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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 197
Gott ist unsre Zuversicht
Cantata BWV 197a
Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Week of March 1: Cantata BWV 197a - Ehre sei Gott & BWV 197

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 28, 2009):
Week of March 1:
Cantata BWV 197a - Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe
Cantata BWV 197 - Gott ist unsre Zuversicht (parody of 197a)

Links to texts, translations, scores, recordings and earlier discussions:

BWV 197a:

BWV 197:

BWV 197a: Christmas Day
1st performance: December 25, 1728 or 1729 - Leipzig
2nd performance: 1736-1737 ­ Leipzig

BWV 197: Wedding (parody of BWV 197a)
1st performance: 1736-1737 - Leipzig

Cantata 197a was written for Christmas Day and survives in an incomplete manuscript. Bach later used two movements for the wedding cantata, ³Gott ist unser Zuversicht². The text is by Picander.


1. Chorus: ³Ehre Sei Gott² [Dictum] ­ music lost
Dürr suggests that Bach may have preceded the cantata with an instrumental sinfonia as he did with other cantatas from this period. It is unlikely that the music of BWV 197 was adapted from this cantata although BWV 197 does have the Christmas trumpets. Bach set the same biblical text for choir in the recitative in Part 2 of the Christmas Oratorio with strongly contrasting music for ³glory², ³peace² and ³goodwill.² That same contrast can be found in the opening of the ³Gloria² in the B Minor Mass and in the duet, ³Ehre sei Gott² from ³Unser Mund.² We donıt have the music for this cantata, but the same musical contrasts in the setting of the text may have been used in this chorus.

2. Aria (?): ³Erzählet ihr Himmel² ­ music lost

3. Recitative(?): ³O Liebe² ­ music lost
The recitative may have been for alto if the later pairing of recitative and ria in this cantata is a model. Itıs worth noting that Bachıs librettists do not specify particular voices for their texts even though there seem to be conventions: martial music for basses, ³soul² music for sopranos.

4. Aria (alto) ³O! du angenehmer Schatz²
­ partial music survives, parody in BWV 197
This aria is scored for 2 flutes, obligato bass instrument and continuo. The BGA suggests cello for the obligato bass but it is a bassoon in 197. The part calls for a virtuosic player. Although the key is the same, Bachıs two versions are radically different: the scoring in 197 is solo oboe and bassoon with muted strings.

5. Recitative (bass): ³Das Kind ist mein² [music lost]

6. Aria (bass): ³Ich lasse dich nicht² = parody in 197
Scored for Oboe dıamore and continuo, this spirited 6/8 bass aria is reworked in BWV 197 in fancier dress as a soprano aria with violin solo, 2 oboes dıamore and continuo. It is interesting that the wedding version uses a much more lavish orchestra than the Christmas version.

7. Chorale: ³Wohlan! So will ich mich²
The chorale uses the tune of ³Ich freue mich in dir² which is one of the chorales which the congregation may have sung later in the service at communion (see Musical Sequence for Christmas Day below.) Did Bach precede this cantata with an organ prelude on this chorale?


Part One: ³Before the Wedding²:

1. Chorus: ³Gott ist unsre Zuversicht²
It would interesting to know for whose wedding this massively festive cantata was written: the scale and scoring is so lavish that itıs hard to believe that any rich burgherıs daughter would receive such a royal gift. A Bach family occasion? It definitely falls into the category of a ³full² wedding. There were only 31 such weddings during Bachıs tenure in Leipzig (see Musical Sequence for Wedding below.) Were the wedding categories reflected in performance by particular choirs? This cantata must have been performed by Choir 1. After a tremendously exciting orchestral introduction full of splendid fanfares, choir develops a fugue on a spirited, syncopated theme which leads into new material for the return of the orchestral passage. The middle section is Oa capellaı with the choir doubled only with the continuo and the orchestra adding snippets of the principal themes as interludes. A full da capo follows.

2. Recitative (bass): ³Gott ist und bleibt²
The libretto is a charming depiction of a happy 18th century marriage, and one is irresistibly tempted to read Bachıs own marital bliss into this superb cantata. The secco recitative shifts into arioso with a Owalkingı bass: the ³path of life²?

