Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

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IcedNote
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Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by IcedNote » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:57 pm

So I've been making my way through the complete Bach cantatas. It's been months, and it's been fun! I'm usually not *actively* listening (I know, I know...shame on me...), but I love having them on in the background while I'm working on my dissertation.

Anyways, he wrote all of this GREAT music for use in the church. And back in the day, churches had legit composers writing music for their services.

What I want to know is: when/why did this end? Did it align with a shift in power away from the churches? Was it the move to the popularity of chamber music? Did composers like Beethoven, et al. simply have no interest in it? And why hasn't this kind of supreme church music been resuscitated? Or maybe it has been -- or never went anywhere to being with! -- and I'm just unaware? I mean, it's no secret that most churches today use pieces that sound like bad Disney music.

I could be wrong...as I've been known to be...occasionally. :mrgreen:

Curious,

-G
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:21 pm

IcedNote wrote:So I've been making my way through the complete Bach cantatas. It's been months, and it's been fun! I'm usually not *actively* listening (I know, I know...shame on me...), but I love having them on in the background while I'm working on my dissertation.

Anyways, he wrote all of this GREAT music for use in the church. And back in the day, churches had legit composers writing music for their services.

What I want to know is: when/why did this end? Did it align with a shift in power away from the churches? Was it the move to the popularity of chamber music? Did composers like Beethoven, et al. simply have no interest in it? And why hasn't this kind of supreme church music been resuscitated? Or maybe it has been -- or never went anywhere to being with! -- and I'm just unaware? I mean, it's no secret that most churches today use pieces that sound like bad Disney music.

I could be wrong...as I've been known to be...occasionally. :mrgreen:
Even in Germany in the 18th century it was not normal for a Lutheran church to have concerted music specially composed week after week, year after year. Leipzig may not have been completely unique, but it was a mini-theocracy that offered what was considered a plum job for someone who wanted to do just that.

The decline in great composers contributing useful church music coincides with stylistic change. Baroque is not as suitable for it as Renaissance, Classical style is even less suitable, and so forth. Also, there were relatively many Renaissance masters of the highest order, but only two great Baroque choral composers and three of the Classical period (and, I would argue, one of the Romantic period--Brahms).

Excellence in church music has always been a spotty matter, with only the grandest or best-endowed churches offering anything worth the attention of a connoisseur. Two turning points into decadence were the introduction of operatic styles into worship from the eighteenth into the nineteenth century, and the modernization of the Catholic liturgy from the 1960s onward. However, it would be wrong to conclude that things were once golden and are now trash. Most Catholic churches in the US merely transitioned from one form of schlock to another after Vatican II. In some few places in Europe, musical excellence that existed before was never abandoned. This is not to say that modern forms of worship such as praise/blended services have not displaced something better.

If you're looking for excellence today, stick with the Anglicans in their higher places of worship. Church musicians jokingly call this family "the one true church."

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

piston
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by piston » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:21 pm

It's an excellent question and it may involve not only cultural but also sociological factors. Major churches, at least in France, continued to rely on very capable and creative composers well into the 20th century, mostly at the organ. Surely, all these French composers could have produced cantatas in abundance had it been possible to perform them or had there been a popular demand for them.

When I read the early years of the Musical Times (early decades, actually), I was struck by the prominence and proliferation of choral music in England. Instrumental concerts were very much in the minority of this paper's notable artistic events. And that was in the late 19th and early 20th century.

What happened to all these newsworthy, church-related, choral organizations? Could it be that educated women's more legitimate participation in the pink-collared work place took the wind out of large local choir sails? These English choirs of the late 19th century sang Bach, Handel (very popular), Mendelssohn, etc.

I'm sure somebody studied the 20th-century decline of this widespread artistic phenomenon in England and in several Commonwealth countries. As for France, it institutionalized and professionalized church organ music to a remarkable extent. This artistic development, in itself, was transformative.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by John F » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:45 pm

From time to time, church music becomes an issue within the church, and it is made simpler so as not to distract and detract from the core purposes and activities of the church service. The best-known reforms were in the Catholic Church, from the 16th century Council of Trent (cf. Pfitzner's opera "Palestrina") to the 20th century. I don't know about the history of protestant church music, but maybe others here do.

