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Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244

Conducted by Gustav Leonhardt

Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Carol wrote (February 23, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] Yikes, Gabriel;

I responded to the wrong person; it was meant to be to Mr. Lebut. Sorry. I think I was too convulsed over your frustrated, "Why not? Because they might be together.....?!!"

Johan van Veen wrote (February 23, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] No, not necessarily. It is based on an interpretation of the Bible.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 23, 2004):
Johan van Veen wrote: < And whereas you seem to think women are generally better than boys, my experience is otherwise. >
Johan, what do you think about the New College, Oxford, St John Passion?

Johan van Veen wrote (February 23, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] I haven't heard it yet, so I can't tell. I am very curious, though. The Choir of New College is one of my favourites.

BTW: This choir was also involved in the recording of Purcell's complete sacred music by Robert King on Hyperion. The 11 CDs have been collected in a box, and last week I have listened to all of them in a row. That recording is just marvelous. The treble soloists are excellent as well. I don't think the interpretation would have been that good if women were involved in the anthems. (King sensibly only uses them in some devotional songs.)

Robert Sherman wrote (February 23, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] Right, the Bible says "Thou shalt not suffer thine ears to hear the sound of a female alto", I guess.

The Bible has passages that were used to justify slavery in the United States, and other passages that can be used to justify either side of most disputed issues. The fact remains that the practice of excluding female performers, no matter how rationalized was abominable sexism in Bach's time and it hasn't improved with age.

Bob S. (white male)

Donald Satz wrote (February 23, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] Right, and a bunch of guys wrote the bible.

Jeremy Thomas wrote (February 23, 2004):
[To Robert Sherman] No, the Bible says:

"And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence." 1 Timothy 2:12

"Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church." 1 Corinthians 14:34-35

I imagine these are the passages Johan is referring to, and he is quite right to say that the practice of using all-male choirs etc. in churches is based on an interpretation of such Bible verses. This was the case in Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches for centuries (including the churches for which Bach composed his music).

A look at the context of these passages, however, suggests that the apostle Paul isn't talking about the performance of music at all, which he doesn't mention (he says "teach" and "speak", not "sing"). He is talking about the respective roles of Christian men and women in public worship: the preaching and teaching of the Word of God was/is the responsibility of the males in the congregation. Jesus also chose 12 male disciples. I can't say I would have done the same, but as a believer I like to think that God's son knew what he was doing.

One possible problem these days is that we only hear these Bible verses (often taken out of context at that), and not the overall teaching of the Bible. To get a more balanced appreciation, I often have to remind myself of two other points:

1. The obligation on the males to teach in church brings with it enormous responsibilities. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God." 1 Peter 4:11 A man can't just say what he likes in church - he has to say what's right.

2. There are plenty of occasions in the Bible of women doing things much better than men. "Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel." Judges 5:7

In fact, the Bible is quite clear on how much man and woman depend on each other (as if it wasn't obvious). "Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 11:11

There is no excuse for using the Bible to ill-treat women (or black people, or slaves, or anyone). But in our increasingly secular world, these other aspects of Bible teaching rarely get mentioned, and it is often interpreted merely in line with our modern prejudices instead.

Keeping this thread on-topic, I do imagine that Bach would have understood the first two passages above in the way Johan suggests. That doesn't make it right, but nor is that an excuse to write off the Bible if he (and others of his day) didn't appreciate its overall teaching (did they read it for themselves, or rely on a priest for that?). And yes, as Don suggests, some men probably did have a vested interest in using the Bible to justify their own negative attitudes about women. But in seeking a better balance, let's not swap those for equally subjective attitudes of our own.

Jeremy (also a male, but with so much to learn from females)

Johan van Veen wrote (February 23, 2004):
Jeremy Thomas wrote: < Keeping this thread on-topic, I do imagine that Bach would have understood the first two passages above in the way Johan suggests. That doesn't make it right, but nor is that an excuse to write off the Bible if he (and others of his day) didn't appreciate its overall teaching (did they read it for themselves, or rely on a priest for that?). >
It is very doubtful if Bach would have been able to gather together a 'choir' with female singers able to sing his music, if he had wanted to. There were some women who got a musical education - or a general education - but only at the top of the social ladder.

