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 80
Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott
Cantata BWV 80a
Alles, was von Gott geboren
Cantata BWV 80b
Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

BWV 115/BWV 80b [was Introduction to BWV 115]

Continue of discussion from: Cantata BWV 115 - Discussions Part 2

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 31, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
>>Lo and behold, the notes by Gilles Cantagrel (Eng. trans., Mary Pardoe) state as fact, in the midst of a lengthy paragraph detailing the scoring variety beginning with BWV 96 on Oct 8, 1724, that BWV 80 was performed on Oct. 31, 1724, but without a source for that statement. The notes are too long to quote in entirety. They appear to be new in 2003 for reissue of the original 1994 recording. They are exceptionally good, despite lack of references (can't have everything). I am going to close with that fact (or conjecture), that a version of BWV 80 was performed in 1724.<<
It is a conjecture which has no basis in any real Bach scholarship that has been conducted in regard to BWV 80 in its various forms. My original 1994 notes to the recording you speak of state the same thing in 3 different languages. Nothing has been changed or modified to include new scholarship that might shed more light on this matter. There is a clear reference to a version of BWV 80 with 3 trumpets and timpani, 2 oboes d'amore and tenor oboe as having been performed in Leipzig on Oct. 31, 1724. What we have here, in part, are the 3 trumpets and timpani parts composed by W.F. Bach for mvt. 1 & 5. These have been dated as having originated from the mid to end of the 1730s (see below). As for the J. S. Bach version of BWV 80, it also could not have been performed on that date according to reliable Bach research. There are many interesting things to be learned from recording notes, but your instinct told you correctly that it is highly suspicious that no references for this information were given. When other sources not mentioned in the notes cannot confirm such information it must remain highly suspect. One possibility is that Gilles Cantagrel was using an outdated, unreliable source and did not bother to check with the NBA KB (published in 1988) regarding the correct dating of this cantata.

Here is the most reliable data concerning this cantata:

Two critical sources on which the NBA KB editors have based their information are:

Alfred Dürr "Zur Chronologie der Leipziger Vokalwerke J. S. Bachs" 2nd edition, Kassel, 1976

Alfred Dürr "Studien über die frühen Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs" revised and expanded edition, Wiesbaden, 1977

NBA KB I/31 (1988) pp.78-80:
The probable original source of BWV 80 is the cantata for the Sunday Oculi, "Alles, was von Gott geboren" known as BWV 80a. According to Dürr's research (pp. 64, 171ff of "Studien" Wiesbaden, 1977), it was composed in Weimar and probably first performed on March 24, 1715. Only the text of this cantata has survived. Based upon this and also indications from a Breitkopf catalog from 1761, it is possible to conclude that the cantata had 6 mvts. with the following parts: 1 oboe, 2 violins, viola, 4 vocal parts and continuo. Since many mvts. from this cantata were parodied in BWV 80, BWV 80a can be reconstructed as follows:

BWV 80a/1 = BWV 80/2: Aria "Alles, was von Gott geboren"
probable orchestration: bass voice, oboe, 2 violins, viola and bc with the instrumental cantus firmus given to the oboe.

BWV 80a/2 = BWV 80/3: Recitative "Erwäge doch, Kind Gottes"
probably bass and bc only.

BWV 80a/3 = BWV 80/4: Aria "Komm in mein Herzenshaus"
probably soprano and bc only.

BWV 80a/4 = BWV 80/6 Recitative "So stehe dann" probably tenor and bc.

BWV 80a/5 = BWV 80/7 Duet "Wie selig ist der Leib"
probably alto, tenor, oboe(?) or viola(?) (the oboe da caccia was not available in Weimar), violin and bc.

BWV 80a/6 = chorale "Mit unsrer Macht" (verse 2 of "Ein feste Burg")
probably tutti; this may be identical with the chorale BWV 303 (see Dürr p. 45).

In Leipzig Bach was unable to use BWV 80a during the fast period preceding Easter (a 'quiet' time when no figural music could be performed in the Leipzig churches) so he reused/recycled it to make it usable for the Reformation Feast Day. Just when this occurred can not be indicated with precision, but based upon additional fragments found in St. Petersburg, it appears most likely that it would have to be either 1727,1728 or 1731. However there was a period of mourning (no figural music allowed) from September 7, 1727 until Epiphany 1728, so we are left with only 1728 and 1731. Now we have the following situation:

BWV 80b/1: Chorale mvt. "Ein feste Burg" , a new composition

BWV 80b/2: based on BWV 80a/1 but expanded to a duet

BWV 80b/3: same as BWV 80a/2 with few or no changes

BWV 80b/4: same as BWV 80a/3 with few or no changes

BWV 80b/5: Chorale "Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär", a new composition, possibly a simple 4-pt chorale setting, but it might also have been a mvt. similar to BWV 80b/1

BWV 80b/6: same as BWV 80a/4, possibly expanded somewhat

BWV 80b/7: same as BWV 80a/5, possible different orchestration because of change of key (oboe da caccia in place of a previous instrument), also possible major compositional changes as well. First two lines of text had been changed.

BWV 80b/8: Chorale "Das Wort sie sollen lassen stahn" probably a new composition or a revision of BWV 80a/6.

The second and final revision of the cantata involves mainly the composition of an expansive first mvt. to replace the simple introductory chorale from BWV 80b. In this expanded version, the orchestration now includes vocal parts, strings, continuo plut 3 oboes. Further changes (adding instruments to the original ones) were probably made to mvt. 5 as well. It is also possible that mvt. 5 was a new composition which received an additional wind part later on. Since the original sources of BWV 80 are missing, it is not possible to assign a definite date, but it certainly would have to be after 1729 and/or 1731.

