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Jewish Crypsis – Religion – Part 2

Zohar, Wikipedia:

The Zohar (Hebrew: זֹהַר, lit Splendor or Radiance) is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah.[1] It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains a discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and “true self” to “The Light of God,” and the relationship between the “universal energy” and man. Its scriptural exegesis can be considered an esoteric form of the Rabbinic literature known as Midrash, which elaborates on the Torah.

The Zohar is mostly written in what has been described as an exalted, eccentric style of Aramaic, which was the day-to-day language of Israel in the Second Temple period (539 BCE – 70 CE), was the original language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud.[2]

The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de Leon. De Leon ascribed the work to Shimon bar Yochai (“Rashbi”), a rabbi of the 2nd century during the Roman persecution

Poisecution!

There are people of religions besides Judaism, or even those without religious affiliation, who delve in the Zohar out of curiosity, or as a technology for people who are seeking meaningful and practical answers about the meaning of their lives, the purpose of creation and existence and their relationships with the laws of nature,[7][8] and so forth; however from the perspective of traditional, rabbinic Judaism,[9][10] and by the Zohar’s own statements,[11] the purpose of the Zohar is to help the Jewish people through and out of the Exile and to infuse the Torah and mitzvot (Judaic commandments) with the wisdom of Kabbalah for its Jewish readers.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, “On the other hand, the Zohar was censured by many rabbis because it propagated many superstitious beliefs, and produced a host of mystical dreamers, whose overexcited imaginations peopled the world with spirits, demons, and all kinds of good and bad influences.”

Kabbalah, Wikipedia:

According to the Zohar, a foundational text for kabbalistic thought, Torah study can proceed along four levels of interpretation (exegesis).[5][6] These four levels are called pardes from their initial letters (PRDS Hebrew: פרדס‎, orchard).

  • Peshat (Hebrew: פשט‎ lit. “simple”): the direct interpretations of meaning.
  • Remez (Hebrew: רמז‎ lit. “hint[s]“): the allegoric meanings (through allusion).
  • Derash (Hebrew: דרש‎ from Heb. darash: “inquire” or “seek”): midrashic (Rabbinic) meanings, often with imaginative comparisons with similar words or verses.
  • Sod (Hebrew: סוד‎ lit. “secret” or “mystery”): the inner, esoteric (metaphysical) meanings, expressed in kabbalah.

Distinction between Jews and non-Jews

A number of medieval Kabbalistic sources contain statements to the effect that the Jewish soul is ontologically different from the soul of non-Jews; for example, it is held by some that Jews have three levels of soul, nefesh, ruach and neshamah while non-Jews have only nefesh.

Such theologically framed hostility may have been a response to some medieval demonization of Jews which developed in some parts of Western and Christian society and thought

David Halperin[62] argues that the collapse of Kabbalah’s influence among Western European Jews over the course of the 17th and 18th century was a result of the cognitive dissonance they experienced between the negative perception of Gentiles found in some exponents of Kabbalah, and their own positive dealings with non-Jews, which were rapidly expanding and improving during this period due to the influence of the Enlightenment.

However, a number of renowned Kabbalists claimed the exact opposite. In their view, Kabbalah transcends the borders of Judaism and can serve as a basis of inter-religious theosophy and a universal religion. Rabbi Pinchas Elijah Hurwitz, a prominent Lithuanian-Galician Kabbalist of the 18th century and a moderate proponent of the Haskalah, called for brotherly love and solidarity between all nations, and believed that Kabbalah can empower everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike, with prophetic abilities.

Yet another example of jewish duality – kabbalah is by jews, about jews, for jews AND it’s for everyone!

Cabal, by Rabbi Julian Sinclair, The Jewish Chronicle:

Cabal entered the English language in the late 16th century to mean a secret intrigue, plot or conspiracy. This coinage coincided with the rising awareness of Jewish mystical teachings, the Kabbalah, in non-Jewish circles. (The word Kabbalah derives from the word meaning “receive,” denoting the private, oral nature of its transmission from teacher to student.)

Kabbalah was at one time a bone of contention between ashkenazi jews in Eastern Europe. Misnagdim and the Hasidic Judaism, Wikipedia:

The reconciliation took place in response to the perceived even greater threat of the Haskala, or Jewish Enlightenment. Despite this, the distinctions between the various sects of Hasidim and other Orthodox Jews remain, although now, there is almost no conflict between these two groups.