3. Aria (alto): ²Schläfert allen Sorgenkummer²
This Osleepı aria was parodied from the secular Cantata BWV 249. The solo oboe has a charming lullaby over nodding strings. The B section is a complete contrast: a lively allegro depicting Godıs vigilant watch. The da capo returns to the opening sleepytime music. Bach rarely uses this kind of dramatic contrast in a da capo aria, unlike Handel who loved to shock his listeners. Bachıs most arresting use of contrasting sections is ³Es ist vollbracht² in the St. John Passion.

4.Recitative (bass): "Drum folget Gott²
In this accompanied recitative, the strings begin with short secco chords, relaxing into sustained harmonies in the last four bars.

5. Chorale : ²Du süsse Lieb²
The first half of the cantata closes appropriately enough with the hymn ³Nun bitten wir den Heilgen Geist² as a prayer for the wedding rite which was about to take place. There is some question about the ceremonial of the Leipzig rite and whether the wedding vows still took place at the door of the church. (see Musical Sequence for Wedding below.)

Part Two: ³After the Wedding² (³Post copulationem² !)

6. Aria (bass): ³O du angenemes Paar²
The second half of the cantata took place after the vows and ring-giving but before the sermon and benediction. The movement is a parody from BWV 197a as discussed above.

7. Recitative (soprano): ³So wie es Gott²
None of the recitatives in this cantata are simple secco movements ­ an indication of the workıs lavishness. Again, the declamative opening moves into an arioso with a ³walking² bass on the Path of Life.

8. Aria (soprano): ³Vergnügen und Lust²
This stunning aria is a parody of the aria in BWV 197a. As discussed above, the violin solo ­ played by Bach himself? ­ transforms the source music.

9. Recitative (bass): ³Und dieser frohe Lebenslauf²
Another elaborate accompanied recitative has sustained oboes with punctuating strings chords.

10. Chorale: ³So wandelt froh²
Given the luxuriousness of the scoring throughout this cantata, one would hope for a bit more splendour in the closing chorale which uses the melody of ³Wer nur den lieben Gott² and does not specify orchestration (at least in the BGA).


Weddings were classified in 3 categories and normally celebrated on Mondays:
1) Full ­ with cantata [Bachıs Choir 1?]
2) Half ­ with motet [Choir 2?]
3) Quarter ­ with hymns [Choir 3 or 4?]

There were only 31 full weddings during Bachıs tenure in Leipzig.
The wedding rite was normally held at the church door while the blessing was at the altar, although it is not clear whether the entire rite was conducted at the front of the church in Bachıs time.

The three chorales, BWV 250-252, with orchestral doubling, were the chorales prescribed for all weddings:
"Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan", BWV 250 ­ ³Before the Wedding²
"Sei Lob und Ehr dem hoechsten Gut" BWV 251 - ³After the Wedding²
"Nun Danket Alle Gott², BWV 252 ­ ³After the Blessing²
(scored for 2 horns, Ob, Ob dıA, Strings)

Chorale Prelude on First Hymn
Hymn: "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan", BWV 250?
or "In allen meinen Taten"
Chorale Prelude
Cantata ­ Part One
Consent [at church door?]
Vows [at church door?]
Exchange of rings [at church door?]
Announcement of Marriage [at church door]?
Cantata ­ Part Two
ChPrelude on ³Sei Lob und Ehr²
Procession to Altar:
Hymn "Sei Lob und Ehr dem hoechsten Gut", BWV 251?
Chorale Prelude on Hymn:
Benediction [at altar]
Chorale Prelude on ³Nun Danket² [BWV 657?]
Closing Hymn: ONun Danket Alle Gott², BWV 252?

Tower bells rung at 6 am and again at 7 am:
The 5200 kg bell ³Gloriosa² (1477) (pitched in A) was rung only on festivals
Candles lit at 7 am,
Archdeacon of Leipzig officiates as celebrant; Deacon assists
Musicians must be in loft by final bell or be fined.

