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Cantata BWV 177
Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of June 26, 2011 (3rd round)

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 26, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 177 -- Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue the Trinity season with BWV 177, the last of three works for the 4th Sunday after Trinity. This is the first Trinity Season work we have considered, later than the two years of the origin of the Leipzig cycles.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV177.htm

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

The BWV 177 page also has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner [5] and Koopman (notes by Christoph Wolff) [7] CD issues, via links beneath the cover photos.

Chorale texts are accessible via the BWV 177 home page, and the chorale melody is accessible via the chorale text page.

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 26, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< This week we continue the Trinity season with BWV 177, the last of three works for the 4th Sunday after Trinity. This is the first Trinity Season work we have considered, later than the two years of the origin of the Leipzig cycles. >
Kuijken notes to his CD [8]:

<This cantata was composed in 1732 and performed for the first time on July 6 of that year. It is a true chorale cantata, the entire text being from an old hymn -- without any revision.> (end quote)

That information is probaly available from any number of sources, but it provides me a convenient opportunity to add the German title to my weekly reminder.

Looking ahead, I see BWV 135 on the same CD: Ah Lord, poor sinner that I am.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 26, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 177 Opening chorus?

Ed Myskowski wrote:
< This week we continue the Trinity season with BWV 177, the last of three works for the 4th Sunday after Trinity. >
Once again, I was delighted to hear a cantata I've never listened to before. Looking at the score and text before, I expected a real Bach whirlwind of angst like "Ach wie flüchtig" in the opening chorus (Mvt. 1). I was very surprised and more than a little disappointed that Leusink [6] turned it into a lilting dance. What do other conductors do with this movement?

Neil Halliday wrote (June 28, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>I was very surprised and more than a little disappointed that Leusink [6] turned it into a lilting dance. What do other conductors do with this movement?<
You will like Kuijken's approach [8]: more 'driven' (livelier tempo) with a stonger beat than Leusink [6], yet still capturing the grace and beauty of the movement.

The sample does not allow me to comment on the OVPP approach in the opening movement (only two bars), but the OVPP final chorale is quite attractive. Overall, this is likely one of Kuijken's pleasing cantata recordings [8].

The tenor aria (Mvt. 4) with concertate violin and obbligato bassoon is a gem.

Claudio Di Veroli wrote (June 28, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling & Neil Halliday] You complain about Leusink's [6] "lilting dance" and tempo (metronome 112 for those who do not have access to his recording) which I find most appropriate instead.

I find this recording full of detail and Baroque expression, , most appropriate for this piece, and very carefully played.

Then you say that you prefer Kuijken [8], which is however as you say "livelier"(?) The beginning of Kuijken's recording is available in Amazon: Amazon.com

The piece being in 3/8 and moving in semiquavers, Leusink [6] is possibly a bit on the slow side.

OTOH Kuijken [8] is certainly livelier (metronome 135), too much IMHO for this piece: this one is the version sounding like a lilting dance! To make matters worse, the sample above shows some lack of coordination between instruments.

My preferred tempo is not much far from metronome 120.

And IMHO, here Leusink's version [6] wins hands down.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 28, 2011):
Claudio Di Veroli wrote:
< Then you say that you prefer Kuijken [8], which is however as you say "livelier"(?) The beginning of Kuijken's recording is available in Amazon: >
Just to be accurate, the comments about Kuijken [8] were Neil's not mine.

For me it's not a question of tempo (Leusink's tempo [6] is fine), but of style.Leusink is very elegant and benign: I think the text calls for something edgier and angrier.

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 29, 2011):
-----Original Message-----
Claudio Di Veroli wrote:
< You complain about Leusink's [6] "lilting dance" and tempo (metronome 112 for those who do not have access to his recording) which I find most appropriate instead.
[...]
OTOH Kuijken
[8] is certainly livelier (metronome 135), too much IMHO for this piece: this one is the version sounding like a lilting dance! To make matters worse, the sample above shows some lack of coordination between instruments. >
I did not yet take the time to compare these two recordings, but the discussion gives me the incentive to do so! I did give the Kuijken [8] a quick (perhaps too quick?) listen. I find his choice of BWV 177 for Trinity 4 interesting, emphasizing the unusual (unique?) architecture of the work, without recitiatives. Note that Kuijkens series is labeled <Cantatas for the Complete Liturgical Year>, which means one work per date, not a complete cantata set, similar to the earlier Richter series. An interesting comparison to pick up at some point.

