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Cantata BWV 41
Jesu, nun sei gepreiset
Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Discussions in the Week of January 4, 2015 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (January 7, 2015):
New Year's, Cantata 41: 'Jesu, nun sei gepreiset Intro.

In a period of one day, Bach goes from presenting his shortest, most subdued chorale Cantata BWV 122, “Das neugeborne Kindelein” (The newborn little child), on Sunday, December 31, 1724 (the Sunday after Christmas Day), in the St. Thomas Church to his longest, most celebratory and engaging chorale Cantata BWV 41, “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset” (Jesus, now be praised), for New Year's Day, January 1, 1725 in the Nikolaikirche. The half-hour Cantata 41 still has the palindrome symmetrical form of opening and closing chorus and chorale, two arias, and two recitatives, but the madrigalian music goes far beyond the normal scope and offers various surprises and rewarding music.1

Based on the Johannes Herman Christmas song dating to 1591 and the melody now attributed to Melchior Vulpius (1609), “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset” was also used in New Year’s celebration Cantatas BWV 190 and 171. Initially Bach set as a plain chorale Stanza 2, “Laß uns das Jahr vollbringen / Zu Lob dem Namen dein” (Let us complete the year /with praise for your name), to close his first New Year Cantata BWV 190, “Singet dem Herr nein neues Lied” (Sing to the Lord a new song, Ps. 150) a year earlier, January 1, 1724. Probably for New Year’s1729, Bach in Cantata 171, “Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm” (God, as your name, so also is your fame) used the second verse again in the same harmonization as a plain chorale that closed Cantata 41 with the third verse, “Dein ist allein die Ehre” (Yours alone is the honour).

Because of the hymn’s extended 14-line Bar Form in each stanza, Bach was able to set the Cantata 41 opening chorale fantasia in a “unique musical structure (A-A-B-C-A’) for the first movement, based on the chorale melody itself,” says Alberto Basso in the Cantata 41 essay in Oxford Composer Companions: J.S. Bach.2 The two stolen follow A (lines 1-4) and a repeat of the A melody (lines 5-8) in a concertante commentary. An Adagio section follows as B (lines 9-10) in chordal style, ¾ time, an alla breve (2/2), followed by Presto in the style of a fugal motet in C (lines 11-14). The final section “resets the last two lines in the musical language of the first two,” says Basso (Ibid.). The Adagio alle breve and Presto fugal motet are characteristic of an inserted miniature French Overture.

The two da-capo arias also are of great length and distinction: (No. 2) the soprano dance pastoral aria, “Laß uns, o höchster Gott, das Jahr vollbringen” (Let us, o God most high, complete the year) with three oboes, and (No. 4) the tenor aria, “Woferne du den edlen Frieden” (Just as you have decreed noble peace) with a violoncello piccolo duet with its “beguiling, wide-ranging sonority” perhaps related to the “presence and person of Jesus,” says John Elliot Gardiner in his liner notes below.

The second recitative (No. 5) for bass, “Doch weil der Feind bei Tag und Nacht / Zu unserm Schaden wacht” (But since the enemy by day and night / watches for our harm), uses a four-part hymn trope (interpolation) of one line from Luther’s German Litany: “Den Satan unter unsre Füße treten.”(Let Satan be trampled beneath our feet.), a congregational outburst, according to Gardner and Klaus Hofmann in their liner notes below.

Cantata 41 first performance on January 1, 1725, was presented at the early service of the Nikolaikirche before the sermon of Superintendent Salomon Deyling (1677-1755) and the main vesper service at the Thomaskirche before the sermon of the Deacon Urban Gottfried Sieber (1669-1741), says Martin Petzldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 1, Advent to Trinity Sunday.3 The 2nd performance dates between 1732-1735, probably a repeat of the chorale cantata (second cycle).

Readings for New Year’s Day: Epistle: Galatians 3:23-29 (Paul’s Letter: Through faith we are heirs of God’s promise; Gospel: Luke 2:21 (Circumcision. His name shall be called Jesus). Complete text is the Martin Luther German translation (1545), with the English translation Authorised (King James) Version [KJV] 1611; for complete texts, see BCW Readings, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/New-Year-Day.htm

The Introit Psalm for New Year’s Day is Psalm 34, Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore (I will bless the Lord at all times, KJV), says Petzoldt (Ibid.) who calls Psalm 34 “Thanksgiving for God’s joyfulness.” It also is the Introit Psalm for the 12th Sunday after Trinity in Bach’s Leipzig. Motet settings of the chant are among the most popular and recorded, including settings of Lassus (5 vv 1562, 4 vv 1585, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/orlande-de-lassus-mn0001416262/compositions ), Palestrina (5 vv, 1593, http://imslp.org/wiki/List_of_works_by_Giovanni_Pierluigi_da_Palestrina ), Hieronymus Praetorius (SSTBB, 1622, http://www3.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Benedicam_Dominum_(Hieronymus_Praetorius ); Henrich Schütz (STB 1629, http://www3.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Benedicam_Dominum_in_omni_tempore_(Heinrich_Schütz ); Buxtehude (Adendmusik, BuxWV 113, http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2007/Nov07/buxtehude_7773182.htm ; and Johann Rosenmüller (TTB,bc, http://www.discogs.com/Cantus-Cölln-Cantus-Cölln-Edition/release/3767272.

Cantata 41 Text: Johannes Herman 1591 chorale (Mvts. 1, 6 unaltered), and the anonymous librettist (Mvts. 2-5, paraphrased). The Herman (1515-1593) BCW Short Biography is found at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Herman-Johannes.htm. Cantata 41 text and Francis Browne English translation are found at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV41-Eng3.htm.

Besides Herman’s “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset,” Cantata 41 uses a quote from Luther’s full German “Die Litanei” (1528, EKG 138). Luther’s setting to chant-like melody was first found in the Evangelisches Kirchengesangbuch but rarely (if at all) used. Luther compiled The Latin Litany Corrected and his German version which were published in the summer of 1529. In Cantata 41, only one phrase is sung by the chorus, “Den Satan unter unsre Füße treten.”(Let Satan be trampled beneath our feet.), in the bass recitative (Mvt. 5), “Doch weil der Feind bei Tag und Nacht / Zu unserm Schaden wacht” (“But since the enemy by day and night / watches for our harm) at Bar 7.

That phrase, the preceding and a succeeding phrase, plus a 1528 reference to the Turks and Papists, are sung by the chorus in the Recitative (Mvt. 3), “Mein Gott, hier wird mein Herze sein” (My God, here will my heart be), in the Weimar Cantata 18, “Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt” (Just as the rain and snow fall from heaven) for Sexagesimae Sunday, repeated in 1724 and 1732-35. The full German Litany text (from Heinrich Schütz) and Francis Browne English translation are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale064-Eng3.htm, while the Chorale Melody information with text is found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Die-Litanei.htm. The Cantata 18 German text and Francis Browne English translation are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV18-Eng3.htm.

The Herman BAR form hymn, “Jesu, sei gepreiset” (EKG 138) has unusually long verses (14 lines) [in three stanzas] and, according to Alfred Dürr [Cantatas of JSB: 148-51], in Leipzig the last two lines were also repeated to the initial melody. It appears to have been popular in Leipzig (or with Bach?), since Bach used it in three of his New Year Cantatas [BWV 41 1725, 171/6 PC(S2) 1729, and 190/7 PC (S2) 1724] and in a chorale, BWV 362. In Bach’s hymnbook, Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch,4 its is a New Year’s hymn celebrating the New Year as NLGB No. 46 (Zahn melody 8477a, EKG 39). Words and melody were published together in the Wittenberg collection of Christmas Hymns, Cantilenae latinae et germanicae...Lateinische und Deutsche Weinacht Lieder (Wittenberg, 1591), text by Herman, melody anonymous. That source no longer exists and the melody for this chorale makes its initial appearance in “Ein schön geistlich Gesangbuch” by Melchior Vulpius, printed in Jena, 1609. The full German text and Francis Browne’s English translation are found at BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale005-Eng3.htm. Details of the Chorale Melody, “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset,” are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Jesu-nun-sei-gepreiset.htm.

