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BWV Numbering System

Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Peters to BWV concordance???

Edgar Svendsen wrote (December 15, 2003):
Does anyone know of a concordance or cross-listing of BWV numbers vs C.F. Peters listings for J.S. Bach on line? I spent a couple of hours with GOOGLE but didn't find what I was looking for.

I ran into this issue while transferring some old LP's to CD so I can get rid of my turntable, one of my LP's of some Bach organ works ("Bach's Royal Instrument, Vol. III", E. Power Biggs) shows only C.F. Peters references for the works, I'd like to show the BWV numbers.

The works on this LP are common ones:

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Peters Vol. IV, No. 4) but I don't know which Toccata and Fugue in D Minor this is.

Concerto in D minor after Vivaldi

Fugue in C Major ("Fanfare") This is shown as "Bach Gessellschaft Vol. 38, Anth.II")

Fugue in G Minor (Peters Vol IV No. 7)

Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor (Peters Vol I, No. 2)

Peter T. Daniels wrote (December 16, 2003):
Edgar Svendsen wrote:
[snip]
< Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Peters Vol. IV, No. 4) but I don't know which Toccata and Fugue in D Minor this is. >
565 (a lot of people these days think it isn't by JSB, and that it's a transcription of a solo violin piece)

< Concerto in D minor after Vivaldi >
596

< Fugue in C Major ("Fanfare") This is shown as "Bach Gessellschaft Vol. 38, Anth.II") >
Gesellschaft, and presumably "Anh." for "Anhang," meaning even back then they thought it might be spurious.

There are a couple of prelude-less c minor fugues, but none in C Major.

< Fugue in G Minor (Peters Vol IV No. 7) >
Presumably the Little, 578

< Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor (Peters Vol I, No. 2) >
582

Thomas Wood wrote (December 16, 2003):
[To Edgar Svendsen] My LP set of Helmust Walcha playing Bach includes BWV and Peters Edition numbers.

Peters IV/4 is indeed the famous T&F, BWV 565.

The Concerto isn't on my Walcha set.

The Prelude in C, BWV 531 (Peters IV/1) is sometimes nicknamed "Fanfare."

Peters IV/7 is indeed the "Little" Fugue, BWV 578.

The Passacaglia & Fugue in c (BWV 582) is Peters II/7, according to the Walcha set. I/2 is the Trio Sonata #2 in c, BWV 526.

Edward A. Cowan wrote (December 16, 2003):
DG has reissued on CD Helmut Walcha's stereophonic recordings of Bach's organ works. But there had been a considerable monophonic edition as well from the 1950's. Have these ever been reissued on CD?

Peter T. Daniels wrote (December 16, 2003):
[To Edward A. Cowan] Don't abandon hope; some of Karl Richter's pre-DG, mono recordings are now on CD.

David Enos wrote (December 17, 2003):
[To Edward A. Cowan] Walcha's mono set is being released in January or February in a DG "Original Masters" series box set. http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/webseries/?ID=originalmasters


PDF file with all works in the BWV

Aryeh Oron
wrote (February 21, 2004):
Following a short discussion in the BCML, Jason Marmaras, in his kindness, contributed a PDF file with list of all the works in BWV in numerical order. The list includes for each work: BWV Number, Title, Subtitle & Notes, Strength (Instrumentation). See link at the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/IndexBWV.htm
You can search the file with ctrl+f, so that works with special instrumentation could be easily find. The creator of this file is not known. If anybody happens to know this fact, please inform me.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 22, 2004):
[To Aryeh Oron] Which version of the BWV List? The 1955, the 1992, or the 1998?

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 22, 2004):
[To Aryeh Oron] There is a lot of serious revisions that need to be done to the list.

One example is the inclusion of BWV 131a.

Another is the inclusion of BWV 536a.

Also a lot of the titles should be changed. For example BWV 538
should be titled Präludium (Tokkate) und Fuge d-Moll ("Dorisch"),
as that is how it is listed in the BWV catalogue.

I will gladly assist in the editing, if so desired.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 22, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] No, that is not how it is listed in the BWV catalogue. I have that book (the BWV catalogue), 1998 edition, on my desk right now and open to that page. "538 Toccata und Fuge in d" and then the note with it explains the "Dorische Toccata" epithet that was attached much later (not by Bach). See also the historical explanation on page IX in Heinz Lohmann's organ edition (Breitkopf 6583); or of course in the Neue Bach-Ausgabe.

