Cantata BWV 199Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut
Discussions - Part 3
Continue from Part 2
Discussions in the Week of March 20, 2005 (2nd round)
Thomas Shepherd wrote (March 19, 2005):
BWV 199: Introduction
The cantata for discussion this week (March21-28) is:
Cantata BWV 199 "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut"
Event in the Lutheran church calendar: Solo Cantata (for Soprano) for the 11th Sunday after Trinity
Composed: Weimar, 1714
Link to texts, commentary, vocal score, music examples, and list of known recordings: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV199.htm
Link to previous discussions:
Tomorrow, Sunday 21st March 2005 is Palm Sunday the first day Holy Week in the Christian calandar. BWV 199 is a wonderful and delicate cantata full of high emotion appropriate for the season. It has been most movingly written about in the previous round of discussions. It is a canata that many will have in their collections and the Leusink recording  is available for all to hear: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Stream/BWV199-Leusink.ram
I was struck by two quotations from the previous discussions on BWV 199
"Aryeh Oron wrote (September 3, 2000):
……One could also say that captivating arias are also the cause for the relative popularity of this genre. But, as all the Bach cantatas lovers know, it is not a challenging task to find beautiful, delightful, touching, moving, high spirited movements, in the forms of arias, choruses, recitatives, dialogues, and other forms, in almost every Bach cantata. But what I said does not mean to take a bit from the sublime of this cantata. Yes, it is not varied in the means it uses, but this apparently deficiency is compensated by variety and profundity in almost every other aspect. This cantata cannot fail to touch every human heart. It is a masterpiece. "
Over four years have passed since Aryeh made this comment. Has he altered his opinion?
"Santu De Silva wrote (July 22, 2001):
……Just to show how crazy I am about "Tief Gebück": over the weekend I made a MiniDisc of 9 versions of the aria sung by 9 different women."
Perhaps Santu still has that mini disk, would like to listen to it again and add to his earlier comments?
IMO, the aria "Tief gebückt und voller Reue" is one of the most moving Bach ever wrote. This would be one of those pieces that I would like others to hear at my funeral. It is such a happy combination of words and music. The aria turns upon the simpe phrase "Habe doch Geduld mit mir!" so reminiscent of the liturgical response in confessing sinfulness "Lord have mercy" - "Kyrie eleison". Harmonically, of course, Bach uses these bars before the repeat of the first part of the aria as a method of getting back to Eb major. And that's the problem with some of the recordings - its performed only as the bridge. At first listening that's all I felt about Leusink . Holton has a lovely voice, but the whole aria feels like an effort - wading through treacle- and when the bridge passage comes it's simply a method of getting to the da capo. Old HIP Harnoncourt  does not engage at all -tempo too fast. Suzuki  gets it just right, yet perhaps a little too unemotionally? The first time I heard the Rilling performance  I thought the opening of the movement was far too brazen. Its obvious immediately that Arleen Augér has a very fine voice but I really didn't care at all for her tonal wobble. The harpsichord jangling in the background irritates. However the bridge passage was a revelation, and out of all the four performances I have, it is easily the most moving. The music is allowed to hang in mid-air, to become amazingly peaceful and silent. In the spaces, the words of penitence are heard so quietly. Here is no beating at heaven's door, but of heartfelt and childlike humility before God's gift of forgiveness and unconditional love. A great sigh from Rilling's  entire ensemble and the amazing stillness and attention to the words as the bridge passage is transformed into the centre of the entire aria and possibly of the entire cantata. At the first hearing, the Rilling performance had such a profound impression that I rate it as one of those great moments of all the recordings of the cantatas. (the whole lot!)
So I have put some examples for comparison on my web site for a few weeks. Perhaps some might like to judge for themselves. In each example the passage is the same middle section (bars 134-211).
