Members of the Bach Cantatas Mailing List
Part 4: Year 2002
Robin Crag wrote (January 27, 2002):
I've been lurking here for a while, but I couldn't join in, as I had no recordings of cantatas. (I've only been reading the bits that are interesting without being able to listen!) Anyway since this Christmas, I have a few cantata recordings (mostly Leusink ones). So, when I have the cantata you are discussing, I will pop up and say something stupid. Ok?
I'm 16; I'm from North Wales in the UK.
Just thought I'd send this, in case someone was wondering who I was.
Marie Jensen wrote (January 27, 2002):
Welcome to our group Robin!
I started listening to Bach in 1968 when I was 15, and I still do with great pleasure. It is a fantastic world you are going to explore. It does not matter, you don't have all the cantatas. I did with very few for a long time and heard them over and over again and they became even better. I am looking forward to read your opinions.
Pieter Pannevis wrote (January 27, 2002):
Isn't there a way to provide our young friend with at least the basic cantatas?
Something unique about both Bach lists
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 2, 2002):
There is something unique about both Bach lists (this one and the Recordings list) and it is both good and bad IMVHO, but it also explains why there are so many lurkers. Harry's oft-repeated view is not necessarily the only reason. As opposed to most, indeed all other music lists with which I am acquainted, the Bach lists have always been dominated completely by experts. I mean this sincerely. I have not followed the lists regularly for many months, but quite irregularly, but I have been on both lists long enough to have had this awareness from the beginning unto the present day. One day an expert of amazing knowledge appears. Who is he? Let me give an example (others are obvious as well). Maybe I have missed what I am about to note. The expert, e.g. Thomas Braatz appears and is not a "normal" poster as on any other music list. Quite apparently his knowledge is of a profound and deep sort that the average Bach lover can only begin to imagine. OK, that is fine. But the expert (and I don't really mean only Th. B.) does not appear saying: "Hello, I am so and so and I am a musicologist who has devoted my life to Bach." I assume that such must be true. Now no regular music lover has any reason to post on such a list. If one reads very carefully and has serious musical knowledge, one may follow the argument. The post the other day wherein Th. Braatz finally told us what is inauthentic with "The Harnoncourt doctrine" finally revealed something to me theoretically, albeit I lack the musical training to really follow it. I guess this is something that I have wanted to say for a long time. Ditto on the other Bach list, who is Brad Lehman, and various other such examples?
Thomas Boyce wrote (February 8, 2002):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] Well, Bach brings out the best in me. And I think it's the nature of Bach; nothing fly-by-night about his music. Sure, there's so much of it, but Telemann wrote quite a bit too and I don't think Telemann inspires the devotion that Bach does. We are all in the service of old Johann, 'nicht wahr'?
Thomas Braatz wrote (February 8, 2002):
[To Thomas Boyce] I enjoy Telemann's music in many ways, but your comment certainly underlines what I had read just a few days ago in Spitta's extensive Bach biography, where he compares side by side with musical examples Telemann's setting of exactly the same cantata text now under discussion (BWV 18) with Bach's in order to demonstrate the genius of Bach, particularly in the setting of cantata texts.
Thomas Boyce wrote (February 8, 2002):
[To Thomas Braatz] I knew that!
Translations of cantatas on list
Francis Browne wrote (February 16, 2002):
As a new and very appreciative member of the BCML let me introduce myself. My name is Francis Browne and I live in Liverpool, where I teach Greek and Latin at a local state school.
I first became interested in the cantatas some thirty years ago. A recording of the Magnificat (BWV 243) by Wolfgang Gönnenwein and the Deutsche Bachsolisten in the Oryx Bach Series delighted me so much (it still does!) that I bought very cheaply some cantata recordings in the same series. But I did not then pursue my interest in the cantatas much further and spent many years listening to mainly later classical music. Whenever I happened to hear a cantata I was struck by the range and excellence of the music and by how even the most obscure work contains at least one section of amazing beauty.
