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Cantata BWV 187
Es wartet alles auf dich
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of August 21, 2011

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 22, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 187 -- Es wartet alles auf dich

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue Trinity season cantatas with BWV 187, the third of three works for the 7th Sunday after Trinity.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV187.htm

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

The BWV 187 page also has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner and Koopman (notes by Christoph Wolff) CD issues, via links beneath the cover photos.

I do not see a separate link to the chorale text (Mvt. 7) at the BWV 187 home page, but the chorale harmonization is accessible via score link, and the text is available in the various translations.

Francis Browne wrote (August 22, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote that there was no link to the chorale text - this is because I have not been able to find the text so far. If anyone can supply a text, I shall happily translate it. A search in Google boooks came up with:
Schöpfung und Erhaltung:Die Kantate"Es wartet alles auf dich"(BWV 187) im Horizont der Theologie des 18. Jahrhunderts by Konrad Schwarz.

This suggests on page 23 -all that was accessible - there may be at least six stanzas.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 22, 2011):
BWV 187 and the Bach Mass Project

This cantata, magnificent in itself, also provides fascinating insight into Bach's last major vocal project, the composition of five masses, culminating in the Great Catholic Mass, the Mass in B Minor (BWV 232).

It always bewilders me that the four superb Missae (Kyrie & Gloria) which Bach wrote in the last decade of his life and which are clearly linked to the Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) are treated in such desultory fashion by commentators and performers alike. Victims, I suspect, of the lingering Romantic disdain for "parody" works, a charge which ironically is never leveled at the B Minor Mass (BWV 232).

The Mass in G Minor (BWV 235) is based on three cantatas:

BWV 72 Alles nur nach Gottes Willen - 1726
BWV 102 Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben! - 1726, 1737
BWV 187 Es wartet alles auf dich - 1726, 1735, 1749

Interestingly, both BWV 102 and BWV 187 were revived in the late 1730's just at the time Bach was focusing on the compositional problems of adapting German cantatas to Latin texts. Were these cantatas revived as "auditions" because Bach had targeted them as possible sources for mass movements? If so, perhaps there was an undocumented revival of BWV 72 in the 1730's as well.

Bach's attitude to his source material is extraordinarily creative and fluid. A lesser composer would have just taken a cantata and forced the Latin texts on the movements in sequence - that bad old tradition goes back to the Renaissance. Bach's approach is quite unique. He does not use BWV 187 for the first two sections. Here is the disposition of sources:

1. Chorus: Kyrie eleison ­ Christe eleison ­ Kyrie eleison
(1. Chorus BWV 102)

2. Chorus: Gloria in excelsis
(1. Chorus BWV 72)

3. Aria (Bass) Gratias
(Mvt. 4: Aria Bass BWV 187)

4. Aria (alto): Domine Fili
(Mvt. 3: Aria (alto) BWV 187)

5. Aria (Tenor) Qui tollis ­ Quoniam
(Mvt. 5: Aria (tenor) BWV 187

6 Chorus: Cum sancto Spiritu
(Mvt. 1: Chorus BWV 187)

It's worth noting a couple of aspects of the first two movements. Unlike the Mass in F Major (BWV 233) which has a motet-style Kyrie, the G minor (BWV 235) has a sprawling tripartite Kyrie with extended orchestral sections. The scale reminds one of the opening of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232). Also similar are the repeated block chords on "Kyrie", each time followed by an improvisatory solo line.

Unusually, Bach chooses to keep the whole Missa in the minor key. I can't think of another mass which has the festive "Gloria in excelsis" and climactic "Cum Sancto" sections in the tonic minor. Each of the four Missae have a distinctive "experimental" style, as if Bach was testing creative possibilities as he conceived the B Minor Mass (BWV 232).

Most surprising, Bach juggles the order of the movements of BWV 187: Mvt. 4, Mvt. 3, Mvt. 5, Mvt. 1. Whatever tonal relationships existed in the cantata are dissolved and given new meanings in the the missa.

The bass aria is transposed up a fifth to D minor in the "Quoniam" with the voice part transposed down an octave. Bach plays with octave transpositions in the violin part throughout the movement.

