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Cantata BWV 175
Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of March 13, 2011

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 13, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 175 -- Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen

This weeks discussion continues the ongoing series of cantatas spanning from Easter to Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity. With BWV 175, we have the second of two works for Whit Tuesday, last of the large group of works for the three-day Whit festival (Whitsundtide). This week of March 13 concludes those Whit festival cantatas, which have been our focus for a couple of months, from the beginning of 2011.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV175.htm

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

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. Those who join me in enjoying the Gardiner recordings will also appreciate how convenient (now that releases are complete) is his liturgical performance and presentation format, for our continuing discussion schedule, also liturgically sequenced. Volume 27, including this weeks BWV 175, will also be appropriate for the next four weeks with the cantatas for Trinity Sunday. That will conclude the first half of the liturgical year. Following that we can move around to Volume 1 for nearly complete material for the rest of our third BCML discussion cycle of the cantatas and other vocal works. Note that Gardiner follows Bachs Leipzig cantata sequences, with the second half of the liturgical year, the Sundays after Trinity, preceding the first half of the year, the Sundays from Advent to Trinity.

Many of the cantatas for Whitsuntide, including this weeks BWV 175, have provided examples of Bachs reworking of his own material in a variety of ways (conventionally referred to as parody technique). Despite the fact that most of Bachs reworking was not done under any evident deadline pressure, such reworking is often cited as evidence of composing in haste, when a tight performance schedule coincides. See the BCW archives (link above) for a couple pages of spirited discussion re the specific details of BWV 175, as well as some diversions. I was about to call that discussion nostalgic. Not exactly.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 13, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< This week of March 13 concludes those Whit festival cantatas, which have been our focus for a couple of months, from the beginning of 2011. >
Has any scholar investigated the possibility that Bach ranked the seasons and festivals of the church year with recurring literary and scoring principles? For instance, we noted last year that the Easter season was dominated by cantatas which opened with a bass soloist singing as the Vox Christi. That literary and musical layout almost allows us to postulate a genre of Eastertide Cantata.

These cantatas for the Three-day Pentecost festival also show a pattern. For the First Day, the most important theological and liturgical festival, all of Bach's cantatas (BWV 172, BWV 59, BWV 74, BWV 34) have the festive trumpet scoring (218 has horns) and large-scale opening choruses.

The Second and Third Days are somewhat less important liturgically, and they all have less grandiose scoring and all begin with a solo recitative or arioso. This of course has given rise to the Exhausted Choir and Whacked Out Orchestra Hypotheses. However, in BWV 184, the choir enters at the end for a very demanding chorus, and BWV 175 has equally demanding trumpet parts.

Were these patterns traditions which Bach inherited, or were they his own creation, another hallmark of a "well-regulated" church music. It would be interesting to compare the Three-Day festivals of Christmas and Easter.

Scoring note: The concluding chorale in BWV 175 has the unusual feature of the three flutes playing an octave above the voices: instruments usually double at pitch. I noticed for the first time that second flute does not exactly match the alto part, but frequently has an independent part. The three fluttering flutes can only mean the descent of the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, as a dove.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 14, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< The Second and Third Days are somewhat less important liturgically, and they all have less grandiose scoring and all begin with a solo recitative or arioso. This of course has given rise to the Exhausted Choir and Whacked Out Orchestra Hypotheses. However, in BWV 184, the choir enters at the end for a very demanding chorus, and BWV 175 has equally demanding trumpet parts. >
The opening recitatives are especially attention-getting within our liturgical calendar discussion format. Certainly inviting speculation on their significance for Bach, or perhaps tradition, as Doug suggests?

DC:
< Scoring note: The concluding chorale in BWV 175 has the unusual feature of the three flutes playing an octave above the voices: instruments usually double at pitch. I noticed for the first time that second flute does not exactly match the alto part, but frequently has an independent part. The three fluttering flutes can only mean the descent of the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, as a dove. >
EM:
These scoring details also strike me as directly contradictory to the idea of Bach composing in haste. Working to deadline, for sure.

Julian Mincham wrote (March 14, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] I just looked up 'haste' and the first words that came up were speed, swiftness rapidity and alacrity---all of which acertainly pplied to Bach at certain times in his career.

Has this list got hung up on a secondary meaning of carelessness or lack of care? I see no problem with the word haste if it implies quickness and efficiency.