The parts for trumpets and timpani by W.F. Bach are included in the NBA KB, but were not considered for inclusion in the final printed version of the cantata BWV 80.

Another rather recent important reference examines the orchestration of the instruments used in every mvt. of every cantata. It includes information about the dating of the W.F. Bach additional parts to which Cantagrel refers:

Ulrich Prinz "J. S. Bachs Instrumentarium" Stuttgart/Kassel, 2005

BWV 80a
March 24, 1715

BWV 80b
circa 1728/1731

BWV 80
Additional instrumental changes made to BWV 80b by J.S. Bach mid to end of 1730s
Trumpets & timpani added by W.F. Bach mid to end of 1730s

Julian Mincham wrote (October 31, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< This is presumably the version that Cantagrel states was performed in 1724 (booklet notes to Coin, BWV 115 [4]), several years earlier than Dürr indicates. I was wondering if there is more recent scholarship in support of this statement, or if he is in conflict with Dürr? And if not this early version of BWV 80, then what was the Reformation Festival music in 1724, between BWV 38 and BWV 115? One of the advantages of the chronologic discussion is that details such as this come to the fore. >
Boyd gives the original version of this work as a Weimar cantata for Lent which used the hymn Eine feste Burg and therefore could easily be adapted to become a Reformation cantata. He gives 2 Leipzig versions, the earlier from 1723 although it is not listed by Wolff as a part of the first cycle. He does not date the later work which presumably could have been in 1724 and again not listed as a part of the second cycle.. Wolff gives two later versions one from around 1730 and another from 1740.

There is an essay on this cantata by Wolff in 'Bach: essays on his life and music (Cambridge) which I do not have immediate access to but will try to get hold of. It probably has the most complex and tantalising history of any of the cantatas.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 31, 2006):
< It is a conjecture which has no basis in any real Bach scholarship that has been conducted in regard to BWV 80 in its various forms. >
Such an unbelievably #%^@&# blanket statement implies that the whole body of "real Bach scholarship" (at any time and in every language) is completely known to the person making the assessment. Furthermore, that such a person is in an optimal position to decide what's "real" Bach scholarship and what's not...or, for that matter, to produce any such "real" scholarship oneself with impeccable objectivity (or ANY objectivity). BZZZZZTT all round.
<>

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 31, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
>>Boyd gives the original version of this work as a Weimar cantata for Lent which used the hymn Eine feste Burg and therefore could easily be adapted to become a Reformation cantata. He gives 2 Leipzig versions,the earlier from 1723 although it is not listed by Wolff as a part of the first cycle.<<
Boyd must be in error relying on outdated sources for his assertion about an earlier version from 1723.

>>There is an essay on this cantata by Wolff in 'Bach: essays on his life and music (Cambridge) which I do not have immediate access to but will try to get hold of.<<
This Wolff essay is from 1982 and as he stated in this essay, he was awaiting the publication of the research done by the NBA in its KB. Had Boyd read this essay he would have been alerted to the 1988 results published by the NBA.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 31, 2006):
BWV 115/BWV 80b [was Introduction to BWV 115]

[To Thomas Braatz] Thanks to you both for pursuing this important detail. I have just sent a post before checking incoming, sorry.

Thomas, you are absolutely correct: the Wolff essay was first published in 1982, then reprinted in the volume of collected essays which I cited as 1991. It is, however, the very essay referenced by Robin Leaver (RAL) in Boyd.

I will give it a more careful read, and send along any observations in relation to your NBA citations. Again, can't thank you enough for those.

I repeat: the 1723 date proposed by Wolff in 1982 is not supported (or even mentioned) in his Bach: The Learned Musician (2000).

Julian Mincham wrote (October 31, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Thomas, you are absolutely correct: the Wolff essay was first published in 1982, then reprinted in the volume of collected essays which I cited as 1991. It is, however, the very essay referenced by Robin Leaver (RAL) in Boyd. >
Thanks Ed and Thomas for the emerging details about the complex history of this cantata. As I said in a posting earlier today, one always learns from the various contributions to this list

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 31, 2006):
I previously wrote:
< BWV 80 is for the Reformation Festival, the question is when and how it achieved this identity. <snip> Reformation Festival, in its earlier (?) guise as All Hallows Even (Hallowe'en), is a big event here in Salem MA. >
Some further thoughts:

Roy Reed wrote (October 31, 2000), with reference to BWV 80:
When I was a boy I observed that a the time we Protestants were observing Reformation Sunday, the Catholics on Nov. 1 were celebrating All Saints Day. Only much later did I appreciate the absurd irony of this. It was no kind of coincidence that Martin Luther chose All Hallows Eve (One of your bigger "trick or treats" of all time) as the moment to begin his revolution.....as the time to nail the 95 Theses to the door of the castle church of Wittenburg. The timing had everything to do with his belief in the universal sanctity in the church, with his awareness that in the New Testament "saint" is a plural word. For Protestants to fail to see this, and ignore "All Saints" for a tribal celebration of the great revolt, is to do an incredible injustice to Martin Luther.
<end quote>

I also previously wrote:
< I did not find any definite statement as to what that music was [Oct. 31, 1724]. A tempting hint from Suzuki, who includes BWV 80 with BWV 115 in his V. 27 >
(sorry for all the numbers, but it does seem like the most certain way to keep track). I do not see anything conclusive in Durr or Wolff (corrections invited), or in Suzuki's notes.

