Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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 35
Geist und Seele wird verwirret
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of December 11, 2011

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 11, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 35 -- Geist und Seele wird verwirret

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue Trinity season cantatas with BWV 35, from 1726, the last of three works for the 12th Sunday after Trinity.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV35.htm

The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham] is especially recommended as an introduction to listening.

The BWV 35 page also has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner [13] and Koopman (notes by Christoph Wolff) [15] CD issues, via link beneath the cover photo.

The chorale text and melody are accessible via links at the BWV 35 page. Francis Browne has recently added new commentary on the cantata texts to his interlinear translations, linked via [English-3I]. We can expect these to continue, not necessarily weekly. Douglas Cowling and William Hoffman are also posting relevant to chorales and other music for the Lutheran Church Year, accessible via LCY pages.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 11, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Introduction to BWV 35 -- Geist und Seele wird verwirret
The chorale text and melody are accessible via links at the BWV 35 page. >
Caught again! There is no chorale associated with BWV 35.

Francis Browne wrote (December 11, 2011):
BWV 35 note on the text

BWV 35 was written for the 12th Sunday after Trinity and was first performed on 8th September 1726. The text is by Georg Christian Lehms (1684-1717), the court poet and librarian at the Darmstadt court. In 1711 he
published a book elaborately entitled:

Gottgefälliges Kir­chen-Opfer, In einem gantzen Jahr-Gange Andächtiger Betrachtungen über die gewöhnlichen Sonn- und Festtags-Texte, Gott zu Ehren und der Darmstättischen Schloß-Capelle zu seiner Früh- und Mittags-Erbauung angezündet von Georg Christian Lehms, Hochfürstlich Hessen-Darm­stättischen Bibliothecario.

Bach must have acquired this book soon after publication since he used it for some cantatas written during his Weimar period (Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, Widerstehe doch der Sünde). He made extensive use of Lehms' texts again in Christmas 1725/January 1726 (BWV 110, BWV 57, BWV 151, BWV 16, BWV 32 and BWV 13) and in the following summer wrote two cantatas for solo alto: BWV 170 and the present text. As his title indicates Lehms wrote texts for both morning and afternoon services : the morning texts were longer and BWV 110 is the only one used by Bach. All the others were taken from the more intimate texts written for the afternoon and appropriately therefore some of Bach's cantatas to Lehms' texts are solo or dialogue works .

In BWV 35 Lehms uses madrigalian verse throughout , with no biblical words or chorale and as was customary for him the text makes close reference to the gospel of the day - Mark's account of Jesus' healing of a deaf and dumb man (Mark 7: 31-37). The intimate nature of Lehms' afternoon texts is shown at once in the opening aria by the reinterpretation of Jesus' physical healing of a deaf mute in terms of the amazement the 'Volk' feel before God which makes them in turn deaf and dumb. In the following recitative the soloist using the pronoun I and so speaking for the people articulates their reaction to God's wonder, mentioning the healing of the deaf and dumb more directly. The second aria uses the phrase that concludes the gospel narrative- 'God has done all things well' - adding to it a reference to Lamentations 3:23 : His love, his faithfulness are renewd for us every day. The second recitative was probably performed after the sermon, and so acts as the applicatio, the drawing of conclusions for everyday life. God is asked to apply the miracle to the ganz verstockte Herz of each of us, opening ears and loosening tongues, so that we ma y becomes his heirs. The idea of our heavenly inheritance leads to the concluding aria which expresses the desire to be free from the suffering of this world and to praise God in heaven.

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 12, 2011):
BWV 35 -- Organ & Harpsichord?

Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Introduction to BWV 35 -- Geist und Seele wird verwirret >
I don't think we can over-emphasize the uniqueness of this cantata. Other cantatas have introductory concerto movements or the occasional aria with solo organ, but this cantata has obligato organ in every concerted movement! The organ is so prominent that the voices seem almost secondary. It's a cantata in which the spirit of Bach the Organist seems gigantic.

I would like ask Julian and Thomas Braatz if they have more information about the bass continuo in the cantata. The BGA full score accessible here doesn't have any figures and doesn't indicate whether Kammerton or Chorton transposition was used for the parts.

