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Monday, August 02, 2004
  Cantata: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, 7. Chorale: Gloria sei dir gesungen
Johann Sebastian Bach
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 6 Track 12

"Parting requires songs; when you meet, there are better things to do!" This was the line in Solzhenitsyn's book that explained the abundance of sad songs compared to the lack of happy tunes. I am not sure there is a lack of happy tunes. Perhaps, like the injuries that they heal, sad songs are simply more memorable. Listeners do not always need happy music and writing it runs the risk of sounding trivial. It is impressive that Bach was able to write about his joys so fearlessly.

What better way to conclude this happy morning entertainment then a rousing chorale in E flat Major (the happiest of all keys)! The advantage of this key being that the sopranos can stretch up to their high 'g' landing on a lusty third of the chord. The tune is one listener's would leave humming, as they crossed the street to the pasty shop, perhaps. Also, the square, unshakable shape of this chorale is a sound that goes very well with coffee post sermon.

What I like about this jubilant conclusion is the effectiveness of the German bar form. Perhaps my ears have become too accustom to ABA narratives. It is surprising to me how assertively the reiteration of the first section encourages the listener to applaud.

Read also about banana jam and other delights in Martinique from Mwanji Ezana, Charles T. Downey's recommended Janáček reading, bad opera from Jens F. Laurson, and how Jessica Duchen escaped "Creepy Crawly." Also, a new nausea.
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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