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Masaaki Suzuki & Bach Collegium Japan
Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works
General Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Suzuki 36

Thomas Shepherd wrote (August 17, 2007):
BIS has announced issue of Suzuki vol. 36
and MDT Classical music mail order in the uk: http://www.mdt.co.uk/ has a fantastic reduction on all BIS recordings -( including pre-orders of vol. 36 )

Peter Bright wrote (August 17, 2007):
[To Thomas Shepherd] I've had this for a while (via a Polish distributor) - even by Suzuki's high standards it's absolutely fantastic... Destined to be one of my overall favourites (along with vols 5, 10, 12 and 14).

 

Suzuki, Vol. 37 - Robin Blaze Makes the Cover

BWV846-893 wrote (November 3, 2007):
This is a new look for the cantatas series: Amazon.com

The first time that either Bach or Suzuki is not on the cover. It makes sense to have a picture of Blaze since these are all alto solo cantatas (BWV 200 is just the surviving aria).

I'm looking forward to hearing Blaze's reading of "Vergnuegte Ruh." I think that his alto arias have been a highlight in the Suzuki series. A refreshing change from more hooty countertenors (he's also great, IMO, in McCreesh's recording of Handel's "Theodora").

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (November 4, 2007):
[To BWV846-893] Greetings!

Since we are on the subject of countertenors/male altos, I haven't heard much about Paul Esswood here on list. Does anyone know much about his work, if so, what are the opinions out there?

God bless all

Francis Browne wrote (November 5, 2007):
My apologies if everybody on the list is already aware of this but if you want to listen not simply to an extract but to the whole CD of Suzuki Vol.37 all volumes of Suzuki's cantata cycle(and those of John Eliot Gardiner and Rilling,) are available on Naxos Music Library. If your local library or university subscribes, you have access to this music and a vast library of other recordings by logging in with the number of your library card.

If your local library does not subscribe, it would be worthwhile starting a campaign -I have found it an invaluable way of listening to recordings of Bach that I could not afford and also of becoming acquainted with the a far wider range of music than was previously possible.

(Vol 37 is excellent, performances that make me listen again to music which I thought I was familiar)

Jean Laaninen wrote (November 5, 2007):
[To Francis Browne] Thank you, Francis. I did not know about this service, and I will check with the libraries in the area. Even a monthly fee for near CD quality listening is just $ 15.00/month. Right now I don't plan to add this to my expenses, but with the issues of air polution and heavy traffic and wear and tear on a vehicle, the day might come. I have been in a couple of music download services (a different category here) in the past, and the convenience is hard to beat.

BWV846-893 wrote (November 5, 2007):
[To Jean Laaninen] You can listen to 1/4 of each track for free (after you create a free account under your email): http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=BIS-SACD-1621

 

Suzuki Vol 38

John Pike wrote (April 26, 2008):
My copy of Suzuki's cantatas vol. 38 arrived this morning. Throughout the booklet and elsewhere, BWV 82 is given as "Ich habe genuNg". Is this a careless mis-spelling or is there a more simple explanation?

Aryeh Oron wrote (April 26, 2008):
John Pike asked:
"Throughout the booklet and elsewhere, BWV 82 is given as "Ich habe genuNg". Is this a careless mis-spelling or is there a more simple explanation?"

This is not a mistake, but an old German.
I recall that this issue has been already been discussed in the BCML, but I do not have the time now searching for it in the 7 discussion pages of this sublime cantata.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 26, 2008):
[To Aryeh Oron] I suspect Aryeh is remembering footnote 1 at this page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Es-ist-genug.htm

Francis Browne wrote (April 26, 2008):
On the subject of Suzuki Vol. 38 on the back cover of my copy tracks 17-21 are listed as Bekennen will ich seinen Namen BWV 58. The booklet lists correctly Ach Gott, wie manches Herzelied. I e-mailed BIS but without reply.

My favourite example of careless proofreading is the cover of my Oxford Classical Text of Ovid's Metamorphoses which boasts that these texts 'are renowned for their liability and presentation.'