I was correct as far as I went. I meant but did not specify that Wolff referred to is Bach: The Learned Musician (2000), where there is no music specified for Oct. 31 in the tabular presentations for 1723 and 1724, and where Table 8.9, Chorale Cantatas (later additions), indicates 1740 for the final version, BWV 80, and 1728-31 for BWV 80b. Substantially in agreement with my previous citation from Durr, and with the extensive data provided by Thomas Braatz from NBA (1988). Thanks as always, Tom. I was hoping for that!

However, I subsequently read Robin Leaver in OCC: Bach, who cites first performance of BWV 80b as 1723, with a reference to an earlier Wolff publication: Bach: Essays on His Life and Music (1991). Wolff writes (p. 155-7):

Whereas the Weimar cantata [BWV 80a] can be assigned a date of 1715, we are left to conjecture in the case of the Leipzig cantata [BWV 80b], since no original sources for this version have survived. The anniversary year of the Augsburg Confession, 1730, has been suggested as a plausible hypothesis <snip> The question of date, however, has appearin a totally different light since it has become evident through recent source studies that we must differentiate between two versions [BWV 80 and BWV 80b]. Two fragments, which add up to a leaf of an autograph score, so far totally unknown, can be assigned to the year 1723 on the basis of watermarks <snip>

[two pages of text and score in defense of the suggestion that BWV 80b is an extensive revision of BWV 80a (of which only the text remains)].

The fact that Bach wrote out a new score [BWV 80b] for the Reformation Cantata can be related above all to the consideration that as early as 1723, and with this work, he may have anticipated the composition of the later series of chorale cantatas. <end quote>

Thomas Braatz has pointed out that Gilles Cantagrel in the notes to Coin, BWV 115 [4], has conflated the instrumentation of BWV 80b and BWV 80, and also that these notes were the same for the 1994 and 2003 release. Despite the misleading instrumentation in Cantagrel's note, the suggested performance date of 1724 is consistent with Wolff's recent (in 1994) publication.

Which leaves several questions. What happened with Wolff between 1991 and 2000? Was the earlier idea questioned or discredited, and thus omitted from the 2000 publication altogether? Or was it editorial oversight in the 2000 publication which led to a date of 1728-31 for BWV 80b, in contradiction with the 1991 publication, or at least ignoring it? And if the earlier date is indeed discredited, what in fact was the music for the Reformation Festival in 1723 and 1724.

Given Wolff's fascinating suggestion that initial performance of BWV 80b in 1723 could have been the precursor to the entire concept of Jahrgang II, it seems to me to be an important detail to determine whether such a date is discredited, remains plausible, or perhaps is even the most likely.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (October 31, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Reformation Festival is the English translation used by both Dürr and Robertson. That does not necessarily mean it is any good, just more or less standard. >
Had a look at the web site of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; it is true that they use the term 'festival' rather than 'feast' (I guess that's more Anglican/Episcopalian...), however, they call the holiday Lutherans celebrate on 31 October simply 'Reformation Day' and have done with it.

Source: http://www.elca.org/questions/Results.asp?recid=5

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 31, 2006):
I had previously stated in regard to BWV 80b's possible performance on October 31, 1723 or October 31, 1724 in Leipzig:
>>It [see below what this can now refer to] is a conjecture which has no basis in any real Bach scholarship that has been conducted in regard to BWV 80 in its various forms.<<

The "It" can now can refer to various sources:

1. Gilles Cantagrel in his notes to the Coin recording [4] of BWV 115,

2. Malcom Boyd and John Butt ("Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach", Oxford University Press, 1999) who included in the OCC without checking and relied upon the validity of Robin A. Leaver's statement "The early Leipzig version was performed at the 1723 'Reformationsfest'" which in turn was based upon the Bach-Compendium (Leipzig, 1985-) A 183a which most likely represented the historical state of conjectures at that moment in time about the first Leipzig version before the appearance of the NBA KB in 1988 stating that there was no 1723, 1724, etc. version/performance in Leipzig of BWV 80b with further confirmation given by both

"Bach-Werke Verzeichnis" (Leipzig, 1998)

and

"J. S. Bachs Instrumentarium" (Stuttgart/Kassel, 2005) by Ulrich Prinz.

We have three entirely reliable and up-to-date sources which contradict the outdated information given by Cantagrel/Boyd/Butt/Leaver.

How this state of affairs provokes another unfounded, pub-like outburst as that which follows, is difficult to understand when it is issued by one who presumes to understand more about this subject and deems himself more qualified to know what true scholarship and objectivitiy is all about.

Here is Brad Lehman's statement meant to demean my efforts and to call into question solid scholarship by Bach experts who have actually examined the evidence and are not relying only upon what others at some earlier time have stated about it (as Cantagrel/Boyd/Butt/Leaver appear to have done in this instance):

>>Such an unbelievably #%^@&# blanket statement [that Cantagrel/Boyd/Butt/Leaver may indeed be in error in regard to the 1723 or 1724 origin and performance of BWV 80a] implies that the whole body of "real Bach scholarship" (at any time and in every language) is completely known to the person making the assessment. Furthermore, that such a person is in an optimal position to decide what's "real" Bach scholarship and what's not...or, for that matter, to produce any such "real" scholarship oneself with impeccable objectivity (or ANY objectivity). BZZZZZTT all round. Pass the beer nuts.<<

It is important to determine which sources allow one to make a reliable assessment of the state of a situation which is in question. It is reasonable to assume that Cantagrel/Boyd/Butt/Leaver placed too much faith in out-dated sources which may have been the best conjecture available at the time. However, subsequent research has not turned up any evidence to support their contentions; hence, it is necessary to discount their statements regarding the time of origin and first performance of BWV 80b as now being erroneous and in need of being discarded until further contrary evidence is provided.

