Although some people argued that an operatic style allowed composers to arouse the emotions contained in the Passion story, other Lutherans preferred old-fashioned styles such as motets that conveyed solemnity and devotion. The polarised opinions aroused by pieces similar to the St John Passion can be sensed from two accounts of the time.
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Gottfried Ephraim Scheibel claimed that performing Passions in an operatic style was a way to attract large congregations to church:. I marvelled how diligently people listened and how devoutly they sang along; it was the moving music that contributed the most to this, and even though the service lasted more than four hours, everyone stayed until it was over. But of course there were also such spirits as take pleasure in such vain aberrations, especially if they are of a sanguine nature and are given to voluptuousness.
Or to take another example, oratorios with librettos by Brockes had abandoned in "Betrachte, mein Seel" "Consider, O my soul" the the scriptural text altogether. Biblical text in the St John Passion. The further layers of text, creating a rich in such vain aberrations, poetic framework for the music. For instance, the first Christian Gerber a local theologian. The constant back after the scourging are compared to "the most interplay between the three levels of text in the beautiful of rainbows" and described as a "symbol Passion — the Bible, the ornate poetry for the arias,.
Programme note continued and the chorale texts — multiplies the significance of the narrative, increasing its richness and poignance. There are fewer arias than being felt by individuals at lute evoked the otherin the St Matthew Passion, restricting various points in the story.
Sometimes arias in the Passion.
In Jesus. Although Bach was always keen to experiment with unusual sonorities, here he also followed the standard scorings associated with funerals.
The viola da gamba and the lute were both quiet instruments, increasing falling into obsolescence in an age that valued more powerful sounds. Their delicate timbre evoked the other-worldly experience of death, increasing the intensity of the pivotal arias in the Passion. Here the key turns to D major, and the voice and strings imitate the fanfares of trumpets on the words "Der Held aus Juda siegt mit Mach" "The hero from Judah triumphs with might".
Despite the many operatic elements in the arias of the Passion, Bach also retained aspects of Lutheran. The congregation would have recognised the tunes and words of the chorales, which were used regularly in private devotion during the 18th century as well as in church services. It is unclear if the congregation actually sang the chorales — which are often stated in unsuitable keys for untrained voices, or with the melody shrouded by complicated harmonies — but they doubtless would have recited the words quietly to themselves during the performance.
Bach also asserted his Lutheran heritage in the extended choruses that act as the opening and penultimate movements. The opening chorus takes as its starting-point words from Psalm 8 — "Herr unser. Herrscher, dessen Ruhm in allen Landen herrlich ist" "O Lord our governor, how excellent is thy name in all the world" — but the mood is one of foreboding, created by the swirling figures in the strings and the interlocking dissonance in the woodwind.
Further agitation is caused by the pulsing pedal notes in the bass and the rising sequences in the voices. By contrast, the penultimate movement, "Ruht wohl", is a gentle triple-time dance, with falling figures suggesting the lowering of Christ into the grave. Indeed, its key of C minor was associated by Baroque theorists with sleep in this case, the sleep of death. By deploying his substantial ensemble in highly affective movements such as these choruses, Bach offered an unprecedented experience for his congregation in Leipzig.
Such repeated revisions were not unusual in early 18th-century music; a composer would adapt a piece to the performers available, as well as to possible external factors such as the tastes of the audience or patron. Some of the revisions, particularly the version, go beyond simple adaptation as to change entirely the overall shape and narrative dynamic of the work.
And in addition to the four versions that can be associated with specific performances, Bach also began a major revision of his autograph score of the St John Passion around This revision was. It uses the same order of movements as the version that is the normal choice for modern performances. But there are many small differences in the melodic writing, which is less elaborate than in subsequent versions. The vocal lines in the arias tend to have plain leaps rather than florid stepwise ornamentation.
The counter-tenor and tenor parts in the chorales are less prominent, moving in the same rhythms as the outer parts rather than containing their own faster counter-melodies. The surviving parts suggest that Bach used a small orchestra in the version, giving an intimacy. To balance this substantial new first movement, he closed the version with a choral setting of the German Agnes Dei "Christe du Lamm Gottes". Subsequently Bach removed many of these insertions, in part to differentiate the work from the St Matthew Passion.
The different versions of the St John Passion usually remain hidden in the appendix of the complete edition, as an object purely of scholarly interest. Both the St John and St Matthew Passions feature prominently, in his schedule and he is celebrated as perhaps the finest Evangelist of his generation. A prolific and versatile recitalist, James enjoys imaginative programming, working with pianists including Julius Drake, Malcolm Martineau and most notably Anna Tilbrook, with whom he celebrated 20 years of collaboration last year.
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A former Cambridge choral scholar, he went on to study singing at the Royal Academy of Music. He recently made his Broadway debut in a revival of his westend theatre project, Farinelli and the King, with Mark Rylance. This season sees his debut in the title role of Idomeneo. First of all, what is a viola da gamba?
The gamba may look similar to the cello from distance but it is from a different family.
It seems that one day, during the second half of the 15th century, somebody in Spain thought of playing a guitar-like instrument called a Vihuela with a bow! What a good idea it was! Like many other instruments, the gamba's shapes and sizes were very variable depending on the time and place. I am playing a bass seven-string gamba, a French model. Also there seems to be always someone playing throughout the centuries.
Some say the gamba's sound was too delicate or quiet for the ever-increasing size of the concert salon or hall during the course of the 18th century. I do not agree with this. Or simply, composers prefered to write for fashionable and powerful cellos. Do you play other instruments? Yes, I studied the piano until I met the gamba at the age of ListBuilder Search books, manage lists and send your order online.
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