In the mid-19th-century the influence of modern changes in Jewish society arrived East from the Western European secularising Haskalah (Jewish “Intellectualism”) movement. While the unsuccessful 1812 French invasion of Russia by Napoleon had sought to bring Jewish emancipation from the non-Jewish political structures of Poland and Russia, Haskalah sought to reform and rationalize Jewish thought and life from within the Jewish community, to form an image of Jewish observance in the character of non-Jewish modernity.

The threat of Haskalah helped heal the division between Hasidism and Mitnagdim, as they saw a common goal in protecting sincere Jewish observance of the common folk

The use of Hebrew for anything other than prayer and study is, according to them, profane. Hence Yiddish is the vernacular and common tongue for many Hasidim around the world.

Haredi Judaism, Wikipedia:

Haredim view themselves as the most authentic group of Jews

The word denotes staunchly Orthodox Jews and is increasingly being used in the diaspora in place of “ultra-Orthodox”, which some view as inaccurate or offensive,[16][17] it being seen as a derogatory term suggesting extremism.

Many Haredim view manner of dress as an important way to ensure Jewish identity and distinctiveness

To Zionists, Haredi Jews were either “primitives” or “parasites”; to Haredi Jews, Zionists were tyrannizing heretics.

Despite the animosity, it was necessary for the two groups to work out some modus vivendi in the face of a more dangerous enemy, the Nazis. This was achieved by a division of powers and authority, based on the division that existed during the British Mandate in the country. Known as the “status quo”, it granted political authority (such as control over public institutions, the army, etc.) to the Zionists and religious authority (such as control over marriage, divorce, conversions, etc.) to the Orthodox.

Why Do Some Jews Spell “God” G-d?, by Ariela Pelaia, judaism.about.com:

The custom of substituting the word “God” with G-d in English is based on the traditional practice in Jewish law of giving God’s Hebrew name a high degree of respect and reverence.

Significant names and contexts:

  • YHWH/Yahweh (I am), not spoken ever
  • Adonai (master, lord), prayer only
  • HaShem (The Name), other times

Kabbalists use “Ein Sof”, meaning void, infinite, endless.

Atheist Jews: Judaism Without God, by Kimberly Winston, The Huffington Post:

In the 1920s, American Conservative Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan developed the theology of what would become Reconstructionist Judaism, founded on the idea that God is not personal, but a summation of all natural processes. Four decades later, Reform Rabbi Sherwin Wine came out as an atheist and founded “Humanistic Judaism,” which emphasizes secular Jewish culture and history over belief in God.

And because Judaism is not dogmatic — unlike Christianity and Islam, there is no creed to adhere to — atheists can be open about their lack of belief and still belong to a synagogue.

“Atheism is not much discussed in Jewish life,” said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

“An individual who attends synagogue, participates in Jewish communal affairs, and contributes heavily to Jewish charities would undoubtedly be considered a very fine Jew, without asking questions about whether or not that person believed in God.”

Shaul Magid, a professor of modern Judaism at Indiana University, said atheists may join synagogues because American Judaism lacks “a vibrant secular Jewish movement.”

“They go because they want some kind of ethnic identity,” Magid said. “They don’t care about the prayers. It allows them to feel a sense of Jewishness, but has little to do with religion.”

That’s what prompted Jennifer Cohen Oko, a Washington, D.C.-based writer, to join a Reform synagogue, her first. Neither Cohen nor her husband believe in God, but, like many Jews, they joined for their two children.

“I want my kids to understand they are Jewish, to be proud of being Jewish and to understand their heritage,” Cohen said. “And then they’ll have a choice. If they want to go that way (towards belief in God), great. If they don’t, they’ll have a sense of where they came from.”

This article linked to Can There Be Judaism Without Belief In God?, Moment Magazine:

Rebecca Goldstein

As an atheist who identifies with my Jewishness, I believe this is a very important question. From a purely philosophical point of view, it might seem like a contradiction; Judaism is a religion that at the very least presupposes, as all religions do, a belief in God. But many of us make a distinction between Judaism as a religion and Judaism as a cultural and ethical outlook.

. . .

