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Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

Cantata BWV 26
Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of November 5, 2006 [Continue]

Eric Bergerud wrote (November 6, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
<< Composing with a specific user already in mind and getting the music printed with a goal of making money has a normative effect which makes the creation of truly great, enduring music much less likely. >>
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< * Nonsense. Bach used a collection of the finest motets of the 16th - 17th century for his entite career in Leipzig. I doubt he thought the motets by Lassus were hack work merely because they were popular or widely-published. >
I will stand correction on this, but "intellectual property" law was in its infancy in Bach's day. It wasn't until the 19th century that one could see musicians make some real money. (Beethoven was very famous but not rich even in the terms of his own day.) The way to wealth, such as it was, in the world of baroque music was by playing the role of impresario. Händel, depending upon artistic whims, was well off thanks to the box-office take
from his operas and oratorios. I should think selling music was more like a cottage industry. If you or a friend had a shop sales might pay off. Indeed, I rather think that if there was substantial money to have been had we would at present have a rather large quantity of printed Bach. He was practical when it came to money after all. (Indeed, in an era where so little wealth existed, the wolf could be at the door in very short order if one didn't watch every penny. I think it's hard for 21st century inhabitants to appreciate how poor the past was.)

When intellectual property law developed in the 19th century it was possible to make a small fortune in literature. I'm not saying great art was invariably created for money, but it didn't seem to inhibit the output of gents like Dickens, Twain or Picasso. Indeed, I'd guess it's been a rare artist since the Renaissance that didn't hope his/her work wouldn't generate some kind of return. People like Bach were far from rich (neither was Michelangelo) but they lived better than most of their contemporaries in an era when that really meant something. That meant they got paid for their work. I can't see that it lessens its value.

Julian Mincham wrote (November 6, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< That efficient learning skill of sight-reading--to get at least the basic notes and rhythms prepared--doesn't say anything, one way or the other, about PERFORMANCE skill. Nor does it necessarily address any expectation to basically sight-read the parts the day before (or the day of) the performance, as regular practice. That latter expectation is a romanticization, a premise that Bach and his gang were so poorly organized, or so stressed-out all the time, that these masterpieces necessarily flowed from last-minute heroic effort by all. >
None of the above is, I hope, attributed to my posting, nor do I hold any of these views.

Yes of course there are many other skills required for a musical performance than sight reading, and I am sure that Bach developed these in his students as well. My point, derived from years of practical experience is that good sight readers tend to learn more quickly than bad ones and are likely to be able to encompass more repertoire. I'm happy to hear of examples of the opposite but usually I haven't come across them.And as Bach was a very good reader himself and had to produce a great deal of repertoire in a very short time it seems eminently reasonable to assume that this was a predominant skill he sought in his pupils.

As to the fact that Bach's gang was so poorly organised and stressed out that performances were scrabbled together at the last moment (!!!) I have always argued the precise opposite--that the organisation and teaching must have been of the highest order to enable these performances to happen.

You just can't get around the fact that over 50 new cantatas were performed in a lesser number of weeks, plus SJP (BWV 245) and Easter Oratorio (BWV 249) etc--this is simple fact. This required (I humbly speculate, but I reckon it's plain common sense) a massive degree of planning, organisation, quick learning, ensemble and performance skills.

I recognise the enormity of the task--and without resorting to pointless romantic cliches which I agree add nothing to the debate, I continue to speculate on how it was achieved.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 6, 2006):
< But Bach wasn't a street musician either. He might well have thought he had a higher audience. If the Lord would listen to a prayer and keep track of swallows, perhaps Bach hoped He might likewise listen to a cantata. Actually I think this ties into the lecture Doug described a while back. If Bach's knowledge of scripture and theology was extremely advanced it would have been much more feasible to incorporate complications into the score that might have been over the heads of at least most of the good citizens of Leipzig. >
Also, please note: I haven't said that such things definitely are not in the music.

I've said merely that the more immediate practical considerations of writing (and performing) good musical lines are a more direct and reliable way to analyze the music. Some musical bit such as an octave skip is either in the music, directly, or it's not; this much is obviously verifiable (even if some people outside musical-theory training might disagree). The music either leaps an octave, or it doesn't -- and the clogging-up of lots of other notes in between is an obvious moment when it doesn't (i.e. that the octave leap doesn't exist there).

A use of Occam's Razor would argue that the simplest explanation is the one to go with. Notes in a scale, or leaps, or arpeggios, or what-have-you, have their primary purpose in sounding appropriately playable/singable on the instruments/voices at hand. Especially so, when they look just like the notes and musical figures in hundreds of other pieces, by Bach and otherwise. Scales and string-crossings are nice things to do, when writing for violins; and, their primary "meaning" (if any) is that they help to fashion a convincing piece of music (i.e. organized sound).

The assignment of non-musical "meanings", on the other hand, is an unfalsifiable pursuit when it's done after the composition is completed. Somebody could claim that a particular group of three or four notes in some cantata symbolizes a bite of wasabi, theologically, and this can't be determined either true or false; it can't be proven absolutely that such an idea was in Bach's mind or not. We're on thin ice, then, to assert such things...especially when such pursuits are "doomed to succeed"--that is, the material is rich enough and varied enough that any coincidences can be forced to look deliberate, in that way, especially if we're free to ignore a bunch of notes in between that don't fit. It's the same reason we're not allowed to divide by 0 in arithmetic: the equations run only in one direction and can't be reversed.

A / B = C; C * B = A. Wherever B is not 0, C is a unique value, given both A and B. The laws of inverse operations apply.

A / 0 = C; ANYTHING * 0 != A, (DOES NOT EQUAL A), unless (coincidentally) A also happens to be 0. The C here isn't a unique value; it can be replaced by any other number real or imaginary, without affecting the inability to reverse the equation. And where A is 0, similarly any number can be substituted into C willy-nilly without affecting the outcome. All the values for C are unfalsifiable.

(All of which could obviously be explained better, but I hope that that is sufficient to get the point across.)

