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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 34
O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe [I]
Cantata BWV 34a
O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe [II]
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of February 24, 2008 [Continue]

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Bruce Simonson, regarding crusades] The imagery, Bruce, of peace to Israel cannot be overlooked in some way regarding the state of Israel...considering the Christian Messiah came into being from this location. However, I think the issue here with Pentecost is related to the formation of the church--in traditional Christian theology a new Israel, in which case the text could just as well have read, "peace to the church." I do not want to explore any negative thoughts here as some apologists do, but say Bach was writing for a specific occasion.

So I do not think Bach was making a political statement here, but rather one related to the church. If Bach was supervised reasonably closely by the church authorities they would not have been inclined toward his politicizing the message for the day==the birth of the church into a world-wide expansion is a different kind of issue. This does not imply addressing expansionism related to countries and their boundaries, but a spiritual expansion open to the entire world in a new manner.

But I have to assume a man as smart as Bach was would have known something of history, while assigning his work to the task of Lutheran Orthodoxy in the main.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Bruce Simonson, regarding recits] I would not choose to be a responsible continuo player--this task is left to the keyboard genius folks among us, thankfully.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 27, 2008):
< Oh yeah, certainly one can figure out the figures on the fly, sometimes even if they are missing, but it's odd in BWV 34:2 (Mvt. 2): at bar 3, Bach gives us a final figure of 8/3 (and then leaves 6 measures without figures). 8/3 is surely one of the most obvious and unnecessary figures, I imagine.
And Jean's probably right, whoever played continuo was probably on his own, and developing continuo realizations from context, even in the absence of figures. >
For what it's worth: in my opinion as a player of this stuff, movement BWV 34/2 (Mvt. 2) is very easy and straightforward (as recits go, compared with others). It just has obvious harmonies that are either in root position or 6 (first inversion), not needing extra figures to state what the player would already discern from context, especially when the voice part is in. The singer here is almost always hitting either the root or the 3rd himself on the same beat when the bass line moves, restricting the harmonic choices to only one possibility most of the time.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Bradley Lehman] Thanks, Brad...it's great to get clarification.

Bruce Simonson wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Bradley Lehman, regarding recits] Yup, BWV 34/2 (Mvt. 2) has a pretty obvious set of figures, even if they are missing. In your experience, is this the norm? ... namely, if the part has rather obvious harmonization, would Bach not put in the figures?

Also, I think it's relevant, as far as I know, the recits are new material from BWV 34A to BWV 34. The other three movements are basically unchanged (except for the textual overlay).

So, maybe at the later date of BWV 34, Bach's practice on secco recit is fairly established, and especially if he the continuoist, he surely wouldn't need figures. Any idea if Bach was at the keyboard for BWV 34, in its 1740+ performances?

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 27, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote, regarding recits:
< I would not choose to be a responsible continuo player--this task is left to the keyboard genius folks among us, thankfully. >
I don't know about it needing to be "keyboard genius folks", but half the stuff we continuo players get handed (music by Bach and otherwise) doesn't have figures anyway. We have to work out something suitable through rehearsal, intuition, sense, listening, experience, and occasionally pencilling decisions into the score, if the "right" things to play aren't already obvious enough. It becomes second nature. This is already an improvisatory art, and the flexibility to think automatically with the fingers is a necessary skill in this business. Composing, improvising, playing, tuning, ornamentation, and on-the-fly harmonization (among other keyboard skills) are all components of the same keyboard art that is necessary to get the job done...at least the way Bach taught it.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 27, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote, regarding recits:
>They are also, if it is appropriate to say this--a lot of fun to sing.<
To a (precious?) few of us, fun is always appropriate. Never give up!

Is this interactive performance preparation of a cantata, at its appropriate point in the discussion sequence, a BCML first?

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Bradley Lehman, regarding recits] You definitely have an attitude of humility here, Brad, but to a singer an accompanist who can put the support together to produce a great collaborative work is a treasure, indeed. As a young singer at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, excellent accompanists were plentiful, and it was only when I was older and did not easily have such people at my beck and call that I began to realize just how special good players are--very special, indeed.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski, regarding recits] Thanks so much Ed.

I do remember a few questions from time to time by people preparing a cantata, but nothing like our present and delightful discussion with Bruce.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 27, 2008):
Bruce Simonson wrote, regarding peski staccati:
>b) If they are played short (the way I learned as a general rule in public schools), as a sixteenth, followed by a sixteenth rest, the lower notes (ostinato) of the "fire" figure might sound cleanly, in their own temporal space.<
Geez, I hope we didnt go to the same public school! What I recall is that if a <rest> were intended, it would be written, so staccato should never be that extreme.

For a woodwind (clarinet), legato is continuous air stream, non-legato is air-stream subtly interrupted by breath punctuations, staccato is air-stream interrupted by tongue on reed. Something like that.

Somewhere in the BCW archives of the extensive discussion on this topic, I believe you will find succinct commentary from Brad, which convincingly suggests that <(pesky) staccato indications> may not be so specific. In fact, a dot over a note is a more general indication of a note for special attention.

It was probably a heated discussion (is there any other kind?); I hope I didnt put Brad on the wrong side of the conclusion.

If it matters, Im sure he will fix it up.

On my block, we are now struggling to keep music education of any sort viable in public schools, let alone teaching staccato interpretation and technique. Never give up!

Neil Halliday wrote (February 27, 2008):
Bruce Simonson wrote, regarding peski staccati:
<However, if the 1st violin figure is performing scale passages (e.g., bars 16-20), instead of playing with "fire", the staccato articulation is missing from the other parts.>
I suppose this just confirms that scores vary in their detail, but the my BGA copy does have the staccato articulation in bars 16-20, on the 2nd violins and violas, which are mostly playing in unison in those bars, and also the continuo. The oboes are of course playing legato in this passage. On this topic, I wonder whether the lack of dots over the oboe parts in bar 3 is accidental or deliberate - the same figure in bar 5 in the unison 2nd violin/violas has the dots.