What strikes me is not that concerted and polyphonic music has largely been taken out of the rituals and services of the Christian churches, but that these kinds of music were ever taken in. Why would a church adopt a form in which the words of the ritual or prayer, which are the heart of the matter, are partly or wholly obscured by the manner in which they are uttered? Why would a church spend its money to maintain a musical establishment of singers and players not much different from that of an opera house, and to commission new music - in Bach's case, at the rate of a cantata every week - when it already has a comprehensive repertoire for every text and occasion?

Of course it was fortunate for Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, and thousands of other musicians that the church was a big-time customer for their work and services. And it's fortunate for us too, as the church music of the past has become an important part of the secular concert repertoire of the present. But for me, this points up the paradox that such music exists at all.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:58 pm

piston wrote:What happened to all these newsworthy, church-related, choral organizations? Could it be that educated women's more legitimate participation in the pink-collared work place took the wind out of large local choir sails? These English choirs of the late 19th century sang Bach, Handel (very popular), Mendelssohn, etc.
There were no women in great English church choirs of the 19th century and for the most part still aren't any. (Internationally, some major Anglican establishments now have very good adult choirs in addition to the traditional choir of men and boys. In the interest of inclusiveness, you can even find girls' choirs in the mix.) Mixed choirs may have sung the occasional sacred work in concert, but it was outside the context of church worship.

Well into the 20th century the Catholic Church officially forbade females from its choirs, though as time went on the rule was more and more flouted without encountering any crackdown. If anything, the loss to church music was related to a failure early on to embrace women, rather than their withdrawal from performing forces.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by piston » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:44 pm

Not at all, John. Mainzer was a big influence on that gender front and the mid-19th century was the turning point in England:
Into the English scene stepped Joseph Mainzer (1801-51),
another transplanted German. Later to become publisher of London's Musical Times (MT), his instructional
and performance groups often numbered two to three hundred people of both genders and all ages
(Mackerness 156). An 1842 MT article reports that the females of one of his ensembles "seemed greatly to
enjoy so novel and exciting an amusement, in which all classes were blended . . ."
I have been trying, without success on the internet, to find the gender composition of the massive choral concert at the Crystal Palace, c. 1890, that packed in 5,500 singers in one performance.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:59 pm

piston wrote:Not at all, John. Mainzer was a big influence on that gender front and the mid-19th century was the turning point in England:
Into the English scene stepped Joseph Mainzer (1801-51),
another transplanted German. Later to become publisher of London's Musical Times (MT), his instructional
and performance groups often numbered two to three hundred people of both genders and all ages
(Mackerness 156). An 1842 MT article reports that the females of one of his ensembles "seemed greatly to
enjoy so novel and exciting an amusement, in which all classes were blended . . ."
I have been trying, without success on the internet, to find the gender composition of the massive choral concert at the Crystal Palace, c. 1890, that packed in 5,500 singers in one performance.
Jacques, I said that there were mixed choirs involved in concert performances of sacred or religious-inspired music, some of which may have taken place in churches. IIRC, Messiah was performed by mixed forces in Handel's own time and/or shortly thereafter. That is different from women in church choirs.

Bach was once famously reprimanded for allowing "some strange woman" to sing in the choir loft (not during worship). For that and other reasons, I strongly suspect that he would have been perfectly happy to work with mixed forces, even on Sunday morning. However, I don't seriously think that the gender issue had anything to do one way or the other with the deterioration in standards of church music over the years.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by piston » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:10 pm

So, your point is how long did it take for England's churches to accept societal norms? One would have to research local churches to answer that question, no?! If the sopranos and contraltos were becoming increasingly accepted in English society at large, how long did it take English protestant churches to accept that reality?
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:13 pm

piston wrote:So, your point is how long did it take for England's churches to accept societal norms? One would have to research local churches to answer that question, no?! If the sopranos and contraltos were becoming increasingly accepted in English society at large, how long did it take English protestant churches to accept that reality?
I believe the Methodists over there (yes, the denomination still exists in its country of origin) long ago accepted mixed choirs. :)

Image

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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by John F » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:25 pm

piston wrote:What happened to all these newsworthy, church-related, choral organizations?
They still exist, as far as I know, though maybe they aren't as newsworthy or making as many recordings. The choirs of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, St. Hedwig's in Berlin, St. Thomas's in Leipzig, and the famous English church choirs still exist and are still very good.
piston wrote:I have been trying, without success on the internet, to find the gender composition of the massive choral concert at the Crystal Palace, c. 1890, that packed in 5,500 singers in one performance.
I'm pretty sure that it was men and women, but can't prove it. As jbuck919 says, mixed choruses were commonly used in secular performances, including oratorios. Another massive choral event, the Three Choirs Festival, included women in the chorus beginning in the 18th century: "By the early 19th century, if not earlier, male singers from choirs in Oxford, London and elsewhere were also used, and beginning in 1772 (following the practice of the Ancient Concerts in London), 'female chorus singers from the north of England' were also engaged." (New Grove, xxv.432). Since the Crystal Palace was a secular venue, I don't see why female chorus singers would have been excluded, when sopranos and altos by the thousands were required.

