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Part 2: Year 2000

Henri Nicolay Levinspuhl wrote (October 29, 2000):
As a new and unacquainted participant of this exquisite list (being such a musical taste rare and, at same time, an expression of a refined cultivation of beauty in the admirable 20th century, a century that have proved the truth regarding the evolution of men, in that they have grown as the masses in millions and billions), I must apprise you of my English, that it may now and then evade from the correctness of grammar, since I am just an inexpert Brazilian dealing with the universal language of the times, and, also, I make apology for I have not presented myself in my first letter, I have not saluted you as would be worthy to everyone who showed up, and without being invited. And if you just think about a man who has committed an indelicate fault, but, when he is just pardoned, follows from him another similar faux pas, well, you will probably see how I bet in the noble character that many of you may probably share, that you can forgive a man when he sinks in a fault seven times a day and, in spite of that, comes once more to beg your forgiveness. And when he comes asking about it before transgressing the good manners, what shall we do? Shall we send him away? Good Lord, you will perhaps be even nobler, and I will be allowed to stay among you.

I will therefore proceed with the purpose of this letter, not without mentioning my expectations about the ones who are in a conflict of war, that I hope for them that most beautiful confidence of David regarding those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, those who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, that even if the worse is to come (what we sincerely do not want at all), may they not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrows that flies by day, if just they can say "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust"; that even if death spreads its horrible wings (what we sincerely do not desire), may at least those blessed confident ones be in shelter; for there is in fact a shelter, and blessed are those who abide in it.

Now I proceed saying at once that I bought the first 47 cantatas from Harnoncourt/Leonhardt, which I could only weakly compare with the Karl Richter's version if I were not fall in a grievous mistake, if I were not, like Socrates, obliged to declaim a palinode afterwards, although not in honour of Eros, but to the glory of the God of Johann Sebastian Bach, the God of Israel and of those sincere and faithful blessed Christians. By this, I meant, I would stumble in another fault, as if I were blaming the respectable list members of a pharisaic procedure. By no means. But suppose I were to choose this entrance among you; then, even gaining more worthy respectability (if I just could speak of music like a connoisseur), my conscience (which of course is particularly mine and would not be allowed to talk with such authority but to myself) would take me to task and say: "Have you, fellow worshiper of God, hidden your point in other to be accepted in the bosom of men?" Indeed, it would be awkward and constraining for me if I dared so in order to be loved by you, that I, with such an inadequate behaviour, would forget a blessed presence just to measure an absent performance with my CD box, a performance I have not purchased till now, for I am in fact well content with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt. Of course, regarding my point of view, it is not necessary to recognize from it the extensive melodious textures and smoothness that the cords of music can produce, especially when we find a genius to teach the eminent performers how to toll their prodigious instruments - no, for even a humble publican can recognize that he is alone before the one to whom the song was composed, and those who does not dare to act accordingly are perhaps different also from the Pharisees, that they does not attend to the temple to compare themselves with the unacquainted contrite and blessed repentant ones. In any case, I ask you for permission to be occasionally here in order to express a subjective viewpoint regarding the exquisite and delicate cantatas of our beloved Sebastian Bach, if God inspires me, and if this shows to be an acceptable panegyric in honour of the God today almost forgotten in name of science and evolution of men.

So, Marie Jansen, Aryeh Oron, Harry Steinman, Kirk McElhearn, Jane Newble, Jill, Andrew Oliver, Ehud Shiloni, Benjamin Mullins and others, please accept my sincere salutations and love,

Jill Gunsell wrote (October 29, 2000):
(To Henri Levinspuhl) Greetings, Henri!
< may they not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrows that flies by day, >
My all time favourite psalm, Henri.

Also "I will protect him, for he knows My Name" (Ps 90)

Does anyone know, did Bach compose a cantata using this Psalm?

