Bach: The Cantatas
-in order of Sundays and feast-days and the marathons of Christmas and Easter and Pentecost-
for at least 5 years, the final two cycles, of course, becoming steadily more and more sparse.
To date, November 2022, there are still two-and-a-bit-more such cycles, to run.
Where gaps have occurred, initially, I began, by filling these, with wedding and ceremonial examples.
When these were exhausted, I felt an opportunity arose, to include other examples, masses, motets etc, etc, although The Passions,
St Matthew and St John, were not deemed to be appropriate, within this plan.
When even these will have run out, I have decided to continue, albeit with unfilled gaps, sometimes of weeks, to cover and publish each remaining, on the evening before the appropriate Sunday, or feast-day. The so called Christmas oratorio, with it multiple cycle, really, of individual cantatas, I intend to cover, probably at the end of 2023.
As a result, it will have been possible, over 5 years, to present, all of Bach’s choral music, except the Passions, which I shall include, in due course, more or less, on the days they were conceived, to be heard.
My manner of has been in the style of that much used and abused pamphlet form, the ‘program note’, where I have endeavoured to present, a short introduction, a practical, useable and understandable translation and a concise appraisal, aimed, I suppose, at those with more than just a passing relationship with Bach, and choral music, and who, perhaps, like me, are approaching a part of this composers out-put, that, in the main, has remained a misty mystery.
The writing style, spontaneous and contemporary, will, I hope, reflect the performances you choose to listen to, or, better still, attend.
In this demystification process, I have left alone, as far as I can, any musicological intrigue and indeed much potential discussion, as to the theological, ‘theme-of-the-day’ and also any and all discussion with reference to, inserted chorales tunes, their names and origin, and tried to focus attention, via an understanding, originating from the words,
-and the composer’s sometimes extraordinary response to these, towards a grasp and appreciation, through the sound and power of the music, to an experience, perhaps, for the first time, that might be appreciated,as somewhere between engaging, and cosmic.
It is reasonably certain, that as I come to the end of this listening experiment, I shall continue, listening to these works, ceaselessly, going round and round again, as Bach himself did, a cantata, on a Sunday,
-or a Monday or a Tuesday, or even a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday-
becoming a necessary and nourishing part, of a sustained musical lifestyle.
In that case, it is certain, that these initial somewhat thin and skeletal notes, might grow, as I hope will, into something more substantial and meaningful.
It seems clear to me, that, generally speaking, those who do not have a reasonable working relationship, with all of these, still, mostly-forgotten masterpieces, do not really have much of an understanding, of Bach, either the composer, or, indeed,
-and perhaps, more importantly-, Bach, the man.
In the end, I have decided, to list them, in the order, in which I posted them, this being, in the order in which Bach presented them, according to the church calendar.
I am leaving the original dates of posting intact, 2020 through to at least 2024, on each post. This will help search and identification, according to the month applicable to each Sunday and feast day, in the church calendar.
This monthly list will grow, as I import those cantatas yet to be included and already covered cantatas, that need to be imported, from elsewhere.
Please be patient if you are unable to find a particular cantata. It may be available, during your next visit.