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Bach Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel & Bach

Bach and Stölzel

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 24, 2008):
BWV 191 text

Thoughts while listening to a friend lead her annual (26th) Xmas sing-along:

The traditional carol, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, says nothing about peace on earth, nor goodwill.

The country tune, Peace in the Valley, can bring a tear to an Old Dudes eye, when sung from the heart.

Listening closely, I noticed:
<Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer
Yule go down in herstory.>

Not exactly Bach concert performance, but in the spirit of the season (solstice plus), and current discussion.

As I write, what should appear on the radio but three Xmas cantatas by Stoltzen.

Baroque (but happy!), Ed Myskowski

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 24, 2008):
Correction: I wrote Stoltzen in haste, by ear and recollection, both faulty. Tbe correct spelling is Stolzel (umlaut omitted), or Stölzel. The music is worth pursuing. Elaboration by Baroque enthusiasts invited.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (December 24, 2008):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Correction: I wrote Stoltzen in haste, by ear and recollection, both faulty. Tbe correct spelling is Stolzel (umlaut omitted), or Stölzel. The music is worth pursuing. Elaboration by Baroque enthusiasts invited. >
Stölzel's music is absolutely fantastic. Thanks to the efforts of CPO CDs, its finally having a new lease on life. We're lucky any of Stölzel's music survives: out of what must have been easily over 1000 compositions written during his 25 year career in Gotha, only 10 survive there today. What we do have are copies or commissioned pieces spread throught Germany. Sonderhausen houses about 200 cantatas written on commission for the Duke's chapel. Unfortunately there is still no complete edition planned.

I honestly don't know what the current state of research is on his music, naturally a lot of it would be based in Germany I presume.

John Pike wrote (December 24, 2008):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] I agreee. Stölzel is great. A most interesting composer. Great harmonies, interesting melodies, good attention to the libretto he is setting. Sorry to do the comparison thing again but he sets libretto so much better than Telemann (whose SMP I have just finished listening to). PS I also like Telemann a lot, but the SMP is not his best work, IMHO.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (December 24, 2008):
John Pike wrote:
< I agreee. Stölzel is great. A most interesting composer. Great harmonies, interesting melodies, good attention to the libretto he is setting. Sorry to do the comparison thing again but he sets libretto so much better than Telemann (whose SMP I have just finished listening to). PS I also like Telemann a lot, but the SMP is not his
best work, IMHO. >
I won't deny that every piece by Telemann is less than stellar, but it's odd because the text was vitally important to him. Telemann worked very hard to commission or ask the participation of some of Germany's best poets to contribute to his cantata cycles, in fact he pretty much invented notion with Erdmann Neumeister in early 1700s.

But I also believe that Telemann can suffer really horribly at the hands of musicians that don't know how to approach his music and there are some of the Passions on CDs that are just absolutely awful (just like Bach!) It was always my hope that Christopher Hogwood and The Academy of Ancient Music would have recorded one of Telemann's better pieces-- Peter Wadland, the producer for them at Decca, in fact sent me their perfomance of Der Messias. Fantastic stuff.

Stölzel was a specialist with regard to recitatives and I think that can explain some of the reason why his setting of the lyric is so beautiful.

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 24, 2008):
Bach and Stölzel -- Christmas Oratorios

Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< There were many oratorios written for the feast day of Christmas: J.-F. Lochon's Oratorio de nativitate Christi, Paris 1701. Brossard's Oratorio sopra l'immaculata conceptione della B. Vergina >
Valuable list. It would be interesting to know what oratorios were performed at Dresden and whether they influenced the Christmas Oratorio in the way that Italian models influenced the Easter Oratorio.

To be precise, the Brossard was probably performed on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception which falls on December 8 and refers to Mary's conception not Christ's.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (December 24, 2008):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Valuable list. It would be interesting to know what oratorios were performed at Dresden and whether they influenced the Christmas Oratorio in the way that Italian models influenced the Easter Oratorio. >
Italian oratorios and German oratorios were different traditions. But German composers were great at mixing up nationalistic styles (in particular Telemann). William Hoffman's comments that he was disappointed that Stölzel's "Christmas oratorio" because it was essentially "just from his cantatas" puzzled me, because isn't that what Bach's Christmas Oratorio is-- several cantatas performed around 2 weeks. It was never meant to be performed as a single piece like the Passion oratorios.

I'd bet my CD collection there are more than likely dozens of Christmas oratorios that survive in manuscript sources and are unpublished, particularly in the Czech Republic and Austria and northern Italy.

One baroque composer who I've been told to listen to is J. T. Roemhildt. He more than likely wrote 100s of cantatas, they were widely disseminated through Germany, and I have to say the quality is pretty good.

