Cantata BWV 30Freue dich, erlöste Schar
Cantata BWV 30a
Angenehmes Wiederau, freue dich in deinen Auen!
Discussions - Part 1
Discussions in the Week of December 15, 2002
Aryeh Oron wrote (December 1, 2002):
BWV 30 & BWV 30a - Introduction
The subject of discussion in the week of Dec 15 2002, according to Thomas Shepherd’s suggested list, is the Church Cantata BWV 30 ‘Freue dich, erlöste Schar’ (Rejoice, redeemed host) and the Secular Cantata BWV 30a ‘Angenehmes Wiederau, freue dich in deinen Auen!’ (Pleasant Wiederau, rejoice in your meadows!). For the Festival of St John the Baptist, June 24, 1738, Bach borrowed from and reconstructed his secular homage Cantata BWV 30a, performed September 28, 1737. Picander was the librettist for the earlier work, by which he hoped to curry favour from Johann Christian von Hennicke, whom this Drama per Musica honoured. The latter had been lackey who had risen to the nobility. The acquisition of his estate at Wiederau in Saxony was the occasion for the work. It is likely that Bach, with Picander’s help, reconstructed the recitatives and added a chorale stanza for the sacred version, BWV 30.
The Gospel for the day is Luke 1: 57-80 - the birth of John and the song of praise of his father Zacharias - is referred to throughout the libretto, but without any direct quotations. The vocalists’ praise of God is identified with that of Zacharias or of his son, especially in the choruses and arias, thus making the cantata highly dramatic. Although Bach inserted his ready made music into the new libretto, instead of deriving his setting from the words of the text as he usually did, he was still able to create a masterpiece in the sacred adaptation. For him all music was religious, dedicated to the glory of God. Both Schweizer and Whittaker, however, deplore Bach’s unheedful application of secular music to sacred arias in this particular cantata. Nevertheless, others, me included, feel that this long (two-part) cantata is one of his finest vocal compositions. Furthermore, others, me included, believe that all Bach Cantatas are among his finest.
The details of the recordings of the two cantatas can be found at the following pages of the Bach Cantatas Website:
BWV 30: Cantata BWV 30 - Recordings
BWV 30a: Cantata BWV 30a - Recordings
In the page of recordings mentioned above you can also find links to:
the original German text, two English translations (by Francis Browne and Z. Philip Ambrose), and a French translation; Score (Vocal & Piano version); Commentary: in English (Simon Crouch), and Spanish (Julio Sánchez Reyes).
I hope to see many of you participating in the discussion.
Francis Browne wrote (December 14, 2002):
BWV 30a translation
My tardiness in translating this cantata and Aryeh's ( well-deserved ) holiday mean that this translation is not yet available on Aryeh's website. In the hope that it may be of some use to members of the list for next week's cantata I am sending it as an ordinary posting. No doubt the formatting will disappear somewhere in cyberspace.
With characteristic generosity Tom Braatz has checked this translation ( and others) - needless to say, he is not responsible for any mistakes. Indeed I suspect that where inaccuracies and infelicities remain will be precisely the points where I have ignored his scholarly advice.
(As often with the secular cantatas I wonder how Bach produced such glorious music from so unpromising a text)
Jane Newble wrote (December 18, 2002):
Exhilarating, joyful, warm, exciting, beautiful, all words that come to mind when listening to this cantata, especially the opening chorus. Thinking of the genius who wrote all his music to the glory of God, so that it didn't matter at all basing a religious cantata on a secular one, makes it even more amazing. I know that there are scholars who object to this idea, and feel that it detracts from the beauty of the composition. Personally I am not bothered by these reflections at all. I just imagine I am a person sitting in Bach's church, hearing this for the first time.
The opening chorus carries me away, and the music is is very addictive. It is a pity when it stops.
The bass aria is an affectionate song of praise to God who keeps all his promises. The 'gelobet sei Gott, gelobet sein Name', seems to encompass all notes.
The alto aria - again, lovely music, the pizzicato illustrates the hurrying steps sinners should take to their Saviour.
The chorale is a quiet interlude before the second part.
The bass starts again with another lovely recitative and aria, expressing gratitude in practical living to the glory of God, in a lively dance-like melody.
In the soprano aria the hurrying steps are there again, but this time the hours are wished away in order to be able to show God gratitude forever. The music is delightful.
A calming tenor recitative urges patience, which leads us back to the wonderful chorus again! What a surprise that is for the unsuspecting listener in the church.
And it appears that Bach quite liked this movement, as he keeps repeating it.
This cantata has some wonderful music and singing, and I am glad Bach did not hesitate to use it again to welcome the prophet John.
I only have the Leusink performance [BWV30-7], but am quite happy with it until I am able to hear something else.
Pieter Pannevis wrote (December 18, 2002):
[To Jane Newble] Thank you Jane!
I always do like your ideas on a personal non -scholarship level!
Have a blessed Christmas.
Thomas Braatz wrote (December 19, 2002):
BWV 30 Freue dich, erlöste Schar (and its precursors)
This report will differ considerably from most of my other reports in that it will not seem very organized. It will resemble, more or less, a stream of consciousness technique of presentation with a combination of information from various sources with my own thoughts and feelings about the matter at hand. In this presentation I will simply allow things to take me wherever they seem to want to go, but checking with authorities along the way to make sure that I do not stray too far from the path of what is reasonable.
A few days ago, as I began assembling the few recordings that I have (the Rilling recording of BWV 30a that hopefully Francis Browne has ordered and heard is one that I do not have.) Somehow, based on the text of BWV 30a “Angenehmes Wiederau” I simply found no compelling reason to order it at this time. Actually, I found the text to be rather abstract, uninteresting and much too mercenary. (Such cantatas as BWV 30a were certainly an important monetary source for Bach, but it really shows here how contrived such a text can be, even if Picander was the author of this text.)