Stephen Benson wrote (April 26, 2008):
(Getting OT) Suzuki Vol 38

Francis Browne wrote:
< My favourite example of careless proofreading is the cover of my Oxford Classical Text of Ovid's Metamorphoses which boasts that these texts 'are renowned for their liability and presentation.' >
This may open up a can of worms -- we all have our favorites -- but my own personal favorite proofreading glitch occurs in the directions provided by New York State for its middle-school social studies exam: "Please read over your essay to make sure you have not make any mistakes."

John Pike wrote (April 27, 2008):
[To Bradley Lehman & Aryeh Oron] Many thanks to Brad and Aryeh for this.

John Pike wrote (April 27, 2008):
[To Francis Browne] Wouldn't have happened if Aryeh had been on the production team.

John Pike wrote (April 27, 2008):
[To Stephen Benson & Francis Browne] Both of thye se are absolutely classic. Brilliant!

 

Suzuki Vol. 41 (was: BCML messages)

John Pike wrote (January 21, 2009):
OK, folks. It really IS time to get back on topic, so could we have some comments please on Vol. 41 of Suzuki's Cantata series which I was enjoying last week. 4 beautiful cantatas (including the E minor soprano version of BWV 82). I enjoyed the CD very much. Typically polished performances from Suzuki's team. I still think it lacks something that one gets with Gardiner's live performances, but very pleasant nevertheless. Comments please.

Kim Patric Clow wrote (January 21, 2009):
John Pike wrote:
< So could we have some comments please on Vol. 41 of Suzuki's Cantata series which I was enjoying last week. 4 beautiful cantatas (including the E minor soprano version of BWV 82). >
Do you know if Suzuki or J.E.G. will release BWV 1045 in their recordings of the cantatas, I was curious since we've discussed it recently. Do you know how many vols will be issued in the Suzuki edition?

< I enjoyed the CD very much. Typically polished performances from Suzuki's team. I still think it lacks something that one gets with Gardiner's live performances, but very pleasant nevertheless. >
I love the hall Suzuki records in, which has a wonderful resonance, but I agree JEG has a more dramatic flair with his versions of the Bach cantata.

John Pike wrote (January 21, 2009):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] I must confess I don't know about either of these. I will have a look on BCW later to see if the info is there. If not, I will send an e mail to Monteverdi.

Gosh, you get up early...it must be not yet 5am in NYC at the moment.

Kim Patric Clow wrote (January 21, 2009):
John Pike wrote:
< I must confess I don't know about either of these. I will have a look on BCW later to see if the info is there. If not, I will send an e mail to Monteverdi. >
Thanks, I really appreciate that.

< Gosh, you get up early...it must be not yet 5am in NYC at the moment. >
Yes, I've been working on several editions overnight and it's been a busy day watching the presidental changing of the guard too!

Thanks again for your help.

John Pike wrote (January 21, 2009):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] The complete BCP is given here: http://www.solideogloria.co.uk/resources/sdg_cantatas_index.pdf

BWV 1045 is not included in the BCP.
I will look into Suzuki.

 

Suzuki Bach Cantata Series

John Pike wrote (January 21, 2009):
[To BIS Recordings] I am a member of, and regular contributor to, the Bach Cantatas Mailing List, which operates from the website www.bach-cantatas.com.

I am wondering whether you know yet how many volumes there will be in Suzuki's cantata series, which cantatas will be on each disc, and the release date of each disc. I am also wondering whether the instrumental fragment, BWV 1045, which is thought to be a fragment from a lost cantata, is included in the series.

Thank you very much for your help.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 21, 2009):
John Pike wrote (copy of communication to Bis):
>I am a member of, and regular contributor to, the Bach Cantatas Mailing List, which operates from the website www.bach-cantatas.com.
I am wondering whether you know yet how many volumes there will be in Suzuki's cantata series, which cantatas will be on each disc, and the release date of each disc. I am also wondering whether the instrumental fragment, BWV 1045, which is thought to be a fragment from a lost cantata, is included in the series.<
I would appreciate hearing the response, or report that there is no response.