The contradictions might seem glaring, but centuries of Jewish history since the Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment, have proved that Jews are too strong for narrowly defined contradictions. One of the most important responsibilities a person has is to carefully and conscientiously examine her beliefs.

Robert Putnam

I don’t know whether it’s theologically kosher to be both a Jew and an atheist, but if it isn’t, half the Americans who call themselves Jews aren’t quite legit. Of self-identified Jews in the nationally representative surveys David Campbell and I did for our book American Grace, 50 percent say they have doubts about the existence of God. That figure is much higher among Jews than any other major religious group in America. (Among members of all other faiths, only 10-15 percent express any doubts at all about God’s existence.)

I’m a Jew by choice—I converted 50 years ago, and I’m even more satisfied with that choice now than I was a half-century ago. That’s partly because being Jewish is mostly not about beliefs, but about connections with other people, sharing values and a collective destiny.

Robert Putnam is the author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community and the Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University.

Avraham Infeld

Judaism is not a religion and was not a religion until the emancipation and our encounter with modernity. Rather, it’s the culture of the Jewish people. Like most ancient cultures, it was a religious culture, and the relationship between God and the Jewish people as a whole—not the individual Jew—was an integral part of the basis of that culture. Does an individual Jew have to believe in God to be a part of Judaism? I don’t think so. I believe that practicing Judaism demands recognition of the fact that you’re part of a culture with a narrative that has God as a central player, part of a people that have had a love affair with God for thousands of years. The narrative of this relationship is probably the central theme in the culture of this people. Being a people means identifying with a shared memory and narrative and having responsibility for its future, its renaissance, its well being. That’s what Jews are. It’s like asking “Can a Frenchman be French without being Catholic?” Of course he can, but he has to understand that being French was built on the Catholic tradition. We are taught that a Jew—never mind how he sins, even in the sin of apostasy—always remains a Jew. Jewish culture is not based on the individual Jew’s relationship to God, but rather on his relationship to his community and the community’s relationship to God: We pray in the plural. We need a minyan.

. . .

Membership in the people is the necessary condition for being a Jew (I don’t know if it’s sufficient), while saying, “your God is my God,” is not a requirement.

Masha Gessen

The concept of Jewishness as a religious affiliation is a recent one. It’s a post-World War II American idea, which will take years to unpack, but essentially it’s a cultural reaction to the need not to think of Jews as an ethnicity. The rest of the world thinks of Jews as an ethnic group, and to maintain a separate and cohesive population it’s useful to have a religion, but it’s not necessary, as other groups have demonstrated. The Roma have adopted whatever religion is dominant in the society in which they’re living, an unusual story for a small population in the diaspora, but possible. Same with the secular Jews of the Soviet Union. For nearly seven decades, Jews maintained a separate identity without religion and without a common language. The common experience of discrimination forged a common identity that bound them together.

Leora Batnitzky

It is difficult to conceive of Judaism as a long-term, sustainable tradition without belief in God, or, at the very least, belief in the Jewish people. For example, one of the questions about Zionism is whether or not, as a belief in the Jewish people outside of God, it is sustainable over the generations. I’m not sure it is. I’m not saying that all Jews do believe in God, and I don’t think God fills a void in any kind of easy way, but the notion of God gives some kind of trans-historical, or trans-subjective dimension to why we think we ought to do what we ought to do. The question comes down to what it means to sustain a belief in God in Judaism, and that’s a complicated issue. One interesting example of someone who struggled with this issue is Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. He rightfully recognized that defining Judaism just in terms of God was problematic, and he also claimed that, in many ways, modern science made notions of God obsolete. But he continually struggled to think of a notion of God that infused Jewish peoplehood with meaning.

The question is, why be Jewish? One thing I think most Jews would agree on—and there aren’t many things—is that it’s not easy to be Jewish alone. It’s communal. So what sustains the community? Answers about history and culture are important, but without a God that somehow transcends human history, Judaism becomes just one cultural option among many. It becomes like ice cream flavors; different people like different flavors, but why should we force our children to like our flavor? Without God, arguments for Jewish continuity—that there should be Jews in the future—end up resorting to ethnic chauvinism.

Leora Batnitzky is chair of the Religion Department at Princeton University and author of How Judaism Became a Religion.

Jack M. Sasson

Especially before the fall of the Ottoman Empire, belief in God was generally not a troubling issue for Mizrachi Jews in the Middle East, as there was little differentiation between the religious and social spheres.

