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Part 3: Year 2001

One suggestion

Chuloong Jung wrote (January 21, 2001):
Hi, I'm a lurker in Seoul South Korea.

I am deeply thankful of all of you listmates. Your precious comments on each work of J.S. Bach have led me to the pleasure of listing to music.

Since I am a journalist who is destined to be busy anyday, I have always been a lurker whose biggist pastime is to read the mails by the listmates. If I receive the mails from Bach mailing list, I don't delete after I read it except the ones with short comment on previous mail. It's because I want to keep all those comments and to utilize them in the future when I buy the CD's mentioned in the comments.

Today, I bought a few Bach CDs including the 'Actus tragicus' by Cantus Koln. (I'm lucky because I bought the CD after paying only 10 US Dollar, although I paid with Korean Won) When I tried to find the mails related to this work, an idea hit upon me. How much will it be easier to find the sought-after comments if all the titles of the mails begins with the BWV number?

I think, if my suggestion be accepted, the mails from the mailing list will become a nice archive embeded into my notebook computer. What do you think about my idea? Is it plausible?

Thank you for reading, and Sorry for my bad English.

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 21, 2001):
(To Chuloong Jung) It is nice to see someone from Korea in this International Mailing List. Welcome aboard! Your idea is fine, and actually this is the method used in this list. We agreed upon this method more than a year ago, when the BCML was launched by Kirk. All the previous postings to the BCML are grouped according to their BWV number in the Archive Site of this group. And you will find there more material which might be useful to you. The address is: http://www.bach-cantatas.com It will be nice to see you participating in the weekly cantata discussions, as well as feedback from you to previous postings, which you can find in the Archive Site.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (January 21, 2001):
(To Aryeh Oron) Two questions:
(1) Does this response indicate that you did receive the post to which you respond? I see you did use the egroups message poster (I cannot access the egroups page presently).
(2) How can these archives include the posts to listbot or were they transferred, a question I posed once before?

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 21, 2001):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman]
1. I sent the message from the site of eGroups. My problem has not been resolved yet.
2. The Archive Site (mainly Bach Cantatas, but also the other Bach's Vocal Works) includes messages from eGroups (the current list), ListBot (the previous list) and even many messages from the 'old' Bach Recordings List (which was handled by Jan Hanford until October 1999), as well as chosen messages from other classical mailing lists.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 21, 2001):
Yoel L. Arbeitman said:
< (2) How can these archives include the posts to listbot or were they transferred, a question I posed once before? >
No, there were no archives at Listbot, but Aryeh has been maintaining archives of most of the messages, and these are at www.bach-cantatas.com

 

BWV 73

Peter Kemner wrote (January 23, 2001):
I'm new to this group, so let me introduce myself. My name is Peter Kemner, I'm 42 years old and I'm from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. I'm also relatively new to the Bach Cantatas so don't expect too many contributions from me as yet. I started listening to Bach's music thanks to Bruno Monsaingeon's films about Glenn Gould. From there on I started collecting recordings of all the major Bach-works for keyboard. All this time I never cared much for the vocal side of Bach, until not too long ago a friend of mine made me a tape of John Eliot Gardiner's rendition of the St. Matthew Passion. This really opened up my ears :-) And so now, finally, I have arrived at the Cantatas. Like the great Dutch Bach-lover Maarten 't Hart described so perfectly in his book "Johann Sebastian Bach" (it came with the Kruidvat series), I too was under the impression "that the cantatas were merely works made in a hurry to comply to the weekly need of the churchgoers". No way Bach could have given his best in these works! So how wrong can one be...

Anyway, this sounds like a fun group and looking at the postings in the archive there's plenty of expertise and suggestions around to keep me busy for a while :-)

Harry J. Steinman wrote (January 24, 2001):
(To Peter Kemner) Welcome to the cantata world! It's interesting to read about people's introductions to Bach; I recall that topic was a thread in the companion list, "Bach Recordings" a couple years ago. It's nice to have you with us!

 

Greetings!

