Cantata BWV 208Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!
Cantata BWV 208a
Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!
Discussions - Part 2
Continue from Part 1
Discussions in the Week of February 13, 2005
Neil Halliday wrote (February 12, 2005):
BWV 208: Introduction
The cantata for discussion during the coming week (Feb. 13-19) is the secular cantata: BWV 208.
"Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd" ("Hunting Cantata").
Event: Composed for the birthday of Duke Christian of Saxony-Weissenfels on February 23, 1713.
Link to texts, commentary, music examples, and list of known recordings: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV208.htm
Contributions from list members during the previous round of discussions: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV208-D.htm
(Thanks to Aryeh for his detailed description and impressions of movements from 9 recordings).
This cantata contains the famous aria known in English as "Sheep may safely graze" (movement #9), scored for soprano, two recorders, and continuo.
From the Rilling booklet (1996 recording):
"Bach felt himself encouraged by the secular subject matter to try using for the first time in a cantata the then modern forms of Italian opera, especially alternating recitatives and arias".
While Salomo Franck's mythology-based text might be forgetable, the six arias, two choruses and one duet all contain delightful music.
The choruses (movements #11 and 15) are lively and tuneful (as are all the movements); and include horns (for the first time in a cantata), oboes and bassoon as well as strings; Bach once again has written the cello and violone parts on separate staves, with the BGA score in #11 showing the bottom stave marked "Continuo, grosso violone". An oddity is the employment of two sopranos (S1, S2), and no alto.
The Rilling booklet notes that Bach later parodied two of the arias, movements #7 (for B) and #13 (for S2), in BWV 68, using new texts for the church cantata; and the final chorus was parodied twice, first to make the opening chorus of BWV 149, and later to form the conclusion of BWV 193 (but this relationship is complex; BWV 193 has apparently not survived intact). Moreover, the entire cantata was reused in 1716 for the birthday (or wedding) of Ernst-August of Saxony-Weimar, and as late as 1740, for the name day of Elector Friedrich August II.
BTW, with the recent Rilling recording, one gets the bonus of a delightfully lively recording of the first movement of the first Brandenburg Concerto; quote: "Since a festive homage cantata does not begin with a recitative, but demands to be allowed to make a representative entrance, we can suppose that the 1st movement of the Brandenburg Concerto in F BWV 1046, which requires the same instruments, or an early form of it, was played here."
In addition, BWV 1040 (a trio) is played at the end of the soprano aria (movement no.13), since it is based on this aria, and as an orchestral ritornello, was once annexed to the score of this cantata (if I read the notes correctly).
I hope to see many of you participating in the discussion.
Doug Cowling wrote (February 12, 2005):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< The cantata for discussion during the coming week (Feb. 13-19) is the secular cantata: BWV 208. >
There isn't a score online. Can anyone post one for the discussion?
Thomas Braatz wrote (February 13, 2005):
BWV 208 - Which 'hunting horns'?
Some important considerations:
The 'hunting' horns
Which 'horns' did Bach use for BWV 208?
Unfortunately there is not a single trace of any of the original parts that must have been used by Bach for numerous performances. These would have been helpful in many ways, but particularly in deciding beyond any doubt which instruments Bach had wanted in the ensemble.
Fortunately we have Bach's autograph score with his own indications/instructions written down in various places of the score.
Here is the main title of Mus. Ms. Bach P 42 in Bach's own handwriting (the watermark of the paper was produced only between 1709 and 1714):
>>Cantata â 4 Voci. 2 Corni di Caccia. 2 Violini una Viola ê Cont.<<
The "Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis" (BWV) [Breitkopf & Härtel, 1998] confirms this by listing "Cor da Cac I,II" as members of the ensemble.
Above the first line of music, Bach writes >>Diana.<<
Then, after the end of the 1st recitative and above the beginning of mvt. 2, Bach writes:
>>2 Corni è Soprano<<
Regarding this, the Csibas in "Die Blechblasinstrumente in J. S. Bachs Werken" [Kassel, 1994, p. 38] take issue with the NBA which lists 2 corni da caccia and state that they have examined the score and find that Bach clearly marked mvts. 2 and 11 with 'Corno' and not 'Corno da caccia.' [In mvt. 11, Bach marked the beginning of the two musical lines with 'Corno I' and 'Corno II.' By the time Bach got to mvt. 15, he did not mark these instruments at all. Personally, I would have to agree with Alfred Dürr (the editor of the NBA KB I/35) and the confirmation by the BWV, that 'Corni da caccia' were intended by Bach to be playing all the way through this cantata. It seems reasonable to conjecture that, as Bach continued composing the cantata, he would abbreviate the cumbersome designation "corno da caccia" to save time and because of limited space on the manuscript.]
