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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

Cantata BWV 171
Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions on the Week of August 30, 2009

William Hoffman wrote (August 30, 2009):
Cantata BWV 171 & Fasch

In 1728, while sporadically presenting reperformances of Leipzig church cantatas, Bach did compose an occasional chorale cantata and left nine new cantatas in the so-called Picander cycle. They were presented primarily on feast days or other special occasions and usually included parody movements.

One such event was New Year's Day, 1729, when Bach returned to the celebratory feast day genre producing Cantata BWV 171, with full chorus, trumpets and drums. Three of its numbers involve recycled material: the opening chorus (Mvt. 1), possibly from a lost instrumental work, which through contrafaction became the "Patrem ominpotentem in the BMM, BWV 232/13; the soprano pastorale-gigue aria in the secular birthday cantata, BWV 205/9; and the closing tutti chorale from BWV 41/6, with a new stanza.

NEW YEAR: BWV 171, Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm [Chorus, parody]
1/1/?29 (Cycle 4), ?c1736-37; borrowed material: #1, source unknown, lost instrumental work, parody BWV 232/13 Patrem omnipotentem, c.1748-9; #4, BWV 205/9, birthday, 8/3/25; #6, BWV 41/6, New Year, 1/1/25).
Sources: (1) score (private, CPEB); (2) parts set (lost, ?WFB), (3) score copy (SPK AmB 11).
Literature: BG XXXV (Dörffel 1888); NBA KB I/4 (Neumann, 1964); Whittaker I:318-21, Robertson 37 f, Young 91f, Dürr 154-57.
Text: Picander (1728); #6, Herman cle. "Jesu, nun sei gepreiset" ("Jesus, Now Be Praised") (S.3).
Forces: SATB, 4 vv, 3 tp., timp, 2 ob, str, bc.
Movements: chorus, 2 arias(T,S), 2 recits.(A,B), chorale.
Mvt. 1. Chs.(tutti): God, as Thy name, so is also Thy fame (= BWV 232/13) (Ps. 48:11).
Mvt. 2. Aria(T,vns): Lord, as far as the clouds go, goeth Thy name's renown.
Mvt. 3. Rec.(A): Thou, sweet Jesus, in Thee is my rest.
Mvt. 4. Aria(S,vn): Jesus shall my first word in the New Year be (= BWV 205/9) (pastorale-giga)
Mvt. 5. Rec.-aso.(B,obs): And there thou, Lord, speak (Jn. 14:14).
Mvt. 6. Cle.(tutti): Thine is alone the honor (= BWV 41/6); ms. untexted; Picander, "Let us the New Year bring."

The period of 1729-35 in Bach's Leipzig vocal compositions is the most difficult to determine. The first years 1723-28 have been firmly fixed by Alfred Dürr and Georg von Dadelsen; the years 1736-1750 by Yoshitake Kobyashi. The middle period has the fewest exacting critical sources such as copyists, handwriting samples, and manuscript paper watermarks. The best dating is Andreas Glöckner's "New Findings Concerning J.S. Bach's Performance Calendar 1729-35," Bach Jahrbuch 1981, from manuscripts of C.P.E. Bach and Copyist F, Johann Ludwig Dietel.

Glöckner has closely examined the score for the Johann Friedrich Fasch New Year's Day Cantata, "Gehet zu seinen Thoren ein," in the hand of Dietel. He dates the work to 1731 and observes that the trumpet passages in the closing chorale are "conspicuolusly similar to the trumpet choir insertions in the closing chorale of Bach's New Year's Cantata BWV 171 (1729)" and may have been inserted at Bach's direction. See the BCW listing below for the available recording.

While Bach drastically curtailed the composition of church cantatas, he did begin to present cantata reperformances as well as the "extraneous works" of other composers such as Telemann and stile antico music of Italian composers.

