introduced myself. I've of course been getting all the emails with interesting disscussions, though unfortunately I lack the time to give them all enough attention.I'm Katarina Bengtson, and I founded the Stockholm Bach Society about a year ago, inspired by the Bach-cantata series at the Royal Academy of Music in London I'd been participating in during 2009. Our aim is to play one concert a month, 2-3 cantatas each time, and as close to the intended sunday as possible. We play on historical instruments, and try and stay as true to the original versions/interpretations as possible, at least as far as we can know. We ususally play with single strings, and with a choir only consisting of the SATB soli, but sometimes have the local choir singing as well, and have also had a doubling quartet for the choirs.

As we progress and come across more and more challenges, and I've realised the enourmous undertaking this is, if we do complete the cykle. We haven't recorded anything yet, and as long as we stay in our current venue it's not likely to happen as the acoustic is very difficult. I'm directing the ensemble from the violin/directing, and at the moment I'm also doing all admin/booking/sorting, apart from writing the programme notes which I'm thankful for! We're hopefully looking forward to a change soon however, keep an eye out on the website, which Michael Cox already wrote: www.stockholmsbachsallskap.se

All bestKatarina Bengtson
www.stockholmsbachsallskap.sewww.fiolina.sewww.harmonyofnations.org

 

Bach Network UK-"Understanding Bach" Volume 5

Peter Smaill wrote (April 7, 2011):
Volume five of Understanding Bach has just been published and includes two articles on the B minor mass:

Joshua Rifkin, 'Blinding us with Science? Man, Machine and the Mass in B minor', discussing the nature of how modern technology can help and hinder editorial choices, and

Tanja Kovacevic, 'Bach Reception in Prague: An 1845 Performance of the Second Kyrie from the B Minor Mass', based on recently-discovered sources. All articles are fully and freely downloadable in pdf format from www.bachnetwork.co.uk. (see also below).

Aryeh has also kindly created the following links within the BCW environment for those looking to see more on BNUK's activities: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-BNUK.htm

Linked from: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/index.htm

For the articles in Understanding Bach:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Links/Links-Articles.htm

For our 2011 Meeting information is to be found at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concerts/Event-2011.htm

We will in may be announcing more detail in early May on the fifth BNUK Dialogue meeting in Edinburgh from 12-14th August and I will be delighted to see our group(s) well represented.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 7, 2011):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< Volume five of Understanding Bach has just been published and includes two articles on the B minor mass >
Another article presents fascinating sources for the role of the chorale-prelude in Bach's time. It shows how the late Renaissance role of the organ persisted into Bach's time and eventually fell victim to Pietism and ultimately tastes after Bach's death. Bach really was poised on the edge of a revolution in church music.

Ian Mills, "J. S. Bach, the Choralvorspiele and the Late Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Notion"

 

Bach Dialogue Meeting, Edinburgh - August 2011

Peter Smaill wrote (May 4, 2011):
I have pleasure in announcing the full programme and booking arrangements for this Bach Network UK event : "Bach, Handel and the Frontiers of the Baroque".

Synopsis (subject to change if necessary)

Evening Thursday 11th August (optional) - "Handling Bach", Paul Barz' witty play (" Eine Moegliliche Begegnung" ) which imagines the giants meeting in 1749 and their cut-and-thrust dialogue on fortune, royalty, fame, faith and the devil. In the famous late medieval Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian

Friday Dialogue sessions, with contributions from the Bach Archiv Leipzig and keynote speaker Sir Nicholas Kenyon. Evening free to enjoy Edinburgh International Festival Fringe.

Saturday Sessions continue, including "Bach and the Summer of Love". Afternoon- visit to special exhibition at National Library of Scotland , including the A J Balfour Handel Collection and Bach's personal copy of the Hymnbook of the Bohemian Brotherhood, ex Glasgow University. Panel of John Butt, Donald Burrows and Reinhard Strohm.

Lecture/presentation on "Edinburgh and Leipzig: Cities of Light" by Enlightenment historian Michael Fry (Edinburgh University)

Evening - reception kindly sponsored by German Consul General , at Edinburgh University

Concert, "Durchlauchtster Leopold " BWV 173a by John Butt and members of Dunedin Concert in University's Georgian Gallery

Dinner addressed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner in University Playfair Library

Sunday Sessions continue/ round-up/ departure /free time

Monday 15th (optional day) select visit to Russell Collection of Harpsichords
Concert trip to Harry Christophers/Sixteen - Handel's "Dixit Dominus" and other Latin works


Registration for the Fifth J. S. Bach Dialogue meeting is now published on the BNUK website: www.bachnetwork.co.uk where you will find further details of the programme, accommodation and the booking form. Since BNUK are limiting the meeting to 100 delegates to facilitate dialogue in its full sense, we encourage you to register early to avoid disappointment.

I especially hope to see several BCW members in Edinburgh in August and please do conatcat me directly on any issues involved in coming to Scotland for this event.

Teri Noel Towe wrote (May 5, 2011):
From: Bach Network UK <info@bachnetwork.co.uk>

Dear Member of Bach Network UK

Registration for the Fifth J. S. Bach Dialogue meeting is now published on our website: www.bachnetwork.co.uk where you will find details of the programme, accommodation and the booking form. Since we are limiting the meeting to 100 delegates to facilitate dialogue in its full sense, we encourage you to register early to avoid disappointment.

We hope to see you in Edinburgh in August.

Yours sincerely

Ruth Tatlow
Chair, BNUK Advisory Council

 

Bach Festivals & Cantata Series - Update

Aryeh Oron wrote (May 10, 2011):
Over 180 Bach Festivals & Cantata Series are already presented on the BCW.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/index.htm

Recent additions:
Festival Bach de Belvès, France: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-Belves.htm
Bach Festival Haifa, Israel: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-KTarbut.htm
American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy, San Francisco, CA, USA: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-ABS.htm
Bluffton University Bach Festival, OH, USA: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-Bluffton.htm
Iowa Bach Festival, Iowa City, IA, USA: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-Iowa.htm
Internationale Bach-Tage Zürich, Switzerland: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-Zurich-Bach-Collegium.htm
Bach Music Festival of Canada, Exeter, South Huron, Ontario, Canada: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-South-Huron.htm
Festival Bach à Pâques, Saint-Maixent-l'École, Deux-Sèvres, France: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-COREAM.htm
Middlebury Bach Festival, VT, USA: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-Middlebury.htm
Juneau Bach Society, AK, USA: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/Festival-Juneau.htm

All the known Bach Festivals around the world in 2011 are presented at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concerts/Event-2011.htm

Any more additions/corrections/updates would be most welcome.

 

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