Having said that there are a few examples, particularly in some of the secular cantatas where the music is less interesting, less compelling than usual and which some might call trite. Perhaps the sheer pressures of deadlines occasionally produced inferior results. As has been said before, the miracle is that it happened so seldom in the context of his whole output.

Peter Smaill wrote (March 14, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling & Ed Myskowski]
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Scoring note: The concluding chorale in 175 has the unusual feature of the three flutes playing an octave above the voices: instruments usually double at pitch. I noticed for the first time that second flute does not exactly match the alto part, but frequently has an independent part. The three fluttering flutes can only mean the descent of the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, as a dove. >
This is an interesting observation certainly, and it has occurred separately to me that the ethereal descending flutes in the amazing Chorale concluding BWV 46, "O grosser Gott von treu" , are illustrative of the Holy Ghost proceeding (harmoniously in thirds and sixths) from the Father and Son , a chorale which only at the end has the descanting flutes unite with the earthly choir and touch D major (?Or is it- Chafe feels the tonality remains unclear). In both cases the text supports the use of Trinitarian symbolism.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (March 14, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< I just looked up 'haste' and the first words that came up were speed, swiftness rapidity and alacrity---all of which acertainly pplied to Bach at certain times in his career.
Has this list got hung up on a secondary meaning of carelessness or lack of care? I see no problem with the word haste if it implies quickness and efficiency. >
Oh for a very long time now.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 15, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Having said that there are a few examples, in some of the secular cantatas where the music is less interesting, less compelling than usual and which some might call trite. Perhaps the sheer pressures of deadlines occasionally produced inferior results. >
Julian, your knowledge of the cantatas is superhuman, so I'm interested in your criteria of for "less interesting," "trite," and "inferior". I have precisely the opposite subjective opinion of the secular cantatas. They are few in number, and yet I would say there are proportionally more masterpieces among them than in the sacred works.

At the same time, I have to fight against the traditional critical prejudice against the secular works and my own utter boredom with their feudal and mythological themes. I have the same problem with all those Handel operas: I can't engage with them at all until I see them staged and sung by first-rate artists.

As we pass through the cantatas, there are weeks when I am simply not engaged by entire works. Does that mean that they are inferior works, or are my 21st century tastes interfering with my perspective of Bach's music? One of the reasons that I am so tiresome about calendrical matters and Bach's well-regulated compositional strategies is that I don't believe that we know WHY Bach wrote certain cantatas: why did he write a solo cantata when he "should" have written the chorale-cantata we all unconsciously may consider the ideal cantata?

Thoughts?

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Secular Cantatas - General Discussions Part 2 [General Topics]

Julian Mincham wrote (March 15, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Some interesting points which I'll address in some more detail tomorrow.

The solo cantata issue has always intrigued me---why so few in the first 2 years in Leipzig yet ones for all four voices later on? I wonder if this is a matter of changing taste perhaps led by the growing italian operatic influence. But certainly bach seems to have liked cantatas with fewer than the standard 4 voice choir as indicated by the several duet cantatas as well as the solo ones.

He never seems to have written one for three voices only though.

I will dig out a couple of the secular movements that I consider to be below par--well below Bach's par at any rate----and post them for others to consider.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 15, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< I just looked up 'haste' and the first words that came up were speed, swiftness rapidity and alacrity---all of which acertainly pplied to Bach at certain times in his career.
Has this list got hung up on a secondary meaning of carelessness or lack of care? I see no problem with the word haste if it implies quickness and efficiency. >
I am probably a bit hung up on the old saying: <haste makes waste>. The sense of quickness and efficency is certainly agreeable.

< Perhaps the sheer pressures of deadlines occasionally produced inferior results. >
Once again, certainly agreeable. However, we had an example last week with BWV 184 where the haste of the 1724 original performance is imputed from the surviving score and parts from 1731 repeat performance, if I read the scholars correctly. Also, not the only such example.

I wish to emphasize (along with Will Hoffman, I beleve) that I find the ongoing discussion of this point civil, enjoyable, and enlightening.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 15, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 175 -- Ranking the cantatas

Julian Mincham wrote:
< Having said that there are a few examples, particularly in some of the secular cantatas where the music is less interesting, less compelling than usual and which some might call trite. Perhaps the sheer pressures of deadlines occasionally produced inferior results. >
Perhaps also the presure, or indifference, of writing in honor of someone Bach did not particularly care for? Kissing up to the boss, as we might say in 21st C. USA (the official language of BCML!)