The other year year (BWV 62 archives), I tried to communicate with Bis, without success.

The topic was their little design motif which spells Bach with one note on two crossng staves, you need to see it, that is the best I can do with words. Very cleveer and cute. It was cited by several people, Alan Brugieres first, I believe, as evidence for the X-motif in Bach. I could find no evidence for it prior to the Suzuki Cantata Series, and I came to the working hypothesis that is a current design, in 18th C. style, specifically for the CD packaging. I was unable to get Bis to confirm this, in fact I got no reply at all to several inquiries. I believe this is the first time I have mentioned it to BCML, as I was hoping for something conclusive to report. Absent that, it fell by the wayside.

Other good stuff in the BWV 62 archives (particularly rich!), the Benson-Mincham dust-up and resolution I already mentioned, and the Brugieres-Myskowski parallelogram dissection.

BCW, better than a book!

Bruce Simonson wrote (January 22, 2009):
Suzuki Bach Cantata Series - Bach staff icon

< The topic was their little design motif which spells Bach with one note on two crossng staves, you need to see it, that is the best I can do with words. Very cleveer and cute. >
If this is a description of what I think it might be, the design is used by the Stuttgart Bachakademie.

Lookee here: http://www.bachakademie.de/

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 22, 2009):
EM:
> The topic was their little design motif which spells Bach with one note on two crossng staves, you need to see it, that is the best I can do with words. Very cleveer and cute. <

Bruce (hmm, care to supply a middle initial?):
>If this is a description of what I think it might be, the design is used by the Stuttgart Bachakademie.
Lookee here:
http://www.bachakademie.de/<
EM:
That is it!! (that is as loud as I ever shout)

I interpret the fact that Bis never responded to my inquiries regarding the source to indicate that they are using it without permission. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow Knows! (Coasters tune, as well, for the very hip).

I was so excited to see it, that I immediately got off the Bachakademie site to post confirmation to BCML. Can we date it (determine its age, that is)? Contempoary design or 18th C. would be really interesting. My working hypothesis (ever the Shadow) is that it is contemporaty, Bis borrowed it without permission, and mums the word all around. Mumms? Yur choice.

Thanks Bruce, I actually put some time into looking for it, without sucess, back the other year.

Kim Patric Clow wrote (January 22, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
> Can we date it (determine its age, that is)? Contempoary design or 18th C. would be really interesting. My working hypothesis (ever the Shadow) is that it is contemporaty, Bis borrowed it without permission, and mums the word all around. Mumms? Yur choice. >
I asked my friends on the Finale users group and Dennis Collins (wonderful Monterverdi and Grandi specialist and musiclogist) wrote back and sugggested that it's not a copyrighted symbol: "it's a musical spelling of Bach's name: four different clefs (or rather 3 clefs, one of which with 2 different key signatures) spelling out BACH. Davitt Moroney used it on the cover of his little book on Bach."

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 22, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
> Can we date it (determine its age, that is)? Contempoary design or 18th C. would be really interesting. My working hypothesis (ever the Shadow) is that it is contemporaty, Bis borrowed it without permission, and mums the word all around. Mumms? Yur choice. <
KPC replied:
< I asked my friends on the Finale users group and Dennis Collins (wonderful Monterverdi and Grandi specialist and musiclogist) wrote back and sugggested that it's not a copyrighted symbol: "it's a musical spelling of Bach's name: four different clefs (or rather 3 clefs, one of which with 2 different key signatures) spelling out BACH. Davitt Moroney used it on the cover of his little book on Bach." >
EM:
I was about to post an addendum, when I saw Kims reply. I originally wrote (in characteristically Shadowy prose, perhaps even Joycean?) that I thought Bix lifted it from Bachakademie (sp?). In fact, more likely .just the other way round.