BWV 131a? It is currently in Appendix 2 of the BWV, with all the other "Werke zweifelhafter Echtheit". I've described in another posting, elsewhere, what their editorial policy is regarding these dubious works and this appendix; it's explained in their preface.

536a? It is listed in the main section immediately after 536, and explained as most likely an arrangement by the Nuremberg organist Leonhard Scholz.

The BWV is readily available; just order it from German Amazon as I did. Excellent book to have handy. Not too expensive: only about 40 Euros plus shipping.

Also, keep in mind that the process of cataloguing, itself, leads to more regularization of titles and genres than Bach ever did himself. The BWV is, essentially, an index of the 19th century Bach-Gesellschaft edition and (especially in its numbering scheme) perpetuates those 19th century biases, despite having the latest scholarship in it. We are stuck with the BWV numbers and groupings, accurate or not, simply because it is so convenient to have something consistent (if flawed) for common reference, and it would take an inordinate amount of work to change it. (Far more complicated than it was with the several competing numbering schemes in Scarlatti, for example.)

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 22, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] I would refer you, then, to the 1992 Edition (which is more complete and wider in scope than the 1998 Edition).

As for titles, I have read where different manuscripts have different names. The same goes (for that matter) for the Präludium (Tokkate) und Fuge F-Dur BWV 540, The Präludium (Phantasie) und Fuge c-Moll BWV 537, the Präludium (Phantasie) und Fuge ("der Grosser") g-Moll BWV 542, and the Präludium und Fuge (Tokkate) E-Dur BWV 566. In the latter (as with the Tokkate C-Dur BWV 564), I have read where there is no evidence (beyond the New Grove's preference) of the work ever being called anything other than "Tokkate". One of the problems being where to demarkate the Fuge beginning. As I am sure you are aware, the Tokkate E-Dur was based in large part on the Präludien of Buxtehude. Here, too, he never refered to them as Präludien und Fugen or Tokkaten und Fugen or Präamblum und Fuge, but rather as Präludien or Tokkaten or Präamblum. The same goes for the Tokkate C-Dur BWV 564. The Italians never refered to their Toccate by their section names. They always called them (the entire works) Toccate.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 23, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] Yes, some of the sources have different titles for the pieces. Obviously. But I was responding to your assertion that the titles should be changed to whatever the BWV says, and pointing out that the newest edition of the BWV disagrees with what you want to change it to. Your title for BWV 538 was what it was called in the original 1950 edition of BWV, yes, but that is now obsolete in the face of the newest scholarship.

And yes, the 1998 is a slimmed down version, a "little edition" of merely 490 pages, based directly on the 1990 edition; they say that clearly in the preface: that it is an interim version (sort of a 2.5 edition) until a completely new third edition can be done from scratch. For this one they included everything they could squeeze in before their 1997 copy deadline, while trimming out the depth of detail that is available in the NBA (in some cases now pretty far out of date already)...giving here a convenient bibliography of the literature for each piece, not an exhaustive one-stop shopping outlet. Obviously this isto be used along with the NBA, and the 1990 edition of itself, and the 1998 New Bach Reader, and the New Grove 2nd edition, and similar good stuff; not to replace them directly. This is a catalogue.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 24, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] Not by the 1992 standards. I have seen the 1992 edition. The 1998 I totally discount as incomplete. Even the title "Bach-Compendium" to me signals drastic reduction.

I also would point out the people who were behind the 1998 edition. Many of these were from Helmuth Rilling's group (The International Bachakademie Stuttgart) as opposed to the Bach-Archiv Leipzig, for instance. This was also the basis of the Edition Bachakademie series of recordings.

To me, the only thing interesting about it is not what is in it, but what is rejected. At least in the 1992 edition, although not everything was considered as 100% authentic, they were still included with listings as to what editions one could find a work in. The 1998 edition (from what I have read and heard) only consists of those works which are 100% authentic. It would be like taking the plays that we consider to be written by William Shakespeare and narrowing them down to the ones that were definitely by him (which would entail maybe only 25 of them). As the history of the Lukaspassion demonstrates, views can change over time given new criteria and evidence. The same should (I feel) be applied to the BWV Catalogue. What might one moment be considered apocryphal might the next be considered authentic. If the 1998 edition was intended to reflect current scholarship, then why were only those works considered to be authentic included? Scholarship (at least to me) implies that if something is published, it would (in the case of Bach's works) not only include those works considered to be genuinely authentic, but also the ones considered to be either spurious, doubiously attributed, doubtful, or even outright falsely attributed, with explanations of why those works are considered as they are. After all, what's to say that Bach, when he was younger, didn't compose, say, the Phantasie und Fuge a-Moll BWV 561? There are many elements in common, at least to me, between it, the Präludium und Fuge c-Moll BWV 549, the Präludium und Fuge a-Moll BWV 551, and the Präludium (Tokkate) und Fuge d-Moll ("Dorisch") BWV 538. All four are basically perpetuum mobile works. The first three follow the model of Buxtehude in (practically) every detail. The same could also go for BWV 719. It could have been a student work of Bach's (he did, at least according to legend, copy note-for-note a manuscript that had Organ works by (amongst others) Pachelbel, which could have included the model for this work).

