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Life of Bach
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Bach the Bureaucrat

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 8, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I think there has been far less emphasis in BCML diposts, to the distinctions between secular and civic authority, in Bachs world. >
We live in societies where the separation of church and state is so complete that we often ignore the civic and ecclesiastical polity of a place like 18th century Leipzig where religious conformity and political loyalty were so closely intertwined. Bach's employer was the Council, but his supervisor was the Consistory, headed by the Superintendent, the Lutheran equivalent of bishop.

The Council exerted its influence through the budget and the precedent of statutes. Thus, the mixup regarding the place of performance of the St. John Passion was not a judgment on its theological orthodoxy or artistic merit but a bureaucratic mistake -- it very well may have been Bach's mistake -- which impinged on civic precedent.

Theological and musical opinions were certainly at play in Bach's audition, but the Council's authority was exercised principally through budget. A 1730 letter to the Superintendent advising against introducing new hymns was probably regarded as ultra vires by the clergy but since it expressed the common natural conservatism of church and state, its attempt to influence ecclesiastical policy did not receive a response: like a Stuart parliament, the Council moderated any notions of absolutism through the pursestrings. The council paid the Superintendent and Rector as well.

Bach's examination in theology was undertaken by the officials of the Consistory. Even if the Council had unanimously wanted Bach, it could not have hired him if the Consistory had judged him inadequate or unorthodox. Checks and balances.

Once instituted as a member of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, Bach appears to have had a model career, and the dispute in the late 1720's with Gaudlitz is perhaps the only example of an internal conflict. The clergyman tried to assert a novel right to choose the Vespers hymns at St. Nicholai. Although this appears to us as a mind-numbing piece of minutiae, Bach protested that it infringed his authority as Cantor. He may very well have delegated the grunt work of hymn selection to his prefects, but it was officially his decision and he would have had to sign off on the lists. Just as Bach's ecclesiastical superiors probably had to sign off on Bach's librettos.

Bach's world was an intricate bureaucratic machine whose workings he would have known well from his training and the professional advice from his family members. I would not be surprised if there was a Bach brainstorming session when he first applied to Leipzig during which they advised Sebastian how to play the opposing factions in the Council and how best to strike a deal about that annoying Latin teaching.

Some composers such as Salieri were ground down by the bureaucracies they served and remained mediocrities, but Bach brilliantly administered his political and ecclesiastical bureaucracies so that their pettiness and restrictions actually supported his creative vision.

No wonder Steve Jobs admired Bach: they share many qualities.

Julian Mincham wrote (May 8, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Some composers such as Salieri were ground down by the bureaucracies they served and remained mediocrities, but Bach brilliantly administered his political and ecclesiastical bureaucracies so that their pettiness and restrictions actually supported his creative vision. >
Or putting the argument slightly differently, restriction can stimulate imagination and invention to a much greater degree than freedom. I cite examples in music where the theme returns in the recap at a pitch which the instrument cannot provide. it is a restriction which composers so often find stimulates their imaginations to new heights,. A great example of this is to be found in the 1st movement of the Dm op31 no 2 piano sonata by Beethoven. The rising second subject, when returned to the home key, outstrips the keyboard. What does Beethoven do? Instead of the theme rising in octaves as before, he produces an inverted pedal note which creates a series of sharp discords--an additional tension which seems entirely appropriate at this culminatory part of the movement. Would he have though of this if he had a piano with the range of a concert grand today? I wonder. Bach's inventions of themes for trumpets and horns often display similar principles. There are notes missing which he has to work around, producing melodies which seem to show little evidence of the imposed restrictions. A tedious chore for the ungifted perhaps--a possibly welcome stimulation of the creative juices for an artist of imagination. I have often argued that Bach seems to have made compositional situations MORE difficult than they need to have been seemingly in order to stimulate his creative imagination.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 8, 2012):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Would he have though of this if he had a piano with the range of a concert grand today? I wonder. Bach's inventions of themes for trumpets and horns often display similar principles. There are notes missing which he has to work around, producing melodies which seem to show little evidence of the imposed restrictions. >
Unlike Wagner who "heard" a new symphonic sonority and then tried to change the Romantic orchestra to create his effects. In "Die Walküre", he wanted a fourth brass "choir" to complement trumpets, horns and trombones, so he had instrument makers create the "Wagner Tuba."

