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Bach Cantatas Mailing List (BCML)
Year 2009

OT: A General Observation > Invitation to lead discussions

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 7, 2009):
Paul T. McCain wrote:
< We all know there are a few people who frequently post here who, for whatever reason, seem to have a need to comment on every single post, comment, topic, observation, etc.
There is a good solution for those who find such posts irksome: ignore them.
Conveniently, if you read the messages via the group's yahoo group home page, you can see names of persons who posted and it is very easy simply to always ignore their comments, which is what I do.
So, if somebody bothers you and you find their comments irksome, just don't bother with them, ignore the remarks, don't even open them and read them and move on.
The moderator has chosen not to remove certain members from the list, and there is nothing we can do about it, so just ignore them. Ignore this post, if you wish. >
I really what do you understand what you want to achieve with your message.

One of the principal causes for the BCML being alive and kicking after 9 years of existence (it was launched by Kirk McElhearn in Nov 1999), is the roster of contributors who post frequently.

All these contributors have my highest sympathy and they should deserve encouragement from other members.

On the other hand, I would like to expand the number of contributors, especially the roster of discussion leaders.

The discussions in the BCML are benefited from variety of approaches. We can learn from each other because we have different background, different cultures, different views...

Although many discussion leaders in the 2nd round have expressed their consent to lead discussions also in the 3rd round (and I am sincerely grateful for that), I would like also to see also some fresh blood.

If any member is interested in leading group of discussions in the 3rd round (which has just started), he/she is invited to write to me OFF-LIST.

 

BCML

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 10, 2009):
After Kirk McElhearn launched the BCML in November 1999, I sent a short review of the recording of the soprano aria from Cantata BWV 57:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV57-D.htm
Encouraged by the responses of the members, I sent next week a review of the recordings of the tenor aria from Cantata BWV 8. Soon an order of discussion for the first few weeks was agreed between the members, and the weekly cantata discussions got into track. What I had not expected was that the burden of leading the cantata discussions for full four years (2000-2003) would fall upon my shoulders. I did that week after week and have never regretted. The research I had to do every week, the extensive listening to every recording of each cantata and reading the messages from other members have been an experience, which opened my ears, expanded my horizons, and enriched my life. I felt like a little kid who was put in paradise. Each week he gets one fruit to eat. But this fruit has thousands of tastes. When the week is over the kid wants to continue eating this fruit, but the guard of the garden tells him that now he must eat another fruit, and so on. When it all started I did not believe that I whould have the energy to continue with this procedure for four years. However, these years passed faster that I had imagined.

The year after (2004) was dedicated to Bach's other vocal works.

Then many members expressed their wish for another cycle of cantata discussions. One of them even wrote: "Four More Years!" I knew that this time I would not like to repeat the experience of doing it all by myself. Furthermore, I thought, that the BCML and the BCW (which was launched in mid 2000, and in its current address at the end of 2000) would benefit from other approaches, opinions and views than mine. I suggested the concept of sharing the discussion leadership between the members, so that each leader would be responsible for 5/10 weeks. I was happy to see that several members volunteered. Others were drafted by me.

All in all there were 22 discussion leaders:
Neil Halliday, Thomas Shepherd, Peter Bright, Santu de Silva, Thomas Braatz, John Pike, Douglas Cowling, Eric Bergerud, Peter Smaill, Alain Bruguieres, Roar Myrheim, Ed Myskowski, Chris Kern, Julian Mincham, Russell Telfer, Uri Golomb, Jean Laaninen, Francis Browne, Stephen Benson, William Hoffman, Thérèse Hanquet, Terejia (Satoko Kodama)

I am sincerely grateful to them all. IMO, the 2nd round of cantata was much more productive and fruitful than the first, in terms of level of contributions, number of participants, topics of discussions, etc. The main reason for that was the roster of discussion leaders and the different approaches they have presented.

For the 3rd round of discussions I would like to repeat the same method which worked so fine for the BCML in the 2nd round. Several members who led discussions in the previous round have already suggested themselves. However, I would like to see some "fresh blood" in the roster of the discussion leaders.

Every member interested in leading the discussions for group/s of cantatas is asked to send me a message OFF-LIST.