The alto aria remains in B flat. Although the instrumental parts are generally not altered, the vocal line is an extraordinary florid variation on the original. It's almost as if Bach wrote out the instrumental parts and then freely composed a new vocal line.

The soprano aria undergoes a complex transformation. Bach gives it to a tenor. Intriguingly, although the actual music is largely unaltered, he notates the movement in the three flats of E flat major/C minor not the two flats of the original B flat/G minor. Is he trying to find a notational solution to the tonal ambiguity of the original movement?

Like the "Cum Sancto" of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232), the G Minor Mass (BWV 235) dispenses with an instrumental introduction and begins "ex abupto" -- this was probably an reflection of the Dresden adoption of the Neapolitan custom which established this text as a self-contained fugue.

Just in this cursory comparison between cantata and missa, there is a fascinating glimpse of Bach making compositional choices as he embarked on a wholly new creative project in his last decade. There's a book out there to be written on all Bach's masses.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 23, 2011):
Francis Browne wrote:
< Ed Myskowski wrote that there was no link to the chorale text - this is because I have not been able to find the text so far. If anyone can supply a text, I shall happily translate it. A search in Google boooks came up with:
Schöpfung und Erhaltung:Die Kantate"Es wartet alles auf dich"(BWV 187) im Horizont der Theologie des 18. Jahrhunderts by Konrad Schwarz
This suggests on page 23 -all that was accessible - there may be at least six stanzas. >
Thanks for the clarification, Francis, and nice to hear from you!

On a related topic, earlier BCW discussion noted that the Emmanuel Music translation by Pamela Dellal (BCW link at English 6) shows two verses of the chorale performed separately: one after Part I and one after Part II of the cantata. Ms. Dellal provided communication that this was to conform with the EM performance practice at the time, and that explanation might be forthcoming in a Craig Smith publication.

Current status:

The late Craig Smith did not compile his commentary for publication, to the best of my knowledge. The Emmanuel Music notes (via BCW link) do not refer to this point, and the linked translation is now conventional: two verses of chorale as Mvt. 7. Crqaig Smith did comment that the chorale is rarely heard.

See also this detail from Julian Minchams essay, re Mvt. 3

<Interestingly, the voice enters with itsown theme before taking up the original ritornello theme. It to be heard just twice, the second time beginning the reprise of the first section (from bar 123). Closer examination reveals that this is an embellished version of the first phrase of the closing chorale. The concept of God establishing and having control of the earth and all its denizens is thus depicted, almost subliminally, through this subtle reference.> (end quote)

Perhaps Craig Smith performed a verse of the chorale immediately following Mvt. 3, to highlight this point?

I would have not a clue about such details without Julians efforts. Thanks, Mate!

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 23, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Bach's attitude to his source material is extraordinarily creative and fluid. A lesser composer would have just taken a cantata and forced the Latin texts on the movements in sequence - that bad old tradition goes back to the Renaissance. >
I believe that bad old tradition is the source of the misused term parody, as in Parody Mass, to describe in more general terms Bachs reuse of earlier materials, how own especially. Inaccurate, confusing, and ingrained in the scholarly jargon. Same as it ever was.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 23, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
> <Interestingly, the voice enters with its own theme before taking up the original ritornello theme. It to be heard just twice, the second time beginning the reprise of the first section (from bar 123). Closer examination reveals that this is an embellished version of the first phrase of the closing chorale. The concept of God establishing and having control of the earth and all its denizens is thus depicted, almost subliminally, through this subtle reference.> (end quote)
Perhaps Craig Smith performed a verse of the chorale immediately following
Mvt. 3, to highlight this point?
I would have not a clue about such details without Julians efforts. Thanks, Mate! <
Which brings back to mind the endlessly fascinating speculation, just what, in the complex imagery of Bach's religious works, was written for mankind to recognise and understand, and what was primarily only intended for God?

