A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

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dulcinea
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A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by dulcinea » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:35 pm

Today in 1741 Tony the Big V ascended to Heaven; nine years to the date later Jack the First B went to meet the man who provided him with so much inspiration. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:49 am

Although he arranged several Vivaldi concertos for organ and mentioned him on his list of favorites, one of the miracles of Bach is that he had almost no one to inspire him to the exalted levels he reached. He so far exceeded his models in terms of form that he is almost cut from the whole cloth, perhaps the greatest miracle in all of music. It seems that he had some slight acquaintance with the music of Handel and actually owned a copy of the Brockes Passion, which sounds like a prototype of a Bach passion, but I know of nothing else that so materially contributed to the transformational nature of his accomplishment. The pleasant but limited music of his contemporaries, whom he was quick to praise, was a glass ceiling through which he broke to create a tower whose top cannot be seen.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Belle
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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by Belle » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:58 am

Absolutely brilliant, poetic comments!l Couldn't agree more. When I think of the idiotic and infantile comments made by some people on other messageboards..... I cannot stay away from CMG because of such wonderful observations about music. Thank you.

Speaking to music enthusiasts yesterday (and every other day), I continually advocate for Bach as the greatest of the great. His music might not necessarily be at the top of everybody's listening lists, day by day, but there can be no doubt that his was one of the greatest minds in human history. I never grow tired of anything he's ever done. Never. But he's not for everybody. You have to get it. And when you do, well....................... It's not just the sheer musicality, but the whole thinking process behind it which is staggering.

If people don't get Bach no amount of explanation is going to 'fix' the problem. It's like saying 'I don't believe in God; help me with this". (Well, I suppose you could say that about all great music or art.)

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by John F » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:57 am

Much of what jbuck919 says about Bach could be said with equal justice about Joseph Haydn. Bach had the advantage that his father was a competent professional musician - Mozart had that advantage too - but Haydn's parents were a wheelwright and a cook, who liked music but couldn't read it let alone create it. Also, Haydn had no important contemporaries as Bach did in Handel and Vivaldi; he pretty much created the Classical Era and its style on his own, out of the insipid galant and rococo music of his youth. Also, Haydn set the course for classical music for several generations, his influence was that powerful, while Bach essentially brought the Baroque Era to a close, after him it had nowhere to go. But it isn't Haydn's birthday just now, so let it go. :)
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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:49 am

John F wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:57 am
Much of what jbuck919 says about Bach could be said with equal justice about Joseph Haydn. Bach had the advantage that his father was a competent professional musician - Mozart had that advantage too - but Haydn's parents were a wheelwright and a cook, who liked music but couldn't read it let alone create it. Also, Haydn had no important contemporaries as Bach did in Handel and Vivaldi; he pretty much created the Classical Era and its style on his own, out of the insipid galant and rococo music of his youth. Also, Haydn set the course for classical music for several generations, his influence was that powerful, while Bach essentially brought the Baroque Era to a close, after him it had nowhere to go. But it isn't Haydn's birthday just now, so let it go. :)
Well said, John.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:04 am

If Bach is an acquired taste, so is Handel, a musical genius of the first order.

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by maestrob » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:36 pm

I'm probably biased, since I have performed both pieces, but nothing in the choral repertoire equals Bach's Mass in B minor, or the Christmas Oratorio.

The Cantatas are in my regular listening order: their sublime beauty may vary in quality, but it's all on such a high plane that, well, how could one object?

Then there's the keyboard music. How can one be considered a great artist without mastering Bach? Since he invented the tempered scale, he set Western music's evolution down the path that eventually led to Wagner and Debussy, both of whom reached the summit of tonal relationships in Tristan and Afternoon of a Faun. No other civilization on this planet can lay claim to such a feat.

That said, I never grow tired of Bach's music, while other composers must be left aside occasionally.