The order of discussion for 2009-2013 is presented at the following pages:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Order-2009.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Order-2010.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Order-2011.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Order-2012.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Order-2013.htm

In order to give some encouragement for new potential discussion leaders, I suggest that previous discussion leaders will share with us their personal experience in leading the discussions.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 12, 2009):
Jens Laurson wrote:
>Dear Gentlemen, dear Lady (we haven't got more than one, do we? If so, apologies up-front.)<
I do not know the overall total, but there are three who wrote introductions in 2008: Jean, Therese, and Terejia. Nevertheless, I am sure that one (Jean), at least, will notice and appreciate the gesture of inclusiveness!
<>

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (January 12, 2009):
[To Ed Myskowski & Aryeh Oron] <>
Thanks also for the previous nice words from Ed about feminine contributions.

Answering to Aryeh, I have enjoyed being discussion leader, although I focused more on writing introductions than on "leading" the discussions, which generally seemed to go well with only a few interventions. I have learned a lot in the process, as I read several excellent books to prepare them. I was also amazed by the amount of knowledge gathered on this list. Musically, it was also a particular experience as I did barely know the cantatas I was in charge of presenting. BWV 118 will remain a fabulous discovery...

Only thing, one must be aware that writing introductions for such a dedicated list may require a lot of preparation, at least it did for me who had much to learn...

Sorry I do not write often for the moment, but I will be moving next month and I do not have much spare time.

I wish nonetheless all members of the list much happiness in 2009.

 

BCML policies [was: Christian texts]

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 11, 2009):
John Pike wrote:
>I have to say that I have found Kim's postings about Telemann, Graupner and Stölzel very illuminating and helpful. I have bought recordings of works by these composers and this has extended my horizons and broadened my appreciation of German baroque music. I think it's fine to discuss these other composers on a Bach list. Bach did not live in a vacuum. Even works by other composers which are not directly related to Bach are worth knowing about as they give us a much wider picture of German baroque music. So, tyou, Kim. Keep up the good work!<
I would like to add my voice to second that comment, exactly as written. I recently expressed approximately the same thought to Kim, off-list, and I must confess I tasted a bit of crow in the process, if that is not too obscure a way to phrase it.

Re on/off list judgements, I recently wrote to Aryeh, off-list, including the following, appropriate to repeat here, I think:

I support your decisions and methods as moderator 100%, at all times. I especially notice and respect your reluctance to restrict the posts of any individual, using that option only as an absolute last resort. I also find the BCW guidelines clear and concise, and your options clearly stated.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (January 11, 2009):
Telemann & Handel [was originally Re: Christian texts (very much on-topic)]


John Pike wrote:
> I have to say that I have found Kim's postings about Telemann, Graupner and Stölzel very illuminating and helpful. I have bought recordings of works by these composers and this has extended my horizons and broadened my appreciation of German baroque music. I think it's fine to discuss these other composers on a Bach list. Bach did not live in a vacuum. Even works by other composers which are not directly related to Bach are worth knowing about as they give us a much wider picture of German baroque music. So, thank you, Kim. Keep up the good work! >
Thanks John, I appreciate that comment.

I hope my fondness of Telemann and other German baroque composers doesn't become a thorn in the side of list participants; and I do tread lightly on this matter, I also try to keep these points within the Bach context, because it's very obvious Telemann and Bach's lives were very connected on both professional and personal levels, and it continued even through three generations (C.P.E. Bach was in direct contact with Telemann's grandson who was a composer, organist and music director of the Riga cathedral). But regardless of those concerns, all of my comments are based on a desire to share good music with those that appreciate it.

The moderator has been most generous with his support of offering to host some more information about Telemann on the Bach website (e.g. he will shortly post a listing of Telemann's cantatas as arranged by yearly cycle-- such as the Italian cycle, French cycle, Siciliano cycle, something that is currently only available to academics).

There is absolutely nothing like this list anywhere on the Internet that has a website so complete and informative-- it's what I call affectionately "the library of Alexandria for Baroque Music."

Thanks again!

 

BCML traffic volume [was: Did the Lutheran faith]

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 11, 2009):
Terejia wrote: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29928
< I wonder if you might be more than a bit overwhelmed by off-list communications simply by the sheer quantity of traffic itself?<
Thanks for your concern, but if you think I might be overwhelmed, just imagine Aryeh! I can simply have a rest whenever I want to. In the USA, we use the expression <time out> for a child who misbehaves. Sometimes I take a <time out>, as well.

It is difficult to explain concisely my technical limitations, but in this case, I am not able to identify which message you referenced above, without going to a computer outside my home. If it is important, it would be easier if you could just identify the poster, and a sentence or two for reference.