But it was only with the appearance of the Leusink cycle that it has become possible to make a vague wish to explore the cantatas further become a reality. I suspect that this must be the case for many who use the Bach Cantatas Website. Certainly I have found the discussions informative and stimulating as I work my way through the Leusink cycle and follow the weekly discussions. Aryeh's excellent introductions provide the basic information and critical perspectives that are often lacking in the sometimes perceptive but very brief notes with the Brilliant CD’s, and such contributions as those of Tom Braatz add greatly to my delight in listening to the cantatas. But it seems a little invidious to single out individuals when I find something worthwhile in all contributions, whether or not they are musicologically learned. I am moved by the idea of what is clearly a very diverse group of people throughout the world united by a love of Bach's music and I have often found that somebody's enthusiasm for a particular aria or chorus has made me listen again and find something that I have missed. Equally, critical reactions to Leusink's recordings - alas! often justified - are also valuable in deepening my understanding of Bach's music.
But I would feel ungrateful if I did not express my great gratitude and admiration for Pieter van Leusink and his singers and musicians. For all its inevitable shortcomings the cycle is a marvellous achievement and it must be the means of introducing so many thousands of people to the delights of the cantatas who would not otherwise have the opportunity. So much beauty and splendour can be conveyed by even a very imperfect performance of Bach's music and often Leusink and his performers achieve much more.
Which brings me finally to my point - I'm sorry for such verbosity in an e-mail. The Brilliant CDs come with the German text only. Other recordings - those I have bought on the Virgin label for example - come without any text at all. But the more I listen to the cantatas, the more important it seems to me to follow the words closely. I therefore work out my own translation of any cantata in which I am particularly interested - this obviously includes now the cantata for the weekly discussion. If I were fluent in German, this would not be necessary. Z. Philip Ambrose' s site is a great resource for Bach, which I have often gratefully used. But his aim of following the metre and word-division of the originals has sometimes resulted in such clotted English that I have found myself looking at the German to discover the meaning. Reading some of the past discussions it occurred to me that others on the list may find another translation useful, particularly those who only have access to Leusink and are not fluent in German.
I have therefore typed up some of the versions I have made for myself and with Aryeh's kind help and co-operation I have sent my translations of some of the cantatas on the current list to be added to the Website (BWV 18, BWV 157, BWV 195, BWV 197). I intend to add further translations some time before a cantata is due to be discussed. The translations include the German text and have the sole aim of helping listeners not fluent in German to follow closely the text Bach is setting .The interlinear format is also intended for this purpose.
Any suggestionsfor improvements or corrections would be very welcome.
Richard Grant wrote (February 19, 2002):
[To Francis Browne] You have just made my day or perhaps even my year? The fact that you teach Latin and Greek means that there are people studying it, and that could mean that the experience of Virgil and Homer and Tacitus and even perhaps Pindar just might have a chance to survive the civilisations of the future. To those like me yours is a calling not unlike holy orders And in a state school! May there always be an England! Welcome!!!
Francis Browne wrote (February 19, 2002):
[To Richard Grant] Thank you for your kind welcome, Richard. We do have pupils reading Homer, Virgil, Tacitus ( and Thucydides and Lucretius) but Pindar will be widely read when a Bach cantata tops the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
Richard Grant wrote (February 19, 2002):
[To Francis Browne] And I suspect this was the case even among the ancient Greeks. I had a schoolmaster who used to say that "...then as now Pindar was much quoted but little read..."
Jouke wrote (April 9, 2002):
Just joined this group.
As a member of the "Residentie Bachkoor" at The Hague, the Netherlands, I'm regulary singing Bach's Cantatas.
Wil drop a line now and then.
Now we are rehearsing Cantata BWV 29, with an adaptation of the "Gratias" from Bach's B-minor Mass. We wil perform this in a service the last sunday of this month.
If anyone has a comment on this Cantata, I would like to know.
Aryeh Oron wrote (April 9, 2002):
[To Jouke] Welcome aboard!
It is always interesting to hear (or read) the point of view of a performer.Have you participated in the recording of Cantata BWV 24 under the baton of the late Gerard Akkerhuis? If yes, will you be please so kind to tell us something about your experience?
You are invited to contribute to the weekly cantatas discussions.
Cantata BWV 29 has not been yet discussed in the weekly cantata discussions. However, following a previous request, I prepared a list of the recordings of this cantata. You can find it in the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV29.htm
Bernard Nys wrote (April 24, 2002):
About Bach & faith
Let me tell you in a few words what happened to me 2 years ago. I was atheistic, or at least agnostic, I hated the pope, I hated everything related to the church. I liked classical music : 1. Mozart 2. Beethoven 3. Wagner and of course Bach, it's difficult to say that Bach is not an important composer. I had most of his music on cassette, because you need to have it in your collection when you're serious.