Harnoncourt : Zen - Harnoncourt
Leusink : Zen - Leusink
Rilling : Zen - Rilling
Suzuki : Zen - Suzuki
Extensive extracts from the CD booklet notes in the Suzuki cycle follow: (BIS CD 801 - Volume 4) 
"This frequently performed work, a solo cantata for soprano, was first performed on the eleventh Sunday after Trinity (27th August) in 1713, according to Yoshitake Kobayashi's new study. The autograph from this time is still extant but, from the parts for later performances in Cöthen in around 1720 and in Leipzig on the appropriate Sunday in 1723, we know that the cantata was revised after its first performance. Because of this, it appears in three parallel columns (showing the differences between the versions) in the Bach Handbook.
"Cantata No.199 ranks among the comparatively new treasures of Bach's composition. This is because the autograph was only discovered by Danish musicologist C.A. Martienssen in the Royal Library in Copenhagen in 1911. An edition of the cantata based on the manuscript was included in a 1913 publication of Bach's complete works, giving the piece the appearance of hating been known to the world for much longer. The text is based on the Gospel for the day (Luke 18: 9-14), which relates Jesus's bitter parable told 'unto certain which trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and despised others'. A Pharisee and a tax collector prayed in the temple. The Pharisee prayed for himself in pride that although he might not be righteous, he was certainly better than a tax collector; the tax collector prayed earnestly and with humility 'Have pity on me a sinner'. The one whose prayer was heard was the tax collector, says Jesus. This parable, together with the re-examining of ones faith which it was meant to provoke, contains a truth which has not faded with the passing years.
"The librettist, Georg Christian Lehms (libretto dated 1711), puts the focus of the test on the self as the 'I' in the tax collector's prayer and in baroque rhetoric it sings of the acute trembling and sorrow of the sinful spirit. The alteration of recitative and aria gives a feeling of monologue, which, when set to Bach's beautiful music, becomes a direct description of the transfiguration, the awakening from despair, and the journey towards peace of mind which the inner sell experiences. Lehms's lyrics were also set to music in 1712 by Christoph Graupner, who was a candidate along with Bach for the post of Kantor at the Thomasschule, and there are those who point to the similarities between this work and Bach's 'My heart swims in blood...'. An unusual feature of this cantata is that it begins directly with a recitative. This deeply emotional recitative, which is accompanied by strings, draws the listener into the spirit of suffering in this world. The aria which comes next (Adagio, C minor) begins with a beautiful ritornello introduction for oboe which governs the do capo structure of the movement. The melodic line winds around into a new direction, which, according to Dürr, symbolizes the despair of discovery that there is no way to flee. At the end of the middle section, the descending phrase on Mein Herz ist itzt ein Tränenbrunn, Die Augen heiße Quellen (My heart is a fountain of tears, my eyes warm springs) is set in recitative-like style. The tax collector's prayer was heard because his heart was patient. His words, 'Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner', are incorporated into the recitative in the third movement, where the soul lays down its burden and expresses deep contrition and faith in God. Here the music moves into the major keys, and the strings' lively accompaniment to the aria (fourth movement, Andante, B flat major) is almost Händelian in character. This aria too takes the da capo form and, immediately before the return to the beginning, there is an Adagio section. The soprano sings that her regretful heart has heard words of comfort from above (recitative, fifth movement), and this leads into the ensuing chorale (sixth movement, Andante, F major). This chorale has as its text the third verse of Johann Heermann’s 1630 hymn Wo soll ich fliehen hin? (Whither shall I fly?), in which the sinner finds the succour of grace in the Lord's wounds. The chorale melody sang by the soprano is ornamented by a viola obbligato, which for the Leipzig performance was reassigned to the cello piccolo. The 'self', having found a resting place, sings in faith and joy now. At the end of the recitative in the seventh movement, the soprano's melisma on the words fröhlich singen (gladly sing) is augmented by the first violin for an especially noteworthy moment. The soprano line now takes on a jig-like rhythm, and the eighth movement (Allegro, B flat major), closing the cantata, is an aria which could almost be a dance. Dürr suggests that if this movement were arranged for winds only, it could be the finale of a suite."
