Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Bach & Other Composers

Johann Rosenmüller & Bach
Discussions

OT: Baroque (but happy?)

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 19, 2008):
On the FM airwaves tonight, behind dinner, I heard a work (suite, I believe) by Johann Rosenmüller (1619-1684), a composer I was not familiar with. So unfamiliar, I had to phone the station (they had already lost track of his name), then search the available Kings Noyes CDs. Bingo. A quick search in the BCW archives: no fooling those guys, there he is.

An additional item of interest (to me), from Grove Concise Encyclpedia:
<Finally [after 1682] he returned to Germany as court Kappelmeister at Wolffenbuttel. A prolific composer, he was important in transmitting Italian styles to Germany, where his music was especially popular.> [end quote]

Bach and Rosenmüller, the Italian source?

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (December 22, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] I thought of your comment about Rosenmüller when viewing Aryeh's post about Bach and other composers.

It reminded me that one of the last cantatas we performed (BWV 27) includes a chorus by Rosenmüller:
"Welt, ade! ich bin dein müde"

This would indicate that Bach appreciated his work...

 

Bach's criminal predecessor

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 30, 2013):
Johan van Veen wrote:
< CD releases September 2013
Rosenmüller: Sonate a 2, 3, 4 è 5 stromenti, da arco & altri, 1682
- Ensemble Masques/Olivier Fortin
- Musica Fiata/Roland Wilson >
Always salutary to remember the abuse that can occur in any institution with children, even the Thomasschule:

Johann Rosenmüller (1615 - 84)
"Credited with helping bring Italian music style to Germany in the 17th century, German composer Johann Rosenmüller ended up in Italy after escaping from prison in Leipzig in 1655 when he was 36, where he was charged with sodomy ­ he was accused along with several choir boys in the Nikolaikirche where he served as organist (previously he had been assistant cantor at the Thomaskirche where J.S. Bach would later serve as cantor). In Italy, Rosenmüller played trombone at St. Marks and then later became the the maestro di coro and composer at the Ospedale della Pietà, a school for orphaned girls that was famous for its music ­ (Vivaldi would later serve as chief composer at the Ospedale as well, writing most of his music for the girls). It was while he was in Venice that his compositions in the Italian style circulated in Germany, bringing Him fame. Rosenmüller eventually returned to Germany to serve as composer to the court of the Duke of Brunswick Wolfenbüttel in Saxony. He died there in 1682."

And talent and criminality are no strangers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C0B01M8YcU

Claudio Di Veroli wrote (September 30, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote::
< ... [musical] talent and criminality are no strangers >
Sad thing indeed. Among very talented musicians with a criminal mind I can remember two well-known cases:
- Wagner: he wrote down that all persons with a Jewish background had to be exterminated.
- Mussolini: he was an accomplished classical violinist player, and after he became the Duce he went on for a while giving solo recitals: http://www.spotlight-online.de/news/music/want-to-buy-mussolinis-fiddle-its-for-sale

Julian Mincham wrote (September 30, 2013):
[To Claudio Di Veroli] And Gesualdo who found his wife and her lover 'at it' and killed them both!

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 30, 2013):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< And Gesualdo who found his wife and her lover 'at it' and killed them both! >
And Handel who set 'Messiah' knowing it was part of an anti-Judaic polemic,
And Richard Strauss who wrote a tone-poem to celebrate Hirohito and the Axis,
And Francisco Guerrero who wrote exquisite Renaissance motets to be sung at autos-da-fe to cover the screams of burning heretics.

Never confuse artistic beauty with moral integrity.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 30, 2013):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< And Gesualdo who found his wife and her lover 'at it' and killed them both! >
"The Johann Rosenmüller Ensemble"? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zYiNr5GB3I

Has there been biographical revisionism?

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 30, 2013):
Johannes Scharnagel, who served as Thomaskantor in Leipzig from 1505 to 1513 (the 17th in this post before J.S. Bach), flee in 1511 from the city because he was suspected in a homicide of a choir pupil.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Scharnagel-Johannes.htm

Micky Drivel wrote (October 1, 2013):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< And Gesualdo who found his wife and her lover 'at it' and killed them both! >
And flute-playing Frederick the Great who took Silesia from Austrian and large chunks of Poland.

George Bromley wrote (October 1, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] So, who's perfect.

