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Bach Books: Main Page / Reviews & Discussions | Index by Title | Index by Author | Index by Number
General: Biographies | Essay Collections | Performance Practice | Children
Vocal: Cantatas BWV 1-224 | Motets BWV 225-231 | Latin Church BWV 232-243 | Passions & Oratorios BWV 244-249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Lieder BWV 439-524
Instrumental: Organ BWV 525-771 | Keyboard BWV 772-994 | Solo Instrumental BWV 995-1013 | Chamber & Orchestral BWV 1014-1080

Bach Books

The World of the Bach Cantatas
by Christoph Wolff & Ton Koopman

 

 

The Book

The World of the Bach Cantatas

Johann Sebatian Bach’s Early Sacred Cantatas

Edited by Christoph Wolff / With a forword by & Ton Koopman

W.W. Norton & Company

1997

226 pp

The World of Bach Cantatas (BWV 97 almost missing)

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 18, 2001):
Over a year ago I purchased at a very good bargain price "The World of the Bach Cantatas" Christoph Wolff/Ton Koopman Vol. 1, The Early Sacred Cantatas 1995 W.W. Norton & Co. This edition was meant to accompany the Erato Koopman cantata series. I waited and waited for the next bargain to appear. No luck! Then I saw all 3 volumes of "Die Welt der Bach Kantaten" available in Germany. They were not cheap! After having looked at the Oxford Composer Companions on Bach (M. Boyd) to see what else I could learn about BWV 97 (you saw the results), I decided to sit back and see what real Bach scholarship (Christoph Wolff) can accomplish and put into my hands for that kind of money. One thing is certain: it is a beautiful set with many pictures, illustrations and lists. So now for a little test. What does it say about BWV 97 somewhere in its 742 beautiful pages? Practically nothing! In the index in the back of the last volume we find out that this cantata has no liturgical designation and that it was first performed in 1742. Then it refers us to a page number where it isn't. It's on the next page where it tells us that this cantata has a French Ouverture. Then the only other page reference is to a list of chorale cantatas of which this is the last. It once more states that there is no designation for this cantata and that its first performance was in 1734. That's it. There isn't any more! You now know that the introductory movement is of the chorale cantata type with a French Ouverture, and as far as the first performance is concerned, you can flip a coin and decide.

Since I'm a new member of the BCML, I suppose that I should have read everything that Aryeh has placed at our disposal in order to discover what someone else had already found out about this reference work on the Bach cantatas. At the risk of repeating a previous warning about this edition, I am putting out this word of caution on the BCML. Oh, I almost forgot -- Alberto Basso wrote one the articles in Vol. 2 on Opera and 'Dramma per Musica'. He seems to be following me around. And, Pablo, if you see these volumes in English at a bargain price in Argentina, think twice! You'll probably be much better off with the Oxford Composer Companion, even if it does cost more.

Pablo Fagoaga wrote (March 18, 2001):
[To Thomas Braatz] Seems to be we are following the same mental path!!! I read Kirk's review on Bach Companion (very clear, by the way) and he's goy a link to Amazon.com for those who wish to buy the book on line. Believe it or not, while checking out Amazon's suggestions on similar books to the Companion, Wolff's book on the Cantatas attracted me... Now I check my mail, and Tom is anticipating my new question!!. I guess I'll pass on Wolff's book. I don't dig much a book specifically dedicated to cantatas, that gives you less information than a CD booklet!

Matthew Westphal wrote (March 18, 2001):
[To Pablo Fagoaga] While you're getting Bach books from Amazon, don't forget Andrew Parrott's THE ESSENTIAL BACH CHOIR !
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0851157866/

Kirk McElhearn wrote (March 18, 2001):
[To Matthew Westphal] See my review of this one, too, at http://www.mcelhearn.com/bach.html

Jane Newble wrote (March 19, 2001):
< Thomas Braatz wrote: Over a year ago I purchased at a very good bargain price "The World of the Bach Cantatas" Christoph Wolff/Ton Koopman Vol. 1, The Early Sacred Cantatas volumes in English at a bargain price in Argentina, think twice! You'll probably be much better off with the Oxford Composer Companion, even if it does cost more. >
I totally agree. Last year I bought the Dutch version of Vol.1 and I am so disappointed with it that I have not even thought of getting the other two volumes!

Riccardo Nughes wrote (March 19, 2001):
[To Jane Newble] Well, I bought the Italian version of this book at half price in a remainders shop but it was a totally waste of money. This book is so boring....written in academic language, at the end it's even confused. However the iconographical aspect is really good.

Bach Books: Main Page / Reviews & Discussions | Index by Title | Index by Author | Index by Number
General: Biographies | Essay Collections | Performance Practice | Children
Vocal: Cantatas BWV 1-224 | Motets BWV 225-231 | Latin Church BWV 232-243 | Passions & Oratorios BWV 244-249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Lieder BWV 439-524
Instrumental: Organ BWV 525-771 | Keyboard BWV 772-994 | Solo Instrumental BWV 995-1013 | Chamber & Orchestral BWV 1014-1080

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Last update: ęDecember 31, 2002 ę21:29:11