The 1st recording that I listened to, as I was still assembling the other recordings (Harnoncourt [BWV30-3], Richter [BWV30-4], Rilling [BWV30-5], Leusink [BWV30-7]), was the CD of Bach Arias recorded on Archiv by Magdalena Kožená (1996.) [BWV30-M3]. This was only Mvt. 5 of BWV 30, but it was a revelation of sorts since I had not heard it in a while. I listened to it a few times without concentrating fully on everything that was going on in the music. It was then I became aware that I hardly understood a single word that she was singing (with a score in hand, this would not happen.) Now I began to understand something about the nature of this music: it did not really matter which words were being sung, it was a toe-tapping, wonderfully syncopated theme that keeps this mvt. going forward without any boring moments anywhere. This is a gem, a compositional masterpiece that must have a very wide appeal toall kinds of listeners. However, this is not the type of aria that I have come to know elsewhere in Bach’s oeuvre of sacred works. In his more typical sacred arias, if they are original in conception, that is, inspired by a specific text, Bach has created a much deeper connection between the words and the music. The music demonstrates that it is a reflection of the words, whether it be by word-painting of individual words, the contrast of ideas, or the illustration of motion and direction. Here in Mvt. 5 of BWV 30 there is none of this because the aria text is an overlay that replaced an earlier text contained in BWV 30a, and even in the latter the fit between words and music is quite tenuous. This leads me to think that the music may have originated at a much earlier time from a secular composition for a ‘Shepherd Cantata’ composed either for the Weimar or Köthen period. I then found a quote by Alfred Dürr which confirmed my suspicions: “Parodien 2. Grades im Werk Bachs sind keine Seltenheit” [“Parodies of yet earlier parodies are not seldom (translate: ‘are rather common’) in Bach’s oeuvre.”]
Somewhere around this time I read Simon Crouch’s admonition, “we should be careful not to look down our (cult-of-originality-conditioned) noses at a procedure that was common practice in those days, or we would write off such masterpieces as the B-minor Mass and the Christmas Oratorio! However, critics have had a field day with BWV 30 since they claim that the adaptation of such a high-spirited piece to such a solemn occasion was a misjudgment (on Bach’s part.) In regard to the alto aria (Mvt. 5, just referred to above), Whittaker says “there is absolutely no relation between text and music…It is the worst crime Bach committed against himself.” Concerning the bass aria, Robertson wrote “The adaptation is as tasteless as that in (the alto aria.)” To this Crouch adds “Don’t let the weakness of the parody prevent you from hearing this cantata in some form or another. The music is far too good for that.”
Being forewarned in this manner, I began to agree that the music was excellent, but the nagging suspicion remained that there was something quite unsettling about Bach’s parody – not the music itself, but the application of the words to the music.
Next I checked the provenance of BWV 30 in the NBA KB and determined the following:
Both autograph score and original set of parts are in the BB and arrived there in 1844 via C. P. E. Bach and Georg Poelchau. The score is a fairly clean copy which, of course, means that Bach copied (did not compose directly) the music from somewhere else (BWV 30a.)
In Bach’s hand, the title page reads:
Festo S. Joannis Baptistae | Freue dich erlöste Schaar | a | 4 Voci | 2 Travers | 2 Hautbois | 2 Violini | Viola | e | Continuo | di J:S. Bach
On top of the 1st page of the score Bach wrote:
J. J. Concerto. Festo Joañis. à 4 Voci. 2 Hautb. 2 Violini, Viola e Cont. | di Bach
[Notice the missing designation for transverse flutes – C. P. E. Bach later added ‘e se piace a 3 Trombe e Tamburi’] [Richter’s recording [BWV30-4] includes the trumpets.]
The original parts are a real mess as they attempt to reuse the older music parts for BWV 30a while adjusting these parts to the new demands for BWV 30. There is much of interest here for someone interested in following the various stages needed in completing a parody while attempting to economize in the effort needed in preparing the music for its new sacred setting.
One thing led to another, and before I realized it, I was looking at BWV 210 “O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit,” the 8th mvt. of which is an earlier version of mvt. 11 from the ‘Wiederau’-Cantata BWV 30a. So in BWV 30 we have a mvt. which is a parody of a mvt. from BWV 30a (The ‘Wiederau’-Cantata) which is a parody of a mvt. from another ‘Wedding’-Cantata BWV 210 which relates to and is another parody of yet a different cantata, BWV 210a ‘O angenehme Melodei’ which is a soprano solo cantata written for either Joachim Friedrich Graf von Flemming or Count Keyserlingk. Somehow I was getting the feeling that this music may have derived from an even earlier period (Weimar or Köthen) and that Bach was recycling the music over and over again and not being very concerned about making the music fit the text (or is it the other way around?)
Just for the sake of comparison on the basis of text alone, I read the German texts for the soprano and alto arias in both BWV 30 and 30a. Here is the English with the line by line comparison, the top line is the ‘original’ (perhaps) from BWV 30a and the bottom line gives the sacred cantata text for BWV 30:
Hurry, you hours, as you want,
Hurry, you hours, come one,
Root out and push back!
Bring me soon to those fields!
But remember this one thing,
With the holy host I want
That by this splendor and brightness
To build an altar of thanks for my God
That by you Hennicke’s fame and fortune
In the dwellings of Kedar
Should always be spared!
So that I may always be thankful.
What can delight the soul
Come, you troubled sinners,
What gives pleasure and is highly valued
Hurry and run, you children of Adam,
Should be your hereditary possession
Your savior calls and cries out to you!
My abundance will keep back nothing
Come, you sheep who have gone astray,
And richly reveal to you
Arise from the sleep of your sins,
That my whole store is yours.
For now is the time of grace!
There are commentators who have disparaged the fact that the same music is used to express texts which are quite different from each other (Whittaker and Robertson), and there are others (Dürr, for instance) who put quite a different ‘spin’ on this phenomenon – ‘this is Bach’s genius at work.’ Smend, for instance, contends that Bach, in instances of this sort knew well in advance that he would be able ultimately to use the music for a secular cantata in a sacred cantata later on. This seems to imply some superhuman master plan in which Bach opined the sacred text which had not yet been written, while composing the music for a text that was destined for a ‘lesser occasion,’ simply a stage leading to a later, superior application of the music.
Personally, and of course there is no easy way to prove this, I believe that Bach was simply economizing his efforts so that he would not have to compose new material all the time. The recycling of his own music was certainly not unique, but rather an accepted practice, and yet we find no examples where Bach parodied an original sacred cantata mvt. in a later secular cantata mvt. Why is this? I think I have an idea why this is so: The unique bond created between the original sacred text and the original music that it inspired in Bach means that the text and music are much more inseparable than to allow a less significant text to be superimposed on it; that is, it becomes much more apparent to the listener that the text and music are not directly related. The unique characteristics (Bach’s interpretation of the text musically) begin to stand out as question marks when a ‘lesser,’ more general or mundane text is forced to fit the mold of the original musical conception.
