New issues at the heart of Bach studies
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. In a series long known for its major essays by leading Bach scholars and performers, Bach Perspectives, Volume 6 is no exception.
This volume opens with Joshua Rifkin's seminal study of the early source history of the B-minor orchestral suite. It not only elaborates on Rifkin's discovery that the work in its present form for solo flute goes back to an earlier version in A minor, ostensibly for solo violin, but also takes this discovery as the point of departure for a wide-ranging discussion of the origins and extent of Bach's output in the area of concerted ensemble music.
Jeanne Swack presents an enlightening comparison of Georg Phillip Telemann's and Bach's approach to the French overture as concerted movements in their church cantatas, and Steven Zohn views the B-minor orchestral suite from the standpoint of the "concert en ouverture," responding to Rifkin by suggesting that the early version of the B-minor orchestral suite may also have been scored for flute.
"Joshua Rifkin, whose essay on Bach's Ouverture, BWV 1067 forms the major part of this volume, is one of the most virtuosic scholars in the positivist musicology."--Early Music History
"Anyone concerned with Bach or Telemann scholarship, or even merely with German late-Baroque music, will profit from this book."--Music and Letters
Gregory Butler is a professor of musicology at the University of British Columbia, and the author of Bach's Clavier-Übung III: The Making of a Print.
Jeanne Swack (University of Wisconsin-Madison): the French ouverture as theological signifier in Telemann’s “Jesus sei mein erstes Wort” and “Christ ist erstanden von der Marter alle”
By the early eighteenth century, the French ouverture was well-established in German music as a signifier of both beginnings and of royalty. Both meanings stemmed from its origin as the opening movement of the Lullian tragédie lyrique and ballet, and both translated well into the newly-established genre of the madrigalian cantata, where an opening French ouverture could serve to symbolize beginnings, such as the beginning of the Church year in settings of Neumeister’s “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” by both Bach, as well as the Kingship of God.
Telemann, however, goes beyond Bach’s use of the French ouverture by sometimes composing French ouvertures in unusual positions within his cantatas, and at times juxtaposing chorale tunes onto the French ouverture structure in different ways than Bach does. In this paper, I will treat French ouverture movements from two cantatas by Telemann from his 1715 Neumeister cycle: “Jesus sey mein erstes Wort” ( 5th Sunday after Trinity), a cantata which concludes with a French ouverture as the last of ten movements; and “Christ ist erstanden von der Marter alle” (Easter), a cantata which begins somewhat more expectedly as a French ouverture, but which juxtaposes its archaic chorale tune with the French ouverture structure in an unusual fashion. The overriding consideration in Telemann’s unusual treatment of the French ouverture in each of these cases is his concern with the text, and especially in the case of “Jesus sey mein erstes Wort”, with employing the connotations of the French ouverture as a kind of theological exegesis of the cantata text.