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  1. #166
    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    The Anna Magdalena Notebooks

    There were actually two notebooks—one written in 1722 and the other in 1725—which Bach presented to his second wife, Anna Magdalena, on her birthday or their wedding anniversary for each year. The first notebook is all original material of Bach’s. In fact, the pieces in the notebook catalogued as BWV 812-816 became the French Suites (BWV 812-817). Three are fragments and two are complete suites. There are also several unfinished works. Nine pieces in all. The second notebook of 1725, on the other hand, contains 42 pieces—many not written by Sebastian. One of Bach’s pieces is a complete version of BWV 812 but also contains another fragment of BWV 813 so, obviously, Bach was still working on the Suites.

    The notebooks, intended primarily for instruction, are important documents of the musical influences of the Bach family. Various family members wrote in them apparently to preserve and share with family pieces they had encountered. One piece had an attempted bass line added that looked to be done by a child—one of the Bach children, no doubt. The notebooks stayed in the Bach family for decades with additions being made over the years. Such family albums were not unusual in Germany at this time and around Europe. So, this was not a novel idea within the Bach family.

    A good deal of the music contained in the Notebook II falls outside the purview of Bach’s music being pieces leaning towards rococo and pre-classical. Most of the pieces are written in Anna’s hand and she used them to practice and improve her singing. Bach himself referred to his wife as “a decent soprano.” So, these books not only function as a good glimpse into the music passed around within the Bach family but also Western music as a whole. The pieces are not particularly difficult and so provide students with a good introduction to both pre-classical styles and Bach’s own style. To this day, students study selections from the notebooks which serves as a good foundation for the baroque and classical periods.


    The 1722 book cover. The title, Clavier Büchlein vor Anna Magdalena Bachin ANNO 1722 is written in Anna’s hand. Beneath that, Bach wrote the titles of three works by theologian August Pfeiffer for a reason now lost to us. The book, containing 25 pages, is only about a third of its original size. No one knows what happened to the other pages, who removed them or why. Were they all Bach compositions?


    The 1725 notebook was more ornated than the previous one. The cover is a light-green paper. Anna’s initials and the year are printed in gold and all the pages are gilt-edged. Someone later wrote Anna’s full name between the initials. The many pieces contained therein are a collection of various composers—sometimes attributed and sometimes not. In addition to Sebastian pieces, we find works by his sons, Couperin, Böhm, Stölzel and others. Two pieces in the notebook were once attributed to Bach but many now attribute them to Christian Petzold.


    An instruction manual based on selections from the Anna Magdalena Notebooks. I bought this off e-bay.

    Bach or Petzold?

    The minuet coupling of G Major/G Minor was assumed to be Bach’s until about 1970 when musical scholars decided the pieces were, in fact, composed by Christian Petzold, organist of the Sophienkirche in Dresden. Bach had apparently visited Dresden in 1725 and is assumed to have heard the minuets and brought them back to Leipzig. The pieces were redesignated in the Schmieder catalogue as BWV Anh. II 114/Anh. III 183  and BWV Anh. II 115/Anh. III 183  although they are usually simply designated as BWV Anh. 114/115. However, I have found that not all musical scholars are in agreement that Bach is not the composer. In fact, a great many believe that he is. The problem is that, as far as I have been able to check, these is no sheet music or manuscript of the pieces other than what appears in the Anna Magdalena Book until Johann Benjamin Tzschirich produced a full manuscript of the entire suite which contained in order: Prelude, Allemande, Courant, Sarabande, Bourreé, the two Minuets, Gigue and Passepied with Trio. The minuets were to be played as G Major followed by G Minor and then G Major repeated.

    The problem is, scholars assume that Tzschirich copied the entire suite from a copy he obtained from Bach. This is based on the fact that there is very little difference in the way he notated the minuets and the way they appear in Notebook II. If this be the case, how sure are we that Bach did not rewrite the minuets? Bach certainly knew how to rework material to his own liking even borrowing pieces from his relatives to use for services but inserting various changes of his own. His reworking of various Lutheran hymns were virtual rewrites. Could this be the case here? It could most certainly be the case here. How do we know that Bach didn’t write down the entire suite instead of bringing back an objective source from Dresden (assuming he brought anything back from Dresden)?

    That the minuets are solely Petzold’s is bolstered by the idea that Bach copied or brought a manuscript back from Dresden and let Tzschirich copy it because if he did that, it would be strange that he would have modified it as he was copying it. Bach would have almost certainly copied it faithfully and modified it later if he was so inclined. That Tzschirich’s copy was nearly identical to those that appear in Notebook II would indicate that Bach did not modify them when he copied them into the Notebook and hence the work is solely Petzold’s. This is extremely reasonable to assume. But what if Tzschirich’s copy of the minuets, in fact, used what was in the notebook instead of this hypothetical earlier copy from Dresden? Then we are back where we started. That seems less likely (because where then did Tzschirich get the other pieces of the entire suite) but not impossible.

    Another thing that needs to be pointed out is whether Bach presented Notebook II to his wife on her birthday or their anniversary. We are told it was one or the other. This matters because Bach is believed to have encountered the Petzold pieces while in Dresden. I don’t know exactly how long Bach was in Dresden but it was during the month of September. The problem is that Anna was born September 22nd. It seems unlikely Bach would have written them in the notebook while still in Dresden or so quickly after returning to Leipzig. It would mean Bach wouldn’t have had the time to hear the minuets in Dresden and copy them down in the notebook for his wife. That would imply that the minuets are, in fact, Bach’s. But if it was an anniversary gift, then that changes things because Bach and Anna were married on a December 3rd. That would have given Bach ample time to copy the pieces down in the notebook after returning to Leipzig. So, which occasion was it—birthday or anniversary?

    I am certainly not saying the minuets are Bach’s—I wouldn’t know. Even if he changed them, that doesn’t mean he changed them drastically, he might have changed them very slightly. After all, Tzschirich’s copy did indeed differ slightly from what appeared in Notebook II. I merely point out that there is no particularly compelling reason to believe one thing or the other even though many of the scholars whose material I read over were rather arrogant in their assertions—as though they cannot be questioned, very much an “I’m right and you’re wrong if you disagree” type situation.

