What kind of music comes mind when you think of college-aged musicians hanging around a coffeehouse? Probably some acoustic folk, maybe some bongo-based “world” music? How about…classical cantatas?

You’re on the Sound Beat.

That’s Bach you’re listening to, the piece composed when he was the head of the Collegium Musicum of Leipzig, Germany. They were groups of amateur and professional musicians who would gather regularly in public locales…a bit like an upscale open-mic night. The Leipzig group met at Café Zimmerman, a Kaffeehaus, as they say. Fitting then that this piece, some of Bach’s lighter fare, was called the Coffee Cantata.

Protagonist Lieschen (Lee-see-en) refuses her father’s requests to quit drinking coffee, calling it“more delicious than a thousand kisses, and sweeter than muscatel wine”. But when her father refuses to allow her to marry she relents. Though she have a rider in any future marriage contract: she must be allowed at least three cups a day.

Which sounds like an ok agreement for any marriage.




Photo credit: Harald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany (Coffee Beans  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons