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OCTOBER 4, 5, & 6

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A super brief history of coffee during the baroque era.

Tonight’s music was composed when coffee was new and exotic. When it had arrived to Western Europe decades earlier, many viewed it suspicion. Bach and Bernier lived in a world where coffee was believed to cure chronic disease, encourage revolutions, function as erectile “enhancement” (ie Viagra), corrupt the innocent and impressionable, and even fracture families. The general fear was that the caffeinated brew was a gateway drug that would push impressionable youths to temptation and depravity. Coffee was described as a ‘mere decoction of the Devil”, tasting of ‘syrrop of soot’, and as having the ‘essence of old shoes.’”

 

Resistance to coffee was rooted not in the drink itself, but from the view of the public establishments where it was served. These new venues could be rowdy. Musicians played and partied, men and women mingled without chaperones, dirty jokes were shared, and, political plots were spun. During the time of Louis XIV, the cafés contribution to disreputable nightlife was as such that street lights were initiated under officer La Reynie!

 

Sources:

“Coffee and Orientalism in France.” Orientalism in Early Modern France: Eurasian Trade, Exoticism and the  Ancien Régime, by Ina Baghdiantz McCabe, Berg, 2008, pp. 163–182.

Greenlee, Cynthia R. “People Used to Be So Scared of Coffee That Bach Wrote a Cantata About It.” Bon Appétit, Bon Appétit, 7 June 2017, www.bonappetit.com/story/coffee-bach-cantata.

 

PROGRAM

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Le Café (Coffee Cantata)

Nicolas Bernier (1664 – 1734)

Chaccone en trio in G Major

Jacques Morell (c.1700 – 1749)

Schweight stille, plaudert nicht, BWV 211 (Coffee Cantata)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)

 

MUSICIANS & BIOS

Please click any musician name to read more. 

David Grogan

Baritone

Stephanie Raby

Baroque Violin

Thane Isaac

Baroque Violin

Ethan Rouse

Baroque Viola

Kiaan Mapes

Baroque Flute

Christopher Phillpott

Baroque Cello & Viola da Gamba

Randy Inman

Baroque Bass

Molly Hammond

Harpsichord

 

TEXTS

 

Le Café

Nicolas Bernier (1664 –1734)

1. Recitatif

Agréable Café,

quel climats inconnus

ignorent les beaux feux

que ta vapeur inspire.

Ah! tu contes dans ton empire

des lieux rebelles à Bacchus.

Recitatif

Pleasurable Coffee,

which unknown climates do not know

the lovely fires

your aroma inspires. A

h! You count in your empire places rebellious to Bacchus.

 

2. Air

Favorable liqueur

dont mon âme est ravie,

par tes enchantements

augmente nos beaux jours.

 

Nous domptons le sommeil

par ton heureux secours

tu nous rends les moments

qu'il dérobe à la vie.

Aria

Favorable drink

by which my soul is enraptured,

by your enchantments

increases our happy days.

 

We subdue sleep

by your favorable aid,

you give us the moments

that it steals from our lives.

 

3. Recitatif

L'astre dont chaque nuit

la clarté douce et pure

vient du soleil absent

consoler le nature,

te doit souvent

les regards des humains.

 

Les feux de sa lumière

aux yeux savant,

par toi devenus plus certains, découvrent leur vaste carrière.

Que Minèrve et ses favoris

des tes attraits

connaissent bien le prix.

Recitatif

The star 

whose clear, sweet and pure light 

Comes from the absent sun

to console nature,

humans frequently

gaze upon you.

 

The fires of her radiance

in clever eyes,

by you become more certain

and uncover their vast quarry.

Minerva and her favorites

know well the value

of your divine traits.

 

4. Air

Café, du jus de la bouteille

tu combats le fatal poison.

Tu ravis au Dieu de te treille

le buveur que ton charme éveille

et tu le rends à la raison.

Le sage s'il s'amuse à boire

ne se livre qu'à tes douceurs.

Tu sers les filles de mémoire qu'Apollon célebre ta gloire:

la sienne a croît par tes faveurs.

Aria

Coffee, you combat

the fatal poison of the bottle’s liquor.