Organ Prelude on ³Puer Natus² (BWV 603 ­ Orgelbüchlein?)
Settings by Bach or other composers before all chorales & choral works: )
Introit Hymn/Motet by Choir: ³Puer Natus In Bethlehem²
Settings by Praetorius or Schein are possible

Organ Prelude before Kyrie to establish key and cover tuning
Missa Brevis: Kyrie & Gloria (Plainsong Gloria intonation sung by Celebrant)
A concerted setting in Latin was sung from Christmas Day to Epiphany.
Bachıs own missae breve are generally from his later tenure in Leipzig but may have been used with later performances of the cantata:
B minor (1733) ­ used in B Minor Mass [only missa brevis with brass]
BWV 233 - F major (1738)
based on Christmas cantata ³Dazu ist Erscheinen² ­ 2 horns
BWV 233a ­ Kyrie (1708-1712)
BWV 234 ­ A major (1738)
BWV 235 ­ G minor (1738)
BWV 236 ­ G Major (1738)

Collect/Prayer of Day sung in Latin plainsong by Celebrant
Choral Responses sung to four-part polyphony
from Vopelius collection ³Neue Leipziger Gesangbuch²

Epistle: Titus 2:11-14 (The grace of God has appeared)
sung by Deacon in German to plainsong

Organ Prelude on ³Gelobet Seist Du² (BWV 314 or 604?)
Congregational Gradual Hymn of the Day (³de temporeı,):
³Gelobet Seist Du, Jesu Christ ³

Gospel choral responses sung in six-part polyphony from Vopelius collection
Gospel : Luke 2: 1-14 (Birth of Christ)
sung by Deacon in German to plainsong

Organ Prelude on ³Wir Glauben All An Einen Gott² (BWV 1098?)
Congregational Creed Chorale:
³Wir Glauben All An Einen Gott² (Luther)

Organ Prelude before Cantata
First Cantata

Organ Prelude on ³Ein Kindelein So Löbelich² (BWV 719?)
Congregational Pulpit Hymn after the Cantata (Offertory)
³Ein Kindelein So Löbelich²

Sursum Corda sung in Latin in six-part polyphony
from Vopelius collection
Preface sung in Latin by Celebrant
Sanctus (without Benedictus)
A concerted setting was sung in Latin during Christmas week.
BWV 237 ­ C major
BWV 238 ­ D major
BWV 239 ­ D Minor
BWV 240 ­ G Major (arr?)
BWV 241 ­ D Major (Kerll?)
Hand bells rung at the altar at the end of the Sanctus
Verba (Words of Institution) sung in German plainsong by Celebrant

Second Cantata ³sub communione² during Communion?
Unknown if by Bach or other composer;
Bachıs motet ³Lobet den Herrn² has a traditional Christmas text.

Other congregational hymns during Communion:
introduced by organ prelude:
³Ich Freue Mich In Dir² (Ziegler)
³Wir Christenleut² (Fuger)

Final Prayer & Benediction:
sung with 4 part polyphony from Vopelius

Organ Prelude on ³³Ein Kind Geborn zu Bethlehem²
Final Congregational Hymn: ³Ein Kind Geborn zu Bethlehem²
German repeat of Introit chorale

William Hoffman wrote (March 3, 2009):
Correction: Intro to BWV 197a

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< In the commentary on the opening chorus of 197a, the second sentence should read:
It is unlikely that the music of 197 was adapted from this cantata although BWV 197 does have the Christmas trumpets. >
William Hoffman replies: Here is the original: "It is unlikely that the music of 197 was adapted from this cantata although 197a does have the Christmas trumpets."

The correction is the same, verbatum, as the original. And I agree with both statements!

I am putting together research on the lost first half of BWV 197a, the supposed original. I do think there is a strong connection between it and its "parody." Some amazing music has been suggested by competent Bach authorities for the lost first half. This week I'll do a "down-and-dirty" summary of the French Overture and the Sinfonia in Bach's cantatas, which could have played a role in the "lost" BWV 197a music. Stay tuned!

And, thanks again to Doug for his incisive words and accompanying service schedules which should stir some thought about connections and contexts. We still have much to discover and experience, especially within the context of Aryeh's recent thoughts.

William Hoffman wrote (March 4, 2009):
BWV 197a Realized!

