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Cantata BWV 158
Der Friede sei mit dir
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of January 21, 2007 (2nd round)

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 20, 2007):
Introduction to BWV 158 - "Der Friede sei mit dir"

Discussion for the week of January 21, 2007

Cantata BWV 158- "Der Friede sei mit dir", Easter Tuesday (Third Day of Easter), see discussion

Date of composition and first performance unknown, see discussion.
Text, data on recordings, readings for the day, commentary, and previous discussion can be found at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV158.htm

including the following specific links:

Previous Discussion: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV158-D.htm
Provenance: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV158-Ref.htm
Commentaries: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV158-Guide.htm

It is important to emphasize that this week continues our break in chronologic discussion of Bach's Sacred and Secular Cantatas. This brief introduction is intended to supplement and update the extensive discussion of Feb. 2003. The reason for the non-chronologic placements similar to that for BWV 143, uncertainty of manuscript provenance, but in the case of BWV 158 there is no serious question of the authenticity, only of the date of composition.

As expected, Dürr provides a concise summary of scholarly status:

<Neither its librettist nor its date of origin is known; and unless we are altogether deceived, the version transmitted is a fragment made up of several originally independent parts, from which only very inadequate conclusions may be drawn as to the original character of the work. With Philipp Spitta we must assume that the aria and the second recitative, Mvt. 2 and Mvt. 3, are the oldest parts. Their text, which deals with the yearning for death and for heavenly life, is clearly not an Easter poem, but seems to have been intended for the Feast of Purification (the title on the wrapper of the work, which is transmitted only in manuscript copies, names as its occasion both Easter Tuesday and the Purification), for the third movement expressly refers to Simeon, whose words 'Lord, now let your servant depart in peace' belong to the Gospel for that [Purification] occasion. When these two middle movements originated is uncertain. Spitta believed that they stem from Bach's Wiemar period and wanted to ascribe the libretto to Salomon Franck, but no real confirmation of this may be found. If it were so, at the very least a radical revision of these movements must have been undertaken in Leipzig.

<The scoring of the aria, Mvt. 2, evidently has a pre-history that has not so far been clarified. This movement is the centerpiece of the cantata and a masterwork of Bach's art. A bass aria with obbligato solo violin - handled in a truly virtuoso fashion - is combined with the first verse of the hymn Welt, ade, ich bin dein müde by Johann Georg Albinus (1649) to the melody by Johann Rosenmüller, which is stated by soprano and oboe in unison. [there follow technical details questioning whether violin and oboe represent original instrumentation, as well as the structure of no. 3]

<It seems likely, then, that Mvt. 2 and Mvt. 3 are a torso, torn out of their original context, that nos. 1 and 4 were added subsequently to give the fragment a new outer frame, and that the whole work was now intended for performance on Easter Tuesday. This follows from the choice of concluding chorale - the fifth verse of Luther's hymn Christ lag in Todes Banden (1524) - as well as from the reference to the 'Lamb's Blood' in the first movement and from its closing words, 'He himself says to me: Peace be with you', for although the Purification Gospel is also concerned with peace, only in the Gospel for Easter Tuesday does Jesus himself utter the words 'Peace be with you'. Though accompanied only by continuo, this opening movement is ingeniously shaped in musical terms around three arioso passages, each on the text 'Peace be with you': at the outset, in the course of the recitative, and - most extensively- at the close.

<Despite all the open questions that remain concerning this cantata and its limited dimensions, it is nonetheless a work of high artistic rank that makes considerable demands upon its vocal and instrumental soloists. We should therefore be grateful that, at least in its present state, it has survived. <end quote>

In order to be timely, I will keep personal comments brief, and add more as discussion proceeds during the week. Two comments regarding recordings, which reflect my often expressed opinions:
(1) When a Herreweghe performance [16] exists, you will not go wrong seeking it out. Always superb, and often the benchmark.
(2) If you are limited to the Leusink [23], you will get a fair and reasonable interpretation of the music, even if not often the very best of the available recordings.

I am struck by the coincidence of the second line of no. 2: 'Salem's refuge suits me'. From Salem MA (by official choice, known as 'The Witch City') I send you Wishes (not to say Witches) for Peace.

Shalom and Aloha (and Free Hawaii!), Ed Myskowski

Peter Smaill wrote (January 21, 2007):
As has been observed , the puzzle in BWV158 is both musical and textual. It seems likely composed at at least two times in Bach's life, and on the strength of the evidence of the manuscript wrapper (?in whose hand?) has been attributed to both Epiphany (the Simeon story occurs) and the third day of Easter ("Christ lag" is quoted at the end.)

Unless the wrapper is indisputably in Bach's hand there is room for doubt. One reason, a loose end not resolved on BCW, is the perceptive observation by Dick Wursten in the last round of discussions, that the incipit "Der Friede sei mit dir" ("Peace be with you") actually relates in the Lutheran lectionary to the First Sunday after Easter , "Quasimodogeniti", and indeed Bach does set the text emphatically in BWV 67/6, also set for Bass (the voice of Jesus) and rendered there as "Friede sei mit Euch", for that day in the Church year, not the third day after Easter.

Although we have famously BWV 51, "Jauchet Gott in allen Laenden" marked "per ogni tempore", i.e. for any festival, I cannot recall any other cantata marked as being for two dissimilar festivals well apart in the Calendar.

If the wrapper is not conclusive, then the challenge is to find an ecclesiastical occasion on which both meditation on the birth of the Saviour (i.e Simeon) and on the atoning Crucifixion is apt. In addition it should be noted that the verse of "Christ lag" brings in the OT, unusually, at the end , the concept of passover and the marking of the door with lamb's blood found in Exodus.

Were it not for the wrapper, all these factors would rather suggest that this pastiche Cantata was assembled as a funeral piece, or at least a meditation more generally on Christian death, a possibility heightened by the second use by Bach of his predecessor Johannes Rosenmüller's "Welt ade, ich bin dein mude". This chorale associated with the contemplation of death in BWV 27, which is also suspected by Duerr as being an assembly job.

It will be interesting to know if the Rosenmüller chorale, the only chorale completely by another hand which is used by Bach in the Cantatas (in BWV 27), had a very specific affekt. If so, and if the wrapper is a postscript by another hand , then the purpose of the work could lie elsewhere than the traditional attribution.

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 21, 2007):
Peter Smaill wrote:
>>...on the strength of the evidence of the manuscript wrapper (?in whose hand?) has been attributed to both Epiphany (the Simeon story occurs) and the third day of Easter ("Christ lag" is quoted at the end.) Unless the wrapper is indisputably in Bach's hand there is room for doubt.<<
As pointed out in the previous discussion (see Provenance in the midst of the discussion of BWV 158 and click on it; here is a shortcut URL: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV158-Ref.htm

not a single scrap of evidence for this cantata survives in Bach's hand or even showed that he had anything to do with it (corrections of copyists, figured bass, addition of articulation and dynamics, etc.).

What we have are copies by a Bach manuscript collector, Christian Friedrich Penzel, who made a copy of the score (only a fragment of it survives) and parts sometime between 1755 and 1770. In 1907, Bernard Friedrich Richter reported in the Bach-Jahrbuch, 1907, p. 57 the existence of written remark/note by the copyist: "July 12, 1770, Merseburg", but this is no longer visible or has been lost in the meantime.

There is no title page, but the title on top of the 1st page of the score reads "Festa Purif. Mariae J.S. Bach." and a cover sheet for the parts (this cover sheet also serves as the Organo part) with the title: "Festo Purif. Mariae | it | Fer. III. Paschatos | Der Friede sey mit dir, | a | Violino Solo | Basso Solo et Soprano | Fondamento | Organo transposto | di J. S. Bach."

A later copy of the score (unknown copyist), coming from Franz Hauser's collection of 4 cantatas by Bach of which this is the last, has the title: "Festo Purific: Mariae | it Fer: III Paschatos. J. S. Bach"

Another copy based upon the previous from a collection of 5 cantatas by Bach, comes from the estate of Josef Fischof and has a note from the copyist: Ant. Werner, July 31, 1839: The title is the same as the previous with the following differences/changes in orchestration: "Oboe | 2 Violini | Viola | Baßo | Fond."

>>Were it not for the wrapper, all these factors would rather suggest that this pastiche Cantata was assembled as a funeral piece, or at least a meditation more generally on Christian death, a possibility heightened by the second use by Bach of his predecessor Johannes Rosenmüller's "Welt ade, ich bin dein mude". This chorale was associated with the contemplation of death in BWV 27, which is also suspected by Duerr as being an assembly job. It will be interesting to know if the Rosenmüller chorale, the only chorale completely by another hand which is used by Bach in the Cantatas (in BWV 27), had a very specific affekt. If so, and if the wrapper is a postscript by another hand , then the purpose of the work could lie elsewhere than the traditional attribution.<<
Traditionally, Rosenmüller's setting of "Welt ade, ich bin dein müde" has a funereal association. See also: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Jesu-der-du-meine-Seele.htm

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 21, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Traditionally, Rosenmüller's setting of "Welt ade, ich bin dein müde" has a funereal association. See also: >
It's worth noting that the setting is not a simple four-part chorale such as a conrgegation might sing, but a five-part motet (SSATB) which has antiphonal effects between the upper two and lower three voices. This straightforward kind of chorale-motet would have been the kind of music Choir II and III would sing weekly, p[erhaps even more often if it was a funeral favoirite.

Alain Bruguières wrote (January 21, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] As you know I'm no musicologist, however I'm a scientist...

I gather that there is no factual evidence that Bach composed this. (If I missed something, please correct me).

On the other hand, there seems to be a consensus - or unanimity - that this is Bach. (Idem).

Would this answer Ed's question, formulated during the discussions about BWV 143, in the positive?

Here is the question :
< Are there in fact other cantatas for which the factual evidence for a Bach connection is so thin? Non-existent, in fact. >
Do we decide that BWV 158 is Bach, and BWV 143 is not Bach, because the former is good enough, the latter not so?

Perhaps I should make it clear that I'd be totally flabbergasted should I learn that BWV 158 aria-with-choral is not Bach. But that's not sufficient proof, and in any case it leaves me with my doubts about BWV 143 intact.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 21, 2007):
Alain Bruguières wrote:
< Perhaps I should make it clear that I'd be totally flabbergasted should I learn that BWV 158 aria-with-choral is not Bach. But that's not sufficient proof, and in any case it leaves me with my doubts about BWV 143 intact. >
I once heard H. Robbins Landon, the Haydn scholar, criticize modern taste quite harshly. He said we talk about the "history of music" and yet we really mean only the popular greats. When we talk about the Classical period, we really mean only Haydn and Mozart. Salieri and all the others really mean nothing to us.

He said the problem also affects the oeuvre of indivdual composers. Schubert, one of the all-time masters of the lyrical song, wrote 14 operas and yet not one of them is in the standard repertoire.

Very occasionally, a forgotten composer will break through into popular taste. Vivaldi was almost unknown until the mid-20th century when suddenly burst into popular affection. Poor Telemann, the most popular composer of the Baroque period, still has a minimal profile in public taste. His Tafelmusik has never been used for a coffee commercial.

I remember being shocked when I read that cantata BWV 53, "Schlage Doch Gewünschte Stunde" was by Hoffmann not by Bach. How could something so beautiful not be by Bach? Perhaps that's what we're encountering here in this cantata. Bach looms so large for us that it is hard to credit lesser mortals with writing fine music.

