Cantata BWV 146Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen
Discussions - Part 2
Continue from Part 1
Discussions in the Week of September 30, 2007 (2nd round)
Douglas Cowling wrote (September 29, 2007):
Week of Sept 30, 2007: Cantata 146, ³Wir Müssen durch Viel Trübsal²
Week of Sept 30, 2007
Cantata 146, ³Wir Müssen durch Viel Trübsal²
First Performed: May 12, 1726 ? Leipzig or 1728
Third Sunday after Easter (Jubilate Sunday)
Third Annual Cantata Cycle, 1725-27 (Jahrgang III)
Bach wrote no other cantatas for the Easter season until Ascension Day (#43). A month earlier, he performed Braunsı St. Matthew Passion on Good Friday.
Acts 14: 2 (Mvt. 2
Gregorius Richter (Mvt. 8)
Anon (Mvts. 3-7)
Texts & Translations: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV146.htm
Epistle: 1 Peter 2: 11-20 (Suffer patiently for well-doing)
Gospel: John 16: 16-23 (Now you have sorrow, but your heart shall rejoice)
Texts of readings: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Jubilate.htm
Previous Sundayıs Cantata (Second Sunday after Easter) - Unknown Next Sundayıs Cantata (Fourth Sunday after Easter) - Unknown
Other Cantatas written for Jubilate Sunday
BWV 12 Weinen,Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (Weimar, 1714)
BWV 103 Ihr werdet weinen und heulen (Leipzig, 1725)
BWV 224 Reißt euch los, bekränkte Sinnen (Aria fragment by Bach?)
Introduction to Lutheran Church Year: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/index.htm
Mvt. 1: Sinfonia
Instruments: 2 Ob, Tle, 2 Vn, Va, Bc
With this cantata, Bach begins to preface cantatas with a concertate sinfonia (also in BWV 29, BWV 35, BWV 49, BWV 188). This sinfonia is a reworking of the D minor clavier concerto (BWV 1052) which itself was probably an arrangement of a now lost violin concerto. The movement opens with one of the most striking ³unisono² themes in all of Bach. The organ solo is notable for passages which are fully-noted and those in which the harmony is merely sketched in and the player was expected to improvise. Whether Bach left his usual role as concertmaster to play the part is unknown. There were certainly players competent to execute the solo (W.F. Bach among them)
Mvt. 2: Chorus - SATB
³Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen²
Instruments: 2 Vn, Va, Bc
The extraodinary chorus which follows is unique in Bachıs oeurve. Instead of rearranging existing music, Bach superimposes new music on the second movement of the concerto which originally opened with a rising unison
figure. The interplay between this new music and the organ solo is breathtaking.
Mvt. 3: Aria - Alto
³Ich will nach dem Himmel zu²
Instruments: Vn, Bc
The rising argeggios of the violin part and the ascending scales in the vocal line illustrate the soulıs desire to rise to heaven.
Mvt. 4: Recitative- Soprano
³Ach! wer doch schon im Himmel wär!²
Instruments: 2 Vn, Va, Bc
The soulıs longing for heaven is aptly depictedin this accompanied recitative for soprano and strings. The accompaniment is marked with subtlely symbolic rising chromatic harmonies.
Mvt. 6: Aria - Soprano
³Ich säe meine Zähren²
Instruments: Flt, 2 Oda, Bc
The traverse flute and two oboes dıamore (marked as ³oda²) appear for the first and last time in the cantata. One assumes that the oboe players changed instruments, but the sole flute movement is a good example of how singers were also proficient on several instruments and could step up to play if needed, unlike modern performances where the player sit mutely until required for this movement.
Mvt. 6: Recitative - Tenor
³Ich bin bereit²
This secco recitative has conventional falling diminished intervals on ³mein Kreuz² and ³wer mit dem Feinde².
Mvt. 7: Aria Duet Tenor & Bass
³Wie will ich mich freuen, wie will ich mich laben²
Instruments: 2 Ob, 2 Vn, Va, Bc
The lively 3/8 da capr aria reminds one of similar movements with rejoicing texts ³Kommt eliet² at the beginning of the Easter Oratorio (BWV 249). The vocal parts are characterized by euphonious parallel thirds. Particularly delightful are the parallel trills on ³wie will ich mich labem².
