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Julian Mincham

Web site

Julian Mincham wrote (April 22, 2010):
This is to inform list members that I have just launched a website which may be accessed through the following address: www.jsbachcantatas.com

The site is comprised of a series of carefully researched essays on the cantatas with comments upon every movement. (Please note that the secular cantata essays will be uploaded later in the year.) When they have been added it will comprise over a half a million words, making it the most extensive treatise on the cantatas produced in English in recent years.

It also links with Aryeh's website www.bach-cantatas.com from which most of you will know that you may access scores, translations of texts and further information. A direct link to the relevant cantata page is to be found at the end of each essay and these links will soon be reciprocal i.e. one can go to the information on any cantata directly from one site to the other.

Aryeh and I have agreed to link the sites in this way because of their complementary nature. Thus combined, they make up the largest readily available resource of fact, analysis and opinion now available on the cantatas.

The essays should be of interest to musicians and students of the music, but also to the general reader; although some technical language is unavoidable there is an extensive glossary and, whilst illuminative, it is not essential to be able to follow scores and technical bits can easily be skipped. The project is deliberately pitched to lie somewhere between a popularist tract and an academic treatise.

Sections may be downloaded for study purposes without charge but all material is copyrighted and prior permission must be sought before the use of any quotations in, say, programme notes. The three volumes will eventually be published in hard copy but probably not within the next couple of years.

Please feel free to pass on the web site address to anyone who you think might make use of it.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] Wow! I'll be looking forward to browsing the site when I listen to the cantatas! It must have taken you years to write all this.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] Wonderful work, Julian. Thank you for making it complementary to the BCML site.

I enjoyed reading your bio! My grandmother played the piano for the silent movies in St. John's, Newfoundland in the 1920's -- the theatre is still in use for dinner theatre! Among her papers was a two-step she wrote for a screening. I edited it and on a lark sent it off to the National Library of Canada. I was surprised and delighted when the head of the music manuscripts division called me and asked for another copy for circulation. Evidently, there is very little popular music by women from that decade, and Nannan is now a bona-file Canadian Composer.

Thanks again for the cantata material.

Paul Johnson wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] it looks like a wonderful site!

Julian Mincham wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Paul Johnson] Many thanks Paul.

(I am happy to receive feedback from members when they have had a chance to absorb some of it.)

Alexander Volkov wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] A great web-resource!
I reposted the link to several Russian-language forums.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] Looks great Julian, thanks!

Julian Mincham wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Evan Cortens] Thanks Evan

Julian Mincham wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Alexander Volkov] Many thanks Alexander. Unfortunately it won't be available in Russian for a while though!

Alexander Volkov wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] Don't worry too much of that. A lot of Bach lovers in Russia can read in English easily. I even know some of them who learned Deutsch to read related texts, in particular the works by Werkmeister, most of which, as far as I'm concerned, haven't been translated even to English.

Nicholas Johnson wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] Julian your website looks fantastic.

Jens F. Laurson wrote (April 23, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] Fantastic! Thanks in advance!

David Haslett wrote (April 23, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] I have been dipping in with regard to favourite Cantatas and I am simply blown away by what you have done.

My only wish is that this could be available as a hardback book. It is exactly the kind of book on the Cantatas I have been looking for.

Best wishes from Berlin,

Julian Mincham wrote (April 23, 2010):
[To Johnson Nicholas] Thank you Nicholas

Julian Mincham wrote (April 23, 2010):
[To David Haslett] Thank you David. I agree with you, that was the original plan when I started on this project about 10 years ago; it still is but it will take another 2 years I think and I thought I would get the main bulk out so people could make use of it, if they so wished, sooner rather than later----some of us Bach fans are not getting any younger! The plan is eventually to publish in the three volumes--mainly because, as my experience with Dürr has shown, if the book is too big the spines crack very easily.

Anyway, watch this space.

Can I take this opportunity also to apologise to all for the lack of Umlautes---they were in the original essays but somehow did not make the transition onto the website. I am seeing what can be done about it.

 

Web site

Julian Mincham wrote (October 18, 2010):
[To David Haslett] You may like to know that the secular cantata essays have now all been added to the site. I am investigating publishing at this time and may have some news on that early in the new year.

 

Web site

Julian Mincham wrote (December 16, 2011):
I know that anumber of you regularly access my Bach cantata site (www.jsbachcantatas.com) sothe following may be of interest to some of you.

The project, whichbegan a decade ago in 2001, is now complete, apart from the ongoing tinkeringand updating. It comprises around 600,000 words and over 1000 music examples,the latest addition being the placing of the relevant chorale melody at the topof each of the chorale cantatas. It has been accessed by tens of thousands ofpeople in around 70 countries, some of which are quite surprising; there appearsto be a smattering of Bach fans almost everywhere! I have even received emailsin other languages from people who know enough English to read the essays but who feel unhappy about writing in English!