I'm sure that Bach who collected and adapted his contemporaries with keen admiration would have laughed at us.

Alain Bruguières wrote (January 21, 2007):
Alain Bruguières wrote:
<< Perhaps I should make it clear that I'd be totally flabbergasted should I learn that BWV 158 aria-with-choral is not Bach. But that's not sufficient proof, and in any case it leaves me with my doubts about 143 intact. >>

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I remember being shocked when I read that cantata BWV 53, "Schlage Doch Gewünschte Stunde" was by Hoffmann not by Bach. How could something so beautiful not be by Bach? Perhaps that's what we're encountering here inthis cantata. Bach looms so large for us that it is hard to credit lesser mortals with writing fine music. >
That's quite true, and that's precisely why I'm slightly ill-at-ease concerning those two cantatas. The one supposedly toogood for not being Bach, the other, not good enough... Well, to be fair, we have also to consider the style, not only the overall musical quality. Still...

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I'm sure thaBach who collected and adapted his contemporaries with keen admiration would have laughed at us. >
I can only hope that, wherever he is, Bach has no access to the content of our discussions...

Peter Smaill wrote (January 21, 2007):
Since we are now comparing the relative chances of authenticity of BWV 143 and BWV 158, can I take up a thread from the discussion of the former?

Russell Telfer observed that the opening chorus of BWV 143 has in its score not a single accidental. Since then I've scoured all my scores of Bach and can not find a single other piece, vocal or instrumental, where this is the case (ignoring the key signature for these purposes).

This may be just because my collection is small and time is precious; but is anyone else aware of a Bach work where this is the case?

Alain Bruguières wrote (January 22, 2007):
[To Peter Smaill] That observation of Russell Telfer's was very interesting. The absence of accidentals is an objective characteristic of BWV 143/1 which we should ponder. I don't know whether Bach ever wrote a(nother?) piece sharing this characteristic. Others can probably answer that question.

On the other hand, I suppose that few pieces on the scale of this chorus - whether by Bach or not - evince this characteristic. Besides, the author of BWV 143 (assuming he/she is unique) used plenty of accidentals in the subsequent numbers of this cantata. I don't really see what one can make out of this. One may conclude that this piece is simple-minded; is it too simple-minded for Bach? In any case, not too simple minded for whoever wrote this, and he/she was admittedly a good composer. May one not also imagine that the composer made a point of not using accidentals, an 'exercice de style'? '

But in any case, I'm not really comparing the ''relative chances of authenticity'; I'm in no position to assert, I can only speculate wildly on the basis of my intuition: if I were told that one and only one is Bach, I would vote BWV 158, but that doesn't lead us anywhere, I think.I am rather enquiring about what criteria we accept when questioning the authenticity of a would-be-Bach cantata, in the absence of material evidence. Is musical quality/degree of sophistication a discriminating criterion in itself?

Julian Mincham wrote (January 22, 2007):
[To Peter Smaill] I would suggest that the key point here (no pun intended) is not that there is a lack of accidentals but rather what that lack reveals i.e. that there is no modulation or change of key, not even to the dominant. Perhaps the question should be, where does Bach elsewhere write a reasonably substantial choral or instrumentatl movement which contains no modulation----not even to the dominant?

Neil Halliday wrote (January 22, 2007):
The aria with chorale is a lovely piece, with a mood that is fervent and peaceful at the same time, a perfect musical expression of the text: "World farewell, I am tired of you.I prefer Salem's [ie, heavenly Jerusalem's?] shelter..where I can forever behold God in peace and rest". The violin part has ecstatic little roulades of 32nd notes. Most commentators, including Robertson (and myself), prefer the soprano chorale to be performed by the choir sopranos, for a more ethereal chorale line.

I have Richter [7] and Rilling [9], both of which I enjoy.

