Bach’s Birthday today
We are celebrating Bach’s 332nd birthday today, born on 21 March 1685 at Eisenach in eastern Germany. At different times, Bach and Martin Luther attended the same school in the town.
In the words of ABBA, quite simply “Thank you for the music”.
Bach at Passiontide
Music organisations across the land and overseas, in towns, cities, in local churches and on international concert hall stages will be eagerly anticipating their performances of a surviving Passion composed nearly 300 years ago now. The 17th and 18th century Lutheran congregation expected to hear a musical setting of Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion performed in the context of the Liturgy for Good Friday and provided by their Cantor.
Bach composed three Passion settings, all dating from his Leipzig tenure
- Matthäus-Passion BWV 244, dating from 1727, possibly earlier
- Johannes-Passion BWV 245, surviving in four versions, dating from 1724
- Markus-Passion BWV 247, mostly lost, although Picander’s text has survived and there have been various reconstructions made. Performed at Leipzig on Good Friday 1731
A fourth, Lukas-Passion BWV 246, was once attributed to Bach, but is now regarded as apocryphal.
Whether it is for the uplift and joy singing and playing them or for private meditation and contemplation in listening to them, somehow this time of year would not be the same without Bach’s Passions.
Here are some useful websites that will list performances near you this season.
www.bachtrack.com www.concert-diary.com www.classicalevents.co.uk
Concert Listings – Our policy
We are receiving an ever-increasing volume of requests to provide free listings or engage in reciprocal marketing for one-off Bach concerts or designated series, festivals and on-going projects, so it will be helpful to Promoters to know about our policy. For our reciprocal marketing policy, please go to the Contact & Governance page.
From William Whitehead and his Orgelbüchlein Project
To celebrate the LBS 70th Anniversary last November, William Whitehead gave the world première of a specially commissioned chorale prelude from leading British composer Diana Burrell. The commission was generously donated by LBS Council Chairman Richard Jones and was the LBS contribution to William’s imaginative project to complete Bach’s original plan. He writes….
“The Orgelbüchlein Project, to which LBS contributed magnificently with their commission from Diana Burrell, continues to flourish. The endpoints are in sight, with a major London festival (!!) featuring the Project on August 20th this year and the final three commissions to be heard at the Festival Hall in April 2018. Louis Andriessen’s contribution was recently heard at St John’s Cambridge, and Sir Harrison Birtwistle continues to ponder whether it is something he can contribute to. With such grandees now turning their attention to the Project, the publication in Six Volumes be Peters Edition will represent an ever-increasingly important collection. The first volume is due out in May 2017, and the other five will follow over the next 18 months. Diana Burrell’s will fall in Volume 3, slated for January 2018.”
Paul Steinitz to be inscribed in the Book of Remembrance
LBS founder-conductor Paul Steinitz is among this year’s distinguished musicians to be honoured in the Book of Remembrance that has been created and maintained by the Friends of the Musicians Chapel, St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, in the City of London since 1957.
The annual Service of Thanksgiving for those newly inscribed into the Book of Remembrance in the Musicians’ Chapel will take place Tuesday 2nd May 2017 at 6.00pm sung by the Choir of the Royal Academy of Music directed by Patrick Russill. The preacher is The Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr John Hall. All are welcome to attend.
This is a very fitting tribute to Dr Steinitz (1909-1988) who not only founded the London Bach Society and Steinitz Bach Players, but also served as Director of Music at St Bartholomew-the-Great, West Smithfield (1949-1961), just around the corner from the Musicians Chapel. His memorial is in the historic Cloister there.
If you are not yet a Bach Friend of the London Bach Society, why not make it this year to join us and help make things happen? Bach Friends support the annual Bachfest and our annual programme of work. You can become a Bach Friend from as little as £50. For more information and to join go to our Bach Friends’ page. Gift Aid may be applied to all donations if you are a UK Tax Payer. and all donations are acknowledged.
A new Biography of Martin Luther
For details of this new biography by Oxford Regius Professor of Modern History, Lyndal Roper, go to Bachfest 2017 Section and visit the Martin Luther page.
A New Page
Bach’s Choir today, Thomanerchor Leipzig. Using the navigation, scroll down to their own page in our Bachfest 2017 section and click on the link to view their latest brochure.
