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Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

Cantata BWV 190
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied
Cantata BWV 190a
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied!
Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Discussions in the Week of August 9, 2009 [Continue]

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 19, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< The Augsburg Confession, written by theologian Philip Melanchthon, was formally presented in Augsburg, Germany, on June 25, 1530. The statement of attempted reconciliation and unity contained 21 articles of common basic faith and doctrine and seven additional articles dealing with changes adopted by the evangelical churches. It was signed (ascribed to) by seven German princes and two free cities. The Roman Catholic response was given on August 3. Some articles were accepted, some with qualifications, and some rejected. Unity was not achieved but the Augsburg >Confession was a clear and forceful statement of the Reformers' position. >
I also note Dougs response to Wills post, but it is more concise to refer back to the original for my first question:

(1) If the intent of the Aubsberg Confession was to promote unity, and it failed, why should it be a matter of jubilee celebration two hundred years later (1730)? A possible answer is that it was not so much an attempt at unity as a declaration of independence, or at least that it turned out that way.

(2) With regard to the jubilee instrumentation, why should this also apply to Trinity 10, BWV 46 and BWV 101? A possible answer is that this seemingly undistinguished Sunday after Trinity in fact represents the commemoration of the destruction by Romans of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, as prophesied in the Gospel for this Sunday (probably written after 70 AD). That event, much more than the birth, death, or resurrection of Jesus, represents the actual emergence of the Christian sects, independent of Judaism, although it is not now customary (or comfortable) to think of it that way, I do not believe.

Could it be that for 18th C. Lutherans, commemeration of that event, destruction of the Termple, was a jubilee equal to the more conventional (for us, in the 21st C.) ones, Christmas, Easter, Circumcision, etc.?

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 19, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< (1) If the intent of the Aubsberg Confession was to promote unity, and it failed, why should it be a matter of jubilee celebration two hundred years later (1730)? A possible answer is that it was not so much an attempt at unity as a declaration of independence, or at least that it turned out that way. >
It was a big musical event in Germany, Graupner wrote a large cantata for Darmstadt, and Telemann wrote very large scale cantata(s) for the celebrations in Hamburg in 1730, which also was celebrating the 100th annivesary of the Hamburg Admiralty banquet, with Telemann writing unique "Kapitansmusik" for that event on 31 August. Large scale anti-Jewish riots had erupted in Hamburg the previous Sunday, due to sermon given Pastor Neumeister, which had called for expulsion of Jewish citizens. The city's militia had to be called out to restore order, with the chaos apparently causing Telemann to subsitute some singers. Ironically, the 1730 Kaptainsmusic survives, but none of Telemann's Augsburg anniversary cantatas.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 19, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Large scale anti-Jewish riots had erupted in Hamburg the previous Sunday, due to sermon given Pastor Neumeister, which had called for expulsion of Jewish citizens. >
Thanks once again for widening our historic perspective of Bach's contemporaries, especially figures such as Telemann and Graupner. We tend to think of Bach as so monumentally unique that we forget that his career
and music have a context and conventionality.

Given the latest flame-war over Bach and religion, Kim's description of Erdmann Neumeister's anti-semitism/anti-Judaism in Hamburg gives us a perfect example of how the historical method has to be the essential basis for our discussions. Erdmann was a supporter of Bach's application to the Jacobkirche in Hamburg in 1720, and the composer set no less than five of the pastor's cantata libettos, two in Weimar and three in Leipzig. There was a natural literary and theological sympathy if not a professional relationship between the two men.

So how do we discuss Bach and Neumeister's relationship? Do we "explain away" that Bach couldn't have shared Neumeister's anti-semitic opinions because his works show he was Pious, Good and Great? Do we use Neumeister's sermons as a key to unlock the connection with Bach's supposed anti-Semitism in the Passions? What degree of conventional anti-semitism did Bach espouse? Is there biographical evidence which links Bach's writings with his music and beyond to the collateral evidence of his colleagues's writings?

