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Cantata BWV 106
Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (Actus Tragicus)
Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Discussion in the Week of January 16, 2005 (2nd round) [Continue]

Paul Farseth wrote (January 21, 2005):
BWV 106 - Göennenwein's Performance ... and English texts

I've been listening to three performances of BWV 106 this week, all still on vinyl: Goennenwein's [10], Werner's [9], and Prohaska's [6]. I'd have listened again also to the old Richter [11], which I know almost by heart, but the vinyl record is now too worn to enjoy.

Of these four performances, I found the Werner and Prohaska to have an intimate quality, using what sound like small vocal groups, hardly bigger than OVPP (don't know exactly from the liner notes). Pleasant voices, sometimes very good, though the Soprano and Alto in the Prohaska sometimes have annoying vibratos (unexpected from Teresa Stich Randall).

The most moving performances, however, are the Richter, especially for the slow and solemn opening sinfonia, and the Goennenwein. Both use larger choruses, but they have a kind of earth-shaking seriousness that makes me shiver. In particular the Goennewein performance seems to hit everything after the opening chorus absolutely perfectly as the agitation of the dying person builds, the warning is declared to the living to put right their lives in expectation of the unexpectedly transitory character of life, the dying person cries out in both resignation and trust. Then the voice of the Savior (in the words of the gospel to the dying thief on the adjoining cross) call out the promise of Paradise now, and the chorus, like angels, sings comfort. This last alternation between "Heute, heute bist du mit mir" and "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin" reminds me of the image of a hugely heavy Boeing 747 airliner lumbering down the runway, pushed faster and faster by the "Heute, heute" jet engines until suddenly it is airborne with the chorus's singing, lifting slowly with unearthly energy until it disappears from sight behind a cloud, with only the chorus singing, a magical defiance of gravity. And then the Gloria comes in at the end, more earthly (to my imagination), sung not by Heaven's angels but by the survivors left on the ground who have been looking up in awe and have heard a sort of voice call down to them, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand there looking up into heaven...?" to which they respond with earthy praise.

For what it's worth, here is an attempt at laying out a singable translation of the text, matching up the syllables roughly one for one to the syllables of the original German. If you display the text in a fixed-pitch font such as Courier-New, it should line up. Underscores join word syllables split apart to match the other language. The carat symbol ( ^ ) indicates run-together syllables:

2a. Chorus
Gott__es Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit.
God's own time is the all_together best.

"In ihm le___ben, we___ben, und sind^wir,"
"In him live all, move all, are all ,"

so_lang_e er willt.
as long as he wills.

In ihm ster_ben wir zur rech_ten Zeit,
In him our lives end at the right time,

wenn er will.
when he wills.

2b. Arioso, Tenor
Ach Herr, Herr "leh__ re uns be_denken,
Ah, Lord, Lord "teach us to consid_der,

dass wir ster_ben muessen,
that our days are num_bered,

auf dass, auf dass wir klug werden."
so that, so that we live wi_sely."

2c. Aria, Bass
"Be__stelle dein Haus;
"Now set right your House;

denn du wirst sterben
for you shall per_ish

und nicht le_bendig bleiben!"
and not contin_ue li__ving!"

2d. Chorus and Arioso, Soprano
"Es ist der al_te Bund:
"It is the an_cient Bond:

Mensch, du musst ster ben!"
Man, you must sure^ly die!"

3a. Arioso, Alto
"In deine Haende,
"In to your ha_nds,

In deine Haende,
In to your ha_nds,

befehl ich mein_em Geist.
I give up now my life.

Du hast mich erloes___et,
For you have redeemed me,

Herr, du ge____treu_er Gott."
Lord, you good, faithful God."

3b. Arioso and Chorus, Bass (B) and Alto (A).
B: "Heu__te, heu__te wirst du mit mir,
"This day, this day, shall you be^with me,

Heu__te, heu__te wirst du mit mir,
This day, this day, shall you be^with me --

im Paradies sein."
in Paradise be."

A: "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin
"With peace and Joy I now depart

in Got___tes Willen.
in God's own willing.

Ge_trost ist mir mein Herz und Sinn,
Of good cheer are my heart and mind,

sanft und stille.
all fears stilling.

Wie Gott mir verheissen hat:
As God to me promised has:

Der Tot ist mein Schlaf worden."
Death is to sleep con____verted."

