Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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

Cantata BWV 53
Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of June 2, 2013

William Hoffman wrote (June 3, 2013):
Cantata 53: Introduction, Funeral Bells

Besides various funeral and memorial motets and cantatas of his own, Bach was linked to a comparable number of similar works by other composers, members of the Bach family, and students. Of particular interest is a work probably for a children's funeral, long attributed to him but a composition of a Leipzig colleague. It's use of bells and bell references in the text is one of three works with similar connections. The misattributed and undated work is Cantata BWV 53, "Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde" (Strike then, longed for hour) of Georg Melchior Hofmann. The other two are the authentic alto arioso, "Der Glocken bebendes Getön" (The bells' reverberating sound), from 1727 Cantata BWV 198, Funeral Ode: "Laß, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl" (Let, Princess, let one more ray); and the aria (text only) in the opening grandmother aria in the character memorial Cantata BWV Anh. 16, "Schließt die Gruft! ihr Trauerglocken" (Close the tomb! Ye bells of sadness) for another princess, a composition by Bach merely conjectured.

The most up-to-date, informative description of Cantata 53 is:"Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde, BWV 53. This beautiful da capo aria, with its affective melodic contours and its evocative scoring for alto voice, strings, organ and two campanelle (bells) was long attributed to Bach. Nevertheless, although the piece has been handed down in Bach's handwriting, its composer was identified by the German musicologist Karl Anton (Bach-Jahrbuch, 1955) as Bach's contemporary, Melchior Hoffmann (c.1678-17L5). Hoffmann had been cantor of the Neukirche in Leipzig, as well as director of the mainly student Collegium Musicum, founded by Telemann in 1702 and of which Bach himself became director in 1729. Both composers had earlier been applicants for the prestigious organist's post at the Liebfrauenkirche in Halle, which Hoffmann accepted after Bach had turned it down. The text of the aria, which expresses a longing for heavenly peace, may have been written by Salomo Franck. The two bells sound different notes but their pitch is not specified."[2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd.; Fritz Werner Bach Cantata Vol. 2, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Werner-B02c[Erato-10CD].pdf -- Recordings No. 9 at Cantata BWV 53 BCW Details: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV53.htm.

Here is the full text of Cantata 53 (author unknown) and Francis Browne's BCW English interlinear translation, (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV53-Eng3.htm)

Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde
Strike then, longed for hour,
Brich doch an, du schöner Tag!
dawn, beautiful day!

Kommt, ihr Engel, auf mich zu,
Come,you angels, to me,
Öffnet mir die Himmelsauen,
open for me the fields of heaven,
Meinen Jesum bald zu schauen
so that I am able to behold my Jesus
In vergnügter Seelenruh'!
in contented peace of soul!
Ich begehr' von Herzensgrunde
I yearn from the bottom of my heart
Nur den letzten Zeigerschlag!
only for the very last tick of the clock! [d.c.]

Note : in some texts the last line is:

Nur den letzten Seigerschlag!
only for the last victorious stroke!

Cantata 53 is thought to have been composed by Hofmann in Leipzig between 1704 and 1715, possibly for a children's funeral. Georg Melchior Hoffmann's BCW Short Biography, is found at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Hoffmann.htm. W. Gillies Whittaker conjectured that Bach composed and presented the work about 1731-32. (Cantata of JSB I:366f). Bach and Anna Magdalena had four daughters who died in infancy. He could have copied out the Hofmann work for a performance of one or more of them at the family home as a memorial.

The connection to the bells is found in two other works for the memorial services of princesses: Cantata 198 for Saxon Princess and Polish Queen Christine Eberhardine in 1727, and Cantata BWV Anh. 16 for Duchess of Merseburg, Hedwig Eleonora (9 November 1735).

CANTATA 198
Der Glocken bebendes Getön
The bells' reverberating sound
Soll unsrer trüben Seelen Schrecken
shall awaken dread in our troubled souls
Durch ihr geschwungnes Erze wecken
with its vibrating bronze
Und uns durch Mark und Adern gehn.
And go through our marrow and veins.
O, könnte nur dies bange Klingen,
Oh if only this fearful sound
Davon das Ohr uns täglich gellt,
that resounds each day in our ears
Der ganzen Europäerwelt
could give to all of Europe
Ein Zeugnis unsres Jammers bringen!
A witness of our sorrow!
Browne translation, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV198-Eng3.htm


CANTATA BWV Anh. 18
Schließt die Gruft! ihr Trauerglocken,
Hört mit bangem Stürmen auf.
Geist und Tugend kann nicht sterben;
Denn auf wohl vollbrachten Lauf
Bleiben sie des Lebens Erben.

