CPE Bach Heilig Cantata

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Belle
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CPE Bach Heilig Cantata

Post by Belle » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:38 pm

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Heilig, Cantata for solo contralto, 2 mixed choirs and 2 orchestras, Wq 217

I've just been listening to this work, which I've never heard before, played by the Berlinker Philharmoniker/Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In fact, it's intermission on the Digital Concert Hall and the conductor has just given an interesting interview with Emmanuel Pahud about CPE Bach's work and Ein Deutsches Requiem, which is about to start. The conductor commented on the warmth of the music of Brahms and compared it to CPE Bach's cantata and the former composer's knowledge of baroque music, since he was also a scholar.

Does anybody else here know CPE Bach's "Heilig" Cantata? This is on the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall website about the work:

The concert opens with Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s motet “Heilig ist Gott”, composed in 1776 – a ceremonial theophany for contralto, double choir and orchestra, which occasioned the Bach son to employ the full range of tonality at his disposal. Despite its masterful design, the music conveys an impression of the greatest simplicity: “This ʻHeiligʼ,” according to the composer, “is an attempt ... to attract far greater attention and sensation through ordinary harmonic progressions than any anguished chromaticism is able to achieve. It is my swan song ..., and should serve to ensure that after my death I am not too soon forgotten.”

(And Yannick is yet another enormously gifted, highly intelligent Canadian who works out of the US.)

jbuck919
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Re: CPE Bach Heilig Cantata

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:14 pm

CPE Bach is a somewhat underrated composer. He exists on the cusp between the Baroque and the Classical. He is responsible for his father's invitation to the court of Fredrick the Great, which eventually resulted in the Musical Offering. You should read the book Evening in the Palace of Reason. I don't believe for a moment that Emmanuel Bach intentionally tricked his immortal father by presenting him with a difficult fugue subject, but it is still an interesting read. Some have suggested that Bach's great partita for solo flute was actually by this son of his. I don't know how to evaluate this, but it is possible.


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

Lance
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Re: CPE Bach Heilig Cantata

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:47 pm

I have listened to CPE Bach's Hellig, Wq 217. The recording I have appears in a five-CD boxed set on the Capriccio label [7100] in a set entitled "Sacred Music of the Bach Family" issued in 2011. Music from many BACHS appears in the set. But I am curious about something. I am not sure if the "complete" cantata is here. What I have is the Arietta, "Herr, wert, dass Scharen der Engel dir dienen," and the Chorus, "Hellig ist Gott, der Herr Zebaoth." These two sections last about seven minutes? I find the two excerpts most interesting and appealing, however, this cannot be all there is, true?

Can you tell me a little bit more about HELLIG? Indeed, I have the big Brilliant boxed set that contains much of the work by CPE Bach, but oddly, not HELLIG.
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barney
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Re: CPE Bach Heilig Cantata

Post by barney » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:09 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:14 pm
CPE Bach is a somewhat underrated composer. He exists on the cusp between the Baroque and the Classical. He is responsible for his father's invitation to the court of Fredrick the Great, which eventually resulted in the Musical Offering. You should read the book Evening in the Palace of Reason. I don't believe for a moment that Emmanuel Bach intentionally tricked his immortal father by presenting him with a difficult fugue subject, but it is still an interesting read. Some have suggested that Bach's great partita for solo flute was actually by this son of his. I don't know how to evaluate this, but it is possible.

I greatly enjoyed that book, and oddly mentioned it to the composer Brett Dean on Saturday because his next work is going to be a companion piece to the sixth Brandenburg Concerto. I love the picture of the exhausted J.S, arriving at the town gates and being summoned to Frederick's presence without the chance to rest, and composing fugues on the spot. Why don't you believe CPE made it tricky?

jbuck919
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Re: CPE Bach Heilig Cantata

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:05 am

It is not that difficult a subject. Bach improvised a three-voice fugue on it for Frederick the Great, already an incredible accomplishment. Then he went home and wrote the greatest keyboard fugue of all time.


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

diegobueno
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Re: CPE Bach Heilig Cantata

Post by diegobueno » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:41 pm

I just want to post a link to a performance of this work for anyone who hasn't heard it. I hadn't heard it or heard of it until today. What's really striking about this piece is the way he will suddenly switch keys, bolt out of the blue, with no preparation or transition. He does this repeatedly.


jbuck919
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Re: CPE Bach Heilig Cantata

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:22 am

Here is another Heilig, by Mendelssohn. Though Mark and others here undoubtedly know it, it is not commonly known. This performance is not perfect, but I could not find a better one on YouTube. I've sung it twice in my life, and in fact it is one of the reasons I have perfect German singing pronunciation, which falls slightly short here. It is an exact translation of the Sanctus from the ordinary of the Mass.


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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