By Eric Chafe
Bach's cantatas are one of the maximum achievements of Western musical paintings, but stories of the person cantatas which are either illuminating and certain are few. during this publication, famous Bach specialist Eric Chafe combines theological, historic, analytical, and interpretive methods to the cantatas to supply readers and listeners alike the richest attainable event of those works. A revered theorist of seventeenth-century track, Chafe is delicate to the composer's intentions and to the iconic and common traits of the tune itself.
Concentrating on a small variety of consultant cantatas, more often than not 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 helpful info at the theological relevance of the constitution of the liturgical 12 months for the layout and content material of those works, in addition to a survey of the theories of modality that tell Bach's compositional type. 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 suggestions and tune conception. concerning the cantatas as musical allegories that mirror the basic tenets of Lutheran theology as confirmed 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 targeted and insightful booklet bargains a vital technique for figuring out one of many crucial our bodies of labor within the Western musical canon. it is going to turn out quintessential for all scholars and students of Bach's paintings, musicology, and theological reports.
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Extra info for Analyzing Bach Cantatas
11 Of these, the one that remained alive into Bach's time was that of the medieval-Renaissance hexachords or transposition scales, which determined the system of solmization by means of which many generations of musicians conceived of the tonal aspects of music. And in that system the qualities of "hardness" and "softness" that the terms evoke were not primarily aligned with major and minor modes, but with relatively sharp and flat tonal regions. 12 Although the modern major/minor paradigm had come into existence long before Bach's time, residues of the older hexachordal model persisted into the eighteenth century and provide us with clues to Bach's treatment of the major and minor modes.
The major and minor triads represented the divine and the human, respectively, while the minor third within the major triad represented the humanity of Jesus. Although such allegories were rooted in the harmonic numbers and the basic consonances, even musical features such as temperament, chromatic and enharmonic styles, and the like were subject to allegorical explication. In general, their "meaning" was derived from the fact that the numerical ratios involved stood a great distance from the Pythagorean harmonic numbers.
As their designs unfold, the means by which the mottoes are drawn into the faith experience of the contemporary believer often involve interpretive processes analogous to those of traditional hermeneutics—Old Testament/New Testament parallels and juxtapositions, literal and figurative, or "objective" and "subjective" levels of meaning, points of insight and transformation, and the like—and many such processes have distinct counterparts in Bach's music. " Aspects of the Liturgical Year Bach's projecting the idea of unified annual cycles in many of the cantatas of his first two years in Leipzig—even though he was unable to realize his intentions fully in that respect (as also in the case of his other annual cycle, the Orgelbuchlein)—attests to the fact that the liturgical year itself was a form of theological expression on the largest scale, one that had evolved over many centuries before it attained the form that it had in the late Middle Ages.