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< At the same time, I have to fight against the traditional critical prejudice against the secular works and my own utter boredom with their feudal and mythological themes. I have the same problem with all those Handel operas: I can't engage with them at all until I see them staged and sung by first-rate artists.>
EM:
Bored with mythology? Saved by the following sentence, that mythology comes to life as a theme for first-rate art.

The myth of Sisyphus is perhaps appropriate for those looking for a bit more alacrity in the ongoing discussion of hasty composition?

DC:
< One of the reasons that I am so tiresome about calendrical matters and Bach's well-regulated compositional strategies is that I don't believe that we know WHY Bach wrote certain cantatas: why did he write a solo cantata when he "should" have written the chorale-cantata we all unconsciously may consider the ideal cantata? >
EM:
Calendar matters are not tiresome at all to some of us. Indeed, we had quite a bit of good discussion in the process (2008, as I recall) of getting to a five-year discussion cycle of Bachs vocal works, oriented to the liturgical calendar. If the answers remain elusive, we are at least getting to interesting (and novel?) questions.

William Hoffman wrote (March 17, 2011):
Cantata BWV 175: Bach's Motive, Method & Opportunity

An in-depth examination of Bach's Cantata BWV 175 possibly can provide a better understanding of Bach's motivation for composing a particular cantata, including its text and contexts, its shape and forces, and its special characteristics. An examination of the Mariane von Ziegler text (one of only a small percentage of Bach cantata texts whose author is documented) shows a double Gospel dictum as part of concise, descriptive, and inter-related contemporary texts.

In addition, Cantata 175 contains many striking features, including symmetrical form, soloists as symbolic figures, pastorale music and literary elements, rich poetic language, and extensive musical reworking of previously-composed music with attendant textual alterations.

The basic form of BWV 183 is the template for the five-movement Cantata 175, "Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen": opening biblical dictum as recitative, alternating aria-recitative-aria, with closing chorale. It is in palindrome or mirror symmetrical from with the addition of an internal aria-recitative pair for a total of seven movements. None of the remaining Ziegler cantatas has similar structures for the final nine consecutive services of the 1725 season encompassing Easter, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, that concludes the <de temore> portion of the first half of the church year.

Below is a summary of the qualities and uniqueness of Cantata BWV 175, from Mark A. Peters' <A Woman's Voice in Baroque Music: Mariane von Ziegler and J. S. Bach> (Ashgate, 2008). Julian Mincham's essay is particularly helpful to understand the unusual textal treatment: BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV175.htm (Francis Browne English translation, No. 3):

1. Vox Christi voice (tenor!, p. 87f) is an accompanied recitative (arioso) in the opening movement (Gospel, John 10:3b):

Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen und führet sie hinaus.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

There is only one other movement like this: the opening of Cantata BWV 183/1 for Exaudi Sunday (Sixth After Easter), nine days earlier in 1725, also with Ziegler text. Normally, says Peters, Bach uses the bass voice for the Vox Christi in the Schütz and Buxtehude tradition, beginning in Weimar in the dramatic Passion tradition with a brief arioso section

While Bach uses the traditional cantata opening of a biblical dictum, this involves an accompanied recitative (arioso) with the emblematic instrumental accompaniment of just the three soprano block flutes (recorders) and basso continuo, also found in the ensuing alto aria.

Minchem observes that "there is an range of instrumental colour put to use in all movements." There is no use of the tutti forces as normally would be found in an opening (chorale) chorus. Instead each succeeding movement has different accompaniment: No. 3 secco recitative with basso continuo; No. 4, parodied pastorale (BWV 173a/7) trio aria for tenor, violoncello piccolo, and basso continuo; No. 5, accompanied recitative, alto then bass, with strings and basso continuo; No. 6, bass da-capo proclamation aria with two trumpets and basso continuo; and. No. 7, four-voice plain chorale with strings and basso continuo (same harmonization as BWV 59/3) with the addition of the three block flutes.

2. Richness of poetic language (Peters, p.75), No. 2, pastorale free da-capo alto aria with three recorders and basso continuo:

Komm, leite mich,
Come, lead me,
Es sehnet sich
Mein Geist auf grüne Weide!
my soul longs for green pastures
Mein Herze schmacht',
my heart yearns,
Ächzt Tag und Nacht,
groans day and night,
Mein Hirte, meine Freude!
my shepherd, my joy !

Minchem notes the continuing pastorale illusions, the textual sense of "leading out" and "individual longing" with special musical setting to fit the Ziegler text: no cadences in a major key, "sighing" motives, and structurally no clearly defined middle section with a shortened, rewritten reprise of the opening section.