I'm not suggesting that we take up this particular question -- PLEASE let's not! -- but rather that we recognize that the question of Bach's interior belief system is an enormously complex issue, especially in the absence of any comprehensive historical documents. I deem it an impossible task to make a moral judgment about Bach or his glorious historical artifacts.

Yet I learned something about the world in which he lived from Kim's posting. Bach didn't live in a cute costume world of wigs, snuff and tinkling harpsichords. He lived in a world of gritty complexity. We do him a disservice to suggest simplistic judgments.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 19, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Thanks once again for widening our historic perspective of Bach's contemporaries, especially figures such as Telemann and Graupner. We tend to think of Bach as so monumentally unique that we forget that his career and music have a context and conventionality. >
Thank you for enjoying my typo-laden post ;) Clearly writing in the early morning hours after a long day isn't a wise thing to do, but I'm glad the meaning was still understandable. I'm just glad that I have an outlet for some arcane knowledge about baroque music and composers and I do try to make it as Bach centric as possible.

< Given the latest flame-war over Bach and religion, Kim's description of Erdmann Neumeister's anti-semitism/anti-Judaism in Hamburg gives us a perfect example of how the historical method has to be the essential basis for our discussions. Erdmann was a supporter of Bach's application to the Jacobkirche in Hamburg in 1720, and the composer set no less than five of the pastor's cantata libettos, two in Weimar and three in Leipzig. There was a natural literary and theological sympathy if not a professional relationship between the two men. >
Dr. Jeanne Swack (a Telemann specialist) is doing research on anti-semitism in German baroque music I believe. She's written at length about two Telemann cantatas that have such a bias, and wrote to me inquiring about Graupner cantatas with a similiar bias (I don't know of any, but that doesn't mean a thing either, since I've only have scores and parts to 8out of the 1500 surviving cantatas; and even then I've not examined every score yet). I'll ask her more about this connection with Bach and Neumeister. Obviously, Telemann's cantata(s) that have such an anti-Jewish bias bothers me a great deal.

Evan Cortens wrote (August 19, 2009):
BWV 190, Bach's historical context

Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Dr. Jeanne Swack (a Telemann specialist) is doing research on anti-semitism in German baroque music I believe. She's written at length about two Telemann cantatas that have such a bias, and wrote to me inquiring about Graupner cantatas with a similiar bias (I don't know of any, but that doesn't mean a thing either, since I've only have scores and parts to 80 out of the 1500 surviving cantatas; and even then I've not examined every score yet). I'll ask her more about this connection with Bach and Neumeister. Obviously, Telemann's cantata(s) that have such an anti-Jewish bias bothers me a great deal. >
Though I've only heard Prof. Swack speak about this once, on that occasion at least she was talking about Telemann's cantatas for "Judica" Sunday (aka Passion Sunday, the fifth Sunday in Lent). The general consensus, at least as I understood it, was that Telemann wasn't specifically expressing his own, person anti-Semitism, but rather was setting at text that lends itself to anti-Semitic sentiments. (the Gospel, John 8:46-59, discusses the condemnation of Jesus by the Jewish people.)

It was noted at that time that it was only the fact that Leipzig's "Tempus Clausum" covered these Sundays that prevented Bach from writing cantatas for these weeks. (The only Sunday during lent for which Bach was required to provide a cantata was the third, the others, like the second, third and fourth Sundays in Advent, had no figural music.) In other words, if Bach had gotten the Hamburg job in 1720, perhaps we'd be discussing his "anti-Semitic" cantatas!

Like I say, it's been my impression that Prof. Swack (and Prof. Marissen, who's done similar work on Bach and Handel) has tried not to suggest that Telemann (or Bach, or Handel) is anti-Semitic, but rather that these works were a product of their time, a time in which religious tolerance was scant. (Certainly one can see anti-Catholic sentiments in Lutheran cantatas too, and undoubtedly there were anti-Protestant sentiments expressed in the Catholic music of the time, though I'm not as familiar with that repertory.)

