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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 51
Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Cantatas BWV 51 and BWV 202

Rodrigo Maffei Libonati (December 21, 2001):
[To Aryeh Oron] First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your wonderful Bach page. I always dreamt to find a page where I could find intelligent discussion about recordings and hints about the cantatas itself and now that I found it - it is a dream come true.

The reason why I am writing is that I would like to suggest the inclusion of Kathleen Battle in the discography of Cantata BWV 51. She recorded the opening aria and the last number + hallelujah. The disc is on Sony, the orchestra is Saint Luke’s, the conductor John Nelson and the trumpetist is Wynton Marsalis. The performance doesn’t reach in my opinion a full recommendation, but Nelson’s conducting is rather clear. Battle is very charming and animated, although her full top notes are not exactly characteristic of baroque sacred music. Marsalis is also very virtuoso in his performance, but - again - modern trumpet creates some problems of balance in those kind of repertoire.

Finally, I couldn’t find the link to the page about cantata BWV 202 - Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten. Is there a page for this one?

I thank you in advance for your kindness and once again congratulate you for the great site.

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 21, 2001):
[To Rodrigo Maffei Libonati] Thanks for your kind words.

Thanks also for the info about Kathleen Battle's recording of BWV 51. I shall update the relevant page of the Bach Cantatas Website.

The reason why BWV 202 does not have a page is simple. Most of the material to the Website comes from weekly cantata discussions in the Bach Cantatas Mailing List (BCML). So far we have discussed 107 cantatas (out of 209). BWV 202 has not yet been discussed. The order and the guidelines for the weekly cantata discussions appear in the following page:


Cantata no. 51

Mario Zama Escalante wrote (March 5, 2002):
I have already listened to Emma Kirkby's singing in Cantata BWV 51 [30] and also I have Rilling recording with Arleen Augér [28].

From my point of view, both are exquisite.


New file uploaded to Bach_Cantatas

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (August 17, 2002):
[42] I have just uploaded the following file to the file area of Bach Cantatas group.

File Name: Track05.mp3
Contents: 'Ich Folge Dir Gleichfalls' from Johannes Passion (BWV 245) from Clint Van
Der Linde's (a former Drakensburg Boys Choir member) solo album

Boyd Pehrson wrote (August 17, 2002):
[42] [To Takasi Tsuhima] Thanks for the upload. I removed some of the oldest files to clear space for more uploads if you wish. Nice trills there by Master Clint. Did you tell me that Clint had recorded part of BWV 51? I thought Max Cencic was the only boy that was recorded performing in any or all of that solo Cantata.

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (August 17, 2002):
[42] [To Boyd Pehrson] Yes, he recorded BWV 51. Recorded on his single album are:

Aria Jachzet Gott 4:60
Recitativo: Wir Beten Zu Dem Tempel An 2:10
Aria: Hochster, Mache Deine Gute 4:29
Choral: Sei Lob Und Preis - Alleluja 5:40

I will upload 'Hochster, Mache Deine Gute' to the file area, if there be enough room. Oh, by the way, I listened to the same aria by the soloists of the Roden Boys Choir - Netherland.

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (August 22, 2002):
[42] This email message is a notification to let you know that a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the Bach_Cantatas group.

File : /Track01.mp3
Uploaded by : osd162 <>
Description : Aria of Solo Cantata BWV 51 'Jachzet Gott in Allen Landen!' performed by Clint Van Der Linde. I will add other tracks by and by later.

You can access this file at the URL:

To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (August 22, 2002):
[42] I have just uploaded the first aria of BWV 51 'Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen!' performed by Clint Van Der Linde, a fromer member of Drakensburg Boys Choir. I will add the more files of this cantata by and by later.

Boyd Pehrson wrote (August 22, 2002):
[42] [To Takashi Tsushima] Thank you Takashi! All I have to say is WOW! Clint Van Der Linde certainly makes easy work of BWV 51 (as did Max Cencic). I dare say Master Van Der Linde has done a better job that most adult sopranos I have heard singing this. The aria only reaches high C maybe three times, so the difficulty is probably most found in style and connection to music. This recording is so fast paced I could hardly believe a young boy was singing at such a standard. Master Van Der Linde did strain up at that high C, but so do most recorded ladies who sweat through this aria (and probably don't sleep the night before their recording session/performance). I think this aria is eminently singable by boys who are well trained, and even the text is very complimentary to the nature of a child singing it- in exuberance, yet with "with feeble voice". I would call Clint Van Der Linde's voice anything but feeble.

The general consensus among music enthusiasts seems to be that boys cannot sing this Aria, and therefore people don't try to train boys to sing it. Clint Van Der Linde dispels that idea, as does Max Cencic's recording. Do any members know who was Master Van Der Linde's vocal coach? Also, if you know of any other recordings of this Aria or the Cantata sung by boys please let the forum know. If anyone has been to concerts where this solo was sung (perhaps by the Tölzers?) please be so kind as to write for us a description of the concert. Or if you can recall reading about such a performance of a boy singing BWV 51, please let us know.

Toño Perera wrote (August 23, 2002):
[42] [To Takashi Tsushima] I have already written 3 diferents mails to thank you for "your uploaded" I have had enough time to listen this aria 30 times: so wonderful!, Bach cantata BWV 51 is my all time favourite piece of music! and my expectation of listening it sung by a boy soprano were very low after what I have heard!.............but I kept my fingers cross and what a nice and wonderful surprise I found when I got home.Thank very much indeed. Do you know if that CD is still available?


New file uploaded to Bach_Cantatas

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (September 4, 2002):
[42] This email message is a notification to let you know that a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the Bach_Cantatas group.