    The best way of ascertaining who wrote what would be to compare the style of the minuets to both Bach’s and Petzold’s styles. Unfortunately, I know nothing at all about Petzold’s style and would not presume to be any sort of expert on Bach’s style. However, I have to conclude that so many scholars still believe Bach to be the composer of the minuets because they do, in fact, find the writing style more Bach’s than Petzold’s although I haven’t read anything to that effect. Do any other works of Petzold sound very similar to the minuets even if only briefly and can they be reliably dated prior to 1725? I don’t know but even if this is the case, it would only indicate that Petzold was the original composer which I think is highly probable but it doesn’t tell us if Bach may have modified the pieces. That Tzschirich would attribute Bach’s minuets to Petzold would seem rather strange were that the case but if his only source was one written down by Bach, how would he know if we assume that Bach had no or took no opportunity to tell him otherwise?

    The last point, is one I brought up earlier in the thread regarding Handel’s work, “Music for Ancient Instruments” (HWV 365). Go nine minutes into the following clip and you will hear what sounds rather like BWV Anh. 114 but cleverly re-written. Handel wrote this in 1726 or at least it was published that year. What are we to make of it?



    Since Handel was in London, it is unlikely that either Bach or Petzold lifted it from him. The chronology forces us to conclude it was written shortly after BWV Anh. 114. Could it be a coincidence? Coming so close on the heels of Notebook II makes this seem unlikely. If it is not coincidence, then what we need to know is where did Handel hear it? How did it reach him in London (where he had been since 1712)? Since Notebook II was not published, did Handel receive a copy of another long-lost manuscript or print of Petzold’s work? It would be quite odd for these copies or prints of Petzold’s work to be floating around and yet none of them survive today. This also leads us to ask if Handel knew Petzold. I do not have that information. Certainly, it wouldn’t be extraordinary if he did know Petzold. It is entirely possible. But Handel did indeed know Bach. So, is it possible Bach sent him a manuscript? If so, then we can conclude that the compositions are Bach’s and that they were composed in 1725. I don’t know why Bach would have sent Handel a copy of Petzold’s work rather than his own. But it is entirely possible that Handel knew Petzold and obtained a copy from him. Or maybe it really is one crazy coincidence. So, again, it’s hard to say which possibility is more likely.

    So, I am afraid that I must leave this point anticlimactically hanging undecided. Believe what you will. My conclusion is that the pieces are probably Petzold’s but may have been modified to an unknown degree by Bach. They are lovely pieces regardless of who wrote them.

    Last edited by Victor Redseal; Jul-04-2020 at 18:59.
    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

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    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    A copy of the 1725 Anna Magdalena Notebook with nice, clear engraving by Barenreiter Kassel:







    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

  4. #168
    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    Picked up another copy entirely the manuscripts rather than engravings:









    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

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    The Coffee Cantata (BWV 211)

    Although we often say that Bach wrote no operas, this is not entirely true. Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (BWV 211) although nicknamed “The Coffee Cantata” is basically mini-comic opera Bach wrote around 1734 concerning the European indulgence of the now famous beverage. The libretto was supplied by his friend Christian Friedrich Henrici (a.k.a. Picander) who had written the libretto for St. Matthew’s Passion among many others. Why is it called a cantata if it is really an opera? Because it was written to be performed as a concert without costumes, stage direction or sets. Then why call it an opera? Because it can easily be and often is performed as one and this is hardly something Bach never intended. One of the stipulations of Bach’s contract as the cantor of St. Thomas was that he was not to compose opera. This wasn’t hard for Bach to adhere to simply because there was no opera in Leipzig to any significant degree. However, he nevertheless was not to compose any. Bach had enemies who resented him getting the post as cantor and were looking for any excuse to have him removed. So, Bach very likely wrote this short comic opera and disguised it as a cantata just to keep his backside covered, as it were.

    There are some stories about how coffee use arose and they likely have a grain of truth: someone noticed animals eating the beans and becoming energetic so they tried some but found them bitter. To get rid of the bitterness, they roasted them but this caused the bean to harden. To soften the beans, they boiled them. This made a dark-colored liquid that they liked but to release the full flavor of the beans, they ground them—no longer being interested in eating them and that was how coffee was born. Coffee use originated in Yemen in the 15th century among the Sufis. From there, traders and merchants brought it to Arabia and Egypt. By the 16th century, coffee was well-known throughout the entire Middle East, South Asia, Southern India, Persia, Turkey and Africa. From there, coffee came to Europe through Malta and Italy.

    The Dutch, who loved the beverage, called it “koffie” derived from the Ottoman Turks who called it “kahve.” This word may refer to the Arabic word “qahwah” which may be derived from the root “quwwa” (power, energy). Others think it derived from “Kaffa”, a kingdom in Ethiopia known to be deeply involved in the exportation of coffee plants. Words as “café” and “cafeteria” are named after the French word for coffee. The word “kaffir” such as kaffir lime and kaffir lily (but which is also considered a pejorative term for a black African or a non-Muslim) is based on the word coffee.

    The original use of coffee in the Muslim world was as part of religious ritual. Coffee’s effects were known early on to bring wakefulness and energetic activity. People who had consumed several cups were seen to become hyperactive and talkative. Hence, Bach’s cantata translates into English as “Be still, stop chattering.” The beverage also had the reputation as an aphrodisiac. Probably for this reason, the Muslim governments in Mecca and Cairo as well as the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches banned the drinking of coffee but without much effect since kings and emperors also indulged quite avidly.

    Coffeehouses popped up all over Europe and were favored by wealthy patrons and the educated class. Coffeehouses were places where people met to talk about politics, religion, business, science, mathematics, government and other issues of the day. The seeds of the French revolution were planted in the coffeehouses of Paris. Lloyds of London, Christie’s and Sotheby’s started in the English coffeehouses. The New York Stock Exchange started in the Tontine coffeehouse located on Wall Street. The coffeehouses of Oxford, England were so stocked with intellectuals discussing and debating anything and everything important to people that they were known as “penny universities” where someone could go to sit, listen, take notes, debate, ask questions and receive an excellent education as a result. In the 1960s, coffeehouses across the United States attracted the counter-culture element and featured folk music which gave rise to the sexual revolution, psychedelic drug and antiwar movements.

    The first coffeehouse to spring up in Germany was in Bremen in 1673 followed by another in Hamburg in 1677. By Bach’s time, coffeehouses were the meeting places for the German intelligentsia as it was throughout much of Europe. Merchantmen, professors, students, lawyers, doctors, scientists, musicians and composers met regularly in the coffeehouses. Bach was no exception and was known to be quite taken with the beverage.