And then, on the 7th of January 2000, I went to a concert in the big Antwerp cathedral for the B-minor Mass. I remember I was sleeping during the Kyrie Eleison, but suddenly, at the beginning of the Agnus Dei, I was looking at the statue of Jesus crucified and Mary standing on the left, and listening to the alto singing almost alone in the cathedral. In one second, I believed the whole story, the audience was not there anymore, I was alone in another world (by the way I don't drink, and don't take drugs).
Since 7/1/2000, I've never missed the Sunday service in Church and I have been listening to the B-minor Mass every day during at least one year (in the car, at home, everywhere, on CD - Herreweghe, on videocassette,...). A few months later, I decided to get rid of all other composers (except some sacred music, Messiah, Coronation Mass,...). Through JSB's music, the Lord came into my life and that's an experience that changed my life completely. My mother noticed that and said : "You have changed recently". I did not tell her how that happened. Later she was so surprised to hear that I went to church, me the 39 year old sinner and notorious church-hater.
I can only wish that this kind of "supernatural" experience happens to you all. You see that Bach means more for me : for me, he's the 5th Evangelist and has the same authority as the Bible. I admire his faith and his texts (sermons) give me an enormous peace of mind or lessons. I think that even his non-sacred music is blessed because the Lord allowed Bach to create all music (romantic era, Wagner, jazz, swing, rock, hard rock, free jazz, New Age, relaxation music, minimalist music, electronic music,...). For me, his music is one of the best proves that God exists. Like Harnoncourt said : we cannot understand how all this beautiful music came from a human brain. For me, it did not ; it came from heaven... As you all probably know, JSB's brain & head is a great mistery for anatomy-doctors-scientists : it is not normal at all (I cannot explain in English what's wrong with his head, but cf. the documentary by Robert Levin).
New Subscriber about Bach’s Cantatas
Jared Mosher (May 3, 2002):
I am a new subscriber to this - not an entirely knowledgeable one, but I subscribed because I love Bach's music, and wanted to learn more about the man and his music.
About the cantatas - does anyone know where I can get a recording of Cantata BWV 54 "Widerstehe doch der Sunde"?
I'm also looking for the orchestral scores - if they are able to be bought.
Philippe Bareille [Leeds, UK] wrote (June 7, 2002):
I have just joined your "Bach cantatas" group. I don't know for sure how you operate but I gather from your site that I can comment on the cantata of the week chosen by Aryeh Oron. As a lover of Bach music I was thrilled to discover your site. I am very impressed by Aryeh erudition and always captivating analysis.
I very much look forward to contributing to your discussions
Another new member this weekend
Thomas Shepherd [Manchester, UK] wrote (June 9, 2002):
I’m new to the Cantata group but already thankful that I came across your site.
I bought a few Bach Cantata LPs in the late 60s and early 70’s. and at the time of release, the first box set of Die Bach Kantate/ Harnoncourt, thinking that I would start a collection. I was immediately disillusioned and could not cope with the openness of the texture and the knife-edge uncertainty of the performance. I have never felt they made easy listening for repeated listening.
So here I am 30 years later realizing that I should have persevered, and yet in a way thankful that I can come back to the Cantatas when performance style has stabilized and the quest for the ‘authentic’ is not quite such an obsession. And last Christmas I was given Christoph Wolff’s wonderful new biography of Bach "The Learned Musician" which reminded me that I had never explored the cantatas fully.
Now (2002) I’ve got the problem of which recordings to buy. Trawling the reviews of the various recording projects on this and other web sites and with several sample broadcasts on BBC Radio3, I¹ve have settled on the Japanese. It’s a gamble that the series will be finished!! Last week the very first disc arrived, i.e. vol. 16 with BWV 194 what a wonder!!
The other thing for which I¹m already very thankful is the easily available piano reduction of the scores. If I can¹t make a contribution to the discussions about the recordings, I shall at least be able to bash through the music on the piano and have at least a vague idea about what you are all talking about!
Welcome New Members
Aryeh Oron wrote (November 15, 2002):
The BCML has passed lately the amazing number of 300 members. When it all started, about three years ago, there were about 20 members; after a year we had about 120 and after two years more than 200. The number of actual contributors to the discussions is much smaller, but this only natural.