I hope to see many of you joining in the discussion.
Neil Halliday wrote (March 20, 2005):
[To Thomas Shepherd] Thanks, Thomas, for these four examples of what is indeed a profoundly moving moment in the cantata.
I had to check when I first heard the Harnoncourt ; the soprano sure sounded like a woman, and a fine singer at that - turns out to be Barbara Bonney. But Harnoncourt's accompaniment is disjointed, the fast tempo works against both the emotion of the music and the meaning of the text, and the delicious trills in the upper strings are nearly absent in this performance. Why attempt to make a dance out of this movemment?
Holton, with Leusink , sounds like a boy, as usual. Nice singing, but the 'messa di voce' technique results in excessive contrast in volume levels of certain notes. The orchestra lacks impact.
Rilling's orchestra  can be, as you say "brazen" at times (this is the problem I had with the strings in the opening chorus of BWV 172), but at moments of sensitivity such as we have in this bridge passage, the sound is quite enchanting, and Rilling's musicianship shows. The problem with his da capo is the somewhat hard driven tempo (8.07), especially evident after listening to Richter's ecstatic, slow performance ; at 9.47, his seems to be the natural tempo for this music, IMO. (Richter can make 10 minutes disappear like magic!) The only drawback is the piercing vibrato that Mathis brings to some of the high notes, otherwise Richter's performance is perfection, with the glorious counterpoint of the middle string parts singing out, and those delicious string trills being a luxurious feature.
[Likewise, something I omitted to mention last week, I think Richter has the more moving (slower) tempo (7.14) for the "streams of tears" aria in BWV 21 (cf Rilling's 5.45, Werner 5.58); the main problem with Richter's performance, as Aryeh has suggested, being the excessive contrast in the loudness level of the orchestra in its ritornello, and accompanying, roles].
Of the period groups, Suzuki's orchestra  has the most pleasing 'cantabile', legato articulation, and his tempo, though as fast as Rilling, seems less hard driven in the 'da capo' section. The soprano soars wonderfully on some of the high notes (if she avoids too much vibrato).
Now to listen to the rest of the cantata.
Peter Smaill wrote (March 20, 2005):
To judge by the previous discussions, BWV 199 is a great favourite of our Group; the reason in great part being the exquisite aria, "Tief Gebuckt". The performance by Dawn Upshaw, which had just been published when the Cantata was last reviewed (although recorded in new York in 1997, ensemble not stated (?who were they?), remains for me one of the highest vocal treasures in the repertoire and much to be recommended.
To answer a previous query, it is in a Bach/Purcell compilation, "Angels Hide Their Faces", Nonesuch 759-79605-2 .
The libretto's chief interest this time is theological. It starts in penitential mode in contemplation of sin before God the Father; but ends addressing which Person of the Trinity? As happens elsewhere in Lehms' austere texts, God the Son is not mentioned overtly. In this case, we end with Jesus by inference :
(199/4) Tief Gebuckt und voller Reue
Lieg ich, Dich, Liebster Gott...
(199/.6) Ich, dein betruebtes Kind
Werf' all meine Suend
So viel Ihr in mir stecken
Und mich so heftig schrecken
In deine Tiefe Wuenden
Da ich stets Heil gefunden.
The key plea is in the aria, deeply bowed before God the Father in remorse for sin; but the Chorale talks of casting sins into "Your deep Wounds". Surely these are metaphysically Jesus' wounds ? But Jesus is not mentioned ! Or is Lehms deliberately confusing the persons of the Trinity so as to end with a suffering God :
(199/3) Ach ja ! Sein Herz bricht
Und meine seele spricht.
If God is defined in classical theological terms as impassible - unchanging and therefore not as Godhead engaging in pain or suffering, then His heart cannot be said to break.("Seinn herz bricht").To do so would be to give human attributes of vulnerability to involuntary, painful changes, to God; the heresy known as patripassianism, much advocated in our time by the Lutheran theologian Jurgen Moltmann.