You ravish from the god of the vine

the drinker that your charm awakens

and you restore him to reason.

The wise man if he enjoys drinking

has only to surrender himself to your sweetness. You serve the daughters of memory

so that Apollo sings your praises:

her own has grown by your favors.

 

5. Recitatif

Quand une main habile t'aprête quel plaisir est égal

à celui que tu fais?

Ton odeur seulement

te promet la conquête

des mortelles qui n'ont pas éprouvé tes attraits.

Recitatif

When a smart hand prepares you

what pleasure is equal

to that which you give?

By your aroma alone

you promise the conquest

of mortals who have not experienced

your allurements.

 

6. Air

O toi liqueur que j'aime,

regne, coule en tous lieux.

Bannis le nectar même

de la table des Dieux.

 

Fais sans cesse la guerre

au jus séditieux.

Fais goûter à la terre

le doux calme des cieux.

Aria

Oh you liqueur which I love,

reign, flowing everywhere.

Banish the very nectar

at the table of the gods.

 

Make war against

that seditious juice.

Let the earth taste

your sweet, heavenly calm.

 

Chaccone en trio in G Major

Jacques Morel (c.1700 -1749)

Pleasurable Coffee,

which unknown climates do not know

the lovely fires

your aroma inspires. A

h! You count in your empire places rebellious to Bacchus.

 

BWV 211 (Coffee Cantata)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 –1750)

1. Rezitativ

 Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht

Und höret, was itzund geschicht:

Da kömmt Herr Schlendrian

Mit seiner Tochter Liesgen her,

Er brummt ja wie ein Zeidelbär;

Hört selber,

was sie ihm getan!

Recitative

Be quiet, do not chat,

And listen to what happens now:

Here comes Mr. Schlendrian

with his daughter Liesgen,

He grumbles like a grizzly bear;

hear for yourselves,

what she has done to him!

 

2. Arie

Hat man nicht mit seinen Kindern Hunderttausend Hudelei!

Was ich immer alle Tage

Meiner Tochter Liesgen sage,

Gehet ohne Frucht vorbei.

Aria

With children, aren't there

a hundred thousand aggravations!

Whatever I, all the time and every day,

tell my daughter Liesgen,

slides on by with no effect.

 

3. Rezitativ

Schlendrian

Du böses Kind, du loses Mädchen, Ach! wenn erlang ich meinen Zweck: Tu mir den Coffee weg!

Liesgen

Herr Vater, seid doch nicht so scharf! Wenn ich des tages nicht dreimal Mein schälchen coffee trinken darf, So werd ich ja zu meiner qual

Wie ein verdorrtes ziegenbrätchen

Recitative

Schlendrian

You naughty child, you wild girl,

ah! When will I achieve my goal:

get rid of the coffee for my sake!

 

Liesgen

Father sir, but do not be so harsh!

If I couldn't, three times a day,

be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee,

I will turn, in my anguish, 

 into a shriveled-up roast goat.

 

4. Arie

Ei! wie schmeckt der Coffee süße, Lieblicher als tausend Küsse,

Milder als Muskatenwein.

 

Coffee, Coffee muss ich haben,

Und wenn jemand mich will laben, Ach, so schenkt mir Coffee ein!

Aria

Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,

more delicious than a thousand kisses, milder than muscatel wine.

 

Coffee, I have to have coffee,

and, if someone wants to pamper me,

ah, then bring me coffee as a gift!

 

5. Rezitativ

Schlendrian

Wenn du mir nicht den Coffee lässt, So sollst du auf kein Hochzeitfest, Auch nicht spazierengehn.

 

Liesgen

Ach ja!

Nur lasset mir den Coffee da!

 

Schlendrian

Da hab ich nun den kleinen Affen! Ich will dir keinen Fischbeinrock nach itzger Weite schaffen.

 

Liesgen

Ich kann mich leicht darzu verstehn.

 

Schlendrian

Du sollst nicht an das Fenster treten Und keinen sehn vorübergehn!

Liesgen

Auch dieses; doch seid nur gebeten Und lasset mir den Coffee stehn!