A pleasant continuo and DFD's [7] mellow, full voice make even the recitatives enjoyable in Richter's recording. The final chorale begins quietly, most effectively, after which Richter ratchets up the volume to a double forte with full organ on the last line - overdone -but after all he was into magnificence, God bless him! Still, I would prefer the quiet `reverie' established at the beginning to continue all the way through, I think. (This is BWV 4's final chorale, set to different words.)

The main problem with Rilling's aria [9] is the too loud, too `bassy' continuo, which problem can be remedied to some extent by turning the bass control to the minimum setting. The lack of coloratura passages in the (vocal) bass part, passages that would be problematic if overlaid with excessive vibrato, means that even Huttenlocher (with Rilling) is quite pleasing, to my ears, in this aria.

Despite Dürr's remarks about the violin obbligato, I think this is the better instrument for the job, lending a desired fervency to the music. The flute in Rifkin [14] seems too `romantic' or too pastoral, or something.

I like most of the samples (ie, those that are available at the BCW), allowing for the fact that none of them get as far as the chorale line (in the aria), which from past experience I always prefer if sung by the requisite section of the choir.

I do not like Schreier's staccato-like treatment of the continuo; nor Koopman's `dainty' continuo and organ realisation. Leusink's continuo also somehow seems to make itself too prominent/intrusive, as if separate from the rest of the ensemble.

Beringer is pleasing in his relatively recent recording (1991), with sympathetic recitative accompaniment, bright acoustic, and pleasing articulation of the instrumental parts (IMO).

Russell Telfer wrote (January 22, 2007):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< This chorale was associated with the contemplation of death in BWV 27, which is also suspected by Duerr as being an assembly job. >
I'd like to ask you, Peter (or anyone) what exactly you think Duerr meant by 'an assembly job'? I've used my own interpretation below. It touches on a discussion in which recent contributors have all expressed their views: the authenticity of BWV 158 and BWV 143.

To quote Alain Bruguières:
< Do we decide that BWV 158 is Bach, and BWV 143 is not Bach, because the former is good enough, the latter not so? >
Documentary evidence can be convincing, but appears to be lacking in these cases. So one turns to style. Many of us have been listening to Bach all our lives and may have a strong instinct to say this movement is genuine and that one isn't. Sometimes you can quote musical analysis to support an argument - the absent accidentals in BWV 143'1 is a simple case in point. But we can certainly be deceived. An example: a Bach prelude was, I believe, recently discovered, and someone created a competition by organising the creation of some pastiche preludes in Bach's style to see who could identify the genuine one. I failed. (And some of them were of very good quality.

Coming back to 'the assembly job'. The bass aria in BWV 158 has been hailed as a masterpiece. Certainly the blending of bass and soprano gives me the strongest feeling of Bach's presence. But in pressured times, in the conditions of eighteenth century musical assembly job production, might it not be possible that the work was 'thrown together' from a combination of Bach's and other local composers' other work, rehashes, and simplified 4 part chorales like that in BWV 158?

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 22, 2007):
Russell Telfer 1685 wrote:
< Documentary evidence can be convincing, but appears to be lacking in these cases. So one turns to style. >

And tradition. See below.
< in the conditions of eighteenth century musical assembly job production, might it not be possible that the work was 'thrown together' from a combination of Bach's and other local composers' other work, rehashes, and simplified 4 part chorales like that in 158? >
In the absence of documentary evidence, almost anything is possible. The question becomes one of likelihood (probability, to some of us). It is not a question of yes or no, all or nothing.

In the case of BWV 158 vs BWV 143, stylistic probability is greater for the former. In addition, the extant text is earlier, 1755-70 for BWV 158 (see BCW - Provenance), vs early 1800's for BWV 143 (see BC- Discussion). Surely this counts for something, even if it is impossible to say exactly what.

I am disappointed that no one has snatched at the bait of identifying possible forgers (facsimile creators?) for BWV 143. I am sticking with my original wild thought, Salieri or Beethoven, with an addendum: a collaborative effort of the two!