In "Parsifal", he almost confounded himself. He wanted exotic offstage bells for the Grail Temple but he had in his mind an imaginary bass "Oriental" bell not the standard European tower bell with all its overtones. The
problem was that he had never actually heard a bell that corresponded to his aural fantasy. He finally settled on a piano frame with hammers hitting the strings like a carillon. To that he added low and high gongs and finally a tuba playing the pitches pianissimo! Even then he was dissatisfied that the sound was "wrong."

But then Wagner -- who was baptized in St. Thomas, Leipzig, and studied with Bach's successor as Cantor -- was not a personality who accepted ANY restrictions!

Julian Mincham wrote (May 8, 2012):
[To Douglas Cowling] Horses for courses I guess. Although I suppose you could argue that the natural limitations of the then romantic orchestra were a factor in stimulating Wagner to seek new and different solutions in a similar manner

 

JS Bach went to jail [BeginnerBach]

Jack Botelho wrote (November 13, 2012):
If you are one of those individuals who hides behind a facade of normality, who spends considerable time in gossip and "I'm ok, you're ok socialization", then I'm here to tell you will never have any genius in you, and even your intelligence will be too flimsy to recognize your own lack of worth.

 

Bach & Business

Continue of discussion from: Cantata BWV 221 - Discussions

William Hoffman wrote (August 4, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Two questions ..
1) Did Bach himself operate a business which allowed copies to be made for a fee. >
The practice seems to be from Breitkopf while Friedemann also charged Forkel for copies of chorale cantatas. As to a Bach business, there is no record althoough it's possible Bach had copies of secular cantatas made for the honoree or commissioner but there is no evidence. Lost works may have been part of the price.

< 2) Wish we could see the score. Is the music Italianate? The dialogue form with "overture" sinfonia looks much like a devotional Italian cantata such as were offered by the Jesuits in Rome and Naples and the Pieta in Venice. Could Dresden be calling again? >
A Dresden connection, possibly through the Leipzig Collegium musicum, is quite possible while Leipzig still seems to be the primary source. When we look at the apocryphal Latin Missae in two weeks, there is much Catholic Dresden connections and others from Bavaria and Stuttgart/Augsburg.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 4, 2013):
William Hoffman wrote:
< The practice seems to be from Breitkopf while Friedemann also charged Forkel for copies of chorale cantatas. As to a Bach business, there is no record altho it's possible Bach had copies of secular cantatas made for the honoree or commissioner but there is no evidence. Lost works may have been part of the price. >
He did sell the cantata librettos as a private business.

Handel developed a whole business out of his house in Brook Street (Bachstrasse!) When the Handel House was being restored in London, there was some sniffy sniping about a souvenir shop commercializing the museum. The restorers pointed out that the room was Handel's public showroom.

Did Bach's apartment in the Thomasschule have a separate entrance? How did the Bach boys sell the librettos? Certainly not in church, or even on Sunday outside the church when commercial trade ceased. And I can't imagine them standing like newsies on a street-corner:

"Extra, extra! Get your cantatas here!"

Evan Cortens wrote (August 4, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< He did sell the cantata librettos as a private business.
Handel developed a whole business out of his house in Brook Street (Bachstrasse!) When the Handel House was being restored in London, there was some sniffy sniping about a souvenir shop commercializing the museum. The restorers pointed out that the room was Handel's public showroom.
Did Bach's apartment in the Thomasschule have a separate entrance? How did the Bach boys sell the librettos? Certainly not in church, or even on Sunday outside the church when commercial trade ceased. And I can't imagine them standing like newsies on a street-corner:
"Extra, extra! Get your cantatas here!" >
I confess, I don't know about J. S. Bach, but for C.P.E. Bach, I believe the librettos were sold by booksellers, in the marketplaces and various other locations where said sellers operated. The sale of the librettos was announced in the local newspapers, along with their cost and where they could be purchased. We do know also that CPEB made a bit of money on the side from these booklet sales, even though he wasn't selling them out of his own living quarters. Granted, this is Hamburg in the 1760s-80s, but perhaps it might tell us something about Leipzig in the 1720s-40s.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 4, 2013):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< for C.P.E. Bach, I believe the librettos were sold by booksellers, in the marketplaces and various other locations where said sellers operated. >
That might be the case for Sebastian as well. In exchange for a retail markup, the book seller would offer Bach's word-books. He may have been the printer as well. Do we know who printed Bach's librettos and whether they had a retail operation?

