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Cantata BWV 64
Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget
Discussions - Part 1

Suzuki's Bach Cantata Series, Volume 13

Donald Satz wrote (December 4, 2000):
(7) For me, the best reason for a complete Bach Cantata cycle is the opportunity to own and enjoy Bach's rarely performed and recorded sacred choral works. With Volume 13, Suzuki gives us an entire disc of the infrequently recorded cantatas. The contents are BWV 64, BWV 25, BWV 69a, BWV 77, and BWV 50 which is a fragment. I am using Koopman's series on Erato for each comparison, with Andrew Parrott on EMI added for the BWV 50 fragment. The catalog number of Suzuki's new disc is 1041.

BWV 64, BWV 25, BWV 69a, and BWV 77 were written in 1723 during Bach's first year in Leipzig as Cantor of St. Thomas. Starting with BWV 64, this cantata was composed for the 3rd Day of Christmas, and the first two movements correspond in text to the Christmas season. Matters change greatly thereafter as the text concerns giving up the fleeting rewards of the world for God and heaven. The vocal soloists in BWV 64 are soprano Yukari Nonoshita, alto Robin Blaze, and bass Peter Kooy.

BWV 64

BWV 64 opens with a powerful chorus. There's nothing joyous about it either. Its pervasive quality is a current of concern and distress - not bleak music, but far from festive. Suzuki gives the slower performance, and it's very powerful and inevitable; he has matters tightly controlled and is even elegant compared to Koopman [5]. For his part, Koopman is wild in the sense that the distress is causing panic and it is escalating as the movement progresses. This is a hard choice to make. It's like choosing between a classic woman of elegance and a wild woman with danger on her mind; I'll take both. They are each great performances.

A short chorale, a recitative for alto, and another short chorale follow. The first chorale is stately with a subtle majesty, the recitative begins the theme of rejection of this world, and without pause, the second chorale enters with a heroism of irresistable proportion. This chorale is magical in impact. Both Suzuki and Koopman are superb, but Suzuki's Robin Blaze can not match the blend of beauty and depth in the voice of Koopman's Bogna Bartosz; I have heard Bartosz with Koopman before and consider her a major discovery.

The next movement is a soprano aria, and Koopman has the incomparable Dorothea Roschmann. However, various factors combine to lessen the quality of the performance. This aria has strong uplifting qualities, and Koopman is rather slow and heavy. Add in Roschmann's very deep voice, and the result is a reading which never takes flight. Switch to Suzuki and we get a finely paced reading of quicker tempo with Nonoshita providing a young and innocent allure which has excellent lift to it. Her voice is definitely not as good as Roschmann's, but her match with Suzuki's interpretation is perfect.

A bass recitative, alto aria, and chorale conclude the cantata. Aside from preferring Klaus Mertens to Peter Kooij, both versions are equally outstanding. The aria has a great bounce to it, and both conductors well convey it. I was very impressed with Robin Blaze who, this time, is the equal of Bogna Bartosz and that's a high compliment. The chorale gives the final kiss-off to the significance of this world with the best line in the cantata - "Fare thee well, thou empty shell".

BWV 64 is wonderful music, and both Suzuki and Koopman are very rewarding. I have to go with Suzuki primarily because of the soprano aria. He and Nonoshita are outstanding; Koopman drags the aria down.

Conclusion

Suzuki's Volume 13 is one of his best to date. His chorus is excellent, orchestral support is very enjoyable, and the solo vocal work is better than in any previous issue in the cycle. Most important, Suzuki has a great grasp of Bach's music, and he excels in the arias. I do want to emphasize that my rather consistent preference for Suzuki over Koopman [5] just applies to the recordings reviewed in this posting.

Don's Conclusion: Collectors of the Suzuki series should be very pleased with Volume 13 and consider it an essential acquisition. For others, the disc represents a great way to become familiar with outstanding music which is infrequently recorded.

 

Discussions in the Week of December 24, 2000

Aryeh Oron wrote (December 24, 2000):
Background

This is the week of cantata BWV 64 according to Ryan Michero's suggestion. This is the one before last cantata for year 2000, and Ryan suggested it because of its connection to Christmas. All the quotations in this review are taken from W. Murray Young's book - 'The Cantatas of J.S. Bach - An Analytical Guide'. I shall review the recordings of the opening Chorus (No.1) and the aria for Soprano (No.5). IMHO, these are the most unique movements of this cantata, as well as its most captivating numbers.

