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Cantata BWV 82
Ich habe genug
Discussions - Part 7

Continue from Part 6

Discussion in the Week of March 16, 2008 (2nd round)

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 15, 2008):
Introduction to BWV 82 - Ich Habe Genung

BWV 82 page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV82.htm

BWV 82 Discussions page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV82-D.htm

BWV 82 Ich Habe Genung (I have enough)

Composed for the Feast of Purification, this cantata is based upon the idea of a mystical yearning to be with Jesus in the afterlife. Here the focus is on the story of Simeon, and having once seen the Savior his readiness to depart from earth and spend eternity in heaven. The date of its first presentation was February 2, 1727, with a number of subsequent performances in the years following with modifications. An appropriate quote from Dürr well describes the depth of this work. “Of all the purification texts, this is probably the most deeply penetrated by mystical yearning for the afterlife: the world serves only as a place of misery in which the Christian has no part.”

As one of the most popular of all of the cantatas, excerpts of it appear in Anna Magdalena Bach’s second Clavierbüchlein. The original of this material is however the cantata.

Three arias and two recitatives provide a simple structure.

Mvt. 1. Aria -- Ich habe genung (I have enough) Bass and oboe, strings, basso continuo and organ…
Unger’s translation offers the view that Simeon has taken the God of hope into his eager arms, and having pressed Jesus to his heart, he wishes he could depart for heaven immediately.

Mvt. 2. Recitative Ich habe genung (I have enough) Bass, Organ and Continuo
Continuing with Unger’s translation, in the recitative the soloist has an opportunity to personalize Simeon’s desires. He has had enough of the world since finding his consolation in Jesus, and wishes to be delivered from his body’s chains.

Mvt. 3. Aria Schlummert ein, ihr mattern Augen -- Slumber, you tired eyes (Dürr – line translation) Bass, Oboe, Strings, Continuo and Organ
Unger translates this line, “Fall softly and blessedly shut.” The lullaby theme expresses yearning for death as here there is only misery and in heaven there is peace.

Mvt. 4. Recitative – Mein Gott! wenn kömmt das schöne (I look forward to my deathUnger)
Bass, Organ and Basso continuo (My translationMy God, when comes the beautiful?)
Here the idea of anticipating death is expanded to the reality of lying in a cool grave bodily, while the soul resides with Christ in heaven where all is beauty.

Mvt. 5. Aria – Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod (With joy I anticipate my death – Dürr)
The belief is an escape from all of the world’s misery as Simeon anticipates the comfort of heaven.

The theme, or motto line of the whole cantata reflects contentment – I have enough. This repetition is without a doubt one of the reasons for its considerable popularity. The texts simply relate to the reality of human life in matters of struggle and survival whilst finding inner peace.

Instrumentally and melodically this is also plainly a beautiful cantata. An autograph copy exists authenticating the selection, and it is based on Simeon’s canticle, the Nunc dimittis (Luke 2: 29-32) relating it to patterns of Lutheran worship historically. Dürr also suggests that it has hymnic vigour reminiscent of Handel. He goes on to say that the instrumental texture is part-homophonic and part-imitative. Alternates to this work that were sometimes used on this feast day were BWV 161, BWV 157 and BWV 158 (perhaps an older edition.)

Taking a look at the score: BGA Full Score

Mvt. 1. The rhythmic patterns at the opening initially catch my attention. As noted by Dürr, the gentle rhythmic agitation of the violins sets a mood. The oboe offers the main thematic line of the whole cantata in the aurally memorable leap of a sixth, and gracefully descends but a third when the line settles. In measure seven this sentence is repeated, and followed by material that expands the concept elaborately. Meanwhile, the continuo and organ maintain simple steady patterns that tend to remind me of a heartbeat. By the time the bass enters the ear has become attuned to this simple artful line, and expansions, and is receptive to the solid power of the bass as he brings text to music. The contrast in elaborate 32nd notes periodically by the oboe keeps the tension flowing, as the steady beat in the continuo and organ maintain a sense of solidarity. Ultimately the bass line picks up the elaboration in 32nd notes on the word Freuden. Finally, the opening instrumental theme is reiterated, once again placing the instrumental/textual slogan firmly in the mind of the listener.

Mvt. 2. A secco recitative follows with the potential for figured bass realization creating an arrangement, once again stating the motto in variation.

Mvt. 3. A da capo aria follows opening with sweet thematic material in the Violin I part. With a few exceptions the continuo and organ jointly maintain an even rhythm in eighth notes, while the second violins and the viola create texture by means of varied rhythms and harmonization. At times Violin I joins the bass in unison. Upon occasion the upper instruments drop out, and the organ and basso continuo are the sole support of the singer, helping to expose some of his syncopated rhythms. In places we have a dot above the note, which in Bach is a break indicator for phrasing.

Mvt. 4. The very short recitative offers a nice opportunity for the realization of figured bass, and after five measures shifts to an arioso at a slow and thoughtful tempo. The recitative also has a tempo shift from the 3/8 tempo of the opening aria, to 4/4, with fairly predictable rhythms in eighth and sixteenth notes. In the arioso of two measures we have a shift to a more detailed rhythm pattern in both parts.

Mvt. 5. The final aria is set at a fast tempo, with quick fluctuations between piano and forte measures. Rising scalar sixteenth notes are set in patterns of six with some variation in phrasing. These patterns again seem to illustrate for me Bach’s ingenuity in dealing with small elements of material. When the bass enters he picks up on the sixteenth note elements, but with a motive that has not been heard to this point. As he begins, the oboe, strings, continuo and organ diminish their activity jointly, except for the first violin part that accentuates the last beat of the measure in a stimulating way. Beginning with the words ach! kätt, the upper instruments are minimalized, while the continuo and organ support the singer, and then re-enter periodically. An instrumental interlude follows, once again using the forte/piano elements as in the opening. This general pattern continues to the end of the piece, ending with an instrumental section of about 20 measures.