The question is -- who played the continuo? Was it a harpsichord? In "Bach's Continuo Group", Dreyfus lists BWV 35 as one of the 18 cantatas which have organ solo parts - 7 of them are from the third cycle which includes BWV 35.

In other similar cantatas, Dreyfus shows conclusively that the organ played the solos while the harpsichord played the continuo realization.

Do any of the recordings of BWV 35 have both organ and harpsichord?

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (December 12, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I don't think we can over-emphasize the uniqueness of this cantata. Other cantatas have introductory concerto movements or the occasional aria with solo organ, but this cantata has obligato organ in every concerted movement! The organ is so prominent that the voices seem almost secondary. It's a cantata in which the spirit of Bach the Organist seems gigantic. >
Stölzel has several cantatas with obbligato organ in the mix. Fascinating stuff.

Evan Cortens wrote (December 12, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Interestingly, and uncommonly (though not unique) for Bach, the continuo part is notated in the score, on two staves, in Chorton. There are two additional extant continuo parts, both single staff (i.e., for cello, bass, bassoon or the like, not a keyboard) and both Kammerton. This suggests that the obbligato organ part was played directly from the score, which would have been straightforward enough, since no sight transposition would have been necessary.

Some have speculated that Bach himself may have played these obbligato parts, and the fact that there are no figures in the continuo advocates for this possibility. Others have suggested that these third cycle obbligato lines were written for W. F. Bach to perform, but of course no way to prove this for sure.

I don't have Dreyfus's book handy, but the examples he gives of "dual continuo", i.e. both the organ and harpsichord playing together, have additional extant figured, Kammerton continuo parts. For example, in BWV 29, the organ part is written directly into the score, also in Chorton, as in BWV 35. However, there's an additional continuo part, single staff, with figures, in Kammerton, that would be suitable for use on a harpsichord.

Fascinating stuff!

Elizabeth Schwimmer wrote (December 12, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] We'll we doing this cantata for BachFest in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This is how I'll be doing it: I'll be conduncting from the organ, playing the obligato, I have another person playing the continuo from the harpsichord. I find it very interesting doubling the cello with the basoon in this introduction.

Herreweghe has a recording of this cantata with Andreas Scholl singing and with both organ and harpsichord and it sounds fantastic.

Elizabeth Schwimmer wrote (December 12, 2011):
And by the way, Breitkopf has the organ part with the harpsichord/continuo part printed beneath the obligato organ.

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 12, 2011):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Some have speculated that Bach himself may have played these obbligato parts, and the fact that there are no figures in the continuo advocates for this possibility. >
Sorry, I'm being thick, but are you saying that Bach played both the obligato and realization from the same instrument? Looking at the music, I find it hard to believe that the harmonies could be accommodated unless Bach used an awful lot of pedal work.

Not that I have any objection to pedal in continuo realizations. Modern audiences are so used to teeny-weeny portatives that they would be shocked to hear the colours and weight of a real organ.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 12, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Sorry, I'm being thick, but are you saying that Bach played both the obligato and realization from the same instrument? Looking at the music, I find it hard to believe that the harmonies could be accommodated unless Bach used an awful lot of pedal work. >
Sigiswald Kuijken [17] and his organist, Ewald Demeyere, suggest that the obligato and continuo can be managed with two manuals. I will transcribe a paragraph or two of their CD booklet notes tomorrow.

Evan Cortens wrote (December 12, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] My apologies for being unclear. I intended to say that the extant continuo materials do not indicate the presence of another "realizing" instrument. Though there are two parts in Kammerton (NBA parts 10 and 11, see KB p. 183), neither contains figures. (This contrasts with, for example, BWV 29, as I mentioned, where there's both an organ part in the score in Chorton, a separate organ part in Chorton, and a separate, single-line, Kammerton, figured continuo part, suitable for use on a harpsichord.)

So this suggests either of two scenarios, I believe:

1) Another continuo part (single-line, Kammerton, figured) has gone missing. Or, probably less likely, that one of the unfigured parts was used on harpsichord. I say less likely because Bach's cantatas typically have two unfigured Kammerton parts as a rule; additional parts are beyond that.

