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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 190
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied
Cantata BWV 190a
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied!
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of August 9, 2009 [Continue]

Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote (August 13, 2009):
[To Julian Mincham] I recognize your expertise, respected Julian, too far from being an antagonist of musical ruminations, and from believing that aesthetics requires whether a religious or any other existential commitment, a misunderstanding that undoubtedly proceeds from some of my abrupt, if not eventually too bold, assertions, those that, needing further clarifications, suffer from being myself a not so agile postilion on the English carriage. Nevertheless, now and then, I suggest which are the readers I seek in the first place, as the title of one of my posts on Cantata 143 clearly remarks, that its "consequent exposition" was intended "for those interested in apprehend it existentially", while, last Sunday, I added that the pious labor was "intended for few listeners", and since, admitting "the determined different direction of majority", "along with me" but "one or two" would be "directed to reconstruct nothing but praise". And, take notice, gentleman, that, invited by the respected list owner to lead the discussions, I warned Aryeh that, far from being popular, I would be involuntarily polemic; but he insisted, saying that "diversity of opinions and approaches are one of the key factors to the continuing success of the BCML". Now, if, through the stallions of your noble idiom, I am engaged in a laborious enterprise of making myself clear, an even harder aspect of my task is that I carry a deeply heterogeneous view, which, by its nature, is polemic as Christ has always been. And would I omit my view to express yours, Sir? In fact, I am Henri, and deeply persuaded that the sacred cantatas were made to praise the Trinity, what Julian may acknowledge at least objectively, without commitment to praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But even if I involuntarily offended you, Sir, I ask you to reconsider, for I reaffirm that whoever does not care to praise the Trinity will listen to sacred cantatas at most as if they were godly dramas. So, even if we agree that this list is fundamentally about Bach cantatas, we differ in our views of what a sacred cantata is, and I particularly do not believe that it was created to be the "essential centrality", but an instrument to praise God above all things, even above music and Bach. Now, you may personally switch off, not discussing my views, and freely link your attention to what you regard essential; but know for sure that there are people in this list that would love to talk about a cantata from a pious perspective, but are damped and, yes, indirectly censored as if writing inappropriately, and they are not. They just live what a sacred cantata sings, and contrarily to what academics eventually seem to insinuate, the faith in Christ has not disappeared with a particular Lutheranism, for we ESSENTIALLY believe in Jesus as Bach expressed our faith musically, whereas the composer, in the eighteen century, tried to express the faith also shared in the first century. Now, if you do not want to discuss how this faith is connected to the cantatas, you are free even to delete my posts, giving all your attention to those subjects that matter to you. But neither you nor anybody else, except perhaps the list owner, can impede Christians to express themselves freely in this democratic list. Otherwise, you are indeed acting as if my censors. In fact, let me say gently that a sacred cantata is supposed to be sacred, inasmuch as, if no one could think sacredly on them anymore, we would suspect that, like the world itself, sacred music has been usurped. Now, I admit that I have sometimes pinned scholarship, and I will try to be more careful in the future, but, let me make myself clear now, that my main struggle is neither against scholarship at heart, nor against a particular human being, rather practicing my sportive fencing versus ideas that frequently pin our faith as if they have surpassed it; for it is basic for those interested in apprehend the cantatas existentially to understand that, against the essential beliefs conveyed in Bach's cantatas, disdainful assertions are easily put to the ground. Now, the instances are many and may appear under different forms, for example, when, under the aspect of critical sobriety, and as if impartial and desiring to know nothing but truth, someone works to discredit it, and not rarely with investigations that consist in badly disguised quests for apparent discreditable and blameworthy data. At heart, there is but a will of misunderstanding, through whose lens our not elaborated beliefs look like a "mythological jumble", and our devotedly reflected ones, precisely when showing their sense, too complex to a reasonable attention. For intellectualism may put itself too far from any earnest concern for God, and all in the sacred name of knowledge, namely, in the labyrinth of presumed suspicious and not suspicious sources, in bitter disputes and flaming responses, or even in frigid inaccessible presumption of superiority, God being nothing for such a superhuman appearance. And even theology may sometimes be so afraid of such aspect of mighty, that dwindles indoors with nothing to witness outside, if not altogether influenced by disbelief. Constrained by the not constrained harsh critics of our faith, it shows an enormous deference for skeptic's caprices, but only to its damage. In plain English, it is against my respect that I speak, audacious with ideas, but often mildly with particular human beings, as with you, Sir, being myself ready to be your friend, as I offered friendship to Ed, and never repented even if not quite in conformity with his unfavorable exegesis of my pious ideas.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 13, 2009):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< The second point is one of balance. The cantata list is fundamentally about Bach cantatas. This does not mean that all sorts of related topics, historical, religious, social, about texts, word setting, rehearsal practices etc etc may not be (and all of these certainly have been) discussed on list over the years. >
I share Harrys enthusiasm for Julians careful and concise language. Regardng the second point, over the years I have come to accept that it is not unexpected to have a disproportionately high number of Lutheran believers on a Bach discussion list. I find that the moderator does an excellent job at keeping the expression of personal spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof), and related discussion, within proper bounds.

Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote (in response to Julian Mincham):
< we ESSENTIALLY believe in Jesus as Bach expressed our faith musically, whereas the composer, in the eighteen century, tried to express the faith also shared in the first century. >
This is simply incorrect. Bach's 18th C. Lutheran Christianity finds much not to share with other 18th C. Christian sects, let alone with 1st C. Christianity (an already burgeoning group of Judaic sects), or with 21st C. Christian sects. It is one thing for a writer to express his own beliefs, and it is for the moderator to acccept (or not) the relevance of such expression.