. . .

The Latin word religio (from which we derive “religion”) has to do with connectives, attaching people together. In that sense, an increasing investment in communal acts—synagogue worship and joyous occasions such as engagement, marriage, bar-mitzvah and brit milla—give moments in which members of the community renew their commitments to each other as well as distribute rewards to loyal members.

Jack M. Sasson is the Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies at Vanderbilt University.

Judaism is based on people, not religion.

The podcast will be broadcast and available for download on Tuesday at 9PM ET.

 
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Two “Nazi Crimes” Trials: Nuremberg and NSU

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Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials – Telford Taylor’s Lies

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Jew Wires Direct Tammany’s Gentile Puppets – Episode 59

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Jewish Crypsis – Religion – Part 1

Concerning judaism and the false idea that jewishness equates with religion. The question is, which religion?

Torah, Wikipedia.

Five books, “dictated to Moses by God”.

At that time it was forbidden to write and publish the oral law, as any writing would be incomplete and subject to misinterpretation and abuse.[44]

However, after exile, dispersion and persecution, this tradition was lifted when it became apparent that in writing was the only way to ensure that the Oral Law could be preserved. After many years of effort by a great number of tannaim, the oral tradition was written down around 200 CE by Rabbi Judah haNasi, who took up the compilation of a nominally written version of the Oral Law, the Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה). Other oral traditions from the same time period not entered into the Mishnah were recorded as “Baraitot” (external teaching), and the Tosefta. Other traditions were written down as Midrashim.

After continued persecution more of the oral law was committed to writing.

A self-image as a persecuted group is a defining characteristic, the core belief of judaism.

One kabbalistic interpretation is that the Torah constitutes one long name of God, and that it was broken up into words so that human minds can understand it.

The Torah is what all types of jews, and the Abrahamic religions, have in common.

Christians call it the Pentateuch, the first portion of the Old Testament. Muslims call it Tawrat, viewing jews and Christians as “people of the book”, and Moses as a prophet.

Tanakh, Wikipedia:

three traditional subdivisions: The Torah (“Teaching”, also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (“Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Writings”)

According to the Talmud,[1] much of the contents of the Tanakh were compiled by the “Men of the Great Assembly” by 450 BC, and have since remained unchanged. Modern scholars believe that the process of canonization of the Tanakh became finalized between 200 BC and 200 AD.

The adoption of the Christian chapter divisions by Jews began in the late Middle Ages in Spain, partially in the context of forced clerical debates which took place against a background of harsh persecution and of the Spanish Inquisition (the debates required a common system for citing biblical texts). From the standpoint of the Jewish textual tradition, the chapter divisions are not only a foreign feature with no basis in the mesorah, but are also open to severe criticism of three kinds

Oral Torah/Talmud, Wikipedia:

The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה, c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism’s Oral Law, and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), an elucidation of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Hebrew Bible.

Much of the Gemara consists of legal analysis. The starting point for the analysis is usually a legal statement found in a Mishnah. The statement is then analyzed and compared with other statements

. . .

Another important function of Gemara is to identify the correct Biblical basis for a given law presented in the Mishnah and the logical process connecting one with the other: this activity was known as talmud long before the existence of the “Talmud” as a text.

The process of “Gemara” proceeded in what were then the two major centers of Jewish scholarship, the Land of Israel and Babylonia. Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Jerusalem Talmud or the Talmud Yerushalmi. It was compiled in the 4th century in Israel. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled about the year 500 CE, although it continued to be edited later. The word “Talmud”, when used without qualification, usually refers to the Babylonian Talmud.

The influence of the Babylonian Talmud has been far greater than that of the Yerushalmi.

The Talmud is often cryptic and difficult to understand.

Pilpul

During the 15th and 16th centuries, a new intensive form of Talmud study arose. Complicated logical arguments were used to explain minor points of contradiction within the Talmud. The term pilpul was applied to this type of study.

Hairsplitting, a “talmudic” tendency toward tedious arguments, is another key jewish characteristic. In the context of judaism the need arises out of contradictions created by jewish dishonesty about who they are and what they believe. The most important argument for jews revolves around the question: “What is good for the jews?”. Much confusion is created by their own attempts to disguise, deny, or otherwise explain this away.

