A monograph exploring the Crucifixus from a broader
BWV 4, 12, 105, 232.
Scholars and students interested in Mass settings.
It opens our horizon to see a wider range of issues in
perspective, allowing us to see ‘what to study next’ towards the better
understanding of the subject.
or more than a century Bach’s music has attracted intense
scholarly interests. Some studies have been so narrowly focused that they often
failed to consider appropriately the contextual perspective of the music of his
predecessors, contemporaries, and successors, leaving the study itself as an end
rather than a beginning of further investigations.
The book under review is the first of this new series of monographs for which
the editor, Robin A. Leaver chose Jasmin Cameron’s PhD thesis submitted to the
University of Liverpool in 2001. Cameron’s thesis offers many fresh insights as
she approaches the subject very differently from those scholars who have
examined Bach’s works from ‘within’.
Contents in brief
List of Figures and Tables
Editor's Foreword (Robin A. Leaver)
and Its Musical Implications
1. The Crucifixus: An Overview
2. Music and Rhetoric: Representation of the Text as
Conceived by Theorists of the Eighteenth Century.
3. Modern Analytical Views Relevant to the Subject and
Their Relationship to Rhetoric
4. A Musical Overview
5. Analytical Results
6. Adaptation of Preexisting Music for a Setting of the
Crucifixus: J. S. Bach: Crucifixus from Mass in B minor,
7. Organization of Texture and Text: Caldara:
Crucifixus a 16 Voci
8. A Semiotic Analysis: Bertoni: Crucifixus con Organo
a 4 Voci
9. A Rhetorical Analysis: Zelenka: Crucifixus from
Missa Paschalis ZWV 7
10. Textual Influence: Vivaldi: Crucifixus from
Credo RV 591
11. Constraints of Style: Lotti: Crucifixus
Settings for Six and Ten Voices
12. Orchestral Practice and Cricifixus
Conventions: Mozart, Haydn, and Beyond.
13. The Crucifixus Tradition: Patterns of
Influence and Modes of Transmission
14. General Overview
The Crucifixion in Music: An Analytical Survey of Settings
of the Crucifixus between 1680 and 1800 by Jasmin Melissa Cameron. (=
Contextual Bach Studies, no.1) 'it opens our horizon to see a wider range of issues in perspective'
'it opens our horizon to see a wider
range of issues in perspective'
For this work Cameron examines 102 different settings of
‘Crucifixus’ — a small section or movement from the Credo of the Mass Ordinary —
that were composed between 1680 and 1800 in Italy, Austria, and southern
Germany, and Bach’s Crucifixus from the B-minor Mass was studied as one
of the highlights. Her decision to focus on this section of the Mass is an
excellent one: theologically it is the Christological core of the liturgical
Credo, and musically its expressive potential was well recognized even in the
eighteenth century. Seeing that ‘it contains far greater potential for musical
word painting and direct expression of the text’ (p.3), she successfully argues
how the composers of the time used rhetorical devices to support the expression
of the text, and in doing so, she adds her voice to the discussion of how
tactfully Bach adapted the opening chorus of Cantata 12 ‘Weinen, Klagen,
Sorgen, Zagen’ (composed in 1714) in the B-minor Mass (compiled in 1748-49),
which is probably the most detailed discussion of Bach’s parody procedure of
this movement ever published.
Some of the most illuminating contributions come from her
findings that pose additional questions for future research. For example, her
detailed analysis of wide-ranging sources that span more than a century paints
interesting pictures of how widely some of the compositional ideas and
parameters such as length, segregation of movements, tempo, scoring, form, and
style were shared or not shared by the featured composers. From the examination
of musical aspects alone, it is impossible to draw satisfactory answers as to
why these similarities or dissimilarities occurred. In discussing ‘modes of
transmission’ (p.216-21), she recognizes appropriately numerous other burning
issues that are not addressed in the present study, which needs to be addressed
in future. For me the most valuable part of Cameron’s study is the way in which
she made use of such a large body of primary sources she consulted. With her new
and more representative statistical information, she was able to measure the
tendency of how various compositional parameters in the Crucifixus were
understood by the composers at the time. As many of these sources have not yet
been made available in the printed editions, it is useful to have selected
settings typeset and reproduced in Appendixes as well.
Although there are countless other points to be added to
this wish list, it is fair to say that Cameron’s work opens our horizon to see a
wider range of issues in perspective, allowing us to see ‘what to do next’
towards our better understanding of the subject. It is this positive attitude to
scholarship that emerges most powerfully in Cameron’s study. To me it seems that
the Contextual Bach Studies have a bright and vibrant future.