I have been very happy to provide encouragement for your writing and musical ideas, especially since you have been so kind and courteous to ackowledge the support. I was most pleased with the excellent work you did as the final discussion leader. I had intended to write a few words to that effect as I finished my post re BWV 203, but I simply ran out of time and energy last night (early AM today in fact).

Your work, along with the earlier contributions from Jean Laaninen and Therese Hanquet, have added to the geographic diversity of BCML, and if you read the list of previous discussion leaders provided by Aryeh, you will note that you three are the first ladies to participate! (I believe that is correct, apologies if I have overlooked someone.) I have found the list to become much more civilized as a result. A special thank you to Aryeh, as well, for makng that happen. I expect we will have an exciting, stimulating, and occasionally controversial, five years to come. I hope you three ladies, and more, will stay with BCML.

Terejia wrote (January 12, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29945
(..)
> It is difficult to explain concisely my technical limitations, but in this case, I am not able to identify which message you referenced above, without going to a computer outside my home. If it is important, it would be easier if you could just identify the poster, and a sentence or two for reference. <

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29928
It was the first paragraph above you wrote yourself.

If you feel that you are enforced into accepting something you do not want, it is understandable that you also feel like defending yourself. I often do the same myself, sometime appropriate action, some times mea maxima culpa.

(..)
>I expect we will have an exciting, stimulating, and occasionally controversial, five years to come. <
Me, too. Diversified approach always helps me.

> I hope you three ladies, and more, will stay with BCML. <
You, too, gracious gentlemEn. When you've done with the shirt next you can dress like this, if you want
http://www.kimono-taizen.com/kind/kind3.htm (humor)

 

Just a thank you to list participants and Aryeh

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 26, 2009):
I wanted to take the oppportunity to thank the list participants that are providing so much research to the cantata discussions, e.g. Herr Hoffman most recently with the history of BWV 41 and Penzel's contributions, was a fascinating read (am I the only one that loves to read about these manuscripts circuitous journey through time?). I'm astonished at the level of time and effort taken to get this information to participants.

I also wanted to thank Thomas Braatz who frequently sends me reams of detailed information off-list after I make an inquiry. I'm humbled by the generosity of such kindness. I'm most appreciative of these fine people taking time out of their busy schedules to help me with my knowledge of Bach and his music.

While I'm at it, I enjoy Francis Browne's commentary (along with his German translations too ;), and Doug Cowling and his detailed approaches to music and liturgical performances, or Evan's wonderful comments! And of course, Ed's whistful prose ;) I think sometimes we should take the time to say thank you, so if I may: THANK YOU.

While we may not always share the same opinions or thoughts about Bach and his music and things may get very heated, I always respect the sheer amounts of information this list (and website) provides, so a big thank you to Aryeh too :-)

Yours in music,

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 26, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Herr Hoffman most recently with the history of BWV 41 and Penzel's contributions, was a fascinating read (am I the only one that loves to read about these manuscripts circuitous journey through time?). >
No, indeed! For me, the most fascinating is often how the whole business could have been lost, but for one (or more!) improbable bits of luck. For want of a nail, the horse was lost ...

Not to slight anyone by omission, but I would like to thank again a couple Mates who have been very generous in sharing their professional wisdom (and occasionally, attitudes!) both on and off list, Brad Lehman and Julian Mincham (in alphabetical order). I havent said this recently, probably not since Kim added his Baroque Expertise: we can easily accumulate the equivalent of an advanced degree (MA? MD?) by payng attention and asking questions on BCML. Not a Performance Practice (PP?) degree, however. For that, you have to practice. Practice, practice, practice.

Thanks Kim, nice post.

 

It's been 10 years already!

Kirk McElhearn wrote (November 15, 2009):
Ten years ago, the Bach Cantatas Mailing List (BCML) was created. Ten years! That's like a century in Internet time.

Aryeh suggested that I post something today in celebration of these ten years, and he's certainly right; it's a milestone worth noting.

First, a bit of history.

Back in (I think) 1999, there was a Bach Recordings Mailing List (BRML) which was destined to fade away. The list owner was (rightfully) upset that she was wasting her time with hassles, and announced that the list would be folding. I jumped in and offered to take over the list, because I was (and still am) a big fan of Bach, and because the list was very interesting, in spite of some occasional flaming.