    Ironically, Frederick the Great of Prussia, who had presented to Bach the theme he used to compose The Musical Offering and for whom C.P.E. Bach was employed as a court musician for a number of years, banned coffee and coffeehouses in Prussia in 1777, 27 years after Bach’s death, precisely because he feared the types of discussions and debates that flourished in such places that he felt led to insurrections against kings, emperors and monarchs. The ban stood until after 1786, when Frederick died.

    The first coffeehouse in Leipzig was likely Zum Kaffeebaum in 1685. Because coffee was seen as an aphrodisiac, many people disapproved of the drinking of coffee as well as the operation of coffeehouses which attracted prostitutes eager to drum up business. Pietist preachers led the charge against coffee consumption. Twice in seven years, women were banned from entering coffeehouses but these rulings were unenforceable and “coffee-trollops” were regularly found inside granting men any sexual favors whatsoever if the money was right. To avoid being seen as prostitutes, women of good standing formed a circle of friends to enjoy the beverage in private homes. This circle of friends was known as a kaffeeklatsch and, to this day, women often form a coffee-klatch to sip coffee and exchange gossip.

    Bach hung out at Gottfried Zimmerman’s coffeehouse (Café Zimmerman) where he directed the collegium musicum composed of university students. The collegium musicum was formed in 1688 under the direction of Johann Kuhnau. It was re-formed in 1702 under Georg Telemann. Bach directed it from 1729 to 1737. One of the many pieces they performed under Bach’s direction was the Coffee Cantata.

    Bach wasn’t siding with the learned professors who railed against coffee consumption in order to win promotions, he sided with the younger crowd who loved their coffee as much as he. Since this was to be performed before a largely college-age crowd, there was sure to be a good draw which certainly would have made Mr. Zimmerman happy.

    There are only three characters in the piece: Liesgen (soprano), our heroine and protagonist, her father, Schlendrian (bass) and a Narrator (tenor). The narrator tells the audience to be quiet and not to talk but instead listen to the story. He introduces Herr Schlendrian and his daughter, Liesgen. Schlendrian says, “Don’t we have with our children a hundred thousand muddles?” The word translated into “muddles” is hudelei which is a slang term for mast-urbation. In other words, he is saying that our kids do nothing all day but jerk off—both figuratively and literally. He complains that his daughter doesn’t listen to him and he wants to get rid of coffee because he feels she drinks too much of it and it is the cause of his annoyance with her. Since the word Schlendrian translates to “lazy bones,” we can see that he is to be viewed as a whinnying, boring old goat. Liesgen tells her father that if she doesn’t get a cup three times a day that she would become upset and be like “a dried-up piece of roast goat.” The audience would have understood her to mean: “I only drink coffee often so that I don’t end up just like you.”

    Schlendrian tells Liesgen that if she does not give up coffee then she will not attend a wedding, she will not receive the latest fashion for he will not purchase it, that she will get no ribbons for her bonnet. She is fazed by none of this. She insists she wants only her coffee. Schlendrian tells her that he will not look for a husband for her. At this, Liesgen states she would give up coffee for “a lusty lover.” Schlendrian goes off to find her a husband and the narrator tells the audience that Liesgen has secretly stated that no suitor should come to her door unless he promises to allow her make all the coffee she wants and that it must also be in the prenuptial agreement. So, she will give up coffee until her father finds her a husband but then will again take up practice before marrying him. The opera concludes that the mothers and the grandmothers are coffee-addicts so why should we expect anything else from the daughters?

    1 Recitative: Narrator [Tenor]
    Continuo

    Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht
    Keep quiet, don’t chatter

    Und höret, was itzund geschicht:
    and hear what’s going on now:

    Da kömmt Herr Schlendrian
    here comes Herr Schlendrian

    Mit seiner Tochter Liesgen her,
    with his daughter Liesgen

    Er brummt ja wie ein Zeidelbär;
    he’s growling like a honey-bear -

    Hört selber, was sie ihm getan!
    hear for yourselves what she has done to him.

    2 Aria: Herr Schlendrian [Bass]
    Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

    Hat man nicht mit seinen Kindern
    Don’t we have with our children

    Hunderttausend Hudelei!
    a hundred thousand muddles !

    Was ich immer alle Tage
    What always every day I

    Meiner Tochter Liesgen sage,
    say to my daughter Liesgen

    Gehet ohne Frucht vorbei.
    goes in one ear and out the other
    [lit. goes by without profit]

    3 Recitative: Schlendrian [Bass], Liesgen [Soprano]
    Continuo
    Schlendrian:
    Du böses Kind, du loses Mädchen,
    You bad child, you wild girl!

    Ach! wenn erlang ich meinen Zweck:
    Oh! If only I could have my way :

    Tu mir den Coffee weg!
    get rid of coffee!

    Liesgen:
    Herr Vater, seid doch nicht so scharf!
    Father, don’t be so hard!

    Wenn ich des Tages nicht dreimal
    If three times a day I can’t

    Mein Schälchen Coffee trinken darf,
    drink my little cup of coffee,

    So werd ich ja zu meiner Qual
    then I would become so upset

    Wie ein verdorrtes Ziegenbrätchen
    that I would be like dried up piece of roast goat.

    4 Aria: Liesgen [Soprano]
    Flauto traverso, Continuo

    Ei! wie schmeckt der Coffee süße,
    Ah! how sweet coffee tastes!

    Lieblicher als tausend Küsse,
    Lovelier than a thousand kisses,

    Milder als Muskatenwein.
    smoother than muscatel wine.

    Coffee, Coffee muss ich haben,
    Coffee, I must have coffee,

    Und wenn jemand mich will laben,
    and if anyone wants to give me a treat,

    Ach, so schenkt mir Coffee ein!
    ah!, just give me some coffee!

    5 Recitative: Schlendrian [Bass], Liesgen [Soprano]
    Continuo

    Schlendrian:
    Wenn du mir nicht den Coffee lässt,
    If you don’t give up coffee,

    So sollst du auf kein Hochzeitfest,
    you won’t be going to any wedding

    Auch nicht spazierengehn.
    and you won’t go out walking either.

    Liesgen:
    Ach ja!
    Alright then !

    Nur lasset mir den Coffee da!
    Just leave me my coffee!

    Schlendrian:
    Da hab ich nun den kleinen Affen!
    I’ll get the little minx now!

    Ich will dir keinen Fischbeinrock nach itzger Weite schaffen.
    I shan’t get you the latest fashion in just your size.