4. Chorus
"Glorie, Lob, Ehr und Herrlich_keit
"Glory, Praise, hon_or and splendor

Sei dir, Gott Vater und Sohn be_reit',
to you, God Father and Son be giv'n,

Dem Heil'gen Geist mit Namen!
with Ho___ly Spir__it naming!

Die goett_lich Kraft
May God's own pow'r

Mach uns sieg_haft
win us this hour

Durch Jesum Chris__tum, Amen.
through Jesus Christ, Lord, Amen.


Eric Bergerud wrote (January 21, 2005):
[To Paul Farseth] Well Paul, if you can arrange a performance I'll try to make it. As luck would have it Santa keeps forwarding CDs (the Amazon "one click" is a fiendish device) and it was Leonard Bernstein's Matthew's Passion (BWV 244) in English. Lenny made some cuts so it fits onto two CDs, even including a pretty interesting 15 minute lecture at the end. (The liner notes said that Lenny loved baroque music and was disappointed that gents like Harnoncourt were keeping the big bands on the sideline. I remember a very nice Bach chamber piece Bernstein did with Isaac Stern so maybe something was indeed lost.) The performance isn't exactly my cup of tea, although the NY instrumentalists do earn their supper. That said, I think the English translation works very nicely. I suppose DVD's with subtitles have removed some of the need for such things, but I do admit that having the recitatives in English pulled me more deeply into the text than would normally be the case. So, I think it would be neat to have some cantatas translated. There are 200 of them, so a few should work if the spirit of the work is given precedence over precise equivalency of every phrase. BTW: one of Santas absolutely last packages is the Bach/Mendelssohn Matthew Passion (BWV 244) as performed in 1841 conducted by Christoph Spering. Just came and will give a short report soon. Also got a DVD of the St. John's Passion (BWV 245) by Suzuki and the Advent concert by Harnoncourt. So much Bach and so little time.

Neil Halliday wrote (January 21, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote: (regarding the BWV 58 continuo recitative)
<"This drama in expressionistic text-setting, with particularly harrowing texts, doesn't come out as clearly if (1) the organ isn't tuned correctly as Bach specified, and (2) the keyboardist and other continuo players aren't reacting to the surprising and intense characters that come up in the progress of the music, giving each accompanying stroke some appropriately different amount of emphasis">
Or, if the organist/harpsichordist play short chords that are in any case drowned out by a vigorous stab on the cello/double bass, often resulting in a featureless, low bass clef 'noise/note' that is minus any audible/discernable chordal structure in the treble clef. (The cantata recordings of the last few decades are littered with examples of this 'method'.)

Regardless of the tuning Bach specified (and I am not commenting on this one way or another, as I have obviously not heard it), the progression of chords that you comment on (chords which I simply lifted from the piano reduction score at the BCW) is indeed powerfully expressive and impressive, even (!) when played (mostly legato) on my equally-tempered piano. With a good cellist/violone, and vocalist, and plenty of expression through those rich, brilliant piano chords, I'll wager I could put /Koopman/Herreweghe/et al. to shame any day, as far as creating meaningful, musical impact in these recitatives is concerned.

(BTW, thanks for your 'blow by blow' account of the brilliant harmonic progressions indicated in Bach's score).

John Pike wrote (January 21, 2005):
[To Thomas Shepherd] There are good accounts of all this in Christoph Wolff's book "JS Bach: The Learned Musician".

John Pike wrote (January 24, 2005):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< Was a mistaken transposition permitted by J S Bach in preparing the St Luke Passion (BWV 246)? I do not in any way think that JS Bach wrote the St Luke, but it can not be ruled out that he may have intervened in it. >
One movement in the St Luke Passion (BWV 246) is definitely by Bach. It is highly possible that he made small adjustments elsewhere.

John Pike wrote (January 24, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] On a related subject, there was an interesting article by Peter Williams in the latest newsletter of the American Bach Society (available free on the web) about Bach's Passions and Public Executions in Leipzig...........not an article for the faint-hearted though!!

Doug Cowling wrote (January 24, 2005):
John Pike wrote:
< On a related subject, there was an interesting article by Peter Williams in the latest newsletter of the American Bach Society (available free on the web) about Bach's Passions and Public Executions in Leipzig...........not an article for the faint-hearted though!! >
Bach executed poor musicians?

Reminds of the Handel anecdote in which the soprano threatened to jump out the window if Handel didn't give her more notes. He replied, "Jump. More peeple vill pay tp zee you jump zan sing!"