Kevin Faulkner (Mary Our Queen Church, Atlanta, GA) wrote (January 29, 2001):
My name is Kevin Faulkner and I am a professional church musician. I joined this group as a means of preparing to perform some of the Bach cantatas in the next two years with a group of professional singers and musicians in the Atlanta, GA area. As you may or may not know, Bach cantatas are not performed in this area and I am trying to do the needed scholarship to make these glorious pieces work. I already appreciate the discussions on language and recordings available, so I look forward to more Bach discussions in the future. Thanks to all for your presence.

Yoél L. Arbeitman wrote (January 29, 2001):
(To Kevin Faulkner) But surely, Kevin, with a church name like that, you are not a Southern Baptist which is what comes to mind for Georgia. Greetings to you back!

 

An old subscriber is back

Vicenzo Vennarini wrote (January 30, 2001):
Here I am back after a long period... My name is Vincenzo, from Roma, Italy. Hope discussions are interesting, and lively!! <Snip>

 

Order of Discussion - List No.7 - a call for suggestions

Pablo Fagoaga wrote (February 6, 2001):
Hi! My name is Pablo Fagoaga, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and this is my first message to the group, after a couple of weeks of just picking up the mails (GREAT group you have!!!). As an ice breaker, Id like to suggest an order of discussion. <Snip>

 

Introducing Myself

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 4, 2001):
My name is Tom Braatz, located on the periphery of the greater Chicago area. I had visited the Bach Cantata Discussions earlier last year before this wonderful reorganizational effort took place. I must admit that I had been 'turned off' by the idea of jumping around willy-nilly from one cantata to another and by comments such as one I will paraphrase: "Bach was working under such pressure to produce new cantatas for each Sunday that he would often assign an aria or two to his sons for them to compose while he was working on the main movements." Not that I want to argue about such opinions, I simply want to state what kept me from joining the list last year.

Although Bach has been a mainstay throughout my life, the world of his cantatas has only recently been unfolding for me. About four years ago I began collecting recordings of the cantatas and listening to them on Sundays after reading in German the Epistle and Gospel selections for the designated Sunday as contained in a German hymnal. Even in Bach's day the hymn tunes and texts were a moving target varying from principality to principality, but the Gospel texts have been firm for centuries (my hymnal dated 1965). What has happened here, and perhaps also in Germany, since then, is that a 'new cycle' of readings was added to the old, and in some churches now any reading taken from the Bible can replace the original set. What a loss for anyone trying to make a meaningful connection that for centuries was 'selbstverständlich' = goes without saying!

Up until fairly recently (I am now about as old as Bach was when he died), my acquaintance with Bach's cantatas was very sporadic indeed. As a boy and as a teenager I was fortunate to be able to play his keyboard works on a harpsichord and a church organ. But I remember that my friend had a 78 recording of the Magnificat BWV 243 (Robert Shaw). While we listened to it, we also studied and memorized the Latin text (Latin was a subject in high school). Without ever reading Schweitzer (my friend also had records of S's organ playing), we discovered on our own Bach's musical picture language, for example, in the Esurientes section (9) the last word 'inanes' = empty is followed by the top voices (two flutes) going out 'empty' by not playing the last note, which would be the obvious conclusion to the musical phrase.

When I was a teenager, Bach cantatas remarkably were being performed in a local Lutheran church in my hometown (pop. 42,000) in the Midwest. For some reason, perhaps because I was the only one in town who owned a harpsichord, the choirmaster and organist of a Missouri Synod (known for its strict adherence to theological doctrine and general conservatism) Lutheran church asked me to participate in a Sunday morning performance of BWV 93. I still remember playing the continuo in a rehearsal and thinking what a wonderful experience it was. Shortly before the performance I was informed that the church council had decided that I should not be allowed to play during the service since I was baptized and confirmed as an Evangelical Lutheran in the church that stood on the opposite corner of the same intersection! As a consolation for my efforts, they allowed my to play the 5th Brandenburg in the church basement with the same instrumentalists that had performed in church a few hours earlier. This was the same church council that forbade the same choir director to include trumpets and timpani in his cantata performances during the services. Is there a legacy that goes along with the performances of these cantatas? Why does Bach's music always seem to offer a challenge to church councils? Consider, for a moment, Bach's own difficult relationship with church and city councils. Why even thirteen months before Bach died (he was quite famous already), the city council began interviewing and openly auditioning prospective successors to Bach's post in Leipzig. The first one of these was Gottlob Harrer, who presented at his public audition the cantata, "The Rich Man Died and Was Buried." Only two months earlier Bach had conducted his Johannespassion and on the 25th of August of that year 1749, a little less than a year before his death, he conducted the cantata BWV 29 with large orchestra, trumpets and timpani.