3. Close Textual Connections Between Movements (Peters, p. 115 ff): No. 3, tenor recitative with basso continuo:

Wo find ich dich?
Where may I find you?
Ach, wo bist du verborgen?
Ah, where are you hidden?
O! Zeige dich mir bald!
O, show yourself to me soon!
Ich sehne mich.
I am filled with yearning,
Brich an, erwünschter Morgen!
dawn, morning for which I long !

Following the two opening movements emphasizing the pastoral Good Shepherd theme, this concise traditional tenor recitative is the pivotal point leading to the exegis involving the remaining four closely-related movements, with Jesus emerging as the True Shepherd.

As Minchem relates: "Although it is generally believed that Bach did not particularly like von Ziegler's texts, it may be that some of her passion was infectious. The short tenor recitative is both ardent and deeply felt. The initial cries----where are you?----Where do you hide?----are genuinely distressing and are immediately followed by the mournful sighing of----Ich sehne mich----I pine away (bar 4). But in the final two bars the mood changes.

"The last line of text declaims----Come now, the dawn of this long awaited day. In order to convey this Bach contrives another of his end-of-recitative U turns. Minor becomes major and we skip rapidly into C, the key of the following tenor aria. For now the new day dawns and the tenor sees the true Shepherd coming. His voice, overflowing with love and humility is immediately recognized but it does not entirely dissipate the natural anger vented at those who still doubt. The range of expression and meaning, conveyed almost entirely by melodic means and within a mere six bars, is remarkable."

4. Bach's extensive musical reworking of previously-composed aria: BWV 175/4, Tenor trio pastorale:

Es dünket mich, ich seh dich kommen,
It seems to me, I see you coming,
Du gehst zur rechten Türe ein.
you enter by the right door.
Du wirst im Glauben aufgenommen
You are received in faith
Und mußt der wahre Hirte sein.
and must be the true shepherd.
Ich kenne deine holde Stimme,
I recognise your lovely voice,
Die voller Lieb und Sanftmut ist,
which is full of love and gentleness,
Daß ich im Geist darob ergrimme,
so that I am enraged in my soul
Wer zweifelt, daß du Heiland seist.
if anyone doubts that you are the saviour.

As Peters summarizes (p.113): "Alfred Dürr has observed [Cantatas of JSB, 2005:35] the uniqueness of Bach's parody technique in the Ziegler cantatas, explaining that the new texts were not structured after the model of the old as was common; that is, Ziegler did not write the texts with the music to be parodied in mind. Bach, therefore, substantially altered the musical form of three [BWV 68/2, 4, BWV 175/4] of the four arias [other, BWV 74/2] to accommodate the new text structures."

Minchem finds the special form of this bouree (pastorale) suite is similar to the alto aria, with "no clear-cut middle section nor . . . traditional recapitulation." "It does seem as if Bach, although clearly drawing upon established forms, is feeling his way towards more integrated 'through composed' structures. It may even be that von Ziegler's imaginative texts were instrumental in guiding him gently in this direction, despite his reservations." While Bach expanded the aria with 30 additional measures "to fit a longer text," Minchem observers: "These late borrowings may be taken as further evidence of the fact that Bach might have been tired, losing interest in the genre, trying to keep up with impossible deadlines or finding difficulties in working with a new collaborator; or, indeed, a combination of all four reasons!"

5. BWV 175/5, alto-bass accompanied recitative [strings and basso continuo]):

Minchem suggests that the two voices represent the "alto (playing the role of narrator) and bass (the authoritative voice of the pastor," beginning with the alto's cautionary declamation (Gospel, John 10:6b):

Sie vernahmen aber nicht, was es war, das er zu ihnen gesaget hatte.
But they did not understand what he had said to them.

And the bass' didactic explanation (lines 3-5):

O! Törin, merke doch, wenn Jesus mit dir spricht,
O foolish reason , realise that when Jesus speaks to you,
Daß es zu deinem Heil geschicht.
that is done for your salvation.

Besides its richness of poetic language, Peters emphasizes (p.114f) that the setting of this movement is unique in Bach's vocal music with two separate voice parts using separate biblical and poetic texts, "with the dictum stated first by alto in simple recitative and the bass responding with the poetic text in accompanied recitative." Peters notes (p.116f) that Ziegler's published version has two separate movements but that Bach, seeing the close relationshship between the two texts, combined them into one recitative. "Bach employed the recitative as a flexible genre which served to state a Gospel dictum, to present a commentary on that dictum, and to introduce the ensuing aria."