A comparison and contrast to the other two New Year’s Cantatas BWV 190 and 171 is found in Julian Mincham’s introductory commentary, “Chapter 32 BWV 41 Jesu, nun sei gepreiset,” http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-32-bwv-41.htm .5

<<This work has a particular place of interest because it is the first complete Leipzig New Year's Day cantata we have. The corresponding composition, C190 from the first cycle, has only partially survived, although a restoration has been made and recorded by Ton Koopman (box 6 of his complete cantata recordings).

Nevertheless we have enough of the earlier work to know that C 41 is a substantially larger and more ambitious piece, demonstrating Bach's aspiration to make the cantata a significantly dramatic part of the Lutheran service. It may well be that he did not have the full support of the authorities in so doing but such was his reputation and command of music in Leipzig that, even when he had been in office for barely eighteen months, he was able to choose his own way.

The contrast between the introspective C 122, heard just the day before, and this ebullient work could not be more marked. The first movement of C 41 is awesome in both size and content. Even working from the incomplete parts of C 190, it is clear that this later chorus is almost double the length of the earlier one. C 41 uses one of the largest ensembles that Bach was able to command; a four part-choir with strings and continuo, three oboes, three trumpets and drums. The organ would officiate as the continuo instrument and it is quite likely that a bassoon, though not stipulated, would double the bass line. A solo piccolo cello provides the obbligato for the tenor aria.

Bach clearly intended to herald the New Year with a sense not only of infectious joyousness, but also with an extrovert expression of pomp, splendour and majesty. These qualities are less apparent in C190 which, although still a splendidly celebratory work, lacks both the magnificence and range of musical invention of C41. Bach is now pulling out all the stops in order to depict and celebrate the grandeur and glory of the Lord and Saviour and, indeed, following the muted end of the year encapsulated in C 122 only twenty-four hours previously, it may be that he felt it necessary to lighten the heart and rally the troops.

Chorale.

Before focusing upon the mighty opening movement, it is worth becoming familiar with the closing chorale and assessing its potential. Clearly, Bach would have sought a melody fully appropriate for the construction of the large-scale fantasia he must have had in mind. This chorale, praising the Lord for his goodness as the new year begins, is known to have been used by Bach on at least two other occasions, in the later C 171 and in the aforementioned 190, although in the latter case it appears in a more compact form. In C41 it is extended to a full thirty-two bars and, for the final words of the stanza (when the Christian multitude sings out earnestly seeking a New Year of blessings), the metre is changed to a lilting 3/4 time.

However, in order to emphasise the message, Bach repeats these lines by reasserting, and closing the cantata with, the original 4/4 time.

The differences in harmonization are also worth noting. That of C 190 is colourful but unsurprising. That of C 41 takes us from C major to the relatively unrelated key of Bb in the very first phrase! This potential for suggesting movement to and from various keys must have attracted Bach since it gave him greater scope for the modulation and consequent tonal variety which the massive fantasia requires.

In both cantatas the chorale's vocal lines are, as expected, doubled by the instruments and the phrases are punctuated by short trumpet fanfares, fewer in the later work but of a somewhat more grandiose character. Thus Bach chose a chorale he knew well and which offered the maximum of potential for his grand plan.>>

Cantata 41 Movements, Scoring, Text, Key, and Meter are:6 A-A-B-C-A’