Evan Cortens wrote (August 19, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Though I've only heard Prof. Swack speak about this once, on that occasion at least she was talking about Telemann's cantatas for "Judica" Sunday (aka Passion Sunday, the fifth Sunday in Lent). The general consensus, at least as I understood it, was that Telemann wasn't specifically expressing his own, person anti-Semitism, but rather was setting at text that lends itself to anti-Semitic sentiments. (the Gospel, John 8:46-59, discusses the condemnation of Jesus by the Jewish people.) >
While on this point, I noticed that the BCW page on the Lutheran Church Year (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/index.htm) doesn't give the Gospels and Epistles for the days which don't have extant cantatas. I wonder why this is? I'm looking specifically at those Sundays in Lent I mentioned, plus Good Friday (on which, of course, a passion was performed, rather than a cantata). As far as I'm aware, the later Sundays after Epiphany worked the same way as in the Catholic liturgy: unused readings for the final Sundays after Trinity were said here, though I could be wrong on this point.

Anyway, seems to me the page should either list:
1) All the Sundays/Feast Days Bach wrote cantatas for, leaving out entirely those ones without extant works
OR
2) All the Sundays/Feast Days in the Lutheran liturgical year, with readings, including those for which there are no cantatas

(As you can tell, I vote for the second option.)

In googling around, it seems that this BCW is the only good resource for this information, and we have an opportunity to make it complete, even if it's not 100% on topic...

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 19, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I'm just glad that I have an outlet for some arcane knowledge about baroque music and composers and I do try to make it as Bach centric as possible. >
The quick sharing of information via an internet discussion group is truly astounding, especially for this Old Dude who is an alumnus of the card-catalog era of research! I find that you do an excellent job with Bach relevance, and with labeling non-Bach items OT, all with the moderators encouragement, I believe. You have overcome any early skepticism I might have expressed, regarding relevance. Written as if I had a bit of coaching from my son, the lawyer?!

KPC:
< Obviously, Telemann's cantata(s) that have such an anti-Jewish bias bothers me a great deal. >
EM:
I share Dougs hope that the question does not become inflammatory, but at the same time, I do not think we should let that hope restrict our discussions, especially if we have access to state-of-the-art research. Kim has added to the already strong position of BCW in providing historical context for Bach, his colleagues, and contemporaries. Let the questions and answers flow, and let the moderator moderate, as he never fails to do appropriately.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 19, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Anyway, seems to me the page should either list:
1) All the Sundays/Feast Days Bach wrote cantatas for, leaving out entirely those ones without extant works
OR
2) All the Sundays/Feast Days in the Lutheran liturgical year, with readings, including those for which there are no cantatas >
To that I would add the prescribed introit motet and hymns for each Sunday. Terry included the listings in his book of cantata translations. The interplay between these items and the cantatas is significant.

In an ideal listing, we would also have all the organ preludes in their places in the calendar.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Reading from the Bible [General Topics]

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 19, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Though I've only heard Prof. Swack speak about this once, on that occasion at least she was talking about Telemann's cantatas for "Judica" Sunday (aka Passion Sunday, the fifth Sunday in Lent). The general consensus, at least as I understood it, was that Telemann wasn't specifically expressing his own, person anti-Semitism, but rather was setting at text that lends itself to anti-Semitic sentiments. (the Gospel, John 8:46-59, discusses the condemnation of Jesus by the Jewish people.) >
Right, that's what I meant. I just didn't write it very articulately. I don't know the specific Telemann cantata(s), and I don't know if there were some elements of the text that were non-biblical, etc which were demonstrative of the author's own anti Jewish sentiments. I really also don't know what Telemann's personal beliefs were on the subject (just like Bach's).