6. Bass da-capo aria, two trumpets and basso continuo:

Peters' finds (p. 118): "The text of this aria elaborates upon the theme of "Jesus speaking" through its opening command to hear Jesus words:

Öffnet euch, ihr beiden Ohren,
Open, both of you ears,
Jesus hat euch zugeschworen,
Jesus has sworn to you
Daß er Teufel, Tod erlegt.
that he will vanquish the devil and death.
Gnade, Gnüge, volles Leben
Grace, sufficiency, abundant life,
Will er allen Christen geben,
he will give to all Christians,
Wer ihm folgt, sein Kreuz nachträgt.
to whoever follows him, bears his cross after him.

Minchem comments on the structure of the three arias in Cantata BWV 175: "In the alto aria the joint images of leading out and yearning continue throughout the entire movement. Similarly, there is a single logic to the tenor aria, that of recognizing and appreciating the approaching form of Jesus. The stanza for the bass aria, however, clearly has two sections, the first being the call to listen and the second a recognition of the blessings poured upon all dutiful Christians."

7. Plain Chorale:

Nun, werter Geist, ich folg dir;
Now, honoured spirit, I follow you
Hilf, daß ich suche für und für
help me to seek for ever and ever
Nach deinem Wort ein ander Leben,
according to your word a new life,
Das du mir willt aus Gnaden geben.
that you will graciously give to me .
Dein Wort ist ja der Morgenstern,
Your word is indeed the morning star
Der herrlich leuchtet nah und fern.
that shines in splendour near and far.
Drum will ich, die mich anders lehren,
In Ewigkeit, mein Gott, nicht hören.
Therefore to those who teach differently
in eternity, my God, I do not want to listen.
Alleluja, alleluja!
_______

Note on the text [BWV 175, Francis Browne English translation, No. 3]:

BWV 175 is the eighth of the nine cantatas that Bach composed to texts by Christiane Mariane von Ziegler between 22 April and 27 May 1725. (BWV 103, BWV 108, BWV 87, BWV 128, BWV 183, BWV 74, BWV 68, BWV 175, BWV 176). They share a common structure : each one begins with a biblical text; after a series of recitatives and arias (normally two of each, though BWV 175 has three arias) , the cantata is concluded by a chorale.

As often with this author Bach introduces slight alterations in the text. For example, the bass recitative (No. was originally:
Ach ja! Wir Menschen seynd gar offt,
Den Tauben zu vergleichen,
Wenn die verblendete Vernunfft nicht kan erreichen,
Was sein geheiligter Mund gesagt.

As often with this author Bach introduces slight alterations in the text. For example, the bass recitative (No. 5b) was originally:

Ach ja! Wir Menschen seynd gar offt,
Den Tauben zu vergleichen,
Wenn die verblendete Vernunfft nicht kan erreichen,
Was sein geheiligter Mund gesagt.

Z. Philip Ambrose gives further examples in the notes to his translation: http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV175.html

The cantata's train of thought is closely connected is closely connected with the gospel reading (John 10: 1-10) for the third day of Pentecost This tells of the good shepherd and his sheep .

The text is clearly divided into two parts: movements 1-4 and 5-7. Both are introduced by a verbatim quotation from the gospel. Dürr comments that the reference to 'blinded reason' is based not on the gospel but rather on the defensive reaction of the Lutheran church in Bach's time to the beginning of the enlightenment.

The tenor aria is a parody of the secular aria Dein Name gleich der Sonnen geh (BWV 173a/7). This celebrates the birthday of Prince Leopold of Cöthen and to accomodate the present lengthy text Bach took the unusual step of fitting lines 3 and 4 to a repetition of the first section of the orignal aria. The remaining lines were distributed over the two concluding sections; the vocal part had to be rewritten where the prince's name was mentioned, but the two instrumental parts were virtually unchanged.

The text of the final chorale is the ninth strophe of the hymn O Gottes Geist, mein Trost und Rat by Johann Rist (1651). Chorale Melody: Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott

(Information from Dürr, <Die Kantaten JSB> and <Oxford Composer Companions: JSB>)

Peter Smaill wrote (March 18, 2011):
[To William Hoffman] One possibility is that the Ziegler text has been influenced by the mystical writings of the mediaeval divine Johannes Tauler (d.1361) , whose works have been almost continually in print in Germany since his death (possibly he holds the record ) . Here is my take on the similarities, and the contrasts:

Tauler’s ideas seem at work in BWV 175, one of the five so-called “Hirten-Kantaten”, in which the image of Christ as Shepherd is set by Bach. The case in question, BWV 175, “Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen”, is for the 3rd day of Pentecost. Tauler’s sermon is for the same day.


