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Cantata BWV 96
Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of October 24, 2001

Alain Bruguières wrote (September 16, 2006):
Intro to BWV 96, "Herr Christ, der einige Gottessohn"

The responsibility of leading the discussions for the next 10 weeks will be mine. I've been a list member since april 2005. Aryeh suggested that I explain how I came to become a Bach fan. Let me quote my introductory message (april 9, 2005).

"... By trade, I'm a mathematician. I'm a frenchman, and I live in Montpellier, in the south of France. In my late teens, I was an utter anglophile (I feel much better now.) As a side-effect, I was a great fan of the Beatles and Händel's oratorios (Messiah, Israel in Egypt). After some time, I grew somewhat weary of Händel. Too much of it at one time. It occurred to me that JS Bach was a contemporary, so probably his vocal music was similar, so I had a try. I bought a tape recording of the Mass in B minor (BWV 232). I was literally thunderstruck by the first chords. That was it. I completely forgot about Händel (and the Beatles). No time left for that. Curiously, for a few years I left aside Bach's Cantatas. I was all for so-called 'theoretical works'. And of course the Well Tempered Clavier. In the vocal works, I favoured large choirs. Then I took to organ chorals, and finally I came to the cantatas. At first, mostly the large choral fantasia, but more and more, it's the intimate cantatas that I favour. I'm very fond of BWV 82, BWV 58, BWV 54, BWV 49... I'm even growing fond of recitatives, which I found a bore a few years ago! Some are quite striking, as the one in Wachet! Betet! Betet! Wachet! right after the aria 'Hebt euer Haupt empor' (which, by the way, I found very convenient to soothe my son when he had colic pains - I used to dance with him in my arms, singing that aria).

When I was an anglophile, my english was reasonably good; since then it has deteriorated so please forgive my mistakes. Besides, I love music, but I'm not a musician..."

So, I'm not a professional musician, nor a musicologist. However I've recently purchased a precious tool: 'The Cantatas of J. S. Bach', by Alfred Dürr, which should help me face the challenge of introducing the weekly Cantata for about 2 months starting from now.

--------------------------

Week of September 24, 2006
---------------------------
Cantata BWV 96, Herr Christ, der einige Gottessohn

Second Annual Cantata Cycle, 1723-24 (Jahrgang II)
18th Sunday after Trinity
1st performance: October 8, 1724 - Leipzig
---------------------------
Bach Cantatas resources
Previous Discussions: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV96-D.htm
Main Cantata page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV96.htm
Text:
German http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/96.html
English http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV96.html
Score Vocal & Piano: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV096-V&P.pdf
Recordings: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV96.htm#RC
Listen to Leusink recording [4] (free streaming download):
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Stream/BWV96-Leusink.ram
---------------------------
Librettist: unknown
Biblical sources:
EPISTLE 1 Corinthians 1: 4-9: Paul gives thanks for the blessing of the Gospel at Corinth.
GOSPEL Matthew 22: 34-46: Jesus names the first commandment as the love of God and of one's neighbour; he questions the Pharisees over the Christ, who is called both David's Son and David's Lord.

This is a chorale cantata, based upon the chorale of the same name.
Five-verse hymn by Elisabeth Creutziger. See
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Herr-Christ-einge.htm for details on this chorale melody.
--------------------------------------------------------
Structure
1. Chorale S A + hn or trb TB fl picc ob I, II str bc
2. Recit A bc
3. Aria T fl solo bc
4. Recit. S bc
5. Aria B ob I, II str bc
6. Choral SATB bc (+hn obs str)
--------------------------------------------------------

Comment (mostly based on Dürr).

In this Chorale cantata the unknown librettist uses the five verse of the hymn in the following way:
Mvt. 1 (Chorale) = verse 1
Mvt. 2 (Recit A) = paraphrase of verse 2
Mvt. 3 (Aria T) = paraphrase of verse 3
Mvt. 4, Mvt. 5 (Recit S, Aria B) = paraphrase of verse 4
Mvt. 6 (Choral) = verse 6.

The opening chorus is a chorale fantasia, with cantus firmus in the alto reinforced by horn. (In a subsequent performance horn was replaced by trombone, probably October 1, 1747). In addition to the usual ensemble of oboes, strings and continuo, a 'flauto piccolo'=sopranino recorder in F portrays the twinkling of the morning star (in a subsequent performance, probably October 24 1734, this recorder was replaced by a 'violino piccolo', probably out of necessity according to Dürr). The instrumental parts are based on a thematic material independent of the chorale melody, and the vocal parts S, T, B, based on thematic elements more or less related to material of the instrumental parts, combine with the cantus firmus to produce a rich polyphonic structure.

After a secco recitative (Mvt. 2) the tenor Aria 'Ach, Ziehe die Seele mit Seilen der Liebe' (Ah, draw my soul with bands of Love) could be described as a very expressive duetto Tenor/Flauto.The second secco recitative introduces a bass aria with full accompaniment of oboes and strings. The wayward steps wending their way to the right and to the left are effectively depicted by the wavering figures as well as (Dürr) the alternation between strings and woodwind. As often, the last movement (Mvt. 6) is a plain four-part harmonized chorale.
--------------------------------------------------------
A more personal comment: this is a great cantata, especially the opening chorus which reminds me very much of the opening chorus of BWV 1 Wie Schön leuchtet der Morgenstern. While the overall climate is very similar, of a pastoral kind, illuminated as it is by the Morning Star, the choral melody is less prominent, and the (apparently) more intricate and highly imitative counterpoint enhances the intellectual pleasure of listening to this piece (wheras listening to the opening chorus of BWV 1 is perhaps a more emotional experience). The first aria is very beautiful; the second aria has been described as 'perhaps a lot more straightforward' by Croutch... yet I find it very pleasant to listen to.

-------------------------------------------------------
Possible topics of discussion ?

Dürr asserts that this composition 'departs in certain details from the favoured scheme of the chorale cantatas'. It may be worthwhile to discuss in what ways, and for what purpose, this cantata departs from a hypothetical 'favoured scheme'. I would welcome an analysis of the opening chorus! Are there other examples of chorale fantasies with cantus firmus in a middle part, and/or where the other vocal parts use a thematic material (apparently) not based on the chorale melody?

By all means feel free to disregard these suggestions!

Douglas Co wrote (September 24, 2006):
Alain Bruguieres wrote:
< A more personal comment: this is a great cantata, especially the opening chorus which reminds me very much of the opening chorus of BWV 1 Wie Schön leuchtet der Morgenstern.
Dürr asserts that this composition 'departs in certain details from the favoured scheme of the chorale cantatas'. It may be worthwhile to discuss in what ways, and for what purpose, this cantata departs from a hypothetical 'favoured scheme'. >

I was struck by the similarilty to the opening of "Wie schön Lecuchet" as well. I'm intrigued by Dürr's comment that this chorus is outside Bach's usual structure. Even with the chorale in the altos and independent choral points of imitation, it has all the hallmarks of Bach's great choral-fantasies: sustained chorale melody, comtrapuntal imitation in the other voices, independent orchestral ritirnellos.

