Analyzing Bach Cantatas by Eric Chafe

By Eric Chafe

Bach's cantatas are one of the maximum achievements of Western musical artwork, but reviews of the person cantatas which are either illuminating and exact are few. during this e-book, famous Bach specialist Eric Chafe combines theological, old, analytical, and interpretive ways to the cantatas to provide readers and listeners alike the richest attainable event of those works. A revered theorist of seventeenth-century tune, Chafe is delicate to the composer's intentions and to the iconic and common features of the tune itself.

Concentrating on a small variety of consultant cantatas, in most cases from the Leipzig cycles of 1723-24 and 1724-25, and specifically on Cantata seventy seven, Chafe exhibits how Bach strove to reflect either the dogma and the secret of non secular event in musical allegory. studying Bach Cantatas bargains priceless info at the theological relevance of the constitution of the liturgical 12 months for the layout and content material of those works, in addition to a survey of the theories of modality that tell Bach's compositional variety. Chafe demonstrates that, whereas Bach definitely hired "pictorialism" and word-painting in his compositions, his approach to writing song was once a extra advanced amalgam of theological suggestions and tune thought. concerning the cantatas as musical allegories that replicate the elemental tenets of Lutheran theology as validated in the course of Bach's lifetime, Chafe synthesizes a couple of key musical and theological principles to light up the fundamental personality of those nice works.

This certain and insightful e-book bargains a vital technique for realizing one of many principal our bodies of labor within the Western musical canon. it is going to end up quintessential for all scholars and students of Bach's paintings, musicology, and theological reviews.

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The sequence is, of course, indebted to the pattern of traditional hermeneutics, and its character is that of the replacing of fear by hope. After the very positive ending of part 1, the G major aria "Hebt euer Haupt empor und seid getrost, ihr Frommen" (Lift your heads up high and be comforted, ye pious), begins part 2 by reaffirming the believer's hopes for eternal life; the line "ihr sollt in Eden griinen, Gott ewiglich zu dienen" (you shall flourish in Eden, eternally to serve God) refers back to the G major ending of the last recitative in part 1: "Indem er sie in seiner Hand bewahrt und in ein himmlisch Eden setzet" (while He protects you in His hand and places you in a heavenly Eden).

21 In Bach's work this quality can be seen most clearly in the Orgelbuchlein, which was planned as a large collection of organ chorale preludes for the entire year. The Orgelbuchlein is a compendium, so to speak, of well-known chorales for virtually every feast day, beginning with Advent and progressing through to the end of the Trinity season, with the usual selection of miscellaneous chorales at the end. 22 The close relationship of this succession to the six catechism chorales of Clavierubung, Part 3, is unmistakable ("Dies sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot," "Wir glauben all' an einen Gott," "Vater unser im Himmelreich," "Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam," "Aus tiefer Not," and "Jesus Christus, unser Heiland").

Other cantatas, however, such as "Ich 28 Analyzing Bach Cantatas hatte viel Bekummernis" (Cantata 21, performed, as I mentioned, on the following week), point upward, ending with the anticipation of eternity. And this contrast in the endings of the two cantatas can itself be considered a reflection of the dualism of God and the neighbor (humanity). On the week following the performance of "Ich hatte viel Bekummernis" Bach reperformed another Weimar cantata, "Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe" (BWV185), that named love of God and one's neighbor as the "Christen Kunst" and that remained wholly within the human perspective.

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