"This cantata is pervaded by a quite, reflective tone, unlike the usual Christmas joy that Bach imparts to his music at Christmastide. (Snip) The main idea shows distaste for the world's attractions, which cannot be compared to the joys of heaven. The only Gospel reference occurs in the first Chorus, taken from the first Epistle of John 3: 1, which quotes it for its text, because this date was the feast day of John the Apostle. However, the rest of the cantata has nothing more to do with this nor with the Christmas story; It is concerned simply with renunciation of the world. There are three chorales as well as Chorus for the choir, with solo numbers for soprano, alto and bass. The instruments are a cornetto, an oboe d'amore, three trombones, two violins, a viola, organ and continuo."

Mvt. 1: Chorus
"Like a motet in its fugal style. Right from the beginning, the voices repeat the sections of the fugue, with the orchestra doubling the voices in joy-motif: 'Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget, dass wir Gottes kinder heissen.' (See what love the Father has shown to us, that we are called God's children.) It is very powerful opening number."

Mvt. 5: Aria for Soprano
"This is the most beautiful part of the cantata. Bach must have been greatly inspired to have written such mystical music as this, with its emotional, dream-like, haunting melody of the violins. The text comes from Psalm 37: 20, paraphrased thus: 'Was die welt / In sich hält, / Muss als wie ein Rauch vergehen.' (What the world / Holds within itself / Must like smoke vanish.) This picture of poignant emptiness in a desolate landscape is audibly created by Bach's pen. Nowhere has his tone-colour been so touching as in this aria. In the second part of her aria, Bach's artistry is evident in the coloratura runs on the words 'fest' (firmly) and 'stehen' (stand): 'Aber was mir Jesus gibt, / Und was meine Seele liebt, / Bleibet fest und ewig stehen.' (But what Jesus gives to me, / And what my soul loves / Remains standing firmly and eternally.) The da capo returns us to the beauty of the first part of her aria."

Review of the Complete Recordings

(1) Wilhelm Ehmann (Mid 1960’s?)
Opening Chorus: In some of cantatas recorded by Ehmann, I found his renderings most satisfying, even superior to many others. But in his performance of the opening Chorus, I have had major disappointment. It is slow, heavy, lacking joy and clear focus. It stays on the ground and does not take off with lilt. On the other hand, it might be that Ehmann wanted this Chorus to reflect the general atmosphere of the whole cantata, which means 'distaste for the world's attractions, which cannot be compared to the joys of heaven'.
Aria for Soprano: Maria Friesenhausen sings the aria for soprano relslow. Usually such approach does not disturb me. In many cases I find myself preferring the slower tempi, which were commonly used in many of the Bach recordings from the past (up to about mid 1970's), to the faster tempi adopted by most of modern conductors of the cantatas. But this aria is performed here very slow, too slow to my taste. As a result it becomes sluggish up to being painful to listen to. The shortcomings of the singer become more evident in this rendering - too much vibrato, lack of vividness, and heavy tone. The smoke is stuck in the air, like thick fog in industrial area.

(2) Karl Richter (1970+1972)
Opening Chorus: The performance of the opening Chorus is much more vigorous than the previous one. Despite what seem to be big forces, the various lines of the fugue can be clearly heard. The whole performance has a lot of power and internal conviction.
Aria for Soprano: Edith Mathis almost touches the 'poignant emptiness in a desolate landscape'. Her singing in the coloratura parts is immaculate. The sound of the violins is warm and emotional. The atmosphere created by their playing is earthy rather than 'dreamy'. Everything is overt rather than mystical. However, the match achieved in this rendering between the singer and the accompaniment is perfect, considering the interpretation, which uncover only one option suggested by the text and the music.

[3] Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1976)
Opening Chorus: The opening Chorus sounds simple, naive and chamber-like in comparison to Richter's. In this case I can say that it is more truthful and 'authentic'. In this rendering the opening Chorus becomes old-style motet. However, it lacks power and jollity. Something is missing, like a net with too big holes.
Aria for Soprano: Last week I raved about Sebastian Hennig, the boy soprano in Leonhardt's recording of Cantata BWV 132. And this week we have another fine boy soprano - Peter Jelosits. In some ways he is even better. He is marvellous - pleasant voice in all ranges, good technique, and what is most important - he touches your heart with delicate sensitivity and earnest delivery. I rarely heard violins in H & L cycle playing a tone-picture like the one proposed by the words ' What the world / Holds within itself / Must like smoke vanish' so beautifully and with such poignancy.

