Podcast: "Notes on Bach"
With musicologist Dr. Carrie Allen Tipton
Conversations with scholars on the life, times, music,
and legacy of J.S. Bach, sponsored by Bach Society Houston.
Episode 1, November 2020
In November, Bach Society Houston will perform a concert of works from the two “Anna Magdalena Bach Notebooks.” These compilations of keyboard and vocal works date from the early 1720s and contain music by J.S. Bach and other composers entered in the handwriting of several Bach family members, including the composer’s second wife, Anna Magdalena—just one example of her many contributions to the Bach household’s vibrant musical life and to her husband’s compositional achievements. Dr. Andrew Talle, Associate Professor of Musicology at Northwestern University, will join us to discuss new research and perspectives on Anna Magdalena, including her work as a singer and her role in J.S. Bach’s domestic and professional activities. Dr. Talle, a noted scholar of the social and cultural context of eighteenth-century German music, is currently researching popular music in Leipzig during Bach’s time.
Episode 2, February 2021
In a series of concerts spread across February, March, and April, Bach Society Houston will perform the Violin Sonatas and Partitas, BWV 1001–1006. Dr. David Schulenberg, Professor of Music History at Wagner College and expert on J.S. Bach and his family, will talk to us about several aspects of these works: their sources, distinctive stylistic features, place in Bach’s overall output, and reception history. Dr. Schulenberg recently completed the biography Bach for Oxford University Press’s Master Musicians series; the interview will draw on his extensive knowledge of Bach’s biography and compositions to contextualize these iconic solo violin works, parts of which have also attained popularity in the form of notable keyboard transcriptions.
Episode 3, March 2021
Our guest this month is Dr. Bettina Varwig, Lecturer in Early Modern Music at the University of Cambridge. She joins us to discuss Bach Society Houston’s Passion Week 2021 repertoire: Bach’s cantata BWV 131 and Heinrich Schütz’s Seven Last Words of Christ. Dr. Varwig, scholar of Baroque German sacred music and author of a Schütz biography, will tell us about these works’ notable stylistic features, their compositional circumstances and early uses, the relationship between Bach’s and Schütz’s music, and how we can listen thoughtfully to sacred music from early modern Germany. We will also hear about her work editing Rethinking Bach, a forthcoming essay collection from Oxford University Press which includes new scholarship on diverse dimensions of the composer’s life and work.
Episode 4, April 2021, Sponsored by the American Bach Society
This month we will hear from Dr. Christina Fuhrmann, Professor of Music History and Literature at Baldwin Wallace University and editor of the journal BACH, a publication of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute. Dr. Fuhrmann joins us to give listeners a look at the history, mission, operations, and projects of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute. This significant research center, which is located at Baldwin Wallace, is now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. The Institute houses rare items related to J. S. Bach, his family, and contemporaries; historical reference materials; scores; and recordings. Its many activities include collaborating with and supporting scholars at various career stages, hosting Bach-related conferences, and publishing research and musical editions.
Episode 5, May 2021
Bach Society Houston concludes its 2020–2021 season with “Music of the Americas in the Time of Bach,” a concert that can help us reconsider unexamined notions of what constitutes “eighteenth-century music” and who has historically been excluded, or erased, from that definition. To help us explore the broader issues around this concept and the repertoire on the program, we’ll hear from Dr. Glenda Goodman, Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Goodman, a scholar of eighteenth-century music in North America, is author of the recent book Cultivated by Hand: Amateur Musicians in the Early American Republic (Oxford University Press), which “brings together the history of gender, books, and labor to explore the little-known world of amateur music-making by women and men in the first generation after the American Revolution.” The interview will also draw on her new research into Christian sacred music and settler colonialism in the eighteenth century.
Episode 6, June 2021, Sponsored by the American Bach Society
In our final episode for the season, we hear from Dr. Stephen Rose, Professor of Music at Royal Holloway/University of London. Dr. Rose is an early music scholar whose many projects and publications focus on aspects of music print culture; the social and cultural history of various types of early music; and musical authorship in early modern Europe. Dr. Rose’s digital musicology projects include directing Early Music Online, a joint project with the British Library that has digitized hundreds of volumes of music. Dr. Rose joins us this month to discuss his new book, Musical Authorship from Schütz to Bach, recently published by Cambridge University Press.
Dr. Carrie Allen Tipton writes, podcasts, and lectures about music, religion, arts, and culture. She has written for Pop Matters, Deep South Magazine, the Southern Foodways Alliance, W.W. Norton's Avid Listener blog, Religion Dispatches, the New Encyclopedia of the South, the Black Music Research Journal, and the Journal of the Society for American Music, among other places. She is a former book reviewer for Kirkus and currently works as an academic editor.
Tipton has lectured for Bach Society Houston, Eroica Trio, Houston Ebony Opera Guild, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Her work has been featured on KUHF’s “The Front Row” (NPR-Houston), in the Houston Chronicle, and in The One: The Life and Music of James Brown (R.J. Smith, Gotham: 2012). Tipton has given papers at the Southern American Studies Association, Society for American Music, Society for Ethnomusicology, and NYU's Music and Film Conference.
In addition to the PhD in Musicology, Tipton holds the MM in Piano Performance (Accompanying/Chamber Music) and BME in Music Education. In some of her previous nine lives she has served as a church musician, middle school choir director, piano teacher, collaborative pianist, and archives assistant, followed by several years as a music professor at a major urban university. After having worked for the Bach Society Houston as Director of the Lecture Series, she is pleased to have launched the "Notes on Bach" podcast.