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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 40
Dazu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of April 26, 2009

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 21, 2009):
BWV 40 Discussion - Sibelius Scorch Plugin

I thought it would be a good idea to get list participants to download the Scorch web page plug-in now. I strongly suggest that you use Internet Explorer (despite the plug-in's claims, it doesn't seem to work with my Firefox, and it definitely doesn't work with the Google Chrome browser). Other operating systems and browsers do have a special installer, that's noted on the page with the links you need.
Obviously make sure you have your computer sound on and your external speakers are turned on (or your headphones are plugged in).

You can download the plug in at Sibelius' website here (Sibelius will ask for your E-mail address, but they don't spam your inbox): http://www.sibelius.com/cgi-bin/download/get.pl?prod=scorch&com=sh

Follow the instructions and it should install with no issues. You know the installation is finished when you see a small bit of music with the player on your page.

You need to make sure your sound is on

Aryeh has place a small sample page at the Bach cantata website, you can use this to get familiar with the plug-in. By mousing over the control bar, you can see that you can toggle to any page, speed or slow down the playback to any speed, stop or pause the music, save the file to your local drive, or print it out (I've embedded the print option so participants can look at the files later).

The sample page is: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/praetorius.htm


If you have any issues, please let me or Aryeh know and we can try to help you. Thanks so much!

Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote (April 21, 2009):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] I went to the sample page and was told I needed a newer version of Scorch. I followed the directions. Worked like a charm. I love stuff like this! What do you play for us now?

Francis Browne wrote (April 21, 2009):
[To Kim Patrick Clow]Many thanks to Kim for this initiative : Sibelius scores could be an excellent resource . I installed Sibelius Scorch plug -in with Firefox ( and Vista) last July and it seems to work fine with the Praetorius . The plug-in is much larger (43mb) than that for Internet Explorer(12.5).

I mention this in case others may want to use Scorch with Firefox - if I , who make no claim to any technical expertise, can install it, others presumably may do so also.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 22, 2009):
Nessie Russell wrote:
< I went to the sample page and was told I needed a newer version of Scorch. I followed the directions. Worked like a charm. I love stuff like this! What do you play for us now? >
Well great. I'm going to be using sections from the cantata under discussion and including samples. I asked Ayreh about this-- my idea was to make this a wee bit more interactive-- you can do so much with music this way and listen to whatever you want to isolate specific things in real time.

I'm going to highlight the specific items that are mentioned in the previous discussions and maybe a theory about the use of the horn in this cantata along the lines of Philip Pickett's theory for the horn in Bradenburg Concerto no 1.

I'm glad the plug-in worked for you.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 22, 2009):
Francis Browne wrote:
< I installed Sibelius Scorch plug -in with Firefox ( and Vista) last July and it seems to work fine with the Praetorius . The plug-in is much larger (43mb) than that for Internet Explorer(12.5).
I mention this in case others may want to use Scorch with Firefox - if I , who make no claim to any technical expertise, can install it, others presumably may do so also. >
What version of Firefox are you using Francis? I can not get the plug-in installer to run (I made the mistake of getting the most recent release of Firefox this week).

Thanks!

Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote (April 22, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I'm going to highlight the specific items that are mentioned in the previous discussions and maybe a theory about the use of the horn in this cantata along the lines of Philip Pickett's theory for the horn in Bradenburg Concerto no 1. >
Great idea. This will make the list more meaningful to me.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 27, 2009):
Cantata Introduction : Dazu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes - BWV 40

There are many, many fine contributors to the cantata introductions, and I feel particularly insecure following such fantastic writers this past month: Doug Cowling, William Hoffman and David Lebut, Jr. When Aryeh approached me about doing these cantata introductions, I pointed out my insecurity in writing, and wanted to do an more interactive approach. Aryeh agreed along with several list participants. While I am presenting this in the standard E-mail format, I encourage you to download a PDF that's much, much easier to read, and includes several illustrations, plus there are hot links to external Sibelius/Scorch files and mp3s listed at the end of this article.

The PDF is located @ http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV40-Kim.pdf

Johann Sebastian Bach: Dazu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes - BWV 40

While most commentators observe the military aspects present in the cantata's text, a great deal of the commentary overlooks or is unaware of the important element of rhetoric ("musical speech") in the Baroque, especially the use of the horn and its connection to classical Roman motifs. I'm focusing the discussion on that subject for this week, and specifically for the opening chorus for this cantata; I believe that for Bach and his peers, the use of the horn in Christmas cantatas was a rhetorical device to conjure images of Roman triumphal processions: the triumph of Caesar marching into Rome, with Jesus Christ as the new victor, having conquered Satan.