Assuming this intended instrument to be a corno da caccia, we are then talking about the corno da caccia in F having a length of tubing of 12 ft. In comparison, the famous Haußmann portrait of Gottfried Reiche shows him holding a corno da caccia in C (8 ft. length), a tightly coiled instrument which approximates the sound of the tromba in C of the same length. There is only a slight difference in tone quality between both instruments caused by the flare of the bell and the 'Stürze' [a technical term - I don't know what this is.] The corno da caccia in F is tuned a fifth lower than a tromba in C, and, although it has the same length as the corno in F, it has a sound much more like a natural trumpet (its bore is primarily cylindrical which the corno is not.)
Bach used the tromba, tromba da tirarsi or clarino in 72 compositions (trumpet family)
Bach used the corno (horn family) in 42 (41 if we exlude BWV 208)
Bach used the trombones in 14
Bach used the cornett in 12
Bach used the corno da caccia in 9 (10 if we include BWV 208)
Bach used the corno da tirarsi in 3
Bach used the corne du chasse in 2
Bach used the lituus in 1
Bach's Brandenburg Concerto I (BWV 1046) was composed for 2 corni da caccia in F as well. Other noteworthy instances where Bach uses this instrument at this pitch are BWV 213/1&13; BWV 248 (IV)/36&42; BWV 1071 (a reworking of BWV 1046.)
I was very much surprised that Konrad Küster, from whose book I translated an extended passage this past week, in his discussion of BWV 208 does not even comment on the manner in which BWV 208 opens - a short recitative. Isn't there something missing here? To open this cantata (with no large church organ present), could there have been a special fanfare which featured primarily the corni da caccia?
Or better yet---
In his discussion of BWV 1046, Michael Marissen, in his "The Social and Religious Designs of J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos" [Princeton University Press, 1995,] mentions in a footnote on p. 21 that "many Bach scholars maintain that an earlier version of the First Brandenburg Concerto probably served as a 'sinfonia' for the cantata "Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd! BWV 208, a work that, according to Dürr, ed., NBA I/35 .was in existence by early 1713..Yoshitake Kobayashi.has suggested that this date might even be moved back to 1712."
Marissen (on. pp. 22-23) gives a very interesting historical background for this instrument specifically referring to them as >>'Corni da caccia' (hunthorns)<<, but let the reader, or better yet, let the listener be aware that these instruments sounded more like trumpets than horns. How many recordings of BWV 1046 use horns and horn replacements other than the 'corni da caccia' that are required? Are there any that definitely and reliably use 'corni da caccia'? Which instruments are used in the current recordings of BWV 208? Do they sound more like horns or trumpets?
Corni da caccia are rarely used by Bach as a single instrument (in BWV 232 - the Csibas have a very interesting discussion of its use in this context and why it should sound an octave higher) and there is one instance where Bach uses 3 in BWV 143/1,5,7, However, in most instances these instruments are used in pairs.
Play the first mvt. of the first Brandenburg before beginning to listen to BWV 208.
Doug Cowling wrote (February 13, 2005):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Corni da caccia are rarely used by Bach as a single instrument (in BWV 232 - the Csibas have a very interesting discussion of its use in this context and why it should sound an octave higher) and there is one instance where Bach uses 3 in BWV 143/1,5,7, However, in most instances these instruments are used in pairs. >
The question of whether the horns play an octave higher "in alt" is fascinating. I was amazed in McCreesh's Epihany Mass recording of the Missa Brevis in F and "Sie Werden Aus Saba" that his players were playing "in alt". He has a very interesting note that Harnoncourt wanted to perform these horn parts an octave higher in his cantata recordings but his players lacked the expertise Listen to the opening of McCreesh's "Gloria" to hear this extraordinary sound of horns sounding almost like trumpets.
Neil Halliday wrote (February 13, 2005):
BWV 208; and Rilling (1996) 
The 1st movement of BWV 1046, performed at the start of this recording, is given with vitality and clarity, the stereo image being a pleasing factor. The horns, designated simply `corno' in the booklet, are full of character and in tune, yet expressively sounding with different force on different notes. This is a most enjoyable performance from Rilling's ensemble.
(BTW, the BGA score only has the designation `corno da caccia" for the first soprano aria; thereafter, the designation is simply `corno'.
The first aria (movement #2, after the first recitative) scored for soprano, 2 corno da caccia and continuo, is lively and bright, if somewhat superficial to my ear. Rubens' vibrato borders on being irritating. (I think Rilling is using the same `corno' as in the Brandenburg movement at the start, the booklet makes no mention of `corno da caccia'; is there a modern equivalent?).
The tenor aria (#4) is based on a lively, engaging continuo `sentence', which is more or less repeated in an ostinato fashion throughout the aria. Graced with the excellent singing from tenor James Taylor, this is an enjoyable movement.
The bass aria (#7) is a substantial movement scored for 3 oboes and continuo. It is a grand musical setting, effectively in 12/8 time, of the somewhat obsequious text ("a country without its Prince is like a body without a soul, lacking its finest part" etc, etc) impressively serving its purpose of lauding the prince. Matthias Goerne has a powerful yet gentle voice with controlled vibrato, most enjoyable.