In the Bis design, the staves approximate a crucifix

In the Bachakademie design, in order to avoid looking like a crucifix, the staves are distorted to approximate an inverted electric chair. Go figure. You will just have to look at yourself, beyod words.

Which leaves open the question of who designed it, and when. I am still going with late 20th C. creative CD packaging, absent better evidence. But it is so beautifully Bach, that you want to believe. Once you see it, you think <He could not have missed the opportunity. It must be him.>

That is the problem with belief, with faith, for me. It is seductive. I want science, first, then we can talk ...

Do I sense a hint of the moderators soothing influence? Always welcome.

Randy Lane wrote (January 23, 2009):
[To John Pike] I've never seen a "plan" for the Suzuki series.

I remember an interview article somehwere when the series reached a volume milestone, like Vol 25 or Vol 30, in which Suzuki was asked about the possibility/probability of the series becoming a "complete" set. Maasaki's response was that he just wanted to "keep going".

You might get a better response if you post your question on the rec.music.classical.recordings newsgroup (you can use a Google account and Google Groups to do so if you do not use a USENET reader. The President/CEO of BIS, Robert von Bahr, frequently corresponds on that group, especially if BIS material enters the discussion.

Robert, one of the only real "Class Acts" left in the recording business, is on a leave of absence because of cancer, but he can still be heard from on that newsgroup. Pray for him. He's fighting the cancer, and appears to be winning the battle, but cancers have a strange way of taking out even the best of us.

Kim Patric Clow wrote (January 23, 2009):
I mentioned in a previous post what my friend Dennis Collins told me about the Bach staff icon (it's apparently known as the Bach signature cross / Bach motif because it's a musical term related to a musical spelling of Bach's name). Dennis was very gracious to write back with more information: "According to Wikipedia, it's fairly recent:

'BACH signature cross, used to depict the motif as early as the 20th century, but not known to have been used by Bach himself.' [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BACH_motif ]

I don't think there can be any copyright on it, but I'm no lawyer.

Very tangentely Finale-related: the nice version with Bach-style old clefs used on the cover of Davitt Moroney's Bach book (the original edition, in French) was actually done specially for the book by Dominique Montel (creator of the Berlioz notation program)."

An copy of the beautiful book cover can be viewed here: http://www.collins.lautre.net/files/bach.jpg

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 23, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< 'BACH signature cross, used to depict the motif as early as the 20th century, but not known to have been used by Bach himself.' >
I first encountered it in the 1960's in the C.F. Peters catalogue of Bach's Organ Works. I'd be curious know if there are other similar musical anagrams which are contemporary with Bach. Given the composer's self-conscious use of his own name, it's not implausible that he enjoyed such a exercise.

The Christus Coronabit Crucigeros canon is not far off in spirit. If you haven't heard of the secret of this canon, check this analysis: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~tas3/crownofthorns.html

Michael Marissen calls the three bar canon a microcosm of Bach's entire thought and music.

 

Bach [Masaaki Suzuki ] for those on a budget

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 25, 2010):
I just wanted to let you know e-classical has a very good deal [7.99] on a BIS recording ONLY AS MP3 format (320 kbit/s, High Quality.]

Motets BWV225-236, as well as the motets BWV 118 and BWV Anh. 159.
Maestro Masaaki Suzuki is also a virtuoso harpsichord player. In this instrumental recording he performs Fantasias and Fugues (BWV 903, BWV 904, BWV 906, BWV 917, BWV 918, BWV 922, BWV 944 and BWV 950). Also you will find Prelude BWV 921, Prelude and Fugue BWV 923 and BWV 951, Capriccio BWV 993 and Capriccio BWV 992. Classics Today 10/10, highest rating: "An outstanding release".

You can find out more @ :
http://www.eclassical.com/eclassic/eclassical?page=feb10-4

BIS has released a video about this recording as well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoDDGFcUO8Q&feature=player_embedded

Neil Halliday wrote (February 26, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
> BIS has released a video about this recording as well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoDDGFcUO8Q&feature=player_embedded <
Thanks for this link.