CHRISTMAS: 197a, Ehre sei Gott in der Hohe [Chorus; Incomplete, parodied]
12/25/c.28 (Cycle 4); parodied, #4, 6 in BWV 197, Gott ist unsre Zuversicht, wedding c1736-37; partially lost (#1-3).
Sources: (1) score fragment dated to 1736-37 (NY priv., ?WFB; Epstein, Vienna 1894; (4) score fragment copy (SPK P.1054, ?WFB, Hauser).
Literature: BG XLI (Dörfffel 1894); NBA KB I/2, 39 ff (Dürr, 1957) sp. ed. (reconst.), ed. G. A. Theill (Forberg: Bonn, 1981): #1 = BWV 1068/1, #2 = BWV 62/2, #3 orig.
Text: #1-6, Picander P5 (1728, 1732); #7, Ziegler cle., "Ich freue mich in dir" ("I Rejoice in Thee") (S.4), mel. "O Gott, du frommer Gott" ("O God, Thou Pious God") (BWV 398).
Forces: ? SATB, 4 vv, 2 fl, 2 ob d'a, 3 tp, ti, str, bc.
Movements: chorus, 3 arias (?T, A, B), recs. (?A, B), chorale.
1. Chs. (?tutti): Glory to God in the Highest (Gospel, Lk. 2:14) (lost, ?=1068/1 French overture, c1729-31).
2. Aria(?T, obs, str): Tell, ye Heaven, the glory of God (lost, ?=62/2, Advent 1, 1725).
3. Rec. (?A): O love, that no love equals (lost).
4. Aria (A, fls, vc): O you, agreeable beloved (=197/6).
5. Rec. (B): This child is mine.
6. Aria (B, ob d'a): I await thee not (=197/8).
7. Cle. (?tutti): Well then, so shall I myself to Thee, O Jesus, hold.

Only all or part of some nine cantatas exist from Bach's so-called Picander fourth annual cantata cycle of 60 extant service texts of 1728-29. Some of the surviving music is parody - vocal music from sacred works, or instrumental adaptations of concerto movements, usually introductory sinfonias to church cantatas. Collectively, much of it is first-rate festive music which Bach revived. Beyond this motive, these church pieces performed between 1726 and 1729 presage Bach's pursuit of parodied works in the 1730s, ultimately achieving a marvelous Christological cycle of major works, yielding three oratorio Passions, at least three oratorios for major feasts, and five Mass works.

Turning to Christmas Cantata BWV 197a, initially presented in 1728 or 1729, Bach obviously had some marvelous music to set to traditional texts, possibly a "parody" (BWV 197a/1, 2; Z. Philip Ambrose translation):

1. Coro Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe, Friede auf Erden
und den Menschen ein Wohlgefallen.

2. Aria Erzählet, ihr Himmel, die Ehre Gottes,
Ihr Feste, verkündet seine Macht.
Doch vergesset nicht dabei
Seine Liebe, seine Treu,
Die er an denen Verlornen vollbracht.

1. Chorus(1) [Dictum]
Glory to God in the highest, peace be on earth and unto men a sign of good favor.
2. Aria
Be telling, ye heavens, of God's great glory, &#8232; Ye feast days, make manifest now his might. (d.c.)
But forget not, all the while,
His affection, his great faith,
Which he to them who are fallen extends.

The first two substantial movements could certainly have involved some first-rate festive music which, in its realization in the first half of the Christmas cantata, BWV 197a, would have been inappropriate for the parodied wedding cantata, BWV 197, in two parts, presented about the same time, 1736-37.

I have been unable to obtain the realization of BWV 197a, cited , by the late Gustave Adolph Theill, Forberg Verlag Press (OOP). Theill, and the late Diethard Hellmann, accomplished, source-critical reconstructions - or realizations -- of various Bach cantatas and the St. Mark Passion. Hellmann, using the parody of the bass aria, 197/6, opening Part 2 of the wedding Cantata, easily duplicated the original, "O du, angenehmer Schatz"(Lk. 2:7) originally sung by an alto an octave higher as 197a/4, and published by Hänssler-Verlag.