Schlendrian

Du sollst auch nicht von meiner Hand Ein silbern oder goldnes Band Auf deine Haube kriegen!

Liesgen

Ja, ja! nur lasst mir mein Vergnügen!

Schlendrian

Du loses Liesgen du, So gibst du mir denn alles zu?

5. Recitative

Schlendrian

If you don't give up coffee for me, you won't go to any wedding parties,

or even go out for walks.

Liesgen

Okay then!

Only leave my coffee alone!

 

Schlendrian

Now I've got the little monkey!

I will buy you no whalebone dress

of the latest fashion.

 

Liesgen

I can easily put up with that.

Schlendrian

You may not go to the window and watch anyone passing by!

 

Liesgen

This too; but be merciful

and let my coffee stay!

 

Schlendrian

You'll also not receive from my hand

a silver or gold ribbon

for your bonnet!

 

Liesgen

Sure, sure! Just leave me my pleasure!

 

Schlendrian

You naughty Liesgen, you grant all

of that to me?

 

6. Arie

Mädchen,

die von harten Sinnen,

Sind nicht leichte zu gewinnen.

Doch trifft man den rechten Ort,

O! so kömmt man glücklich fort.

Aria

Girls

of stubborn mind

are not easily won over.

 

But if the right spot is touched,

Oh! Then one can happily get far.

7. Rezitativ

Schlendrian

Nun folge, was dein Vater spricht!

 

Liesgen

In allem, nur den Coffee nicht.

 

Schlendrian

Wohlan!

so musst du dich bequemen,

Auch niemals einen Mann zu nehmen.

 

Liesgen

Ach ja! Herr Vater, einen Mann!

 

Schlendrian

Ich schwöre, dass es nicht geschicht.

 

Liesgen

Bis ich den Coffee lassen kann?

Nun!

Coffee, bleib nur immer liegen!

Herr Vater, hört, ich trinke keinen nicht.

 

Schlendrian

So sollst du endlich einen kriegen!

Recitative

Schlendrian

Now do what your father says!

 

Liesgen

In everything but coffee.

 

Schlendrian

All right then!

So you will have to content yourself

with never having a husband.

 

Liesgen

Ah yes! Father, a husband!

 

Schlendrian

I swear that it will never happen.

 

Liesgen

Until I give up coffee?

All right!

Coffee, lie there now forever!

Father sir, listen, I won't drink none.

 

Schlendrian

So finally you'll get one!

 
 

8. Arie

Heute noch,

Lieber Vater, tut es doch!

Ach, ein Mann!

Wahrlich, dieser steht mir an!

 

Wenn es sich doch balde fügte,

Dass ich endlich vor Coffee,

Eh ich noch zu Bette geh,

Einen wackern Liebsten kriegte!

Aria

Even today,

dear father, make it happen!

Ah, a husband!

Indeed, this will suit me well!

 

If it would only happen soon,

that at last, instead of coffee,

before I even go to bed,

I might gain a sturdy lover!

9. Rezitativ

Nun geht und sucht der alte Schlendrian,

Wie er vor seine Tochter Liesgen

Bald einen Mann verschaffen kann;

Doch, Liesgen streuet heimlich aus:

Kein Freier komm mir in das Haus,

Er hab es mir denn selbst versprochen

Und rück es auch der Ehestiftung ein,

Dass mir erlaubet möge sein,

Den Coffee, wenn ich will, zu kochen.

Recitative

Now old Schlendrian goes and seeks

How he, for his daughter Liesgen,

might soon acquire a husband;

but Liesgen secretly spreads the word:

no suitor comes in my house

unless he has promised to me himself

and has it also inserted into the marriage contract, that I shall be permitted

to brew coffee whenever I want.

 

10. Chor

Die Katze lässt das Mausen nicht, Die Jungfern bleiben Coffee schwestern.

 

Die Mutter liebt den Coffee brauch, Die Großmama trank solchen auch, Wer will nun auf die Töchter lästern!

Chorus

Cats do not give up mousing,

girls remain coffee-sisters.

 

The mother adores her coffee-habit,

and grandma also drank it,

so who can blame the daughters!

 

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