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 24, 2005):
< Reminds of the Handel anecdote in which the soprano threatened to jump out the window if Handel didn't give her more notes. He replied, "Jump. More peeple vill pay tp zee you jump zan sing!" >
Hmm. The way I remember that anecdote is that a male singer threatened to jump over the harpsichord (instead of out a window) and attack Handel himself, for some reason that I can't recall at the moment. And then Handel at the harpsichord uttered that line. (With or without a Clint Eastwood "go ahead, make my day" type of sneer.)

Doug Cowling wrote (January 24, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] You're right! The defenstration threat was another anecdote!

Lex Schelvis wrote (January 26, 2005):
It doesn't happen often that you remember with a certain kind of exactness the first experience with something special, with something beautiful. You remember you were touched but what really came over you vanishes in changing memories. You only know after some time that it was a special event you should not forget. But when you want to relate later to others what you felt, you notice you cannot put in words anymore what you felt that first time.

Fortunately I wrote my first experiences with BWV 106 just an hour later in a letter to a close friend. I was so touched that I felt the need to express it to someone. I forgot about the letter till some time ago when I read BWV 106 was to be discussed in this forum. So I wrote to my friend to ask if she still had the letter and to my surprise and joy she sent it to me some days ago. I'll try to translate it now, taking out some more personal remarks (I quite loved the girl in those days).

"A neighbour lent me a cantata by Bach this morning. "You will like it," she said. Oh, she was right. I looked at the sleeve and read: Actus tragicus. "Well, that sounds promising," I thought and this time I was right. I put the record on my record player and sat down.

You can't imagine what came over me. A quiet lovely instrumental piece of music fills the room. It is just two recorders, a violoncello and a organ. It is a melody so touching, so gentle, full of melancholy, sadness, but also gladness. It only lasts for two minutes, but I realise immediately this music was meant for ever.

After this piece a little choir starts to sing, accompanied by the same instruments, nothing more. It has the same atmosphere as the instrumental entrance. It is the first part of a bundle of four songs (in those days I didn't know you should call this movements) lasting for about eight minutes, four pieces in the same simple form, all the time the same instrumentation, causing a great unity you will only see in the poems by Bloem (in Holland a famous poet) but in this unity a large variety in music, surprising all the time, touching, moving from begin to end. First a little choir, than a tenor, a more up tempo song by a bass, and finishing with a complex piece, that starts with the same little choir, followed by a part with a beautiful boy soprano, resulting in the climax, a combination of choir and boy with at the end, when the choir stops, the first real high point: the boy continues for a few seconds: stunning.

When I thought I had had it all, a new song starts, even simpler, there are no recorders. Just a few seconds that causes a little disappointment, until you realise this is even going to be more beautiful. First there is an alto, a boy that is singing he accepts death and gives his soul in the hands of God. You know I don't believe in God, but I could feel what this singer meant. Then a tenor takes over, who gives comfort: today you will be with me in Paradise. After some two minutes a very small boy choir joins, singing a simple melody. They sing angelic, and I feel tears. It seems they are only whispering, it's singing in total tranquillity. Can you imagine, I was touched by some altar-boys in black and white skirts, that for just a week ago should only elicit me cynical remarks. It is really mystical, kind of hypnotising, the same experience as the one I had when I heard Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine for the first time, only deeper.

But still we haven't reached the most sublime moment. After a while the tenor stops and the choir continues for another 20 seconds, with the words "sanft und stille" with music that fits that words completely. Then the instrumentation takes over and you think this will be the end. But it isn't .... the choir starts again ! (or continues, I don't know) with the words: "Der Tod ist mein Schlaf worden." And then the music falls asleep! Well, stops, but I think Bach wanted to create the impression of falling asleep.

I was so perplex I didn't hear the last part of the cantata. Well, I noticed that there was another piece before the music stopped, but I was aware I didn't listen anymore. Just some minutes ago I put on the record again to listen to the last part, but the spell was broken. That is a pity, for I think it is just as beautiful, but I already had more than I could bear in one time."

The friend put a reaction on the bottom of the letter. "I was impressed in those days by your letter, but the music didn't do too much too me. I tried several times, but it didn't reach me, except for the first part. A shame though that you didn't try more often to impress me. I was waiting for more in those days." For a moment that reaction gave me a glance of melancholy, till I realised that a relationship with her wouldn't have worked out. How can you live with a woman that doesn't like BWV 106?