<Somewhere between the two, with a detached stroke, and giving the overall figure a bit of presence through accents; I like this way the best (so far), as it brings out both of the fugal themes of "fire" and "water".>
This sounds the right approach to me. Any further attempt at micro-management of staccatlength will likely be energy spent with no discernable result, in the context of this complex, animated and lively music.

[This contrasts with what I noticed in the sample that Brad supplied yesterday of the tenor chorale in BWV 140, where staccato length is significant ; here I thought the staccato on nearly every 2nd ("weak") note of the accompaniment's famous melody (ie, the second of each pair of 'slurred' notes) was too rigidly/unvaryingly short, destroying the flow of the melody].

-------

As noted in the Rilling booklet, the text of the final chorus makes use of Psalm 128:6. "You shall see your children's children and peace over Israel". The wedding cantata asks that the Lord sends the same peace to the newly wed couple; the Pentacost cantata gives thanks to the Lord's wondrous works and his power which gives peace to Israel and all believers.

The beginning massive setting of the the words: "Peace over Israel" in both 34 and 34a reminded me of the massive start at the beginning of the final chorus of BWV 21.

[It's interesting to consider that Israel's existance as an autonomous, unified ("peaceful"?) political entity was quite brief: from about 1000 to 960 BC, afterwhich it split into two kingdoms - Israel (northern) and Judah (southern). Moeover, the northern kingdom was swallowed up by the Assyrian empire about 200 years later, and the Babylonians took over about 600 BC, only to be ousted by the Persians in 537. Followed by Alexander, Romans, Byzantines, Islam and a brief Crusader rule (1099-1187), until 1948 Israel did not exist as such, much less experienced peace!].

Bruce Simonson wrote (February 27, 2008):
BWV 34 - mvmt 3 "Wohl euch" and Handel's Pifa

Ed has mentioned a possible parallel between BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3) and a movement from the SMP (BWV 244) (possibly the soprano aria Blute Nur?) -- I look forward to his thoughts on this, for sure.

In the meantime, the orchestration of BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3) (Wohl euch) reminds me a lot of Handel's Pifa in Messiah: harmonies in octaves, 3rds, and 6ths. And a pastorale (although BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3) is in 4/4, and not 12/8). Somehow, though, this "Wohl euch" has a lilt that really reads as a pastorale.

One of the most important differences between the Bach and the Handel pastorales, or at least, an important component of BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3), is the viola line -- deceptively simple, but it serves as a kind of glue, that holds the whole ensemble together. And it's melodic in its own way. The equivalent isn't in Pifa, which just goes to show you, Bach and Handel solved things in different ways.

BWV 34a/3 (the wedding version) speaks of "Schafe" in this movement, and all of this "pastorale" stuff makes especial sense to me, from the earlier form of this cantata. The later (Pentecost) version doesn't scan as well, for me, textwise, but the music is heavenly, regardless.

This is why I introduced the topic of contrasting texts, with the same music, between 34a and 34 ... how can we appreciate the text of the Pentecost version of this incredible music for alto, flutes, and strings? Especially when the "pastorale" feel of it seems to fit so very well with the wedding version of this cantata, and it speaks so eloquently of the bride's point of view (Rahel) and her groom (Jakob)?

For me, my commentary and program notes (unfortunately) might have to say, listen to this great music, but don't get too wrapped up in trying to fit the text of the Pentecost version to it, it's really a better match in BWV 34a.

(BTW, if this is the approach that I take, then I really am acknowledging that Harold Fromm may be on to something, when he asserts we have gone from the chapel to the larder. I really hope I don't have to admit this. Anyone care to make an argument or a stab at how the text of BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3) (Pentecost version) matches up really well with the music, or, at least as well as the wedding cantata does? Please ...).

PS: Oops and Yikes. A quick look at the BWV 34A text from the Emmanuel website has "Seelen" in both BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3) and BWV 34A/3. Can this be, or is a typo on the Emmanuel website?
http://www.emmanuelmusic.org/notes_trans/transl_cantata/bwv034a.htm

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Neil Halliday, regarding peski staccati] Rilling's use of the Psalm mentioned below is interesting. And peace is an often longed-for condition. Bach certainly could have thought about the context of peace in his own country, within any church (where it does not always prevail) and within marriage (where it can sometimes be a challenge). In Lutheran worship today there is a custom called the passing of the peace, where congregational members, clergy and so on take a minute to greet their neighbors in a warm and hospitable fashion (albeit this sometimes seems a little awkward when one does not know the person sitting next to him/her). But peace is a desirable, if sometimes illusive state of affairs, and certainly in preparation for a cantata performance worth some attention in helping singers understand what they might be communicating.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Bruce Simonson, regarding Mvt. 3] You're keeping me busy here, Bruce with a head-full of Lutheran theological parallels. Sheep in Christianity are generally the members of the flock, or the congregation. Handel of course used the imagery of sheep in Messiah, and in Christian thought, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Those who belong to him are his flock. Such imagery builds from Old Testament, or from Jewish scripture.

To build the association with clarity, the Holy Spirit, who comes at Pentecost is not a separate identity, but the Spirit of Jesus in a new form who inhabits the flock supplying gifts for ministry. So this is Jesus with his people - the flock, the sheep, in a new context--a new time in the history of faith--the birth of the church in the spread of Chrisitianity. This is the point at which the earthly sheep begin to carry on the work of their shepherd, bringing forth the spread of the Gospel. The flames that alight on the heads of those blessed at Pentecost represent the coming of the Holy Spirit, with the gift of new languages to be used for the spread of the gospel. This very aspect is a deep subject which has been addressed in many books and from countless pulpits through the ages, and is too extensive to elaborate on this forum. But you will be able to find many references for this material should you decide at some point to pursue the matter in depth.

I hope this helps, and if you require more detail I will try to answer your questions as I understand them.

Bruce Simonson wrote (February 27, 2008):
BWV 34 - those pesky staccati - mille grazie!

[To Neil Halliday, regarding peski staccati] Thanks for looking this up in NBA! -- I have feared that I might have some dated or somewhat poor scores, when it comes to fine details like these.

In fact, I actually expected to have staccato articulation in bars 16-20 for the violins and viola, and was surprised that they were missing in the score. This, of course, begs the question, were staccatos at this point an editorial addition in the NBA edition, or are they present in some part or other version of the score?

