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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 207
Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten
Cantata BWV 207a
Auf, schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten
Discussions - Part 3

Continue on Part 2

Discussions in the Week of September 29, 2013

William Hoffman wrote (September 29, 2013):
Cantata 207a: Intro., Parody, March & Dance

This Week’s BCW Discussion is parody Cantata BWV 207a, “Auf, schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten” (Up, pealing sounds of lively trumpets) for the Elector’s Nameday, probably August 3, 1735, at Zimmerman’s coffee garden next to the Grimma Gate. It is a virtual parody of the academic <dramma per musica> Cantata 207, “Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten (United discourse of varying strings) composed for the installation of Leipzig University Law Professor Gottlieb Korte, December 11, 1726.

Two special characteristics of these sister works are the reuse of instrumental dance-style music in the opening chorus and central aria, and a preceeding professional march. The opening chorus in both nine-movement works is a festive vocal adaptation of the Allegro third movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, BWV 1046/3 from Köthen, one of Bach’s first in Leipzig, with trumpets replacing horns. The central soprano-bass duet in both is taken from the same concerto, in the closing fourth movement minuet, BWV 1046/5, Trio II, originally for two horns with two oboes as bass, now a continuo duet with closing wind ritornello. Both homage Cantatas BWV 207 and 207a take about 31 minutes to perform. A separate, short processional March for the festive ensemble is extant but Bach scholars are undecided as to which of the two cantatas it preceded.

[Cantata 207 will be discussed in detail during the coming BCW Discussion, “Festive Music for the Leipzig University Celebrations,” Week of October 27, featuring Cantata BWV 205. Another original homage cantata, BWV 205 was composed for the nameday of Leipzig University Professor Dr. August Friedrich Müller, August 3, 1725, a philosophy lecturer with presumed connections to the Saxon Court. It was recycled as BWV 205a for the coronation of Augustus III, February 19, 1734, and is the only one of the two companion works-pairs with a surviving printed libretto. Picander wrote the libretti of the original academic Cantata BWV 205 and possibly BWV 207 and is presumed to be the author of the parodies for the Saxon Court which were not published in his collections of poetry.]

Details & Recordings of Cantata BWV 207a are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV207a.htm . The BCW Discussions 1 and 2 are devoted primarily to Cantata 207 while Thomas Braatz in Discussion 1 has material (May 29, 2004) on Cantata BWV 207a title, The German verb “schmettern,“ BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV207-D.htm . Julian Mincham’s Commentary, including a description of each movement, is found at: http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-93-bwv-207a.htm .

A succinct account of Cantata 207a is found in the Christoph Wolff Liner Notes to Recording (No. 4, Ton Koopman, Erato Vol. 5) Liner Notes:

<“Auf, schmetternde Töne der munter n Trompeten” BWV 207a was written for the nameday of the elector of Saxony and king of Poland, Friedrich August II, and was probably first performed on 3 August 1735. According to a report in the local newspaper, Bach’s Collegium Musicum planned “most humbly to perform a solemn work, with illuminations, in Zimmermann’s garden by the Grimm Gate” [BD II no. 368]. The librettist is unknown. Nor are any copies of the libretto known to have survived, although we do know from an invoice sent to Bach that the firm of Breitkopf printed 150 copies [BD II no. 367]. Structurally, the text is based closely on that of the 1726 dramma per musica, Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten BWV 207, from which the music of six of the nine movements is taken (nos. 1, 3, 5 and 7-9).

<The work was originally written to congratulate Dr Gottlieb Kortte on taking up his appointment as professor of jurisprudence and required few changes to transform it into the present piece. Even the introductory march had already been used in BWV 207. In BWV 207 the four vocal soloists were all cast as allegorical figures (Good Fortune, Gratitude, Diligence and Honour), whereas they have, as it were, been neutralised in the new version, although the original libretto (now lost) may also have contained pointers to similar sorts of personification. There is mention here, for example, of the Rivers Pleiße and Elbe and also of Mercury and Irene, all of whom pay tribute to the elector. The classical subject is used to glorify the king, who is addressed in person in the ninth movement (”Long live Augustus, long live the king”). Once again, the work is elaborately scored, this time for three trumpets and timpani, two flutes and three oboes in addition to the usual complement of strings>
( http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Koopman-C04-2c[AM-3CD].pdf ).

