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Cantata BWV 213
Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of September 7, 2008

William Hoffman wrote (September 7, 2008):
Intro. to BWV 213: Hercules at the Crossroads

A brief auto-biography: I'm the world's Oldest Living Graduate Student in the University of New Mexico program with a Master in Music 2000 in history and literature. My thesis is "Narrative Parody in Bach's St. Mark Passion." I am on a quixotic quest to try to realize it as well as the Weimar-Gotha Passion of 1717, the Köthen Funeral Music, BWV 244a, and the lost Pentecost Oratorio. My approach to the cantata intros is to find definitive sources, to pose discussion questions, and to include suggested readings.

I begin the discussion with Aryeh's verbatim liner notes by Alfred Dürr, which are an earlier, expanded, cogent, authoritative monograph on Cantata BWV 213, as found in condensed form in the 2005 edition of his Cantatas of JSB.

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 23, 2003):
BWV 213 - Introduction

The chosen work for this week's discussion (November 23, 2003) is the Dramma per Musica `Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen' (Let us take care, let us keep watch), known also as `Hercules at the Crossroads'.

The extensive commentary below, quoted from the liner notes to Rilling's first recording of this cantata on the German label Cantate (reissue on Musicaphon), was written by Alfred Dürr English translation by Howard Weiner).

Following the death of Augustus the Strong (1733) and the accession to the throne of his son Friedrich Augustus II, Bach began a period of increased activity with performances by his student Collegium Musicum of congratulatory cantatas in honour of Saxony's ruling house. Perhaps he hoped to add weight, also from this side, to his petition for the title of Hofkapellmeister that he had advanced in the dedication of the B minor Mass BWV 232). Even if the Elector was usually not personally present in Leipzig, Bach surely reckoned that he would be informed of the performances, and be convinced that favour and title would not be bestowed upon someone unworthy of them.

Bach conceivably also considered the possibility of later reusing the music already while composing these cantatas. Their purpose, after all, was fulfilled with the single performance. In any case, Bach was to have recourse to two such congratulatory cantatas, namely Tönet, ihr Pauken (BWV 214) and the present Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen, reworking their choruses and arias as he set out in 1734 to compose his Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248).

Hercules auf dem Scheidewege (Hercules at the Crossroads) - so the title of the libretto in the printed text by the poet Christian Friedrich Henrici (called Picander) - was performed by Bach and his student Collegium Musicum in Zimmermann's Garden on the afternoon of September 5, 1733, the birthday of Crown Prince Friedrich of Saxony. Whereas many other congratulatory cantatas, lacking a plot, make do with a lyrical poem in praise of the dedicatee, Picander created here a true "Dramma per musica". Hercules, a popular symbolic figure for Baroque personages of the ruling houses, was more appropriate than any other mythological hero to glorify the eleven-year-old grandson of Augustus the Strong. For the son of Zeus and Alcmene had already distinguished himself as a hero at an early age, for example as he simply crushed the serpents that his enemy Hera, the mother of the gods, placed in his cradle. Picander chose for his plot the myth related by Prodiclos in which Hercules encounters two women at a fork in the road. One of them promises him a pleasant, opulent life if only he follows her path. The other however offers hardship, but also virtue and fame if he decides upon her path. Hercules resolves to take the path of virtue. The poet then allows the actual meaning of what has taken place to be revealed by the god Mercury: Hercules is a likeness of Crown Prince Friedrich; he too decided already in earliest childhood upon the path of virtue.

The present-day listener who is familiar with Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) will find much in the music of this cantata that he already knows. Yet, he should keep in mind that the Hercules cantata is actually the original, and that the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) represents a later reworking. An overview of the
movements re-employed should help make this clear:

Cantata 213: Mvt. 1. Chorus: "Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen," Christmas Oratorio: Part IV, Opening chorus (No. 36): "Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben";

Cantata 213: Mvt. 3. Aria: "Schlafe, mein Liebster, und pflege der Ruh," Christmas Oratorio: Part II, Aria (No.19): "Schlafe, mein Liebster, genieße der Ruh";

Cantata 213: Mvt. 5. Aria: "Treues Echo dieser Orten," Christmas Oratorio: Part IV, Aria (No.39): "Flößt, mein Heiland, flößt dein Namen";

Cantata 213: Mvt. 7. Aria: "Auf meinen Flüeln sollst du schweben," Christmas Oratorio: Part IV, Aria (No.41): "Ich will nur dir zu Ehren leben";

Cantata 213: Mvt. 9. Aria: "Ich will dich nicht hören," Christmas Oratorio: Part 1, Aria (No.4): "Bereite dich, Zion";

Cantata 213: Mvt. 11. Aria: "Ich bin deine, du bist meine," Christmas Oratorio: Part III, Aria (No.29): "Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen";

Cantata 213: Mvt. 13. Chorus: "Lust der Völker, Lust der Deinen," Christmas Oratorio: Part V, Opening chorus (No.43): "Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen" (Adoption of the music planned [recognizable from the strophic structure of the text] but not realized.)

In the opening chorus, entitled "Ratschluß der Gotter" ("Resolution of the Gods"), the motifs at the beginning correspond exactly to the words of the text. In the descending tendency of the "Laßt uns sorgen" ("Let US take care") melody, one has the impression of an affectionate gesture of protection; in the upwards striving "laßt uns wachen" ("let us watch"), on the other hand, the vigilant watchfulness against danger. The two motifs are joined by a staccato counterpoint. All three lend the movement a colourful liveliness as they are tossed back and forth by the horns, oboes, and strings. Through the use of horns, rather than the usual trumpets and timpani, the cantata also has something cheerful-radiant, almost introspective about it: Hercules is not yet the valiant hero, but rather a lad over whose well-being the gods must keep watch - after all, Crown Prince Friedrich turns a mere eleven on this day.

