Posts Tagged ‘ Bach ’

Buxtehude’s Nichts soll uns scheiden von der Liebe Gottes and its influence on Bach’s Jesu Meine Freude

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March 19, 2015

Buxtehude's cantata Nichts soll uns scheiden von der Liebe Gottes (Nothing shall part us from the love of God) takes its title and theme from Romans 8: 35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (KJV)

Buxtehude wrote it as a rondo with three couplets for soprano and alto and three for soprano, alto, and bass and his intent was a musical meditation – an aria, that took Paul's text and used as a repeated refrain with the repetitions being separated with strophes that loosely paraphrase the verses listing the various things and powers that are powerless in the face of God's love. It's a lovely piece of music that's well worth listening to both for itself and also because it greatly influenced Bach. You can hear this influence particularly clearly in "Jesu Meine Freude" the outline of which is generally the same with the same alternation of a one refrain leit-motiv, and caplets, and the alternation of homophony and counterpoint. Nor do the similarities stop there listen to how Buxtehude treats the exclamations of "nichts, nichts" and compare it to what you can hear in Bach's composition it's very clearly Bach paying homage to his teacher. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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J.S. Bach – Christmas Oratorio BWV 248

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December 28, 2014

Sir John Eliot Gardiner chose to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in his own inimitable style: with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists he undertook an extended concert tour to perform the composer's entire known output of sacred cantatas at churches and concert halls all over Europe. The tour began at the Herderkirche in Weimar, where on 23rd and 27th December 1999 all six parts of the Christmas Oratorio were performed and recorded.

Bach's "Oratorio Performed Musically During the Holy Christmas Season in Both Principal Churches in Leipzig" - as the inscription on the printed libretto states - was written at the end of the year 1734/35. The "oratorio" is in fact a grouping of six cantatas and Bach intended the individual works to be performed on six separate feast days between Christmas and Epiphany. But in calling the piece an oratorio, is it possible that Bach perhaps intended a complete performance at a later date? This is unlikely. As the celebreated Bach scholar Albert Schweitzer wisely remarks, there is little to be gained by performing the entire oratorio in a single evening, since "the weary listener would be in no state to appreciate the beauty of the second part." A more plausible theory, perhaps, is that it was easier to sell a compilation of cantatas rather than individual copies. But Bach's real motives will probably remain hidden.

Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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Documentary: Experiencing Bach – The performance and recording of a Bach Cantata

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November 2, 2014

Documentary about the J. S. Bach Foundation. Find out more about this foundation who performs all Bach cantatas within 25 years.

One of the YouTube channels I keep an eye on is that of the Swiss J.S. Bach Foundation St. Gallen their goal is to perform J.S. Bach's complete vocal works in order to provide the public, in particular young people, with "a better understanding of the composer's work". This is harder than it sounds not least because these works – especially the cantatas are often relatively short but they still require an orchestra playing period instruments, a choir, and often soloists. All of this is quite expensive as you may imagine.  They've just upload a documentary (English dubbed) that shows the work and effort that goes into each performance. I found it fascinating. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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BBC Documentary – Bach: A Passionate Life – John Eliot Gardiner

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May 4, 2014

John Eliot Gardiner goes in search of Bach the man and the musician.

The famous portrait of Bach portrays a grumpy 62-year-old man in a wig and formal coat, yet his greatest works were composed 20 years earlier in an almost unrivalled blaze of creativity.

We reveal a complex and passionate artist; a warm and convivial family man at the same time a rebellious spirit struggling with the hierarchies of state and church who wrote timeless music that is today known world-wide. Gardiner undertakes a 'Bach Tour' of Germany, and sifts the relatively few clues we have - some newly-found.

Most of all, he uses the music to reveal the real Bach.

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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Zerfließe mein Herze – Soprano Aria from St John Passion BWV245

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April 25, 2014

Zerfließe mein Herze (Dissolve, my heart) is one of Bach's most lovely solo soprano arias. It's sung below by treble Tizian Geyer of the Knabenchor der Chorakademie Dortmund. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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