Theill began his reconstruction by comparing the concise BWV 197a/1 Canticle text (Lk, 2:14) with the opening movement of Bach's previous (1725) Christmas cantata, BWV 110/1, with its concise text (Ps. 126:2f) by Georg Christian Lehms (the only biblical reference in his 1711 cantata texts) (BWV 110/1, Francis Browne translation):

Unser Mund sei voll Lachens und unsre Zunge voll Rühmens.&#8232;
May our mouth be filled with laughter and our tongue full of praise
&#8232;Denn der Herr hat Großes an uns getan.
&#8232;for the Lord has done great things for

In the previous Christmas cantata opening, BWV 110/1, Bach had an established festive text which he wove into the main allegro movement of the French Overture to the Fourth Orchestral Suite, BWV 1069, a sort of text overlay, adding three trumpets and timpani, in addition to the four-voice chorus. Three years later, Bach could easily have told Picander to use the Christmas Canticle text so that he could weave it into the corresponding music in the opening French Overture of the Third Orchestral Suite, BWV 1068. Supporting this thesis is the fact that around 1729, as Bach assumed leadership of the Collegium musicum, he took his orchestral suites from Köthen and added three trumpets and timpani to key movements of Suites 1, 3, and 4, presenting them as intermezzi or entradas for secular vocal works at Zimmermann's Coffehouse.

Turning to Movement 2, BWV 197a/3, an aria, Theill examined arias from Advent and Christmas cantatas and found a vocal text correspondence with the spirited second movement, a tenor aria, from Advent Cantata BWV 62, "Nun komm der Heiden Heiland," 1724, from the chorale cantata cycle, an aria recently singled out in a BCW discussion. Here is the original text, author unknown, BWV 62/2 (Francis Browne translation):

Bewundert, o Menschen, dies große Geheimnis:
&#8232;Admire, mankind, this great mystery,
&#8232;Der höchste Beherrscher erscheinet der Welt.
&#8232;the highest ruler appears to the world. (d.c.)
Hier werden die Schätze des Himmels entdecket,&#8232;
Here the treasures of heaven are revealed,
&#8232;Hier wird uns ein göttliches Manna bestellt,
&#8232;here a divine manna is presented to us,
&#8232;O Wunder! die Keuschheit wird gar nicht beflecket.&#8232;
O marvel! Chastity can not be defiled.

Both arias, BWV 197a/2 (Lk. 2:14, Jn 3:126) and BWV 62/2 (Ps. 126:3), have the same number of lines, five, including the corresponding da capo two lines. However, the extant text of cantata BWV 197a/2 is not an exact parody, or text underlay, to BWV 62/2. It does not have the same meter or line length, especially in the second line, or the same rhyme scheme. As Bach scholars might say, Theill had to "shoehorn" Picander's text into the original words to get them to fit the music. Bach scholars also would be quick to point out that there are no examples of radical parody, or text underlay, in German, only so-called contrafaction of German from Latin, as Luther did in his German settings of the Latin Mass Proper and the Magnificat.

For BWV 197a/3, a recitative, Theill set the Picander text to his own realization, a procedure done by other Bach scholars, in similar situations (BWV 249a recitatives, Hermann Keller), sometimes doing semi-parodies from corresponding, existing recitative music.

As for the final four movements of the BWV 197a, the most accessible source is the Kalmus Study (Miniature) Scores, No. 858, six pages, beginning with the final 17 bars of the alto aria, BWV 197a/4, and the final three movements, recitative, aria (=BWV 197/8), and chorale (BWV 398). The study score also has BWV 196 and 197 in full.

I have not had the opportunity to examine Alfred Dürr's 1957 NBA KB I/2, Christmas Cantatas critical commentary. Other sources show that the BWV 197a surviving half-score was composed during the Picander Cycle, 1728-29. Of the other some eight other surviving Picander Cycle scores and parts, it appears that most went to Wilhelm Friedemann and may have been dispersed haphazardly. Some scores or parts sets survive while some scores were cut up and some parts sets broken up, sold and acquired as Bach remnants by souvenir collectors (Gerhard Herz, Bach Sources in America, 1984).

Beginning with Spitta, various scholars have suggested that since half of BWV 197a is lost (three folios or pages) what is missing could have involved not only the first three movements, based on Picander's printed text, but also, possibly, a sinfonia introduction.
For a long time, much speculation centered around Sinfonia BWV 1045 in D, a 1740s transcription of an earlier violin concerto. In addition, there were suggestions that Bach may simply have followed the opening sinfonia in BWV 197a with the duet, BWV 110/5 (same text in A Major), which itself is a contrafaction of the BWV 243a Magnificat Christmas interpolation, "Virga Jesse flourit" of 1723.