Looked at from the opposite perspective, original compositions that may have previously existed as purely instrumental pieces might lend themselves more easily to become vocal mvts. if a suitable text that fits the meter can be found. Dance-like mvts. from concerti or pastorale-type mvts. from ‘Shepherd’-cantatas (such as the one on which most of the Easter Oratorio (BWV 249) is based) will lend themselves more easily to a transformation. The connection between the original musical conception and the later sacred application will be less specific and depend more on general mood characteristics. The sacred texts will tend to bmore abstract and simply mood setting, rather than demonstrate a very close, intimate connection between words and music. When, however, a specific word/image occurs in the new sacred text (take “Schweißtuch” as an example) when the original secular setting had the voice sing only about ‘sheep safely grazing,’ this is bound to raise some eyebrows, or at least seem rather remote from the two recorders that are providing a pastoral setting.
At this point, with ‘that bouncy tune’ from Mvt. 5 stuck in my mind (once you hear this piece, it has a way of ‘getting under your skin’), I decided to consult “Dance and the Music of J. S. Bach” (Expanded Edition) by Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne to find out just what kind of dance this really is. More than anyone else among all the scholarly works that have been written on this subject, these authors have carefully scrutinized, categorized and exhaustively examined everything that Bach composed. Here another great surprise awaited me: they do not see Mvt. 5 as a dance or dance-like mvt.! Instead they list three other mvts. as dance-like: The opening chorus (repeated as mvt. 12 at the end), Mvt. 8 (the bass aria), and Mvt. 10 (soprano aria.)
Now I double checked other recordings and found that the HIP recordings (4 ½ minutes for Harnoncourt [BWV30-3] and Leusink [BWV30-7]) were almost twice as fast as the slowest recording by Richter [BWV30-4] (8 minutes.) No wonder that this piece took on an entirely different character when pushed to such an extreme tempo! Examine the original text (BWV 30a) and compare it with BWV 30 and you will notice there is nothing about ‘hurrying and running’ in the earlier text. Does this mean that Bach now (in BWV 30) wanted to have it performed twice as fast? Or is this simply another instance of speeding up Bach’s tempi when playing in the HIP mode? Rilling [BWV30-5], as usual, is a special breed hovering somewhere between the non-HIP and HIP methods, hence his rendition is also somewhat faster than Richter’s.
At this point I should probably explain which mvts. are dance-like and why, but I want to pursue more generally this question of ‘dance’ mvts. in Bach being equal to fast and lively mvts. as treated by HIP conductors. For this I wish to quote a pertinent passage from the Little & Jenne book:
“Bach’s titled dances inevitably bring up the question, “What about pieces without dance titles?” Bach the universal genius freely mixed compositional materials – dances as obbligatos to chorale tunes, dance rhythms organizing large concerto-like pieces for chorus and orchestra, dance music expressing texts of the most intimate sacred cantata arias, keyboard fugues which could be danced to, at least one cantata aria with two different dance rhythms sounding simultaneously, a dance bringing several hours of sacred music to a close. The list seems endless.
“These are not “untitled dances,” however, but pieces in which Bach incorporated dance rhythms and other characteristics seen in the titled dances, and melded them into another artistic form. For example, when Bach sets a cantata aria using a dance rhythm, he does not use the AABB form so common to titled dances, but an ABA da capo aria form popular in the arias of his day. What is new here is the insight into Bach’s genius as he freely mixes dance qualities with other musical elements in large works ranging from the B-minor Mass (BWV 232) and the St. John Passion (BWV 245), to the Brandenburg Concertos, to numerous church and secular cantatas, and to smaller-scale works such as the preludes and fugues of the Well-tempered Clavier.
“When dance elements in such pieces are noticed and correctly identified, the performer can make the music spring to life. Insights about rhythm, perhaps the single most important consideration when one interprets notes on a page, are there to be discovered. If the piece is based on dance characteristics such as a particular dance rhythm, the performer already has important clues about level of the beat, tempo, articulation, caesuras of lesser and greater weight, and affect. Understanding dance rhythms may even provide insight into Bach’s mind, as we see him choosing bourée rhythms, for example, to set a cantata aria in which the text expresses joyful exuberance, an affect of titled bourées.
“Many scholars have commented on Bach’s use of dance rhythms, but often without a firm set of characteristics on which to base their ideas; often it is only an intuitive guess.”
The authors go on to explain which characteristics define a certain dance. “It is these qualities, which most clearly define the dances, and which form a looking glass, as it were, through which we may discover dance elements in a work not so titled.” Needless to say, the authors have defined in great detail all the elements of specific dance forms used by Bach and these insights made possible their observations regarding all the other works by Bach.
Interestingly, the authors could not find any unnamed examples of allemandes, courantes or correntes. They have consciously decided not to include pieces with chaconne or passacaglia elements, which are quite easy to identify. Other dances, such as the polacca or polonaise, have not been included in this search for unnamed forms of dances with Polish elements because not enough is known about these dances. The authors also admit that there might still be other examples which are less clear in their connections with the named dances, but certainly most, if not all, of the clear-cut examples have been included.
The article on “Dance” in the “Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach” [Boyd] by the above authors summarizes their work as follows: “Each of the French court dances exhibited a characteristic affect, rhythm, and tempo which made it easily recognizable to listeners. For example, the gavotte and passepied were often pastoral…, the bourrée [sic – in their book they spell this word as ‘bourée’ with only one ‘r’] was joyful and lively; the minuet was in a medium tempo and exhibited only moderate passions; loures and sarabandes were slow, sustained, and serious. In Bach’s hands, these dances kept their basic character and rhythmic structure, but grew into sublime musical abstractions in many cases….Untitled French dances freely appear in Bach’s cantatas, oratorios, Passions, and organ works. Bach also composed dances whose choreographic roots were lost in time. Allemandes occur in almost all his dance suites. Many incorporate prelude-like features such as frequent arpeggiation and an imitative style with changing numbers of voices, some use the emphatic rhythms of the French overture. Sicilianas occur occasionally, most often in arias in the cantatas and Passions, but also in concerto slow movements such as that in the Harpsichord Concerto in E major, where the soulful melody soars above accompanying semiquavers in a slowly rocking 12/8 meter. Polonaises were danced in Bach’s time but no direct choreographic evidence is currently available.