< Like I say, it's been my impression that Prof. Swack (and Prof. Marissen, who's done similar work on Bach and Handel) has tried not to suggest that Telemann (or Bach, or Handel) is anti-Semitic, but rather that these works were a product of their time, a time in which religious tolerance was scant. >
I agree with that. But sometimes it still hurts to see artists that aren't able to rise above the period they live in.

Thanks and have a good one Evan,

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 19, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I agree with that. But sometimes it still hurts to see artists that aren't able to rise above the period they live in. >
I feel the same about Wagner. His life was self-indulgent, his philosophy repugnant -- and his music transcendent.

Bach is an angel in comparison.

By the way, Richard Wagner was baptised in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig in 1813.

Evan Cortens wrote (August 19, 2009):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< I'm fairly clear in my own mind about this. Bach was constantly employed writing cantatas for every one of the 52 weeks of the year, and the festivals and high days that came on top of that. I'm not aware of any that were left out. Bear in mind that liturgical weeks can have different names: New Year's Day = Feast of the Circumcision, and - in my different liturgical lists in the back of hymnbooks - I find one hymnbook with NO mention of Trinity, and another with no mention of Pentecost. This of course is in English, and there could be something lost in translation. Trinity = Pentecost. (This will get some theologicans fuming.) >
Thanks for your email. A couple of points:

1. Though it varied based on his place of employment, there were a few Sundays during the year for which Bach did not provide cantatas. This was not a personal choice of his, but rather a directive of the church authorities. In Leipzig these were the second, third and fourth Sundays of Advent and the five Sundays of Lent. In Weimar, the rules differed slightly, allowing cantatas during all of Advent as well as the third Sunday of Lent.

2. I'm hardly a theologian, but I must correct you on this point:
Trinity and Pentecost are not the same day. Pentecost Sunday is seven weeks after Easter Sunday, Trinity Sunday is the following Sunday. (In the English tradition, you will occasionally see Pentecost called Whit Sunday, or Whitsun.) In the Catholic church, the Sundays following Pentecost were numbered as such, so Trinity was the "First Sunday After Pentecost", or Trinity Sunday. In the Lutheran church, they instead opted to number the Sundays starting with Trinity, so, for example:
- Second Sunday after Pentecost (Catholic) = First Sunday after Trinity (Lutheran)
(Keep in mind, this is accurate for the 18th century, but things have changed a little since then.)

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 20, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote.
< [...] undoubtedly there were anti-Protestant sentiments expressed in the Catholic music of the time, though I'm not as familiar with that repertory. >
Picky, picky, picky?! If you are not familiar with the repertory, how can you insert the word undoubtedly?

Seriously, examples would be welcome, if we can make them relevant to Bach and environs. Given the connection between Bachs music, the bicentennial celebration (1730) of the Augsburg Confessions, and the importance of the whole business for the Reformation, relevance should be a sure thing.

Incidentally, spending an hour or so wading through a lot of readily accessible (God bless the web), although not so readily readable verbiage, I gather that the major misunderstandings between the Augsburg signatories and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (or IV, or VI, probably another Charlemagne descendant in any case), initiator of the attempt at unity, were:
(1) Celibacy, or continence, for clergy
(2) Dietary restrictions (not to be confused with Judaic dietary restrictions, a critical distinction)

Oh, fiddlesticks! As Bessie Smith sang, Gimme a pigfoot, and a bottle of beer. To all appearances, Bach anticipated her by a couple hundred years. Praise the Lord? Pass the ammunition, for those who wish a fight. For the rest of us (including me), Bessie will do just fine.

Another John Harbison anecdote. He was commissioned to write a piece for the Vatican, a few years ago. I have not heard the result; he did not sound like he felt it among his best works. He stopped short (as I recall) of saying he regretted accepting the commission, but I was left with that impression. He did mention that he submitted a number of examples, for possible expansion. The Vatican authorities (21st C., or perhaps late 20th) had a unique preference for the C major samples. John said that has been an unchanged preference since the 14th C. If he got the dates correct (I expect he did, precisely), that predates Luther and the Reformation. A mere blip on the screen of the truly big picture, from the Roman perspective?