< To be precise, the Brossard was probably performed on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception which falls on December 8 and refers to Mary's conception not Christ's. >
I'm not sure when it was performed, but since it dealt with birthing, the Blessed Virgin, and Holy family, yadda, yadda, yadda - I included it.

 

BCW: Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel - Bist du bei mir BWV 508 and Brockes-Passion

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 13, 2010):
Bist du bei mir BWV 508

The aria Bist du bei mir BWV 508, is one of the best-known items in the 1725 Clavierbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach. This aria was part of the Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel opera Diomedes, oder die triumphierende Unschuld that was performed in Bayreuth on November 16, 1718. The original opera score is lost. The aria may have been transcribed and set by J.S. Bach as a solo aria appropriate for his wife's voice, and she may also have had to do some of the copying. No one will ever know how the actual transmission occurred. This popular song was attributed to J.S. Bach by the BGA editors, but now Stölzel is credited with the composition. The piece has become a very popular choice for wedding ceremonies and other such occasions.

I have recently revised and updated the discography of Bist du bei mir BWV 508 in the same method I used last year for Bach's major vocal works.

Complete recordings of AMN: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV508-523.htm
Recordings of Bisdu bei mir and other individual songs from AMN: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV508-523-Rec2.htm

Apart from the 16 complete recordings of AMN, 118 recordings of Bist du bei mir are now presented (in the previous version there were 94). The last in the line so far (No. 118) is from a new German movie "Albert Schweitzer - ein leben für Afrika". The aria was also featured in the 2005 French movies "Joyeux Noël" (Merry Christmas), accompanied by piano, violins, and cello (No. 107).

I would appreciate any help in making this discography even more comprehensive, updated and accurate by adding recordings, correcting errors and completing missing details.

Brockes-Passion

As mentioned above, the most popular work by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, the aria Bist du bei mir, became initially famous because is was (and in some circles still is) often mistakenly attributed to J.S. Bach

If this lead you to the assumption that Stölzel might have written more good music, you would not be mistaken. Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690-1747) was the Kapellmeister of the court at Gotha from 1729 until his death in 1749. He also wrote for Sonderhausen. He was a very prolific composer: his lifetime corpus includes seven passions and 12 complete annual cantata cycles as well as cantatas to secular texts. According to reliable sources he composed at least 900 cantatas, and about 500 hundreds of these have come down in full. He also wrote much instrumental music. According to sad circumstances about half of Stölzel's output has not survived, including 80 orchestral suites and 4 operas. As with Bach, I believe that we should be grateful for what has survived instead of being sad of what we lost. Among the Stölzel's survived works we have gems as the Brockes-Passion.

About a year ago I discovered Stölzel's Brockes-Passion. The text of the Brockes-Passion was written by the Hamburg poet and burger Barthold Heinrich Brockes and was published in 1712. The work was one of the first passion oratorios - a free, poetic meditation on the passion story. It became quite popular and was set to music many times. Already in 1712 Brockes organised a performance of the first musical setting of the text, by the opera composer Reinhard Keiser, in his home. The poetic text met with immediate recognition: its theological accent and the new possibilities of artistic design that it opened up were just what people of those times needed and wanted. Other musicians set the libretto to music in rapid succession. G.F. Handel supplied the second version, probably in 1715. G.P. Telemann performed his setting of the passion in Frankfurt in 1716. Astute businessman that he was, Brockes found a clever way of getting around the ban on charging admission to a church. He put texts of the passion on sale and made their purchase obligatory. The settings by J. Mattheson in 1719 and G.H. Stölzel in 1725 were followed by numerous other later settings: J.F. Fasch (c1730), C.G. Fröber, J. Schuback, Steininger, J.B.C. Freißlich, and J.C. Bachofen. J.S. Bach employed some passages from the poem in his Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) and even performed G.P. Telemann's setting of the Brockes-Passion.

The story of the re-discovery of Stölzel's Brockes-Passion is somewhat peculiar:
The years following Stölzel's death posed great dangers for the transmission of his works. The next generation of composers in the 18th century often regarded his style as old-fashioned and were convinced that they could do everything much better. So why keep this old musical junk around? That must have been what was thought of his work in Gotha: almost nothing by him housed there managed to survive. That the Brockes-Passion was able to survive is something that we owe to a fortunate series of circumstances.
Stölzel sent a copy of the passion to Sonderhausen, presumably in 1735. After several performances at the court there (such as is indicated by the parts, some of which have come down to us in multiple copies), it was stored away with numerous other compositions by him in a container. The container ended up behind the organ, and soon nobody remembered that it was there. It was not until 1870 that the court organist Heinrich Frankenberger and the later Bach biographer Philipp Spitta rediscovered it. Another hundred years would go by before a musicologist would take a closer look at Stölzel. Fritz Hennenberg's dissertation of 1965 includes a catalogue of Stölzel's cantatas and makes some remarks about the passion. In 1996 Ludger Rémy undertook a closer examination of the sources and did some research into the background of the Gotha passion performances. After some 250 years the passion was performed again for the first time in 1997.