Therefore it is also appropriate that the part of Hercules, who in the following secco recitative asks the branches of the tree to show him the way to go, is sung by an alto. Of course, in Bach's time this would have been a boy alto or a countertenor, and not a woman.

He is answered by "Wollust" ("Pleasure") with the famous lullaby, known from the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), that is intended to put the young hero to sleep and to lead him astray. The orchestra, consisting only of stringed instruments, - the oboe timbre of the Christmas version is lacking - supports the seductive character of the aria. On the other hand, the higher tessitura dictated by the key of E-flat Major (as opposed to G Major in the oratorio), deprives the aria of some of that warmth that we so admire in the oratorio version.

Virtue (Tenor) now appears, and the two allegorical figures begin a dispute in recitative form. Hercules, apparently yet uncertain, asks the Echo to indicate the right path - a true Baroque drollery that simultaneously serves to increase the tension by postponing Hercules' final decision - but, of course, only apparently. For if one examines the youthful hero's works more closely, it becomes obvious that his decision was determined already from tstart, as indeed courtesy towards the royal house required!

Now Virtue steps forward and, after an introductory recitative, announces to the young Hercules: "Auf meinen Flügeln sollst du schweben" ("On my wings you shall soar"). Bach chose, rather unusual for solo song, the form of the fugue: Oboe, solo violin, continuo, and tenor enter successively with the theme (not counting the initial bass notes in the continuo), and are united as equal voices in the contrapuntal writing. Almost at once there appear inversions of the theme's beginning (oboe), stretto (violin, oboe, tenor) and, at the end of the first and middle sections respectively, complete inversions of the theme in the continuo.

Virtue again admonishes in a short secco recitative, but Hercules has decided, and proclaims his decision in the aria "Ich will dich nicht hören, ich will dich nicht wissen, verworfene Wollust, ich kenne dich nicht" ("I will not hear you, I will not know you, depraved Pleasure, I do not recognize you"). Albert Schweitzer has already pointed out the entirely different "affect" of this aria in comparison to that of its revised version in the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) ("Bereite dich, Zion, mit zartlichen Trieben"). The indication "unisoni e staccato" in the obbligato violin part here too the oboe was only to be added later in the Oratorio version) underlines the determined character of the aria with its resolute cries "ich will nicht, ich mag nicht!" ("I will not, I may not!")

Now Hercules and Virtue join in a duet "Ich bin deine, du bist meine" ("I am yours, you are mine"). Two solo violas (the upper string parts are silent here) lend the movement fervour and warmth.Inasmuch as all the previous recitatives were composed as continuo accompanied secco numbers, Mercury's recitative (in whose text the mythological "connection" of the preceding story to the actual occasion for the cantata is established) is emphasized all the more by the string accompaniment. The choir, which at the beginning represented the voices of the gods, intones now as the "Chorus of the Muses" the concluding hymn in praise of the Prince. The composition has the character of a gavotte. It derives from a congratulatory cantata from the Cöthen period [BWV 184a], and was originally not for four-part choir, but rather for just two solo voices. The extended bass parts inserted between the rondo-like recurring tutti ritornelli are reminiscent of the original version. So superbly suited this chorus is as the joyous conclusion to the Hercules cantata, it would hardly have been a satisfactory introduction to the fifth part of the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). We may surely consider it fortunate that Bach rejected the plan to reuse this music for setting the already prepared text "Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen."
---------

For a view of dramma per musica and its Dresden context, I have just posted a BCW article, "Bach's Dramatic Music," which you can find at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/HoffmanBachDramaII.htm , especially the sections Drammi per Musica; Leipzig 1730s: Kapellmeister, Dresden Court; and Oratorios, Congratulatory Cantatas.

I would like to lead this discussion by framing some pertinent questions that I have encountered through previous BCW discussions which I think are relevant to this BWV 213. There are no "right" or "wrong" answers, and while sources are helpful, I think imagination and connecting the dots can offer possible new
insights or directions!

1. Different performing approaches to the original music and its parodied version. While we know from Bach's Obituary that he put a great deal of emphasis on the words in his settings of the sacred four-part chorales, can we assume that he labored likewise with the sacred parodied text from the original secular version? A comparison of the original BWV 213 text with the parodied versions found in the XO, BWV 248, can be helpful. In both versions we have several factors to consider: 1. the context (placement) of the music, both original and parodied; 2. any changes in the actual music, such as revision or the addition of instruments such as the oboe in the XO (BWV 248); 3. the treatment of the dance forms from BWV 213/1,3,5,9,11,13; and 4. of course, the overall intended affect. The opening chorus is considered "minuet-like," and the closing chorus, "gavotte-like"; the others, I would guess, are primarily gigue-like or giga-like, or generic pastorale-style.

2. Did Bach original compose BWV 213 to stand alone, or did he intend from its beginning to transform it through parody into the XO (BWV 248)?