    Liesgen:
    Ich kann mich leicht darzu verstehn.
    I can easily do without that.

    Schlendrian:
    Du sollst nicht an das Fenster treten
    You’re not to stand at the window

    Und keinen sehn vorübergehn!
    and you won’t see anyone going by!

    Liesgen:
    Auch dieses; doch seid nur gebeten
    I don’t mind that either; but please, I beg you,

    Und lasset mir den Coffee stehn!
    just let me keep my coffee!

    Schlendrian:
    Du sollst auch nicht von meiner Hand
    What’s more you won’t get from me

    Ein silbern oder goldnes Band
    a silver or gold ribbon

    Auf deine Haube kriegen!
    to put on your bonnet!

    Liesgen:
    Ja, ja! nur lasst mir mein Vergnügen!
    That’s fine! Just leave me my pleasure!

    Schlendrian:
    Du loses Liesgen du,
    You’re impossible Liesgen, you are,

    So gibst du mir denn alles zu?
    you would give up everything I say?

    6 Aria: Schlendrian [Bass]
    Continuo

    Mädchen, die von harten Sinnen,
    Girls with obstinate minds

    Sind nicht leichte zu gewinnen.
    are not easily won over.

    Doch trifft man den rechten Ort,
    But if you hit the right spot,

    O! so kömmt man glücklich fort.
    oh then you’re in luck.

    7 Recitative: Schlendrian [Bass], Liesgen [Soprano]
    Continuo

    Schlendrian:
    Nun folge, was dein Vater spricht!
    Now follow what your father says!

    Liesgen:
    In allem, nur den Coffee nicht.
    In everything else, but not coffee.

    Schlendrian:
    Wohlan! so musst du dich bequemen,
    Well then! You must get used to the idea

    Auch niemals einen Mann zu nehmen.
    that you won’t have a husband either.

    Liesgen:
    Ach ja! Herr Vater, einen Mann!
    Oh yes! Father, a husband!

    Schlendrian:
    Ich schwöre, dass es nicht geschicht.
    I swear, that won’t happen.

    Liesgen:
    Bis ich den Coffee lassen kann?
    Until I can give up coffee?

    Nun! Coffee, bleib nur immer liegen!
    Right! Coffee, remain forever untouched

    Herr Vater, hört, ich trinke keinen nicht.
    Father, listen, I won’t drink any at all.

    Schlendrian:
    So sollst du endlich einen kriegen!
    Then you’ll have a husband!

    8 Aria: Liesgen [Soprano]
    Violino I/II, Viola, Cembalo, Continuo

    Heute noch,
    This very day,

    Lieber Vater, tut es doch!
    dear father, do it now!

    Ach, ein Mann!
    Ah, a husband!

    Wahrlich, dieser steht mir an!
    That’s just right for me!

    Wenn es sich doch balde fügte,
    If only it could happen at once,

    Dass ich endlich vor Coffee,
    so that at last instead of coffee

    Eh ich noch zu Bette geh,
    before I go to bed

    Einen wackern Liebsten kriegte!
    I could get a lusty lover!

    9 Recitative: Narrator [Tenor]
    Continuo

    Nun geht und sucht der alte Schlendrian,
    Now old Schlendrian goes off and looks out

    Wie er vor seine Tochter Liesgen
    for his daughter Liesgen

    Bald einen Mann verschaffen kann;
    to see if he can get her a husband soon.

    Doch, Liesgen streuet heimlich aus:
    But Liesgen lets it be secretly known:

    Kein Freier komm mir in das Haus,
    no suitor of mine should come to the house

    Er hab es mir denn selbst versprochen
    unless he himself has promised

    Und rück es auch der Ehestiftung ein,
    and it is written also in the marriage contract

    Dass mir erlaubet möge sein,
    that I shall be permitted

    Den Coffee, wenn ich will, zu kochen.
    to make coffee whenever I want.

    10 Chorus (Terzetto) [Soprano, Tenor, Bass]
    Flauto traverso, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

    Die Katze lässt das Mausen nicht,
    The cat does not leave the mouse,

    Die Jungfern bleiben Coffeeschwestern.
    young ladies remain coffee addicts.

    Die Mutter liebt den Coffeebrauch,
    The mother loves her cup of coffee

    Die Großmama trank solchen auch,
    the grandmother drank it also.

    Wer will nun auf die Töchter lästern!
    Who can blame the daughters!

    Last edited by Victor Redseal; Jul-26-2020 at 05:31.
    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

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    The Coffee Cantata Manuscript









    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

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    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    bachfrog.jpg//////////////////
    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

  11. #172
    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    The Musical Offering and the Machine in the Ghost

    Frederick the Great (1712-1786) was born in Berlin as a member of the House of Hohenzollern. He was the son of King Frederick William I, a foul brute to be sure. William was plagued by illnesses throughout his life due to acute porphyria which he inherited from his maternal side where he was related to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, whose extended family suffered from the disease. He suffered terrible migraine headaches, manic depression, abscesses, blisters, boils, obesity, was racked by abdominal pains and given to bouts of extreme paranoia. He was physically and mentally abusive to his family, servants, the common people who were unfortunate enough to run afoul him and even to diplomats. He carried a cane and would beat others with it violently and even kept canes in every room of his palace in Potsdam for just this purpose. Anything could set him off and servants did their best not to linger in his presence any longer than necessary. His tantrums and abuse were legendary. He once beat a common man in the street in Potsdam for running from him. The man was retrieved and admitted that he ran because he was afraid. William told him, “You are supposed to love me!” The man was obliged to genuflect as William then began beating him with his cane while screaming, “Love me, you scum!” But severe canings were only part of the physical abuse. Kicks, hard slaps, punches, hair-pulling, and throwing objects full force at people were also commonly employed and were unleashed indiscriminately on anyone who happened to be handy during his tantrums including his own children. William also suffered from gout so severely that he was eventually confined to a wheelchair but this only made him all the more unbearable. He would chase people in his chair screaming threats and insults, ram them with it, jab and hit them repeatedly with his cane or with crutches, knock them down and kick them, while cursing and screaming abuse at them.