If anyone has such evidence or can provide the source or sources which offer contrary evidence with reasoning and proof to accompany it, this is the time and place to do so. Otherwise it would be reasonable to assume that what I have presented should reflect the current state of affairs that represents the best that scholarship can provide at this time.

Swearing at or denigrating the messenger of these tidings does not help to create clarity and understanding in these matters. What is necessary here is to weigh the evidence, past and present, to ascertain where the likelihood of correctness or truth may lie and tentatively leave it at that until new reliable evidence turns up which might then change what has now been offered as the best solution for the dating problem surrounding BWV 80 in its various states/versions.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 31, 2006):
< The Wolff essay was first published in 1982, then reprinted in the volume of collected essays which I cited as 1991. It is, however, the very essay referenced by Robin Leaver (RAL) in Boyd. >
And, for what it's worth at this point: Boyd is now deceased (some years ago). Just to be clear on any points about his alleged use of "outdated" information!
<>

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 31, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>And, for what it's worth at this point: Boyd is now deceased (some years ago). Just to be clearon any points about his alleged use of "outdated" information!<<
If the alleged point here is that it makes a difference whether the individual aiding or spreading information or ideas is dead or alive, what about your recent attack on Schweitzer's ideas?

It really should not matter whether one is dead or alive in regard to editing the OCC, particularly with the help of another assistant editor who is more busy asserting without evidence that Bach probably could not even play his own Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) during the last few years of his life. (p. 195 of the OCC).

Statements like that belong in a pub and nowhere else.

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 1, 2006):
Introduction to BWV 80 - Brass?

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< I had previously stated in regard to BWV 80b's possible performance on October 31, 1723 or October 31, 1724 in Leipzig: >
I'm mixed up. Are scholars saying that W.F. Bach's version with trumpets and timpani is based on a now-lost version with brass by his father?

I hope so because I love Willy's brass in that cantata.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 1, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< If the alleged point here is that it makes a difference whether the individual aiding or spreading information or ideas is dead or alive, what about your recent attack on Schweitzer's ideas?
I presented NO attack on Schweitzer's ideas, whatsoever. I merely pointed out that the particular example of pseudo-Schweitzering at: > > http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV115-Sco.htm
wasn't convincing, and I pointed out exactly the technical reasons why I didn't find it convincing. (The hunt-and-peck method of leaving out unwanted notes between other notes, chiefly among the problems here.)

That particular musical analysis on that web page, WHICH IS NOT BY SCHWEITZER, is full of holes (for the reasons I stated): as it presents made-up analytical points that are not clearly in the music at all. It's rather an unconvincing and poorly reasoned interpretation heaped upon this piece of music in 2006. (Convincing the person who wrote it, obviously, but convincing ANYBODY else?!)

The fact that some of its process and its style of pious posturing somehow got blamed on Schweitzer, by the person who put it up there in the first place, is not my problem. Nor is it Albert Schweitzer's problem that some mimicry of his style is something that a 2006 Bach-enthusiast enjoys doing in public.

I stated the reasons by which I found it wanting: and the writer unfortunately mistook this as sarcasm, instead of taking it as constructive criticism TO FIX THE PIECE or have it withdrawn gracefully, to make the piece more credible in the long run. Maybe even to learn something about processes of analyzing music. Too bad.

My reaction was only to the work as presented at that web page, and in its follow-up apologetics by e-mail where the hole got dug deeper. I find these things unconvincing, as presented. Even less convincing, the longer it goes along and the more stuff is made-up in its alleged support. That is all.
<>

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 1, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>I stated the reasons by which I found it wanting: and the writer unfortunately mistook this as sarcasm, instead of taking it as constructive criticism TO FIX THE PIECE or have it withdrawn gracefully, to make the piece more credible in the long run.<<
If I remember correctly, you were also the one who pompously indicated that the effort in researching and presenting on the BCW the many pages of information and examples on the chorale melodies used by Bach was like re-inventing the wheel and your 'constructive criticism' amounted to suggesting that this effort was simply a waste of time because all the information could be had elsewhere.

Now we have a similar situation with the amplification of Schweitzer's kernel motif concept. Simply wishing that something will disappear because you have yet to understand how Bach embellishes a chorale melody (not simply by having each note appear at critical points on the beat or in the more important parts of a measure/bar, but distributing them at times to rather odd, unaccented, possibly faster-moving notes with smaller and larger gaps where a casual observer/listener would not expect to hear them) does not constitute 'constructive criticism.' It could easily be that your experience in this regard (distribution of the notes making up a motif or chorale melody) is lacking. That is why I had suggested that you ponder the examples which I had first suggested in message 19963, but somehow, perhaps due to your inferior system of referencing messages and not reading some of them, you have overlooked these examples upon which you have yet to comment. I
will repeat them here for ease of reference and study:

Here are some examples to ponder before asserting that notes are 'picked and chosen to fit a foregone conclusion' where the context is one of a specific chorale melody:

Georg Böhm's "Vater unser im Himmelreich" near the bottom of: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Vater-unser-im-Himmelreich.htm
(once thought to have been by Bach)

Dietrich Buxtehude's "Herr Christ der einge Gottessohn" BuxWV 192 near the bottom of: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Herr-Christ-einge.htm

Johann Sebastian Bach's "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland" BWV 659 about 1/3 of page down: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Nun-komm.htm

or better yet:

Bach's "Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr'" BWV 662, BWV 663, BWV 664, BWV BWV 676 BWV 677 not quite half of the page down: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Allein-Gott-in-der-Hoh.htm

A similar situation pertains to the kernel motif suggested by Schweitzer.

