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Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

Cantata BWV 96
Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of April 29, 2012

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 29, 2012):
Introduction to BWV 96 -- Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue Trinity season cantatas with BWV 96, the first of three works for the 18th Sunday after Trinity. Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion for this week are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV96.htm

The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham], music examples included, is especially recommended as an introduction to listening.

The BWV 96 page has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner, Koopman (notes by Christoph Wolff), Suzuki, and Leusink (and more!) CD issues, via link beneath the cover photo.

The Kuijken recording has not previously had specific comments. The Kuijken OVPP releases are reliable and consistent (perhaps to a fault?). I remain comfortable recommending any of them, for folks seeking an introduction to OVPP performance practice. Other choices, including the original Rifkin recordings, are also good and generally worthy of comparison. Note that there are not yet many choices available to compare specific works, only Kuijken OVPP for BWV 96.

I enjoyed reviewing my exchanges with Chris Rowson [BWV 96, Discussion 2]. Sadly, Chris died several years ago, not long after relocating from Germany to Indonesia in pursuit of personal and musical goals. I do not believe this was ever announced to BCML correspondents.

The chorale text and melody are accessible via links at the BWV 96 page. Francis Browne has recently added new commentary on the cantata texts to his interlinear translations, linked via [English 3]. We can expect these to continue, not necessarily weekly. Douglas Cowling and William Hoffman are also posting relevant to chorales and other music for the Lutheran Church Year, accessible via LCY pages.

I do not always take the time to check all links before posting. Special thanks to the folks who provide timely corrections.

William Hoffman wrote (April 29, 2012):
Introduction to BWV 96 -- Chorales, Lessons, Etc

See: Motets & Chorales for 18th Sunday after Trinity

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 29, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Introduction to BWV 96 -- Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn
This week we continue Trinity season cantatas with BWV 96, the first of three works for the
18th Sunday after Trinity. >
See Will Hoffmans subsequent post, pointing out that there are only two works (BWV 96 and 169) for Trinity 18. In a bit of haste, I relied on Gardiners booklet cover for Vol. 9, which includes BWV 116. That work is in fact for Trinity 25, clearly so indicated in the detailed notes inside.

Charles Francis wrote (April 29, 2012):
BWV 96 -- La Petite Bande video

A video from the Ambronay music festival in France is available at the links below:

Chorus - Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn (OVPP): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0cW0ORSG5k

Recitative Alto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jdsrw-xLfA

Aria Tenor Ach, ziehe die Seele mit Seilen der Liebe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTZbFQbARJ0

Recitative Soprano: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALoiPxlXgoY

Aria (Bass) - Bald zur Rechten: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EMHdhhEVx8

Chorale - Ertöt uns durch dein Güte (OVPP): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcB_gSEtHW4

Harry W. Crosby wrote (April 29, 2012):
[To Charles Francis] Charles Francis, I owe you many thanks.

Your contributions of these videos provided me with a great deal of pleasure by adding a visual element to my nightly listening-to-Bach sessions.

I find that once I have seen a video of a group performing a cantata, the same group who made a recording that is in my collection, I visualize elements of that video each time I listen to my recording, and, each time, that visualization adds an element of color and humanity which I, at least, am unable to provide for the majority of my collection, recordings for which I have no corresponding video.

Needless to say, I will be on the lookout for future videos of Bach works.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 30, 2012):
Paired Recitatives & Arias

Charles Francis wrote:
< A video from the Ambronay music festival in France is available at the links below:
Chorus - Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn (OVPP):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0cW0ORSG5k >
Many thanks for these links. Lovely performances although the recording seems to overbalance the strings to the winds.

A question about Bach recitatives in general ...

In the cantatas, Bach rarely seems to pair recitatives and arias with the same voice type, unlike in the St. Matthew where paired recits and arias are often sung with brilliant effect by the same voice (e.g. "Am Abend/Mache Dich") The Christmas and Easter Oratorios have a more complex literary interplay between prose and poetic recitatives.

Handel's oratorios and anthems pair the recit and aria with similar effect:"Messiah" has some of the finest achievements of the age.

What is the literary background which informs Bach's practice of contrasting voice types in the cantatas?

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 30, 2012):
BWV 96 -- OVPP parts

Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Introduction to BWV 96 -- Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn >
It is always instructive to look at digital facsimiles of the original score and parts when we have access.

Here's the alto part: http://tinyurl.com/dxdhdgu

What is striking is that there is absolutely no indication on the part of any "solo" or "tutti" markings. There is one alto part for opening chorus, recitative and chorale. Yet there is a very careful note to be tacet in the other movements.

It's not hard to see how Rifkin came to his OVPP hypothesis: the part has no indicators for choral and solo performance.

At the same time, it's equally possible that two (perhaps even three) singers stood at the desk and shared the music.

And are those two big fingerprints in the lower right hand corner of the first page? One of them appears to be right on music of the last bar.

Call CSI:Leipzig for investigation!

Charles Francis wrote (April 30, 2012):
[To Douglas Cowling, regarding OVPP parts] Thanks to Doug Cowling for the facsimile link and his comment on the parts. If, for arguments sake, we assume that the volume gain from doubling or tripling SATB was deemed advantageous, would Bach not do this throughout, so ensuring that the theological message in the recitative and arias would be more clearly heard?

Any idea who prepared the blue cover sheet indicating the number of voices and each instrument? : http://tinyurl.com/ct2e76w

William Hoffman wrote (April 30, 2012):
[To Douglas Cowling, regarding Paired Recitatives & Arias] The distinction needs to be made between unaccompanied, secco (keyboard & bc only) recitatives and accompanied (orchestra) recitatives, usually known as ariosi, especially where they are paired often with a following aria in the same voice, primarily Italian opera seria. Here, in the accompanied recitative speaks of the plot predicament and the aria has a commentary affect in one dramatic mood (rage, jealousy, unrequited love, etc.). Bach uses paired ariosi-arias primarily in the St. Matthew Passion in the manner of the Brockes Passion, which is loaded with them.

