Discussion:
Most beautiful choral composition by Bach?
(too old to reply)
MusicLover
2007-05-05 20:51:03 UTC
Permalink
I have some knowledge of Bach, but mostly about his keyboard works. I
want to introduce a friend to Bach's most gorgeous choral piece(s). I
know that the "Qui Tollis Peccata" & "Kyrie Eleison" from his Mass in
B minor are lovely, but am sure that there are even more extraordinary
works that I'm not familiar with.

Could someone please suggest Bach choral pieces that are either:

1) ethereal, heavenly

2) exceptionally beautiful melody (such as "Jesu Joy of Man's Desire")

3) dramatic

or, any combination of the above qualities.

These can be either with choir alone, or with choir plus additional
instrumentation (orchestra, organ, etc.).

I want my friend to say "WOW!" after hearing Papa Bach at his choral
best.

Thanks very much for all suggestions.
Arthur Ness
2007-05-06 02:35:50 UTC
Permalink
Surely the most etherial choral movment would be the opening chorus to
Cantata No.8, "Liebster Gott, wann werd'ich sterben." In spite of the
words, it is a musical depiction of Heaven's pastures.
=========================================================================
Post by MusicLover
I have some knowledge of Bach, but mostly about his keyboard works. I
want to introduce a friend to Bach's most gorgeous choral piece(s). I
know that the "Qui Tollis Peccata" & "Kyrie Eleison" from his Mass in
B minor are lovely, but am sure that there are even more extraordinary
works that I'm not familiar with.
1) ethereal, heavenly
2) exceptionally beautiful melody (such as "Jesu Joy of Man's Desire")
3) dramatic
or, any combination of the above qualities.
These can be either with choir alone, or with choir plus additional
instrumentation (orchestra, organ, etc.).
I want my friend to say "WOW!" after hearing Papa Bach at his choral
best.
Thanks very much for all suggestions.
Jean-Francois Gobin
2007-05-06 20:38:28 UTC
Permalink
You could also try the "Gute Nacht" from Mottet "Jesu, Meine Freunde"
Andrew Schulman
2007-05-09 00:49:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Arthur Ness
Surely the most etherial choral movment would be the opening chorus to
Cantata No.8, "Liebster Gott, wann werd'ich sterben." In spite of the
words, it is a musical depiction of Heaven's pastures.
Gorgeous!

Andrew
Arthur Ness
2007-05-09 10:01:42 UTC
Permalink
Yes. It's in 12/8 meter and pizzicato strings depict the clicking of the
clock. It stops abruptly after 68 measures. One of the greatest of Bach's
musical landscapes.
===============================================
Post by Andrew Schulman
Post by Arthur Ness
Surely the most etherial choral movment would be the opening chorus to
Cantata No.8, "Liebster Gott, wann werd'ich sterben." In spite of the
words, it is a musical depiction of Heaven's pastures.
Gorgeous!
Andrew
Thomas Wood
2007-05-07 23:33:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by MusicLover
I have some knowledge of Bach, but mostly about his keyboard works. I
want to introduce a friend to Bach's most gorgeous choral piece(s). I
know that the "Qui Tollis Peccata" & "Kyrie Eleison" from his Mass in
B minor are lovely, but am sure that there are even more extraordinary
works that I'm not familiar with.
1) ethereal, heavenly
2) exceptionally beautiful melody (such as "Jesu Joy of Man's Desire")
3) dramatic
or, any combination of the above qualities.
These can be either with choir alone, or with choir plus additional
instrumentation (orchestra, organ, etc.).
I want my friend to say "WOW!" after hearing Papa Bach at his choral
best.
Thanks very much for all suggestions.
For ethereal, you could hardly beat "Suscepit Israel" from the Magnificat.
While it's really meant to be a trio, in most recordings it's sung chorally,
with all the sopranos and altos.

And for dramatic, there's not much better than the "Fecit potentiam" chorus
from the Magnificat.

One of the most tuneful choruses is the opening movement of "Erschallet, Ihr
Lieder," Cantata 172. Who wouldn't love that?