(4) Helmuth Rilling (1978+1981)
Opening Chorus: The performance of the opening Chorus has all the qualities missing from most of the previous rendering - good separation between the musical lines, which is needed for satisfying performance of a fugue, warmth, joy and power - 'See what love the Father has shown to us, that we are called God's children.'
Aria for Soprano: Arleen Augér is in class of her own. She penetrates easily everybody's heart, with her sincere expression, and deep grief. The playing of the violins is in the same level with the singer. Together they create a wonderful picture of vanishing, crumbling world.

(5) Ton Koopman (1998)
Opening Chorus: Koopman is trying to make the opening Chorus livelier by playing it faster than usual. To me this approach does not work for this movement. Indeed the cantata was composed for Christmas, 'this cantata is pervaded by a quite, reflective tone' (Murray). The fugal lines are also very hard to follow, when they are played so fast.
Aria for Soprano: Dorothea Röschmann is very much aware to the textual content of her aria, her voice is pure and light and her movement along the musical lines is impeccable. If I miss something that is more weight and depth. If that was the only version I knew, it would have been perfect. Hearing her after Augér and Jelosits (yes, the boy!), reveals that there are more dimensions to this splendid aria. The smoke is also very light and gentle. Like a smoke from a single cigarette in a big empty room in the early evening. You see it and smell it only because the surroundings are clean and nothing disturbs your attention.

(6) John Eliot Gardiner (1998)
Opening Chorus: Even before listening to Gardiner's recording of this movement, I knew how it is going to be sounded. And I wonder, why are Gardiner's interpretations of Bach Cantatas so expected? Is it the simplification, the emphasis on the jolly and danceable side of the works; is it the same rhythmical treatment given to almost every movement? I prefer that a performance of a Bach cantata will be sounded as 'the sound of surprise' (the name of the first book by the renowned Jazz critic Whitney Balliett). This rendering has, of course, the lilting rhythm, but for me it sounds one-dimensional. It has no mystery and no internal depth. It shows 'the joys of heaven', but not 'distaste for the world's attractions'.
Aria for Soprano: The violins set the right mood for the aria, and Ann Monoyios enters calmly and gently. Her singing is moving in apparently innocence and delicate approach. The world is falling apart and what remains is the sadness of the loneliness and emptiness. The tenderness of this rendition of the aria contradicts everything I wrote about Gardiner regarding his performance of the opening Chorus. As I have learnt with many of the recordings of Bach Cantatas, which have been reviewed in our group so far, the greatest enemy of honest and open comparison between the various recordings of a certain cantata are prejudices. Most probably I am not free of some!

Conclusion

Opening Chorus - Richter (2) and Rilling (4).
Aria for Soprano - Jelosits/Harnoncourt (3), Augér/Rilling (4) and Monoyios/Gardiner (6).

And as always, I would like to hear other opinions, regarding the above mentioned performances, or other recordings.

Andrew Oliver wrote (December 29, 2000):
What can we say about this cantata? It is written for the third day of Christmas, but it tells us nothing of Christ's nativity. Instead, it deals with some of the fundamentals of Christianity - the futility and transience of everything to do with the world, and the assured hope of eternal life for the believer, made possible by the gift to the world of Jesus Christ, and although he had to die to procure salvation for believers, he first had to be born, hence the (tenuous) connection with Christmas.

The opening chorus is a good example of Bach's skill in writing counterpoint, but, strangely, it does not inspire me. I admire it but I am not captivated by it (except perhaps by the climax near the end, which is quite exciting), and I think perhaps my mild disappointment may be due to the way Bach has scored it as a motet, that is, without independent instrumental lines. (The orchestral parts simply double the vocal parts.)

Aryeh rightly drew our attention to the soprano aria, with its fine virtuoso violin part, but I particularly like the last aria, for alto, with its long, flowing melodic line. In fact, I think of it more as a duet than a solo, because the part of the oboe d'amore is equally as important as that of the voice, and Bach weaves the two together with great skill. For me, this movement exudes humbly confident serenity.

The final chorale simply reinforces what has gone before, by bidding farewell to everything of a worldly nature.