Most interestingly, the extant autograph score of BWV 197a could date to the same time as its parody, BWV 197, about 1736-37.

According to Yoshitake Kobayashi, "Zur Chronology der Spätewerke J. S. Bachs, 1736-50, Bach Jahrbuch 1988: 39 (my translation):

BWV 197a. verified through autograph watermark Weiss 86; writing characteristics: a, c, e, i. Dating mainly due to watermark, however it is uncertain; also the origin around 1729 does not seem impossible, compare above for this p. 10. The writing findings permit only a rough determination to approximately 1738.

English summary translation. Gerhard Herz, BACH, XXI/1, Spring 1990, p. 11: "ca. 1736/1737: BWV 197a: Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe - autograph score - (but perhaps as early as 1729)." Herz also lists (p. 11) Kobayashi's "Um 1736/37" citations of Cantata BWV 197 autograph score and Cantata BWV 171 autograph score (also Picander cycle) on the bases of similar watermarks and writing characteristics.

Alfred Dürr's definitive study, "Zur Chronology der Leipziger Vokalwerke J. S. Bachs," Bach Jahrbuch 1957: 18, cites but does not give specific performing dates for the nine church cantatas in Picander's cycle, published on 24 June 1728: BWV 197a (fragment), 171, 156, 84, 159, (Anh. 190, fragment), 145, 174, and 149.

So, to make a long story even longer, it's just possible that Bach repeated BWV 197a at the same time as his majestic sacred wedding parody, BWV 197 (with no specific date or couple determined) during 1736-37. It's quite possible that Bach utilized BWV 197a as a "proto" cantata, like a number of other sacred and especially secular cantatas, to meet specific, festive needs and then be source material for other works. This would explain why only one-half survives, was never part of his church cantata cycles, and was recycled or "canabalized" for a gala wedding.

Meanwhile, those present at the initial Christmas Day performance of BWV 197a (and a later revival?), on the basis of Bach's marvelous Christmas day surviving legacy, must have experienced a similar work. We now have the opportunity to explore this "fragment" and perhaps sense Uri Golomb's multiple approaches to Bach's "profoundly expressive" music, with a sense of generosity and awe.

Next: Fugitive Thoughts, "Overtures and Sinfonias-Foreplay and Diversion!"

William Hoffman wrote (March 5, 2009):
BWV 197a Fugitive Thoughts: Overtures and Sinfonias

Fugitive Thoughts, "Overtures and Sinfonias: Foreplay and Diversion!"

There are six Bach sacred cantatas for major occasions which begin with French Ouvertures:
BWV 61, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland I, for Advent, 1716;
BWV 119, Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn, forthe Town Council, 1723;
BWV 194, Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest, sacred dedication; later, Trinity Sunday;
BWV 20, O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort I, for the First Sunday after Trinity, 1724;
BWV 110, Unser Mund sei voll Lachens, for Christmas, 1725;
BWV 97, In allen meinen Taten, unknown, possibly wedding, 1734;

All are for important festive services and, except for the first with only strings, BWV 61, have instrumental accompaniment with oboes or trumpets and drums. In three, BWV 20, BWV 61, and BWV 97, a chorale tune is overlaid on the ouverture. The ouvertures usually follow the tri-parte structure of an opening grave in duple or quadruple time with stately dotted rhythms; the middle is an extended, fast polyphonic section in triple or compound time; with the return of the slow introductory material at the end. In Bach's vocal settings, the chorus is featured in the elaborate middle section (ref. OCC:JSB, 1999: 349/354f).

These cantatas are mentioned in "Jeanne Swack's essay, "A Comparison of Bach's and Telemann's Use of the Ouverture as Theological Signifier" (pp. 99ff) in Bach Perspectives, Vol. 6, Concerted Ensemble Music, The Ouverture, ed. Gregory Butler, Univ. of Illinois Press, 2007.

It is possible that the lost opening movement of Christmas Cantata BWV 197a, Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe, c.1728, may have been modeled after the opening Ouverture to Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D, BWV 1069.

Many of these Ouvertures, including the opening of BWV 97, were composed originally in Köthen or even in Weimar (BWV 61), and expanded with chorus and additional instruments in Leipzig.