The well-known soprano aria (#9) is sprightly in this recording, fortunately enhanced by the judicious use of pizzicato on the double bass to accent the continuo line and add depth to the music. Sheep, ie, us, can safely graze under the care of our prince. The lovely musical setting of the words is justly famous.
The first of the two choruses (#11) is fugal in nature. Starting with the sopranos, the lively fugue subject, with a strong rhythmic pulse, is successively handed down to the lower voices, until the `grosso violone', in a separate entry, takes it up in the range an octave below the bass voice, making 5 successive initial entries of the subject - an unexpected touch.
Rilling's Gächinger Kantorei displays precision and clarity in all parts, matched by the excellent playing from the Bach Collegium Stuttgart.
The S1,T duet (#12), attractively sung by Rubens and Taylor, features an engaging part for solo violin; and the following lively and tuneful aria for S2 and continuo (#13) has the pleasing instrumental arrangement for oboe, violin and continuo (BWV 1040) attached.
A somewhat angular continuo bass aria (#14) leads to the final chorus (#15). Homophonic in structure, this chorus has an engaging syncopated rhythm (in triple time), with the 3rd beat of the bar being stressed, at the expense of the first beat. (Get your beat right when you start conducting it!).
The choral writing on the word "besieget" ("conquers') is especially impressive, with its brilliant imitative vocal counterpoint supported by the powerful rhythm of the accompaniment.
Dale G edcke wrote (February 14, 2005):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
"Assuming this intended instrument to be a corno da caccia, we are then talking about the corno da caccia in F having a length of tubing of 12 ft. In comparison, the famous Haußmann portrait of Gottfried Reiche shows him holding a corno da caccia in C (8 ft. length), a tightly coiled instrument which approximates the sound of the tromba in C of the same length. There is only a slight difference in tone quality between both instruments caused by the flare of the bell and the 'Stürze' [a technical term - I don't know what this is.] The corno da caccia in F is tuned a fifth lower than a tromba in C, and, although it has the same length as the corno in F, it has a sound much more like a natural trumpet (its bore is primarily cylindrical which the corno is not.)"
It is certainly not obvious what is meant by the term, 'Stürze'.
My German/English dictionary lists the translation of "Stürzen" as "to throw down, upset, overturn, overthrow, fall, tumble, rush, or dive".
1) I suspect 'Stürze' refers to the taper of the bore of the instrument in the tubing between the mouthpiece and the final, drastic taper of the bell. A Corno would have a gentle, conical taper in this long section of tubing, wheras a Corno da Caccia would have a more constant bore diameter. That certainly causes a difference in tone.
2) However, the term could refer to the taper of the tubing in the immediate vicinity of the mouthpiece, or it could be referencing the backbore taper of the mouthpiece.
Given the contrast in tone that is being described, I think explanation 1) is the more likely.
Thomas Braatz wrote (February 14, 2005):
[To Dale Gedcke] Here are some other possible meanings that I have found:
1. 'lid' as in putting a lid on a pot; the 'lid' on a German Bierstein
2. as a verb: to turn something inside out or upside down.
Here are some technical terms (nouns) describing brass instruments in the book by the Csibas:
Zierkranz (embossed decoration on the bell)
Mundrohr (only the tubing of the mouthpiece?)
Kessel (the part of the mouthpiece that looks like a pot)
Trichtermundstück (mouthpiece looking like a funnel)
Rohrverlauf (length of the tubing)
Doppelzug (curved bow/crook which is movable)
Seele (the 'soul' - a part/special attribute of the bore)
Hinterbohrung (the bore 'behind'?)
Ansatz (the lip of the mouthpiece)
Kesseltiefe (depth of the opening in the mouthpiece)
Kesselbohrung (the bore of the 'pot' part of the mouthpiece)
Windungsdurchmesser (the diameter of the coils)
Setzstück (tube extension)
Zug (a bit of tubing that can be added between the mouthpiece and the rest of the instrument; it can be movable or fixed during playing)
Bogen (bow or bend or crook)
These are some of the terms that I am not certain about since they are not present in any normal dictionary (even a large German dictionary!) Any help in fixing the meanings of these words would be appreciated. I wlike to know if my translations (actually guesses at the meanings) are reasonable correct and also find out the meanings for the ones for which I have no translation or a poor one like 'lid.'
What is the difference between Schallstück and Stürze?