    Unfortunately for Frederick, he was William’s eldest surviving son and therefore expected to step into his father’s role upon William’s death. At first, William doted on his son and even gave him his own arsenal at the age of seven because he wanted his son to be a soldier as he was himself. But as Frederick grew older, his personality differences with his father drew William’s unrestrained rage. Since Frederick was the crown prince, he was singled out by his father to endure the most punishment and abuse of all the children. William was raised, as most German sovereigns, in French style and dressed in French clothing, given a French education and he spoke French more fluently than he did German. This enraged him for he loathed the French and everything about them. He saw French taste as effeminate and he utterly hated anything effeminate. Just the mention of the words “France” or “French” would bring on one of his insane, room-clearing tantrums. William expected Frederick to be rough and tumble and uncompromisingly masculine AND German if he was to be king someday but Frederick, although a fine soldier and tactician, preferred the French culture that William so despised and, even worse, he loved to play the flute! Another thing about Frederick that would surely have raised his father’s hackles was that he is strongly suspected by historians to have been bisexual and is believed to have had homosexual trysts on occasion. Whether William knew or suspected this about his son is not known by me but it surely would have displeased William greatly.

    To escape his father, Frederick spent as much time as he could at his mother’s estate in Hannover where he was free to dress in the French fashions he loved and play his flute all he wanted. He would duet with his sister, Wilhelmina, who played the lute. Once, though, William showed up unexpectedly, caught Frederick playing the flute while wearing the latest French fashions and predictably blew his stack.


    Frederick Wilhelm I, 1713.

    Then, one day in 1740, what had to be perhaps the greatest day in Frederick’s 28-year life occurred when the king keeled over dead at the age of 51. Suddenly, Frederick was King Frederick II and he could now play his flute all he wanted. He would also serve a total of 46 years on the throne—the longest of any of the Hohenzollern sovereigns. Whatever his father thought of him, Frederick reorganized the Prussian military and scored victories as a general, he enjoyed military success during the Seven Years War and was a great patron of the arts. He also championed the Enlightenment that swept across Europe. In 1772, he claimed the title of the King of Prussia and would be the last Hohenzollern monarch to hold that title. Under him, Prussia had become a great military power. He also wrote books on philosophy, policy, poetry and the like. While he cautioned patience and trustworthiness in his writings, he rarely displayed it. His father had taught him to be a ruthless negotiator who could go back on his word at a moment’s notice. As mentioned earlier, while he championed the Enlightenment, he closed all the coffee houses in Prussia for the last nine years of his rule. He was no saint but he was a vast improvement over his predecessor both in temperament and capability. At this death in 1786, he was regarded as one of the greatest kings of Europe. Hitler regarded him as the greatest of all German monarchs (excepting himself, of course). Ah, but we get ahead of ourselves…


    King Frederick II

    As stated, Frederick was a great patron of the arts and assembled an orchestra of the finest musicians in Germany including Bach’s son, Emmanuel (C.P.E.), one of the finest keyboardists in all of Europe. Every night in the Sanssouci palace in Potsdam, a concert was held that featured the king soloing on his flute, a passion second only to the one for warfare. Frederick was, by all accounts, quite competent on the flute.

    In 1747, Bach arrived by coach in Potsdam—a 62-year-old man with health problems—who felt his time could be better served than meeting a king whose army had overrun his beloved Leipzig two years earlier during the Second Silesian War sparking a bitter relationship with Bach’s royal patron, Frederick Augustus II, Duke Elector of Saxony (he was also King Augustus III of Poland). The war was a humiliating loss of the Saxons and Austrians to the Prussians who extracted a million-thaler indemnity from Saxony to avoid having any of their territory seized, approximately one thaler for every resident in Saxony. So, Bach had no great admiration for Frederick. The king, in turn, was into the newest thing be it in fashion, art or music. “Old Bach,” as Frederick called him, represented an obsolete world-view. His music was outdated and rejected by the new, younger musical establishment. Even Bach’s sons rejected their father’s musical ideas. Baroque was on its way out and Old Bach with it. Even Sanssouci, Frederick’s summer palace, was Rococo in design and smaller than the city’s old Baroque palace. There was another difference between Bach and Frederick—the former was a staunch Lutheran while the latter regarded all religion with contempt. Bach was twice married with 20 children in all even though many of them died in childhood whereas Frederick was childless in an arranged, loveless marriage that had produced no offspring. Bach was also culturally German and preferred librettos in German whereas Frederick preferred the French language and French dress and mannerisms and was fond of boasting that he had never read a book in German (and probably wasn’t lying). So, while the meeting was outwardly formal with the requisite cordialities being observed, there was underneath a mutual dislike between the two men—each representing different worlds of 18th century Germany—one from a long line of kings and the other from a long line of musicians and composers.

    Bach had arrived in Potsdam via Halle where he had visited his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann. The coach ride had lasted two days and a night and, contrary to whatever we might think today about the elegance of coach-riding, it was not a pleasant way to travel. The roads were frequently little more than mud trails and the wheels of earlier coach rides scored deep ruts in them that became stubbornly hard and fixed when the sun dried them out causing subsequent riders to be jostled about mercilessly. So bad was the jostling that many travelers would travel through the waterways if there was an available vessel to carry them rather than get their nerves frazzled by coach-ride even if the water travel took much longer to get to the destination. In many cases, though, water travel simply was not possible. Old Bach had no choice but to endure the coach all the way from Halle to Potsdam and one can only imagine his condition and disposition by the time the ride finally ended.

    So why was Bach at the palace of Frederick if the two men were not fond of one another even before meeting for the first time? Because Frederick was constantly requesting to meet Old Bach via pestering Emmanuel about it. C.P.E. Bach had been a member of Frederick’s Royal Capelle orchestra before Frederick was even king. As the crown prince, Frederick started assembling his orchestra behind his father’s back and paying them by borrowing from foreign leaders and padding his expenses whenever he felt he could get away with it and even back then, Frederick pestered Emmanuel to invite his father to Potsdam. Emmanuel sent letters to his father concerning this and they concluded after Frederick became king that the request was really a command or would become one shortly. It was better not to wait—Frederick was growing impatient and Old Bach wasn’t getting any younger.

    Last edited by Victor Redseal; Aug-22-2020 at 20:41.
    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

  12. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Redseal View Post
    Earlier I stated that Sebastian wrote the Inventions for JCF Bach but I now believe that to be in error. He wrote them Wilhelm Frieddeman.

    I also decried the lack of education, musical and otherwise, for females in Europe in Bach's day. He did not educate his own daughters. Upon reflection, following on the heels of the Thirty Years War, the education of females was probably not even possible to any large degree. Entire areas of Germany were laid waste in that war. Many villages were wiped off the map. Whole regions were depopulated. To get Germany back up, it would be necessary to have a baby boom. Without it, the economy would suffer, farms could not produce enough food (no kids to help with chores), the provinces would be open to foreign invasion because armies would be tiny or nonexistent.

