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Cantata BWV 214
Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!

Original Sources:

Both the original autograph score and the original set of parts (fragmentary) are located in the BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin) as Mus. ms. Bach P 41 and Mus. ms. autogr. Bach St 91 respectively.

The Autograph Score:

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach inherited this score at the time of the distribution of his father’s estate in 1750. A reference to this score is found in the Verzeichniß des musikalischen Nachlasses des verstorbenen Capellmeisters Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (A List of Unpublished Music from the Estate of the Deceased Capellmeister Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach) which appeared as a printed booklet in Hamburg in 1790. On p. 72 of the latter is the entry: Drama der Königen zu Ehren. Mit Trompeten, Pauken, Flöten und Hoboen. Eigenhändige Partitur. C.P.E. Bach Bach added a separate title page to the front of score which reads:

Drama | Der Königen zu Ehren | a | 4 Voci | 3 Trombe | Tamburi | 2 Trav. | 2 Hautb. | 2 Viol. | Viola | e | Contin. | di | J. S. Bach.

This score was acquired from the C.P.E. Bach estate by Georg Pölchau (1773-1836), an important Bach manuscript collector and bookbinder in Hamburg, who decided to bind it together with BWV 198 which he had purchased from Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749-1818) who in turn had received it (BWV 198) from W.F. Bach. Pölchau’s Bach manuscript collection was acquired by the BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin) in 1841. This is where it is located today.

Details on the Score:

The watermark on all the original pages is a large MA which appeared on music composed and copied in the period from July 6, 1732 until February 2, 1735. The impression made by Bach’s handwriting is rather fleeting (written at a fast pace) with numerous errors being made in the process except where previous sections of the mvt. were repeated. This is a ‘composing’ score throughout. There is no evidence that any portion of this cantata was a parody of any previously composed music.

The arrangement of the mvts. of this cantata on the pages of this score is typical for Bach’s space-saving measures. The pages can vary having from 23 to 26 staves on a single page. Page 1 begins with 2 accolades of 12 staves each. For Mvt. 1 (mm 1-22) on p. 1r [r = recto = the front side of the page; v = verso = the reverse or back side of the page] from the top down there are 3 treble, 1 bass, 6 treble, 1 alto and 1 bass clefs. On p. 1v (Mvt. 1, mm 23-43), there is 1 accolade of 12 staves and another with 13. Here Bach begins including the chorus and puts the 3 trumpets on one staff, the 2 flutes on another and, beginning with m 40, the two trumpets are on the same staff with the tympani. On p. 2r Bach continues with mm 44-54 of Mvt. 1 in the top accolade of 16 staves but below this there are 4 accolades with 2 staves. This is the beginning and end of Recit. Mvt. 2. On p. 2v Bach continues with mm 55-64 of Mvt. 1, but at the bottom of the page Bach has written the first 14 mm of Mvt. 3 (Travers. Aria) which are crossed out (rejected). On p. 3r there is at the top of the page mm 65-75 of Mvt. 1 and, at the bottom, first the continuation of mm 14-15 of Mvt. 3, which is also crossed out. Then a new beginning of Mvt. 3, mm 1-12. Pages 3v to 6r contain the continuation of Mvt. 1 spread over these pages as follows: mm 76-84, 85-96, 97-107, 108-118, 119-129, 130-139 while Mvt. 3 is located at the bottom of these same pages as follows: mm 13-27, 28-40, 41-53, 54-68, 68-83 and 84-99. This procedure continues until p. 9r where Mvt. 1 concludes with a DC. while Mvt. 5 continues with mm 77-89.

Bach’s autograph title at the top of the first page of the score reads:

JJ. Drama p. Musica. à 4 Voci. 3 Trombe Tamburi, 2 Hautb. 2 Trav: 2 Violini Viola e Cont.

At the end of the score after the final mvt.:

Fine | DSGl | 1733 | d. 7 Dec.