NEW YEAR: Gehet zu seinen Thoren ein [J.F. Fasch]
1/1/31, ?performed by Bach; Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758).
Source: (2) score copy (Main Copyist F, Johann Ludwig Dietl; Thom. 111.2.55).
Literature: BJ 1981, Glöckner.
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Fasch-Cantata-FWVDG1.htm

Text: chorale, Herman "Jesu nun sei gepreiset" "(Jesus, Now Be Praised") (S. 3).
Forces:
Movements:
1. Go through your doors in.
2. Aria: andante
3. Recitative
4. Aria
5. Cle (3 tp, tmp): Thou art alone the glory

There has been considerable biographical speculation during this period regarding Bach's composition of the Picander Cycle, 1728-29, the St. Mark Passion (BWV 247) in 1731, the Kyrie-Gloria of the B-Minor Mass (BWV 232) in 1733, and the oratorios in 1734-35, as well as the works presented by the Collegium musicum, and the possible performance of the complete chorale cantata cycle with the addition of several later works.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 30, 2009):
Cantata BWV 171 - 'Ex abrupto' openings

William Hoffman wrote:
< New Year's Day, 1729, when Bach returned to the celebratory feast day genre producing Cantata BWV 171, with full chorus, trumpets and drums. Three of its numbers involve recycled material: the opening chorus (Mvt. 1), possibly from a lost instrumental work, which through contrafaction became the "Patrem ominpotentem in the BMM, BWV 232/13 >
After years of reading that "Patrem Omnipotentem" was recycled from this cantata, this was the first time that I have listened to the cantata and looked at the score. I have to admit that I was shocked.

I had always assumed that there was a big festive orchestral ritornello which Bach cut when he made the chorus the second part of "Credo in unum Deum". But Bach begins "ex abrupto" with no introduction at all, and the instruments gradually appear in the texture building to that dazzling close with all trumpets firing. It is very similar in effect to "Ein feste Burg" (BWV 80), although I know the brass there is probably an addition by Bach's son, W.F.

As with all these "ex abrupto" choruses - "Gott ist mein König", "Nun ist das Heil", "Ein Feste Burg","Es Erhub sich Ein Streit" -- I'm always curious what kind of prelude or instrumental piece served as the prefatory "intonatione" which established the key for the singers.

It has been suggested that a brass canzona introduced "Gott ist men König". Did the brass play here as well?

Did Bach improvise a free prelude? (The Sinfonia serves this purpose in "Wir Danken Dir" which also begins without introduction.)

Did he play a chorale prelude on "Jesu nun sei gepreiset"? I wish there was more scholarly interest investigating possible links between the cantatas and chorale-preludes which may have served as introductions.

I'm also wondering if the appearance of the massed trumpets at the end of the chorus (Mvt. 1) is supposed to depict the trumpet of the Last Judgment which occurs at the "end of the world," mentioned in the text. Bach certainly uses that kind of musical symbol at the end of the "Et resurrectionem" in the Credo.

Wonderful cantata!

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 30, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< After yearsof reading that "Patrem Omnipotentem" was recycled from this cantata, this was the first time that I have listened to the cantata and looked at the score. I have to admit that I was shocked.
I had always assumed that there was a big festive orchestral ritornello which Bach cut when he made the chorus (
Mvt. 1) the second part of "Credo in unum Deum". But Bach begins "ex abrupto" with no introduction at all, and the instruments gradually appear in the texture building to that dazzling close with all trumpets firing. It is very similar in effect to "Ein feste Burg" (BWV 80), although I know the brass there is probably an addition by Bach's son, W.F. >
The trumpet solo in this opening movement of the cantata is thrilling. Bach's use of trumpets is rather unique. Sure they're "baroque sounding," but his "sound fingerprints" (as I call them) are all over them.