Besides (getting back to the issue of nomenclature), it to me is more of a Präludium und Fuge. Each of the movements can stand on their own as separate entities. I take issue with most people that say that Bach wrote Toccatas and Fugues. Even the Toccatas and Fugues that we have (escluding BWV 538 and 540 for the moments) are not and should not be reffered to as Toccatas and Fugues. The first (the so-called "Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major BWV 564) is to me very much akin to the Toccate of Alessandro Scarlatti and should be refered to as "Tokkate C-Dur BWV 564". The second (the famous so-called Toccata and Fugue in d Minor BWV 565) is very much (at least to me) akin to the Tokkate d-Moll BuxWV 155 of Buxtehude. The music does not stop when the first free section ends. Rather there is a sixteenth-note rest, and then the fugal section commences. I would therefore classify it as "Tokkate d-Moll BWV 565". The third and final one (the so-called "Toccata (Prelude) and Fugue in E Major BWV 566") is also very much akin to Buxtehude (especially his Präludium E-Dur BuxWV 141). Firstly, there is not 1 fugal section, there are 2. Secondly, the 2nd free section does not end in a perfect cadence, but rather in a half cadence. I would therefore refer to it as "Tokkate E-Dur BWV 566). The same argument would apply to the so-called Phantasien und Fugen. To me, there are only 2 works that would and should be refered to as Phantasie und Fuge. Those are the ones in c-Moll BWV 562 and h-Moll BWV 563. The one in a-Moll BWV 561 (as I stated earlier) is more akin to the Präludien of Buxtehude and should therefore be refered to as Phantasie a-Moll BWV 561. The other 2 (the Präludien (Phantasien) und Fugen c-Moll BWV 537 and g-Moll ("der Grosser") BWV 542) are in a mixed lot. To me the Präludium (Phantasie) und Fuge c-Moll BWV 537 is akin to such works of Buxtehude as the Tokkate F-Dur BuxWV 157 and the Präludium F-Dur BuxWV 145. These works only have 1 fugal section. These works also lead seemingly unending between the free section and the fugal section. So does BWV 537. The Präludium (Phantasie) section ends in a half-cadence. Even if the tempo (time signature) is different, the dotted half-notes that end the 1st section and the quarter-note that starts the fugal section seem to go together. I would also change its classification. I would classify it as Präludium (Phantasie) c-Moll, with a change in BWV numbering. The other one (Präludium (Phantasie) und Fuge g-Moll ("der Grosser") BWV 542), for the sake of continuity in numbering if for no other reason, I would classify as Präludium und Fuge g-Moll ("der Grosser") BWV 542. The Phantasien und Fugen are later in the catalogue. Besides, there is no real clear-cut model for the first movement. It teeters on the borderline between true Phantasie and true Präludium. There is no exact cadence in the alternations. The sections that would normally be fugal are more Imitatio-type than fugal.

I would also argue the opposite direction as well. There are many works in the catalogue range between BWV 531 and 560 that I would classify as Präludium rather than Präludium und Fuge. The Präludium und Fuge h-Moll BWV 544 seems (at least to me) to be a case where the first section would logicalliy lead into the fugal section without a pause. The same would go for the Präludium und Fuge G-Dur BWV 541. Then there are the three early Präludien und Fugen c-Moll BWV 549, G-Dur BWV 550, and a-Moll BWV 551. The first one (BWV 549) seems to me to be a case like BWV 544 and 541. The second (BWV 550) seems to me to be like the Präludium d-Moll and especially the Präludium g-Moll of Georg Boehm-a free section that leads seemingly (or overtly) without interruption into an Adagio (Grave in this case) section which leads (again seemingly [or overtly] uninterrupted) into the fugal section. The third (BWV 551), just like BWV 561, borrows (practically) directly from Buxtehude. A free section leads (in this case uninterruptedly) to a fugal section. This in turn leads to a firgural free section, which then leads to a second fugal section. This finally leads to a concluding free section.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 24, 2004):
< Not by the 1992 standards. I have seen the 1992 edition. The 1998 I totally discount as incomplete. Even the title "Bach-Compendium" to me signals drastic reduction. I also would point out the people who were behind the 1998 edition. Many of these were from Helmuth Rilling's group (The International Bachakademie Stuttgart) as opposed to the Bach-Archiv Leipzig, for instance. This was also the basis of the Edition Bachakademie series of recordings. (...) >
Etc etc etc, complaints about "the BWV Catalogue" deleted for space; see: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/13164 for the details.