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 9, 2013):
Will Hoffman writes:

Bach Business

Libretto booklets of church cantata texts used by parishoners at Lutheran church main services were a tradition when Bach in 1723 took up his post as Leipzig music director and church cantor. His predecessor, Johann Kuhnau, had followed the practice of other cantata composers who favored the new style of poetic arias and choruses mixed with chorales and free verse recitatives. They collected the texts, published them in booklets to be read during the cantata presentation before the sermon, collections of musical sermon texts covering four or five consecutive Sunday and intervening feast days.

A graduate of and a lecturer at the University of Leipzig, Kuhnau had championed the new cantata style like the other composers who had sought to replace him. Bachıs competitors ­ Georg Philipp Telemann in Hamburg, Gottfried Heinrich Stözel at Gotha, Johann Friedrich Fasch at Zerbst, and Christoph Graupner at Hessen Darmstdadt -- all had begun composing annual cycles but declined the Leipzig post to remain in favorable positions elsewhere. Bach began to compose annual cycles and continued the libretto book practice. He also published individual libretti for two of his other activities: the annual biblical narrative Passion oratorio at Good Friday Vespers and the annual installation of the Town Council in late August. These performances he continued until the last year of his life. Meanwhile, Bach apparently had cantata libretto booklets published until at least 1731 and probably for the two existing annual Stözel cycles to Benjamin Schmoltz texts he presented in Leipzig, the first in 1734-35 and the second a little later in the 1730s. Sporadic cantata libretto booklets surviving from 1723 to 1728 are extant and affirm the dating of cantata performances in his first three annual cycles. Libretti are extant for his Town Council Cantata BWV 29 performance in 1731 and the vesper Passion performances in 1734 of the Stözel Passion Oratorio, "Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld," and a repeat of Bachıs St. Mark Passion, BWV 247, in 1744. For a repeat performance of his St. John Passion in 1725, the Town Council required Bach to pay for a reprinting of the libretto book since the booklet listed the St. Thomas Church instead of the required St. Nikolaus Church as the service venue. Various Bach scholars have researched these libretto books in the past 40 years, including William Scheide, Hans Joachim-Schultze, Wolf Hobohm, and Tatiana Shabalina.

Given scanty facts but established practices, it appears that Bach solicited existing or newly-written cantata texts to be set to his music. He submitted them to the Council for its approval prior to publication in libretto booklets. Bach was responsible for the printing and proof-reading of these libretti, engaging various available Leipzig printers in a city with the reputation of being the publishing capital of Germany. It took three weeks to print the books and deliver them to the St. Thomas Church. On Saturday afternoons following the rehearsal for the first of the Sunday service cantatas printed in the book, Bachıs choristers distributed them to their recipients throughout Leipzig. The cantata books were purchased through subscriptions from the leading members of the church congregations, particularly the Leipzig business and civic leaders who occupied designated boxes at the official city church, St. Nikolaus. It is assumed that the Council paid for its annual installation libretto book since it listed the credentials of the some 44 members of the council at the ceremony. It also is assumed that the Leipzig Lutheran consistory paid for the cantata service books and Passion libretti.

While many of the texts of Picander, Bachıs leading librettist of cantatas, oratorios, and Passions eventually were printed in his collective editions at his expense, as well as major secular celebrations, no printed libretti of individual commissions have survived except for some sacred and secular weddings texts in 1729.

The most prolific cantata composer, Telemann, established an aggressive industry of printed sacred cantata libretti booklets, including annual church-year cycles. He began in Frankfurt and Erfurt with his annual cycles set to published Erdmann Neumeister texts. Eventually, using other poets as well, Telemann in 1722 as Hamburg music director began soliciting sponsors for his printed annual cycle texts that also were presentein
Frankfurt and Erfurt until at least 1730. Many of Telemannıs lost works are identified through libretto books or annual cycle account incipits of basic information. Telemannıs successor, Carl Philipp Emmanuel, Sebastianıs second son, in 1767 continued the practice of printed cantata and Passion text booklets.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 9, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] Just one correction about Graupner: Landgraf Ernst Ludwig would not release him from service. It's a pretty interesting process to see: protocols prevented any employee directly approaching his employer and instead, someone else acted as the go between. Many employees were unpaid in Darmstadt, including Graupner. Things were so bad for him financially, he asked the town authorities in Leipzig if it was possible to be back-paid from the time of his audition the previous December 1722.

