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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 203
Amore traditore
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of December 28, 2008 (2nd round)

Terejia wrote (December 27, 2008):
Introduction to BWV 203 Amore traditore

A bit early introduction because of my schedule.

http://www.emusic.com/search.html?mode=x&QT=BWV203&x=0&y=0
recording samples

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV203-D.htm
recordings reference from previous discussion

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV203.htm
previous discussions, which covers wide range of important perspective about this work, including but not limited to :

different length of recording time according to the singers

about the accompanying instrument being only harpschicord (although some recording that I know of has cello )

its being one of the two Italian cantatas along with BWV 209

http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/bachjs/cantatas/203.php
commentar by Mr. Simon Crouch, in which the author refers to the authenticity of this work.

My first impression of this cantata was I felt as if I were listening to Scarlatti opera. However, after several times of listening, I came inclined to believe its authenticity due to the complexity of harmony. I am by no means sure about it but somehow the harmony proceedings in the first Mvt seems to emanates strong flavour of J.S. Bach in particular.

Mvt. 1 da capo aria . I suppose it is siciliano rhythm What struck me about this aria is ,as I already said, the complexity of harmony. I cannot 'ganticipate reasonably' what would follow the next moment and it often happens during Mvt. 1 that my own reasonable expectation of harmony procession feels like BETRAYED (traditore?). There are many other masterpieces of Bach in which the music doesn't proceed according to listener's reasonable expectation but in this Mvt. 1 there seems to be more of these element, at least to my personal ears.

For me personally there feels to be just too many diminished thirds or diminished fifths for listeners to feel stable or sure while listening. Am I alone here or are there any comments or opinions on this?

Another thing I noticed is chromatic scale just before going back to da capo. I and Peter Smail were discussion about Bach's use of diatonic scale in BWV 61 final chorale a few days ago. Chromatic has different effect from that of diatonic. Example of chromatic scale that I can think of off hand are BWV 78 first chorale bass continuo; bass continuo of 'Crucifix' in B-minor Mass, and fuga part of the last movement in BWV 131 in which one of the three component has chromatic ascending scale. I suppose Bach uses both chromatic and diatonic quite effectively, IMHO, but I am not yet up to describe exactly how.

Mvt. 2: short recitative bridgeing to the 3rd movement.

Mvt. 3 C dur. Is it Polonaise again?? Interesting that I started my discussion leader career with learning about Polonaise (BWV 210 8th BWV 30a 11th) and here in my last taking of this role, I seem to be end with Polonaise. Many thanks for those who taught me about Polonaise 4 weeks ago. Harpshicord's right hand seems to be quite busy in playing It is da capo, along with Mvt. 1.

Thank you, all, for supporting and complementing me as a discussion leader and especially many thanks to Aryeh for giving me this opportunity. During these 5 weeks, what I realized again is a power of music. I learned music solely from private lessons or music seminars , more than 90 % of which is private organ performance lessons, one year of baroque ensemble seminar in which I took part as a continuo player, one year solo harpschicord (I learned about 20 WTC pieces out of 48), two years of conducting seminar, choir seminar-all just sporadical pieces and bits, far from the level of solid education in music university.

However, I'm wholly intended to continue exploring into this aethetic wonderland of music, however modest level it may be inbetween times while pursuing my legal career as a professional solicitor. For me, both music and legal shares the same goal ultimately: "et in terra pax homini bus bone voluntatis" as in the text of the first movement in BWV 191.

My first week of introduction was joyous Wedding Cantata BWV 210 and during my intern I met many of those who has divorce problems. I am now about to open my own office and I'm secretly intending that when a divorce client visits me I will set BWV 210 as a BGM (my boss' office always had BGM). In legal area what is most needed is toughness of mind. I have encountered many tough and rough scenes during my internship. Bach's music, especially cantata, has been very comforting and hope giving. Thus I came to believe in the power of music to make the world better all the more. Too naive? Probably yes, but so what, I am not going to give up my belief.

I'm going to relay the baton to Chris Kern. May Bach's music continue blessing you all .

William Hoffman wrote (December 27, 2008):
Introduction to BWV 203: Fugitive notes

Dance Movements. Neither Doris Fincke-Hecklinger nor Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne finds any dance influences in Cantata BWV 203. However, I think Terejia in her Introduction is on the right track, suggesting that the first da capo aria is in siciliano style (the tempo is 12/8) and the second is in polonaise style (the tempo is ¾). Brava! Just listen to the music! Bach composed at least two arias in popular polonaise style in Köthen: BWV 173a/8 and BWV 184a/4. I find no siciliano-style surviving arias composed in Köthen, although the term was loosely associated with another dance "style," the pastorale.