It is quite a different matter to suggest that ones own beliefs have some special relevance to Bach's private (or public, for that matter) beliefs. Doug has been the most eloquent and concise in pointing out the accumulation and distraction of such speculative pronouncements.

HL:
>Sir [Julian], being myself ready to be your friend, as I offered friendship to Ed, and never >repented even if not quite in conformity with his unfavorable exegesis of my pious ideas. <
EM:
I take (and accept) friendship to mean mutual respect as BCML list members. I find Henri's language dense (to say the least!), but not impenetrable. I have tried to make that point, by selecting factual (see above) or logical flaws, which to my mind detract from his expression of pious intent. The pious intent itself is a matter of personal belief and freedom, theright to which I respect without question. OTOH, anyone elses personal belief, whatever the institutional support, does not convince me of what my personal belief should be. Especially if it ignores three centuries of rational and scientific advances since 18th C. Leipzig. You gotta have Faith, as they say, but to my mind, it helps if the Faith is consistent with observable facts, and able to accommodate new discoveries.

Russell Telfer wrote (August 13, 2009):
Harry W. Crosby wrote:
< Julian, far from disputing your thoughtful and reasoned response, I second it in its entirety. I also admire it as a concise, balanced, and economical statement, the sort of thing I strive for every day and achieve, if ever, only after much analysis and self-editing. >
From an occasional contributor .....

I'd like to thank Julian, Harry, Ed, and several other regular posters for providing a reasoned and informative ongoing debate and discussion about Bach and the cantatas. I read them; I appreciate them. Harry's comments very much apply. It's good that the interchanges are more civilised that they have been at times in the past. BCML is quite a broad church and can cope with the odd quirk and peccadillo of some of its members - it's not that much of a problem!

I'm coming to realise more and more that my love of the cantatas is ineffable, that it is not something I can express or want to express in words all that much. That makes me more of a reader than a writer in this situation. Of course I have expressed my thoughts and will again express my thoughts, but I wanted to disclose my feelings.

If I were to attempt to describe the wonder of, for example, cantata BWV 190, I would no doubt do it through an analysis of the music. But unfortunately a beautiful piece of musical analysis does not always lead to a beautiful musical creation. Quite the opposite sometimes if we think of more recent composers.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 13, 2009):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< If I were to attempt to describe the wonder of, for example, cantata 190, I would no doubt do it through an analysis of the music. But unfortunately a beautiful piece of musical analysis does not always lead to a beautiful musical creation. Quite the opposite sometimes if we think of more recent composers. >
I agree with this. I have also spent much of my life wondering if a developing awareness of what is happening in the music (through observation or analysis--I prefer the first term since it is less loaded and more or less subsumes the second) actually enhances our enjoyment of and deepens our emotional response to it. I guess part of the answer is, perhaps, more for some than for others. I can only speak for myself (as indeed can we all)?but I'll offer two examples. I have found that an awareness of the multitude of rhythms, ideas and textures which Bach uses in the three voices?underlying, supporting and intermeshing with the chorale melody in the opening fantasias of the second cycle really seems to enhance my?sense of thrill and excitement. It also leads me to understand the lines of text better?and, although a matter of frequent dispute on this list I think it does give some very good clues as to Bach's approach to his texts and their meanings for him. I find that, in rehearings of these choruses?I am more and more attracted to and excited by what the lower three vocal lines are doing and I believe that this enriches my enjoyment of the music--in the way that (for example)?a recognition of invertable counterpoint at the 12th in the Art of Fugue, although technically interesting, would not do.

My second example, spread across the cantatas (which is why I like to take a contextual perspective) is a recognition of how Bach treats reoccurring characters; the voice of God and Jesus?, St Michael, Satan etc. There is an wholeness and integrity with which Bach portrays them and and an addedd frisson of pleasure at their continual re-recognition. Who cannot thrill at the various opera buffo type representations of Satan as a scurroulous figure of malevolence, never a figure of?stature in the way that others are portrayed.

Does analytical and contextual observation of such points intensify the emotional effect that Russell, rightly in my view, describes as unable to be fully articulated?in words? For me I think??it does. But many musical observations of, say,?perfect cadences or contrapuntal devices do not.

And perhaps for Henri it's the recognition of what he recognises as fundamental religious truths perceived through the music which creates, for him, a glimpse of the sublime and inexpressable.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 13, 2009):
[To Henri N. Levinspuhl] Henri, I think we have to agree to disagree on some important matters. But that doesn't matter. A civilised discussion between people with different ideas is usually more fruitful and interesting than one between people who always agree on everything----like my wife and myself---ha, ha!!

Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote (August 13, 2009):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Henri I think we have to agree to disagree on some important matters. But that doesn't matter. A civilised discussion between people with different ideas is usually more fruitful and interesting than one between people who always agree on everything----like my wife and myself---ha, ha!! >
Funny indeed, Julian!
And thanks you for your kind words.

Cheers back to you!

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 13, 2009):
Back to the music ...

Russell Telfer wrote:
< If I were to attempt to describe the wonder of, for example, cantata BWV 190, I would no doubt do it through an analysis of the music. >
I wish you would. I posted some specific musical observations about Cantata BWV 190 and its relation to the motet specifically to see if anyone would pick up the analytical thread, and William was the only one to respond. The rest of the list was too engaged in speculations about piety.

I have an abiding interest in Bach's historical Lutheran context because it tells us something about the controlling factors of his compositional practice -- why did he use this version of a chorale in his chorale-prelude and that version in his cantata? What external factors shape his musical decisions?