1. Chorus (Stanza 1 unaltered) in five parts with ritornelli [SATB]; Tromba I-III, Timpani, Oboe I-III, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo: A Stollen 1, “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset” (Jesus, now be praised); A Stollen 2, “Daß wir haben erlebet / Die neu fröhliche Zeit”
(so that we have lived to see / the new joyful time); Abgesang, B, Adagio alle breve, “Daß wir in guter Stille / Das alt Jahr habn erfüllet” (so that in good peacefulness we / have completed the old year); C presto fugal motet “Wir wolln uns dir ergeben” (We want to give ourselves to you); A’ concertante, “Behüte Leib, Seel und Leben” (protect body, soul and life); 4/4, ¾, 2/2, 4/4; C Major.
2. Aria da-capo (Stanza 2, paraphrased) [Soprano; Oboe I-III, Continuo: A. “Laß uns, o höchster Gott, das Jahr vollbringen” (Let us, o God most high, complete the year); B. “Es stehe deine Hand uns bei” (May your hand stay with us); 6/8 pastorale dance style; G Major.
3. Recitative secco (Stanza 2 paraphrased) [Alto, Continuo]: “ Ach! deine Hand, dein Segen muß allein / Das A und O, der Anfang und das Ende sein” (Ah! your hand, your blessing must alone / be the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end); a minor to e minor; 4/4.
4. Aria da capo (Stanza 2 paraphrased) [Tenor; Violoncello piccolo solo, Continuo]: A. “Woferne du den edlen Frieden” (Just as you have decreed noble peace); B. “Wenn uns dies Heil begegnet” (If we meet with your salvation); a minor, 4/4.
5. Recitative secco (Stanza 2 parahrased) [Bass] and Chorus [S, A, T, B; Continuo]: Recitative, “Doch weil der Feind bei Tag und Nacht / Zu unserm Schaden wacht” (But since the enemy by day and night / watches for our harm); Chorus: “Den Satan unter unsre Füße treten” (Let Satan be trampled beneath our feet); major, 4/4.

6. Chorale plain (Stanza 3 unaltered) [S, A, T, B]; Tromba I-III, Timpani, Oboe I-III, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo): “Dein ist allein die Ehre” (Yours alone is the honour); C major; 4/4, ¾, 4/4.

Gardiner Notes

Cantata 41 initiates the rhythms and patterns of the liturgical year, says John Elliot Gardiner in his 2008 liner notes to the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000 on Soli Deo Gloria recordings.7 <<This is a mature second-year Leipzig cantata of the highest quality. It is the type of cantata that reminds us how, in our increasingly urban society, we have lost close contact with the rhythms and patterns of the liturgical year, and perhaps even with perceptions of the basic cyclic round of life and death. Already one of the features that has begun to register with us as we set off through this year of cantatas is the idea of cyclic return, of a journey from a beginning to an ending, from Alpha to Omega. This will be the essential backagainst which to measure the various events of the coming year, in addition to its changing seasons and turning points. One does not need to be a theologian or a number symbolist to discern Bach’s ways of conveying the simple idea of a progression from beginning to end to new beginning. He makes his strategies wonderfully audible, as in the opening chorus of this cantata: a huge movement, in effect a chorale fantasia. Faced with the problem of structuring the fourteen lines of Johannes Herman’s exceptionally long hymn stanza (evidently popular in Leipzig, as he uses it in three of his New Year cantatas [also BWV 190, 171]) and the way its melody ends a step higher than it started out, Bach decides to repeat the last two lines to the music of lines one and two, so effecting a delayed reiteration of C major in a majestic concluding sweep. Beyond this, he braces his opening and closing cantata movements together, partly by setting the first and last strophes in their original form, partly by using the first two bars of his opening ritornello (themselves forming a miniature ABA pattern) as an interlude between the choral phrases of his final movement. In this way the miniaturised pattern and the entire

cantata both end as they began – a satisfying closing of the circle. But it is the epic scope of Bach’s vision for this opening movement which takes one’s breath away. Besides these exultant brass fanfares, its 213 bars comprise stretches of dense vocal counterpoint, angelic dance-like gestures, and a moment of magic when the forward momentum comes to a sudden halt for the words ‘dass wir in guter Stille das alt Jahr hab’n erfüllet’ (‘that we in prosperous peace have completed the old year’). Out of this erupts a motet-like fugue marked ‘presto’, an enthusiastic rededication to spiritual values (‘Wir woll’n uns dir ergeben itzund und immerdar’ – ‘We would give ourselves to Thee now and evermore’) that merges almost imperceptibly into a reprise of the initial fanfare music.

Praying that the year may end as it began, the soprano now adopts the swaying pastoral gestures of the three accompanying oboes (No.2), irregularly phrased as 3+4 and then, more conventionally, as 2+2+2+2, patterns that Bach continues to vary and extend as though intoxicated by their beauty and loath to move on. In the ensuing recitative the alto, beginning in A minor, swerves off course to establish ‘A und O’ on a C octave in the listener’s mind, resonating with a passage in Revelation where Jesus describes himself as ‘the first and the last... alive for evermore... [having] the keys of hell and of death’ (Revelation 1:17-18).