I'd love to hear BWV 51 with the W.F. Bach trumpet(s) and timpani additions to the original score.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 31, 2009):
Cantata BWV 171

William Hoffman wrote:
< Three of its [BWV 171] numbers involve recycled material >
Some fleeting (aha!) thoughts, in no particular order:

(1) I think we often place too much emphasis on the idea that Bach was recycling in response to time pressure, lack of inspiration, etc. In fact, much of his recycling seems to be the perfecting of his best ideas, or the ideas he considered worth perfecting.

(2) That thought is very consistent with Wills proposal of <Bach the contented composer> which I first dismissed as some sort of Lutheran idealism. Another way to consider the situation, not necessarily contradictory, is that Bach had produced a tremendous amount of raw material which he next took the time to perfect and polish to his demanding standards, SDG(?).

(3) There is some fine material on page 1 of the BCW discussion archives, especially re the nature of the circumcision ritual in relation to early Christians. Alas, I see a post by me on page 2 of the archives, with no suggestion whatsoever that I had taken the trouble to read page 1. Better late than never, as I find myself having to say more often than I would wish.

(4) An excellent listening experience which was not yet available in 2008 when we last discussed BWV 171 is to set aside about an hour (69:11, by my count) of your time, and listen to Gardiner Pilgimage Vol. 19 [7], to hear the works for the last four weeks of our discussion in sequence. If you do not have Gardiner Vol. 19, rectify that oversight immediately, then set aside the hour.

Glen Armstrong wrote (August 31, 2009):
[To Ed Myskowski] Ed, do you mean Koopman vol 19 [8] or Gardiner vol 17 [7] for BWV 171? They both have it.I believe neither figured in the last discussion. Thanks,

Neil Halliday wrote (August 31, 2009):
Glen Armstrong wrote:
>do you mean Koopman vol 19 [8] or Gardiner vol 17 [7] for BWV 171? They both have it.I believe neither figured in the last discussion.<
Gardiner's BWV 171 is on Vol. 17 [7]

I can't find a live link to the usual amazon samples at BCW, but found this:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Cantatas-17-Peter-Harvey/dp/B001GTQTY0

[NB. Often links that are that long do not work; if so, google 'Gardiner Vol. 17' [7]. The fifth item on the list has samples; look for Peter Harvey in the heading].

BTW, there are amazon samples (for BWV 171) for Richter [3] and Harnoncourt [5] at the BCW page (something I haven't noticed before), as well as the usual samples for Leusink [6], Rilling [4], and Koopman [8].
----
In the first movement, Gardiner's 1st trumpet [7] sounds tentative and unsure; and notice the pronounced period trumpet 'fade' on the second note of the trumpet flourishes the final movement, in Gardiner, Koopman [8] and Leusink [6], detracting from the brilliance of the flourish. Surprisingly, Harnoncourt [5] appears to hold up well in this instance.
-----

For those comparing the scores, the cantata starts at bar seven of the parody heard in the BMM Credo 2nd movement, with the entry of the fugue subject (tenors).

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 31, 2009):
Glen Armstrong wrote:
< Ed, do you mean Koopman vol 19 [8] or Gardiner vol 17 [7] for BWV 171? They both have it. I believe >neither figured in the last discussion. >
Thanks for noticing my error. It is in fact Gardiner Vol. 17 [7] which has four New Years (or Circumcision!) cantatas which we have discussed over the recent four weeks, concluding with BWV 171.

In my post from 2008 I commented on the also fine performance from Koopman Vol. 19 [8]. I will give the Koopman a fresh listen in comparison to Gardiner [7], but regardless of any minor details influencing a preference, I repeat my recommendation of the Gardiner Pilgrimage CD, Vol. 17.

Apologies if anyone has ordered Vol. 19 in error, but it is also a fine production, oriented to Sundays after Epiphany, but also including the anomalous BWV 26 for Trinity 24. This is the source of a comment by Gardiner which I cited from memory in the past, not quite corrctly, and then had trouble recovering because of the odd location in the series.

