William Hoffman wrote (February 2, 2014):
Cantata 35: Geist und Seele wird verwirret, Intro
Bach’s Cantata BWV 35, Geist und Seele wird verwirret (Soul and spirit become confused), is one of three alto solo works in Trinity Time of the third annual church cycle of 1726-27 that has an old established and much used text of Georg Christian Lehms. It emplys obbligato organ in “conversational galant” manner and has two arias in dance style siciliano and menuet. Its origin and genesis derives from much earlier borrowed instrumental concertos and sonatas in Köthen and Weimar. Questions remain. Just how many of the movements are based on preexisting works? Why does Cantata 35 have two instrumental sinfonias introducing the two parts, performed before and after the sermon (a rare Bach form in Trinity Time)? Was the unfigured organ part for his adolescent first son Emmanuel or for himself? Was Bach motivated to compose so many solo cantatas in the third cycle because he lacked competent resources or was he returning to the Italian style, without biblical dictum and sometimes closing four-part chorales? Details of Cantata 35 are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV35.htm .1
Some of these questions may be better answered during the February BCML weekly discussions that involve the following four Solo Cantatas for Alto and two apocryphal alto solo cantatas once attributed to Bach:
Feb 2, 2014 35 Geist und Seele wird verwirret, 12th Sunday after Trinity (1726) borrowed material
Feb 9, 2014 54 Widerstehe doch der Sünde, Oculi, 3rd Sunday in Lent or Trinity +7 1714
[53 Schlage doch, Gewünschte Stunde, Funeral, 1795-15, Georg Melchior Hoffmann]
Feb 16, 2014 169 Gott soll allein mein Herze haben, 18th Sunday after Trinity (1726), borrowed material
Feb 23, 2014 170 Vergnügte Ruh', beliebte Seelenlust, 6th Sunday after Trinity (1726)
[200 Bekennen will ich seinen Namen, Purification, c1742), Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel]*
* Bach arrangement of aria Dein Kreuz, o Bräutgam meiner Seelen from the Passion-oratorio Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld (Bach performed Good Friday 1734)
Lehms Text Source & Teaching
The text source of Georg Christian Lehms, Bach’s other cantata settings of Lehms, and a text summary are found in Francis Browne’s “Note on the text”:2 <<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.3 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 [dictum] 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 [Movement No. 2] 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 [Mvt. 4] 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 renewed for us every day. The second recitative was probably performed after the sermon [Part 2, Mvt. 6], 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” [whole stubborn heart] of each of us, opening ears and loosening tongues, so that we may becomes his heirs. The idea of our heavenly inheritance leads to the concluding aria [Mvt. 7] which expresses the desire to be free from the suffering of this world and to praise God in heaven.>>
Cantata 35 movements, scoring and initial text (Browne, Ibid.) are:
First Part, 1. Sinfonia (Tutti: Oboe I/II, Taille [Oboe da caccia], Violino I/II, Viola, Organo obligato, Continuo);
2. Aria da-capo (Alto, tutti orchestra): A. “Geist und Seele wird verwirret, / Wenn sie dich, mein Gott, betracht” (Soul and spirit are thrown into confusion / When they consider you, my God), B. “Denn die Wunder, so sie kennet” (for the miracles that they know);
3. Recitative (Alto, Continuo): “Ich wundre mich; / Denn alles, was man sieht, / Muss uns Verwundrung geben”
(I am amazed, / for everything that we see must cause us amazement);
4. Aria (free da-capo Alto; Organo obligato, Continuo): “Gott hat alles wohlgemacht” (God has done all things well).
Second Part, 5. Sinfonia (tutti orchestra);
6. Recitative (Alto, Continuo): “Ach, starker Gott, lass mich / Doch dieses stets bedenken” (Ah, mighty god, let me / think of you continually);