2) In the movements (or portions thereof) where the organ has an obbligato line in the right hand, the performer would simply play what's on the page. In the other movements, or portions (opening ritornellos, typically, e.g. mvt 1, mm. 1-9), the performer would have realized the continuo in the right hand (though, notably, without the aid of figures).

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 12, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Sigiswald Kuijken [17] and his organist, Ewald Demeyere, suggest that the obligato and continuo can be managed with two manuals. I will transcribe a paragraph or two of their CD booklet notes tomorrow. >
Here is the published translation by Christopher Cartwright and Godwin Stewart of Kuijkens [17] German original notes:

<No. 4 is a quite special aria in which the way it is written down is a little enigmatic. Next to the alto solo part Bach only stipulates *organo* and *basso continuo*, with the organ part written on one stave (with the bass clef) and the basso continuo on another stave, also with the bass clef. Both parts regularly cross each other, which (if the organist is playing both parts) requires two manuals and still may be expected to sound rather confused. The organo part (played with the left hand in accordance with the notation) has a continuous virtuosic free figuration.... The continuo part supports the harmony quite simply and shortly with crotchets, and is undoubtedly to be played by the bass string alone.

Because it was so unusual to play a whole solo piece with only one hand, our organist Ewald Demeyere has put forward the hypothesis that perhaps the intention was for the right hand to play continuo while the left hand takes on the solo part. There is nothing to disprove this theory (there are countless examples of unfigured bass parts which nevertheless must be filled out with harmonies) -- and it has the great advantage of creating a plausible complete organ part, and thus making the aria sound even more festive.> (end quote)

This strikes me as consistent with the comments by both Evan and Doug, but corrections invited.

Evan Cortens wrote (December 12, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] Thanks for this, Ed! One minor point of clarification. In the autograph score (D-B Mus ms Bach P 86), this movement is laid out on three staves:

1) Alto clef, Kammerton [clearly the vocal part, since it has a text, etc]
2) Bass clef, Chorton, "Organo" written above it by JSB
3) Bass clef, Kammerton

All this to say that the Kuijken notes [17] imply (at least in my reading) that line 3 is labeled "basso continuo", when it's actually unlabeled. That said, I don't believe it especially likely, even with two manuals, that the organist played one part in Kammerton in one hand and another part in Chorton in the other... that'd be pretty tricky in my estimation. That said, what Mr. Demeyere suggests seems eminently reasonable: obbligato part in the left hand, chordal realization in the right hand. This leaves the Kammerton part on staff 3 to be played by the bass strings alone (those notated in the two unfigured Kammerton parts).

It should be notated that this layout contrasts with the first movement of BWV 35, wherein the two bottom staves are connected with a brace, in treble and bass clefs, and both in Chorton: i.e., clearly suitable to be played in the left and right hands of the organist, on one manual, without needing to transpose.

As for the performance of 35/4, a quick survey of the four recordings I have at hand:

A) Harnoncourt: solo organ plays part 2, solo cello plays part 3; no realized continuo
B) Koopman [15]: solo organ plays part 2, cello and bass play part 3; hard to tell, but it sounds like there might be an organ on part 3 as well? no realized continuo
C) Suzuki [18]: solo organ on part 2, cello, bass and harpsichord (realizing chords in right hand) on part 3
D) Kuijken [17]: organ's left hand plays part 2, organ's right hand plays an elaborate realization, solo cello on part 3

Kuijken's [17] is easily my favorite, and I certainly agree with the characterization of "festive". The freely improvised right hand adds a lot.

Evan Cortens wrote (December 12, 2011):
A small addendum. The autograph score is online, at: http://tinyurl.com/cymh7ba

OR: J. S. Bach; vorgehefteter Titelumschlag: C. P. E. Bach, darauf Kantatentext von C. F. Zelter geschrieben (+ Textneufassung): D B Mus. ms. Bach P 86 (Bach Digital)

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 12, 2011):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< C) Suzuki [18]: solo organ on part 2, cello, bass and harpsichord (realizing chords in right hand) on part 3
D) Kuijken
[17]: organ's left hand plays part 2, organ's right hand plays an elaborate realization, solo cello on part 3 >
Kuijken's [17] is easily my favorite, and I certainly agree with the characterization of "festive". The freely improvised right hand adds a lot.