Unlike many of the other homage cantatas for the Saxon Court in Dresden, there is no surviving printed text for Cantata BWV 207a, although there is a Bach Documente II listing of the publication in Braatz’ summary: “BD 367, 368 Leipzig, August 2, 1735. Libretti for a Name Day cantata performed on August 3, 1735, and a Rathswahlkantate (both undetermined). Breitkopf demands from Bach for a cantata using 150 printing pages divided into 4 parts including censorship fee (1 Taler 16 Groschen) and for the Rathswahlcantata text 1/4 printed sheet (8 Groschen)” [Braatz’ “Bach’s Text and Music Business Connections,” BCW,http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/BachBusiness.pdf and throughhttp://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BachCantatas/conversations/topics/37508 .]

Collateral evidence suggests Cantata BWV 207a was the nameday work performed in 1735. Cantata 207a survives in individual vocal and continuo parts that include the parodied text written out. Bach inscribed a separate title page that also has a 1:40 minute “Marsch” for the same instruments as used in both works, Cantatas BWV 207 and 207a: flutes, oboes, trumpets, timpani, violins, viola, and continuo (cello and double bass). Since the two violins and viola double the two flutes and two oboes and taille, it could have been performed without strings as a processional march.

The March is found on YouTube (first three movements),http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzFCC9GVdxw (Rilling, Hänssler Vol. 64, Cantata 207a Recordings No. 3, from Details, Ibid., above). The unidentified Ratswahlkantate could be a repeat of BWV 120 (BC B-6), “Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille” (God, one praises Thee in the stillness), for the Town Council installation, August 29, 1735. When Bach took charge of the publication of homage cantata libretti, he occasionally combined two print jobs such as those involving the Elector’s Nameday, August 3 and the council installation in late August, paying for both at the same time.

The entire manuscript package containing Cantata 207 and the surviving materials of BWV 207a were inherited by Bach’s son, Friedemann, and found in his estate catalogue of 1790, on Page 71 with non-annual sacred cycle . It is listed as “Cantata for Herr Dr. Korte (also parodied for King Augustus’ Nameday)” in score and also parts. It was assumed that the march was composed for the 1735 Augustus III name day because of the BWV 207 title page and march placement on an additional sheet followed by the BWV 207 score (P174T) and numbered so, followed by the BWV 207 complete parts set (St. 93M) and then the BWV 207a vocal and continuo parts (St. 347). Since Cantata BWV 207a is a virtually parody of BWV 207, no separate set of instrumental parts is required for BWV 207a.

At least two recordings of BWV 207a include the march: BCW Details (Ibid., above), Recordings, Rilling No.3, and Koopman, No. 4. “It was probably for this version of the cantata that Bach added the March, which was evidently performed by a considerable body of players,” says Alfred Dürr in <The Cantatas of JSB> (Oxford Univ. Press, 2005: 842). “It does not belong to the cantata but was presumably used as processional music, as in the contemporary account of Cantata 215” (<New Bach Reader> No. 171, Bach Documente II No. 351).

An examination of the score and context suggests the rowdy March actually was written for Dr. Kortte’s Nameday celebration in 1725 with the Collegium musicum, says Hans-Joachim Schulze in “Bach’s Secular Cantatas – a New Look at the Sources (BACH Vol. XXI (1990 No. 1): 32f). Schulze points out that the “<NBA> could not, or would not, decide whether or not this additional <Marche> is part of only one or both the versions, and consequently the editor published it in connection with both cantatas” [NBA KB I/37, BWV 207a, 1961, and NBA KB I/38, BWV 207, 1960; the editor of both volumes is Werner Neumann]. The March score is 40 measures in AAB form with a repeat signs at the end followed by fermatas. Neumann in his fourth and final edition (1984) of his <Handbuch der Kantaten JSB (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel: 222f) lists the <Marsch> at the end of both BWV 207 and 207a successive entries as: Anhang [Appendix]: Marsch (wahrscheinlich Aufzugmusik (probably gathering music).

“However, from an examination of the score and from a consideration of the context, the matter seems to be clear and easily recognized: after Bach had finished the first movement, or even the whole score, the students of Dr. Korrte decided to march with a band of musicians to the professor’s house and therefore Bach was commissioned to write an additional piece. He took a new sheet of music paper, but he needed only two pages on which to write out the march, and consequently used one of the empty pages for a new and detailed title of the cantata. The assumption that the march was performed anew in August 1735 makes no sense: what took place in ‘Zimmerman’s Coffee Garden’ [BD II no. 368] was a concert, not a parade of students or a whole university faculty.” As to the lack of performing parts for the march, Schultze assumes that the students and musicians marched off with the musicians “taking the handwritten parts with them.”