Does someone have the full score in front of them? In the Leusink recording [4], the wonderful "Twinkle Little Star" flauto piccolo part is played at the upper octave by what sounds to me like a sopranino recorder. Yet in the tenor aria, the part appears to be played at written pitch not "alla ottava". I can't hear it at all in the closing chorale.

Can someone tell me what instrument is specified in each of these movements and if there are any octave markings? It sounds odd to me.

Thomas Braatz wrote (September 24, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>Does someone have the full score in front of them? In the Leusink recording [4], the wonderful "Twinkle Little Star" flauto piccolo part is played at the upper octave by what sounds to me like a sopranino recorder. Yet in the tenor aria, the part appears to be played at written pitch not "alla ottava". I can't hear it at all in the closing chorale. Can someone tell me what instrument is specified in each of these movements and if there are any octave markings? It sounds odd to me.<<
Mvt. 1 Flauto piccolo (1724); Violino piccolo (1724)
Mvt. 3 Flauto traverso solo
Mvt. 6 No flauto of either type

Mvt. 1 has no octave markings over the treble clef for the Flauto piccolo part which is moved down to E
instead of G without any flats or sharps indicated. The Violino piccolo is in a regular treble (G) clef in the key of D major (two sharps), the NBA reproduces both parts with the 8 over the treble clef as modern notation.
Mvt. 3 is given with a regular treble clef for the Flauto traverso - no octave markings in the original or in the NBA version.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 24, 2006):
[To Thomas Braatz] Fascinating that there would be two different kinds of flute obligatos and neither would play in the final chorale. I can't think of a cantata where there is not a tutti for the final movement (excepting trumpets and timpani)

Thomas Braatz wrote (September 24, 2006):
[To Douglas Cowling] Regarding the instrumentation of the final chorale of BWV 96 [from the NBA KB I/24, p. 43]:

Both the Flauto piccolo/Flauto traverso part prepared from the autograph score (which does not indicate any specific instrument!) for the first performance in 1724 and even its replacement part, Violino piccolo for the 1734 performance stop at the end of Mvt. 3. There are not even any tacet marks to follow that point. From the available original sources for BWV 96, it is not clear at all whether the instruments indicated on these parts were meant to play along in the usual manner normally customary in other cantatas. Only for the Flauto piccolo part does it appear that evidence from other cantatas, (BWV 8 and BWV 103, both cantatas also having a Flauto piccolo part, but no Flauto piccolo part is indicated in the final chorale mvt.) suggests strongly that Bach did not intend to have the Flauto piccolo play in the final mvt. of BWV 96. Both BWV 8 and BWV 103 also have different instruments substituted for the original ones for later performances, but in regard to the Flauto traverso or the "Violino Conc: ou Trav" parts, the latter instruments did play along in the final chorale mvts. It is reasonably conceivable, therefore, that a performance of the 1734 or the 1746/1747 versions of BWV 96 could include these instruments in the final chorale although the original parts for these versions do not directly specify them to play along.

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 24, 2006):
Doug Cowling asked:
"Does someone have the full score in front of them?"
You can find full score in Capella format at the main page of Cantata BWV 96: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV96.htm
To view the Capella score you need Capella Reader, which can be freely download according to the instructions in the page linked from [cap] near the link to the score.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 24, 2006):
[To Aryeh Oron] I've just emailed them to see if there is a MAC version available.

Julian Mincham wrote (September 24, 2006):
Further comment on BWV 96

The comparisons between BWV 1 and BWV 96 are brought further into relief by the fact that, although composed at different stages of the cycle, Koopman records them on the same disc (disc 1 of box 13 [6]). Some of the unusual features are the use of the altos to carry the chorale theme (the only other cantata to do this is BWV 2 but to greatly different expressive effect) although there is one further example, recently dicussed on list where the chorale is split between sop and alto ----BWV 10. Also there is only one other cantata of this cycle which shares a 9/8 time signature for the opening fantasia--I will leave members to locate that one for themselves! 9/8, literally three gorups of three notes within the bar, is a reoccuring symbol Bach uses to suggest the Holy Trinity--even though not all three need especially be noted in the text.

The reason for giving the chorale to the altos is, I think, in order to release the sopranos so that they may declaim joyous melodic lines which soar above the rest of the choir--highly fitting for the theme of the work. The decision of which voice to use for the cantus firmus is a crucial one which has implications for the entire conceptual structure of choral writing for a movement. In BWV 96, to accompany most of the chorale phrases the sopranos, tenors and basses imitate each other, sometimes more closely that at others, frequently using the melody borrowed from the very first orchestral bar. Thus do they contrive a dance of lightness and grace around the altos' long notes. But just once, on the words 'Er ist der Morgensterne'--he is the morning star--do the lower voices enter on block, giving focus and emphasis to this important image. (An example of Bach's incredible eye for textual detail)

Note that every movement except the bass aria is major--even the two recitatives begin and end in the major which is unusual. When we come across one aria in a different mode, it is usually of especial significance: Bach gives us a different view or perspective at these times (compare with the later BWV 87 in which the principle is the same but the modality is reversed--all minor until the major tenor aria).

In the bass aria, Wolff suggests that the orchestration and placing of the instruments reflects the text of 'to the right, to the left ' with strings on the one side of the church, oboes on the other. A congregation would actually turn heads physically from one side to the other as the phrases imitated each other. It's also worth noting when the dotted rhythms stop and become straight crotchets and quavers on all parts thus representinthe steady guiding steps of the Lord as opposed to the unsteady steps (and wavering faith) of we humans. Again, what an eye for textual detail!

Regarding the idea of the 'stereo' placement, does anyone know whether Bach was familiar with music by Monteverdi and Gabrielli and their pioneering experiments with instrumental groups in St Marks a century or so earlier? It would be of interest to know if Bach was aware of this Italian tradition or if he hit upon the idea himself.

Incidentally I think there is no doubt that Bach intended different flutes for the first and third movement. Whether he intended instruments to join in and double lines in the final chorale, even if they were not especially notated, is more problematic.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 24, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< In the bass aria, Wolff suggests that the orchestration and placing of the instruments reflects the text of 'to the right, to the left ' with strings on the one side of the church, oboes on the other. A congregation would actually turn heads physically from one side to the other as the phrases imitated each other. >
Certainly the spatial placement of Bach's orchestra and singers is an extremely important factor which is almost always ignored by modern performers even those of the HIP persuasion (the antiphonal layout of "choirs" of imstruments and singers in "Gott ist Mein König" and the opening of the SMP are perhaps the best examples.) It was not a visual factor as the performers were all invisible in the rear gallery. People could have attended chruch every Sunday all their lives and have never seen Bach in person.