Close the tomb! Ye bells of sadness,
Now your anxious clangor cease!
Soul and virtue cannot perish,
For when well is run the course,
They are heirs of life forever.
[Balthazar Hoffmann text, Phillip Z. Ambrose English translation and notes, http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/XXVII.html.]

Another important reading is Thomas Braatz' "Bach's Bells - Mors certa, hora incerta," BCW Articles http://bach-cantatas.com/Articles/, scroll down, March 2012 [PDF], http://bach-cantatas.com/Articles/BachsBells.pdf.

----

To come: Funeral/memorial motets of other Bach Family members.

Peter Smaill wrote (June 3, 2013):
[To William Hoffman] Some years ago writing about this work I too faithfully reproduced the theory from Whittaker: probably for a child's funeral, and the pitch of the bell was a clue. This line was robustly challenged on the BCW, for we simply have no evidence.

After many years of smarting from the rebuke I'm now beginning to agree that the child funeral hypothesis is weak, and that despite (or perhaps because of ) the sentimental appeal in the explanation that Bach used Hoffman's work for the funeral of one of his own children.

Given the hierarchical rules on the use of figural music in church relating to individuals it seems unlikely that the death of a Cantor's child would occasion even a short Cantata in church, for otherwise many of Bach's rank in Leipzig would clamour for the same. Although there were special arrangements for Bach's funeral itself, regarding the choir at the graveside, there is no firm evidence that even he received this honour of a Cantata, albeit it has been speculated that the family motet "Herr Jesu Christ, wecken uns auf" was transcribed for this purpose.

What has now been verified is that Bach set chorales to be sung at the house of the deceased.The clinching discovery is by Michael Maul and it is (I recall unpublished research so all errors are mine!) the precise circumstances of the performance of the wonderful setting, Denket doch, ihr Menschenkinder" BWV 1122, for the funeral of a high-ranking citizen of Leipzig. The main impact of this discovery (discussed at the BNUK Dialogue Meeting in Edinburgh in 2011) for me is the strong possibility that many of the chorales in Riemenschneider with no source are not in fact stubs of lost cantatas at all, but part of a repertoire of chorales for occasional use. The second impact is to make anything by way of musical tribute to the general laity, other than a chorale setting at the house of the deceased, very unlikely. Besides, is it really probable each daughter's death would receive the same work, and only this piece survive despite the collecting together of the family music in the Alt-Bachisches Archiv? This work BWV 53 does not bethere, though other non-Bach family composers relating to music for Bach family deaths do.

What fits better, but also a surmise from the text, is that this is a work that might have been performed on the sixteenth Sunday after Trinity. This is the Sunday associated with resurrection of ordinary mortals (the miracle of the widow's son being restored to life). Uniquely,in BWV 27, Bach quotes unchanged a chorale by his predecessor, Rosenmuller; and in BWV 8 the chorale is almost unchanged from another predecessor as a Leipzig Cantor, Daniel Vetter. So maybe it was Melchior Hoffman's turn one year.

Then there are the bells in BWV 53: but also referred to in the opening chorus BWV 8/1, in the pizzicato of BWV8/2; in BWV 95" Schlage doch". So textually,in affect,and by association with a past Cantor,BWV 53 fits to this day. It is too short on its own, but that leaves open the possibility as happened at Leipzig that another Cantata was played "vor der Predigt" and this afterwards. "Remember old Hoffman!", the older congregants might have murmured , "Herr Bach has brought him back with that lovely old bell Cantata! We can hear him still! And once we had old Rosenmueller's chorale: a Cantor who knew my parents but they didn't talk much about him....."

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 3, 2013):
Riemenschnider & Bach's "Lost" German Mass

Peter Smaill wrote:
< The main impact of this discovery (discussed at the BNUK Dialogue Meeting in Edinburgh in 2011) for me is the strong possibility that many of the chorales in Riemenschneider with no source are not in fact stubs of lost cantatas at all, but part of a repertoire of chorales for occasional use. >
I have always suspected that the German chorale settings of the Lutheran mass in Riemenschneider represent a "lost" German mass setting by Bach. They are in fact more motet than chorale settings. We know that that Bach's choirs sang at weekday masses. These movements may be part of that repertoire. Add the matching preludes of the Clavier-Ubung and you have quite a substantial liturgical work.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 3, 2013):
William Hoffman wrote:
< The misattributed and undated work is Cantata BWV 53, "Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde" (Strike then, longed for hour) of Georg Melchior Hofmann. >
I first heard Helen Watts' recording of this cantata as a teenager, and it will forever be by Bach for me.