Schultze affirms this position in his subsequent <Die Bach-Kantaten: Einfuhrungen zu sämtlichen Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs> (Leipzig/Stuttgart, 2006: 685). Thomas Braatz provides this information: Schultze writes, “Ein ehedem eigens für den Studentenaufzug nachkomponierte Marsch mußte ohnehin wegbleiben.”

[A march which had originally been composed specifically for the parade of students had to be dropped anyway.] “I think Schulze implies that in the midst of all the other changes that had to be undertaken, the student march movement had become entirely superfluous as the new circumstances did not call for any special march movement anyhow. The march was unique to BWV 207 as it fit into the unique circumstances surrounding that festive celebration, but it had no place in BWV 207a because there was nothing in the text and circumstances that would call for this march to be performed.”

The new recitative music in Cantata BWV 207a with the interspersed parodied text was first published in the Bach Gesellschaft edition, BG XX2 Anh. (Wilhelm Rust 1873) as accessed on-line in the BCW Details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV207a.htm , scroll down to Score BGA Anh [0.44 MB] . The score with only four voice parts and continuo parts is found in BG XXIV Anh. (Paul Graft Waldersee 1887), as accessed on-line in the BCW Details (Ibid.), scroll down toScore BGA [1.86 MB]. Neither BG publication contains the March music. Werner Neumann’s realization of BWV 207a is found in the Neue Bach Ausgabe, NBA I/37, “Cantatas for the Dresden Nobility (II), 1961.

The new Bärenreiter paperback edition of Festmusiken fur das Kurfurstlich-Sächsische Haus includes BWV 207a (and BWV 213, BWV 214, BWV 206, BWV 215), TP2004, Christoph Wolf Introduction (English/German),https://www.baerenreiter.com/en/search/product/?artNo=TP2004 .

The original German text is found athttp://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/207a.html , and the Philip Z. Ambrose English translation and footnotes about the text athttp://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV207a.html .

The presumed Picander textual adaptation is a convoluted affair in which the new text underlay mixes obsequious praise of Augustus with metaphors, allusions, and actual references to Saxony in typical <Gebrausch> (useful and customary) fashion in both the recitatives and chorus/aria lyrical music. The opening and closing da capo choruses as well as all three da capo arias, and (!)Recitative No. 8 (SATB) are all straightforward parody, called new-text substitution. Only three recitatives in Cantata 207a are new: Nos. 2 (tenor), 4 (soprano & bass), and 6 (alto), mixing praises with mythical characters. The opening chorus is a musical tribute and the closing an affirmation of the monarch. The three internal arias for tenor (no. 3), soprano-bass (no. 5), and alto (no. 7) thankfully offer simplistic sentiments.

Because the printed text is not extant, it cannot be determined who the characters are in BWV 207a <dramma per musica.> “In its absence, we can only conjecture that the soprano might have represented Peace (Irene, cf. no. 4), the bass War (‘Mavors’ = Mars? cf. no 4), and the tenor perhaps Wisdom (Apollo? cf. no. 8) or possibly the city of Leipzig (cf. no. 2),” says Alfred Dürr (Ibid.: 841f). “The rivers Pleiße (nos. 2 and 8) and Elbe (no. 4) and the god Mercury (no. 4) are also mentioned, however, so that it is also conceivable that the songs represent altogether different figures. Least clear of all is the function of the alto soloist, whom at times one might suppose to be a god-head of the woods or of hunting (no. 6) and elsewhere a god of posthumous fame (no. 8).”

Interestingly, the sources of the two vocal adaptations from Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 (horns changed to trumpets), while appropriate for civic ceremonies, were conceived for royalty and are most applicable in the 1735 parody, BWV 207a, for Augustus III. The Trio II for horns and oboes originally was composed in 1713 as part of the closing minuet in the hunting sinfonia for a birthday serenade, BWV 208, for Duke Christian of Sachsen-Weißenfels. “Bach may have expanded the sinfonia into the concerto as we now know it in 1717, on a visit to Dresden, by adding the Allegro third movement [now the opening chorus of Cantatas BWV 207 and 207a] and the Polacca section of the minuet,” says Peter Bergquist in his liner notes to the Helmut Rilling Oregon Bach Festival Hänssler recording of the Brandenburg Concertos.