Please get the references straight, at least.

The Bach-Compendium is not even the same book!

I have been referring specifically to:
Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, Kleine Ausgabe (BWV 2a) based on the 2nd edition of Wolfgang Schmieder's catalog [1950 1st edition, then 1990 2nd edition]. The editors of this BWV 2a are Alfred Dürr and Yoshitake Kobayashi, with the assistance of Kirsten Beisswenger. The publisher is Breitkopf.

Here is what it looks like: http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/3765102490

This IS the BWV, current edition. If the current "BWV numbers" assigned to any piece of music mean anything, this is THE place to find that current information. BWV is this book. How can I say that more clearly?

My recent remarks about this book: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/13107

=====

The Bach-Compendium, a different resource, was compiled by Schulze and Wolff, and published by Peters 1986ff.

=====

Just a few more points to add here:

- The writer of: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/13164 made it clear that he has not even looked at the 1998 BWV, but dismisses it only by hearsay: "from what I have read and heard". It is not valid to say that a book is worthless, without even looking at it, i.e. "totally discount as incomplete" in the correspondent's words.

- It's especially bad (as in, an anti-scholarly fallacy) to try to do so by "point[ing] out the people who were behind [it]", as if we're supposed to recognize that they're morons and therefore could not possibly have anything worthwhile to contribute.

- He also asks: "If the 1998 edition was intended to reflect current scholarship, then why were only those works considered to be authentic included?" I have already answered that question, from the BWV's Preface. The editors state there explicitly why they have moved some pieces into the appendices, and moved some others out of the appendices, since the 1990 edition.

- The musical assessment was offered: "After all, what's to say that Bach, when he was younger, didn't compose, say, the Phantasie und Fuge a-Moll BWV 561? There are many elements in common, at least to me, between it, the Präludium und Fuge c-Moll BWV 549, the Präludium und Fuge a-Moll BWV 551, and the Präludium (Tokkate) und Fuge d-Moll ("Dorisch") BWV 538. All four are basically perpetuum mobile works." No, they're not, as a direct look at the scores of BWV 561, 549, 551, and 538 reveals. The only one of those that could be even remotely considered as "perpetuum mobile" is, perhaps, the first half (only) of 538. Those other pieces have a lot more start-and-stop to their rhythmic profiles. One would have to do quite a bit of maneuvering with the evidence to demonstrate that they are all "basically perpetuum mobile works", beyond such a wild assertion.

- More specifically: the people who are qualified to assess whether a piece is authentically Bach's or not do not simply go by an observation that it looks like "perpetuum mobile" (or whatever) like some other authentic works. That would be like taking two bowls of cottage cheese, looking only at the size and shape of the curds, and deciding that they both came from the same dairy, maybe even the same herd of cows. The philological process of authentication, in pieces of music and other documents, goes far beyond such stylistic analysis; and any stylistic analysis that is done is done by people who have the musical background to do it reliably. It's not just wild guesswork!

- In the case of 561, yes, there is disagreement: the 1998 edition of BWV has it in the "questionable" appendix, while Lohmann's 1979 edition of the organ works (from the same publisher, Breitkopf) has it included with the other Fantasien. Lohmann in his critical notes explains that his inclusion of 561 is partly on stylistic grounds, but also that there is a 19th century source directly attributing it to Bach. As Lohmann points out there, it's not wise to throw something out as inauthentic only because its source situation is questionable. I add here the suggestion: in such a performance edition, instead of omitting a piece outright, is it not better to include anything dubious (as he does) in case (1) people would really want to play it, and (2) it might come back into the canon sometime anyway? I personally think Lohmann has chosen wisely in favor of including it.