Köthen origin (excerpts from my BCW article "Bach’s Dramatic Music":

"Three Bach associates or predecessors with strong opera backgrounds, may have influenced his serenata compositions: the previous Köthen capellmeister, Augustin Reinhardt Strickler (16??-c1719)..

"Strickler, who came to the Köthen Court in 1714 with other noted musicians dismissed by the Prussian Court in Berlin, produced six Italian solo secular cantatas in 1715. Two specific elements also found in Bach, according to Christoph Wolff's Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician, p. 201, were the basic three-movement "prototype," aria-recitative-aria, and the obbligato violin or oboe.

"As an addendum to Bach's Köthen experience, there were other opportunities for him to have composed other occasional music. Besides possibly setting some of the Hunold lyrics in the birthday ode dedication for December 10, 1719, Bach also probably composed Italian secular Cantata BWV 203, "Amore traditore" in Köthen , according to Wolff (JSB:TLM, p.201f). Wolff speculates that bass virtuoso J.G. Riemenschneder might have sung the three-movement work, "another hint at the incalculable riches we are missing from Bach's musical oeuvre."

"Court records show singer Riemenschneider was paid on April 8, 1719. During that time, the same records show (Friedrich Smend, Bach in Köthen, 1985 Eng. ed., p. 190) that guest instrument(violinists, a lutenist, horn players) were employed, as well as "Diskantists" (falsettists) and "The Castrato Ginacini" (paid March 21, 1719).

Librettist: While I do not have specific information on Köthen Court poet Hunold (Menantes), he was extremely well-trained and versatile, having been employed at the multi-lingual Hamburg opera in its heyday, c.1700-1715.

Bach and Italian songs: We have other works in Italian associated with Bach, all for soprano: Cantata BWV 209, Conti's sacred cantata "Languet anima mea," as well as performances of music of other composers - all for soprano and probably with the Collegium musicum at Zimmermann's in the 1730s: Handel's Cantata "Armida Abbandonata" and two arias from Alcina, as well as an A. Scarlatti cantata, and six by Porpora. There also are four works in the Leipzig Bibliothek from the same Gerlach Collegium musicum collection, attributed to "Hendel" in the Breitkopf 1768 Catalog but never authenticated, a cantata and three arias - all for soprano and strings.

Terejia wrote (December 30, 2008):
[To William Hoffman, regarding Fugitive Notes] Thank you, William Hoffman. I'd come to appreciate your post titeled "fugitive notes", which I personally find "insightful notes".

Sorry for delay in reply. I caught cold. It is fortunate that I have nothing to do now so that I can stay in bed most of the time. More in between :

William Hoffman wrote: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29658
< Dance Movements. Neither Doris Fincke-Hecklinger nor Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne finds any dance influences in Cantata BWV 203. However, I think Terejia in her Introduction is on the right track, suggesting that the first da capo aria is in siciliano style (the tempo is 12/8) and the second is in polonaise style (the tempo is ¾). Brava! Just listen to the music! Bach composed at least two arias in popular polonaise style in Köthen: BWV 173a/8 and BWV 184a/4. I find no siciliano-style surviving arias composed in Köthen, although the term was loosely associated with another dance "style," the pastorale. >
Thank you for being supportive and supplemental of me. I'm glad that I am not too off-the-wall. On the other hand, I'm also thinking that spotting a certain rhythm pattern and immediately ascribing dance characteristic to it may not always go to the right direction, either...for example, in the end chorus of St. Matthews Passion "Wir setzen uns mit Traenen nieder". It does seem to have rhythm pattern of Polonaise, to the best of my perception. I am not sure (if anything rather skeptical of)if calling this Polonaise would serve the performers or listeners.

Nevertheless, it is fun to learn about dance rhythms and what I have to learn in the future would be correct application.

< Köthen origin (excerpts from my BCW article "Bach's Dramatic Music":
"Three Bach associates or predecessors with strong opera backgrounds, may have influenced his serenata compositions: the previous
Köthen capellmeister, Augustin Reinhardt Strickler (16??-c1719).
"Strickler, who came to the Köthen Court in 1714 with other noted musicians dismissed by the Prussian Court in Berlin, produced six Italian solo secular cantatas in 1715. Two specific elements also found in Bach, according to Christoph Wolff's Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician, p. 201, were the basic three-movement "prototype," aria-recitative-aria, and the obbligato violin or oboe. >
Thank you for historical notes.

For me it is helpful to learn that Bach didn't always have infinite resorces available to express his musical inspiration.

Jean Laaninen wrote (January 1, 2009):
[To Terejia, regarding intro message] Thanks Terejia for all your hard work and sharing of your thoughts. It is through this kind of interaction and discussion that many of us are able to expand and refine our views musically, and in the end to be able to draw more from the music than before.