A version of the argument that God suffers is relatively orthodox, in that Christ by virtue of his humanity suffered upon the Cross; it may be this approach, "theopastichism" which lies behind the theological ambiguity of Lehms' text.
Whatever interpretation is followed, the result is that the sinner offers up in this Cantata text, contrition of heart and belief in the merciful nature of God which lies in Lutheran formulations.
"Do we work nothing for the attaining of this righteousness? I answer, nothing at all. For the nature of this righteousness is to do nothing, to hear nothing, to know nothing whatsoever of the law or of works, but to know and believe this only, that Christ is gone to the Father and is now not seen; that he is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, not as a judge, but made for us by God wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redempti". (Luther)
BWV 199 sets out this Lutheran position - but is it really orthodox in avoiding the separation of the persons of the Trinity in, albeit mosy beautifully, depicting the economy of salvation?
Doug Cowling wrote (March 20, 2005):
BWV 199: Cadenza?
Peter Smaill wrote:
< To judge by the previous discussions, BWV 199 is a great favourite of our Group; the reason in great part being the exquisite aria, "Tief Gebuckt". The performance by Dawn Upshaw , which had just been published when the Cantata was last reviewed (although recorded in new York in 1997, ensemble not stated (?who were they?), remains for me one of the highest vocal treasures in the repertoire and much to be recommended. >
I have always wondered if Bach intended the singer to add a cadenza at "Geduld" at the end of the B section. Bach so rarely uses this kind of conclusion which is common in Händel and the signal to the opera singer to improvise. I've only listened to the Leusink recording . Do any of the other recording interporlate a cadenza?
As always, I am interested in the liturgical setting of Bach's works. Any speculation what organ piece might have been played as in introduction to the cantata? What is the chorale melody in No.6, "Ich dein betrübtes Kind"?
And is there any speculation why Bach chose to write such an extended and difficult solo cantata? I've never bought the myth that the choir was having an off week. The sheer stamina, let alone the artistry, required for the cantata indicates that he had an exception boy in the school.
Thomas Braatz wrote (March 20, 2005):
Doug Cowling wrote:
>>I have always wondered if Bach intended the singer to add a cadenza at "Geduld" at the end of the B section. Bach so rarely uses this kind of conclusion which is common in Händel and the signal to the opera singer to improvise.<<
This would be a good time to repeat what Birnbaum and Scheibe have to say about Bach's music (this comes as close as we can ever get to knowing what Bach's performances might have been like or what he might have said about this:
From the "New Bach Reader" [David, Mendel, Wolff editors, Norton, 1966-1998] on p. 344 Birnbaum, in defending Bach's music against Scheibe's criticisms writes:
"For this composer [J. S. Bach] does not lavish his splendid ornaments on drinking songs, lullabies, or other insipid 'galanteries.' In his church compositions... one finds decorations that are always appropriate to the principal ideas he has wished to develop."
On p. 346 Scheibe criticizes Bach for writing out "every ornament, every little grace, and everything that one thinks of as belonging to the method of playing ['playing' is a poor translation since Scheibe used the verb 'ausdrücken' = to express, which can be both vocally and instrumentally] complete in notes." In other words Bach was notorious for putting down every detail he wanted to hear in the music and not allowing his singers and instrumentalists to freely add ornaments, cadenzas, etc. according to the 'method' - a customary way of allowing the performer/singer great freedom in adding and changing the music on the page. Scheibe further criticizes Bach's restrictions (not allowing the performers to decide how to embellish Bach's melodies) because this precise form of notation "takes away from the Hon. Court Composer's [Bach's] pieces the beauty of harmony and makes the principal melody unattractive." In other words, Bach's melodies become unattractive because they lack additional, on the spur of the moment, embellishments provided by the performers.
