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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 174
Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of February 27, 2011

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 27, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 174 -- Ich liebe den Hochsten von ganzem Gemute

This weeks discussion continues the ongoing series of cantatas spanning from Easter to Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity. With BWV 174, we have the last of three works for Whit Monday, among the large group of works for the three-day Whit festival (Whitsundtide) which is the focus of our weekly discussions for a couple of months, through the week of March 13.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV174.htm

That page also has convenient access to Gardiners notes to the pilgrimage CDs, by clicking on the PDF link under the picture of the CD cover.

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

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 28, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV174.htm >
The link as originally provided by me was apparently broken by an extraneous space.

< That page also has convenient access to Gardiners notes to the pilgrimage CDs, by clicking on the PDF link under the picture of the CD cover. >
The Gardiner PDF link is not yet available via the BWV 174 page. The notes are in fact those for Pilgrimage Vol. 26, which contains all the cantatas for Whitsun and Whit Monday, which have been our discussion topics for seven of the last nine weeks, throughout 2011. They are readily accessible from the BCW pages for most of those works, or directly (though not with so user-friendly links) via: http://www.solideogloria.co.uk/recordings

Gardiners Vol. 26 makes a fine introduction to the Pilgrimage recording project, now complete, for those who may still be awaiting initiation. Among other virtues, the seven works included provide a varied basis for a tutorial on Bachs methods for reworking his own materials, commonly referred to as parody. In fact, one method absent from this group is the analogy with a parody mass, that is, the reuse of a relatively complete and musically unchanged secular work, with sacred libretto substituted. As I point out whenever it seems relevant, the generalized usage of parody with respect to Bachs methods is inaccurate with regard to both music history and current English usage.

For a detailed performance desctription, accurate to my taste as well, see the review of Vol. 26 by Donald Satz, accessible via BCW link. We have had some discussion in the past regarding the relevance and graphic effectiveness of Gardiners cover designs, during which I defended the concept of illustrating the varieties of human culture as a representation of the universal relevance of Bachs sacred music, far beyond its 18th C. Lutheran origins. On further reflection, I concede that is a bit of stretch, nowhere more so than in the case of Red Boy, Bombay, India, the cover art for Vol. 26. Do not let that be a deterrent to approaching music.

Russel Telfer wrote (March 1, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] Thank you, Ed, for reminding me of Julian Mincham's detailed and painstaking additional work on the Bach cantatas.

When one considers the discussions that already exist on all the cantatas, we already have an encyclopaedic range of information to consult. The more the better.

I thought I ought to get back into the fray, if only briefly, for two reasons. The second verse, the alto aria which states the main theme, is a beautiful movement with perpetuum mobile continuity: wonderful counterpoint music which entwines the contralto with two contrasting melodies.

As is very clear, the opening movement is a reincarnation of a much-loved Brandenburg movement.

And my second reason is my strong objection to the word parody which is applied whenever Bach, or any other 18C composer, reuses (their) own work. There are so many disparaging references to parody which imply casualness or sleight of hand - where in my view even for a modern composer there is absolutely nothing wrong with reusing one's own work (unless breaching contract or agreement). For someone like Bach who was - as you might say - at the coal face of production, it was a rational and justifiable reaction to his difficult lifelong situation. Imagine!

I would simply relabel parodies as adaptations, arrangements or recompositions according to circumstance. These words are accurate and without pejorative undertones.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 1, 2011):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< Thank you, Ed, for reminding me of Julian Mincham's detailed and painstaking additional work on the Bach cantatas. >
I intended add to some personal comments, re Julians essays, but the idea slipped away. Thanks for providing an opening. In every instance, I find that Julian is attentive to the overall architecture of each cantata, and he relates the harmonic details to the architecture in language that even a non-musician (such as me) can follow and enjoy.

RT:
< When one considers the discussions that already exist on all the cantatas, we already have an encyclopaedic range of information to consult. The more the better. >
EM:
I believe the last page count I saw from Aryeh was on the order of 20,000. Encyclopedic, indeed. Plenty of interpersonal entertainment between the lines, as well, for those of us who enjoy being human. Not an easy job.

