Compositional Choices and Meaning in the Vocal Music of J. S. Bach

Compositional Choices and Meaning in the Vocal Music of J. S. Bach

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Compositional Choices and Meaning in the Vocal Music of J. S. Bach collects seventeen essays by leading Bach scholars. The authors each address in some way such questions of meaning in J. S. Bach’s vocal compositions—including his Passions, Masses, Magnificat, and cantatas—with particular attention to how such meaning arises out of the intentionality of Bach’s own compositional choices or (in Part IV in particular) how meaning is discovered, and created, through the reception of Bach’s vocal works. And the authors do not consider such compositional choices in a vacuum, but rather discuss Bach’s artistic intentions within the framework of broader cultural trends—social, historical, theological, musical, etc.
Such questions of compositional choice and meaning frame the four primary approaches to Bach’s vocal music taken by the authors in this volume, as seen across the book’s four parts: Part I: How might the study of historical theology inform our understanding of Bach’s compositional choices in his music for the church (cantatas, Passions, masses)? Part II: How can we apply traditional analytical tools to understand better how Bach’s compositions were created and how they might have been heard by his contemporaries? Part III: What we can understand anew through the study of Bach’s self-borrowing (i.e., parody), which always changed the earlier meaning of a composition through changes in textual content, compositional characteristics, the work’s context within a larger composition, and often the performance context (from court to church, for example)? Part IV: What can the study of reception teach us about a work’s meaning(s) in Bach’s time, during the time of his immediate successors, and at various points since then (including our present)?
The chapters in this volume thus reflect the breadth of current Bach research in its attention not only to source study and analysis, but also to meanings and contexts for understanding Bach’s compositions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498554961
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 07/06/2020
Series: Contextual Bach Studies
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 354
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Mark A. Peters is professor of music at Trinity Christian College.
Reginald L. Sanders is professor of music at Kenyon College.

Table of Contents

Series Editor Foreword

Robin A. Leaver


Mark A. Peters and Reginald L. Sanders

Paragram for Professor Dr. Don O. Franklin

Ruth Tatlow

Part I: Bach’s Vocal Music in Theological Context

1. In Honor of God and the City: Strategies of Theological and Symbolic Communication in Bach’s Cantata Gott ist mein König (BWV 71)

Markus Rathey

2. Two “Johannine” Cantatas: Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes (BWV 40) and Sehet, welch eine Liebe (BWV 64)

Eric Chafe

3. Death to Life, Sorrow to Joy: Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross and J. S. Bach’s Eastertide Cantata Ihr werdet weinen und heulen (BWV 103)

Mark A. Peters

4. Toward an Understanding of J. S. Bach’s Use of Red Ink in the Autograph Score of the Matthew Passion

Mary Greer

5. The Theological in Bach Research (2007)

Martin Petzoldt

Part II: Analytical Perspectives

6. Formal and Motivic Design in the Opening Chorus of J. S. Bach’s Magnificat

Reginald L. Sanders

7. The Tonally Open Ritornello in J. S. Bach’s Church Cantatas

Kayoung Lee

8. The Christian Believer and the Sleep of Jesus: “Mache dich, mein Herze, rein” from J. S. Bach’s Matthew Passion

Wye J. Allanbrook

Part III: Bach’s Self-Modeling: Parody as Compositional Impetus

9. Parody and Text Quality in the Vocal Works of J. S. Bach

Hans-Joachim Schulze

10. J. S. Bach’s Parodies of Vocal Music: Conservation or Intensification?

Robin A. Leaver

11. J. S. Bach’s Dresden Trip and His Earliest Serenatas for Köthen

Gregory Butler

12. Bach’s Second Thoughts on the Christmas Oratorio: The Compositional Revisions to “Bereite dich, Zion,” BWV 248/4

Steven Saunders

13. The Passions as a Source of Inspiration? A Hypothesis on the Origin and Musical Aim of Well-Tempered Clavier II

Yo Tomita

Part IV: The Reception of Bach’s Vocal Works

14. The Leipzig Audiences of J. S. Bach’s Matthew Passion to 1750

Tanya Kevorkian

15. The Vocal Music of the Bach Family in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works

Jason B. Grant

16. The Need for a New Music: J. S. Bach in Contemporary Context (1946)

William H. Scheide

17. Bach at the Boundaries of Music History: Preliminary Thoughts on the B-minor Mass and the Late Style Paradigm

Robert L. Marshall

About the Authors

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