Thomas Braatz wrote (September 24, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
>>Regarding the idea of the 'stereo' placement, does anyone know whether Bach was familiar with music by Monteverdi and Gabrielli and their pioneering experiments with instrumental groups in St Marks a century or so earlier? It would be of interest to know if Bach was aware of this Italian tradition or if he hit upon the idea himself.<<
What is really strange is that Johann Gottfried Walther, in his "Musicalisches Lexicon....", Leipzig, 1732, has only small entries on both Gabiellis with no specific mention of any collection of music or separate works, only two theoretical books by Andrea Gabrielli listed - nothing about the spatial element involved in splitting up choirs of voices and/or instruments. However, it is mainly due to Michael Praetorius, as noted in his "Syntagma musicum", Wolffenbüttel, 1619, Part III, p. 134, where Praetorius indicates that he had seen and copied
various "Concerten" by "Iohan Gabrieli" but regretted that he did not buy some other works by Gabrielli which had been available in recent years but were no longer available. A large portion of Praetorius' book is devoted to describing the various ways choirs of voices or choirs of instruments can be used throughout the entire space of the church. During the performance of a single composition, these varying groups and subgroups could be spatially separated from each other, usually a few voices would take a few instruments along with them while leaving the main body of singers and instruments behind. Praetorius describes having musical groups (the smaller groups having only 1,2,3 or 4 voices with a few accompanying instruments) placed in all four corners of the church with the main, larger group staying where it usually performs.

Throughout the 17th century a few, rather important German composer/musicians visited and studied music in Italy, primarily in Venice. These musicians kept these musical ideals alive in Germany, but most importantly Michael Praetorius recognized and published his "discovery" of making full use of the spacial environment and emphasizing the importance of varying the arrangement of musical forces (the "chori" = both vocal and instrumental) within the church. For this he was indebted to the Italian heritage emanating from Giovanni Gabrielli, Viadana, Aggazzari, etc. Praetorius, as he stated in the above-mentioned volume, wanted to translate into German music-making "ex Italico sermone" and also add some ideas of his own.

If you have the Archiv recording of the Christmas Day Service recorded by McCreesh in a Denmark church and listen to the final "In dulci jubilo" with the volume in all your speakers turned up, you will really know what Praetorius was talking about. Like Bach, he never traveled to Italy to hear Gabielli's music, but was able to absorb it and build upon it.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 25, 2006):
BWV 96, - Polychoral music

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Throughout the 17th century a few, rather important German composer/musicians visited and studied music in Italy, primarily in Venice. These musicians kept these musical ideals alive in Germany >
It's worth remembering that the primary repertoire of Bach's choirs was a collection of 16th and 17th centuries polychoral works which included the double choir works of Lassus who, like Schütz, studied with Gabrieli in Venice. Germans maintained a passion for double choir motets long after they passed out of fashion in Italy, France and England.

The vast majority of compositions by the Bach family are for double choir. This polychoral repretoire is the music that was heard most often in Bach's churches. Several of Bach's motets are direct descendants of Gabrieli's motets. Bach even continued the practice of doubling choirs with contrasting instruments. A number have parts in which one choir is doubled with strings and another with winds.

The climax of this tradition is of course the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with its three choirs, although we still see the antiphonal drama of Gabrieli in the three choirs of Wagner's "Parsifal".

Ed Myskowski wrote (September 25, 2006):
Translation chat [was Intro to BWV 96, "Herr Christ, der einige Gottessohn"

Alain Bruguieres wrote:
< The responsibility of leading the discussions for the next 10 weeks will be mine. >
Bonjour, mon ami (Eng. trans.: Hello (or good day), my friend). I do not speak much French, but the occasional bon mot (now acceptable English, I believe) seems appropriate.

An Anglophile (recovered or not) from France? Where were you when we (USA) renamed French fries as Freedom Fries. For that matter, where was everyone when we renamed the frankfurter the hot dog, long about WW I, the Great War, the war to end all wars, etc.

Translation problems? More like civilization problems.

Julian Mincham wrote (September 25, 2006):
[To Thomas Braatz] Many thanks for providing this background infomation on the Italian influences on choral writing, Thomas.

Bradley Lehman wrote (September 25, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Fascinating that there would be two different kinds of flute obligatos and neither would play in the final chorale. I can't think of a cantata where there is not a tutti for the final movement (excepting trumpets and timpani) >
Maybe they were playing some other instrument for that movement, or singing? (Like the corno da caccia player in the B minor mass (BWV 232), likely playing something else in movements other than the "Quoniam"....)

I hope you've seen/heard Bernstein's program about the first page of Beethoven 5. He goes into the problem that Beethoven had a flute in there, for a while, and then crossed it out later: and Bernstein's remark is that the flute was as much out of place as "a lady at a club smoker."

Peter Smaill wrote (September 26, 2006):
[To Alain Bruguieres] Since my set of Leusink Cantatas [4] mysteriously has the relevant CD missing and replaced with a duplicate of Volume 24 (anyone need to do a swap?) the pleasure for me this week is to catch up with a very enjoyable Harnoncourt opening chor[3], the sopranino recorder being played with great zest by his daughter.

The word from previous discussions is of the mystical effect of this scoring, bursting with star-like brilliance as is the opening movement of BWV 1, "Wie schön leuchtet die Morgenstern", which prefigures since the Annunciation Cantata was written for 25 March 1725. BWV 1 is the swansong of the librettist Andreas Stübel who likely created the text as his last work just before his death on January 27 1725, if Christoph Wolff's version of events is taken.

The clear linguistic link outside the musical parallel is the word "Morgenstern". However, BWV 96 also links strongly to the mystical images and music of another initiatory work , the probe Cantata BWV 22, " Jesu nahm zu sich die Zwölfe". As discussed earlier by Thomas Braatz, it is the word "ziehen" which stands out:

(BWV 22/2) "Meine Jesu ziehe mich nach dir"

(BWV 22/3) "Meine Jesu, ziehe mich, so werd ich laufen"
("My Jesus, draw me towards Thee....that I may hasten")

Whereas BWV 96:

"Ach, ziehe deie Seele mit seilen der Liebe"
("Ah draw Thou my soul with cords of Love")

The parallel reading of both texts shows many points of similarity and even some differences are but questions of theological emphasis- one stresses Christ as Son of Man, the other as Son of God - the dual nature resolved in the incipit of BWV 23, "Du Wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn". So both these Cantatas are Christological in nature, and are allied by exactly the same final Chorale text, "Ertöt Uns durch deine Güte".

Though most commentators gloss over the Chorale, not so Whittaker, who spots the rising bass semitones in the penultimate line at "Den Sinn und all Begierden", IMO an ascending rising prayer motif (an inverted passus duriusculus, as in "Durch deine Gefägnis" from the SJP (BWV 245)) which arrives at an unexpected interrupted cadence, settling into a chord in the relative minor. Harnoncourt [3] skips over this wonderful harmonic effect and it would be good to have a recording which contrawise emphasised Bach's creation of a rhetorical moment.

The tension is at last resolved in the confident major tonality of "Und G'danken hab'n zu dir" as the choir end on a note confirming renewal, thanksgiving and confidence.

A delight to listen to for the first time.

Ed Myskowski wrote (September 26, 2006):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< Since my set of Leusink Cantatas [4] mysteriously has the relevant CD missing and replaced with a duplicate of Volume 24 (anyone need to do a swap?) the pleasure for me this week is to catch up with a very enjoyable Harnoncourt opening chorus [3], the sopranino recorder being played with great zest by his daughter. >
Reply:

Getting old and cautious, I immediately checked my Leusink set [4]. Alas (or fortunately for me), mine is accurate. This is like a new twist on the Cinderella legend. I do not have the Harnoncourt [3], but I enjoy the little details of performance, even if only in my mind for now. Another recording to look for.