This is a 'tiny' cantata in length, and I think a great deal of fun musically especially in Mvt. 3 where the downward scalewise movement in the bass contrasts admirably with the busy work in the right hand of the continuo. That is in spite of the fact that the bass is expressing his disappointment in love...but qualified in regard to finding a reward in love. The final cadance is very upbeat.

Best wishes on your new office and I hope there are many rewards in the context of using Bach's music in your practice.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 1, 2009):
There was not a lot of discussion in the first round, but Aryehs comments on recordings remain complete, I believe, absent rarities. The documented effort from those years (before my time on BCML), compiling and commenting on almost complete recordings of the cantatas, is a wonder of its own. I find it equally remarkable that we should end the second round of discussions led by Terejia, adding new international and other diversity to BCML.

I second Wills thoughtful comments, especially the <Brava!> for spontaneous listening and interpretation. To Aryeh for coordinating everything, and especially for making Terejia welcome and comfortable as a discussion leader: Congratulations!

To Terejia, I admire your cultural humility. I expect, deep inside, you are aware that you have done a remarkable job in an unfamiliar language. I have enjoyed your expression in English, from the beginning, and I am very happy if I provided a bit of encouragement early on. In any case, I especially enjoy the exchange of ideas on the music.

I will defer comments on the recordings to another day (manana? (Spanglish, almost American English) for tomorrow), but as Aryeh said last time: do not miss Dietrich Fischer Dieskau - an early recording still readily available on CD reissue, I believe. An artist singing. Did I say that earlier tonight, re Alfred Deller and BWV 170? Hey, its the New Year Holiday! I expect I would say the same about both of them on a cold Candlemas morning in New England (USA). An inspiring way to turn over the calendar, nonetheless.

On to BWV 61, and another five year cycle. What? Some could not wait? Enthusiasm is always admirable, no? I was about to make a joke in poor taste, but I will spare you that for this one day.

Love you madly (thanks, Duke), Happy New Year, and
Aloha (always), Ed Myskowski

Terejia wrote (January 1, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote [Fugitive Notes]: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29658

to summeraize, William took up four points in this post (in my own understandings)

BWV 203 and Dance movement
Bach in his Köthen times
BWV 203 libretto
Bach and Italian songs

It is indeed understandable that in this festive season, other pieces or attendance of new year concerts attracts more attention than BWV 203.

One common denominator I found between BWV 203 and BWV 61 is that in both of them the first Mvt key is A-minor.

In terms of libretto, "amore" is not the same as "agape", am I right here? I watched Wiener Phyilharmonic Orchestra New Year concert on TV and I saw the facial expression of audience really calm, peaceful and happy. Whatever type of "love" it is to make audience so, it was hard for me to associate with "betrayer".

OK..I am aware I am forcing rather distorted association with BWV 203 libretto... Still, I try to solicisome comments on the piece under discussion, not for my sake but for Aryeh's sake. Thank you in advance.

Joel Figen wrote (January 3, 2009):
At 06:37 AM 1/1/2009, nevergiveupterejia wrote:
< OK..I am aware I am forcing rather distorted association with BWV 203 libretto... Still, I try to solicit some comments on the piece under discussion, not for my sake but for Aryeh's sake. Thank you in advance. >
This piece seems to be of a type with Handel's Italian cantata, Dalla Guerra Amorosa, of which I appended the libretto below. (The original Italian got mixed in with the English translation, when I cut/pasted it from a web page, but bear with me: It's readable.) The essence of the idea is that love is cruel, beauty is like a flower that grows and dies in a single day, and the joy of love is doubtful though the pain is certain.

Earlier you asked about the pairing of the words "amore" and "traditore" - the answer here is that love itself is the traitor. (And, by extension, love stories that have human villains are allegorical.) More than a few writers have noted that to understand the plot of most Italian opera, there are only two words of Italian you need to know: amore and traditore. For this reason, I find it delightful that Bach would choose a text like this. (If indeed it was Bach who wrote this.) Was he being comically critical of a light italian form? I'd say so. Did Bach himself write it? I rather doubt he would do such a thing, but he might have done so as a joke, an exercise, or for something to share at a musical gathering. Since it's writen for Bass, we can guess who the soloist would have most likely been: Bach himself... Did Bach have a sense of humor like this? I'd say he surely did: consider the extended pseudo-recitative in the Chromatic Fantasia for keyboard. Next time you hear it, try to picture an animated cartoon built around it. It works as an extended mad scene in grand operatic tradition rather nicely, complete with the heroine's death.

As for the word "amore," in answer to your question about whether it relates to "agape," I would say it probably doesn't. I think it covers about the same semantic territory as the English word "Love." (which can include agape) But in secular music, it usually refers to the baying-at-the-moon-gotta-have-her/him-or-die kind of love. Fairy tales may end with the words "And they lived happily ever after." But that's after all the traditori are dead or neutralized. Happiness by itself isn't really a story. Gettingto it is the story.