The jewel in this particular cantata, however, is the tenor aria ‘Woferne du den edlen Frieden’ (No. 4). This is one of only nine cantata movements in which Bach calls for the beguiling, wide-ranging sonority of the violoncello piccolo, an instrument that seems to be linked in Bach’s usage to the presence and person of Jesus, and in particular to his protective role as ‘good shepherd’. Here it is the five-string model he calls for, with a range extending from its lowest string, C, right up to B natural three octaves above in the treble clef, as though to encompass the duality of earth and heaven, of body and soul, and to mirror God’s control of human affairs both physical and spiritual. Another striking moment is the abrupt clamorous choral intervention in the ensuing recitative, voicing the whole congregation’s New Year resolution, ‘Den Satan unter unsre Füsse [zu] treten’ – ‘to trample Satan beneath our feet’.>>
© John Eliot Gardiner 2008; From a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage

Hofmann Notes

Cantata 41 emphasizes the civil new year while invoking the naming of Jesus, says Klaus Hofmann in his 2006 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete sacred cantata recordings. 8 <<Bach’s New Year cantata “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset” was intended for a day that has long had a double character within the church tradition: it begins the civil year and thus provides an opportunity for a grateful look back at the past year and an eager anticipation of the one to come. On the other hand, according to an older tradition that predates the introduction of the civil calendar, it is part of the Christmas celebrations, the day on which Jesus’ circumcision and naming are remembered by means of the reading from Luke 2, verse 21. Admittedly Bach’s cantata begins with an invocation and thus also with Jesus’ name, but thereafter it is entirely concerned with thoughts of the new year. The piece was written for the new year 1725 and is based on a new year hymn that was then very popular in Leipzig and to which Bach returned in his new year cantatas BWV190 and 171: “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset,” by the Silesian-born poet and theologian Johann Herman (1585-1647), using a melody from the 16th century.

The opening chorus is splendid, festive music written for an orchestra including three oboes, three trumpets and timpani as well as strings and continuo. The orchestral writing is lively and thematically independent of the choir; in it, the striking syncopated trumpet motif from the beginning assumes a prominent role. The unusual length of the hymn strophe – 14 lines – means that the movement is correspondingly large in scale. It runs to more than 200 bars, though it undergoes several changes of metre and tempo. The hymn melody appears in the outer sections as a cantus firmus in augmentation in the soprano, accompanied by very lively, freely polphonic writing for the lower voices. The two inner sections form a contrast: at the passage ‘dass wir in guter Stille’ (‘So that we in good peace’) the hitherto fast tempo changes to Adagio, the common time changes to a triple metre, the hymn tune appears in normal note values, and the choral part becomes homophonic. Bach has composed the ‘good peace’, expressed partly through the piano instrumental dynamic – the trumpets are silent and so too, at first, are the oboes – and partly through a reduction of pace in the music. Finally it arrives at perfect peace, represented by a bass note lasting five bars on the word ‘Stille’ (‘peace’). The passage that follows (‘Wir wollen uns dir ergeben’/‘We want to devote ourselves to you’) once again forms a contrast: it is at Presto tempo in alla breve time, set in the manner of a cantus firmus motet in which the instruments only reinforce the voices and do not fulfill any independent function. The conclusion of the movement arises from a repetition of the last lines, as indicated already in the hymn (‘behüt Leib, Seel und Leben’/‘Protect our body, soul and life’), set to the beginning of the melody, for which purpose Bach also returns to thematic ideas from the start of the movement.