The history of the Talmud reflects in part the history of Judaism persisting in a world of hostility and persecution.

Persecution, again.

Full scale attacks on the Talmud took place in the 13th century in France, where Talmudic study was then flourishing. The charge against the Talmud brought by the Christian convert Nicholas Donin led to the first public disputation between Jews[66] and Christians and to the first burning of copies of the Talmud in Paris in 1242.

The Talmud was likewise the subject of the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263 between Nahmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman) and Christian convert, Pablo Christiani.

In 1415, Pope Benedict XIII, who had convened the Tortosa disputation, issued a papal bull (which was destined, however, to remain inoperative) forbidding the Jews to read the Talmud, and ordering the destruction of all copies of it. Far more important were the charges made in the early part of the 16th century by the convert Johannes Pfefferkorn, the agent of the Dominicans.

Note the active agency in these “attacks” are “converts” (i.e. jews) revealing jewish secrets, particularly revealing the hostility of jews toward others, encoded in their Talmud.

Contemporary accusations

Criticism of the Talmud is widespread, in great part through the Internet.[89]

The Anti-Defamation League’s report on this topic states that antisemitic critics of the Talmud frequently use erroneous translations or selective quotations in order to distort the meaning of the Talmud’s text, and sometimes fabricate passages. In addition, the attackers rarely provide full context of the quotations, and fail to provide contextual information about the culture that the Talmud was composed in, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Jews blame non-jews for secretive jewish behavior, for the harm created by jewish crypsis.

Zohar, Wikipedia:

The Zohar (Hebrew: זֹהַר, lit Splendor or Radiance) is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah.[1] It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains a discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and “true self” to “The Light of God,” and the relationship between the “universal energy” and man. Its scriptural exegesis can be considered an esoteric form of the Rabbinic literature known as Midrash, which elaborates on the Torah.

The Zohar is mostly written in what has been described as an exalted, eccentric style of Aramaic, which was the day-to-day language of Israel in the Second Temple period (539 BCE – 70 CE), was the original language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud.[2]

The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de Leon. De Leon ascribed the work to Shimon bar Yochai (“Rashbi”), a rabbi of the 2nd century during the Roman persecution

The podcast will be broadcast and available for download on Tuesday at 9PM ET.

 
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The problem with Hitler “scholars” and White Nationalist homos

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Interview with Clement Pulaski

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Voices of Music

Published on August 2, 2013 by in Blog

This month’s special program is based on performances that Voices of Music, the Early Music ensemble, has made available on YouTube. It will be broadcast each Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday starting at 9PM ET and streaming until the next scheduled program.

From the Voices of Music home page:

Voices of Music performs both renaissance and baroque music, drawing upon the many and varied sources for historical performance practice. Based in San Francisco, our venue in St. Mark’s Lutheran provides one of the finest concert experiences in the Bay Area. Performances are one on a part, with an emphasis on combining both instrumental and vocal styles of interpretation and ornamentation. Our ensemble is the first Early Music Ensemble in America to broadcast highlights from our performances in High Definition Video.

In most cases the visuals make these selections worth watching as well as listening to. During transcoding I took the liberty of trimming off most of the applause and silence. The notes below are excerpts of the YouTube descriptions for each video.

Pachelbel Canon in D Original Instruments (4:14)

About the performance: the canon is played using not only the instruments but also the bowing techniques from the time of Pachelbel. As you can see from the video, especially if you look at the high definition version, the string instruments are not only baroque, but they are in baroque setup: this means that the strings, fingerboard, bridge and other parts of the violin appear just as they did in Pachelbel’s time. No metal hardware such as chinrests, clamps or fine tuners are used on the violins, allowing the violins to vibrate freely. A good example of baroque bowing can be seen in the extended passage of repeated notes: the musicians play these notes on one bow—the shorter & lighter baroque bow—to created a gliding effect. The players also hold the bow very differently which affects the balance and touch. Both the style and the amount of vibrato are based on baroque treatises which describe the methods for playing, bowing & articulation in the late 17th century. The narrow, shimmering vibrato blends with the baroque organ. The organ used is made entirely of wood, based on German baroque instruments, and the pipes are voiced to provide a smooth accompaniment to the strings, instead of a more soloistic sound. The large bass lute, or theorbo, provides a complement to the organ not only in the texture of the chords but also the long strings which occasionally sound the bass notes an octave lower. The continuo players play supporting chords and voices to the canon, carefully avoiding parallels and doublings of the parts.