Jane Newble wrote (December 30, 2000):
This cantata is a box of delights to me, as I love chorales!! And there are three of them. One comes as such a surprise after the alto recitative, almost like everyone saying: "Yes, we agree with that!" Contrary to popular ideas of merriment and enjoyment to remember the birth of Christ, this cantata brings us right back to the real issue...why did Christ come?

It starts with an exciting "Look, this is why"!! Especially with Koopman (5). Aryeh is probably right, when he says it's too fast, but I do find it exciting, especially when it leads up to the 'DASZ' sung with capletters! Wonderful. Then, instead of going on to rejoicing etc. we are told that it is all about real, lasting values, instead of worldly pleasures. The cello in the alto recitative almost makes a mockery of the vanity of the world, with it's sliding up and down scales. Nothing solid, nothing to trust in. Then that lovely chorale: 'Was frage ich nach der Welt' - what do I want of worldly things anyway, when I have something far more valuable. The soprano aria confirms this with the long steady notes on 'fest und ewig stehen'. Solid, lasting and eternal.

I have only heard the Leusink (8) and the Koopman (5), and I'd love to hear the boy soprano in L&H (3). I always wonder why HIP people are so keen to use mature female sopranos, especially in arias renouncing the world and it's pleasures. At least I am very glad Koopman did not use Barbara Schlick here. And I like Marjon Strijk, but not as much as the usual Ruth Holton. I like most of the Leusink version, but I feel that the first chorus sounds a bit disjointed. However, that may be after hearing the amazing togetherness in Koopman.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (December 30, 2000):
< Jane Newble wrote: I have only heard the Leusink and the Koopman, and I'd love to hear the boy soprano in L&H. I always wonder why HIP people are so keen to use mature female sopranos, especially in arias renouncing the world and it's pleasures. At least I am very glad Koopman did not use Barbara Schlick here. And I like Marjon Strijk, but not as much as the usual Ruth Holton. I like most of the Leusink version, but I feel that the first chorus sounds a bit disjointed. However, that may be after hearing the amazing togetherness in Koopman. >
Couldn't have expressed this question better. In the L & H set the Wachet auf (BWV 140) dialogue between the boy soprano and Hampson (if I recall) is really most affecting. It's been said on this list (probably on the BachRecordings list actually) by Kirk that the L & H set had been available at what comes to a few bucks a CD. That's how I read it anyway. I have never seen it except at a small fortune. It is the one thing I would really like to have and find beyond affording.

Andrew Oliver wrote (December 31, 2000):
I just wanted to add that I sent my comments having heard only the Teldec version (Harnoncourt) (3), but I have been loaned Koopman's recording (5), and I find that this appeals to me rather more than Harnoncourt's does, generally speaking, especially so in the opening chorus, and does a better job of conveying the joy of the cantata's message.

 

BWV 64/5 Soprano Aria

Eitan Loew wrote (November 15, 2003):
Today we have been listening to this cantata and the sopran aria sounded very familiar - I guess that Bach used it somewhere else. Who can help?

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 15, 2003):
[To Eitan Loew] Even the Bach experts (Drr, et al) have not found a direct connection with any other composition by Bach. Many experts do mention the gavotte-like treatment Bach uses in this aria.

Here a fairly recent comment by the experts on "Dance and the Music of J. S. Bach" [Little & Jenne, expanded edition, Indiana University Press, 2001, p. 217]:

"More embellishments [than BWV 130/5 {tenor} and BWV 194/5 {soprano}] fill the soprano aria "Was die Welt in sich hält" BWV 64/5 (1723-35.) The time signature is now C, not cut-time, probably indicating a slightly slower tempo [gavotte-like tempo is generally a moderate one] to accommodate the filled-in beats. The text, expressing security in Jesus though the world will vanish, shows the breadth with which the gavotte style can embrace a variety of affects, this one is neither pastoral nor naive and simple. The stability of the 4 + 4 gavotte phrases the perfect foundation for extravagant diminutions in the 1st violin part."

[This illustrates clearly how Bach ennobles the dance forms that he uses for sacred purposes. If some of the current or more recent performers take this aria with a fast, light tempo, it becomes quite apparent that they have not understood properly the message of the text or perhaps have chosen to emphasize some negative aspects of it as they pursue what they think are 'authentic' performance practices.]