Julian Mincham wrote (October 1, 2013):
George Bromley wrote:
< So, who's perfect.>
Well according to the last scene of that great film Some like it Hot, nobody is! I guess in those days a prince could do the deed and get away with it and then go back to composing his madrigals. No wonder they were so dissonant!

It did occur to me that a distinction might be made between those artists who expressed views of violence through their art or writings (e.g. Wagner, Strauss) and those who afflicted actual physical violence upon others---rape, murder etc. There doesn't seem to be a major composer in the latter group.

Thomas Savary wrote (October 1, 2013):
George Bromley wrote:
< So, who's perfect.>
The prefect, perhaps!

Julian Mincham wrote:
< It did occur to me that a distinction might be made between those artists who expressed views of violence through their art or writings (e.g. Wagner, Strauss) and those who afflicted actual physical violence upon others---rape, murder etc. There doesn't seem to be a major composer in the latter group.>
Gesualdo, Gombert, no major composers? Please allow me to disagree. In my opinion, their music is far more interesting than Wagner’s or Richard Strauss’. I couldn’t live happily without Gesualdo’s madrigals and responsories nor Gombert’s Magnificats or Credo.

Like Rosenmüller, Gombert was charged with sexual intercourse with choirboys — by the way, we don’t know their ages: they might have well been 12, 15 or 18 years old: there was little difference at the time, if any, because the crime was seen as a matter of gender, not of age. Fifty years after his death, Gombert’s music was still known and hold in high esteem in Western Europe. Monteverdi wrote the mass In illo tempore afer one of his motets.

Rosenmüller may not be one of the greatest composers of all times, but Gombert and Gesualdo certainly are.

George Bromley wrote (October 1, 2013):
[To Thomas Savary] Wagner was anti Semitic and him we could all live without! (Sorry if I offended someone)

Julian Mincham wrote (October 1, 2013):
Thomas Savary wrote:
< Gesualdo, Gombert, no major composers? Please allow me to disagree. In my opinion, their music is far more interesting than Wagner’s or Richard Strauss’. I couldn’t live happily without Gesualdo’s madrigals and responsories nor Gombert’s Magnificats or Credo. >
Gesualdo is an interesting composer particularly in the way that he used dissonant harmonies expressively. And so did Monteverdi but through the production of a much greater range of secular and religious musical styles. Therefore i would class him as a major composer by comparison--along with Bach, Mozart, Wagner and a number of others.

Preferring one composer's music to another's is a matter of personal taste which does not necessarily elevate him to the rank of a major artist (in my view).

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 1, 2013):
Thomas Savary wrote:
< Gesualdo, Gombert, no major composers? Please allow me to disagree. In my opinion, their music is far more interesting than Wagner’s or Richard Strauss’. I couldn’t live happily without Gesualdo’s madrigals and responsories nor Gombert’s Mor Credo. >
Like Rosenmüller, Gombert was charged with sexual intercourse with choirboys — by the way, we don’t know their ages: they might have well been 12, 15 or 18 years old: there was little difference at the time, if any, because the crime was seen as a matter of gender, not of age.

I think it's time to leave this string and refrain from subjective assessments of various composers' worth.

Julian Mincham wrote (October 1, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< refrain from subjective assessments of various composers' worth. >
Assessments of composers' worth, value, influence, significance etc need not necessarily be subjective. (Which, actually, was the point I was making).

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 1, 2013):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Assessments of composers' worth, value, influence, significance etc need not necessarily be subjective. (Which, actually, was the point I was making). >
I actually agree with you. Wagner's music is transformational in Western art whether you like it or not. So is Josquin's yet it is mostly ignored by modern audiences.

I guess I'm just not much interested in people's personal tastes. It's a bit like fighting over Callas and Tebaldi.

Julian Mincham wrote (October 1, 2013):

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I guess I'm just not much interested in people's personal tastes >
Nor am I . Especially when they are used as 'evidence' to support wide-ranging conclusions and judgments about values.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 2, 2013):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< And Gesualdo who found his wife and her lover 'at it' and killed them both! >
Perhaps, as an act of passion, or honor, that was not in fact criminal in Gesualdo's social context?

Claudio Di Veroli wrote (October 2, 2013):
[To Ed Myskowski] Maybe so, but please let us be careful with this line of reasoning.

When the Inquisition burned innocents at the stake (famously the philosopher Giordano Bruno by specific order of the Pope when Bruno did not accept to recant from his beliefs, most of which are accepted as truths by most modern-day Christians), in its "social context" this was justice. Not long afterwards it was - and still is - considered a criminal act, witness the monument to Bruno erected in Rome by the university students in the 19th century.

