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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 54
Widerstehe doch der Sünde
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Gould / Cantata ‘Widerstehe doch der Sünde’, BWV 54

Charles Francis wrote (August 11, 2001):
Jim Morrison wrote: .
[6]< ..and here http://glenn.fdnet.com.au/index.htm is the best place on the net to search for information on Gould's recording output. >
Great resource! And it contains a reference for the following performance:

Cantata 'Widerstehe doch der Sunde', BWV54
Composer: Bach, J.S.
Instrument: Harpsipiano
With: Russell Oberlin (Counter-Tenor) and
Orchestra conducted by Glenn Gould
Location: Toronto,
Recording date(s): on 08-Apr-62
Producer(s): Eric Till
Recording Type: Television Broadcast
Released on: Sony: SRLM992

And moreover, Gould's lecture on the same:

Introduction To Bach Cantata BWV 54
Gould, G., Speaker
Location: Unknown,
Recording date(s): Between 01-Jan-62 and 31-Dec-62
Recording Type: Television Broadcast
Released on: Sony: SRLM992

Sony SRLM992 is "The Glenn Gould Collection: V. The Conductor, VI. The earliest Decade", a Laserdisc, with Japanese sub-titles.

Does one really have to buy a Laserdisc player and order from Japan, or is it available elsewhere on some other media? Is there an MP3 file, for example?

Jim Morrison wrote (August 11, 2001):
[6] [To Charles Francis] That link I sent certainly is great, however, it certainly isn't complete. Tower records may be able to get video copies of those tapes for ten dollars apiece. I say may because supply is sporadic. I've been able to get most of Gould's videos through them, but a few, they've never been able to send me a copy of. Beware, though, Tower doesn't list the contents of the videos. Here's a link to the video contents that I sent to the Gould list a while back.
http://www.tug.org/archives/f_minor/msg05122.html

Give Tower a try, and heck, pick up a few CD’s while you're at it. They are having a big sale on classical music and shipping is free (in the usa) for orders over 50 dollars. The classical sale ends on Monday.

One other word of warning. I'm not impressed by Gould's version of Cantata 54. If memory serves me correctly, he's even playing a harpsipiano, which is an mildly altered piano made to sound a bit like a harpsichord.

I don't know if a recording of the cantata has ever been avalible on CD, though I suspect it has.

Much more impressive on that tape is his rendition of the first movement of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, as transcribed by Liszt. I think Tower has the complete recording of the Sixth on sale for eight bucks. That disc is a must have, I think, for anyone.

 

BWV 054

David wrote (February 13, 2002):
[11] BWV 54 was also recorded by Henri Ledroit with Ensemble Ricercar on Ricercar Records, where you find also BWV 53. His arangement is of lower scale, maybe the same for that Tenor you've heard. I don't hold it so, from memory, I found his interpretation a profound & introvert one which apealed to me strongley.

 

BWV 54

Sw Anadgyan wrote (March 23, 2003):
[6] I just saw a taped documentary on Glenn Gould by ArtTV called Extasis. I noticed the little bit on the BWV 54 and was stunned by its beauty.

So I surf to the Bach Cantatas Website, and notice it is one of the rare ones I have two versions in my possession; Scholl [21] and Lesne [29] singing, the later with the Il Seminario Musicale and the former with the Orchestre du Collegium Vocale.

Since the Gerard Lesne is a slightly recent recording, I was curious about the opinions of members of this list at the opposite end of my expertise. I found it lacking in suaveness.

I'm quite stunned at the thoroughness of the BCW for I could get information on what I just saw on tape.

Any comments ?

Oh ! Should I just keep on lurking ? ;-)

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 23, 2003):
[To S.W. Anandgyan] BWV 54 is my favorite Bach cantata, and the one that I have more recordings of than any other cantata. But I haven't heard Lesne's....

I have Ledroit/Ricercar (different cover art, though) [11] Scholl/Herreweghe [21], Buwalda/Leusink [23], Deller/Leonhardt (on both CD and LP) [3], Mera/Suzuki [20], Rössl-Majdan/Scherchen (on LP, different cover art again) [1], and Oberlin/Gould (yes, the Music & Arts release is the same as on the video) [6].

My favorite among those is Deller. My least favorites are Rössl-Majdan and that bizarre Oberlin/Gould experiment.

I wish that Glenn Gould had been able to realize one of his dreams, which was to record this piece with Barbra Streisand. I'm not kidding.