Marie Jensen wrote (October 31, 2000):
< Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote: So, Marie Jansen, Aryeh Oron, Harry Steinman, Kirk McElhearn, Jane Newble, Jill, Andrew Oliver, Ehud Shiloni, Benjamin Mullins and others, please accept my sincere salutations and love, >
Welcome to our list, Henri! Please don't bother about your English. I am not able to express myself correctly, but this list is a fantastic language teacher.

A brief note about a word of Marie Jensen

Henri N. Levinspuhl
wrote (November 7, 2000):
You, Jill, Kirk, Marie and Jane, who have expressively welcomed me, my love - and I will not forget those who did it without expressing it, I will toll also to them the cords of the sincere affection. Please, receive my gratitude, while, like a steam engine, I slowly let my pen get into movement. For it is commendable that a young man keeps himself in silence among the sages, that among the scholars the inexperienced person will not be guilty of his brevity - and a new peer, let him write only occasionally.

Now, to my brief remark about Marie's words: "Bach's music can't be explained, it has to be experienced". It follows from them what faith clearly suggests about knowledge, that it exists for us only when we live it - otherwise we have a scientific and objective knowledge, and even natural love does not recognize it but as freezing. In fact, natural love seeks for an increasing knowledge, and so Scriptures mention it, for example, saying that Abraham knew his wife Sarah. But it is not about natural love Marie was talking, and it is not my aim to talk about it either. It is about a love that more properly deserves to be called so, and whoever lives in it will easily understand what is to experience a cantata, an experience you will never forget, for it is the experience of loving God.

How many members?

Aryeh Oron
wrote (November 9, 2000):
I wonder how many members are in the Bach Cantatas Mailing List? Is it possible to get a list of them? I know that other Mailing Lists Servers (like eGroups) supply this service, but I could not get it from ListBot. It is important for me to know, because sometimes I feel as if Marie Jensen and I are almost the only members of this group.

Pascal Bédaton wrote (November 9, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) Do not believe you are alone on this list because I can tell you that I wait every Monday morning to read your excellent paper on the last Sunday cantata.

My silence is due to many things and I think that every silent people on this list have at least one good reason to say nothing. I am sure that we are many people to only read the mail exchange on this list without any participation.

My principle reason is because I am not a musician and I am not able to talk about technical things like you do. For me, a recording is just a question of felling. I am just able to tell you if I love it or not, if I enjoy or not. IMO, this is a little bit short to write an interesting review on a recording...

Another reason is because this list is full dedicated to Bach and I do not listen to Bach music every day. Actually, I am very deeply in the Händel music except the Cantata calendar which I follow every week.

So, don't worry Marie and Aryeh, we are present...

Philip Peters wrote (November 9, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) I am alwayseagerly awaiting your comments, Aryeh. I don't post much (= almost nothing) because of lack of time and expertise but I'm learning a great deal from your posts.

It is a bit ridiculous but after years of emphasis on other classical music I find myself returning to Bach in this year, the Bach year, how cliché... Of course I always listened to Bach but now I'm more freaky about it. I was on a HIP-diet for years and now am surprised to listen again (or for the first time) to older versions of, mainly, the cantatas and passions and enjoying them a great deal. I am buying them on second-hand LP's... recordings by Ehmann (yes, I found more than the one I stubbed upon), Ristenpart, Werner, Gönnenwein and others. I remember that you wrote about three boxed CD sets of the Leipzig Bach successors like Rotzsch. Could you maybe provide me with labels and numbers (and a price indication perhaps?). I feel in the older recordings the vocalists are often superior (FiDi, Heynis, Augér, Giebel) to most we have today.... Not that I'm suddenly converted to non-HIP, but I'm glad to have rediscovered it.

Eric Ostling wrote (November 9, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) I'm on the list, and listening, but have very little to contribute knowledgeably in the way of the cantatas.

Here's a thought though, that I have wondered about to spark some discussion - some historians conclude that a great deal of Bach's cantata work has likely been lost. What is the evidence supporting this claim?