7. Aria (Alto, tutti orchestra) “Ich wünsche nur bei Gott zu leben” (I wish to live only with God).
Bach’s choice of cantata texts, chorale stanzas, musical styles and materials reflects the shift in tone for the 12th Sunday after Trinity. The Trinity Time omnes tempore cautionary and didactic texts and related music shifts to a respite and renewal of praise and thanksgiving, earmarks of the de tempore Christology of the first half of the church year.4 The Gospel for the 12th Sunday after Trinity (Mark 7:31-37) relates Jesus' first act of healing at the beginning of his ministry, involving the deaf man, and is emblematic of theomnes tempore Time after Epiphany.5 “After so many consecutive weeks of fire and brimstone and dire warnings against devilish temptations, forked tongues, false prophets and the like, it came as a huge relief to encounter three genial, celebratory pieces, one with an organ obbligato [BWV 35] and two featuring Bach's talismanic trumpets and drums [BWV 69a, 137],” says John Eliot Gardiner in his liner notes to Bach 2000 Pilgrimage recordings.6
Gardiner asks [Ibid.), “what exactly was Bach’s purpose in turning to the organ as an obbligato solo instrument in his final cantata for this Sunday.” His answer: “Bach seems deliberately to be setting himself new compositional challenges. This is not necessarily from disillusionment with the formulae, so richly varied, of the pieces freshly composed for his first and second Leipzig cycles, but conceivably out of a certain weariness, of having to put up with makeshift performances week in, week out. Likely enough there were gaps either in the quantity or quality of the musicians available to him, a situation so deeply exasperating that it came to a head in 1730 with his Draft Memorandum to the Council, and a noticeable tailing off in his subsequent production of new works for the liturgy.” On a positive note, Gardiner suggests that Bach was carefully grooming an alto soloist while performing himself,not oldest son Friedemann, at the organ as a “galant conversationalist”
Comparison and contrast of Bach’s cantatas for the 12th Sunday after Trinity, Bach’s use of borrowed materials, especially a reason for using two sinfonias, is found in Julian Mincham’s 2012 revised Commentary, http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-23-bwv-35.htm. Bach works for the 12th Sunday after Trinity are: Chorus Cantata BWV 69a Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (Leipzig , 1723); Chorale Cantata (per omnes versus) BWV 137 Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren (Leipzig, 1725) Alto Solo Cantata BWV 35 Geist und Seele wird verwirret (Leipzig, 1726). Three additional sacred cantatas are listed as music appropriate for the 12th Sunday after Trinity: Chorale Cantata (pov) BWV 117, Sei Lob und Her dem höchsten Gut (Leipzig 1728-31); Chorale Cantata (pov) BWV 100, Was Gott tut, das ist Wohlgetan (Leipzig 1732-35); and Tenor Solo Cantata Anh. BWV 189 (Leipzig 1705-15), Georg Melchior Hoffmann.7
Cycle 3 Solo Cantatas
An introduction to Bach’s Weimar and Leipzig solo cantatas and a commentary on Cantata 35 are found in Klaus Hofmann’s liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki-BIC complete sacred cantata CDs of solo alto Cantatas 35, 169 and 170.8 “Among the multitude of forms and instrumental forces that we encounter in the almost 200 surviving church cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach, the so-called ‘classical’ variety of Bach cantata for choir, several soloists and a colourful orchestra comprising wind instruments, strings and continuo stands at the opposite extreme from the solo cantata for a single voice. Cantatas of the latter type make up only a small minority of the total. From Bach’s Weimar period, only two such works survive – one for alto (Widerstehe doch der Sünde [Stand firm against sin], BWV54) and one for soprano (Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut [My heart swims in blood], BWV199). In Leipzig, Bach was initially frugal as regards new compositions in this genre. Only after he had produced what amounted to a kind of ‘standard repertoire’ of church cantatas in his first years of service there did he begin, in the summer of 1726, to explore new ground in various directions. Within the space of a few weeks he composed the three cantatas for alto on this disc [BWV 170, 35 and 169], and these were followed in the subsequent weeks and months by five more solo works, including such splendid compositions as the bass cantatas Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen (I will the cross-staff gladly carry, BWV 56) and Ich habe genung (I have now enough, BWV 82). In the three alto cantatas, Bach takes another step into the musical unknown: he increasingly uses instrumental movements in his cantatas, and is particularly fond of giving significant soloistic duties to the organ, an instrument that had hitherto only served to accompany the basso continuo. As has sometimes been suggested, this may have been a way of testing the mettle of his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, then an adolescent.”
Cantata 35 Details and Origin
A summary of the movements in Cantata 35, including the origin of the sinfonias from an earlier concerto, are found in Hofmann’s liner notes. Hofmann, who wrote the Critical Commentary for Cantata 35 in the NBA KB-20 (See Footnote 1), believes the openingsiciliano aria is an original work, not the slow movement from the same concerto.