Another feature of the video is the subtle differences in not only the sound and color of the instruments, but also the different techniques of the players. All three are playing baroque violins with baroque bows, yet each person has her own distinct sound and bowing style—each bow has a different shape and balance. If you look at paintings of 17th century players you will see that they are all different, because that individuality of sound and technique was highly valued. This allows the players and the listeners to hear and appreciate the “Voices of Music.”

More about Pachelbel’s Canon at Wikipedia.

J.S. Bach: Air on the G String (5:08)

Bach under the Stars.

More about Air on the G String at Wikipedia.

J.S. Bach: Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen BWV 51 (4:26)

Bach’s cantata is Italian in nature and makes extensive use of ritornello form within the larger framework of the Da Capo Aria. The original manuscripts are unusual in that they have “doublets” or extra parts for the strings, along with minimal solo and tutti markings.

Jauchzet Gott is the only cantata by Bach for both solo trumpet and solo soprano, and the highly virtuosic solo parts are demanding even by Bach’s standards. The soprano part covers two octaves and extends to high C. It is not known for whom the solo parts were composed; presumably the trumpet part was penned for the brilliant trumpeter Gottfried Reiche, and it is tempting to assume, as previous scholars have noted, that the solo soprano part was written for a visiting singer, as there was no known local singer at that time with a similar repertory. The first noted performance of the cantata was on the 15th Sunday after Trinity, on 17 September 1730; the ms. is also marked “et in ogni tempo”, meaning that it could be performed at any time during the year. Although some scholars have drawn comparisons to music composed for the court at Weißenfels, the style and the scoring of the work seem most closely related to Italian composers such as Alessandro Scarlatti who composed many works for virtuoso singers and trumpet players . There is also the slim chance that Nicola Porpora, who had connections in Germany and visited in 1724, just prior to the date of BWV 51, or Caldara may have presented similar works. Nonetheless, at its core, the cantata is fashioned with Bach’s signature contrapuntal style.

J.S. Bach: Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, Largo BWV 1043 (5:48)

The entrancing slow movement from the Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor by J.S. Bach (BWV 1043), accompanied by a montage of HD images from the ESA.

Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for organ BWV 565 (9:45)

Bach’s signature work for organ solo, performed on a Flentrop organ by Rodney Gehrke, as part of the Voices of Music “Great Works” series. One of the most brilliant and creative compositions ever written for the organ, the Toccata and Fugue are characterized by a grand, cathedral-like architecture. Pedal points provide the foundation, strettos engrave recurring design motifs on the architraves that join immense columns of sound, quirky modulations form spandrels at the ends of phrases, blue notes spout from the gargoyles guarding the rails of free-form episodes–episodes that form a fan-vault over the chords; subject and counter-subject weave rood-screens between the main formal sections, the fugue rules square the structure in balanced harmony, and striking modal colors provide illumination through the clerestory windows of Bach’s imagination.

The work is unique in many respects, and these unique qualities–for example, the solo statement of the fugue subject in the pedals at 6:50 is unprecedented in any work of the baroque–have led some musicologists (not us) to speculate that the work may not be by Bach, or that it is an arrangement drawn from a work for another instrument. But what instrument besides the organ could build a cathedral of sound?

Dandrieu: La musète et double de la musète (2:55)

The musète (musette) from the Suite in C from Book I of the French organist and composer Jean-François Dandrieu (Paris, 1705).

Lully: Chaconne from Phaeton, with baroque dance (4:22)

The Chaconne from the Opera Phaeton by Jean-Baptiste Lully (LWV 61, 1683)

Antonio Vivaldi: La Follia, with baroque dance (9:40)

In 1705, eager to make his mark as a composer of both opera and instrumental music, the young Vivaldi published his first set of twelve trio sonatas as Opus 1. The last sonata, which is a highly virtuosic set of variations on the “La Follia” dance pattern (titled only “Follia” in the print), is one of his most famous works; Vivaldi takes Corelli’s variations on the same theme-and-bass pattern from Corelli’s Opus 5 (1700), which was already a famous work, and adds figuration of even greater complexity.