Chris Rowson wrote (September 29, 2006):
Iīd like to ask a question here of all continuo players, regarding the tenor aria in this weekīs cantata, i.e. BWV 96/3. The question is whether the whole continuo section should be silent where the bass has a rest, for example (1) middle of bar 13, where the singer starts the word "Seele", and example (2) beginning of bar 21, where he sings "ziehe". Or is it better for one or more chording instruments to put something in on these beats?

Iīm not asking what the books say it ought to be, Iīm asking what people feel works best when they play something like this.

Thomas Braatz wrote (September 30, 2006):
[To Chris Rowson] You may not be "asking what the books say it ought to be", but you should be asking what Bach says it ought to be. If Bach had wanted any part of the continuo to fill in what a 21st-century conductor might consider an unnecessary vacuum in a musical line or a lack of foundation in the continuo, he would have certainly indicated this here in a situation of this type. Performers are fortunate indeed to have both the autograph score, but more importantly yet, the set of original parts meticulously corrected, modified, and added to by Bach personally. These indications should be adhered to before attempting what is suggested above.

There are other reasons that become quite apparent from examining the score and parts carefully why Bach has intended these rests:

From a more careful study and consideration of the score and parts, an insightful conductor will become aware that Bach is musically illustrating the 'pulling/dragging of the soul'. This 'dragging behind' on the 'ropes of love' also musically implies just that: a portion of the musical line drags behing the main statement of it (Tenor/Traversa at the beginning of m 21 followed by the delayed entrance of the continuo). This part of Bach's musical language can be completely eradicated by any conductor finding a means to fill out what Bach seemingly forgot to include and "not asking what the books say".

Another question regarding current misunderstandings about Bach's indications that should be raised here is:

Are Bach's dynamic markings in this aria only markers indicating to the instrumentalists where the soloist enters and exits (sings or does not sing) without without conveying any difference in dynamics (loud or soft) as some current performers believe them to be?
Or does Bach want the continuo, for instance at the 'piano' markings, to cut back in volume and perhaps even be reduced by having certain continuo instruments not play during the 'piano' sections?

Thomas Braatz wrote (September 30, 2006):
In BWV 96, the Flauto traverso solo part in mvt. 3 has very thorough markings pertaining to its manner of delivery: slurs, staccato, dynamics, appoggiaturas, etc., but the Flauto piccolo part in Mvt. 1 has none of these. This leaves open an important question:

Was it assumed in Bach's time that such an instrument would be played staccato throughout, or was the use of slurs and/or staccato left to the discretion of the player?

Looking at only two passages from Mvt. 1, it would appear that there are certainly various ways in which these might be articulated. Some of these theoretically possible suggestions would be easier, but others harder to perform, particularly at some of the extremely fast tempi used in performances/recordings today.

The key question in my mind is: What type of articulation would enhance the "sparkling of the Morning Star"?

Aryeh Oron has kindly placed some samples at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV96-M1.htm

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 30, 2006):
<>

Chris Rowson wrote (September 30, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The key question in my mind is: What type of articulation would enhance the "sparkling of the Morning Star"? >
How about the phrasing described by Quantz?

Chris Rowson wrote (September 30, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
"You may not be "asking what the books say it ought to be", but you should be asking what Bach says it ought
to be. If Bach had wanted any part of the continuo to fill in what a 21st-century conductor might consider
an unnecessary vacuum in a musical line or a lack of foundation in the continuo, he would have certainly
indicated this here in a situation of this type."
My question is concerned with interpreting the indications Bach gave. Mr. Braatz may believe he knows the one true interpretation, but I am less sure.

Even if there are continuo figurings over bass rests, that doesnīt necessarily mean to me ththere should be a chord there. And where figuring is placed over a bass note after a rest, there can still be the question of whether one or more chording instruments play over the rests, i.e. "continuo".

Thatīs why I asked for views from others with practical experience, to supplement my own.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 1, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
< My question is concerned with interpreting the indications Bach gave. Mr. Braatz may believe he knows the one true interpretation, but I am less sure. >
Reply:

Nicely, concisely, and politely stated. Tom Braatz original reply was also valid, if not quite as polite: the first question is, <what was the composers intent>. After responding to that, you are free (count your blessings, as a performer) to honor the composers intent, or not.

If the composer's intent is not clear, some great performances result. If the composer's intent was precise, and observed, some great performances also result. Take your pick. Better yet, get out and listen!

I know what Bach was thinking (but just for spite, I am not telling).

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 1, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
>>How about the phrasing described by Quantz?<<
Are his "did'll did'll did'll did'll" tonguing indications to be interpreted as a combination of slurs and staccato markings or simply all staccato?

He (Johann Joachim Quantz "Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversière zu spielen" Berlin, 1752, Part VI, §13, p. 65) also states: >>An einem großen Orte, wo es schallet, und die Zuhörer weit entfernet sind, muß man die Noten, mit der Zunge, überhaupt mehr und schärfer markiren, als an einem kleinen Orte; besonders wenn etliche Noten auf einerley Tone vorkommen: sonst klingen dieselben als wenn sie nur mit der Brust gehauchet würden.<< ("In a large acoustic environment [like the Leipzig churches] where the sound reverberates and the audience is removed at some distance [from the performers], it is necessary in any case to accentuate the notes even more and produce a sharper sound with one's tongue than one would in a smaller/closer environment. This is particularly true in the case of repeated notes. Otherwise the latter would sound as though they were only created by the breath issuing from the chest/lungs.")

This passage would seem to imply that the Bach passages in question would have to be played staccato throughout in order to be heard properly and distinctly.

Another indication by Quantz is: (Part XII, § 21. p.115) >>Schleifende Noten müssen so gespielet werden wie se angedeutet sind..Hingegen müssen auch die, soden Zungenstoß verlangen, nicht geschleifet werden.<<

("Slurred notes should be played the way they are indicated [on the part or score]..However, those [notes] which demand separate tonguing [for each individual note] should not be slurred.")

Since Bach did not indicate any slurred notes in similar passages (BWV 103/1) to those in BWV 96/1, but did mark rather different passages elsewhere (in BWV 103/1 and BWV 8/1 - the latter has unmarked repeated notes), it can easily be assumed that only staccato (clearly enunciated, non-legato) playing is intended/assumed by Bach in general passages of the type that I had presented.

Somehow I seem to remember (without going back and relistening to all the recordings of BWV 96/1) that some of the Flauto piccolo players used different patterns of slurring, but perhaps my memory did not serve me well in this.

Any other ideas or comments on this matter of articulating Bach's Flauto piccolo parts?

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 1, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Any other ideas or comments on this matter of articulating Bach's Flauto piccolo parts? [Image] >
I hope to provide a few thoughts on specific recordings (especially Leusink [4], Koopman [6]) before the week gets away. It is good to see comments regarding the interaction of the acoustic environment, and appropriate articulation, entering the discussion.

