Episode 60. The Bach Aria Group (Full-Figured Baroque I)

Episode 60. The Bach Aria Group (Full-Figured Baroque I)

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Today’s episode, dedicated to historical performances of Johann Sebastian Bach, is the first in an ongoing series I have dubbed “Full-Figured Baroque.” It begins with a bang with the great Canadian soprano Lois Marshall rocketing her way through the opening salvos of “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen,” an apt way to celebrate the US election outcome after a week of even greater anxiety than usual. I describe my love for old-fashioned Bach performance, and why it still speaks to us in a genuine and elevating manner. In particular, I foreground the early years of the Bach Aria Group, founded in 1946 by the American philanthropist and collector William H. Scheide. All the singers in this episode (including Lois Marshall) performed under the aegis of this ensemble, either as members or featured guests: Eileen Farrell, Maureen Forrester, Richard Lewis, Norman Farrow, Mack Harrell, William Warfield, and Jennie Tourel. Many of the great instrumentalists associated with the group are heard in duet with these singers, including Robert Bloom, Samuel Baron, and Bernard Greenhouse. The episode ends with that most radiant of singers, Eleanor Steber, also an occasional guest of the Bach Aria Group in a fleet but full-voiced outpouring of celebratory coloratura.

YouTube Link to the documentary about the Bach Aria Group referenced in the episode:

A Time for Bach (1948)

RECORDINGS HEARD IN THIS EPISODE

Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen (Jauchzet Gott in allen Lande, BWV 51). Lois Marshall; Ernest MacMillan, Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Angenehmer Zephyrus (Zerreißet, zersprenget, zertrümmert die Gruft, BWV 205). Eileen Farrell; Maurice Wilk, Bernard Greenhouse, Paul Ulanowsky; William H. Scheide, Bach Aria Group

Widerstehe doch der Sünde (Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54) Maureen Forrester; Antonio Janigro, I Solisti di Zagreb

Jesus ist ein Schild der Seinen (Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats, BWV 42). Norman Farrow; William H. Scheide, Bach Aria Group. The 1946 short about the Bach Aria Group, “A Time for Bach,” is available by clicking on this link.

Erbarme dich (Matthäus-Passion). Jennie Tourel; Alexander Schneider, Pablo Casals, Perpignan Festival Orchestra

Bete aber auch dabei (Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit, BWV 115). Eileen Farrell; Julius Baker, Bernard Greenhouse, Paul Ulanowsky; William H. Scheide, Bach Aria Group

Erschrecke doch, du allzu sichre Seele (Herr deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102). Richard Lewis; Samuel Baron, Bernard Breenhouse, Yehudi Wyner; William H. Scheide, Bach Aria Group

William H. Scheide

Jesu, laß durch Wohl und Weh (Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, BWV 182). Richard Lewis; Bernard Greenhouse, Yehudi Wyner; William H. Scheide, Bach Aria Group

Ich bin ein guter Hirt (Ich bin ein guter Hirt, BWV 85). Mack Harrell; Robert Bloom, Mack Harrell, Robert Bloom, William Jonson, Choral Art Society Orchestra

Es ist vollbracht (Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem, BWV 159). William Warfield; Robert Bloom; William H. Scheide, Bach Aria Group

Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten (Jesu, der du meine Seele, BWV 78). Lois Marshall, Maureen Forrester; Yehudi Wyner [live Mt. Orford, Québec, August 1974]

My Heart Ever Faithful [Mein gläubiges Herze] (Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, BWV 68). Eleanor Steber; Max Rudolf, Columbia Symphony Orchestra

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