Thomas Braatz wrote (February 14, 2005):
Doug Cowling wrote:
>>The question of whether the horns play an octave higher "in alt" is fascinating. I was amazed in McCreesh's Epihany Mass recording of the Missa Brevis in F and "Sie Werden Aus Saba" that his players were playing "in alt". He has a very interesting note that Harnoncourt wanted to perform these horn parts an octave higher in his cantata recordings but his players lacked the expertise Listen to the opening of McCreesh's "Gloria" to hear this extraordinary sound of horns sounding almost like trumpets.<<
Paul McCreesh states in the notes:
"The horns in Cantata BWV 65 ["Sie werden aus Saba"], probably for the first time ever, are played in C alto, that is at trumpet pitch"
What we do not find out about this performance are important details that would clarify whether these are modern instruments (horns) or modern replicas of a horn in C major with adaptations (slides and/or finger holes) to make them easier to play in tune. According to the Csibas' list of brass instruments used to play specific works and mvts. by Bach, the horns (corni) that Bach used came in the following sizes of
Corno in C (16 feet long)
Corno in D (14')
Corno in F (12')
Corno in G
Corno in A
Corno in B (this could be tuned down to A, G, F, Eb, and D (14') by use of additional, insertable coils or crooks)
Corno in D (7')
Bach clearly demands for BWV 65 "2 Core du Chasse" which are not the same as the other 'corni' of the period. This 'corne du chasse' in C (8') This is also known as a 'Parforcehorn' or 'Corne par force' which is described as an very widely coiled (up to 100 cm diameter) instrument with the bell projecting backwards over the shoulder of the player. The bore is quite narrow and has various conical and cylindrical sections beginning to approach somewhat the type of construction used up to the present day in making horns. The sound of the corne du chasse, however, as expected from an instrument used at first primarily in hunting, is described as 'rüde' ["coarse, uncouth."] [Of course, Gottfried Reiche on this instrument would play circles around the usual troupe of hunting horns used by nobility.] Nevertheless, there would be a special sound that Bach wanted and, compared to BWV 109 where Cornes du chasse in C (16') play an octave lower than the basic tromba in C. As indicated above, Bach wants these Cornes du chasse to be played at the same high pitch level of the tromba in C. Perhaps McCreesh was attempting to approach this, as he states: "brilliant sound of the high horns," by having whatever type of horns he had at his disposal play at the higher octave. This, at least, is a step in the right direction, as the high horns lend "an extraordinary dimension to the baroque sound." Too bad that for a special recording which prides itself in making things as 'authentic' as possible, the listeners are left uninformed regarding the instruments actually being used. There are still distinctions in the quality of sound which have not been heeded, but at least the pitch of these instruments seems to be correct.
This is an exciting recording. If there is one thing that a listener 'comes away with' and remembers later on, it will be the horns playing in BWV 65/1 (and BWV 233/2 etc.)
Unfortunately we do not have a single note of BWV 233 (also with horns) directly from Bach's pen. We have to assume that he may have directed Altnickol, his son-in-law, to mine some earlier works (mvts. 1, 4, 5, 6 are taken from earlier works by Bach) and assembled them for preserving them sometime between 1744 and 1748. Bach did not make a single correction or addition to this copy. The copy calls for 'corni all unisono' (mvt. 1) and lists 'Corno I and Corno II' (mvt. 2.) The copy begins mvt. 2 with the C (C major signature) in the middle of the treble clef while the other instruments are begin with the F below that in the key of F. The NBA has all instruments playing an F (the violin as well as the 1st horn begin on the same F. Perhaps this may be part of the reason that McCreesh has the horns play an octave higher here.
Dale G edcke wrote (February 14, 2005):
BWV 208 - Which 'hunting horns'? German Corno terms
[To Thomas Braatz in response to his 1st message above]
I suspect few members on this list will find these terms of vital interest. Therefore, I will offer a few brief suggestions. We can continue this discussion off-list if you wish.
Probably the best place to find someone who knows both the German and English meanings of those terms is to contact a company who manufactures period instruments. For example:
There is also an excellent natural trumpet resource web site at:
My knowledge of the meaning of the German terms is rather limited. Mainly I am deducing the equivalent English term by looking up the general meaning of the German word in a German-to-English dictionary. Then, if the term is used in a paragraph, I can often figure out what feature is being described, and I can identify the conventional English term used for that same feature in a modern trumpet.
Here is my cursory interpretation:
<Zwingen>: trans.: to force, compel, clamp. I suspect this is a clamp.
<Knauf>: trans.: knob. Probably a knob.
<Zierkranz (embossed decoration on the bell)>: trans.: decoration-wreath. Your translation seems correct.
<Schallstück (bell?)>: trans.: Sound-piece. It might be the bell, the part that emits the sound. You will have to check the context to see if that interpretation makes sense.
<Mundrohr>: This could be the backbore of the mouthpiece, or it might be the initial section of the tubing after the mouthpiece. The latter is known as the "leadpipe".
<Mundstück>: Undoubtedly, mouthpiece.
<Kessel>: Clearly, what is called the "cup" of the mouthpiece in English.
<Trichtermundstück (mouthpiece looking like a funnel)>: This is likely what is called the "throat" of the mouthpiece; i.e., the small diameter between the bottom of the cup and the expanding backbore on the output side of the throat.
<Rohrverlauf (length of the tubing)>: This interpretation seems credible.