For those who will look at the score, and study the phrasing patterns, Schweitzer’s volume II offers an interesting understanding of why Bach went beyond the ordinary Baroque figuration in his use of sets of four notes. See page 382 of Schweitzer for further information on staccato use in Bach. This is a favorite cantata of mine. I have a copy of Nancy Argenta singing it as BWV 82a, and I have begun to learn it for my own enjoyment and to share with friends and family ultimately recorded.

One additional note…Malcomb Boyd does not think the designation of 82a is appropriate for describing the alternative work. See Boyd: Oxford Composer’s Companion, J. S. Bach for further information.

Please bring yourviews and knowledge of this cantata into the discussion. I think it would be particularly interesting to hear the figured bass players in the group offer some commentary.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 19, 2008):
Busy week - did everyone get the Intro to BWV 82?

Since we haven't had any responses I'm just checking to see if everyone got the new introduction posted last Saturday AM.

This is a very busy week for many people on the list, with concerts to attend and religious events, but with this group of writers it would be hard to believe no one would want to comment on BWV 82.

Please let me know if this did not arrive, and I will post it again.

Julian Mincham wrote (March 19, 2008):
[To Jean Laaninen] Jean? yes it came Ok on Saturday but I haven't had time to do more than read it. I agree it's a fine work well worth commenting on.??

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 19, 2008):
[To Julian Mincham] Thanks, Julian, for letting me know.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 21, 2008):
BWV 82 [was: Blog about Richter]

Jean Laaninen wrote:
>I don't know how the cantata cycle was set for the discussions, but I sometimes imagine that the full impression of the texts and study would make more sense to us as modern people if they were adapted to the modern calendar. However, that would probably be too complex an undertaking and we have a good system in place.<
The present (second) cycle of discussions is chronologic, with minor uncertainties and corrections. I joined BCML after this cycle was already underway, and I spent a bit of time early on, exploring the archives to see how it came about, and to catch up on previous thoughts. My impression of the extensive discussion is that there were many suggestions made, the discussion was heated and controversial (surprise?), and a last minute decision was made. I recommend that anyone interested give the BCW archives a look.

An ongoing suggestion has been to align the discussions with the liturgical calendar, which is pretty much the same now as it was for Bach, as I understand it. In any case, Bach's liturgical calendar and the modern calendar are easily related, and would make a good basis for subsequent discussions. As Aryeh frequently points out, the weekly discussion topics are not meant to limit discussion, The liturgically correct cantatas would seem to be especially appropriate, at any time.

As far as our weekly discussion of BWV 82 coinciding with Holy Week, that may be random, or perhaps Aryeh tinkered with the chronology a bit?

I have misjudged the point before, but it does appear that the first performance of BWV 82, Feb 2, 1727, was the last newly composed cantata before the first performance of SMP, BWV 244, two months later, April 11. Listening to SMP this week, after BWV 82, is precisely correct in the chronology of Bachs compositions. At the same time, we can ponder the many subsequent revisions to both. Whittaker points out, re BWV 82, Mvt. 1 <The opening phrase, the motto of the aria, is identical with the beginning of the <Have mercy> alto aria in SMP [BWV 244/39]>. There is also the suggestion that BWV 82/1 was originally composd for alto and subsquently dropped an octave for bass.

I expect to post some thoughts on recordings, but it may lag into the following week. There are many which are important to me. In addition to the well known ones, there are two by Kuijken [47], [71], and three (Smith [62], Stepner [63], and Sarasa Ensemble [70]), by performers with Boston connections who I have had the opportunity to hear in person. To my ears, this always gives a recording an extra dimension.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 21, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] Thanks, Ed. There are many ways to study these works effectively, I am sure. And I am not surprised that there was considerable discussion regarding the approach. This stands to reason.

Whitaker must be a very good detail source, I am beginning to gather from your postings. This is one volume I have not investigated so far. I will have to see if our music library has it.

I will look forward to your thoughts on the recordings.

Reggie Mobley (Adam Strange) wrote (March 21, 2008):
> Mvt. 5. The final aria is set at a fast tempo, with quick fluctuations between piano and forte measures. Rising scalar sixteenth notes are set in patterns of six with some variation in phrasing. These patterns again seem to illustrate for me Bach's ingenuity in dealing with small elements of material. When the bass enters he picks up on the sixteenth note elements, but with a motive that has not been heard to this point. As he begins, the oboe, strings, continuo and organ diminish their activity jointly, except for the first violin part that accentuates the last beat of the measure in a stimulating way. Beginning with the words ach! kätt, the upper instruments are minimalized, while the continuo and organ support the singer, and then re-enter periodically. An instrumental interlude follows, once again using the forte/piano elements as in the opening. This general pattern continues to the end of the piece, ending with an instrumental section of about 20 measures. >
I don't mean to dissent, but I disagree in regards to Mvt. 5's motive not being heard. You first hear it in the third measure at the beginning of the cantata. The "Ich habe genung" motive is what the bass (or what have you) sings on the word "freue". It comes on the 16th note at the beginning of each bar, broken by the written out turn filling the rest of the measure. It's neat that "I've had enough" (weariness) and "joyous" (excitement) share that musical idea, giving the motive a bittersweet taste in my mind.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 21, 2008):
[To Reggie Mobley] Thanks, Reggie, for this clarification. I appreciate that you have taken the time to point something this out. I guess I was simply thinking about the movement separately from the entire cantata--good point.