In the mid fifties (sorry, 20th century now), I began subscribing to the Neue Bach Ausgabe (NBA) (no, not a sports organization, but rather the most complete, up-to-date edition of Bach's works with all the best current scholarship to back it up - it's almost finished, but not quite). The first volume released in 1954 contained the Advent cantatas. I also subscribed to the critical reports that contain interesting information, but very different from the insights that Aryeh Oron and others on the BCML offer us. From a cantata listener's standpoint it is difficult to imagine how much time and human effort generally is spent doing this very necessary musicological research which gives us the bases for the performances we are able to hear today. It takes a true Sherlock Holmes mentality to piece together what is placed before us as the most probable intention of the composer based on such evidence as the watermark, size and quality of the paper, and deciphering the handwriting of Bach or a copier. It's a bit like the study of philology or following the etymology of a specific word. A similar word form is traced back historically through a number of languages until an Indo-European stem is posited. This usually has an asterisk affixed to it as a reminder that this form does not really exist as a physical record of any kind, but that this is an educated guess on the part of a few experts of what it most probably would have been.

Now the Bach interpreters can simply look at the notes on the pages of the NBA scores and decide what to do with this 'correct' information as there still is a wide range of imagination and performance practice to consider: Harnoncourt can look at a half note in Bach's score and make it into a quarter note with a strong accent (not marked that way in the original), while Karl Richter can take a fermata in the middle of a chorale and extend it almost endlessly (for what reason?). In an interview recently Rilling was asked about his innumerable performances of the cantatas. He stated that each cantata is performed differently by him at varying points in his career. This, and also the fact that Bach, when reviving and repeating a cantata after a few years, sometimes revised the cantata substantially, should serve as a reminder to all cantata listeners that our recordings are like snapshots frozen in time of a work in progress that continues to grow as other performers come to terms with the music and the content of the words. The miracle, however, is that from time to time a given voice, group of voices or choir can literally come of the loudspeakers and grab your attention to such a degree that you become transfixed by the combination of Bach's genius, the director's intuition, the instrumentalists' efforts to reproduce what Bach and the director had in mind, and, last but not least, the vocalists' and choir's ability to convey musically a genuine feeling and strong belief regarding the content of the words they are singing.

To conclude, since this introduction is already much too long, I would like to emphasize that despite my lifelong acquaintance and love of Bach's music, I seem to have saved the best for last: his cantatas. With the help of Rilling, Harnoncourt/Leonhardt, Karl Richter, Herreweghe, and collecting as they are issued, Koopman, Suzuki and Gardiner, I am continually, at the end of my life, making new discoveries, gaining new insights, being spiritually uplifted, and deriving immense listening pleasure from what must be considered one of the greatest spiritual and musical monuments of Western civilization.

Marie Jensen wrote (March 13, 2001):
[To Thomas Braatz] I just want to say, that I am very glad you have left lurking mode and entered the stage with your enormous knowledge and insight. I am looking forward to learn a lot.

Jane Newble wrote (March 13, 2001):
[To Thomas Braatz] After coming back from Holland I am beginning to catch up on the messages, and wanted to say welcome. I often wonder what Bach himself would say of the way he is interpreted and performed. A secret which we shall never know. Anyway, this is just to say that I do enjoy your very interesting posts and research.

 

BWV 54 - Widerstehe doch der Sünde

José Miguel wrote (March 22, 2001):
First of all, let me introduce myself, my name is José Miguel and I live in Spain. As a Bach Cantatas close follower I subscribed this excellent mailing list some months ago but I am afraid that I did not write very much... Anyway, I have read most of the mails sent to the list and I have learned plenty of interesting things.

About my favourites cantatas, I have several who I like to hear as often as I can...but maybe the cantata I am really fond of is BWV 54, "Widerstehe doch der Sünde". I only have the Harnoncourt's recording of this not very long soloist cantata but I would like to ask to whoever member if there are another available recordings, as well as the quality that they deserve.