File : /Track02.mp3
Uploaded by : osd162 <>
Description : Track 2 of BWV 51 by Clint Van Der Linde, Recitativo 'Wir Beten Zu Dem Tempel

You can access this file at the URL:

To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (September 4, 2002):
[42] I have just uploaded track 2 of BWV performed by Clint Van Der Linde. It's a recitativo, 'Wir beten zu dem Tempel an.'

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (Sep4, 2002):
[42] This email message is a notification to let you know that a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the Bach_Cantatas group.

File : /Track03.mp3
[42] Uploaded by : osd162 <>
Description : Track 3 of BWV 51 performed by Clint Van Der Linde, 'Hochster, Mache Deine Gute'

You can access this file at the URL:

To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (September 4, 2002):
[42] I have just added another file of BWV 51 performed by Clint Vand Der Linde, 'Hochster, Mache Deine Gute.'

Boyd Pehrson wrote (September 6, 2002):
[42] [To Takashi Tsushima] Thank you for your uploads. It is great to hear more of Master Van Der Linde's talents in recordings of Bach's BWV 51. Is this the only boy to record the whole Cantata? I believe Max Cencic only recorded one aria of BWV 51. Did you already provide the CD information? I guess it would be out of print since 10 years ago the CD was recorded.

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (September 6, 2002):
[42] [To Boyd Pehrson] Thanks for your response.

I think I wrote how I got the copy in my response to To (it was published in 1993). Although I'm not sure, nit might be out of print.

I will upload the last part of the cantata (Choral 'Sei Lob und Preis - Allelujah') later when the when the enough room for the upload becomes available. By the way 'Hochser, Mache deine Gute' by another boy solo is available on 'Treble Solo' by the Roden Boys Choir. (Boyssound

Toño Perera wrote (September 7, 2002):
[42] [To Takashi Tsushima] Many thanks, I will treasure your uploads as much as my book Niels Lyhne wich took me years to find in Spanish!. No doubt that Clint Van der Linde sung it very beautifully, although I had to fight for not comparing it to Harnoncourt´s version, probably unbeatable to me!...what a pity that in the aria Hochster, Mache Deine Gute were used the clavicordio!? :-(. Any way, Domo arigato for uploading this version of the most beautiful, touching, sincere, close "prayer" that I have encountered in my life!

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (September 18, 2002):
[42] This email message is a notification to let you know that a file has been uploaded to the Files area of the Bach_Cantatas group.

File : /Track04.mp3
Uploaded by : osd162 <>
Description : The final choral of BWV 51'Sei Lob Und Preis' and 'Allelujah' performed by Clint Van Der Linde

You can access this file at the URL:

To learn more about file sharing for your group, please visit:

Takasi Tsuhima wrote (September 18, 2002):
[42] I have just uploaded the last part of BWV 51 performed by Clint Van Der Linde.


Jauchzet Gott

Juozas Rimas wrote (October 5, 2002):
Thanks for all those who have contributed to this thread. I didn't think I had to say anything more - the comments were exhaustive but today I put on my daily Bach CD and it was BWV 51 "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" (Christine Schäfer, soprano, Reinhard Goebel and Musica Antiqua Köln) [52]. Not the best performance I suppose - at least I enjoyed the Marsalis/Battle duo more.

What I realized when listening to it was the fact I never heard it performed by a boy soprano. The recent discussion aroused my interest so I checked online and - guess whom Leonhardt uses as a soprano in the Teldec set for this cantata - a Ms Marianne Kweksilber. Incidentally, Peter Jan Leusink uses a Ms Ruth Holton [54]. lists as many as 43 recordings of this exhilarating cantata and, judging by the names, all are by female sopranos.

How has this cantata acquired its women-only status? Does anyone have an sound sample of a boy soprano in it?

P.S. The same situation is with the soprano parts of another popular cantata BWV 208 (a.k.a. "Hunting cantata") - all 11 female versions, including Harnoncourt's 1990 rendition in the Teldec set (Yvonne Kenny, Angela Maria Blasi). Perhaps this feminization can be explained by the secular status of the cantata itself but what about BWV 51, which is clearly a praise of God?

Douglas Neslund wrote (October 5, 2002):
[To Juozas Rimas] Over 20 years ago, one of my boy soprano soloists (named Brian Chacon) performed Cantata 50 under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas at Ojai Festival here in Southern California. I trained three boys for the part, and MTT made the final choice.

The only audiofile I have found of that experience is an extremely poor cassette tape made by someone sitting in the audience, poor because the performance was outdoors and with a cheap machine and distance to the stage, one can only faintly hear Brian sing.

I have a backlog of tapes from my choir directing days to listen to, and should I get lucky and find a tape with Brian singing, either in rehearsal or performance, I will upload that to the B_C file section and alert all.

It has been done, and in the future, will doubtlessly be recorded by someone, somewhere.

