The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Section Menu

Research in Music Series: A Talk by Owen Belcher

Owen Belcher, Music Theory Lecturer

Wed., Sept. 26 @ 12:20pm in the Old Chapel Conference Room (1st floor)

Research in Music Series: A Talk by Owen Belcher
Music Theory faculty, UMass Amherst

Analyzing Bach's Cantatas: A Case Study

Despite Bach's status for performers, listeners, and scholars, the genre in which he was most prolific - the church cantata - has received little attention from North American music theorists. There is almost no detailed analysis of cantatas. On the other hand, chorale harmonizations abstracted from cantatas and passions play a crucial and long-standing role in theory pedagogy. After a brief contextual  overview, this talk focuses on the analysis of a single movement, the trio aria "Zedern muessen von den Winden," from what is believed to be Bach's earliest surviving cantata, Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150. The discussion demonstrates an interpretive approach that combines technical considerations with hermeneutics, and which is modeled after David Lewin's philosophy of analysis.

Owen Belcher bio