Birnbaum, continuing on pp. 346-347, explains further why Bach was so careful in notating precisely what he wanted and not what the performer, following a personal whim of the moment, might want to insert above and beyond what Bach had already indicated:
"It is also indisputable that this manner can please the ear only if it is applied in the right places but must on the contrary uncommonly offend the ear and spoil the principal melody if the performer employs it at the wrong spot. Now, experience teaches further that usually its application is left to the free whim of singers and instrumentalists. If all such men were sufficiently instructed in that which is truly beautiful in the manner; if they always knew how to employ it where it might serve as a true ornament and particular emphasis of the main melody; in that case it would be superflous for the composer to write down in notes once more what they already knew. But only the fewest have a sufficient knowledge, and the rest, by an inappropriate application of the manner, spoil the principal melody and indeed often introduce such passages as might easily be attributed, by those who do not know the true state of affairs, to an error of the composer. Therefore every composer, including the Hon. Court Composer [Bach], is entitled to set the wanderers back on the right path by prescribing a correct method according to his intentions, and thus to watch over the preservation of his own honor."
>>I've only listened to the Leusnik recording . Do any of the other recording interpolate a cadenza?<<
Ruth Holton in the Leusink recording  already has supplied in her recording of BWV 199, along with the instrumentalists, a fairly large number of variations/embellishments which Bach did not intend. Why would you want her to spoil the fermati on "Geduld" as well? Since when does the word 'patience' call for any special flourish? 'Patience' endures and the long, held notes are an apt musical expression of this idea. Sometimes I get the impression that soloists like Holton, find it necessary to compensate for their vocal deficiencies (poor German pronunciation, very weak lower register where the voice is entirely without any expression or warmth, etc.) by inserting, particularly on the repeat of an A section, fancy 'galanteries' according to the 'method,' a procedure which they hope will distract the listener sufficiently so as to avoid boredom from setting in. It should be clear from the quotations given above that this is entirely inappropriate in Bach's music, particularly his sacred music.
>>As always, I am interested in the liturgical setting of Bach's works. Any speculation what organ piece might have been played as in introduction to the cantata?<<
To be sure, the cantatas, during church services, were introduced on the organ by a "Praeludieren" - an action verb, not "Praeludium" which is the resulting finished composition that has been written down and preserved. This "Praeludieren" was probably a rather short, improvisation which was primarily used to allow the instrumentalists to check the tuning on their instruments and, in some instances, the vocalists to 'get' the notes that they would sing if they were immediately required to sing the first notes of the cantata.
>>What is the chorale melody in No.6, "Ich dein betrübtes Kind"?
It is identified as Zahn 2177 and appeared late in the 17th century in Middle Germany [Thuringia.] Spitta traces it to a Pachelbel tablature book with which Bach may have been acquainted. In any case, it is not the main melody associated with Johann Heermann's text, the 3rd verse of which is used in BWV 199. In BWV 5, Bach uses the melody (a different one, sometimes known as "Auf meinen lieben Gott") with which it is still associated today.
>>And is there any speculation why Bach chose to write such an extended and difficult solo cantata? I've never bought the myth that the choir was having an off week. The sheer stamina, let alone the artistry, required for the cantata indicates that he had an exception boy in the school.<<
BWV 51 is certainly more difficult and requires more stamina than this cantata.
I have not read about any speculations as to specific individuals who may have sung BWV 199. You are right in thinking that the notion of having 'an off week' for choir members does not apply here since this cantatais for the middle of summer [but how about a vacation period for the Thomaner, when they might spend a few weeks at home?,] but around Christmas and New Year's, Bach was seriously (not a myth) confronted with considering the use of solo cantatas or scaling back the use of large-scale choruses so as to spare the delicate soprano voices. He would pay certain soloists not to sing until they were needed. This was difficult because the boys would earn some extra cash by singing extracurricularly (caroling, funerals, etc.) By giving them cash beforehand, Bach ensured himself that key singers such as the concertists would be available when needed.
