September 1, 2006


Previously Unknown Bach Work Discovered (STEPHEN GRAHAM, August 31, 2006, Associated Press)

A previously unknown work by Johann Sebastian Bach has turned up in a crate of 18th-century birthday cards removed from a German library shortly before it was devastated by fire last year, researchers said Wednesday.

Experts say the work for soprano and string or keyboard accompaniment, composed for a German duke's birthday, is the first new music from the renowned composer to surface in 30 years.

Researcher Michael Maul from the Bach Archiv foundation found the composition, dated October 1713, in May in the eastern city of Weimar. The Leipzig-based foundation said there was no doubt about the authenticity of the handwritten, two-page score.

"It is no major composition but an occasional work in the form of an exquisite and highly refined strophic aria, Bach's only contribution to a musical genre popular in late 17th-century Germany,"said Christoph Wolff, the foundation's director and a professor at Harvard University.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2006 9:28 PM

"It is often times said that when God wishes to hear music, He commands the playing of Bach. When the angels wish it, they request Mozart."

Posted by: jd watson at September 1, 2006 11:09 PM

Ah, but then who requests Beethoven? I suggest perhaps Lucifer, as Beethoven was the beginning of the decline of classical music.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 2, 2006 12:47 PM

Oh, please. As much as I like them, I would trade any of Mozart's fluffy little ditties for nearly anything by Part, Vasks, Silvestrov, Bryars or Reich, to name just five living composers.

Decline? Feh.

Posted by: M. at September 2, 2006 6:08 PM

Why do people say such things as 'Mozart's fluffy little ditties' as if that's all he wrote. Don Giovanni is hardly 'fluffy'.

It has also been said that if Bach sits at God's right hand, Beethoven sits at His left, then Mozart sits on His lap.

Bach is the music of man rising to God.
Mozart is the music of God descending to man.

"The purpose of the universe is Mozart". George Steiner.

Posted by: ligneus at September 2, 2006 8:39 PM

People mention Mozart's "fluffy little ditties" because that epithet covers more than 90% of his output. And even when he did add more weight to his work, more often than not he followed it up with more fluff as if to compensate. You can hear it Don Giovanni; you can hear it in the Requiem.

George Steiner may believe that the purpose of the universe is Mozart. Most later composers seemed to find their inspiration in Bach, occassionally Beethoven (especially among the Romantics), eventually Debussy, even the glut of masters who worked during the Renaissance. Almost none of them found inspiration in Mozart - Tchaikovsky is the only example that comes to mind.

Mozart's music is highly enjoyable. Some of it - the Kyrie from the C minor mass and Symphony No. 41 come to mind - is even profound. Very little of it justifies the reverence the mention of his name seems to inspire.

Now Bach -- that's another matter.

Posted by: M. at September 2, 2006 9:38 PM
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