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 6, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< a premise that Bach and his gang were so poorly organized, or so stressed-out all the time, that these masterpieces necessarily flowed from last-minute heroic effort by all. The extant written evidence doesn't call for such a conclusion as the only reapossibility, or even as the most likely reasonable possibility; decent preparation in the preceding weeks is at least as likely, plus it lines up with the printing of libretti far in advance. >
The speculation on Bach's working methods is interesting, but the real accomplishment is the body of work he produced in the first two years in Leipzig. This is not changed by a single note, whatever the method. There is an implication that the accomplishment is somehow more impressive if the cantatas were produced strictly one at a time, in sequence. An alternate, as suggested in Brad's post, allows the possibility of having several works in process at most times. I would find this at least equally impressive, and potentially helpful in considering relations among different cantatas.

Eric Bergerud wrote (November 6, 2006):
[To Julian Mincham] I'm not going to quibble with Julian's conclusion that Bach could and did work fast. I think it perfectly possible that he had good forces in the 1720's - I find it hard to see how a composer could ignore such a factor. And yet let's not forget that when Bach did comment on his musicians it was the famous Entwurff - and it doesn't paint a very pretty picture. Nor, by implication, did Birnbaum's argument that Bach's music should be judged not by performance but by the score. (And, as I recall, CPE described the choir as not being very skilled, but I will stand correction.) It is very possible, of course, that things were better in the early years of his stay at Leipzig, especially considering the small pool of talent he had to work with.

One variable that I think could be added to Julian's list is the work done by Bach's assistants. He wasn't flying solo, and some good proctors would have greatly aided the effort. (His wife might have been a help also.)

And one last point. If one is speculating I think it should be made clear. Nothing wrong with it: informed speculation is the beginning of scientific method and sometimes encompasses entirely works in the "social sciences" (I hate that phrase: a contradiction in terms I think) and humanities. But if one phrases speculation to appear as self-evident truth, that's not good argument and I can't see the problem with others taking strong issue.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Bach Composing - Part 4 [General Topics]

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 7, 2006):
>>It is remarkable that the practical experiece of musicians is rejected in reconstructing Bach's working method, but this little fantasy scenario which sounds like a Hollywood movie is seriously presented. Does Alistair Sim play Bach in a bad wig?<<
(...)
< Nothing is gained with a flippant remark which only serves to reveal one’s own inadequate and inaccurate assessment of such an important matter as this. >
Nothing is gained with a flippant remark which only serves to reveal one’s own inadequate and inaccurate assessment of such an important matter as screenwriting in Hollywood biopics.

Or, to pick a more mundane occupation with a lower monetary budget riding on it, and with more employees doing it week to week: church musicianship of singers, choirmasters, and organists. People who perform these roles actually have to be able to produce the goods (the music and going with the flow of liturgical requirements), which observation of job qualification doesn't apply to writing speculative pseudo-musicology daily on the internet.

Nothing particularly insightful here, just pointing out the obvious.

Julian Mincham wrote (November 7, 2006):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< One variable that I think could be added to Julian's list is the work done by Bach's assistants. He wasn't flying solo, and some good proctors would have greatly aided the effort. (His wife might have been a help also.) >
Agreed. But this probably relied to a great extent upon Bach's leadership, personality, teaching and organisational skills as well.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 7, 2006):
< In music history there is hardly anything comparable where a composer worked under such extreme conditions of productive tension: on one side the strong will to create music with a grand conception, on the other side the reality of routine which literally forced him to experiment and which, however, made necessary compromises of various types. Most of the time Bach had to react to situations on a week-to-week basis. >
Please provide the hard evidence of "strong will to create music with a grand conception", of any composer, measured through all possibilities within "music history". What is the reliable scale by which creative "will" is measured, as opposed to measuring the work actually produced?

And if we want somebody who said directly (and famously) that he was forced to experiment, because of odd and isolated working conditions, how about somebody like Haydn?

As for anybody reacting to situations on a week-to-week basis, is that not what professionals in any responsible job do? How does it make Bach special, as to measuring his "will" or whatnot? He himself famously remarked about his musicianship that anyone who worked as hard as he would get as far. Was he joking or something? How do we know? How do we know what he would have produced under different working conditions than those he had, as to his willfulness or whatever?

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 7, 2006):
< For the purposes of experimentation and making necessary adjustments which could come up on rather short notice (a singer's father died and he had to leave Leipzig for a week or so, a key instrumentalist had injured his hand and would not be able to perform as previously planned a difficult part), it would be much more feasible for Bach to wait until the last moment (the few days previous to the actual performance) instead of having to make major adjustments in the score and as a result in all of the parts. >
Please present the hard evidence for some Bach cantata wherein this specific process actually happened, and where it markedly caused a perceptible change in the music that was actually produced (as opposed to whatever Bach had in mind before getting crossed with such bad circumstances).

Either a hand injury for an instrumentalist, or the death of a scheduled singer's father causing a trip out of town, will do. Thank you.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 7, 2006):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
>>(And, as I recall CPE described the choir as not being very skilled, but I will stand correction.)<<
Can you provide an accurate source for this, or is this one of Forkel's embellished memories of a conversation he once had with CPE?

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 7, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Please provide the hard evidence of "strong will to create music with a grand conception", of any composer, measured through all possibilities within "music history". What is the reliable scale by which creative "will" is measured, as opposed to measuring the work actually produced?<<
I suggest writing an e-mail to Martin Geck. I am certain that he will enlighten you on this point.

>>And if we want somebody who said directly (and famously) that he was forced to experiment, because of odd and isolated working conditions, how about somebody like Haydn?<<
Martin Geck also mentions Haydn and differentiates between Bach and Haydn in regard to this matter.

>>As for anybody reacting to situations on a week-to-week basis, is that not what professionals in any responsible job do? How does it make Bach special, as to measuring his "will" or whatnot? He himself famously remarked about his musicianship that anyone who worked as hard as he would get as far. Was he joking or something? How do we know? How do we know what he would have produced under different working conditions than those he had, as to his willfulness or whatever?<<
Marvellous questions and speculations, you would do well as a student in Martin Geck's musicology class.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 7, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>> Either a hand injury for an instrumentalist, or the death of a singer's father causing a trip out of town, will do. Thank you.<<
Would you then be able to use this for your next paper submitted to the Early Music Journal? I notice that you are following the discussions more closely than ever now. Perhaps there is even hope that you will examine the chorale samples on the BCW to which I have repeatedly referred and which should provide evidence for Bach's 'unruly' techniques for embellishing and embedding chorale melodies into his compositions.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 7, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>...church musicianship of singers, choirmasters, and organists. People who perform these roles actually have to be able to produce the goods (the music and going with the flow of liturgical requirements)...<<
But Bach produced more than just the goods (the daily requirments of his position); he produced great music in addition to everything else of a mundane nature that confronted him daily. He did this efficiently and quickly under pressure. There is no comparable music of such a high standard being composed today, so I fail understand why this attempt at comparison with Bach keeps coming up here.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 7, 2006):
Jhmincham@aol.com wrote:
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< One variable that I think could be added to Julian's list is the work done by Bach's assistants. He wasn't flying solo, and some good proctors would have greatly aided the effort. (His wife might have been a help also.) >
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Agreed. But this probably relied to a great extent upon Bach's leadership, personality, teaching and organisational skills as well. >
I was looking for an excuse to say hello to you both anyway. Are these not the precise roles of graduate student and professor?

