Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

References: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-249 | Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-524 | Vocal Works BWV Anh | BGA | NBA | BC: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | Sources
Discussions of BWV Numbering System: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Cantata BWV 209
Non sa che sia dolore
Provenance

Date of Origin:

Spring 1729 or later

Sources:

The autograph score and the original set of parts are missing without trace or any confirming evidence of their existence.

Primary Source:

Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749-1818) had a copy made probably after 1771 and before 1776 by an unknown, unidentifiable copyist from what may have presumably been J.S. Bach’s composing score (a manuscript difficult for this copyist to decipher). Forkel then made some corrections and added the title, captions, and text. His title is: Cantata, | à | Voce sola, I Traversa, II Violini e Viola | col Continuo. | composta | da | Giov: Sebast. Bach.

After Forkel’s death this copy was acquired by a manuscript collector, Georg Poelchau (1773-1836), who bequeathed it in 1841 to the BB (Berlin Staatsbibliothek) where it is located today (Mus. ms. Bach P 135).

Another copy from the collection of the manuscript collector, Josef Fischhof (1804-1857), is dated from the 1st half of the 19th century. It is a copy of Forkel’s copy. A third copy once existed in the Santini Library in Münster, but no trace of it after 1910 has been found.

Text:

Until the present date, the identification of the librettist could not be determined. His libretto reveals that he borrowed from or modeled his material after the following Italian sources:

Mvt. 2 (Recitativo) lines 1-2 “Non sa che sia dolore | Chi dall’amico suo parte e non more” come from a poem, “Partita dolorosa” by Giovanni Battista Guarini (1538-1612). It appeared in printed form as No. 41 of the “Madrigali” published in Venice by Ciotti in 1598. Guarini’s original text reads: “Non sà che sia dolore | Chi da la Donna sua parte, e non more.”

Mvt. 3 (Aria) lines 5-6 “Varchi or di sponda in sponda, | Propizi vedi il vento e l’onda” are taken directly from Pietro Metastasio’s (1698-1782) libretto for the opera “Galatea” (Naples, 1722).

Mvt. 5 (Aria) lines 2-5 “Qual nocchier, placato il vento, | Più non teme o si scolora, | Ma content in su la prora | Va cantando in faccia al mar” are borrowed from Metastasio’s opera “Semiramide riconosciuta”. They are found in the middle of an aria “Il Pastor, se torna Aprile” from the 2nd act, 3rd scene. This opera libretto, written for the Carnival season (1729), dates probably to the end of 1728 or the beginning of 1729. It was first performed with music composed by Leonardo Vinci (died 1730) in Rome and by Nicola Antonio Porpora (1686-1768) in Venice.

Questions Regarding the Cantata’s Authenticity and the History of its Origin:

Philipp Spitta (1841-1894) did not question the authenticity of this cantata. The first to do so were Johannes Schreyer (1856-1929) (Beiträge zur Bach-Kritik, No. 2, Leipzig, 1913, p. 50) and Arnold Schering (1877-1941) (Bach-Jahrbuch, 1912 {appeared in print in 1913}, pp. 132ff. Schering, in 1941, considered both BWV 203 and BWV 209 as nicht durchweg Bachischer Herkunft (“originally not completely by Bach”) but rather an arrangement by Bach of an Italian original undertaken at the request of a stranger (Johann Sebastian Bach und das Musikleben Leipzigs im 18. Jahrhunderts, Leipzig, 1941, p. 250) . Since these first criticisms, a number of Bach experts have offered their opinions on this matter: Luigi Ansbacher (1944-) (Sulla cantata profana N. 209 “Non sa che sia dolore” di G. S. Bach librettista italiano? in Rivista Musicale Italiana, Issue 51, 1949, p. 977ff.), Alfred Dürr (1918-) (Die Kantaten…, Kassel, München, 1971, p. 721ff.), and Robert L. Marshall (1939-) (Bach the Progressive in The Musical Quarterly, Issue 62, 1976, pp. 334ff.).

A summary of all the research on this topic is provided by Klaus Hofmann (1939-) in his article, Alte und neue Überlegungen zu der Kantate “Non sa che sia dolore” BWV 209, Bach-Jahrbuch 1990, pp. 11ff. In this article Hofmann offers several substantial arguments in favor of this cantata’s authenticity and challenges experts to pursue a detailed investigation of the cantata’s stylistic elements as well as to subject it to a thorough analysis.

Andreas Glöckner (1950-), who was responsible for the content of the NBA KB/41 (issued 2000), has come to the following conclusion: based upon the available documentary evidence, there appears to be no reason to doubt the authenticity of this work. The primary score would appear to point toward its authenticity, if it can be assumed that the error-prone copy was due to the difficulties encountered in reading Bach’s own composing score. Until any evidence to the contrary surfaces as the result of new sources being discovered, this cantata must be considered to be a genuine composition by Bach.

Dating Issues:

On the basis of the original text source for Mvt. 5 (the quotation from Metastasio’s opera libretto), BWV 207 was composed no earlier than the spring of 1729. It is unknown just how and when this libretto came to Leipzig.

The occurrence of the Lombardic rhythm (reversed dotting, that is, a succession of dotted figures whose short notes are on the beat) in mvt. 5 gives an indication that the cantata probably was not composed before 1732. Bach’s use of the Lombardic rhythm was covered by Gerhard Herz (1911-2000) in his article Der lombardische Rhythmus in Bachs Vokalschaffen, Bach-Jahrbuch, 1978, pp. 148ff., particularly p. 165. Stylistically there is a resemblance to the B-minor Overture BWV 1067. This would also point to a later date.

Another possibility that has been considered is that this cantata was composed toward the end of the 1730s or in the early 1740s. Klaus Hofmann thinks that it might be conceivable that it was a farewell cantata for Lorenz Christoph Mizler (1711-1778) who left Leipzig rather abruptly to go back to his parents in Ansbach after he had experienced great embarrassment by being openly ridiculed during the delivery of his Master’s disputation at the university (he did receive his degree, however). It is quite difficult to imagine how, after such a disastrous public appearance of a 23-year-old student, Bach would have found the opportunity for composing and performing this music under the unusual circumstances described here.

 

Source: NBA KB I/41, pp. 38-49
Contributed by Thomas Braatz (June 22, 2008)

Cantata BWV 209: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2

References: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-249 | Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-524 | Vocal Works BWV Anh | BGA | NBA | BC: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | Sources
Discussions of BWV Numbering System: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýOctober 3, 2011 ý20:16:15