3. The original context of BWV 213 and the music in the XO (BWV 248). Was Bach able successfully to "create" music with a dual purpose: to serve both his sovereign on earth and the ruler of the universe; to demonstrate both his allegiance to profane authority while creating the penultimate component (oratorios, then Masses) of a well-regulated music to the glory of God alone? What were Bach motives?

4. Concerning the setting at Zimmermann's, what were Bach's particular methods and opportunities? Consider the audience, the potential for "staging" and the use of female voices and a full choir.

5. Simon Crouch in his overview of BWV 213 says: "The libretto, by Picander, is a wonderfully sycophantic piece of kitch!" Picander, who is assumed to be the literary collaborator with Bach on the text of the XO (BWV 248), is still considered in some Bach critical quarters to be an embarrassment. Besides being a skillful parodist, what other qualities do you find in his BWV 214 and BWV 248 texts, especially as realized by Bach?

Suggested Readings:

Baron, Carol K. Bach's Changing World: Voices in the Commuity, University of Rochester Press, 2006; Articles: Baron, "Transitions, Transformations, Reversals: Rethinking Bach's World"; Baron, "Tumultuous Philosophers, etc."; John Van Cleve, Family Values and Dysfunctional Families: Home Life in the Moral
Weeklies and Comedies of Bach's Leipzig"; Ulrich Siegele, "Bach's Situation in the Cultural Politics of Contemporary Leipzig; and Katherine R. Goodman, "From Salon to Kaffeekranz: Gender Wars and the Coffee Cantata in Bach's Leipzig."

Basso, Alberto. "Oper und `Dramma per Musica'" in Die Welt der Bach-Kantatan: Der Komponist in seiner Welt; editors, Christoph Wolff, Ton Koopman (Stuttgart: Metzler and Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1997); Summary translation, Thomas Braatz, BCW "Articles," 2008.

Geck, Martin. "Secular Cantatas and the Christmas Oratorio," in Johann Sebastian Bach: Life and Work (English Edition 2006; Orlando FL: Harcourt).

Glöckner, Andreas. "Bachs Leipziger Collegium musicum und seine Vorgeschichte" in Johann Sebastian Bachs weltliche Kantaten (Vol. 2, Die Welt der Bach-Kantaten); editors, Christoph Wolff, Ton Koopman (Stuttgart: Metzler and Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1997); Summary translation, Thomas Braatz, BCW "Articles," 2008.

Stauffer, George B. "Leipzig: A Cosmolpolitan Trade Center," in Music and Society: The Late Baroque Era, From 1680 to 1740, ed. George J. Buelow (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall), 1994.

Whittaker, W. Gillies. "The Relationship betwen the Christmas Oratorio and three Secular Cantatas" (Interlude IV) in The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach: Sacred and Secular (London: Oxford University Press), 1981.

I'll try to sthe most pertinent passages in the next day or too. Have fun!

Jean Laaninen wrote (September 7, 2008):
William Hoffman wrote, quoting:
< Hercules resolves to take the path of virtue. The poet then allows the actual meaning of what has taken place to be revealed by the god Mercury: Hercules is a likeness of Crown Prince Friedrich; he too decided already in earliest childhood upon the path of virtue. >
Mvt. 7, tenor aria translated as:

Upon my wings shalt thou be lifted,
Upon my pinions thou shalt rise,
An eagle to the starry skies.
And through me
Shall thy light and glory be
To perfection's state exalted.

...as translated by Phillip Ambrose strikes me as the high point of the cantata. The scoring for the cantata lists oboe, violin and basso continuo. The instrumentation in the Rilling reminds me of trumpet (was a substitution made here, or do we have a special type of oboe?) Maybe I am just not accustomed to hearing oboe in a more staccato manner with all the tonguing work. Anyway the soaring quality of the opening bars builds to heighten the anticipation for the text. The soaring of an eagle if one has ever watched involves catching the wind and moving up and diving down--something well painted by Bach in this selection in the vocal part.

I am especially appreciative of the tenor runs holding the entire selection together in an energetic manner that makes me feel as if I am flying. The strength of Rilling's tenor is inspirational--I could listen to this all day. There don't seem to be any weak points at all in the vocal work of the tenor, and the dance like feel is the kind of thing I need to listen to especially when I have something that needs to be done and I need something to give me a little nudge.

I seem to be falling into a pattern lately of picking a favorite movement, but I also liked the final chorale.

This is a fine work, and a delight for listening in my opinion.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 7, 2008):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Bach conceivably also considered the possibility of later reusing the music already while composing these cantatas. Their purpose, after all, was fulfilled with the single performance. In any case, Bach was to have recourse to two such congratulatory cantatas, namely Tönet, ihr Pauken (BWV 214) and the present Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen, reworking their choruses and arias as he set out in 1734 to compose his Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). >
The question of whether Bach conceived this cantata with its later use in the Christmas Oratorio in mind is a fascinating question. Each cantata is exceptionally beautiful in its own way. The dramma has a bravura feel to it -- especially in the tenor aria -- which would work very well on the stage. The Xmas Oratorio version has those two ravishing Bass ariosos with soprano chorales -- my favourite movements in the work -- and the exquisite closing chorale with dancing orchestral interludes.

A couple of scoring questions:

When Bach used the tenor aria in the Xmas Oratorio, why did he change the obligato oboe and and violin solos to two solo violins?

And why did he add an oboe to the "Schlafe" aria of Wollust when he reused it in the oratorio? He had all the instruments at his disposal for both cantatas.