The origin, genesis and application of these cantatas with French Overtures for major occasions, as well as the Four Orchestral Suites, BWV 1066-69, reveal an interesting saga with pre-history, according to the extensive article in the program notes to the 2002 recording, "JSB: The Early Overtures: BWV 97a, BWV 119a, BWV 1066, BWV 1067a, BWV 1068a and BWV 1069a (Siegbert Rampe, Nova Stravaganza, MDG 341 1131-2). Rampe suggests that these introductory movements "express power," both secular and ecclesiastical, beginning with BWV 61 in 1714, where Bach integrated four-part vocal music into the orchestral texture. He did likewise in BWV 119 in August 1723, adding three trumpets and drums. Possibly, Bach was able to use Leipzig stadfeifer and members of the Collegium musicum in his Town Council annual cantatas at the Nicholas Church.&#8232;&#8232;

In the past decade, Rampe and other Bach scholars have shown not only that Bach's Overtures (Orchestral Suites) originated in Köthen and possibly earlier, but also that two, BWV 1068 and BWV 1069, had the trumpets and drums added in Leipzig. First came BWV 1069 in the first movement "parody" for Cantata BWV 110 on Christmas Day 1725. Bach may have done likewise with the opening of BWV 1068 to open Cantata BWV 197a, about 1728. Finally, after he assumed directorship of the Collegium musicum in 1729, Bach added the trumpet and drum parts to the other movements of Orchestral Suites 3 and 4. Rampe also suggests that Bach then used these works "as introductory pieces for the secular cantatas he presented in the open air."


Bach primarily composed sinfonias to open cantatas and cantata parts. They were written throughout his formative career from 1707, BWV 106 Sonatina, to the mid 1740s, BWV 1045, an adaptation of a movement from a "lost" violin concerto. Bach's sinfonia efforts were focused on works of "disparate character" in Weimar and to the Leipzig years 1725-31 when Bach adapted keyboard and Brandenburg concerto movements, says keyboard specialist Richard D. P. Jones in JSB:OCC, 1999:452.

Bach's earliest cantatas involve concise instrumental introductions (BWV 4, 150, and 196) for strings and basso continuo as well as the intimate, antique sound of pairs of recorders and violas da'gamba (BWV 106). That special chamber music sound continued in Weimar, notably with Cantatas BWV 152/1 and 18/1 as well as solo winds in BWV 12/1, 21/1, and 182/1. The festive Easter Sunday piece, BWV 31/1, with trumpets and drums, set the tone for similar works in Leipzig, BWV 120/a6=29/1 and 249/1, 2.

The Weimar "disparate character" pieces involve a chaconne (BWV 18), prelude and fugue (BWV 152) and concerto slow movement (BWV 12 and 21). French Ouvertures are found in BWV 75/1, 76/8, and 152/1. Bach's oldest son, Friedemann, is supposed to have played the concerted organ part adaptations from keyboard and Brandenburg concerti: BWV 35/1, 49/1, 52/1, 146/1, 169/1, and 188/1 in Leipzig. Special note is made of the pastorale sinfonias opening the BWV 208 Hunting Cantata, and opening the Christmas 2 Festival, BWV 248/10, with the shepherd's sound of pairs of flutes, oboes d'amore and hunting oboes. The last two categories show Bach, originator of the keyboard concerto, beating Georg Frideric to the punch.

Foremost among sinfonia recording collections is Helmuth Rilling's "Complete" Hänssler 2 CDs, 5286579, followed by Ludwig Wünscherman for Nonesuch, and E. Power Biggs' "Bach Book" and "Music of Jubilee."

In MVHHHO, I think many of the presumed "lost" Köthen instrumental pieces were transformed by the ever-calculating Sebastian in Leipzig and not only show up in the vocal works but also in the instrumental works as well. In addition, Bach wrote many ravishing orchestral ritornelli in his lyric vocal movements and moving, singing melodies in his concerto slow movements. Eat your hearts out - G. F. and Giacomo!