Italian cantatas, as a form, are simpler than Bach's cantatas. Typically they consist of an alternation of recits and arias for a single singer, with no chorus and, commonly, only continuo for accompaniment. Some of Bach's church cantatas could be said to resemble this form, to a degree, if you leave out all the choruses and transpose everything into a single vocal range. Perhaps Bach wrote this as a preliminary to developing his own style, or
maybe he merely reworked it, as he also did with several of Vivaldi's concertos.


Dalla Guerra Amorosa
G.F. Handel
I
Dalla guerra amorosa,
Or che ragion mi chiama,
Oh miei pensieri,
Fuggite pur, fuggite.

From the war with love,
Now that reason calls me,
O my cares,
You may flee.
Vergognosa non è in amor la fuga,
Che sol fuggendo un'alma
Del crudo amor
Può ritornar la palma.
It is not shameful to flee,
For only those who flee
From cruel love
Will be able to return the slap.
II
Non v'alletti un occhio nero
Con suoi sguardi lusinghiero,
Che da voi chieda pietà.
Che per far le sue vendette
E con arco e con saette
Ivi amor nascoso stà.
Do not be enticed by dark eyes
And their flattering glances
As they beg for pity.
Since to get revenge
With bows and arrows
Love is hiding there.
III
Fuggite, si fuggite.
Ahi! di quanto veleno
Amore asperge i suoi piaceri
Ah quanto ministra duol, e pianto,
A chi lo segue, e le sue leggi adora.

Flee, yes, flee.
How love sprinkles poison
With its pleasures.
How love administers sorrow and tears
To those that follow its laws.
Se un volto v'innamora,
Sapiate, oh pensieri miei,
Che ciò che piace
In brev'ora svanisce,
E poi dispiace.
If you fall for someone's face,
Then know, my cares,
That that which pleases
Will vanish in an instant
And will then cause grief.
IV
La bellezza è come un fiore:
Sul matin vivace e bello,
Sul matin di primavera.
Che la sera langue e more,
Si scolora e non par quello.
Beauty is like a flower:
At dawn it is lively and beautiful,
In early spring.
But at evening it languishes and dies,
It grows pale and is not the same.
V
Fuggite, si fuggite;
A chi servo d'amor
Viene in catena,
È dubbioso il gioir,
Certa la pena.
Flee, yes, flee;
A servant of love
Is put in chains,
Joy is doubtfull
But pain is certain.

Terejia wrote (January 3, 2009):
Joel Figen wrote: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29705

Thank you for this insightful elaboration.

During these 5 weeks of being a discussion leader(as the humblest of all ), I learned how important it is to have multiple viewpoints or actually how one-sided I have been.

Reading an English translation of libretto of BWV 203 in your post as an oriental, a funny thought occured to me-the Italian "amore" felt similar to one of the fundamental ideas in Buddhism, i.e. what is beautiful tends to be ephemeral and so is "amore". In other cantata works, I tend to perceive more "agape", which is eternal.

Terejia wrote (January 3, 2009):
Now I finally relay the baton to the next leader Re: Intro to BWV 203

Ed Myskowski wrote: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29679

Thank you, Ed.

Indeed I have been much helped by your encouragement both as a single poster and especially as a discussion leader.

If I could have functioned barely as a discussion leader at all, it IS with the help of all those who supplement me and supported me.

Once again I realized I have so much to learn about Bach's music and music in general. It is spring that never droughts out, so to speak.

Thank you again, to Aryeh. Now the baton is relayed to the next discussion leader.

May this new year find all of you and your beloved ones in peace and happiness.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 3, 2009):
Re BWV 203:
>This piece seems to be of a type with Handel's Italian cantata, Dalla Guerra Amorosa, [...] the idea is that love is cruel, beauty is like a flower that grows and dies in a single day, and the joy of love is doubtful though the pain is certain.<
EM
The ongoing pursuit of love is even more certain, otherwise it is <sayonara homo>, to coin an international phrase?.

>Earlier you asked about the pairing of the words "amore" and "traditore" - the answer here is that love itself is the traitor. (And, by extension, love stories that have human villains are allegorical.)<
EM
By extension? In American English, the language of BCML, we call that a <stretch>. And the allegory is, something divine? The love story that does NOT have a human villain? I suppose, as Cole Porter wrote, even educated fleas do it. Lets do it, lets fall in love.

>More than a few writers have noted that to understand the plot of most Italian opera, there are only two words of Italian you need to know: amore and traditore.<
EM
Could you cite just the few writers? I have understood and enjoyed Verdi (and life) better, ever since I learned as a lad (from my Dad) the meaning of <la donna e mobile>, Rigoletto, just as an example.