Boyd Pehrson wrote (October 5, 2002):
[To Juozas Rimas] Thanks for your remarks. Ach! You just missed a great discussion earlier last month about boys singing BWV 51. You can still access the posts by logging in to the Yahoo groups page:
Also you can listen to a boy soprano from the Drakensberg Boys' Choir named Clint Van der Linde sing the arias of this cantata by checking the files section of the group website: [42]

The Vienna Boys' Choir had a soloist named Max Cencic who recorded the main aria of BWV 51. The Drakensberg Boys' Choir from South Africa had a soloist named Clint Van der Linde who recorded the whole cantata. If any of our members can upload the Max Cencic version for us to hear it would be very interesting to compare the two boys' singing. One must remember, these boys are at the mercy of who ever conducts them for the particular project, so one can imagine the range of possibilities that were available for the boys' approach. One thing I would point out is that, as boys sound different, it is a good idea when listening to boy soloists to listen actively, rather than passively as we normally have been taught to do. We have all been taught to put on an LP or CD or Tape and turn on the player, or radio, and putter around with mild activities- this is passive listening (my Windows Media player has an annoying display of weird lights while playing MP3s- very distracting!). Active listening requires an almost Zen like atmosphere. For active listening, one must put away preconceived ideas about their most liked recording or how the music is "supposed to be played/sung" and get into a non distracting situation (i.e. candle-lit room with headphones) in order to focus. The focus might be: how does the perfinteract with the construction of the music and the texts, and how do they work within the perimeters of the direction. The more un- distracted and zen-like the focus the better. Because the approach by boys in singing is different (from adult females- boys are different all together) we listen differently. It is an opportunity to glimpse into that childlike and soulful connection of innocence in the musical heart that we never outgrow save for interference by musical authoritarianism.

Juozas your note of the feminization of this cantata is a good point. My own opinion is that this is not one of the "great" cantatas- I don't know many who list it as their most liked cantata. The complicated musical conversation that Bach employs elsewhere is subdued in order to promote coloratura virtuosity- which is not really the heart and soul of Bach. The cantata has "un-Bachian" traits in my opinion. The cantata has difficult arias to be sure, but they are not like Mozart's coloratura arias. I don't think BWV 51 rises above a high C and that only once or twice (perhaps some one could correct or confirm me here?). Since BWV 51 has a virtuoso character people naturally look for operatic singers for such a thing. As you will hear in the files by Drakensberg Boys' Choir soloist Clint Van der Linde, well trained boys can competently tackle the arias (Master Van der Linde breaks the speed barrier here- and makes the arias sound easy). The ideas that BWV 51 could not have been written for a boy because it is just too difficult are silly. The ideas challenging BWV 51 as being written for a boy were not seriously raised until the 1950's. The 1940's Berlin edition of Bach's Cantata BWV 51 still noted in the preface that it was probably some highly skilled boy or a young countertenor who was the lucky recipient of Bach's musical challenge. It is certainly not a secular cantata with 'praise God all ye lands'. I like the part of the text that says 'with feeble voice'. I can very much picture a young boy climbing all over this cantata's arias like a boy scrambling over playground equipment! Who knows what Bach was thinking here... maybe he just had too much coffee that day!

The recordings of BWV 51 do not have a long history yet. Most people will expect a woman in a recording of most Bach vocal music, and BWV 51 more so due to the operatic and showy nature of it. I think many people would object to what the late Dr. Paul Henry Lang of Columbia University called the "glassy" quality of boys' voices in the very high notes. Dr. Lang was among the most outspoken critics of the use of boys in classical music performances and he called the use of boys antiquated. But, Dr. Lang's criticisms regarding the use of boys' voices were on matters of musical taste and not on the skills of the performers. In fact he praised their skills noting English Choirs. Instead he encouraged us to adjust our performances to the current tastes in musical sound rather than pulling "alien" sounds out of the past. Dr. Lang noted something he called a "glassy" quality in the boys' highest notes. Even though he was a critic of the art form of unchanged male voice, he did not say very high notes were a "strained" sound, nor did he say the boys "struggled" as is the fashion among some anti boy critics today. These days most people are un accustomed to what Dr. Lang called that "glassy" quality. In very high notes boys' tone loses warmth and becomes steely. Some boy soloists are allowed to strain, but it is a strain to keep a warm tone, and I think directors who make them do this may be in error in this regard (I don't think here of Harnoncourt or Leonhardt who seem to avoid this). Bach's music doesn't strike out above high C too often, and hovers instead exquisitely just below in a more comfortable range for boys. But caveat here- this is not my area of expertise- only my somewhat limited observations.

In revisiting the idea above that BWV 51 has un-Bachian traits, it is no surprise that the introduction and rise of the use of women sopranos in churches and in operas closely follows the introduction and rise of the ideals of the Enlightenment- (man-centered) individuality expressed through virtuosity in music. This notion was more alien to Bach's sensibilities- his music roars against the philosophies of the Enlightenment. Bach is choir and unity, and interplay among voices and instruments rooted in solid bass foundations.

Douglas Neslund wrote (October 5, 2002):
[To Boyd Pehrson] There are several reasons why Harnoncourt used a female soprano on Cantata BWV 51.

It was difficult to acquire a boy soloist at that exact period that the recording company allotted time for recording. The choirs being used at that time for the Teldec series were all very busy and there was no time available for the amount of training required in a first time venture, as is always the case with new repertoire. A work that is so demanding as this cantata, takes enormous time out of an organization's schedule. Marianne Kweksilber came ready, willing and financially hopeful, and she was good.

There are not very many Bach cantata arias that let a female singer shine as much as this one, and it is one of the few works by Bach that I find also enjoyable when done by a very fine female soprano. I remember a magnificent performance by Arlene Auger during the Bach Festival at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles beautifully conducted by Thomas Sommerville. Another time, I heard it by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, and it was not very good.

Max Cencic, in his recording had the conductor and orchestra against him, otherwise it would have been very fine. He certainly had all the qualifications (talent, voice and personality) for performing this cantata. The orchestra was not up to this work at that time, and the conductor made it sound like a work for a funeral, dragging on the voice of the poor singer who would have been excellent with another conductor.
The recording by Clint van der Linde [42] is good. It was very well conceived by the conductor who knew what to do for that particular vocal talent. It is unfortunate that Max Cencic did not have such a conductor. His voice was somewhat larger in texture and more projected than Clint van der Linde's, with a bit more warmth. Clint van der Linde's fioratura work is very interesting.