RT:
< And my second reason is my strong objection to the word parody which is applied whenever Bach, or any other 18C composer, reuses (their) own work. >
EM:
I was a bit concerned that I might belabor this point, but I forged ahead. Thanks for the positive feedback.

RT:
< I would simply relabel parodies as adaptations, arrangements or recompositions according to circumstance. These words are accurate and without pejorative undertones. >
EM:
The word parody strikes me as entrenched professional jargon within the Bach (and related?) academic community. Insider talk, if you will. If they insist, I can live with it, as long as they can live me (us?) pointing out, from time to time, how silly they sound to the interested non-professional audience.

Julian Mincham wrote (March 1, 2011):
Cantatas and parodies

Russell Telfer wrote:
< Thank you, Ed, for reminding me of Julian Mincham's detailed and painstaking additional work on the Bach cantatas. >
Thank you both. As to general information the site is widely accessed around the world, last month receiving hits from nearly 500 cities in 55 countries. I guess some of these may be from members of this list. (A reminder that essays on all of the secular cantatas, about which has generally been published, are now available on the web site).

My current project is to prepare music examples to be inserted for each essay, hopefully ones which, as well as being visual, can be heard by people with the appropriate piece of software. There are some technical problems about formatting which I am attempting to work out at the moment and then there's the process of creating and uploading the 1500 or so examples! That's 2011 accounted for.

On another point I just want to agree fully with the points that Russell makes (below) about the word 'parody'. It's a wholly misleading term and would be better abandonded. Perhaps we could lead the way by not using it on this list. As RT points out there are several superior alternatives.

Antonio Majer wrote (March 1, 2011):
Russell Telfer wrote:
<< I would simply relabel parodies as adaptations, arrangements or recompositions according to circumstance. These words are accurate and without pejorative undertones. >>
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< The word parody strikes me as entrenched professional jargon within the Bach (and related?) academic community. Insider talk, if will. If they insist, I can live with it, as long as they can live me (us?) pointing out, from time to time, how silly they sound to the interested non-professional audience. >
Hi all, I'm writing from Italy, my name is Antonio Majer, I'm not a musician or someone who has received a bit of musical education in his youth, my passion for listening to ancient music is somewhat naive and of simpleton, but I can say I have had this passion since I was a kid; just out of curiosity, Palestrina and Byrd are my beloved composers, and BWV54 my most beloved Cantata. Said that, I just bought the whole collection of sacred cantatas conducted by Leonhardt/Harnoncourt (at long last, I remember I read of it in the late '70s when I was still a teenager), and following the link in the booklet I ended up here.
---
I totally concur with you about the use of such professional (affected?) terms. I for one am fascinated by the idea that even a huge artist has to face practical necessities, this fact raises the value of a genius, because it shows that no chain can limit his creativity. I like to think that self-citations work on Bach-lovers like a sign of mutual understanding, it's like he were saying to each and every of us: 'do you recognize it?'

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 2, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham} is especially recommended as an introduction to listening. >
From Julians essay:

<It is the case that following the completion of his second Leipzig cycle (in which only C 42 enjoyed the luxury of being introduced by a large-scale instrumental piece) Bach increasingly used sinfonias as introductory movements. Whether this heralded a change of public taste, a greater availability of, and/or enthusiasm from, his performers or even a deliberate change of strategy by the composer himself is not recorded.> (end quote)

The superb ensemble Ricercar Consort has a 2-CD set of the complete cantatas of Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697), rounded out with a single work by Lovies Busbetzky (?-1699). Both were students of Bustehude, prior to Bach. Jerome LeJeune writes of Busbetzky:

<This impressive composition [the cantata Erbarm dich] stands out not only for its use of a large instrumental ensemble but also for its unusual use of the chorale melody. [...] The way in which the cantata is developed, the role played by the instruments, and the use made of the chorale all contributed, as did Bruhns cantatas, to the creation of a structure that J.S. Bach would later adopt for his cantatas. We may also note that it seems that the young Bach must have known this score, since one of his chorale preludes -- Erbarm dich BWV 721 -- seems to have been directly inspired by the first chorale of this cantata with its accompaniment of string chords in quavers, itself an imitation of the organ tremolo stop.> (end quote)

 

Cantata BWV 174: 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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Last update: ýSeptember 22, 2011 ý12:50:47