I would be the first to admit that a few of the examples seem rather forced (an octave drop as part of a final cadence), but I have included them nevertheless. These are to be understood as suggestions as to what may turn out to be of value or what might not. It is left to the individual who examines these samples to consider the merits or failings of each example. The question remains: Was Bach consciously attempting to unify all the mvts. of a cantata in this fashion when he does not use a chorale melody (or bits of it) to create the same type of linkage. Another question is: Can we begin to understand better the creative process that Bach consciously, or perhaps even unconsciously, employed, if we can begin to see how a chorale fantasia mvt. derives a key motif from a small segment of the chorale melody so that, at first, the linkage between ritornelli and the choral sections appears to be non-existent, or if we can begin to see how a motif of only a few notes can represent a key concept or an antithesis derived from the text; but then, upon closer inspection, it nevertheless appears according to Bach's own instruction: "Quaerendo invenietis" (a kind of 'seek and ye shall find' directive to the musician who wishes to understand the score, or better yet, to try to solve the riddle regarding that which Bach has hidden in the score).

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 1, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
<< I had previously stated in regard to BWV 80b's possible performance on October 31, 1723 or October 31, 1724 in Leipzig: >>
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I'm mixed up. Are scholars saying that W.F. Bach's version with trumpets and timpani is based on a now-lost version with brass by his father? >
I will try grab this question before it gets lost, in the absence of a genuine scholar stepping forward. Unfortunately, the status is just the opposite of what you hope. Information and quotes are from Wolff; Bach: on His Life and Music. The recently discovered fragment which establishes the first Leipzig version, BWV 80b, shows the opening movement as a very plain chorale setting, with a first performance date variously reported as 1723 or 1730 (if you are interested, watch for my coming post on this detail). The restored fragment is illustrated. Subsequently, the second Leipzig version replaced the opening movement with a <newly composed large scale chorale setting> (before 1744). Wolff describes this in some detail, then adds: <In this utterly strict design of the score, the trumpets and drums of the version contained in Vol. 28 of the BG edition appear as a foreign element, one that is difficult to comprehend despite its effective sound.>

That reference to effective sound is about the only good news you will get. Wolff goes on to point out that W.F. Bach did not actually prepare an edition of BWV 80. Rather he extracted two movements, 1 and 5, for an unknown purpose, using new texts and adding the trumpets and drums. I do not see an exact description of how this all got cobbled back together to become the BG BWV 80, but the essential points are: (1) J. S. Bach had nothing to do with the trumpets and drums, either directly or by suggestion to W. F., because (2) W.F. Bach never prepared a complete edition of BWV 80 including them

None of this should deter you from enjoying that effective sound, but there is no scholarly support that it is J. S. Bach.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 1, 2006):
< That reference to effective sound is about the only good news you will get. Wolff goes on to point out that W.F. Bach did not actually prepare an edition of BWV 80. Rather he extracted two movements, 1 and 5, for an unknown purpose, using new texts and adding the trumpets and drums. I do not see an exact description of how this all got cobbled back together to become the BG BWV 80, but the essential points are: (1) J. S. Bach had nothing to do with the trumpets and drums, either > directly or by suggestion to W. F., because (2) W.F. Bach never prepared a complete edition of BWV 80 including them >
An analysis by Alan Rich is available in a little hardback book that accompanied Rifkin's recording (which uses the trumpets/drums). A couple of notes to add, from that:

- Rich (p86) provides the likely date of 31 October 1734 for the first version; that's more committal than the current BWV entry, which leaves a chunk of nearby years open as possibility ("vielleicht Mitte oder Ende der 1730er Jahre als Umarbeitung der Kantaten BWV 80a-80b").

- "Wilhelm Friedemann Bach also added trumpets and drums here, as in the first movement, in his published edition, and translated the text into Latin--which would surely have sent Luther to an early grave." (p96)

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 1, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Here is Brad Lehman's statement meant to demean my efforts and to call into question solid scholarship by Bach experts who have actually examined the evidence and are not relying only upon what others at some earlier time have stated about it (as Cantagrel/Boyd/Butt/Leaver appear to have done in this instance):
>>Such an unbelievably #%^@&# blanket statement [that Cantagrel/Boyd/Butt/Leaver may indeed be in error in regard to the 1723 or 1724 origin and performance of BWV 80a] implies that the whole body of "real Bach scholarship" (at any time and in every language) is completely known to the person making the assessment. Furthermore, that such a person is in an optimal position to decide what's "real" Bach scholarship and what's not...or, for that matter, to produce any such "real" scholarship oneself with impeccable objectivity (or ANY objectivity). BZZZZZTT all round. Pass the beer nuts.<<
PFERDSCHEISSE! That little bit of your addition right there, "[that Cantagrel/Boyd/Butt/Leaver may indeed be in error in regard to the 1723 or 1724 origin and performance of BWV 80a]" has nothing to do whatsoever with what I wrote! You have stuck it into there to change the thrust of my message, and to deflect things away from your responsibility to provide accurate and responsible statements about the material.