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 7, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< And if we want somebody who said directly (and famously) that he was forced to experiment, because of odd and isolated working conditions, how about somebody like Haydn? >
What sweeter (or more humorous) example than the "putting out the lights" symphony, which in addition exhibits his loyalty and sensitivity to the workers?

B.L.
>>He [Bach] himself famously remarked about his musicianship that anyone who worked as hard as he would get as far. Was he joking or something?
Reply:
Nearly thirty years ago, I heard Charles Mingus (USA jazz bass) say exactly the same thing to a Dunkin' Donuts waitress (as Mingus was eating a half dozen donuts between sets). I remember it like it was yesterday. I'll bet the waitress does also. Maybe she was inspired to take up bass, who knows?

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 7, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Nearly thirty years ago, I heard Charles Mingus (USA jazz bass) say exactly the same thing to a Dunkin' Donuts waitress (as Mingus was eating a half dozen donuts between sets). >
Mingus had a couple of Bach moments. His "Canon" is classic Mingus and you hardly notice that it's a strict 4 voice canon.

Eric Bergerud wrote (November 7, 2006):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
>>(And, as I recall CPE described the choir as not being very skilled, but I will stand correction.)<<
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Can you provide an accurate source for this, or is this one of Forkel's embellished memories of a conversation he once had with CPE? >
Probably Forkel. You've got me at a disadvantage, sort of anyway. I'm in St. Paul and all of my music books are in California. I'm not basing my argument on that quote. I do believe that both the Entwurff and the Birnbaum article indicate that JSB was not always happy with the caliber of his musicians. Again, it could be that he either was very lucky early or unlucky later.

Eric Bergerud wrote (November 7, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< But Bach produced more than just the goods (the daily requirments of his position); he produced great music in addition to everything else of a mundane nature that confronted him daily. He did this efficiently and quickly under pressure. There is no comparable music of such a high standard being composed today, so I fail understand why this attempt at comparison with Bach keeps coming up here. >
I really do protest making speculation into truth. Implied here is that somehow we contemporaries live in the Age of Iron and Bach lived in the Age of Gold. That he created great music is beyond doubt: we have that. We don't know what it sounded like and what was considered an acceptable standard of performance. Is it not at least possible judging from anecdote that as we've moved up the musical ladder. That each generation of musicians has complained about the difficulty of what was being put before them by innovators. If the innovations become, in turn, the new standard, these difficulties disappear because the musicians "raise the bar." There's no way of proving it of course, (perhaps experts on early 20th century recordings might have some thoughts) but my guess is that a musicians of today are better than those of the past. (This is the view of JE Gardiner anyway. He speculates on one of his DVDs that a contemporary Bach performance would have been punctuated by coughing boys, missed notes, broken strings and other difficulties arising from music being performed by what could be described as a "semi-pro" outfit. He does, however, admit that it's speculation.)

By picturing Bach as a wizard at everything he touched creates a picture that I find unreal. I should think some of the problems faced by modern choirs would have directly parallels with Bach's era. And no matter how good the composer, he can't play for his musicians and he can't sing for his choir. If what Bach was doing in Leipzig was like some kind of magic - something that today's musicians can't even comprehend, why pray tell, didn't the word get out a little quicker than it did. We may consider Bach the greatest composer in history, but there's precious little evidence that anyone in Leipzig thought so, and those that found him exceptional, did so because of his instrumental works. Perhaps nobody had invented bad notes by the 1720's and that all music in Germany was something close to perfection. The music of the spheres maybe.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 7, 2006):
>> Either a hand injury for an instrumentalist, or the death of a scheduled singer's father causing a trip out of town, will do. Thank you.<<
< Would you then be able to use this for your next paper submitted to the Early Music Journal? >
Another question dodged, I see, and replaced with a personal insult (contempt toward the seriousness of my work), instead of an answer that would support the challenged claim about Bach's compositional process.

< I notice that you are following the discussions more closely than ever now. Perhaps there is even hope that you will examine the chorale samples on the BCW to which I have repeatedly referred and which should provide evidence for Bach's 'unruly' techniques for embellishing and embedding chorale melodies into his compositions. >
I have examined them. They have most of their thematic notes on the main beats, which was my point before: an orderliness in the way they're composed/improvised. The presence of these relatively "ruly" examples (as decoys) doesn't magically transmute chunks of charcoal into diamonds, on the two web pages to which I already offered my comments of disbelief.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 7, 2006):
>>Please provide the hard evidence of "strong will to create music with a grand conception", of any composer, measured through all possibilities within "music history". What is the reliable scale by which creative "will" is measured, as opposed to measuring the work actually produced?<<
< I suggest writing an e-mail to Martin Geck. I am certain that he will enlighten you on this point. >

The question wasn't whether Dr Geck has any such evidence. It was whether internet speculators and non-scholars have any.

>>As for anybody reacting to situations on a week-to-week basis, is that not what professionals in any responsible job do? How does it make Bach special, as to measuring his"will" or whatnot? He himself famously remarked about his musicianship that anyone who worked as hard as he would get as far. Was he joking or something? How do we know? How do we know what he would have produced under different working conditions than those he had, as to his willfulness or whatever?<<
< Marvellous questions and speculations, you would do well as a student in Martin Geck's musicology class. >

I'm sure I would, thank you. But again, the question had nothing to do with whether I personally would fit into such a class. The question was about whether internet-speculators have any evidence whatsoever for their grandiose claims, and (corollary) any willingness/ability to back them up, instead of merely sidestepping reasonable questions (i.e. eschewing responsibility for their statements and actions) as we see here.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 7, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>The question wasn't whether Dr Geck has any such evidence. It was whether internet speculators and non-scholars have any.<<
But it was his point to begin with so would it not be logical to ask him or read his book where this point is made?