    Under such harsh circumstances, females would be pressed to have as many children as possible and this would have made it hard to educate them when they are constantly being made into mothers. Girls would have to learn the domestic duties for the nation to have a strong backbone and this would make educating them as musicians and what not impractical. The men had to go out and earn money and it made no sense for them to have to compete for jobs against women--the population and the money simply wasn't there to allow it.

    While much of the neglect of female education was simply sexist crap. By Bach's time in Germany, it was probably more about practicality than sexism.
    I'm sure having 6-voice fugues written was extremely practical for the recovering 'German' economy.

  13. #174
    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    In the above clip, we see the meeting between Old Bach and the king reenacted as faithfully as possible. It is based upon a palace press release that detailed the event. It was repeated in the newspapers in both Saxony and Prussia and all points in between. Frederick had heard much of Bach’s prowess at composing counterpoint and wants to hear some. We hear Bach ask Frederick for a theme to play in counterpoint and Frederick pauses to think something up and then dashes it off. In reality, Frederick had obviously thought the theme up beforehand. It is now generally referred to as “the Royal Theme” and it was carefully constructed so as to be hard as possible to put into canon and in counterpoint. We normally see in a cantus firmus elements that facilitate canon and double counterpoint to be applied but Frederick had cleverly removed them from the Royal Theme. He was going to make Old Bach work. Emmanuel had bragged to the king that his father could make counterpoint of anything and Frederick was determined to see if this was true.

    royal-theme.png

    It is quite long and Bach, of course, realized this immediately. The theme has non-intuitive twists, turns and jumps that make an easy application of learned counterpoint difficult. Yet, after hearing the theme played only once, Bach sat down at a harpsichord that his son had been using and reproduced Frederick’s theme note-for-note and then began to improvise in double and triple counterpoint upon the theme throwing in plenty of galant touches knowing the king’s preferences. The king had to be astonished to watch Old Bach rattle this off with seemingly no effort on a line of music he had only just heard. After Frederick was confident that Bach would be able to continue with endless variations of his theme for as long as he wanted, he ended the exercise and asked for a six-voice counterpoint figuring Bach would not be able to dash this off. He was correct, Bach then asked for time to prepare such a piece and send it to Frederick. Satisfied that he had scored at least some kind of victory, Frederick then announced they would get together again on the morrow and left.

    One gets the idea that Frederick’s whole reason for summoning Bach to Sanssouci was to embarrass him with requesting a six-voice improvisation knowing Bach could not do it. Indeed, Bach had never written a six-voice fugue for keyboard. Where could Frederick have gotten this information? Only one person in his court would have known this with any certainty.

    There is a great deal of speculation over the composition of the Royal Theme. Many are convinced that Frederick could not have composed it himself for he had little knowledge of counterpoint as it was seen in his time as obsolete. Schoenberg believed that the real composer of the Royal Theme was likely C.P.E. Bach who would have been the only musician in Frederick’s court with the requisite knowledge of how to construct counterpoint. He would have been the only one who knew his father’s strengths and weaknesses. Schoenberg presents a good case. One has to believe that Emmanuel had at least some hand in composing the Royal Theme. Moreover, Old Bach probably knew it as soon as he heard it.

    Was Emmanuel complicit in trying to humiliate his father in front of the king’s court and the fabulous musicians and composers in the capelle orchestra? Emmanuel and his father were often at loggerheads over his musical direction. Emmanuel had no wish to continue his father’s baroque legacy. He was a rococo composer to the end. Emmanuel is, today, viewed as perhaps the pioneer of the transformation of the music of the baroque period to the classical period. Mozart loved his music and collected it fanatically and often performing it with his musicians. Or was Emmanuel unwillingly enlisted by Frederick into assisting him in humiliating Old Bach? It would hardly have done much good for Young Bach to refuse. Perhaps he figured that even if his father could not improvise a six-voice piece, could anybody hold it against him? The complexities involved were such that no other musician or composer could have pulled it off anyway so it wouldn’t exactly ruin Bach’s reputation. But Bach was a proud man not accustomed to having one put over on him. The question is, was this Frederick’s idea or Emmanuel’s? I think, the former.

    Voltaire had written that Frederick was, like his crazy father, mean-spirited and could be sadistically petty even with those he most respected. He had learned the hard way not to trust Frederick when he said things as, “You are a trusted friend.” This meant you were his slave. “Do me the honor of dining with me tonight” meant “I wish to have some fun with you at your expense.” He was his father’s son, after all. Likewise, was Emmanuel his father’s son. His hand in composing the Royal Theme was likely because he had no doubt that his father could still improvise over it. The asking for a six-voice fugue perhaps nothing more than handing his patron a minor victory knowing that, in the end, his father would, in some form or other, rise to the occasion. I feel this way because Emmanuel’s written memories of his father were never bitter and always tinged with pride of his father’s talents. There seemed to be no lingering resentments.

    This also forces us to entertain that perhaps Emmanuel had tipped his father off in letters of what Frederick was planning. He may even have sent his father a copy of the Royal Theme to get familiar with. Knowing what kind of a man they were dealing with, it is possible Emmanuel told his father to admit defeat in composing a six-voice fugue. Frederick had to have his fun and it was better not to ruffle him. Clearly, Frederick intended to score a victory so let him score one. If this is so, then, of course, it means that Bach’s words and behavior during the meeting were essentially scripted. He knew what Frederick was going to say and do and so he carefully worked out how he would respond. Many historians have noted how utterly obsequious Bach was in Frederick’s presence and, seen in this light, it was all a ruse on Bach’s part to take his humiliation in stride and not make things worse for his son’s situation.

    Bach even displayed some humor over Frederick’s “joke.” By titling the piece A Musical Offering (Musikalisches Opfer), Bach was referring to himself. In German, opfer can mean an offering in the sense of a sacrificial victim. So Bach may have titled the piece in the sense of himself being a victim of Frederick’s little joke. But not simply a victim but a sacrifice. Bach sacrificed himself to protect his son from any further machinations Frederick might otherwise feel compelled to direct at Emmanuel.