Though, she liked Monteverdi's Vesper.

Dale Gedcke wrote (January 26, 2005):
On Jan. 25, 2005, Lex Schelvis transcribed a retrieved old letter he had written to his girl friend describing his first experience listening to BWV 106, and he ended with this:
"The friend put a reaction on the bottom of the letter. 'I was impressed in those days by your letter, but the music didn't do too much too me. I tried several times, but it didn't reach me, except for the first part. A shame though that you didn't try more often to impress me. I was waiting for more in those days.' For a moment that reaction gave me a glance of melancholy, till I realised that a relationship with her wouldn't have worked out. How can youlive with a woman that doesn't like BWV 106?"

Lex, this was an enthralling description of the experience. No wonder your girl friend was waiting for you to impress her further!

But, the best part of your posting was the surprising humor in the last sentence.

Fantastic writing!

Eric Bergerud wrote (January 26, 2005):
[To Dale Gedcke] I was thinking over the post too. The Cantata World is a pretty small one, even among classical music fans, and much is the pity. That said, what single cantata would be the best introduction for recruitment purposes? The most accessible? I think it would be hard to top BWV 106. It's lovely, it's not very long and it's simplicity might actually make it an easier dose to take than some of the later more elaborate pieces. Even my rocker son likes it (he calls cantatas "Eric's Space Music.")

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 26, 2005):
[To Eric Bergerud] My into cantata would be Wachet Auf (BWV 140) preimarily because the three choral movements are so beautiful. I think the best introduction to Bach's choral music is the Magnificat (BWV 243): 22 minutes and you hear every choral and vocal genre in Bach's ouevre. And no da capos!

Michael Telles wrote (January 26, 2005):
Cantata recruitment

[To Doug Cowling] What a great conversation -- I've thought really hard about what might be the best introduction to the cantatas. I just can't seem to hook anyone around me. I usually try out an aria or chorus on someone and see if it lights up the boards. BWV 106 certainly is a beauty and is compact (it's hard to even write about it without feeling like you're bastardizing the experience). The gentler ones seem to catch people; BWV 161, maybe? I've found that the big, hefty choral numbers scare people off at first; it's easy for to forget that it's an adjustment for people, especially of my generation, to listen to choral music.

I must say, it was that opening aria from BWV 54, Wiederstehe doch der Sünde, performed by Yoshikazu Mera, that had me staring at my speakers for a week. The tension and resolve of the diminished chords and that lovely melody is so gripping.

Let me know your ideas, Michael.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Recordings of Bach Cantatas - General Discussions - Part 9: Year 2005 [General Topics]

Sw Anandgyan wrote (January 29, 2005):
BWV 106 (Brad's Request)

Reading the BCW and most particularly BWV 106. Not knowing if this has been already replied, I offer this:

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 16, 2005):
Rifkin's BWV 131 and 106 [20]

< I listened to the Herreweghe, Rifkin
[20] and Leusink recordings. Though I've had them all for some years I'd never compared them. >
Anybody here happen to have the first CD issue of the Rifkin recording of BWV 131 and BWV 106, and willingness to post a list of the orchestral players?

The Bach Ensemble

Nancy Wilson

David Miller
Judson Griffin

Kenneth Slowik
Michael Willens

Stephen Hammer
Dennis Godburn

Stephen Hammer

Dennis Godburn

Joshua Rifkin

L'Oiseau-Lyre 417 323-2
© 1987 Decca Record Company

- you're welcome -

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 29, 2005):
[To Sw Anandgyan] [20] Thanks! A lineup of all-stars there.

John Pike wrote (February 18, 2005):
[To Dale Gedcke] Indeed. I have been trawling through some old e mails today which I didn't have time to read before, and I particularly enjoyed that one. I'm pleased to report that my wife and I both love BWV 106 and frequently sing variations on it to our 18 month old daughter, with all the words changed!

John Pike wrote (February 18, 2005):
[To Doug Cowling] Much as I love BWV 106, I think that for recruitment purposes, Doug's suggestions are better. Jolly music, cracking good tunes, what more could you want? I have also had success with the Coffee Cantata (BWV 211).


