Analyzing Bach Cantatas by Eric Chafe

By Eric Chafe

Bach's cantatas are one of the optimum achievements of Western musical paintings, but reports of the person cantatas which are either illuminating and unique are few. during this publication, famous Bach professional Eric Chafe combines theological, old, analytical, and interpretive methods to the cantatas to supply readers and listeners alike the richest attainable adventure of those works. A revered theorist of seventeenth-century tune, Chafe is delicate to the composer's intentions and to the long-lasting and common characteristics of the track itself.

Concentrating on a small variety of consultant cantatas, commonly from the Leipzig cycles of 1723-24 and 1724-25, and specifically on Cantata seventy seven, Chafe indicates how Bach strove to reflect either the dogma and the secret of spiritual adventure in musical allegory. studying Bach Cantatas deals worthy details at the theological relevance of the constitution of the liturgical yr for the layout and content material of those works, in addition to a survey of the theories of modality that tell Bach's compositional variety. Chafe demonstrates that, whereas Bach definitely hired "pictorialism" and word-painting in his compositions, his approach to writing tune was once a extra complicated amalgam of theological recommendations and tune idea. concerning the cantatas as musical allegories that mirror the elemental tenets of Lutheran theology as tested in the course of Bach's lifetime, Chafe synthesizes a few key musical and theological principles to light up the fundamental personality of those nice works.

This distinct and insightful publication deals an important technique for figuring out one of many critical our bodies of labor within the Western musical canon. it's going to turn out fundamental for all scholars and students of Bach's paintings, musicology, and theological experiences.

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Christus Coronabit Crucigeros"), and the circle of minor keys ("Canon a 2. 10 One even refers to the process of interpretation itself: "Quaerendo invenietis" (He who seeks will find). In the music of these canons the principle of antithesis—major versus minor, inversion (ascent versus descent), chromaticism versus diatonicism, and the like— reigns supreme, while the inscriptions draw connections between the musical devices Bach employs and the kinds of theological ideas with which they are often associated, both in the Lutheran metaphysical tradition and throughout Bach's cantata oeuvre.

In fact, it is a distinct possibility that Bach conceived of his first Leipzig cantata cycle, perhaps even his church music in general, in such terms. His affixing the catchphrase "to honor almighty God alone and to instruct the neighbor" on a collection of organ music organized according to the liturgical year (the Orgelbiichlein) suggests as much, while his signing the words "Soli Deo Gloria" (glory to God alone) and "Jesu Juva" (Jesus help) to many of his cantata manuscripts attests to the same dualism of God in His majesty and the human condition in need of aid from Jesus.

In fact, it is a distinct possibility that Bach conceived of his first Leipzig cantata cycle, perhaps even his church music in general, in such terms. His affixing the catchphrase "to honor almighty God alone and to instruct the neighbor" on a collection of organ music organized according to the liturgical year (the Orgelbiichlein) suggests as much, while his signing the words "Soli Deo Gloria" (glory to God alone) and "Jesu Juva" (Jesus help) to many of his cantata manuscripts attests to the same dualism of God in His majesty and the human condition in need of aid from Jesus.

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