A few words yet to come from me re BWV 203 recordings, I am hoping to have the Max van Egmond [9], including liner notes re harpsichord (only) continuo. Otherwise, cannot be said too often, do not miss the DFDieskau [4].

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 3, 2009):
Terejia wrote:
>the Italian "amore" felt similar to one of the fundamental ideas in Buddhism, i.e. what is beautiful tends to be ephemand so is "amore". In other cantata works, I tend to perceive more "agape", which is eternal.<
I tend to think from the other side of our planet (Occidental rather than Oriental, West/East) but I am learning to make it One. The guys from Oz help!

I think of <agape> as Greek, or Hellenistic. Thoughtful, intellectual, philosophic, abstract, divine. Amore? Thats for me!

But when I carve stone, thats <agape>. Francis Browne, help us out bere!

Love you all madly, agape, amore, and
Aloha, Ed Myskowski

Francis Browne wrote (January 3, 2009):
BWV 203 - Fugitive notes :agape

Ed Myskowski was wondering about agape and seemed to think that I might be able to shed some light, presumably as a classicist rather than as an expert in love.

I have little I can add but Ed makes such a splendid, constant and enjoyable contribution to the list that it would be churlish not to give some response

According to the standard Greek lexicon LSJ agape is used in classical Greek as a word for love, originally in a non-sexual sense but later with some erotic connotation; it is used of the love of husband and wife. In the Septuagint( the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures) it is used especially of the love of God for man and of man for God.

In the New Testament the word and its cognates occur some 310 times - the usual account is that the early Christians used the word to avoid the sexual connotations of other Greek words for love. C.S. Lewis gives a popular account in The Four Loves - but there are long discussions in theological and biblical writings in which I have no expertise .

A Swedish theologian Anders Nygren wrote a three volume work on Agape and Eros, which I have not read, and an English Jesuit ,M.C.D'Arcy, wrote some 400 pages in reply in a book called The Mind and Heart of Love, which I did once read but of which I now can recall little. These are just two instances to hand out of a vast literature.

Others on the list with theological knowledge must know more about agape and other forms of love. For myself I cannot help recalling Wallace Stevens' words :

But in our amours amorists discern
Such fluctuations that their scrivening
Is breathless to attend each quirky turn.
When amorists grow bald, then amours shrink
Into the compass and curriculum
Of introspective exiles, lecturing.
It is a theme for Hyacinth alone.

Over to you, Hyacinth.

Henri S. Levinspuhl wrote (January 3, 2009):
[To Francis Browne] Works of love, by Søren Kierkegaard, is the best book ever written on agape. And if someone is apt to read Portuguese, and conceivably interested, contact me and I will be glad to send him/her my Um reflexo sobre o amor natural, which discuss natural love from Shakespeare comedies.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 3, 2009):
I am in awe (not to say agape) of the scholarship Francis provided! Indeed, that was my request, but I did not presume any lack of experise in amore.

The Wallace Steves is a delight, just in time to brighten this old flower (Hyacinth?) for one more January morn.

Thanks also to Henri for the Kierkegaard reference. I must have started this thread from a Will Hoffman post, hence the Fugitve Notes. No intent to poach, Will.

BCML, a cool crowd with which to hang out.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 3, 2009):
Francis Browne wrote:
< According to the standard Greek lexicon LSJ agape is used in classical Greek as a word for love, originally in a non-sexual sense but later with some erotic connotation >
"Agape" is also used in German as a term for a social gathering in parishes and universities on special occasions - a "love-feast". Bach's colleagues at the university may well have used the term. Wolff suggests that Bach would have had a working knowledge of Greek.

Joel Figen wrote (January 4, 2009):
Terejia wrote:
>Reading an English translation of libretto of BWV 203 <
I just want to make sure here: in my post was an english translation of a different cantata in a similar vein, by a different composer.

> in your post as an oriental, a funny thought occured to me-the Italian "amore" felt similar to one of the fundamental ideas in Buddhism, i.e. what is beautiful tends to be ephemeral and so is "amore". In other cantata works, I tend to perceive more "agape", which is eternal. <
I suspect that's because the other cantatas are church music, while this one is very secular.

To the classicist: What word does the Latin Bible use to translate "agape?" Is it amor? if so we have the beginning of the western mix-up, perhaps?

I don't know for sure, but I think "amore" as a concept is more visceral than anything buddhists would find praiseworthy. I'm thinking of an old Italian-American popular song, "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, THAT's amore. When the stars seem to shine like you're had too much wine, that's amore... Scusa mi, but you see, back in old Italy, that's AMORE.

Maybe that's our answer: a popular song of the 20th century :)

I also know that in italian you can say "I love you" as either "Ti amo" or "Ti voglio." with slightely different mixes of agape and non-agape love. But I think as a noun, "amore" covers both.

