By Eric Chafe
Bach's cantatas are one of the maximum achievements of Western musical paintings, but reviews of the person cantatas which are either illuminating and exact are few. during this publication, famous Bach professional Eric Chafe combines theological, ancient, analytical, and interpretive methods to the cantatas to provide readers and listeners alike the richest attainable adventure of those works. A revered theorist of seventeenth-century song, Chafe is delicate to the composer's intentions and to the long-lasting and common traits of the song itself.
Concentrating on a small variety of consultant cantatas, ordinarily from the Leipzig cycles of 1723-24 and 1724-25, and particularly on Cantata seventy seven, Chafe exhibits how Bach strove to reflect either the dogma and the secret of non secular adventure in musical allegory. reading Bach Cantatas deals worthy details at the theological relevance of the constitution of the liturgical yr 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 tune was once a extra complicated amalgam of theological innovations and tune thought. concerning the cantatas as musical allegories that mirror the basic tenets of Lutheran theology as verified in the course of Bach's lifetime, Chafe synthesizes a couple of key musical and theological rules to light up the fundamental personality of those nice works.
This certain and insightful ebook deals a necessary technique for figuring out one of many relevant our bodies of labor within the Western musical canon. it is going to end up vital for all scholars and students of Bach's paintings, musicology, and theological reports.
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Extra resources for Analyzing Bach Cantatas
24 As it continues, the Trinity season is characterized by themes that involve antithesis, of which the most prominent are God's judgment versus His mercy and the qualities of tribulation versus consolation, fear versus hope, and faith versus doubt in the believer's conscience. A running theme is the believer's rejection of the world versus his anticipation of eternity. Those themes come ever more sharply into focus during the eschatologically oriented last weeks of the season as the believer's longing to leave the world intensifies and his thoughts turn upward again: the sixteenth Sunday after Trinity focuses on death and resurrection, the twentieth on anticipation of the Kingdom of God, the twenty-fourth on the fleeting character of human life and the fear of eternity, the twenty-fifth on the second coming of Christ and the end of the world, the twenty-sixth on the Last Judgment and the coming of a "new heaven and new earth," and the twenty-seventh on preparation for the final consummation.
35 In the foregoing discussions I have attempted to show that the manifold forms of the Bach cantatas demand that we recognize their derivation from specific extra- 22 Analyzing Bach Cantatas musical contexts such as the underlying principles of scripture interpretation and the liturgical year. Themes, modulatory sequences, key relationships among movements, and even relationships among individual Bach cantatas can all be shown to exhibit patterns, such as that of descent followed by ascent, that are shared by numerous aspects of human life.
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. The dominance of minor keys in Cantata 185 is very telling in this respect, while the lone major-key aria owes its hopeful tone to the fact that its text deals with the believer's reward in eternity for works of love in the present.