Here is Graupner's resignation letter:

To the Most Noble Born Lord Patron!

Your Excellency be most obligingly informed by this that, God be praised, I am fortunately back from the journey. Eight days ago I delivered a letter from the Noble, Most Wise Council of Leipzig and a report of my release on behalf of Your Most Princely Serene Highness to my most gracious Lord. I have waited every day for a decision; such has not quickly happened and thus a further reminder is being sent. Indeed, my move from here is not being looked upon with favor by my most merciful Sovereign. I have yet hope that I may be able to leave with all honor and goodness, in as much as the move is not ungraciously perceived. Indeed, Your Excellency knows about my decrees, which several have inquired into and even though I was thought to be bound for life they found, on the contrary, I have complete freedom. I in no way doubt that I will receive the desired release. I would be pleased if by this coming Easter, God willing, the diplomatic representative could be here to bring this affair entirely to a complete conclusion. Should however, a later decision from my most gracious Lord prevent this, which I do not hope, it should not matter for several more weeks. If this does quickly ensue, then I will immediately notify Your Excellency. My house is also on the market which because of my leaving, some people have expressed an interest in the house. I may, as it appears now, have to take a great loss because they will take advantage of my situation. If I am not agreeable to a simple lease, then perhaps I will lose everything. After I receive the release thereupon my local salary stops. Could it happen through Your Excellency's mediation that a portion of my salary be calculated from the time of my audition? Thus I might be compensated for my great loss from my house, household goods, etc. I feel from Your Excellency much love, which I have yet to earn. In the future, I will try with diligence and kindness to make myself more worthy. Should Your Excellency have instructions for me, Herr Protonotarius Peterman will make me aware of everything.

To whom moreover, with great respect and esteem I remain,

Your Excellency my High Patron,

Your completely obedient and humble, faithful servant,


Christoph Graupner
Darmstadt, Feb. 7, 1723.


The person in charge at the Darmstadt court (the go-between Landgraf Ernst Ludwig and the musicians) was tired of the constant delays on releasing Graupner.


"I have spoken with the Kapellmeister Graupner and said to him that Your Most Serene Highness would write to the Leipzig City Council and demand that they ought to search for somebody else. I perceived that he would accept the proposed conditions with 200 to 300 Gulden additional and payment of the indebtedness. However, the people do not trust us anymore. He answered me that the same had already been frequently promised, but at no time had the promise been kept. It was heard how it had gone for others, how everybody had complained. He had also seen how the salary was taken from the elderly Bruegel when he was old and, unfortunately, allowed to go hungry. If Your Most Serene Highness should meet with death, or become insolvent, or if something new should better please him, the money would be taken away again. He alleged also, as you must have often heard, that the government and chamber would reproach him about his salary. If he now received more, would not the jealousy become greater? Now one sees that because the reward for the appointment is not given in time, indebtedness always remains. He claims that if Your Most Serene Highness were to write to the city of Leipzig, they would not approve it. Instead of seeing himself happy, he must sigh to God because he would fall into misery here with a wife and children. Such words go to my heart, and although I can not speak of future things, before me I see greater disorder, want, and unhappiness, and thus do not wish to say more. In case Your Most Serene Highness intends to write to the city of Leipzig, Your Most Serene Highness should seriously consider these things: whether Graupner should be paid immediately and whether from now on a salary is made from a secured fund, because no one trusts anymore in mere promises. It has already lasted too long and is becoming worse. I would like also to advise that Your Most Serene Highness settle this matter quickly with him, perhaps through Herr von Miltiz, who is very embarrassed anyway, and when he hears this same affair was construed through me, it may still lead to further discussion."


(In the margin: "Graupner remains and the matter with him has been finally settled. Hence the letter to the Magistrates in Leipzig should be dispatched."


I always find these things fascinating (there are a lot more than survive in Esterhazy with Haydn and the musicians there).

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 9, 2013):
[Relating to his former message] My apologies.....the first letter is NOT Graupner's resignation, it's his request asking for money from Leipzig and explaining his course of action.