My point was only that you aren't optimally placed to decide what's "real" scholarship, and that you are not in complete command of every single piece of scholarly work written on a piece such as BWV 80 (or any other). My objection was to your blanket statement that you presume to know everything; nobody does. Not even people who have gone through years of academic training in musicology, or who work in such tasks full-time, neither of which applies to you. People who write dissertations in musicology are expected to be as comprehensive as possible with their topics, but that doesn't apply to you either; the point is that nobody alive or dead is well-placed to offer a smug assessment that such-and-such "has no basis in any real Bach scholarship". The Bach literature is much too large and too widely spread to be grasped in that way, by any one person. So, why do you presume such a position for yourself?

I didn't call into question any "solid scholarship by Bach experts who have actually examined the evidence". I called into question your presumptuously smug efforts to deliver and assess those materials, with your faux air of comprehensiveness that puts down other people's serious work. What about people's unpublished dissertations that you personally haven't read, on whatever Bach topics? What about materials that are in languages other than German or English, that you personally haven't read? How are you well placed to judge such things that you haven't studied? (And how are you well placed to judge the value of books and articles that you publicly refuse to read, such as Rifkin's book and some articles by Mendel and Williams about basso continuo...?)

My reaction was to your sentence, this one: "It is a conjecture which has no basis in any real Bach scholarship that has been conducted in regard to BWV 80 in its various forms." That's your blanket statement to which I was referring, specifically, and which I quoted directly.

Please stop mis-representing my postings.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 1, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>An analysis by Alan Rich is available in a little hardback book that accompanied Rifkin's recording which uses the trumpets/drums). A couple of notes to add, from that: - Rich (p86) provides the likely date of 31 October 1734 for the first version; that's more committal than the current BWV entry, which leaves a chunk of nearby years open as possibility ("vielleicht Mitte oder Ende der 1730er Jahre als Umarbeitung der Kantaten BWV 80a-80b"). <<
Is this also called 'reinventing the wheel' by chance or is it simply due to the inability to keep up with and take seriously the results of scholarship that have been presented here the past few days? (discarding certain messages preselected by your computer program would not help matters here).

Alan Rich must have written this prior to the appearance of this recording which is listed on the BCW as 1985. This was before the publication of the NBA KB which treats this cantata in all of its incarnations. In a pub someone might be swayed to believe in Rich's precise date: October 31, 1734. Believing directly what program notes accompanying Bach recordings state without checking and comparing elsewhere or determining the original sources for these notes wherever a question arises is a dangerous tactic to follow if you are seriously interested in obtaining up-to-date scholarship regardthe matter of concern.

As it is, Rich's information has been revised in light of further serious Bach scholarship and can no longer be seriously considered in advancing the knowledge that we currently have about BWV 80 with its various versions. In any case, the BWV reference has already been mentioned. Why refer to it again here?

>>- "Wilhelm Friedemann Bach also added trumpets and drums here, as in the first movement, in his published edition, and translated the text into Latin--which would surely have sent Luther to an early grave." (p96)<<
For those who might be interested, here is his text:

Mvt. 1

Gaudete omnes populi,
habemus Deum fortem,
Est Sabaoth, qui nullibi
vult peccatoris mortem.
Ecclesiam suam
servat securam
et firmissimum
ejus est fulcrum,
a malo hoste
tuetur optime,
vim Satanae ligavit.

Mvt. 5

Manebit verbum Domini,
quid tela hostis dira,
nam Spiritus Paracleti
adest tutela mira.
Sumat corpora
sumat spolium,
cara omnia:
nil nobis perditum,
nam manet regnum Dei.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 1, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>My reaction was to your sentence, this one: "It is a conjecture which has no basis in any real Bach scholarship that has been conducted in regard to BWV 80 in its various forms." That's your blanket statement to which I was referring, specifically, and which I quoted directly.<<
Thanks for quoting directly once again. I stand 100% behind this statement and am still waiting for reliable, up-to-date evidence (hopefully based upon original sources, newly discovered or otherwise, which might lead me to revise my opinion and hopefully others as well who have contributed to this thread regarding the matter of BWV 80, BWV 80a, BWV 80b, and the W.F. Bach modifications and additions.

Coarse language is not necessary when discussing objectively a subject such as this one.

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 1, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< - "Wilhelm Friedemann Bach also added trumpets and drums here, as in the first movement, in his published edition, and translated the text into Latin--which would surely have sent Luther to an early grave." (p96) >
I doubt that Luther would have objected to a Latin text to a concerted work sung by a choir. He supported the use of Latin in the liturgy.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 1, 2006):
BWV 115/BWV 80b

I had hoped a missing piece of data or scholarship might surface from BCML. In the absence of that, I am going to summarize our discussions and remaining questions, which have been a bit obscured by emotional language. I will be as brief as possible, but the issue is important enough to get it right. This will be neither entertaining nor musical, most of you may want to stop reading now. The original question for me arose as a direct result of the BCML chronologic discussion. Thanks to everyone who was instrumental in making that decision. I wondered what was the music (if any) for Oct. 31, 1724, Feast of the Reformation (typically but less correctly (?) referred to as Reformation Festival), between the two Sundays for BWV 38 and BWV 115. In the booklet notes to Coin (BWV 115 [4]) this was given as BWV 80, but without a reference source, which I began to seek, including posts to BCML.

The chronology of the relevant references we have discussed follows.

