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Part 6: Year 2004-1

Thomas Manhart wrote (January 1, 2004):
New to the group I simply want to introduce myself: my name is Thomas Manhart, I studied music in Germany and Austria, living now in Singapore to persue a degree in ethnomusicology. Having changed my musical stress, i still hang on to my love for baroque music, particularly as I am trained as countertenor.

 

Welcome New Members

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 4, 2004):
Happy New Year to all members of the BCML,

With the arrival of the New Year, the BCML has reached the amazing number of 400 members, and I hope it will continue to grow. When it all started, about four years ago, there were about 20 members; after a year we had about 120, after two years more than 200, and after three years about 300. The number of actual contributors to the discussions is much smaller, but this is 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?

Each new member is invited to send to the BCML a message titled 'Introducing Myself', in which he/she will tell the group something about his/her background and how he/she got acquainted with Bach'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 (BCW):
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
Year 2003: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Members-2003.htm
Year 2004: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Members-2004.htm
My First Cantata: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/First.htm

Some of the members in the BCML have personal websites. Some of these websites are dedicated to Bach, others are not. There is a page in the BCW dedicated to these labours of love:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Links/Links-Members.htm
If I have personal Website not listed there, please let me know.

All members, both new and veteran, contributors and lurkers alike, are invited to add their personal profile to the Member Profiles page:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Members-Profiles.htm
The needed details are: photo (jpg/jpeg format, 180x235 pixels), name, occupation, city/country, when you joined the Bach List, personal website (if you have any). If you do not want your photo to appear, it is also acceptable. Simply write 'No photo'. Please send the details and the photo to my personal e-mail address: oron-a@inter.net.il and not to the Bach Lists.

Enjoy & Happy New Year to you all,

Richard Sams wrote (January 5, 2004):
BCML discussions, etc.

[To Aryeh Oron] Happy New Year to you too. I have just joined the Bach cantatas mailing list after regularly reading the discussions in the archives for about six months now. I recently completed my collection of sacred cantatas (centering around the BCJ series), so I thought it was about time I joined. As you have probably gathered from my mails, I live in Japan, where I have been working as a translator for the past 15 years. I notice from your web page that a discussion of Bach's motets was scheduled to start on January 4 this year, but I am not sure where this discussion takes place. Is it by e-mail or somewhere else online?

I have only been listening seriously to Bach for the past two years (and to the sacred cantatas less than a year), so I feel quite in awe of some of the erudite contributors to this list, including yourself. Particularly during the last few months or so, I have become quite obsessed with the sacred cantatas and realize that I've missed many
opportunities to see the BCJ live here in Tokyo. I have so far been to two BCJ concerts, both of them excellent. I will try to make up for lost time this year, starting in March.

Today I came across an interesting-looking book about Bach (in Japanese) entitled "A Present from Bach". The book (hardback, about 400 pages) takes the form of an interview with Masaaki Suzuki in which he talks about Bach's life and works, the cantatas (focusing on Herz und Mund (BWV 147) und Tat und Leben), performance practices, and his career with the BCJ. In most bookstores here in Tokyo, you can find quite a wide range of books on Bach (including, for example, Christophe Wolff's books, The World of the Bach Cantatas, all translated in to Japanese). There are obviously many Bach lovers in Japan.

Although I am quite busy with my work at the moment, I will contribute to discussions when I can. My particular interest is interpretation and performance styles. Your comparative reviews of different recordings of the cantatas have been a great pleasure to read and very helpful to me in my selections.

Cesare Zambelloni wrote (January 5, 2004):
New member presantation

[To Aryeh Oron] I'm very pleased to join the prestigious Bach-Cantatas Mailing List.
I'm 37 years old and leave in Cremona, the Monteverdi's town.

My first approach to Bach's music it's dated to my first year of studies in the musicology faculty of my town. I was particulary amazed by the incredible expressivity of the Kantor's music and particulary from the cantatas world. After 18 years my interests are much so close and all festivity i "prepare" the cantatas of the day with CD and sometimes with scores.

My job is cataloguing books in the libraries, and also sing in a choir in Cremona as bass-bariton.

Thank you very much, and my compliments for the precious web-site.

Saluti

New Member

Marie wrote (January 14, 2004):
I just joined this group. Thank you.