Evan Cortens wrote (August 9, 2013):
Two further poinst, following on from Kim's, namely that Gottfried Heinrich Stoelzel was not an applicant for the Leipzig cantorate. Second, Fasch didn't turn the position down, rather he was hired in Anhalt-Zerbst after applying for the Leipzig job, and withdrew his name from consideration.

The applicants were as follows:

== Initial Applicants (July 14, 1722) ==
Johann Friedrich Fasch
Georg Balthasar Schott
Christian Friedrich Rolle
Georg Lenck
Johann Martin Steindorff
Georg Philipp Telemann

== Later Applicants (Dec 21, 1722) ==
Christoph Graupner
Johann Sebastian Bach

Thus, the timeline is as follows:

* The position is offered first to Telemann, who declines on Nov 6, 1722.

* The position is offered second to Graupner (on/after Jan 15, 1723),
who, as Kim said, was unable to obtain release (Leipzig was notified on March 22, 1723).

* Bach is offered the position, on April 9, 1723, letter dated April 13, contract signed April 19.

(This information from Ulrich Siegele (e/trans by Carol Baron), "Bach's Situation in the Cultural Politics of Contemporary Leipzig," in Bach's Changing World (Rochester, 2006): 127-73.)

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 9, 2013):
Will Hoffann:

Given scanty facts but established practices, it appears that Bach solicited existing or newly-written cantata texts to be set to his music. He submitted them to the Council for its approval prior to publication in libretto booklets. Bach was responsible for the printing and proof-reading of these libretti, engaging various available Leipzig printers in a city with the reputation of being the publishing capital of Germany. It took three weeks to print the books and deliver them to the St. Thomas Church. On Saturday afternoons following the rehearsal for the first of the Sunday service cantatas printed in the book, Bachıs choristers distributed them to their recipients throughout Leipzig.

I'm curious about the documentary evidence for this process. Surely the Council's imprimatur was to assure that there was nothing seditious about the librettos < a bureaucratic function that must have been delegated to a civil servant not the full council.

Other than questions about the political or social propriety of a controversial librettist (gasp, a woman!), what other objections could the council raise? Would they have passed judgment on the theological orthodoxy of the texts. Surely that would come in the form of a nihil obstat from the Superintendant (who functioned much like a bishop) or his censor deputatus.

Why was the delivery of the booklets delayed until Saturday? And what evidence is there that there was a "Saturday rehearsal" of the cantata? Speculations about the latter assumes the Mad Rush of cantata composition for which I don't think there is any documentary evidence.

The production of the libretto booklets is important because it tells us that Bach's compositional method was not exercised in isolation in his study. His creative ideas were always unique but they were always part of a larger legal, theological and canonical framework. And when that apparatus didn't work < a in the case of the St. John Passion mis-up < the consequences were extreme for Bach.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 10, 2013):
[To Evan Cortens] Two brief points
1 The established fact that the cantata texts were pubished and available to the congregation (some of these were located quite recently in Russia) would indicate that, even on the one hearing the well educated members of the congregation might well have recognised much more of the word painting and imagery than might have otherwise been suspected.

2 Regarding Fasch's withdrawal of the post, an interesting paper explaining this and describing Fasch's subsequent career (and in particular his 'music sharing' scheme) was delivered at the recent BNUK conference in Warsaw. Too long to paraphrase here but the paper should be available in the journal when the proceeding for this years conference go on line.

Linda Gingrich wrote (August 10, 2013):
The established fact that the cantata texts were published and available to the congregation (some of these were located quite recently in Russia) would indicate that, even on the one hearing the well educated members of
the congregation might well have recognised much more of the word painting and imagery than might have otherwise been suspected.

I think this is a distinct possibility. It's also interesting that the one text booklet from the second cycle that was discovered in Russia contains the texts for the five middle cantatas; this is one of the cantatas groups that I linked together allegorically in my study of the Second Cycle Trinity season cantatas. Given that all of the Trinity season cantatas appear to be arranged in allegorical groups, it would be highly interesting if their respective text booklets reflected their allegorical groupings. It would certainly aid the congregation in linking each Sunday's cantata with its group. Unfortunately no other second-cycle text booklets have been found. Rats!

One can only hope.