Just a quick sampling of some of the recordings of this mvt. still leaves me with the usual impressions with one surprise: Leusink, whose much slower version, unfortunately, almost dies under its own weight and heaviness because Strijk, the soprano, is unable to imbue the aria with the necessary strength, intensity, and stability (lax pronunciation does not help here either.) On the extreme opposite end, despite the excellent effort of Peter Jelosits, one of the few leading lights in the boy soprano category of the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt cantata series, Harnoncourt [3] misses the point of this aria entirely by converting it into a peasant dance with heavy accents with additional, unwritten pauses between the notes. Harnoncourt illustrates what commonly can occur when HI performers 'discover' a dance or dance element in Bach's sacred music. The Leonhardt/Harnoncourt legacy in regard to emphasizing strongly the dance elements in Bach's sacred music is still making itself felt in the numerous Passion recordings of recent years, recordings where these dance elements are strongly emphasized to the detriment of the seriousness of the sacred texts which Bach had set to music sometimes using modified dance rhythms.

I like to think that Bach ennobled these dance forms and raised them to a yet higher level of appreciation, without having to resort to the often severe metrical restrictions of a courtly dance nor without having to indulge in the crude characteristics of a peasant dance (heavy, stomping accents.)

Neil Halliday wrote (November 16, 2003):
[To Eitan Loew] For some reason, the soprano aria 'Buss und Reu' (SMP (BWV 244), Klemperer) came to mind, when I played my Rilling recording of the BWV 64 soprano aria [4].

About the only similarity is the start of the 'melody' of the aria on the dominant, in the minor key; perhaps it's more the similarity of the sopranos (Schwarzkopf and Auger), or the timbre of the strings, that jogged my memory. Someone else may be able to come up with something that has a geater resemblance than this.

This BWV 64 soprano aria is another example of a 'catchy' melody (Rilling's timing: 5.32 [4]) in a mainly homophonic setting, similar in this respect to the BWV 188 (major key) tenor aria.

Teseo wrote (November 16, 2003):
Thomas Braatz wrote: < it becomes quite apparent that they have not understood properly the message of the text or perhaps have chosen to emphasize some negative aspects of it as they pursue what they think are 'authentic' performance practices. >
or may be this is exactly what JSB had in his mind while composing these pieces...

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 16, 2003):
[To Eitan Loew] Eitan, I forgot to include another important soprano aria which has the similar gavotte rhythm (also mentioned by Little & Jenne indicated in my previous post.) On p. 218 they state: “The same is true of the elegant soprano aria “Dein sonst hell beliebter ScheinBWV 176/3 (1725). This aria speaks of the power of God’s light in the cantata that tells the story of Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night. Flowing triplets in the strings, and eventually in the voice as well, are reminiscent of the earlier 2nd gavotte in Bach’s Cello Suite in C minor, BWV 1011 (1720.)

Notice the words the Little & Jenne use in describing these gavotte-like mvts. from the cantatas: 'elegance,' 'breadth,' 'stability,' 'perfect foundation' and 'flowing'

To my statement:
>>it becomes quite apparent that they have not understoodproperly the message of the text or perhaps have chosen to emphasize some negative aspects of it as they pursue what they think are 'authentic' performance practices.<<

Teseo wrote:
>>or may be this is exactly what JSB had in his mind while composing these pieces...<<

Yes, if you believe critics such as Richard Taruskin, who, in his book, "Text & Act" (Oxford UnivePress, 1995) on p. 314, in referring to the Harnoncourt/Leonhardt Bach cantata series, states "Mr. Leonhardt and Mr. Harnoncourt deserve our admiration. Their achievement is unique and well-nigh unendurable." The word, 'unendurable' is taken here by Taruskin in a positive sense. On p. 310 Taruskin writes: "When his [Bach's] sounds [in his church cantatas] were agreeable, it was only to point out an escape from worldly woe in heavenly submission. Just as often he aimed to torture the ear: when the world was his subject, he wrote music that for sheer deliberate ugliness has perhaps been approached...but never equaled." And on p. 311 he continues: "Mr. Harnoncourt's style has taken on attributes that "performance practice" alone could never have vouchsafed. They can only have come from those "contemptible" Lutheran texts and their unaccommodating polemic. His increasingly hortatory and unbeautiful way of performing Bach reached a peak about halfway through the series, and the intervening decade has done nothing to lessen its power to shock -- or disgust. If you seek contact with the essential Bach at full hideous strength, Mr. Harnoncourt's performances remain the only place to go."