Fredrik Sandstrom wrote (February 22, 2004):
First let me introduce myself; I'm a computer science student from Finland and recently subscribed to this group and I have enjoyed following the discussions. I'm an amateur choir singer and play the piano a little bit. [snip]

New member - Introducing myself

Claude Duvet wrote (April 4, 2004):
Let me introduce myself first before I post a question. My name is Claude Duvet, I'm 19 years old and I don't know much about music. I just like it (or not). I became acquainted with Bach's work through my grandfather not long ago. I hope you will forgive me for my ignorance. My question is the following: in Bach's Cantata "Ich habe genug" (BWV 82), which baritone do you think performs it better, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau or Hans Hotter? And why? Because I'm planning to buy it. Are there any other recordings you could recommend? Thanks in advance,

Continue of this discussion, see: Cantata BWV 82 – Discussions Part 2

Lingering ignorance in performance practice

J. Buck wrote (April 11, 2004):
I'm new here but a huge and, I flatter myself, educated fan.

Yesterday I was privileged to sing in a performance of the St. John Passion (BWV 245), and while it was idiomatic in most respects, the conductor insisted on treating the fermatas at the end of every chorale phrase as real holds. It was maddening. Can anybody explain this seemingly willful insistence on retaining one's pet Victorianism? Any similar stories to share?

Continue of this discussion, see: Performance of Bach’s Vocal Works - General Discussions - Part 8

okiedokie...'introducing myself'...

Cara (Piano Pedal 3) wrote (April 13, 2004):
My name is Cara and I am here to warn you all that I know just about everything about Bach except maybe his favorite color. It's a sickness really, but I like it. (I know what Maria Barbara's alleged lucky number is-it's that sad, I tell you!) Anyhoo, if anyone knows anything interesting and miscellaneous about Anna Magdalena, please let me know. She's my hero.

I'm Cara...("Hi Cara!"...) and I live in Seattle. Interesting, kind of. I don't remember how I became so interested in Bach, but now I am. I do tend to lean towards the secular cantatas (I'm listening to the Peasant Cantata (BWV 212) right now). I think the text is great. If you ever get a chance to read it, please do so.

First Post

Smoovus wrote (April 25, 2004):
HEY EVERYONE!!!!. this is my first post to the big BACH cantata list and I’m
really exited. I TOTALLY LOVE BACH!. my favoroe record is st johns passion, because it is sooo scary. in fact im listining to it right now! i cant wait to have lots of deep discussions about music with everybody on this list(:

Cara wrote (April 25, 2004):
[To Smoovus] I love Bach too, and I was listening to the second half of the Wohltempierte Clavier just some minutes ago, but I'm too lazy to go change the CDs. I do like the St. John Passion also, although I find it quite strange in some respects-although it was the St. Matthew Passion that is said to have made an old lady faint right in the church (can anyone confirm that?)- I don't believe that myself, but pieces from the Leipzig peroid seem to be of most interest. (We don't need to go into that...the...insperations...)

Will Stoner wrote (April 25, 2004):
[To Smoovus] Your comment on the St. John Passion is interesting. Years ago I was intrigued by a Bach biographer's comment that in the "Eilt Nach Golgotha" aria, the "mighty catechism of the full chorus is answered by a solo voice, producing a moment of piercing, intolerable tragedy."

Smoovus wrote (April 25, 2004):
[To Will Stoner] YO! STONER!

I asociate the john passion wihth this poem by henri michaux that he wrote after his wife died accidentally of atrocious burns.

(begin poem)

ACROSS OCEANS AND DESERTS

Effective as coitus with a virgin girl
Effective
Effective as the absence of wells in a desert
Effective is my action
Effective

Effective as the traitor who stands apart surrounded
by his men ready to kill
Effective as the night for hiding objects
Effective as the goat for producing kids
Tiny, tiny, heartbroken already
Effective as the viper

Effective as a sharpened knofe to make a wound
As rust and urine to keep it going
As shaking, falls and bangs to make it wider
Effective is my action

Effective as the scornful smile for raising an ocean of hate in the breast of the scorned man, an ocean that will never dry up
Effective as the desert for dehydrating bodies and toughening souls
Effective as the jaws of a hyena for chewing the unprotected limbs of corpses
EFFECTIVE
Effective is my action

(end poem)

STONER! YO!

Smoovus wrote (April 25, 2004):
[To Cara] That’s a funny story about the old lady. ill bet her cerculation got cut off by the pews!