Interesting to hear a great singer "rendering" Bach in 1958. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFqjrzFLWBQ

No tinkling glockenspiel here: big orchestral chimes.

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 3, 2013):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< Given the hierarchical rules on the use of figural music in church relating to individuals it seems unlikely that the death of a Cantor's child would occasion even a short Cantata in church, for otherwise many of Bach's rank in Leipzig would clamour for the same. >
A neat point highlighting the actual logic behind many theologic decisions!

Linda Gingrich wrote (June 3, 2013):
There is another cantata for the sixteenth Sunday after Trinity that may, as Dürr speculates, imitate funeral bells in the first movement, Cantata 8, Liebster Gott, wenn werd Ich sterben (Dear Lord, when will I die?). It's a wonderful work that contemplates the passage of time and includes some clock-like ticking and swinging-pendulum effects in the orchestra. According the Chafe, the 16th Sunday focuses on the death and resurrection of the believer, and what is most interesting is that it is in E major, a key Bach seldom used as a cantata key, and one that is huge leap upwards from the previous cantata's two-flat G minor, the famous Cantata 78ówhich is all about the sacrificial death of Christ. An interesting juxtaposition!

Russell Telfer wrote (June 3, 2013):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< The main impact of this discovery (discussed at the BNUK Dialogue Meeting in Edinburgh in 2011) for me is the strong possibility that many of the chorales in Riemenschneider with no source are not in fact stubs of lost cantatas at all, but part of a repertoire of chorales for occasional use. >
That doesn't surprise me. I've had the opportunity to sing many of the Chorals that conclude the cantatas as published.

Part-writing in hymnals (Lutheran\Anglican\Presbyterian tend to adapt to the average competency of church choirs. Where there is variation, these settings are safer and more conservative than those that appear in the cantatas. And then, when you look at the motets, your attention is drawn to virtuoso lines in all parts. Riemenschneider offers the very best of part writing, I feel.

As a footnote, Riemenschneider's Chorals are difficult to play on the organ and sometimes impossible to play properly on the piano.

Doug Cowling wrote:
< I have always suspected that the German chorale settings of the Lutheran mass in Riemenschneider represent a "lost" German mass setting by Bach. They are in fact more motet than chorale settings. We know that that Bach's choirs sang at weekday masses. These movements may be part of that repertoire. Add the matching preludes of the Clavier-Ubung and you have quite a substantial liturgical work. >
I agree. But I'd be interested, Doug, to hear your thoughts on this lost German mass.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 3, 2013):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< I agree. But I'd be interested, Doug, to hear your thoughts on this lost German mass. >
We know that Bach's four choirs sang the Ordinary of the Mass in the four churches each Sunday. On great festivals, Choir 1 in St. Thomas sang the Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus in Latin in concerted settings. On lesser Sundays, they appear to have sung the Latin polyphonic settings in the Vopelius hymnbook (perhaps with instrumental doubling by the Stadtpfeifer?)

On the great festivals, Choir 2 probably sang the Latin Vopelius settings (perhaps they were joined by a Stadtpfeifer ensemble). We don't know what they sang on ordinary Sundays.

Choirs 3 & 4 appear to have sung the Ordinary in German chorale settings accompanied by the organ.

Bach's choirs also sang mass on Wednesday and Thursday (when Bach took his weekly Communion) and on saints days. We don't know what their weekday repertoire was.

We know that concerted and polyphonic settings of the Ordinary reflected the rank of the feast (the first rank was the Big Three: Christmas, Easter & Pentecost)

Did Bach write a German Mass setting for use on lesser Sundays and weekdays? The Riemenschneider collection provides settings for all the texts of the German Mass:

132, Kyrie, Gott Vater (Kyrie)
125, 249, 313, Allein Gott in der Höh (Gloria)
133, Wir Glauben (Credo)
235, 319, Sanctus, Sanctus (Heilig, Heilig)
165. O Lamm Gottes (Agnus Dei)

Two of those settings don't look like anything like a cantata-closer: the German Kyrie and Credo are both extended and rather technically demanding mini-motets. They look like movements from a choir setting of the German Mass. If the collection draws together free-standing items in addition to cantata-closers, we may be able to reconstruct Bach's "lost" German Mass (I always like the drama of adding "lost").