<Doppelzug (curved bow/crook which is movable)>: Your interpretation seems reasonable. I would expect to see this term used in describing the parallel tubes of the slide trombone (sackbut)
<Setzstück>: trans.: "seat-piece". Could this be the "receiver" for the mouthpiece? In modern instruments both the mouthpiece and the receiver have compatible tapers. The mouthpiece is inserted into the receiver.
<Seele (the 'soul' - a part/special attribute of the bore)>: Seele can mean "bore" or "core". In modern instruments the bore diameter for the instrument is measured and specified at the position of the second-valve slide. Upstream from that point the bore diameter diminishes as the mouthpiece is approached, and downstream the bore diameter increases as the end of the bell is approached. Is 'Seele' used to refer to this point in the instrument?
<Bohrung (bore)>: Your translation seems reasonable. This could be used as defined for "Seele", or it might be used at any position along the length of the instrument. You will have to examine the context.
<Hinterbohrung (the bore 'behind'?)>: This might be the bore immediately behind another section of the instrument, or it may be the bore of the smaller tube that fits inside a larger tube to form a fixed or sliding joint.
<Ansatz (the lip of the mouthpiece)>: Your interpretation sounds reasonable. In English this is currently called the "rim" of the mouthpiece.
<Kesseltiefe (depth of the opening in the mouthpiece)>: Obviously, this is the depth of the cup portion of the mouthpiece.
<Kesselbohrung (the bore of the 'pot' part of the mouthpiece)>: Today, one would call this the "cup diameter". Generally, this is measured fairly close to the rim.
<Windungsdurchmesser (the diameter of the coils)>: Your interpretation sounds reasonable.
<Zug (a bit of tubing that can be added between the mouthpiece and the rest of the instrument; it can be movable or fixed during playing)>: I believe this is what was historically called a "bit", if it was not easily extended. On modern piccolo trumpets the main tuning slide is actually a piece of tubing between the mouthpiece and the leadpipe. It has a slightly smaller diameter tube that fits inside the leadpipe. One adjusts the depth of insertion to tune the trumpet to the correct overall pitch. Once adjusted, it is clamped so that it does not change while playing. Basically, this tuning slide is adjusting the overall length of the trumpet. Some natural trumpets used a similar tuning "bit". Then there is the Tromba da Tirarsi, in which that tuning slide was much longer and more easily adjusted while playing. It allowed quick adjustment while playing, thus making it possible to reach notes that the natural trumpet couldn't hit otherwise.
Bogen (bow or bend or crook): I think you have the right translation.
"Schallstück versus Stürze" is a bit of a puzzle. If Schallstück is the bell, could Stürze be the rim of the bell. Typically, the edge of that rim is bent backwards rather tightly over an enclosed wire ring to provide a more rigid rim on the bell. In English, this process is called an "upset". Some of the meanings for Stürzen are: to upset or overturn. You will need more context to check whether this explanation is plausible.
Paul Farseth wrote (February 15, 2005):
Dale Gedcke wrote:
< "Schallstück versus Stürze" is a bit of a puzzle. If Schallstück is the bell, could Stürze be the rim of the bell. Typically, the edge of that rim is bent backwards rather tightly over an enclosed wire ring to provide a more rigid rim on the bell. In English, this process is called an "upset". Some of the meanings for Stürzen are: to upset or overturn. You will need more context to check whether this explanation is plausible. >
Isn't one meaning of "Stürze" a "cover" or "lid"? Could this imply some kind of a mute?
Thomas Braatz wrote (February 15, 2005):
[To Paul Farseth] This thought first crossed my mind (for a second) because the German word seems to be implying this type of thing (something used to cover something up.) But there were no mutes found from Bach's time or before. I think Dale's suggestion is probably best: having something to do with the amount of flare in the bell (which has an effect upon the sound.) When I found one meaning of 'Stürze' as being the 'lid' on top of a German Bierstein, I began to realize that I had seen a number of lids of this sort and they begin to look like an inverted cone on top of the mug. With a bit of imagination, this is rather like the 'flare' of the bell of a brass instrument.
Thomas Braatz wrote (February 15, 2005):
[To Paul Farseth] I just found it with 2 other equivalent words in the only one citation in an article by Edward H. Tarr on trumpets. I will take the liberty of quoting the entire section in which it occurs although it pertains mainly to modern instruments [Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press, 2004, acc. 2/14/05]:
>>The B trumpet common in orchestras and bands today has a tube length of 130 cm and three piston valves. It consists of a tapered mouthpipe (Fr. branche; Ger. Mundrohr) 18 to 33 cm long into which the mouthpiece is inserted; a middle section of cylindrical tubing, including the tuning-slide (Fr. coulisse d'accord; Ger. Stimmzug) and the valves together with their associated tubing; and a conical bell section (Fr. pavillon; Ger. Schallstück) ending in a flare (Fr. évasement; Ger. Schallbecher, Schalltrichter or Stürze) about 12·5 cm in diameter. The cylindrical part of the bore is between 11·66 mm and 11·89 mm in diameter. Although the bore was traditionally about one-third conical and two-thirds cylindrical, modern manufacturers of piston-valve trumpets have increased the length of the conical section to improve intonation; in some modern trumpets the cylindrical tubing constitutes only about 20% of the total length.