As we wind our way through the Sundays after Trinity in the liurgical calendar for 2009, which I have referenced from time to time with respect to weekly radio broadcasts at WGBH-FM (www.wgbh.org), consider Gardiners thought, re BWV 26:
<Like several of Bachs late Trinity season cantatas its central theme is the brevity of human life and the futility of earthly hopes.> (end quote)

I do not consider Earthly hopes futile, and that is the source of my fundamental disagreement with much of the *religiosity* expounded on BCML from time to time. For those who take offense, I am always willing to discuss, but not to quietly absorb abuse. Turn the other cheek? Uh-uh.

For the many folks who have specific beliefs, but who maintain an open ability to accept others, I always enjoy interacting with you. Brothers and Sisters, if you will forgive an emotional moment.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 31, 2009):
Cantata BWV 171 - Opening theme

Neil Halliday wrote:
< For those comparing the scores, the cantata starts at bar seven of the parody heard in the BMM Credo 2nd movement, with the entry of the fugue subject (tenors). >
Any speculation why Bach changed the 4th and 5th notes of the theme in "Patrem Omnipotentem"? It's disingenuous to say he "improved" the theme.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 31, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< [NB. Often links that are that long do not work; if so, google 'Gardiner Vol. 17' [7]. The fifth >item on the list has samples; look for Peter Harvey in the heading]. >
Neil is one of my favorite correspondents, but sometimes I simply have to offer alternative advice. Just break down and buy the bleeping record! And if you already bought Vol. 19 because of my mistake, enjoy it, and buy Vol. 17 also. If the quality of the the trumpet performance offends you, write me for refund.

As my friends at Looney Tunes in Boston posted on their door many years ago: World Ends Soon! Buy Records! It got a little old, because as usual, the world did not end, and to everyones surprise, people kept buyinrecords (that is, those old vinyl LPs). My most recent purchase, a couple weeks ago: Yankee Organ Music, Nonesuch H-71200, never reissued on CD as best I can tell. It includes <Yankee Doodle with Variations> by James Hewitt (1770-1827), an Old English Pub Song (are not they all?) taken over by the Colonials when the battles started going bad for the Brits. Hewitt was born in England, an exact contemporary of Beethoven, but he preferred to be American. It is hard to figure some people.

Just buy one of those Gardiner Pilgrimage CDs and enjoy it. That would be Vol. 17 if you want the New Years Day trumpets (a bit inaccurate?), drums (probably too loud, as always), etc. For the Yankee Doodle with Variations, that is a deeper quest.

Neil Halliday wrote (August 31, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>Any speculation why Bach changed the 4th and 5th notes of the theme in "Patrem Omnipotentem"? It's disingenuous to say he "improved" the theme.<
I agree. Probably structural; notice how the cantata version of the theme would unsatisfactorily double the 3rd quaver in the 2nd bar of the continuo (Mass) and produce a minor second clash with the fourth quaver ; note that the incipit of the cantata's version of the theme at the start of the "Patrem" movement would be AAAF#F#C#, confirmed in bar 15 of the cantata score (basses entry), because the Mass movement begins in the dominant.

Neil Halliday wrote (August 31, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
>Just break down and buy the bleeping record!<
But I'm most certainly a fussy bugger (as you have probably guessed by now) and don't like spending money on stuff that is likely to be less than satisfying (hence the obsession with samples) :-)

It's great that you enjoy your purchased recordings!

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 31, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< But I'm most certainly a fussy bugger (as you have probably guessed by now) >
Well, yes. I find that loveable.

< and don't like spending money on stuff that is likely to be less than satisfying (hence the obsession with samples) :-) >
I have never taken the trouble to compare samples with a CD, or download. Are they accurate, and fairly representative?

If a few people dont buy the discs, pretty soon there will be nothing new to sample. I make an effort to emphasize the positive, because there is so much negative and unfair commentary in the BCW archives (not from Neil). I really wonder, if anyone on this list cannot enjoy Gardiner Vol. 17 [7], and find it a decent purchase, what they do enjoy?

