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Part 12: Year 2010

Greeting after a long absense

Terejia wrote (February 2, 2010):
Dear members,

Due to family situation, I was absent for a long time. I will gradually keep up with the discussion but I have to confess I lost track of discussion. I kept listening Bach during my absense, however.

As to my organ, I am now practicing BWV 544 for my next lesson. The prelude which reminded me that there was once a focus on Polonaise rhythm on this list back when I was leading a discussion in my humble and fumble way.

Another thing I have in mind is its key, h-moll, two sharp minor key. Violin Sonata No.1; beautiful Soprano-Tenor-Alto Terzet in Christmas Oratorio Part 5; "Erbarme Dich" Alto aria with solo violin in St.Matthews Passion (BWV 244); BWV 198 are the ones that came to my mind off-handed in regard with this key.

I'm very glad to find familiar names here.

 

Introducing myself

Marva Watson wrote (April 6, 2010):
Hello, I am a new member of the Bach Cantatas discussion. I am a music history major finishing up my degree and hopefully graduating this semester. (I returned to school after raising my children and am trying to finish before they do!) My grandfather was German and this German composer of fugues and inventions interested me as a youngster taking piano lessons. I have always enjoyed the sacred cantatas but while working on my master's degree I discovered the Bach secular cantatas. I have been especially interested in the people of the birthday cantatas. I consider myself a beginning Bach student with much to learn. I am looking forward to the discussions of the Bach cantatas.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 6, 2010):
[To Marva Watson] Welcome Marva, glad to have you here!

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 6, 2010):
[To Marva Watson] Welcome. We always need fans of the secular cantatas.

David Jones wrote (April 6, 2010):
[To Marva Watson] Welcome Marva!

 

Introducing Myself

Nym Cooke wrote (November 1, 2010):
Hello members of this group! I am an early American music scholar who also loves the Bach church cantatas. I was introduced to them through the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt complete series--bought the 2-LP albums as they came out in the 1970s, and played the discs until they were unplayable—and recently, as a 60th-birthday present to myself, bought the 60-CD set of the same performances. What a joy to hear this beloved music in crystal-clear sound again--and to meet all the cantatas I had not purchased on LP! I have been listening to the CDs for months. I love much about these performances--the passion and precision of Kurt Equiluz, the amazing
abilities and beautiful voices of many of the boy soloists, the voices (dear to me now) of Paul Esswood and Max Van Egmond and Rene Jacobs, et al., much of the instrumental playing, a sense of urgency and excitement to many of the performances. Yes, an occasional boy soloist bombs out, and the brass playing can be pretty rough--but I find I have a kind of allegiance to this first-complete set (as I have to the Toscanini Beethoven symphonies), and I also find that I can "listen around" the imperfections and occasional
roughness.

I wrote a note to this list about a week ago, and haven't heard any reactions; maybe it didn't get published. I was wondering if there were a book (probably in German or English) on the "Das Kantatenwerk" project, start to finish, and I envisioned the kind of book I'd like to see: lots of photos, and chapters from the perspectives of the leaders (Nikolaus and Gustav); of a selection of adult soloists; of a selection of ex-boy soloists; of a selection of instrumentalists; and perhaps of the recording engineers and/or producers. It must have been quite an adventure; certainly well worth documenting. Does anyone know of anything like this book in existence?

Best to you all!

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 2, 2010):
Nym Cooke wrote:
< I love much about these performances--the passion and precision of Kurt Equiluz, the amazing abilities and beautiful voices of many of the boy soloists, the voices (dear to me now) of Paul Esswood and Max Van Egmond and Rene Jacobs, et al. >
As of a couple years ago, Max Van Egmond was still active with (perhaps among others) Publick Musick of New York USA, brought to our attention by Brad Lehman, a colleague of Peter Watchorn, PM music director. Many relevant posts in the BCW archives, easy to search.

NC:
< I wrote a note to this list about a week ago, and haven't heard any reactions; maybe it didn't get published. >
EM:
I do not recall seeing it. Try sending again? Note that no response does not equate to not published. Silence is golden is often the m.

NC
< I was wondering if there were a book (probably in German or English) on the "Das Kantatenwerk" project, start to finish, and I envisioned the kind of book I'd like to see: lots of photos, and chapters from the perspectives of the leaders (Nikolaus and Gustav); of a selection of adult soloists; of a selection of ex-boy soloists; of a selection of instrumentalists; and perhaps of the recording engineers and/or producers. It must have been quite an adventure; certainly well worth documenting. Does anyone know of anything like this book in existence? >
EM:
From memory, I think Brad brought Max Van Egmond to our attention (after years of semi-retirement?) in response to a photo of Max and others rehearsing, in jacket and tie, from those H&L days! If the book does not exist (probably not), why not think about doing it yourself? How many of those folks do you suppose still speak to each other, other than through lawyers? Certainly plenty of hints (and more) of acrimony re lack of recognition for the (anonymous, not unknown!) boy soloists.