Allegorical symbolism and rhetorical devices

Philip Pickett's research into Baroque notions of rhetoric and its background in allegorical drama and court spectacle is vitally important, and I'll do my best to give a summary of his theory, with extensive quotes from his notes to the Brandenburg Concertos. During the Baroque, composers saw music as a form of speech, and compositions were seen as musical conversations. Using classical authors such as Quintilian and Cicero, the five elements of rhetoric were applied to music: inventio and dispositio were applied to musical composition: elocutio, memoria and actio were applied to musical performances. Using his poetic text as a launch point (the loci topic), a composer would use nuggets of musical inspiration which could be expanded into a complete movement or even composition of several movements. This composition could then be understood as a sophisticated speech. The relationship between words and music became vitally important during the Renaissance, with an entire lexicon of musical expressions and phrases to represent spoken texts, even specific note patterns were identified similar to scanning lines of poetry. The challenge for modern listeners is to relearn this musical lexicon, if we want to be fully informed. Antonio Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" provides a wonderful illustration of this, in the musical score, above specific points, the text of a sonnet is placed above the notes, giving the listener specific cues and clues about the rhetorical phrasing.

Pickett states further "the development of a vocabulary of musical figures which enhanced the direct communication of the text. Later, these ideas were applied to instrumental music of all kinds. The musical figures associated with certain words had become so well-known that performers of sonatas and concertos were expected to recognize them and to project the emotions or Affekts implied by them in the same way as singers of cantatas or opera arias. A deeper knowledge and understanding of 17th- and 18th-centurattitudes to rhetoric, Affekt and symbolism in musical composition might lead to a rather different assessment of many Baroque works and their performance. In Germany especially this musical rhetoric became so important that it was studied, classified and described in numerous treatises, and its axioms applied to the composition and performance of works as diverse as opera arias, cantatas, instrumental sonatas and concertos. Rhetoric, the art of persuasion, was designed to appeal to the emotions as well as the intellect, and was employed by the musical theorists as justification for the emotional effects of music. Besides the surviving textbooks on musical rhetoric there is plenty of evidence in Mass-settings, cantatas, odes and operas that German composers were often obsessed with the concept of using stock musical figures to enhance the meaning of words. And they frequently went further, not only representing in music a variety of spiritual and emotional states, but also finding ways of portraying crowds, battles, waves, breezes, birds, storms, and a host of allegorical figures."

Renaissance and Baroque Court Spectacle

Pickett examines the nature of Renaissance and Baroque court festivals: "The most important element was the processional entry, first a manifestation of medieval feudalism and later an emulation of the Imperial Roman triumph. The Renaissance developed the procession into an allegorical spectacle where the ruler was presented as an Ancient hero, and the focal point of the procession was the various pageant-wagons, decorated with Classical allusions and containing actors, singers and musicians personifying allegorical and mythological figures. A wagon decorated as Mount Parnassus, with musicians representing the nine Muses, was a particularly popular tableau in 17th-century German processions.

he medieval tournament was turned into a highly organized and stylized pageant of mock combat - again usually reflecting mythological themes. The horse-ballet mirrored the movement of the heavens and symbolized cosmic harmony (and the hoped-for peace and good fortune to be brought by the ruler). Examples from 17th- and 18th-century German court spectacles include:

Festivities for the Baptism of Maximilian Emanuel von Wittelsbach Munich 1662

The theme of the festival linked the Wittelsbach family to Theseus and included a performance of the opera Fedra incoronata by Kerll. "The entrance and exit procession took place with magnificent music along with the sounds of trumpets and timpani, also tall triumph wagons... After a musical combat yet another procession came... consisting of court musicians." The various tableaux included Medea, Amazons, Theseus, Hippolytus, Eurypylus (son of Neptune), Perseus, Hercules, Atlas, Castor and Pollux, Pandora, the King of Thessaly and the Argonaut's ship - and a number of different instrumental ensembles were involved.

Festivities for the State Visit of the Brothers of the Duke of Saxony/Dresden 1678

Apart from the usual Masses, races and games of skill there was a long allegorical procession on the theme of the influence of the seven planets on Man's fate, with pageant wagons for the Muses, Diana and Mars. Later in the procession came singers accompanied by cornets and curtals, and last of all a group of musical "peasants" playing shawm, bagpipe and fiddle. The climax of the festivities was a performance of a seven-act opera-ballet on the influence of the seven planets, with music by Bernhard.