I started out a bit questioning (who, me?) of the identification of the piccolo with the *twinkling morning star*. I have been won over by the sound. On a quick listen, Koopman's [6] balance and tempo sound exactly right on this point.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 1, 2006):
Since the Flauto piccolo part in BWV 96/1 strangely lacks any marks of articulation (perhaps indicating mainly staccato-like, non-slurred treatment throughout), I decided to examine, for comparison, two other cantatas with parts for the same instrument: BWV 103/1,3 and BWV 8/1. The latter consists mainly of streams of repeated notes which, according to Quantz, must be played staccato, but the two mvts. 1 & 3 of BWV 103 display rather great care by Bach in indicating where the slurs should appear. A few pertinent selections from the score will illustrate some interesting points (the score samples can be found at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV103-M1.htm

In an opening passage of BWV 103/1, there are similar 16th-note patterns much like those in BWV 96/1. Here, also, there are no slurs indicated, but as the mvt. continues more and more, slur marks are given by Bach. In measure 27, the Flauto piccolo slurs/slides up a chromatic scale to create a musical picture of tearful crying. This rather unusual, chromatically-rising sound can be heard in some of the recordings. This is very effective in bringing out the meaning of the text. Later, beginning in measure/bar 71, the Flauto piccolo plays a part usually given only to a trumpet: this is the final, independent entry of the fugal subject which has been presented in the preceding measures. Remember that the notes you see are sounded an octave higher than they appear here. The first longer slur is used at the very point where the Flauto piccolo, if it were singing the words, would be singing "weinen" ("crying tears"). The next significant use of slurring occurs in the "adagio e piano" section where the most excruciating sound is produced by the Flauto piccolo on "traurig sein" ("to be sad"). One feature of the Flauto piccolo is that it really cannot be played softly in a mvt. which calls for 'piano' for all the other performers. The appearance of a double sharp (Doppelkreuz = 'two crosses in one') not only carries a symbolic meaning here [Augenmusik - eye music for the performer], but the rather loud penetrating sound of the Flauto piccolo 'steals the show' as it slithers over the slurred intervals to create the effect Bach was seeking.

For mvt. 3, Bach provides a wealth of indications for articulation and embellishment. What seem to be fast-moving notes in this aria are, in reality, not very fast at all if this aria is taken at a proper tempo and not rushed. Thus it should not be surprising to see a greater number of slurs appear in this mvt.

Based upon Bach's careful concern for the correct articulation in BWV 103, it might be possible to conclude that the unmarked passages in BWV 103/1 and in BWV 96/1 were to be played in a quasi-staccato fashion without any slurring.

Are there any other thoughts on this matter from anyone?

Who performed these parts for Bach? a university student, Friedrich Gottlob Wild, who was praised by Bach for his excellence in playing the "Flaute-traversiere" [without specific mention of the Flauto piccolo]; a city piper, Johann Christian Oschatz, who auditioned for Bach on July 5, 1738 before being accepted as a Leipzig City Piper and in whose estate after his death (1762) a Flauto piccolo was found (there is no record of he received this instrument from the City Piper he replaced who was a "Kunstgeiger" - in any case, the date 1738 is much too late for the original performances of the cantatas in which this instrument is featured; or a copyist "Anonymus Vn" (the most recent theory presented in 2002, but which also lacks credible evidence)?

Chris Rowson wrote (October 1, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Are his "did'll did'll did'll did'll" tonguing indications to be interpreted as a combination of slurs and staccato markings or simply all staccato? >
Reply:

The "didīll" tongueing, like the more usual "tu-ru", indicates pairwise phrasing.

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< He (Johann Joachim Quantz "Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversière zu spielen" Berlin, 1752, Part VI, §13, p. 65) also states: >>An einem großen Orte, wo es schallet, und die Zuhörer weit entfernet sind, muß man die Noten, mit der Zunge, überhaupt mehr und schärfer markiren, als an einem kleinen Orte; besonders wenn etliche Noten auf einerley Tone vorkommen: sonst klingen dieselben als wenn sie nur mit der Brust gehauchet würden.<< ("In a large acoustic environment [like the Leipzig churches] where the sound reverberates and the audience is removed at some distance [from the performers], it is necessary in any case to accentuate the notes even more and produce a sharper sound with one's tongue than one would in a smaller/closer environment. This is particularly true in the case of repeated notes. Otherwise the latter would sound as though they were only created by the breath issuing from the chest/lungs.")
This passage would seem to imply that the Bach passages in question would have to be played staccato throughout in order to be heard properly and distinctly. >
Reply:

Surely Quantz is saying that in large locations the tongueing needs to be more strongly articulated, not that everything is to be staccato.

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Another indication by Quantz is: (Part XII, § 21. p. 115) >>Schleifende Noten müssen so gespielet werden wie se angedeutet sind..Hingegen müssen auch die, so den Zungenstoß verlangen, nicht geschleifet werden.<<
("Slurred notes should be played the way they are indicated [on the part or score]..However, those [notes] which demand separate tonguing [for each individual note] should not be slurred.")
Reply:

I donīt understand where the phrase "for each individual note" comes from, it seems to change the meaning. Quantzīs German says simply "However, the notes which require tongueing must not be slurred". (This might seem an unnecessary statement, but Quantz makes many of these, in the pursuit of clarity.)

Chris Rowson wrote (October 1, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Better yet, get out and listen!
I know what Bach was thinking (but just for spite, I am not telling). >

Better yet, get out and play! I study "the composerīs intentions" to develop understanding, but of course in the white heat of performance you follow the muse. We do sometimes get the Baroque Performance Police coming round, but so far we have got away with nothing worse than having a few trills docked.

Of course itīs hard when Bach expects you to have been in regular attendance, and his only true representative on earth isnīt telling.

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 1, 2006):
Flauto piccolo articulation [was: Intro to BWV 96, "Herr Christ, der einige Gottessohn"]

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< One feature of the Flauto piccolo is that it really cannot be played softly in a mvt. which calls for 'piano' for all the other performers. >
A good period traverso or recorder player can give the illusion of dynamics through articulation and sensitive rubato. The instruments have a natural "chiff" and a player can achieve a szforzando by ever-so-slightly rushing an entry. In similar fashion a legato with just-a-hint of dragging softens the "chiff" and gives the illuson of a piano dynamic. These are interpretative nuances produced by articulation and used by organists and harspichordists who cannot vary the dynamic levels of their instruments. Bach's careful articulation often has a dual role as dynamic markings.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Flute in Bach's Vocal Works - Part 3 [General Topics]

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 1, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
>>The "didīll" tongueing, like the more usual "tu-ru", indicates pairwise phrasing.<<
This does not seem to be the case in Quantz's examples under Table III, Figures 22-25 where 'ti-ri' or 'ri-ti' are not slurs although you may consider them to be 'phrasing' or perhaps 'accenting'. If Quantz wants a slur, he then allows the 'ti' or the 'ri' to slide over two notes to become a real slur, but the 'ti-ri's and 'di-ri's in themselves to not create a slur unless a single syllable is extended over two or more notes. However, the 'ti's and 'di's are tongued notes, hence they should not be slurred as indicated in the final translation below.

CR: >>Surely Quantz is saying that in large locations the tongueing needs to be more strongly articulated, not that everything is to be staccato.<<
Playing all staccato, although requiring more effort on the part of the player, would certainly help in attaining a clean, audible articulation of each note in such an acoustic space.