And thank you especially for the reference to Psalm 128:6. My dad, who past away in Dec 2004, was a Lutheran pastor, and would have been able to help me with this. I miss him a lot, and I know he would have loved being part of these kind of discussions. But thanks so much for the Psalm 128 reference, it makes complete sense in the wedding cantata version, and it's not at all a stretch for Pentecost.

Thanks too, for the concise history of Israel as a state; that's helpful.

Neil Halliday wrote (February 27, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote, regarding peski staccati:
>But peace isa desirable, if sometimes illusive state of affairs, and certainly in preparation for a cantata performance worth some attention in helping singers understand what they might be communicating.<
Bach's setting of the words "Peace over Israel" in BWV 34/BWV 34a certainly conveys a sense of unlimited power to achieve peace!

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Neil Halliday, regarding peski staccati] Thanks Neil...you've said a great deal here.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 27, 2008):
BWV 34 - Mvt. 3

Bruce Simonson wrote:, regarding Mvt. 3:
>Ed has mentioned a possible parallel between BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3) and a movement from the SMP (BWV 244) (possibly the soprano aria Blute Nur?) -- I look forward to his thoughts on this, for sure.<

I want to respond quickly to this detail, because it was not an original thought of mine. I was simply passing along an old question:
Brad Lehman wrote (Feb. 2004):
>Has anybody pointed out the thematic ties that alto aria (Mvt. 3) has with the "O Mensch, bewein" chorus of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244)? The instrumental parts are so similar!<

I did not realize it when I cited Brad, but the answer to the question is <Yes, someone has pointed it out>. I will leave it as an exercize for the reader to use the commentary link in the archived BWV 34 discussions, to find that Thomas Braatz has cited Smend, suggesting the same connection between BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3) and SMP (BWV 244).

Since this all fits nicely with the BWV 34 listening and discussion, I will post any further ideas that arise (God willing!), especially after listening to your suggestion of the soprano aria.

I think Terejia has said it nicely: these are not connections to be proven in a court of law (or even a music academy), more a matter of feeling to the listener.

I will reserve comments on the Fromm article (Thanks, Uri!) until I finish the last bits. Those who have been around for a while will not be surprised that I immediately respond to a humorous point: it is incredible how many tonnes of scholarly discourse can be constructed from a few grams of actual evidence!

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski, regarding Mvt. 3] Again, thanks, Ed. This is a full and multi-faceted discussion and a pleasure to contemplate the many aspects represented in just a single posting.

Terejia wrote (February 27, 2008):
Belated reply to Jean : in re to vocal parts in Bach cantatas

Jean Laaninen wrote to Terejia:
< You're most welcome...any way any of us can help each other contributes to the good of all of us. >
Thank you for this support.

Now actually I've come to think amateur or layman can help professionals, too, in any area not only in music. Off music topic, for example, jury system will be introduced to Japanese court, in which layman contributes judicial system with professional jurisprudence. In music, amateur listeners or even layman listeners play some contributive part, IMHO, although at the same time I'm also aware that too much popularism isn't always ideal either.

< Most of my teachers and directors take the view that Bach wrote the vocal parts instrumentally. That is to say that they think in Bach's mind the voice was yet one more instrument. To support this evidence vocal teachers I have known often refer to the demanding lines Bach produces for both chorus and soloists--this in regard to the sixteenth note runs as quite instrumental. To my mind, sometimes the instrumental aspect of the chorus seems to carry the words in a very inspirational manner. At times, when the continuo sustains and the other instrumentation is light, the singers seem to carry the day. Sometimes there is a well constructed balance. But when singers are instructed in Bach's music they are often told not to regard themselves too highly (as we are sometimes apt to do) but to see themselves as Bach would have--as just one more instrument in the total ensemble. When one takes into context the liturgical setting of Lutheran worship, and local young boys and some that were older as the primary singers--one gets perspective. This is why my choice of singers in the soprano range is more toward the lyric quality if I am thinking in terms of Bach's music in church. There are a number of Lutheran choir directors who also choose for personal and historical reasons to focus on a lyric quality traditionally for their entire repetoire--I also think of the work of St. Olaf College, and they have web casts of many performances that you can listen to, and the young voices are very refreshing. >
Thank you for this insightful comments. When I participated in choir (I experienced SMP (BWV 244), SJP (BWV 245), Mass in B minor (BWV 232), some cantatas, etc in its entire piece), our conductor used to tell us mostly the same-in contrast with Händel, perhaps.

Whether being "another instrument" excludes the link between text and music might be another question? This question may well be being covered in the on going discussion, but honestly, for now I'm just overwhelmed by the amount of posts. Sorry if this point is already being covered by ongoing discussion. I'll catch up with some time later.

< (..)
I'm glad that you enjoyed this work so much, and best wishes for all your continuing endeavors. >
Thank you. This list is indeed so inspiring.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
Terejia wrote:
< Whether being "another instrument" excludes the link between text and music might be another question? This question may well be being covered in the on going discussion, but honestly, for now I'm just overwhelmed by the amount of posts. Sorry if this point is already being covered by ongoing discussion. I'll catch up with some time later. >
I'm not exactly sure if answering this question will be what you want to know, but I will try. The text has to come forth foremost because without it there would be no sense to the cantata. But the text is produced with an instrumental style musically in Bach. Is this what you are asking, or did you have something else in mind?

Yes, we have had a great deal of discussion recently...and it can take some time to catch up. Although I read most of the posts on an on-going basis there are weeks when I have to skip some if I am very busy, so I can understand it when you say you are a little overwhelmed.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 27, 2008):
Bruce Simonson wrote, regardink pesky staccati:
>So, to practical a question of performance -- just what to do with those staccatos?
a) If they are ignored, and the line is played legato, the figure becomes a simple chordal accompaniment to the "fire" figure (sounding a third below the strong notes in this fire figure); this seems like a particularly weak and unimaginative thing to do with this music.<
Reply:
Whittaker points out that addition of the staccato indications is one of the few changes in going from the earlier wedding cantata, BWV 34a, to the Pentecost parody, BWV 34. It seems not only unimaginative, but unfaithful to Bachs specific intentions, to simply ignore them. Figuring out what they mean is another matter.

Bruce:
>The Hannsler score ((c)1960) available from Carus has six pages of facsimile, where these pesky staccati are very much in the autograph score.<
This is one of the few instances where I have an NBA score available, courtesy of the wonderful old <Brown Box> LPs - the staccati are there as well.

Bruce Simonson wrote (February 27, 2008):
BWV 34- Mvt. 3 viz SMP/29

[To Jean Laaninen] Brad asked a question several years back about the similarity of BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3) to SMP/29 (O Mensch bewein ...). Glancing at the score, I can see some similarities, although in SMP/29 we oboi d'amore, and this is a choral. of my many favorites in SMP (BWV 244). I'll have to take a careful look at this ... Brad, did anything come of your question/observation in 2004?

Bruce Simonson wrote (February 27, 2008):
BWV 34 - Mvt. 3 - orchestration question for you organists!

[To Jean Laaninen] I wanted to catch the drift of the list about the orchestration of BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3). Two flutes, doubled at the lower octave by vln 1/2; viola; continuo (probably organ, eh?). And importantly, strings with mutes.

This instrumentation strikes me very much as being as close to mimicking an organ registration and set of organ stops as one is likely to find. The emphasis here seems to be on the overall color of sound, given the octave unisons. Given the similarity of the strength of the harmonics of flutes and strings, and, in particular, the lack of emphasized odd partials (like those found in double reeds), the instrumentation in this movement really does seem like that available on organs with straightforward open flutes and string stops. (By the way, does anyone know if the effect of sordini on strings is to reduce the strength of the fundamental ... and make muted strings sound even more like flutes?)

I do have an important question on this though ... is anyone on the list aware of other examples of this kind of orchestration in Bach's works, which really (to my mind) reminds one of organ registrations?

On a practical matter, one issue I know I will have to contend with, is encouraging our accomplished flute players, who are used to playing Romantic orchestral repertoire, to "ease up" and blend in to the sound of the strings. Tricky, 'cause they're good at generating sound that penetrates through full string sections, and this will be more chamber-like for them. (They also play in small ensembles, but only rarely have they been enlisted as part of a Baroque orchestra). Wish me luck, (or better yet, give me some kinda advice ... :) ) on how to encourage the right kind of blend.

PS: After reading through this message, before posting it, it may sound like I know volumes about organs and instrumental acoustics. Sigh, sadly, Really Not The Case. Just very curious about this stuff.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 27, 2008):
Bruce Simonson wrote, regarding orchestration question:
< (By the way, does anyone know if the effect of sordini on strings is to reduce the strength of the fundamental ... and make muted strings sound even more like flutes?) >
Flutes of the baroque period were pretty soft sounding, I would guess the mutes on the strings were an effort to allow the flutes to be audible?

< I do have an important question on this though ... is anyone on the list aware of other examples of this kind of orchestration in Bach's works, which really (to my mind) reminds one of organ registrations? >
This aria reminds me quite a bit of the Sinfonia that opens the 2nd cantata in the Christmas oratorio, in terms of the sound and rhythm: very pastoral sounding. I don't have a score of this aria here right now, but I'm willing to bet it's in 3/8 or 6/8 or 12/8 time? It reminds me more of music that was equated with shepherds or peasants, to me, not really an organ per se-- well unless maybe hurdy gurdy, or bagpipes, which shepherds of the 18th century DID play.

But this is such a beautiful and ravishing aria, I really love it.

Have a good day!

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 27, 2008):
BWV 34 - pesky stacccati and Mvt. 3

Neil Halliday. wrote:
>I suppose this just confirms that scores vary in their detail, but the my BGA copy does have the staccato articulation in bars 16-20, on the 2nd violins and violas, which are mostly playing in unison in those bars, and also the continuo. The oboes are of course playing legato in this passage. On this topic, I wonder whether the lack of dots over the oboe parts in bar 3 is accidental or deliberate - the same figure in bar 5 in the unison 2nd violin/violas has the dots.<
Sorry, I lost track of Neils post, and should have combined this response with my previous post. No dots for the oboes in bar 3 in the NBA score, as I have it. In bar 5, dots are there for 2nd violin, but omitted for viola. In bar 10, dots are there for both oboes, playing the undulating figure. In bar 11, oboe 1 continues this figure, with dots; oboe 2 switches to the other (bar 3) figure, without dots. So with the exception of 2nd violin only, bar 5, it looks as if the dots are associated with the undulating figure. Perhaps those 2nd violin dots are questionable?

Bruce Simonson wrote:
>I wanted to catch the drift of the list about the orchestration of BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3). Two flutes, doubled at the lower octave by vln 1/2; viola; continuo (probably organ, eh?). And importantly, strings with mutes.<
For what its worth, Whittaker indicates that the mutes were added as one of the changes, in making the BWV 34 parody.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski, regarding pesky staccati] As a soprano and a flute player (and a blond - something my friend David Britton calls d... near impossible) I know that the flutes like to be heard. To tone them down I'd suggest appealing to Bach's idea of instruments being equal...a kind of modesty and a uniting factor. That view helps me when I get too full of myself.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 27, 2008):
[To Bruce Simonson, regarding orchestration question]
The comparison to organ registration makes sense to me from my long-ago past duties as an organist. In fact, it is interesting when I set my accompaniments to my two cantatas using the Garritan/NI sounds in Finale, my very Lutheran aunt asked if Jean was playing the organ while she sang. So it is not surprising to me that you made this association. Thanks for the interesting thought.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 28, 2008):
Jean Laarinen wrote, regarding pesky staccati:
>As a soprano and a flute player (and a blond - something my friend David Britton calls d... near impossible) I know that the flutes like to be heard.<
(1) D... Hmm. Dang?

(2) If we can make mutes for brass, and strings, why not woodwinds? Just dont mess with my clarinet.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 28, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski, regarding pesky staccati] Well, Ed, I suppose the flutes could be muted, but it really is best to just tell them to tone it down. Not very intellectual stuff, but it's sort of like telling an opera type with extreme vibrato to hold it down if he/she is singing in a lyric style choir. People just need to be reminded they are part of an ensemble.