Carnival Festivities at the Ducal Court/Dresden 1695

This was by all accounts the most elaborate and impressive event of its kind ever staged in Dresden. The main entertainment was a procession of pagan gods and goddesses. Music formed an integral part of each tableau, and the instruments employed were determined by the character of their deity. The pageant included the Seven Deadly Sins (bagpipes), Mars and Bellona (trumpets, shawms and timpani), Neptune with nymphs and satyrs (oboes and bassoons), Bacchus with bacchantes (oboes, bagpipes, fiddles, lute, guitar, harp and triangle), Ceres (oboes and bassoons), Apollo (lute) and many, many more.
There were similar well-documented festivities in Dresden in 1697, 1709 (again with Parnassus and the Muses) and 1719. The marriage of Prince Friedrich August II of Saxony and Maria Josepha of Austria was one of the major political and social events at the Dresden Court. A cycle of elaborate festivities took place between the winter of 1718 and September 1719, and the theme was again the influence of the seven planets and their associated deities on the fate of Man. One afternoon there was a performance of Heinichen's "La Gara degli Dei" ("The Contest of the Gods") sung by Mercury, Apollo, Diana, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. The work was introduced by a prelude which featured a sonata for two horns, solo violin, oboe and strings, and ended with a coda for strings and horns. Not Brandenburg no 1, unfortunately, but this kind of performance does offer a context for speculation concerning the likely origin of the work and the character of the Brandenburg set as a whole."


Brandenburg Concerto no 1: Caesar's Triumph

For most listeners, hunting horns typically conjure notions of the hunt and most commentators focus on this, but Pickett doesn't: "I believe that the larger signaling horn was developed and introduced into the hunt in the first place because of old associations with the Roman triumphal entry - the hunt being regarded as a kind of triumphal progress. Ancient brass instruments (the curved cornu and buccina and the straight tuba) were well known from bas-reliefs of Roman military processions and triumphs. In Renaissance and Baroque art Fame's trumpet was always depicted as long and straight, so "fantastic stage-versions of the cornu or buccina often led the triumphal entries and processions which formed such an important part of 16th- and 17th-century court spectacle and celebration. Roman reliefs and Renaissance paintings of the cornu in particular (often confused with the buccina in literary sources) show instruments which must have looked to Bach and his contemporaries remarkably similar to the large, hoop-like Baroque hunting horns with which they were familiar, so it is not surprising that horns were used to represent triumphal entries and worldly pomp and glory.

Bach himself symbolizes God's entry into the world as Jesus Christ in the Quoniam of the B-minor Mass with a horn obliggato. Bach uses the same fanfare again, this time played by a trumpet, in the aria "Grosser Herr und starker Koenig" from Part I of the "Oratorium tempore Nativitatis Christi"; and though the trumpet symbolizes royalty the use of this particular fanfare figure probably represents God's entry into the world. Written low in the trumpet's range, it suggests the horn register in which the call would more normally have been heard. So the first movement of Brandenburg I probably portray a triumphal entry with two "modern" representations of the Roman cornu blaring out fanfares at the head of the procession.

BWV 40: Christ's Birth as Triumph

December 1723, was Bach's first Christmas in Leipzig, so much of the instrumental pieces he composed in Köthen, would have been fresh in his mind. Using the cantata text as his launch point for the opening chorus ("For this is appeared the Son of God, that he destroy all the works of the devil.") I firmly believe the rhetorical device for this piece was a transformation of Caesar's triumph in Brandenburg Concerto no 1 to Christ's triumph in BWV 40's opening chorus (please listen to the mp3s detailed below as well as the Sibelius files). Both pieces share many similar qualities: they're both in the same key, and share similar motifs: such as processional marching bass line and blaring horn blasts. This notion is borne out by the subsequent stanzas in the cantata text, which stressed the victory of over Satan, e.g. the fantastic bass aria "Höllische Schlange"

Hell's very serpent,
Art thou not anxious?
He who thy head as a victor shall dash
Is to us born now,
And all the fallen
Shall in eternal repose be made glad.

And then later in the 1st chorale:

Shake thy head now and declare:
Flee, thou ancient serpent!
Why renewest thou thy sting
For my fear and anguish?
Now indeed thy head is dashed,
And I've through the passion
Of my Savior fled from thee
To the hall of gladness.

Bach was not alone in using horns for such rhetorical purposes in German Baroque cantata literature. Bach's predecessor, Johann Kuhnau wrote a cantata requiring 2 horns for the Feast of the Annunciation (related to the birth of Christ) "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern." Other composers such as Georg Philipp Telemann, Christoph Graupner, and Johann Fasch would include horns in their compositions for Christmas in a manner very similar to Bach. It's apparent there was common tradition and framework that was the basis for these pieces, and not some random compositional coincidence, as you will hear by listening to the Sibelius files and mp3s.