Honest dissent is always more than welcome. Thanks for sharing your impressions.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 23, 2008):
BWV 82 and BWV 157 - The Purification Rites

Just to move back to our present topic, I wonder if those on the list who have some expertise in this tradition could give the readership a little more information both from the Hebrew origins and the history of how this came to be a festival day in the church.

In advance--thank you kindly.

Terejia wrote (March 23, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote:
< Since we haven't had any responses I'm just checking to see if everyone got the new introduction posted last Saturday AM.
This is a very busy week for many people on the list, with concerts to attend and religious events, but with this group of writers it would be hard to believe no one would want to comment on BWV 82.
Please let me know if this did not arrive, and I will post it again. >
At last, belatedly, I am listening to BWV 82. A beautiful Bass solo cantata. I am listening to it: http://www.kantate.info/old_recordings.htm#BWV82
a Japanese page which Yo introduced some time ago.

Somehow, I first came to know the Aria "Schlummert ein" independently and that in a different key sung by Tenor singer. With that peaceful Aria in the middle, in deep Bass voice, sandwiched with more seriously toned C-moll key, it makes more sense to me.

From what I heard from a professional Baritone singer, in the case of Bach, the key and selection of voice is an indespensable component of music, unlike Schubert whose Lied is often sung in a different voices in different keys. (a bit of deviation here : last night, somehow, I started to play the song of C-dur in a D-dur. I noticed I started with a different key only after choir started to sing. Cold sweat during the song. Additionally, our conducstarted with a different rythme...indeed, accident seems to be likely to happen all the more in an important occasion.)

As to the possible connotation to "Erbarme Dich" in SMP (BWV 244) and BWV 55, I personally feel some similarity to say the least, although I wouldn't try to suggest anything of academic value here. Interesting that we have beautiful oboe solo here, while it is violin in SMP and flute in BWV 55. (I am not consulting myself to score in writing this)

Such cantatas with profound sorrowful beauty tend to fit to Japanese tastes, generally speaking.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 23, 2008):
[To Terjia] Thank you Terejia,

It is good to get some comments back on the cantata of the week, and to hear your opinions on some comparisons.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 23, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote:
< Just to move back to our present topic, I wonder if those on the list who have some expertise in this tradition could give the readership a little more information both from the Hebrew origins and the history of how this came to be a festival day in the church. >
After Christmas Day was fixed on December 25 in the 4th century, enterprising calendrists counted back nine months for the conception of Jesus on the feast of the Annunciation on March 25 and ahead 40 days to establish the feast of the Purification on Feb 2. Their late introduction into the church year invariably brought these days festal days into conflict with the penitential season of Lent. Bach performed "Himmelskonig sei Willkommen" in the year that Purification fell on Palm Sunday. It is a tribute to Bach's genius that he was able to combine both the Incarnation and the Passion in the same cantata.

The third Marian feast was the Visitation on May 31. These three were retained by Luther because their narratives were recorded in the Gospels. Bach was obligated to provide cantata for these feasts which most often fell on weekdays.

The other Marian feasts of the Conception (Dec 8), Birth (Sept 8) and Assumption (Aug 15) were abolished by Luther in order to modify the cult of the Virgin which was so popular at the time of the Reformation. Some scholars have speculated that Luther promoted St. Michael's Day (Sept 29) as an alternative to the harvest customs associated with August 15. The spectacular scoring of Bach' s Michelmas cantatas suggests that this weekday celebration had high popular appeal.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 23, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thank you so much, Doug. Your information gives quality contextual focus to the cantatas we are looking at right now.

If anyone knows more of the details of the Purification feast--such as rituals, scriptures that were read, gifts such as thank-offerings and the like, more would be appreciated.

Simeon, a key figure in these two cantatas was in the temple to meet and greet Jesus and his parents. I wonder if there is additional historical material on the figure of Simeon that is found outside of scripture--say in history texts.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 24, 2008):
Douglas cowling wrote:
>The third Marian feast was the Visitation on May 31. These three were retained by Luther because their narratives were recorded in the Gospels. Bach was obligated to provide cantata for these feasts which most often fell on weekdays.<
For those who have suggested a discussion cycle based on cantatas for the liturgically appropriate Sundays, please take note: the three Marian feasts, and many other non-Sunday occasions (second and third days of Easter, for example, coming right up) would be specifically omitted.

I have long advocated discussions related to the liturgical occasion, but the logistics are not as simple as might at first appear. In any case, the formal chronologic discussion cycle is committed through the end of 2008. Some of us are enjoying it, and finding it enlightening to grasp these works in the sequence that Bach composed them.

As frequently pointed out by Aryeh, these weekly discussions with introduction are not limiting, just a guide to provide a bit of incentive and structure.

Care to post some thoughts on the relations among cantatas for the same liturgical day? Plenty of opportunities immediately at hand. One could start with BWV 82 and its cognates, for the Purification of Mary. Or if calendar correlation is preferred, there are the works for Easter Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Start writing.