- If, by some later proof, 561 turns out to be absolutely not by Bach after all, does that mean it loses some value? Why? What if people get some personal value from playing and listening to it, anyway? To connect this with a point I brought up yesterday: that would be like throwing the books of 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus, out of the Bible just because they turned out not to be authentically by Paul. That's just not gonna happen.

- If a book is published in Leipzig, why does that automatically make it better than a book published elsewhere? It doesn't!

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 25, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] Actually, it is.

The 1998 BWV is the same as the Bach-Compendium, from what I have read and heard.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 25, 2004):
< The 1998 BWV is the same as the Bach-Compendium, from what I have read and heard. >
Those last seven words are telling. The first ten are untrue. Please stop trying to convince me that the book right here in my lap is not what it says it is.

Roy Johanssen wrote (February 25, 2004):
Bach Compendium

[To Bradley Lehman] Does anyone know whatever happened to the Bach-Compendium? Are we ever going to get more than the four volumes covering the vocal works?

--And, by the way, could we, for once, hear David admit he was wrong?


Cantata Numbering (was Introducing Myself)

Continue of discussion from: Members of the BCML 2004-3 [General Topics]

Uri Golomb wrote (July 27, 2004):
Charlie Richards wrote: < what method was used by the compilers of the BWV catalog in numbering the cantatas? They're certainly not in chronological order, and they don't even appear to be in order as per the church year. Perhaps this is a naïve question, that may have already been answered on this list before, but I was curious. >
AS far as I'm aware (and if anyone here knows differently, I'd welcome the correction), the BWV order of the sacred cantatas simply reflects the order in which the cantatas were published in the 19th century by the Bach Gesellschaft -- which is a rather arbitrary way of arranging things. The order certainly has nothing to do with Bach. (I suppose the BG's own order might reflect, among other things, the order in which they succeeded in obtaining manuscripts and authenticating them -- though some of their authentications have since been questioned; hence the omission of several cantats from current complete cycles).

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 28, 2004):
Charlie Richards wrote: >>what method was used by the compilers of the BWV catalog in numbering the cantatas? They're certainly not in chronological order, and they don't even appear to be in order as per the church year. Perhaps this is a naďve question, that may have already been answered on this list before, but I was curious.<<
Uri Golomb wrote: >>AS far as I'm aware (and if anyone here knows differently, I'd welcome the correction), the BWV order of the sacred cantatas simply reflects the order in which the cantatas were published in the 19th century by the Bach Gesellschaft -- which is a rather arbitrary way of arranging things. The order certainly has nothing to do with Bach. (I suppose the BG's own order might reflect, among other things, the order in which they succeeded in obtaining manuscripts and authenticating them -- though some of their authentications have since been questioned; hence the omission of several cantatas from current complete cycles).<<
Yes, Uri, I can confirm this and can remember reporting about this on this list quite a while back. I don't have the sources and my statement before me now (I could not find it on Aryeh's site under the article on the numbering system used by the BWV, otherwise I would have included the link.) I would strengthen Uri's statement "I suppose the BG's own order might reflect" to read "This is actually what happened."

The original plan of the BG's publishing project was to begin the entire series with BG #1 being the B-minor Mass. Had the editors succeeded, we would now most likely be referring to the the latter composition as Opus 1 or BWV 1. The hang-up came about when Nägeli (a Swiss publishing firm and, at that time the current owner of the key autograph manuscript) refused to share this absolutely essential source with the BG for careful study before publishing it. After the negotiations for inspecting the autograph had failed, the BG began publishing Bach's complete works with no definite plan in mind other than getting the cantatas published (a certain number of these had already begun appearing in print after 1800.) As Uri indicated correctly, the order of publication reflects primarily the order in which the BG was able to access the key source materials with no attempt being made to order the cantatas chronologically. Sometimes a batch of cantatas seems to reflect the beginning of a series lifted out of a certain part of a particular yearly church cycle, but this may simply be this way because they had been either passed on as a group of compositions by one owner to another or that some collector had procured from various auctions certain cantatas that might be more valuable as a set (like a set of stamps.) The BG editors probably recognized some of these possible 'orderings'/'groupings' and decided to maintain these 'mini-cycle' orderings since they had already abandoned the two most important systems: chronological or according to the church calendar.

Too bad that Wolfgang Schmieder, who worked on this system, which was based upon previous efforts made by Johannes Wolgast and Paul Ruthardt, from 1937 until 1950 when it was published, did not consider for his BWV system a more sensible system more in line with those used to catalogue other composer's works! Schmieder, by the way, was a musicologist and a librarian.