Little and Jenne hardly ever mention the ‘siciliana’ perhaps because it, like the ‘polonaise’ lacks formal documentation. This is what Richard D. P. Jones writes in his article on the ‘siciliana:’
“A type of song or instrumental piece [note that the word ‘dance’ is not used here], particularly of the 17th-18th centuries, characterized by a lilting, often dotted rhythm in 6/8 or 12/8 time. Bach used the term (interchangeably with ‘siciliano’ and ‘alla siciliana’) for slow mvts. of this type in sonatas and concertos….Slow mvts. not so titled nevertheless often share the same characteristics [examples are given.] Mvts. of the siciliana type are also common in Bach’s vocal works. Some of these are quite simple, dance-like pieces in moderate time, recalling Quantz’s characterization of the siciliana as ‘an imiof a Sicilian shepherd’s dance’ (those in BWV 29/5; BWV 68/1; BWV 107/7; BWV 174/2; BWV 197/8; and BWV 211/8, as well as the pastoral Sinfonia and closing chorale in Part 2 of the Christmas Oratorio.) Others are slow, expressive, and elaborate pieces, more akin to the above-mentioned sonata and concerto slow mvts.: BWV 19/5; BWV 35/2; BWV 87/6; BWV 101/6; BWV 120/1; BWV 140/3; BWV 169/5; and (the best known of all) BWV 244/39 – the alto aria “Erbarme dich, mein Gott’ from the SMP.”
Now a theory begins to form in my mind: the dance-like mvts. in Bach’s sacred works very often point earlier works which are then parodied much later. Let’s see how this theory holds up under closer scrutiny:
The aria in the SMP (BWV 244/39) just mentioned is described as a siciliana-like composition. Now add to this the only other mvt. from the SMP that Little & Jenne have discovered: BWV 244/68 which in their book is listed as sarabande-like with the following characteristics: serious affect: noble, majestic, yet passionate – slow tempo. As we have just seen above, the siciliana-like mvt. is described as slow, expressive and elaborate. [This means that any HIP conductor who tries to speed up these mvts. and treat them as a faster dance must not have investigated Bach’s music and the research about dance-like mvts.] Of interest to me here is that the NBA KB II/5 p. 112 explains that these two mvts. and only a few others ‘could be a parody from the Köthen period.’ There existed, at one time, from that period a ‘Trauermusik’ [‘Mourning/Funeral’ Music] from which Bach ‘lifted’ the music which he needed for his Passion.
In the SJP (BWV 245/13, 39) mvt. 13 described by Little/Jenne as ‘sarabande-like’ also originates from an earlier period, this time the Weimar period. So here is another parody (of another sacred or even perhaps secular piece) according to the NBA KB II/4, p. 172.
The Easter Oratorio (BWV 249) is, for the most part, a parody of a secular ‘Shepherd’ cantata (BWV 249a). It contains a sarabande-like mvt. (5) and 3 ‘Giga-II-like’ mvts.: 1, 3, and 11 which has caused famous Bach scholars such as Schering and Smend to point to the ‘dance-like’ conclusion following the model of an Italian Sinfonia. Smend even maintains that the origin of these mvts. predate considerably the secular cantata version and were really instrumental mvts. from the time that the Brandenburg Concertos were being composed or assembled.
The only dance-like mvt. that Little/Jenne list from the B-minor Mass (BWV 232/4) is the 4th mvt. as being of the ‘Giga-II-like’ type of dance. What is a dance like this doing in such a serious work as the Mass in B-minor (1743/6) from Bach’s late period? According to the NBA KB II/1, p. 109, this is from an instrumental mvt. of a lost concerto from the Köthen Period (1717-23.) This is a parody (with Choreinbau) of a final mvt. from a concerto in C major. What once was a fitting conclusion (a Gigue as a final mvt.) now assumes its position near the beginning of the Mass in B-minor. Before a HIP conductor latches onto this piece and thinks, “Let’s give this piece all the gigue-like qualities (extreme speed and jigging accents!)” he should read carefully the descriptions for this dance and remember the words quoted above: “In Bach’s hands, these dances kept their basic character and rhythmic structure, but grew into sublime musical abstractions in many cases,” and “[these are] pieces in which Bach incorporated dance rhythms and other characteristics seen in the titled dances, and melded them into another artistic form.”
As probably everybody reading this list already knows, the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) (1735), contains a number of pieces that have been parodied from earlier secular sources. Little/Jenne have identified the following mvts. ‘minuet-like’: mvts. 15 and 36. Where do these come from? BWV 248/15 comes from BWV 214/5 and BWV 248/36 from BWV 213/1. The following mvts. from the Christmas Oratorio are ‘bourée-like’: Mvts. 47, 62, and 64. The origins are as follows: BWV 248/47 from BWV 215/7; BWV 248/62 and 64 from BWV 248a, an earlier secular version. In the latter (BWV 248a), it is interesting which changes, among many, took place during the transformation: BWV 248/62 had its tempo marking removed (does this imply that when moving a secular version of a piece into the church, the tempos became standardized, church-like?) and BWV 248/64 had the original ‘wedges’ changed to simply ‘dots.’ Did articulation also change when moving a piece into a church setting? Brad, any ideas on this?
Returning to the cantata under discussion, BWV 30, which is a parody of a secular cantata (BWV 30a) originally performed in a courtly setting [and some sections of which may go back to a much earlier time when Bach had a more direct connection with performances he provided for the aristocracy whom he served and for whom he provided the types of dance music to which they had become accustomed and which they expected to hear, there are 3 dance-like mvts. identified by Little/Jenne (unfortunately not Mvt. 5):
BWV 30/1 (Mvt. 1) (and 12, the repeat) is ‘gavotte-like’
What does this mean?
The authors indicate: This ‘gavotte-like’ dance mvt. “arises as a more quiet beginning mvt. [compared to BWV 11/1 (1735)] with a syncopated melody as in BWV 1063/3, the chorus accompanied only by strings, 2 flutes, 2 oboes. An earlier version BWV 30a (1737) is quite similar.”
