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Bach Perspectives, Volume 8

J.S. Bach and the Oratorio Tradition

Daniel R, Melamed

Publication Year: 2011

As the official publication of the American Bach Society, Bach Perspectives has pioneered new areas of research in the life, times, and music of Bach since its first appearance in 1995. Volume 8 of Bach Perspectives emphasizes the place of Bach's oratorios in their repertorial context. _x000B__x000B_Christoph Wolff suggests the possibility that Bach's three festive works for Christmas, Easter, and Ascension Day form a coherent group linked by liturgy, chronology, and genre. Daniel R. Melamed considers the many ways in which Bach's passion music was influenced by the famous poetic passion of Barthold Heinrich Brockes. Markus Rathey examines the construction and role of oratorio movements that combine chorales and poetic texts (chorale tropes). Kerala Snyder shows the connections between Bach's Christmas Oratorio and one of its models, Buxtehude's Abendmusiken spread over many evenings. Laurence Dreyfus argues that Bach thought instrumentally in the composition of his passions at the expense of certain aspects of the text. And Eric Chafe demonstrates the contemporary theological background of Bach's Ascension Oratorio and its musical realization.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Bach Perspectives


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Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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p. v

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pp. vii-viii

Versions of the first four essays in this collection were presented at the American Bach Society’s conference “Bach and the Oratorio Tradition” held in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in May 2008, a meeting that emphasized the place of Bach’s oratorios in their repertorial context,,,


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p. ix

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Under the Spell of Opera? Bach's Oratorio Trilogy

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pp. 1-12

The first summary catalogue of Johann Sebastian Bach’s works from his obituary (1750/54) begins with a listing of the vocal compositions and sorts them into four groups. Whereas the first, third, and fourth consist of clearly defined types of compositions (church cantatas, passions, and motets), the second resembles a catch-all collection that lumps together “many...

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Johann Sebastian Bach and Barthold Heinrich Brockes

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pp. 13-41

Johann Sebastian Bach never joined the likes of Reinhard Keiser, Georg Philipp Telemann, Georg Friedrich Händel, Johann Mattheson, Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, and Johann Friedrich Fasch in setting the most influential passion text of the early eighteenth century, “Der...

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Drama and Discourse: The Form and Function of Chorale Tropes in Bach's Oratorios

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pp. 42-68

Classical drama in the Aristotelian tradition demanded unity of time and space. Drama theorists in the eighteenth century emphasized this repeatedly in their treatises. The Leipzig poet Johann Christoph Gottsched (1700–1766) pointed out that tragedy had...

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Oratorio on Five Afternoons: From the Lubeck Abendmusiken to Bach's Christmas Oratorio

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pp. 69-95

Most oratorios, like most operas, are performed within a single day as measured by real time in the theater, church, or oratory, regardless of the dramatic time that might be portrayed in their librettos. The Lübeck Abendmusiken and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio...

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The Triumph of "Instrumental Melody": Aspects of Musical Poetics in Bach's St. John Passion

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pp. 96-121

How does J. S. Bach set poetry to music? It is not a question one asks very often. Yet if we want to understand Bach’s aims in his vocal music, we need to pay attention to his attitudes toward poetic verse, querying the compositional actions he takes with respect to it. It is fair to say—despite the proliferating interpretations treating Bach’s passions..

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Bach's Ascension Oratorio: God's Kingdoms and Their Representation

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pp. 122-146

As is well known, Bach’s Ascension Oratorio, “Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen” bwv 11, composed in all probability in 1735, follows a pattern that is very close to that of its much more extended sister work, the Christmas Oratorio, composed a few months earlier for the 1734–35 Christmas season. In part it is parodied from earlier secular cantatas, and its...


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pp. 147-148

General Index

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pp. 149-150

Index of Bach's Compositions

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pp. 151-152

Index of Other Compositions

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p. 153

Publication Information

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p. 154

E-ISBN-13: 9780252090219
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252035845

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Bach Perspectives
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OCLC Number: 719415337
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Bach Perspectives, Volume 8

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Bach, Johann Sebastian, -- 1685-1750 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. Weihnachts-Oratorium.
  • Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. Johannespassion.
  • Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen.
  • Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. Oratorios.
  • Oratorios -- Analysis, appreciation.
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