At the end of his second year in Leipzig, J.S. Bach composed nine sacred cantatas to texts by Leipzig poet Mariane von Ziegler (1695-1760). Despite the fact that these cantatas are Bach's only compositions to texts by a female poet, the works have been largely ignored in the Bach literature. Ziegler was Germany's first female poet laureate, and the book highlights her significance in early eighteenth-century Germany and her commitment to advancing women's rights of self-expression. Peters enriches and enlivens the account with extracts from Ziegler's four published volumes of poetry and prose, and analyses her approach to cantata text composition by arguing that her distinctive conception of the cantata as a genre encouraged Bach's creative musical realizations. In considering Bach's settings of Ziegler's texts, Peters argues that Bach was here pursuing a number of compositional procedures not common in his other sacred cantatas, including experimentation with the order of movements within a cantata, with formal considerations in arias and recitatives, and with the use of instruments, as well as innovative approaches to Vox Christi texts and to texts dealing with speech and silence. A Woman's Voice in Baroque Music is the first book to deal in depth with issues of women in music in relation to Bach, and one of the few comprehensive studies of a specific repertory of Bach's sacred cantatas. It therefore provides a significant new perspective on both Ziegler as poet and cantata librettist and Bach as cantata composer.
’Peters’ book is a testament that … challenging some of the old established perceptions can be … stimulating and continues to yield valuable new insights. Moreover, among the relatively small number of studies on the women in Bach’s life, which for the most part focus on Anna Magdalena, the present book represents an important factual contribution to a subject which in the past had more often belonged to the realm of fiction than historiography.’ Bach Bibliography ’Naturally, a musician's main interest in Ziegler is likely to be connected with the fact that she is one of the few librettists of Bach's cantatas of whom we know the name. Peters' project is to fill out the conventional image of Ziegler as an early feminist writer, and to assert that Bach probably did not, as has often been claimed, adapt her texts in his nine cantata settings of April to May 1725 but, on the contrary, set them in the form supplied to him by the author and, indeed, drew inspiration from their particular qualities.’ The Consort
Contents: Introduction: Mariane von Ziegler and J.S. Bach; Woman's voice: Mariane von Ziegler as poet; Anonymous voice: Mariane von Ziegler's sacred cantata texts; Divine voice: the significance of the Vox Christi for Ziegler and for Bach; The composer's voice: Bach's compositional procedures in the Ziegler cantatas; Woman's voice restored: the reception of the Ziegler cantatas and their significance in Bach's output; Appendices; Select bibliography; Indexes.