Two critical sources on which the NBA KB editors have based their information are:

Alfred Dürr "Zur Chronologie der Leipziger Vokalwerke J. S. Bachs" 2nd edition, Kassel, 1976

Alfred Dürr "Studien über die frühen Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs" revised and expanded edition,
Wiesbaden, 1977

The Dürr references, and relation to NBA KB were provided by Thomas Braatz. I am not personally familiar with these except as they are reflected in Dürr's summary volume (1991, Eng. trans. 2005). I point out their importance as the NBA reference source, and their chronologic relation to the following:

1982. Wolff, The Reformation Cantata Ein feste Burg. Reprinted in 1991, see below for discussion. This is the origin of a suggested date as early as 1723 for first performance of BWV 80b.

1983, Wolf and others, The New Grove Bach Family, First American Edition in book form, with additions. Table of Works indicates first performance of BWV 80b as Oct. 31, 1723.

1987. NBA KB <stating that there was no 1723, 1724, etc. version/performance in Leipzig of BWV 80b> (quotation by Thomas Braatz).

I believe we need more detail if this is to be used as a more recent reference to refute Wolff (1982). Is there an actual statement of no 1723 or 1724 performance, or is there simply no mention of one? Two entirely different situations. If there is such definitive statement, does it acknowledge Wolff's previous work and disprove it, or is it simply ignored or overlooked?

1991. Wolff, Bach: Essays on His Life and Music, including reprint of Wolff (1982) with Postscript. This is the key reference, the 1982 paper is reprinted without change (other than improved illustration), with updates in the Postscript. Wolff's text does indicate that he anticipates publication of the NBA, but it is misleading to cite this as uncertainty about performance dates. He specifically cites the need for a new critical edition to revise performance practice, as an introduction to his detailed analysis of the mixture of J. S. and W.F. Bach's work in the BG BWV 80 score. With respect to the newly discovered fragment establishing BWV 80b, he is unequivocal that the paper watermark establishes the possibility of first performance as early as 1723.

In the Postscript, Wolff acknowledges the interim publication of NBA I/31 for first publication of the score fragment BWV 80b, without comment on data from that source regarding first performance. He does provide the concluding statement <For the sources and performance history of the various cantata versions see Bach Compendium, I/2 , A183a-b>, without making any retraction of his postulated 1723 performance date. I do not have access to this reference, but since Wolff is one of the authors, it is difficult to expect that it contradicts the 1723 date. Stranger things have happened, and perhaps it is a roundabout way of making a retraction or acknowledging uncertainty? Can anyone comment on this reference? See Wolff (2001) below.

1998. Bach-Werke Verzeichnis. Cited as a more recent reference in support of refutation of Boyd (and others) who have relied on Wolff (1991). In fact the only literature cited in BWV (1998) for BWV 80b is Wolff (1982)!

1999. Robin A. Leaver, Ein feste Burg, in Boyd (ed.) with Butt (consultant ed), Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach. The authorship here is crystal clear and the scholarship precise. Leaver includes Wolff (1991, including postscript referencing 1987 NBA) in his references, and states the reliance on watermark evidence for the performance <at the 1723 Reformationfest>, consistent with Wolff, and almost certainly relying on his referenced publication. This volume (OCC) strikes me as especially good for concise, but complete, writing, and for accurate scholarship. It goes beyond misleading to bthe editors of such an outstanding volume for lax scholarship, when the author of an article is identified and responsible, and his scholarship is beyond reproach.

2001. Wolff, Bach: The Learned Musician. Up to this point, I would insist that there is at least the possibility of a 1723 performance, based on Wolff (1982, 1992), without clear refutation. However, in the present work, Wolff cites both the Bach Compendium and the 1991 Essays, but contradicts at least the Essays in the tabular presentation of cantata performance dates, Tables 8.7 to 8.9: which indicate BWV 80b as an addition to the Chorale Cantata series in 1728-31. Table 8.9 is the only mention I see anywhere in the book of any of the versions of BWV 80. The choices I see are editorial oversight, scholarly controversy to be avoided, or Wolff changed his mind but did not want to emphasize it

2005. Dürr, The Cantatas of J. S. Bach (Eng. trans.). I include this because the bibliography appears to be updated beyond the original German publication date (1991); it includes Wolff (1991). However, Wolff's first performance date is not reflected in the text. Dürr states: <Between 1728 and 1731 it seems that Bach first designed a simpler version [BWV 80b, simpler than the subsequent BWV 80] <snip>. It is no longer possible to say anything more about this version.>

2005. "J. S. Bachs Instrumentarium" (Stuttgart/Kassel) by Ulrich Prinz. I do not have immediate access to this reference cited by Thomas Braatz. If it has specific data on BWV 80b in addition to the sources already noted above, details would be especially welcome.

Remaining questions:

(1) Did Wolff change his mind on the significance or reliability of the watermark evidence some time between 1982 and 2001? If so, is this reported anywhere?

(2) Is there any more recent data, or do all subsequent publications rely on interpretations of the score fragments and watermark evidence of Wolff (1982, 1991)?

(3) If there is no new data, do the more recent publications which disagree with Wolff, especially NBA, question his conclusions, or simply overlook them? Because of the position of supreme respect which the NBA rightfully holds, this is especially important to establish.

(4) Performance of BWV 80b for the Reformation Festival in 1723 and 1724 is a very satisfying conclusion. If that is not the case, what music was performed and what has happened to it?

Were it not for the glaring contradiction of Wolff (2001), I would be inclined to suspect that watermark evidence is uncertain both as to the exact date of the paper, and the correlation of date of paper with date of composition (1723 paper could be used in 1723, or in 1730, in fact anytime, 1723 or after). This leaves plenty of opportunity for scholarly disagreement as to the significance of data such as a watermark. For the moment, I am proceeding with the tentative (very) conclusion that Wolff (2001) suffers from an editorial error or oversight, and that 1723 remains possible but not necessarily proven for the first performance of BWV 80b.