The Duet, "Ich bin deine" calls for two violas but they are in different C-clefs in the BG full score. Is the NBA more specific about which insruments are called for?

On the question of the dramma's performance. Are we assuming that women sang the upper parts on any specific evidence? It strikes me that the use of boys might have been considered more "proper" on what was a semi-official occasion.

William Hoffman wrote (September 7, 2008):
William Hoffman replies: I agree with Jeane Laaninen.

I think Mvt. 7 is the high point of BWV 213. While I am not versed in mythology or rhetoric, this is the physical center of the cantata, which is in pure palindrome form: opening chorus, recitative-aria alternation, closing chorus. It is also the assertion of the moral argument in favor of virtue, the "right way."

It may be a stretch but I note biblical overtones of a 14-year old boy preparing for a throne, like the 12-year old boy taken to the temple to be presented to the world. In Part 4 of the Christmas Oratorio, of course, the Feast is Circumcision and the importance is not so much law and cleanliness but the naming, blessing and honoring of the boy-child to the world.

BWV 213/7 BWV 248/41

Upon my wings thou be lifted, I would for thine honor live now;
Upon my pinions thou shalt rise, My Savior, give me strength of will
An eagle to the starry skies. That this my heart with zeal may do.
And through me Strengthen me
Shall thy light and glory be Thy mercy worthily
To perfection's state exalted. And with gratitude to honor!

I think it is also no accident that this aria is paired with its predecessor, in both BWV 213 and BWV 248, separated by a secular recitative in the former and a new, sacred recitative-chorale in BWV 248/40. The former, of course, is the "Echo" aria of Hercules (the Prince) in which he considers the "other way" of Pleasure, seeking the answer, "Yes" or "No." Its sister in BWV 248 is a question of whether the Savior's name frightens the singer. I also would suggest that BWV248/41, just by its sheer placement, could be the highlight of the Christmas Oratorio. It comes at the beginning of the second half of the Christmas celebration, after the first three days of Christmas and prepares the listener, the receiver, for the threat to come amidst reverence and the realization and admonition that follows.

In some respects, the Dresden Court cantatas BWV 213-215 are household works, domestic family pieces, for the son, the mother and the father, respectively, just as the Christmas Oratorio is the story of a couple with a son, and in both contexts, a story of celebration and proclamation to the world. We also could stress the shepherd element in both, charged with caring for the flock.The two common arias BWV 213/7 and BWV 248/41 in 4/4 time are a fugue in counterpoint, with a dance feeling - pastorale maybe? Imagine, if we can have chorales in ¾ time, why not dance-fugues or fugue-dances? The sense of uplift and affirmation in both, I think, is pronounced, a serendipitous situation! Also, Bach uses the oboe very effectively as a muted trumpet, a more intimate regal expression, especially in staccato with violin, one of his "trademarks," I suggest.

I also cite writer Martin Geck on the importance of Bach's Dresden drammi per musica. In his "JSB: Life and Work" (p. 213) he see these as part of Bach's "move from Christianity to humanism." "He is also dealing with an interior world, with grace, beauty and culture." I think Bach is able to deal profoundly and simultaneously, with the realms of "IN the world" and "OF the World" just as, I think, Bach was able in his closing Oratorio Passion choruses to embrace both dancing and mourning.

Neil Mason wrote (September 8, 2008):
You wrote:
< When Bach used the tenor aria in the Xmas Oratorio, why did he change the obligato oboe and and violin solos to two solo violins? >
The change of key makes it easier to sing!

William Hoffman wrote (September 9, 2008):
BWV 213, Parody Mvts. 9 & 13, etc.

Biographical Resources:

Martin Geck, Johann Sebastian Bach: Back Life and Work (English Edition 2006). "Secular Cantatas and the Christmas Oratorio, pp. 415-36.

"In composing two drammi {BWV 213, BWV 214), was it [Bach's] intention from the outset to recycle essential sections as parodied for a major sacred work, perhaps even asking his librettist Picander to consider an alternative religious text while composing the original verses? P. 422."

"The [parody] process was not mechanic. . . . he wrote a new final chorus for the fifth part (of the XO (BWV 248)). Originally, he had intended to parody the final chorus from BWV 213, "Lust der Volker, Lust der Deinen. . . "; his librettist had come up with a rewrite of this to fit the strophic pattern. But clearly Bach had second thoughts about whether the original form, a gavotte-like round song, was an appropriate foundation for an opening chorus on the words, "Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen" ("Let thy praise be sung, O Lord"), and instead composed something new, and more ambitious, for the new text." P. 423

"Not all the parodies are equally successful. Did the original words of the aria "Bereite dich, Zion. . . [BWV 248/4] ("Prepare thyself, Zion") cause problems? [in BWV 213/9, "Ich will dich nicht hören"]. Surely, many a listener must have wondered hearing the words "Deine Wangen müssen viel schooner prangen" ("Thy cheek must now this day bloom fourth more fairly"), why the cello at that moment begins to labor and trace serpentine patterns. The answer to the puzzle is of course in the original text of Hercules at the Crossroads, the drama per musica where Hercules, wavering between Virtue and Lust, forswears the latter:

[The comparable text is: "Denn die Schlangen, so mich wollen wiegend fangen" (For the serpents which within the cradle sought me")] p.429f

(Summary: Geck points out that Ludwig Finscher ["Bach's Parody Problem" in Bach Interpretationen, Göttingen 1969) sees no problem since it is "a composition of intrinsic value." Geck says, "That even in this exceptional case there is disagreement demonstrates how receptive his material is generally to alterations of texts and changes of meaning." I would simply observe: Bach's new setting fails to follow Metastasio's doctrine that the music must always be subservient to the text. Did Bach nudge the door a wee bit for Mozart through Da Ponte to free operatic music from the tyranny of words?