Evan Cortens wrote (November 2, 2010):
Nym Cooke wrote:
< I wrote a note to this list about a week ago, and haven't heard any reactions; maybe it didn't get published. I was wondering if there were a book (probably in German or English) on the "Das Kantatenwerk" project, start to finish, and I envisioned the kind of book I'd like to see: lots of photos, and chapters from the perspectives of the leaders (Nikolaus and Gustav); of a selection of adult soloists; of a selection of ex-boy soloists; of a selection of instrumentalists; and perhaps of the recording engineers and/or producers. It must have been quite an adventure; certainly well worth documenting. Does anyone know of anything like this book in existence? >
I too do not recall seeing your earlier posting... perhaps it wasn't sent out after all?

Likewise, I came to the Bach cantatas in much the same way... I recall listening to those Harnoncourt/Leonhardt recordings over and over, and even now I still do. To my knowledge, there isn't a book on the project, though mentions of it can be found here and there. Richard Taruskin wrote a piece about it, republished in his book Text and Act, though it's not entirely positive. I believe it features in Bruce Haynes's recent The End of Early Music as well. (Haynes is one of the original "Baroque" oboists, and played on some of the recordings.) Surely it features to some degree in Harry Haskell's book on the history of the early music movement.

Certainly this recording was a monumental event in the story of "historically-informed performance."

Welcome to the list!

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 2, 2010):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Certainly this recording was a monumental event in the story of "historically-informed performance." >
The issues with their complete scores and comprehensive background notes were exemplary.

Nym Cooke wrote (November 2, 2010):
Thanks all for the welcoming messages! I don't think my earlier posting got sent; no matter. Thanks too to Evan for some information on where the Kantatenwerk project has been written about; I will check those out.

Ed, it's interesting (and a little surprising) to hear that there was some negative feeling about the boy soloists in the earlier volumes not being identified. I suppose it does make sense: even though the boy's voice will change, the musician is rlaunching his international career in a high-profile project like that, and identification (recognition) is crucial for the developing resume.

Now I will sit back and enjoy the postings on the various cantatas. It's good to be here!

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 2, 2010):
[To Nyn Cooke] Welcome aboard.
I hope to see you participating in the cantata discussions.

You wrote:
"I was wondering if there were a book (probably in German or English) on the "Das Kantatenwerk" project, start to finish, and I envisioned the kind of book I'd like to see: lots of > photos, and chapters from the perspectives of the leaders (Nikolaus and Gustav); of a selection of adult soloists; of a selection of ex-boy soloists; of a selection of instrumentalists; and perhaps of the recording engineers and/or producers. It must have been quite an adventure; certainly well worth documenting. Does anyone know of anything like this book in existence?"
I am not were of such a book. Until the wished book is published you can read on the BCW:

- An interview with Panito Iconomou I conducted several years ago:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Panito-Interview-A.htm

- 8 pages of discussions of H&L, starting at:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/H&L-Gen1.htm

Nym Cooke wrote (November 2, 2010):
[To Aryeh Oron] Aryeh, many thanks for the two online items relating to Messrs. Harnoncourt and Leonhardt's pioneering series! I will definitely check them out. And thanks for your welcome; allow me to tell you how grateful I am to you for managing the Bach cantatas website so beautifully (did you create the site as well?). We all owe you a large debt!

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 3, 2010):
[To Nyn Cooke] Thanks for your kind words.
The BCW is a one-man-operation from the day of its creation, almost ten years ago.
However, I am sincerely grateful to the numerous people from all around the world, members of the Bach Mailing Lists and non-members, who contribute to the content of the BCW and help me keeping it as comprehensive, as accurate and as updated as possible. The contributor names are mentioned in almost every page of the BCW respectively.

 

Introducing Myself

Michael Cox wrote (November 4, 2010):
I began my musical career in the choir of St. Andrew's, Kingsbury. I quote: "In the opinion of many, Barry (Michael) Rose is the greatest choir trainer in Britain. He came to Guildford at the age of 25 (at which time he was the youngest cathedral organist in the country) as a surprise appointment from St. Andrew's, Kingsbury." http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Rose-Barry.htm I joined the choir after Barry Rose had left for Guildford, but contacts were maintained.

His successor was Professor Philip Cranmer: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article694228.ece

His successor was (later Professor) Sebastian Forbes: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Forbes-Sebastian.htm

We were also taught by Jeremy Jackman (later of King's Singers) while he was a chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral, and performed one of his compositions under his direction.

I was head chorister together with his brother Gregory (Gregg) Jackman, who is now a music producer. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar01/articles/gregg.asp

We were a visiting choir at St. Paul's Cathedral and Canterbury Cathedral.

I sang tenor in the major works of Bach, Handel and others in the choirs of University College, London and Manchester University 1971-77.

For several years in the 1970s and '80s I sang tenor in Helsinki Cathedral Choir, major works by Bach, Mozart, Verdi etc.