I would appreciate very much if anyone could tell me any notice about the history of this cantata...As far as I know, it was first played at Weimar on July 15th of 1714, so that it could be one of Bach's earliest cantatas, couldn't it?.

Thank you very much in advance for your replies. Warmest greetings.

 

Introduction

Wouter Kees Snoeijers wrote (April 1, 2001):
Quite some time ago I discovered the newsgroup alt.music.j-s-bach. I was active there for a while, but lack of time kept me from playing a more active role in the forum. I did post some reviews and stuff on the newsgroup, but there was too much going on for me to keep up with at the time. Only last month I came into contact with Aryeh, who published a review of mine on his site. He invited me into this group. I am a student from the netherlands, 24 years old, and have been listening to Bach for almost 6 years now. I'm an amateur, and only have basic knowledge, and no formal education in either music or Bach. But I do hope I can make a contribution to this forum, and learn a lot too.

It started out perfectly: I tried looking up cantata BWV 118 today in my collection, and it seems that I have misplaced it, or even worse, lost it... Well, BWV 82 I do have,

 

Introducing Myself

Roar Myrheim wrote (April 26, 2001):
Hello all members of the BCML!

I've been lurking for some months, and have enjoyed all the knowledge present. I live in Norway. My profession is Mental Health Nurse, but I have been playing the church organ since I was 15. As often as possible, I use Bach in the services. I also play piano in a Big Band, and in a trio with violin and cello. The trio plays at cafes on Saturday afternoons, and our repertoire consists mainly of operetta melodies, evergreens and czardas. My interest in Bach, started early, and now at 43, he stands as THE greatest composer. I remember well getting my first Bach LP's, Harnoncourt's Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248), with full score in the box! I was hooked! Later, on a visit in Munich, I bought Volume 1 of Harnoncourt's Complete Cantatas. I remember asking the shop assistant if a score was enclosed. He looked at me with an indulgent look, and shook his head. But there was a score!

The only complete recording I have, is Leusink. I also have some of Rilling's and some of Herreweghe's.

For me, Bach's Cantatas are invaluable sources of spiritual and musical nourishment. I look forward to following the discussions at BCML, and maybe some time have something to say, too.

 

Krzysztof

Krzysztof Filus Komorowski wrote (May 20, 2001):
Hello everyone! I'm new on this group, I'm a young physician from Poland who admires Bach's music. My name is Krzysztof (Christopher). The music of Bach was always in the centre of my music interests, and the world of canatas is something like a different dimention for me. I have ten volumines of Bach's cantatas published by T.Koopman (however, I agree that this interpretation, great in many details, does not correspond to the latest achievments in performance of early music). I have also heard many cantatas under Harnoncourt and Leonhard, and some under Suzuki, Gardiner, Parrot, Herreweghe and Rifikin. Conclusion is always the same: we do not know the right way. But we l isten and - I hope so - become more human than before.

 

My First Cantata

Nicholas Baumgertner (June 28, 2001):
Just joined this list--thanks to all for such enlightening contributions. I studied Piano at Oberlin Conservatory and German Literature at Oberlin College, and am now a law student at Vanderbilt University. However, I am keeping my grip in the music world by publishing an occasional article on European Bach interpretation. One of my current projects is to compare practical reasoning in statutory interpretation with similar approaches throughout the Early Music movement.
<snip>

 

Hello, Im the new guy

Reggie Mobley wrote (July 28, 2001):
I'm Reggie, a 23yo student at the University of Florida in Gainesville Florida. I just discovered this room. I am a music student, studying vocal performance (male alto). I just got into cantatas recently and I cant stop. especially the Rilling Recordings (I love that man). I was wondering if anyone has any information regarding the structure of BWV 105. I cant stop listening to it, and I dont know why. Also if anyone can reccomend any good cantatas beside that one and BWV 131, I'd be happy to hear them.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (July 29, 2001):
[To Reggie Mobley] Why not try one of the male alto disks, like that of Andreas Scholl or of René Jacobs, both of whom have a single CD of Bach alto cantatas. I have heard the canatas (they make different choices, one includes the non-Bach, but still wonderful, BWV 53) by female contraltos and mezzos, but these are both great CDs.

 

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