< And yes, as Don suggests, some men probably did have a vested interest in using the Bible to justify their own negative attitudes about women. >
That is not what he wrote. He wrote that the authors of the Bible were male, apparently to explain the views which you have referred to. But for those people who believe that the author of the Bible is God himself that fact is irrelevant and doesn't prove anything.

Robert Sherman wrote (February 23, 2004):
Johan van Veen wrote: < It is very doubtful if Bach would have been able to gather together a 'choir' with female singers able to sing his music, if he had wanted to. There were some women who got a musical education - or a general education - but only at the top of the social ladder. >
Johann's second sentence is undoubtedly true. His first sentence may or may not be true. It depends on the balance between women's educational deprivation at the time, vs. the fact, which is true today and presumably has always been true, that the proportion of women who can naturally sing in tune is higher than the proportion of men who can do that. In any case, we are fortunate that today we don't have to operate under many of the handicaps, including this, that were imposed on Bach.

Donald Satz wrote (February 23, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] I'd just like to get my views on the table. I don't believe that religion causes war or that the bible was the source of discrimination against females. If no religions or bibles existed, men would have found other reasons to wage war and discriminate. It seems to be part of the human condition.

For me, any bible is nothing more than a series of fine tales that would make for potentially great movie fare. We can attribute so many things to God, but the evidence isn't there. Another common trait of humans is 'faith', but I don't share in it.

Charles Francis wrote (February 24, 2004):
Donald Satz wrote: < That women were not allowed to sing in church is a theological view based on a negative attitude of women. >
So it wasn't because of their wobbly voices?

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 24, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] Actually, not so. Like I said, it might not be at first perceptable, but if one really listenes to a recording, it comes out.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 24, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] If you read the post, you would have seen what I was referring to. Typically, most school musical performance ensembles (outside of Collegiate level) are poor in sound and quality.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 24, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut writes: << Firstly, I do not favor most of the recordings because they utilize female performers. That is bringing into Bach's music a foreign element. >>
Robert Sherman wrote: < This obligates you to oppose women in the orchestra as well as the chorus and vocal solos. >
In regards to Bach's music, I would agree. Females were used in Operatic works at the time (none of which Bach himself wrote, but his sons did), and perhaps (although I have seen little or no evidence of it) in some of the secular works. But when it came to Sacred music, they were not. This was not because of an intentional "dig" at women, but rather because women were barred from participating in religious ceremonies and observances, and certainly in Leipzig, the bastien of strict Conservatism and Orthodoxy of the Evangelical states and cities (or at least those in Electoral Saxony).

Since there were no blacks or Orientals in his
< performances, you have to oppose those too. So much for Suzuki. It is true that Bach's society was sexist and regarded women and non-whites as something less than full-fledged human beings. This practice has continued to a lesser degree until quite recent times; it is only in the last few years that women have not been discriminated against in auditions for orchestral first chairs, and even now it's not entirely clear that this abominable prejudice is dead. Whether Bach approved of this practice or was forced into it, I don't know. But clearly, musical performance has paid a severe price for it for centuries, including in Bach's time.
For my part, I want to hear Bach at its best, which can be better than Bach heard it. At concerts, I want central heating, air conditioning, flush toilets, and female as well as non-white performers when they can do it better than available white males. >

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 24, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] Not necessarilly true. Bach did not use Italian musicians (at least according to research) and never in his Sacred works did he use women.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 24, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] I was referring here not to sound difference but ensemble difference. The two Orchestras and three Choirs used in the Henning recording were and are totally separate entities.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 24, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] Besides, women in strict Orthodox Evangelical societies like Leipzig were, if they had musical ability, expected to keep it at home, never to demonstrate it in public (with the possible exception of the Court [especially a more liberal Court] and/or the Opera house).

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
Robert Sherman wrote: < the proportion of women who can naturally sing in tune is higher than the proportion of men who can do that. >
Where does this come from?

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote: < So it wasn't because of their wobbly voices? >
What a ridiculous thing to say!

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote: < Like I said, it might not be at first perceptable, but if one really listenes to a recording, it comes out. >
That doesn't actually answer the question.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote: < I was referring here not to sound difference but ensemble difference. The two Orchestras and three Choirs used in the Henning recording were and are totally separate entities. >
If there is no audible difference, then so what? You've lost me completely here....