Shortly after that (I'm not sure how long, but not more than a couple of months), I floated the idea of creating a BCML, with a goal of discussing the different cantatas. At the time, I had one or two sets of cantatas, but was very interested in them and learning more about them. I set up the list to see if anyone would follow. On November 15, 1999, I posted the first message to the list (which you can see on this page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Members-1999.htm), and others introduced themselves. I recall that, at first, attendance was sparse, but over time it built up.

The first BCML was hosted on ListBot, where it stayed for about a year. I think they folded, or there was some other problem. (This is why when you look on the Yahoo page for the BCML (http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas) you'll only see messages from December 2000 and later.) I moved the list to eGroups, which was later taken over by Yahoo.

I've ribbed Aryeh about this a few times, and I'll only do it now on anniversaries, but I recall when I suggested setting up the BCML, he said something to the effect that it was pointless, that no one would be interested, etc. As we've seen, Aryeh quickly became the master of the BCML, and has created the world-renowned Bach Cantatas Web Site (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/); world-renowned, because I see it mentioned in liner notes for many Bach cantata recordings. I since turned control of both lists over to Aryeh, because he's clearly the one who has done the most for them and it makes sense that he hold the reins.

So thank you to the list members who have stayed with this list for ten years, and to all those who have joined or participated over the years. There are nearly 900 members of each list, well up from the "old days" back when the Internet was new. The wealth of material that Aryeh has collected regarding the cantatas, his discographies, and all the archives are a treasure-trove of material about Bach's life and music. If we could all stand up and applaud Aryed for the work he has done, I would lead the applause. I don't know how he has the time to do it - because he has a day job, and because Bach is far from the only music he listens to.

Thank you all for making this an interesting, valuable place to discuss such wonderful music. And thank you again, Aryeh, for all you have done.

Now, I have the latest Gardiner recording to listen to (vol 13) that I just got in the mail last week…

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (November 15, 2009):
[To Kirk McElhearn] Thank you and congratulations, Kirk en Aryeh, for this wonderful achievement!
I hope the list will go on for many years to come.

Julian Mincham wrote (November 15, 2009):
Kirk McElhearn wrote:
< Ten years ago, the Bach Cantatas Mailing List (BCML) was created. Ten years! That's like a century in Internet time.
Aryeh suggested that I post something today in celebration of these ten years, and he's certainly right; it's a milestone worth noting. >
Indeed congratualtions, especially to Aryeh.

As a member for only about half of the decade I am, I expect, what the Australians call a 'blow in'. Nevertheless I have usesd the website to obtain information on many occasions (with the exception of one three month period when my computer simply would not allow me to log onto it--I went through a period of mourning at the time!) The website is an extraordinary resource of scores, translations and information which I have contributed to in a minor way (about 20 cantata introductions I think) but probably have taken more than I have given in return.

Above all it has put me in touch with a number of like minded spirits around the world, many of whom I correspond with regularly OL, several of whom I have met up with and one of whom I found I had actually been to school with (it was a big school and we hadn't really known each other at the time).

And while in a congratulatory mood can I also add my appreciation of Thomas's articles which are always informative and stimulating.

Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote (November 15, 2009):
Kirk McElhearn said:
< Back in (I think) 1999, there was a Bach Recordings Mailing List (BRML) which was destined to fade away. The list owner was (rightfully) upset that she was wasting her time with hassles, and announced that the list would be folding. I jumped in and offered to take over the list, because I was (and still am) a big fan of Bach, and because the list was very interesting, in spite of some occasional flaming. >
I remember these days well. I have always been grateful that Kirk and then Aryeh took over the list. While I don't like to read people insulting each other, I have to wonder if the reason the BRML has faded away is because we are too polite. A bit of controversy can be constructive.

< Aryeh quickly became the master of the BCML, and has created the world-renowned Bach Cantatas Web Site (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/); world-renowned, because I see it mentioned in liner notes for many Bach cantata recordings. >
I grew up in the old days when we went to the library and looked things up in a reference book. I have seen so many mistakes on Web Sites that I am not much of a one to "Google it." I have always trusted what I read on the Bach Cantatas Web Site.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 15, 2009):
Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote:
< While I don't like to read people insulting each other, I have to wonder if the reason the BRML has faded away is because we are too polite. A bit of controversy can be constructive. >
Careful what you wish for! Actually, although the BRML discussions have been thin for several weeks, the recent round of specific works and monthly discussion has been quite lively at times, IMO. Post something, and I will respond. I may even try to force myself into a bit of controversy.

Congratulations to Aryeh and Kirk.

 

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