The brief samples are very beautiful, and Suzuki gives some interesting insights.

------

I also came across 'Bach St.John Passion Suzuki' on youtube.

Stunning! The entire work (in twelve sections)!

Including subtitles in English!

One thing I hadn't noticed before, just before the da capo in 'Ruht wohl', the vocal basses and continuo drop out (except for two separated bars of continuo) highlighting the upper voices and instruments to the words "the grave contains no further want, opens heaven for me, and closes hell"; and the entire upper ensemble (minus basses and continuo) comes to rest on the same unison Eb (Eb on the bottom line of the treble clef).

Suzuki has somes marvellous, expressive touches, eg, highlighting the flutes while quietening the violins in the last few bars of the ritornello, and contrasting dynamics on the repetitions of "Ruht wohl".

'Zerfliesse' is stunning. The turbae choruses are amazingly accurate and dramatic.

The sustained drama of the opening chorus is electrifying, as usual in good performances. The ensemble, including 16 vocalists and soloists, looks great! All vocal soloists are exceptionally pleasing.

[My only personal dislikes: "Erwäge" faster than ideal, with understated upper strings; likewise "Mein teurer Heiland" is too fast.]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ0Vgb99tsQ&NR=1

(Each of the 12 sections is automatically displayed in succession. I hope you have reasonably fast broadband!)

 

Bach Collegium Japan: Vols. 40-42

William Hoffman wrote (March 30, 2011):
Musical Heritage Society's new offering:

The Society continues its survey of the stimulating series of Bach cantatas featuringMasaaki Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan with volumes 40, 41 and 42.

Volume 40 continues with more music from the "cantata year" of 1725. Four cantatas, BWV 137, BWV 79, BWV 168 and BWV 1644, are included. Of note is BWV 79, written to commemorate the nailing of the 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg by Martin Luther. It is as festive as it is revelatory. Volume 41 contains BWV 56, BWV 82, BWV 158 and BWV 84 and overall features prominent solo singing. BWV 82, "Ich habe genung" ("I am content/I have enough"), is one of the most famous of all of Bach's choral works. Carolyn Sampson gives the necessary melancholy in her reading and is quite effective, while BWV 158, "Der Friede sei mit dir" ("May Peace be with you"), was written for Easter week celebrations and is superb in its design and architecture. Finally, Volume 42 finishes up the Leipzig cantatas of 1725-26 with BWV 72, BWV 32, BWV 13 and BWV 16. BWV 32, "Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen" ("Dearest Jesus my Desire"), was called a "concerto in dialogo" by Bach himself, who used the story of Jesus in the temple as the setting - a conversation between man and his soul.

 

Masaaki Suzuki Feature

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 11, 2011):
I came across this very nice feature on Masaaki Suzuki and wasn't sure if it's been shared with the list(s).

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MhpoAZJd_g

 

Suzuki's Approach to Bach

Michael Cox wrote (January 7, 2012):
SUZUKI'S APPROACH TO THE PERFORMING THE CHURCH MUSIC OF J. S. BACH IN A
PREDOMINANTLY NON-CHRISTIAN CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT

Reproduced without comment: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/2007/issue95/4.42.html

Bach in Japan

With the help of conductor Masaaki Suzuki, Bach's music is bringing the message of Christian hope to a secular nation.

Uwe Simon-Netto | posted 7/01/2007

Yuko Maruyama, a Japanese organist working in Minneapolis, was once a devout Buddhist. Now she is a Christian thanks to the music of J. S. Bach. "Bach introduced me to God, Jesus and Christianity," she told Metro Lutheran, a Twin Cities monthly. "When I play a fugue, I can feel Bach talking to God." Masashi Masuda, a Jesuit priest, came to faith in almost the same way: "Listening to Bach's Goldberg Variations first aroused my interest in Christianity." Today Masuda teaches theology at Tokyo's Sophia University.