Leo Ditvoorst wrote (November 9, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) Dear Aryeh, I am certainly a member. I do not contribute on the reviews of the cantata because I recently discovered them when I bought the Leusink set. But I do read all the messages with great interest. If you are interested, I made a site about the Brilliant Bach Edition: http://www.j-s-bach.tmfweb.nl [N/A] or just: www.j-s-bach.org [N/A]

with greetings from the Netherlands,

Dyfan Lewis wrote (November 10, 2000):
(To Leo Ditvoorst) And what a fantastic site you made.

Harry J. Steinman wrote (November 9, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) Hi Aryeh, and all... Aryeh, I feel for you...'crying in the wilderness' as it were. And I can only imagine how much work you put into your fabulous weekly instruction. I can say that I don't always reply because I'm kind of a neophyte; the Cantata list has essentially been my introduction to Bach's cantata works. I know of no other self-study method, other than to drink in what you write. So, your labours are definitely appreciated.

My usual comment is, "Gee! I never knew anything about this cantata; glad I listened to it!" I really don't know what I can add. I can try to write more, "Gee that was a good cantata" type e-mail...but I feel as if I have little to contribute.

Sometimes I wonder if the formal, organized format inhibits a freer exchange of e-mail. But then, I would never want to get away entirely from that format because I know of no other way to systematically review the cantata works.

I do not know how to solve the problem that so few people contribute. I am able, however, to say, "Thanks!" to you and Marie and all of the others who add their analysis so that I can learn...and so that so many other members of this List can learn also. I wish that there was a better way to keep you encouraged, motivated and producing! If there is, please let me know what I can do to support you.

With the deepest respect,

PS: At your recommendation, I purchased the cantata recording Ein feste Burg (BWV 80), etc / Gönnenwein, Jones...I think it was last week's cantata...and I'm grateful for the rave: It's a wonderful recording. Thanks!

Charles Francis wrote (November 10, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) I suspect there's a silent majority out there who, like myself, just listen-in. I very much enjoy the lucid postings, but given such high quality contributions, what could I possibly add?

I've heard all the surviving cantatas over the last thirty years or so, starting with Harnoncourt and then moving on to Rilling (the 69 volumes). Some are works of genius, while others are just masterpieces. Very, occasionally an inner movement appears to have been written by a student, but the opening and closing movements are inevitably outstanding.

The discussion in the Bach Cantatas group is so well disciplined, professional and polite that one is reluctant to intervene for fear of disturbing the harmony. In response to one of your postings, I considered bringing in Yehudi Menhuin's views on Jerusalem, but thought this might offend.

Many thanks for your excellent postings!

Dyfan Lewis wrote (November 10, 2000):
I am often one of the quiet ones and at present have 20 odd unread postings but do I love Bach and the cantatas and hang on every word that Aryeh, Marie, Jane, Harry, Ehud, Kirk and the others write. So much beautiful enhancing stuff. My own religious persuasion is Buddhistish and it's wonderful to see how this music transcends all dogma and has infinite to offer the wakeful and mindful.

Love to you all

Richard Loeb wrote (November 10, 2000):
(To Dyfan Lewis) Hi I'm new here and really excited - I love the Bach cantatas - for me a source of unending amazement, pleasure and beauty. I have a question - is there an actual Bach cantata newsgroup I can join or just stay on this mailing list?

Also I just purchased the complete set on Brilliant from Germany (117$!!!). Maybe not tehnically most polished but I find it (I hope I'm not the only one) very enjoyable indeed. Any comments?

Roy Reed wrote (November 10, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) How many members? Doubtless more than you imagine, Aryeh. I count myself a member although I cannot always participate, as I would wish. There are competing commitments: a writing project I must get done, the USA election (How weird is that!), family...My wife and I will be now in California for some weeks (San Diego, my Heimat) visiting family and others...especially the four grandsons. I look forward to reading all the postings, but will be without the scores and CD's in my library, so I will not be able to participate.