"The Dream of Gerontius," not composed for the Three Choirs Festival but performed there early in the 20th century, explicitly calls for a mixed chorus. "The choir plays several roles: attendants and friends, demons, Angelicals (women only) and Angels, and souls in Purgatory." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dream_ ... ius#Forces) I should think this is evidence that mixed choruses were common at the time, maybe usual, at least at secular events. The three choirs were those of Hereford, Gloucester, and Worcester, each of which had its secular choral society as well as its cathedral choir.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by piston » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:35 pm

Yes, I am now reading a similar source:
As the whole of England began forming choral societies, the rural singers aped their urban counterparts in choral, and later, oratorio performances. Early choral festivals used male cathedral singers (Smither 3: 220). Later, as oratorios became the staple form of choral entertainment, larger choruses of traveling professional and ecclesiastical singers were employed (Smither 3: 221-22). By necessity, the most northerly, less populous provinces used mixed choirs, long cultivated, to satisfy their localities' eagerness to hear and participate in oratorios (Smither 3: 222). Their prowess was so advanced that they became very popular in choral festivals outside these provinces (Smither 3: 222). In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the women choristers of Lancashire--"six to eight female sopranos"--were sought after for their skill in choral section leadership at many major festivals (Smither 3: 222).
http://www.calstatela.edu/centers/Wagne ... Treble.pdf

It was a gradual process of integration, going back to the 18th century, apparently not dictated by Church dogma, more simply because of pragmatic, demographic, reasons.

But John B. is correct in pointing to the resistance of the more traditional churches and, according to my source, World War I made it virtually impossible to maintain the old status quo:
English Anglican cathedral and continental Roman Catholic liturgical choirs remained largely untouched by the gender evolution in non-liturgical choral ensembles in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:38 pm

John F wrote:They still exist, as far as I know, though maybe they aren't as newsworthy or making as many recordings. The choirs of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, St. Hedwig's in Berlin, St. Thomas's in Leipzig, and the famous English church choirs still exist and are still very good.
And don't forget the Regensburger Domspatzen, once directed by Pope Benedict XVI's brother, who admitted sometimes striking the children. (Oh dear, oh dear, where have I turned this thread?)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:17 pm

John F wrote:What strikes me is not that concerted and polyphonic music has largely been taken out of the rituals and services of the Christian churches, but that these kinds of music were ever taken in. Why would a church adopt a form in which the words of the ritual or prayer, which are the heart of the matter, are partly or wholly obscured by the manner in which they are uttered?
I had to come back to this because it is a great question. As I'm sure you know, your are dealing with the same issue that motivated the Council of Trent which considered banning this music. I have commented on this before and won't repeat everything, except that I wonder if the usually reported reasons for the objections tell the whole story. Instead I will offer the proposition that the artistry of polyphony until 1600 was particularly suited to an exalted concept of worship and that this was not lost on a lot of people with cultured taste who also held the purse-strings. This music belongs with Gregorian Chant in this respect as no later music does. This was also the opinion of Pope Pius X when he published his famous Motu Proprio Tra le solicitudini (why its title was given in Italian when it was addressed to the whole church I do not know). Of course in the same document, he forbade women in church choirs, as I alluded to before.
Why would a church spend its money to maintain a musical establishment of singers and players not much different from that of an opera house, and to commission new music - in Bach's case, at the rate of a cantata every week - when it already has a comprehensive repertoire for every text and occasion?
This doesn't directly answer your question, but the cantatas are extra-liturgical. They fall in the cracks of a worship service that would have been complete without them, words, music, the whole kit-and-caboodle. There is a recording of a complete Leipzig service, including a portion of the sermon, which you will forgive me for not looking up immediately so I can provide the reference. All of it except the cantata is in fact from an "existing comprehensive repertoire." What the Leipzig Town Council was really doing was paying someone to provide an extremely elaborate version of the modern organ prelude and postlude and anthem or motet at the offertory, and the reason for this, I suppose, was a dedication to the greater glory of God (and their own reputation with respect thereto).
Last edited by jbuck919 on Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by piston » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:25 pm