Mvt. 8: Chorale
³Denn wer selig dahin fähre²
Instruments: Flt, 2 Ob, Tle, 2 Vn, Va, Bc
The closing chorale is very chastely harmoinized, running figures only appearing in the last two bars.
³Werde munter, mein Gemüthe²: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Werde-munter.htm
Piano Vocal Score: (free PDF download): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV146.htm
Examples from Score: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV146-Sco.htm
Music (free streaming download): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Mus/BWV146-Mus.htm
Emmanuel Music: http://wc10.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=42:3982~T1
Previous Discussion: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV146-D.htm
Neil Halliday wrote (October 4, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< The extraodinary chorus which follows is unique in Bachıs oeurve. Instead of rearranging existing music, Bach superimposes new music on the second movement of the concerto which originally opened with a rising unison figure. The interplay between this new music and the organ solo is breathtaking. >
Agreed. This music strikes me as being quite modern sounding in its effect. Its mood contrasts notably with the opening sinfonia. Rilling  has a pleasing, colourful organ stop in both these movements; some of the organ registrations in the other recordings are weak.
However, I dislike Rilling's  vocal vibrato and sempre legato continuo in the following alto aria, and would look to Harnoncourt (with obbligato organ) or Gardiner  (with obbligato violin) for a recording of this movement.
For the remainder of the cantata, Rilling  strikes me as most acceptable; the music is most engaging.
Douglas Cowling wrote (October 4, 2007):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Rilling  has a pleasing, colourful organ stop in both these movements; some of the organ registrations in the other recordings are weak. >
Performances with the ubiquitous portative organ are disasters. The solo in Leusink  is so weak that all you hear is the covering oom-pah of the orchestra. We've grown so used to moden concert performances with small 3-stop organs that we never hear the sound of the large brightly-coloured instruments which Bach used.
Peter Smaill wrote (October 4, 2007):
[ToDouglas Cowling] Two thoughts about the context of BWV 146, putatively performed on May 12 1726.
It is written after a gap of many weeks in the composition of the Cantatas, and quite close to (if my reading of the chronology is correct) the death of the first child, a daughter Christiana Sophia (June 29th), of Bach's marriage to Anna Magdalena. So the tribulation of which the title speaks, if the child were already poorly, would be deeply felt by Bach.
It is, as I recall at 40 minutes, remarkably long- in part because of the Sinfonia- as extensive as the inaugural BWV 75 and BWV 76 from 1723.
Whether these observations lead to any supportable thesis about Bach's decision to take a break from fresh composition and then to anchor the next sequence in this way is an open question.
Bradley Lehman wrote (October 4, 2007):
[To Douglas Cowling] Well, let's not overlook the fact that BWV 146's Sinfonia works perfectly well in its later incarnation as BWV 1052 -- the D minor concerto for harpsichord and strings, with no oboes covering up the sound of the keyboard part. It doesn't even need a 4-foot stop on the harpsichord; just one or two 8s.
All that said, if I were performing the BWV 146 version on organ, I would do what I always do (whether on harpsichord or organ): pick a registration scheme that works for the hall or church where it's being done. Decisions made about registration, in the abstract, are irrelevant next to actual practice. It depends on the acoustic space for projection and clarity, plus the balance against the orchestra, plus the tempos, plus the degree of aggressive articulation (or not), plus the distance the congregation/audience would be from the instruments, plus the temperature and humidity, plus some other factors. If the thing is being recorded, then the microphone placement and balancing are relevant as well: does one play so it sounds best to the present audience in their seats, or so it sounds best to the microphone point which is typically closer than the audience is? The answers for articulation, tempo, and registration might be different for those two competing requirements.
The place where I played last Friday night had a gigantic space with about a 7-second reverb.
I had to play some of the pieces using an extremely short articulation, and one of the pieces with a considerably slower tempo than normal. But...as compensation, I was also to use a 16-foot manual reed in places where I wouldn't even dream of using it in a smaller church or hall (all other things being equal). Every instrument and every space are different, calling for differently creative interpretations of the same music, to make best effect. This flexibility is why such things don't get marked into scores....
Neil Halliday wrote (October 5, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
> All that said, if I were performing the BWV 146 version on organ, I would do what I always do (whether on harpsichord or organ): pick a registration scheme that works for the hall or church where it's being done.<
Sounds sensible, for a live performance.