>>But again, the question had nothing to do with whether I personally would fit into such a class.<<
But they were the type of questions and speculations that a musicologist would understand and appreciate.

>>instead of merely sidestepping reasonable questions (i.e. eschewing responsibility for their statements and actions) as we see here.<<
I guess this refers to you and your criticism of my 'red-coded' notes pointing to chorale melodies embedded in the score samples with which you disagree but have thus far avoided coming to terms with the suggested additional examples from chorale preludes which are available viewing on the BCW as has been pointed out to you numerous times without any direct comment on them from you. It's nice to pretend that they do not exist for you, but it would certainly help move this monotonous non-discussion away from the dead point it has been stuck on for well over a week now.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 7, 2006):
Bradleyt Lehman wrote:
>>I have examined them. They have most of their thematic notes on the main beats....<<
"Most thematic notes on the main beats" This is progress of a sort to admit that the regular, logical rules do not always apply! So it is not 'absurd' nor does it cause 'disbelief' on your part when Bach does this type of variation and embellishment of a chorale melody. You may experience even more amazement (hopefuly not disbelief) when you examine many similar examples from the cantatas pointed out by Alfred Dürr and Friedrich Smend. I am looking at one right now (not my example, but Dürr's) where the first note of the incipit of a chorale occurs at the beginning of a phrase with intervening notes appearing distributed over the next two measures before finally the 2nd note of the chorale melody appears in the 3rd measure where in quick succession the remaining notes of the incipit appear with shorter note values. The point here is the 'irregular' separation of the first note from all the others that follow. I should perhaps assemble a page of all similar score samples by the two Bach experts mentioned above so that any 'disbelievers' will have the opportunity to see what real Bach experts have already uncovered in the cantatas. This is a fascinating insight into the way Bach thinks as he frequently finds ways to incorporate chorale melodies into various mvts. of his cantatas. It is one important (not the only one) way that Bach has to create a unity (and amazing density) between what might seem rather disparate parts/sections/mvts. of a cantata.

Be of good cheer! There are more score sample pages to follow. These may perhaps enlighten some readers about yet another, very different level of Bach's composing genius.

Julian Mincham wrote (November 7, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Are these not the precise roles of graduate student and professor? >
Yep--but who can do it as well as JSB?

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 7, 2006):
>>instead of merely sidestepping reasonable questions (i.e. eschewing responsibility for their statements and actions) as we see here.<<
< I guess this refers to you and your criticism of my 'red-coded' notes >
Wrong guess; the question was about providing evidence for the assertion that was made. But, now that's been sidestepped by saying it's Geck's material in the first place, instead of presenting it. A pity.

< pointing to chorale melodies embedded in the score samples with which you disagree but have thus far avoided coming to terms with the suggested additional examples from chorale preludes which are available viewing on the BCW as has been pointed out to you numerous times without any direct comment on them from you. >
Begging (with a run-on sentence) isn't going to help. "Avoided coming to terms with"??!! I've played all four of those compositions to check them out, from copies that I have in my own collection as a practicing organist; not merely relying on web-page snippets. And I've already provided my comment that they're different in kind (as to hitting main notes usually on main beats, and being normal types of improvisatory technique, etc etc) from the orchestral-line examples.

To demonstrate that I know which pieces specifically are being talked about, here's the quote presenting which ones they are:

Thomas Braatz wrote (10/31/06):
>>Here are some examples to ponder before asserting that notes are ‘picked and chosen to fit a foregone
conclusion’ where the context is one of a specific chorale melody:
Georg Böhm’s “Vater unser im Himmelreich” near the bottom of:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Vater-unser-im-Himmelreich.htm
(once thought to have been by Bach)
Dietrich Buxtehude’s “Herr Christ der einge Gottessohn” BuxWV 192 near the bottom of:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Herr-Christ-einge.htm
Johann Sebastian Bach’s „Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland“ BWV 659 about 1/3 of page down: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Nun-komm.htm
or better yet:
Bach’s „Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’“ BWV 662, BWV 663, BWV 664, BWV BWV 676 BWV 677 not quite half of the page down:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Allein-Gott-in-der-Hoh.htm <<

=====

< It's nice to pretend that they do not exist for you, but it would certainly help move this monotonous non-discussion away from the dead point it has been stuck on for well over a week now. >
The discussion has been about musical analysis. I offered my conclusions and observations from such. The fact that they're not accepted is not my problem.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 7, 2006):

Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Wrong guess; the question was about providing evidence for the assertion that was made. But, now that's been sidestepped by saying it's Geck's material in the first place...<<
Who has been doing most of the 'sidestepping' here of late?

BL: >>I've played all four of those compositions to check them out, from copies that I have in my own collection as a practicing organist; not merely relying on web-page snippets.<<
And? Were my 'snippets' taken from the NBA in any way different than your copies as far as the key melodic line is concerned? I hope not, otherwise you should update your older versions.

BL: >>And I've already provided my comment that they're different in kind (as to hitting main notes usually on main beats, and being normal types of improvisatory technique, etc etc) from the orchestral-line examples.<<
Two points here:

1. Brad admits that they 'usually' [a crack in the foundation which until recently found it 'absurd' to have any irregularities whatsoever according to what some teach and believe regarding music theory at a university level] hit the main notes on the main beats and that this is a 'normal' type of improvisatory technique.

Now Brad considers it 'normal' in improvisatory technique to have oirregularities [non-conforming instances which break the rules that Brad and a few others have established as a basic understanding of how Bach does things].

2. Now a mighty new barrier is suddenly erected by Brad, a barrier which prevents Bach from treating chorales the same way in chorale cantatas with instrumental accompaniment as he does in chorale preludes for a keyboard instrument. The same fluidity and technique used for embellishment in the main musical line of a chorale prelude for organ cannot/must not appear in an orchestral line.

Where do you come up with such rules? Do you make them up as you go along? Are you certain that you have studied every orchestral line in Bach's cantatas to see whether this rule can stand up to closer scrutiny? Do you seriously think at this point that Bach would ever have allowed himself to be placed into such a straitjacket devised on the spur of the moment by one who considers himself a specialist in Bach musicology? [These are rhetorical questions which do not require an answer!]

