Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

April 18, 2014

music for Maundy Thursday – Johann Friedrich Fasch: “Mich vom Stricke meiner Sünden” (Passio Jesu Christi, FWV F:1)

by ada

For Maundy Thursday (is there any part of the world where it is still Thursday?) let’s have another version of the Brockes-Passion, composed by another Bach-contemporary and former Sängerknabe of the famous Thomasschule of Leipzig, Johann Friedrich Fasch. Although they have not met at Leipzig (having been at the same age, Fasch just finished his study years ten years before Bach arrived to begin his teaching career at a position that was originally intended for Fasch); their sons, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Karl Friedrich Christian Fasch were friends and even roommates when both employed at the Potsdam court of Friedrich the Great. Their job was to play continuo for the king, a flute player and amateur composer himself, whose teacher was Johann Joachim Quantz, the author of the the bible of all traverso players of all times (myself included), Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen, which is an endless source of information on the performance practice of the first half of the 18th century. 

Back to Papa Fasch – although he composed numerous cantatas and some other vocal works, this is his only oratorio. The opening movement is a nice choral in a polyphonic setting, the violins doubled with oboes, which is a great plus in my eyes. The voice of the Baroque oboe is one of the (very few) things that make life bearable.  

Two years ago I posted Pater dimitte illis from the oratorio Agonia di Cristo (Le Ultime Sette Parole) by Niccolò Jommelli with some stunning obligato bassoon part. Last year’s music for Maundy Thursday was Jesus in Gethsemane by Francesco Antonio Rosetti, which unfortunately seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth YouTube since then. That’s what happens to good music in our days. I am so sad.   

April 16, 2014

music for Holy Wednesday – Jan Dismas Zelenka: Lamentatio I pro Hebdomana sancta, ZWV 53

by ada

According to my own tradition I’m supposed to post something French today. Two years ago I wrote about the most beautiful Tenebrae music of all times, Troisième Leçon de Ténèbres pour deux voix composed by the 18th century royal harpsichord teacher François Couperin. Last year it was Leçon de Mercredi by another royal harpsichord teacher, Michel Delalande. I can’t make up my heart to leave my eternal love and longterm imaginary boyfriend, Jan Dismas Zelenka completely out of this year’s series though, so for Holy Wednesday let’s listen to one of his beautiful lamentations, Lamentatio I pro Habdomana sancta, based upon Prophet Jeremiah’s laments. While it’s definitely not French music, it fits the Tenebrae-tradition perfectly. 

April 16, 2014

music for Holy Tuesday – Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel: Brockes-Passion

by ada

I again feel overwhelmed by the amount of beautiful music composed for this special time of the year – I wish I could listen to the Bach-Passions all the time and call it done without missing out on everything that led to them: the smaller composers and their small steps on the way to Bach’s perfection. Fortunately I have a thing for small composers and their imperfect music that makes me happy without making me hate myself (which is the case if I listen to too much Bach at a time, haha). So for Holy Tuesday let’s have a so-called “small composer”, Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, Bach’s contemporary who, before ending up as a Kapellmeister at the court of Gotha, travelled through Europe serving in cities like Rome, Prague and Wrocław, made friends with names like Vivaldi, Fasch and Bononcini and gained a reputation in the eyes of his peers as high as Johann Sebastian Bach himself. He even made it into Johann Mattheson‘s Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte*, a collection of contemporary musicians’ biographies. One of his compositions (Bist du bei mir) is included in the collection of small exercise pieces Bach edited together for his son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and that was later passed on to his second wife, Anna Magdalena Bach. Unfortunately only a small amount of Stölzel’s work survived his successor Jiří Antonín Benda‘s  ruthless selection process, who considered the majority of them simply as “useless junk”. 