I heard a story about bach the other day from my friend john. when bach was younger one time when he was between gigs he had to sell vacuum cleaners door to door to make a living. he worked for this company called brimly, but he ended up getting totally ripped off there because of there marketing plan or whatever. they made, like, deceiptive claims about how much money it was possible to earn, and they had all these hidden restrictions on commissions, and that kind of stuff. and there was this class action lawsuit by a group that bach joined called SCAB, the letters stand for something but i dont remember. i think the S stood for students because it was mostly collage students. anyway they lost the lawsuit.

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (April 25, 2004):
< between gigs he had to sell vacuum cleaners >
Now I know more people will pick up on this, but let me ask you somethings:
firstly, what year did Bach die?

Secondly, what year was the vacuum cleaner invented, or electricty itself refined for regular, everyday use

(no one but smoovus answer these please)

Matt
(who will be laughing about this for a while)

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (April 26, 2004):
< I shouldnt talk about vacuum cleaners until i finish my doctorel thesis in vaccuum cleaner history in another two years. >
Now I know this is utterly ridiculous, but I can't help it, and I also feel obliged to answer the harder question for you-the invention and commercialization of vacuum cleaners, putting the first patent at 1869: http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blvacuum.htm

Now, Smoovus, it is your turn to find out the year in which Bach died (again please no one besides Smoovus answer...)

Smoovus wrote (April 26, 2004):
[To Matthew Neugebauer] Bach died in 1750. incidentilly, he and i have the same birthday, march 21st! thats also the day the archibiohp in Caterbury got killed. this year for our b-day i went to a free bach motet show at a church. they did the whole big church thing with the incense and jesus and hymns all that crazy stuff, and then they sang two motets 228 and 229. i cant find the program but i think they sang it so that one of the two doubel choirs had two or three singer per part, and the other double choir had one singer per part. sort of like a concerto grosso maybe? it worked better for the second motet. one thing i didnt like was that the singers all sang behind us in loft or somthing (where the organ was. is that called an organ loft?) and we couldnt see them singing.

This is a much better vaccuum page http://www.vachunter.com/history.htm

Smoovus wrote (April 26, 2004):
< commercialization of vacuum cleaners, putting the first patent at 1869: >
By the way your right about the vaccuum cleaners. i must have gotten that part of the sotrhy mixed up. i think bach was actually selling meat, right out of a refrigerated truck that the company loaned him. actually, that was how the company..brimly was the name of the company...brimly ripped them off by overchargng them for the truck, and made it impossible to make a profit, and they got stuck in this never endling cycle. then these SCAB kids come along, but i told you, they lost the suit, and bach had to go back to his family with his tail between his legs. but he sucked at selling meat anyway.

And then his wife had like twenty more kids. the end.

[Continue of this discussion was OT]

 

Inroducing Myself

Couillatris wrote (April 26, 2004):
Im a French musician, I play Renaissance and baroque violin, lira da braccio, Renaissance bombardes, bagpipes. Im also a young conductor. I had the opportunity to play and conduct a lot of music, from Josquin to today's composers.

Im interested in Bach music because of his unlimited questions and limited answers.

Arjen van Gijssel wrote (April 26, 2004):
[To Couillatris] welcome to the group. Do you know deploration de ockegem?

Couillatris wrote (April 26, 2004):
[To Arjen van Gijssel] Yes I know it with a good recording of Orlando consort.

Josquin Desprez
Motets
Archiv prouction 463 473-2

Arjen van Gijssel wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Couillatris] I know that one. I performed it the beginning of this year. It is a beautiful piece of music. It is funny that Ockegem is naming himself as great composer, when remembering Ockegem.

Arjen van Gijssel wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Couillatris] Sorry read Desprez for the first Ockegem.

Cara (Piano Pedal) wrote (April 27, 2004):
To Josquin:
What exactly is a lira da braccio?

Couillatris wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Arjen van Gijssel] I recommand you this book about Josquin :

Josquin Desprez et ses contemporains - Jean-Pierre Ouvrard I read it in french (original), but I think a translation exists.

Arjen van Gijssel wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Couillatris] qu'est-ce qu'est à dedans. Je ne sais plus me dédbrouiller en francais.

Co wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Cara] This is the instrument for the humanists!

A Renaissance italian instrument for declamation of Orphic hymns and epics recitations.