Dale Gedcke wrote (July 28, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote: ".... After the negotiations for inspecting the autograph had failed, the BG began publishing Bach's complete works with no definite plan in mind other than getting the cantatas published (a certain number of these had already begun appearing in print after 1800.) As Uri indicated correctly, the order of publication reflects primarily the order in which the BG was able to access the key source materials with no attempt being made to order the cantatas chronologically. ...."

MY COMMENTS:

It would have been a difficult challenge to order all of Bach's cantatas with sequential numbers that reflected the date of original composition. As has been reported, not all of his cantatas were readily discoverable. Some had disappeared forever. Some were belatedly discovered residing in some obscure place. Some initially ascribed to Bach were later rejected as being not from Bach himself. The only scheme that would have worked would have been to categorize the works only by the original composing date. Then when additional cantatas were discovered they could be inserted in the correct chronological order.

Today, this is simply a matter of sorting the list by date of composition. That's an easy task in an Excel spreadsheet. My ignorance may be showing, but has anyone published a list sorted by composition date? Are there problems in establishing the composition date on some of the cantatas?

Aryeh Oron wrote (July 28, 2004):
Dale Gedcke wrote: [snip] Today, this is simply a matter of sorting the list by date of composition. That's an easy task in an Excel spreadsheet. My ignorance may be showing, but has anyone published a list sorted by composition date? Are there problems in establishing the composition date on some of the cantatas? >
The following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Date.htm includes list of all Bach's vocal works according to their known performance dates. Does this answer your question?

John Pike wrote (July 28, 2004):
[To Dale Gedcke] I think there are numerous problems attributing certain cantatas to particular dates, although I think there is general consensus about where most cantatas were composed (ie Weimar, Mühlhausen, Leipzig etc). I get the impression that Leipzig cantatas can be dated more reliably).


Switching mvts around
NBA

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 4, 2004):
>>Could you give an example of a cantata were Bach's aim was to ensure integrity or even make it a set of variations?<<
<
BWV 100 has the verses of a chorale in sequence (they can not be switched around.) There are no recitatives, only arias and a duet with choral mvts. at the beginning and end. Bits and pieces of the chorale melody appear in some of the arias (and duet) so that the inner mvts. could almost be considered variations of the chorale melody.
Members of Bach's congregation would have been appalled if any of the mvts. had been switched around or omitted since most of them would know the chorale text by heart. >
People who have purchased the complete NBA and whose listening habits are to follow along with recordings, judging their accuracy by the NBA holy conflated text and their own further interpretive guesswork as listeners, are the ones who would be appalled if the mvts get switched around or omitted. It would throw off their day, and confuse them, and cause them to fear that performers are taking too many liberties and have improper morals. They might even assume that all reasonable people would be similarly appalled, but it really isn't so. Only a projection of their own tastes and expectations and prejudices.

Not that this has anything to do whatsoever with the people who attended Bach's church services in the 18th century.

Juozas Rimas wrote (October 4, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote: < fear that performers are taking too many liberties and have improper morals. They might even assume that all reasonable people would be similarly appalled, but it really isn't so. Only a projection of their own tastes and expectations and prejudices. >
So can we view most of Bach's cantatas as compilations, where some rules are applied (start with a chorus, end with a chorale, precede arias with recitatives - with LOTS of exceptions) but in general most movements can be changed with analogous other ones from any other cantata?

I brought up this issue to compare it with the recommended way to approach (listen or review) the Goldbergs and other integral works. Apparently, there is no point in approaching cantatas recordings in the same way to step back "to the bigger picture", as Bradley put it, and to state that "context is important" in cantatas.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 4, 2004):
Juozas Rimas wrote: < So can we view most of Bach's cantatas as compilations, where some rules are applied (start with a chorus, end with a chorale, precede arias with recitatives - with LOTS of exceptions) but in general most movements can be changed with analogous other ones from any other cantata? >
No, nobody's saying that at all!

