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 54
Widerstehe doch der Sünde
Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Discussions in the Week of May 16, 2010

David Jones wrote (May 17, 2010):
Widerstehe doch der Sünde

Please forgive the lateness of this post. Today's cantata is:

Widerstehe doch der Sünde

Solo Cantata (for Alto) for the Dominica Oculi [3rd Sunday in Lent]
Oculi [3rd Sunday in Lent]

Weimar, 1714
1st performance: March 24, 1715 (?) - Weimar
There are some considerable problems here that make a definite assignment impossible. We are left with the possibilities indicated in the revised (English) Dürr. Klaus Hofmann (1993) in one of the Bach journals is primarily responsible for the 1715 date. The problem with the March 4, 1714 date is that it would have occurred two days after Bach’s appointment as Kapellmeister at the Weimar court. The only reason that Oculi has been assigned is because printed text book has this Sunday assigned. This is a good reason, but because the references to the Epistle and Gospel readings on Oculi Sunday are rather vague and because Bach composed a similar early cantata as “in ogni tempo”, Schulze considers the 7th Sunday after Trinity 1714 as a possibility because some possible references to the readings for that Sunday. Dürr (English + update) state: ‘most likely in summer or autumn’ of 1714. Küster dates this cantata to before 1714. The NBA KB states that it could have been composed as early as 1713 possibly for Oculi or another suitable point in the year (in ogni tempo). Schulze also explains that the 1st mvt. was used by Bach with a different text as part of the St. Mark Passion.

Soloist: Alto
Orchestra: 2 violins, viola, continuo composed of a cello, a double-bass and organ
Mvt. 1: Aria | Mvt. 2: Recitative | Mvt. 3: Aria

As always, Gardiner [27] takes pride of place in my interpretation preferences; Nathalie Stutzmann has an impossibly rich, billowy coffee-colored contralto that she refines to a crystalline glint and treble like purity.....haunting!

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 17, 2010):
David Jones wrote:
< As always, Gardiner [27] takes pride of place in my interpretation preferences; Nathalie Stutzmann has an impossibly rich, billowy coffee-colored contralto that she refines to a crystalline glint and treble like purity.....haunting! >
I might not choose exactly the same descriptive language, but I do agree that Nathalie Stutzmann with Gardiner [27] is not to be missed, to enjoy a unique voice.

Peter Smaill wrote (May 17, 2010):
[To Ed Myskowski] Much as I enjoy Gardiner's rendering [27] of the Cantatas the most fascinating version is the video of Genn Gould in the '60s, complete with adapted piano and kitschy set [6]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SDpIyVhZKA

One of the genealogical quirks of history is that Gould (through his mother) was related to Edvard Greig through the same Scots family from Buchan near Aberdeen.

Theologically BWV 54 is an oddity, for it does not rest on the Lutheran emphasis on salvation by faith through grace, but rather on the semi-Pelagian idea of good conduct, withstanding sin. For Luther. man is immersed in sin whatever his efforts, and requires forgiveness. While praying for Garce to resist sin is entirly orthodox in Lutheranism , the libretto of this Cantata only weakly suggest this emphasis ( "devotion") ("Andacht"). The mood is typically gloomy, as often occurs in Lehms.

It includes the reference to Sodom's apple, which comes uniquely in the Cantatas not from Holy Scripture, but the Jewish historian Josephus; and is also found in BWV 95/2 and BWV 179/3.

Julian Mincham wrote (May 17, 2010):
[To Peter Smaill] [6] Many thanks for this--I had no idea of it's existence! Very interesting to compare this version with that by Deller [3] made just a few years earlier--with strings dircted by Gustav Leonhardt and Harnoncourt playing baroque cello--very different versions with Gould producing some rather odd tempo changes!

(I wonder if coming together for this recording was the beginning of the cantata collaboration of H and L--great oaks from little acorns----etc. etc.)

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 17, 2010):
Widerstehe doch der Sünde - Gould

Peter Smaill wrote:
< Much as I enjoy Gardiner's rendering [27] of the Cantatas the most fascinating version is the video of Genn Gould in the '60s, complete with adapted piano and kitschy set:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SDpIyVhZKA >
[6] Fascinating performance. Gould's piano sounds like a fortepiano. His "realization" is extraordinarily eccentric: much of it is not harmonized, rather he doubles the various lines to highlight them. The real treat is Russell Oberlin's performance. In a period when Kathleen Ferrier was the reigning "Bach Alto", this broadcast must have been quite startling to present a countertenor. Like Deller [3], Oberlin [6] did not have a great natural voice, but they were both compelling interpreters, and they both were pioneers in the early music movement.

Here's Ferrier's "Embarme Dich" with Karajan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh_1CKyZVSc

Evan Cortens wrote (May 17, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
[6] < Fascinating performance. Gould's piano sounds like a fortepiano. >
I believe that particular instrument is one Gould had built especially for himself... I think the idea was to combine the "dry" sound of the harpsichord with the dynamic expressiveness of the piano. He seems to use it in all these old CBC videos.

Not sure what he called it, but I've always referred to it (somewhat fancifully) as the "harpsipiano".

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 17, 2010):
[To Evan Cortens] [6] Gould stuck metal tacks into the hammers of an otherwise ordinary piano.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 17, 2010):
[To Bradley Lehman] [6] Honky-tonk!

David Jones wrote (May 17, 2010):
[To Douglas Cowling] [6] yeah that harpsipiano is a mess and unidiomatic but Oberlin's performance is
absolutely exquisite.

Neil Halliday wrote (May 18, 2010):
David Jones wrote:
[6] >yeah that harpsipiano is a mess and unidiomatic but Oberlin's performance is absolutely exquisite.<
Agreed, except I find Gould's continuo to be at least interesting, sounding like a forte piano.

Since Peter supplied the link to Oberlin, we might as well have the U-tube link to Deller [3]:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27X2anAusZE

Both of them are highly engaging peformances (but no live video of Deller himself).

I notice neither of them adopt the embellishment written out in bar 26; of the recordings to which I have access, only Hamari (with Rilling) [9] uses it, to fine effect.

(It's in the BGA, written in small notes, in bar 26; is it from Bach's hand?).

In any case, Suzuki's tempo is too fast for Mera [20] to employ this particular piece of decoration.

Another detail: both Oberlin [6] and Deller [3] repeat the syllables "widersteh-" - not in the BGA - in the aproach to the long held note on "steh-" in bar 29; M[20] and Hamari [9] follow the setting in the BGA. Either way is effective, but why the syllabic repetition? A type of textual embellishment, maybe?

 

BWV 54 & the Apples of Sodom

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 3, 2011):
A rather good summary of the literary background of the Apples of Sodom image which appears in Cantata BWV 54, "Widerstehe doch der Sünde". http://www.sinaibrookline.org/page.php/id/1283

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 3, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] The Great Fruit Switch is especially amusing. All too human, and to the point.

Peter Smaill wrote (February 3, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thanks Doug for this interesting reflection on one of the strangest images in the Cantatas and derived (uniquely I think) not from Scripture but Josephus, whose account of the destruction of Jerusalem was read out in the Leipzig churches in Holy Week.

The image also occurs in Cantatas BWV 95-2 and 179-3. In BWV 146-3 Sodom is rejected for the prospect of heaven. The librettist is unknown in each case and of course BWV 54 is an early work from Weimar. It seems that the graphic naure of the image with its additional allusion to the sense of taste was attractive to the baroque mindset!

 

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

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: ýSeptember 29, 2011 ý09:34:25