From an article of Emanuel Winternitz:

The lira da braccio was one of the most important string instruments of the High Renaissance, the instrument of the recitalists who improvised polyphonic accompaniments for their singing, and therefore one of the most characteristic implements of the intended revival of the rhapsodic art of the ancients. Its use remained primarily restricted to Italy.

In its fully developed form, the instrument consisted of a flat sound box with a broad fingerboard, a slightly rounded bridge, and a peg box on the front of which were seven pegs for fastening strings: five melody strings running over the fingerboard and two bass strings running parallel to the melody strings but apart from the fingerboard; there were no frets.

Here, you can see some images with lyra da braccio:
http://couillatris.free.fr/The%01a%02tre%20Nout/c03.jpg
http://couillatris.free.fr/The%01a%02tre%20Nout/c06.JPG
http://couillatris.free.fr/The%01a%02tre%20Nout/Minerva_Schiavone.jpg
http://liradabraccio.chez.tiscali.fr/deuxcoins.htm

Couillatris wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Arjen van Gijssel] The book is speaking about Josquin's life, work and interpretation of his music and music of his contemporaries. An excellent book dating from 1986.

(my english is so bad also :) )

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 27, 2004):
Arjen van Gijssel wrote:
< Yes I know it with a good recording of Orlando consort.
Josquin Desprez
Motets
Archiv prouction 463 473-2 >
A great piece, and a great group.

Cara (Piano Pedal) wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Couillatris] Okiedokie. Thank you! (Fine then, merci!-I was just in France three weeks ago.)

Dale Gedcke wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Couillatris] I am curious. One of the pictures shows the lira da braccio being played with a bow. Was that the norm, or was it strummed by fingers like a guitar?

Couillatris wrote (April 27, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke] It was the norm. In fact, the lira da braccio is an evolution of the medieval fiddle (with bow). The name "lira da braccio" was in reference to the antiquity (Orfeo, Apollo etc.)

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 29, 2004):
[To Couillatris] I've never heard of a "Lira da braccio". What is it like?

 

Introducing…Myself

John Reese wrote (April 30, 2004):
My name is John Reese. I've been lurking for a few weeks and thought I'd take this opportunity to jump in. I'm a composer who does some software development on the side, since ten dollars a year in royalties doesn't really pay the bills. ;)

I've been hooked on Bach cantatas since singing the opening chorus from BWV 79 in high school choir. In fact, in my student composition years, I tried to emulate Bach's style in every conceivable way, including my manuscript. OK, I was a little naive back then, and was quickly broken of the habit.

Nevertheless, I still like to write in the style of Bach every now and then. I'm currently working on a reconstruction of several Bach cantatas where only the text has survived. I don't know if this will ever be of interest to anyone but myself, but in the meantime I'm having a blast doing it.

This project has involved a lot of research, and the bach-cantatas website, as well as this list, has proved a valuable resource.

I hope to contribute (and learn) more in the near future.

Don't let me interrupt. Please, continue as before. :)

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (April 30, 2004):
John Reese wrote:
< OK, I was a little naive back then, and was quickly broken of the habit. >
I know I'm in my "student composition years", and I agree that trying to emulate the look of Bach's manuscript is a bit much, but why neo-baroque composition considered naive? Do people seem to believe that there's nothing left to say in that language? What if I don't agree with what is said using the modern, dissonant language? I'm not in any way against post-modernism, except for the fact that I don't find listening to it particularly worthwhile and disagree with it's inherent dissonant (humanist?) message. If so many composers go through this, at least as a "stage" or "phase" during their education, isn't there something to it? As well, is it not the spirit of post-modernism to be open-minded in giving the composer artistic freedom?

Matt (who has recieved opposition to this at school, but from another student and this opposition has obviously failed to persuade me. I have also experimented in a more dissonant style, as well as classical and romantic style, and want to learn about the more consonant styles of Rutter and Vaughan-Williams)

Uri Golomb wrote (April 30, 2004):
Matthew Neugebauer wrote:
< I'm not in any way against post-modernism, except for the fact that I don't find listening to it particularly worthwhile and disagree with it's inherent dissonant (humanist?) message. >

I am not sure you wanted to say post-modernism in this context... and why connect dissonance with humanism?