I know, I know. Rilling [4].

Neil Halliday wrote (August 31, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>Any speculation why Bach changed the 4th and 5th notes of the theme in "Patrem Omnipotentem"?<
Perhaps a more compelling reason for the change of the Mass's theme in the second bar relates to what happens in the third bar - for textural reasons, Bach has to do away with the crotchet rest and jazzy little quaver figure that we have in the third bar of the cantata's theme, and replace this with a 'squarer' crotchet figure; now notice how the rising crotchet figure in bar two of the Mass nicely complements the falling crotchet figure on beats 2 and 3 of bar 3 of the Mass's theme,

Russell Telfer wrote (August 31, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I make an effort to emphasize the positive, because there is so much negative and unfair commentary in the BCW archives (not from Neil). I really wonder, if anyone on this list cannot enjoy Gardiner Vol. 17 [7], and find it a decent purchase, what they do enjoy? >
I've just, over three days, listened (with repeats) to Rilling's [4] and then Leusink's BWV 171 [6]. It's the quality article throughout. The opening movement draws you in to the B minor Mass but seems so disappointingly short! Having said that, this is another cantata I took part in (study\performing) and I didn't feel that about the movement then. The part was not too difficult, partly perhaps because I was used to the Mass.

Verse 2 and the final chorus (Mvt. 6) are both (IMO) due as much attention and admiration.

Coming to Ed's point, I wonder how easily we might write something off as 'negative and unfair'? I dare say there is a kind of pecking order in terms of what you hear. Maybe some of us first heard Bach cantatas on a crackly radio. A wobbly tape? Evolution goes on, then you get intermittent stereo and a bit of Dolby until now we have Bose quality in every room (??)

If I compare two recordings and suggest that the L version [6] is poor, the R [4] much better, I would not want that to count as more negativism. Early on I tuned my antennae to pick out the best of what I heard, and even now I can enjoy a performance of the SMP (BWV 244) on a lousy 60s tape recorder.

I haven't experienced Volume 17 [7]. Yet. I'm sure I will enjoy it, when I do.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 31, 2009):
Russel Telfer wrote
< Coming to Ed's point, I wonder how easily we might write something off as 'negative and unfair'? >
Perhaps negative and misleading would have been a more accurate choice of words. I had just come from reading the first round of discussions re BWV 171, from 2003. Here is an example of the kind of language I was referring to:
<Holton is only one of a number of similar voices that are the result of the ‘in-breeding’ within the HIP community of performers where a limited volume of sound has become an ideal and has been declared a virtue in attaining ‘a true Baroque’ performance.> (end quote)

RT:
< If I compare two recordings and suggest that the L version [6] is poor, the R [4] much better, I would not want that to count as more negativism. >
EM:
Not what I had in mind at all, sorry for my generalization.

Incidentally, I intended to mention that Gardiner Vol.17 [7] is a welcome opportunity to hear Ruth Holton outside the Leusink series, with fine performances of the S arias in BWV 41, as well as 171.

Neil Halliday wrote (September 1, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
>In the first movement, Gardiner's 1st trumpet sounds tentative and unsure<
Amazon.co.uk

In light of Ed's comments about negativity, and coming fresh to this sample this morning, I would like to clarify; this is certainly a thrilling performance of the brilliant opening movement. My comments about the trumpet relate more to the instrument (concerning which I have reservations) than to the playing of it, which is obviously of the highest standard, capturing the distinctive freedom of Bach's writing for trumpet (as noted by Kim).

[Re Cara P's obvious despair over certain attitudes displayed on this list: understanding one's peers is difficult and complex at times. Aryeh's call for tolerance by all is obviously the necessary path to take on a list such as this, as well - as far as is possible - in the wider world].

 

Cantata BWV 171: Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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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