Cantatas 207(a) are typical of Bach’s use of dance styles in arias and choruses particularly in the profane cantatas for the courts of Sachen-Weißenfels, Köthen, and Dresden, as well as Leipzig celebrations, says Doris Finke-Hecklinger, <Tazcharakter in Vokalmusik JSB (Trossingen: Matth. Hohner: 132-145). In 1726 for his third surviving, secular major work with dances after BWV 149a, and BWV 205, Bach in Cantata BWV 207 used the following dance-influences: opening chorus, 6/8, gigue-like; No. 3 tenor aria, 2/2, gigue-passepied; No. 5, soprano-bass duet, , 4/4 gavotte; and closing chorus, 2/2 gavotte. All were repeated in Cantata BWV 207a for the Nameday of Augustus III in 1735, with new text underlay and virtually no changes in the music.

--------

Next Week’s BCW discussion, beginning October 6 and concluding Festive Music for the Electoral House of Saxony, will consider Cantata BWV 206 of 1736 as well as the latter lost or parodied court works, the Polish elements in these works, and the flowering of both strophic songs for fashionable “Little Paris” Leipzig and sacred songs for home devotion, especially Bach’s involvement.

Julian Mincham wrote (September 29, 2013):
William Hoffman wrote:
< This Week’s BCW Discussion is parody Cantata BWV 207a, “Auf, schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten” (Up, pealing sounds of lively trumpets) for the Elector’s Nameday, probably August 3, 1735, at Zimmerman’s coffee garden next to the Grimma Gate. It is a virtual parody of the academic <dramma per musica> Cantata 207, “Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten (United discourse of varying strings) composed for the installation of Leipzig University Law Professor Gottlieb Korte, December 11, 1726.
Two special characteristics of these sister works are the reuse of instrumental dance-style music in the opening chorus and central aria, and a preceeding professional march. The opening chorus in both nine-movement works is a festive vocal adaptation of the Allegro third movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, BWV 1046/3 from Köthen, one of Bach’s first in
Leipzig, with trumpets replacing horns. The central soprano-bass duet in both is taken from the same concerto, in the closing fourth movement minuet, BWV 1046/5, Trio II, originally for two horns with two oboes as bass, now a continuo duet with closing wind ritornello. Both homage Cantatas BWV 207 and 207a take about 31 minutes to perform. A separate, short processional March for the festive ensemble is extant but Bach scholars are undecided as to which of the two cantatas it preceded. >
I have always considered that Bach's use of the Brandenburg movement in these two cantatas is highly illuminative of his reasons for and procedures when representing earlier works. Is is believable that the compete rewriting, transposition and rescoring of this third movement of Brandenburg1/3 was a matter of time saving? It surely must have been a task entirely equivalent to the composition of a completely new movement. So why do it?

I copy a few words from my essay on this piece which attempt to throw some light upon this.

"The opening chorus raises a number of interesting questions. It was after the second Leipzig cycle that Bach turned his attention to some of his previously composed large-scale concerto movements which he felt would make effective sinfonias for a number of the cantatas. (C 42 was the only one of fifty-three second cycle cantatas to begin with an impressive instrumental movement showing all the signs of an adaptation from a concerto, although it must be admitted that if there was an original model, it has been lost). The obvious question is, what were the grounds upon which Bach chose particular movements for specific cantatas? Did he just think 'that's a good piece, it will do here?' Or was it simply a matter of labour and time saving? Or did he have in his mind some quite specific selection criteria?

The conclusion frequently arrived at in several of the relevant essays in volume 3 relates to the last of these questions i.e. when composing a new cantata it is suggested that he had a very clear picture in his mind of the sort of sinfonia he considered best suited to it. The choice of the third movement of Brandenburg 1 with which to begin Cs 207 and 207a may throw some light on the dilemma.

Admittedly, this is the transformation of an instrumental movement into a chorus not a sinfonia. It could, presumably, have remained much as originally composed had Bach wished to begin with an imposing orchestral piece. Clearly an imposing chorus was required and so he set about transforming a monumental concerto grosso movement into one.

For this he replaced the two horns with trumpets and drums, thereby requiring transposition into the more trumpet-friendly key of D major. This decision alone would have required the re-copying of all performing parts. He retained the three oboes, strings and continuo but added two flutes (although for the most part their role was one of doubling). The most radical part of the reconstruction was the transforming of the solo piccolo violin into the texture of a four-part choir.

All of this can hardly have saved time since the labour involved must have been roughly commensurate with that of composing a completely new movement. One is left with the conclusion that Bach was of the opinion that this was precisely the right piece for this event, although what his specific criteria might have been, we can only speculate.

There are, indeed, a few losses. One misses the delightfully convoluted violin solo at times where it has had to be radically simplified for vocal use (from bar 53 and elsewhere). On the other hand the sound, quite possibly having been conceived for an outdoor performance, is imposing. Bach retains the essential structure, even managing to make creative use of the two adagio bars and the pause just before the recapitulation (bar 88-89).