Michael Kennedy wrote (November 10, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) Hi Aryeh and friends, I am a life long student of the music of Bach. Last Advent I decided to hear all of the Bach cantatas according to their position in the liturgical calendar. This meant that I had to buy at least two complete series to supplement my many vinyls and assorted CD's. I thank all of you for your recommendations. Thanks for the wonderful companionship and encouragement that you've provided during this journey. At times I have a desire to write but am at a loss at where to start. To my surprise I have learned so much from every recording. Also the words have become so important to me. I just started taking German lessons this fall. Frankly, I just thank God for the music of J.S. Bach and for folks like you.

Meredith Morgan wrote (November 10, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) Hello Aryeh and the rest of you whether declared or anonymous, I am quite new to the cantata discussion list (about a month), and like so many others, I have been silent. I figured that when I had something meaningful to contribute, I would jump in. Though I am very much a Bach choral music enthusiast, my musical background is minimal and so is my spare time. I do enjoy reading the other contributions and I always make it a point to listen to the cantata of the week until I feel that I know it.

I really enjoy comparing the various recordings of each cantata. By making comparisons, I notice subtitles that I often miss when I can only listen to a single recording. The problem is, it takes a long time to build a meaningful collection. Aryeh's weekly list of recordings not only helps to identify what is available, he also gives some invaluable tips on which recordings might be worth searching for. I personally appreciate Aryeh's open-mindedness to the various categories of recordings (e.g., HIP, OVPP, historic, and modern but not HIP). There are masterpieces from all of these groups.

For all of you, who take the time to contribute, whether it is about the music or the words, thanks.

Armagan Ekici wrote (Nov10, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) I'm here too and enjoying both the discussions and the archive very much, although my contribution has been minimal as well.

I honestly believe that this list is a typical example of the best thing that can come out of Internet -- a spontaneous, non-commercial archive of opinions from people who are in this because of genuine interest.

The weekly discussion format is a very good organising principle and we should stick to it. But it is the factor that limited me from posting more frequently -- even if I have 60-70 Bach cantatas CDs, the overall body of work is so huge that I simply do not have the means or time to listen to multiple copies of any given week's cantata The lesson for me is that when I have something to say on a particular recording that has nothing to do with the current week I will not be shy to post it so that the list is not limited to the lucky few who have multiple complete cantata sets.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (November 10, 2000):
I replied off-list to Aryeh on this question, but I guess I should tell the list as well. There are currently 118 members of the Bach Cantatas mailing list.

Piotr Jaworski wrote (November 10, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) Even if sometimes you feel really lonely and abandoned - last few days probably were a good portion of good encouragement for you further efforts. Your - as well as other frequent contributors - splendid work has gained really 'international recognition' - to have almost 200 ACTIVE readers - everyone would like to! And I'd like to join the collective promise - in Armagan's way - to add my own two pennies from time to time.

Kris Shapar wrote (November 10, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) I've been a lurking member for a few months and have been delighted to find this oasis. I've been listening intensely to Bach's music for over a quarter of a century now and am currently beginning to focus on his iconography -- why he wrote certain arias for sopranos and others for basses, for example, or the roles played by specific instruments. I think he used these means as contemporaneous painters used such devices as scales to indicate temperance (or a need for temperance), for example. I also wonder if Bach's iconography was particular to him or more widespread. The good thing is, this project should keep me happily listening to this wonderful music for several years yet, just on its own accord!

Fredrik Fernbom wrote (November 10, 2000):
< Aryeh Oron wrote: I wonder how many members are in the Bach Cantatas Mailing List? Is it possible to get a list of them? I know that other Mailing Lists Servers (like eGroups) supply this service, but I could not get it from ListBot. It is important for me to know, because sometimes I feel as if Marie Jensen and I are almost the only members of this group. >
< June 19, 2000 I wrote: I have contributed once before (about Lutheran Church Year 2000/2001). I have not been encouraged by the long discussions about the server but when I have something to say, I will do it. I want to thank all of you who are active. I have learnt a lot from your messages. Unfortunately I have not heard as many recordings as I would like to. But I have taught my five-years-old son to say "Bach" with the right German pronunciation. >
This is still the case. I am a member of this list not because I want to discuss, but because I want to learn. When I can contribute out of my knowledge I am glad to do that. For me, Bach is a great preacher, not at least in his Cantatas! But I really appreciate him as a musician too! I have always listened to what you somewhat unprecisely call "Classical music" and not to modern music.