My garden is calling--I have to get some exercise, fresh air and do some planting before I return to the intellectual realm. It is 80 in the shade today.

Neil Halliday wrote (February 28, 2008):
Bruce Simonson wrote, regarding Mvt. 3]:
>For me, my commentary and program notes (unfortunately) might have to say, listen to this great music, but don't get too wrapped up in trying to fit the text of the Pentecost version to it, it's really a better match in BWV 34a.<
Have a listen to Harnoncourt's recording [7] of this aria: Amazon.com

This is one of the slowest, if not the slowest version.

Does he not capture an ecstatic, blissful mood ("heavenly"), quite in accordance with the text ("Well you, chosen souls, elected to live in God's abode").

In other words, the orchestration of this ravishing music can either suggect a pastoral image (34a), or equally well express heavenly bliss(34), IMO, depending on the subtleties of performance.

------

The noted similarities of the instrumentation of BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3) to that of the SMP's "O Mensch bewein" is mostly concerned, it sems to me, with the descending pairs of 1/16th note figures in 3rds and 6ths on the flutes that oin both scores (less often in BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3)); but in the SMP (BWV 244) chorale the flutes don't double the violins, as is the case in 34/3, which is responsible for the aria's specific instrumental colour.

(The SMP (BWV 244) chorale and another work that has been mentioned in this discussion - the sinfonia opening Part II of the Xmas Oratorio (BWV 248) - also have the added colour of oboes d'amore, as well as transverse flutes).

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 28, 2008):
[To Neil Halliday, regarding Mvt. 3] Thanks Neil, for adding your thoughts and observations here.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 28, 2008):
Bruce Simonson wrote, regarding Mvt. 3:
>For me, my commentary and program notes (unfortunately) might have to say, listen to this great music, but don't get too wrapped up in trying to fit the text of the Pentecost version to it, it's really a better match in BWV 34a.<

If it comes to that, you may find yourself in good company. Consider the following:

Whittaker suggests a comparable feeling between the second main idea in BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3), and <portions of the familiar cradle song in the Christmas Oratorio [BWV 248/19] with which the slumber motif is contrasted [music example follows]>.

In the course of tracking down this comparison, I came across the following comment from Dürr, regarding BWV 248/1:
<The first two lines of the secular text [Tonet, ihr Pauken, from which BWV 248 is the parody], might easily have been adopted in the Christmas Oratorio too, preserving our comprehension of musical events. Since Bach did not do this, we may assume that such external text imitation was, in the last resort, not particularly important to him. It follows that, in our attempt to penetrate Bachs art, we should not ascribe exaggerated significance to the musical imitation of the words of the text.>

Whittaker also adds <This lovely number [BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3)] may have been borrowed for the wedding {BWV 34a] from some lost Christmas cantata.> As best I can tell, this suggestion is made without a shred of evidence, but if it were correct, we would have music which:
(1) Began as a Christmas cantata (unknown)
(2) Was subsequently (1726) adopted for a secular wedding cantata, BWV 34a
(3) May have influenced a choral movement in SMP, BWV 244/29
(3) Influenced, or a was partially adopted, for the Christmas Oratorio, 1734, BWV 248/19
(4) Ended as a very late work, the Pentecost cantata, BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3), around 1746/7 (Dürr)

I think Dürr's conclusion is worth some thought. There are many cross relations in Bachs music, whether in <feeling>, or in more directly demonstrable music specifics, and often between vocal and instrumental works. Pretty clearly, instances where there is an apparent relation with text are frequent, but as Dürr suggests, we should not necessarily conclude that music imitates or is inspired by words.

There are several large, pastoral alto arias from 1726, including BWV 34a, which we know in its later form as BWV 34/3 (Mvt. 3). I am enjoying listening to these in relation to each other, as well as to SMP, BWV 244/39, Erbarme dich. I do not have anything specific to add right now, but it is an interesting topic for further exploration.

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 28, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski, regarding Mvt. 3] Nice additions, Ed. You are becoming quite a Bach scholar--a positive thinking element in the postings.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 29, 2008):
BWV 34 recordings

I want to pass along this detail before I forget. On the BCW discography, and the Gardiner [12] track listings, both Nathalie Stutzmann and Derek Lee Ragin are listed as altos. However, in the booklet notes written by JEG, we find:
<I've conducted this piece many times, with many fine mezzo-contraltos (including Anna Reynolds), but on this occasion Nathalie Stutzmann seemed to me to catch the French nostalgic tug of this aria to perfection.>

A live performance, not to be missed!

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 29, 2008):
Neil Halliday wrote:
>In the alto aria (Mvt. 3), Gardiner's 2nd recording [12] has a female alto who reminded me of a counter-tenor.<
Exactly right! I misread this when it was sent, thinking Neil was uncertain of who is the vocalist. I subsequently spent a bit of time looking for definite confirmation that it is, in fact, Nathalie Stutzmann singing, and thus to edit the BCW discography. Talk about diligence, eh, Terejia?

As I posted not many minutes ago, Nathalie Stutzmann is in fact confirmed in the text of the Gardiner booklet [12] notes, as well as in our ears!

Jean Laaninen wrote (February 29, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski, regarding recordings] Thanks for these additional postings, Ed.

Bruce Simonson wrote (March 1, 2008):
BWV 34 - some final additional ideas

Sorry I dropped off the list in the last couple of days; I've been busy with final rehearsals for Purcell's Dido and Aenaes ... we open tonight (I'm part of the 12 voice chorus). Interesting staging, the director has reversed the space, putting the audience on the stage, and having the performers take over the entire auditorium, with witches in the catwalks, chorus running up and down the aisles and main seating, instrumentalists strolling (occasionally), dramatic murals on the balcony and facing walls, with strategic placement of performers everywhere, including the cry-room. All very challenging. (Did I mention we've commissioned a film for our 2nd-half, where we re-perform most of the work in concert formation, as the film shows?).