John Pike wrote (March 23, 2005):
BWV 199 "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut"
Cantata for the 11th Sunday after Trinity, first performed August 12th, 1714, Weimar.
Subsequently revised several times, circa 1720 and 1723, with varying instrumental ensemble.
As we go through these early cantatas, I never ceased to be amazed by how many of them are some of Bach's finest masterpieces. This week's cantata is, as many have already remarked, one of those masterpieces. In particular, few words can describe adequately the beauty of the aria "Tief gebückt und voller Reue".
A few months ago, I read with great pleasure, Teri Noel Towe's feelings on touching the manuscript of the BC part of BWV 7, which he owns. I had similar feelings this time last year when my wife and I were fortunate enough to see the original manuscript of this cantata BWV 199 (as well as many other masterpieces) in Berlin at a special party to celebrate the restoration of all the manuscripts. it was like treading on holy ground. As a Christian, it seems to me that such extraordinary music could only be composed through divine intervention.
I have listened to Gardiner , Harnoncourt  and Rilling .
Gardiner  gives a superb performance. The whole approach is very intimate and reverential. There is no showing off, just a deep appreciation of the words and careful attention to all the nuances in the music. He shapes everything beautifully throughout. The "Tief gebückt und voller Reue" aria is particularly fine. The soprano Magdalena Kozená is just stunning. (I really must get her latest "Lamento" recording). One really feels the words are being deeply felt as they are sung:
"Deeply bowed and filled with sorrow
I lie, dearest God, 'fore thee. I acknowledge all my guilt,
But have patience still with me,
Have thou patience still with me!"
The singing is full of despair, longing and grief.
For the final aria, the mood changes completely and Gardiner captures this in a well chosen tempo.
Harnoncourt  also gives a very moving account with a superb soprano, Barbara Bonney. For me, this is one of the finest Harnoncourt recordings I have listened to this year. Many of the qualities I have described above about the Gardiner recording could apply to this one as well. However, I find the tempo of "Tief gebueckt" too fast for my liking, and I think Gardiner's account is more profound and moving. Nevertheless, a fine performance in many other ways.
Rilling  gives a technically very fine performance and the recording quality is good. The soprano, Arleen Augér has a pleasing voice and the instrumental ensemble make a pleasing sound, but I thought this performance lacked much of the depth in the other 2 recordings above. Once again, I found the initial tempo for "Tief gebueckt" too fast and the instrumental playing lacked the shaping in the other recordings.
MB wrote (March 26, 2005):
BWV 199 / Kozena
In January I was in a concert in the Kölner Philharmonie where Musica Antiqua Köln with Reinhard Goebel and Magdalena Kozena were performing the Bach Cantatas BWV 199 and BWV 207 and some very nice pieces for orchestra.
Until this concert I´ve heard BWV 199 with Suzuki/BCJ/Suzuki  and Gardiner/EBS/Kozena .
This time there was another approach. The orchestra sounded much more fresh and for me a little bit too fresh. I like the voice of MK very much but this evening I think it was not her best day. The local press wrote also some critics that were not really the best. I´m sorry that I can not give you a more detailed review. It´s too long ago and I have still Gardiner's SMP in my ears.
However I bought the "Lamento"-recording of her which I can highly reccomend!! Title 1 "Ach dass ich".. was given as an encore this evening and this was really beautiful.
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 27, 2005):
< I like the voice of MK very much but this evening I think it was not her best day. >
I like very few of new albums I get. I recently picked up Magdalena Kozena's French Arias album done with Minkowski and was totally happy and delighted with it. I look forward to the Paride ed Elena that McCreesh will release with her soon.