Harry J. Steinman wrote (November 10, 2000):
To all the cantata List members: We've spoken at some length in the last few days about 'who is out there' and I'm not sure that we've addressed Aryeh's concerns. He is doing a lot of work...it must take him hours...and IMHO, in addition to letting him know how much we appreciate his very hard work, that we should be more active (me included!) in writing about our reactions. Marie does this faithfully; Jane Newble does this frequently...and I gather from Aryeh's comments that he'd feel less, um, lonely if others were participating more.

I fear what would happen to the ongoing discussions if Aryeh were less motivated to spend the hours he does for all of our benefit. I believe that we should "pay" him...and the currency of that payment is simply to take a few minutes after listening to the cantata of the week to say, "I found it to be thus-and-such".

OK...this was a lot of opinions, I know. But that's my opinion and I'm stickin' to it!

PS All that being said, I do not yet have a copy of BWV 180 to enjoy and comment upon!

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 11, 2000):
(To Harry J. Steinman) Hi Harry and all, I would like to use this opportunity to thank you and all the others, who wrote to me regarding this thread, for your kind words.

< Harry Steinman wrote: ...and I gather from Aryeh's comments that he'd feel less, um, lonely if others were participating more. I fear what would happen to the ongoing discussions if Aryeh were less motivated to spend the hours he does for all of our benefit. I believe that we should "pay" him...and the currency of that payment is simply to take a few minutes after listening to the cantata of the week to say, "I found it to be thus-and-such". >
In the above words you expressed wisely the main message I wanted to convey. Even short message is better than nothing. When you write that you like the cantata under discussion (even without explanation), or that you prefer a certain recording over the others, you help other members (and potential futures readers of the Archive) to find their way in the gigantic, gorgeous and rich world of Bach cantatas and their recordings. I find that as varied the opinions expressed are, the more useful the list becomes. This is a free list. No one is under test here - regarding his (or her) English (mine is also far from being good), his (or her) knowledge in music (I also am not a musician), the validity of his (or her) opinion, etc. This is not a competition, who writes more words, or in a more convincing way. The idea is sharing ideas between us about our common interest and the music that we love so much. Do not shy away! I urge you to write!

P.S. The coming week cantata is BWV 109. I am aware of only 3 recordings of this cantata, and therefore it is not very well known (but it should, it should!) and I shall not blame anybody for not writing about it. But what about the cantata of this week - BWV 180? The recordings by Koopman, Coin, Rilling, etc. are widely available. I encourage everybody, who has at least one of the recordings of BWV 180, to write something.

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 11, 2000):
(To Leo Ditvoorst) Thanks for your kind words.

< Leo Ditvoorst wrote: If you are interested, I made a site about the Brilliant Bach Edition: http://www.j-s-bach.tmfweb.nl [N/A] or just: www.j-s-bach.org [N/A]>
A beautiful site! You can add a link to the Archive site. The address is: http://freespace.virginnet.co.uk/simon.crouch/BCArchive/Introduction.htm [N/A, replaced by http://www.bach-cantatas.com/]. I am afraid that you have a competition from the site of Joan Records regarding the Bach Edition from Brilliant Classics. The address is: http://www.joan-records.com/classical/bach/bach-index.html. I wish I could add pictures (of the CD's or LP's sleeves) to the Archive site, but at the moment it is not possible, due to limitations set by the host server provider.

Galina Kolomietz wrote (November 13, 2000):
< Kris Shapar wrote: I've been listening intensely to Bach's music for over a quarter of a century now and am currently beginning to focus on his iconography -- why he wrote certain arias for sopranos and others for basses, for example, or the roles played by specific instruments. [Snip] >
*** How ! I realize that this is a long-term project, but do you have any intermediate thoughts to report?

(I'm a lurker... sigh I wish I could talk about Bach's iconography!)