<<Six weeks later [after Cantata 170], for the twelfth Sunday after Trinity (8th September 1726), Bach presented the Leipzig congregation with another alto solo cantata, Geist und Seele wird verwirret, and this time too it was a work that gave the organ a chance to demonstrate its capabilities as a virtuosic solo instrument. As with the preceding work, the text comes from the collection published in 1711 by Georg Christian Lehms, and this one too comprises three arias linked by two recitatives. Bach’s composition, however, is more ample in scale. The cantata consists of two sections – to be played before and after the sermon – each of which is introduced by a concertante movement [sinfonia] for organ and orchestra.
Admittedly Bach did not write these movements especially for this cantata; he evidently took them from an instrumental concerto (now lost), perhaps for oboe, from the Weimer or Köthen period, and merely arranged them for the new instrumental forces. Both are pieces of great momentum and power. The first is a concerto movement in the Italian style with a striking ritornello that is subjected to intensive thematic working-out in the dialogue between solo instrument and orchestra; the second is an engaging per petuum mobileintroduced by the
The text makes direct reference to the gospel reading for the twelfth Sunday after Trinity – Mark 7, 31–37, which tells of Jesus’ healing of a deaf and dumb man, but reinterprets the event in the first aria and following recitative in such a way that the observation of Jesus’ miraculous deeds might so to speak render the believer speechless (‘taub und stumm’, ‘deaf and dumb’). The first line of the second aria, ‘Gott hat alles wohlgemacht’ (‘God has accomplished everything so well’), is taken almost verbatim from the last verse of the gospel reading; the strophe in its entirety sings the praises of God’s care and love. The recitative in the second part of the cantata once more takes up the image of the believer who is struck dumb and combines it with a plea that Jesus might
once again – as with the deaf and dumb man – utter the word ‘Hephata’ (‘Be opened’), whereupon the believer’s heart would open up and his tongue would be loosened so that he might perceive and praise the divine miracles.
The final aria appends thoughts of longing for the hereafter. A new feature by comparison with the cantata Vergnügte Ruh is that the organ appears in the manner of a duet partner with the vocal line in all three arias. Bach did, however, give each movement its own identity, attaching particular weight to the opening aria [Mvt. 2]. The characteristic dotted rhythm is that of the siciliano, a type of movement that was very common in instrumental ensemble music of the era in slow, cantabile movements; in Bach’s instrumental works, too, it is often found. It has thus sometimes been assumed that this aria might have started life as the slow movement of the concerto from which the two introductory sinfonias in the cantata originated. The nature and frequency of the corrections in Bach’s autograph score, however, indicate that this is a newly composed work rather than an arrangement. The orchestral writing for the strings and oboes is entirely in the characteristic rhythm; the vocal line follows this with some freedom, some times diverging from it widely before returning. The organ, however, shows great freedom, entwining the melodic activity in the orchestra and vocal line with agile figurations. The agility of the organ part – which does not follow the siciliano pattern – may have something to do with the word ‘verwirret’ (‘confused’) in the text; similarly, the striking pauses in the movement’s theme can be interpreted as images of being struck dumb. With ‘Gott hat alles wohlgemacht’ (‘God has accomplished everything so well’), Bach provides a contrast to the seriousness of the opening aria by writing a movement expressing joyful confidence in God. The orchestra is silent; the musical argument is maintained by the vocal part and organ.
The organ writing in the alto register, rich in coloratura, supplies a very characteristic theme of its own, and this idea is heard throughout the movement, sometimes in the manner of an ostinato, sometimes freely developed; in its figuration and motoric drive it is stylized just like Bach’s writing for the violoncello piccolo.