When the last military dictatorship in Argentina (General Videla) around 1980 tortured to death left-wing suspects in order to extract names of possibly further left-wing suspects, in the "social context" of Argentine military (but not of the rest of the population) it was "self defence against the communist threat" (which meant, of course, anybody wishing to return to democracy!).

By the same proviso, traditional femaile genital mutilation routinely performed on baby girls in many parts of Africa is not a crime in their social context, but there is wide agreement nowadays that it is a serious crime and has to be stopped.

And so on and so on ...

Julian Mincham wrote (October 2, 2013):
[To Ed Myskowski] From wikipedia
In 1586 Gesualdo married his first cousin, Donna Maria d'Avalos, the daughter of the Marquis of Pescara. Two years later she began a love affair with Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria. Evidently, she was able to keep it secret from her husband for almost two years, even though the existence of the affair was well-known elsewhere. Finally, on October 16, 1590, at the Palazzo San Severo in Naples, when Gesualdo had allegedly gone away on a hunting trip, the two lovers took insufficient precaution at last (Gesualdo had arranged with his servants to have keys to the locks of his palace copied in wood so that he could gain entrance if it were locked). Gesualdo returned to the palace, caught them in flagrante delicto and murdered them both in their bed. Afterward, he left their mutilated bodies in front of the palace for all to see. Being a nobleman he was immune to prosecution, but not to revenge, so he fled to his castle at Venosa where he would be safe from any of the relatives of either his wife or her lover.

Details on the murders are not lacking, as the depositions of witnesses to the magistrates have survived in full. While they disagree on some details, they agree on the principal points, and it is apparent that Gesualdo had help from his servants, who may have done most of the killing; however, Gesualdo certainly stabbed Maria multiple times, shouting as he did, "she's not dead yet!" The Duke of Andria was found slaughtered by numerous deep sword wounds, as well as by a shot through the head. When he was found, he was dressed in women's clothing (specifically, Maria's night dress). His own clothing was found piled up by the bedside, unbloodied.

The murders were widely publicized, including in verse by poets such as Tasso and an entire flock of Neapolitan poets, eager to capitalize on the sensation. The salacious details of the murders were broadcast in print, but nothing was done to apprehend the Prince of Venosa. The police report[4] from the scene makes for shocking reading even after more than four hundred years.

Accounts on events after the murders differ. According to some sources, Gesualdo also murdered his second son by Maria, who was an infant, after looking into his eyes and doubting his paternity (according to a 19th-century source he "swung the infant around in his cradle until the breath left his body"); another source indicates that he murdered his father-in-law as well, after the man had come seeking revenge. Gesualdo had employed a company of men-at-arms to ward off just such an event. However, contemporary documentation from official sources for either of these alleged murders is lacking.


It would appear that the crime was treated as a criminal act but the prince, due to his position, was not punished.One recalls Italy as the place of genesis of The Prince, advocating that those in power could perform any act outside of the normal moral compass tp justify certain ends. And don't forget that some pretty suspect Italian princes built large societies of srtists and musicians around them, an apparent justification of the conjoining of artistic expression and political or personal amorality. The die was cast!!

Alan Bruguieres wrote (October 2, 2013):
[To , Claudio Di Veroli] I agree with you, even if Gesualdo's murder had been legal at the time, I would still regard him as a criminal. But this doesn't prevent me from enjoying his music.

I'm not that fond of Wagner's music, but it did play a tremendous part in the history of music.

Should we discover the unmistakable proof that Bach, having played truant repeatedly in his youth, turned into a serial killer in his later days (like all truants do, the statistics don't lie!), I would still love his works with a passion.

William Zeitler wrote (October 2, 2013):
Alan Bruguieres wrote:
< … Bach, having played truant repeatedly in his youth, turned into a serial killer…>
Bach had a not-so-great-great-great uncle in Transylvania named Count Bachula who was a vampire! Does that Count?

You can check him out at
http://www.CountBachula.com
<giggle! >

Frits V. Herbold wrote (October 2, 2013):
I fully agree with Douglas. Let’s get on with the cantatas!

Julian Mincham wrote (October 2, 2013):
[To Frits V. Herbold] I fully agree with Douglas. Let’s get on with the cantatas!