It also is a controlling factor in preventing biographical fantasies from intruding. When I read Stiller's book, I was surprised to find that Bach made his private confession on a regular basis -- that wasn't part of the image of Bach that I received in music history. The recent scholarship about Bach's relationship with the Leipzig Town Council provides a much more sophisticated picture of the political dimension of his work. It isn't the Lonely Misunderstood Genius against the beer-swilling, small town philistines of Romantic fantasy.

Do I have a profound relationship with Bach? Yup. Does it tell you anything about the man and his work? Nope.

Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote (August 13, 2009):
Douglas Cowlin said:
< I posted some specific musical observations about Cantata BWV 190 and its relation to the motet specifically to see if anyone would pick up the analytical thread, and William was the only one to respond. >
I read and appreciated this post.

Like Russell I rarely post to this list. I am a instrumentalist. I have much to learn about the Cantatas. I hestiate to make a comment which might be stupid.

< The rest of the list was too engaged in speculations about piety. >
Not true. Some of us are not word people. I have to admit that if I need a dictionary to read e-mails I don't bother. I wonder,like Doug, if we can get back to music and stop trying to impress people with how many large words we know.

Anne, not one of the refined gentleman on the list.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 13, 2009):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< It's good that the interchanges are more civilised than they have been at times in the past. BCML is quite a broad church and can cope with the odd quirk and >peccadillo of some of its members - it's not that much of a problem! >
EM:
I agree one hundred percent. I believe credit is due the moderator, as well as BCML members. Thediversity of opinion is encouraged, and managed effectively with a minimum of interference.

Russel continued:
< If I were to attempt to describe the wonder of, for example, cantata BWV 190, I would no doubt do it through an analysis of the music. >

Doug replied
< I wish you would. I posted some specific musical observations about Cantata BWV 190 and its relation to the motet specifically to see if anyone would pick up the analytical thread, and William was the only one to respond. The rest of the list was too engaged in speculations about piety. >
Anne (Nessie) Russell replied:
< Some of us are not word people. I have to admit that if I need a dictionary to read e-mails I don't bother. I wonder, like Doug, if we can get back to music and stop trying to impress people with how many large words we know. >
EM
I think it is a mistake to equate volume of traffic with level of interest on any given topic. As both Anne and Russell have suggested, it takes a greater level of expertise and time commitment to make an intelligent response to a post specific to music analysis, no matter how interested the reader may be, than it does to toss of a response to <speculations about piety>.

That is, each and every one of us is expert on our own level of piety (or lack therof), and perhaps we all secretly think that Bach was more like us than anyone realizes. In fact, some writers not so secretly.

I for one am much more interested in the exchange between Doug and Will re BWV 190, than I am in the posts to which I have replied. However, I have not yet taken the time to do the required listening. When I do, I am not likely to have anything of substance to add, unless I do the listening with the specific intent, in advance, to write something. Incidentally, this is a commitment I have recommended in the past for everyone, and intend to continue to follow for myself, from time to time. Note that it guarantess a post of relevance, but not necessarily substance. In the meantime, I add my thanks to everyone who provides comments specific to the music. I read them all and accommodate my listening in response to most, whether or not I post a reply.

With regard to use of the dictionary, alas, this is a necessity, given a worldwide membership using a language, American English, which even most Americans <do not do so good with>. I am reminded of a cute anecdote from my early days on BCML. Alain Brugieres translated a French jocular idiom as frog of the stoup, using an English dictionary. Stoup is a legitimate and specific, if rather uncommon, variant of the same source word as the more common stoop. I did not previously know stoup, but I did not take the trouble to look it up. I assumed Alain wanted to say frog soup, but had made a typographic or translation error. I replied accordingly, whence another list member took immediate and verbose umbrage at my insult to all things French. Alain and I became friends in the course of sorting out (off-list) the misunderstanding. The third party never did get over it.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 13, 2009):
As both Anne and Russell have suggested, it takes a greater level of expertise and time commitment to make an intelligent response to a post specific to music analysis, no matter how interested the reader may be, than it does to toss of a response to <speculations about piety>.

[To Ed Myskowski] Ed, the point I have been banging on about for ages is that there are many things that do not need a musicians' time or expertise to describe, which WILL better inform listeners and which, additionally, MIGHT increase their enjoyment of the music. I gave two examples in a recent email.

But judging by the lack of response when one offers these examples, it may well be that few people on this?list agree.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 13, 2009):
BWV 190 [was: Bach to the music]

Julian Mincham wrote:
< Ed, the point I have been banging on about for ages is that there are many things that do not need a musicians' time or expertise to describe, which WILL better inform listeners and which, additionally, MIGHT increase their enjoyment of the music. I gave two examples in a recent email. >
I see the point, and I agree. At the moment the wife is banging on about <lets go>. She must be correct? I will respond at more length, including the original thought from your recent email.

Russell Telfer wrote (August 14, 2009):
BWV 190

Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote:
< 1. BWV 190 as another occasion to restore the cantatas to its original purpose >
Thank you, Henri, for your introduction to the cantatas. They are interesting, and certainly different from mine.

< More than merely a psychic blow would be necessary in order to excel the vast void in human affairs, although, undoubtedly, the public, bored with such an adequate endeavor, would prompt us to find a higher purpose than conquering an audience. With such a distinction a work avoids popularity, being the single >individual the sole addressee of a bunch of masterpieces. ... >

I endorse Jean's words:
< This is so well said, Henri. Thank you. When one participates with the heart there is little as glorious as singing Bach or hearing it well sung. And if one believes and finds a truth therein the exaltation is almost beyond words. You have captured the purpose in your understanding. Thank you again. >
Partly in response to Doug Cowling's quite justified request for some feedback on his comments on BWV 190, and with Ed's prompting in mind as well, I venture my comments on this cantata. Which may not necessarily be orthodox.