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 20, 2009):
<< I agree with that. But sometimes it still hurts to see artists that aren't able to rise above the period they live in. >>
< I feel the same about Wagner. His life was self-indulgent, his philosophy repugnant -- and his music transcendent. >
For a more recent, smaller scale example, see trumpeter/singer Chet Baker, from the 1950s West Coast jazz scene. His musical skills and his failures as a human being are equally legendary. What to do? Enjoy his recordings is my suggestion.

Evan Cortens wrote (August 20, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
Evan wrote.
>>[...] undoubtedly there were anti-Protestant sentiments expressed in the Catholic music of the time, though I'm not as familiar with that repertory. <<
< Picky, picky, picky?! If you are not familiar with the repertory, how can you insert the word undoubtedly? >

Heh, fair enough! Probably? Perhaps? If I had to guess? All would have been better choices here.

I do keep meaning to learn more about eighteenth-century German Catholic music though... one of these days. There's a fairly recent dissertation on Catholic music in Dresden specifically by Laurie Ongley that's been on my reading list for a while. (1) Granted, she deals mostly with masses; the text then would clearly have been fixed.
There are, however, quite a number of oratorios out there from this time and place.

Dresden is certainly an interesting case though, and probably can't be taken as typical for the Deutsche Sprachgebiet.

(1) Ongley, Laurie. “Liturgical Music in Late Eighteenth-Century Dresden: Johann Gottlieb Naumann, Joseph Schuster and Franz Seydelmann.” 2 vols. PhD diss., Yale University, 1992.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 20, 2009):
BWV 190, Naming of Sundays

Evan Cortens wrote:
< In the Catholic church, the Sundays following Pentecost were numbered as such, so Trinity was the "First Sunday After Pentecost", or Trinity Sunday. In the Lutheran church, they instead opted to number the Sundays starting with Trinity, >
This is probably more information than anyone wants, but the numbering of Sundays "after Pentecost" or "after Trinity" is not a Catholic-Protestant difference. Before the Reformation, there was not a consistent system for naming these Sundays in Catholic Europe. In medieval Italy and France, they used "after Pentecost", in medieval Germany and England, they used "after Trinity."

When the Roman calendar was fixed after the Council of Trent in 1575, the "after Pentecost" naming was imposed on the universal church. Ironically, the reformed churches of Germany and England stayed faithful to their ancient catholic traditions by continuing to use 'after Trinity".

Just a caveat. The calendars and lectionaries of all the liturgical churches -- Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican - were revised in the mid-20th centuries and can no longer be used as references for the Renaissance and Baroque.

You may unglaze your eyes now.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 20, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< I do keep meaning to learn more about eighteenth-century German Catholic music though... one of these days. There's a fairly recent dissertation on Catholic music in Dresden specifically by Laurie Ongley that's been on my reading list for a while. >
Report back on it for us. I would love to know if there was any music at the Catholic chapel royal maintained in Leipzig by the Dresden court.

Evan Cortens wrote (August 20, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< This is probably more information than anyone wants, but the numbering of Sundays "after Pentecost" or "after Trinity" is not a Catholic-Protestant difference. >
I confess, I'd always just assumed it was Catholic vs. Protestant; thanks for clearing this up!