<If the thing is being recorded, then the microphone placement and balancing are relevant as well: does one play so it sounds best to the present audience in their seats, or so it sounds best to the microphone point which is typically closer than the audience is?>
I would have thought that if a director was in the process of making a recording for commercial release, then the sound at the microphone is the prime factor (and ideally there would be no audience at all in the recording space).
<The answers for articulation, tempo, and registration might be different for those two competing requirements.>
Yes, but of far more significance for the recording is the balance between the (in this case) solo organ and the rest of the ensemble. As has been pointed out by myself and Douglas, several of the recordings are quite disappointing, for allowing the organ solo to become inaudible. And I think Douglas probably hit the nail on the head when he noted the inadequacy of some of the portativs typically being used.
BTW, the organ you used in the St. Olaf concert was obviously a very good instrument; something with its capabilities is probably what is required for a performance of BWV 146.
Chris Kern wrote (October 5, 2007):
I just finished listening to Rilling's version  of this long cantata. I recognized the first two movements from the harpsichord concerto, and they seemed out of place here. The whole thing was just too long for me, I think.
The last movement was interesting -- I was listening to the Rilling version , looking at the NBA score and a printout of Emmanuel Music's text. All three had different texts for this chorale; I guess we don't know which verse was intended?
(I listened to Rilling, Harnoncourt, and Leusink for BWV 72 last week; Rilling was my favorite. He was the only one to really bring out the violins and the continuo in the fugato-aria, and the soprano singing was very good. Although Ruth Holton was good as always.)
Ed Myskowski wrote (October 25, 2007):
BWV 146 recordings
Apolgies for the delay in sending the following message, which I was unable to send when it was written a couple weeks ago. I do want to archive the comments re Gardiner  recording.
Neil Halliday wrote [responding to Brad Lehman]:
<<If the thing is being recorded, then the microphone placement and balancing are relevant as well: does one play so it sounds best to the present audience in their seats, or so it sounds best to the microphone point which is typically closer than the audience is?>>
< I would have thought that if a director was in the process of making a recording for commercial release, then the sound at the microphone is the prime factor (and ideally there would be no audience at all in the recording space). >
<<The answers for articulation, tempo, and registration might be different for those two competing requirements.>>
< Yes, but of far more significance for the recording is the balance between the (in this case) solo organ and the rest of the ensemble. As has been pointed out by myself and Douglas, several of the recordings are quite disappointing, for allowing the organ solo to become inaudible. And I think Douglas probably hit the nail on the head when he noted the inadequacy of some of the portativs typically being used. >
I enjoyed these comments, as well as entire the preceding thread. In that context, Gardiner's  recording is worthy of special mention. From the extensive booklet notes, it appears that a unique exception was made in the case of BWV 146, to use the church organ at the performance site, rather than the chamber organ which traveled with them on the Bach 2000 pilgrimage. The associated complications, the reasons that using the church organ was the exception rather than standard practice, are nicely documented. The resulting sound is impressive, well worth the trouble. As Doug frequently points out, the absence of church organs is an element of authenticity generally ignored in HIP theory.
Koopman  provides good contrast and comparison with Gardiner . I do not find any problem with audibility in this case. Indeed, the recorded balance sounds just right in both cases, although of much different character (with preference to Gardiner). Gardiner uses violin obbligato for Mvt. 3, while Koopman uses the chamber organ. Both sound fine, a nice opportunity for comparison.. Paradoxically, the notes to Koopman suggest (incorrectly?) that the part is written for violin; others have noted that Bach did not specify an instrument. For those who enjoy female altos, it is worth seeking out the Koopman for the singing of Bogna Bartosz in this aria, the highlightof the recording.
BWV 146 - Third Sunday after Easter
Ed Myskowski wrote (April 16, 2008):
A reminder for those interested in the cantatas, in relation to the liturgical year, there is a weekly radio presentation available on the web: www.wgbh.org
Just yesterday, Brian McCreath gave us BWV 146, from the Gardiner Pilgrimage series , for the Third Sunday after Easter. This was the discussion topic a few months back, Sep. 2007. Worth reviewing.
Thérèse Hanquet wrote (April 27, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] We have just perfomed this cantata (BWV 146) this morning, and I looked in the Discussions page to see what was said about it.
I was very surprised to see mitigate opinions about it, as my impression was that it was really beautiful, and listeners told us after the concert that they were deeply moved by it.