The aria ‘Ich wünsche nur, bei Gott zu leben’ (‘I wish only to live with God’) concludes the cantata in the style of a minuet. Both the text and the music are filled with the anticipation of joy in the hereafter even if the minor key darkens the mood when the text speaks of ‘jammerreichen Schmer zensjoch’ (‘sorrowful yoke of pain’) and
‘martervollen L’ (‘tormented life’) here on earth. The central focus is nevertheless on the expression of joyful confidence, to which the organ part contributes greatly with its lively triplet figures. These are taken up by the vocal part at the words ‘ein fröh liches Halleluja’ (‘a joyful hallelujah’) and are thereby given a literal content.>>
The origin and character of the original material that Bach later borrowed remains uncertain. The general consensus is that the two fast sinfonias (as fair copies) and the intermediate slow opening siciliano aria are derived from an instrumental concerto composed in Weimar or Köthen, postulated by Philipp Spitta in 1889 in his monumental Bach musical biography.9 This supposition was based upon a nine-bar fragment of a clavier concerto in D minor, the same as the opening sinfonia of Cantata 35, published by the Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe in 1869 (BG XVII:xx, Clavier concertos [BWV 1051-59], editor Wilhelm Rust). Catalogued as the Klavier Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1059 (?c1730), it is throught to have originated as a violin or oboe concerto. It was reconstructed from the three movements of Cantata 35 as the Violin Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1059R, by G. Frotscher, Halle 1951; and subsequently reconstructed by Igor Kipnis as the Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1059.
The violin concerto origin of the three movements in Cantata BWV 35/1, 2 and 5 was accepted and the two additional arias appear adapted from earlier instrumental materials, says W, Gillies Whittaker in his analysis of the vocal work in the section, “Cantatas Utilizing Borrowed Instrumental Material, Organ Obbligato Cantatas,” in The Cantatas of JSB, Sacred and Secular.10 He suggests that the second aria (Mvt. 4), “Gott hat alles wohlgemacht” (God has done all things well), scored for as a free-da capo trio aria with obbligato organ and continuo in 4/4 time, “may have been derived from a gamba or ‘cello sonata movement” as the “general character of the music fits quite well the text” (Ibid.: 247). In the third and final minuet-style aria in 3/8 time (Mvt. 7), “Ich wünsche nur bei Gott zu leben” (I wish to live only with God), the “full scoring reappears and we evidently possess in this number the finale from yet another lost violin concerto” as “Bach contrives to write a suitable vocal line (Ibid.: 247f).
Subsequent scholars generally accept the violin concerto origins of the two sinfonias in 4/4 and 3/8 time for tutti orchestra as well as three arias. The final aria in quick tempo with 3/8 flourishes is a composing movement and thus, says Klaus Hofmann (Ibid.), shows that the “nature and frequency of the corrections in Bach’s autograph score, however, indicate that this is a newly composed work rather than an arrangement.”
Solo Instrument, Dating Vary
As to the solo instrument in the original concerto and its dating, scholars vary.11 Alfred Dürr says, “As in various other cantatas of that year , Bach here reused a lost concerto, probably composed in Cöthen” and probably a “concerto for oboe and strings” in the two sinfonias but the aria origin “is uncertain but not impossible” as the original concerto slow movement. Only the two fast outer movements originating from a lost oboe concerto are accepted by David Schulenberg, who dates the concerto to the “Weimar years; it seems to have had points in common with the oboe concerto of Alessandro Marcello that Bach transcribed there for solo keyboard as BWV 974.” The oboe concerto original slow movement has been identified with the Sinfonia “Aria” for oboe and strings but “may be derived from” another concerto slow movement, Schulenberg says. Harpsichordist Kipnis’ adaptation of the Clavier Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1059, simply transcribes the three movements from Cantata 35, says Uwe Kraemer. While noting the plethora of borrowed instrumental material in Bach’s third annual church-year cantata cycle, Richard D. P. Jones cautiously finds that the two sinfonias are “adapted from the first movement and possibly the finale of a lost oboe concerto,” although “it is not at all easy to see a clear connection with the text.” Werner Neumann accepts only the first sinfonia and questions the second sinfonia as sources from the lost Clavier Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1059, while also questioning the source of the final aria Mvt. 7) as a concerto movement.
The opening siciliano-style da-capo aria in 6/8 time, Geist und Seele wird verwirret (Soul and spirit become confused), is one of many dance-style arias or instrumental movements in 6/8 or 3/8 slow tempo found in Bach’s works dating to Weimar. It shows the Italian arcadian influence of a Sicilian shepherds dance as found in Cantatas 25.5, 68.1, 107.7, 174.2, and 211.8, as well as the pastoral Sinfonia and closing chorale in Part 2, the Adoration of the Shepherds, in the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, according to Richard D. P. Jones.12 This term that Bach used interchangeably with “siciliana,” and alla siciliana,” is most often and consistently found in slow movements of instrumental sonatas and concertos for violin, flute, harpsichord as well as sonatas for organ, gamba, flute, and haripsichord. This type – slow, expressive, elaborate in the instrumental movements also is found, usually unmarked, in Cantatas 19.5, 35.2, 87.6, 101.6, 120,1, 140.3, 169.5 and the well-known alto aria in “Erbarme dich, mein Gott” (Have mercy on me, my God), in the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244.