Mercedes Storch de Gracia wrote (November 13, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) I am certainly a member. I do not contribute on the reviews of the cantata but I do read all the messages with great interest.

Many thanks for your hard work.

Philip Peters wrote (November 13, 2000):
This is really off topic here, but I still want to share my excitement over having bought today for little or no money a Matthew Passion recorded in 1941 by Günther Ramin and the Thomanerchor/Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. There is not all that much difference between Ramin's view on the work and other so-called Romantic ones but there is a difference in the soloists: no less than Karl Erb, Gerhard Hüsch, Tiana Lemnitz, Friedel Beckmann and Siegfried Schulze.

This brings me to a subject which may be a little bit more on topic: Being a Lieder adept by nature I have noticed that also in Bach's vocal music including the cantatas I find the singers my first concern. Suzuki, Koopman or Herreweghe may appeal a lot to me (especially Herreweghe) but IMO current soloists rarely are of the same quality as they were in earlier days. It may just be me (I am internationally known for the most stupid statements ;)) but I have this feeling that some spontaneity or some kind of direct relationship with the music seems to have been lost. However much I like Klaus Mertens, IMO the best Bach bass of our time, currently I hear Hüsch and Schulze and I seem to detect more feeling. I can't really describe it but I don't think it's just some sentimental nostalgia for a time when I wasn't even alive (I'm from 1948)... if one were to make a sweeping historical statement I would be tempted to say something like: "After Auschwitz an innocent, direct relationship to whatever seems to be impossible".

Hm...you know what, I will press the send key anyway, I hope you all know where to find the delete key ;))

New here!

Richard Loeb
wrote (November 10, 2000):
Hi I'm new here and really excited - I love the Bach cantatas - for me a source of unending amazement, pleasure and beauty. I have a question - is there an actual Bach cantata newsgroup I can join or just stay on this mailing list?

Also I just purchased the complete set on Brilliant from Germany (117$!!!) maybe not the most polished but I find it (I hope I'm not the only one) very enjoyable indeed. Any comments?

Harry Steinman wrote (November 10, 2000):
(To Richard Loeb) Welcome! I have much of the Brilliant Classics series, most of the cantata recordings (I think!) and purchased them through Berkshire Record Outlet (www.broinc.com) Although there’s not much in the way of accompanying notes (well, can’t expect everything for the price) I enjoy the production and singing. You’ll find some reservations about the counter-tenor, Buwalda, and folks will note a rough cantata or two, but by-and-large, the BC series is a good investment, IMHO…at least till you start jouncing for more. Then there’s the world of Koopman, Suzuki, Rilling…and more.

Happy listening…and now that you have a set o’ songs, join in on the weekly postings!

Hi!

Jimmy Setiawan
wrote (November 10, 2000):
Hi all Bach's lovers, I just participate in this Mailing List. I always love Bach's music and never bored to learn about his music. I really enjoy for the discussions that help me to appreciate his excellent music more. Frankly, I feel not confident to give comments on Bach's cantatas since I am just starting my study on his cantatas - besides my English proficiency. Nevertheless, I will contribute as much as I can, but again please forgive my English.

I have a plan to purchase Bach's cantatas from BACH 2000 - Telarc Edition, but I get information that there is another edition from Hänssler. Could anybody give me recommendation which one is the best?

Happy birthday dear list! (Was re: How many members?)

Marie Jensen
wrote (November 10, 2000):
Congratulations to our list!
One year old in these days!

It has survived and even well structured. In the beginning I was afraid that it would die very soon again. I'm sure we can thank Aryeh's postings week after week for this result. He hasn't even taken the tiniest vacation! And very soon we have walked a quarter of the road!

When the list started I first thought: I want to be in lurking mode most of the time. What can I write of interest to all those competent members? But suddenly I found myself sending in new mails week after week, first because I did not want this project to fail. I thought, when 5 or 10 of the real tough experts show up and begin to write regularly, you get back in your snail shell, Marie! But then I found myself discovering new aspects of the works all the time. The cantatas began to pop up and comment my life situation nearly instinctively. And the cantata of the week is almost constantly on my mind. So perhaps I shall go on writing?