After Barthold Heinrich Brockes published his libretto Der für die Sünde der Welt gemarterte und sterbende Jesus in 1712, it became quickly a thing of fashion to set it to music. People like Händel, Telemann, Fasch and even Bach (in his Johannespassion) all made their versions of it and so did Stölzel in 1725. His Brockes-Passion has a stunning first and an airy, sweet last movement and some (quite uninteresting but very German Baroque) filling in between. Since it is one of all the twelve of his surviving works, it is really worth listening to.

* Well, he actually submitted himself, because he had a sense of business. But hey, that’s how the world of music works, even today. All you need is the ability to promote yourself in a shameless way and make as much superficial friendships as possible for future use. Being talented and/or a good musician is only an added plus, not the least mandatory.  

PS: in 2012 I posted something Early Italian: the Stabat Mater of Giovanni Felice Sances. In 2013 it was another version of the Brockes-Passion, that of Georg Philipp Telemann

April 14, 2014

music for Holy Monday – aria “Sventurati miei sospiri” from Giovanni Battista Ferrandini’s cantata “Il pianto di Maria”

by ada

The genre of “The Virgin’s Lament”, the passion story told from the perspective of Mary, originates from around the 5th century and has its roots in the Byzantine rite built on that particular teaching of the Council of Ephesus in 431 which declares Mary not only as the mother of Christ but also as the mother of God. It appears in various literary forms and musical settings throughout the centuries, but its purpose is always the same: to express the suffering of a mother who has to watch his son being unjustly killed. 

The aria Sventurati miei sospiri is part of the cantata Il pianto di Maria (Cantata sacra da cantarsi dinanzi al Santo Sepolcro) which, for a very long time was attributed to Georg Friedrich Händel but was actually composed by Giovanni Battista Ferrandini, an 18th century Italian composer. I really would love to share the intimate details of his life here but unfortunately the only sensational thing ever happened to him was having the 15-year-old Mozart play at his house while on one of his Wunderkind-tours in 1771.

Last year’s music for Holy Monday was the choir movement He smote all the first-born of Egypt from Georg Friedrich Händel‘s oratorio Israel in Egypt.

April 14, 2014

music for Palm Sunday – 1. Choral from Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” (BWV 1)

by ada

The time has come again for the Holy Week Series, for the third year in a row. I’m sure you all are as happy as I am to witness my musicology writer career blossoming, haha. I am kind of late with Palm Sunday music though since we’re already deep into Holy Monday, but life has been pretty busy lately and left me no time for this blog.

I had a weird Palm Sunday, so I decided to post a similarly weird music, because I am vindictive.

The only cantata Johann Sebastian Bach ever composed for Palm Sunday is the cantata Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (BWV 182) which I have already posted last year. At the times Bach served in Leipzig, the practice of tempus clausum (closed time), which means that during the weeks of Lent and Advent no festivities and also no music at the liturgy other than Passion plays are allowed, was kept quite strictly. The only exception was the ceremony of Annunciation which, in the year 1725, fell exactly on Palm Sunday. This, and the fact that the text (written by Philipp Nicolai in 1597, btw) also mentions Jesus as the Son of David, makes this cantata perfectly eligible for Palm Sunday in my eyes; even if it has nothing to do with Lent at all. I am a free spirit, if it comes to interpreting music written for liturgical purposes. I can sell you the Christmas Oratorio as a perfect fit for Easter Monday, so watch out.

December 25, 2013

music for Christmas Eve – Jakub Jan Ryba: Česká mše vánoční – Hej, mistře!

by ada

The first movement of the traditional (and very famous) Czech pastoral mass of Jakub Šimon Jan Ryba. With cute animations; because we are talking Baby Jesus here. In a proper Central European manner.

December 1, 2013

music for the 1st Sunday of Advent – Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland”, BWV 62

by ada

The great success (ha! ha! two whole page views per day!) of the Holy Week Series inspired me to expand my musicology writer career to another part of the liturgical year: Advent and Christmas. You’re welcome.