Anyway, it's that feeling:
being almost out of control with desire.... THAT's amore in the song and in BWV 203. Does buddhism find that laudable? I suspect not. Perhaps a moment of it is beautiful. Unfortunately, it can go on for way too long :)

I do know that Sanskrit has several words for love - kama and prem come to mind. Kama refers to the physical and erotic. That's a large part of what amore usually refers to, primarily, in secular art. Then again, in English we can always use a modifier with the word "love" to make it more precise. That's possible in Italian too, and also in German.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 4, 2009):
I previously wrote the phrase <sayonara homo>, meaning approximately <goodbye mankind>. I have received a post off-list from someone who took offense.

In an earlier post several days ago, I had taken the Latin word <homo>, as in homo sapiens, for <man> (collective, including women), at the suggestion of Brian Cahill, from his book <Mysteries of the Middle Ages>, recommended by Jean Laaninen. My usage was a gently humorous, but also accurate, response to Jean comments that common English usage is dismissive of females. I explained it the first time, not anticipating that it would be useful very often, but also not expecting to justify it at every use. I apologize to anyone else who may have misunderstood and/or taken offense. I understand that the word is used by adolescents (of any age) as a slang insult for <homosexual>. I did not expect that anyone would take it that way in a BCML post, or take it personally from my context.

Francis Browne wrote (January 4, 2009):
Joel Figen wrote :
< To the classicist: What word does the Latin Bible use to translate "agape?" Is it amor? if so we have the beginning of the western mix-up, perhaps? >
The word usually used is caritas. In classical Latin the most literal meaning is the dearness or cost of things, but it is used in a wide range of authors for love or affection for a person or thing. Amor is a much more common word and its primary meaning is sexual passsion, strong desire.

A quick search in the Clementine Vulgate came up with two instances of amor (both Old Testament) and 31 of caritas (of which 30 were in the New Testament)

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (January 4, 2009):
[To Francis Browne] One of the short comings of the English Language is the lack of words to distinquish degrees of love and the differences between carnal love/lust and other types of love as well as to distinquish by degrees that amount of love from like to deep love.

Henri N. Levinspuhl wrote (January 4, 2009):
[Ed Myskowski] Many angered lions would not take offense at words, and so easily, if not bitten by the serpent of politics. For there is indeed an ideological animosity that may be understood as politically instigated. Do not be offended, whoever you are, but, conversely, think that, elsewhere, exasperated at words, militants, breathing hatred, even prosecute, set fire, throw bombs, whereas, better than fantasizing offenses is to ignthe real ones.

Peace!

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 5, 2009):
Henri wrote:
>Many angered lions would not take offense at words, and so easily, if not bitten by the serpent of politics. For there is indeed an ideological animosity that may be understood as politically instigated.<
First, the subject line. I believe we (probably starting with me) have stretched the connection to BWV 203 beyond the breaking point. The <Fugitive Notes> remains appropriate (I first wrote <apropos>, make your own choice, and observations). I expect both Gilles Whittaker and Will Hoffman are happy to see the phrase in use, without abuse.

There is a tonne (1000 kilos) of cultural baggage in Henri/s brief sentences. Before we (BCML) make the transition, already begun, to BWV 61 (another tonne yet to come on that one!) let me say as concisely as possible that I agree with Henri, to the extent:
(A) There is no surviving theology, independent of politics. Unless we save Tibetan Buddhism, and even then ...
(B) There is no ongoing war, independent of politics. There may have been tribal wars, independent of politics. That is, assuming a clear distinction between <tribal> and <politics>. I wonder.
(C) Let A = theology, B = war, and C = politics. If A = C and B = C, then A = B

The volumes of scholarly discussion Francis cited <from the top of his head> (ACE?), re <agape>, was illuminating to me. Just imagine what is available re <theology> or <politics>! Oh, those Greeks (linguistically). I have opined on occasion that theology could use more <logy>, less <theo>. I hold to that opinion. Unless I have it backward, once again.

I think the serpent gets a bad reputation, whether through mistranslation, misinterpretation, misrepresentation, or just plain ill will (political or otherwise). For elaboration, as an example at hand, following up from Thomas (not Brian as I miswrote from memory earlier) Cahill, <Mysteries of the Middle Ages>, see also Elaine Pagels, <The Origin of Satan>

OT on the already OT: I have two friends named Brian Thomas, so I am-hard wired to keep them separate, and to be sure to call them Brian, not Thomas. Hence the Brian (not Thomas) Cahill error. I hope it is worst mistake I make for my ongoing years. Not likely, if, as I hope, those years are many (side wager with Julian, re the gene pool). When accuracy is essential, as in flying a plane for example, rechecking is essential as well.

Not so critical on BCML, but out of respect for Aryeh and the increasing number of public users of BCW, worth making an effort.