I listen to a liturgically correct cantata broadcast most Sunday mornings on WGBH-FM, Boston, also available for the technically adept on the web via www.wgbh.org. I gather there may be other cities with similar broadcasts available, as well. I occasionally post some comments on the specific performance chosen by host Brian McCreath, and mention that it is the liturgically correct cantata for the day. I dont recall ever getting a response to those comments. I certainly have not felt that there is any pent-up demand for actually doing the work to discuss the cantatas on a liturgical basis, but prove me wrong. That is another place to start. Listen to the wgbh selection (or other source of your choice), and send us your thoughts.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 23, 2008):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< For those who have suggested a discussion cycle based on cantatas for the liturgically appropriate Sundays, please take note: the three Marian feasts, and many other non-Sunday occasions (second and third days of Easter, for example, coming right up) would be specifically omitted. >
Thanks for pointing this out, Ed. Were we to eventually have a paradigm shift to the church year, for the sake of bringing some new life blood to the discussion, I would not want to limit the calendar just to Sunday's. I would like to follow the flow as William Hoffman has suggested, of Bach's working situation. But expanding Bach on Bach for various Sunday's is interesting, too.

< I have long advocated discussions related to the liturgical occasion, but the logistics are not as simple as might at first appear. >
This has also occurred to me, since if there were multiple works for a Sunday the moderator might need more than one person to cover the topic. That would mean extra scheduling--and the moderator would have to be consulted.

< In any case, the formal chronological discussion cycle is committed through the end of 2008. >
I am inclined to think it is only fair to continue with what is set up at this point. I did notice that the year-end period has not been scheduled which could open the way for a new calendar if that is deemed desirable. Understand, I am not pushing here, just saying that at this point an opening appears to my eye at that point. And, on the other hand, perhaps it is best to simply fill out the year.

< Some of us are enjoying it, and finding it enlightening to grasp these works in the sequence that Bach composed them. >
I think most of us are enjoying the current method. And the only reason I pointed out this alternative possibility was the idea that the basis from the primary sources could be strengthened academically and be interesting in a new way. One can remember that since my mind does not function in the encyclopedic manner of some list members, but tends toward editorial thinking and synthesis of ideas and methods I could see a new angle for sometime in the future that might draw out more writers and bring about new interest. I would liken my thoughts to en-fleshing the story told in the cantata for the week by moving beyond data and beginning with texts and the church calendar.

< As frequently pointed out by Aryeh, these weekly discussions with introduction are not limiting, just a guide to provide a bit of incentive and structure. >
Obviously this has been highly successful if one looks at the long history of the list.

< Care to post some thoughts on the relations among cantatas for the same liturgical day? Plenty of opportunities immediately at hand. One could start withBWV 82 and its cognates, for the Purification of Mary. Or if calendar correlation is preferred, there are the works for Easter Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Start writing. >
Of course anyone can do this. The additional reason I suggest a different approach eventually is to draw in more participants. That simply comes out of my leadership background where every group for which I've had officer's/leader's responsibility has grown, and I automatically look for ways to make the experience more inclusive. That doesn't make the list wrong as it is--and as I've spent ten hours for each introduction to study and select material it seems unlikely I'd go beyond what I've done this time around. As I've already mentioned to Ed in correspondence keeping an eye on the list takes ten plus hours a week, what with checking email, and trying to give virtually everything some response unless the subject is clearly out of my league. At the end of my introductions I will have put in around 250 hours in less than a year dedicated to the ten weeks, plus another few hours per week just following the list, and adding a few questions or comments.


< I listen to a liturgically correct cantata broadcast most Sunday mornings on WGBH-FM, Boston, also available for the technically adept on the web via www.wgbh.org. I gather there may be other cities with similar broadcasts available, as well. I occasionally post some comments on the specific performance chosen by host Brian McCreath, and mention that it is the liturgically correct cantata for the day. I dont recall ever getting a response to those comments. >
That's true...probably primarily because we have been concentrating on our list as it exists.

< I certainly have not felt that there is any pent-up demand for actually doing the work to discuss the cantatas on a liturgical basis, but prove me wrong. >
Suffice it to say that we have had some interest in this, but that many other people have not voiced an opinion. Rather than switch to another group as my commitment is to ours, if there is enough interest at some point for a new approach that would generate more participation there might be some point. But meanwhile, I will try to draw a little more attention to the characters in the given cantata, or the nature of the celebration, to expand my own knowledge. I specifically like to ask members of the group for their comments because nobody knows it all--and the various angles people bring to discussion offer an opportunity to expand what we know.

< That is another place to start. Listen to the wgbh selection (or other source of your choice), and send us your thoughts. >
Thanks for your thoughts, Ed.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 24, 2008):
I previusly wrote, and Jean Laaninen replied:
>I dont recall ever getting a response to those comments.
--That's true...probably primarily because we have been concentrating on our list as it exists.<
I recognize that possibility. I agree, but <primarily> may be a bit strong. There have been many weeks where concentration on the cantata discussion as it exists has been very thin, although with plenty of extraneous chat.

>I certainly have not felt that there is any pent-up demand for actually doing the work to discuss the cantatas on a liturgical basis, but prove me wrong.<
--Suffice it to say that we have had some interest in this, but that many other people have not voiced an opinion.<
My commment re <doing the work> was certanly not directed to Jean! Sorry if that was misunderstood. In fact, I did not see the suggestion for a liturgical orientation to the discussion as specifically from Jean, and I was responding more generally to a good idea which has surfaced from time to time.

I also agree with one of Jeans key points, that the success of a discussion based on liturgical content of the cantatas will place even greater demands on the discussion leader. I did not think Jean was volunteering to do that on an ongoing basis, so I was suggesting that others who have an interest in the concept take the opportunity to demonstrate their ideas, and their interest in contributing, over the remainder of 2008.