Before the depression I had a thing for no-name German composers that didn’t really make it into the musical canon, like Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer or Cajetan Anton Adlgasser. Well, it’s over.* I’m all “all we need is Bach” nowadays. So for now, Johann Sebastian Bach it is, the cantata he’s composed for the first day of Advent in 1724; on the German translation of the ancient Ambrosian hymn Veni Redemptor Gentium.

* My interest in early music also seems to vanish very quickly. I hope, I will recover someday. Having spent 8 years of my life with something I can’t even enjoy anymore would be sort of tragic.

August 16, 2013

there is no greater love

by ada
July 7, 2013

conversations with my coworkers – part 6

by ada

(Sunday morning at my previous workplace. We are having breakfast and doing small talk.)

coworker: I never ever work on Sundays.

me (perplexed): Well, it’s Sunday and you are here, working.

coworker: It doesn’t count. It’s for money. But I never do laundry or vacuuming on Sundays. It’s not allowed. If you work on Sundays, God will punish you. I knew a man, he worked on a Sunday and his pigs got sick, all of them. Then he worked again and his son had a car accident and died. God punished him.

me: Whom did He punish? The son or the father?

coworker: Both of them.

me: It doesn’t make much sense to me. Which religion do you actually belong to?

coworker: I’m a Christian.

me: Oh. I thought Jesus has already dealt with these kind of problems, like working on a Shabbat or punishing sons for the sins of their fathers…

coworker: I don’t know what you are talking about.

me: The Bible. The differences of religious attitude in the Old and the New Testament.

coworker: I haven’t read the Bible. I don’t like reading.

me: Well, you know, there is this story about the Pharisees trying to trick Jesus out and asking him about his healing actions that happened on a Shabbat…

coworker: I don’t know what you are talking about. If you work on Sundays, God will punish you.

me: Like, kill your son?

coworker: That’s the laws.

me: Well, those laws you are referring to were originally meant as a survival guide to a small desert nation in a hostile environment, formulated more than 3300 years ago, on the level of ethical and moral development of a society of those times. There is this hypothesis of comparing the evolution of the human society to the ontogenesis of personality…

coworker: I don’t know what you are talking about. Which nation?

me: The Jews, of course. I’m talking about the practical role of the Ten Commandments in the survival of Judaism under disadvantageous conditions. And about the difference between Judaism and Christianity.

coworker: I don’t get why you are speaking about Jews. These are the laws of God. God made them, not the Jews. God has nothing to do with Jews.

me: You mean, except calling them His own, chosen people? Actually, the problematic of whether the one and only God made the Jewish people or the Jewish people made up the idea of the one and only God is certainly very interesting…

coworker: I don’t know what you are talking about.

me: You know what? This discussion doesn’t make any sense. People should not be allowed to discuss religion on an empty stomach. Let’s have our breakfasts and talk about the weather.

April 1, 2013

music for Easter Monday – Aria “Süß und rein muß der Christen Passah seyn” from the Easter Cantata “Weg mit Sodoms gift’gen Früchten”, TWV1:1534 by Georg Philipp Telemann

by ada

Telemann wrote a whole cycle of cantatas for the liturgical year and published them in a two-bands collection, under the title Der Harmonische Gottesdienst. I chose this aria from the cantata written for Easter Sunday in 1725 for my last post of the Easter series, because I think Telemann was a genius and I like how this short piece of music shows the purity of the new life after the feast of the Resurrection.

P.S.: I don’t really like the singer’s voice, but well, nothing is perfect on Earth. I’ve already learnt to accept the need of making compromises in life.

March 31, 2013

music for Easter Sunday – Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31 by Johann Sebastian Bach

by ada

Today’s music is the first choir, Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret from the cantata of the same title, written by Johann Sebastian Bach for the Easter Sunday of the year 1715, during his Weimar years. I wish I could identify myself with its jubilant atmosphere but well, neither the Heaven laughs nor does the Earth exult, because it actually snows again and I’m already so sick of this winter, it really feels like giving up, lying down and dying. Not exactly that brassy resurrexit-feeling one would like to have on Easter Sunday.