The trumpet in 4' C, pitched a whole tone above the B instrument, is also common in orchestral work. Indeed, modern trumpeters, because of the variety of musical styles in which they are required to play and the perfection demanded of them in broadcast and recorded performances, need at least three or four instruments, including ones pitched in B and in C for regular work, in D/E and in high B/A (piccolo trumpet; Ger. Hoch-B/A-Trompete; Fr. petite trompette en si-bémol/la aiguë, trompette piccolo) for high parts and in Baroque music. The 'quick change' rotary valve which changes the pitch from B to A, favoured by some orchestras at the beginning of the 20th century, is no longer in general use. A low E trumpet is still used in military bands on the Continent, especially in Germany and Italy. It is the band counterpart of the old orchestral valve trumpet in 6' F.
The orchestral bass trumpet was designed to Wagner's specifications for the Ring. Wagner first visualized a huge trumpet pitched an octave below the ordinary 6' F valve trumpet of his day, with the same length of tubing as a horn or tuba. He later suggested (to the Berlin maker C.W. Moritz) the construction of a four-valve trumpet in 8' C with crooks for B and A. The resulting instrument has a tube length no greater than that of the 6' F trumpet played with its longest crooks, but it has a more mellow tone because of its wide bore and large mouthpiece. It is usually played by a trombonist. Wagner demanded of it a large compass, from G to g'', and gave it solo passages in every part of its range. Since Wagner, other composers - including Richard Strauss and Stravinsky - have been attracted to write for the bass trumpet.
After World War II piston-valve trumpets spread from France, England and the USA to most European orchestras, although rotary-valve trumpets, traditionally used in Germany and eastern Europe, remained in use in a few, such as the Berlin PO, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Dresden Staatskapelle and the Vienna PO. In the 1980s many orchestras - including some in which they had never been employed - began to use rotary-valve trumpets for the German Classical and Romantic repertory. An instrument of this type has a mouthpipe only about 13 cm long; the valve section is usually inserted between mouthpipe and tuning-slide; the bell is some 13 to 14 cm in diameter.<<
And regarding mutes on brass instruments for Bach's instruments, I have not ever read or seen any score or marking which calls for this type of muting. From the same dictionary in an article by Clifford Bevans:
>>Mutes are applied to brass instruments as much for modifying the tone colour as for softening the tone. Trumpets were being muted by the early 16th century for funeral ceremonies, and Mersenne depicted and described a mute in Harmonie universelle (1636-7) and Harmonicorum libri XII (1648). 17th- and 18th-century references indicate that use of a mute raised the pitch of an instrument by a tone. However no surviving mute seems to transpose this exact amount: most raise the pitch a semitone or a bit more, depending on the mute and trumpet used (research has been hampered by a lack of mutes that can be linked with specific instruments). If desired, an instrument could be retuned to the original pitch by adding an appropriate crook. The technique of hand stopping on the horn is said to have bdeveloped from experiments with mutes by the Dresden horn player A.J. Hampel around
the middle of the 18th century (Domnich, Méthode, 1807)....Altenburg (1795) gave five reasons for muting the (natural) trumpet: secret military retreat; use at funerals; embouchure development; prevention of 'screeching'; and improving intonation.
A mute acts on the principle of the Helmholtz resonator, changing the instrument's timbre by reducing the intensity of certain partials and amplifying others. Additional effects of muting may include, besides changes in pitch, attenuation of volume and increased directivity. The player almost always has to adjust, when muting the instrument, to some alteration in its response.
During the 20th century, largely because of the work of jazz orchestrators, a considerable range of mutes was developed. Mutes may be constructed from aluminium, brass, copper, wood, papier-mâché, cardboard, fibre, composition, polystyrene and rubber. Few types of mute are equally effective in all registers, and there are particular problems in muting the lower notes of a brass instrument without affecting its tuning. To a large extent such problems, although they have been the subject of research, are solved empirically. Final adjustments are often left to the player who may file the corks that support the mute to achieve the best effect with the minimum disturbance to the instrument's normal blowing characteristics.
The trumpet in particular, and to a lesser extent the trombone, is played with a large variety of mutes; these are listed and described below. The 19th-century 'echo cornet' had an integral mute controlled by a fourth valve. Until the 20th century the only mute used regularly in the symphony orchestra was the straight mute (it has been used on the tenor and bass tubas since Strauss's Don Quixote, 1897). On the horn, muting may be done by hand, indicated by the term 'stopped' (Fr. sons bouchés, Ger. gestopft, It. chiuso), or with a mute that is pear-shaped or in the form of a truncated cone; some mechanical mutes affect pitch, and may contain a tuning-screw regulator to adjust intonation, while some horns incorporate a stopping valve to compensate for the change in pitch caused by muting. A special effect on the horn is the use of 'brassy' or cuivré (Fr.) notes (Ger. schmetternd or blechern): this is produced by fully stopping the horn and blowing hard, which raises the pitch as well as producing a harsh and metallic effect. The most famous instance of the use of muted horns is in the music for the bleating sheep in Strauss's Don Quixote, where flutter-tongue effects are used at dynamic levels from pp to ff.
