TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN
9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music
Bach in America during the shellac era (1900–1950)
Although the Bach revival took place chiefly in European musical centres
like Berlin, Leipzig, Paris, and London, America’s record industry output
of 78 rpm recordings of works by Johann Sebastian Bach was, in terms of
repertoire and style, more advanced than the European record production.
The first recordings of the St. Matthew Passion, of the Art of Fugue, and
of several cantatas were recorded and released in North America – neither
in England, nor in continental Europe. And furthermore, performances by
historically informed musicians such as organist Carl Weinrich and harpsichordist
Ralph Kirkpatrick were produced.
The paper investigates the recorded output of early American Bach performances
– both, commercially produced and distributed recordings as well as instantaneous
recordings, and discusses them. It looks at the influence of native musicians
(such as Arthur Mendel) and of immigrant musicians and scholars (like Paul
Hindemith and his Yale Collegium Musicum, and Emanuel Winternitz at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art) and examines their role for the establishment
of a Bach performing style. For this research, documents in various American
archives, libraries, and museums have been consulted.
Last updated on 21 March 2000 by Yo