In the personal foreword to his recording of Stölzel's Brockes-Passion (CPO, 1998), Ludger Rémy writes:
"When I read the first pages of the score manuscript from Sondershausen, I was overcome by all sorts of emotions and felt no little shock. Here was a work that had been lying dormant for over 250 years, and it had an inner strength and power to it that have continued to hold me under their spell ever since then. Incredible music...and after reading it I was a changed man.
Ever since then I hove regarded the Brockes Passion by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel as one of the most moving and genuinely human pieces of music that I have ever performed or had the good fortune to hear, and I reckon Stölzel among the truly great masters of the Central German Baroque, one who is perhaps even superior to most other composers of those times in his effect on heart and soul. I believe that the helpless silence and perplexity of humanity in face of the unchangingness of existence has only rarely found such eloquent expression in music."

And what about the music and recording of Stölzel's Brockes-Passion, the raison d'être of mentioning it here?

From the captivating and mesmerizing opening chorus, through a chain of 61 consecutive movements, including interspersion of melodious and imaginative recitatives, heart-rending and beautiful if sometimes too brief arias, chorales, and powerful and impressive turbae choruses, you are easily grasped by this sublime work. When it is finished the only thing you want is listening to it all over again. Although this Passion is quite different from the much more familiar Passions of Bach, it should be said to its credit, that it does not stand in their shadow. Stölzel creates his own unique world, full of charm, beauty and drama. He describes Jesus's suffering in a personal penetrating and moving way. You are reminded of Bach only in some of chorales, which have been used also by Bach. On the other hand, Stölzel's original treatment of the chorales only emphasizes the differences between him and Bach.

The conductor Ludger Rémy uses a first-rate period-instrument small ensemble, good chamber choir and a superb roster of vocal soloists; some of them are familiar from recordings of Bach's vocal works. Among them are soprano Dorothee Mields, with angelic voice and dramatic expression, the earthier and no-less impressive soprano Constanze Backes, the native-sounding strong-voiced counter-tenor Henning Voss, the tenors Knut Schoch (who sang the lion's share of tenor parts in Leusink's Bach cantata cycle) as the Evangelist, and Andreas Post (whom I prefer) in most of the arias, and the dignified, authoritative and reliable as ever Klaus Mertens (who sang all the bass parts in Koopman's Bach cantata cycle) as Jesus.

There is nothing that should have improved is this only recording of Stölzel's Brockes-Passion. However, I wonder why has not any other conductor took upon himself recording this work since 1997. There are 174 recordings of Bach's Matthäus-Passion, 153 recordings of his Johannes-Passion and only one recording of Stölzel's Brockes-Passion. I do not know to whom should I address this request, but I would like to hear more recordings of the latter. The work definitely deserves it and you deserve hearing it.

Further reading on the BCW:
Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel biography: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Stolzel-Gottfried-Heinrich.htm
Comprehensive discography of G.H. Stölzel's vocal works: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Stolzel-Vocal.htm
[The recording of the Brockes-Passion is No. V-2]
Discussions of Stölzel & Bach: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Stolzel-Gen1.htm
Barthold Heinrich Brockes biography & Brockes-Passion: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Brockes-Barthold-Heinrich.htm
Gotha: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Tour/Gotha.htm
Ludger Rémy biography: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Remy-Ludger.htm

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 13, 2010):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< The aria Bist du bei mir BWV 508, is one of the best-known items in the 1725 Clavierbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach. This popular song was attributed to J.S. Bach by the BGA editors, but now Stölzel is credited with the composition. The piece has become a very popular choice for wedding ceremonies and other such occasions. >
It is always interesting to watch how the reputation of the Popular Bach is maintained through a very small repertoire played and sung by largely amateur musicians. "Bist du Bei Mir" is probably the most frequently-performed aria by "Bach". Countless brides have asked for the aria thinking that the text refers to the bride and groom: I've never had the heart to tell them that it's the Dying Soul talking to Jesus.

Paul Johnson wrote (January 13, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I've never had the heart to tell them that it's the Dying Soul talking to Jesus. >
:-)

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 13, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< It is always interesting to watch how the reputation of the Popular Bach is maintained through a very small repertoire played and sung by largely amateur musicians. "Bist du Bei Mir" is probably the most frequently-performed aria by "Bach". Countless brides have asked for the aria thinking that the text refers to the bride and groom: I've never had the heart to tell them that it's the Dying Soul talking to Jesus. >
They didn't listen to the text's second sentence, about going joyfully to death?