Of the types of mute listed below, (a) to (d) are in standard use, most notably on the trumpet and trombone
(a) Straight mute. Its shape is conical (though when made of metal often pear-shaped), with the wider end closed. Longitudinal strips of cork hold it in position, allowing some air to pass between the walls of the instrument and the mute. It is usually made of aluminium, fibre, cardboard or polystyrene, often plaster- or stone-lined. The sound is pure: incisive when blown hard. Straight mutes are available for all brass instruments and instructions to use a mute generally refer to this type.
(b) Cup mute. This is essentially a straight mute with the wide end bearing a cup which more or less covers the bell. The cup is often adjustable to provide a greater or lesser degree of muting and usually contains a lining of felt. The sound is attenuated and lacks edge yet has a certain roundness. Cup mutes are normally used only for the trumpet and trombone.
(c) Harmon mute (wah-wah). A metal mute held in the bell of the instrument by a cork collar so that all the air is directed through the mute. An adjustable (often removable) tube allows different amounts of air to enter the mute chamber. The sound is distant, with an edge which varies in presence according to the position of the tube. The outer face of the mute carries a bowl-shaped indentation; a 'wah-wah' effect can be produced by covering and uncovering this with the palm of the hand while playing. The mute is available for trumpet and trombone.
(d) Bucket mute (velvetone). A parallel-sided bucket is filled with absorbent material and usually clipped on to the trumpet or trombone bell by means of spring steel strips which hold it at a fixed distance from the instrument. The sound is quiet and dull.
(e) Practice mute. A type of straight mute with a heavy cork collar that drastically reduces the sound output. It is available for trumpet, trombone, horn and tuba.
(f) Mica mute. A variety of cup mute with a rubber edge around the cup. The sound is similar but much quieter and slightly more edgy. It is normally played close to a microphone.
(g) Whispa mute. A microphone is also necessary for this mute as its tone is otherwise inaudible. All the sound goes into a chamber filled with sound-absorbent material and it can escape only through small holes.
(h) Solo tone mute (mega, double or clear tone). A double straight mute which has a nasal yet resonant timbre. It is rarely required and is used only by the trumpet (e.g. in Bartók's Violin Concerto, 1937-8, where the instruction 'doppio sordino' appears).
(i) Buzz-wow mute. A type of cup mute incorporating a membrane which adds a buzzing quality to the sound.
(j) Plunger. This rubber or metal cup is like a drain-clearing device but lacks a handle. By skilful manipulation the natural sound can be distorted in such a way that the trumpet or trombone seems almost to speak and sing.
(k) Hat (derby). This mute is a metal bowler hat, usually stone-lined, which is normally held by the left hand over the trumpet or trombone bell. When the instrument is blown 'in hat' the basic tone is retained but with reduced intensity. (In An American in Paris, 1928, Gershwin calls for trumpeters to play 'in felt crown'; Stravinsky requests 'hat over bell' for trumpet and trombone in Ebony Concerto, 1945.)
(l) Handkerchief (cloth). A modified version of 'hat over bell' can be achieved by the use of a handkerchief or cloth. The technique is usually restricted to the trumpet (in, for example, Ives's The Unanswered Question, 1906-8).
(m) Electronic mute. A mute that absorbs almost all the sound of the instrument. The sound is fed into a processing system where it can be manipulated to sound through the player's headphones as if in a concert hall or other space; the sound can also be recorded or played through an audio system. This mute was developed by Yamaha in the mid-1990s and is available for all standard modern brass instruments.
(n) Hand over bell. The effect of 'hand over bell' is to slightly diminish the sound of the trumpet or trombone. It was characteristic of the Glenn Miller band in the 1930s and 40s, where the brass could produce a subtle 'wah' in complete rhythmic accord by this method.
(o) Hand in bell. A technique very occasionally required of trumpeters. The tone becomes increasingly muffled and the pitch of the note progressively lower as the hand is inserted further into the bell.
(p) Beer glass. One of the first types of muting used in jazz, it is used with trumpet and cornet. The glass is held in the left hand and the angle between the glass and the bell changed to vary the distortion of the sound.
(q) In stand. Playing a trumpet or trombone into the music on the stand (from a distance of about 10 cm seems the most effective). Since orchestral brass players tend anyway to blow into the music to some extent it is not markedly successful. If the bell is held too close to the music intonation and pitch are affected.<<
For a moment I thought the beer-glass mute might be connected to the 'Stürze' on a German Bierstein!