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 20, 2009):
< In the Catholic church, the Sundays following Pentecost were numbered as such, so Trinity was the "First Sunday After Pentecost", or Trinity Sunday. In the Lutheran church, they instead opted to number the Sundays starting with Trinity >
I was able to figure this out a few years ago, from data availble on BCW, but it was not all that easy. Since the Roman Catholic calendar was earlier, can anyone explain the logic, or motivation, for the Lutheran change? From my quick scan of the Augsburg Confession, it appeared this was not yet a bone of contention at that point. In fact, as I noted in a previous post, it appears to me that the disagreements were
(1) Celibacy, or continence, for clergy.
(2) Dietary restrictions (not Biblical)

What was that cute phrase Will provided, re Bach? I will now put my foot in my moouth to avoid the need to bite my sharp tongue? Something like that.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 20, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< I do keep meaning to learn more about eighteenth-century German Catholic music though... one of these days. There's a fairly recent dissertation on Catholic music in Dresden specifically by Laurie Ongley that's been on my reading list for a while. (1) Granted, she deals mostly with masses; the text then would clearly have been fixed. There are, however, quite a number of oratorios out there from this time and place.
Dresden is certainly an interesting case though, and probably can't be taken as typical for the Deutsche Sprachgebiet. >
Carus Verlag is publishing a series of Heinichen settings of the Mass (there are quite a few of them), and they are quite lovely pieces of music. I think Carus has also released a few of them on CD. There has been quite a bit of research done on the sacred music at Mannheim, a Catholic court. While the instrumental music seems to have been of the more galant style, apparently the church music was more of the "ancient style" with a focus on fugues etc. Franz Xavier Richter and Beck's music seems very worthy of exploration.

I have also heard on the grapevine that a Complete Works for Michael Haydn is gearing up. Most of his sacred music is unpublished ( I think there are literally 100s of pieces). I tried to order copies of some of his manuscripts from a Salzburg monastery. No luck :-(

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (August 20, 2009):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] Please excuse as I have missed out on part of this subject matter. Only those who are NOT of a liturgical church background would confuse a Catholic Mass with a Protestant one---there are great similarities just as there are great similarities between a Jewish Service and a Christian one particularly a Reformed Jewish Service but it all ends there.

These Christian churches often emulate the so-called Roman Catholic mass: The Anglican Church (called the Episcopal Church in the United States), The Reformed Anglican Church (these are the renegade bigots who left the Episcopal Church over female clergy, gay clergy, do not welcome people of other races into their church, are not good samaritans and a few other things),the Lutheran Church---particularly the Evangelical Lutherans, and other varieites of the Anglican, Greek Orthodox (and related national churches) as well as the Coptic Church.

The fact that Bach wrote a few masses does not mean necessarily that there were Catholic but they could be used in most cases in a Roman Catholic service of that time. We do know that some of Bach's patrons were Catholics but most were Protestant in the die-hard Martin Luther tradition. The Latin Mass was used in very high church occaisions as well as for a congregation of intelllectuals. In those days, Latin was the de riguer language of the worldwide scholarly community.

We must remember that Luther was an Augustinian Monk and in his reforms he brought with him some of the baggage of the Roman Catholic Church while throwing out much of the iconography of the Roman Church along with such things as the selling of Indulgences to get into heaven which grossly offended Luther when he was in Rome and saw the Pope selling of indulgences. Luther's goal was to purify the church of its corruption ( such things were going on at that time as Popes being married, keeping mistresses, having same sex lovers, fornications resulting in children, murdering people through the inquisition and conducting wars in the name of God( one Pope was so angry at one individual because he could not legally get at him --that he had him kidnapped and boiled in oil alive on Vatician Grounds et al ) and as such Luther was the first Purtian if we ignore what Savonorola was trying to do. Savonorola's efforts were more repressive than
reformist. Savonorola was what today would be called an extremist born again Christian. It is thus that we find the Roman Mass basically intact in the Lutheran and other Protestant Churches although certain segments have been either eliminated or modified.

Evan Cortens wrote (August 20, 2009):
Ludwig wrote:
< Please excuse as I have missed out on part of this subject matter. >
Evidently...