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote: <Not necessarilly true. Bach did not use Italian musicians (at least according to research) and never in his Sacred works did he use women. >
What isn't necessarily true? Are you suggesting that you can tell, by listening, the gender or ethnicity of a player? (In any case Italian recfers to nationality, not race....)

Charles Francis wrote (February 26, 2004):
Gabriel Jackson wrote: < What a ridiculous thing to say! >
It does seem odd, but some today maintain women singers are unsuited to Bach for musical, rather than theological reasons.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 26, 2004):
Gabriel Jackson wrote: < What isn't necessarily true? Are you suggesting that you can tell, by listening, the gender or ethnicity of a player? >
Yes, actually. A woman's voice sounds (at least to me) less pure than a boy soprano's voice. An English singer sounds very stuffy and nasally when singing German than does a German singer. There are clues to things if one pays attention to them.

(In any case Italian recfers to nationality, not race....)
It does refer to race.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote: < Yes, actually. A woman's voice sounds (at least to me) less pure than a boy soprano's voice. An English singer sounds very stuffy and nasally when singing German than does a German singer. There are clues to things if one pays attention to them. >
Look again: I wrote "the gender or ethnicity of a player" not a singer!

"(In any case Italian recfers to nationality, not race....)
It does refer to race."
No it does not. Is then American a race, in your view?

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote: < some today maintain women singers are unsuited to Bach for musical, rather than theological reasons. >
Who?

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (February 26, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote:
<< (In any case Italian refers to nationality, not race....) >>
< It does refer to race. >
After the "Latin" thread, a couple of months ago, I promised myself not to read any of David Lebut's posts anymore.

Well, of course, I had some insights once in a while through other members replies.

Today, by chance, a little curious about some last replies from Gabriel, I read a post from M. Lebut. Bingo. We should always be faithful to our promises...

Now, "Italian refers to a race" !... My God... Who Mr Lebut is going to quote to support such an assertion ? Mussolini or Tony Soprano ? I don't want to be rude but I can't believe, David, that you're not aware of the foolishness of such a statement.

Is this sheer provocation ? I remember seeing you in a Dracula outfit on the List Members Profile page, so this could mean you have a taste for it.If it's provocation, well, maybe we have better to do on this list. If it's not provocation, then... Wow.

Charles Francis wrote (February 26, 2004):
Gabriel Jackson asked: < Who? >
Those who maintain boys (or countertenors) are musically better suited to sing in Bach's religious works.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] But better suited is not the same as unsuited.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote: < A woman's voice sounds (at least to me) less pure than a boy soprano's voice. An English singer sounds very stuffy and nasally when singing German than does a German singer. There are clues to things if one pays attention to them. >
What does 'pure' mean in this context? Women and boys sound different, that's all. To suggest that all English singers sound stuffy and nasal when singing in German is simply preposterous! And just as Italian is not a description of ethnicity, nor is English or German. Do you really not know that?!!!

Donald Satz wrote (February 26, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] David appears to change his standards as he goes along. I think it's apparent by now that he also tends to offer definitive opinions based on a skimpy degree of knowledge and research ("I've read and heard"). Add in his desire to be rigid/literal, and I surely can't count on his words as having relevance. Overall, he shoots with blanks.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] I'm sure those recordings are marvellous (and how nice to have treble soloists for once!) but, much as I ladmire Purcell, I suspect 11 discs of his anthems may be a little to musch (for me). I've never quite understood the accolade of "England's greatest composer" that is so often bestowed on Purcell - to my mind, our finest hour in music was the late 15th/16th century: Browne, Cornysh, Fayrfax, Taverner, Tye, Sheppard, Tallis and - arguably the greatest of all - Byrd. What inexaustible wonders can be found there!

Charles Francis wrote (February 26, 2004):
Gabriel Jackson wrote: < But better suited is not the same as unsuited. >
Quite so! Moreover, less suited is not the same as unsuited. Indeed that distinction encapsulates my own moderate stance.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 26, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] Of course that's what I meant!