The music of BWV 190 is wonderful. The whole cantata exudes a belief and a wonder in human life and I dare say whatever else you would like to breathe into it.

I was able to look up on my own website (which has information gathered from various sources) to find out the original purpose of this cantata: the Feast of the Circumcision. I believe this to be correct. Having looked at the translated text of 190, I can imagine that delicate personal operations are being hinted at in the bass recit, but fortunately they're not specified.

I don't find any mention of the Feast of the Circumcision in your introduction, Henri. Let me say at once, this doesn't bother me greatly. We all have to kowtow to the prejudices of whichever society we happen to live in, and Bach was only doing his bit in providing the music for whatever was demanded of him. Do we ever know what Bach thought of the non-musical constraints placed on his activities? We know what Stravinsky thought about Soviet political correctness, but we don't know much about Bach's situation. Did his devoutness protect him from all negative thoughts? We don't know.

Note also Doug Cowling's comment which may support this:
< It also is a controlling factor in preventing biographical fantasies from intruding. When I read Stiller's book, I was surprised to find that Bach made his private confession on a regular basis -- that wasn't part of the image of Bach that I received in music history. >
Whatever. We're left with BWV 190. Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (Let Us Sing A New Song) is one of the most popular themes for a musical composition in a theocratic society and outside it. It's what composers do, and the encouragement to do what you want to do must be a boost to any composer. One of the highlights of my life was singing the BWV 225 Singet at twilight at Windsor Castle on a hot summer evening. It was a blast. Providing the music for such occasions is one of the few occasions when an "indentured" composer can really let him\herself go.

As Douglas Cowling writes:
< I've always felt that the motets are unfairly ignored because they are 'a capella' works: "Singet dem Herrn" and "Jesu Meine Freude" are masterpieces. >
Yes they are and no mistake.

And now, look what is given in BWV 190.
The opening chorus (Mvt. 1) offers an exuberant array of orchestral writing. There is something attention grabbing in the choral writing. There are other ways of creating choral parts than what we see in bar 22 and subsequently: the dotted crotchet\quaver\dotted crotchet\quaver\dotted crotchet\ figure whicdraws attention to the text and possibly the singer. But this is only drawing attention to 'sing a new song'. So, I speculate that Bach would have some other reason for presenting this figure in this way. (I'm thinking of the Farewell Symphony as a vague reference here. I think someone may have been bugging Bach. Pure speculation. - See Doug above, on the subject of fantasies.)

In Verse 2 there is an interesting contrast between the contributions of the soloists (in the Rilling recording [3]) and the Choir's urgent lines. waiting for...

Verse 3 which offers the strings a more than equal part in a wonderful alto aria (Mvt. 3).

I dare say Verse 4 contains the nub of the meaning, but the harmony is, as always, interesting.

There is then, unusually a duett for Tenor and Bass (Mvt. 5). Sometimes these low voices (I know from personal experience) can sink into the depths, but this aria is lovely, having a busy oboe d'amore obbligato and a wholesome and attractive bass part.

The tenor recit, verse 6, is greatly enhanced by beautiful support from the strings.

Verse 7 has the triumphal style of many of Bach's closing cantatas, with trumpets providing the brilliant closure to each phrase. These chorales, for me, never fail to thrill.

Unlike many of the cantatas, I haven't known it for very long, so for me it has a freshness that from time to time will keep me awake at night.

Neil Halliday wrote (August 14, 2009):
Russell Telfer wrote:
>what we see in bar 22 and subsequently: the dotted crotchet\quaver\dotted crotchet\quaver\dotted crotchet\ figure<
This rhythmically enlivening dotted figure (actually dotted quaver/semiquaver units) occurs throughout the first movement as well as the alto aria (Mvt. 3).

Its first appearance in bar 21 (in the first movement) triumphantly emphasizes the words "ein neues Leid"; later the sopranos have this figure in the three successive bars of melisma on the word "loben" ("the company of saints shall praise him). The violins use it to accompany the unison "Te deum" phrase, as well as to accompany the introduction of the vocal fugue; and finally it occurs in the voices of the closing "Alleluja" section.

The same rhythmic figure is a regular feature in the continuo of the alto aria (Mvt. 3), on the third beat of the bar, set against the lively 'joy rhythm' figures - quaver/two semiquaver or two semiquavers/quaver - of the violins and voice. (These 'joy motif' rhythmic figures are of course significant elements in the opening chorus).

Russell Telfer wrote (August 14, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
QUOTING Russell Telfer::
>> what we see in bar 22 and subsequently: the dotted crotchet\quaver\dotted crotchet\quaver\dotted crotchet\ figure <<
Neil wrote:
< Its first appearance in bar 21 >
I was wrong. I miscounted. But I think you are wrong too. Mind you, my Kalmus miniature score has blank bars - presumably the passages omitted were not authentic. Anyway, on a recount, in my score, the figure I drew
attention to first appears at bar 27.

You have then gone on to detail the recurrences of this rhythmic figure. It is in my opinion equally prominent eg at bars 51 and 79 but less so when the higher parts are not involved. You are right to point out the repetitions:
without them the figure would be much less noticeable.

Neil Halliday wrote (August 14, 2009):
Russell Telfer wrote:
>I was wrong. I miscounted. But I think you are wrong too.<
Aha! Correct (less haste more speed I suppose).
Bar 27. This will be correct because the violin and vocal parts are complete including rests, hence we can count the number of bars even where all staves are vacant (I'm following the BGA).