I warmly welcome all the new members who have joined the BCML recently. May I ask the new members to introduce themselves to the other members of the list?
I suggest that the first message you send to the BCML will be titled 'Introducing Myself' and in which you will tell the group something about your background and your acquaintance with Ba's music, especially the Bach Cantatas.
Members who joined the BCML in previous years used to write such an introduction. You can read their messages in the following pages of the Bach Cantatas Website:
Year 1999: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Members-1999.htm
Year 2000: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Members-2000.htm
Year 2001: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Members-2001.htm
Year 2002: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Members-2002.htm
My First Cantata: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/First.htm
Claudine Jacques wrote (November 15, 2002):
A short notice about me. I'm 23, and studying musicology (I'm doing my master degree) at the university of Montreal. The subject of my thesis is Schumann's opera Genoveva (I know, it has noting to do with Bach...) I like Bach, of course, but I also like just about all type of classical music. I'm attracted to a lot of things. I've been following the discussions lately, some sounds very interesting.
Well, I guess that's it!
Flavio Florence [Brazil] wrote (November 15, 2002):
I've been a member of BCML for some time now. To be frank, I did not realize - until now that Aryeh Oron made this clear - that we members were supposed to introduce ourselves, so here it goes, albeit a bit late.
I'm Brazilian, 45 years old, musical director and conductor of the Santo André Symphony Orchestra, in the São Paulo area. Although ours is a large orchestra, whose repertoire consists primarily of 19th and 20th century music, the Baroque period has never been neglected, Bach cantatas constituting an important part of it. We usually perform them at our community's Lutheran Church, with its fine pipe organ, rather than at our hall - the opening movement of "Wir danken dir" (BWV 29) with the organo bbligato, extracted from the violin partita, sounds great there.
I fell in love with this fantastic collection of masterworks - perhaps the greatest ever written - in 1975, when I was a student of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague (Holland). Back then there was a festival at the Conservatory (it was called Bach Projekt) dedicated to Bach's works. One of the cantatas performed was BWV 198 ("Trauer Ode"), conducted by the then young, talented and not yet famous Philippe Herreweghe. I was a member of the choir, and this was the greatest experience that a young (and still hairy!) latin-american student of choir conducting, like me, could expect.
Since then the Bach cantatas - as well as other works by the great German master - have been my constant companion, perhaps the most loyal of all. It is the most rewarding experience to realize the span of influences that the cantatas have exerced upon every good composer ever since.
I believe BCML is a great idea, and will soon become an important source of information about the Bach Cantatas. The focus of the discussion is sometimes lost in technicalities about MP3 and the like, but this by no means impairs the importance of the initiative.
If I were to suggest anything, this would be trying to group (and compare) the cantatas by scoring, i. e. cantatas for a solo voice, with flute soli, oboe soli, large ensembles, with an opening instrumental movement, and so on.
Congratulations to Aryeh Oron and others that contribute with this great discussion group!
Balwantray Chauhan [Halifax, Canada]wrote (November 16, 2002):
I am a new member of the BCML and am daily astounded by the in-depth and often passionate discussions of this wonderful music. I am a Professor of Ophthalmology in Halifax, Canada and therefore unlike most of you, a true amateur in the area. I do not play an instrument or sing, so my understanding of the music is purely emotional and even visceral. The technical terms used in this group are sometimes beyond my understanding.
I have always admired Bach and was introduced to his music through some of the instrumental works. I arrived at the cantatas through the Passions. Initially I listened to the well known cantatas (BWV 21, BWV 54, BWV 82, BWV 147 etc), but they are all special and there is so much to discover in all of them. I just wish I could drop everything else and lock myself away for 2 months with a stack of CDs!
I am singularly impressed with the Suzuki cantata cycle. To my ears, Suzuki's interpretations are passionate and moving. I also like some of the Gardiner interpretations, e.g. Kozena in Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (BWV 199) is sang with a commitment that I have not found in other recordings of this cantata.
Does anyone know if Suzuki will record all the cantatas and whether he will release them all as a box set? The BIS CDs are unbelievably expensive in Canada! Also I hope that Gardiner will release the CDs from his Pilgrimage year. I gather all concerts were recorded. Any information about this will be welcomed.