CR: >>I donīt understand where the phrase "for each individual note" comes from, it seems to change the meaning. Quantzīs German says simply "However, the notes which require tongueing must not be slurred".<<
Quantz:
>>Schleifende Noten müssen so gespielet werden wie sie angedeutet sind..Hingegen müssen auch die, so den
Zungenstoß verlangen, nicht geschleifet werden
.<<

My translation:
>>("Slurred notes should be played the way they are indicated [on the part or score]..However, those [notes] which demand separate tonguing [for each individual note] should not be slurred.")<<

The sections of translation in brackets clearly indicate to the reader an embedded comment or explanation which the reader may choose to read or ignore as the case may be. If the comment appears superfluous, then it can be ignored.

Another possible translation:

("Slurred notes must be played as written [missing part of quotation: "because often a composer, in marking notes as slurs is seeking a particular kind of expression"]. In contrast [to the foregoing rule about slurs] however, those notes which demand tonguing should also not be slurred.")

This is not at all clear. It seems that Quantz is referring to non-slurred notes as in BWV 96/1 (devoid of any markings of articulation) where "those individual notes requiring tonguing" (referring possibly to Quantz's explanation of accented and unaccented beats where tongueing is required for the normally accented notes) "are not to be slurred" as a general rule. Again, see Table III, Figures 22-25, according to which, as I see it, slurring (sliding from one note to the next on a 'ti' or 'di') and phrasing (the use of 'ti-ri' and 'ri-ti' or 'tu-ru' patterns) are not identical.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 2, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Ö Better yet, get out and listen!
I know what Bach was thinking (but just for spite, I am not telling). >
Chris Rowson wrote:
< Better yet, get out and play! I study ìthe composerīs intentionsî to develop understanding, but of course in the white heat of performance you follow the muse. We do sometimes get the Baroque Performance Police coming round, but so far we have got away with nothing worse than having a few trills docked.
Of course itīs hard when Bach expects you tohave been in regular attendance, and his only true representative on earth isnīt telling. >
Reply:

The humor (I hope) is getting deep, so I reproduced all of the above. As in Quantz redundancy, striving for clarity.

I do not have a clue what Bach was thinking, other than by listening to performers play the music, musicologists discuss the performances and the literature, and my personal favorite, performers tell the musicologists why they are lacking in experience (performance).

I expect you know that my statement <I know what Bach was thinking> was an exaggeration, not to be taken literally (a legitimate literary device known as hyperbole, not to be confused with the mathematical conic function of the same name). Now everyone interested is certain.

I have the utmost respect for live performance, often stated. I do not get out to play Bach, only to listen, because:
(1) Out of respect for the public, I long ago retired my clarinet
(2) Bach on the clarinet upsets musicologists

I am rethinking both conditions. If I change my policy, you will be first to be warned.

BWV 96 is an appropriate time to revive the flute discussions, not a bit too soon, and very welcome!

Chris Rowson wrote (October 2, 2006):
The subject of Quantz tongueings is confusing in English, because English does not have established erminology which corresponds to Quantzīs. The German, however, is very clear.

Both TB and the fine modern translation by Edward Reilly use the term "slurring" to refer to the pairing of the ti-ri, di-ri and didīll tongueings. This can be confusing and I tried to avoid this, calling it "phrasing", but the matter has nevertheless been confused.

The answer to the question whether the didīll tongueing indications are "to be interpreted as a combination of slurs and staccato markings or simply all staccato" is thus "if you call that slurring, then as a combination."

As far as the other passage is concerned, my interpretation is based on extensive work with a native German flute player, who reads the passage as I have indicated, and considers it self-evident.

Neil Halliday wrote (October 2, 2006):
As we know, an amazing feature of Bach's music is its attractiveness in a range of markedly different performances.

The tenor aria (BWV 96/3) is 9.09 long in Rilling's recording [1], utterly convincing, and charming with well-articulated modern flute (with some vibrato) and bassoon (and harpsichord) in the continuo (no bass strings). Kraus is in fine form.

(I don't like the coarse sound of Koopman's [6] - or Leusink's [4] - continuo in the tenor aria).

Rilling [1] performs the `left-side - right-side' bass aria, attractively and expressively sung by Nimsgern, in vigorous fashion at a brisk 2.10, considerably faster than Koopman [6], for example.

Re the articulation of the flauto piccolo part in the first movement, Koopman's player [6] does sparkle more than Leusink's [4], no doubt partly due to the former of necessity playing mostly staccato at the faster tempo, in comparison with Leusink's player [4].

Sorry I currently don't have time to more fully compare the recordings of BWV 96's charming music.

Chris Rowson wrote (October 2, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote: < I do not have a clue what Bach was thinking ...>
Goldarnit, I was hoping to get you to let a few hints slip

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 2, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
>>As far as the other passage is concerned, my interpretation is based on extensive work with a native German flute player, who reads the passage as I have indicated, and considers it self-evident.>>
The other passage by Quantz was:
(Part XII, § 21. p.115) >>Schleifende Noten müssen so gespielet werden wie se angedeutet sind..Hingegen müssen auch die, so den Zungenstoß verlangen, nicht geschleifet werden.<<

("Slurred notes should be played the way they are indicated [on the part or score]..However, those [notes] which demand separate tonguing [for each individual note] should not be slurred.")

Can we, or your native German flute player, assume as self-evident that:

When we do possess a Flauto piccolo part [note that the Flauto traverso part in the same cantata {BWV 96} has copious marks of articulation placed in the part by Bach personally, but the Flauto piccolo part does not] which is unmarked, having non-articulated notes [hence demanding separate tonguing for each note], that the player should perform all the running 16th notes quasi-staccato without any slurring? Is that what is self-evident here?

Chris Rowson wrote (October 2, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote: <... Is that what is self-evident here? >
What we consider self-evident is the following interpretation of Quantzīs statement "Schleifende Noten müssen so gespielet werden wie se angedeutet sind..Hingegen müssen auch die, so den Zungenstoß verlangen, nicht geschleifet werden."

"Schleifend" refers here to the "-ri" notes of the tongueing, while "Zungenstoß" refers to the "ti-" and "di-" which precede them. Translating these for now as "sliding" (rather than "slurred", in the hope of avoiding confusion) and "tongue stroke", this passage means: "Sliding notes must be played as they are indicated . On the other hand, those that require a tongue stroke must not be played sliding."

The interpretation of the unmarked flauto piccolo part is not self-evident. I answered the question "What type of articulation would enhance the `sparkling of the Morning Starī with the suggestion "How about the phrasing described by Quantz?"

Bach and Quantz were, after all, well acquainted.

Chris Rowson wrote (October 2, 2006):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< As we know, an amazing feature of Bach's music is its attractiveness in a range of markedly different performances.
The tenor aria (96/3) is 9.09 long in Rilling's recording
[1], ... >
Now thatīs a nice unhurried tempo! (c. 64 beats per second)

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 3, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
>>The interpretation of the unmarked flauto piccolo part is not self-evident. I answered the question "What type of articulation would enhance the `sparkling of the Morning Starī with the suggestion "How about the phrasing described by Quantz?" Bach and Quantz were, after all, well acquainted.<<
Thanks for your explanation!. Here are some additional thoughts on this matter:

The central issues in regard to the articulation used while playing the Flauto piccolo are as I see it:

1. While there is no firm evidence for Bach's personal acquaintance with Quantz (you will need to believe here what C.P.E. Bach recalls many years later about Quantz's visiting Bach in Leipzig and in such matters C.P.E. Bach has a definite tendency to mythologize his father), it is more conceivable that Quantz and J. S. Bach did meet during the 1730s in Dresden, (but perhaps also in Leipzig?) and again in Berlin in 1747 rather than during the 1720s when Bach composed most of his cantatas and particularly those which are referred to previously BWV 8, BWV 96 and BWV 103.