A recording of the AMB that I don't see on the list: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV508-523.htm
is Gunnar Johansen's, as part of his recording of the "complete" Bach keyboard works. It was album 18 in the series: http://www.gunnarjohansen.org/BachRecordings.html

In the case of AMB, a two-record set, he played his own souped-up realizations: filling in the melody-and-bass texture with harmony that often sounds more like Godowsky or Busoni than Bach. But, it's fun! (In the leaflet: "It will be noted by the knowledgeable listener that a great many of the dances of Buechlein III are judged to be in skeleton notation and have consequently been filled in with what this interpreter hopes is stylistically viable.") Stylistically viable according to the 1920s, yes....

He used his Moor double-keyboard piano, a clavichord, and a Sperrhake harpsichord for various parts of the book. "Bist du bei mir" is on piano, with a less-surprising harmonization than most of the others.

No date is given in the set, but it's from the 1950s. There is a full-page photo of Johansen threading one of his reel-to-reel machines, with this tantalizing caption about his own compositions: "Recording instruments adjacent to the studio at Blue Mounds. Mr. Johansen acts as his own recording engineer and aside from the present Bach series has since 1953 employed the tape recording device as his sole mode of composing, improvising at the piano or harpsichord directly onto tape. The results to date: 120 sonatas and the 41 psalms ascribed to David." According to his work list, he ended up improvising 550 of these sonatas, and they're just sitting in storage in his archive. http://www.gunnarjohansen.org/GJCompositions.html

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 13, 2010):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< They didn't listen to the text's second sentence, about going joyfully to death? >
Brides don't read. I once had one ask to come up the aisle to Wiliam Byrd's "The Battle". It didn't augur well for domestic tranquility.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 14, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Brides don't read. I once had one ask to come up the aisle to Wiliam Byrd's "The Battle". It didn't augur well for domestic tranquility. >
Before some bride beats me to it with something even more severe, I point out that the contribution to the wedding for virtually all grooms is to show up.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (January 14, 2010):
Aryeh Oron wrote
< If this lead you to the assumption that Stölzel might have written more good music, you would not be mistaken. Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690-1747) was the Kapellmeister of the court at Gotha from 1729 until his death in 1749. He also wrote for Sonderhausen. He was a very prolific composer: his lifetime corpus includes seven passions and 12 complete annual cantata cycles as well as cantatas to secular texts. According to reliable sources he composed at least 900 cantatas, and about 500 hundreds of these have come down in full. He also wrote much instrumental music. According to sad circumstances about half of Stölzel's output has not survived, including 80 orchestral suites and 4 operas. As with Bach, I believe that we should be grateful for what has survived instead of being sad of what we lost. Among the Stölzel's survived works have gems as the Brockes-Passion.
The years following
Stölzel's death posed great dangers for the transmission of his works. The next generation of composers in the 18th century often regarded his style as old-fashioned and were convinced that they could do everything much better. So why keep this old musical junk around? That must have been what was thought of his work in Gotha: almost nothing by him housed there managed to survive. That the Brockes-Passion was able to survive is something that we owe to a fortunate series of circumstances. >
First all, a million thanks for Aryeh's contribution on Stölzel, one of the greatest composers of cantatas during the baroque. As alluded in post, most of Stölzel's music was lost. The finger can be squarely placed on Georg Benda, who was the court music director immediately after Stölzel's death in 1749. It appears Benda knowingly stored Stölzel's music manuscripts in the Gotha castle's roof under extremely poor conditions. It's unclear if the Gotha court knew about this shabby treatment of such a treasure--after all, they had paid for it twice--first by virture of Stölzel's salary for nearly 25 years, and immediately after his death, the manuscript collection was purchased from estate as a gesture of kindness to his widow and children. Benda detailed this in a disposition filed on behalf of the Graupner estate's lawsuit against the Langrave of Darmstadt-- in that case the entire manuscript collection was seized by the court immediately after Graupner's death with no payment.

Thanks again Aryeh for bringing Stolzel's musc to the BCW!

William Hoffman wrote (January 16, 2010):
Brockes Passion

While the Brockes Passion versions were quite popular at the beginning, they suffered as all church music did in the 19th century. Today the problem is short-sighted scholars and conductors whose basic attitude is: We have the >SMP and >SJP, that´s more than enough.