William Hoffman wrote (March 24, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] I think dealing with the cantatas from the Liturgical Year offers a springboard to several key themes involving Bach's creativity. Accomplishing his 1708 goal of a well-regulated church music was a tremendous challenge to Bach, while he was guided by some key principles: Lutheran church music was essential to the service and the cantata became a sermon in music. Another key theme was the use of chorales, especially by church year use (in both vocal and instrumental form). Given the opportunities, Bach seized them: monthly cantatas at Weimar, beginning in 1714; the start of the first cycle in December 1717, with four advent cantatas (halted when he didn't get the music director's post); the recycling of virtually all the Weimar Church cantatas in the first Leipzig cycle, with adjustments for recitatives and chorales to fit the occasion. Within the first three years at Leipzig, Bach set the course for the rest of his life and creative career. This included music for special sacred occasions such as Good Friday with the annual great Passions, the oratorios for major feast days, and the marvelous annual Town Council cantatas; the German Organ Mass with Luther's catechism chorales; and finally, the Great Mass in b minor (the ultimate parody work). Along the way, Bach made incredible adjustments and dealt with various setbacks. He turned to secular cantatas and then recycled them as oratorios. Meanwhile, he left incomplete his chorale cantata cycle and the annual alternation of the Passions by the four evangelists. The most significant unfinished work is the great Orgelbuechlein project, with only some 46 chorales of 164 done, outlined first by church year (season or festival), then topical, omne tempore. So, instead of falling into a rut and grinding out annual cantata cycles and evangelical Passion tetrologies, he moved on to greater challenges. What he left is an incredible accomplishment, despite an element of cynicism today in some quarters when confronted with this remarkable yet "imperfect" mosaic. I still hear comments about Bach's recycling as a form of self-plagarism, unnecessary repetition, and a distraction from the great, enshrined works.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 24, 2008):
[To William Hoffman] Thanks, William. You certainly have a grasp of the enormity of what Bach accomplished--so well put. Your words make the idea of the liturgical approach very appealing.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 29, 2008):
BWV 82 recordings

It is difficult to explain to you (or to my spouse) how I have eighteen versions of a single cantata. It is not difficult to admit that it is far too much of the same thing for me to hear over the course of a weekly discussion, even with a time extension. In doing so, my respect continues to grow for the amount of work done in the first cycle of discussions. After listening to the following recordings one or more times over the past twelve days, I would be ready to begin the type of chart (or spreadsheet) recommended by Jean for serious comparative work. Instead, it is time to move on. A few personal thoughts and recommendations will have to suffice for now, with more detail for another year. For future reference, some of the points I would choose for evaluation are overall balance, vocal quality, secco continuo character, continuo emphasis (as written) of 3/8 time in Mvt. 1, oboe quality throughout and audibility in Mvt. 3.

Leader or group/Bass (or other) [BCW discography number]:
Werner/McDaniel [9] LP and CD
Menuhin/Baker (alto) [13] LP
Richter/DFD [17]
Harnoncourt/Huttenlocher [25]
Rilling/DFD [28]
Rifkin/Opalach [36]
Ricercar/vaEgmond [39]
Herreweghe/Kooy [40]
Kuijken 1/Mertens [47]
Leusink/Ramselaar [54]
Leusink/Strijk (soprano) [57]
Gardiner/Harvey [58]
Koopman/Mertens [61]
Smith/Lieberson (alto) [62]
Stepner/Ripley [63]
Kussmaul/Quasthoff [67]
Sarasa/Sylvan [70]
Kuijken 2/Crabben [71]

There are a number of detailed reviews in the BCW archives. In particular, I recommend reading Uri Golumbs article comparing three recordings (Richter [17], Harnoncourt [25], and Herreweghe [40]), and the comments on Kuijken 1, and Smith, in the first discussions. Note that even with my number of recordings, I am missing one of the highlights from the earlier discussion for comparison and enjoyment, Bernard/Hotter [3], which was singled out for special mention, and remains available as a CD reissue.

The two versions by Kuijken make an interesting comparison. The earlier one [47] remains unsurpassed, but appears to be no longer available. The later version [71] is outstanding as well, if not necessarily an improvement. The SACD sound may be an attraction for some, and the oboe in Mvt. 3 seems a bit more pronounced, just right. If I had to pick a single recommendation from those currently available, this would be it. Note the comments by Brad Lehman in the earlier discussion, re continuo character. Kuijken (either version) is the choice for this detail.

Stepner [63] is special to me, as the Aston Magna early music group and the recording venue are both in my area for hearing live performances. Dan and his spouse Laura Jeppesen, who also performs on the recording, are friends, and I heard bass David Ripley, along with them, electrify an audience in a Monteverdi opera production a few years back. So much for objectivity. The recording quality is a bit gentler, more blended, than Kuijken, otherwise the <early music> authenticity is equivalent. A major distinction is the slow tempo in the slumber aria, Mvt. 3 (only Gardiner [58] is remotely comparable). Ripley manages this tempo to perfection, and his low range remains electrifying, or rekindles the live experience. I have come to cherish the tempo, but it may not be for everyone. If you think you might enjoy it, or if you are curious, give this recording a try. It is certainly a first class authentic instrument performance in every way, essentially the equal of Kuijken, and the
couplings are something of a greatest hits of Bach solo cantatas. Perhaps an appropriate gift to introduce someone to the music of the Bach cantatas. Similar thoughts also apply to another excellent recording by a Boston group, the Sarasa Ensemble.

Gardiner [58] is also a worthwhile consideration to hear a very slow tempo in Mvt. 3. This is one of the live recordings from the year 2000 pilgrimage performances, and one that it appears will only be available on the original DG Arkiv release, not to be reissued as part of Gardiners own SDG series. It contains four cantatas for the Feast of the Purification, a nice opportunity for the sort of liturgical cross-comparison we have discussed recently, and essential for those of us who have committed to the pilgrimage set.