Anyway, if the group will bear with me, I'd like to finish the go-round on BWV 34 with a couple more postings; they'll be something like:

a) BWV 34 - interesting factoids

b) BWV 34 - strategic slurs

c) BWV 34 - reality check

d) Off Topic: - a suggestion for the BCML.

Hopefully, I can get these out before DnA showtime, and the all-important cast party after opening night, which I think will be happening at my place.

Bruce Simonson wrote (March 1, 2008):
BWV 34 - interesting factoids

For the record, here's a quick couple of items worth remembering, and mentioning about BWV 34. There may be more, some need clarification, please weigh in if you can add to the list, or help clarify!

a) BWV 34 is a fine example of Bach "parody" ... BWV 34a (1726) and BWV 34 (1746/47).

b) BWV 34 is one of the last cantatas Bach performed. Oddly, the Oxford Composer's Companion (ed Boyd) does not list either BWV 34 or BWV 34a in its Appendix 3 chronology, but if you take Wolff's "Bach, the Learned Musician" into account with the Oxford companion, the last four cantatas are BWV 34 (1746/47), BWV 96, BWV 16, and BWV 29 (August 1749). (BTW, does anyone have an idea why the Oxford companion doesn't list these cantatas in the chronology, even though dates are in the main text entries?)

c) In my recent reading about this cantata, I think I remember that Bach got Very Significant Fee for composing BWV 34a. Can anyone enlighten me on this ... I can't seem to find it again.

d) I am also certain I read somewhere that the wedding for BWV 34a took place in November; but I've also seen references to April or May. Anybody got the straight scoop on this?

Bruce Simonson wrote (March 1, 2008):
BWV 34 - strategic slurs (and other Mvt. 1 ideas)

Previously, there was a thread about staccato markings in the orchestral parts of BWV 34/1 (Mvt. 1). Some inconsistencies between editions widentified, and several interesting ideas on approaches to articulation were articulately articulated.

For me, the staccato markings are a clue to a musical motif that Bach intentionally composed for the word "Ursprung" (fountain-head, well-spring).

(For me), other obvious treatments of text in BWV 34/1 (Mvt. 1) are:

a) Feuer -- violin 1 figure as flickering flames
b) ewiges -- long, sustained note as portrayal of "eternal"
c) Ursprung -- bubbling up of 2nd motif, clarified by staccato
d) Liebe -- oddly, nothing obvious jumps out for this

Here's another one, perhaps off the wall?
e) entzünde -- ignite

What happens in the music with the word "entzünde"? This a very crisp word in German (that is, once you get by trying to get Americans to sing an umlauted u: "ü" ... don't get me started; preparing the chorus to Beethoven 9 was a struggle for a while in Juneau, where "Brüder" ranged all the way from "brooder" to "breeder".) Anyway, the crisp consonants in "entzünde" in BWV 34/1 (Mvt. 1) offer an opportunity to ignite something ...

Here's one idea, for me, this text introduces a re-alignment of the pulse in the 3/4 time of this movement. After the word is initiated by the bass in the chorus, the whole group launches into music that is re-articulated: the staccato figure of "Ursprung" (mentioned above) is changed from three beats to a measure, to a 6/8 figure,
with emphasis on two to the bar, designated by the strategic placement of slurs. (This isn't notated in the piano reduction scores available on the Bach Cantata website, but the slurs definately replace the notation of staccatos in the BG and Hännsler scores).

This new metrical pulse is JPW (just plain wonderful), especially 4 bars before the B section of the first movement, and the measures following. Free-association might take one to a place like 6/8 with 2 to a measure: the Bride and Groom; overlaid on an orchestral 3/4 with 3 to a measure: the Trinity. Okay, maybe a bit much; but what the heck! what an amazing set of music for one's wedding! If it were written for mine, I'd be thinking these things.

---

I also find an important point in the second half of the first movement, where the altos and tenors drop out, leaving the soprano(s) and bass(es) to sing the text:

Wir wünschen, o Höchster, dein Tempel zu sein (BWV 34/1 (Mvt. 1))

or

Ach lass doch auf dieses vereinigte Paar (BWV 34a/1 (Mvt. 1))

The direct reference to "vereinigte Paar" in BWV 34a actually adds a bit of credibility to the "Bride & Bridegroom" idea, mentioned above.

In performance, I'm tempted to go from full chorus, to solo soprano and bass, in these measures, and back to full chorus on the following fugue (starting with "Ach lass ..." in the bass).

---

In short, I think there's a lot going on with the text and Bach's composition of BWV 34 and BWV 34a; and paying careful attention to the articulation can really help generate ideas.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 2, 2008):
[To Bruce Simonson, regarding some final additional ideas] Thanks for the additional details here, Bruce.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 2, 2008):
[To Bruce Simonson, regarding interesting factoids] Dürr gives the date of February 12, 1725.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 2, 2008):
[To Bruce Somonson, regarding strategic slurs (and other mvmt 1 ideas)] Since the wedding cantata was written for the wedding of a theologian, some of your speculation has a good chance of being right on target. It's kind of fun to imagine Bach merrily sitting down with pen in hand and weaving his musical elements based on the text. Preaching is also a kind of weaving of elements--a good fit perhaps with the Pentecost usage.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 2, 2008):
BWV 34 recordings

I do not have a lot to add to comments already posted with reference to recordings, and I have not heard some of the important releases: the first Gardiner [11], Beringer [14], or Koopman [16]. Perhaps a few thoughts on tempos will be helpful. Based on total timing, we might expect Leusink [13] and the pilgrimage (second) Gardiner [12] to be similar, but that is not the case. Gardiner is much quicker in the choruses, 6:53 versus 7:56 in Mvt. 1, but slower in the Mvt. 3 aria, 6:38 versus 5:23. Note that Gardiner is very close, but a bit slower, compared to the benchmark aria performance, Anna Reynolds with Richter [6], at 6:22. Nathalie Stutzmann with Gardiner is superb, if not quite as warm and pastoral as Reynolds, OTOH, Gardiners instrumentation is crisper. I would not be without either, but note that Neil preferred Bernarda Fink in the first Gardiner, which I have not heard, to the pilgrimage Gardiner.