How successful do you think the other parodies are:

Opening Chorus BWV 213/1 ("Let us be careful and watch") compared to opening chorus, XO, BWV 248, Part IV, New Year's Day, the Naming of the Child ("Bow ye, thankful, kneel and praise ye"). Musically, how does this chorus compare with the opening chorus of the Epiphany Cantata, BWV 65, "Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen," with two horns plus pairs of recorders and hunting oboes introducing the Wise Men from Sheba in a stately march through the pastoral lands.

BWV 213/3, Pleasure's hypnotic song compared to the Shepherd's lullaby, BWV 248/19 in 2/4 tempo with two flutes added to the strings. Are there other Bach slumber songs that come to mind, especially cited by W. Gillies Whittaker in Bach Cantatas?

BWV 213/9, Hercules' proclamation rejecting Pleasure for Virtue compared to the XO BWV 248/4, the opening aria, a Call to Zion to prepare for and welcome the coming, in 3/8 time.

BWV 213/11, the Hercules(alto)-Virture(tenor) duet, with its overtones from the Song of Solomon, compared to thesoprano-bass duet in 248/29, shepherds' prayer in 3/8 time, with two hunting oboes replacing the violas.

Another possible biblical overtone, the central tenor aria, BWV 213/7, soaring on the wings of eagles, could be inspired by Isaiah 40:31, "they shall mount up with wings as eagles. . . ."

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 9, 2008):
William Hoffman wrote:
< How successful do you think the other parodies are: >
I'm not sure why we still have to judge whether Bach was successful in his parodies. We don't do this with the Mass in B Minor; in fact, we universally seem to applaud Bach's changes. I suspect we still have residual disapproval of parody adaptation as a compositional technique.

I've never understood how Bach could sweep aside all the musical references to the Baroque orchestra when he adapted "Tonet Ihr Pauken" as "Jauchzet Frohlocket" -- it became just a joyous chorus. But that's what it he did. And no one can call the Christmas Oratorio a half-baked pasticcio.

William Hoffman wrote (September 11, 2008):
A Parody Sequence: BWV Anh.11, BWV 213/5, BWV 248/39

Thomas Braatz just submitted the following texts, with English translations. I think it points to Bach's amazing storehouse of not only music but texts for further use through transformation in various contexts. A quick look at Neumann's last edition (1984, pp. 294-302) of his Bach Cantata Handbook shows Bach does considerable triple parody of arias and choruses. Thank you, Thomas:

Here is a possible chain of texts for which Bach used essentially the same music as parodies.

Three instances of the famous Echo aria:

BWV Anh. 11
Drama per musica
Nameday of Augustus II (3 August)
Es lebe der König, der Vater im Lande
Long life to the King now, the nation's true father
Landes-Liebe, Landes-Glückseligkeit, und Landes-Fürsehung
Love of Country, Good Fortune of Country, Providence of Country

Text: Picander
(Parodies first noted by Friedrich Smend: Joh. Seb. Bach, Kirchen-Kantaten V (1948) pp. 8 and 18)
Performance date: August 3, 1732
Music lost (no indication of instrumentation)

7. Aria.
Die Landes-Liebe.

Frommes Schicksal, wenn ich frage,
Ob das Wachsthum froher Tage
Meines Königs ferner da?
Ach so sage, sage: Ja! Eccho. Ja!
Und vor solchem Untergange
Schütz uns mächtig, schütz uns lange! Eccho. lange!


7. Aria (Love of Country)
Godly fortune, when I ask thee
If these happy days' glad increase
For my king will yet expand?
Ah, then say thou, say thou "Yes!" (Echo) "Yes!"
And from this man's fall and ruin
Keep us safely, keep us ever! (Echo) "Ever!"

BWV 213 Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen
September 5, 1733

BWV 213/5
Aria Alto (Alto) Oboe d'amore, Bc

Treues Echo dieser Orten,
Sollt ich bei den Schmeichelworten
Süßer Leitung irrig sein?
Gib mir deine Antwort: Nein!
(Echo) Nein!
Oder sollte das Ermahnen,
Das so mancher Arbeit nah,
Mir die Wege besser bahnen?
Ach! so sage lieber: Ja!
(Echo) Ja!

BWV 213/5
Aria Hercules
Alto (Alto) Oboe d'amore, Bc
Faithful Echo of these places,
Shall I through words' false caresses
From sweet guidance go astray?
Give to me thine answer: Nay!
(Echo)
Nay!
Or would this stern exhortation,
Which to so much toil doth press,
Better lay my path's formation?
Ah, then answer rather: Yes! (Z. P. Ambrose)
http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/

BWV 213/5

Faithful Echo of these places,
Should I by the flattering words
of sweet guidance be led astray?
Give me your reply: No!
(Echo) No!
Or would the exhortation
that involves so much work
better show me the way?
Ah! then rather say :Yes!
(Echo) Yes! (Francis Browne)
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV213-Eng3.htm

BWV 248 (IV) 4 (39)
BWV 248/39

Performance Date: January 1, 1735

Soprano (Soprano), Oboe Solo Bc C major

Flößt, mein Heiland, flößt dein Namen
Auch den allerkleinsten Samen
Jenes strengen Schreckens ein?
Nein, du sagst ja selber nein. (Nein!)
Sollt ich nun das Sterben scheuen?
Nein, dein süßes Wort ist da!
Oder sollt ich mich erfreuen?
Ja, du Heiland sprichst selbst ja (Ja!)