Thanks for the clarification of a vercomplex performance problem. A couple of observations:

* I'm still bewildered why Bach would change his manner of notation halfway through the cantata. Any speculation out there?

* The notation of an organ line in the bass clef doesn't mean it has to sound in that register. If a 4-foot stop was used, it would sound an octave higher; with a 2-foot stop, an octave higher than than. Bach probably used a combination of all three. It's interesting that Bach's Schübler arrangement of the alto aria from "Lobe den Herrn" places the chorale in the alto register on a 4-floor stop. You would never know that it was being played by the organist's feet as the bass line is being played on the manual by the left hand

* If the two lines cross, it is more than likely that they were played on separate manuals. The Trio Sonatas have brain-exploding lines which cross with abandon.

* Unison lines are not uncommon in Bach's organ movements in the cantatas. The most famous is the opening sinfonia in BWV 12, based on the E major Violin Partita. If Bach played from the full score, as Dreyfus and others have suggested, then he could easily have realized the bass line. The following clip shows the score of an arrangement which approximates what Bach may have improvised. Note the extensive use of the pedal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4wsQdo8F5k

* No one speculates what Bach did with his feet. He could easily have played all the bass continuo lines on the pedal. Golly, even *I* could play the bass line of the alto aria of BWV 35. I firmly believe that the exclusive
use of small portatives with 3 or 4 stops and no pedal in modern performances distorts the vast array of colours and weights available on a large Baroque organ.

In this cantata, gone are any possibilities of changes in registrations. Just as an example, look at the opening of this cantata. The organ part only records the bass line in the left hand; the solo line doesn't begin until bar 10. I would suggest that Bach set up one manual with a solo registration which would cut through the orchestra - that might have been 2 or 3 stops. On a second manual, he would have a contrasting lighter registration which would work for realizing the continuo. On the pedal, he would have a solid tutti registration. Standing by would be his prefect or a choirboy to push in the heavy 16-foot pedal stops when he wanted a lighter 8-foot registration for solo sections.

So Bach slides onto the organ bench for this cantata and the Sinfonia begins. He plays with both hands on the "continuo" manual, improvising realizations to the bass line which he plays with his feet. Somewhere in bar 9 or 10, he calls out a verbal cue to his assistant to push in the 16-foot stops on the pedal: "and -- now" is a conventional signal still used. At bar 10, the left hand continues to realize the bass line which is now lighter as marked "piano" in the score. His right hand moves quickly to the other manual and we hear the solo line in dramatically contrasting registration.

And so throughout the movement. Bach may have varied the registration during the solo with the addition or reduction of stops executed by his assistant.

Alas, we hear none of these possibilities in modern performances, a shame especially in this cantata which could be a kaleidoscope of organ colours.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 12, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Alas, we hear none of these possibilities in modern performances, a shame especially in this cantata which could be a kaleidoscope of organ colours. >
In fact, there is ample reason to speculate that is exactly what Bach intended, for himself and/or son Wilhelm Friedman.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 13, 2011):
[To Evan Cortens] Thanks for providing the link to autograph score.

EC
< One minor point of clarification. In the autograph score (D-B Mus ms Bach P 86), this movement is laid out on three staves:
1) Alto clef, Kammerton [clearly the vocal part, since it has a text, etc]
2) Bass clef, Chorton, "Organo" written above it by JSB
3) Bass clef, Kammerton
All this to say that the Kuijken notes
[17] imply (at least in my reading) that line 3 is labeled "basso continuo", when it's actually unlabeled. That said, I don't believe it especially likely, even with two manuals, that the organist played one part in Kammerton in one hand and another part in Chorton in the other... that'd be pretty tricky in my estimation. >
EM:
I wondered why Kuijken [17] stated that the basso continuo (stave 3) was undoubtedly to be played by bass string alone. It appears to be based on the distinction in notation, Chorton versus Kammerton. Thanks for pointing out lack of lack of labeling, although I gather from the following that you find *basso continuo*, a reasonable interpretation?