Neil Halliday wrote (February 15, 2005):
BWV 208: Rilling  and Harnoncourt  compared.
These are both relatively recent performances from these conductors; Harnoncourt from 1990 , with the Arnold Schoenberg Choir (mixed voices), and Rilling fr1996 (modern instruments) .
Mvt. 2. Aria for S1; corno da caccia 1,2; continuo.
This is the movement I designated as "superficial", in a previous post, on the face of it confirmed by the Harnoncourt recording .
But a look at the score shows very interesting writing, therefore I am convinced that the performances/recordings under consideration are at fault, rather than Bach.
The continuo in both recordings sounds little better than a muffled, shapeless mess of notes, but I have no doubt, or rather I know (since playing them on the piano) that the long scale-like passages of 1/16th notes, in conjunction with the imitative counterpoint on the horns, can realize a readily understood and interesting musical `argument'.
This basic problem of indecipherable sound, common to both recordings, most likely stems from the fast speed adopted by both conductors; and the fact that the articulation of the mordents in the 1st horn (written out by Bach as 1/32nd notes) is nearly inconceivable, and certainly not audible at this speed, suggests Bach had a slower tempo in mind.
Rilling  has greater clarity in the horn parts, but the pronounced presence of the "rattling bunch of wires "(harpsichord), which adds only noise and no musical information, is improved by Harnoncourt's continuo organ  (but this succession of detached chords on a chamber organ never sounds right to my ears, hence my desire for (you guessed!) a continuo piano, in certain movements). [Rilling's recording is another demonstration that harpsichord pitch seems to fly out the window in the context of ensemble recordings; no doubt the person actually sitting at the instrument is quite pleased, in terms of what he/she can hear, with the musical `picture' he/she is bringing to the rest of the score. It's just that the listener to the CD hears nothing of this `picture', only noise].
Mvt. 4. Aria for T, continuo.
Both recordings give excellent realisations of this movement. At a similar moderate speed, both have harpsichord in continuo, but here the "rattling wires" are quite acceptable (or at least innocuous), because the musicality of the strong, distinctly-shaped continuo line is clearly articulated by the cello in both recordings. Both tenors bring great character to their parts.
Mvt. 7. Aria for B, 3 oboes (the 3rd one being a `taille' or tenor oboe) and continuo.
Harnoncourt's version (2.33)  loses in comparison with Rilling's  more august performce (3.31) (the better to praise a prince). Nevertheless, it is enjoyable as a brisk, happy dance; bass Robert Holl is excellent, and I must admit my negative view of Harnoncourt's performance most likely results from the comparison with Rilling's expressive, august version.
Mvt. 9. Aria for S2; recorders 1,2; continuo.
Turning the tables, Harnoncourt (4.56) , at a minute slower than Rilling (3.58) , has the better tempo - his sheep are peacefully grazing in a lovely pastoral scene, whereas Rilling's are running about! But I miss the enhancement of the continuo by means of a judiciously employed pizzicato double-bass which Rilling brings to the score. The soprano is pleasing in both recordings. I notice Rilling has a muted stop on the harpsichord.
Mvt. 11. Chorus for horns, oboes, strings and continuo.
Rilling  appears to have greater precision and clarity, but I am listening to his recording on quality hi-fi speakers, compared with the computer speakers for Harnoncourt . The different speeds - Rilling 2.47, Harnoncourt 3.14 - seem acceptable in either movement, and Rilling's lively performance is outstanding.
Mvt. 12. Duet for S1,T, violin solo, continuo.
Harnoncourt's more relaxed speed  is definitely the more desirable; in fact, this sums up the situation for this and the following two arias (all continuo arias). Rilling's  sprightly (for him) HIP-inspired brisk tempos do become tedious if applied in successive movements, as is the case here.
For example, the `angular' bass aria Mvt. 14, that I complained about previously from Rilling , becomes a gently lilting, expressive movement under Harnoncourt's direction , proving once again that disappointment can nearly always be blamed on the conductor and not the composer. I can't criticize the vocalists in either recording.
The final chorus (Mvt. 15), performed at an identical speed in both recordings, is equally enjoyable in both. Once again, difficult to select a superior recording from one heard on quality hi-fi speakers and one heard on computer speakers, but in any case they are both excellent performances on period (Harnoncourt ) and modern instruments (Rilling ).
Ken Edmonds wrote (February 15, 2005):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< (p) Beer glass. One of the first types of muting used in jazz, it is used with trumpet and cornet. The glass is held in the left hand and the angle between the glass and the bell changed to vary the distortion of the sound. <<
For a moment I thought the beer-glass mute might be connected to the 'Stürze' on a German Bierstein! >
Thanks, Thomas for this article. I had known the beer glass was used 'extensively' by many brass players, but not in this fashion!
Continue on Part 3
Cantatas BWV 208 & BWV 208a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 208 | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 208 | Details & Recordings of BWV 208a | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4