Aryeh Oron wrote on behalf of Thomas Braatz (August 12, 2013):
Bach's Business Connections

Thomas Braatz contributed to the BCW a new article concerning the recently discussed topic of Bach & Business. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/BachBusiness.pdf

Tom wrote:
The Bach-Dokumente volumes present documentary evidence, as skimpy as it may be, about the printed cantata text booklets which were provided to audiences in attendance at sacred as well as secular occasions. Who were the printers Bach used and how much was he charged, if at all? Hopefully some answers will be provided in the presentation which I put together rather quickly on two afternoons.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 13, 2013):
[To Thomas Braatz] Many thanks for Thomas Braatz putting that together. That's A LOT of work and a great resource for all of us.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 13, 2013):
[To Thomas Braatz] Full-time executioner, part-time latrine cleaner! Who says the Baroque period isn't the Age of Elegance?

Thanks for putting all these documents together. Now I'm interested in finding a history of the House of Breitkopf: it really is the history of German music for 300 years.

A general question: Do all the printers publish both texts and music? I would have thought by Bach;s time that Breitkopf would be printing exclusively music which is much more expensive proposition.

The libretto booklets would seem to fall into the category of broadsheets and pamphlets. Some of the printers must have specialized in quick turn-around.

And are there enough surviving librettos do postulate what Bach's publishing calendar looked like? That certainly has implications for his compositional calendar -- I;m thinking that the 6-day cycle of the Christmas Oratorio may indicate an interest in the smaller groupings of the printed cantatas.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 13, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< A general question: Do all the printers publish both texts and music? I would have thought by Bach;s time that Breitkopf would be printing exclusively music which is much more expensive proposition. >
But weren't they essentially selling manuscript copies of music during this period, versus really printing them?

William Hoffman wrote (August 13, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] See: Bach Perspectives 2: J. S. Bach, the Breitkopfs, and Eighteenth-Century Music Trade, George B. Stauffer, ed. (University of Nebraska Press, 1996), American Bach Society.

George B. Stauffer: Introduction: The Breitkopf Family and its Role in Eighteenth-Century Publishing.
Ernest May: Connections between Breitkopf and J. S. Bach
Andreas Glöckner: Church Cantatas in the Breitkopf Catalogs
Hans-Joachim Schulze: J. S. Bach's Vocal Works in the Breitkopf Nonthematic Catalogs of 1761 to 1836
Yoshitake Kobayashi: Breitkopf Attributions and Research on the Bach Family
Peggy Daub: The Publication Process and Audience for C.P.E. Bach's Sonaten für Kenner und Liebhaber
Neal Zaslaw: The Breitkopf Firm's Relations with Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart
Yoshitake Kobayashi: On the Identification of Breitkopf's Manuscripts
George R. Hill: Identifying Breitkopf House Copies Produced by the Firm's Own Scribes: A Preliminary Survey
Robert M. Cammarota: The Magnificat Listings in the Early Breitkopf Nonthematic Catalogs
Gregory G. Butler: Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf: The Formative Years
Ortrun Landmann: Breitkopf's Music Trade as Reflected in the Holdings of the Sächsische Landesbibliothek
George B. Stauffer: The Thomasschule and the Haus "zum Goldenen Bären": A Bach-Breitkopf Architectural Connection.

William Hoffman wrote (August 13, 2013):
[Relating to his former message] See also: http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub4-2009.html , scroll dowto Recent Discoveries in St Petersburg and their Meaning for the Understanding of Bach's Cantatas (full text) TATIANA SHABALINA; click on full text: http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub4/shabalina.pdf

P.S. Awesome thanks to Thomas Braatz for his BD article. I'll use it to explore the BWV Anh. text only secular cantatas and their authors during the final BCW Discussions this year.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 13, 2013):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Bach Perspectives 2: J. S. Bach, the Breitkopfs, and Eighteenth-Century Music Trade, George B. Stauffer, ed. (University of Nebraska Press, 1996), American Bach Society. >
Now that's my idea of cottage reading!

William Hoffman wrote (August 13, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] See: Bach Perspectives 2: J. S. Bach, the Breitkopfs, and Eighteenth-Century Music Trade, George B. Stauffer, ed. (University of Nebraska Press, 1996), American Bach Society.