EC:
< That said, what Mr. Demeyere suggests seems eminently reasonable: obbligato part in the left hand, chordal realization in the right hand. This leaves the Kammerton part on staff 3 to be played by the bass strings alone (those notated in the two unfigured Kammerton parts).
It should be noted that this layout contrasts with the first movement of BWV 35, wherein the two bottom staves are connected with a brace, in treble and bass clefs, and both in Chorton: i.e., clearly suitable to be played in the left and right hands of the organist, on one manual, without needing to transpose. >
EM:
The difference in layout between Mvts 1 and 4 is the point which Doug questioned, in proposing pedal rather than second manual for the organ continuo (not specifically written, nor indicated!) in Mvt. 4.

EC:
< D) Kuijken [17]: organ's left hand plays part 2, organ's right hand plays an elaborate realization, solo cello on part 3 Kuijken's is easily my favorite, and I certainly agree with the characterization of "festive". The freely improvised right hand adds a lot. >
EM:
For those not yet familiar with Kuijken’s [17] ongoing cantata series, this particular CD (Vol. 5) strikes me as an especially good introduction. I trust OVPP for a solo cantata, BWV 35, is not controversial?

Sarah Rlinor McEvoy wrote (December 13, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] Please could someone tell me who is the soloist on the Kuijken version [17]? As a singer I admit to being somewhat voice-biased, which is why my current favourite version of this cantata is Suzuki's [18]; it is sung by the incomparable Robin Blaze.

I also have a version sung by Andreas Scholl (I cannot remember who conducts it). Herr Scholl is very smooth and better technically, but Robin puts so much more feeling into it that I find his recording inspirational. I am working on this cantata myself and hope one day to be able to sing it like Robin.

Evan Cortens wrote (December 13, 2011):
To Sarah Elinor McEvoy] The soloist on the Kuijken recording [17] is Petra Noskaiova. I very much agree with you about Robin Blaze; the Blaze/Suzuki recording [18] of another obbligato organ/solo alto cantata, BWV 170 (esp Mvt. 3) is jaw dropping.

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 13, 2011):
Sarah Elinor McEvoy wrote:
< Please could someone tell me who is the soloist on the Kuijken version [17]? As a singer I admit to being somewhat voice-biased, which is why my current favourite version of this cantata is Suzuki's [18]; it is sung by the incomparable Robin Blaze. >
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV35.htm [17]

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 14, 2011):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< The soloist on the Kuijken recording [17] is Petra Noskaiova. I very much agree with you about Robin Blaze; the Blaze/Suzuki recording [18] of another obbligato organ/salto cantata, BWV 170 (esp Mvt. 3) is jaw dropping. >
EM:
I hope Sarah will have the opportunity to make this comparison and share her opinions with us.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 14, 2011):
BWV 35 -- Alto Solo [was: Organ & Harpsichord?]

Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I hope Sarah will have the opportunity to make this comparison and share her opinions with us. >
EM:
There is precious little in the BCW discussion archives re performance comarisons of recent recordings. I notice in particular, no mention of several:

Bernarda Fink (Petra Mullejans) on Harmonia Mundi. The female analogue to Blaze (Suzuki) [18]?

Nathalie Stutzmann (Ton Koopman [15]), which may be the ultimate inverse to Bach’s original design of big organ, boy alto. Note that Ms. Stutzmann is an unusual alternative to Koopman’s frequent female alto, Bogna Bartosz, whose performances are reason enough on their own to visit (or collect) Koopmans complete set.

For earlier recordings, Maureen Forrester (Hermann Scherchen) [1]. Ms. Forrester is a rare alternative to Scherchens frequent female alto, Hilda Rossl-Majdan (HRM). Wow!

As often, probably an MA thesis lurking in a casual BCML inquiry. I am posting to BRML, as well as BCML, because:
(1) BWV 35 may be considered an organ concerto, with alto ob(b)ligato
(2) I want to be sure that Yoel has the opportunity to notice the HRM reference.

 

Cantata BWV 35: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýDecember 28, 2011 ý08:12:54