The line of text upon which one is here given a moment to reflect lies at the core of this work----the rewards for virtue and industry.

The stanza begins, however, with a reference to the 'united discord of changing strings'. Is it possible that Bach had in mind the rhythmic dislocations of the string parts before main cadences? (See bars 12-17 and elsewhere). This striking feature has the violins playing in three groups of four (3/4) against the basic time of two groups of three (6/8). What could better represent musically the first line of text? Might the choice of this piece relate solely to these few, but highly arresting bars?
http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/cms/websites/bach/user_files/file/aa-sec-cans-sound-midifiles/aa207-1.mid

1 2 3 1 2 3................

The poet moves onto the mention of drums (also added in this score) in what is essentially a call to gather about and salute a man of virtue and honour.

A final point of interest demonstrates Bach's extreme attention to detail. The stanza begins with a line that requires a rhythmic upbeat, as we discover when the basses enter in bar 16. Seeking consistency, Bach has attached an upbeat to the main ritornello theme, heard at the beginning and several times throughout. Oddly enough, just this one additional note with which the movement now commences is enough to throw the listener who, even when knowing the Brandenburgs well, is quite likely to say 'I know this piece: but what is it?' "

Aryeh Oron wrote, on behalf of Thomas Braatz (September 30, 2013):
The Marche movement in BWV 207 and BWV 207a

Thomas Braatz contributed another article to the BCW:
"The Marche movement in BWV 207 and BWV a"
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/BWV207Marche.pdf

Thomas Braatz wrote:
The current discussion on BWV 207a has raised some questions about the March movement which appears as the introductory first movement of the cantata (BWV 207) in the BG (Rust did not distinguish very well between BWV 207 and BWV 207a), but has been relegated to an appendix in both printed versions of these two cantatas in the NBA I/37 and NBA I/38. What evidence do the critical sources reveal about this movement?

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 30, 2013):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Thomas Braatz contributed another article to the BCW:
"The Marche movement in BWV 207 and BWV 207a"
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/BWV207Marche.pdf >
If the March is a free-standing work, it becomes one of the few pieces of utilitarian music from Bach's hand to survive. A royal occasion required innumerable musical "covers" for entrances and exits. Even the initial appearance of the court then the royal family at the windows where they listened to a cantata needed a musical cover. When Handel came to depict Joshua circling the walls of Jericho, he wrote a splendid Hanoverian March. Interesting that Mozart wrote a whole series of freestanding marches which would have been extremely useful to court orchestras.

William Hoffman wrote (September 30, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] For your enjoyment:

The March is found on YouTube (first three movements), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzFCC9GVdxw (Rilling, Hänssler Vol. 64, Cantata 207a Recordings No. 3, from Details, Ibid., above).

The score is found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BGA/BWV207-BGA.pdf (beginning with “Marcia” score) or BCW Cantata 207 Details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV207.htm , scroll down to Score BGA [5.21 MB]. The on-line source is from Bach Gesellschaft, BG 20.2 Secular Cantatas BWV 206, BWV 207, BWV 207a (movements 2, 4, 6); editor Wilhelm Rust, 1873.

-------------

In next week's BCW discussion, Cantata BWV 206, there will be more about the various presentations of the Dresden court homage cantatas in Leipzig.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 30, 2013):
[To William Hoffman] The video is seriously mislabeled. It's Ton Koopman and his ensemble in that recording.
I recognized the guitar continuo immediately.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 30, 2013):
The Koopman version is my favorite ;)

William Hoffman wrote (October 3, 2013):
Two Fugitive Notes

E. Power Biggs’ 1975 “Sinfonias & Orchestral Movements From Cantatas,” BCW Recordings, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Rotzsch.htm#C13; tracks 15-16. Cantata BWV 207 (Dramma per musica) 'Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten': Marcia, I. and Coro.

The processional March found in Cantata BWV 207(a) also is listed as an <Anhang> appendix to Cantata BWV 207 of 1726 in the <Bach Compendium> Vol. 4 (Vocal Works), Group G, Worldly Cantatas, of Hans-Joachim Schultze and Christoph Wolff (Leipzig: Edition Peters, 1985-: 1592), catalogued at BC B 37 for Thomas School Events.

 

Cantatas BWV 207 & BWV 207a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 207 | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 207 | Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 207a | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 207a | 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: ýOctober 14, 2013 ý10:27:15