BL: >>The discussion has been about musical analysis. I offered my conclusions and observations from such. The fact that they're not accepted is not my problem.<<
Whose problem then, Bach's? [again, rhetorical]

For the future: your conclusions and observations were presented with such a repulsive reaction on your part toward my presentation of the score samples that a meaningful discussion becomes nearly impossible. It would have been much better to have applied what you consider 'constructive criticism' with equal force and vehemence in examining and reexamining your own article on temperament. As you continue attacking in your usual manner my efforts and contributions to the BCML (unjustified attacks as almost all of them are), you will tend to lose more and more of your credibility among the list members and readers here. (This is only my personal observation and I know there will be some who will disagree with it.) I personally welcome justifiable, objective criticism wherever it may apply to my statements, translations, research, etc., but do not expect me to believe outright many of the current theories about Bach's music and its manner of performance. If/When I criticize certain theories, methods, etc., I am not 'attacking' the originator or the proponents of a theory (even though they may have identified themselves completely with it), I am simply raising some hard questions and attempting to provide counter-evidence wherever this is possible and to the best of my knowledge about these matters.

In the pursuit of better knowledge and understanding regarding Bach and his music, it would be best (this is only a suggestion, but I personally believe it should become part of the guidelines for the BCML) that (these are not listed in any special order):

1. Objective criticism is important to advancing one's knowledge and understanding

2. Evidence or suggestions for different viewpoints offered as constructive criticism are helpful whereas a personal attack is not (the past few weeks, unfortunately, are replete with negative examples of this sort)

3. Cooperative effort and sharing of information, speculations, insights, viewpoints, etc. will help to lead away from the confrontational attitude that arises from "I am better than you: I have more training, more experience, more reference books, more this, more that...than you have

4. A good thread/discussion can be very thrilling and exhilarating, but a confrontational "knock him down, drag him out" argumentation is exhausting and unnerving for both the participants as well as the 'onlookers'.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 8, 2006):
Alain Bruguières wrote:
< The purport of the text is rather simple: (terrestrial) life is worthless. <snip>
Some time ago (when
BWV 60 was under discussion), I posted the following remarks.
>I have noted three approaches to Time in Bach's cantatas.
>The first two concern 'human' time, that is time as percieved by a mortal.
<snip>
>The third point of view is quite different : a meditation on Eternity
-
>Time on a divine scale, which is completely beyond our experience. >

Not so much beyond our experience, as beyond our ability to conceive (conceptualize) our experience. We can plant our feet on our planet. The chiastic rhythm of those words reinforces our experience. The direct experience of the rock beneath our feet.

The difficulty is that our allotted moments are so brief compared to the time we can now measure scientifically, by fossils (my personal favorite, Parvancorina minchami, and by chemical dating of the rocks, that it is difficult to appreciate that geologic time and eternity are one and the same.

How much more difficult for Bach, when at any moment life, wife, children, might be taken at the whim of <God's will>. How much more miraculous his music of optimism and faith?

As I write I am listening to Leusink [7], a few others also on hand. The first time through, I am thinking that Leusink may be my first choice. Let's argue about the music for a few days. Or discuss it.

OT: my wife has long considered argue and discuss as synonyms, from the Sp. (she claims). Many of my discussions have turned into our arguments as a result. We eventually resolved this misunderstanding by talking about it. We consider the effort worthwhile. Draw your own conclusions.

In BWV 26/1, there is a downward opening figure, with intervals I cannot identify confidently by ear, followed by a quicker rising motive. It is analogous, architecturally, to the octave leaps followed by rising figure of BWV 115/1, at least to my ears.

Regardless of the controversy regarding speculation about Bach's working methods, I don't think we should ignore comparisons of works separated by only a couple weeks. Exactly how the similarities came about is speculation. The analogies and contrasts among many of these Chorale Cantatas is not speculation, it is in the music. By considering the music chronologically, BCML has created a unique opportunity for new insights. It would be a shame to waste the opportunity on senseless squabbling.

Not to overlook the detailed relations to the Chorales themselves, however difficult agreement on the details of analysis. Thanks, Neil, for some soothing words.

Neil Halliday wrote (November 8, 2006):
Doug Cowling has pointed to the highly unusual, significant, and effective use of unison passages in the ATB (non cantus-firmus) voices, at the end of each statement of the successive chorale phrases.

Here is an interesting test of your recording(s): these unison passages are presented in two different formats; (a) with the altos an octave above the combined tenors and basses, and (b) with the basses an octave below the combined altos and tenors.

If we consider that the chorale has six phrases (the first two phrases are rather short, with only four notes each) then you should be able to hear (a) and (b) presented at (or near) the end of each phrase in the c.f in the following way: 1(a), 2(b), 3(a), 4(b), 5(b), 6(a).

The different timbres of the ATB choir that result from the adoption of these two different formats is well captured in Richter's recording [5]. In this chorus, I find the fastest tempos (eg, Richter, Rilling [6], Suzuki [1]) to be most exhilarating, in contrast to BWV 115, where I thought Harnoncourt, with the slowest version, in a "gentle dance" described by Brad, has the most satisfying rendition.

Ed writes: "In BWV 26/1, there is a downward opening figure, with intervals I cannot identify confidently by ear, followed by a quicker rising motive."
The (downward) intervals are a fourth followed by a major third, the result of three forceful, emphatic chords in succession: A minor, E major, A minor (1st inversion), in a downward fashion. The brilliant rising and falling motives, sometimes occurring simultaneously, are forms of the A minor, and other, scales, in similar (same direction) and motion. The continuo of course joins in the excitement. Toward the end of the ritornello, a little rising and falling figure is tossed around from the 1st oboe (doubled by the flute), to the 1st violin, to the 2nd oboe, to the 2nd violin, to the third oboe, to the violas, to be finally taken up in a modified form in a brilliant passage for the continuo. It turns out that Bach employs exactly this brilliant (continuo) passage in the central section of the bass aria, swapping it between the continuo and the bass voice, to forcefully and frighteningly depict the "the glowing embers (of hell), the rushing, tearing floods, the destruction and ruination of everything".

Huttenlocher and Rilling, with a battery of oboes, give a marvellously pompous, powerful, and musically very effective account of this aria.