Charles Francis wrote (April 30, 2004):
John Reese wrote:
< I've been hooked on Bach cantatas since singing the opening chorus from BWV 79 in high school choir. In fact, in my student composition years, I tried to emulate Bach's style in every conceivable way, including my manuscript. >
I suspect one reason academic authorities and contemporary composers do not condone writing in Bach's style, is that it is very difficult for them to do so; poor taste may also play a role. Bach's surviving works, of course, do not say everything that could be said in his style; otherwise those lost masterpieces would count for nothing!
From my personal perspective, everything after Bach is down hill; contemporary music, in particular, reaches uncharted depths of inanity.

John Pike wrote (April 30, 2004):
Matthew Neugebauer wrote:
< everything after Bach is down hill >
Surely not? What about Mozart and Beethoven, just for starters?

Uri Golomb wrote (April 30, 2004):
John Reese wrote:
< I've been hooked on Bach cantatas since singing the opening chorus from BWV 79 in high school choir. In fact, in my student composition years, I tried to emulate Bach's style in every conceivable way, including my manuscript. >
Sounds a bit like Koopman (see: http://www.goldbergweb.com/en/magazine/interviews/2003/09/16243_6.php)

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 30, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote:
< contemporary music, in particular, reaches uncharted depths of inanity. >
All contemporary music?

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 30, 2004):
[To Matthew Neugebauer] It depends, surely, on what you mean by neo-Baroque. A young aspiring composer came to me for advice a little while ago and ended up showing me quite a lot of pieces that he's written. He only liked Baroque music and sought, essentially, to compose 'Baroque' music. The pieces he wrote were full of solecisms - whether this was because of his relatively undeveloped compositional ability, or because we live in very different times and an awful lot of music has been written (and heard) since then, and that couldn't fail to impact on what he was writing, I don't know. Probably it was a bit of both. In the end, I stopped seeing him for while I could do my best to try and help him write echt-Baroque music as skillfully as possible, in the end I didn't see the point of what he was trying to do. It is an incredibly useful training for composers to do this kind of thing but as an end in itself it sems rather redundant to me. Apart from anything else, when there is such an abundance of interesting, genuine Baroque music out there, why would performers (or listeners) be interested in pasriche Baroque music written in 2004?

Wdon't you simply write what you want to write, without putting a label on it? That will be less limiting for you and more interesting for you and your listeners. And bear in mind that not all modern music is uniformly dissonant (and arguably not dissonant at all strictly speaking, in many cases, given the harmonic language it is operating in). Bach wasn't afraid of a bit of dissonance either, of course.....!

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 30, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote:
< I suspect one reason academic authorities and contemporary composers do not condone writing in Bach's style, is that it is very difficult for them to do so; >
Why do you think 'acacdemic authorities' (whoever they may be) and 'contemporary composers' don't 'condone writing in Bach's style' as you put it? It is not for them to condone, or not condone, what someone else is trying to write. I assume you mean that is difficult for contemporary composers to write in Bach's style (not that it is difficult for them to condone it!); the former is true (though I think you're probably implying that living composers aren't good enough to manage it), but that isn't why most of us don't do it. Believe it or not, it's because we don't want to!

Charles Francis wrote (April 30, 2004):
Gabriel Jackson wrote:
< I assume you mean that is difficult for contemporary composers to write in Bach's style (not that it is difficult for them to condone it!); >
Yes.

< the former is true (though I think you're probably implying that living composers aren't good enough to manage it), >
There may be an exception, but I have yet to discover her.

< but that isn't why most of us don't do it. Believe it or not, it's because we don't want to! >
Why would anyone not want to compose superior music?

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 30, 2004):
Gabriel Jackson wrote:
<< the former is true (though I think you're probably implying that living composers aren't good enough to manage it), >>
Charles Francis wrote:
< There may be an exception, but I have yet to discover her. >
What evidence do you have that, let us say, John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Gavin Bryars, Elliott Carter, Henri Dutilleux, Philip Glass, Henryk Gorecki, Sofia Gubaidulina, Hans Werner Henze, Magnus Lindberg, Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Kaaija Saariaho, Karlheinz Stockhausen or John Tavener cannot write competent and convincing Bach pastiche?

< "but that isn't why most of us don't do it. Believe it or not, it's > because we don't want to! >
Why would anyone not want to compose superior music?"