It's interesting to follow the score while listening to Suzuki [8], for example; his reconstruction sounds remarkably 'correct'.

First half of each movement available at: http://www.bis.se/index.php?op=people&pID=2396
volume 21, accessed via the number '4' at the bottom of the page

His opening movement is a most brilliiant expression of the spirit of the text.

[Obviously those church authorities who frowned on trumpets and drums, and otherwise 'noisy' music in church, not to mention dancing, must have chosen to ignore Psalm 150, verses 3 and 4].

BTW, in the duet (Mvt. 5), Suzuki [8] uses an obbligato viola (I think, or is it a violin?) rather than the oboe d'amore heard on the Rilling CD [3]; very nice, with the tempo (ie Suzuki's [8]) perhaps a little slow.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 14, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< It's interesting to follow the score while listening to Suzuki [8], for example; his reconstruction sounds remarkably 'correct'. >
Neil, I wonder if you have had the opportunity of comparing this with Koopman's reconstruction [4] of the opening chorus (Mvt. 1) which I also find very convincing. (Mvt. 2 needs a little added work as well, as only the chorus parts have survived)

Re the duet (Mvt. 5), the obligato part is marked Oboe d'amore and violino solo, presumably doubling rather than intended as alternatives. Wolff's notes for this cantata (box 6 of the Koopman set [4]) are rather confusing, partly due, I suspect, to some poor proof reading.. He refers to it as a 'tenor aria with obligato oboe d'amore' although it's clearly a bass and tenor duet (Mvt. 5). To make matters all the more complicated, in the actual recording Koopman uses not the oboe but a stringed instrument which sounds very much like a viola!

All very confusing!

Neil Halliday wrote (August 14, 2009):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Re the duet (Mvt. 5), the obligato part is marked Oboe d'amore and violino solo, presumably doubling rather than intended as alternatives. >
Interestingly, the BGA has only oboe d'amore in brackets! So there is some doubt as to the scoring even here. (Those Koopman [4] notes are certainly confused!). Apparently Koopman [4], like Suzki, uses a viola in the duet (Mvt. 5).

Re the second movement, the OCC casts some doubt on the use of the trumpets and drums.

Thanks for mentioning Koopman's reconstruction [4]; I'm preparing for work but will listen as soon as possible.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 14, 2009):
[To Neil Halliday] I was quoting the orchestration from the Bärenreiter urtext score which is usually pretty reliable. Certainly there seems to be a lot of doubt as to what the obligato instrument should be. Odd though that some of the top directors don't use an oboe d.amore if it's mentioned in the BGA. it is a much more common obligato instrument in the cantatas than the viola which is used very rarely. But perhaps there is another source which makes mention of the viola in this duet (Mvt. 5)? The mystery deepens!

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 14, 2009):
BWV 190 - Word-painting

Neil Halliday wrote:
< [Obviously those church authorities who frowned on trumpets and drums, and otherwise 'noisy' music in church, not to mention dancing, must have chosen to ignore Psalm 150, verses 3 and 4]. >
I'm curious about the odd dropping third figure which first appears at "ein neues Lied" and is developed in a long series of sequences at bar 50. I've never seen such a figure in Bach's vocal writing. Since the chorus has a fair bit of word-painting (repeated 16th notes to depict timpani), I wonder if it's meant to symbolize the strings mentioned in the text. That kind of figure is quite common in Bach: "Ach Golgotha" ithe SMC is a good example. A "happier" example would be the orchestral accompaniment to the Sanctus of the B Minor Mass (albeit as triplets there.) Is this figure a string "cliché" that Bach's performers would recognize as word-painting?

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 17, 2009):
BWV 190 recordings

Since the previously archived discussions, there is at least one important recording of BWV 190, that from Vol. 16 of the year 2000 Pilgrimage series by Gardiner [7], with CD releases ongoing. Indeed, BWV 190 was the very final work performed in the cycle, and it contains yet another reconstruction of the opening movements. Sounds like Bach to me, but I did not yet try to make any comparisons with other reconstructions. Gardiners comment: <Various attempts have been proposed and printed, none of them wholly convincing, and some not very idiomatic.>

I am a collector of the Gardiner series, and I find very little to complain about in any of the releases, nothing at all in BWV 190 [7]. These recordings are the weekly broadcast choice on WGBH FM radio, more often than not, as in todays BWV 46 for Trinity 10, which I noted this morning. Note the big orchestration in that and other cantatss for Trinity 10 (BWV 101 and BWV 102), in addition to the more obvious days noted by Doug, including BWV 190 for the Feast of the Circumsion (New Years Day).

William Hoffman wrote (August 19, 2009):
BWV 190: Praise & Thanksgiving

The Augsburg Confession Cantatas:
BWV 190a, "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied"; June 25, 1730
120b, "Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille"; June 26, 1730
Anh. I 4a, "Wünschet Jerusalem Glück; June 27, 1730

Jubilee of the 200th Anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (25-27 June 1730).
Text: Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander), Ernst-Schertzhaffte und Satyrische Gedichte, Teil III (Leipzig, 1732); Facs: Neumann T, p. 334; Reprint in Sicul, Annales Lipsienses, Sectio XXXVIII (1731) and Das Jubilierende Leipzig (1731).