There are a handful of versions of the big 4 settings of Handel, Telemann, Stölzel and Keiser. All have incredible merits, plus Mattheson´s own setting and his ominbus 1723 pasticcio of his, Telemann, Keiser, and Handel -- mostly Telemann. Note the date.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (January 16, 2010):
William Hoffman wrote:
< There are a handful of versions of the big 4 settings of Handel, Telemann, Stölzel and Keiser. All have incredible merits, plus Mattheson´s own setting and his ominbus 1723 pasticcio of his, Telemann, Keiser, and Handel -- mostly Telemann. Note the date. >
René Jacobs / Harmonia Mundi released last year a beautiful recording of the Telemann setting, but very oddly-- some of the most beautiful arias were cut in an effort to get the music on two CDs, a move that baffled many reviewers. But it is still worth a listen if you aren't familiar with this piece!

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 16, 2010):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] Telemann's version of Brockes-Passion was probably performed by J.S. Bach..
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Telemann-Brockes-Passion.htm
Perhaps it should say something about its merits.
AFAIK, the McGegan's recording is complete.
I have to put my hands on these two recordings (-:

Glen Armstrong wrote (January 16, 2010):
[To Aryeh Oron] I see the McGegan is discontinued. Thanks to Kim for pointing out the incompleteness of the Jacob's version: 52 tracks as opposed to 84 from McGegan! Any knowledge of the latter, Kim?

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 16, 2010):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Telemann's version of Brockes-Passion was probably performed by J.S. Bach..
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Telemann-Brockes-Passion.htm >
This page provides links to a very interesting WIKI page on the Telemann Passions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Philipp_Telemann%27s_Passions

Telemann's plan for his Passions was extraordinarily consistent. Although there are quite a few missing setting, he systematically composed settings of the Passions in the canonical order of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John from 1722 - 67. Now that's a well-regulated church music!

Did Leipzig have this same prescribed four-year sequence or was Bach free to choose the Gospel? (the latter seems unlikely to me). Does anyone have Stiller to hand to check?

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (January 16, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< This page provides links to a very interesting WIKI page on the Telemann Passions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Philipp_Telemann%27s_Passions >
Written by yours truly ;) My good friend Johannes Pausch has edited a lot of the late Telemann passions and they are available in modern performing editions from his own web boutique.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 16, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Written by yours truly ;) >
Bravo!

Continue of this part of the disciission, see: Brockes-Passion - Discussions

 

Bach and Stölzel

Continue of discussion from: Cantata BWV 22 - Discussions Part 2

William Hoffman wrote (April 20, 2010):
WH:
< At the same time, I have included in my list of all Bach chorale settings all vocal as well as chorale-prelude usages or applications. >
Ed:
< Is this list available on BCW? It would be a great convenience, and might go a long way toward stimulating the sort of comparative discussion suggested by Doug. >
Like so many lists, it is in progress and as it grows it gets more complicated. It is best to accrete and to deal with blocks. It's like the list of extraneous works Bach may have encountered, like the Stölzel cantata cycle Bach may have presented in Leipzig in the 1730s. Read all about it in the new Bach Jahrbuch 2009, just out, with some interesting findings on the MBM. I wish we could get an English summary of the articles.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 20, 2010):
William Hoffman wrote:
< It is best to accrete and to deal with blocks. It's like the list of extraneous works Bach may have encountered, like the Stölzel cantata cycle Bach may have presented in Leipzig in the 1730s. Read all about it in the new Bach Jahrbuch 2009, just out, with some interesting finon the MBM. I wish we could get an English summary of the articles. >
Yes, my editor and publisher mentioned an article in the 2009 Bach Year Book that some Stölzel made it into a Bach cantata (I think an entire aria). It's such ashame that Stölzel's music is not performed and most of it is not available in modern performing editions, moreso givenBach's appreciation of it.

Peter Smaill wrote (April 21, 2010):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] I think the work you refer to is BWV 200, "Bekennen will ich seinen Namen", which is by Stölzel but transposed by Bach and was discovered in the 1920's. Even knowing this recent research by Peter Wollny, Cantagrel includes it in his magnum opus ; so it may be destined, like the St Luke Passion, to be forever "Bach and not Bach"!

Julian Mincham wrote (April 21, 2010):
[To Peter Smaill] Peter is there more of this cantata existing than the one alto aria turned up in 1924? If so I haven't come across it. Stylisically that aria has a number of characteristics of the mature Bach---singling it out, for example, from other other 'Bach' works of doubtful authenticity (such as certain movements from BWV 143).

Peter Smaill wrote (April 21, 2010):
[To Julian Mincham] Thanks Julian

Alas there has never been more than this single aria AFAIK, and it has always been a favourite; just like "Bist du bei mir", not a love song but a religious cry and also by Stölzel.

Delighted to hear more about this outlying fragment (has anyone translated Wollny's article?) and I hope the new discovery of its true author will not reduce performances.

Julian Mincham wrote (April 21, 2010):
[To Peter Smaill] Though its liturgical function is not certain, Dürr (p 665-6) suggests the Purification and quotes various works which were adapted from other sources for presentation on this day e.g. BWV 161, BWV 157 and BWV 158.

