Front cover image for Analyzing Bach cantatas

Analyzing Bach cantatas

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 [Publisher description]
Print Book, English, 2000
Oxford University Press, New York, 2000
xvii, 286 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
9780195120998, 9780195161823, 019512099X, 0195161823
The Hermeneutic matrix. Basic principles ; Aspects of the liturgical year
The Lutheran "metaphysical" tradition in music and music theory
Cantata 21, "Ich hatte viel bekummernis". Commentary on the individual movements
Modal questions. The seventeenth-century background ; Bach and Modal tradition ; "Durch Adams fall" : Andreas Werckmeister on the Hypophrygian mode
Bach's reflections on the past : Modal chorales in cantata designs. "Durch Adams fall ist ganz verderbt" in cantatas 18 and 109 ; "Ach Gott, vom himmel sieh' darein" in cantatas 153 and 2 ; "O grosser Gott von macht" in cantata 24
Two chorale cantatas. Cantata 121 : "Christum wir sollenloben schon" ; "Es ist das heil uns kommen hier" (cantata 9)
Cantata 77 : the theological background. "Dies sind die heil'gen zehn gebot" : The chorale and its history ; The text of cantata 77
"Du sollt Gott, deinen herren, lieben" : An analysis of cantata 77. Commentary on the individual movements
Cantata 60 : "O ewigkeit, du donnerwort."