George B. Stauffer: Introduction: The Breitkopf Family and its Role in Eighteenth-Century Publishing.
Ernest May: Connections between Breitkopf and J. S. Bach
Andreas Glöckner: Church Cantatas in the Breitkopf Catalogs
Hans-Joachim Schulze: J. S. Bach's Vocal Works in the Breitkopf Nonthematic Catalogs of 1761 to 1836
Yoshitake Kobayashi: Breitkopf Attributions and Research on the Bach Family
Peggy Daub: The Publication Process and Audience for C.P.E. Bach's Sonaten für Kenner und Liebhaber
Neal Zaslaw: The Breitkopf Firm's Relations with Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart
Yoshitake Kobayashi: On the Identification of Breitkopf's Manuscripts
George R. Hill: Identifying Breitkopf House Copies Produced by the Firm's Own Scribes: A Preliminary Survey
Robert M. Cammarota: The Magnificat Listings in the Early Breitkopf Nonthematic Catalogs
Gregory G. Butler: Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf: The Formative Years
Ortrun Landmann: Breitkopf's Music Trade as Reflected in the Holdings of the Sächsische Landesbibliothek
George B. Stauffer: The Thomasschule and the Haus "zum Goldenen Bären": A Bach-Breitkopf Architectural Connection.

 

The Guardian: Revealed: the violent, thuggish world of the young JS Bach

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 23, 2013):
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/21/secret-bach-teenage-thug

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 23, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thanks so much for that fascinating article!

William Hoffman wrote (September 23, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] WADR: It sounds a little like schoolboys all over (boys will be boys), especially America and England. Ah, for the good old Gradgrind system of education: filling those empty vessels with facts.

As for revealing biography, the best I've found are two about Shakespeare's world: Stephen Greenblat's "Will in the World" and Jonathan Bate's "Soul of the Age."

How about Bach historians examining documents about other institutions and the culture, besides rowdy schools, in Erfurt, Eisenach, Lüneburg, etc.?

Julian Mincham wrote (September 23, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] Rather a lot taken for granted I think. This arose from the TV programme Gardiner did earlier this year when it was revealed that until the time his parents died Bach's attendance at school and his results were poor. When he became an orphan and was 'relocated' both his attendance record and his class position improved dramatically. There may have been a number of reasons for this, none of which we can be sure about.

Much can be inferred from all this and the fact that many teachers were doubtless vicious and cruel--no surprise there--just read Dickens in the next century.

I suspect some of this is hype for a soon- to- be- published book.

 

Bach Burnout?

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 29, 2013):
http://www.dw.de/new-bach-discovery-raises-question-of-burn-out/a-17326653

I'm surprised that Maul takes such a literal interpretation of what is surely self-aggrandisment in an application letter. Bach was responsible for church music in four churches, but there was no necessity that he always conducted or played. In his journeys away from Leipzig or during illnesses, his prefects were more than capable, just as assistant conductors in modern symphony orchestra are regularly scheduled for concerts the principal doesn't want to conduct.

And further, I just don't believe the Sick, Depressed Bach.

Kim Ptrick Clow wrote (December 29, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< http://www.dw.de/new-bach-discovery-raises-question-of-burn-out/a-17326653
I'm surprised that Maul takes such a literal interpretation of what is surely self-aggrandisment in an application letter. >
Why 'surely'? Fleckeisen's credentials and statements would have easily been verified. Leipzig wasn't that far away after all, and the musicians and church officials weren't operating in some sort of vacuum.

< Bach was responsible for church music in four churches, but there was no necessity that he always conducted or played. In his journeys away from Leipzig or during illnesses, his prefects were more than capable, >
A scholar and researcher with Michael Maul's credentials certainly knows that. What IS new is a specific student documenting how long a prefect filled in for Bach

Many thanks to Brad Lehman who posted about this article over on Facebook.

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 29, 2013):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< What IS new is a specific student documenting how long a prefect filled in for Bach >
Indeed. Do we have any collateral evidence from other contemporary musicians (e.g. Telemann, Graupner) how assistants "covered" for their superiors?

My favourite cover story involves Samuel Wesley who was simultaneously organist at three Oxford colleges in the early 19th century. He had a carriage waiting outside the first college while he played the prelude and then handed the playing over to his sub-organist, bolted into the carriage which raced across town arriving at the second chapel where he played the Voluntary between the readings. Then over to his second assistant, and another dash through town to take over from his third sub-organist to play the postlude at the final chapel!