The second movement is quite demanding for the choir in terms of breath and intonation (the two being linked), but is very interesting, with the interplay with the organ. We were asked to give special attention for the dissonances that reflect the "Trübsal" of the text.
In contrast, I found the Tenor - Basso duet before the final chorus exhilarating. Particularly the oboes convey a joyous and almost euphoric feeling. I could see many listeners smiling...
I did not see in the discussions an explanation for the length of this cantata compared to the average. Usually we perform two cantatas per concert, but this time only this one because of its length (it will be same next month with BWV 75). Was there something special on that day?
Sorry to interfere once more with the cantata of the week, but as I saw a recent message about BWV 146, I jumped on the opportunity...
Ed Myskowski wrote (April 28, 2008):
Therese Banquet wrote:
>Sorry to interfere once more with the cantata of the week, but as I saw a recent message about BWV 146, I jumped on the opportunity...<
What a nice coincidence (actually a liturgical year correlation, I believe), and no interference with cantata of the week discussion that I can see. Discussions in accord with the liturgical year are welcome at any time, as we have recently discussed. Reports on cantata performances are always appropriate, a special treat to hear about, so the combination is doubly welcome. I am looking forward to hearing about BWV 75, next month.
That is indeed for a special day, First Sunday after Trinity, and Bachs first official Sunday on the job in Leipzig, 1723.
Terejia wrote (May 1, 2008):
Thérèse Hanquet wrote:
>> The second movement is quite demanding for the choir in terms of breath and intonation (the two being linked), but is very interesting, with the interplay with the organ. We were asked to give special attention for the dissonances that reflect the "Trübsal" of the text.<< (end quote)
I myself have never sung this beautiful cantata but indeed I can feel what you are saying vividly. What I feel from the second movement is profound beauty.
The first movement is in D-moll, the same key of the KV 626-Motart's Requiem Introitus, Kyrie, and other movements of it. For some reasons the key D-moll haunts me with KV 626 more than famous Toccata and Fugue. Interesting that D-dur can be found in so many pieces representing Glory of God (The opening of BWV 248, Gloria and other many resplendent pieces in Messa in B-minor (BWV 232), BWV 30, BWV 34, Vivaldi Gloria mass, and I got tired of listing up here...)
Another thing that impressed me was the final chorale-the same hymn as BWV 55 final and St. Matthews' Passion chorale appears right after Alto "Erbarme Dich" and BWV 147 famous chorale. Oh by the way, when I said, quite a while ago, that BWV 55 is minituer BWV 244, what I had also in mind was this chorale following to both "Erbarme Dich".
For sure, professionals would analyse into more detail and the closer one looks up the more differences will be revealed but casual listeners may well get the impression of minituar St. Matthews Passion (BWV 244) because of that sequence.
On another subject, I looked at the HP of your choir and found your name in Alto section of the choir. Singing two cantatas a month is quite challenging especially for amateurs. I can definitely feel you all are an accomplished amateurs or semi-professionals. If only I lived in your area, I would have very much loved to take an audition!! Great works for all of you .
Thérèse Hanquet wrote (May 2, 2008):
Minimes - WAS BWV 146 - Third Sunday after Easter
[To Terejia] Too bad you live so far! There are many Japanese living here, especially in my neighbourhood.
I thought about what you said about the audience. We are lucky to have a faithful and enthusiastic audience, and it is quite motivating.
These last times, there are regularly persons who cannot find a seated place in the church and spend all the concert standing. Other persons come one hour in advance to be sure to have the best places... (there are no reservations). Of course after more than 25 years these concerts have become a sort of tradition, and they take place in one of the neighbourhoods of the centre of Brussels where people like to take a walk on Sunday.
The venue of the concert is also special. The Minimes church was built in 1700 (contemporary of Bach...). Due to its particular acoustics, it is regularly used for more prestigious concerts (e.g. La Petite Bande with Sigiswald Kuijken performed Bach cantatas there in March 2007, and end of 2006, it was the Ricercar Consort). There is however a problem: the acoustics is very good in the front rows, but in the back rows it gets somewhat "blurry". Often our conductors remind us to be crisp and accurate so that even the listeners of the back rows understand what we are singing...
I would not say that all our concerts are perfect, but the audience, the venue and the dedication of all - conductor, soloists, orchestra and choir - make each of them a memorable experience!
Continue on Part 3
Cantata BWV 146: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4