But why would the most abstract works of an 18th-century German composer guide Asian people to Christ? Charles Ford, a mathematics professor in St. Louis, suggests that this is because Bach's music reflects the perfect
beauty of created order to which the Japanese mind is receptive. "Bach has had the same effect on me, a Western scientist," explained Ford. Henry Gerike, organist and choirmaster at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, agrees:
"The fugue is the best way God has given us to enjoy his creation. . But of course Bach's most significant message to us is the Gospel." Gerike echoes Swedish archbishop Nathan Söderblom (1866-1931), who famously called Bach's cantatas "the fifth Gospel."

Rev. Robert Bergt, musical director of Con's Bach at the Sem concert series, has first-hand experience with the missionary lure of Bach's cantatas in Tokyo. He used to be the chief conductor of Musashino Music Academy's three orchestras. Bach's compositions brought his musicians, audiences, and students into contact with the Word of God, he said. "Some of these people would then in private declare themselves as 'closet Christians,'" Bergt related in an interview. "This happened to me at least 15 times. And one of them I eventually baptized myself." While only one percent of Japan's population of 128 million is officially Christian, Bergt estimated that the real figure could be three times as high if one includes secret believers.

After two failed attempts to popularize Bach's music in Japan since the late 19th century, a veritable Bach boom has been sweeping that country for the last 16 years. Its driving force is organist Masaaki Suzuki, founder and
conductor of the Bach Collegium Japan that has spawned hundreds of similar societies throughout the country.

During Holy Week, Suzuki's performances of the St. Matthew Passion are always sold out, although tickets cost more than $600. After each concert, members of the audience crowd Suzuki on the podium asking him about the
Christian concept of hope and about death, a topic normally taboo in polite Japanese society. "I am spreading Bach's message, which is a biblical one," Suzuki told me.

But why do Bach's melodies and harmonies, so alien to the Asian ear, appeal to the Japanese? Musicologists attribute this to Francis Xavier and other Jesuit missionaries, who introduced Gregorian chant into Japan and built organs from bamboo pipes 400 years ago. Though Christianity was soon squashed, elements of its music infiltrated traditional folk song.

Four centuries later, this curious fact is now enabling tens of thousands of Japanese to come to Christ via Bach. The surprising success of this music in evangelizing one of the most secular nations on earth has led Lutheran
theologian Yoshikazu Tokuzen to call Bach a "vehicle of the Holy Spirit."

Uwe Siemon-Netto, a veteran foreign correspondent from Germany and Lutheran lay theologian, is scholar-in-residence at Concordia Seminary.

You can learn more about Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan by visiting their website: http://www.bach.co.jp/.

Copyright © 2007 by the author or Christianity Today International/Christian History & Biography magazine.

Excerpts from: http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft0006/opinion/siemon-netto.html

Twenty-five years ago when there was still a Communist East Germany, I interviewed several boys from Leipzig's Thomanerchor, the choir once led by Johann Sebastian Bach. Many of those children came from atheistic homes. "Is it possible to sing Bach without faith?" I asked them. "Probably not," they replied, "but we do have faith. Bach has worked as a missionary among all of us." During a recent journey to Japan I discovered that 250 years after his death Bach is now playing a key role in evangelizing that country, one of the most secularized nations in the developed world.

"What people need in this situation is hope in the Christian sense of the word, but hope is an alien idea here," says the renowned organist Masaaki Suzuki, founder and conductor of the Bach Collegium Japan. He is the driving force behind the "Bach boom" sweeping Japan during its current period of spiritual impoverishment. "Our language does not even have an appropriate word for hope," Suzuki says. "We either use ibo, meaning desire, or nozomi, which describes something unattainable." After every one of the Bach Collegium's performances Suzuki is crowded on the podium by non-Christian members of the audience who wish to talk to him about topics that are normally taboo in Japanese society-death, for example. "And then they inevitably ask me to explain to them what 'hope' means to Christians."