1 References: BGA VII (Church Cantata 31-40, Wilhelm Rust 1857), NBA KB I/20 (Cantatas for Trinity +12, Klaus Hoffman), BC A 125, Zwang: K 150, Autograph score (facsimile): Berlin, Staatsbibliothek; Scoring:
Score Vocal & Piano [2.23 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV035-V&P.pdf; Score BGA [4.64 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BGA/BWV035-BGA.pdf
2 Francis Browne English translation and “Notes on the text,” English translation and Lehms’ German text, see BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV35-Eng3.htm.
3 See Lehms’ BCW Short Biography, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Lehms.htm.
4 See BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity12.htm, Musical Context of Bach Cantatas
Motets & Chorales for 12th Sunday after Trinity; scroll down to “Chorales and Lessons” and “Sacred Meanings.”
5 The readings for the 12th Sunday after Trinity, reflecting this shift to a positive tone, are: Epistle: 2 Corinthians 3:4-11 (Ministers of a new Covenant); Gospel: Mark 7:31-37 (Miracle of deaf man cured); http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Trinity12.htm (German, Martin Luther 1545; English, KJV 1611). Introit Psalm 34 (I will bless the Lord at all times), http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+34&version=KJV ; also known as the “Danksagung für Gottes Freundlichkeit” (Thanksgiving for God’s Friendliness).
6See Gardiner’s liner notes, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Gardiner-P06c[sdg134_gb].pdf, BCW Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Rec2.htm#P6.
7 Richard Petzoldt, Bach Commentary, Volume 1: The Sacred Cantatas of the Sundays after 1-27; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2004: 303). For Petzoldt’s commentary on the Johann Olearius sermon for the 12thSunday after Trinity (see p. 304) and Bach’s music for this Sunday: BWV 69a: 304-316, BWV 137: 316-323, BWV 35: 323-329; BWV 117: 329-338, BWV 100: 338-345, BWV 189: 346-348.
8 See Hofmann’s liner notes, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Suzuki-C37c[BIS-SACD1621].pdf, BCW Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Suzuki-Rec2.htm#C37.
9 Spitta, Johann Sebastian Bach: His Work and Influence on the Music of Germany, 1685-1750, in 3 volumes, translation Clara Bell and J. A. Fuller-Maitland (London: Novello & Co., 1889; and paperback reprint, New York: Dover Publications, 1951: II:447).
10 Whittaker, Volume 1 (London: Oxford University Press, 1959: 245-249).
11 Sources are: Alfred Dürr, The Cantatas of JSB (Oxford University Press, 2005); David Schulenberg, Oxford Composer Companions: JSB, edited by Malcolm Boyd (Oxford University Press, 1999: 187f); Uwe Kraemer (translation Stewart Spencer; “Bach Harpsichord Concertos” liner notes, Sony CDs SB2K-53243, 1993); Richard D. P.Jones, The Creative Development of JSB: Volume 1I: 1717-1750, Part 1, Chapter 4, “Sacred and secular: Vocal Works, Leipzig Cycle II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013: 175); and Werner Neumann, Handbuch der Kantaten JSBs, 5th edition (Leipzig: Breitkof & Härtel, 1984: 61f.
12 See “siciliana” in Oxford Composer Companions: JSB, edited by Malcolm Boyd (Oxford University Press, 1999: 448. Jones cites Doris Finke-Hecklinger, Tanzcharakter in JSBs Vokal Musik (Trossingen: Matth. Hohner AG, Musikverlag; 1970: 78-81. Instrumental and well as vocal dance-style movements are discussed in depth in Dance and the Music of JSB: Expanded Edition of Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne (Indiana Unversity Press, 2009; Amazon.com: Amazon.com. See Thomas Braatz’s BCW article, list and extensive discussion of "Dance Movements in Bach’s Vocal Works," http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Dance.htm.
To come: Recordings of Cantata 35, Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1059, alto arias, and sinfonias.