 

Solo cantatas for alto

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 26, 2004):
Sw Anandgyan wrote:
< I was reading about the Solo Cantatas for Alto... >
[3] Well, don't miss the recording of cantatas BWV 54 and BWV 170 on Vanguard, sung by Alfred Deller, 1954. He's accompanied by a small ensemble that includes both the Leonhardts and both the Harnoncourts (Mrs H = Alice Hoffelner). Michel Piguet plays oboe. The fillers are the "Agnus Dei" from BMM (BWV 232), and a few Händel selections recorded later.

This CD is worth grabbing for the musicianship, which is extraordinary (notwithstanding some not-quite-German pronunciation from Deller). And, historically, it's also important: it's the first album of anything that Leonhardt and Harnoncourt ever did using period instruments. 50 years ago this May!

 

BWV 54 Recording

Sean Burton wrote (October 13, 2004):
Can anyone recommend a solid recording or two of the short alto solo cantata Widerstehe doch der Sunde, BWV 54?

Thanks,

Thomas Gebhardt wrote (October 13, 2004):
[To Sean Burton] I love the recording of this cantata sung by James Bowman, accompanied by the King's Consort, directed by Robert King (Hyperion CDA 66326) [14], together with BWV 170 and BWV 169.

Another fine recording is that with Andreas Scholl, Orchestre du Collegium Vocale, dir. Philippe Herreweghe (Harmonia mundi HMC 901644) [21], with BWV 170 and BWV 35.

Peter Bright wrote (October 13, 2004):
Purcell & King's consort: file uploaded [was BWV 54 Recording]

[To Thomas Gebhardt] Dear Thomas, thanks for mentioning the King's Consort and James Bowman [14]. One of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard is by this group. It's actually a Purcell piece ("Be welcome then, great Sir") and it is majestic - just listen to the lyricism of voice and cello. And when the violins enter at the end, it's perfection itself. Although this is not Bach, I have uploaded the file to the website (I hope you don't mind Aryeh!). Please listen if you are interested in this music (but note that it is around 3MB - modem users beware...).

Gabriel Jackson wrote (October 13, 2004):
[To Thomas Gebhardt] I agree absolutey about the Scholl recording [21]. I'm not a big fan of James Bowman's voice [14], though he is certainly a great artist.

Doug Cowling wrote (October 13, 2004):
Going back one BWV number, I have a couple of questions about BWV 53, "Schlage Doch" which alas is not by Bach but Hoffman ... still an exquisite one-movement cantata.

The work calls for a bell -- the text refers to death's striking -- and I am curious about the "campanella" which was probably a bell stop on a Baroque organ (there were all manner of exotic theatrical ranks on some organs). The superb old Helen Watts recording [4] uses an orchestral chime whereas Rene Jacobs lovely performance use a tiny chime like a small clock. So is the "striking of the awaited hour" a tolling church bell or a chime on the mantelpiece?

I doubt Watts' contralto [4] or Jacobs' countertenor is the sound that Hoffman wanted. Anyone know of a recording sung by a boy soloist? The old Harnoncourt recordings used these chesty teenagers quite a bit, but counter-tenors seem to be the norm these days.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Non-Bach Cantatas

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 13, 2004):
[To Sean Burton] Of the bunch that I mentioned in the earlier discussion at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV54-D.htm
none have ever dislodged my favorite: Alfred Deller, 1954, accompanied by Mr and Mrs Leonhardt and Mr and Mrs Harnoncourt [3].

Michael Cervin wrote (October 13, 2004):
[To Sean Burton] Solidity, indeed ... If that particular notion is not top priority, I would urge any Bach- piano- or Gould-enthusiast to give the Russel Oberlin/Glenn Gould harpsi-piano performance [6] a try (my copy is a Music and Arts CD from the early 90's). I love it. Other listeners might find it hilarious.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (October 15, 2004):
Sean Burton wrote:
< Can anyone recommend a solid recording or two of the short alto solo cantata Widerstehe doch der Sunde, BWV 54? >
I'll have to look, but I seem to remember that on single CDs and also in the "Bach: Made in Germany" set, they have a recording of the Thomanerchor Leipzig and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig performing the work [5].

Neil Halliday wrote (October 16, 2004):
Sean Burton wrote:
< Can anyone recommend a solid recording or two of the short alto solo cantata Widerstehe doch der Sunde, BWV 54? >
Rilling's recording [9] of this piece represents one of the excellent performances of his cantata set. Recorded in 1975, it highlights the rich five-part string writing (there is an added viola part in Bach's score), and features Julia Hamari, who has to be the finest female alto gracing Rilling's set.