Contradiction (or support), with data, encouraged.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 1, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
<< - "Wilhelm Friedemann Bach also added trumpets and drums here, as in the first movement, in his published edition, and translated the text into Latin--which would surely have sent Luther to an early grave." (p96) >>
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I doubt that Luther would have objected to a Latin text to a concerted work sung by a choir. He supported the use of Latin in the liturgy. >
Fair enough; I was just quoting that sentence directly from Alan Rich's book....

There are some funny sentences elsewhere, like this bit a few pages earlier (p90): "The music wanders momentarily into regions that don't relate to the key of D major you've been floating in for the past six minutes. But listen carefully; the lower instruments sustain a low D like a safety net under a trapeze artist. And right at the end, everything lands in that net, just in time!"

And on p94: "At Track 14, 1:51, the mood becomes more agitated; God's house is not yet cleansed of 'sinful horror'. 'Weg weg, weg weg,' the soprano sings in sharp, bristling rhythm; the easiest translation is 'scram'!"

Nice little book: "Play By Play" on cantatas BWV 147 and BWV 80, and the CD is of Rifkin's recording. Publisher: HarperCollins. Probably out of print by now.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 1, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
Re: isolated points and additions to your summary
>>1998. Bach-Werke Verzeichnis. Cited as a more recent reference in support of refutation of Boyd (and others) who have relied on Wolff (1991). In fact the only literature cited in BWV (1998) for BWV 80b is Wolff (1982)!<<
It is assumed (p XV of Preface)!: "Not listed are the Kritische Berichte of the NBA concerning the edition
in question, dictrionary articles, works of music history etc. since it can be assumed that they are known as sources."

Anohter reference work to include is:
"Die Welt der Bach Kantaten" Metzler, ed. Christoph Wolff, 1999, p. 28:

"BWV 80b 1728-1731 first performance BWV 80 before 1740"

Another reference work to include is:

"Bach Handbuch" Konrad Küster, Kassel, 1999, pp. 272-274:
"BWV 80b on October 31, 1724?"
Information based upon the earlier Wolff essay with the speculation that since Oct. 31, 1723 was a Sunday, the next possible date might be the following year Oct. 31, 1724(?)[sic] Küster makes no attempt to relate BWV 80b to the preceding or following cantatas which we have just discussed.

Another reference to include is:

"Die Bach-Kantaten" Hans-Joachim Schulze, Carus, 2006, pp.553-554:
Translation:
"Bach may have place a simple 4-pt. chorale harmonization of "Ein feste Burg" in front of the solo mvts. from the Weimar cantata, BWV 80a and created a version of this cantata that might possibly have been performed as late as circa 1730 or perhaps ("vielleicht") even as early as 1724. Later, presumably (vermutlich) after 1735, but maybe ("vielleicht") even in Bach's last decade of life, the extensive 1st mvt. as we know it today in BWV 80 was composed and performed. The W.F. Bach's trumpet and timpani additions were added much later between 1750 and 1764 (of course no documentation is given for this latter assertion. No specific references are given for the earlier assertion other than that the BC is listed at the back of the book and the BC in this instance is outdated by the research provided by the NBA.)

2005. "J. S. Bachs Instrumentarium" (Stuttgart/Kassel) by Ulrich Prinz has 7 key works by Wolff in its bibliography, but the essay on this cantata is not included in the list. I think it can be assumed that Prinz relied upon the information given by the NBA.

Ed: >>I would be inclined to suspect that watermark evidence is uncertain both as to the exact date of the paper, and the correlation of date of paper with date of composition (1723 paper could be used in 1723, or in 1730, in fact anytime, 1723 or after).<<
This is the situation with watermarks: There is a rather lengthy list of all the specific watermarks that have been identified. As you can imagine, basing the dating on watermarks alone is a very riskybusiness. A papermill may have used a certain watermark over a number of years. Most of this (the range of years) can be accurately determined. This alone can only give information such as "not before this date and not after that date", but what happens if Bach happens to use some older paper which he still had around? The dating based upon the handwriting or Bach and/or his copyists becomes extremely important. Then, the most important information beyond this is confirmation that a certain cantata was performed on a certain Sunday/Holiday of a certain year (the cantata booklets that reveal this information are extremely rare as is apparent from the list that I recently shared. Newspaper accounts? These are rare indeed since the weekly cantatas were not considered important news as such (unless it was the reception of Bach's audition cantatas, for instance). Now comes reasonable speculation beyond the evidence: Schulze points out (perhaps he got this from Wolff) that in 1723, Reformation Day/Feast fell on a Sunday - strike out that possibility and advance to the next: the same date the following year, 1724. If the two Sundays surrounding Oct. 31, 1724 each had a cantata suited or composed for St. Thomas Church, then BWV 80b as a chorale cantata would most naturally be performed at St. Nicholas. But is it really a chorale cantata like Aus tiefer Not or others where fragments of the chorale melody appear in almost every mvt.? Is that possible with the inner mvts. of the Oculi Weimar cantata being parodied as they are in BWV 80b? Unfortunately, we do not have the cantata booklet covering this critical period of the year, the end of the liturgical year, 1724.

 

Continue on Part 4

Cantatas BWV 80, BWV 80a & BWV 80b : Details & & Complete Recordings of BWV 80 | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 80 | Details of BWV 80a | Details of BWV 80b | 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

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: řApril 25, 2013 ř07:45:11