In the tenor aria, Bach revisits his technique of setting brilliant (in this aria) alternating passages of consecutive 10ths and 6ths (and other intervals), between tenor and flute, with the coloraturas on "eilen" ("hasten"). The vocal acrobatics required of the tenor in this aria are astounding; note how he has to emulate the repeated, falling pairs of 16th notes first heard on the flute and violin, in the `raindrops' section. Kraus with Rilling is incredibly accurate at a break-neck speed in an account that vividly captures the dramatic aspects of the text, though I might prefer the less frenetic account of Krebs with Werner [1]. Apart from the very slow opening chorus of Werner, all three of the non-HIP conductors mentioned (which are the recordings I have) give excellent accounts of this wonderfully invigorating cantata.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 9, 2006):
BWV 26/1 Score Samples

Aryeh Oron has kindly posted a few score samples from BWV 26/1 at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV26-Sco.htm
(remember to click again on the image for a larger or better image)

These samples are quite different from the longer passages quoting an entire incipit or Stollen of a CM that were evident in some of the chorale fantasias encountered in previous cantatas. Here, BWV 26/1, it almost appears as if Bach, in composing the initial orchestral ritornello, has created a surrealistic landscape with recognizable bits and pieces of the chorale melody appearing in rather unexpected places, often being contorted almost beyond recognition or even creating a partial overlay with another snippet of melody. The main impression, however, is that the primary motifs of ascending and descending scales dominate most of the musical action with a few secondary motifs also achieving some prominence. The allusions to the chorale melody are forced to fit into this odd landscape with partial echoes of the CM flitting (flüchtig) about here and there.

A quick glance at the first line of the chorale at the top will demonstrate the origin of the upward scale followed immediately by a downward scale seen/heard clearly in the continuo part m. 2 (not depicted in the samples). Here we can see/hear how Bach has the chorale foremost in his mind without, however, slavishly or rigidly following any rules that require every note of the CM to appear in regular (no long or irregular gaps between successive notes) fashion on the accented portions of a bar/measure. Bach relies upon the fact that his select audience, being well acquainted with the chorale melody, will feel in his preparatory ritornello the closeness of the new musical material to the original with which they are familiar. The ritornello has very strong ties with the CM, even though at first sight or first hearing it seems to be entirely independent of it. Bach's primary focus or emphasis is to create an impression through music of the textual content of the CM's incipit.

Russell Telfer wrote (November 11, 2006):
BWV 26 Ach wie flüchtig

Aryeh Oron wrote:
< It is the time to finish this discussion, which is far remote from Bach. I ask you all to stop sending messages under this thread.
Please put your energy and enthusiasm back to Bach, at least on this list. >
Well I was right about Jefferson, though as usual my timing was out of kilter.

Ach wie flüchtig (BWV 26) was under discussion five days ago, but it seems a long time ago now. I've been looking at this cantata and reminding myself that it has two stupendous movements, the opening chorus and the second aria, and backed up by a powerful chorale.

The first (Tenor) aria however: So schnell ein rauschend Wasser shiesst strikes me as a makeweight piece, worthy of other 18th century pens no doubt, but lacking the inspiration of the other movements. When singing it in a choral study group I found it difficult and unsatisfying to sing.

Richard Mix wrote (November 11, 2006):
Th. Braatz wrote:
< ...it appears almost certain that these key parts never left Bach's sight even between the rehearsal and Sunday performance( s). The immense pressure upon the players and singers (they were fined for wrong notes during performances in church) in Bach's time... >
The first sentence can pass without comment for now, but the fines are startling news to me. Can you please tell more about who kept count and what the rate per mistake was?

Alain Bruguières wrote (November 11, 2006):
[To Russell Telfer] Many thanks to Aryeh for reminding us that we are on a Bach cantata list.

Many thanks to Russel for bringing us back to BWV 26. Well perhaps we were not completely OT after all, we did collectively give through our posts a nice illustration of the terms 'flüchtig' and even sometimes 'nichtig'...

I'm not sure I agree with Russel when he's being so critical of the Tenor aria. I like it, I find it bachian enough. It is true that the opening chorale fantasia and the bass aria are exceptional, the highlights of the cantata. You can't have highlights if other parts of the work are not comparatively in the shade...

Julian Mincham wrote (November 16, 2006):
Alain Bruguières wrote:
< I'm not sure I agree with Russel when he's being so critical of the Tenor aria. I like it, I find it bachian enough. It is true that the opening chorale fantasia and the bass aria are exceptional, the highlights of the cantata. You can't have highlights if other parts of the work are not comparatively in the shade... >
Alain touches upon a vital point in the consideration and appreciation of these cantatas, particularly at this stage of Bach's career, and that is the fact that they are conceived as, and need to be considered as a whole rather than as a collection of individual movements. Without re-opening the discussion about his working methods, it is only common sense to assume that most of these works were composed quickly in a very short period and it follows from this that such a concentrated focus is very likely to result in a highly unified result. Nor is this pure speculation for, as those who have studied the canon in detail know well, there are many example to be found to evidence Bach's 'conception as a whole' approach to each work---the careful balances of major and minor, of recit and aria, the quarrying of the chorales for ideas and motives (as Thomas has been pointing out).

The first aria of BWV 26 is the only movement in the major--all others are minor (true the recits both begin on a major chord but return to and resolutely remain in the minor. Too big a topic to deal with here but this sort of change of mode in the recits is often symbolic). Because of its major emphasis the tenor aria takes on some significance in the work as a whole. There is no recit separating this aria from the chorus so clearly Bach wishes to sustain the feeling of energy for as long as possible. Although the cantata as a whole is essentially not a joyful one stressing as it does the ephemeral nature of life---but of course it is this life not the afterlife as the last line of the chorale makes clear.---Bach's typical outlook is essentially not laden with a sense of tragedy. Bach is saddled with a typically pessimistic (at least on the surface) text and he rejoices in the dramatic images it provides. But the widstudy of the cantatas reveals that he is almost never entirely pessimistic. He always finds a way of portraying the other side of the coin (often but not always in the final aria) and here the optimism seems inherent within the tenor aria---almost a bridge to the melisma on the word 'Freude'----joy---at the beginning of the following recitative.. Life passes at a hectic rate (I'm sure that must have been true of Bach himself) but the music of the tenor conveys a somewhat different story from the text. Here is life, energy and a degree of optimism, even fulfillment. This aria is Bach's 'on the other hand' statement and it stands out in a different way than does the bass aria, a bizarre, almost distorted 'dance of death' (Boyd).