Ruth Tatlow, in the Gardiner booklet, notes that the first performance of BWV 82 took place <on February 2 (sic), 1727, just six months after the death of Anna Magdalenas three-year old daughter. . . . Might the lullaby of the third movement represent a father watching helplessly as his daughter falls into deaths sleep, and the joyful dance of the final movement anticipate the healing romp of familial reunion in eternity?>

In addition to the two Kuijkens, there are many other repeat performances available for those of us who enjoy that sort of comparison. Bass Klaus Mertens, outstanding on Kuijken 1 [47], is also the soloist with Koopman [61], an equally strong vocal performance. Koopman provides the opportunity to hear two versions of Mvt. 3, with and without oboe doubling violin. These alternative versions are a nice touch in many of his recordings.

Marcel Ponseele, oboe, appears on three recordings, Kuijken 1 [47], Ricercar [39], both apparently out of print, and Herreweghe [40], where he is a regular to be sought out. Incidentally, the Ricercar with bass Max van Egmond would be a consideration for top recommendation if it were still available. Dont miss it if you have the opportunity, I owe my copy to the courtesy of a BCML colleague.

I enjoyed dusting off a couple LPs, and realizing how good they still sound. I know there are some others who also enjoy the Janet Baker [13], which came up for discussion of the flip-side, BWV 169, not many weeks ago. Listening to Werner [9] again, in the context of our chronologic discussion, is like meeting an old friend, and knowing him for the first time, harpsichord and all.

Also in the traditional vein, the two Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau versions I have are classics. He recorded three, I have heard the earliest [4] on radio broadcast only. He is a legendary performer, and all three are, of course, important and enjoyable. I share the preference for the one with Richter [17], perhaps not as strongly as suggested in the earlier discussions. In any event, the Rilling [28] is likely to be much more economically available at present.

Although from the current era, Kussmaul/Quasthoff [67] strikes me as an attempt to recapture the traditional DFD character, with some success. A bit heavy on production and light on emotion, to my ears, but an enjoyable and readily available performance nonetheless. Some reviewers (Penguin Guide) have called it <the equal of any>, referring indirectly to comparison with DFD and others.

The widely distributed Leusink set [54] is, as usual, an adequate and enjoyable representation of the music, if not first choice. It was my only opportunity to hear the soprano version [57], with flute, which it took me a while to find in the 160 CD set, the version from a couple years ago. It is included with BWV 11, in the Vocal Works subset, rather than with Cantatas. A nice touch of completeness, and a pleasure to hear.

Craig Smith and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson [62] have both been lost to us recently, their recording stands as a memorial to their energy, and dedication to finding new dimensions in Bachs music. As documentation of a dramatic presentation, it stands outside comparison to other versions, and may not be to everyones taste. See the BCW archives for positive commentary by others, my Boston perspective cannot be objective, and I would not be without this version for personal reasons.

Herreweghe [40] manages to combine HIP and traditional characteristics, ancreate a category of his own. Neil Halliday has sometimes mentioned his <swelling tone> as an objection. It is definitely pronounced on this recording, so be alert to that possibility if you might find it unpleasant. Otherwise, a superb performance by Peter Kooy, and the only currently available opportunity to hear Marcel Ponseele on oboe in BWV 82, I believe. Definitely a performance I could live with as my only one, if necessary, but I feel that way about all of Herreweghe.

Jean Laaninen wrote (March 29, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] Your consolidation of information below is simply remarkable. I'm happy to see you making use of the idea of a chart again, and I'm simply blown away by all the listening you have done in the past and recently. Some years ago I was looking for an album made in the 1980s, and made the discovery that discography is a major, major past time for many people. Up to that point I didn't know the word discography. I had been in the somewhat lightly paid business of Bach on the organ, flute and piano at church in my younger years, and I owned a couple of albums by E. Power Biggs. Later I added more Bach as time and money permitted, but only came into serious contact with the cantatas about ten years ago. Eighteen versions of a single cantata is a lot, and sitting to explore such in depth is a phenomena beyond my understanding. I have to say I admire your diligence. I'm not sure if I lived to be 100 if I could ever actually sit still that long, being of a fidgety nature. So, I came to this discussion leader's task a bit light in the saddle, but thankfully I'd studied Baroque Music Theory, and had learned some of the arias, and been part of the group before jumping in.

The discussions from the previous period of BWV 82 are intensive. In my introductions I've tried to lay a foundation that I did not find in the literature already. But now with your latest writings I see there is even more that can be said. Good for you, and thanks intensively.

Neil Halliday wrote (April 2, 2008):
BWV 157 recordings (and Suzuki BWV 82)
Ed Myskowski wrote:
> In fact, the actual times for music are Leusink, 0:54, and Koopman, 0:34. <
This is worth noting; Koopman seems to trivialize the closing chorale, and the true timing at close to 1/2 a minute explains why.

Rilling, Leonhardt, and Leusink, all closer to a minute, bring more substance to this closing movement, IMO. (However, Leonhardt seems to somehow stress or separate each word, creating an odd effect, IMO.)

BTW, I don't know if anyone has commented on Suzuki's BWV 82 [76]; Volume 38 has beem released and sound samples are available: http://www.bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-SACD-1631

Superb singing by Kooij, in flowing performances of BWV 82's arias. The recits have too much string-bass sound and not enough organ treble sound if you want to hear a realisation of the figured bass harmonies. (If continuo strings must be used in seccos, I would ensure they are very quiet, with treble tones on the organ clearly heard).