Literature: NBA KBI/34, 1990 Higuchi; Stiller, JSB & Liturgical Life in Leipzig, 1984, 79-81; A. Schering Cantata Studies 1741

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV190a.htm

AUGSBURG CONFESSION I: 190a, Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied [parody, incomplete]
6/25/1730, St. Nicholas Church; wholly original, parody of BWV 190, Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied!, 1/1/1724, repeated 1736-39.
Sources: BWV 190/1,3,5; ?311; recits. 190a/4,6 lost
Literature: Reconstruction D. Hellmann, 1972, Breitkopf & Härtel, Widesbaden (orig. recits.)
Text: #1, 2, Luther cle. Te Deum; #3-6, Picander 1732; #7, Luther mel. "Es wohl uns Gott genädig sein," text (S.3) "Es danke Gott und lobe dich,"
Forces (190): ATB, 4 vv, 3 tp, timp, 3 ob (1 d'a), str, bc.
Movements: chorus, 3 recit. (BTA, B, T), 2 arias (A, TB), chorale.
1. Chs.(?tutti): Sing to the Lord a new song (Ps.149:1, 150:4, 6)=190/1
2. Rec.(?BTA w/cle.): O God, we praise Thee=190/3
3. Aria(?A,str): Praise Zion thy God with joy (Ps.23:2) (polonaise)= 190/3
4. Rec.(?B): Lord, if thy evangelism, the heaven's teaching (new, music lost)
After the Sermon:
5. Aria(?TB,ob): Blessed are we through the word (passepied-minuet)=190/5
6. Rec.(?T,str): God to thee our lips sacrifice their fruit (new, music lost)
7. Cle.(?tutti): They thanketh God, and praiseth thee=69/6 (Council, 1748), orig. ?BWV 311

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV120b.htm (Z. Philip Ambrose English translation)

AUGSBURG CONFESSION II: 120b, Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille [parody, incomplete]
6/26/1730, St. Thomas Church; parody of 120, Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille, Council 1728-29, repeated 1742.
Sources: BWV 120/1, 2, 4, ?226; recits BWV 120b/3,5 lost
Text: 1. Ps. 65:2; 2-5, Picander 1732 ; 6. Luther mel. "Komm heiliger Geist, Herre Gott," text (S.3), "Du heilige Brunst, süsser Trost"
Forces (120): SATB, 4vv, 3 tp, timp., 2 ob. d'a, str, bc
Movements: arias (A,S), chorus, recits. (?B,T), chorale
1. Aria (?A, obs, str): God, we praise thee now in the stillness (siciliano)=120/1
2. Chs. (?tutti): Pay, O Zion, all they pledges=120a/2, also BWV 232, Et expecto, 1748
After the sermon:
3. Rec. (?B): Ah! Thou the city loved of God (new, music lost)
4. Aria (?S, str): True and faithful; Never falt'ring in distress=BWV 120/4
5. Rec. (?T): Rise up, thou sacred congregation (new, music lost)
6. Chorale (?tutti): O thou holy flame, comfort sweet=?226/2 (1729)

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWVAnh4.htm. (Z. Philip Ambrose English translation)

AUGSBURG CONFESSION III: Anh. I 4a, "Wünschet Jerusalem Glück;
6/27/1730; St. Nicholas Church; parody of Anh. I 4, Wünschet Jerusalem Glück, Council, 8/27/25, rev. 1741.
Sources: BWV Anh. 4/1,2; ?BWV 253
Text: 1. Psalm 122:6-7; 2-5, Picander 1732; 6. "Ach blieb bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ" (stanza 1 after Malanchthon's "Vespera iam venit");
Forces: ?SATB, 4vv, 3 tp, timp, 2 ob d'a, str, bc
Movements: ?chorus, 2 arias, 2 recits, chorale

1. Chorus: Pray for Jerusalem's peace=Anh. 4/1
2. Aria: Laud and honor, sing and praise him=Anh. 4/2
After the sermon:
3. Recit.: Here is the Lord's own temple (new, music lost)
4. Aria: Lord, now hearken to our prayer (new, music lost)
5. Recit.: Give, Lord, thy word to righteous Christians (new, music lost)
6. Chorale: Oh, bide with us, Lord Jesus Christ (2 stanzas)=?253
Schering Cantata Studies 1741

The Augsburg Confession, written by theologian Philip Melanchthon, was formally presented in Augsburg, Germany, on June 25, 1530. The statement of attempted reconciliation and unity contained 21 articles of common basic faith and doctrine and seven additional articles dealing with changes adopted by the evangelical churches. It was signed (ascribed to) by seven German princes and two free cities. The Roman Catholic response was given on August 3. Some articles were accepted, some with qualifications, and some rejected. Unity was not achieved but the Augsburg Confession was a clear and forceful statement of the Reformers' position.

On special occasions the Te Deum laudaumus was presented. These included the feasts of St. Michael and Reformation Day, as well as special praise and thanksgiving services, when the Te Deum laudaumus was sung, with organ, trumpets and drums. (Stiller, pp. 81f). Bach has two related settings of Luther's German Te Deum and New Year's chorale, "Herr Gott, dich loben wir": the extended organ chorale prelude, BWV 725, and the four-voice chorale setting, BWV 328.

There is a strong interrelationship among the works Bach composed for services of praise and thanksgiving. First are the works for the Feast of New Year's Day in Leipzig with five cantatas (BWV 190, BWV 16 , BWV 41, BWV 171, and BWV 248IV) for all five projected sacred cycles. Also, there is the eight-voice motet BWV 225, Singet dem Herr ein neues Lied, first performed possibly on Jan. 1, 1727, and possibly again on May 12, 1727, along with lost Cantata BWV Anh. 9, for the birthday of Saxony ruler Augustus the Strong.

We also have at least five parodies of Köthen celebratory serenades (BWV 66, BWV 134, BWV 174, BWV 184, BWV 194) for the Feasts of Easter, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday in 1724, cantatas without trumpets and drums.