The text does, however, strike resonances with others of those written or adapted for this day----I confess the Name of the Lord from whom all are blest----death will not rob me of the certainty of His Light. For example a very similar sentiment, though differently expressed, may be found in the bass aria/recitative from BWV 157.

This aria, for alto, two violins and continuo has a quality of mellow assurance often to be found in works from Bach’s last decade. It is built on the ritornello principle with the familiar adaptation of ternary form There is an unmistakable ‘A’ section ending in the cadence in the dominant key over bars 25-6 and a contrasting second section passing through related keys. But there is no proper reprise, merely a few musical echoes of the original ideas. Long notes and melismas on certain key words aside, there is none of the obvious or graphic word painting with which many of the earlier works are festooned. This does appear to be Bach at his most mature and assured.

There is one final teasing observation to be made. The little upward skirl followed by falling notes, first heard at the end of the second bar, is highly reminiscent of the figure introduced by the flute in BWV 157/1. If, indeed BWV 200 was intended for the Purification, might this have come about when Bach looked back over the scores of previous works written for this day?

I don't know the article you refer to but would very nuch like to read it particularly if a translation is available. It would need some strong evidence to convince me that it isn't by Bach.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 21, 2010):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< I don't know the article you refer to but would very nuch like to read it particularly if a translation is available. It would need some strong evidence to convince me that it isn't by Bach. >
Again, I'm weighing in here without having had quite as much time to look over this stuff as I might like. There are two articles in Bach-Jahrbuch 2008, by Marc-Roderich Pfau (pp 99-122) and Peter Wollny (pp 123-158) which discuss two separate but related issues. The former dwells especially on a sixteen page text booklet and suggests on that basis, and others, that Bach performed a cantata cycle by Stölzel by 1735/36. It is the latter article, by Wollny, which discusses BWV 200, identifying its source as "Dein Kreuz", an aria from Stölzel's 1720 Gotha passion. It's not fair to say that Bach merely transposed it; I don't think Bach was capable of just copying music, heh. That said, it's clear that Bach's aria is heavily based on Stölzel's: the melodic figures are basically the same, the opening vocal melody is nearly identical. Wollny prints the full score of both arias as an appendix; I'll try to send a scan of the first page along later today.

In Bach-Jahrbuch 2009, Andreas Gloeckner, on the basis of his work in the Thomaskirche archive, expands on the work by Pfau and Wollny, showing that Bach performed cantatas from Stölzel's "Saitenspiel"-Jahrgang in 1735, from Trinity 13 to Trinity 19. Kim: I didn't see anything here about a Stölzel aria incorporated into a Bach piece. However, as I said at the outset, I did just give these three articles a very quick skim, and it's very possible I've just overlooked it.

Julian Mincham wrote (April 21, 2010):
[To Evan Cortens] If it is possible to scan in both versions, even if only partial, it would be fascinating.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 21, 2010):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< I think the work you refer to is BWV 200, "Bekennen will ich seinen Namen", which is by Stölzel but transposed by Bach and was discovered in the 1920's. It may be destined, like the St Luke Passion, to be forever "Bach and not Bach"!

Sigh ... It's like "Schlage Doch" (BWV 53) ... It's by Melchior Hoffmann, but it will always be by Bach for me.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 21, 2010):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Was all this experimentation a way of trying to establish what worked best or was nest received? It's interesting that the notion of the chorale fantasia emerged from this rash of experimentation, only to be latterly abandoned. >
Was it related perhaps to his unease about how the striking opening of the cantata would be received? The dramatic delay of the chorus while the tenor and bass sing a concerted narrative is unique in Bach's cantatas (I think) and would make people sit up and listen: it certainly struck me as something new and exceptionally beautiful when I first heard it.

The final chorale shows one of the enduring hallmarks of Bach's genius: his ability to combine chorales with instrumental textures which could stand on their own. It's no accident that this movement was quickly anthologized along with "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" in late 19th century English adaptations as stand-alone anthems. The movement has been sung regularly by English-speaking choirs for 125 years, even though performances of the cantata remain a rarity.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 21, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Sigh ... It's like "Schlage Doch" (BWV 53) ... It's by Melchior Hoffmann, but it will always be by Bach for me. >
I think it's rather like "All Along The Watchtower"; a Dylan song to be sure, but the iconic version in my mind is Jimi Hendrix's. Like I say, it's perhaps fairer to say that BWV 200 is based on Stölzel's "Dein Kreuz," rather than by the latter composer.

Evan Cortens wrote (22, 2010):
Julian Mincham wrote to Evan Cortens:
< if it is possible to scan in both versions, even if only partial, it would be fascinating. >
As promised, here are scans of the first two pages of each aria. The full text is available in Bach-Jahrbuch 2008, pp. 148ff.