This cantata is from the Leipzig period where Bach trained his boys completely from the beginning so it is apparent that he had boys that could sing difficult music. We must also remember that high notes were not used as they are today, especially since the verismo period. An even scale produced with virtuosity by a singer throughout the range was more exciting at that time. Now we use every possible moment to lurch at a high note for every possible climax and too many singers are judged by the high note in a climax rather than how well they have sung throughout.

The discussion about this cantata has been very interesting, and this cantata is more than worthy of the speculation and discussion. In this composition, Bach shows his great ability to write in a style that is not usually done by a church composer in that period.

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (October 5, 2002):
[To Juozas Rimas] There's a version of BWV 51 by a boy treble on the site for this list, but I'm not sure what the url is.


Boyd Pehrson wrote (October 5, 2002):
[To Matthew Neugebauer] You should be able to access this file at the URL:
This is the aria from BWV 51 sung by Clint Van der Linde [42]. Let me know if you were able to download this.


Adding some music? BWV 51

Boyd Pehrson wrote (January 23, 2003):
[To Kirk McElhearn] Thank You Kirk,

I hope the files section will be used judiciously, and moderated with patient diligence.

Loaded into the newly opened files area of BachCantatas is the famous aria of the Solo Cantata BWV 51 'Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen!' performed by boy soprano Clint Van Der Linde with modern instruments [42]. This file is provided for educational purposes, and is thus legal to provide to this closed (membership only) forum. I doubt the recording is still available, but if so, this constitutes a promotion of the original recording. This recording demonstrates the abilities of an operatic trained boy soprano on BWV 51, which few members of BachCantatas have had the opportunity to hear. Please enjoy, but do not copy as the choir school at Drakensberg or Clint Van Der Linde may yet want to sell you a copy of the entire Cantata. :-)

While this particular Cantata is not the topic of current discussions, I think it is the best to celebrate the newly opened files section of what is the greatest among Music Discussion groups. Here is truly the rarest of rare files... enjoy:

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 23, 2003):
[42] I only received the 1st 48 ms. of this aria.

Here are some of my impressions:

This voice (Clint van der Linde) sounds amazingly like a cross between a boy soprano and a female soprano. It does not have the voice quality that I have come to expect from a boy soprano. This is a bit uncanny. Just as Holton and Quecksilber (the female soprano on the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt series) begin to sound more like a boy soprano, so does this boy soprano sound more like a female. This voice or type of voice is familiar from the many recordings of BWV 51 here some months ago. Quecksilber, in contrast to Holton, had strong mid to upper range. She would be the closest equivalent to what we can hear in this snippet.

Some finer points:

At times there is a bit too much vibrato on the coloraturas. This gives a slight sense of insecurity regarding the notes.

There is a nice high c (not forced) in ms. 28.

Some held notes are brilliantly clear (the way I personally like to hear them) and sung with conviction and 'soul.'

In ms. 12, Clint sings an F# instead of an F as the 2nd 16th in that bar. This must be a mistake, since the NBA KB does not list this variant among all the sources that have come down to us.

Clint's range is quite limited. He is weak in the low range (which really is not that low) and unable to produce a reasonable volume below a'. At these points the orchestra overwhelms the voice.

I am unable to say anything meaningful about the German diction in the short sample that I heard.

I wish the Kirk would allow pictures (for scanning musical examples) to be posted on this site as well as musical examples.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (January 23, 2003):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< I wish the Kirk would allow pictures (for scanning musical examples) to be posted on this site as well as musical examples. >
The Kirk replies - why can't you put graphics files there as well? There should be no distinction among different file types.

Boyd Pehrson wrote (January 23, 2003):
[To Thomas Braatz] [42] I had no trouble downloading the entire 3:53 min of the sample track. I think you may have experienced an interruption in file transfer- possibly due to heavy Yahoo traffic.

Re: Master Van Der Linde, I believe he had just turned 14 years old when he recorded this, and his voice was already in change. He sings in the popular stylized operatic fashion that most people now days come to think of when they imagine "soprano singing". Clint was trained to perform the various opera standards, from Mozart to Gilbert and Sullivan, that his Boys' Choir uses for public concerts. His falsetto training allowed him to sing soprano through voice change. Singing all in head tone would limit his range especially in the lower notes. I sense that boys tend more often to drift sharp when singing, and girls' tend to drift flat. These will be corrected in long choral notes by the director, but hard to correct once the note is sent out in coloratura.I hope you might be able to get the entire sample downloaded eventually. There are some interesting decorations later on.

I hope the clip helps people to understand another facet of boy voice, that boys may sing even during voice change, and that a boy was very capable of singing Bach's BWV 51 - which I believe was written for one of his choir boys to sing. The cantata is not impossible for a boy to sing - far from it, but the notion that no boy could have ever sung the cantata, or that the cantata was not intended for a boy soprano is a bit romantic and silly.

I think photos section of the BachCantatas Yahoo groups web page could also handle your picture file.

Charles Francis wrote (January 23, 2003):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
[42] < I only received the 1st 48 ms. of this aria. >
Save the MP3 file on your desktop first, before listening. Right click and use the "save as" etc.

Hope you manage to get the whole movement.

Santu de Silva wrote (February 3, 2003):
[42] This is a wonderful recording! In fact I haven't heard it sung any better. Perhaps I don't have the best there is to be had. (I have Argenta/Trio Sonnerie [41], Julianne Baird/Rifkin [33]. I also have heard Kathleen Battle.)

Robert Sherman wrote (February 4, 2003):
[To Santu De Silva] Try Auger/Laueben. By far the most thrilling version I've heard Ameling/André is also good and she gets amazing floating high notes, but for excitement I take Augér [28].