Gavotte-like characteristics are:
Duple meter beginning in middle of measure
Moderate, intimate affect, often pastoral, naïve, and simple
Clearly balanced 4 + 4 phrases, often in question-and-answer format
Characteristic rhythmic patterns (given elsewhere in the book)
BWV 30/8 (Mvt. 8) (The bass aria “Ich will nun”) is ‘bourée-like’
The ‘bourée-like’ characteristics are:
Duple meter with 1-pulse upbeat
Moderately fast tempo
Balanced 4 + 4 phrases, or multiples thereof, with extensions
Characteristic rhythmic patterns (listed elsewhere in book)
BWV 30/10 (Mvt. 10) (Soprano aria “Eilt, ihr Stunden”) is ‘Giga I-like’:
Here the authors state: “This aria is a prayer to bring us quickly into the meadows of Heaven. The phrases are unbalanced, the 3-voice counterpoint is carefully worked out, and the ornamental 16th notes, particularly ms. 35-39, caution the conductor not to “hasten” too much. The affect, unlike most pieces in the complex Giga I-like style, is moderate, happy, and pastoral.”
The general impression that I come away with here is that the tempi usually chosen for cantata mvts. which the conductors deem to be dance-like are generally taken too fast. The same music that was performed in a courtly setting might have been slightly faster than in a church setting, but even in the courtly setting the dance tempi that Little/Jenne indicated are slower than most HIP conductors today can imagine. The extremes of fast tempi and heavy accents are certainly to be avoided, although they have temporarily, over the past 30 to 40 years, become ‘all the rage,’ as something that performers believe will shock and engage the present-day listeners, listeners who have grown accustomed to these extremes in all forms and styles of music.
Bach’s use of parody, a procedure that he and other composers of the period used, and one that he employed throughout his life, seems to have reached a point in this late work (BWV 30) where he really did not care much more about the details that made the music suit the words more directly than they do here. Bach seems satisfied to have achieved a ‘fit’ that exists only on a more general, abstract level. Beyond that point he no longer felt a need to exert himself. The great experimenter and innovator is no longer present here. Now he is more concerned in preserving compositions from an earlier time with little regard for achieving a perfect fit between words and music. In BWV 30, at this late stage in his life, he even parodied the recitatives! This is remarkable in itself. Some commentators point to the fact that Bach was probably under the pressure of time and that this was the reason he did this here. Not even to be able to come up with a new recitative to create a better connection between words and music? Come on! Wasn’t he even busier in his first few years in Leipzig when he created his cantata cycles, some of the mvts. of which were parodied as well – but he always composed new recitatives for them.
Just thinking out loud here: Perhaps at this point in his life (the last decade or so) he was beginning to feel even more the cross that he was bearing and began to care less about such things that did not inspire him, particularly since he may have felt a general erosion of standards taking place around him and a lack of understanding of the ideals that he had ascribed to throughout his life. New challenges (other than the weekly cantatas, occasional money-making performances for which he could always use his recycled materials) would arise to stimulate his creative genius, but they would no longer be in the realm of ‘sacred’ music, but rather the Goldberg Variations, the MO, and the AoF, works that we consider ‘secular’ but for Bach all his music was ‘sacred.’ Yes, he would still be assembling the elements of the B-minor Mass, most of which had already been composed earlier and which he would never perform during his lifetime in its entirety as he had envisioned it.
As other commentators have suggested, Bach’s use of parody, as forced as it appears in this late cantata, BWV 30, may have been due to his effort in attempting to preserve for posterity compositions that he recognized as being good. There are comments recorded somewhere (I can not locate the reference now) that Bach was saddened/dismayed by the fact that some of his music was lost during his lifetime simply because he was kind enough to loan it someone else to use. It was never returned, and without having another copy to keep for himself, it was lost for all time, a fact that must have pained Bach considerably.
Philippe Bareille wrote (December 19, 2002):
Another splendid cantata in praise of God imbued with joy and a sense of occasion but not without of a tinge of nostalgia at times (middle section of the bass arias). The gems of this work are the two bass arias and the alto aria and their dancing-like rhythmic structure.
I have listened to Harnoncourt [BWV30-3], Rilling [BWV30-5] and Richter [BWV30-4].
[BWV30-3] Harnoncourt is my favourite in the bass movements thanks to Max van Egmond who gives a marvellous account of them. His supreme intelligence enhances the beauty of these two arias (and the two preceding recitatives) with very affecting expression. I have rarely heard anything so illuminating. Listen to the words "Sein treurr Diener ist geboren" or "Ich will dich..."! His tone cannot be more endearing and mellifluous. His sense of melody shaping is unrivalled. His genius is to have transcended his relatively small and limited voice to become one of the most moving Bach singers. What a pity that van Egmond and Harnoncourt parted after recording this cantata! Does anyone know why? I am less enthusiastic about the Wiener Sangerknaben in their rendition of the imposing choruses. Esswood is excellent. The unnamed soloist (which I find ungracious) has no problems with intonation but lacks expression in the more virtuoso passages.
[BWV30-4] I found that even the great D Fisher Dieskau falls short of van Egmond in the arias (but is equally excellent in the recitatives). His performance although first rate is less supple and less touching especially in the middle sections of the arias. The alto aria is stripped of its jauntiness and dancing-like element. However, Richter captures well the celebrative element of the choruses even if the choir is too operatic to my ears.
[BWV30-5] Rilling performance is average or below average. Philippe Huttenlocher delivers his arias with good expression and assurance but is no match for van Egmond. The other singers are less convincing especially the soprano.
In summary: For me, Max van Egmond most affecting performance cannot be missed by Bach's lovers.
NB: I hope Aryeh that you enjoyed your time in India. Welcome back.
Aryeh Oron wrote (December 19, 2002):
[To Francis Browne] The translation of Cantata BWV 30a was added to the Bach Cantatas Website with the relevant links. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV30a-Eng3.htm
Thomas Braatz wrote (December 21, 2002):
BWV 30 - The Recordings:
The recordings that I listened to this week were:
Harnoncourt (1974) [BWV30-3]; Richter (1974-5) [BWV30-4]; Rilling (1984) [BWV30-5]; Kožená’s Aria Mvt. 5 only (1996) [BWV30-M3]; Leusink (2000) [BWV30-7]
Mvt. 1 & Mvt. 12 (Chorus):
There is nothing very joyful about this rendition which is clouded by a very muddy presentation that seems to reveal all the things that can go wrong with a chorus of this type: Harnoncourt establishes a hard, thumping rhythm that seems to want to emphasize with an accent every 8th note in each bar of a mvt. indicated in 2/4. This way the music is unable to flow and simply bogs down under its own heavy weight. The 4 separate vocal parts are quite indistinct throughout with many loose edges: sloppy attacks, inaudible notes, sudden hard accents, occasional shouting instead of singing, a muffled sound as if the lower voices have their mouths filled with cotton, and the list goes on.