Actus Tragicus "Gottes Zeit ist die Allerbeste Zeit" BWV 106 [Mozart& Bach Lovers]

Steven Langley Guy wrote (March 10, 2005):
Babs wrote:
< AH steven you struck a bell there. Bach's Actus TRagicus.
I have tape of that--copied of course--but love it altho would not wish to hear it adinfinitum.

Strangely, I haven't listened to it for a long time. I just grabbed a recording off my shelves and will play it this morning before work. I think I played it far too often when I was a kid - I drove my mother mad playing this cantata over and over again. I learned the recorder parts by heart and my sister and I used to sit in the garden playing the Sonatina on our treble recorders - we wished we knew a couple of viol players to make the whole thing work! (sorry about this shameless display of nostalgia)

BTW, the Sonatina is perfectly playable on normal Baroque trebles, but several low E flats (a tone lower than the pedal note of a treble) occur in the cantata. The key is that the work was written in Chor-ton (i.e. Kornett-ton) - a' = 466 Hz, one tone higher than modern pitch. >
es! The Actus Tragicus "Gottes Zeit ist die Allerbeste Zeit" BWV 106 is one of Bach's finest cantatas. I made a score of the very touching Sonatina that opens the work, I will upload a copy of my score into the files here some time. The piece is scored for 2 Flauti (treble recorders), 2 Viole da gamba & Basso continuo (organo, violone, lute, et al). I have been tempted to make a score of the entire cantata, but that would be a big job and I have a number of other projects on my plate at the moment. [I am making a full score of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber's Requiem in F minor - I intend to have this ready before the 11th of September this year - I want to make this score freely available to anyone who wants to perform it, in honour of the victims of terrorism and unchecked militarism around the world. I am also making a score of Heinrich Schütz vast work, "Domini est terra" SWV 476 and Claudio Monteverdi's "Ballo delle Ingrate". These will both be ready some time this year.]

Babs wrote (March 11, 2005):
[To Stephen Langley Guy] It seems you re a real musician and know what you are doing.

Of to be able to just write a score. if I could scan the simple melodies I wrote--with my husband help---as I could not work out the timing--etc--I would ask u to take a look some time--see if there were any possibilities.

One was really a folk dance in 6/8 but actually would convert to more religious format.

In our music making group--various instruments we have great difficulty finding music suitable for us all. it does restrict us alot.

We are fortunate to have great conductor--choral is his real forte--but he took on both our mixed group plus recorders!!

he is able to sing all the parts at sight LOL How I envy him.

Are you a professional musician?

yes I think we CAN overdo things and no matter how much we love a piece of music--too much familiarity can breed contempt.

I will like to see the score u did for AT. yes it is a piece I fear one could tire of if heard too often.

Thanks very much for yr sharing yr knowledge much appreciated.

Now I wonder which arias our friend has fallen in love with?

Professor Sir' Harvey Crichton wrote (March 11, 2005):
This is all so one area I`m so mega behind is the Cantata`s!! And what a VAST Catherdral of delights it is!

Decided my two favourite things about England are the old buildings and I dare say there are some golden beaches in Oz and great scuba and surf... I`ll have to go one day... Get a huge portable stereo with a battery charger pack and chuck out Bach Cantata`s on the beach... You can bet I actually WILL do this and If we`re all still here I`ll tell you how it goes..Maybe you should try it Steve.. As see what the Surf Dudes say..In surf magaziner the Stones were vited the best group of all time.But that was in the late 80`s. Anyway. They might like it. Could you IMAGINE a world where Bach`s Goldberg variations raout of the hotel lobby and acorss the beach with such great sands and all in Oz or anywhere for that matter. Got to be done I say.....

I have Mozarts Masses coming out of my ears at present and firm favourites..piano sonatas and concertos...ALL of them..About to rewind after painting my car tyres white with white rubber paint..So I`m black gold and white now....all to Bach`s Well Tempered Clavier. I`m about to settle down to that Goldberg Variations I gave out the other day for the first HEADPHONE test!!..I`m excited everyday with all of this!! The harpsichord is very much growing on me some might be pleased to has taken a really GOOD quality disc and a fine player, hiss less... and crisp well tuned keys to like it.

I`ll certainly bear in mind which Cantata`s people mention and look at... I`m still waiting for first cd..A stray one I picked up on ebay to get going with. I don`t know what it is yet... It says Vol 1-5...and I got it £5.50 all discs .probably as the ebay seller had no idea that he should list the BWV`s ..It could be anything...Never mind version by anyone.. TRUE STORY... Probabaly assumes all of them fit on 5 discs and thinks all versions are much orf a mushness.There are SUCH people. Most I think. I have no idea what I have bought so I hope it is some good and famous ones to start with.