Jean Laaninen wrote (April 2, 2008):
[To Neil Halliday] Thanks Neil, for adding your comments.

 

Off-Topic: A Live Performance of BWV 82 (a)

Jean Laaninen wrote (April 13, 2008):
Last night I had one of the most delightful experiences of the performance season at Arizona State University.

The beautiful Organ Hall was the setting for a live performance of BWV 82 (a) presented by Anne-Kathryn Olsen, a wonderful young lyric soprano, the likes of whom would delight the ears of Neil Halliday on our list. I make this comment because Neil does not like vibrato where he does not feel it belongs, and because judging from his writing about the matter of the years there would have been no complaints regarding this performance. Resonance - but of a light quality filled in where some would use vibrato.

Anne-Kathryn sings this spring with Seattle Baroque Ensemble Ensemble, and I believe she is one of the rising young stars in the world of Bach.

Just a college junior, she has the unquenchable energy of a Julianne Baird, with the performance composure of a seasoned singer who knows her material flawlessly--no need for a score to read from at all.

Movement one opened with the organist directing from the bench, in the style of Bach's performances that we read about in numerous historical references. The stage of the organ hall is built in tiers, and the organ console is situated at the top level, while the remainder of the ensemble: viola, violin I and II, Solo flute, cello and bass flanked the sides. Sometime in the future I will write the details of this organ for Bach enthusiasts.

In the introduction to BWV 82 that I wrote some weeks ago, the score used was for the bass. In re-writing for soprano, Anne-Kathryn informed me that the oboe was replaced by the flute since the key change put the solo instrument out of the range of the oboe. For a presentation with soprano I also responded enthusiastically to the use of the flute--a lovely charming soothing, and reassuring quality that was greatly pleasing to my ears.

The English translation used in the program notes was by Peter Graney.
(See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV82-Eng8.htm)

The gentle rocking rhythm that gracefully opens Mvt. 1 was augmented by the singer's crystal clear voice as she began to tell the story. There was not even one second of imbalance between the ensemble and the singer from the opening on:

Graney's translation:

I have seen him,
My faith has impressed Jesus on my heart:
Now I wish this very day
To depart from here with joy.

It is enough.
I have held the Savior, the hope of all peoples,
In the warm embrace of my arms.
It is enough.

In Mvt. 2 this singer gives her opening an intriguing level of drama and finishes with an appealing gentle ending. Her manner of handling this recitative musically brings clarity to the text.

Graney's translation:

It is enough.
My one consolation is this:
That I am Jesus' beloved and he is mine.
In faith, I hold him.
For in Simeon, I already see
The joy of life to come.
Let us go forth with Simeon!
Ah! if only the Lord
Would free me from my body's enslavement;
Ah, if indeed my liberation were soon,
With joy I would say to you, O World.
It is enough.

Mvt. 3 brought some new elements in terms of performance as the satisfaction of sharing the cantata message moved forward. To a pure flowing vocal quality she added freedom of heart, and the sound fairly floated off the oval ceiling of the venue inviting the listener even more deeply into the story as she proceeded with the lullaby.

Graney's translation:

Slumber, my weary eyes,
Fall softly and close in contentment.

O World, I will linger here no more.
For indeed, I find nothing in you
Pleasing to my soul.

Mvt. 4 - Her dramatic entrance on the words, My God! was compelling, but in good tasteful cantata style, not overwhelming. She simply made you want to hear the rest of what she had to say.

Graney's translation:

My God! When will I hear that precious word: "Now!"
Then I will depart in peace,
And rest both here in the humus of the cool earth
And there within your bosom,
My departure is at hand,
O World, good night!

Mvt. 5 - This was the point at which I realized with certainty that her unusual gifts had reached a truly high degree of development. To what was already an exceptional sound she added a sheer silvery energy with such gentle excitement that I actually felt chills all over. Even in the finest recorded performances I had heard there was nothing with which to compare.

Graney's translation:

With gladness, I look forward to my death
(Ah, if only it had already come.)

Then shall I escape all despair
That still enslaves me now on earth.

Of all the cantata performances I have ever heard live this was unquestionably the finest.

remember a couple of years ago that in passing her teacher David Britton told me he had marveled at the way in which she had come to the decision at such a young age to eventually be a Baroque singer. Life has interesting little coincidences, and a few weeks before, while waiting for an appointment I'd heard her singing Exultate! Jubilate! by Mozart from outside her practice room. I related this to David, who then said to me, "But you mean she was just trying it out...maybe the first part?" I told him, no, she was singing it through flawlessly, with the correct accentuation on every single run. I knew because I had learned the work a year before and believe me, it took a lot of work for me. In her case, without ever having had a lesson on this work, the song and story came as naturally as breathing. But the considerable experience of her teacher as a professional Bach singer has continuously enhanced what she has to share.

Sometimes on list by virtue of my academic inclinations it has been thought that I prefer the texts to the actual performance of music. This is far from being the case, but last night's performance was an exemplary showing of what the depth of preparation can produce. Anne-Kathryn is also a double music major--her other instrument being cello, at which she also excels and she is in much demand for this instrument also.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 14, 2008):
BWV 82 (a) [was: off topic . . .]

Jean Laaninen wrote:
>Off Topic - A live performance of BWV 82 (a)
Last night I had one of the most delightful experiences of the performance season at Arizona State University.
The beautiful Organ Hall was the setting for a live performance of BWV 82 (a) presented by Anne-Kathryn Olsen, a wonderful young lyric soprano, the likes of whom would delight the ears of Neil Halliday on our list.<

I enjoy these posts very much, which comment on performances of mainly regional publicity. A note on BCML may benefit the performers (or at least do no harm), and readers can enjoy the experience second-hand (vicariously).