I like the data: metronome readings are all too scarce in our discussion of tempos. I will report back with an opinion as to whether the published timings between Kuijken [8] and Leusink [6] are:

(1) Accurate

(2) Consistent with the metronome numbers.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 29, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I did give the Kuijken [8] a quick (perhaps too quick?) listen. I find his choice of BWV 177 for Trinity 4 interesting, emphasizing the unusual (unique?) architecture of the work, without recitiatives >
Has anyone studied the possibility of mathematical relationships between the tempos of movements in works of Bach which have no recitatives? I'm thinking of highly symmetrical works such as Christ Lag in Todesbanden, the Credo of the B Minor Mass, the Magnificat, and Jesu Meine Freude.

Claudio Di Veroli wrote (June 29, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I like the data: metronome readings are all too scarce in our discussion of tempos. I will report back with an opinion as to whether the published timings between Kuijken [8] and Leusink [6] are:
(1) Accurate
(2) Consistent with the metronome numbers. >
Hi Ed, I found that both versions had a unusually steady tempo, and I checked them twice with a brand new Korg Electronic metronome. It is good to have a further check of course. (Anyway, the diin speed is very substantial)

Neil Halliday wrote (June 29, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>For me it's not a question of tempo (Leusink's tempo [6] is fine), but of style. Leusink is very elegant and benign: I think the text calls for something edgier and angrier.<
After listening to Koopman's recording [7], I agree that the effect of the movement does not depend exclusively on tempo (speed).

Although Koopman [7] has about the equal slowest speed along with Leusink [6] (c. 7.38, as listed in the samples), Koopman brings greater presence and clarity to all the parts, c.f. Leusink ("benign" is perhaps near the mark), for an arresting performance, as fine as Kuijken's [8] with the quickest tempo.

Interestingly, the most recent recording listed in the BCW, that of Ponseele [9] (with tempo between the extremes noted above) is remarkable for the massed choir effect of the OVPP 'choir'. I would have never guessed that this is an OVPP performance (allowing for the fact that only a short sample of the choir - at the start - is available).
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV177.htm

Neil Halliday wrote (June 29, 2011):
I wrote:
>I would have never guessed that this is an OVPP performance.<
There appears to be an error with the Ponseele [9] OVPP designation - or with the sample; the final chorale is definitely not OVPP.

Note the lovely timbre of the oboe da caccia in the soprano aria (Mvt. 3) (Ponseele recording [9]); likewise the bassoon in the tenor aria (Mvt. 4), but this latter aria is spoilt somewhat by the raucous (IMO) vibrato in the tenor's voice.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 1, 2011):
[To Claudio Di Veroli] Yes, I was just being concise in my statement: I meant to refer to the accuracy of the published timings, which sometimes have significant errors. I did not yet check further, other than to listen to both recordings. I agree with others, substantial difference in tempo.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 2, 2011):
[To Claudio Di Veroli] Other lovers of data (surely I am not alone?) will be happy to know that both the metronome readings from Claudio and the published timings are in close agreement, with a ratio near 1.20, Kuijken [8] is 20% quicker than Leusink [6].

I listened to Kuijken [8] first, which left me feeling that Leusink [6] was a bit of a drag. I will revisit, to see if I hear that lilting dance fron Leusink, with fresh ears.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 2, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I listened to Kuijken [8] first, which left me feeling that Leusink [6] was a bit of a drag. I will revisit, to see if I hear that lilting dance fron Leusink, with fresh ears. >
Claudio Di Veroli wrote to Douglas Cowling:
<< You complain about Leusink's [6] "lilting dance" and tempo >>
EM:
I believe Doug subsequently posted the correction, that it was not his post which referenced the description of Leusinks tempo [6] as a lilting dance. Apologies for continuing that misunderstandng.

To be absolutely clear, Kuijken [8] is quicker than Leusink [6], whomever may be lilting. With a ratio of 1.2, Leusink is 20% longer, Kuijken is 17% (not 20% as I originally wrote) quicker.

OK, school is out for summer. Forever, for some of us.

Claudio Di Veroli wrote (July 2, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< To be absolutely clear, Kuijken [8] is quicker than Leusink [6], whomever may be lilting. With a ratio of 1.2, Leusink is 20% longer, Kuijken is 17% (not 20% as I originally wrote) quicker. >
Thanks Ed,

20% and 17%. Well done. Proper use of proportions/percentages is crucial.

When I was living in Argentina, with large inflation, the employees of a large company were told that "since inflation has lately eroded a 30% of our salaries, the company has decided to compensate by a general 30% increase".

So, if I had a salary of 100, and inflation eroded 30% of it, they are now worth 70, and increasing them by 30% again yields 91, not 100 !

 

Continue on Part 4

Cantata BWV 177: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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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