P.S.: Last year’s post was something Hungarian: Surrexit Christus hodie by Esterházy Pál. You can listen to it  here.

March 30, 2013

music for Holy Saturday – Jan Dismas Zelenka: Miserere in с, ZWV 57

by ada

For Holy Saturday (or Great Saturday as we call it in Hungary) is a music that was never intended to be part of the Easter liturgy: the first movement of Jan Dismas Zelenka‘s Miserere, my favourite Miserere of all times. Zelenka is the man I’m seriously planning to marry ever since I’ve first heard his music (that tells a lot about how stormy my love life lately is) (well, at least it isn’t an imaginary affair, because he definitely did exist) (some three hundred years ago, ehem). He was also highly valued by Johann Sebastian Bach who even asked him for some professional advice on composing. And that means something, I dare say. So it’s not just some girly crush – Zelenka was really that cool.

P.S.: Last year’s post about the cantatas Boi Beshalom and Kol HaNeshama by Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti.

March 29, 2013

music for Good Friday – Aria “Es ist vollbracht” from Passio Secundum Johannem, BWV 245 by Johann Sebastian Bach

by ada

Today’s music ist the aria Es ist vollbracht from the St. John’s Passion of Johann Sebastian Bach. It doesn’t need any comments.

P.S.: Find last year’s Good Friday post, Maria (sopra la Carpinese) here.

March 26, 2013

music for Holy Tuesday – Georg Philipp Telemann: Brockes Passion TWV 5:1

by ada

I have to admit, to pick out only one piece a day from all the beauty that was composed for the Holy Week  is very difficult indeed, even if I restrict myself to those approximately 60 years we call “high Baroque”. I was never good at making decisions and it rapidly got worse with the depression – it’s a pain every time, actually. Mostly I just let things pass and I go with what remains, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. So after a day of hesitation I gave in and chose another famous composer. This time it’s Georg Philipp Telemann, a musician whom I really admire. I wrote about him earlier, so I don’t do it now – writing about music makes me nervous right now, and it’s nothing I was really prepared for. Hope this mood will pass till tomorrow, because Holy Wednesday is French Lamentation Day, and I would  regret if I missed it because of some stupid depression issues.

So for today is an excerpt from Telemann’s Brockes Passion, named after the librettist Barthold Heinrich Brockes. It’s the virtuoso recorder part that made me post it.

P.S.: You can find last year’s music for Holy Tuesday, Stabat Mater from Giovanni Felice Sances, here.

March 24, 2013

music for Palm Sunday – Johann Sebastian Bach: Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (Cantata BWV 182)

by ada

During the Holy Week I will do a music post every day just like I did last year; let’s call it tradition. I will stay strictly Baroque, because that’s where I feel comfortable even if I didn’t touch my instruments since the outbreak of my depression, and that means already one and a half years without playing. I sometimes wonder if I ever will get back to my real life of libraries and awesome music. It seems so far away now.

For Palm Sunday let’s have the king of everything Baroque, Johann Sebastian Bach. He wrote this Cantata almost exactly 300 years ago and it is still more beautiful than most of the music others managed to create during those past 300 years.

March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

by ada

St. Andrä church

St. Andrä church

St. Andrä church

plant in Mirabell

Mirabellgarten

mushrooms in Mirabellgarten

daffodils

great tit

strawberries

laundry

Burano butterfly

February 11, 2013

silent night

by ada

Today I visited the Stille-Nacht-Kapelle, a memorial on the place of the original church where the Christmas hymn Silent Night, composed by  the village teacher Franz Xaver Gruber, was first sung on the Holy Eve of 1818. It’s located in the small city of Oberndorf, just a half-an-hour train ride from Salzburg.

platz

door

Untitled 8

Gruber 2

silent night chapel 2

silent night original scores

Untitled 13

Untitled 3

Gruber

November 28, 2012

365/333

by ada

If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.

 

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