Like I say, the Bach is clearly based on the Stölzel, but it's by no means merely a transposition.

Enjoy: http://evancortens.com/wollny/

Julian Mincham wrote (April 22, 2010):
[To Evan Cortens] Evan many thanks. I will look at this with great interest.

it is fully established that the Stölzel came first is it?

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 22, 2010):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Like I say, the Bach is clearly based on the Stölzel, but it's by no means merely a transposition. >
That's a beautiful bassoon part in the Stözel, although it really looks like a cello line with those repeated D's and G's. It reminds me of the virtuosi cello part "O Who Can Know" from Handel's "Joshua." Interesting that Bach largely removes the bass passagework so that the focus is on the two violin voices.

Thanks for these scans.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 22, 2010):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Like I say, the Bach is clearly based on the Stölzel, but it's by no means merely a transposition. >
Does Wollny list the source for the Stözel cantata? Or does just this single movement survive?

I would GUESS maybe Sonderhausen would have the Stözel source (or maybe Hamburg).

I really wished that the StoWV (Stözel thematic catalog) project was finished already ;)

Evan Cortens wrote (April 22, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Does Wollny list the source for the Stölzel cantata? Or does just this single movement survive? >
My apologies, the aria is from Stölzel's 1720 passion oratorio "Die leidende und am Creutze sterbende Liebe Jesu." The handwriting/watermark in the sole source for BWV 200 (D B N Mus ms 307) establishes it as being from 1742/43.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 22, 2010):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< My apologies, the aria is from Stölzel's 1720 passion oratorio "Die leidende und am Creutze sterbende Liebe Jesu." The handwriting/watermark in the sole source for BWV 200 (D B N Mus ms 307) establishes it as being from 1742/43. >
Thanks, that settles who wrote it first then :-)

 

OT: Christian Ahrens and Stölzel

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (July 13, 2010):
A bit off the Bach path, but since it's about Stölzel (Ayreh adores his music), and does have some importance in a tangential way to Bach's manuscripts, I thought I would share this with the group.

Christian Ahrens has recently published an extremely fascinating book on the musical establishment at the Gotha court, based on his researches of the surviving court archives and other documents (which surprisingly are very plentiful). "Zu Gotha ist eine gute Kapelle...': Aus dem Innenleben einer thuringischen Hofkapelle des 18. Jahrhunderts" Ahrens believes Gotha was one of the most important musical centers in Germany after Dresden, with its long history of support of music and other fine arts and architecture (the schloss survives to this day and is a beautiful example of baroque neo-classical baroque architecture). Ahren's research on the connection of Johann Sebastian Bach's performances of passion music in Gotha is available in other sources and articles and has been mentioned several times on threads on the Bach cantata list.

But I've always wondered what happened to Stölzel's enormous output of music, apparently he wrote 11 or 12 annual cantata cycles and from an inventory of the music library at the Gotha immediately after his dead before Benda was appointed court music director, apparently lots of instrumental music (including 90 orchestral suites-- none of which survive). The BCML moderator, Aryeh is quite fond of Stölzel, and quite rightly so: the music is really top notch stuff. Unfortunately, not only did Stölzel's music disappear, so did most of the Gotha's music archives: very few manuscripts out of what had to have been originally thousands survive, including the entire body of work Stölzel composed during his 25 year tenure there.

I have traded a few E-mails with Dr. Ahrens and his research indicated that musicians were simply stealing music and books and instruments and then selling them. And surprisingly enough-- some of this was done by Stölzel himself. By the time the Gotha court found out what was happening and launched an investigation: Benda faced serious charges on the loss of music manuscripts and had to give a legal disposition. Benda believed the music was so old fashioned, it didn't warrant being saved, but he claimed he never destroyed any of the music library and didn't know what happened. Ahren's believes that while technically he wasn't guilty, Benda's attitude about the music certainly encouraged court musicians to help themselves to it for their own gain.

Of course, my own personal question and logical inconsistency in the Gotha's musicians minds in what must have been their own justification for theft: if the music didn't really have any value, then why would someone else want to buy it? Additionally, after Stölzel's death, the Gotha court paid the Stölzel estate a lump sum for the entire musical corpus as a way of helping the family with finances after his death. In other words, the court had a significant amount of money invested in this material. And given the nature of contracts musicians signed (as well as the court composers), you really have to wonder if they really weren't just kidding themselves justifying the theft of music.

The Ahrens book also covers the periods before Stölzel and after him (Benda). I don't have a copy yet, but I am looking for a local library that has it on its shelf ;) And thankfully other music libraries have significant collections of Stölzel's music. I'm currently editing several cantatas now, and I can't say enough nice things about the music.

Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote (July 14, 2010):
Thank you Kim. Very interesting.

 

OT: Bach Year Book 2008 / Stölzel - Bach cantata performances

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (April 5, 2011):
I think in the 2008 Bach yearbook, there is an article about Bach's performance of a complete Stölzel cantata cycle. Could anyone provide me with some information from that article?

I'd be MOST grateful.

 

O.T: Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (October 10, 2011):
Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel's music was apparently a favorite of Johann Sebastian Bach, since a cantata cycle along with at least one Passion setting was performed by Bach in Leipzig.

My editor and publisher Brian Clark has a new performing edition of a Quadro in G, and I created a Youtube video from the file. The music has nobeen published before, and has not been recorded.

You can watch the clip at: http://youtu.be/cxiq9j3zG5w

William Hoffman wrote (October 10, 2011):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] Thank you. Like this Te Deum, too.

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 10, 2011):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< My editor and publisher Brian Clark has a new performing edition of a Quadro in G, and I created a Youtube video from the file. The music has not been published before, and has not been recorded.
http://youtu.be/cxiq9j3zG5w >
An age of marvels we live in: listening to the Complete Works of Stötzel which have never been recorded.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (October 10, 2011):
[To William Hoffman] Glad you liked it.

But to be honest, I'm bothered a great deal that in the file I have for the cantata that S. wrote for the Enthronment of the Holy Roman Emperor, Youtube sees fit to recommend pieces from NAZI Germany (I realize it's the German title I'm using, I suppose or maybe the tags).

I will be adding more Stölzel files shortly, but it's a time consuming process ;)

Thanks Will!

 

Bach performance of Stölzel's cantata cycle in 1735/1736

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 12, 2012):
Recently [in the Bach-Jahrbuch 2008] Marc-Roderich Pfau and Peter Wollny were able to document by the existence of two, previously unknown cantata text booklets Bach's performances of eight cantatas in the main churches, St. Nikolai and St. Thomas, in Leipzig from the 13th through the 19th Sundays after Trinity in 1735. Without exception they were composed by Stölzel and comprised part of his cantata cycle known as the "String-Music" cycle or with its entire title "The String Music of the Heart on the Day of the Lord, or Cantatas for Sundays and Feast Days". The author of the cantata texts was Benjamin Schmolck (1672-1737), a Silesian theologian and the author of chorale texts. Both authors mentioned above consider it to be a fact that Johann Sebastian Bach performed the entire cycle which ran from the first Sunday after Trinity 1735 until the Trinity Feast Day 1736.

Andreas Glöckner published an article on this most exciting discovery in the Bach-Jahrbuch 2009.
Thomas Braatz was very kind to translate this article into English.
Based on Andreas Glöckner's article, Kim Patrick Clow, who informed me of this discovery, has compiled a list of all the cantatas for the specific cycle that were performed in Leipzig in 1735/1735.
Along with several editors, Kim plans to make performing editions of all the surviving cantatas.

All this material is now presented on the BCW:
Andreas Glöckner's article [German]: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Stolzel-Bach-Glockner.pdf [temporarily removed]
Thomas Braatz' translation of this article: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Stolzel-Bach-Glockner-Eng.pdf
Marc-Roderich Pfau and Peter Wollny articles [German]: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Stolzel-Bach-Pfau.pdf [temporarily removed]
The list of Stölzel's cantatas performed by Bach: http://bach-cantatas.com/Other/Graupner%20cantata%20cycles.htm

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (January 12, 2012):
[To Aryeh Oron] Many many many thanks to Evan Cortens (who provided me with the linked article), and Thomas for his hard work translating this from German, and of course to Aryeh for his willingness to post this information on the Bach website. I'd like to point out just one thing (at Thomas' suggestion): on page 3 of the translation at the bottom of the page, Andreas Glöckner seems to suggest that Stölzel's cantatas are typically only scored for 4 part voices and strings. That's not the case. I believe the sentence is ambiguous in German, and Glöckner was really only speaking about this cantata cycle (which does include trumpets and timpani for Christmas and Easter). Stölzel composed for a large variety of instruments in his cantatas.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 12, 2012):
Bach and WWII

Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Recently [in the Bach-Jahrbuch 2008] Marc-Roderich Pfau and Peter Wollny were able to document by the existence of two, previously unknown cantata text booklets Bach's performances of eight cantatas in the main churches, St. Nikolai and St. Thomas, in Leipzig from the 13th through the 19th Sundays after Trinity in 1735. >
It's a sidebar to the main thesis, but the accounts of the bombing of Leipzig and the evacuation of the St. Thomas students remind us, together with the Russian looting, of the extraordinary cultural loss in the documentary witness to Bach.

 

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Last update: ýMarch 11, 2012 ý19:53:04