BWV 248/39

Doth, my Savior, doth thy name have
E'en the very smallest kernel
Of that awful terror now?
No, thyself thou sayest "no." (No!)
Ought I now of death be wary?
No, the gentle word is here!
Rather, ought I greet it gladly?
Yes, O Savior, thou say'st "Yes." (Yes!) (Ambrose)

4. (39.) Aria

O my Savior, does your name
instill even the very tiniest seed
of that powerful terror?
No, You Yourself say no. (No!)
Shall I shun death now?
No, Your sweet word is there!
Or shall I rejoice?
Yes, o Savior, You Yourself say yes. (Yes!) Pamela Dellal
http://www.emmanuelmusic.org/notes_trans/transl_cantata/bwv248-4.htm

William Hoffman wrote (September 11, 2008):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I'm not sure why we still have to judge whether Bach was successful in his parodies. We don't do this with the Mass in B Minor; in fact, we universally seem to applaud Bach's changes. I suspect we still have residual disapproval of parody adaptation as a compositional technique.
I've never understood how Bach could sweep aside all the musical references to the Baroque orchestra when he adapted "Tonet Ihr Pauken" as "Jauchzet Frohlocket" -- it became just a joyous chorus. But that's what it he did. And no one can call the Christmas Oratorio a half-baked pasticcio. >
In next week's discussion, BWV 214, there's a reference Martin Geck, to Bach initially using the BWV 214/1 text to open the XO (BWV 248). With parodies, we have come a long way. I was fortunate to sing in The American University Chorale (as an undergraduate!) in the XO (BWV 248) Parts 1-3, in December 1962, at the National Cathedral with the National Symphony, conducted by Norman Scribner. I believe it was the first complete Washington performance of the Christmas portion, in German, using a professional orchestra. I'm sure the Bethlehem PA Bach Festival deserves tremendous credit for bringing the XO (BWV 248) and other worthy Bach works to the public. Back then, other than the B-Minor Mass, Bach's parody works were still considered step-children or illegitimate offspring, especially the XO (BWV 248), the Easter Cantata, the Lutheran Masses, and the St. Mark Passion, as well as the "originals," like BWV 213-214 and BWV 198. We've all come a long way since then -- almost a half century ago.

Terejia wrote (September 12, 2008):
William Hoffman wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29036
>>2. Did Bach original compose BWV 213 to stand alone, or did he intend from its beginning to transform it through parody into the XO (BWV 248)?<<
Before I found this list, I had been wondering this sort of things, too. I was charmed by sheer beauty of BWV 248 long before I came to know BWV 213 and the first thing that impressed me was the variation in keys, instruments and voices as detailed in the discussions.

I leave academic details to the hands of professionals of this list and mine is not more than a mere personal imagination. Due to the overall pastrale atomosphere (the opening & closing chorus F-dur in key), it could stand alone. Mvt. 7 in comparison with the corresponding Tenor Aria in Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) Part 4, the instrument choice of oboe and violine in place of two solo violins along with E-minor key D-minor key gives much different flavour, the former being more pastorale than the latter, at least to my personal ears.

Probably Bach was experimenting the aethetic possibilities from the same material by changing the details, IMHO.

(PS: I've been quite busy both in terms of schedule and in my humble mental capacity with my legal internship. I can enjoy 3 days of holidays. Bach is my oasis)

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 14, 2008):
BWV 213 - Provenance

Thomas Braatz has contributed Provenance page to the discussion of Cantata BWV 213.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV213-Ref.htm

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 14, 2008):
[To Aryeh Oron] It is fascinating that Bach includes two types of mariginal sketches in the score: 1) variants for the opening chorus and the alto aria, and 2) a sketch for another work, the "Et in unum" of the Mass in B Minor a fourth higher in C major.

Has any scholar discussed the second sketch? What does it mean? Was Bach perhaps planning to use the theme for a movement in this cantata, or is in an example of an impulsive attempt to record a great idea? But why in the middle of a cantata and not on a separate piece of paper?

Although there is much valuable material in this provenance posting, Thomas Braatz continues to insert his own unfounded opinions:
"It is also highly likely that the performers in Bach¹s Collegium musicum would have performed this music at sight without any rehearsal, a procedure well-documented by members of the ensemble who played and sang under Bach's direction."
There is no documentation that Bach's musicians sightread his music without any rehearsal. This was a significant dispute on the list a year ago, and I don't think these comments should be alllowed to go up unchallenged as a permanent reference page on the site.

Aryeh, why don't you form an "editorial board" of three or four members to look at any information you post as a "facts" page? Otherwise, you are endangering the credibility of the whole site.

Uri Golomb wrote (September 14, 2008):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< It is fascinating that Bach includes two types of mariginal sketches in the score: 1) variants for the opening chorus and the alto aria, and 2) a sketch for another work, the "Et in unum" of the Mass in B Minor a fourth higher in C major.
Has any scholar discussed the second sketch? What does it mean? Was Bach perhaps planning to use the theme for a movement in this cantata, or is in an example of an impulsive attempt to record a great idea? But why in the middle of a cantata and not on a separate piece of paper? >
I've seen discussions of this "second sketch" in articles and books on the B-minor Mass. I don't have access to these at the moment, but from memory, I believe scholars who referred to this include Smend, Rifkin, Butt, Wolff and Stauffer, among others. The standard view, as far as I recall, is that this isn't "a sketch for another work" at all.