The Original Set of Parts:

The original folder for these parts has been lost. It was not listed in C.P.E. Bach’s estate catalogue and may not have been inherited by C.P.E. Bach together with autograph score and may have been acquired later by C.P.E. Bach (but not mentioned in the estate listing of manuscripts). However, somehow this set came into the Georg Pölchau’s (1773-1836) possession. The man who catalogued Pölchau’s manuscripts in 1832, Siegfried Wilhelm Dehn (1799-1858), provided a new folder for these parts on which he wrote the following title:

Drama | der Königin zu Ehren. | 4 voci | 3 Trombe | Tamburi | 2 Trav. | 2 Hautb. | 2 Viol. | Viola | e | Continuo.

Over this in pencil in the same handwriting is the note: nicht in Pölchau’s Catalog | gehört zu pag. 17. No. 45. b. Tönet ihr Pauken. [“not in Poelchau’s catalogue, belongs to p. 17 #45b Tönet ihr Pauken."]

The watermark in the paper used for these parts is MA. This type of paper was used by Bach in the period from July 6, 1732 until February 2, 1735. Compared to the autograph score, the parts did not fare as well. It appears that the original folder for the parts was removed or lost thus exposing the few remaining parts even more to the effect of external influences. Water damage has permeated all of the parts causing the paper to become more like blotter paper. The edges are frayed and torn. The Violone part suffered the most. Nevertheless the notes on the page were still readable except in a few instances.

The remaining parts of this fragmentary set are as follows:

1. Canto: contains mvts. 1, 3, 4 and 9
Copyist 1: mvts. 1, 3, and 4
J. S. Bach: Mvt. 9

2. Alto: contains mvts. 1, 5, 6 and 9
Copyist 1: all mvts.

3. Tenore: contains mvts. 1, 2 and 9
Copyist 1: all mvts.

4. Baßo: contains mvts. 1, 7, 8, and 9
Copyist 1: all mvts.

5. Viola: contains mvts. 1, 6, 7 and 9
Copyist 2: all mvts.

6. Violono: contains all mvts.
Copyist 1: Mvt. 1 mm 1-28
Copyist 2: Mvt. 1 mm 29 to end of Mvt. 1 and the remaining mvts.

Missing Parts:
Tromba 1
Tromba 2
Tromba 3
Hautb. 1
Hautb. 2
Traverso 1
Traverso 2
Violino 1mo
Violino 1mo (doublet)
Violino 2do
Violino 2do (doublet)

From this it becomes apparent that two thirds of the set of original parts have been lost.

Date of First Performance:

The date of the first performance of BWV 214 is documented by the printed text that was distributed at the time of the performance. Here is the text:

DRAMA | PER MUSICA | Welches | Bey dem Allerhöchsten | Geburths=Feste | Der | Allerdurchlauchtigsten | und Groß= | mächtigsten Königin in Pohlen | und | Churfürstin zu Sachsen | in unterthänigster Ehrfurcht | aufgeführet wurde | in dem | COLLEGIO MUSICO | Durch | J.S.B.

Leipzig, dem 8. December 1733. | Gedruckt bey Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf
[The complete text of the cantata follows.]

["The Drama per Musica {composed and} performed most humbly and with the greatest respect by J. S. B. at the location where the Collegium musicum normally meets on the most important occasion of the birthday of her highness, the great and mighty Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony.
Leipzig on December 8, 1733
Printed by Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf"]

From an entry in Breitkopf’s account books it is possible to determine the date on which the cantata texts were printed and ready for distribution:

d. 4. Dec. 1733 Herrn Capellmeister Bach ein Drama in Folio,
1 Bogen 150 RPr
. 3 groß Censur | 2 | - | -

[Received from Capellmeister Bach on December 4, 1733 for a Drama in folio format
150 sheets (copies) {Cost:} 3 Prussian Reichsthaler; 2 (?) for censorship fee]

The NBA KB I/36 indicates on p. 106 that the latter date, December 4, 1733, would indicate the day on which Bach would have received the printed copies for distribution only 3 days later. This, of course, would not preclude the possibility that Bach might have had the text available to him in the form of a handwritten document. However, it appears that Bach may have composed directly from the printed version of the text since the completion date at the end of his score is December 7th: “Da Bach laut Schlußsignum seine Partitur am 7. Dezember beendete, kann der Textbogen als Vorlage noch Verwendung gefunden haben” [“Since Bach signed off with a December 7th date at the end of his score, it is possible that Bach used the printed [Breitkopf] text from which to compose the music.”] Remarkable, nevertheless, is the fact that the printed text agrees completely with Bach’s text used in the score with only a few very insignificant exceptions. This rather complete agreement is not often the case with numerous sacred cantatas even where the cantata text booklets had been printed weeks or even months in advance. Werner Neumann, on p. 107, comments as follows:

"Über welchen Zeitraum sich der Komponierakt ausdehnte, ist unbekannt; jedenfalls ist Bach erst in letzter Minute fertig geworden, so daß sich Stimmenabschrift und Probenarbeit auf einen Tag zusammendrängten.” [“What the length of the period of composition was is unknown; in any case Bach finished just in time at the last minute, so that the copying of parts and rehearsals were concentrated on a single day."]

The Text:

The author of this libretto, insignificant from the standpoint of content and form, is unknown (the three arias have the very same prosodic scheme). There are no indications that Bach may have been the author as some have contended. It may have been an amateur poet, possibly even a member of the Collegium musicum. Picander would be out of the question since this text did not appear in the 4th volume of his poetry (1737) which includes a birthday cantata for the Elector’s son (September 5, 1733) but not that for the queen’s birthday on December 8, 1733 a few months later; unless, of course, he considered it a work of such inferior quality that he decided not to include it.

First Critical Edition:

Paul Graf Waldersee prepared the only other critical edition of this cantata for the BG (volume 34). It appeared in 1887. A number of errors were unfortunately included in this edition: Waldersee incorrectly assigned two oboes instead of a solo oboe to the Aria, Mvt. 5. For m12 of 1st mvt., he read the final two notes in the Violino II part a third higher than they should be. He also often applied the articulation and ornamentation of the parodied mvts. from BWV 248 (WO) to fill out the many places where the BWV 214 autograph score has only sparse indications.

Comments on the above:

Here we have rather definitive evidence (as found in only a few other cantatas where Bach actually wrote a date at the end of a cantata thus indicating the date on which he actually finished composing the score) that Bach did not complete his composition of a cantata until the day before the performance. There is also a real possibility, backed up by his lack of at least some changes that he usually made to the printed cantata texts, that he used one of the printed copies from Breitkopf as the basis for the text he inserted under the vocal parts. Since it can be reasonably assumed that he received these printed copies from his printer on Friday, December 4, 1733, he either began composing this cantata that same evening or continued composing it from an unspecified, indeterminate earlier point in time. Assuming that he began composing it on Friday evening, he would then have continued this process of composing the music all weekend long until he completed everything on Monday, December 7th, possibly as late as during the evening hours. He may have initiated the copy process with his copyists before then as the loose, completed pages from the score became available to them. However, he would still have to wait until later on Monday night or early Tuesday morning to check over the parts that were being prepared. This meant possibly copying some parts himself like the trumpet parts or finishing a movement still left incomplete by the copyists. Then he would have to check for mistakes (wrong notes or omissions), make the necessary corrections and add ornamentation, articulation, and tempo indications to all the parts, possibly also adding the figured bass to the continuo part if he was not conducting from the keyboard himself. The concert then took place on Tuesday, December 8th, as an indoor concert at Zimmermann’s Café at a specially designated time as was customary for such ‘extraordinaire’ concerts given by the Collegium musicum. It is unlikely that any formal rehearsals would have taken place during the limited time that was available to Bach (less than 24 or even 12 hours depending on when he finished checking the parts). Instead Bach would have followed the established custom of the Collegium musicum to perform any music that they sang or played at sight.

In summary, Bach appears to have composed this cantata from scratch in 3 days and performed it with the Collegium musicum at sight (prima vista) without any rehearsal on the 4th day after he began putting the notes down on paper. Fortunately, Bach was not required to perform figural music in church during this “quiet” period: it was the 2nd Sunday in Advent, but possibly he still had to give some private music lessons and attend to his family duties.


[based on the NBA KB I/36 (Werner Neumann, 1962), pp. 81-119]
Contributed by Thomas Braatz (September 15, 2008)

Cantata BWV 214: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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


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Last update: Thursday, June 01, 2017 11:41