But, keep in mind that liturgical bits of a church service might be interpolated during performance of a cantata, and before and after. Those practical considerations (practical church musicianship, where the worship service as a whole has to have some reasonable flow) do have some role to play.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 5, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote: >>But, keep in mind that liturgical bits of a church service might be interpolated during performance of a cantata, and before and after. Those practical considerations (practical church musicianship, where the worship service as a whole has to have some reasonable flow) do have some role to play.<<
What does this mean? Is this a personal reference to a church in the USA (the respondent speaking only of his limited experiences), or a German Evangelical Lutheran church (including what occurred under Bach's direction in Leipzig)? Does the historical practice in Bach's churches mean nothing at all here, where the cantatas were given in two blocks (as either separate entities or part 1 before the sermon after the reading of the Epistles and Gospels, and part 2 after the sermon during communion? There is no evidence whatsoever that the sequence of movements within a cantata was altered (nor special liturgical insertions included,) even folater performances where occasional changes were made to comply with the soloists, instrumental and vocal, who were available to Bach at the time.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 5, 2004):
[To Thomas Braatz] As another list member is fond of pointing out (why hasn't he yet?), it's very unlikely that valid reasoning can be constructed upon an assertion that "there is no evidence whatsoever" about a topic. Translation: if there's allegedly "no evidence" that things were altered, that doesn't constitute proof that things were not altered! (Furthermore, the existence of alternate versions of some cantatas is evidence that things were altered by Bach to fit circumstances!)

As for practical considerations? I've been performing and directing Christian church music for 27 years, maybe 28, I've lost count; and my university minor was in that. Flexibility is part of the job requirement in church music; last-minute improvisatory decisions have to happen all the time (scribbled down hastily or not written at all), it's in the nature of the work, even when things have been planned very well. It's very rare that I encounter people so cynical, prejudiced, and antagonistic that they cite the practical understanding of a field as a LIABILITY (in an opponent) rather than an asset.

It's much easier for me to believe, from experience in church music, that things might be altered and not well documented, than that things were absolutely never altered, or to believe that any alleged lack of documentation constitutes valid proof. Heck, I've never documented what I spent the last 27 years playing in churches, or the last-minute additions or omissions when extra time needed to be filled or lopped out. It's just part of the job, and it doesn't get written down!

Besides, as Mr Braatz points out himself here below, "part 1" before the sermon or readings, and "part 2" after sermon during communion. (Whatever "part 1" and "part 2" might mean in any given cantata....) How is that a disproof of my point to which he's responding, where I said that liturgical things happen during cantatas? It sounds more as if he's AGREEING with what I wrote, and merely offering a gratuitous ad hominem attack against me that my allegedly "limited experience" is preventing me from having a clue about historically valid practices.

Looks like a fluffy non-argument to me.

Furthermore, I never asserted that the movements themselves would get switched around! That's from Juozas Rimas' question! And it stems (evidently) from Mr Braatz' own assertion that composers such as Bach allegedly would have offended the congregation had he switched around or omitted stanzas of hymns they knew, and that's why Bach allegedly did not do so. Another attempt by Mr Braatz to "prove" a negative.........

It seems to me that the person who'd be most offended by things getting switched around is Mr Braatz himself (score-reader from the NBA, bringing his cynical suspicions and judgments of morality against all performers and scholars), and then he's reading his own personal preferences back into the congregations of the 1730s as if he's thereby "proven" that such things historically were not done...... Church musicians are wrong to do the job as required, by experience? Really?

I don't buy it. His process is not a valid method of proof.

Teri Noel Towe wrote (October 9, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote: < People who have purchased the complete NBA and whose listening habits are to follow along with recordings, judging their accuracy by the NBA holy conflated text and their own further interpretive guesswork as listeners, are the ones who would be appalled if the mvts get switched around or omitted. It would throw off their day, and confuse them, and cause them to fear that performers are taking too many liberties and have improper morals. They might even assume that all reasonable people would be similarly appalled, but it really isn't so. Only a projection of their own tastes and expectations and prejudices. >
Many, many years ago, when I did a weekly radio show on WBAI-FM in New York City, I decided to see just how observant listeners were.

By cutting and splicing audiotape, I moved some of the "less familiar" variations in the "Goldberg" Variations around. I was careful to make sure that every third variation was still one of the canon variations, and I didn't tamper with the placement of 1 - 5, 15, 16, 21, 25, and 28 - 30, as I recall. Most, if not all, of the others got moved to an unfamiliar spot.

If any of the listeners noticed the scrambled order, none phoned or wrote me about the deception.

One should draw no definite conclusions from the lack of any response to my wicked and arguably unethical experiment, however.

After all, there is always the possibility that no one could bear to listen to me on that particular morning, and there are also those who are convinced that the "Goldbergs" are intended to put the listener to sleep.