Some speculation of course, but some evidence also derived from a) the essentially optimistic character of the music itself and, even more importantly, b) the practice of Bach to redress the argument and present the optimistic side in countless other cantatas.

Note also the images of raindrops falling and disappearing into the abyss in the middle section of the tenor aria. This movement is full of word painting.

I can see why Russell finds it a really demanding aria to perform, but that's not unique! But I tend to disagree about the quality of the movement and its significance in the wider structure of the work. For these reasons I find it every bit as fascinating and enjoyable as the bass aria.

Oh, and like several other people, I also find it a relief and a pleasure to get back to discussion of the cantatas on this list!

Russell Telfer wrote (November 11, 2006):
[To Julian Mincham] I have to admit that you're right, and that when you consider what Bach was doing, in limited time, all of these movements are part of an integrated whole. But there is a catch here, a significant one which often underlies any of the criticisms or comments that any of us make. That is, to follow your analysis is to follow the liturgical or textual logic of the cantata. Which of course is correct.

I was, for the moment, giving an honest musical reaction to the tenor aria (with which I had suffered) whilst wanting to shout out loud my admiration of the chorus and bass aria.

Santu de Silva wrote (November 12, 2006):
Wow, I hadn't noticed that you folks were discussing this piece!

Mvt. 1 is one of my all-time favourite choruses. I first came to know it as one of the movements in Walton's "Wise Virgins" suite. The bass is one of the finest examples of Bach's brilliant bass lines. When the movement ends, I am simply shocked; it's almost like being unable to breathe!

Walton's orchestral arrangement, at least, is able to do a grand ritardando that might be out of place in church. (In the Suite, I believe that this movement is followed by a lush instrumentation of the famous Shafe koennen sicher weiden aria, which is able to slowly release the rushing excitement of the BWV26-i.)

Neil Halliday wrote (November 12, 2006):
BWV 26

In the ritornello of the tenor aria (Mvt. 2), notice how Bach increases the effectiveness of the image of swirling flood waters, by doubling the flute line with the violin on alternate 'waves' only (bars 1-3 and 6-8, etc.) - an example of Bach's use of instrumental timbre, as well as the motive's shape, to create the desired effect.
-------
The writhing, descending 1/16th note figure in the continuo, near the end of the ritornello of the opening movement, effectively suggests a rapid descent into hell, or nothingness; as already noted, this figure is employed in both the vocal and continuo lines in the middle section of the bass aria, where the text makes this image of total annihilation explicit.
-------
Rilling [6] and Richter [2], and I suppose all conductors, pounce on the final chord of the 1st movement in staccato manner (without ritardando), not indicated in the score, but obviously a most effective way to end the movement.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 12, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< The bottom line here is that we do not have sufficient documentary evidence to reconstruct Bach's working method. There just aren't enough records. >
Julian Mincham wrote:
< So, no we don't know how but we do know something of what------and in between lies a perfectly valid area for informed speculation. >
Gradually returning to BWV 26 (what's that?) before the week is out, I extracted this kernel, motive, whatever. Between a couple friends. I tried very hard this time to get the thread straight.

A true joy of an open forum such as BCML: the opportunity for informed (or even not) speculation. And a true hazard, emotional investment in such speculation. I am already out of my depth. And I sense Harry edging away.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 16, 2006):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Apart from the very slow opening chorus of Werner [1], all three of the non-HIP conductors mentioned (which are the recordings I have) give excellent accounts of this wonderfully invigorating cantata. >
A few quick thoughts, catching up:

(1) Richter [2] sounds good to me. So does Leusink [7], my early choice.

(2) After I took the time, I really enjoyed my Harnoncourt LP [3], with score. I should have done that before writing, but then the week would be gone before I said a word. Thanks for taking the trouble to make detailed comments, at the slightest suggestion.

(3) I also have Koopman [9] (by intent) and Gardiner [8] (as a surprise bargain from the second-hand bins). This is my first opportunity to make a comparison of Gardiner, from the pilgrimage series. The tempos are quick, but not noticeably so in a continuous listen. I have great respect for artists who state their intent and then accomplish it. Gardiner: <The recordings <...> are a faithful document of the pilgrimage, though never intended to be a definitive stylistic or musicological statement.> The liner notes on the individual works, from the pilgrimage diary, are superb. I am tempted to say worth the price, but there is already a lot of commentary out there to absorb. A worthwhile complement to the performances, and the performance ideals.

(4) Koopman [9] is correct. The series is complete. Is that enough? Time will tell. Perhaps this will be the reference set for the coming years, with the Christoph Wolff notes.

Here is the paradox. There are no bad recordings you can eliminate from choice. There are no perfect recordings which make all others superfluous. We are deep in the desert wasteland of the Sundays after Trinity (I will recover the reference for that statement, promise). The music and performances are all the more remarkable.

I cannot find anything negative to say about the performances of BWV 26. I could complain a bit about the music, if pressed. The structure and order of soloists has been the same for two weeks, and another coming up. I have barely finished the sentence when I realize I had best check the fine print. But my original point was to be that, in a pattern of constant variety, sameness is surprise.

Julian Mincham wrote (November 12, 2006):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< I was, for the moment, giving an honest musical reaction to the tenor aria (with which I had suffered) whilst wanting to shout out loud my admiration of the chorus and bass aria. >
Russell yes I appreciated that and I completely agree about those two movements.

However it seems to me that a perspective on this aria from one who has sung it would be especially valuable. I always thought that this tenor aria would have been incredibly demanding--especially the 'water droplet' passages from the middle section. Am I right? Does your experience of performing the movement alter your perception of it? Perhaps from what it might have been as a mere listener? And in what ways?

I imagine that several people on list would be interested in sresponses.

Russell Telfer wrote (November 13, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< However it seems to me that a perspective on this aria from one who has sung it would be especially valuable. I always thought that this tenor aria would have been incredibly demanding--especially the 'water droplet' passages from the middle section. Am I right? Does your experience of performing the movement alter your perception of it? Perhaps from what it might have been as a mere listener? And in what ways?
I imagine that several people on list would be interested in such responses. >

Well thanks for that vote of confidence in the experience of an amateur singer (and one singing in a group).