Dr. Linda Gingrich, D.M.A [Artistic Director/Conductor, Master Chorus Eastside] wrote (August 26, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Which brings back to mind the endlessly fascinating speculation, just what, in the complex imagery of Bach's religious works, was written for mankind to recognise and understand, and what was primarily only intended for God? >
I am new to this list and happy to be a part of it. My 2008 dissertation examined the musical allegory that operates between the cantatas in the Trinity season portion of Bach's chorale cantata cycle, and thus connects them into metaphorical groups. Which also brings up the question of how much was evident to Bach's congregations and how much was intended only for God. The allegorical links are plentiful and amazing, and much of it can't be perceived by the ear, or even by the eye without some digging, especially considering that the cantatas were heard a week apart, in most cases, in alternating performances between the two main churches! I'm not even sure that much of it was evident to his singers. I'm convinced that nearly all of it was for God, and if someone picked up on what Bach was doing under the surface, it may well have brought a twinkle to his eye!

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 26, 2011):
Linda Gingrich wrote:
< Which also brings up the question of howmuch was evident to Bach's congregations and how much was intended only for God. The allegorical links are plentiful and amazing, and much of it can'tbe perceived by the ear, or even by the eye without some digging, especially considering that the cantatas were heard a week apart, in most cases, in alternating performances between the two main churches! >
The concentric circles of appreciation are endless with Bach but he never loses the freshness of one's first hearing. We see this in many artists, particularly Shakespeare. But Bach's listeners were not necessarily uneducated provincial dolts. It reminds me of the time I went to see the movie "Raising Arizona" with a classicist friend of mine -- someone who normally was finely attuned to allusion. After the movie we were discussing it and I said how well the movie worked as a modern version of "Henry IV, Part II". My friend's jaw dropped. He had been so caught up with the film that he missed the allusion. Was his appreciation of the film less because of that? Never.

Francis Browne wrote (August 26, 2011):
BWV 187: chorale

Seek and( sometimes) you will find. From Terry's book on Bach Chorales I found some more information about the chorale used in this week's cantata:
Cantata CLXXXVII.: Es wartet Alles auf dich. Seventh Sunday after Trinity (1732) - Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach’s Chorals, vol. 2 The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Cantatas and Motetts [1917] (Online Linrary of Liberty)

"The words of the concluding Choral are the fourth and sixth stanzas of the anonymous Hymn, or Grace after Meat, "Singen wir aus Herzensgrund." It appeared first as a broadsheet c. 1560 and later in Hundert Christenliche Haussgesang (Nürnberg, 1569) and in Johann Eichorn's Geistliche Lieder (Frankfort a. Oder, 1569). In the 1589 edition of the latter Hymn book the Hymn is associated with the tune "Da Christus geboren war".

Commentators
ascribe the hymn to Hans Vogel - about whom I can discover nothing.I found a text in Wackernagel's Das Deutsche Kirchenlied (Vol4, p579). With characteristic generosity Thomas Braatz sent me two subsequent versions and it seems the hymn was used with increasing variations and additions until the 19th century.

I print below a text based mainly on Wackernagel and gratefully acknowledge Thomas Braatz's help in deciphering Fraktur and adapting the text to modern German. He bears no responsibility for the English translation .It will be added to the website but I copy it below so that it is available during the week of the discussion of BWV 187

Singen wir aus Herzensgrund,
loben Gott mit unserm Mund.
Wie er sein Güt an uns beweist,
Also hat er uns auch gespeist;
wie er Tier und Vögel ernährt,
so hat er uns auch beschert,
welchs wir jetzund habn verzehrt.

Loben wir ihn als seine Knecht
daß sind wir ihm schuldig von Recht
Erkennen, wie er uns hat geliebt
den Menschen aus Genaden gibt,
daß er von Bein, Fleisch und von Haut
artlich ist zusammen gebaut
daß er des Tages Licht anschaut.

Alsbald der Mensch sein Leben hat
sein Küche vor ihm staht.
In dem Leib der Mutter sein
Ist er zugerichtet fein,
Ob es ist ein kleines Kind
Mangel es doch nirgends find't
Bald es an die Welte herkömmt.

Gott hat die Erde zugericht',
Läßts an Nahrung mangeln nicht;
Berg und Tal, die macht er naß,
Daß dem Vieh auch wächst sein Gras;
Aus der Erden Wein und Brot
Schaffet Gott und gibts uns satt,
Daß der Mensch sein Leben hat.