Instead, the "Et in unum" itself is probably based on a lost movement, written before BWV 213. At some point, Bach had considered using that movement as a model for the Tugend/Herkules duet, but then changed his mind, and wrote the duet we now know instead. Years later, he remembered this duet again, and used it in the B-minor Mass. Herkules and Tugend are alto and tenor respectively, whereas the "Et in unum" is scored soprano and alto; this change of register probably accounts for the key discrepancy. The text, context, scoring and key
of the original duet are unknown; I wouldn't be surprised if some tried to speculate about them, but we don't even have hard evidence that it existed (though to me it does sound plausible).

Peter Smaill wrote (September 14, 2008):
[To Uri Golomb] The fullest account I know of this fascinating marginalia, the sketch of "Et in unum" in the MSS of BWV 213, is supplied by John Butt in his book on the BMM (BWV 232):

"Scholars are in no doubt that Bach took this duet ["Et in Unum"] from a pre-existent composition, since not only is the manuscript cleanly notated but the opening line appears in a cancelled sketch of a canonic duet in the autograph for the secular cantata BWV 213 (1733). However, this was? almost certainly not the first time Bach used this music. His notation for the duet "Ich bein deine, du bist meine" contains the top line only; according to Robert Marshall, Bach would probably have notated the second line simultaneously with the first, to facilitate the imitation. The similarities with the "Quoniam" of Zelenka's "Missa Circumcisionis" (1728) may have influenced Bach's choice of this music for inclusion in the Mass."

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 14, 2008):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Braatz continues to insert his own unfounded opinions:
"It is also highly likely that the performers in Bach¹s Collegium musicum would have performed this music at sight without any rehearsal, a procedure well-documented by members of the ensemble who played and sang
under Bachs direction."
There is no that Bach's musicians sightread his music without any rehearsal. This was a significant dispute on the list a year ago, and I don't think these comments should be alllowed to go up unchallenged as a permanent reference page on the site.
Aryeh, why don't you form an "editorial board" of three or four members to look at any information you post as a "facts" page? Otherwise, you are endangering the credibility of the whole site. >
While I don't always agree with Mr. Braatz, I am constantly in awe of the detail information that he provides on a regular basis: it has to be a lot of work and time providing the information that he regularly sends to the website. I'm assuming English isn't his native language, so considerable time goes into tranalation as well.

A tribunal approach to anything posted on the website is utterly silly, and smacks of a dogmatism that would kill the joy of being here, at least for me. Carrying this logic to its ultimate conclusion, let's go all out and submit any theological discussions to the Vatican for their approval too!

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 14, 2008):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< A tribunal approach to anything posted on the website is utterly silly, and smacks of a dogmatism that would kill the joy of being here, at least for me. >
Peer review is a standard procedure in any academic online journal. The discussion in this forum should be wide open to any speculation or opinion no matter how fantastic, but a page which is posted as a factual reference should not have legitimate information mixed with opinion masquerading as facts. There is much valuable information in Thomas' Provenance posting -- I learned a lot about the sketches in the manuscript -- but his unfounded opinions about Bach's rehearsal procedure is not in the same category as a scientific investigation of watermarks and should be edited out.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (September 14, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] Why not simply include a "disclaimer" in the pages in question, saying (in short) that this reflects the contribution and opinion of a given member of the group and not a scientific consensus, and that the contents are not necessarly endorsed by all members of the group. Anyone who reads that can still check with the quoted references to make his own opinion.

I have seen this solution used in the domain in which I work. There were disputes among a network of scientists (and also with their clients, the policy decision-makers) about a number of maps produced at European level. It was clear that it would be impossible to reach a consensus in a reasonable delay, and the problem is that maps are often reproduced without the accompanying methodological text. In order to avoid mis-/over-interpretation, the decision was taken to add a same disclaimer to all maps. Eventually, this obligation was included in the terms of reference of all subsequent studies.

John Pike wrote (September 14, 2008):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] I agree with Kim that formal tribunals are out of place for material presented the website, but I also agree with Doug that it is entirely appropriate that informal peer review and constructive criticism are healthy and necessary when material is posted on the web. A large number of people visit the BCW and it is eminently sensible that scolars on this list should, where possible, correct factual errors in published material and suggest changes where personal opinion or supposition has been presented as fact.

With Bach scholarship, where much evidence is missing, scholars will inevitably surmise about various things, but it is, of course, crucial that such material is clearly designated as such.

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 14, 2008):
1. Doug Cowling wrote:
"Peer review is a standard procedure in any academic online journal. "
Response:
The BCW has never claimed to be an academic online journal.