The expression of joy is very apparent throughout this marvelous performance with a choir that has captured this spirit perfectly and an orchestra that is amplified with trumpets and timpani. But wait! Did Bach score this cantata for these instruments? No! See my explanation below under the tenor recitative. OK, so Richter cheated according to modern NBA standards, but it certainly does bring out the joy that is missing in the Harnoncourt performance. Richter does his usual thing on the organ, duplicating with high stops on the organ all the vocal parts – ughh. But other than that, this is a real ‘waker-upper’ choral mvt., of the type that most listeners have come to expect when Bach ‘pulls out’ all of the orchestral ‘stops’ at his disposal. It may well have been the case that Bach, at this rather late date in his cantata-composing/parodying career simply did not have, or could not afford the necessary brass and timpani players for the church presentation. Who knows? Perhaps, given the option of obtaining these players for the church, he might well have used them. Lto this version and then decide what you think Bach might have done.
Here, as usual, everything (orchestra as well as choir) seem to be directly before the listener (‘in your face’ might be one way to put it, compared to the Richter version.) There is clarity, precision and distinctness in all of the parts, orchestral as well as vocal. It is always a pleasure to hear a version where everything in the score is clearly audible and presented with such energy and verve. Even without the trumpets and timpani, Rilling captures very well the joy inherent in this mvt.
There is much less tension in this presentation and immediately all the disparate elements come to the fore: individual voices that do not blend because they are worn-out, raspy, etc., chirping and warbling sopranos and altos who are unable to control their voices properly. The orchestra lacks sparkle due to the dull quality inherent to the instruments or the recording techniques that are used. The combination of a double string bass with a chest organ along with a bassoon make the bc sound less clear that it could be. Some positive factors here are the sprightly tempo and a more joyful sound than Harnoncourt was able to produce in his version.
Much above average: Richter [BWV30-4], Rilling [BWV30-5]
Slightly below average: Leusink [BWV30-7]
Generally unsuccessful: Harnoncourt [BWV30-3]
Mvts. 6 (Choral):
The muddiness in the choral singing continues here and causes the wonderful passing notes to disappear almost completely. This comes as a result of Harnoncourt’s heavy emphasis on each separate quarter note, creating the many, tiny hiatuses that break up the melodic line. Harnoncourt is intent on destroying this melodic line, a feature that leads from one note to the next in a legato fashion. The result is a very unsatisfactory, if not completely unsound historically and musically, treatment or rendition of a simple 4-pt. chorale.
Disregard the obtrusive organ sound (Bach would never have used it in this manner under these circumstances) and you have a chorale treatment that moves forward decisively and with conviction. The chorale melody lines are treated as phrase units which give the listener a sense of fullness and completeness lacking in a Harnoncourt chorale treatment. The passing notes are not glossed over, but enhance the smooth transition from note to note in the c.f.
Generally in the same style as Richter, without the organ, of course, but with a different disadvantage – the tremulant voices which are unsettling to the absolute clarity of intonation (particularly in the soprano range, when the sopranos sing in a higher range), Rilling is nevertheless able to achieve a rather coherent and convincing version of this chorale.
Here there are problems similar to those in the main choral mvt. Some of the wonderful passing notes are not audible at all. It sounds as if a trumpet is playing colla parte with the c. f. in the soprano part, but perhaps this is just an oboe that has a microphone placed right next to it. If I had to wager a guess, I would say it is a trumpet which is making up for some of the other places in the cantatas where it was missing.
The preferred renditions (the way chorales should be performed): Richter [BWV30-4], Rilling [BWV30-5]
Slightly below average: Leusink [BWV30-7]
Simply unacceptable: Harnoncourt [BWV30-3]
Mvt. 2 (Recitative) & Mvt. 3 (Aria) for Bass:
[BWV30-3] Harnoncourt (van Egmond):
This bass, van Egmond, is a half-voice that sings beautifully with feeling and expression, but the limitation of the voice is always present.
[BWV30-4] Richter (Fischer-Dieskau):
What a difference, when a master singer undertakes to sing Bach with intelligence and heart. There is some occasional barking of certain notes and the unusual contrasts between the pianissimo coloraturas and the sudden loud notes that he emphasizes. It is a pleasure to hear a full voice in the midst of all of the half-voices that appear in the various cantata series.
[BWV30-5] Rilling (Huttenlocher):
Huttenlocher seems to be overdoing everything so that nothing that he sings rings really true. He does not seem to be singing directly from the heart, but rather intellectualizes the process of singing and interpretation so that the split becomes apparent to the listener. The result is that he begins to sound comical at times. It is very difficult to take this singer seriously under these circumstances.
[BWV30-7] Leusink (Ramselaar):
Ramselaar’s half-voice has even more severe limitations than van Egmond, who has a wider range of expression. Here, with Ramselaar, the expression tends to become too contrived, too disingenuous at times. Ramselaar, compared to van Egmond, tends to constrict his voice more and it has a less ‘round’ quality.
Superior (even with his faults): Fischer-Dieskau [BWV30-4]
Above average: van Egmond [BWV30-3]
Ludicrous: Huttenlocher [BWV30-5]
Weak: Ramselaar [BWV30-7]
Mvt. 4 (Recitative) & Mvt. 5 (Aria) for Alto:
[BWV30-3] Harnoncourt (Esswood):
The secco recitative with the shortened accompaniment places all the emphasis on the voice and Esswood is placed in the position of having to force his voice so that it begins to sound unpleasant. The aria has one of the fastest tempi recorded; this allows the singer to indulge in quite a bit of sotto voce singing which, when it reaches the low range, almost disappears. This is also not a very convincing style of singing if this were to be performed in a larger church setting. Only in a recording with close miking is it even possible to get away with type of ‘half-singing.’ It is interesting to hear the wooden flauto traverso as called for in Bach’s score. This adds charm to this rendition.
[BWV30-4] Richter (Reynolds):
A full voice such as Reynold’s is able obtain much more expression in the interpretation of the recitative. In the aria, at this very slow tempo, the sinners are truly waking up very slowly from their “Sündenschlafe” [‘sinful sleep.’] Perhaps this is a more accurate interpretation than all the jazzy performances beginning with Harnoncourt up to the present day. It does not sound entirely out-of-place when considered from this perspective; however, once a listener has heard the fast versions without worrying about the words that are being sung but not really being understood, this version does seem to be very, very slow.