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by maestrob » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:45 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:49 am
John F wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:57 am
Much of what jbuck919 says about Bach could be said with equal justice about Joseph Haydn. Bach had the advantage that his father was a competent professional musician - Mozart had that advantage too - but Haydn's parents were a wheelwright and a cook, who liked music but couldn't read it let alone create it. Also, Haydn had no important contemporaries as Bach did in Handel and Vivaldi; he pretty much created the Classical Era and its style on his own, out of the insipid galant and rococo music of his youth. Also, Haydn set the course for classical music for several generations, his influence was that powerful, while Bach essentially brought the Baroque Era to a close, after him it had nowhere to go. But it isn't Haydn's birthday just now, so let it go. :)
Well said, John.
Second the motion. Haydn's Symphonies are full of great original ideas and still are under-appreciated, even today. His massive choral works may not be equal to Bach, but at that level of greatness, how can one complain?

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by Belle » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:03 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:36 pm
I'm probably biased, since I have performed both pieces, but nothing in the choral repertoire equals Bach's Mass in B minor, or the Christmas Oratorio.

The Cantatas are in my regular listening order: their sublime beauty may vary in quality, but it's all on such a high plane that, well, how could one object?

Then there's the keyboard music. How can one be considered a great artist without mastering Bach? Since he invented the tempered scale, he set Western music's evolution down the path that eventually led to Wagner and Debussy, both of whom reached the summit of tonal relationships in Tristan and Afternoon of a Faun. No other civilization on this planet can lay claim to such a feat.

That said, I never grow tired of Bach's music, while other composers must be left aside occasionally.
Same. Bach's achievements are of a different order of magnitude as are most of his works. I adore the other composers you mention, but Bach's brain was absolutely unique. My point of differentiation with your comments is that Beethoven can't be left aside occasionally!!

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by Belle » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:19 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:04 am
If Bach is an acquired taste, so is Handel, a musical genius of the first order.
Totally agree.

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by RebLem » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:36 pm

Bach was heavily influenced by Dietrich Buxtehude. From Wikipedia:
​In 1705, J.S. Bach, then a young man of twenty, walked from Arnstadt to Lübeck, a distance of more than 400 kilometres (250 mi), and stayed nearly three months to hear the Abendmusik, meet the pre-eminent Lübeck organist, hear him play, and, as Bach explained, "to comprehend one thing and another about his art.
Buxtehude, when Bach arrived, offered him the same deal he had previously offered Handel and Johann Mattheson: I am ready to retire, but you must marry my eldest daughter to get my job. All reports seem to agree that Buxtehude's eldest daughter was unusually ugly. Handel and Mattheson had both left the day after they arrived. Bach stayed for three months, but ultimately left. The price was too high for him. Buxtehude, for his part, had accepted the same deal from his predecessor and was simply following what appears to have been a local tradition.
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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:59 am

RebLem wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:36 pm
Bach was heavily influenced by Dietrich Buxtehude. From Wikipedia:
​In 1705, J.S. Bach, then a young man of twenty, walked from Arnstadt to Lübeck, a distance of more than 400 kilometres (250 mi), and stayed nearly three months to hear the Abendmusik, meet the pre-eminent Lübeck organist, hear him play, and, as Bach explained, "to comprehend one thing and another about his art.
Buxtehude, when Bach arrived, offered him the same deal he had previously offered Handel and Johann Mattheson: I am ready to retire, but you must marry my eldest daughter to get my job. All reports seem to agree that Buxtehude's eldest daughter was unusually ugly. Handel and Mattheson had both left the day after they arrived. Bach stayed for three months, but ultimately left. The price was too high for him. Buxtehude, for his part, had accepted the same deal from his predecessor and was simply following what appears to have been a local tradition.
I am familiar with that story, or set of stories (you are probably also aware that Bach was severely reprimanded for greatly overstaying his leave of absence), but Bach was also influenced by Pachelbel and many other predecessors and contemporaries, just as Haydn was influenced by the early Classical composers such as those of the Mannheim school and even Bach's own sons. It does not change the fact that both composers entirely transcended the models they had to work with.