BWV 51 singer

Javier Serría wrote (January 15, 2004):
I've readed that Bach composed cantata BWV 51 for Faustina Bordoni, is that true?

Riccardo Nughes wrote (January 15, 2004):
[To Javier Serría] There is a large discussion about the actual destination for this Cantata.

It's been told that possibly a soprano (in Weißenfels Court or with Leipziger Collegium Musicum) or even a castrato were intended to perform it (the vocal role of this Cantata is too difficult for a treble, even if someone posted here-or in the BCML- an excellent MP3 from South Africa).

Book references for these discussions are :
- Dürr, Die Kantaten, II, p.600 & fg. ;
- Kuster, Die Vokalmusik, pp.125 & 351.

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 15, 2004):
Riccardo Nughes wrote:
< Book references for these discussions are :
- Dürr, Die Kantaten, II, p.600 & fg. ;
- Kuster, Die Vokalmusik, pp.125 & 351. >
There are also eleven other books/articles cited in the BWV entry for this piece, in the 1998 edition of BWV. The editors' best guess at the original performance date is September 17th, 1730.

["The editors" of BWV = Alfred Dürr, Yoshitake Kobayashi, and Kirsten Beisswenger, building on the earlier cataloguing work of Wolfgang Schmieder.]

Richard Gueriaux wrote (January 15, 2004):
[To Javier Serría] Cantata BWV 51 was probably composed for a soprano castrato of the Dresden Court, though I don't know any recording by such a voice.

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 15, 2004):
BWV 51 singer - hearing a castrato

Richard Gueriaux wrote:
< Cantata BWV 51 was probably composed for a soprano castrato of the Dresden Court, though I don't know any recording by such a voice. >
The only recording (AFAIK) of a castrato singing anything is the Pearl CD "The Last Castrato" featuring Alessandro Moreschi, recorded in the first decade of the 20th century (if I remember correctly...heard it some years ago, but I don't own a copy of it). No Bach in that album. Very interesting to hear the sheer sound of that voice, and the interpretive nuances he gave to the music.

There's some fake-castrato singing in the movie "Farinelli" and its soundtrack album: done with some engineering wizardry, digitally blending the tone of a high countertenor with the tone of a female soprano.

Benjamin Mullins wrote (January 15, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] No Bach except for the Bach-Gounod 'Ave Maria', ofcourse.

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 17, 2004):
Javier Sarría asked:
>> I've readed that Bach composed cantata BWV 51 for Faustina Bordoni, is that true?<<
There is a lot of circumstantial evidence for a Bach connection here; however, ultimately, it seems to fail, possibly because of the range of her voice.

In any case, as already reported, the 1st performance of BWV 51 was “höchtstwahrscheinlich” [‘the greatest probability’ but not necessarily the only possibility] on September 17, 1730 (in Leipzig?.) The watermarks of both the autograph score and the original set of parts are documented more authentically as having been used by Bach for other compositions as early as October 17, 1727 and as late as December 12, 1731. [Matthias Wendt, NBA KB I/22, pp. 84-5 and Alfred Dürr “Zur Chronologie der Leipziger Vokalwerke J. S. Bachs. 2nd Edition, Kassel, 1976, pp. 53 ff, 101, and 138.] Based upon the J. L. Krebs’ handwriting, the copied parts must have been completed after October 20, 1729. Liturgically, this cantata would seem to fit best (although the connections to the Gospel and Epistle readings are rather vague and general) for the 15th Sunday after Trinity.

Yoshitake Kobayashi (NBA IX/2) can date only approximately Bach’s handwriting to around 1730.

It is also questionable [NBA KB I/22: ‘unklar’ = ‘unclear’] whether the autograph score is a ‘composing’ score since according to Robert Lewis Marshall {volume I, p. 19, of “The Compositional Process of J. S. Bach. A Study of the Autograph Scores of the Vocal Works” Princeton Studies in Music 4, Princeton, 1972] since it appears to be more of a ‘clean’ or ‘clear’ copy with very few, if any corrections as, for instance, an inserted section of 2 measures (now measures 33-34 of mvt. 3.) There is no definite proof that Bach did not work/copy from another source. “Only the 4th mvt. (the one dependent upon the chorale melody) is clearly a 1st-time draft of the music.”

There is no solid evidence for any later performance of this work by Bach (printed slips of the cantata text for members of the church congregations, newspaper references, etc.), but there are some rather tantalizing indications that this work, nevertheless, received at least another performance under Bach and perhaps even more:

On the title page (all of which is in Bach’s hand – we do not have very many of this sort) Bach wrote:
Dominica 15 post Trinitatis et In ogni Tempo

In ogni Temp” indicates its possible/probable use in a general situation not tied very directly to any specific Sunday or holiday of the church year.

Very suspicious indeed is the fact that Bach, who also copied the soprano part (the only part which he copied - Johann Ludwig Krebs copied all the rest with the exception of most of the doublets), included different text phrases with neither of the texts being crossed out. With the exception of the chorale “Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren” by Johann Gramann (Königsberg, 1548), the librettist of the other mvts. is unknown. However, the text variants in mvt. 1 and 3 seem to be Bach’s own:

In mvt. 1 the following variants run side-by-side (more correctly over and under each other):
…und wir wollen unserm Gott gleichfalls itzt ein Opfer bringen, daß er uns in Kreuz und Not allezeit hat beigestanden. [and now we also want to make/bring a sacrifice/offering to our God who has always stood by us in time of suffering]


…mit den Engeln laßt uns heut unserm Gott ein Loblied singen, daß er uns in Neid und Leid allezeit hat beigestanden. [along with the angels let us sing a song of praise to our God today, because he has always stood by us in the face of envy and in our suffering.]