< Only those who are NOT of a liturgical church background would confuse a Catholic Mass with a Protestant one---there are great similarities just as there are great similarities between a Jewish Service and a Christian one particularly a Reformed Jewish Service but it all ends there. >
Don't worry, Ludwig, we'd moved on to discussing genuine Catholic masses.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 20, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Don't worry, Ludwig, we'd moved on to discussing genuine Catholic masses. >
Ok, I LOLed, for real ;)

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 20, 2009):
< Just a caveat. The calendars and lectionaries of all the liturgical churches -- Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican - were revised in the mid-20th centuries and can no longer be used as references for the Renaissance and Baroque. You may unglaze your eyes now. >
On the contrary, I find this provides an interestting (interim) conclusive point for the historical context thread. It also provides a corrective in the simplest way possible to the illusory idea that Bach sits in the midst of a continuum of Christian constancy, spanning from 1st to 21st centuries.

On a personal note, I only noticed the Trinity/Pentecost discrepancy after joining BCML. Like Evan, I assumed it was a Protestant/Catholic difference. The explanation is welcome.

Hawaii Vanared (William Hoffman) wrote (August 20, 2009):
To the lively discussion started by my remarks on the Augsburg Confession:

I hope next year in the St. John Passion discussion to look in depth at two complex themes:

Luther's Christus Victor concept of John's triumphal and anti-semitic gospel (Luther was the same guy who demanded Jews become Christians, called the Pope the "anti-Christ," and trashed the peasants for their revolt).

The Hamburg pre-Brockes pietist-humanist-orthodox poetry in Hunold, Postel, Christian Weise, and Neumesiter, especially Postel's John Passion and Hunold's texts for Keiser's passion-oratorios like "The bleeding and dying Jesus," c.1705, with direct influence on the young Bach.

Out of simplicity comes complexity and verse-vissa.

Russell Telfer wrote (August 20, 2009):
[To Evan Cortens & Douglas Cowling] Thanks Evan, and Doug, for your comments

Those were useful additions to my understanding. In particular I looked up your point about Trinity and Pentecost and inthat's what the book says.

One thing isn't cleared up though: why some Church of England hymnals go with Pentecost but most of them go with Trinity. (Fact: I've just checked.) I expect I would find out if I listened harder in church.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 20, 2009):
Calendars

Russell Telfer wrote:
< One thing isn't cleared up though: why some Church of England hymnals go with Pentecost but most of them go with Trinity. (Fact: I've just checked.) I expect I would find out if I listened harder in church. >
In the late 1960's, the Catholic Church reformed both its calendar and its lectionary. These changes had a wide influence and were adopted in most Protestant churches.

In general, the calendar was changed to reflect more ancient patristic forms rather than the late medieval-Renaissance calendar which is familiar from Bach's schedule: for instance, the pre-Lent Sundays (e.g Quiquagesima) were eliminated. The 50 day Easter season now began with Easter Day and ended with Pentecost: the 2nd and 3rd Days after Pentecost, which were so prominent for Bach, were also eliminated as late medieval accretions.

More significant was the restoration of a reading from the Hebrew Scriptures before the Epistle, and the expansion from a one-year cycle to a three-year cycle. Under this arrangement, the entire New Testament is systematically read through.

There has been resistance to the new calendar and lectionary in all of the Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican churches with conservatives refusing to change the patterns which were finalized during the highly-polemicised periods of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. In the Anglican and Lutheran churches, where dissent has greater flexibility, some parishes have retained the one-year cycle and calendar of their 16th century formularies. But even in the Catholic church, the pope last year provided an indult which allowed the use of the Tridentine mass with its calendar and its annual lectionary.

