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Cantata BWV 146
Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of October 3, 2010

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 2, 2010):
Introduction to BWV 146 -- Wir mussen durch viel Trubsal

Details and previous discussion archives can be found at:

I will forego my usual synopsis of Durr. I do not see that he has anything that is not also available via the link to commentary by Julian Mincham [Mincham], which is in fact a link to Julians on-line book, also accessible directly at:

In the past week, Julian posted a notice that he has added commentary on the secular cantatas, so his book is now complete in website format. To paraphrase: the coupling of BCW and Julians site provides the best commentary available in English (perhaps any language?), re Bach cantatas.

I rather enjoyed my rolling introduction (Conversations with Myself) last week, which was constrained by social commitments, so I will simply adopt it again this week on a voluntary basis. I note that previous discussions in the BCW archives for BWV 146 conclude with an exchange among myself, Therese Hanquet, and Terejia from Japan, engendered by a liturgically appropriate live performance and coincident (unrelated) radio broadcast of a recording. A very nice coincidence, as well, with the current contributions from Therese, re her current concert performance.

Terejia, hope you are well, send us a few words. Special thanks as always to Will Hoffman for the ongoing scholarly contributions.

Julian Mincham wrote (October 2, 2010):
[To Ed Myskowski] Thanks for the plug. In fairness I think I claimed it to be the biggest single resource on the cantatas, not necessarily the best.

Since i put the original version of the site on line earlier this year it has attracted attention for over 40 countries and I have received emails from all over---although, somewhat surprisingly it has attracted almost no responses from list members. Several academics have written to me and told me that it is now on the essential reading lists for their arts students. So it is getting out there and being read which is the prime purpose of the exercise.

Stephen Benson wrote (October 2, 2010):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< somewhat surprisingly it has attracted almost no responses from list members. >
I've noted the same phenomenon...of course, I've also been guilty of the same, which I'd like to correct. In the beginning, I wanted to sort of work my way into your essays and explore them for a bit before responding. After awhile, I just got into the habit of reading them first and moving on from there, and I never commented on the consistency of their efficacy and utility. They have become my primary source; I keep a print copy at hand as I listen to each week's selection. The content is invaluable, the musical insights stimulating, and the easy flow of the writing makes them a pleasure to read. What more can one ask for?

Neil Halliday wrote (October 8, 2010):
The newest recording, Suzuki [7], is probably one of the finest overall.

THe sinfonia (Mvt. 1) is lively and attractive, and the choir beautifully captures the sometimers striking dissonances in the following cborus (Mvt. 2).

The alto aria (Mvt. 3) deserves special mention.

Employing organ as the obligato instrument, Susuki retains the vocalist and organist only, eschewing continuo strings, thereby avoiding the often coarse, unattractive sound that results from doubling the organ bass line with bass strings. (By comparison, Leusink [4], who also uses obligato organ, tries to get around the problem, with the continuo strings playing mostly semi-staccato, but this reduces the natural ease and flow of the music). In the Suzuki [7], the resonant acoustic presents the vocalist and organ in an engaging manner.

There are a couple of imperfections: the baroque flute in the soprano aria (Mvt. 5) is understated and weak (a not-uncommon problem with baroque flute) ; the secco recitative (Mvt. 6) is poorly accompanied (as usual); and the final chorale (Mvt. 8) is too fast (also often the case with Suzuki [7]), a pity because the instrumentation and choral singing are strong and colourful.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 9, 2010):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< The newest recording, Suzuki [7], is probably one of the finest overall. >
Thanks for providing these details; I was just about to request comments re Suzuki!

I believe this is the only recording not mentioned in previous discussions. I will try to make time to listen again to Koopman [6] (chamber organ) and Gardiner [5] (church organ), commented on previously, with respect to Neil’s thoughts re Suzuki [7].

Not to belabor the point, but we are in fact blessed with a multitude of fine recordings to enjoy listening to, and picking apart.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 9, 2010):
Introduction to BWV 146 – Recordings

A few additional thoughts with respect to Neils comments on the Suzuki [7] CD, which I have not heard. Last year I suggested Koopman [6] for comparison with Gardiner [5], for organ versus violin obbligato in the alto aria (Mvt. 3). Based on Neil’s comments, Suzuki is probably a better choice for that particular comparison. Gardiner does have the unique advantage of offering the rare opportunity to hear a church organ (in fact, one actually played by Bach) in the opening Sinfonia (Mvt. 1) and in a continuo role throughout the remaining movements: a thoroughly enjoyable performance from beginning to end. This is generally true of the Suzuki releases, as well. I especially enjoy alto Bogna Bartosz with Koopman, but those looking for for a single preferred performance will probably do better to choose between Suzuki and Gardiner. Note that Gardiner has about the same tempo in the chorale as Suzuki (based on timing), which I do not find overly quick, but Neil does. Koopman is even quicker, bordering on too fast for my taste as well.

One additional comment from Gardiner’s booklet notes [5], which he uses to introduce BWV 103 but which is also relevant to BWV 146:

<Jubilate [3rd Sunday after Easter] in Leipzig traditionally marked the start of the Ostermesse, the Easter trade fair when, for three weeks, a flood of visitors -- craftsmen, international commercial travellers, book dealers, hawkers, street entertainers -- swelled the resident population to some 30,000 citizens. Bach, who timed the publication of the four sets of his Clavier-Ubung to coincide with these fairs, would have understood the need to produce special music during this period, since trading was not permitted on Sundays. and (as his predecessor Kuhnau pointed out) <since visitors and distinguished gentlemen would certainly want to hear something fine in the principal churches.> (end quote)

Doug Cowling has made a similar point from time to time, I believe.


Cantata BWV 146: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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