2. While the tradition of playing wind instruments using certain techniques could have been in flux during the 1720s in Köthen and Leipzig but probably even more so in the 1730s and 1740s, it would seem even more likely th17th century traditions were still being followed: every note was tongued (not with a sharp staccato, but rather with a clear, unslurred, non-sliding presentation of each note). This may be one reason why Bach did not give any special articulation for the faster moving parts (many series of 16th notes).

3. If and when Bach did carefully mark the articulation with slurs, then the player tongued the first note and slid to the next or through any remaining notes under the slur.

4. There are some rather unusual playing characteristics caused by the high range and penetrating sound of this instrument (e2 to f#4 in BWV 103/a and f2 to f4 in BWV 96/1) and its being played and held like a recorder, not a transverse flute or piccolo.

5. The techniques given by Quantz in 1752 are not necessarily the ones he may have used 20 to 30 years earlier. Only after his extensive travels and acquaintanceship with some famous French flute players (who were at the point in time indicated below modifying some of their performance practices in regard to flutes) would Quantz have begun gradually changing from the traditional playing technique from the 17th century to a newer one which was gradually evolving during the 18th century.

6. The application of slurs with Bach is not the same as with other composers of his time: Bach's punctiliousness in indicating slurs is notable and, in comparison, other composers of his time were not particularly conscientious about marking slurs. Under the latter conditions "the Methode", which Bach abhorred and avoided by carefully notating what he wanted to hear in a performance of his music, would be applied by performers who would then use some standard techniques to make up for the composer's deficient markings.

From the Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press, 2006, acc. 10/2/06, article on tonguing by Bruce Dickey and David Lasocki:

>>The influential German flautist Quantz (Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen, 1752) varied the single tongue stroke, giving a choice of two syllables, ti and di: with ti, for playing leaping quavers, 'the tongue immediately springs back to the palate'; with di, for playing conjunct quavers and longer notes, the air stream 'is not kept from sustaining the tone'. For dotted notes and moderately quick passage work, he changed the subtle French mixture of tu and ru into 'the word tiri' and its legato counterpart diri, thus varying the consonant, bringing the tongue higher in the mouth, and creating regular patterns of syllables. He also introduced the double tongue did'll for 'the very quickest passage work'.<<

So here, if we are to follow Quantz at all (and I do not in this matter) we are most likely speaking of double tonguing ("did'll") for the fast passage work in BWV 96/1.

>> Tonguing: In playing mouth-blown wind instruments, the technique used for beginning (and sometimes
ending) notes, except those which are slurred.<<

>>Until the 18th century, nearly all notes in wind playing were tongued, the only important exception being the two alternating notes of a type of trill called the tremolo.<<

>>He [Jacques Hotteterre in his "Principes de la flûte traversière" (1707)] considered slurring ('coulez') to be an ornament; yet 12 years later, the 'preludes and traits' (capricious exercises) in his "L'art de préluder sur la flûte traversière" (1719), influenced by the Italian violin style, featured a great deal of slurring over long groups of smaller note-values. Although the slurring of trills was by then universal, he still allowed the two-note termination to be tongued. As the Italian style made further inroads into French music, 'tu' and 'ru' were abandoned; Michel Corrette ("Méthode pour apprendre aisément à jouer de la flûte traversière", c 1739) considered them 'an absurdity which serves only to perplex the student'.<<

As I understand 'tonguing' in terms of its history, it is very likely that Bach, in Germany during the 1720s when he composed most of his cantatas including BWV 96, would still have his wind instrumentalists perform according to the main German tonguing tradition that prevailed throughout the 17th century and into part of the 18th century. Bach and his musicians would have assumed that all notes were tongued unless slur markings indicated otherwise. Slurring over longer groups of smaller note-values would have been expressly indicated by Bach if we have the original parts from any of his cantatas.

Chris Rowson wrote (October 3, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< As I understand 'tonguing' in terms of its history, it is very likely that Bach, in Germany during the 1720s when he composed most of his cantatas including BWV 96, would still have his wind instrumentalists perform according to the main German tonguing tradition that prevailed throughout the 17th century and into part of the 18th century. >
Reply:

My opinion is different. I think that by the 1720s, Bach was using the modern styles. The transverse flute in particular was perceived as a very modern instrument, Buffardin, who was in the Dresden court orchestra from 1715, set the trend. Wolff includes both Buffardin and Quantz among the visitors who travelled to Leipzig and visited and played with the Bachs.

I donīt think the Leipzig cantatas sound in the least bit 17th century.

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Bach and his musicians would have assumed that all notes were tongued unless slur markings indicated otherwise. Slurring over longer groups of smaller note-values would have been expressly indicated by Bach if we have the original parts from any of his cantatas. >
Reply:

My opinion is different. I think that, where nothing else was indicated, they would have assumed the pairwise phrasing of "ti-ri" and "tu-ru".

I canīt think of any instance of Bach expressly indicating this phrasing, which was the normal one of the day. He indicates only where the phrasing is to be something else.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 3, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
>>My opinion is different. I think that by the 1720s, Bach was using the modern styles. The transverse flute in particular was perceived as a very modern instrument, Buffardin, who was in the Dresden court orchestra from 1715, set the trend. Wolff includes both Buffardin and Quantz among the visitors who travelled to Leipzig and visited and played with the Bachs.<<
Wolff's information about Quantz visiting Bach in Leipzig is based solely on CPE Bach's 'reflections' many years later. Just how reliable CPE Bach is as a source for such information with his penchant for mythologizing his father and without any confirming evidence from any other source to support his claims was covered yesterday.

Quantz ("Versuch" 1752) claimed that "beginning about 30 years ago [= 1720s] several flutes (Traversa) began appearing with a longer foot so that the low C and C# (with the help of a separate key pad) could be played".

Bach, as is evident from the original parts he wrote out personally as well as the parts from the original sets of parts, never did score a part below a low D at any time (Ulrich Prinz, "J.S. Bachs Instrumentarium" Stuttgart/Kassel etc., 2005, p. 255). Already in regard to the most up-date-date improvements that were being made to the transverse flutes during Bach's lifetime, Bach did not keep up with the most modern innovations or attempt to put them to use in his music. This meant many instances of "Oktavknickung" {"the melody line is suddenly 'bent'/transposed up an octavejust at the point where a low C or C# could have easily solved the problem.

>>I donīt think the Leipzig cantatas sound in the least bit 17th century.<<
Just because Bach demanded more of his instrumentalists does not mean that the older techniques of tonguing would not have been used where Bach does not indicate slurs or staccato.

>>My opinion is different. I think that, where nothing else was indicated, they would have assumed the pairwise phrasing of "ti-ri" and "tu-ru".<<
All we have is a general statement (given yesterday and based upon research by Dickey & Lasocki: "Until the 18th century, nearly all notes in wind playing were tongued") and this must have been most generally the case in Germany.