Superior to what? You expressed the view that Bach's music is superior to anything that has been written since. Is music written 'in Bach's style' (your phrase, and what the above refers to) also equally superior? If one writes music 'in Bach's style' are the results of the same quality as Bach's own music? Why would it be desirable, over 250 years after Bach died, to attempt to compose as he did? If Bach had taken the same view as you, he would have spent his life producing pastiche Ockeghem (or whatever). Would that have been a good thing?

I don't know if your question is meant to be clever, or funny, but it is neither. It is inane (an epithet that you were happy to use about all contemporary music). You recently expressed a desire for rational debate - sadly, it is clearly impossible to have that debate with someone who seems incapable of saying anything remote sensible about music.

John Reese wrote (May 1, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] I have to disagree that academic authorities and contemporary composers do not write in the style of Bach because of the difficulty involved. Most learned musicians have been thoroughly trained in such things as counterpoint and figured-bass realization.

Also, I don't think there has ever been a shortage of inanity in any historical period, it's just that the inane music of Bach's time has been largely forgotten.

It's possible that's the reason so much of Bach's music has been lost – it must have been extremely difficult to separate the wheat from the chaffe, so to speak, when deciding what music to keep for future generations and what to glue to a tree.

John Reese wrote (May 1, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] "Neo-baroque" probably best describes my favorite composition style today, although it probably means something very different from the reference here. "Neo-baroque" music is modern music that has substantial elements of baroque built into it, so it is instantly recognizable as both modern and baroque. It makes for an interesting way to create something new within the framework of something familiar.

John Reese wrote (May 1, 2004):
To Gabriel Jackson] It wasn't my intention to start a debate about music composition, which is not the purpose of this forum. I consider the Bach reconstruction project I'm working on to be somewhere between a musicological study and music composition. I only brought it up because this forum has been invaluable in providing useful information, and thought the project might be of interest to some.

Just for the record:

1. I do not write exclusively in the style of Bach
2. I do not disagree with my college instructors who discouraged me from writing in the Baroque style (although I was pretty bitter for a while)
3. I didn't kill Mozart. Honest.

Just thought I'd mention it...

Stephen Benson wrote (May 1, 2004):
[To John Reese] A favorite of mine of what I think of as "neo-baroque" music is Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's "Concerto Grosso 1985", based on the first movement of Händel's Violin Sonata in D but with a large dose, for me at least, of Shostakovich. Is this the kind of thing you're talking about?

John Reese wrote (May 1, 2004):
[To Stephen Benson] I'm not familiar with that one. I always think of Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress", although that may be called neo-Roccoco or even neo-Classical.

For a short example of TRUE neo-Baroque, here is part of an organ fugue that I'm working on: www.geocities.com/jmreese.geo/faminor.mid

Arjen van Gijssel wrote (May 1, 2004):
< For a short example of TRUE neo-Baroque, here is part of an organ fugue that I'm working on: www.geocities.com/jmreese.geo/faminor.mid >
GREAT. I like it very much! I believe this is a perfect way of spending your time. It always sharpens the mind, and will help your composition technique, whatever the direction it might go.

IMO, you have a rather extended theme. Length is adding much to complexity. Perhaps due to Quick player stream, I also somewhat missed a real low base entry in the first quarter of the piece (ABC-A-BCD-B, it still is singing around).

Do you have more of such examples. I have done some work myself as well. Unfortunately my pc crashed one year ago, and my music files were the only ones I had forgotten to back-up.

Jef Lowell wrote (May 1, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] Well,
If you want to be a perennial student, by all means try to write like the Grandmaster. There is no better example. Just be sure that you realize that following his example literally will doom you to be always a desciple, and perhaps, never to come to your own style. This is a trap I've spent the last thirty-odd years trying to crawl out of. As Lucas Foss once pointed out "You can't begin to do it too". Try as we might, that marvelous Bachian counterpoint which "hangs in the air like a miracle" is practiced only by Bach, and is forever out of the reach of we poor mortals. His manifestation is beyond analysis or any ordinary explanation. Still, anyone who is brave enough (or foolish enough) to try to write serious music today certainly earns my good wishes. Who knows what you might come up with?

