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Thread: Johann Ernst Bach 1722 - 1777

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    Senior Member kangxi's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Johann Ernst Bach 1722 - 1777

    Let's hear it for Johann Ernst Bach, 1722 - 1777. He had excellent nature & nurture, being both a relative and pupil of JSB (he was the son of Johann Bernhardt (JSB's second cousin) - not to mention JSB being his godfather. He's barely been mentioned on this site so perhaps it's time we paid him a bit of attention.

    I don't have my New Grove with me at present, so I don't know precisely how much music we have by him, but Wiki lists fair body of vocal work. There's not much recorded of what we do have. I don't have much of his instrumental music: a couple of fantasias and fugues for organ, which are rather more chromatic than contemporary music, and a contrapuntal violin sonata. In the name of Bach.jpgThey're pleasant but quite generic for the time.

    It's in the vocal music that I hear his distinctive voice, and a very good one it is too. A couple of his works were once thought to be by JSB (a cantata BWV 222 - Mein Odem ist schwach, and a motet BWV Anh 165 - Unser Wandel ist in Himmel). As you might expect the quality of both works is high and very much bear repeated listening.21T93X3WKSL._AA160_.jpgAlsfelder Vokalensemble - The Apocryphal Bach Motets, BWV Anh. 159-165.jpg

    The other 3 works I have are all on one issue: a 2 CD box by Hermann Max with the Rheinische Kantorei. Hermann Max - Johann Ernst Bach- Passionsoratorium (Disc 2).jpgThere's one Amazon review by Stuart Sillitoe, which gives a good description that matches my own views:
    "The Bach family have many members with Johann Ernst (1722-1777) being the nephew, godson and pupil of the more illustrious Johann Sebastian. Born in Eisenach he was the son of Johann Bernhard Bach, the second cousin of J S, whom he eventually succeeded as Eisenach's organist and court harpsichordist.
    The Passionsoratorium differs from the Passions of J S in both style and size, lasting just over 90 minutes. It is a more intimate work than the big Passions of his uncle, calling for four soloists, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, strings and bass continuo. The influence of his uncle can be clearly heard in the work, whilst it is employs the prevalent style of the time, with this mix of old and new creating an attractive whole.
    The Ode on the 77th Psalm, Das Vertrauen der Christen auf Got, is a 16 minute mini masterpiece for tenor, chorus and orchestra, While the final piece on this two CD set, Meine Seele erhebt den Herr, is a Motet for soloists, four-part chorus, strings and bass continuo. The Motet, as with the Passion, shows the influence of his uncle, but also, as with the Passion, Johann Ernst shows himself to be his own man, influenced by other in producing his own voice.
    The performances throughout are on the whole excellent, Christoph Pregardien deserves a special mention, especially for his singing in the Ode, the only drawback being the counter tenor David Cordier, whose voice, whilst being good is not as strong as some, and sounds to be at the edge of his range at times. Once again the chorus and orchestra are on top form, with Hermann Max controlling the proceedings well.
    The notes are good, and whilst the texts of the works are provided, they are unfortunately only in German, which is a real shame, as this would have aided the listener's enjoyment of the music.
    This is an important set, and one which, while there are issues, with the counter tenor and lack of translations, they are not enough for me not to still recommend whole heartedly!"

    I would add that I find myself going back to the 2 smaller works and the 2 pseudo-JSB pieces in particular time after time.

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    Senior Member kangxi's Avatar
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    Found another handful of works in my collection. First off, a sacred cantata Die Liebe Gottes ist ausgegossen
    Bach-Ensemble Helmuth Rilling - Geistliche Musik der Bach-Familie.jpg
    It's gorgeous. I'm coming to the conclusion that (for me) J E is better then all of JSB's sons, at least when it come to sacred choral music.
    I've also 4 what appear to be lieder with fortepiano accompaniment from the Florilegium disc mentioned above called In the Name of Bach, (although wiki says they're from a secular cantata called Sammlung auserlesener Fabeln). Good tuneful pieces, especially no3, 'Der Affe und die Schaferi' which is in danger of becoming a brainworm. I'll know tomorrow if I wake up mentally playing it.
    Let me know if I make any converts - after all, anybody who has time to put up with CPE's rather mannered quirkiness can assuredly find more tuneful & moving stuff by his cousin Johann Ernst
    Last edited by kangxi; Jan-31-2014 at 15:29.

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    Hi, I totally agree with you - recently I played all 6 Violin-Sonatas - great music. But also the music of his father Johann Bernhard is fantastic: his Orchestra Suites were also performed by JS...

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