Multimedia Files: Sibelius and MP3s

In an effort to make the cantata discussion more interactive, Aryeh has placed several files on the Bach cantata website. These files will illustrate some of the points mentioned in Pickett's theories, as well illustrate context by providing some snippets of music from Bach's peers, Telemann, Fasch, and Graupner. The Telemann Serenata is an interesting case in point because it uses the birth in 1716 of Prince Leopold to the Holy Roman Emperor as bringing peace to Germany, themes are very similar to Bach's in BWV 40. To hear these files, you must have the Sibelius "Scorch" browser plug-in installed, which is available for several platforms and browsers. Follow the instructions provide on the website, and if you have a successful installation, you should see and hear a sample file provided on the Scorch page. Also make sure you have your computer speakers on, or your earphones plugged in.

Scorch Browser plug-in: http://www.Sibelius.com/Scorch

Brandenburg Concerto no 1 in F major, BWV 1046:
http://bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV40-Kim/sibelius/bwv_1046/Brandenburg-no1.htm

Dazu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes, BWV 40:
http://bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV40-Kim/sibelius/bwv_40/BWV40.htm

Unser Wandel by Johann Fasch (for Christmas 1736): (by kind permission of Brian Clark)
http://bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV40-Kim/sibelius/fasch/Fasch_Unser_Wandel_sample.htm

Jauzchet ihr Himmel by Christoph Graupner (for Christmas 1743):
http://bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV40-Kim/sibelius/graupner/451-58-07.htm


MP3 files:
John Eliot Gardner's performance of the opening chorus to BWV 40
A most beautiful performance of the opening chorus:
MP3 URL: Gardiner - MP3

Comparison MP3
This file provides brief clips of Brandenburg Concerto no 1's opening , as well as BWV 40's opening ritornello, and then finally Christoph Graupner's Symphony for 2 Violins, 2 Horns, 4 Timpani, GWV 644. This is to provide audio clues to support the thesis of similar rhetorical devices common to German Baroque composers.
MP3 URL: http://bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV40-Kim/brandenburg-bwv40-comparision.mp3

Telemann MP3
An aria from Telemann's 1716 Serenata for the birth of Prince Leopold to the Holy Roman Emperor "Teutschland grunt und bluht in Friede!" The theme is a long awaited birth bringing peace to the Empire.
MP3 URL: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV40-Kim/Telemann.mp3

Evan Cortens wrote (April 27, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< The PDF is located @ http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV40-Kim.pdf >
Haven't had a chance to go through all this material yet, but I just wanted to say: the PDF looks absolutely amazing! Thanks for the excellent contribution!

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 27, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< When Aryeh approached me about doing these cantata introductions, I pointed out my insecurity in writing, and wanted to do an more interactive approach. >
Kim, thank you very much for all this work! You've provided a prospectus for what could be a real interactive resource on this website. It will be interesting to see what these discussions look like in five years.

A couple of initial comments ....

The Graupner is an astonishing work: 4 timpani! I thought multiple timpani did not appear until the 19th century.

Speaking of lordly glory, it's worth noting that this chorus is reused for the "cum Sancto Spiritu" of the F Major Mass.

The libretto of the cantata is clearly based on the Christmas theme readings for Dec 26. An alternate set of readings was provided for when the day was kept as St. Stephen's Day. What rule decided which readings were used? Of the four cantatas which Bach wrote for this day. Only BWV "Selig ist der Mann" seems to refer to the Stephen narrative.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 27, 2009):
<>
I've corrected the PDF and Aryeh should update the site Monday morning. I wanted to also mention now, I only used the opening ritornellos for the cantata's opening movement, and the Brandenburg no 1 (I was hard pressed to meet my deadline as it was), but I hope that's ok, the selections were meant as highlights only, not to reproduce the entire composition. I appreciate your patience during this learning process too!!

Neil Halliday wrote (April 28, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
>For most listeners, hunting horns typically conjure notions of the hunt and most commentators focus on this, but Pickett doesn't: "I believe that the larger signaling horn was developed and introduced into the hunt in the first place because of old associations with the Roman triumphal entry - the hunt being regarded as a kind of triumphal progress<
Thanks for this interesting perspective, and the connection with the 1st Brandenburg.