The only reason I offer this outline is that we have to be careful in reading present liturgical practice backwards into Bach's time. Bach's calendar with its concommitant ranking of Sundays and festivals for cantatas is quite different in many details from any modern church calendar. And even in the 18th century, there were differing customs between regions and churches -- the Köthen and Leipzig musical calendars were very different.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 20, 2009):
O.T. Calendars --> Vatican 2 and Tridentine Catholics

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< There has been resistance to the new calendar and lectionary in all of the Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican churches with conservatives refusing to change the patterns which were finalized during the highly-polemicised periods of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. In the Anglican and Lutheran churches, where dissent has greater flexibility, >
Honestly I never heard any pro-Tridentine Catholic rant and rave about the new lectionary. Just a lot of babbling about their wanting the magic show restored to the Mass with lots of Latin and pomp and ceremony. For whatever reason, the handshake (or sign of peace) drives Tridentine Catholics absolutely insane. I don't understand that honestly. Believe it or not, it's YOUNG Catholics that are pushing for a lot of these rollbacks too. The current Pontiff has make several bruhahas over the American church liturgical habits, some of them are particularly anti-Vatican 2.

I'm aslo not sure there is that much more flexibility in the Anglican churches, given how the more conservative dioceses (especially in Africa) want to break from the main body over the issues of women priests, gay clery openingly serving, etc etc etc.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 20, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< To the lively discussion started by my remarks on the Augsburg Confession >
Lively and informative, at least for me. Thanks. I am looking forward to the SJP discussion, but many of these points are always on-topic, simply awaiting someone to bring them up.

I notice the new (?) handle, hawaiivanared. Naturally, I am curious. I thought to write off-list, but there seems no need for that: peronal profiles are always appropriate, I believe.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 20, 2009):
Music for the Augsburg Confession - 1930?

Bach wrote his cantata for the 200th anniversary of the Augusburg Confession in 1730. Mendelssohn wrote the "Reformation" Symphony for the 300th anniversary. I shudder to ask, but did any notable pen something for the 400th in in 1930?

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 20, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< In the Anglican and Lutheran churches, where dissent has greater flexibility >
Greater than what? From the Jesuits I interact with personally, and from some of the Lutherans I have met on BCML, I question the generalization. Full disclosure: I do not know anyone who is specifically Lutheran in belief, other than BCML correspoondents.

Nevertheless, love you madly. The calendar details are helpful.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 20, 2009):
A couple more general responses to Doug:
< Under this arrangement, the entire New Testament is systematically read through. >
Although I did not do the math, I presume this includes daily services, not Sundays and Feasts only?

DC:
< Bach's calendar with its concommitant ranking of Sundays and festivals for cantatas is quite different in many details from any modern church calendar. And even in the 18th century, there were differing customs between regions and churches -- the Köthen and Leipzig musical calendars were very different. >
EM:
Emphasizing the point that Bachs music was composed in response to very specific demands of time and place. The universal spiritual power of the music does not necessarily confirm the universal verity of the specific constraints on its composition.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 20, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Bach wrote his cantata for the 200th anniversary of the Augusburg Confession in 1730. Mendelssohn wrote the "Reformation" Symphony for the 300th anniversary. I shudder to ask, but did any notable pen something for the 400th in in 1930? >
Not that I can find anything about ( I certainly never saw any CD releases at work about any such music). Why is this case? Honestly I think the Great Depression just made any such celebrations very unlikely. Especially in 1930 Germany.

Musically yours,

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 20, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Honestly I think the Great Depression just made any such celebrations very unlikely. Especially in 1930 Germany. >
The Nazis certainly used historic anniversaries as excuses for musical extravaganzas. The most famous of course was the 1936 Olympics for which Richard Strauss wrote his Olympic Hymn. He also wrote a tone poem in 1940 to celebrate some imaginary bimillenial annversary of the Japanese monarchy. I'm sure that if the war had lasted longer, the Bach bicentennial in 1950 would have been co-opted as propaganda.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 20, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< The Nazis certainly used historic anniversaries as excuses for musical extravaganzas. >
Right, but the Nazi party wasn't in charge in 1930.

 

Cantatas BWV 190 & BWV 190a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 190 | Details of BWV 190a | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 190 | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

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