    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

  14. #175
    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    Concerning this exchange, C.P.E. and his pupil, Johann Friedrich Agricola, wrote about it in Old Bach’s obituary. One thing the clip doesn’t seem to get correct is that Bach’s eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, whom Bach visited in Halle before journeying to Potsdam, had also accompanied Bach there and was in the room at Sanssouci when the famous exchange between Frederick and Bach took place—at least I gather as much. Much of what we know about it, in fact, comes from the memory of Friedemann. He remembered that his father had no time to change from his traveling clothes upon arriving at Emmanuel’s lodgings before receiving the royal summons to Sanssouci. The clip also abbreviated the formalities observed. When Bach arrived, he was invited to play upon several Silbermann fortepianos that were located throughout the palace. The musicians accompanied Bach as he went from keyboard to keyboard. It was then that Bach was invited to demonstrate his ability to improvise counterpoint and he asked the king for a theme. When Frederick asked for a six-voice fugue, Bach actually performed one but not on the Royal Theme. Instead, he promised to provide one later and this would form the basis of the Musical Offering.

    In the piece, Bach provides both a three-voice fugue and a six-voice. The three-voice fugue, oddly enough, is not as even and balanced as the six-voice fugue likely due to Bach trying to duplicate the actual improvisation he had played for Frederick. Besides the two fugues, Bach also included a four-movement sonata and 10 canons.

    The music was engraved by Johann Georg Schübler at Zella St. Blasii near Stuhl in Thuringia. The layout was that the three-part fugue and a canon are given in oblong format (4 pp), six canons in broadside format (2 sheets), the sonata and a canon in three parts on upright pages (4 pp), the six-part fugue and two canons in oblong format with separate pagination (7 pp). The title page and the dedication were printed by Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf in Leipzig. The fugues and the sonatas appear to be in a determined order whereas the canons appear to be printed in a consideration of available space.

    Frederick was given a special copy printed on large paper with impeccable quality. On the page preceding the three-voice fugue is an acrostic that reads:

    Regis Iussu cantio et reliqua canonica arte resoluta (“By command of the king, the song and the remainder resolved with canonic art”)

    The first letter of each word spelling out “ricercar.” A ricercar is a baroque fugal or canonical device that searches out (“ricercar” means “searching out”) the key or mode in a preludal fashion. Canon #5 uses doubled note values and carries an inscription that reads: Notulis crescentibus crescat Fortuna Regis (“As the notes grow, so may the King’s Fortune”). In the next canon, which modulates upwards in continuous fashion, the inscription reads thus: Ascendenteque Modulatione ascendat Gloria Regis (“And as the modulation rises, so may the King’s Glory”).

    This royal copy went to the library of Princess Anna Amalia, Frederick's sister, from which much of it descends to us today. No one knows today how much Bach was paid for the work or whether he was paid at all. 200 copies had been printed up by Breitkopf for the sum of 2 Thaler and 12 Groschen which Bach paid on July 10, 1747. We know by October that he was out of copies for he wrote to his cousin Johann Elias Bach:

    “I cannot oblige you with the required copy of the Prussian Fugue for the time being since the edition was exhausted just today (as I have had printed only a hundred copies, most of which were given gratis to good friends). But I shall have a few more printed between now and the New Year’s fair; if, Herr Cousin, you then still desire to have a copy, you have only to give me notice by mail and to add a Thaler, and the request shall be complied with.”

    At his death, Bach owed Schübler the total of 2 Thaler and 16 Groschen for the copies he had reprinted. These remaining reprints were acquired by Breitkopf who may also have gotten the copper engraving plates. No reprints were known to be issued before the 1830s.

    While Frederick may have regarded Old Bach as an old magician whose magic had waned when he first met him, Gottfried van Swieten, Austrian Ambassador Extraordinary (who encouraged a young Mozart to study Bach and Handel), reported that in 1774 Frederick praised Old Bach even more than he did Wilhelm Friedemann who was at the height of his popularity. Swieten also reported that Frederick was fond of singing the Prussian Fugue that Old Bach had written for him so many years before. So, in the end, Bach’s visit to Sanssouci to meet the king had the effect of impressing Frederick rather than him dismissing Bach as an obsolete old composer. In that way, Bach triumphed in the end. Couple that with the enduring popularity that the Prussian Fugue has had on the generations succeeding Bach to the present day and the triumph is supreme.
    Last edited by Victor Redseal; Sep-06-2020 at 02:08.
    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

  15. #176
    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    It's hard to escape the occultism present in the Musical Offering. Occult implies secrets or something hidden and what seems to be hidden here is that Bach’s reference to a king was intended towards Christ rather than Frederick. “At the King’s command, the song and remainder resolved with canonic art.” The fact that this phrase in Latin is an acrostic for “ricercar” is surprising. While the pieces search out the resolutions as a ricercar is want to do, the term applies to a single composition. But the Musical Offering is actually 13 separate compositions. The separations are clearly delineated and yet Bach called them all collectively a ricercar meaning that he saw them as a unified whole. His use of the word “resoluta” also shows that he considered the problem presented by the Royal Theme to be solved—not a best-one-can-do type of situation but as definitely solved.

    Before we can discover why Bach definitely solved the problems presented by the Royal Theme, we need to lay the groundwork for the supposition. One clue is given in the fact that there are, as stated, 13 different compositions. Why 13? We know that Bach’s secret number was 14 which is numerologically obtained by applying numbers to the letters of Bach’s name (2+1+3+8 = 14). Why did Bach stop at 13 compositions? Probably because in the canonic art, the perpetual canon is the highest form because of its occult ramifications. The last piece in the Musical Offering is a canone perpetuo (three-voice perpetual canon). But since Bach saw the entire work as a ricercar—a single composition—we can surmise that he saw it as a huge canon and not simply a canon but a perpetual canon which the last canon in the work clues us into. From there, the piece starts all over again and so there is your 14. There are 13 pieces and the 14th is returning to the beginning and so Bach saw them as a single composition playing in perpetuum. Since the perpetual canon was a manifestation of eternity—not simply a metaphor of it—it is heavenly and therefore a command of Christ the king for it is he who wants us to search out the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and hence the “ricercar” acrostic on the title page. If this is so, the placement of the canons in the sheet music was not merely a function of available space as many musicologists have supposed but placed that way because that is how Bach wanted it.

    But as for musical solutions, here are some presented in the book, The Art of the Fugue & A Musical Offering, published by Dover:









    These are not the only solutions, I’m sure, but they give us some idea of how Bach dealt with the Royal Theme.