[BWV30-5] Rilling (Georg):
This voice is even more operatic than Reynold’s. The moderate tempo is quite suitable. Georg has some problems in releasing certain notes and her voice is rather penetrating. This may be because she is trying to play the part of the savior who is calling and screaming to the sinners who do not want to wake up. Reynolds is trying very hard to wake them up.
[BWV30-7] Leusink (Buwalda):
Beginning with the recitative, this presentation sounds too much like a caricature of a Bach cantata. The silly, truly fast tempo, with almost everything extremely staccato, only serves to exaggerate the unpleasant qualities inherent in this voice which difficult to listen to and take seriously.
This recording seems to be able to pull everything together even at this very fast tempo. It is the full voice, in particular, with its ability to modulate and convey emotion as well which is utterly convincing. As a sinner, this is the voice, out of all those in this group of voices, that would most successfully wake me up and arouse me out of my sinfulness.
Most successful: Kožená [BWV30-M3]
Still worth listening to: Reynolds [BWV30-4], Georg [BWV30-5]
Below average: Esswood [BWV30-3]
Not to be taken seriously: Buwalda [BWV30-7]
Mvt. 7 (Recitative) & Mvt. 8 (Aria) for Bass:
[BWV30-3] Harnoncourt (van Egmond):
Van Egmond’s voice lacks the necessary strength to portray convincingly “Ich will nun hassen.” All he is able to convey is a very pleasant, soft version of the music which lacks conviction. Here van Egmond’s half-voice limitations become painfully apparent.
[BWV30-4] Richter (Fischer-Dieskau):
What a difference a voice such as this can make for a convincing performance that combines musicality and interpretative skills in such a way that they enhance the enjoyment and understanding of this music!
[BWV30-5] Rilling (Huttenlocher):
The disingenuous quality in Huttenlocher’s voice is distracting, but his interpretation of “Ich will nun hassen” has much more believability than anything that van Egmond can muster. Huttenlocher’s voice simply has more strength and the coloraturas are also quite good and are delivered with great strength and energy that are absolutely necessary here.
[BWV30-7] Leusink (Ramselaar):
Ramselaar’s voice is on a par with van Egmond’s here as far as the capabilities are concerned. Ramselaar, at least, attempts to bring out more the feeling behind the words, “Ich will nun hassen,” but it becomes quite obvious that the necessary power is lacking to make this a convincing portrayal of the text.
Superior: Fischer-Dieskau [BWV30-4]
Above average: Huttenlocher [BWV30-5]
Below average: van Egmond [BWV30-3], Ramselaar [BWV30-7]
Mvt. 9 (Recitative) & Mvt. 10 (Aria) for Soprano:
[BWV30-3] Harnoncourt (Unnamed Boy Soprano):
(Recitative): Harnoncourt uses the shortened accompaniment despite Bach’s notation with long, held notes. The unnamed boy soprano sings with a strong voice that is quite secure in projecting the notes to an audience. While the German text is sung with clarity, there is still a feeling the remains that the boy soprano does not know what to do with this text, and, as a result, many eighth notes in succession are all treated the same way without variation or much in the way of understanding. Yet, this is a remarkable performance, because it demonstrates how a boy soprano’s voice can penetrate in a trumpet-like fashion the great space of a large church and reach the heart and mind of every listener.
(Aria): Despite the fact that this boy soprano might not be able to approach this text as an adult would, this performance outshines all the other performances listed below. Harnoncourt does not follow Bach’s phrasing marks in the violin part, but then, what is so very unusual about this?
[BWV30-4] Richter (Mathis):
(Recitative): Mathis treatment of this recitative and aria is truly a travesty caused by a number of factors: She is unwilling (or more likely, unable) to control her voice sufficiently so as to avoid sounding angry. Here is a “Queen of the Night” diva who seems only to be able to sing in this operatic mode. She has a loud voice that sounds very angry indeed. There is an obvious inability on her part to adjust to the requirements of singing a Bach recitative and aria with a voice that can express gratitude and praise. Everything is sung with the same, worn-out conception that immediately tires the listener and sounds utterly overbearing.
Richter’s romantic conception of the aria with probably about 8 to 10 violins playing in unison along with a heavy bc, makes this aria sound very ponderous. Here one feels that time is hanging heavily and refuses to move forward quickly. Mathis is satisfied to hit a few notes hard in full voice, but her personal conception (or was this also Richter’s?) of a Bach aria is that the singing must be pushed continuously, unremittingly to the extreme in volume and vibrato. Everything else in this interpretation is secondary and the sameness in the quality of the voice soon becomes boring.
[BWV30-5] Rilling (Cuccaro):
After a rather interesting interpretation of the recitative where Cuccaro, for instance, very carefully approaches a high ‘a’ on ‘Herz,’ her interpretation of the aria begins to resemble very much Mathis’ singing style. Rilling has ‘lightened up’ the accompaniment by using only a single violin (although Bach had indicated ‘Violini I unisoni.’) As a result the general treatment is more listenable than the heavy Richter version. However, Cuccaro simple does not ‘cut it’ because she has adopted the same angry tone in singing as she pushes her voice to the limit. It definitely becomes almost just as unpleasant to listen to as Mathis’ voice.
[BWV30-7] Leusink (Holton):
Such a tiny, tentative voice as Holton’s is unable to convey a Bach text convincingly. What kind of singing is this? This is even less than a half-voice at times. What good is there in just tapping the notes very lightly with the voice. In the aria Holton’s voice begins to tremble with fear, a fear that comes naturally when a voice is barely able to cope with the difficulties inherent in a Bach aria. Sometimes certain notes are suddenly loud while others almost completely disappear in the low register. This insecurity and weakness in the voice translates as a lack of confidence that interferes with the transmission of the text which demands complete control by the vocalist so that more attention can be directed toward the interpretation of the text and how the voice should be projecting it to an audience.
