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David Dalle
Thursday May 25th, 2023 with David Dalle
In Leipzig Part II

As this show is broadcast, I am still attending the Mahlerfest in Leipzig, Germany. Unlike Mahler, who only resided in Leipzig for a couple years, Leipzig's most famous musical inhabitant, Johann Sebastien Bach, lived there for over half his adult life, from 1723 until his death in 1750. Bach was appointed Thomaskantor, the director of church music, in Leipzig, after the death of Johann Kuhnau. Unimaginable to us today, Bach was not the first choice for the position. It was first offered to Georg Philipp Telemann, who declined the position! Bach composed many of his greatest works in Leipzig, including the Mass in b minor, his two Passions, most of his cantata cycles, his first publications of organ music, the second volume of the Well Tempered Klavier, the Goldberg variations and the Art of the Fugue, as well as many other compositions. The St. Thomas church where he worked, performed, and is buried is still located in the centre of Leipzig and I saw an organ recital there with Bach and other composers earlier this week. So we will hear a lot of Leipzig Bach today. For the first hour, we are going to focus on Bach the master of the organ. He started composing the collection of organ music entitled "Clavier-Ubung III" in 1736 and it was published in 1739. Its unassuming title, translating into "Keyboard Practice", belies the incredible richness, complexity, and variety of the pieces. The collection is bookended by the famous Prelude & Fugue in E flat major, with the prelude at the start and the fugue at the end. The largest part of Bach's musical output are his church cantatas. Almost 200 of them survive, and the majority were composed in his first few years in Leipzig, when he composed several Cantata cycles for the Lutheran liturgical year, often composing a cantata every week. Despite Bach's cantatas being the largest part of his repertoire, they are actually the least known overall. This is a shame as they encompass every aspect of Bach the composer. The sheer diversity of the cantatas is staggering. We are going to hear BWV 146 "Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal/We must pass through great sadness". It is a large cantata in eight movements composed in Leipzig either in 1726 or 1728. It was written for four soloists, a full choir, woodwinds, strings, and has a prominent solo organ part, opening with a sinfonia for organ. The sinfonia is based on his keyboard concerto in d minor. The first chorus, which follows the sinfonia, is based on the adagio from the concerto with the chorus superimposed over the anguished bass line. It is intended for the fourth Sunday of Easter in the Lutheran calendar, and the mood ranges from depicting the great suffering in the world to the joyful hope for a better heavenly life. We will bookend the cantata with the Prelude & Fugue from the Claver-Ubung III. I admit the key transition from E flat major to d minor is not extremely smooth and one Bach would not make, but these are the pieces I want to hear! One last point I would like to make about Bach before we get to the music: I have often bumped up against the cliché that Bach is an academic, mathematical, intellectual composer, and that is all bunk. The vast majority of Bach's music is vocal music with texts, his cantatas, passions, mass, motets and other works. So the emotional content and context Bach was setting music to is very clear. His music explores extreme emotions, searing drama, enormous suffering, exultant joy, and everything in between. Yes Bach had a great love for numerology, and his music is brilliantly intricate and complex, but it is all in service of expressing and depicting the drama of human existence.
Prelude in E flat BWV 552i
Johann Sebastien Bach/Tom Koopman - Clavier-Ubung III - Teldec
Cantata BWV 146 'Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal'
Johann Sebastien Bach/Alan Bergius, Paul Esswood, Kurt Equiluz, Thomas Hampson, Tolzer Knabenchor, Concentus musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt - Cantatas BWV 143-146 - Teldec
Prelude in E flat BWV 552ii
Johann Sebastien Bach/Tom Koopman - Clavier-Ubung III - Teldec
The second hour of music will be bookended (I like musical bookends!) by Mahler's movement for piano quartet. This is the earliest surviving piece by Mahler, composed in 1876 when he was 16 years old. A single completed movement for piano quartet, there are also surviving sketches of a scherzo for piano quartet. It is also the only piece of chamber music by Mahler which exists. This youthful work has gorgeous, darkly-hued melodies, and textures which certainly give an indication of the symphonies to come. Ending the set, is a one movement piano quartet by Alfred Schnittke, based on both the sketches for the scherzo and the completed movement by Mahler, his homage to Mahler. In between we will have some Uri Caine, because I find even when he is not playing music based on Mahler, it's still always so fitting, Mahler orchestral songs, and some African piano and strings.
Gustav Mahler/Gidon Kremer, Oleg Maisenberg, Veronika Hagen, Clemens Hagen - Kremerata Musica - Deutsche Grammophon
The Pianist
Joel Rubin & Uri Caine - Azoy Tsu Tsveyt - Tzadik Records
Kora Jazz Trio - Kora Jazz Trio - Celluloid
Bassekou Kouate & Ngoni Ba - Miri - Outhere
Un Mitternach
Gustav Mahler/Brigitte Fassbaender, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Riccardo Chailly - Das Klagende Lied - Decca
Kasse Mady Diabate - Kirike - No Format
Piano Quartet
Alfred Schnittke/Molinari Quartet, Louise Bessette - Quartet & Quintet with piano, String Trio - Atma Canadian
Interactive CKCU
David Dalle (host)
10 minutes away from seeing the Staatskapelle Dresden perform Mahler's 3rd symphony! His largest. This is a dream! My show is good as well! ;)

1:48 PM, May 25th, 2023
Perfect music for cooking up a massive batch of pasta sauce, with fresh spring air wafting in. With far more garlic, onion. basil, parsley than is normal or even sane. All fresh from Parkdale Market, Rochone. There are laws of physics that that say "just add more" ... right?! Pass hugs forward to Germany. Peace Miigwech

3:26 PM, May 25th, 2023
David Dalle (host)
Just got out of the 3rd. Absolutely magical. Words will not suffice. Thst is why we have music! All I can say is that I have to restrain myself. During the last movement I want to raise my arms to the sky like a Qawwali singer.

3:49 PM, May 25th, 2023