Like Georg Christoph Biller, Leipzig's current Thomaskantor and Bach's sixteenth successor in that position, Suzuki sees himself as a missionary."I am spreading Bach's message, which is a biblical one," he said, echoing the Swedish theologian and Lutheran archbishop Nathan Söderblom (1866-1931), who called Bach's music "the fifth Gospel." A member of the Reformed Church, Suzuki makes sure his musicians, mostly non-Christians, get that point. During rehearsals he teaches them Scripture. "It is impossible to say how many of my performers and listeners will ultimately become Christians," Suzuki said. He believes, however, that Bach has already converted tens of thousands of Japanese to the Christian faith.

Suzuki assembled his Bach Collegium less than ten years ago. Since then, he estimates, "anywhere from one hundred to two hundred other Bach choirs have popped up around this country." Suzuki is even responsible for introducing the German word Kantate (cantata) into the Japanese vocabulary; it is currently a highly fashionable term. Suzuki's concerts are always sold out. Every Good Friday more than two thousand Bach enthusiasts pay hundreds of dollars each for a ticket to his ensemble's performance of the St. Matthew Passion. "It is very moving to watch this enormous crowd follow the Japanese translation of the German lyrics word for word," Professor Tokuzen said. "Where else in the world do you find non-Christians so engrossed in biblical texts?"

.."What makes Bach so successful among the Japanese?" I asked... O'Hara replied, "Bach gives us hope when we are afraid; he gives us courage when we despair; he comforts us when we are tired; he makes us pray when we are sad; and he makes us sing when we are full of joy."

Perhaps Bach, transcending cultural barriers, has converted more Japanese than any of us dares to imagine.

_____

Uwe Siemon-Netto is a foreign correspondent based in New York City. He is the author of The Acquittal of God: A Theology for Vietnam Veterans, and The Fabricated Luther: The Rise and Fall of the Shirer Myth.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 7, 2012):
Michael Cox wrote:
< With the help of conductor Masaaki Suzuki, Bach's music is bringing the message of Christian hope to a secular nation. >
Well, that starts well. Japan is a secular nation because it's beliefs are not Christian? Seriously?

Julian Mincham wrote (January 7, 2012):
[To Michael Cox] For what it's worth my own view is that Bach, as with Shakespeare, was an all encompassing artist from which listeners and viewers extract what they are personally seeking---and the art reinforces this. On a personal level, decades of study of the religious music by Bach (and other great composers) have brought me no closer to a Christian faith.

What is has done is to enable me to be more understanding and tolerant of those who do have faith.

Sys-Ex John wrote (January 7, 2012):
Michael Cox wrote:
<< With the help of conductor Masaaki Suzuki, Bach's music is bringing the message of Christian hope to a secular nation. >>
Kirk McElhearn wrote:
< Well, that starts well. Japan is a secular nation because it's beliefs are not Christian? Seriously? >
Indeed, it beggars belief doesn't it? .-)

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 8, 2012):
Michael Cox wrote:
<< With the help of conductor Masaaki Suzuki, Bach's music is bringing the message of Christian hope to a secular nation. >>
Kirk McElhearn wrote:
< Well, that starts well. Japan is a secular nation because it's beliefs are not Christian? Seriously? >
Be grateful! Think of the time saved not having to bother reading further.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 8, 2012):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< What is has done is to enable me to be more understanding and tolerant of those who do have faith. >
That is kindly spoken, Mate. But it is not the faith, but the self-righteousness, which causes offense to many of us (at least this one).

No passengers on Spaceship Earth, we are all crew.

Warren Prestidge wrote (January 10, 2012):
[To Michael Cox] Thanks for your email about Bach in Japan. Very interesting.

Ed Myskowrote (January 10, 2012):
Warren Prestidge wrote:
< Thanks for your email about Bach in Japan. Very interesting. >
Interesting? Perhaps, but I would call it provocative, as well.