Taking the movement (the Tenor Aria, Mvt. 2) on its own (which you're not meant to do - ) it seems to be agreed that Bach expresses the meaning of the text in an impressionistic way: the tenor joins the flute and violin in suggesting the swirling of the waves.

I don't feel that this movement offers a carefully constructed melody, it is a swirl of busyness. The voice has passages of 20 bars or more without a break; it's not just the middle section, it's all demanding! And if you're busy racing for the next sequence of notes, you haven't time to enjoy it. That's generally true of all demanding music, don't you think? [And as an irrelevant aside, I don't imagine a professional violaist can get all that much enjoyment of her 100th performance of, for example, Schubert's Ninth.]

If this was (in isolation, remember) presented to you as the work of a minor 18th century composer , you would think, ah yes, a journeyman's work, come on then, let's get through it, what's next?

Like many members of the list I have sung Bach cantatas with a 'serious' choir and I'm sure other singers would agree that it is always a most fulfilling experience; you are sure to enjoy the sections you are NOT involved in. When it comes to your own bit though, there's too much at stake to let yourself relax.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Performance of Bach's Vocal Works - General Discussions Part 18 [General Topics]

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 17, 2006):
Performance practice [was BWV 26]

Russell Telfer wrote:
< Well thanks for that vote of confidence in the experience of an amateur singer ( and one singing in a group).
Taking the movement (the Tenor Aria, no 2)
<snip > it is a swirl of busyness. The voice has passages of 20 bars or more without a break; it's not just the middle section, it's all demanding! And if you're busy racing for the next sequence of notes, you haven't time to *enjoy* it. That's generally true of all demanding music, don't you think? >
Even before Russell's post, I thought this T aria (BWV 26/2) was an excellent example to demonstrate the need for preparation and rehearsal in Bach's music. I let the idea pass, no need to draw Russell (or myself) into other people's disputes. On the other hand, we should be able to have a civil discussion over differences of opinion.

I decided to raise the issue, after I noticed earlier today, while looking for something else, the following comment by Wolff (Bach: The Learned Musician, p. 345):

<[Bach] was weary of asking his musicians to play for very little or nothing, and that these musicians were forced by circumstances to accept money-making engagements for weddings and other private events rather than take the time to practice and rehearse Bach's challenging works.
<end quote>

I would urge interested people to read this comment in context. It certainly appears to be Wolff's opinion that it what was Bach's ideal to have adequate time for preparation, and by implication, that the music was available if the musicians were not otherwise occupied.

 

off -on borderline topic? BWV 26 and cherry blossom

Terejia wrote (April 14, 2008):
In Japan, cherry blossom is in full bloom now. All of a sudden it dawned on me...I was listening to BWV 26 in the morning and I enjoyed cherry blossm from the window of the bus on my way to work place.

The common denominator between BWV 26 and cherry blossom is that both has thema of transience of life!

 

Cantata 26, "Ach Wie Flüchtig" - Performance

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 9, 2008):
The opportunity to hear a Bach cantata live in performance is always something to be seized. Last night I heard Cantata 26, "Ach Wie Flüchtig" as part of a Bach Vespers at the Church of the Redeemer in Toronto. I've loved this cantata since I was a teenager, but I've never heard it in performance.

Given my penchant for track-hopping on CDs, it was a real treat to be caught by Bach and made to listen on his terms. The performance was a well-prepared semi-professional choir and orchestra with a first-rate tenor and bass.

My lasting impression of the performance will be the rush of Bach's music from beginning to end: he really knew how to portray the frantic, transitory aspect of human life. It was like rush hour in a big city. Alas, the conductor allowed the energy to abate between movements when it should press ahead like a Passion. A Bach cantata ain't a Beethoven symphony where people relax and shuffle around after each movement.

The Vespers service also included an arrangement by Healey Willan of Bach's harmonizations of "Meine Seele erhebet" (the German Magnificat) as Renaissance-type fauxbourdons alternating with plainsong verses in the Tonus Peregrinus chant. A clever construct which would undoubtedly have amused Bach.

It was fun to sing a few chorales accompanied by an orchestra with a "plenum" of flute, 3 oboes and bassoon.

David Jones wrote (June 9, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] I love Ach Wie Flüchtig!! In the opening movement, I always get this image in my head of people suddenly vaporizing, and watching other people vaporize and getting terrified.....one person even vaporizes in the middle of a loud, long scream..........

James Atkind Pritchard wrote (June 10, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] Just curious how this was structured. Did the Cantata take the place of the psalm(s), i.e. was it before the Willan/Bach Magnificat?

Were there responses?

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 10, 2008):
James Atkins Pritchard wrote:
< psalm(s), i.e. was it before the Willan/Bach Magnificat?
Were there responses? >
The order was that of Evening Prayer, corresponding in most parts to Lutheran Vespers of Bach's time. The major difference is that the order of the cantata and sermon were switched. No preacher wants to compete with Bach

Prelude: Sonata for flute - Bach
Opening responses: O Lord, Open Our lLps ...
Chorale
Psalm - Plainsong
1st reading
Magnificat - Bach/Willan
2nd reading
Sermon
Cantata
Chorale
Litany
Collect
Lord's Prayer - plainsong
Dismissal
Chorale

Terejia wrote (June 10, 2008):
David Jones wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/28210

I'm in the middle of drastic change in my career life, which is going to be settled down - I hope for the better but not sure...

Meanwhile, I seem to have missed a lots of inspiring and my favorite cantata discussions. BWV 26 is one of my most favorite and I envy those who can enjoy live performances of such a beautiful cantata!!

There seems to have been many heating discussions which I cannot afford following due to my real life but this is what I'd wish to comment: for me aethetic is simply an inspirational vibration independent of any dogmatic ideas whatsoever. I don't mean theory or academic study of whatsoever is unimportant but for me academic study is servant to aethetics and not vice versa. There may well be a valid the-other-way-round approach which my humble perception and brain have not come to know yet-if so pardon my ignorance for now.

I cannot really express myself well but I do trust Bach lovers share perception and penetration into Bach's aethetic vibration (which is probably senior to any dogma or academic study )and that far better than myself. May Bach's inspirational aethetic vibration continue to bless world.

 

Continue on Part 4

Cantata BWV 26: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Bach-W. Walton: The Wise Virgins, suite from the ballet (arranged music of J.S. Bach)

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