To finish (but not be finished with) BWV 203. I know at least one person is <sitting on pins>, off-list, awaiting my comments on recordings. No need to rush, then.

I find it exactly right (meet and proper, fitting and just, as I used to hear in church, or Church), that Terejia should complete her intern status and become a solicitor (lawyer in USAge (to coin a word, in American English?)). I expect that is comparable to what is called, on my block, <passing the bar (examination)>. Coinciding with that is her opportunity to discuss the fine distinctions between <agape> and <amore> for BWV 203. Well, Terejia, be grateful you avoided BWV 61, with <gentium> from the Latin (three centuries after Jesus, for those of us keeping score), becoming the German <Heidern> of Luther and Bch, variously translated into 20th C. English as <gentiles> or <heathens>. Still a work in process, both concept and the translations, IMO.

I am anticipating scintillating discussions over the coming five years, on BCML. The fact that so many of us cannot wait to begin is a good sign. OTOH, the turtle did OK (versus the hare) by the end of the classic fable.

Francis Browne cited a few lines of Wallace Stevens, from the longer poem (set of stanzas?), <Le Monocle de Mon Oncle>. Stevens wrote in very American English, the title is directly French, the complexities (not to say impossibility) of translation, when words are exquisite, go beyond the ability of words to explain. OTOH, the most important words weem to have a way of persisting (and a consequent way of being abused).

Francis may enjoy knowing that Stevens has a special place in my heart, from my early love of both his poetry and his dual career. Terejia may enjoy knowing that Stevens <day job> was in law, which he never gave up, even to the extent of declining a poetry chair at Harvard University, because of the conflict with his law career. Hmm, I have not thought about that since I heard it informally in 1962, worth a bit of further investigation.

Perhaps it is way more than anyone wants to know (if so dont bother telling me), but it is the New Year, and BCML discussion transition. Nobody loves a lwayer, or a politician. Until they need one. My only son is a lawyer, I could not talk him out of it. He makes a good living, takes care of himself and some of my grandchildren, has maintained his social conscience, and still writes some poetry on the side, I believe. In retrospect, I am glad I could not talk him out of it.

I hope Terejia will find the time to lead the discussions again over the coming years, and achieve success and satisfaction in her law career. Do not give up the music.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 5, 2009):
OT: I am-hard wired [was: BWV 203 - Fugitive Notes]

Sorry, no mystical (or other) intent, a simple typo error for:

I am hard-wired.

<I am> thinking about the possibilities, however.

A few other typos in the post are not likely to cause any disruption in the flow. I blame them on my spouse. I heard <dinner is ready>, and I hit <send>. Like a Pavlov dog. We (I speak only from my personal experience) are not always as sophisticated as we like to think.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 5, 2009):
OT: homo sapiens [was: Fugitive Notes]

Marcel wrote:
>Both hysterical & sad. Ladies & gentlemen, the future of the planet...<
Thank you for the implied support. No need to worry about planet Earth, the future (and past) is now relatively well understood by physics, waiting for theology to catch up. The future of the inhabitants (les habitants, perchance?) is up to themselves to figure out, as I see it.

Joel Figen wrote (January 5, 2009):
Ubi caritas ibi Deus [was: Fugitive notes : agape]
[To Francis Browne] Gratias tibi maxime ago, Domine Professor. (Cui scriptum, ipso legatur.)

My hypothesis is wrong then. So the primary meaning of "amor" seems to be what Bach (and Handel) had in mind in their respective cantatas.

Terejia: There you see Western culture in a nutshell: Start with a noble idea, reduce it to a biological urge, declare war on it, and turn it into art. Eventually no one will know what's what, everyone will pay, and no one will be happy. Then you can declare it to be the human condition, a result of original rebellion, and make laws against feeling any other way. What a culture!

Terejia again: I think it would be more accurate, from a Buddhist perspective, to read "amore" as just creepy old desire or even tanha/trshna. The Agape connection is mainly for the church cantatas. (Though the desire here is specifically sexual, or at least relational, it's close enough to get the idea.)

Joel (non Prophetes)

ps: When a fish bites your eye and you just want to die, that's a moray! <groan>

Terejia wrote (January 6, 2009):
OT: Notes from a fugitive [was Ubi caritas ...]

Ed Myskowski wrote: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29745
(..)
> I resent any language disrespectful of Francis Browne, whose contributions to BCW are on almost every page of BCW. I believe a question was asked, and he knidly answered it to the best of his ability, which is considerable indeed IMO. A kind soul, to boot. Give it a try. <
Indeed, Ed.