The liturgical use of the Organ Mass chorale-preludes adds a further aspect to the question

On a related note, the chorale collection also contains a huge motet-like setting of the Te Deum which was sung at Matins on every day of the week.

205. Herr Gott, dich loben wir (Te Deum)

The setting of the German Magnificat would have been useful for Vespers which was also sung every day of the week:

130. Meine Seele (Magnificat)

None of this speculation has any documentary basis except as a possible explanation for those unusual settings of the Kyrie, Credo and Te Deum. Given the enormous amount of music sung every day of the week by Bach's choirs, it has always seemed odd to me that scholars are not much interested in the total picture of Bach's repertoire.

Russell Telfer wrote (June 4, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thanks Doug

Very informative

< We know that Bach's four choirs sang the Ordinary of the Mass in the four churches each Sunday. On great festivals, Choir 1 in St. Thomas sang the Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus in Lin concerted settings. On lesser Sundays, they appear to have sung the Latin polyphonic settings in the Vopelius hymnbook (perhaps with instrumental doubling by the Stadtpfeifer?) >
.... and considerable further detail.

William Hoffman wrote (June 6, 2013):
Cantata 53: Bach Family Funeral Music

Sebastian Bach's connections to funeral/memorial music of other composers is found almost exclusively in his Altbachisches Archiv collection from music of the Bach Family that he heard and performed and probably assembled in the 1740s. The mostly-sacred collection includes multi-voice motets and early cantatas, as well as arias and lamenti solos. Sacred uses are determined by the text.

The eight-voice funeral "Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich, Mein Jesu" (I will not leave you before you bless me [Genesis 32:26b], my Jesus), BWV Anh. 159, was previously attributed to his uncle, Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703), but may be a Weimar composition of Sebastian. The younger Bach performed two funeral/memorial motets of Johann Christoph in the 1740s in Leipzig, "Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf" and "Der Gerechte, ob er gleich zu zeitlich stirbt."

Altbachisches Archiv best source (German) is Wikipedia (German),
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altbachisches_Archiv;

Some of the works found in the Altbachisches Archiv, by composer, are:
*Johann Bach:
Unser Leben ist ein Schatten - funeral motet
J.B.? / Jonas de Fletin ? :
Sei nun wieder zufrieden - double-choir memorial motet
*Georg Christoph Bach:
Siehe, wie fein und lieblich - psalm cantata
*Johann Christoph Bach:
Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf - funeral motet
Wie bist du denn, o Gott in Zorn... - lamento
Es erhub sich ein Streit - St. Michael's cantata
Unseres Herzens Freude - funeral motet
Meine Freundin, Du ist schön - wedding cantata
Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener... - ,Nunc dimmittis motet
Herr, wende dich... - cantata
Der Gerechte, ob er gleich zu zeitlich stirb - funeral motet
*J. Christoph Bach: Mit Weinen hebt sichs an - aria
Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte - lamento
Es ist nun aus mit meinem Leben - aria
*Johann Michael Bach:
Die Furcht des Herren... - cantata
Ich weiß, dass mein Erlöser lebt - motet
Auf, lasset uns den Herrn loben - aria
Ach, wie sehnlich wart ich der Zeit - aria
Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe - motet
Nun hab ich überwunden - motet
Das Blut Jesu Christi - funeral motet
*Johann Sebastian Bach:
Motet Ich Lasse Dich Nicht, BWV Anh 159 [3:50]
*Anonymus:
Nun ist alles überwunden - aria
Weint nicht um meinen Tod - aria
[BCW Recording & Discussion, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/AltBachische-CantusColln.htm.
Youtube (complete, 2:30:55): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmVhAqZ3dsY; music and tracks listing:
http://store.harmoniamundi.com/altbachisches-archiv.html (CD 1, No. 2, "Lieber Herr Gott; CD 2, No. 3, Der Gerechte)]

One recording contains funeral motets of Johann, Johann Michael and Johann Christoph Bach: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000067T2:
Johann Michael Bach -- Das Blut Jesu Christi
Johann Bach -- Unser Leben Ist Ein Schatten
Johan Bach -- Sei Nun Wieder Zufrieden Meine Seele
Johann Michael Bach -- Halt, Was Du Hast
Johann Christoph Bach -- Lieber Herr Gott
Johann Christoph Bach -- Der Gerechte
Johann Christoph Bach -- Unsers Herzens Freude
Johann Michael Bach -- Herr, Du Lassest Mich Erfahren
Johann Christoph Bach -- Furchte Dich Nicht
Johann Michael Bach -- Unser Leben Wahret Siebenzig Jahr