The two arias in the cantata, exquisite sound paintings akin to chamber music, each in their own way form a contrast to the full sonority of the opening chorus. In the soprano aria this is achieved by the refined instrumentation for three oboes. In the tenor aria, the accompaniment includes a violoncello piccolo, an instrument that according to one 18th-century source was ‘invented’ by Bach and which he tried out in various forms until 1726. It probably looked like an oversized viola and was normally held like a viola as well

For the musical connoisseurs in the Leipzig congregation, the next two movements of Bach’s cantata also contained surprises. In the bass recitative (No. 5), this takes the form of a sudden outburst of emotion on the words ‘wenn wir in heiliger Gemeine beten: Den Satan unter unsre Füße treten’ (‘When we pray in our holy gatherings: May Satan be trodden under our feet’). On the line of prayer, a quotation from Luther’s German Litany, the remaining choir members join in unexpectedly, rather like a praying congregation, the soprano with the liturgical recitation formula from that prayer song. In the concluding chorale, Bach rounds off this music for a church service in a special way, unique among his cantatas: as a postlude to each line of text, he takes up the syncopated trumpet motif from the beginning of the introductory chorus.>> © Klaus Hofmann 2006

Bach’Leipzig performance calendar for January 1:

1724-01-01 Sa - Cantata BWV 190 Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (1st performance, Leipzig)
1725-01-01 Mo - Cantata BWV 41 Jesu, nun sei gepreiset (1st performance, Leipzig)
|1726-01-01 Di - Cantata BWV 16 Herr Gott, dich loben wir (1st performance, Leipzig)
1727-01-01 Mi – no record
1728-01-01 Do – no ecord
1729-01-01 Sa - Cantata BWV 171 Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm (1st performance, Leipzig) (?)
1735-01-01 Sa – Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248/4 Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben (1st performance, Leipzig)
1736-01-01 So Neujahr - G.H. Stölzel: Gott, der du mein Gott und Heiland bist [Not extant]
1749-01-01 Mi - Cantata BWV 16 Herr Gott, dich loben wir (2nd performance, Leipzig)
Vocal works with no definite date
(1708-1714?) - Cantata BWV 143 Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (1st performance, Mühlhausen)
(1729-1735 ?) - J.F. Fasch: Cantata Gehet zu seinen Thoren ein, FWV D:G 1 (1st performance, Leipzig)
(1732-1735) - Cantata BWV 41 Jesu, nun sei gepreiset (2nd performance, Leipzig)
(1735-1740) - Cantata BWV 190 Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (2nd performance, Leipzig)
BWV 134a Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht (Köthen, 1/1/1719, So.), secular serenade later parodied as sacred work, BWV 134, Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiß, Easter Tuesday 1724.

FOOTNOTES

1 Cantata 41, BCW Details & Discography, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV41.htm.
2 OCC: J. S. Bach, ed. Boyd, Malcolm (Oxford University Press: New York, 1999: 248).
3 Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: New Year’s Day, Commentary, 275-280; Cantata 41 Herman chorale text and Cantata 41 text; 286-291; Cantata 41 Commentary, 290-297).
4 NLGB, BACH'S HYMN BOOK: Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch des Gottfried Vopelius (Leipzig 1682),"Berlin: Merseburger, 1969. ML 3168 G75.
5 Mincham, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach: A listener and student guide, Revised 2014; Home Page, http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/index.htm.
6 Scoring, Soloists: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass; 4-part Chorus; Orchestra: 3 trumpets, timpani, 3 oboes, 2 violins, violoncello piccolo, viola, organ, continuo. Score Vocal & Piano [2.51 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV041-V&P.pdf, Score BGA [4.81 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BGA/BWV041-BGA.pdf. References: BGA X (Cantatas 40-49, Wilhelm Rust, 1860), NBA KB I/4 (Cantatas for New Year’s, erner Neumann, 1964), Bach Compendium BC A 22, Zwang: K 105. Provenance, Thomas Braatz wrote (March 13, 2003), http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV41-Ref.htm.
7 Gardner notes, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Gardiner-P17c[sdg150_gb].pdf ; BCW Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Rec3.htm#P17.
8 Hofmann notes, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Suzuki-C33c[BIS-SACD1541].pdf ; BCW Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Suzuki-Rec2.htm#C33.