Das Wasser muss geben Fisch
die läßt Gott tragen zu Tisch,
Eier von Vögelein gelegt
werden Junge daraus geheckt
Müssen der Menschen Speise sein,
Hirschen, Schafe,Rinder und Schwein
schaffet Gott und gibts allein

Wir danken sehr und bitten ihn,
Daß er uns geb des Geistes Sinn,
Daß wir solches recht verstehn,
Stets in sein' Geboten gehn,
Seinen Namen machen groß
In Christo ohn Unterlaß:
So sing'n wir recht das Gratias.

Let us sing from the depths of our hearts,
let us praise God with our mouths.
Just as he has shown his goodness to us,
so he has also fed us.
Just as he has given food to beasts and birds,
so he has also bestowed on us
what we have now consumed

Let us praise him as his servants
Since we are rightly obliged
To recognise how he has loved us,
From his mercy he grants to man
That from bone, flesh and skin
He is cunningly constructed
So that he sees the light of day

As soon as man has his life
His food is ready for him,
In his mother's body
He is treated well.
Although he is a small child
He lacks nothing
As soon as he comes to the world.

Godhas set up the earth in such a way,
that he will not allow food to be lacking;
mountain and valley he makes moist
so that grass may also grow for the cattle.
From the earth wine and bread
God creates and gives us enough
so that people may have their life.

Water has to produce fish
that God causes to be brought to the table,
Eggs are laid by birds
From which their young are produced
to be food for men.
Deer, sheep , cattle and pig
are created and given by no one but God.

We give great thanks and pray to him
that he may give us the capability of mind
so that we may understand this rightly,
always walk in his commandments,
make great his name
without ceasing in Christ:
then justly we sing "Gratias!"

Julian Mincham wrote (August 26, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< But Bach's listeners were not necessarily uneducated provincial dolts.>
And they had access to the printed texts which must also have helped those who were following the music closely to attune to some of the allusions and images.

Linda Gingrich wrote (August 26, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< But Bach's listeners were not necessarily uneducated provincial dolts.>
I by no means meant to imply that Bach's listener were uneducated dolts. In fact, they may well have been more "tuned" to musical allegory than we are. Perhaps we have lost the ears for it. Nevertheless, much of the allegory is so delightfully subtle that it seems to me that the only way to "hear" it is through repeated hearings with score in hand. But you are right, the music never loses the freshness of a first hearing. It speaks on many levels.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 27, 2011):
BWV 187

Linda Gingrich wrote:
< I by no means meant to imply that Bach's listener were uneducated dolts. In fact, they may well have been more "tuned" to musical allegory than we are. Perhaps we have lost the ears for it. >
Not necessarily the ears alone, but also the cultural context.

LG:
< Nevertheless, much of the allegory is so delightfully subtle that it seems to me that the only way to "hear" it is through repeated hearings with score in hand. But you are right, the music never loses the freshness of a first hearing. It speaks on many levels. >
EM:
Well, some of the chorale references are apparent with only a bit of familiarity. But I see your point, some of the subtleties are indeed obscure, difficult to imagine that they were intended to be perceived on a first hearing, no matter how educated the dolts.

Which brings us around to the original point from Julian Mincham, that it is enjoyable speculation to discuss what Bach intended for the audience, for the future, or simply for God.

If we can unravel it, chances are that it was not intended for God alone!

Welcome Linda, nice to have a new voice in the discussions.

Linda Gingrich wrote (August 27, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Not necessarily the ears alone, but also the cultural context. >
Yes, the cultural context was very different!

< If we can unravel it, chances are that it was not intended for God alone!
Welcome Linda, nice to have a new voice in the discussions. >
You are right, and perhaps it is more appropriate to say, for God as the primary audience, then for the rest of us educated dolts!

And thanks for the welcome.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 27, 2011):
Linda Gingrich wrote:
< You are right, and perhaps it is more appropriate to say, for God as the primary audience, then for the rest of us educated dolts! >
Not often do I hear anyone say you are right! Thanks. It remains an open question whether Bach truly meant the SDG inscription, or alternatively, if it was something of a scriptural habit of the time. Or a little of each.

I did not expect anyone to notice my usage of educated dolt, not exactly the opposite of uneducated dolt. I can see thar you did not take offense.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 27, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< If we can unravel it, chances are that it was not intended for God alone! >
Ah yes but we often unravel these things through repeated listenings and close scrutiny of scores, advantages that Bach's congregations did not have.