Documentary evidence finds that in the 1740s Bach performed two funeral motets of Johann Christoph Bach from the Altbachisches Archiv: "Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf" (Dear Lord God, awaken us, 1672), and "Der Gerechte, ob er gleich zu zeitlich stirbt" (Though the righteous man die too soon, 1676).
Johann Christoph Bach, BCW Short Biography & Works, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Bach-Johann-Christoph.htm.


"Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf" (bichoral SATB, SATB, dialogue & fugue; Aug 1748 - Oct 1749, Bach doubled the lines with instruments).
Discussion, Lost Works, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/LostWork.htm;
Recordings, Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYjKYMVtyKQ (Tölzer Knabenchor);
Sheet Music, http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Dearest-Lord-God-waken-us-now/568872

Text: Pre-Reformation Collect for Advent
Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf,
dass wir bereit sein, wenn dein Sohn kommt,
ihn mit Freuden zu empfangen
und dir mit reinem Herzen zu dienen,
durch den Selbigen, deinen lieben Sohn Jesum Christum,
unsern Herren. Amen.

Dear Lord God, awaken us,
That we might be ready, when thy Son comes,
To welcome him with joy,
And to serve thee with a clean heart,
Through the same Jesus Christ, thy beloved son,
our Lord. Amen

"Der Gerechte, ob er gleich zu zeitlich stirbt"; monochoral sectional SATTB, bc; performed by J.S. Bach in Leipzig c1743-1746.
BCW Details & Recordings (11), http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Bach-JCph-Gerechte.htm;
Recordings, Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biNMVFKpZM4 (with sheet music)
Sheet Music (complete score), http://conquest.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/e/e3/IMSLP248366-PMLP402659-Christoph_Bach_-_Motette.pdf

Text:

Der Gerechte,
ob er gleich zu zeitlich stirbt,
ist er doch in der Ruhe.

Er gefällt Gott wohl
und ist ihm lieb,
und wird weggenommen
aus dem Leben unter den Sündern
und wird hingerücket,
daß die Bosheit
seinen Verstand nicht verkehre,
noch falsche Lehre
seine Seele betrübe,
ist er bald vollkommen worden,
und hat viel Jahr erfüllet.

Denn seine Seele gefällt Gott wohl.
Darum eilet er mit ihm
aus dem bösen Leben.

The righteous,
Though he dies before his time,
Nevertheless finds rest.

He pleases God
And receives his love,
Hence is he taken
From life among sinners
And is removed,
So that wickedness
Does not twist his mind,
Nor false teaching
Distress his soul,
In a moment his life is over,
Thus his life finds fulfilment.

For his soul finds comfort in the Lord.
Thus with Him at his side
he hurry out of wicked life.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 7, 2013):
William Hoffman wrote:
< "Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf" (bichoral SATB, SATB, dialogue & fugue; Aug 1748 - Oct 1749, Bach doubled the lines with instruments). >
Wolff speculates that Bach had the motet and parts copied for his own funeral.

Peter Smaill wrote (June 7, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] Indeed so: the speculation that the 1672 motet " Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf" by the uncle Johann Christoph Bach (d.1703) was copied out for Johann Sebastian Bach's own funeral is set out at p.451 of "...The learned Musician". The key is the timing: the parts were written out as late as 1749 or even 1750, and the poor handwriting indicates the course of mortality is underway. The transposition to "tief Cammerton" suggests to me that the piece had not been performed before at Leipzig.

And yet... while we do know that the hearse was provided free and the entire school formed the funeral procession, this was normal for a deceased colleague at the Thomsschule. There is absolutely no record of figural music or a memorial service for Bach. So the idea here suggested is that an unfamiliar and antiquated motet was rehearsed, possibly for outdoor singing, between July 28th 1750 and July 31st, three days later. The only known precedent is for the rector old Ernesti whose funereceived the biblical text motet BWV 226 "Der Geist Hilft" in 1729, but that was presumably in the Church given his status (?). Its complex manuscript P36 indicates the parts were a revision of an existing and possibly often used work where the parts had deteriorated such that they needed rewriting; or the work is an adaptation to a chosen text, which seems to be Melamed's conclusion.