Anyway... when that arrives I`ll have another think..My most played Bach is still Well Tempered Clavier 1 and 2.. , violin solo sonatas which is still my favourite most desolate pieces of solitude every written.......and the Art of Fuge is special as well and I`m getting really into this new Goldberg Variations on D.G. it is far far cripser and light and rather wonderful and perfect sound quality... Cellos next.. I feel quite lucky as some of these things are all NEW to me..... Excites me daily.... Everyone reliving this stuff in childhood and all else.... Is there ANY amonsgt us who has heard All of Bach`s Cantata`s?? or all of the music by Mozart? I`d me amazed if there was.. ONE DAY...I`m aim to be in this small club that has..maybe white hair...but I can be a bit obsessive about things.

Bach and Beethoven and Mozart 6 In high white alabaster busts are now in the back of the car window with my golf driver in the back window behind to GB cushions and a Beatles Yellow Sub swimming inbetween.... "Ben" my car is mostly diamond black black and gold trim with silver spokes so a touch of white here and there looks good and does make me look like some black guy rap artist as my car is a bit street and racer boy... rached the hell out of it today with lethal fast Mozart.. Shocking really.... But then I never had a car till what 28...I was alsways too poor as a student and lived up in london making up for lost time. BMW engines are amazing.. Got to hand it to those Germans.. I swear if Bach had not existed for the German mind BMW would not be so good. I swear there is a direct correlation. if you added up all the BACH lovers and MOZART lovers in the whole world in Germany alone and who they were, engineers, poets and all else then they have had an incalculable and enormous impact and inspiration on people. My gear box is as plush and organised and through as a Bach fugue..I love it....Compact, velvet power , organised.... No wonder these guys built aircraft engines... Anyway.Silly thoughts.Just got back in and enjoying the Goldberg on headphones.It is avery high quality DDD cd. I cannot here any his and that`s on a bog standard sony mini hi-fi not my main seperates with with gold wiring and all... Very high quality cd ..the DG one.

Wonderful stuff... AGAIN...The Goldberg Variations just grow on one...It gets better in many infinity of lightness and movement and order and mathematical precision and genius of waves.....

I`m not sure how to describe the harpsichord... It would be like trying to desribe wines..Means different things to different people.... but the cascading aspect of it and the lightness and the the waterfall like precision of it has a DELIGHT all of it`s own..... TONIGHT is the most I have ever enjoyed the harpsichord in my life. I mention this as I know MANY out there prefer it to piano... So it has taken the Goldberg Variations, a DD recording, a pair of quality Headphones... ( I like Sennhesseirs on the whole as they are comfy and my ears don`t sweat and I can wear then for hours certain models without my head feeling clamped...I have had headphones sicne I was 11...and trashed many a pair...but the present ones HD 280 Pro are the best and msot comfortable affordable ones I have bought if anyone wants a new set of headphones.try these and ebay... I did look at the online spec and reviews before...Just might be useful to someone..

Great day today.... I must say STILL my favourite stuff is always Bach and Mozart excites me more than anything..... Billy the Kid by Copland and some Shostokovitch arrived today..I can`t remember ordering them... but there we are.NONE of this music has anything liek the impact of Bach and Mozart.. NO WAY... I`m still listening to it and reading up on 20th C..but I actually don`t really like it more than the interest value of it.

This Goldberg Variation is NOW a well tested firm favourite.... A CHERISHED item in the rack..Type of thing I can work and think too as WILL be on alot..... for general play ad infitum.

I thought I`d mention my slow conversion to harpsichord at this point anyway. This disc changes as well.I`m not sure if there are different toggles to change pitch and the plucking on a harpsichord.It has been like 20 years since I have seen one and then at a museam as a kid.. but there is GREAT variety on the D.G. version which keeps it A L I V E and free flowing and wonderful one piece to the next.. I KNOW this is a very great version... it is my kind of defination of perfect music perfectly played... So GLAD about that one....

I have added since I have been with this group some of my favourite albums of ALL TIME to the racks..which is great stuff.