Cantata BWV 175/1 “He calls his sheep by name
And leads them out”

Sermon “The keeper of the door now calls forth his own sheep and the Shepherd too/ Who is the Word of the eternal Father, calls them by their name and leads them out”

Now this could be dismissed as a simple coincidence in the following of the Gospel (John 10: 1-10). It is the way in which the thesis develops that indicates influence between the von Ziegler text and Tauler’s sermon, or at least the tradition in which the sermon was written:

Cantata BWV 175/5 They understood however, not what it was,
Ah yes! We humans are often
To deaf persons to be likened:
When our deluded reason does not understand
What He did say.
Oh fool! Note, indeed, when Jesus with thee speaks
That it is done for thy salvation.

Now the Gospel account has no analysis of the failings of human understanding in the context of the Good Shepherd parable, in which Jesus protect the sheep against thieves and robbers; instead it goes on to recount the stoning by the Jews at Jerusalem of Jesus for blasphemy. Tauler’s gloss is as follows:

Sermon There are those who rely on their own skills and subtle reasoning to enter by that door. And who is the thief who steals there? It is a treacherous thorn in human nature, an abominable parasite; it is man’s despicable tendency to seize everything, to refer everything to himself.

The libretto states that Jesus has slain the devil and death; Tauler’s image is that the thief and the robber stab each other. The Chorale calls for a different life for the true Christian, not hearing false preachers.

By contrast, here Tauler refers in conclusion to the image of the pastures of Heaven found in the Prophet Joel; this imagery is found in the other four Shepherd Cantatas, BWV 104, 112, BWV 184 and 85.

To these parallels can be added the related image of the “Menschen als Schafen und vom Paradies als einer Lebenweide reden” (per Werthemann, “Die bedeutung der alttestamentlichen Historien in Johann Sebastian Bachs Kantaten”), in BWV 161, 27 and 95, all for the 16th Sunday in Trinity. The source is also Psalm 23 in its role as an Old Testament premonition of the Saviour as Good Shepherd, and Ezekiel 34:14. Add the “Jagdkantate”, BWV 208, (“Schafe konnen sicher weiden”) and we can establish that Bach had a particular liking for pastoral imagery, and he responds with pastorale rhythms.

In conclusion: the metaphysical interpretation of the Gospel for this day has a long tradition and the coincidence of the reference to reason versus faith in the Good Shepherd shows that the distrust of reason is not a reaction to Enlightenment ideas, but precedes this tension but several centuries. Bach and Ziegler are not reacting to anything new in the setting of BWV 175!

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 18, 2011):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< In conclusion: the metaphysical interpretation of the Gospel for this day has a long tradition and the coincidence of the reference to reason versus faith in the Good Shepherd shows that the distrust of reason is not a reaction to Enlightenment ideas, but precedes this tension but several centuries. Bach and Ziegler are not reacting to anything new in the setting of BWV 175! >
Thanks for this summary of the theological background of the libretto. It makes me wonder about the conversations which Bach had with his librettists. Did this libretto come out of a long dialogue as they discussed the themes that might make a good cantata? Did the musical ideas predate the writing of the poetry?

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 18, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< 1. Vox Christi voice (tenor!, p. 87f) is an accompanied recitative (arioso) in the opening >movement (Gospel, John 10:3b):
Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen und führet sie hinaus.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. >
Thanks for emphasizing this unusual (unique?) instance of the tenor for Vox Christi.

WH:
< There is only one other movement like this: the opening of Cantata BWV 183/1 for Exaudi Sunday (Sixth After Easter), nine days earlier in 1725, also with Ziegler text. Normally, says Peters, Bach uses the bass voice for the Vox Christi in the Schütz and Buxtehude tradition, beginning in Weimar in the dramatic Passion tradition with a brief arioso section >
EM:
Note this distinction between BWV 183/1 from nine days earlier, and BWV 175/1: the opening recit. in BWV 183 is in fact the more conventional bass voice. OTOH, the Whit Tues. cantata from the previous year, BWV 184 does open with a tenor recit., although not Vox Christi, nor even a Biblical quotation.