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 27, 2004):
[To Gabriel Jackson] There is a difference here. "American" is a nationality. "German" or "Italian" are actual races. There was a race of Germans before there was a Germany. The same thing with Italians. It is American arrogance that says that America is the youngest country in the world. Germany was founded in 1871. Italy was established in 1870. Austria was formed in 1918, as was Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc. Panama became a country in 1901. The list goes on and on.

Roy Johansen wrote (February 27, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] So in 1901 a new race emerged; the Panamanians?

Riccardo Nughes wrote (February 27, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut Jr.wrote: < Italy was established in 1870. >
Actually 1861.

Bob Henderson wrote (February 27, 2004):
I know for a fact that Tony Soprano does belong to a certain people that live in only one place and exhibit certain peculiar characteristics. These live in north Jersey. They exhibit a dark and stooped countenence that shall never know the light of day. They are born with a recessive gene that nonetheless allows them to negotiate traffic circles without a glance to right or left. The places in which they live are designated by the word Exit followed by a number. They can't drive. You got a problem wid dat?

Carol wrote (February 27, 2004):
[To Bob Henderson] And I know for a fact his days are numbered.


Matthäus-Passion BWV 244: Details
Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | BWV 244a | BWV 244b
Systemetic Discussions:
Part 1: Mvts. 1-8 | Part 2: Mvts. 9-20 | Part 3: Mvts. 21-29 | Part 4: Mvts. 30-40 | Part 5: Mvts. 41-50 | Part 6: Mvts. 51-57 | Part 7: Mvts. 58-63b | Part 8: Mvts. 63c-68 | Part 9: Role of the Evangelist
Individual Recordings:
BWV 244 - L. Bernstein | BWV 244 - F. Brüggen | BWV 244 - J. Butt | BWV 244 - R. Chailly | BWV 244 - S. Cleobury | BWV 244 - J. Daus | BWV 244 - D. Fasolis | BWV 244 - W. Furtwängler | BWV 244 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 244 - W. Gönnenwein | BWV 244 - P. Goodwin | BWV 244 - E.z. Guttenberg | BWV 244 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 244 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 244 - R. Jacques | BWV 244 - H.v. Karajan | BWV 244 - O. Klemperer | BWV 244 - T. Koopman | BWV 244 - S. Koussevitzky | BWV 244 - S. Kuijken | BWV 244 - F. Lehmann | BWV 244 - G. Leonhardt | BWV 244 - P.J. Leusink | BWV 244 - E.&R. Mauersberger | BWV 244 - H. Max | BWV 244 - P. McCreesh | BWV 244 - W. Mengelberg | BWV 244 - K. Münchinger | BWV 244 - R. Norrington | BWV 244 - G. Oberfrank | BWV 244 - S. Ozawa | BWV 244 - A. Parrott | BWV 244 - G. Ramin | BWV 244 - S. Rattlr | BWV 244 - K. Richter | BWV 244 - H. Rilling | BWV 244 - H.J. Rotzsch | BWV 244 - H. Scherchen | BWV 244 - G. Solti | BWV 244 - C. Spering | BWV 244 - M. Suzuki | BWV 244 - J.v. Veldhoven | BWV 244 - B. Walter | BWV 244 - F. Werner | BWV 244 - M. Wöldike
Articles:
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244 [T.N. Towe] | Two Easter St. Matthew Passions (Plus One) [U. Golomb] | St. Matthew Passion from Harnoncourt [D. Satz] | The Passion according to Saint Matthew BWV 244 [J. Rifkin] | The Relationship between BWV 244a (Trauermusik) and BWV 244b (SMP Frühfassung) [T. Braatz] | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 - Early History (A Selective, Annotated Bibliography) [W. Hoffman] | Spiritual Sources of Bach's St. Matthew Passion [W. Hoffman] | Bach and the "Great Passion" [D.G. Lebut Jr.] | The Genesis of Bach's `Great Passion': 1724-29 [W. Hoffman] | Early Performances of Bach's SMP [T. Braatz]

Gustav Leonhardt: Short Biography | BWV 232 – Leonhardt | BWV 244 – Leonhardt | Inventions & Sinfonias BWV 772-801 - Leonhardt | BWV 988 Goldberg Variations - Leonhardt
Harnoncourt & Leonhardt - Recordings:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Harnoncourt & Leonhardt - General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Table of recordings by BWV Number


Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

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Last update: żOctober 10, 2004 ż08:30:56