Charles Francis wrote (May 1, 2004):
Gabriel Jackson wrote:
< What evidence do you have that, let us say, John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Bou, Gavin Bryars, Elliott Carter, Henri Dutilleux, Philip Glass, Henryk Gorecki, Sofia Gubaidulina, Hans Werner Henze, Magnus Lindberg, Arvo Part, Steve Reich, Kaaija Saariaho, Karlheinz Stockhausen or John Tavener cannot write competent and convincing Bach pastiche? >
You're asking me to prove a negative, which can't be done. But to demonstrate your point, just provide an example of convincing Bach pastiche - preferably a fugue as this will soon separate the sheep from the goats.

< Superior to what? >
To their own inane music. BTW, I fully realise this is subjective, but after all this is a Bach group (not Elvis or Harrison Birtwistle etc.).

< You expressed the view that Bach's music is superior to anything that has been written since. >
From what I have heard to date, this is self-evident (for me). But for you, Harrison Birtwistle may be ultimate. Tastes do differ: I have a brother-in-law, for example, who loves Wagner and considers Bach a "boring old fart" (apologies for the exact quote).

< Is music written 'in Bach's style' (your phrase, and what the above refers to) also equally superior? If one writes music 'in Bach's style' are the results of the same quality as Bach's own music? >
Obviously not. That is why all the Bach pastiche I've heard fails to convince.

< Why would it be desirable, over 250 years after Bach died, to attempt to compose as he did? >
For the same reason it would be desirable to recover his lost works, i.e. there would be more superlative music in the world.

< If Bach had taken the same view as you, he would have spent his life producing pasticheOckeghem (or whatever). Would that have been a good thing? >
The Gratias agimus tibi and Dona nobis pacem from Bach's B-minor Mass are for me the peak of musical creation, but at the same time they are routed in an earlier style.

<ad hominem snipped>

John Reese wrote (May 2, 2004):
Arjen van Gijssel wrote: < Do you have more of such examples.>
Five tocattas for organ: http://www.geocities.com/jmreese.geo/five.htm
Magnificat (composed with Laura Faulkner): http://www.geocities.com/jmreese.geo/mag.htm

< Unfortunately my pc crashed one year ago, and my music files were the only ones I had forgotten to back-up. >
Man, have I been there! I've still got a bunch of files that I'm trying to reconstruct from the MIDI and/or hard copies after a crash six years ago.

Continue of this discussion, see: Writing in the Bach’s Style [General Topics]

 

Introducing Myself

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (May 20, 2004):
Hi! Greetings from Krakow, Poland. Found this list via my contacts with the Bach Cantatas website. Artistically speaking, I am primarily a church musician, started singing Bach's vocal works as a soloist when I was a teenager (am now 40). I hold a BA in Music from the University of Pennsylvania, also studied violin for 2.5 years at the Academy of Music in Krakow with, among others, Robert Kabara. My voice studies have been entirely private, with - among others - Philip Cho of Temple University.

I am 'officially' a soprano, so Dr. Cho would no doubt be horrified at the extent to which I disregard the prohibition on singing below middle C that he imposed during my time with him - let's say that on a good day I can manage the Benedictus from the B minor Mass (BWV 232) well enough to sing in public (probably only a matter of time before I actually do it - that and finding a flutist :) ) and apparently even sound like a man while I'm doing it! (Supposedly being very tall helps here - large chest cavity or something).

Right now, I make a living (sort of) as a translator (mostly Polish-->English), and about 6 months ago founded a small Baroque ensemble here in Krakow. Our 'home' is St. Martin's Lutheran Church, where we provide music at the services about 1x/month; members of the ensemble occasionally give concerts after the services as well. So far, I am the only singer; the permanent membership of the ensemble (so far) includes oboe, violin (yours truly), viola da gamba, bassoon, and organ. Every one of us has a very strong personality, we are all very different, all different ages even, so it is very exciting to work together...

When we want to do something requiring a larger scoring, we invite guests. It is such a pain to find string players though, especially Baroque instruments. Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't just 'close' the ensemble and choose our repertoire accordingly... I welcome commentary on this issue, as well as on the matter of choosing a name (we don't have one yet) :)

Enough for now.

God bless you all

Cara (Piano Pedasl] wrote (May 20, 2004):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] Holy crud!! (My name is Cara too, except I'm 14 and live in Seattle WA.)

John Pike wrote (May 20, 2004):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] Welcome to the list! Sounds as if you will have much to offer.

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (May 20, 2004):
[To Cara (Piano Pedal] okay...

I knew I'd lost the age-bottom race, but didn't know that I was beaten by 5 years!

Congrats

 

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