1: BWV 4/1 - Christ lag in Todesbanden; Easter, 1707; str, bc; Venetian style
2: BWV 12/1 - Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen; Eas.Sun +3, 1714; ob, str, bc
3: BWV 18/1 - Gleich wie der Regen und Schnee; Sexagesima, 1715; 2rec, 4va, bc(+vc, bn)
4: BWV 21/1 - Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis; Tr.+3, 1714; ob, str, bc(+bn); trio
5: BWV 29/1 - Wir danken dir Gott; Council, 1731; conc.og, 3 tp, ti, str bc (orig. 1006/1)
6: BWV 31/1 - Der Himmel lacht (Sonata); Eas., 1715; 3tp, ti, 3ob, tai, str., bc(+bn)
7: BWV 35/1 - Geist und Seele wird verwirret; Tr.+12, 1726; conc.og., 2ob, obd'c, str, bc (=1059/1)
8: BWV 35/5 - Geist und Seele; same instr (=1059/3)
9: BWV 42/1 - Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats; Eas.+1, 1725; ob, str, bn, bc; dc (vn. work)
10: BWV 49/1 - Ich geh und such emit verlangen; Tr.+20, 1726; od'a, con. og, bc; dc
11: BWV 52/1 - Falsche Welt, dir trau' ich nicht; Tr.+23, 1726; 2hn, 3ob, str, bc(+bn) (=1046/1)
12: BWV 75/1 - Die Elenden sollen essen; Tr.+1, 1723; tp, 2 ob, obd'a, str, bc(+bn) (Fr. Ov.)
13: BWV 75/8 - Die Elenden; tp, str, bc (chorale adapt.)
14: BWV 76/8 - Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes; Tr.+2, 1723; oba'd, vad'g, bc (Fr. Ov.)
15: BWV 106/1 - Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit; memor., 1707; 2rec, 2v'dg, bc; Sonatina
16: BWV 120a/5 - Herr Gott, beherrscher alert Dinge; wedding 1729 (=29/1)
16: BWV 142/1 - Uns ist ein Kind geboren (Concerto); Xmas, 1712-13; 2fl, 2ob, str, bc; ?Kuhnau
17: BWV 146/1 - Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal; Eas.+6, 1727;con.og; 2ob, obd'c, str, bc (=1052/1)
18: BWV 150/1 - Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, memorial, 1708; 2vn, bc(+bn)
19: BWV 152/1 - Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn; Sun.a.Xmas, 1715; fl, ob, vad'a, vad'g, bc (Fr.Ov.)
20: BWV 156/1 - Ich steh' mit einem Fuss im Grabe; Eph. Sun. +3; ob, str, bc (=1056/2)
21: BWV 169/1 - Gott soll allein; Tr.+18, 1726; conc.og, obd'a, obd'c, str, bc (d.c.=1053/1)
22: BWV 174/1 - Ich liebe den Höchsten; Pen., 1729; 2hn, 2ob, obd'c, str. Bc(+bn) (=1048/1)
23: BWV 182/1 - Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (Sonata); Pl.Sun., 1714; fl, str, bc
24: BWV 188/1 - Ich habe meibe Zuversicht; Tr.+21, 1728; obb.og; 2ob, obd'c, str, bc(=1052/3)
25: BWV 196/1 - Der Herr denket an uns; wedding, 1708; og, str, cb
26: BWV 208(b)/1=1046a - Was mir behagt; 1716; 2hn, 2fl., 2ob, bn, str, bc (=1046/1, 2, 4)
27: BWV 209/1 - Non sa che sia dolore; farewell, ?1729; fl, str, bc (d.c.)
28: BWV 212/1 - Mer Hahn en neue Oberkeet (Ouverture); burlesque, 1742; vn, va, bc
29: BWV 246a=1071=1046/1, 2, 4; cf. BWV 52/1, 208(b)/1
30: BWV 248/10 - Christmas Oratorio; Xmas 2, 1734; 2fl, 2ob d'a, 2obd'c, str,bc (pastorale)
31: BWV 249/1, 2 - Easter Oratorio, Eas., 1725; 3tp, ti; 2 rec., 2ob, obd'a, str, bc(+bn.) (lost con.)
33: BWV1045 - no title, 1743-46, opening sinf.; vn, 3tp, ti, 2ob, str, bc; frag. (lost vn.con.)


Cantatas BWV 197 & BWV 197a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 197 | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 197 | Details & Recordings of BWV 197a | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

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Last update: ŭSeptember 25, 2011 ŭ21:53:44