Analyzing Bach Cantatas

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Oxford University Press, Mar 27, 2003 - Music - 304 pages
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Bach's cantatas are among the highest achievements of Western musical art, yet studies of the individual cantatas that are both illuminating and detailed are few. In this book, noted Bach expert Eric Chafe combines theological, historical, analytical, and interpretive approaches to the cantatas to offer readers and listeners alike the richest possible experience of these works. A respected theorist of seventeenth-century music, Chafe is sensitive to the composer's intentions and to the enduring and universal qualities of the music itself. Concentrating on a small number of representative cantatas, mostly from the Leipzig cycles of 1723-24 and 1724-25, and in particular on Cantata 77, Chafe shows how Bach strove to mirror both the dogma and the mystery of religious experience in musical allegory. Analyzing Bach Cantatas offers valuable information on the theological relevance of the structure of the liturgical year for the design and content of these works, as well as a survey of the theories of modality that inform Bach's compositional style. Chafe demonstrates that, while Bach certainly employed "pictorialism" and word-painting in his compositions, his method of writing music was a more complex amalgam of theological concepts and music theory. Regarding the cantatas as musical allegories that reflect the fundamental tenets of Lutheran theology as established during Bach's lifetime, Chafe synthesizes a number of key musical and theological ideas to illuminate the essential character of these great works. This unique and insightful book offers an essential methodology for understanding one of the central bodies of work in the Western musical canon. It will prove indispensable for all students and scholars of Bach's work, musicology, and theological studies.

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Contents

II
3
III
11
IV
23
V
42
VI
51
VII
72
VIII
73
IX
82
XIV
132
XV
139
XVII
149
XVIII
161
XIX
174
XX
183
XXI
189
XXII
220

X
89
XI
101
XII
102
XIII
111
XXIII
241
XXIV
271
XXV
277
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Page 102 - For as the rain cometh down, And the snow from heaven, And returneth not thither, But watereth the earth, And maketh it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Page 44 - But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Page 46 - And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
Page 102 - Brot zu essen: also soll das Wort, so aus meinem Munde gehet, auch sein. Es soll nicht wieder zu mir leer kommen, sondern tun, das mir gefällt, und soll ihm gelingen, dazu ich's sende
Page 44 - Was betrübst du dich, meine Seele, und bist so unruhig in mir? Harre auf Gott; Denn ich werde ihm noch danken, daß er meines Angesichts Hilfe und mein Gott ist.
Page 18 - And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep : for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Page 3 - Littera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria, Moralis quid agas, quo tendas anagogia.
Page 263 - Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine; et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis: sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est.
Page 110 - Gwalt mit seiner List erschrecken. 7. W« hofft in Gott und dem vertraut, der wird nimmer zu Schanden; denn wer auf diesen Felsen baut, ob ihm gleich geht zu Händen viel Unfalls hie, Hab ich doch nie den Menschen sehen fallen, der sich verläßt auf Gottes Trost; er hilft sein Gläubgen allen.

About the author (2003)

Eric Chafe is the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Musicology at Brandeis University. His previous books include Monteverdi's Tonal Language (1992), which won both the American Musicological Society's Kinkeldey Award and the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, and Tonal Allegory in the Vocal Music of J. S. Bach (1991).

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