I had a period where I felt I was loosing the happy non-review listening. But Bach seems closer to me more than ever, and the wisdom of the texts no matter how outdated they seemed to me in the beginning has begun to mean a lot to me.

To all you out in the lurking darkness! My only qualification is my deep Bach devotion. Could be that some musicologists or conductors out there shake their heads reading my autodidact nonsense. But at least they have not told me. So my courage has grown. In the 18th century they talked about "Kenner und Liebhaber", those who are educated experts and those who are loving amateurs. I always sign as "Liebhaber". What I try to tell, is a little of what I personally experience, when I listen to Bach. So more of you could do the same...

It is a job to write week after week, even if my postings are not as long as Aryeh's, I often fight with expressing my experiences precisely in English. I fully understand, that members not always can find time week after week, that there is a world outside this list, that they go on vacation, get ill, don't have the actual cantata etc.

When members don't write, the reason also could be, that the subject is given in advance. When they write to the Recordings List, they often rave about a new CD they just bought. On the other hand I like this disciplined way, I can prepare myself… (BTW: Who writes the new schedule for the first half of 2001?)

I love to sit in the darkness these November mornings and begin the day with "the cantata of the week". I hope a little of this joy will shine on the people I meet during the day at work...

Birthday greetings to all the members of the best list in the world!

Kirk McElhearn wrote (November 10, 2000):
< Marie Jensen wrote: Birthday greetings to all the members of the best list in the world! >
Congratulations, and thanks to all those who make this list so interesting.

I remember when I started this list there were some people who said that it really wouldn't be very useful, that the Bach Recordings list was good enough. But it has turned out to be quite a forum, and the fact that there are now edited archives on the web makes it a valuable resource to Bach fans.

I wish I had more time to be involved, but my work has been overwhelming me since I moved to the Alps in February. Even though I don't contribute, I read all the posts and, like many others, can only sing the praise of those of you who contribute so much, and so often.

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 10, 2000):
< Kirk McElhearn wrote: I remember when I started this list there were some people who said that it really wouldn't be very useful, that the Bach Recordings list was good enough. >
Believe it or not, I was the one who, following your suggestion, started a thread with the title 'Who needs so many Bach lists?'

Kirk McElhearn wrote (November 11, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) I know, I just didn't want to bring it up :-)

Jane Newble wrote (November 11, 2000):
(To Aryeh Oron) I am hoping to write about BWV 109 (assuming I have got it, haven't checked yet), but in a few hours I shall leaving for Holland until next Thursday, hopefully bringing back the rest of the Leusink sets! Thanks again for all your inspiring reviews every single week. Wonderful!

 

Jubilee Celebration

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 12, 2000):
I do not know if the members of this group are aware to the fact that the cantata discussed in our group this week - BWV 109, is number 50 in our weekly discussions. Considering that there are 209 cantatas to be discussed (215 minus the 6 non-Bach cantatas, which are included in the BWV 1-215 list), we are almost quarter of the way in our gigantic task. I think that in this list we established a unique phenomenon in the world of Mailing Lists. We set up a mechanism for weekly discussions, where the subject of each week is agreed in advance, and we have succeeded (so far) in keeping it!
I am not aware of any other Mailing List (at least, not in the Jazz or Classical music lists), in which such order of discussion has been agreed upon and kept.

Some statistics
Number of cantatas, which have been discussed so far - 50. The list is located in the following address: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Order.htm
Number of members in the Bach Cantatas Mailing List - 118.
Countries of the members (partial list, with the help of Kirk) - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, U.S.A, ... and there are many codes I could not identify and many members in the .com zone.
The shortest discussions -
BWV 110 (2 contributors, 3 messages, 175 lines, 1,123 words) & BWV 8 (2 contributors, 2 messages, 163 lines, 1,251 words).
The longest discussion - BWV 21 (1,937 lines, 21,429 words).
The cantata with the biggest number of recordings - BWV 82 (39 recordings!).
The cantatas with the smallest number of recordings - BWV 77, BWV 109 & BWV 181 (only 3 recordings of each).