Anybody knows why and when the cantata was chosen as a required composition for the Prix de Rome? This fact seems to contradict the whole notion that such a religious genre was becoming increasingly obsolete during the Romantic and the post-Romantic eras.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:48 pm

piston wrote:Anybody knows why and when the cantata was chosen as a required composition for the Prix de Rome? This fact seems to contradict the whole notion that such a religious genre was becoming increasingly obsolete during the Romantic and the post-Romantic eras.
I don't know about the origin of the requirement, but the cantata is not inherently a religious genre, even for Bach. All four of Berlioz's submissions for the Prix de Rome (the first three were unsuccessful) were secular cantatas. Maybe the idea was to compose a piece involving vocal/choral forces which was not as onerous as an oratorio? Doesn't sound like either a dated or an outdated assignment to me.

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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by John F » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:42 pm

I think you're right about that. Cantatas are usually fairly short; as vocal works, they test the composer's ability to write idiomatically for singers and also to provide suitable music for a literary text, not necessarily religious or dramatic; and the text determines the form for the work, rather than a set form like fugue or sonata, a further challenge to the composer.

19th century composers didn't just write cantatas to win prizes, it was a moderately popular form especially for those who didn't write operas, but few 19th century cantatas get performed nowadays. One that does is Mendelssohn's "Das erste Walpurgisnacht." And then there are the 20th century cantatas, such as "Alexander Nevsky" and Bartók's "Cantata Profana"; Britten composed several.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by PJME » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:48 am

http://www.kirchenmusik-luebeck.de/kalender/MiLK149.pdf
http://www.bachcantates-utrecht.nl/
http://www.kirchenmusik-im-bistum-osnabrueck.de/
http://www.anieuws.be/kalender/Bachcant ... bertuskerk
In France: http://www.lescantates.org/ and http://cantates-bach-paris.com/
In Brussels: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Festival/F ... inimes.htm

These are just a few examples: churches and/or choral organisations that sing Bach (and other composers, of course) regularly. In Lûbeck I attended several services that had a very authentic feel. In Antwerp, the Carolus Borromeus church has a long tradition of musical masses.
http://artiestenfonds.be/

P.

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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:51 am

PJME wrote:These are just a few examples: churches and/or choral organisations that sing Bach (and other composers, of course) regularly. In Lûbeck I attended several services that had a very authentic feel. In Antwerp, the Carolus Borromeus church has a long tradition of musical masses.
http://artiestenfonds.be/
For that matter, Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston performs a Bach cantata in the context of the service every Sunday. St. John Cantius (RC) Church in Chicago has, or had, a program that might even include the Mozart Requiem at the Feast of All Souls. There was once a YouTube that showed the ministers ridiculously standing in their ritual place through the entire Dies Irae. More typical of that denomination though is St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC, where bad taste and mediocrity have been the rule for generations.

Some Episcopal (Anglican) churches rely on their endowments for their music program but have little in the way of a current supporting congregation. There are sometimes almost as many people in the sanctuary as in the pews on Sunday. An exception is St. Thomas (Episcopal) in NYC. It certainly has a huge endowment, but also a healthy (and wealthy) congregation.

Suburbanites and people living in smaller cities in the US take their chances going to church and expecting anything like an artistic experience, and it goes without saying that small rural churches can't have anything like that. My current church happily involves a level not of high music-making, but at least of taste. I wouldn't be in the congregation at my own service and barely be able to stand it, which I cannot say of most places these days, or even of some churches I've worked for in the past.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by RebLem » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:17 pm

I am surprised that piston, our resident Francophone here at CMG, did not point out that the cutting edge in church music moved from Germany to France quite some time ago.

Olivier Messiaen was in the pay of the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris as its titular organist from 1931 right up until his death in 1992--61 years.

Take a look at the titular organists in the history of the Basilique Ste-Clotilde in Paris. They include Cesar Frank from 1859 until his dealth in 1890, Gabriel Pierné 1890-1898, and Charles Tournemire from 1898 until his death in 1939.

Alhough the fact that Francis Poulenc was one of the first openly gay composers prevented him from being in the employ of a church, he always considered himself a devout Catholic, and a number of his works are on religious themes, including his opera Dialogues of the Carmelites, his Stabat Mater, and his Gloria.

Other French composers who enjoyed long tenures as church organists and composers include Louis Vierne and Maurice Duruflé.