I was for a year or so the director of the Kerava choir in Finland.

For the past ten years I have sung in Sonores Chamber Choir in Tuusula, Finland, first as tenor, then bass. For a while I was deputy director. http://www.sonores.fi/ We are here singing Bach's Actus Tragicus (Helsinki Cathedral Choir). (Incidentally this is the church of the parish in which the composer Sibelius lived).

Our soloists and instrumentalists are normally professionals. We have made recordings of Finnish and Estonian church music and have had our own concerts in Finland, Estonia, and Germany (Celle).

I have also played piano and harpsichord in various amateur and semi-professional groups in the UK, Peru and Finland.

I have a large collection of recordings and scores of works by Bach, primarily the Passions, the B Minor Mass (BWV 232), oratorios and cantatas, and books about Bach in a variety of languages.

I am a retired translator. Among the translations I have done are the booklets of 5 CDs of choral and vocal music. e.g. http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.551042

I have also taught elementary piano playing and Hebrew.

I have been amazed by the amount of useful and interesting information provided by Bach Cantatas Website.

Toda raba, Aryeh Aron!

P.S. Does anyone need a translator?

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 4, 2010):
[To Michael Cox] Welcome to the List. Always good to have the perspective of a performing artist, especially a former boy chorister.

Jump in.

Michael Cox wrote (November 5, 2010):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thank you for your warm welcome.

As a boy my dream was to be a musician, but my voice was never as good after my voice broke, and there was too much competition as a pianist. I would have loved to have studied musicology, but as it is I'm a very keen amateur.

There are a number of subjects that I wish to discuss with those in the know.

For instance, the difference between a boy alto (I used to sing alto solos when I could no longer sing treble) and a counter-tenor. I remember hearing a choirboy aged 18 who still sang treble - I think that this was probably the sort of voice Bach wrote for - older teenagers.

On the other hand, most male altos in the English choral tradition sing falsetto, which is what I did to reach the high tenor notes. Now I sing bass because singing tenor was getting a strain.

Another question would be Bach's use of Luther's Bible texts.

And advice concerning the next Bach cantata that our choir is going to perform. Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 177.

With your permission I shall return to these matters when I have more time.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 5, 2010):
Michael Cox wrote:
< There are a number of subjects that I wish to discuss with those in the know.
For instance, the difference between a boy alto (I used to sing alto solos when I could no >longer sing treble) and a counter-tenor. I remember hearing a choirboy aged 18 who still sang treble - I think that this was probably the sort of voice Bach wrote for - older teenagers.
On the other hand, most male altos in the English choral tradition sing falsetto, which is what I did to reach the high tenor notes. Now I sing bass because singing tenor was getting a strain. >
What an opportune moment to join the ongoing chat, given that I recently cited comments re wobbly counter-tenors in BWV 106, from both BCW archives and amazon.com reviews. Note that I specifically indicated that I thought the judgement to be harsh.

Many of us consider a female alto equally authentic (and often more enjoyable to hear) compared to a male counter-tenor singing falsetto (if that is always the case) in most recent recordings. The comment re authenticity presumes that Michael is correct: Bach wrote for boy altos, in the original perfoof all those outstanding (and extended!) arias, arguably the single most consoling elements in his vocal works, and also arguably representing the Holy Ghost, much of the time.

 

Cantatas in Stockholm

Katarina Bengston wrote (November 22, 2010):
I'm sorry I haven't yet introduced myself. I've of course been getting all the emails with interesting disscussions, though unfortunately I lack the time to give them all enough attention.I'm Katarina Bengtson, and I founded the Stockholm Bach Society about a year ago, inspired by the Bach-cantata series at the Royal Academy of Music in London I'd been participating in during 2009. Our aim is to play one concert a month, 2-3 cantatas each time, and as close to the intended sunday as possible. We play on historical instruments, and try and stay as true to the original versions/interpretations as possible, at least as far as we can know. We ususally play with single strings, and with a choir only consisting of the SATB soli, but sometimes have the local choir singing as well, and have also had a doubling quartet for the choirs.

As we progress and come across more and more challenges, and I've realised the enourmous undertaking this is, if we do complete the cykle. We haven't recorded anything yet, and as long as we stay in our current venue it's not likely to happen as the acoustic is very difficult. I'm directing the ensemble from the violin/directing, and at the moment I'm also doing all admin/booking/sorting, apart from writing the programme notes which I'm thankful for! We're hopefully looking forward to a change soon however, keep an eye out on the website, which Michael Cox already wrote: www.stockholmsbachsallskap.se

All bestKatarina Bengtson
www.stockholmsbachsallskap.sewww.fiolina.sewww.harmonyofnations.org

 

Introducing Myself

Claudio Di Veroli [Bray, Ireland - http://harps.braybaroque.ie/] wrote (December 30, 2010):
I am a harpsichordist and an enthusiast of Bach's cantatas.

I have been recently recommended this as a very interesting group to join.

 

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