>>I canīt think of any instance of Bach expressly indicating this phrasing, which was the normal one of the day. He indicates only where the phrasing is to be something else.<<
Why would Bach have indicated "this phrasing" ["phrasing" = not slurs or sliding from note to note but with each note being tongued similarly without special accents on certain notes with unaccented shortened notes on the following notes] if each individual note in a passage of 16th notes were tongued similarly?

Chris Rowson wrote (October 3, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< "phrasing" = not slurs or sliding from note to note but with each note being tongued similarly without special accents on certain notes with unaccented shortened notes on the following notes. >
Reply:

Perhaps you understand the English terminology differently than I do. When I hear a flute player playing the "ti-ri" pairs according to the Quantz rules ("schleifend" etc.), I hear pairwise phrasing.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 3, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
>>Perhaps you understand the English terminology differently than I do. When I hear a flute player playing the "ti-ri" pairs according to the Quantz rules ("schleifend" etc.), I hear pairwise phrasing.<<
Perhaps the Quantz rules which evolved gradually as he made contact with flute players in Italy and France on his extensive travels and which he [Quantz] formulated over his long musical career, probably more in the 1740s as Frederick the Great's flute teacher, before he wrote them down and published them in 1752 were not used by Bach's instrumentalists in the 1720s. Perhaps Bach's flute and wind players had not yet learned the newest techniques which were just evolving and had not yet taken hold everywhere. Certainly, they did not even keep up with the newest developments which allowed them to play a low C or C# on their transverse flutes. This is documented in Bach's scores throughout his composing career.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 4, 2006):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< (I don't like the coarse sound of Koopman's [6] - or Leusink's [4] - continuo in the tenor aria).
<snip>
Re the articulation of the flauto piccolo part in the first movement, Koopman's player
[6] does sparkle more than Leusink's [4], no doubt partly due to the former of necessity playing mostly staccato at the faster tempo, in comparison with Leusink's player.
Sorry I currently don't have time to more fully compare the recordings of BWV 96's charming music. >
Reply:

In reverse order, more or less (3. 1, 2). Your comments, regardless of time constraints, are always enjoyed by me, and I expect, by many others.

The Koopman [6] is brand new to me at week end, which is why I am lapsing over into the following week. A strange sound in the continuo, BWV 96/3, caught my attention as well. In fact, I at first thought it was something in the flute mechanics or articulation (must have been on my mind). I won't bore you with all the other possibilities (including pressing defects) I entertained. I eventually, by chance, ran across the same sound elsewhere in Koopman (I will try to recover the source, if this note is still here, I did not yet do so). In a very secco recitative with organ, one stringed instrument, and voice, there is a sound which my original reaction interpreted as a very subtle brush on snare drum. Since it coordinates with the music, is limited precisely to one track, and recurs at least one other time in Koopman, the pressing defect option was quickly dismissed.

Full disclosure: first time through, I was so taken with the piccolo in Mvt. 1, that I didn't even notice the sound, and so I overlooked Neil's subsequent reference to continuo coarseness. I am still a bit mystified by the source, but it is clearly (by correlation with unspecified cognate) a continuo string or organ. There is an easy answer, and someone out there has it. But that someone is not me.

Neil, I do not hear the same coarseness in Leusink [4]. I will give a further listen, but did you mean this comparison?

Leusink [4] identifies the instrument in Mvt. 1 as flauto picollo, Koopman [6] as picollo flute. I do not think either performance is on sopranino recorder (corrections or confirmations invited) which leaves Harnoncourt as the only authentic performance? Alas, not in my resources, for comparison, but extensive comments in the first round of discussions.

The piccolo articulation in Koopman [6] immediately caught my attention, very twinkling indeed, and gave his Mvt. 1 a good impression. I did not hear it as faster than Leusink [4], from memory. It is so, by quite a bit: 4:53 to 5:37. On more careful comparison, Leusink's tempo is preferable, but Koopman manages the quickness with the twinkling articulation, giving him a slight edge to my ears.

I wonder, after all the enlightening discussion, if Koopman [6] (Heiko ter Schegget, piccolo) has managed the Quantz articulation? To my ears, Leusink [4] (Anneke Boeke, flauto piccolo) has a more slurred, and so less correct, interpretation. Less twinkling, no matter what.

But is she playing sopranino recorder? I cannot say no, with certainty. Are the Quantz articulation details equally applicable to recorder and transverse flute (including piccolo?)? One picky detail with Neil's comment, the necessity of playing staccato at the faster tempo. I would expect just the opposite, and so the twinkling articulation in Koopman [6] is all the more notable, all other things (especially the instrument) being equal.

Never to forget, these virtuoso details, BWV 96/1 and BWV 96/3, were most likely written for a single player, on two instruments, yet another enlargement of the demonstration of his (sorry, not likely her) skills.

There are many virtues to the chronologic discussion of Bach's cantatas (we may as well cross reference passions and instrumental works, when appropriate, as well as cognate cantatas). Not the least is the evolution of the writing for flute. A totally unexpected discovery for me.

Neil Halliday wrote (October 4, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<"A strange sound in the continuo (Koopman) [6], BWV 96/3, caught my attention as well">

I'm wondering if this (unpleasant to my ears) `coarse' sound is due to the timbre of the bass notes on this particular organ, in combination with the continuo strings. I certainly dislike `raspy, breathy' organ stops, which some players seem to happily employ. Perhaps the organ mechanism is noisy as well (difficult to judge frthe internet sample). Leusink [4] is not as bad. Admittedly, I have only heard the Koopman [6] and Leusink on 20bit/sec Internet samples, but even so a similar Suzuki sample [7] sounds more pleasing in this regard. Notice that Suzuki has both organ and harpsichord in BWV 96/3's continuo.

<"I do not hear the same *coarseness* in Leusink [4]. I will give a further listen, but did you mean this comparison?">
Not directly, this is more a general comment about the somewhat prominent continuo strings that are quite common in the Leusink series [4] (different to the lack of phrasing, and/or prominent continuo string vibrato especially in secco recitatives, in the Rilling series [1]).

<"To my ears, Leusink [4] (Anneke Boeke, flauto piccolo) has a more slurred, and so less correct, interpretation (in 96/1). Less twinkling, no matter what">.
Agreed.

<"One picky detail with Neil's comment, the necessity of playing staccato at the faster tempo. I would expect just the opposite, and so the twinkling articulation in Koopman [6] is all the more notable, all other things (especially the instrument) being equal">.
Not picky, and worth bringing up. On reflection, my comment is more a result of attempting an explanation on the run (except that one would more likely play a given tune in staccato fashion at a fast tempo, and legato at a slow tempo, even if it was easier to do the reverse).

Anyway, Rilling's player [1] (on an instrument identified as "flauto dolce"), with a slight separation between most of the notes, also sparkles more than Leusink's legato [4], even though the speed is similar (5.28).

BTW, Richter [2] has an ordinary transverse flute, playing legato and an octave lower - at an even slower 6.36. There is no sparkle to this part at all (but I would not necessarily write the overall performance off).

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 96: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Last update: ýAugust 21, 2012 ý13:39:47