I hope that we can discuss the music of Bach, from 18th C. Leipzig, without conflating Bachs Christian beliefs (whatever those beliefs may have been) with 21st C. spirituality.

As best I can tell, the most relevant words Bach actually wrote were:

<Where there is music, there is God.>

My opinion is that folks who use this discussion group to advocate their own beliefs are abusing the good graces of the rest of us, who would like to focus on the music,

I have great admiration for the patience and skill of the moderator, to maintain decorum.

 

BCW: Suzuki's Liner Notes

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 15, 2012):
At the main cantata pages I have added links to the liner notes of the first 49 albums in Suzuki's Bach Cantata Series (BIS). The notes were written by well-known authorities in the field as Klaus Hofmann, Tadashi Isoyama, and Masaaki Suzuki himself. The notes are in PDF format and linked from the button "Liner Notes" below the front/back covers of the Suzuki albums.

Last year I have added the notes to the Cantata Series of John Eliot Gardiner from his Bach Cantata Pilgrimage (Soli Deo Gloria), Ton Koopman (Antoine Marchand/Challenge Classics) and Jeffrey Thomas/American Bach Soloists. All of these, together with Julian Mincham's exemplary essays on his website, Craig Smith on Emmanuel Music website, Francis Browne's notes on the texts on the BCW and others, provide enough background material to prepare yourself for the weekly cantata discussions.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 15, 2012):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< At the main cantata pages I have added links to the liner notes of the first 49 albums in Suzuki's Bach Cantata Series (BIS). >
I find the links to liner notes, Julian Minchamís essays, and all other commentary a key (and ever expanding) feature of the BCW archives. The Suzuki notes are a valuable addition, especially informative for discussion of performance alternatives, and the logic of related decisions.

In some cases the logic is: to provide an alternative not yet recorded. Thanks for that!

 

Bach Collegium Japan finished their recording of all the Bach cantatas

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 26, 2013):
The Bach Collegium Japan has finished their recording project of all the Bach cantatas on Feb 23, and have launched a new website along with a video celebrating their achivement: http://bachcollegiumjapan.org/en/

The video is also viewable on Youtube: http://youtu.be/nTEFBbsZUtE

 

Masaaki Suzuki: Short Biography | Bach Collegoim Japan
Recordings of Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Recordings of Instrumental Works
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Cantatas:
Suzuki - Vol. 2 | Suzuki - Vol. 5 | Suzuki - Vol. 8 | Suzuki - Vol. 9 | Suzuki - Vol. 10 | Suzuki - Vol. 11 | Suzuki - Vol. 12 | Suzuki - Vol. 13 | Suzuki - Vol. 14 | Suzuki - Vol. 15 | Suzuki - Vol. 16 | Suzuki - Vol. 17 | Suzuki - Vol. 18 | Suzuki - Vol. 19 | Suzuki - Vol. 20 | Suzuki - Vol. 21 | Suzuki - Vol. 22 | Suzuki - Vol. 23 | Suzuki - Vol. 24 | Suzuki - Vol. 25 | Suzuki - Vol. 26 | Suzuki - Vol.. 27 | Suzuki - Vol. 28 | Suzuki - Vol. 29 | Suzuki - Vol. 30 | Suzuki - Vol. 31 | Suzuki - Vol. 38 | Suzuki Secular - Vol. 1
Other Vocal Works:
BWV 232 - M. Suzuki | BWV 243 - M. Suzuki | BWV 244 - M. Suzuki | BWV 245 - M. Suzuki | BWV 248 - M. Suzuki
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bachís Clavier-Ubung III from Masaaki Suzuki | Bach Harpsichord Discs from Hill and Suzuki | Bachís French Suites from Suzuki | Review: Partitas by Suzuki [McElhearn] | Suzukiís Partitas [Henderson] | Suzukiís Goldberg Variations
Discussions of Instrumental Recordings:
Partitas BWV 825-830 - played by M. Suzuki
Table of recordings by BWV Number

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Last update: żApril 24, 2013 ż19:31:18