Buxtehude is still a relatively popular recital composer. Well, let me put it more frankly: If an organist wants to perform German Baroque but "take a break" from Bach, then there is almost nowhere else to turn. A number of organists who have recorded Bach extensively have not felt that they were stooping also to record Bux. Nevertheless, I think that most listeners will instantly recognize the gap between works such as the following and even the interim and youthful works of Bach such as the Prelude and Fugue in D Major, the Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major, and, heaven help us, the ubiquitous D Minor Toccata and Fugue.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

maestrob
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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by maestrob » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:37 am

Belle wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:03 pm
maestrob wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:36 pm
I'm probably biased, since I have performed both pieces, but nothing in the choral repertoire equals Bach's Mass in B minor, or the Christmas Oratorio.

The Cantatas are in my regular listening order: their sublime beauty may vary in quality, but it's all on such a high plane that, well, how could one object?

Then there's the keyboard music. How can one be considered a great artist without mastering Bach? Since he invented the tempered scale, he set Western music's evolution down the path that eventually led to Wagner and Debussy, both of whom reached the summit of tonal relationships in Tristan and Afternoon of a Faun. No other civilization on this planet can lay claim to such a feat.

That said, I never grow tired of Bach's music, while other composers must be left aside occasionally.
Same. Bach's achievements are of a different order of magnitude as are most of his works. I adore the other composers you mention, but Bach's brain was absolutely unique. My point of differentiation with your comments is that Beethoven can't be left aside occasionally!!
LOL! I wrote that while listening to Beethoven's Quartet Op.130 with the first version of the finale, so you do have a point! :D

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by Belle » Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:49 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1QjOjGMhns

What's not to love?? :D I love the way you just can't predict where any of this music will go and, ultimately, rest. You're always on the job, listening, guessing, experiencing... "Bach building the universe". Yes, that's it exactly, David!!!

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by dulcinea » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:30 am

My first AV was the GARDELLINO Concerto; the warbling of that jilguero=goldfinch really made me smile. The GLORIA, however, was the Vivaldi that really impacted me; ever since then it has been my ambition to listen to everything that AV wrote; the same, of course, applies not only to JSB but also to people who are now being rediscovered, such as Biber and Zelenka. Reading the comments of the videos of YOUTUBE really makes me happy, for listeners nowadays are madly in love with the Baroque and cannot get enough of it. :D :D :D :D :D
When I meet JS Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, FJ Haydn and all the musicians and artists who gladdened my life I'll drop to my knees and kiss their magical hands. :) :) :) :) :)
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

Belle
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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by Belle » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:24 am

Today I wrote down what Thomas Quasthoff said about Bach in a 1996 documentary. I think it's apposite:

"I love Bach so incredibly. The more intensely I study his music, the less I understand it because the degree of its greatness is so superior to my small human existence. I sense it when I sing the 'St. Matthew Passion' or listen to 'The Art of Fugue' or 'The Musical Offering', or whatever other piece you care to name. Such infinite greatness is beyond the perception of our small human dimension".

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:34 am

Belle wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:24 am
Today I wrote down what Thomas Quasthoff said about Bach in a 1996 documentary. I think it's apposite:

"I love Bach so incredibly. The more intensely I study his music, the less I understand it because the degree of its greatness is so superior to my small human existence. I sense it when I sing the 'St. Matthew Passion' or listen to 'The Art of Fugue' or 'The Musical Offering', or whatever other piece you care to name. Such infinite greatness is beyond the perception of our small human dimension".
And lest anyone think that Quasthoff was exaggerating, as great a composer as Brahms also thought of Bach (along with Mozart and Beethoven) as a demigod. Among other passages, he once wrote that even if he had been capable of composing something like the Chaconne (which is actually a work of Bach's middle career), it would have been the end of him, because he would have exploded.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by Belle » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:51 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:34 am
Belle wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:24 am
Today I wrote down what Thomas Quasthoff said about Bach in a 1996 documentary. I think it's apposite:

"I love Bach so incredibly. The more intensely I study his music, the less I understand it because the degree of its greatness is so superior to my small human existence. I sense it when I sing the 'St. Matthew Passion' or listen to 'The Art of Fugue' or 'The Musical Offering', or whatever other piece you care to name. Such infinite greatness is beyond the perception of our small human dimension".
And lest anyone think that Quasthoff was exaggerating, as great a composer as Brahms also thought of Bach (along with Mozart and Beethoven) as a demigod. Among other passages, he once wrote that even if he had been capable of composing something like the Chaconne (which is actually a work of Bach's middle career), it would have been the end of him, because he would have exploded.
Did you mean that (a) Brahms thought of Beethoven and Mozart also as 'demigods' or, (b) Beethoven and Mozart also thought Bach was a 'demigod'?

Listening to this aria again this morning; Quasthoff's version. The aria seems to subvert the listeners' expectations, thus:

Opening themes: A, B, C, D (through-composed)
Introduction of singing (A) but followed by orchestral B (I think) of the opening theme/s, not the opening and dominant A section (which occurs thereafter).

In short, Bach's vocal line starts with the A melody but the orchestration takes another road; it's an alteration because it's one of the 4 different melodic sections of the opening which you'd normally expect to hear further into the aria. It's not until the third (?) iteration of the opening line that you get the MAIN melody and orchestration which started this aria WORKING TOGETHER (the Refrain, if you will). The best way I can describe it is as a type of melodic anacrusis!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Roa-5BV46f0

What an absolutely glorious lullaby!!

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Re: A Doubly Glorious Heavenly Birthday

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:45 pm

Belle wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:51 pm
jbuck919 wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:34 am
Belle wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:24 am
Today I wrote down what Thomas Quasthoff said about Bach in a 1996 documentary. I think it's apposite:

"I love Bach so incredibly. The more intensely I study his music, the less I understand it because the degree of its greatness is so superior to my small human existence. I sense it when I sing the 'St. Matthew Passion' or listen to 'The Art of Fugue' or 'The Musical Offering', or whatever other piece you care to name. Such infinite greatness is beyond the perception of our small human dimension".
And lest anyone think that Quasthoff was exaggerating, as great a composer as Brahms also thought of Bach (along with Mozart and Beethoven) as a demigod. Among other passages, he once wrote that even if he had been capable of composing something like the Chaconne (which is actually a work of Bach's middle career), it would have been the end of him, because he would have exploded.
Did you mean that (a) Brahms thought of Beethoven and Mozart also as 'demigods' or, (b) Beethoven and Mozart also thought Bach was a 'demigod'?

Listening to this aria again this morning; Quasthoff's version. The singing seems to subvert the listeners' expectations, thus:

Opening themes: A, B, C, D (through-composed)
Introduction of singing (A) but followed by orchestral B (I think) of the opening theme/s, not the opening and dominant A section (which occurs thereafter).

In short, Bach's vocal line starts with the A melody but the orchestration takes another road; it's an alteration because it's one of the 4 different melodic sections of the opening which you'd normally expect to hear further into the aria. It's not until the second iteration of the line that you get the MAIN melody and orchestration which started this aria WORKING TOGETHER:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Roa-5BV46f0

What an absolutely glorious lullaby!!
I'm paraphrasing from memory, but I'm pretty sure I got it right. Brahms on being compared to the big three: "To have the St. Matthew Passion, Don Giovanni, Fidelio, and the Ninth Symphony as one's daily bread, no, this is no longer allowed to us. These men were gods [yes, he said exactly that]."

I'm afraid that I do not understand your comments on "Mache dich," which is not a lullaby by any stretch of the imagination. It would never occur to me to dig into it as you did, but to each his or her own way of listening.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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