Are you suggesting that Bach may have foreseen the day when his music was to be subjected to such scrutiny?

Linda Gingrich wrote (August 27, 2011):
I did not expect anyone to notice my usage of educated dolt, not exactly the opposite of uneducated dolt. I can see thar you did not take offense.

No offense taken, just a good chuckle to start the day. I find it rather easy to feel just a bit of a dolt, educated or otherwise, in the face of Bach's genius on so many levels! But an appreciative dolt!

Julian Mincham wrote (August 27, 2011):
[To Linda Gingrich] I have been reading through your thesis with considerable interest. it really does need to be more readily available. In fact much of it is complementary to, and could usefully link with my own site. Interestingly you emphasise more the liturgical elements while I tend to concentrate a little mote upon the musical structures; our different approaches to BWV 10, for example, make this point. This is one reason why they would sit well together.

Your observations across the cantatas are interesting---I missed the allusion of the bass line in BWV 7 (chorale) to the main motive of the fantasias of 135. (I did pick up the similarities of the theme of the tenor aria or BWV 2 and the alto one in BWV 7 with example in the latter essay I think). One of my present interests lies in the complex recitatives of this cycle and the particular usages of the chorale within them (BWV 2 and BWV 38 are good examples). If you are interested I had an article published 18 months ago exploring this in the BNUK journal for 2009 (just google BNUK and turn to the journal section)

One small correction if I may. I think you mention 4 examples where Bach puts the cf in a voice other than the sops. In fact there are 5--or more correctly 4 1/2----BWV BWV 2, BWV 7, BWV 135, BWV 3 and BWV 10---because in 10 he moves the cf down to the altos from the sops at the mention of the lowly handmaiden, the only time he does so (bar 46 I think).

Anyway I shall carry on and find out what else you have noted that I may have missed.

Interesting also are our different general approaches. I deliberately decided against a conventional academic presentation (but hey, I was not doing it for a doctorate!) in order to make it as approachable as possible for the general reader. Hence the minimum of detailed references and the insertions of paraphrases of texts rather than direct quotations requiring the reader to turn to a different page.

Thanks again for sharing your work with me.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 27, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< I have been reading through your thesis with considerable interest. It really does need to be more readily available. In fact much of it is complementary to, and could usefully link with my own site. >
Is it generally accessible online?

Julian Mincham wrote (August 27, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] My apologies to Linda to whom my email was supposed to have gone off list.

And no, her thesis is not available on line although I am suggesting that it should be.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 29, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote::
< If we can unravel it, chances are that it was not intended for God alone! >
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Ah yes but we often unravel these things through repeated listenings and close scrutiny of scores, advantages that Bach's congregations did not have.
Are you suggesting that Bach may have foreseen the day when his music was to be subjected to such scrutiny? >

EM:
My answer to the question is a resounding maybe.

Julian has accuraqtely pointed out that my off-hand comment was not well thought through. It was mostly a quick poke at human audacity, my own near the top of the heap.

On further reflection, I do think that Bach, especially later in his life, did prepare some of his works for the appreciation of futuregenerations of humans. Perhaps even some of the cantatas. See my suggestion of the Christmas Oratorio as a best of Bach candidate.

Claudio Di Veroli wrote (August 29, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote::
< On further reflection, I do think that Bach, especially later in his life, did prepare some of his works for the appreciation of future generations of humans. Perhaps even some of the cantatas. See my suggestion of the Christmas Oratorio as a best of Bach candidate. >
I distinctively recall having read that the Mass in B minor (BWV 232) was written by J.S. Bach most likely to put together isolated masterworks of him that otherwise would have been lost for later generations, and that this would be an evidence of his consciousness of his genius. Cannot remember who first put forward this idea: perhaps the Bach scholars in this list can help! Already Spitta (Book IV Ch.II), though dating the finished work not later than 1740, found that Bach took exceptional care in the selection of pieces that make up this mass. In his detailed treatment of the work in his great treatise on Bach, Basso (1973, vol.II pp. 504ff) writes that, as per musicology then current, the Sanctus is early as 1724, while some movements are as late as 1749, among the last works of Bach. I am not aware of what current musicology is in this regards.

 

Cantata BWV 187: Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Last update: ýSeptember 7, 2011 ý09:36:34