But the work as we have it does has telltale signs of being put together and presumably practised in the four days between 16 and 20 October 1729, so the Wolff hypothesis for Bach cannot be ruled out either. It was put
together at short notice, and allegedly sung at the graveside (cf. BWV 118). My problem here is that BWV 53 requires strings which struggle acoustically outdoors and are not resilent to possible bad weather as brass instruments (BWV 118) are........as for choristers : I recall singing many years ago an early mass setting Machaut in open air at the Edinburgh Festival: it was just like the comment of the Earl Marischal regarding what happens to the procession of troops if it rained at the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953:
" They get wet!" (It did , and they did).

Has anyone evidence of strings at the graveside, in open air?

As mentioned, BWV 53 does not figure in the Altes Bach-Archiv, and we simply do not know if it was performed for a member of the Bach family. Despite its affinity to the texts and Bach settings for the 16th Sunday in Trinity, as previously mentioned, it does in manuscript (according to Whittaker) have "Trauer-Aria" inscribed. So it was at least adapted for a funeral; but then the possibility is that it was abstracted from a longer Cantata by Hoffman for the 16th Sunday. The interaction between that Sunday, the raising of the widow's son in the Gospel, and the tolling of bells plus the almost unique association by Bach with the music of former Cantors at Leipzig may yet be a thesis which can be developed further.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 7, 2013):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< It was put together at short notice, and allegedly sung at the graveside (cf. BWV 118). My problem here is that BWV 53 requires strings which struggle acoustically outdoors and are not resilent to possible bad weather as brass instruments >
Hence my earlier question about the architecture of the Leipzig cemetery. If there were covered cloisters as in many Catholic cemeteries in Bavaria and Austria, they would have provided acoustical band shells for choirs and orchestras. So too, some cemetries had charnel chapels where coffins were kept during the winter in a crypt and the interment ceremony took place in the upper chapel.

There is plenty of evidence of outdoor performances of choral and orchestral music, but the setting is always a courtyard which provides a workable acoustical setting, and in many cases amplifies the sound.

Are we sure that Bach's status as Cantor did not allow for a memorial service after the interment or in place of the Sunday cantata?

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 7, 2013):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< the almost unique association by Bach with the music of former Cantors at >Leipzig may yet be a thesis which can be developed further. >
Worth emphasizing this telling detail yet again: no one has made a greater contribution to the development of music than Bach, and no one has had a greater respect for the context in which he worked.

William Hoffman wrote (June 7, 2013):
The Maureen Forrester/Antonio Janigro Vanguard recording (CD SVC 64/65) cited Spitta suggesting that Cantata BWV 53 was composed for daughter Katharina (first born, 1708-1774), "who was a proficient singer." IMHO, Bach copied it out for a family home service of an infant child. There were seven who died in Leipzig, three sons and four daughters (see
http://www.spiritsound.com/bachchildren.html). Three died within three days of birth, and the other four died about 6, 4, 3, and 2 years after birth:

8. Christiana Sophia Henrietta
1723-1726

10. Christian Gottlieb
1725-1728

12. Ernestus Andreas
Oct 30 - Nov 1, 1727

13. Regina Johanna
1728-1733

14. Christiana Benedicta
Jan 1 - Jan 4, 1730

15. Christiana Dorothea
1731-1732

17. Johann August Abraham
Nov 5 - Nov 6, 1733

The best information is in Christoph Wolf's book, <JSB: The Learned Musician>. It listed the godparents of the children, who were baptized soon after birth, including. No. 14, Christiana Benedicta, whose godparents were Liepzig residents. She is my choice.

In addition, Barbara Katherina, second cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach and elder sister of Maria Barbara, Bach's first wife, came to love with the Bach family and help raise the children. After her sister's death in 1720, she remained in the household and helped to raise the children of Bach and Anna Magdalena and died in Leipzig about 1729.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5703049

Cantata BWV 53: Details & Complete Recordings | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Non-Bach Cantatas - Recordings:
BWV 15 | BWV 53 | BWV 141 | BWV 142 | BWV 160 | BWV 189 | BWV 217 | BWV 218 | BWV 219 | BWV 220 | BWV 221 | BWV 222 | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Georg Melchior Hoffmann: Short Biography | Cantata BWV 53 | Cantata BWV 189 | Little Magnificat BWV Anh 21

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

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



 

Back to the Top


Last update: żOctober 11, 2013 ż19:42:56