And, even in Bach's lifetime, we find an extraordinary and, in my view, grossly underrated French composer, Jean Gilles (January 8, 1668 – February 5, 1705), born at Tarascon.

After receiving his musical training as a choirboy at the Cathedral of Saint-Sauveur at Aix-en-Provence, he succeeded his teacher Guillaume Poitevin as music master there. After moving on several times, he became music master at the Cathedral of St Etienne at Toulouse in 1697, as the successor of André Campra. His musical style was influenced by Campra, as were most musicians of his day. He composed motets and a famous requiem, which was performed for the first time at his own funeral (because the original commissioner thought it too expensive to perform), but was later sung at the funeral services for the Stanisław Leszczyński, King of Poland in 1736, Jean-Philippe Rameau in 1764, and Louis XV in 1774. His motets were played frequently[1] from 1728 to 1771 at the Concert Spirituel.

His choral works often alternate passages sung by the soloists with those sung by the chorus. In 1752, in Lettres sur les hommes célèbres du règne de Louis XIV, Pierre-Louis d'Aquin said that Gilles would doubtless have replaced Lalande if he had lived long enough. Gilles died suddenly at the age of 37 in Toulouse.

The last two paragraphs and part of the one before it are copied from the Wikipedia article on Gilles @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Gilles_(composer). I am also grateful to Wikipedia for ALL the other data on other composers in this post.

And, besides Iced Note, let us note the our very own Karl Henning composes a lot of ecclesiastical music.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:18 pm

RebLem wrote:I am surprised that piston, our resident Francophone here at CMG, did not point out that the cutting edge in church music moved from Germany to France quite some time ago.
From the Wikipedia article on Fauré:
When Fauré returned to Paris in October 1871, he was appointed choirmaster at the Église Saint-Sulpice under the composer and organist Charles-Marie Widor. In the course of his duties, he wrote several canticles and motets, few of which have survived. During some services, Widor and Fauré improvised simultaneously at the church's two organs, trying to catch each other out with sudden changes of key.
Surprised that Fauré, vastly the superior composer, was subordinate to Widor and at the same time his equal as an organist? (Not necessarily addressing that to Rob, who probably knew already.)

It's difficult (for me, anyway) to get a handle on what the experience of attending Mass in one of the great Parisian churches would have been like from the 19th century to about 1965. I doubt very much that choral settings of the Mass or motets of any quality (historic or newly composed) had much of a role even though we can cite a thing or two here and there. Contrary to popular belief, Gregorian Chant was in a decadent state going back to the Renaissance until it was revived by the scholar monks of Solesmes in the late 19th century. (Yes, that's in France too, but their renewal movement didn't exactly catch on like wildfire.) I suspect that the organ music was the high aesthetic point, as it had been since the late Renaissance and into the Baroque. I still play a great deal of that music, because it works on the nice little organ I play now after making a few allowances. Don't get much Vierne or Messiaen in, though. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by piston » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:23 pm

I did point that out, RebLem, perhaps too implicitly, when I referred to the "transformative" changes that resulted from the institutionalization and professionalization of church organ music in France. I simply have not researched how much composers like Franck, Fauré, Dupré, Vierne, Alain, etc., devoted their creative energies to choral music, performed in church, in distinction to their organ music.
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by piston » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:24 pm

And let us not forget all the lesser known blind composers of church music who were part of this great institutional development.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

jbuck919
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:44 pm

piston wrote:And let us not forget all the lesser known blind composers of church music who were part of this great institutional development.
You already mentioned Vierne, who was blind. Other examples are Jean Langlais and Helmut Walcha, but since the latter was German I'm not sure we're onto some national trend. There are probably some I'm forgetting. I wouldn't make too big a deal of it, but it is an interesting phenomenon, and I can't explain why the two things would be associated in a way that they are not for any other instrument. It could have something to do with the possibility for an organist to feel over keys and pedals rather than leap over them as a pianist often must.

There was a blind student organist at Princeton when I was there who learned his music from Braille. I once pulled stops for him when he played for a chapel service.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

piston
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by piston » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:05 pm

Albert Mahaut, Maurice Blazy, Gaston Lataigne, André Marshall, George Robert, Dominique Lavacque, .....

Here's the relevant webpage, John, with plenty of historical info:
http://www.musimem.com/INJA.htm
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

IcedNote
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Re: Why did churches move away from Bach cantatas, etc?

Post by IcedNote » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:43 pm

Thanks for your input, everyone! Knew I'd learn something by starting a thread here. :)

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

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