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Cantata BWV 107
Was willst du dich betrüben
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of August 14, 2011 (3rd round)

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 14, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 107 -- Was willst du dich betrüben

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue Trinity season cantatas with BWV 107, the second of tthree works for the 7th Sunday after Trinity.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV107.htm

The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham] is especially recommended as an introduction to listening.

The BWV 107 page also has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner and Koopman (notes by Christoph Wolff) CD issues, via links beneath the cover photos.

Chorale texts are accessible via the BWV 107 home page, and the chorale melody is accessible via the chorale text page.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 14, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV107.htm >
Some of the discussion archived is exemplary, including this bit, not to be missed:

<Douglas Cowling wrote (July 12, 2006):
BWV 107's "Buffo" Satan?

Julian Mincham wrote:
< If I am right in my interpretation of Bach's depiction of the devil as an evil, busy, malevolent creature of the underworld, lacking stature for all of his evil deeds, then the interpretation of the arias may be very different--energetic and bustling about yes--but perhaps lacking the totally driving rhythm and forceful stature appropriate for the more positive beings from the spiritual world? >
[DC]
There is a strong late medieval German tradition in the visual arts and popular drama which makes Satan and his devils devious and busy and even comic in their inability to prevail against Christ and the angels. You can see it in the woodcuts of Durer and the whole tradition of Bosch. In italy, this notion of the Devil as a "buffo" character is quite hilarious in Handel's "La Ressurexione" where the bass Lucifer pars with the soprano Angel.

I'm wondering if Bach's musical depictions of Satan are part of this "buffo" tradition which goes back to pre-Reformation times. Are there arias which have a prickly energy and bounce along comically(?) like "Höllishe Schlange"?> (end quote)
EM
I heard composer John harbison express a similar idea a few years back, to the effect that <Whenever Bach mentions Satan, or the Pope, the music becomes snake-like.>

Nicholas Johnson wrote (August 14, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] Talking of devils, for anybody finding themselves in Paris today Sunday 14 th August, don't miss "l'histoire du soldat" in the Parc Floral, M Château de Vincennes. Entry 5 euros.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 14, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham] is especially recommended as an introduction to listening. >
Julian's commentary is especially fine on this cantata as he disagrees with other commentators who have said that there are "problems" with the libretto.

"We know that he was stimulated by emotional, intellectual and physical images. But further, it seems that his fertile imagination worked best not when given totally free reign but when it had restrictions placed upon it, either from external or self imposed conditions."

That is one of best descriptions of Bach's working method that I have ever seen.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 15, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thanks Doug Julian.

Peter Smaill wrote (August 15, 2011):
[To Julian Mincham] Mucn in agreement with this meta-level analysis and that includes the perspective of exciting research by Ruth Tatlow, into the use of proportionality in bar allocations , one of the most significant self-imposed limitations

Rgds aye

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 15, 2011):
Bach and Stravinsky [was: Introduction to BWV 107]

Johnson Nicholas wrote:
< Talking of devils, for anybody finding themselves in Paris today Sunday 14th August, don?t miss ?l?histoire du soldat? in the Parc Floral, M Château de Vincennes. Entry 5 euros >
Alas, I was not able to make the Paris performance, but I did attend a staged presentation (my first) of Soldat earlier this year. Great music, and also great entertainment. So it was fresh in my mind, and I also thought of Stravinsky when rereading the earlier BCW discussion of *buffo Satan* in Bach. I wonder if there is anything more than a coincidental connection?

 

Continue on Part 4

Cantata BWV 107: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

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