Then, there are the annual cantatas for the installation of the Leipzig Town Council in late August: surviving, BWV 119, BWV 193, BWV 120, BWV 29, and BWV 69; questionable, BWV 137; lost, Anh. 4, 3, and BWV 193; parody fragments, BWV 216a, possibly sinfonia sketch BWV 1045. Despite Bach's conflicts with his employers, he may have presented council cantatas every year, as he probably did with Passions on Good Friday.

As to a special Thanksgiving service, Bach presented other works for similar special celebrations of either Lutheran observance or the Saxon Court. Besides three parodies for the three-day festival for the 200th Anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, June 26-28, 1730, we have the Festive Service of Allegiance to August III, April 21, 1733, at the Thomas Church, possibly with BWV 232I, Kyrie-Gloria; and a Thanksgiving Service for the War of Polish Succession, July 6, 1734, at the Nikolas Church, possibly with BWV 248a, later parodied as BWV 248VI for Epiphany 1735.

Besides the interrelationship of these works of praise and thanksgiving is the fact that many are parodied and/or lost while Bach engaged in a two-decade process of transformation of his works and the genesis of creative legacy in the fashion of composers beginning in the Renaissance.

The year 1730 in Leipzig marked a major shift for Bach, from the composition of church-year cantata cycles to the compilation -- primarily through parody (another Renaissance tradition) -- of the culmination of his vocal legacy. In the 1730s, Bach composed a Christological cycle of major works embracing the Feast Day Oratorios for Christmas, Easter, Ascension, and possibly Pentecost (lost). He completed the annual presentation of Passion Oratorios drawn from the Gospels. Bach initiated the de-tempore Trinity Season keystone work of Christian unity, the Mass, with the Kyrie-Gloria sequence. In his last two decades, Bach primarily composed collections of instrumental works, including organ chorales and finally in the 1740s completed the Catholic Great Mass in B Minor, BWV 232. Bach in 1750 had achieved his calling of a well-regulated church music in the broadest and deepest sense possible.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 19, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< AUGSBURG CONFESSION II: 120b, Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille [parody, incomplete]
1. Aria (?A, obs, str): God, we praise thee now in the stillness (siciliano)=BWV 120/1
2. Chs. (?tutti): Pay, O Zion, all they pledges=BWV 120a/2, also
BWV 232, Et expecto, 1748
After the sermon:
3. Rec. (?B): Ah! Thou the city loved of God (new, music lost) >
Is this the original layout of the cantata? I can't think of any other cantatas which only have two movements before the sermon. Is there any suggestion that the celebration was not a mass or vespers but rather a stand-alone sermon with cantata? That might explain the odd layout.

Thomas Braatz' Provenance page also notes that there is a note at the end of the cantata: "In Fine Intrada con Trombe | e Tamburi". That seems to be an indication that there was a brass canzona to cover the processional exit of civic worthies. "Gott ist mein Konig" seems also to have had a preliminary brass piece.

Do we have any idea what the repertoire of the Leipzig waits was? The Three S's? Schütz, Schein & Scheidt ...

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 19, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Unity was not achieved but the Augsburg Confession was a clear and forceful statement of the Reformers' position. >
Thanks for the always accurate and helpful citations. The Augsburg Confession itself is new to me with recent BCML discussion, and the intent of unity by the Reformers is new with this post.

That unity, as I see it, would have been relatively local, in any event. European, at best. The concept of Christian Unity as something to be recovered is a misunderstanding. There have been local sects from the very beginning (the Year One, or shortly thereafter). Those sects coalesced centuries later into Roman, Eastern, and Coptic centers of spiritual and political authority, which continue to this day. My grandfather (about fifty to sixty generations removed) Charlemagne, along with Pope Leo III, consolidated many of the western sects and states into the Holy Roman Empire on Christmas Day, 800 AD. That was the beginning of Europe and Christian Unity (not including Eastern and Coptic). My few sentecnes are a gross oversimplification, but accurate as far as they go, to my understandng.

The goal of Christian Unity is not a misunderstanding, just something which has never yet beeen achieved, neither before nor after the Reformation.

For any readers who appreciate the proposed Earth Circuit calendar, 2001 AD equals 4.56 Billion (10 to 9th) plus 1, abbreviated as 1 EC. The Year One is thus neg 2000 EC, and 800 AD (dang those zeroes) is neg 1201 EC. I think Bach loves it, but that is of course a matter of Faith on my part (both the Love, and the present tense).

<Where there is devotional [or beautiful] music, God with His grace is always present.> J.S.Bach marginalia to the Calov Bible Commentary. There is a formal program at Brandeis University, Waltham MA, USA, called Music Unites Us (MUUs). You could do worse than to track it down and see what it is about.

William Hoffman wrote (August 19, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Is this the original layout of the cantata? I can't think of any other cantatas which only have two movements before the sermon. Is there any suggestion that the celebration was not a mass or vespers but rather a stand-alone sermon with cantata? That might explain the odd layout.
Thomas Braatz' Provenance page also notes that there is a note at the end of the cantata: "In Fine Intrada con Trombe | e Tamburi". That seems to be an indication that there was a brass canzona to cover the processional exit of civic worthies. "Gott ist mein Konig" seems also to have had a preliminary brass piece.
Do we have any idea what the repertoire of the
Leipzig waits was? The Three S's? Schütz, Schein & Scheidt ...>
William Hoffman replies: My listing shows three more movements:

4. Aria (?S, str): True and faithful; Never falt'ring in distress=120/4
5. Rec. (?T): Rise up, thou sacred congregation (new, music lost)
6. Chorale (?tutti): O thou holy flame, comfort sweet=?226/2 (1729)

Stiller emphasizes Bach's new Picander text, with the break for the sermon, as a full festival service of thanksgiving.