As for literary background, that's a complicated subject. Certain voices may be representative; for example, alto as soul (Bride) and baritone as Jesus (Bridegroom), tenor asnarrator, and soprano as mother (slumber song). In the secular cantatas (drammai per musica) and serenades, there are all sorts of mythic and allegorical figures, often based on opera seria.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 30, 2012):
Charles Francis wrote:
< Any idea who prepared the blue cover sheet indicating the number of voices and each instrument? : http://tinyurl.com/ct2e76w >
The Bach Digital site lists 5 copyists for the St. Thomas Library title page and parts for the first performance:
Kuhnau, Johann Andreas (1703-nach 1745) = Hauptkopist A (Dürr Chr)
Meißner, Christian Gottlob (1707-1760)
Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750)
Anon. Iq
Anon. Ve

The Staatsbibliotek title page and full score were copied by J.S. Bach and an unknown copyist (perhaps J. Altnickol): http://tinyurl.com/72v37os

The two title pages are written by different hands, presumably the blue titlepage by someone other than Bach.

Worth noting that Bach calls the work a "Concerto".

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 30, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Worth noting that Bach calls the work a "Concerto". >
Re Dougs previous post on the topic, also worth noting that much of our current knowledge of the chronology of Bachs cantata (concerted music) composition is derived from forensic analysis, over the past 40-50 years, of original manuscripts of scores and parts

Do not lose those fingerptints!

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 30, 2012):
William Hoffman wrote:
< The distinction needs to be made between unaccompanied, secco (keyboard & bc only) recitatives and accompanied (orchestra) recitatives, usually known as ariosi, especially where they are paired often with a following aria in the same voice, primarily Italian opera seria. Here, in the accompanied recitative speaks of the plot predicament and the aria has a commentary affect in one dramatic mood (rage, jealousy, unrequited love, etc.). >
Is it possible that these paired recitative-aria techniques in a single voice are relatively scarce in the canatas, precisely because of the original Leipzig admonsihment to Bach, to avoid operatic effects? Not exactly a contractual req1uirement, but a word to the wise ...

Julian Mincham wrote (May 1, 2012):
[To William Hoffman] There are a few opinions expressed recently with which i would respectfully disagree. Firstly Doug implies that the linked recit/aria is something of a rarity. It's actually more common than one might think. Taking the first few cantatas from the second cycle you will find two of them in BWV 20,and one each in 7,135 and 107. Taking the first ten post-2nd cycle cantatas there are seven examples including examples of bach's expanding the notion. i.e.recits for one voice may come before a duet which also uses that voice. Examples are to be found in BWv 79 and 28. Going even further in 57, we have a duet recit for bass and sop followed by an aria for sop and in 32 a duet recit for bass and sop followed by an duet aria for bass and sop! In other words it is not uncommon to find numerous examples and variations upon the theme of the paired recitative and aria.

I am also slightly uncomfortable with the definition Will uses (below) of recit types, in particular the accompanied recits being labelled 'arioso' There are numerous examples of recits which are accompanied by instruments other than the continuo which do not include an 'arioso' line. Similarly there are many examples of secco recits which conclude with a flowing arioso melody supported only by the continuo bass. The first cycle is packed with such recitatives. I would use the term 'arioso' to describe a type and nature of melodic line which is more fluent and congruent than the typical recitative line rather than by its accompaniment.

The sheer range and richness of melodic and instrumental writing in the recitatives has not been fully explored although I made a start with a paper delivered a couple of years ago to BNUK. the link, for those interested, is: http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub4/mincham.pdf

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 1, 2012):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Doug implies that the linked recit/aria is something of a rarity. It's actually more common than one might think. >
Thanks for the examples. You must have scoring tables for every imaginable permutation!

Julian Mincham wrote (May 1, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Thanks for the examples. You must have scoring tables for every imaginable permutation! >
Naw--I've just spent a few minutes of my life glancing through the scores. My website makes it easy--I just flipped through the first few cantatas from the second and later cycles and at the top of each one there is a line with the movements, what they are and who sings what.

Linda Gingrich wrote (May 1, 2012):
[Regarding Paired Recitatives & Arias] There are a few opinions expressed recently with which i would respectfully disagree. Firstly Doug implies that the linked recit/aria is something of a rarity. It's actually more common than one might think. Taking the first few cantatas from the second cycle you will find two of them in BWV 20, and one each in BWV 7, BWV 135 and BWV 107.

It's worth noting that Bach also sometimes paired recits and arias allegorically, often to create vocal ascents or descents. In the second cycle cantata, BWV 99, he moved upward from a bass recit through a tenor aria through an alto recit to a soprano/alto duet. The entire ascent encompasses texts that address the necessity of steadfastness in tribulation, God's trustworthiness, and the eternal benefits of tribulation. This is actually an almost exact mirror image of a vocal descent that occurs in Cantata BWV 78 from the previous week. There he starts with a soprano/alto duet, moves down through a tenor recit and aria to a bass recit and aria. The delightful and justifiably famous duet pursues Jesus with stumbling but rapid (really rapid!) feet The tenor pair, obviously linked, contain a confession of sin and an acceptance Christ's sacrifice on the cross. The bass pair, again obviously linked, contain a confession of sin and enjoy a quieted conscience.

Wonderful stuff!

 

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

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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Last update: ıAugust 23, 2012 ı14:46:25