Very good: Unnamed Boy Soprano [BWV30-3]
Below average: Cuccaro [BWV30-5]
Insufficient or unlistenable: Mathis [BWV30-4], Holton [BWV30-7]
Mvt. 11 (Recitative) for Tenor:
[This is the only secco recitative in this cantata, where the continuo is given in ‘shortened’ notation – all the others have long note values. Lest anyone come to the immediate conclusion that this offers proof of shortened notation and that the other recitatives should be performed in a likewise fashion, let him or her examine an authentic version of BWV 30a (The BG, by the way, indulged its own fantasies in this regard, and is very unreliable in regard to the differences between BWV 30 and BWV 30a – Richter used a score based upon this version, and that is why he has trumpets and timpani playing in the main choral mvts. while Bach had not scored this cantata (BWV 30) to include these instruments.) The authentic version of BWV 30a (recitative for tenor) shows both the long, held notes and the shortened notes, thus putting all the recitatives on an equal footing. Also, this ‘odd’ tenor recitative does not have a tenor aria following it, an aria that should have been included for various reasons, one of which would be that each voice would have an aria. Perhaps the time requirements of the 2nd part of a church cantata made it necessary for thetenor aria to be excluded. There are simply too many other possibilities for this ‘odd’ notation for a mvt. that seems more like an ‘after-thought’ or a ‘quick patch’ for this to become proof of Bach’s standard performance practices.
This may seem to be a crazy thought, but I will share it anyhow:
The recitative is essentially the same music, a remarkable factor considering Bach’s usual method of writing new recitatives, particularly when moving a cantata from the secular to the sacred categories with new texts involved.
In the original recitative (BWV 30a), the tenor sings of “Beständigkeit” [“constancy, steadfastness, consistency, reliability”] and “fest” [“that which is solid and firm”], but in the later parody (BWV 30) the key word has become “Unvollkommenheit” [“imperfectness, incompleteness”] with only a hint that this condition will be changed to its opposite in the future.
I have the feeling that Bach is speaking to us on another level when he allows the long, held notes in the continuo (steadfastness) to be replaced (only in this recitative – BWV 30) by the shortened accompaniment (inconstancy, incompleteness) which causes the voice to ‘hang’ in the air, unsupported by the continuo group. An astute listener in Bach’s church would have noticed this difference immediately and would have made the implicit connection that Bach had intended.
The concluding 3-measure arioso section marked ‘adagio’ does not appear in BWV 30a. In this instance Bach does very effectively illustrate musically the words, “Not” [“peril/hardship”] and “quälen” [“torment”.]
[BWV30-3] Harnoncourt (Equiluz):
This is simply perfect and is the high point in this cantata recording by Harnoncourt. Too bad that Bach did not include the tenor aria from BWV 30a where Equiluz likewise would have excelled!
[BWV30-4] Richter (Schreier):
While Equiluz gives a very intimate interpretation of the text, Schreier’s declamation is very authoritative and yet moving as well. This is a voice that can truly carry the message to every corner of a very large church without the aid of a microphone.
[BWV30-5] Rilling (Baldin):
The continuo sounds unnatural here: it is too loud (the microphone seems to be hanging right above the harpsichord which adds additional chords to make up for the lack of a sustaining sound by the low string instruments.) This is another very excellent interpretation by a full voice of text, particularly in the ‘adagio’ section which begins to sound like the evangelist proclaiming, “and he went out an cried bitterly.”
[BWV30-7] Leusink (van der Meel):
Although not bad, this is the least effective of the tenor recitatives as rendered by a half-voice where a sotto-voce approach detracts somewhat from attaining a truly moving performance.
Superior: Equiluz [BWV30-3], Schreier [BWV30-4], Baldin [BWV30-5]
Average to above average: van der Meel [BWV30-7]
Philippe Bareille wrote (December 23, 2002):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
[BWV30-3] < Van Egmond’s voice lacks the necessary strength to portray convincingly “Ich will nun hassen.” All he is able to convey is a very pleasant, soft version of the music which lacks conviction. Here van Egmond’s half-voice limitations become painfully apparent.
Harnoncourt (Unnamed Boy Soprano):
(Aria): Despite the fact that this boy soprano might not be able to approach this text as an adult would, this performance outshines all the other performances listed below. >
I agree, Tom, that this soprano who deserved to be named is excellent. My initial reservations have dispelled on repeated listening. I prefer in this repertoire a good boy soprano to a woman who is trying to fake a boy voice.
As for Max van Egmond I shall repeat myself by saying that he is an accomplished artist who rarely fails to move the listener. Listening to the two bass arias by him is (for me) a moment of intense delight.
Tempo / BWV 30
Bernard Nys wrote (June 14, 2003):
Recently, I rediscovered an old audio-tape in my car with "Kommt, ihr angefochtnen Sünder" (BWV 30) sung by Edith Mathis [BWV30-4] (the version of the early nineties). Back at home, I started looking for BWV 30 in my complete Bach collection on Brilliant Classics [BWV30-7]. I was so disappointed when I heart the Leusink version with Buwalda: much to fast ! I went to a shop to buy another CD version and could only find the Bach Arias by Kozena [BWV30-M3]. I was impatient to know which tempo she would take: quite fast, but delightful recording. Now, I wonder which tempo is the good one : is the tempo indicated on the score or is the conductor / the soloist completely free ?
Afterwards, I was reading everything about BWV 30 on our favourite website and I saw many people have problems with the relationship between text and music. I must say I don't have any problems with this piece : it starts with a call of the Savior by the flutes and strings and the sheep come running to the Good Shepherd in the pizzicato.
I remember we had a long discussion about "la Kozena", her beauty, her voice, her German language,... I don't care about the 3 pictures of her in the CD, but I do find her singing delightfull. This kind of compilation CD allows us to re-discover "unfamiliar" arias. For a few weeks, the "Kommt,ihr angefochtnen Sünder" is a daily must for me, in the car and at home. Strongly recommended.
Olle Hedtröm wrote (June 15, 2003):
[To Bernard Nys] It's amazing that you mention this particular aria from this cantata.I have also been listening to BWV 30 for days recently and especially fallen for that breathtaking movement: "Kommt ihr angefochtnen Sünder"
I only possess the Teldec-recording with Harnoncourt/Leonardt [BWV30-3], where Paul Esswood sings this part.
I must say though that it is an unresistable piece of music. Almost haunting.
Bernard Nys wrote (June 15, 2003):
[To Olle Hedström] I agree with you and I think it's good to recommend such "unresistable", charming, haunting and unique pieces by our favourite composer. I also like very much the opening and final choir. If anyone else makes such a "discovery", please tell us ! It's highly subjective, but everybody will agree about real masterpieces like "Kommt, ihr angefochtnen Sünder".
Continue on Part 2
Cantatas BWV 30 & BWV 30a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 30 | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 30 | Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 30a | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4