Julian Mincham wrote (January 22, 2007):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I am sticking with my original wild thought, Salieri or Beethoven, with an addendum: a collaborative effort of
the two! >
I think that'wild' is the word Ed.

Are you sure that Napoleon didn't hum the bass line for Salieri to copy down?

I am no great scholar of Salieri's work but I really would wonder if he had the contrapuntal skill required to write such a work . Mozart did--see the Magic Flute Overture and the two last symphonies. But his counterpoint sounded Mozartian not Bachian in any way.

But Salieri? If anyone can put me in touch with works of his which demonstrated an equal level of contrapuntal expertise, I'd be interested. Maybe I just haven't come across them.

 

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (January 22, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I remember being shocked when I read that cantata BWV 53, "Schlage Doch Gewünschte Stunde" was by Hoffmann not by Bach. How could something so beautiful not be by Bach? Perhaps that's what we're encountering here in this cantata. Bach looms so large for us that it is hard to credit lesser mortals with writing fine music. >
Somehow I was not shocked or hurt or offended when I heard that one of my desert island works was not by Bach.

Somehow there was no reason at all to think that there were not other composers who could and did produce stunning works.

Somehow the work simply spoke and sang to me for so long that it stood as what it is.

Sadly however complete cantata sets stopped including it and that was mis-guided in my opinion.

However there are so many wonderful recordings, most, it seems, with counter-tenors amongst the recent ones. An exception is Israeli mezzo Bracha Kol whose recording is not generally available and whose recording together with the participants is one of the most felicitous.

I am sure that they are many great works which each of us has not heard.

There are many magical composers but most of them seem to have produced a couple of great works but not endless great works.

We don't really know much of Hoffmann and I doubt that we can form a judgment on him as a whole.

Then again how many works on the level of his Stabat Mater did Pergolesi produce (yes, he died at 26)?

There are the two Salve Regina settings and then a lot of things that were ascribed and a few other items including a well-known opera with which I have never really bothered.

Then there are composers like Mozart and Haydn who produced without end. Personally I find much of Mozart less than super-duper (that's my own view and cannot be argued against). I find some of Mozart amazing.

I fear that Glenn Gould felt much the same about Mozart; actually he used to express a far lower opinion.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 22, 2007):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<< I am sticking with my original wild thought, Salieri or Beethoven, with an addendum: a collaborative effort of the two! >>
Julian Mincham wrote:
< I think that'wild' is the word Ed. >
Yes indeed! The notorious wild speculation. Watch your tongue!

< Are you sure that Napoleon didn't hum the bass line for Salieri to copy down? >
No, I am not sure. Somehow I doubt, however.

< I am no great scholar of Salieri's work but I really would wonder if he had the contrapuntal skill required to write such a work . Mozart did--see the Magic Flute Overture and the two last symphonies. But his counterpoint sounded Mozartian not Bachian in any way.
But Salieri? If anyone can put me in touch with works of his which demonstrated an equal level of contrapuntal expertise, I'd be interested. Maybe I just haven't come across them. >
The only actual fact I can contribute is that Salieri was Beethoven's counterpoint instructor. Early on, Beethoven produced contrapuntal exercises under Salieri's tutelage. Culminating some years in the Grosse Fuge, Op. 133, with hundreds of examples in between. And plenty of time and opportunity for B. and/or S. to create BWV 143 for cash, humor, or whatever.

I challenge you or anyone to disprove it. Dibs on the screenplay royalties. I will think about whether to include Nappy humming the theme, perhaps around the time of the 'Eroica'?

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 23, 2007):
< Dibs on the screenplay royalties. I will think about whether to include Nappy humming the theme, perhaps around the time of the 'Eroica'? >
I can't get away from the image of Napoleon ("the short, dead dude") playing at the water park ("Waterloo") in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure". Pushing all the kids out of the way, cutting in line, so he could have another turn.