Finally, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Aryeh for his untiring efforts. Our lives are richer for Bach's music and Aryeh has made it possible for like minded people all around the world to connect.
Many thanks and best wishes to you all.
Dave Carmichael wrote (November 16, 2002):
I have been a lurker on the group for a few months and have learned much and thoroughly enjoyed the insights and comments from the group members. Perhaps I can begin to post now and then, if I can overcome feeling a bit intimidated at the obvious high level of knowledge of the regular posters.
By way of introduction, after a little gentle prodding by Aryeh, here is some information about me: I am a retired information systems designer and engineer. I have been involved as a non-professional singer for as long as I can remember in various choral groups, both church-related and secular. I currently am a member of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus. The music of Bach, and especially the cantatas, has been an interest of mine for many years. My first exposure to recordings of the cantatas was largely the Rilling cycle, and as a result in the recesses of my mind that style is the way they are supposed to sound. But, I have discovered much to enjoy in many of the HIP performances also. Bach's music largely transcends style and fashion, in my opinion.
I was very pleased when I discovered this group and I am looking forward to a long association with it.
Thank you all,
Grzegorz Lodyga wrote (November 16, 2002):
I'm not new, but this is my first post. I'm 39 and for 8 years I'v been listening to the classical music. Bach was my second musical love (Vivaldi was first). I can't play or sing or even read the notes, but I like to read texts about music (when I have enough time).
About Bach's cantatas - first was Parrott, his interpretation BWV 82 I like very much. This CD (with BWV 202) put me on the way to the Bach, but I'm beginner all the time.
Evan ParkLuck wrote (November 16, 2002):
My name is Evan, I'm 32, and Bach is my favorite composer. I'm looking forward to participating in this group.
[snip] All further emails from me will deal only matters pertaining to cantatas.
Thank you very much.
Pieter Pannevis [Holland] wrote (November 16, 2002):
My name is Pieter and I'm from Holland.
I'm 53 and a pilgrim to Santiago de Compostella
I've been taken by the music of Bach at an interview with Glenn Gould on TV I think it was with Bruno Maderna. I did found it so profound that I by way of the Goldberg Variations explored and tumbled on Cantata BWV 49, which is an absolute favourite of mine (as it's on hope and of all threthings important in life hope is the most important thing > see Franciscus of Assisie and Dorothe Solle<.) I do have Bach on a lot as was recently told in this group it settles you back in an ever-growing impersonal and not caring world. I do like the interpretation by Albert Schweitzer as he involves his religion and faith in playing and commenting.
I do own the complete Leusink oeuvre and would like to have more of Herreweghe, but that's a financial obstacle.
I do thank my esteemed friend Aryeh Oron for all his work and I do hope we can go on not only by hitting the reply button (sorry Kirk), but by listening to this music incorporating it in our life/world and try to make it a better place.
I start my day by lightning candles for those in need and have the cantata of that week.
May god bless you all!
Raffaele [Milan, Italy] wrote (November 17, 2002):
I'm Raffaele, from Milan, Italy. I find this mailing list on Bach Cantatas really interesting. Pheraps I won't have the possibilty to participate regularly to so many interesting discussion on the Kantor, but for the meanwhile i read as much as i can (My post is already full of messages, the list is really more ein Meer als ein Bach!). Just a note to recommend my city, Milan, as a centre of Bach's cantatas. Since few years,two churches in Milan, San Marco (where Verdi performed his Requiem) and San Simpliciano, erschallen with the entire corpus of cantatas (Gardiner, Koopman etc. are often here).
David Smith [Saskatchewan, Canada] wrote (November 17, 2002):
I've made a couple of submissions but never properly introduced myself. My name is David Smith and I am an Anglican priest in Saskatchewan, Canada. I've been listening to Bach's cantatas avidly for a number of years now and although I haven't got much musical education I try to read what I can to help me appreciate Bach.
Peter Henderson wrote (November 18, 2002):
I am Peter Henderson.
I discovered Bach at a performance of the Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and cemented the relationship by collecting the first 20 instalments of the Harnoncourt - Leonhardt Telefunken Complete Cantatas on vinyl in the mid 1970's.
I play guitar and have been hacking away at the Em Lute Suite (BWV 996) for a few years now. I have also been performing my own songs to a uniformly unimpressed audience for quite a while (http://www.users.bigpond.com/taxboss/rambles/rambles.htm)
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