WH:
< As Mincham relates: "Although it is generally believed that Bach did not particularly like von Ziegler's texts, it may be that some of her passion was infectious. >
EM:
Does Peters confirm this general gelief that Bach did not particularly like von Zieglers texts? My impression is that it derives from the fact that the texts which Bach set are significantly different in details from the texts which were subsequently published, independent of Bachs music. Is it not an equally possible scenario that they collaborated on the cantata texts in 1725, with significant deadline pressures, and with Bachs intention to adapt existing music to the new texts? Von Ziegler then had the opportunity to make whatever refinements she chose for poetic reasons, for later publication. Is there any supporting evidence that Bach independently modified the texts for cantatas, or is this a supposition based on the later publication by von Ziegler of different texts, presumed to be her original thoughts?

Peter Smaill wrote (March 18, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] AFAIK the most extensive analysis of the relationship between Bach and Ziegler is in Mark Peter's "A Woman's Voice...". In the section " Bach's compositional procedures in the Ziegler Cantatas" BWV 175 is discussed. Unique for Peters is the two-voiced Recitative BWV 175/5 which is not really a normal duet (the voices do not twine, but alternate).

Bach's setting occurs three years before the publication of Ziegler's poems but that has not stopped a very open debate as to which comes first. Duerr notes that Bach mangles the Ziegler text, destroying the rhyme scheme. The tendency of Ziegler to refer to the voice of Christ is given full rein in BWV 175, including the unusual use of the Tenor in 175/1.

The Vox Christi settings in Ziegler are quite different from all the 6 previously set VC movements (BWV 134, BWV 155, BWV 158, BWV 173, BWV 184 and BWV 199 -these are not settings of biblical quotations ) and use woodwind (BWV 183/1, BWV 175/1). The subsequent VC settings (BWV 28/3 and BWV 32/2) revert to the Weimar-style - Bass voice, resoving into an arioso.

So what can we conclude? Certainly Bach is quite experimental in the Ziegler settings after the straightjacket of the Chorale cantata sequence, which I believe he concluded at 40 quite deliberately with the "Kelch -chorale" "Wie scon leuchtet", (BWV 1)just as he finishes the Church year with its sister, "Wachet Auf",(BWV 140) the two often referred to as the "King and Queen of Chorales" and found symbolically linked elsewhere- the Compenius organ in Helsingborg is one site where they are the centrpiece of the symbolical structure of the decoration, for example (analysed by Joel Speerstra). I doubt Bach plodded along at this point but had premeditated much of the innovation in the Ziegler works beforehand.

With discussion on the profundities of their religious meaning in some literary circle with Ziegler? Hardly to be discussed over coffee. In private in the Thomasschulle, he a married man? Think of the scandal! Or in solitary mode, poring over her early drafts and altering them? It's easier to envisage the last. Perhaps she was ultimately displeased with the mutilation of her texts and thus the collaboration ended?

Or -and Peters argues the case well - Bach set exactly what she had written, which Ziegler herself under Gottsched's influence later revised ? Not one of Ziegler's writings found in two separate printings has the same text: she always altered and improved. Such an analysis solves the problem of the collaboartion scenario set out above; the texts were simply handed over and Bach did not change any of it.

Julian Mincham wrote (March 18, 2011):
EM:
< Does Peters confirm this general gelief that Bach did not particularly like von Zieglers texts? My impression is that it derives from the fact that the texts which Bach set are significantly different in details from the texts which were subsequently published, independent of Bachs music. Is it not an equally possible scenario that they collaborated on the cantata texts in 1725, with significant deadline pressures, and with Bachs intention to adapt existing music to the new texts? Von Zielgler then had the opportunity to make whatever refinements she chose for poetic reasons, for later publication. Is there any supporting evidence that Bach independently modified the texts for cantatas, or is this a supposition based on the later publication by von Ziegler of different texts, presumed to be her original thoughts? >
Good question. I think the 'evidence' may spring from

the fact that Dürr does specifically state that there is evidence that Bach altered at least one of her texts.

Wolff states that he made 'substantial changes to her words'.

When he resumed writing cantatas he returnd to other librettists such as Salomo Franck

Bach took a sabbatical from cantata composing after setting her texts

I'm not clear what Dürr and Wolff base their opininions on but would be interested if anyone else does.

As it stands the evidence seems to be largely circumstantial. However it seems rather more compelling than that for the Stübel theory which a number of people are keen to hold on to.