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 7, 2015):
Cantata BWV 41 - Revised & updated Discography

The discography pages of the Chorale Cantata BWV 41 “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset” for New Year's Day [Circumcision of Christ, Holy Name] on the BCW have been revised and updated.
The cantata is scored for soprano, alto, tenor & bass soloists; 4-part chorus; and orchestra of 3 trumpets, timpani, 3 oboes, 2 violins, violoncello piccolo, viola, organ & continuo. See:
Complete Recordings (15): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV41.htm
Recordings of Individual Movements (8): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV41-2.htm
The revised discography includes many listening/watching options to recordings directly from the discography pages, just below the recording details.

I have also added to the movement pages of this cantata an option to move back and forth between the movements and to each movement page the text and relevant portion of the BGA score. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/INS/BWV041-01.htm

I also put at the BCW Home Page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/
2 audios of the cantata. A short description below the audio/video image is linked to the full details at the discography pages.

I believe this is the most comprehensive discography of this chorale cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 41 missing from these pages, or want to correct/add details of a recording already presented on the BCW, please do not hesitate to inform me.

You can also read on the BCW William Hoffman's detailed introduction to this week's discussion of the cantata in the BCML (4th round): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV41-D5.htm

Luke Dahn wrote (January 8, 2015):
As William Hoffman has mentioned, there are four Bach chorale settings of the tune "Jesu, nun sei gepreiset" (Zahn 8477a). Those four settings can be viewed in one document (all put in the same key for easy comparison) which includes the tune's appearance in the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch:
http://www.lukedahn.net/Bach/JesuNunSeiGepreiset_BachChoraleSettings.pdf

The four settings are:
BWV 41.6 (1 January 1725)
BWV 171.6 (1 January 1729, or possibly 1730 or 1731 (as per Dürr))
BWV 190.7 (1 January 1724)
BWV 362 (Unknown performance date)

It should be noted that BWV 171.6 is a duplicate setting of BWV 41.6. The only differences are that the former sets the second verse of Herman's text in D major while the latter sets the third verse in C major. Other than the transposition, the two settings are musically identical.

A comparison of 41.6 to the tune's appearance in the NLGB reveals that the striking opening phrase of the 41.6 with its modulation from C major to Bb major actually corresponds quite closely to the NLGB setting. In this respect, the opening phrase in BWV 362 strays further from the NLGB setting, even though it complies more closely with traditional harmonic progression staying in the key of C major (original key is Bb major).

Aside from this, BWV 362 is by far the most harmonically complex of the settings. Not only does it diverge the furthest from the NLGB setting, it contains several passages that are quite ambiguous tonally. The highly chromatic phase at (the first appearance of) "behüt uns Leib und Leben" very nearly uses all twelve chromatic pitches (only Eb is missing) with its double chromatic ascent in the bass and tenor. We don't know which verse originally accompanied BWV 362, but might this chromaticism be an indication that verse two was originally set here where the text is "Die Teufel mach zuschanden" ("destroy the devils")?

BWV 362 also diverges from the other Bach settings in that the final two phrases are repeated (with harmonic modification and with more ascending chromaticism) at the chorale's end rather than the first two phrases.

On another note, I have created a comprehensive sortable table of Bach's extant chorale settings. I am still working out a few sorting kinks, but it's quite usable as is. The table includes every chorale's BWV number, its position in the Dietel, Breitkopf and Riemenschneider (if applicable), its text with verse number in parentheses, its text author, its tune title, its tune author, the Zahn number, its original liturgical occasion, and a list of all the other Bach chorale settings of that particular tune. The table can be sorted by each of these categories: http://www.lukedahn.net/BachChoraleTable.htm

I thought perhaps this might be useful to some.

William Hoffman wrote (January 8, 2015):
[To Luke Dahn] Excellent work. Thank you for the analysis of BWV 362. In the BCW it is listed as from a Lost Cantata. Some of these "unattached" chorales, BWV 253-438, may be from lost cantatas but "It is shown that almost all their hymns were popular during the years 1730-1750 and were admitted into the Leipzig Hymn-book in that period, in some cases for the projected expansion of Schmelli's Hymn book," says C. S. Terry, The Four-Part Chorals of J. S. Bach (London: Oxford University Press: 1929: ix).

It would be interesting to add the familiar one-part interpolations to the list as well as the four-part Luther Litany found in 41/5 and 18/3 of Neumeister.

 

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