I would agree. But Will Hoffman aside, there really is very little discussion about the cantatas on what purports to be a cantata discussion group. Over the years there has been much more written on the performances (and who prefers what) than about the artifacts themse-the musical structures, word painting, instrumentation etc. I gave up contributing to discussion of these sorts of musical events some years ago because (apart from a couple of notable exceptions of whom Doug is one) there was so little response.

In fact the notions of art and morality and their inter-relationships are as fascinating as much that has been brought up on this list over the years.

Guess that will cause offence. (But, it could have been worse: at least it's not a statement about religion!).

William Zeitler wrote (October 2, 2013):
[To Julian Mincham] I don’t know why there isn’t room for all of the below. It’s just 1’s and 0’s, and easy to ignore/delete emails that don’t interest.

P.S. The point of the “Count Bachula” reference was to reduce the ‘criminality’ thread to the absurd. It was already so close…

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 2, 2013):
Alain Bruguieres wrote:
< I'm not that fond of Wagner's music, but it did play a tremendous part in the history of music. >
Should we discover the unmistakable proof that Bach, having played truant repeatedly in his youth, turned into a serial killer in his later days (like all truants do, the statistics don't lie!), I would still love his works with a passion.

One of the reasons that I have so little patience with Romantic conceptions of Bach is that he is inescapably part of and complicit in a society with which I have so little sympathy: anti-democractic, religiously intolerant, anti-Semitic, sexist, racist – the list goes on. It is delusional to pretend that Bach is some Byronic hero whose genius lifts him out of his time and space and whose works can be made to prefigure the U.N. Charter. We owe Bach an honest description of his historical place because he couldn't have written his works in any other time and place. The present discussion of the secular cantatas is a case in point: we all but ignore them because we're not interested in the historical context. Having said that, I have to admit with Julian that I am much more interested in the transformation of a Brandenburg Concerto into a cantata. I first heard "Auf Schmetterde Töne" when I was a teenager, and I remember being absolutely amazed at the choral reworking. I still sing the text whenever I hear the original concerto.

Julian Mincham wrote (October 2, 2013):
William Zeitler wrote:
< P.S. The point of the “Count Bachula” reference was to reduce the ‘criminality’ thread to the absurd. It was already so close… >
I beg to differ. The notion of the alignments of a moral compass and a love of the arts is far from absurd. Why, for hundreds of years, did people of great power surround themselves with artists and musicians? Was it just about status? or did they really gain fulfillment for the artists that formed part of their entourage? Why has this long continued custom disappeared in the last 60 years? Why did Mao force the separation with the so called 'cultural' revolution? What were the artistic pretensions of Pol Pot and the dictators of some of the African states? I find these questions by no means absurd and I am interested in the views of others.

But clearly these silly questions are deflecting away from those who want to discuss seriously the recitatives, arias, transcriptions, musical structures, word settings, imagery and various functions of BWV 207 and 207a.

I wait with baited breath!

William Zeitler wrote (October 2, 2013):
[To Julian Mincham] Personally, I think the topic is profoundly important. IMHO we were just spinning our wheels.

Why, for hundreds of years, did people of great power surround themselves with artists and musicians? Was it just about status?

I don’t see at all how the powers-that-be surrounding themselves with musicians demonstrates anything about ‘moral compass and love of the arts’ one way or the other. Like us they had their own Gandhis and Pol Pots. The fact that both the Just and the Unjust rulers had musicians in residence thus tells us nothing about any sort of correlation between musicians and degrees of enlightenment/moral compass.

Why has this long continued custom disappeared in the last 60 years? Why did Mao force the separation with the so called 'cultural' revolution? What were the artistic pretensions of Pol Pot and the dictators of some of the African states?

I just don’t see how deep questions such as these can be answered by shooting from the hip. I would be profoundly interested in a truly thoughtful discussion, with all our powers of critical thinking brought to bear.

Harnoncourt discusses this topic in his _Baroque Music Today: Music as Speech_. More generally what is helping me get my hands around this issue is Oswald Spengler _Decline of the West_.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 4, 2013):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< In fact the notions of art and morality and their inter-relationships are as fascinating as much that has been brought up on this list over the years. >
I agree with Julian, as (mostly!) usual. I do miss the provocative discussion points he raised in the past. Despite the thin response, perhaps we can induce him to resume from time to time?

 

Johann Rosenmüller: Short Biography | Discussions: Johann Rosenmüller & Bach

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Bach & Other Composers

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýOctober 13, 2013 ý09:24:02