Bach was not such a flagrant pluralist, although he was allowed to accept the Dresden appointment in addition to his cantorship. It shouldn't surprise us that Bach's stable of prefects covered for him for a variety of reasons: travel and illness are the most obvious. One wonders how long he was out of action after the eye operation. The term "prefect" is misleading: they were young but highly competent assistant organists and conductors. Bach appears to have always retained the executive responsibility, but the sheer size of the Leipzig musical machinery meant that delegation must have been a regular phenomenon.

Kim Ptrick Clow wrote (December 29, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Indeed. Do we have any collateral evidence from other contemporary musicians (e.g. Telemann, Graupner) how assistants "covered" for their superiors? >
Telemann's grandson Georg Michael, apparently helped with the last passion setting by composing the recitatives. I'm pretty sure GMT was also doing the physical work of conducting and organizing the Sunday music for the churches Telemann was responsible for. Telemann was already in his 80s by then, and it was mentioned in a source he was having difficulties with his legs and not ambulatory. Further evidence that GMT was really doing the 'donkey-work' is borne out by the fact he was in charge of the music until C.P.E. Bach arrived in Hamburg after being named as Telemann's replacement.

Graupner had two assistants in Darmstadt: Gottfried Grünewald and Johann Samuel Endler.

Gottfried Grünewald alternated cantata composing duties with Graupner until Grünewald died in 1739. Grünewald's entire body of music was burnt as his request, more than likely by Graupnhimself. Filling in the missing Graupner cantatas from 1712 to 1739, I estimated Grünewald composed about 700 to 800 cantatas plus whatever orchestral and chamber music.

Johann Samuel Endler was a fine composer and was brought to Darmstadt via St. Thomas in Leipzig when Graupner successfully completed his January 1722 audition for the position that eventually went to Bach. Endler was also brother-in-law to Telemann, and provided a source of many of Telemann's compositions that found their way into the Darmstadt music library. Graupner went blind in 1754, and Endler was no doubt in charge of the musical performances from that point on, and named full music director after Graupner died. There are only 3 surviving cantatas by Endler, and I'm not sure what to make of that.

Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel apparently was sick the last few years of his life, as music director in Gotha. He suffered from fainting spells, and there are records that surfaced a few years of him placing classified ads selling music manuscripts and instruments in Gotha newspapers. It's my theory he did this to pay off doctors and drug bills. I can't believe he was able to carry out his normal duties the last year of his life (he died in November, 1749). Stölzel had a body of students like Bach had in Leipzig who helped to disseminate his music, but I don't know of any specific research on the nature of those students and their relationship with Stölzel after they left Gotha. Unfortunately, Stölzel research has only significantly taken off in the last 25 years. And there STILL isn't a complete thematic index.

I hope this helps.

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 29, 2013):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Telemann's grandson Georg Michael, apparently helped with the last passion setting by composing the recitatives. I'm pretty sure GMT was also doing the physical work of conducting and organizing the Sunday music for the churches Telemann was responsible for.Graupner had two assistants in Darmstadt: Gottfried Grünewald and Johann Samuel Endler.
Gottfried Grünewald alternated cantata composing duties with Graupner until Grünewald died in 1739.
Endler was no doubt in charge of the musical performances from that point on, and named full music director after Graupner died.
Stölzel had a body of students like Bach had in Leipzig who helped to disseminate his music, but I don't know of any specific research on the nature of those students and their relationship with Stölzel after they left Gotha. >
That's a great summary of contemporary patterns of delegation and assistance. There's no reason to believe that Bach didn't give similar substantial responsibility to his subordinates. He could even have asked them to compose on occasion. That would be a more conventional picture of the church music industry in the period, and another knock to the Romantic myth of the solitary, overworked, underappreciated Bach.

David Jones wrote (December 30, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] Although I believe that Bach's workload was nuts by anyone's standards, I think you'd have a damn hard time "burning out" the kind of man who walked several hundred miles on FOOT to hear a musician he admired. He isn't wearing that stern expression in that famous picture for nothing.

 

How Bach understood his post during the 1740s

Charles Francis wrote (March 21, 2017):
'Consequently, we must assume that Bach’s understanding of his post during his later years as cantor had changed fundamentally, and with it his artistic requirements regarding performances at church: the high level of motivation evident in his early Leipzig works had been replaced by a rather cool pragmatism, at times even a disinterest.': http://bachnetwork.co.uk/ub12/ub12-maul.pdf

 

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