This is an opportunity for all the members of the list (including the many many lurkers) for interim thoughts, conclusions, opinions, etc. Such as, 'What is the cantata I love best among the 50 already discussed'.

Jane Newble wrote (November 21, 2000):
< Aryeh Oron wrote: This is an opportunity for all the members of the list (including the many many lurkers) for interim thoughts, conclusions, opinions, etc. Such as, 'What is the cantata I love best among the 50 already discussed'. >
The more cantatas I really listen to, the more difficult I find it to pick a favourite. They all have different aspects. I suppose if I had to choose one, off the top of my head, it would be BWV 82, but I would be mortified, if that was the only one I was ever allowed to listen to. Isn't it a wonderful privilege to look at a cantata every week, and learn more about it?

I wonder what Jim Groeneveld (as I noticed he is a member of the Holland Boys Choir) feels about having sung them all. But perhaps there is no time to get to know it intimately in the tempo those things were recorded? Even so, there must have been particular favourites, or some that jumped out for certain reasons? I would love to know.

Jim Groeneveld wrote (November 21, 2000):
(To Jane Newble) All right, because you are asking for it [;-) I'd rather just read and respect others opinions passively without influencing anything and observing their enjoyment.

I only joined this list mid July 2000 (after our recording sessions), so I missed quite a lot of the reviews. Studying and recording cantatas has been very intense from April 1999 until July 2000. It has been estimated to have taken approx. 1100 to 1200 hours, almost a half time job. (Not to me though, I already travel about 4.5 hours a day for my work, so I didn't attend all rehearsals. I could partially do without them, because of my AP, and study the score silently in the train.)

During the rehearsals and recordings the accent has mainly been put on the music itself and less on (the meaning of) the text, unless necessary for expression of course. On the average we had 4 sessions a month (mostly evenings) in which we recorded the choral parts of 2 to 3 cantatas. The order of the cantatas and parts of them was random, well not quite random, it depended on the availability of instrumentalists and that was rather arbitrary. So it wasn't quite a situation to be thoroughly aware of the context of a particular cantata.

Anyway I don't have a specific favourite cantata, though my preference goes to those with brass wind instruments and in some major key. As you see, my taste is mainly musically oriented, not so much conceptually, though I'm a convinced Christian. There is a cantata, which I like anyway, but it isn't among the 50 ones reviewed yet. It is cantata BWV 150, "Nach dir Herr verlanget mich". It has mainly choral parts and even the two solo parts were sung by the students' choir I joined about 25 years ago. The different parts are quite varied in expression, melody and tempo as far as the music concerns. But other cantatas have beautiful parts as well, I enjoy them every time I hear them. I think Bach wrote them (and his other religious work) both as a very good musician and as a convinced Christian, placing his talents at the service of God, thus composing the most beautiful music to the honour of God.

Jane Newble wrote (November 21, 2000):
(To Jim Groeneveld) Thank you for taking the time to come out of your 'observing' corner and write about the cantatas project. I'm sure I'm not the only one who enjoyed getting a look 'behind' the CD's. I am not surprised that it would be difficult to concentrate on the text too much in such a short time. But I think that you have all done a wonderful job. I very much like the Leusink series. There is so much freshness about the cantatas, and the instruments are lovely. I look forward to hearing BWV 150 after what you wrote about it. Thanks again,

 

Introducing Myself

Paul McCain wrote (December 28, 2000):
I am pleased to have found this discussion list about Bach. I am a Lutheran pastor and have always treasured Bach as perhaps the most profound interpreter of the Christian/Lutheran faith. I have spent considerable time studying the theology of Bach and his place in the history of the post-Reformation Lutheran Church during the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy.

I am pursuing an intentional process of growing further in my appreciation for Bach's music. I particularly like his organ works and his sacred chorals.

A blessed Christmas and Happy New Year to you all

 

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Last update: ýMarch 13, 2010 ý10:24:29