Bach Study Group

Conductor: Mark Nelson
Pianist: David Almond  

We are an informal group dedicated to the study of  J. S. Bach’s cantatas, motets, and Passions.  We immerse ourselves in rehearsal of a chosen work for a number of weeks and perform a final run-through at the end of the study period.  Founded in 1983 by Joan Snell, the group currently numbers some 50 singers (SATB) and instrumentalists (playing flute, recorder, oboe, violin, viola, cello, and keyboard). We are grateful to the Howe Library in Hanover, which provides rehearsal space and makes possible the borrowing of scores from the Drinker collection of the Philadelphia Free Library.

In the winter of 2019 we are working on BWV 21, “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis.”  Though we do not commonly perform in public, we will likely perform this cantata at the Bach Marathon, which will be hosted by Our Savior Lutheran Church, Hanover, in late March.

No Auditions: There are no auditions.  Singers and instrumentalists of all levels of experience are most welcome! Interested musicians are encouraged to contact Mark Nelson (mark.bach.study@gmail.com).  Non-participating observers are welcome as well.

Rehearsals: Fridays mornings, 10:00 – 11:45 a.m. in the Mayer Room of the Howe Library in Hanover, N.H. The Howe requests that we park in Hanover’s parking garage in order to leave room for regular library patrons.

Weather closings: We do not meet on days on which Hanover schools are closed.  BSG members are notified via e-mail about cancelled rehearsals.  The Dresden school district Web site—www.sau70.org—includes announcements of school closings.

Listen to Bach 

  • Emmanuel Music’s Bach Cantata Series runs from September through May. The Cantatas are part of the Sunday liturgy at the 10 AM service at Emmanuel Church at 15 Newbury Street in Boston. All are welcome.
  • WGBH in Boston offers online streaming of “all Bach, all the time” at Classical New England’s Bach Channel.
  • All of Bach features videos of the Netherlands Bach Society performing Bach’s compositions. Each Friday the site posts a new recording; eventually all of Bach’s works will be available. Recordings are accompanied by background information about both the work and the performers.
  • The Oregon Bach Festival’s Digital Bach Project features the B Minor Mass, the Saint Matthew Passion, the Well Tempered Clavier, and the Goldberg Variations. Click on the tab Cuepoints to listen to complete performances of these works; click on the tab Discovery to listen to Helmuth Rilling’s informal lectures on them.

About Bach

Librettos and Notes

Librettos with English translations plus Ellen Frye’s conductor’s notes are available as pdf downloads.

  • BWV 4 Cantata for Easter Sunday (1707)
  • BWV 6 Cantata for Easter Monday (1725)
  • BWV 24 Cantata for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity (1723)
  • BWV 30 Cantata for John the Baptist Day (1737)
  • BWV 33 Cantata for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity (1724)
  • BWV 34 Cantata for Pentecost (1746)
  • BWV 38 Cantata for the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity (1724)
  • BWV 41 Cantata for New Year’s Day (1725)
  • BWV 43 Cantata for Ascension (1726)
  • BWV 64 Cantata for the Third Day of Christmas (1723)
  • BWV 67 Cantata for the First Sunday after Easter (1724)
  • BWV 94 Cantata for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity (1724)
  • BWV 95 Cantata for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity (1723)
  • BWV 97 Cantata for Unknown Occasion (1734)
  • BWV 99 Cantata for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity (1724)
  • BWV 101 Cantata for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity (1724)
  • BWV 105 Cantata for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity (1723)
  • BWV 115 Cantata for the Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity (1724)
  • BWV 117 Cantata for Unknown Occasion (1728)
  • BWV 119 Cantata for the Inauguration of the Town Council (1723)
  • BWV 124 Cantata for the first Sunday after Epiphany (1725)
  • BWV 130 Cantata for St. Michael’s Day (1724)
  • BWV 134 Cantata for the Third Day of Easter (1719)
  • BWV 248 Christmas Oratorio (1734)
Drinker_150dpi
Henry Drinker conducting a Bach cantata during one of his “singing parties.” The Bach Study Group is modeled after these informal gatherings of musicians.
Bach Study Group, 2010

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