Tom Wood
sagespath
2007-05-16 03:50:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Wood
Post by MusicLover
I have some knowledge of Bach, but mostly about his keyboard works. I
want to introduce a friend to Bach's most gorgeous choral piece(s). I
know that the "Qui Tollis Peccata" & "Kyrie Eleison" from his Mass in
B minor are lovely, but am sure that there are even more extraordinary
works that I'm not familiar with.
1) ethereal, heavenly
2) exceptionally beautiful melody (such as "Jesu Joy of Man's Desire")
3) dramatic
or, any combination of the above qualities.
These can be either with choir alone, or with choir plus additional
instrumentation (orchestra, organ, etc.).
I want my friend to say "WOW!" after hearing Papa Bach at his choral
best.
Thanks very much for all suggestions.
For ethereal, you could hardly beat "Suscepit Israel" from the Magnificat.
While it's really meant to be a trio, in most recordings it's sung chorally,
with all the sopranos and altos.
And for dramatic, there's not much better than the "Fecit potentiam" chorus
from the Magnificat.
One of the most tuneful choruses is the opening movement of "Erschallet, Ihr
Lieder," Cantata 172. Who wouldn't love that?
Tom Wood
Thank you for recommending the Magnificat. I'm writing out the
continuo part .

Lawrence
2007-05-09 05:27:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by MusicLover
I have some knowledge of Bach, but mostly about his keyboard works. I
want to introduce a friend to Bach's most gorgeous choral piece(s). I
know that the "Qui Tollis Peccata" & "Kyrie Eleison" from his Mass in
B minor are lovely, but am sure that there are even more extraordinary
works that I'm not familiar with.
1) ethereal, heavenly
2) exceptionally beautiful melody (such as "Jesu Joy of Man's Desire")
3) dramatic
or, any combination of the above qualities.
These can be either with choir alone, or with choir plus additional
instrumentation (orchestra, organ, etc.).
I want my friend to say "WOW!" after hearing Papa Bach at his choral
best.
Thanks very much for all suggestions.
A number of choruses from the Mass in B Minor qualify as among Bach's
greatest movements, more so in my opinion than the opening Kyrie
Eleison. Please try 'Gloria In Excelsis Deo' from the Gloria section,
which is immediately followed by 'Et in terra pax hominibus bonae
voluntatis.' in one of the greatest one-two punch knockouts in music
history. The whole series of choruses which surround the crucifixion
movement 'Crucifixus' on either side are sublime as a set. A great
favorite of mine for many years has been the movement just at the
middle of the Mass, ending the first half, 'Cum Sancto Spiritu' which
I believe is one of Bach's most towering accomplishments, a use of
very complex polyphony in a driving piece of great emotion and power,
climaxed by a triplet figure in the high trumpet that still gives me
goose bumps after 55 years. The Mass in B Minor in general is too
overlooked by Bach fans and contains a first rate feast of the
Master's greatest choruses in general. A reason for its overlooking is
that not all the arias are of first quality and bog it down a little.
Skip the arias if you will but listen to every chorus. You will not
find much greater Bach, period.
Richard Crist
2007-05-10 02:59:21 UTC
Permalink
I'm not sure that it'd make your friend say "WOW!" after first hearing, but
"O Mensch, bewein dein Sunde gross" from the St. Matthew Passion is just
great.

Richard
sagespath
2007-05-13 09:07:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by MusicLover
I have some knowledge of Bach, but mostly about his keyboard works. I
want to introduce a friend to Bach's most gorgeous choral piece(s). I
know that the "Qui Tollis Peccata" & "Kyrie Eleison" from his Mass in
B minor are lovely, but am sure that there are even more extraordinary
works that I'm not familiar with.
1) ethereal, heavenly
2) exceptionally beautiful melody (such as "Jesu Joy of Man's Desire")
3) dramatic
or, any combination of the above qualities.
These can be either with choir alone, or with choir plus additional
instrumentation (orchestra, organ, etc.).
I want my friend to say "WOW!" after hearing Papa Bach at his choral
best.
Thanks very much for all suggestions.
Bach wrote about 300 cantatas, about 150 of which have survived. I
grew up with recordings mostly by the Bach Guild, Hermann Scherchen
and Karl Richter. They are all worth listening to and extremely
diverse in their moods and orchestration.
To maximize your appreciation and understanding of how they fit into
Bach's overall plan I would study the Orgelbuchlein (as Albert
Schweitzer suggested in his biography of the composer).
"Everything begins with the chorale." Settings of the ancient
melodies were done in such a way as to harmonize them to maximize the
meaning of the text. The Orgelbuchlein (a collection of 46 short
preludes is rich in poetic symbolism. As the cantatas all include a
chorale, their character can be appreciated by knowing the organ
pieces first.
A few years ago, a previously undiscovered collection of early organ
preludes (from 1706) turned up and was now at Yale. These were
composed shortly after Bach's return from his study with Dietrich
Buxtehude. I don't know if they have been recorded but this must be a
major find as previously there were many more cantatas than chorales.
Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...