Russell Telfer wrote (January 23, 2007):
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote: (in reply to Douglas Cowling - about BWV 53)
< Sadly however complete cantata sets stopped including it and that was misguided in my opinion. >
I agree! I'd like to help push this into the public domain: there is a market opportunity for someone who is prepared to create quality performances for the neglected ducklings: BWV 15, BWV 53, BWV 141, BWV 142, BWV 160, BWV 189, BWV 217, BWV 218, BWV 219, BWV 220, BWV 221 and BWV 222. I'm sure Brad, Douglas, or one of our distinguished alumni could pave the way for a bit of worthwhile enterprise.

< Personally I find much of Mozart less than super-duper (that's my own view and cannot be argued against). I find some of Mozart amazing. >
I agree again. I bought the Brilliant Complete Mozart and was surprised at how tawdry some of the music in this set is. And of course some of it is amazing too.

Eric Bergerud wrote (January 23, 2007):
[To Douglas Cowling] I'm not sure Bach was the type of gent that would have chuckled about incorrect attribution of his work, but Mr. Landon's point via Doug is certainly well taken. This brings up a question that perhaps wiser heads can answer. According to my liner notes of Herreweghe's version of BWV 158 and those accompanying the wonderful CD Apocryphal Bach Cantatas (BWV 15, BWV 141, BWV 142, BWV 160) by Wolfgang Helbich there were a number of Bach works originally attributed to JSB that have been "defrocked" - mostly in relatively modern times. It would be very interesting to know how many Bach instrumental works were in this category. Anyway, all of the works on Helbich's were attributed as early Bach as was 158 according to Wolff. The good gents first attempting to catalog Bach's works seem to have started with the basics: let's find the works with Bach's signature, hand writing or a solid attribution from a good source. Contemporary research as proved them wrong on occasion. However, were they wrong because they didn't know Bach's works or those of his contemporaries well enough, or were they more easily fooled because they were dealing with very large amounts of early 18th century music and were thus vulnerable to misjudging the work of a lesser composer who happened to have a very good day. In other words, did they have too much or too little data? Anyway, pity the poor musicologists. Anyone dealing with stylistic analysis for attribution or interpretation is always skating on thin ice. (Think of how many fewer Rembrandt's we have these days thanks to modern analytical techniques.) Gives one a case of the humbles. Of course now we have copyright: too bad there's so little music worth preserving. (And if Bach didn't compSchlage Doch he should have, or at least used bells more often.)

BTW: Actually there are some Schubert operas out there. I have Fierrabras which has some really nice music, but a dopey libretto. Judging from the lyrics of his songs, Schubert was no master of the word. I wonder if inane plots might not have kept some of Schubert's operas off the stage. But heaven knows opera fans are fickle. I've also developed a pretty hefty Telemann collection and love it dearly. He couldn't match Bach day in day out, but why Vivaldi gets better press is beyond me.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Non-Bach Cantatas - Part 3

Eric Bergerud wrote (January 23, 2007):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< I agree! I'd like to help push this into the public domain: there is a market opportunity for someone who is prepared to create quality performances for the neglected ducklings: BWV 15, BWV 53, BWV 141, BWV 142, BWV 160, BWV 189, BWV 217, BWV 218, BWV 219, BWV 220, BWV 221 and BWV 222. I'm sure Brad, Douglas, or one of our distinguished alumni could pave the way for a bit of worthwhile enterprise.
<< Personally I find much of Mozart less than super-duper (that's my own view and cannot be argued against). I find some of Mozart amazing. >>
< I agree again. I bought the Brilliant Complete Mozart and was surprised at how tawdry some of the music in this set is. And of course some of it is amazing too. >
It would be nice to get every out of print recording available online. A good project for Aryeh on a slow day. However, all (or at least most) of the works listed below are available and in print. Wolfgang Helbich's two volumes are both really nice: I recommend Vol II with no hesitation. There are six Schlage Doch's out there but only Ms. Kielland's is sung by a mezzo: the others are countertenors.