2. DC wrote:
"a page which is posted as a factual reference should not have legitimate information mixed with opinion masquerading as facts."
Response:
I believe that the "learned" reader of the contents in the BCW, Braatz pages included, can easily differ between facts and opinions.As an example, look at a quote from Peter Smaill's response to you original message:
"according to Robert Marshall, Bach would probably have notated the second line simultaneously with the first, to facilitate the imitation."
This is an opinion (based on some facts and previous research).
Thomas Braatz wrote in the provenance page (quoted from your message):
"It is also highly likely that the performers in Bach¹s Collegium musicum would have performed this music at sight without any rehearsal, a procedure well-documented by members of the ensemble who played and sang under Bach's direction."
This is also an opinion (based on some facts and previous research, see below).
.
3. DC asked:
"It is fascinating that Bach includes two types of marginal sketches in the score: 1) variants for the opening chorus and the alto aria, and 2) a sketch for another work, the "Et in unum" of the Mass in B Minor a fourth higher in C major.
Has any scholar discussed the second sketch? What does it mean? Was Bach perhaps planning to use the theme for a movement in this cantata, or is in an example of an impulsive attempt to record a great idea? But why in the middle of a cantata and not on a separate piece of paper?"
Response:
The Provenance page already contains the answer to this question:
"All the movements in BWV 213 with the exception of movement 11 (Aria Duetto) and 13 show clear evidence that they were original compositions (no parodies involved). This means that the latter two movements are parodies. The parody source for movement 13 has been identified as given above.Some discussions of this matter can be found in the following sources:Arnold Schering: Bach Jahrbuch, 1933, p. 49 (Schering was the first to point out the connection between the rejected sketch and the duet mvt. from BWV 323)
Friedrich Smend: Messe in h-moll, NBA KB II/1 Bärenreiter, 1956, pp. 147-151
Werner Neumann: Festmusiken für das Kurfürstlich-Sächsische Haus I, NBA KB I/36, p. 64-65
Robert L. Marshall: The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach:The Sources, the Style, the Significance, Schirmer Books, New York, 1989, pp. 180-183
John Butt: Bach: Mass in B Minor,Cambridge University Press, 1991, pp. 52-53.
George B. Stauffer: The Mass in B Minor, Schirmer Books, New York, 1997, pp. 111-115
Konrad Küster: Bach Handbuch, Bärenreiter/Metzler, 1999, pp. 508-509
Martin Geck: Bach: Leben und Werk, Hamburg, 2000, pp. 482-483.
Christian Andreas Schulze: Die Bach-Kantaten, Leipzig, 2006, p. 675"

4. DC also asked:
DC: "Although there is much valuable material in this provenance posting, Thomas Braatz continues to insert his own unfounded opinions:
TB: "It is also highly likely that the performers in Bach¹s Collegium musicum would have performed this music at sight without any rehearsal, a procedure well-documented by members of the ensemble who played and sang under Bach¹s direction."
DC: "There is no documentation that Bach's musicians sight read his music without any rehearsal."
Response:
See Andreas Glöckner's article "Bachs Leipziger Collegium musicum und seine Vorgeschichte":
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Collegium-Musicum[Braatz].htm
which contains the following important statement:
"Hiller's anecdote does reveal some details about the atmosphere that must have prevailed at the weekly concerts. In the spaces provided by the Leipzig coffee houses, the musicians performed contemporary music without having a fixed program "in lockerer Abfolge" ("in a loosely defined sequence/succession") "und in der Regel ohne vorherigen Proben prima vista" ("and as a general rule this was done {the music was performed} at sight without any prior rehearsals.)"

5. Thérèse Hanquet suggested to Doug:
"Why not simply include a "disclaimer" in the pagin question, saying (in short) that this reflects the contribution and opinion of a given member of the group and not a scientific consensus, and that the contents are not necessarly endorsed by all members of the group. Anyone who reads that can still check with the quoted references to make his own opinion."
Response:
See the Copyright Notice, linked from every page of the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Copyright.htm
"The individual Messages were contributed by the named authors, during a day-to-day discussion in several informal Internet chat groups of Bach enthusiasts. Some of the contents of those messages may have no lasting meaning outside the context of those discussions, as the authors did not necessarily intend them for public archive on the Internet. The views expressed by the authors are personal opinions, and do not necessarily reflect any manner of academic research. The archive was compiled selectively at the discretion of list owner Aryeh Oron, as a representative sample of discussion about the material."

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (September 14, 2008):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thanks Aryeh,

I must admit that I never clicked on the Copyright link, which indeed adresses this issue.
But maybe the question is a bit different for pages that do not appear as "discussions" but as "references"?
By the way, I also find Thomas Braatz's contribution quite interesting, and most hypotheses are presented as such.

A reference to his article about the Collegium Musicum at the end of the last sentence could be useful for those not aware of it.

 

BWV 213 video

Yves Dubois wrote (April 23, 2012):
Here is a link about BWV 213 "Die Wahl Des Herkules" [Hercules at the Crossroads] (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV213.htm), conducted by Leonardo Garcia Alarcon, and recorded in 2011 at the Ambronay Festival: http://videos.arte.tv/en/videos/jean_sebastien_bach-6600296.html

This video will only be available until next Sunday (April, 29th).

Enjoy !

NB : Links in the BWV 213 page are no more available.

David NcKay wrote (April 23, 2012):
[To Yves Dubois] Merci, Yves

Julian Mincham wrote (April 23, 2012):
[To Yves Dubois] A pleasing performance of a cantata which provided a number of movements for the Christmas oratorio.

Wonder why they cut the middle section of the alto/ tenor duet??

Neil Mason wrote (April 25, 2012):
[To Yves Dubois] Sadly, when I tried to watch this today, it was already unavailable.

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 213: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | 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: żOctober 13, 2013 ż18:15:34