A composite of the Leusink [13] choruses with Gardiner [12] aria would result in timing very close to Harnoncourt [7], which is my overall preference for tempo, if not quite up to the level of either Gardiner or Leusink for orchestral or choral quality. Counter-tenor Paul Esswood with Harnoncourt is very satisfactory in the aria. As Neil has noted, these are all enjoyable performances, but he puts it as kindly as possible by stating that Gardiner's tempos in the choruses are likely to test the tolerance of most listeners. Koopman [16] has the quickest total time of any performance, but based on published timings (amazon.com), it is the aria, rather than choruses, which is especially fast.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 4, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski, regarding recordings] Thanks, Ed, for these additional details.

Terejia wrote (March 4, 2008):
[To Jean Laaninen, regarding vocal part] Pardon me again , for delaying in answering your gracious reply to me.

Jean Laaninen wrote:
>> The text has to come forth foremost because without it there would be no sense to the cantata. But the text is produced with an instrumental style musically in Bach. Is this what you are asking, or did you have something else in mind?<<
Thank you for taking time for answering me. Yes, it clarifies for me.

In my narrow and limited experience of participating choir, voice parts seounds much instrumentally yet there seems to be some link between music and text, as recently posted by Bruce on the topic of BWV 34. Of course, I am nowhere near being able to say if this is always the case or not. Certainly a thema worthwhile pursuing when I have some sparetime.

best wishes for your music study

Bruce Simonson wrote (March 4, 2008):
Just following up on the fee Bach may have received for composing BWV 34a; from the bach-cantatas website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV34-D.htm

Peter Bloemendaal wrote (June 12, 2003):
"The original cantata, BWV 34a, was written and performed in 1726 as a wedding cantata for an apparently important Leipzig clergyman. More than just a perk for the Thomascantor, if it gained him 50 Reichsthaler ($ 3,600), the usual honorarium for composing a congratulatory cantata in 1736, and another Thaler ($ 72), being the cantor's fee for weddings and funerals, according to the 1723 Regulation for St. Thomasschool, Leipzig. [Source: Chr. Wolff - Bach, the Learned Musician, p. 540, appendix 3]"
Not sure if we can assume that Bach got 50 Reichsthaler for BWV 34a, but it's possible. Big chunk of change, eh?

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 4, 2008):
[To Terejia, regarding vocal parts in Bach cantatas] A long time debate stands between those who see the instrumentation first and those who see the text first. It just helps to remember in the case of the cantatas that they would not have been put together if not for textual reasons, while sometimes the sheer bof the music seems to outweigh the text.

Bruce Simonson wrote (March 4, 2008):
BWV 34 - reality check

As a penultimate post on BWV 34, I'd like to share a few thoughts about the recits, and HIP vs non-HIP performance practice.

Brad Lehman really got me thinking, after reading his article on continuo accompaniment. One thought I took home from his article, is that the music should be clear; i.e., the texts should be comprehensible, and not buried by the orchestral and continuo support.

Anyway, here's an attempt to distill how my thoughts went last weekend, while taking a walk on the beach:

a) I'm basically a traditionalist; i.e, sustained whole notes, when tied together, surely must mean: play throughout, and don't abbreviate with a decision to shorten to quarter notes. (Heck, he would have written it that way, if he wanted it that way, eh?).

b) However, these sacred cantatas were not expected to be performed more than once. Indeed, the expectation was that the congregation would hear them, in performance at church, without "academic" introduction or followup. The only chance they would have hearing and understanding the text, was when and as the performer presented it. I think this does lobby for thinning out the accompaniment, and just putting the words out there unaccompanied, and using the continuo only to signal chord changes.

c) However, in our performances in Juneau, sung in German, the number of folks in the audience who could understand the native German text is almost negligible; so going out of the way to thin out the accompaniment doesn't really buy that much for "increasing the audience's comprehension of the text" on the fly.

d) However, if one could "sing in English", then, once again, thinning out the continuo might make sense. Except, of course, English singable translations are notoriously difficult to create, especially aligning particular words with special figures in the composition. (In a way, translating to English is one of the most extreme forms of "parody" there is ... taking words and syntax from German to English is fraught with perils).

e) However, I recently (literally, in the last couple of days) read that Bach produced and sold libretto books for his cantatas, often publishing the texts for six cantatas in advance of their performance. (Gosh, I should have known about these libretto books ages ago; just goes to show how incomplete my education is ...). Anyway, with libretti in hand, Bach's congregation members could follow along, and, well, I guess the argument for thinning out continuo accompaniment to ensure the texts are understood loses a
little traction.

All of this leads to a place that really doesn't stop the debate. Me? I'm going to try it both ways in rehearsal, and go with what works best. How's that?

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 4, 2008):
[To Bruce Simonson, regarding reality check] With all this preparation your final decisions will be well grounded and your performance should be very special. Wish we could hear it--don't know if you are able to post a segment on the web or not.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 4, 2008):
[To Bruce Simonson, regarding interesting factoids - fee for composition] Thanks Bruce...this adds to the wealth of information. One ASU doctoral student likes to tell me that Bach did not die a poor man, so maybe he was paid.

Bruce Simonson wrote (March 5, 2008):
BWV 34 - summary, and practical performance considerations

I posted a file (word doc) on the yahoo groups page; Jean and Aryeh, any suggestions on a better place to put this file on the Bach Cantatas website? (Probably should be stored as read-only, I reckon.)
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV34-Simonson.htm

Thanks!

Neil Halliday wrote (March 5, 2008):
BWV 34 - reality check:recits

Bruce Simonson wrote:
>I guess the argument for thinning out continuo accompaniment to ensure the texts are understood loses a little traction.<
In order to avoid a uniformly truncated type of accompaniment in seccos, which I find quickly becomes musically unsatisfying and tedious, we might take some clues from this week's recording of BWV 204 by Rilling.