In mvt. 3 the variants are as follows:
Höchster, mache deine Güte ferner alle Morgen neu [O highest Being/God, continue to renew your kindness/goodness with each new morning]


Höchster, mache deine Güte auch bei unsrer Herrschaft neu [O highest Being/God, let your kindness/goodnessalso be bestowed upon our ruler(s)]

The variants seem to point to the presence of some dignitary with great authority (‘our ruler’) possibly someone like Friedrich August I (August the Strong) or his son Friedrich August II of Saxony who had their residence in Dresden.

Now we can return to the Bach-Bordoni connection which is described (or hinted at) in the following excerpts from music dictionaries:

Here is Christoph Wolff from his article on Bach in the New Grove (Oxford University Press, 2003):
>>…In September 1731 Bach had been to Dresden for the first performance of Hasse’s opera Cleofide and to give concerts at the Sophienkirche and at court (there were enthusiastic reports in the newspapers).<<

Here Wolff simply reiterates what has been established by earlier sources

Here is an excerpt from Sven Hansell’s article on Hasse, also from the New Grove (Oxford University Press, 2003):
>>…Although Hasse’s visit to Vienna in 1731 is the first of which anything is known, his wife, Faustina, had already sung for the Viennese court in the mid-1720s. On 7 or 8 July 1731, the day after their arrival in Dresden, Faustina made her début before the Saxon crown prince, and on 26 July she sang a cantata (now lost) by her husband to a text by M.A. Boccardi to celebrate the nameday of Princess Anna of Holstein. Hasse first conducted sacred works in the court chapel on 15 August. The main musical event of the year was the première of Cleofide, Hasse’s first opera for Dresden, on 13 September. The text had been adapted from Metastasio’s Alessandro nell’Indie by Boccardi: half of the 30 aria texts were not by Metastasio and as many were taken from earlier operas. Boccardi introduced an ombra scene in Act 2 reminiscent of the ghost scene that Boldini had added for Hasse’s Artaserse (1730, Venice). Probably considered dramatically stronger by Hasse (and by H. Abert, Niccolò Jommelli als Opernkomponist, Halle, 1908), the portrayal of madness, in an accompanied recitative, added a Baroque element lacking in the original libretto. But in 1736, well before a close relationship between Hasse and Metastasio had developed, the composer’s reworking of Alessandro nell’Indie for Venice returned to Metastasio’s original text.

The première of Cleofide was attended by J.S. Bach and his eldest son. Bach gave an organ recital the next day in the Sophienkirche; the court musicians were in attendance, so it was probably also heard by Hasse. CP.E. Bach told Forkel in 1775 that his father and Hasse were well acquainted; Hasse could have visited Bach in Leipzig in the 1730s and 40s. The great interest that Hasse’s first Dresden opera generated in the Saxon capital and elsewhere is indicated in various ways. For instance, elaborate vocal ornamentation for the aria ‘Digli ch’io son fedele’ (Act 2 scene ix) survives in the hand of Frederick the Great (D-Bsb). Suggesting broad interest in the opera are the arrangements for solo lute of 14 of its arias by Johann Kropfgans, and perhaps by Kropfgans’s teacher Silvius Weiss, in a manuscript dating from about the 1740s (D-LEm). Weiss was a close friend of Hasse: he and Faustina were godparents to Weiss’s son Johann Adolf Faustinus in 1741. Many contemporaneous lute arrangements of other Hasse arias, some with written-out cadenzas and a few with singers’ names and text underlaid, survive (Crawford, G1993). An alternative third movement in a manuscript at Aalholm, Denmark, for Hasse’s Flute Concerto in G (Walsh, op.3 no.1; Witvogel, op.1 no.2) has been identified by Oleskiewicz (G1998) as a literal transcription of ‘Se trovo perdono’ from Cleofide.

This movement, along with much other evidence, supports Oleskiewicz’s well-reasoned argument that the galant style of Hasse’s vocal music of the 1730s was a powerful influence on the music of Quantz, who was flautist in the Dresden court orchestra from 1727 to 1741. Quantz brought many elements of the Dresden style to Berlin when he transferred to the court of Frederick the Great, and his Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (1752) reflects Dresden experiences rather than established Berlin practices when advocating specific musical styles, size of orchestras, articulations, subtle dynamics, tempo rubato and other details of performing practice.<<

In an article on the Dresden musical scene, Hans Schnoor and Karl Laux in the MGG write:
>>…vor allem durch den Namen Johann Adolf Hasse festgestellt. 32jährig war er als neuernannter »primo maestro di capella di S. M il re di Polonia« am 7. Juli 1731 in Dresden mit der Sängerin Faustina Bordoni, seiner Frau, in der Residenz Augusts des Starken eingetroffen. In den Tagen, da Bach in der Sophienkirche seine Orgelkunst hören ließ, führten Hasse und die Faustina die erste »Dresdner« Oper des Meisters, Cleofide, im Großen Haus am Zwinger auf (13. September 1731).<<

[„at the age of 32, Johann Adolf Hasse, having recently received the title „The First Capellmeister of His Majesty, the King of Poland,“ arrived in Dresden on July 7, 1731 with his wife, the singer Faustina Bordoni, and took up residence in the palace of August the Strong. It was around this time when Bach publicly demonstrated his art of playing the organ in the Sophienkirche (Church of St. Sophia) that Hasse and Faustina performed his (Hasse’s) first opera in Dresden, ‘Cleofide,’ in the Great House near the Zwinger on September 13, 1731.”]