    The theme is not your typical cantus firmus. These are normally composed of whole notes (i.e. the rhythm doesn’t vary) and don’t usually have more than 16 notes, they don’t generally span more than an octave, have a climax point, stay in scale, start and end on the tonic and approach the end in steps. The Royal Theme only obeys the last two rules. What this unwittingly (?) reveals about Bach’s piece was tangled up in the science and religion at the time.

    What animates us? Where do our thoughts originate, what makes us breathe? What gives a violinist his or her great speed and dexterity? What allows us to write a great epic poem or a glorious symphony? The answer for a great many thinkers from an ancient time was an agency that would be best translated into Western thought as the soul. In the West, it has always been a war between Cartesian dualism of mind/body and the monism of the unity of mind/body.

    Why bring this up? Because it had a direct bearing upon music as a performance art in the 18th century. The rise of science and technology had opened a dialogue between the purveyors of spiritual and material pursuits. Perhaps more to the point, it opened a debate. Science was, for the most part, materialistic; whereas religion, at least as it considered itself, was not. By materialistic, we mean that the adherents of this view regarded matter to be the ground floor of the universe. Everything else that exists in the universe is a by-product of matter—that is to say, consciousness, for example, arose epiphenomenally from matter and had no independent existence apart from matter. So, if a living creature dies, the consciousness evaporates with it as though it never existed.

    By matter, the materialist meant subatomic particles—the building blocks of everything material. Everything was ultimately particles and these particles could not remain static. Ultimately, everything in the universe and the universe itself was particles in motion. Living things were ultimately machines. The religious element of 18th century Europe did not subscribe to this view. They championed the intellect over the physical. They did not argue that machines could not outdo human performance, they conceded that point after seeing the amazing mechanical musicians built by such men as Vaucanson whose automated flautist could equal and even outmatch many human flautists of that time. The automaton did not simply mimic playing the flute, it played the flute. The flute was real and the automaton blew through the holes with its mouth and could even change embouchure. It also fingered the holes on the flute with its hands.


    An automaton built in Germany in 1772 which actually plays the hackbrett.


    This is not the Vaucanson automaton but this one shows a mechanical flautist duetting with a bird.

    These automatons were already quite popular in Bach’s day (his son, Emmanuel composed pieces for them) and so it did no good to argue that a machine could never match a human in musical performance. They did well enough. But the intellect was lacking. No machine could have intellect and creativity. If consciousness and all that it entails arose epiphenomenally from particles in motion then it had to be contained in those particles. Consciousness had to be there in potential but, if this is the case, why is it not predictable? That is, looking at moving particles by themselves gives us no reason to predict that consciousness was locked somewhere within, that it could ever arise among those particles.

    Yet not all collections of matter have consciousness. A chair is not conscious, a book is not conscious. Why are some collections of matter conscious while others aren’t? This leads to ask if consciousness is real or an illusion—and if an illusion then an illusion to what?

    In 1757, C. P. E. Bach wrote, Einfall, einen doppelten Contrapunct in der Octave von 6 Tacten zu machen, ohne die Regeln davon zu Wissen or “Invention by which Six Measures of Double Counterpoint can be Written without a Knowledge of the Rules.” It contained four fold-out pages each containing a table of 13 lines of staff divided into 10 bars each. Each bar contained either a note or an X. Each table represents one of four ranges of voice from bass to soprano. Emmanuel then acquaints the reader with an algorithm for composing counterpoint for each table: choose a number between 1 and 6 and apply it to the table then count forward by nine and apply the next number and do this until the first six measures are filled in with a number then continue through the next number and continue until all bars are filled in and so on. The result is a surprisingly good piece of invertible counterpoint. In fact, there were literally over a billion variations that could be obtained. These types of musical puzzles were all the rage in Germany at the time. I’ve already mentioned Bach’s canons appearing in publications to be solved by students.

    Three years prior to Emmanuel’s puzzle, the general consensus was that counterpoint could not be constructed by algorithm but required creativity and intellect. Emmanuel’s game was an early version of a Turing Machine. A Turing Machine is a hypothetical machine that reproduces human communication and interaction that seemingly requires consciousness but is merely a result of the machine’s programming. To all outward appearances, the Turing Machine seems to be conscious such that the person interacting with it cannot tell the difference. To the critics of materialism “Einfall” was a bit of a blow.

    However, the religious idealists of the time could win out the argument that regardless of whether machines could equal and even outdo human performance and interact to the appearance of possessing a level of consciousness, these machines were not conscious. Moreover, a consciousness was required to create such machines. In other words, there was no necessity, as the materialists assumed, to prove one was not, in fact, a wholly mechanical contraption because such contraptions don’t simply fall together in nature. One is either a living thing or one is not. The argument went deeper than that, though, because of the belief in and reliance on God. To the religious idealists, since Turing Machines require a creator and do not form in nature by blind mechanical processes, there must be a God behind it. The materialists responded that if human beings are not Turing Machines but possess true intellect and creativity then no God could have made them. But idealists countered that if God did not create them then they fell together by chance which cannot be a possibility. The materialists responded that there are other processes at play—one of them discovered by Darwin called natural selection. A new process called emergence is also at work. The irony is that neither side can seem to fully separate from the other. The debate rages to this day with positions often reversing. For example, science, once so materialistic, now talks about the creativity found in the concept of emergence while the Christian idealists refuse to believe Christ was resurrected as a spirit but returned in the material body. The modern concept of emergence coincides with Bach's contrapuntal treatment of the Royal Theme. As a highly irregular cantus firmus, the counterpoint that Bach coaxes out of it is not predictable. It would require intellect to grapple with it since no mechanical process could blindly handle it and yet it has a very mathematical precision to it.

    But, as far as Bach is concerned, his last contrapuntal pieces, and The Art of the Fugue in particular, which we will examine at length, he explores the border between machine and intellect. Where does one end and the other begin? As he felt his own mortality slipping away, was he trying to determine if he would somehow live on or exist in some excarnate fashion? Or when his body finally gave out, did his consciousness and intellect vanish like smoke in the wind? On the one hand, he used the fluidity of the galant musical ideas and the rigid mathematics of counterpoint on the other to strike a balance. In his canons lies a deep vein of lifelike quality lying right in the midst of all that mathematical, mechanical precision. He was revealing the structures of both not much differently than Vaucanson’s automata revealed so much about the human ability to perform by using machines.
    Last edited by Victor Redseal; Sep-22-2020 at 23:28.
    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

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