johann sebastion bach

Music Monday: Wachet! Betet! Betet! Wachet! 1716

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Johann Sebastian Bach Wikipedia Image
Artist: Elias Gottlob Haussmann 1748
Collection: Bach-Archiv_Leipzig
Source: Dave’s J. S. Bach Page
Photographer: David J. Grossman

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and organist. The most important member of the Bach family, his genius combined outstanding performing musicianship with supreme creative powers in which forceful and original inventiveness, technical mastery and intellectual control, are perfectly balanced. While it was in the former capacity, as a keyboard virtuoso, that in his lifetime he acquired an almost legendary fame, it is the latter virtues and accomplishments, as a composer, that, by the end of the 18th century, earned him a unique historical position. His musical language was distinctive and extraordinarily varied, drawing together and surmounting the techniques, the styles and the general achievements, of his own and earlier generations, and leading on to new perspectives, which later ages have received, and understood, in a great variety of ways.

Bach Cantatas Website

Wachet! Betet! Betet! Wachet! (Watch! Pray! Pray! Watch!) is the title of two church cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed a first version, BWV 70a, in Weimar for the second Sunday in Advent of 1716 and expanded it in 1723 in Leipzig to BWV 70, a cantata in two parts for the 26th Sunday after Trinity.

On [March] 2, 1714, Bach was appointed concertmaster of the Weimar court capelle of the co-reigning dukes Wilhelm Ernst and Ernst August of Saxe-Weimar. As concertmaster, he assumed the principal responsibility for composing new works, specifically cantatas for the Schlosskirche (palace church), on a monthly schedule. Bach originally wrote this cantata in his last year there […].

The instrumentation of the Weimar cantata is lost.

Bach first performed the cantata on [December] 6, 1716.

Wikipedia Summaries

Additional Reading:
Bach Cantata Translations (Emmanuel Music Organization Website)
Chapter 28 BWV 70 (The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach by Julian Mincham)

Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Gächinger Kantorei Choir
Helmuth Rilling


Dvořák Hall Prague
Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner

Music Monday: Partitas For Solo Violin 1696

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Westhoff Suite One Wikipedia Image
First bars of the Gigue
from Suite #1
Source: IMSLP
Image Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

The six partitas for solo violin by Johann Paul von Westhoff are the earliest known published music for solo violin. Although Westhoff’s compositions were rediscovered by scholars […] in the mid-19th century, this work was not found until the late 20th century.

The collection […] was discovered […] by musicologist Peter P. Várnai. He announced his discovery in a 1971 article […] published in Die Musikforschung, volume 24. The extant copy is dated 1696 (three hundred & twenty-five years, ago) but, it may be a reprint (partial or full) of a much earlier publication by Westhoff…the Erstes Dutzend Allemanden, Couranten, Sarabanden und Giguen Violino Solo sonder Passo Continuo. [That] collection was published in Dresden in 1682 and is considered lost. The first modern edition of the partitas appeared in 1974.

Nothing is known about how or when the partitas were composed. One other work for solo violin by Westhoff survives, a 1683 suite published in an issue of Dresden’s Mercure galant. [It] is entirely possible that the composer had more solo violin works. The […] surviving partitas are historically important works […] and were most probably the inspiration for Johann Sebastian Bach‘s sonatas and partitas for solo violin.

The partitas all consist of four dances, arranged in the standard late Baroque order… an Allemande, the Courante, the Sarabande and the Gigue. The music is technically demanding. [It is] fully polyphonic with frequent instances of tricky double stopping.

Johann Paul von Westhoff was a German Baroque composer and violinist. One of the most important exponents of the Dresden violin school, he was among the highest ranked violinists of his day […].

Johann Paul von Westhoff 1656-1705 (On Baroque)
List of Known Works
References

Music Monday: Membra Jesu Nostri 1680

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Title: Häusliche Musikszene
Painting Author: Johannes Voorhout
Collection: Hamburg Museum
Image Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Three hundred, forty years ago, Danish-German Baroque composer and organist Dieterich Buxtehude composed Membra Jesu Nostri. Considered to be one of the most influential composers in Germany, his style is reflected in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, one of his students. [More] than 100 compositions of his survive […].

Membra Jesu Nostri [or The limbs of our Jesus], BuxWV 75, is a cycle of seven cantatas composed by Dieterich Buxtehude in 1680 and dedicated to Gustaf Düben. The full Latin title Membra Jesu Nostri Patientis Sanctissima translates to “The most holy limbs of our suffering Jesus”. This work is known as the first Lutheran oratorio. The main text are stanzas from the Medieval hymn Salve Mundi Salutare, also known as the Rhythmica Oratio, a poem formerly ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux but, now thought more likely to have been written by Medieval poet Arnulf of Leuven […]. It is divided into seven parts, each addressed to a different part of Christ’s crucified body: feet, knees, hands, sides, breast, heart and face. In each part, biblical words referring to the limbs frame verses of the poem.

Sources:
Duke Vespers Ensemble (MSR Classics)
Salve Mundi Salutare (New Advent)
Buxtehude Composition List (Wikipedia)
Dieterich Buxtehude (Wikipedia)
Membra Jesu Nostri (Wikipedia)
The International Dieterich Buxtehude Society

Tune Tuesday: Fiori Musicali 1635

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Fiori Musicali Image One
Image Credit: meantone.altervista.org
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Coming to 1635…

Fiori musicali (Musical Flowers) is a collection of liturgical organ music by Girolamo Frescobaldi, first published in 1635. It contains three organ masses and two secular capriccios. Generally acknowledged as one of Frescobaldi’s best works, Fiori Musicali influenced composers during at least two centuries. Johann Sebastian Bach was among its admirers and parts of it were included in the celebrated Gradus ad Parnassum, a highly influential 1725 treatise by Johann Joseph Fux which was in use even in the 19th century.

Fiori Musicali was first published in Venice in 1635, when Frescobaldi was working as [the] organist of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, under the patronage of Pope Urban VIII and his nephew Cardinal Francesco Barberini. It may have been conceived as music for St. Mark’s Basilica or a similarly important church. The collection was printed by Giacomo Vincenti (a celebrated publisher who had previously published reprints of Frescobaldi’s capriccios) and dedicated to Cardinal Antonio Barberini, Francesco‘s younger brother.

The full title of Frescobaldi’s work is Fiori musicali di diverse compositioni, toccate, kyrie, canzoni, capricci, e recercari, in partitura. Before Fiori musicali, Frescobaldi seldom published liturgical music. The organ mass was still in its infancy and composers seldom published such music. [It] is one of the most influential collections of music in European history. Frescobaldi’s collection was studied by Henry Purcell and Johann Sebastian Bach (the latter copied the entire work for his own use).

Additional Reading:
Fiori-Musicali (Britannica)
Structure (Wikipedia)

Toccata avanti la Messa della Dominica (before the mass)

Kyrie della Domenica

The Full Collection