Further information: Gerald Hoekstra, Bach’s Church Music

Assignments:  Preparation for each class will involve short readings (provided via email) and listening to the works to be discussed.  Recordings will be made available online.


1      Introduction: The Baroque Era; Listening to Baroque music, its styles and forms

2      Bach’s life and career; the core of 18th-century Lutheran theology
                Cantata 106 “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbesten Zeit” (funeral 1707)

3      The Lutheran liturgy and its music: cantatas, motets, passions, chorales
                Cantata 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (Easter 1708, 1725)
                Cantata 61, “Nun komm der Heiden Heiland” (Advent 1714)

4      Bach’s musicians and their instruments
                Cantata 21, “Ich hatte viel Bekümernis (Trinity III 1714)
                Cantata 26, “Ach, wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig” (Trinity XXIV 1724)

5      Bach’s audience
                Cantata 78, “Jesu, der du meine Seele” (Trinity XIV 1724)
                Cantata 1, Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” (Annunciation 1725)

6      Bach and his contemporaries: Handel, Telemann, et al.
                Cantata 140, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” (Trinity XXVII 1731)
                Magnificat in D (1723)
                Cantata 51, “Jauchzet Gott” (Trinity XV 1730)

7      Holy Week in Leipzig’s churches; madrigalian poetry in Lutheran church music
                The St. Matthew Passion (1727)

8      Bach’s later life and works
                The B Minor Mass (assembled 1747-49): Kyrie, Credo