Herreweghe, with Scholl [21], has already been mentioned. This is also an excellent recording; the main difference with the above recording is the quieter overall dynamic (in both orchestra and vocalist), but the conception and effect of the music is very similar in both performances (playing time around 11 mins. for both).

The two arias are 'hit parade' material; and the second one shows lively fugal writing based on a subject that begins with a descending 4-note chromatic figure. (At times the string writing, in the intermingling of the second part of the fugal subject, reminds me of that in the climax of Händel's Halleluja Chorus, in Rilling's recording).

Yoël L. Arbeitrman wrote (October 16, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Of the bunch that I mentioned in the earlier discussion at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV54-D.htm none have ever dislodged my favorite: Alfred Deller, 1954, accompanied by Mr and Mrs Leonhardt and Mr and Mrs Harnoncourt [3]. >
Yes, the same things do get discussed and discussed and most of us remain with our favorite recordings. Mine are of course Scherchen/Rössl-Majdan [1] and also Lesne [29]. As I noted last time 'round, I had not opened the shrink wrap on my Deller CD and I still haven't. Not that I don't like Deller [3]. There is simply so much to listen to and I for one do divide my listening time amongst Bach, Händel, Brahms, Mahler, Wagner, erlioz, and others.

Yoël L. Arbeitrman wrote (October 16, 2004):
Michael Cervin wrote:
[6] < Solidity, indeed ... If that particular notion is not top priority, I would urge any Bach- piano- or Gould-enthusiast to give the Russel Oberlin/Glenn Gould harpsi-piano performance a try (my copy is a Music and Arts CD from the early 90's). I love it. Other listeners might find it hilarious. >
Thanks you for the information. I generally avoid Gould as I do not personally respond to Bach on the piano. This does sound alluring. Why do you say "harpsi-piano"? I am sure it is in the archives, but searching here is not easy.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 16, 2004):
[6] [To Yoël L. Arbeitman] Gould stuck metal tacks into the piano's hammers to make it sound different. It sounds different. It sounds silly.

Charles Francis wrote (October 16, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
[6] < Gould stuck metal tacks into the piano's hammers to make it sound different. It sounds different. It sounds silly. >
It sounds silly to you, Bradley. To a musical genius such as Gould, presumably it didn't."

Gabriel Jackson wrote (October 16, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
[6] < Gould stuck metal tacks into the piano's hammers to make it sound different. It sounds different. It sounds silly. >
Charles Francis wrote: It sounds silly to you, Bradley. To a musical genius such as Gould, presumably it didn't."
So? As someone who takes pride in asserting the superiority of their own opinions to those of pracrising musicians why do you attach any weight to Glenn Gould's opinion?

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (October 16, 2004):
[6] [To Charles Francis] Gould a "musical genius"? This is news to me. I have heard recordings by him, and found him one of the most atrocious Bach performers I have heard. If he really wanted to approximate the sound of a harpsichord, why did he not perform on one? Everything about his performances are arbitrary and not according to the score or to Bach's intentions. Even the performance of the Die Kunst der Fuge on organ is not in keeping with Bach's intentions (or at least as outlined by Leonhardt).

 

BWV 54 and introducing myself

Iman de Zwarte wrote (November 24, 2004):
Well, I don't want to disturb many interesting discussions, but Aryeh invited me to introduce myself and announce an arrangement of cantata BWV 54 "Widerstehe doch der Sünde".

My name is Iman de Zwarte. I'm a dutch organist and churchmusician living in Norway. Since I'm living in the "district" I don't have all kind of musicians around me. That's the reason why I arranged cantata BWV 54 for treble-recorder and organ, the way we (my wife and I) played it together with a mezzo-sopran, working for the Norwegian Opera in Oslo but living in our neigbourhood (about 50 km. east of Bergen).

They who are interested are invited to take a look at the arrangement at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/IndexScores2.htm

John Pike wrote (November 24, 2004):
[To Iman de Zwarte] Welcome! John

Neil Halliday wrote (November 25, 2004):
[To Iman de Zwarte] That looks like a very nice arrangement of this beautiful music. I notice that the opening bars have the same 'blissful/pastoral' harmony as the opening bars of BWV 127/1, that was discussed recently (in F major, with that lovely, crunchy F, G, (B flat), E, dischord in there (an F ninth of some type)?

(But unlike BWV 54, BWV 127/1 soon launches into some quite disturbing harmony).

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 54: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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

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