Antonio Vivaldi: In turbato mare RV 627 (16:19)

Antonio Vivaldi is known primarily as a composer of concertos, but in his own time he was an opera impresario, hastily dashing off concertos for cash (sometimes in coach trips from one production to another) to fund his lavish productions. For special occasions, or special patrons–such as the orchestra in Dresden–Vivaldi brought the full force of his compositional abilities to the table, and crafted masterpieces of counterpoint, in stark contrast to many of his hastily composed works. Vivaldi’s sacred works are nearly as compelling as his best concertos, and the motet “In turbato mare irato” combines typical operatic melismas, recitatives and Da Capo arias, as well as a challenging vocal range of two octaves. Composers of the baroque period (especially Handel) often used a number of compositional tricks to speed the process of churning out music, such as recycling large pieces of thematic material, or piling all of the instruments onto one part to avoid the complexity of full counterpoint. In turbato, in contrast, is composed with a four-part harmony throughout. The fully-allegorical text can be read as an odyssey towards spiritual or intellectual light, but the verses are suffused with secular sensuality, paralleling the Italian art and religious architecture of the same period.

The original score contains a brief recit with continuo, we have turned this into an accompagnato piece in which the strings play the harmonies.

Heinrich Biber: Sonata IV in C Major for Trumpet and Strings (4:53)

Although Biber gives the title “Sonata” for the works in this collection, “Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes” (Salzburg, 1676), stylistically, this work is in many respects one of the earliest trumpet concertos. Virtuoso parts are provided for the trumpet and first violin, and the rich accompaniment results from the blend of the two violas and the continuo group.

Pergolesi: Stabat Mater (39:03)

In his short life, Giovanni Pergolesi composed a wide variety of music in the major genres of the time. His primary compositions were also operas, especially the new Opera Buffa (comic opera). His highly influential mini-opera, La Serva Padrona (1733) was the subject of a fierce debate in France over the future of opera, and was one of the most popular operas of the mid-18th century. The Stabat Mater, written in 1736, may have been composed for members of the secular nobility, the Cavalieri della Vergine dei Dolori, that met in Naples and commissioned a setting of the Stabat Mater every year. A few years earlier, Alessandro Scarlatti set the same text for members of the same group. Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater was an immediate hit, and was copied, imitated, arranged and reprinted many times throughout Europe. When it was engraved in London in 1749, it quickly became the most frequently printed musical work in the 18th century.

Henry Purcell: Pavan in B Flat (4:04)

Henry Purcell’s sumptuous Pavan in B Flat

Johann Kapsberger: Toccata Arpeggiata (5:25)

The Toccata Arpeggiata from Johann Kapsberger’s Book I (Venice, 1604). Performed on the theorbo by David Tayler. Live video from the SF based Early Music Ensemble Voices of Music, from the Great Artists Series 2012.

Musicological Notes:

My reconstruction of the style of playing the lute in the first decade of the 17th century is based on a study of the many different musical genres from the time, including the keyboard and lute toccatas, the violin sonatas and the wide variety of vocal music, including the Littera Amorosa. Early keyboard and lute music reveals a dizzying array of arpeggiation patterns, with very few written-out works that use a relentless or uniform approach. Another feature of this early 17th century style is that the music almost always has contrasting sections, and this feature is present in both vocal and instrumental works. Chord patterns, arpeggios and melodic fragments are combined to form these sections, as well as provide small ritornellos. Echo, piano and forte effects, which were just starting to be used (Monteverdi, 1607) are added with gradations, within the small but present dynamic range of the lute.

Literary influences for my interpretation center around the poetical forms in vogue 1600-1610, including the sonnet and especially the freer and rhythmically complex form of Gabriello Chiabrera: rhymes, lines, line breaks, chiasmus and caesuras are woven into the musical fabric.

Lastly, my approach tries to recreate a more improvisatorial style that provides a kind of musical antecedent to the unmeasured preludes of Louis Couperin, Jacquet de la Guerre and Chambonnieres, as I imagine that such a style must have existed in order for later composers to imitate it. There are many ways to interpret Kapsberger, and I hope to see many more versions by my colleagues.

Total run time: 1:56:02

(Note: There is no audio download for this program – please tune in via the MP3 Stream.)

 
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How Jews Ruled and Ruined Tammany Hall – Episode 58

[CONTENT REDACTED BY REQUEST OF THE AUTHOR]

 
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