In BWV 40/1, the setting of the two halves of the text, namely: "For this is appeared the Son of God" and "that the works of Satan are destroyed" - is most interesting; various voices gradually combine the 2nd phrase with the 1st, until all voices have the 2nd phrase. In the central fugal section a similar approach results in a kind of double fugue, as the 2nd phrase with it's animated repeated note subject is introduced into the first part of the fugue which has the the new "Dazu" subject. There is also a stretto on the "Dazu" subject; after which all voices agian conclude with the "dass der Werke" phrase, before a repeat of the first section.

The BGA is of course available at the BCW. Suzuki [9] and Gardiner [10] have similar lively and attractive performances of this engaging opening movement. Rilling's 1970 performance [2] of the opening chorus is a bit slow, but his choand arias are excellent.

William Hoffman wrote (April 30, 2009):
BWV 40: Fugitive Notes:

Thank you to Kim Patrick Clow and Aryeh Oron for making this discussion even more stimulating and provocative.

Connection and connotations continue and grow as we build on recent discussions involving Bach and Brass, the horn, entrances, processions and entradas, and spiritual meanings.

The significance of Brandenburg Concerto No.1, BWV 1046 grows when we realize that it may have begun as the Sinfonia, BWV 1046a, and 1070, to Cantata BWV 208, Bach's first modern cantata, c.1713 The orchestration is virtually the same and it has the pastorale, dance quality which was to help drive Bach's music at vital, challenging times. I can hardly wait to discuss another great opening chorus,the first for Epiphany, "Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen," with its majestic horns, winds, responsive strings and that fine unision passage.

There is a new Bach book out, Erickson's "The World of JSB," with cultural essays from noted scholars. There are more new connections coming out,including textual documents and pursuit of the possibility that the Great B-Minor Mass (BWV 232) may have been premiered at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna; also a possible connection with Count Sporck who had the Gloria, BWV 232III, and also collected Vesper and Mass music of Vivaldi, who died in Vienna in 1740, had a funeral at the same church where F.J. Haydn may have been a member of the choir there and of course, the center of classical music was shifting north from Italy.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 1, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< There are more new connections coming out,including textual documents and pursuit of the possibility that the Great B-Minor Mass may have been premiered at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna >
Tell us more!

William Hoffman wrote (May 1, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Tell use more! >
The Worlds of JSB, 155: Bach's extended summer trips with Köthen Prince Leopold and the court band in 1718 and 1720 to Carlsbad, possible venue for contact with Bohemnian nobles i.e. Franz Anton Sporck. "Systematic investigation of the 'Bohemian connection' currently underway could lead to significant discoveries concerning Bach and the Catholic Habsburg realm."

BCW Google: Picander 1724-25 published poetry collection dedicated to Sporck, for many years High Commissioner for Bohemia. This collection includes poem set in BWV 148. Sporck may have acted as intermediary between composer and poet. Early 1725 Bach has BWV 232III Sanctus parts copied since original set was with Sporck. Sporck also apparently had parts for Cantata BWV 133.

Sporck, who died in 1738, apparently commission Bach's Missae Brevis, BWV 233-236. Sporck may have been the impetus for the Great Catholic Mass in B Minor (George Stauffer). Meanwhile, he had direct contact with Vivaldi and collected instrumental works and encouraged the Dresden Concerti. He apparently collected Vivaldi's Mass sections (Gloria, Kyrie, Credo)and Vesper music. I don't recall Sporck's opera connections.

I don't know Sporck's direct connection with Leipzig but he apparently had considerable stimulus in Dresden where the same Vivaldi music is found (August the Strong apparently was not interested in extended Catholic church music). As to Sporck's influence in Vienna, it is only conjecture at this point but he may have commissioned or endowed composers and librettists such as Caldara and Metastasio to bring their talents north.

We are only beginning to break out of Bach's Thuringian mold and investigate not only the Bohemian Connection but also the Polish connection.

I also think there is a lot more reception history connections involving people like Baron von Sweiten and Padre Martini. While Bach's family and students knew and transmitted much re. his German connection, there is a big void with the Italian connection.

We have much circumstantial and collateral evidence to pursue.

Jean Laaninen wrote (May 1, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I encourage you to download a PDF that's much, much easier to read, and includes several illustrations, plus there are hot links to external Sibelius/Scorch files and mp3s listed at the end of this article. >
*** Thank you, Kim! Your introduction gives us many clues to a more informed listen. I also think listening to the midi files is very helpful as one can more easily isolate the musical features than when listening for words. I also notated Brandenburg I, some time ago in Finale, and enjoyed seeing and hearing your work. This comprehensive approach that you have chosen tells us something more about what Bach was doing, and gives us a nice period context. I am looking forward to your next introduction.

 

Cantata BWV 40: 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

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