It occurs to me, not for the sake of initiating another argument on this list that might take on too many religious/political overtones, that Harnoncourt, possibly as 'foreigner' or 'outsider' [an instrumentalist, not having grown up within the religion and tradition of singing and performing Bach's sacred music using German Lutheran/Baroque texts] was unable, in the majority of his cantata recordings, to 'connect' properly (in his heart) with the true substance of Bach's music and thus resorted to distortions which he thought necessary to confront and attract a new audience of listeners, who had never before heard any Bach cantatas appropriately/reasonably performed with "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben."

Andrzej Kozlowski wrote (November 17, 2003):
[To Thomas Braatz] I never take seriously anything written by Richard Taruskin. He has totally discredited himself by his ludicrous views on Shostakovich, which he maintains with the stubborness of a madman against all evidence. The views quoted here just confirm this judgement.

Neil Halliday wrote (November 17, 2003):
[To Thomas Braatz] Mr. Taruskin strikes me as a purveyor of the styles characteristic of the contemporary 'catwalk' scene, where the ugly fashions (and physiques), which are supposed to delight the eye, are all too apparent and common.

I'm sure Mr. Harnoncourt's fans would be none too pleased by the praise heaped on him by this particular critic!

Teseo wrote (November 17, 2003):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Yes, if you believe critics such as Richard Taruskin >
Actually I do not care of anything Mr. Taruskin can write, say or think. I only point out that a little of humility never does any harm in discussing about music. Unless one is in direct contact with the ghost of JSB what we can only say about any performance of his music is: "I agree because... etc" or "I do not agree because....etc", "I like this because....etc" or "I do not like this because.... etc". Nobody knows exactly how Bach intended his music to be played. I think that almost any approach to Bach's music - from, say, Richter's to Rifkin's - contains a part of the "true substance of Bach's music" and that is extremely difficult to entirely reject a performance practice, HIP or non-HIP it may be, on an objective basis.

John Pike wrote (November 17, 2003):
[To Teseo] Yes, I agree with much of this. I once remember András Schiff saying that Bach was the most generous composer since his music can withstand almost any kind of treatment and a wide variety of tempi and to still sound wonderful. All that really matters is that it must be beautiful.

 

BWV 64 "Sehet,, welch eine Liebe"

Neil Halliday wrote (December 29, 2003):
Regarding the opening chorus, the BGA score shows this fugal motet-like movement to have cornet and trombones (and strings) doubling the voice parts; of the Richter [2] and Rilling [4] performances, only the former has the brass instruments.

Both recordings are very good, with a high degree of clarity of the parts of the fugue, but different in effect, because Rilling takes a slower tempo (3.22 c.f. 2.33 for Richter [2]) , and lacks the sombre tone colouring provided by the trombones.

I wonder if Koopman [5] and Suzuki [7], who have also recorded this cantata, have included the brass instruments?

Bob Henderson wrote (December 29, 2003):
[To Neil Halliday] [7] Suzuki employs the Concerto Palatino, three trombones, one cornetto in his rendering of BWV 64. Volume 13. Because of the somber tone produced it is one of my favorites.

Neil Halliday wrote (December 29, 2003):
[To Bob Henderson] Thanks, Bob.

[7] It's interesting that Suzuki has employed an expert group, the Concerto Palatino, outside of the BCJ, to play the parts for these instruments. (Probably the same thing happened in Bach's time.)

Bradley Lehman wrote (December 30, 2003):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Regarding the opening chorus, the BGA score shows this fugal motet-like movement to have cornet and trombones (and strings) doubling the voice parts; of the Richter [2] and Rilling [4] performances, only the former has the brass instruments. >
For what it's worth: a cornetto (Zink) is made of wood and leather, not brass. And, historically, its principal role was to blend with (and in some cases substitute for!) voices: having a tone more like the human voice than any other instrument.

Trombones had a similar traditional role (their blending ability in church music, reinforcing the middle of a texture with a warm glow, instead of standing out separately) all the way through the 17th century (the Italians and Germans), right through the end of the 18th. Check out the Salzburg and Viennese masses (Reutter, Michael and Joseph Haydn, the Mozarts, et al) that have strings, trombones, and organ continuo as the "standard" orchestra to accompany sacred choral music.

 

Continue on Part 2

Cantata BWV 64: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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