Also in the MGG, Anna Amalie Abert, in her article on Hasse writes:
>> Im Mai oder Juni 1730 heiratete er die Sängerin Faustina Bordoni. Ein Jahr später wurde das Ehepaar nach Dresden eingeladen, wo man Hasse als Nachf. für den verstorbenen Hofkpm. J. D. Heinichen in Aussicht genommen hatte. Während ihres kurzen Aufenthalts in der sächs. Hauptstadt (7. Juli bis 8. Okt. 1731) ernteten die Gatten eine Fülle von Triumphen. Hasse ließ mit großem Erfolg seine Oper Cleofide aufführen und wurde mit dem Titel eines »Kgl. Poln. und Kurfürstl. Sächs. Kpm.« ausgezeichnet. Am 3. Febr. 1734 kehrte das Ehepaar nach Dresden zurück, erst jetzt (seit dem 1. Dez. 1733) fest in sächs. Diensten stehend, nachdem beide in der Zwischenzeit ihren nun schon internat. Ruf teils einzeln, teils zusammen durch Opernauff. in den verschiedensten Städten Italiens (Rom, Turin, Venedig, Bologna, Neapel) noch gefestigt hatten. Auch der Dresdener Hof ließ von nun an seinem Kpm. und seiner Primadonna in großzügigster Weise freie Hand.
[“In either May or June of 1730, he [Hasse] married the singer Faustina Bordoni. A year later the married couple was invited to Dresden, where he was being considered as a replacement for J. D. Heinichen, the court Capellmeister who had recently passed away. During their short stay in the capitol of Saxony from July 7 until October 8, 1731, they scored many successes. Hasse had very successfully performed his opera ‘Cleofide’ and was granted the title of ‘Royal Capellmeister to the King of Poland and the Regent of Saxony. On February 3, 1734 the married couple returned to Dresden and only now (December 1, 1733) took up full duties in Dresden after having, in the interim, performed both together and individually internationally in various cities in Italy. Even after their return they were generously given a free hand to do as they wished.”]

Now here, as seen from another vantage point, is a biography of Faustina Hasse-Bordoni by Winton Dean from the New Grove (Oxford University Press, 2003) which is quite interesting from beginning to end. Take note of the designation of ‘Faustina’ (her stage name) as a mezzo-soprano and the range of her voice:
>>She was born in Venice on March 30, 1697 and died in Venice on November 4, 1781). Italian mezzo-soprano. She was brought up under the protection of the brothers Alessandro and Benedetto Marcello and taught by Michelangelo Gasparini. For many years she was in the service of the Elector Palatine. She made her début in 1716 in C.F. Pollarolo’s Ariodante in Venice, where she sang until 1725, in operas by Albinoni, Lotti, M. and F. Gasparini, C.F. and A. Pollarolo, Orlandini, Giacomelli, Vinci and others. She appeared at Reggio nell’Emilia in 1717, 1719 (Gasparini’s Bajazet) and 1720, Milan in 1719, Modena in 1720, Bologna in 1721–2, Naples in 1721–3 (seven operas, including Leo’s Bajazete), Florence (1723) and Parma (1724–5, including Vinci’s Il trionfo di Camilla). She made her German début in 1723 at Munich in Torri’s Griselda, and enjoyed great success there during the 1720s; she was also a favourite at Vienna (1725–6), appearing in operas by Caldara, Fux and others.

Faustina (as she was commonly known) made her London début as Roxana in Händel’s Alessandro at the King’s Theatre in 1726, with Cuzzoni and Senesino in the other leading roles. In the next two seasons (1727–8) she created four other Händel parts – Alcestis in Admeto, Pulcheria in Riccardo Primo, Emira in Siroe and Elisa in Tolomeo – and sang in Ariosti’s Lucio Vero and Teuzzone, Giovanni Bononcini’s Astianatte and Händel’s Radamisto. Her rivalry with Cuzzoni, professional and personal, was notorious, and culminated in an exchange of blows on stage at a performance of Astianatte (6 June 1727), but despite this scandal they were both engaged for the following season. She sang at Florence, Parma, Turin, Milan, Rome, Naples and frequently at Venice in 1728–32; the operas included Orlandini’s Adelaide, two by Giacomelli, and Hasse’s Dalisa, Arminio, Demetrio and Euristeo. From her marriage to Johann Adolf Hasse in 1730 she was associated chiefly with his music, and in 1731 both were summoned to the Saxon court at Dresden, where she enjoyed great success in his Cleofide. Hasse was Kapellmeister there for more than 30 years and Faustina sang in at least 15 of his numerous operas between Caio Fabricio (1734) and Ciro riconosciuto (1751), but also paid many long visits to Italy, singing in Naples, Venice, Pesaro and other cities in operas by Vinci, Pergolesi and Porpora as well as Hasse. In all she sang in more than 30 operas in Venice. After retiring from the theatre in 1751 she kept her salary and her rank as virtuosa da camera until 1763. She and Hasse lived in Vienna until 1773, then in Venice; their two daughters were both trained as singers.