Evan Cortens wrote (March 18, 2011):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< Bach's setting occurs three years before the publication of Ziegler's poems but that has not stopped a very open debate as to which comes first. Dürr notes that Bach mangles the Ziegler text, destroying the rhyme scheme. The tendency of Ziegler to refer to the voice of Christ is given full rein in BWV 175, including the unusual use of the Tenor in 175/1. >
In my opinion, Mark Peters has conclusively settled this question: Bach set the texts more nearly as given to him, and Ziegler made later modifications for publication herself. The confusion resulted initially from Spitta's assignment of these cantatas to the 1730s and 40s, well after the publication of Ziegler's texts in 1728. (It was Spitta who first discovered the texts were by Ziegler at all; the publication was not well known and it remains hard to get a hold of even a microfilm copy.)

Peters deals most extensively with this question in an article that appeared in the journal BACH entitled "A Reconsideration of Bach's Role as Text Redactor in the Ziegler Cantatas" from 2005. Wolff's and Dürr's comments both predate this article.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 19, 2011):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< With discussion on the profundities of their religious meaning in some literary circle with Ziegler? Hardly to be discussed over coffee. In private in the Thomasschulle, he a married man? Think of the scandal! Or in solitary mode, poring over her early drafts and altering them? It's easier to envisage the last. Perhaps she was ultimately displeased with the mutilation of her texts and thus the collaboration ended? >
Touché ... Although I still have a a mental image of Ziegler with her MAC laptop at Zimmerman's Starbucks and Bach coming in with earphones listening on his iPOd to last Sunday's cantata.

Questions of propriety abound!

I even wonder if the ecclesiastical authorities intervened to end the collaboration. A closet relationship of letters and drafts is one thing, but if Ziegler announced she was going to publish the texts, the resulting publicity may have been deemed inopportune. Were any of Ziegler's librettos set by other composers?

Evan Cortens wrote (March 19, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I evenwonder if the ecclesiastical authorities intervened to end the collaboration. A closet relationship of letters and drafts is one thing, but if Ziegler announced she was going to publish the texts, the resulting publicity may have been deemed inopportune. Were any of Ziegler's librettos set by other composers? >
Again, Mark Peters's work proves instructive here. In the first appendix of his book, _A Woman's Voice in Baroque Music_ (Ashgate, 2008), he gives a complete list of Ziegler poems set to music (p. 151). To his knowledge, no other cantata libretti were set, but several of her songs were set by, inter alia, C. P. E. Bach, Telemann and Hurlebusch.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 19, 2011):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< A complete list of Ziegler poems set to music (p. 151). To his knowledge, no other cantata libretti were set, but several of her songs were set by, inter alia, C. P. E. Bach, Telemann and Hurlebusch. >
Was there any critical response at the time to the notion of a woman publishing librettos intended for public worship? Did she provide an apologetic for such a novelty? (Sorry, I don't have access to the Nelson study)

Evan Cortens wrote (March 19, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Was there any critical response at the time to the notion of a woman publishing librettos intended for public worship? Did she provide an apologetic for such a novelty? (Sorry, I don't have access to the Nelson study) >
I regret that I don't have the book handy, so I'm paraphrasing from memory, but in Katherine Goodman's _Amazon's and Apprentices_ (Camden House, 1999), she says basically that the only contemporary negative critical response Ziegler's work received was in relation to its secular poetry; contemporary commentators are silent on the sacred texts.

That said, I find myself unable to explain why her librettos weren't set by other composers. Clearly it was not uncommon for composers to set published texts by librettists they didn't personally work with. Bach set Neumeister (who was in Hamburg) and Lehms (in Darmstadt), for instance. That said, as I'm sure Kim would point out if I didn't, Graupner worked almost exclusively with two librettists: Lehms, until his death, and Lichtenberg thereafter. He set about 9 Neumeister texts, but that's a tiny fraction of his nearly 1,500 cantatas.

William Hoffman wrote (March 19, 2011):
[To Evan Cortens] Hello All: Without sources at hand, I can only speculate that Ziegler, working with Gottsched, was attempting to publish a more general, "enlightened" cantata annual cycle text (all 70 total, including Advent and Lent), as did Picander at the same time (1728, all 70) with a more pietistic perspective, that Bach cherry-picked. Apparently, by this time, Salomo Franck was the only well-known author still publishing annual cycle texts that I think may have included Passion cantata texts. I think there were other, lesser-knowns that Telemann used as well as recycling well-known texts.

 

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Last update: ýMarch 30, 2011 ý12:23:38