The first secco is an example with harpsichord and cello. Rilling does not use a double bass, a wise move that avoids a too heavy balance toward the bass line; and the cello demonstrates a 'dying away' of each note after it is initially sounded, avoiding a droning effect yet giving the effect of continuous accompaniment. The harpsichord supplies the upper harmonies with arpeggiated chords which ofcourse quickly die away; indeed, I believe that in recordings of seccos the harpsichord should be more closely 'miked' than in the other movements so that we can in fact clealy hear these upper harmonies, on recordings. The contrast with Rilling's lovely accompanied recitative demonstrates the point; here the upper harmonies are supplied by the string orchestra, so in this case the harpsichord can 'tinkle' away harmlessly in the background; but in the seccos the harpsichord has to serve the same musical purpose as the upper strings in the accompanied recitative, hence my contention that it should be 'brought forward' in recordings, by means of special microphone placement.

If an organ is going to be used in seccos (as in sacred cantatas), I believe continuo strings should not be used at all, since this will only reinforce a sustained, inflexible bass line so hated by HIP practitioners (and even commented on by observers such as Niedt in the 18th century); and yet an organ can supply a tasteful, musically effective, non-trucated accompaniment (chords held out for nearly the notated length, but avoiding continuous legato) as seen in an example by Coin recently observed, thereby avoiding the drastic 'cure' of grossly shortening the accompaniment on each note -with results that are infinitely less satisfying than the problems they are trying to overcome. There is even room for subtle variation of organ registration, after cadences for example, ensuring variety and interest. In any case, "seccos" ought to be every bit as musically satisfying as "accompanied" recitatives with their continuous harmonisations.

(Numerous performances of the SJP (BWV 245), with its high proportion of secco recitative, are ruined by unvarying, uniformly truncated secco realisations; the three possibilties for 'continuous' accomapaniment I have mentioned here - cello and harpsichord, organ alone, and organ with registration changes - can achieve much greater variety and musical interest. Continuo lute offers another possibilty for variety of musical expression in the seccos of a long work such as the SJP (BWV 245)).

As far as audibilty of the text in seccos is concerned, while this is, IMO. a less significant issue than the musical impression that the secco projects, one can observe there is usually no problem with even the accompanied recits, so the idea that a single cello and harpsichord in a secco will necessarily present a text-audibilty problem if 'continuous' (non-truncated) accompaniment is provided for the singer - this idea seems redundant to me.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 5, 2008):
[To Neil Halliday] Back online after the computer crash with tons yet to do, I wanted to check in this evening. I find many of your ideas below appealing, and I think with the techniques you suggest that singers would be quite happy as their words would come through well. Great points, and thanks Neil.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 5, 2008):
[To Neil Halliday] On organ, another valid 18th century option (well documented) is to hold the bass line somewhat longer than the right-hand chords, whether it's being played by organ left hand or organ pedal and/or a stringed instrument. Read the Dreyfus book and Williams article for details.... I can't overemphasize how important it is to study the background material instead of just guessing, or just following any uniform conventions. That's true for both instrumentation and playing style.

I 't agree with the idea of miking the harpsichord (or anything else) differently for recits as opposed to other movements. It might provide clarity, yes, but it also provides IMO an unwelcome artificiality: i.e. making recordings even more obviously artificial than they already are, being recorded out of sequence or even on different days etc etc etc. My own preference as a listener is to have a recording sound as much as possible like a straight-through performance, not having the soundstage jump around or have different miking per movement.

Well, I don't agree with harpsichords ever "tinkling away harmlessly" in the background, either. :) The harpsichordist's primary job is to unify and catalyze the ensemble, focusing the character/rhythm/harmony/accentuation all at once, not to be any add-on or a harmless tinkling presence. A good harpsichordist (as much as a modern conductor or maybe more!) also helps to unify the flow of a composition from movement to movement, especially when it's a dramatic structure such as an opera or a church cantata.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 5, 2008):
[To Bradley Lehman] Thanks for adding these thoughts, Brad.

Neil Halliday wrote (March 6, 2008):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>I don't agree with the idea of miking the harpsichord (or anything else) differently for recits as opposed to other movements. It might provide clarity, yes, but it also provides IMO an unwelcome artificiality<
Brad, you have missed the point: to use your word, "artificiality" is absolutely required in order to transfer meaningful musical detail ("clarity") to recordings. I am not discussing the sound of the music from the viewpoint of the performer, but what one actually hears when listening to a recording of the music in one's living
room. Who wants - reality - if it means that all one hears is the harpsichord "tinkling away harmlessly in the background", which ofcourse is all that one ever does hear of continuo harpsichord on recordings - thankfully, in the case of the movements with larger ensemble, but uselessly, in the case of movements with small ensembles, eg, secco recitaives.

>I don't agree with harpsichords "tinkling away harmlessly" in the background, either<
Of course not, but see above; and in fact in recordings of more complex scores for larger ensembles where 'information overload' becomes an issue I don't need to hear the harpsichord at all (hence the "thankfully" comment above).

<On organ, another valid 18th century option (well documented) is to hold the bass line somewhat longer than the right-hand chords, whether it' being played by organ left hand or organ pedal and/or a stringed instrument. Read the Dreyfus book and Williams article for details....>
Performers always seem use both organ bass and string bass to hold the bass line - which is never pleasing musically, and which is no doubt why the equally unsatisfying alternative of the 'short note' convention in seccos arose. (Coin is aware of this, which is why he eschewed continuo strings in a secco I have commented on recently, and was thereby able to extend the singer's supporting harmonies). Reading the books is one thing, but making the music sound alive on recordings in quite another. The number of dryly academic performances on recordings from "experts" bears this out.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 6, 2008):
[To Bruce Simonson] I've now had a chance to read your comments, and you raise a variety of points for conductors and those who are interested in the mechanics of the production of a good work. I think this sheds some new insights into how conductors might be thinking, and reflects a little more than we ordinarily discuss in our weekly communications. This seems like a good thing to me--a little more exposure to ideas helps one learn.

Terejia wrote (March 6, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote, regarding vocal parts:
< A long time debate stands between those who see the instrumentation first and those who see the text first. It just helps to remember in the case of the cantatas that they would not have been put together if not for textual reasons, while sometimes the sheer beauty of the music seems to outweigh the text. >
Thank you, Jean.
Never ending thema , we might be getting into...

 

Continue on Part 5

Cantatas BWV 34 & BWV 34a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 34 | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 34 | Details & Recordings of BWV 34a | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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