To Mr. Francis Browne, thank you again for your contribution and shed some insights into the libretto of BWV 203, which I believe to be invaluable contribution alignes with the general intent of the wholse list.
<>

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 7, 2009):
>to understand the plot of most Italian opera, there are only two words of Italian you need to know: amore and tradito.<
EM replied (Jan. 3):
>I have understood and enjoyed Verdi (and life) better, ever since I learned as a lad (from my Dad) the meaning of <la donna e mobile>, Rigoletto, just as an example.<
I wrote succinctly, with the expectation that anyone interested would notice the humor (at least from a male perspective), and underlying agreement between the two positions:

<La donna e mobile> as I learned it, confirmed by a quick look on Google, means roughly <woman is fickle>, very much in agreement with the original point, re <amore> and <traditore>. I probably should have provided the translation in my original post, which is why I am writing now.

My father also loved to point out that Giussepe Verdi, in English, is Joe Green. Perhaps a new hero for environmentalists, if we can sneak him by the feminists?

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 7, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< My father also loved to point out that Giussepe Verdi, in English, is Joe Green. Perhaps a new hero for environmentalists, if we can sneak him by the feminists? >
And Handel lived on Brook Street in London. Brook = Bach in German

And Monteverdi = green mountain. The grassy slope?

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 7, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>And Monteverdi = green mountain. The grassy slope?<
Probably even more slippey then than now, as well?

Your quick <bon mots> are delightful. I will repeat my current favorite, for those who may have missed it, as well as for the Latin connection to other commentary:

Doug wrote (I cite from memory, sp?)
>Pie Jesu recordare.<
Aloha, Ed Myskowski

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 7, 2009):
While staying up late, noodling, googling, and listening to college radio specials (at Harvard, called Orgies(r), note trademark) I ran across :

Eros, agape, filia and narcissa
Published: February 9 2007 [www.womenspost.org]
by Diane Baker Mason>
[...]
<So I'm not exactly Barbara Cartland.[?] That doesn't mean I don't know lots about love. For instance, here's a good bar bet: Name the four kinds of love. I could only remember two kinds (eros and agape), so I asked my former brother-in-law (who's a big fat brainbox), and he named the other two (filia and narcissa, he says, and I'm assuming he's right because I'm too lazy to even Google it). Eros is sexy love, agape is divine love, filia is brotherly love, and narcissa is self-love. And we all know that'll grow hair on the palms of your hands.>

I am tempted to say <Just like a woman>, but I will bite my sharp tongue to avoid the taste of foot (thanks to Will for that one). However, consider:
<former brother-in-law (whos a big fat brainbox)...because Im too lazy to even Google it.>

I could not make that stuff up, I swear. And not even a hint of <caritas> or <amore>.

Other relevant developments: I have the Max van Egmond CD [9] in hand, but not yet played because of the college radio distraction (a couple days of Yehudi Menuhin). I do not see anything in the booklet notes specific to <solo harpsichord> vs. harpsichord plus cello and/or bass for continuo. I do see very precise comments on continuo articulation, accompanied by significant reference notes. More to come, no need to sit on pins in anticipation.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 11, 2009):
BWV 203 recordings

Geez, there is a guy who told me (off list) that he would be <sitting on pins> waiting for my comments. Sorry, almost forgot.

If, as Aryeh wrote in round 1, the performance is determined by vocal quality, then DFDieskau [4] is unique. However, Max van Egmond [9] is not to be dismissed, even solely on the basis of singing.

If you feel, as I do, that the overall balance of performance is important as well, even in this simple arrangement, then Max with solo harpsichord gets the nod, a careful, accurate performance, with booklet notes to match, detailing the keyboard articulation, supported by copious references. Almost unheard of for what used to be LP liner notes. The CD is a compendium of Handel and Scarlatti, along with Bach BWV 923 Bm prelude, so it is not for a basic Bach library. But if you would like to hear an alternate to the DFDieskau [4] in a significantly different performance, by a legend of a different sort, this performance is worth seeking out. Perhaps getting scarce, the second hand copy I found may have been elusive. I will check later and report back. I am trying to hurry, guy on pins.

The two versions with the standard sets are not of the same caliber, although I did quite enjoy Villisech/Leonhardt [5] (also harpsichord only continuo) until I heard the van Egmond [9]. Details on all these versions are availble from Aryeh, round 1. My only contrasting comment is that I place a bit more interest on the accompaniment, and therefore in the solo harpsichord of both van Egmond and Villesech, Max significantly preferred for both vocal and accompaniment.

I have to say, it is quite a pleasurable change of pace to listen to some nearly scandalous Italian text, inspiring? some lovely, if brief, mnusic. Makes one think (at least this one).

Love you madly! (Edward Kennedy Duke Ellington). Got to see him once, probably spent a weeks pay, from toting those golf clubs. No regrets, best money I have ever spent has been on music, Hawaiian shirts, and Fire Rock Pale Ale. Irreverent? You betcha.

I am taking a poll. Do you think maestro Bach is laughing? Probably not, he was a Lutheran.

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 203: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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