Stephen Benson wrote (March 27, 2005):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] While spending much of the past week listening to, and comparing, three recent recordings of “Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut”, those of Dawn Upshaw , Lorraine Hunt Lieberson , and Magdalena Kozena , I found myself with a preference for the Lieberson. In a cantata where the very first line of text sets a tone stressing the very corporeality of the human body, I found her singing imbued with a tangible physicality missing from the other two. That being said, however, I hate to be critical of Upshaw’s version, which is beautifully sung, and to which I will return frequently. Kozena’s is another story altogether. Here, as in much of her recorded output, I found myself preoccupied with an intrusive vocal mannerism, an affectation which made it difficult for me to listen to her at all. To my ears, a constant “sponginess” characterizes her attack and deprives the text of its natural inflections.
Ed Myskowski wrote (September 12, 2006):
Catching up on some lingering old business. Only this past week I received the Elizabeth Schwarzkopf (Bettie Blackhead, the Dame, etc.) compilation on EMI, still available . Whatever you think of her politics, the voice and performances are the stuff legends are made from (of?).
After the weekly cantata discussions (yes, a few of us actually joined BCML for that reason!), the next most interesting exchange is the bits of recording info interacting with daily news. You can compare Elizabeth Schwarzkopf  and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson  on BWV 199, and pay your respects to both of them at the same time. A nice follow-up, and alternative, to the sentiment of the church yard in spring, re BWV 8. I will leave the fragrance to the nose of the listener.
Many years back, a poetry lecturer at an engineering school (that does happen, or at least once did) mentioned in passing that sculpture (or architecture) is frozen music. Given the engineering school and the equality, the reverse is of course also true: music is fluid sculpture (or architecture).
The Schwarzkopf  initially came up with a BWV 51 reference, certainly a classic performance, amidst a lot of chat about who sang what way back when.
You could do worse than putting that aside, and honoring two fine singers, a generation apart, in outstanding performances of BWV 199. Catch a couple generations of outstanding Bach oboe work, while you are at it.
Thanks to BCML correspondents who pointed out the Schwarzkopf recording , wonderful! Anyone needinganother opportunity to trash her, here it is.
Stephen Benson wrote (September 12, 2006):
BWV 199 [OT art/music]
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Many years back, a poetry lecturer at an engineering school (that does happen, or at least once did) mentioned in passing that sculpture (or architecture) is frozen music. >
Why stop at architecture and sculpture? It was Walter Pater who suggested that "All art constantly aspires to the condition of music."
Ed Myskowski wrote (September 12, 2006):
[To Stephen Benson] Perhaps that was the source. But I was intrigued by the inverse, as well: music aspires to architecture.
Ed Myskowski wrote (September 12, 2006):
BWV 199 (more)
By now, you are thoroughly acquainted with Elizabeth Schwarzkopf  and Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson  performing BWV 199, accompanied by oboe, respectively, Sidney Sutcliffe and Peggy Pearson.
For comparison and enjoyment, try the authentic instrument performance (AIP?) by Dan Stepner / Aston Magna . Very HIP, indeed. I find the baroque oboe by Stephen Hammer especially illuminating. He puts the final nail in the coffin of the cackling oboe effect. Sweetest sound you could want to hear.
Also includes BWV 51, BWV 54, BWV 82, superb vocalists in all. Textbook (and very enjoyable) AIP. Full disclosure: Dan Stepner is a friend. Not to be missed, nonetheless.
BWV 199, Trinity 11 (Aug. 23, 2009)
Ed Myskowski wrote (August 26, 2009):
Although I am a few days late, I think this past Sundays broadcast on WGBH-FM (www.wgbh.org) is worth mentioning. I did not get to hear it in real time, but when I checked the playlist I thought it worth recreating for myself. Others may feel the same; perhaps some readers enjoyed it on Sunday. The recording chosen was BWV 199 with Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson and Craig Smith/Emmanuel Music , both of whom have strong Boston connections and are sadly deceased in recent years. I expect this was (or certainly could have been) something of a memorial presentation, in addition to being a first rate performance.
Continue on Part 4
Cantata BWV 199: Details
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