Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Something for non-Christian fans of Bach’s sacred music

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-11-23

A couple of questions for readers that might push some types of posts and some of my hobby work:

  • How many of you are Bach fans?
  • How many of you Bach fans are not Christians, but love his sacred music?
  • How many of those people would like “sacriligeous” versions with the vocals replaced by instruments?

If any of you fit into any of these categories, try the MP3 files over the fold that I’ve generated (mainly with Rosegarden Linux Midi Editor), add comments with criticism or praise (especially voting for which of my renderings you like the most), and I’ll take it into account when preparing more tracks at home and uploading them for you.

Most are hanging somewhere under this page, and maybe there will be more that are not listed here.

  • BWV 24.6 (from “Ein ungefärbt Gemüte”)
  • BWV 82.1 (“Ich habe genüg”)
  • BWV 98.1 (“Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan”)
  • BWV 107.7 (“Herr, gib, dass ich dein Ehre” from “Was willst du dich betrüben”)
  • BWV 138.7 (from “Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz”)
  • BWV 140.1 (“”Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme””)
  • BWV 248.42 (from Christmas Oratorio)
  • BWV 593.1 (an Organ Concerto, although Bach might not appreciate the distorted overdriven electric guitar in there)

You might get a page that asks you to confirm the download.

All are CC BY-SA.

See Also/Notes:


8 Responses to “Something for non-Christian fans of Bach’s sacred music”

  1. Ram said

    Yup fan of Bach, Bachs in fact.
    Not a christian, born a hindu and atheistic at that.
    For Hitchens sake – don’t fartarse around with replacing vocals it is music not an incantation that works!

  2. Dave Bath said

    Ram: Sometimes I’ll replace the vocals, sometimes I’ll completely change the instrumentation or boost the volume of a particular voice so that (for example) the alto becomes the lead rather than the soprano. I’m particularly fond of reworking the WTK, using different instruments for each part of the fugue… besides, it makes it much easier for fugue newbies (esp kids) to follow.

  3. Ram said

    Mate -anything that gets more people listening to some “echte musik” the better. All you have to do is blast the St Mathew’s Passion at high volume and it will unblock any recalcitrance!

  4. Dave Bath said

    Ram: Forgot to mention, the “incantations” are sometimes very annoying because to me, they seem to constrain the meaning in the music, and its applicability. It can be hard to “unlimit” the music if you have a grasp of Latin for the 232 (ooooh… the 232 by John Eliot Gardiner… my knees go weak), or even a VERY rudimentary grasp of German for the rest.

    Also, not a few sopranos (apart from Emma Kirkby or a chorus of boys) annoy the hell out of me and I want to hear flutes instead. And vibrato sopranos REALLY get on my goat.

    Mind you, sometimes the words can be important, as I outlined here,

    BTW: I’ve sometimes commented to friends that if I thought a deity existed as described by Bach in the 232 (and the opening of St John’s and St Matthew’s), I’d be a Christian.

  5. Dave Bath said

    So… Ram… did you like any of the mungings?

  6. Ram said

    Good point! Look forward to hearing more of your stuff.
    I just feel that Rigoletto in 1980’s New York or Hamlet in modern Japan, Macbeth in Melbourne are dilettantic and uncalled for deviations. People should write new plays, operas, sonatas, cantatas for the new times.

    God luck und viel spass.

  7. Dave Bath said

    The Melbourne Mobster Scottish Play wasn’t too bad…. but I think it missed the philosophical (and probably hungover) porter bit… one of my favorite parts of the play.

    Still… if like the Lurman R and J it gets people interested in the good stuff… always useful.

    Mind you… I’m DESPERATE to get hold of the McKellen Richard 3 (as Mosely) – and by the way, I’m a big fan of the REAL Richard 3 rather than the Tudor propaganda version.

    And then there is the argument that the oldies but goodies are darn hard to beat, in many fields (most of my favorite plays are Greek). Resetting them in modern times can be very useful, saying “hey, we are going through exactly the same sh*t now, and they realized the problems millenia ago, and had some darn good insight”.

    (Besides Mr Shakespeare was a great one for ripping off the classics, particularly Plutarch).

  8. Ram said

    Yup read Kiplings Gods of the copybook headings today. Works a treat as it is – does not need elaboration or change.

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