In festive pieces there often were processions with brass and, I assume, field drums, by the stadtpfeiffer or Collegium musicum. As noted, the Te Deum was sung with brass, drums and organ on Reformation Day Festival, then "there is more music, and after the music the singing of "Nun danket alle Gott" (Stiller 84).

As for Bach, we have the Cantatas BWV 207(a) addendum brass march.

As for the Three S's, as you know, Paul McCreesh uses instrumental pieces in his baroque Mass recreations, with processions, recessions, and intermedia, often chorales. I suspect that the Three S's' pieces and others were collected for Lutheran church festivals. I presume the authority is Ulrich Prinz (Instrumentarium in Cantatas) at Stuttgart Bachakademie.

Incidentally, I would be delighted sometime to see music listed for Bach Mass (re)creations for Christmas, New Year's, Easter, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and St. Michael's. I have the recording of the Reformation Vespers, Cantata BWV 80 (1979).

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 19, 2009):
Bach Reconstructions

William Hoffman wrote:
< Incidentally, I would be delighted sometime to see music listed for Bach Mass (re)creations for Christmas, NYear's, Easter, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and St. Michael's. I have the recording of the Reformation Vespers, Cantata BWV 80 (1979) >
Here is the musical sequence which I've researched for the Tallis Choir of Toronto's concert recreation of a Bach "Mass of Christmas" on Sat, November 28 at St. Patrick's Church at McCaul & Dundas W in Toronto.

The musical sequence is accurate up to the Gospel, where we arrange things a bit to accomodate a modern concert audience. I've edited modern performing editions for all the plainsong as well as the 17th Latin polyphony from the sources known to have been used by Bach. The organ interludes in the chorales have been adapted from Bach's sketches for three Christmas chorales.

The research process has provided fascinating practical insights into Bach's musical world. It will be the first such Bach recreation in Toronto and is full of splendid festive music.
________________________________________________

A LUTHERAN MASS FOR THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS
as it may have been celebrated in St. Nicholas¹ Church, Leipzig
on December 26, 1746
under the direction of Johann Sebastian Bach
________________________________________________

1. Prelude before Introit:
'Puer Natus in Bethlehem',
'Orgelbüchlein', BWV 603, No. 5

2. Introit Motet: 'Puer Natus in Bethlehem' a 8
M. Praetorius, 'Musae Sionae' (1607), LXXXVI

3. Prelude before Kyrie:
'Gottes Sohn ist Kommen', BWV 703

4. Kyrie: Missa Brevis in F Major, BWV 233
1. Chorus: 'Kyrie'

5. Gloria: Plainsong Intonation
2. Chorus: 'Gloria in excelsis Deo'
3. Aria (bass): 'Domine Deus'
4. Aria (soprano) 'Qui tollis peccata mundi'
5. Aria (alto) 'Quoniam tu solus Sanctus'
6. Chorus: 'Cum Sancto Spiritu'

6. Collect: 'Dominus Vobiscum S Puer Natus'
'Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch' 1682, Plainsong

7. Epistle: Titus 3:4-7: 'So Schreib', Plainsong

8. Prelude before Hymn de Tempore:
'Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ', BWV 697

9. Hymn de Tempore:
'Gelobet Seist Du', Jesu Christ'
Verse 1 ­ Tune: 'Grates Nunc' -15th century
Verse 2 ­ 'Gelobet Seist Du, Jesu Christ', BWV 722
Verse 3 - 'Gelobet Seist Du, Jesu Christ' - J. Deck

10. Gospel: 'Dominus Vobiscum S Gloria Tibi'
'Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch' 1682
Luke 2:15-20: 'So Schreib' - plainsong

11. Hymn De Tempore: 'Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ'
Verse 4 ­ BWV 91, No.6
________________________________________________

INTERVAL
________________________________________________

12. Cantata: 'Dazu ist Erschienen', BWV 40

1. Chorus: 'Dazu ist Erschienen'
2. Recitative (Tenor): 'Das Wort ward Fleisch'
3. Chorale: 'Die Sünd macht Leid'
4. Aria (Bass): 'Höllische Schlange'
5. Recitative (Alto): 'Die Schlange, so im Paradies
6. Chorale: 'Schüttle deinen Kopf'
7. Aria (Tenor) : 'Christenkinder, freuet euch'
8. Chorale: 'Jesu, nimm dich deiner Glieder'

13. Prelude before Chancel Hymn:
'Vom Himmel Hoch', BWV 701

14. Chancel Hymn: 'Vom Himmel Hoch'
Verse 1 ­ 'Cantoral' - J. Schein
Verse 2 ­ BWV 738
Verse 3 ­ 'Cantoral' - J. Schein

15. Preface: 'Dominus Vobiscum'
'Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch' 1682

16. Sanctus: 'Sanctus in G Major', BWV 240

17. Lord¹s Prayer & Verba:
'Vater Unser' - Plainsong
'Amen' XCI a 5, 'Mysto-Chorodia'
- M. Praetorius
Verba ­ 'Unser Herr' - Plainsong

18. Communion Motet:
'Lobet Den Herrn', BWV 230

19. Prayer after Communion ­ 'Der Herr Sei S'
'Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch' 1682

20. Blessing: 'Der Herr Segne Euch', Plainsong
'Amen' XLVII a 8, 'Mysto-Chorodia'
M. Praetorius

21. Hymn: 'Nun Danket Alle Gott', BWV 252
________________________________________________

Continue on Part 5

Cantatas BWV 190 & BWV 190a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 190 | Details of BWV 190a | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 190 | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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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