LBS e-Bach Notes
The second of our 2017 Bi-monthly editions is being prepared for emailing in mid-March. If you would like your name to be added to this list to keep in touch then all you have to do is send us an email request with “E-Bach Notes list” in the subject bar to email@example.com . Cut and paste the email address into your own email.
In the meantime, keep in touch with us via our Website, Facebook and Twitter www.twitter.com/bachlive
LBS Bach Notes Journal (printed version)
The next printed edition of our Journal will be published on 1 September 2017 in a new extended version, full colour, with a special focus on the LBS 27th Bachfest complemented by some articles and features from the wider world of Bach. Copies are distributed free by post, email and at various pick-up points in central London (Libraries, Churches, Conservatoires among them). If you would like to receive a copy then just send us an email request firstname.lastname@example.org. Cut and paste our email address into your own email
Click on the link to download your copy of the latest Bach Notes 2016 BACH NOTES Autumn Edition
Martin Luther, Theologian, Reformer, Musician
“Revisiting Luther’s time and advocacies will help to put them into perspective, understand them better, even answer questions that have remained unanswered for centuries perhaps. Whatever the conclusions, whatever he did and believed, however controversial (…and he was!) Martin Luther was a towering figure….and his undoubted influence on Bach’s life and music is reflected in the composer’s repertory.” MS For the full article click on the link below.
Our next e-Bach Notes:
The next edition of our bi-monthly e-Bach Notes will be emailed in mid February. If you would like y our name to be added to our e-List, then email us: email@example.com. Cut and paste the address into your own email.
New Article and Mark the dates
Our next Bachfest will be in the period 29 October-12 November 2017 and includes the biennial Bach Singers prize competition.
Our upgraded Journal will be published in September 2017 and circulated free.
Website pages regularly updated.
Bach Singers Prize Update updated 5 January 2017
The LBS Bach Singers Prize is presented every two years, so the next one is due in the autumn 2017. The competition is open to postgraduate singers, either still studying or at the beginning of their careers, in the age range 21-32 years at the date of the Final (November 2017). If you wish to receive advance information please email us by clicking on the icon below or emails us firstname.lastname@example.org a(Cut and paste the address into your own email) and we shall add your details to our email list
Our 2015 Finalists’ reaction to The Competition ” …we were all saying how brilliant it is for those of us who love singing Bach to have a platform to perform music we love in such a wonderful setting with a brilliant orchestra.”
NEW: 2013 Bach Singers Prize Winner Nick Pritchard has been voted Breakthrough Artist in the 2017 Opera Poll
Make your pledge
We are delighted that donors are coming forward to make their Prize pledges for the next competition. Would you like to be one of our Prize Donors? The total Prize fund to be raised is £4,000. Help us to make a difference to a young singer’s career by supporting the Prizes to be won. Click on the link to download how to make your pledge. BACHFEST 2017 SINGERS PRIZE PLEDGES
Professor Peter Williams (1937-2016)
The death has been announced of the British Bach scholar Professor Peter Williams aged 78. One of the most respected writers on Bach over the past half-century, Peter Williams was a former Professor and Dean of Music at the University of Edinburgh and Emeritus Arts and Sciences Professor of Music at Duke University, North Carolina. There will be many an organist today brought up on Williams’ three volumes “The Organ Music of J S Bach” published between 1981-1984 where, among other thought-provoking statements, he dared to suggest that the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 was not by Bach. He was also a close friend of one of the world’s most respected and gifted interpreters of Bach’s organ works, Dr. Peter Hurford, regularly attending the St. Albans Organ Festival & Competition founded by Hurford in 1963.
Always fascinated by every aspect and joining our frustrations that so little in the way of letters and documents have survived that give us greater knowledge of Bach’s life and work, Williams became author-turned-detective, using segments of the Bach Obituary to delve deeper and in the process to offer further insight that moved away from the deferential and towards the more human. It was this that inspired Williams’ biography of the composer “The Life of Bach” published in 2004 expanded to “J S Bach: A Life in Music” published in 2007, these two volumes a culmination perhaps of his own life’s work from which many across the globe have benefitted. While Bach scholarship is continually being advanced, Williams’ books will remain a significant reference point for all students of the composer and form part of the legacy of expertise and knowledge handed on to new generations.
Peter Williams’ books are published by Cambridge University Press www.cambridge.org. Visit our Books page for information on a new Bach book by Professor Williams published after his death. Margaret Steinitz