Same to everyone who posts regarding their own performances. I started to list a few names, but quickly realized how many you are, and did not want to offend anyone by omission. I hope no one will take exception if I mention Therese, who is scheduled to lead discussions later this year, and who has provided some interesting comments re performance of BWV 198.

Thanks to Jean for the details provided. Especially notable immediately after her efforts leading the weekly discussions, which are rewarding but also demanding. Last kind word, Jean, but you know I noticed.

I like the comments on the venue layout. I know Brad would participate in any discussion on that topic, which also leads us into the difference in the experience of live versus recorded music.

From another post, Jean wrote:
>To see one's own performance allows one to realize the small details that are good and those that need correction or improvement.<
Terejia has been approaching this point, also. In the process of creativity, we deal with a level of detail which does not seem to be perceived by the audience. There is great temptation to decide that the detail therefore does not matter. As soon as the creator (including performer) compromises on the detail, the communication with the audience declines.

It is the essence of art. Mister (Old) Bach is unsurpassed as master of the mystery. SDG.

Jean Laaninen wrote (April 14, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote:
<< Off Topic - A live performance of BWV 82 (a)
Last night I had one of the most delightful experiences of the performance season at Arizona State University.
The beautiful Organ Hall was the setting for a live performance of BWV 82 >>
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I like the comments on the venue layout. I know Brad would participate in any discussion on that topic, which also leads us into the difference in the experience of live versus recorded music. >
I will get back to the details of the Organ Hall some time later. I need to ask a few questions of one or two people who can shed extra light on the Bach performances both concerted organ events and cantatas in th OH before I tell the remainder of that story. The people I need to question are just great, but extremely busy, so I must bide my time until things at school are not so busy.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (April 14, 2008):
[Toi Ed Myskowski] Thanks Ed. I also enjoy it when other people talk about their performances.

I was precisely thinking that it could be a way to orient the discussions that I will introduce later, to try to have opinions of persons who have performed the piece.

So much has already been said in previous discussions that new angles of approach must be found...

 

Suzuki Vol 38

John Pike wrote (April 26, 2008):
My copy of Suzuki's cantatas vol. 38 [76] arrived this morning. Throughout the booklet and elsewhere, BWV 82 is given as "Ich habe genuNg". Is this a careless mis-spelling or is there a more simple explanation?

Aryeh Oron wrote (April 26, 2008):
John Pike asked:
"Throughout the booklet and elsewhere [76], BWV 82 is given as "Ich habe genuNg". Is this a careless mis-spelling or is there a more simple explanation?"

This is not a mistake, but an old German.
I recall that this issue has been already been discussed in the BCML, but I do not have the time now searching for it in the 7 discussion pages of this sublime cantata.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 26, 2008):
[To Aryeh Oron] I suspect Aryeh is remembering footnote 1 at this page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Es-ist-genug.htm

Francis Browne wrote (April 26, 2008):
On the subject of Suzuki Vol. 38 [76] on the back cover of my copy tracks 17-21 are listed as Bekennen will ich seinen Namen BWV 58. The booklet lists correctly Ach Gott, wie manches Herzelied. I e-mailed BIS but without reply.

My favourite example of careless proofreading is the cover of my Oxford Classical Text of Ovid's Metamorphoses which boasts that these texts 'are renowned for their liability and presentation.'

Stephen Benson wrote (April 26, 2008):
(Getting OT) Suzuki Vol 38

Francis Browne wrote:
< My favourite example of careless proofreading is the cover of my Oxford Classical Text of Ovid's Metamorphoses which boasts that these texts 'are renowned for their liability and presentation.' >
This may open up a can of worms -- we all have our favorites -- but my own personal favorite proofreading glitch occurs in the directions provided by New York State for its middle-school social studies exam: "Please read over your essay to make sure you have not make any mistakes."

John Pike wrote (April 27, 2008):
Many thanks to Brad and Aryeh for this.

John Pike wrote (April 27, 2008):
Francis Browne wrote:
< On the subject of Suzuki Vol. 38 [76] on the back cover of my copy tracks 17-21 are listed as Bekennen will ich seinen Namen BWV 58. The booklet lists correctly Ach Gott, wie manches Herzelied. I e-mailed BIS but without reply. >
Wouldn't have happened if Aryeh had been on the production team.

John Pike wrote (April 27, 2008):
[To Stephen Benson] Both of thye se are absolutely classic. Brilliant!

 

BCW: The most recorded Bach Cantata

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 15, 2011):
The most recorded Bach Cantata is definitly Ich habe genug BWV 82 with 89 recordings. The cantata is usually sung by bass or baritone, but there are also versions for soprano, alto and tenor. The discography pages of this cantatas have been revised and updated. It is arranged chronologically, a page per a decade; the first recording was done in 1948 by Hans Hotter and the most recent by Andreas Scholl is from 2010.
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV82.htm
If you have any correction, addition, etc., please inform me.

 

Continue on Part 8

Cantata BWV 82: Details
Recordings: Complete:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Recitative and Aria for Soprano from Anna Magdalena Notenbüchlein | Individual Movements
Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | BWV 508-523 Anna Magdalena Notenbüchlein - General Discussions
Articles:
Text, music and performative interpretation in Bach’s cantata Ich habe genug [U. Golomb] | Sellars Staging [U. Golomb] | The Need for Bach: A discussion of his life, Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen, BWV 51 and Ich habe genung, BWV 82 [S. Burton]

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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