Bach's Johannine Theology: The St. John Passion and the Cantatas for Spring 1725 is a fertile examination of this group of fourteen surviving liturgical works. Renowned Bach scholar Eric Chafe begins his investigation into Bach's theology with the composer's St. John Passion, concentrating on its first and last versions. Beyond providing a uniquely detailed assessment of the passion, Bach's Johannine Theology is the first work to take the work beyond the scope of an isolated study, considering its meaning from a variety of musical and historical standpoints. Chafe thereby uncovers a range of theological implications underlying Bach's creative approach itself. Building considerably on his previous work, Chafe here expands his methodological approach to Bach's vocal music by arguing for a multi-layered approach to religion in Bach's compositional process.
Chafe bases this approach primarily on two aspects of Bach's theology: first, the specific features of Johannine theology, which contrast with the more narrative approach found in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke); and second, contemporary homiletic and devotional writings - material that is not otherwise easily accessible, and less so in English translation. Bach's Johannine Theology provides an unprecedented, enlightening exploration of the theological and liturgical contexts within which this music was first heard.
Eric T. Chafe is Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Music at Brandeis University, where he has taught since 1982. His primary research areas are the music of J. S. Bach, on which he has published several books and numerous articles, Wagner (a book on Tristan und Isolde), and Monteverdi. His books have won the AMS Kinkeldey Award and the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award.
Contents ; PART ONE: INTRODUCTORY THEMES ; I Spring 1724 and 1725 ; II The Ordering of Salvation: Aspects of Scripture and the Liturgical Year ; III Johannine Themes ; PART TWO: THE ST. JOHN PASSION ; IV The St. John Passion: Introduction and Part One ; V The Concept of Ambitus in the St. John Passion ; VI Jesus' Trial: John, Francke, Bach ; VII Jesus' Death and Burial ; VIII The Theologia Crucis and the Passion's Symbolic Structure ; PART THREE: THE CANTATAS FOR SPRING 1725 ; IX Easter through Misericordias: Cantatas 249, 6, 42 and 85 ; X Jubilate to Ascension Day: Cantatas 103, 108, 87 and 128 ; XI Instrumental Characteristics ; XII Exaudi and Pentecost: Cantatas 183, 74, 68 and 175 ; XIII Trinity Sunday: Cantata 176, "Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding" ; XIV Spring 1725: The Cantatas and the Shape of the Liturgy