Faustina was univeranked among the greatest singers of her age. Quantz described her voice as a mezzo-soprano, ‘less clear than penetrating’, with a compass of b to g'' (about a tone lower than Cuzzoni’s range). In her Händel parts it is c' to a''. She was a very dramatic singer, with equal power and flexibility, and a fine actress. Arteaga spoke of ‘a matchless facility and rapidity in her execution … exquisite shake [and] new and brilliant passages of embellishment’. Tosi contrasted her pre-eminence in lively arias with Cuzzoni’s gift for the pathetic, and considered the virtues of the two complementary. An observer in 1721 remarked that Faustina ‘always sang the first part of an aria exactly as the composer had written it but at the da capo repeat introduced all kinds of doublements and maniere without taking the smallest liberties with the rhythm of the accompaniment’. Burney emphasized her perfect intonation and exceptional breath control. His statement that ‘E was a remarkably powerful note in this singer’s voice, and we find most of her capital songs in sharp keys’, is confirmed by the fact that half the arias Händel composed for her are in A or E, major or minor. Quantz (translated by Burney) gives perhaps the clearest account of Faustina’s quality:

Her execution was articulate and brilliant. She had a fluent tongue for pronouncing words rapidly and distinctly, and a flexible throat for divisions, with so beautiful and quick a shake, that she could put it in motion upon short notice, just when she would. The passages might be smooth, or by leaps, or consist of iterations of the same tone, their execution was equally easy to her … She sung adagios with great passion and expression, but not equally well, if such deep sorrow were to be impressed on the hearer, as might require dragging, sliding, or notes of syncopation and tempo rubato. She had a very happy memory, in arbitrary changes and embellishments, and a clear and quick judgment in giving to words their full power and expression. In her action she was very happy; and as she perfectly possessed that flexibility of muscles and features, which constitutes face-playing, she succeeded equally well in furious, amorous, and tender parts; in short, she was born for singing and for acting. Metastasio described her and Hasse in 1744 as ‘truly an exquisite couple’.<<

In his biography, “Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician,” Christoph Wolff writes as follows about Bach’s visit to Dresden in September of 1731:
“Bach had always maintained a close relationship with the Dresden court capelle, so he was given a prominent place in the festivities surrounding the premier of Hasse’s opera ‘Cleofide’ on September 13, 1731: he was invited to play a recital, at three in the afternoon the next day, on the Silbermann organ at St. Sophia’s Church in Dresden. The occasion inspired the lyricist Johann Gottlob Kittel (Micrander) to publish a poem in the Dresden newspaper along with a brief report of the concert given “in the presence of all the Court musicians and virtuosos in a fashion that compelled the admiration of everyone.”

The problem remains: was Faustina Hasse-Bordoni capable of singing the 4 high c’s that the score of BWV 51 requires?

Kurt Gudewill in the MGG article on ‘Soprano’ states:
>>Unter den Primadonnen, die zu dieser Zeit wirkten, waren Francesca Cuzzoni und Faustina Hasse-Bordoni die berühmtesten. Ihre Stimme tendierte mehr zum Mezzosopran, während der Stimm-Umfang der Cuzzoni c'-c''' betrug.<<
[“Among the prima donnas who were performing at this time, Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Hasse-Bordoni were the most famous. Her (the latter’s) voice tended more toward a mezzo-soprano voice, while the Cuzzoni’s range went from c'-c'''.”] while Winton Dean above says that Faustina's range was from b - g''.

Would the fact that BWV 51 normally was played a semi-tone lower make it possible for Faustina to sing the high c’s without forcing her voice?

Any further thoughts from anyone on this possible connection?

BWV 51 might have fit liturgically even in September of 1731 and Bach's text options seem to fit as well.

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 17, 2004):
Another interesting sidelight to the BWV 51 story.

At some point during Bach’s lifetime, the score(?) and original parts were on loan to W. F. Bach who used them for a performance of this cantata in Halle where he (W. F.) was organist and music director. W. F. added another/second! trumpet part + timpani to the original set. The 2nd trumpet part is derived mainly from the 2nd violin part (sometimes the 1st) and only occasionally has its own original part. The NBA KB I/22 has included these parts for study purposes.

All of this makes me marvel at the power of the soprano voice needed to sing ‘against’/with such an ensemble of instruments. Johann Friedrich Agricola in his “Anleitung zur Singkunst” Berlin, 1757, does mention the fact that properly trained voices do need strength and power throughout their entire ranges, although he does also recommend that the highest notes should not necessarily be sung as loudly as most others.

Has anyone heard about any performance/recording where these additional parts for BWV 51 are included? I really wonder what this would sound like.

Javier Sarría wrote (January 17, 2004):
[To Thomas Braatz] Thanks to all for your answers, and particulary to Thomas Braatz: your answer is very, very impressive indeed!!!

Riccardo Nughes wrote (January 17, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Has anyone heard about any performance/recording where these additional parts for BWV 51 are included? I really wonder what this would sound like. >
Musica Antiqua Köln has recorded BWV 51 in the W.F.Bach "version"

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 17, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< All of this makes me marvel at the power of the soprano voice needed to sing ‘against’/with such an ensemble of instruments. Johann Friedrich Agricola in his “Anleitung zur Singkunst” Berlin, 1757, does mention the fact that properly trained voices do need strength and power throughout their entire ranges, although he does also recommend that the highest notes should not necessarily be sung as loudly as most others. >
Here we go again with your soapbox lecture that (in your opinion) "HIP" singers today do not have "properly trained" voices, judged by your own imagination of how loud the ensemble of instruments is. Just quit it! Please! Mercy!

Besides, why would you cite a 1757 source when talking about a piece of music that was written in 1730? This goes against your own alleged practices of citing only performance-practice sources that you believe are relevant to time and place...the relevance as determined by you, with decisions that (to this observer) seem arbitrary and self-serving, to force whatever outcome you wish to prove. If you're going to use Agricola here, so pedantically, you also have to accept other similarly-dated sources in other situations, on other topics. Consistency!


Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 51: Details
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The Need for Bach: A discussion of his life, Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen, BWV 51 and Ich habe genung, BWV 82 [S. Burton]

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Last update: ýMarch 12, 2012 ý19:52:06