As for Mozart, I have lots of serenades, diverimentii etc: the things he did to pick up a quick dollar or whatever he picked up. There is a real lack of profundity in many of such works, but what strikes me is how "pretty" they all are. Perfect music for reading, cleaning the room or accompanying my trusty combat flight simulator. Might add that some months back I mentioned that the Requiem did not really impress me. Since then I've picked up two wonderful recordings (Harnoncourt and Hogwood) and hmm.... my bad. The work is a masterpiece.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 23, 2007):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< The aria with chorale is a lovely piece, with a mood that is fervent and peaceful at the same time, a perfect musical expression of the text: "World farewell, I am tired of you.I prefer Salem's [ie, heavenly Jerusalem's?] shelter.. >
Writing from the comfort of Salem MA, USA (by official choice, The Witch City), I have to wonder about heavenly Jerusalem.

My area was known to the original inhabitants as something like Naumkeag, meaning good place to fish. Then came the Great Nations of Europe, renaming it Salem in the name of the Lord, in about 1626 or 1629. Opinions vary as to the exact details.

Not long after, the local slave trade originated. Not with Africa. Among the English colonies of Salem and Barbados, trading Indian captives.

Salem (heavenly Jerusalem) indeed! Bring back Naumkeag, good fishing place. Keep your Lord.

Thank you for placing the ? . I would be interested in other interpretations of the Biblical reference to Salem.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 24, 2007):
Ed Mskowski:
< Thank you for placing the ? . I would be interested in other interpretations of the Biblical reference to Salem. >
Bach uses the image in the final chorus of Cantata BWV 182, "Himmelskönig Sei Willkommen".

So lasset uns gehen in Salem der Freuden,
Begleitet den König in Lieben und Leiden.
Er gehet voran
Und öffnet die Bahn.


So let us go forth to that Salem of gladness,
Attend ye the King both in love and in sorrow.
He leadeth the way
And opens the path.

 

Cantata 158, mv 2

Johan van Veen wrote (November 15, 2007):
I have been listening to the recently released recording of three cantatas with Gotthold Schwarz and La Stagione Frankfurt [26]. One of the cantatas is BWV 158. The solo part in the aria (Mvt. 2) is played here on the transverse flute, which - according to Alfred Dürr - could be what it was originally written for. In the discussion about this cantata from 2003 I saw that Joshua Rifkin [14] has recorded it with a flute, but what about recordings made since then? As I am preparing a review of this recording for MusicWeb I would like to know if there are other recordings - apart from Rifkin - which use a flute.

Thanks.

Julian Mincham wrote (November 15, 2007):
[To Johan van Veen] I do know that Koopman and Leusink both use violin obligato for this movement.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 15, 2007):
< In the discussion about this cantata from 2003 I saw that Joshua Rifkin [14] has recorded it with a flute, but what about recordings made since then? >
I quickly checked the older Schröder [5], Herreweghe [16], and Leusink [23], all of which used violin.

And Müller-Brühl [27] (Naxos, recorded May 30th or June 1st 2004) uses flute. The flautist's name is Daniel Rothert. Tina Scherer sings the cantus firmus.

N.B. to Aryeh: my copy of the Naxos has different cover art from the one displayed at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV158.htm
A scan is here: Amazon.com

I'm amused by the way Amazon is now selling classical albums chopped down to separate mp3 tracks at 90 cents per track. Maybe this way some recitative-phobes can grab only the handful of arias they care about?

Jean Laaninen wrote (November 15, 2007):
[To Bradley Lehman] I did not know about the Amazon downloads for MP3, but it would be an understatement to say that Bach isn't featured much on the opera and vocal list. For a singer, however, being able to download a particular song as a part of the learning process is very handy, but even though this list has 400 numbers available I saw very little that would be handy for singers. For MP3 players, however, some might find the service useful.

Anyway, thanks for the heads up on the Amazon project...maybe it will be useful to someone.

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 158: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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