I decided this morning to get a book on Vivaldi as some point as well. He ALSO makes me happy. I love his stuff.. Bright and Italian... Perfect for cooking pasta and being busy in the kitchen... so i`m expanding him and Handel Opera as like yet another sideline... So M U C H isn`t there... You could amke a study of Bach`s Cantata`s alone and it would take 1000`s of hours really of dedicated listening.....


What`s wrong with the world they don`t play this stuff.It`s curse to mankind.

This Goldberg variation cd is amazing as it keeps getting better.... !! Many albms do not do that.... it has some zest......

Bach is driving and living rom music for me..He`s not yet used much in the kitchen very much when cooking...??? No idea if inherent properties to these things one for contemplation and one for movement and more practical.though creative things???

Again ..yet another opener for discussion.>if people think Bach has greater MEDITATIONAL properties...I would agree and Vivaldi say more kind of sunny Italy....

Bach`s Goldberg Variation.TRULY one of the greatest peices of music ever written for me... Truly AMAZING, GREAT, JOYOUS, BRILLIANT, PASSIONATE, MEDIATATIONAL and so much ALL IN ONE PIECE that makes it TOTAL GENIUS..Not jsut great...but TOTAL GENIUS...

I`m in awe..and I like being in AWE!!

Leslie wrote (March 11, 2005):
[To Stephen Langley Guy] Steven, thanks so much for the BWV 106/Sonatina files. I'll look forward to playing this lovely little piece.

Babs, I wonder whether you might be interested in trying out one of the many free music notation programs available to make some simple scores. The one I used was Finale Notepad. It's completely free and quite sophisticated. You can playback and print out your scores. The link to download this program is:


Rilling & Recorders in Cantata 106

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 5, 2005):
I spent a very interesting day at the Toronto International Bach Festival watching Helmut Rilling working on Cantata BWV 106, 'Gottes Zeist die allebeste Zeit'. The soloists included counter-tenor, Daniel Taylor.

The major problem all day was balance. As Rilling pointed out, not only is this one of the smallest ensembles in a Bach cantata (2 recorders, 2 gambas, cello and bass), but the dynamic limitations of the recorders and gambas make it very difficult. Right from the beginning there was a problem and he chose to do the work up a tone in F major to help the recorders project. Rilling was quite marvellous in suggesting articulations and bowings which assisted the balance.

The insuperable problem is that a choir of 35 voices simply obliterates the orchestra. In all of the "choral" movements, the voices had to sing mp in what I thought was a very affected way. The final chorale, with its low-lying recorder parts, was sung sotto voce which although vocally beautiful did not appeal to me because it sounded too contrived and artificial. The great undiscussed question all day was "Why not peform the cantata with four vocal soloists?

Earlier in the day, a scholar gave a paper describing funerary customs in 18th century Leipzig. During the public questions, I asked him what the present state of scholarship was saying about Bach's own funeral. In the absence of records, it is impossible to know how elaborate the musical provisions were for Bach's obsequies, although the speaker did speculate that Bach's position in the municipal hierarchy might have entitiled him to firgural music in the church memorial service.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 5, 2005):
< The insuperable problem is that a choir of 35 voices simply obliterates the orchestra. In all of the "choral" movements, the voices had to sing mp in what I thought was a very affected way. The final chorale, with its low-lying recorder parts, was sung sotto voce which although vocally beautiful did not appeal to me because it sounded too contrived and artificial. The great undiscussed question all day was "Why not peform the cantata with four vocal soloists? >
Another good book that I'm reading right now, about various practical issues in vocal-ensemble performance, Steven Plank's Choral Performance:

Scarecrow Press

He brings up a similar issue that it's a much different sound having a big choir "sing down" vs having a quartet do soloistic work. There are good sections about speechlike strong/weak notes during runs, too, and about tactus-conducting (as opposed to micro-managed modern conducting).


Real tunning of actus tragicus

Leonardo Floten wrote (October 11, 2005):
I need to know which is the real tunning of the cantata BWV 106, ´cause I don´t had play it with the BGA edition by Dover, where the flauti appears with an initial F major key and 1st line G clef, and then, appear in 2nd line G clef, and Bflat major key, but the register of the recorder is the tenor, and so dificult for this recorder. what I must to do, maybe transpose the flauti only? , maybe transpose all the score? please help me to resolve this biggest doubt.


Continue on Part 6

Cantata BWV 106: Details
Recordings: Complete:
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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

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Last update: Sunday, May 28, 2017 05:20