It was firstlaunched in embryonic form 20 months ago. Since then the ‘secular’ cantataessays and the musical examples have been added and the whole project revisedand reformatted for easier reading on screen. The mutual links with the Bach Cantata Websiteallow the claim, I think, that between them they provide the largest repositoryof fact, background, analysis and information on these works readily accessibleto all.

I learnt somevaluable lessons from the exercise, one being the advantages of internet dissemination.The project was originally intended to be published in traditional book form butthis way it reaches many more people and is readily accessible forcorrections/updating. I also learnt the enormous value of simply copying musicout. The process of inputting the musical examples and a number of choralesinto a notator gave me some quite new perspectives on melodic shapes andmotives. Well, it certainly helped one of our greatest composers to learn hiscraft!

Finally, manythanks to those who contacted me with matters of spelling, typos and othercorrections. (A further advantage of putting work out on the web is that youcan access a very wide pool of helpful proof readers!)


Finally, arequest. I know there are a number of sites which provide opportunities to hearthe cantatas for free (there weren’t when I began building my CD library some20 years ago!) I would like to put as many of them as possible as links on thesite (legal ones preferably) If you have any suggestions I would be grateful ifyou could send them to me, off list, at jhmincham@aol.co.

A happy BachChrto everyone---although this year I may be taking a temporary breakfrom Bach!

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 17, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< The project, whichbegan a decade ago in 2001, is now complete, apart from the ongoing tinkeringand updating. >
Congratulations, Julian. The site is the best Bach commentary both printed and online (I actually prefer it to Dürr). I particularly like that you really dig into the music. Your analysis often reminds me of Terry who I still think is the greatest Bach commentator in English.

I know that maintaining links is a time-consuming process, but if you're going to add sound samples, you might consider the links to the piano/vocal and full scores. I wish there was a button which took

Julian Mincham wrote (December 17, 2011):
Many thanks Claudio--please keep me in the loop with your next publication.

Thanks also Douglas. It's flattering to be compared with Dürr but he is still the bible for accurate chronology of the works.

I too have found him appearing to be less than moved by the music than one might expect and when I recently met members of the Bach Archiv Leipzig who had known him well, I asked them about this. Their response was that he was genuinely touched by the music but the demands of academic musicology are such that it appears as a weakness to be too subjective.

It's an interesting point which seems to divide those who write about music passionately and those who to not. I started with a mental image of those music lovers who had CDs (or a complete set) of the cantatas and simply wanted guidance as to how to delve into them more deeply. The challenge, I found, was to attempt to combine this audience with a genuinely academic approach to analysis which would offer something also to music students and professional musicians.--a sort of balance between not patronising (or confusing) the one or talking down to the other. My view is that music is a passionate activity----why not write about it passionately?

Re links, those at the bottom of each essay take the reader to this site and the full and piano/vocal scores. Any links which take readers to performances in sound are welcome.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 17, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< I too have found him [Dürr] appearing to be less than moved by the music than one might expect and when I recently met members of the Bach Archiv Leipzig who had known him well, I asked them about this. Their response was that he was genuinely touched by the music but the demands of academic musicology are such that it appears as a weakness to be too subjective. >
How did you survive all those years? Curious readers might enjoy a quick visit to the final paragraph of the acknowledgements section at Julians website.

JM:
< Re links, those at the bottom of each essay take the reader to this site and the full and piano/vocal scores. Any links which take readers to performances in sound are welcome. >
EM:
I would also suggest that we add links, if possible, to the sources of autograph score reproductions which Evan provides. These are works of art in their own right. I previously wrote of the sublime (if that is not too subjective an impression!) experience of hearing and seeing Nicholas Kitchen playing from the autograph scores of the solo violin works, also projected for audience viewing.

Evan Cortens wrote (December 17, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I would also suggest that we add links, if possible, to the sources of autograph score reproductions which Evan provides. These are works of art in their own right. I previously wrote of the sublime (if that is not too subjective an impression!) experience of hearing and seeing Nicholas Kitchen playing from the autograph scores of the solo violin works, also projected for audience viewing. >
These wonderful links are possible because of the wonderful work of the Bach-Digital project, online at: http://www.bach-digital.de/

It might not be a bad idea to check with them before linking directly... they might object to one going directly to score images, bypassing the site. That said, I doubt they'd object to one linking to their own pages, like this one: http://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalSource_source_00000949
for the score (P 86) of BWV 35.

I very much agree with Ed that these are "works of art in their own right."

Julian Minchami wrote (December 18, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] Yup--my relationship with traditional academic research practice is a somewhat tenuous one---for which I have few regrets!

 

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Last update: ęDecember 27, 2011 ę09:01:58