June 09, 2005

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

This is interesting (well, it is to me) - a previously unknown work by Johann Sebastian Bach has been discovered in Weimar, Germany. The short aria for soprano and accompaniment was written by Bach for the celebration of the birthday of Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxony-Weimar, whom Bach served as court organist. It was found last month in a box of birthday cards and other minor documents removed from Weimar's Duchess Anna Amalia library, apparently just before the place burned down.

According to the article, this work, although short, has some historical significance:

The soprano was to sing a 12-stanza poem beginning with the duke's motto, "Everything with God and nothing without him," written by the theologian Johann Anton Mylius.

Bach had composed arias but this work was his only known strophic aria, in which several stanzas are set to the same music. The [Bach Archiv] foundation said its precise date made it valuable to researchers studying the development of the German composer's style.

Plans are already underway for the piece to be recorded by John Eliot Gardiner who, before his ego swelled to the size of the Goodyear Blimp, did some great Baroque work.

By the bye, the article quotes Christoph Wolff, the director of the Bach Archiv foundation and a God among, er, Bachologists. If you want a definitive biography of ol' Johann Sebash, I heartily recommend Wolff's Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician.

Very cool.

Yips! to Lawren K.

UPDATE: Well, I had been looking for an excuse anyway and this story will do. I just ordered:

bach reader.gif

The New Bach Reader: A Life of J.S. Bach In Letters and Documents.

Mmmmm.....primary sources....mmmmmmm.... I'm particularly looking forward to reading some of the letters in which ol' J.S. bitched about money, letters hi-lariously set to music by Peter Schickele in his "Bach Portrait" from the P.D.Q. Bach album 1712 Overture & Other Musical Assaults.

UPDATE DEUX: I rather get the impression that Brian B is excited about the upcoming Oregon Bach Festival. And Chan tipped me off in response to the other day's Beethoven Experience post that the Beeb is going to be running a similar Bach Experience program the week before Christmas.

UPDATE TROIS: Scoop Credit Where Due, Dept. Our pal Rae is happy, as well. I was out of touch yesterday afternoon and missed her post.

Posted by Robert at June 9, 2005 12:21 PM

Already read about it.

You should come visit our Bach Festival some time.

Posted by: Brian B at June 9, 2005 01:44 PM

Sorry, that is to say, You should come visit our Bach Festival some time.

Posted by: Brian B at June 9, 2005 01:45 PM

O.K. O.K. so pouting is really, really bad form, so I won't pout.

Robert, did you happen to catch this? (I need to reset my time as Pixy tweaked some things for me and uploaded my blog files for me, it is stuck on Aussie time. I posted this yesterday around 11:45a).

Posted by: Rae at June 9, 2005 02:41 PM

I actually saw Schickele give a PDQ Bach concert with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra many years ago. Ten minutes after the scheduled start time, all the musicians on stage were getting restless, looking at their watches, etc. A scream was heard way back in the second balcony - Then a long rope came hurling over the railing to the first floor main seating below with the rotund Schickele actually scrambling down the rope in full tux, tails and white hightop sneakers and running to the stage. I never stopped laughing through the entire concert.

Posted by: JWebb at June 9, 2005 03:27 PM

I saw this on the news the other night and the very first thing I thought was "Robbo's going to be SOOOOOO happy."

Do I know you or what? ;)

Posted by: Kathy at June 9, 2005 03:28 PM

Kath - just so long as the same thought doesn't occur whenever a story about Michael Jackson or Paris Hilton comes on!

JWebb - I saw him do exactly the same entrance shtick in San Antonio back in '82 or '83. I've got to believe that if he's still touring, he doesn't do that bit any more.

Posted by: Robert the LB at June 9, 2005 03:50 PM

Robert Greenberg's recorded lectures on Bach and the High Baroque for The Teaching Company are absolute treasures!


Posted by: WitNitt at June 9, 2005 04:23 PM
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