{;-{)}

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 10, 2004):
NBA

Thomas Braatz wrote: < Here is a 'guess' (I'm not 'scared' to use this type of punctuation) based upon the research of the NBA editors, whose credentials and musicological methodology are frequently questioned by a certain vociferous, pedigreed member of these Bach lists: >
Well, I assume that means me, although it's a straw-man argument.

But, get this clearly: I have never, NEVER, publicly questioned the credentials of the NBA editors! I have no reasonable doubt that they are brilliantly and completely qualified to do the work they do, and that work is a valuable service.

I question the technique of positivism, that remnant of the 1950s and 1960s. The positivistic mode of reasoning overruns the music (which itself should be taken as valid evidence, alongside positivistic detail: musicianship and the way composers/performers think about their work!). For the evidence they consider, which unfortunately is not all the evidence, they handle it extremely well and carefully as philologists.

But music is a process as much as a set of finished products. Positivism deals only in finished products: and the process of music-making gets swept under the rug, in the way the variant details are duly noted in the Critical Report yet at the same time dismissed as mistakes to be corrected.

And yes, I understand that the goal of the NBA's conflationary policy is to construct some [fictitious] platonic ideal of a piece's text, which may never have existed in actual practice. I feel that while that pursuit is interesting and valuable, again it overruns actual practice. Supposedly imperfect versions of compositions get overruled in this quest for an ideal single way it should have gone, even if it didn't really go that way. It's an attempt to second-guess the composer and come up with what he supposedly should have done had he been more careful or had more time.

To their credit, the NBA sometimes publishes two or three competing readings of the same piece when the conflationary struggle was just too insurmountable. At least that's an admission that the general methods have some limitations.

Another hazard of the NBA is that it deludes non-scholars into believing that everything worth settling has already been settled, and one need only look it up and bash scholars with the results, selectively. That's not the NBA's fault, directly, but it's a hazardous by-product of their work. I see that happening here almost every day. The NBA's work is an excellent scientific report of tentative conclusions; I have no quarrel with that. When the NBA is misinterpreted as something more authoritative and more final than that, by non-scientists, all kinds of nonsense emerges from the non-scientists.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 10, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote: >>The NBA's work is an excellent scientific report of tentative conclusions; I have no quarrel with that. When the NBA is misinterpreted as something more authoritative and more final than that, by non-scientists, all kinds of nonsense emerges from the non-scientists.<<
BWV 1021 & 1023

According to the NBA, BWV 1021, the only source for which is a score discovered in 1928, was originally heldto be an autograph score by Bach, but in the late 50’s, Dadelsen recognized certain characteristics of AMB’s handwriting like how she wrote her small ‘c’s,’ The title on the folder which contains the score is “J. S. Bach | Sonate in G-Dur f. Violine | um 1720” and the title at the top of the page where the score begins reads: “Sonata per il Violino e Cembalo di J. S. Bach

No organ, even 'chest' organ indicated here.

BWV 1023 also has only one source, a copy of the score which, as it appears, may have been copied sometime during the 1st half of the 18th century. On the folder which encloses it are, among other things, the following inscriptions: “No. 1 Solo” “Clavicin solo” “Violino” “col Basso | del Sigr. Bach” “J. S. Bach.” There is no special title inside above the beginning of the score, only : “Solo Bach.” There is a long discussion in the NBA KB about what relationship the these broken-up titles have to BWV 1023 which is contained within.

In mvt. 1, a pedal point lasting 30 measures points to the possibility or probability that an organ may be intended. On p. 132 of NBA KB VI/1, there is the following comment: “Besetzungsmäig ist gewi an eine Ausführung mit Orgel gedacht…Eine cembalogerechte Interpretation scheint weder beabsichtigt noch erwünscht zu sein. Man wird demnach einen Basso continuo mit Orgel anzunehmen haben….“ [„Orchestrationwise a performance using organ is certain…an interpretation using a harpsichord seems neither intended nor desired {by the composer.} Accordingly one must assume that there would be an organ accompaniment with a basso continuo as well.”]

BWV 1023 may well have originated during Bach’s Weimar period from 1714-1717. This single copy [the Saxon State Library in Dresden: Mus. 2405 R/1] originally belonged to the music/manuscript collection of the Dresden Hofkirche [Court Church], perhaps a further indication that an organ would have been used as part of the basso continuo accompaniment.

Personally, other than all the circumstantial proof mentioned above, I do not see why the pedal point could not be executed on a harpsichord assisted by the usual viola da gamba or similar instrument which could sustain the long pedal point, unless, of course, the esoteric rule about shortening the long, bc notes in a passage of this sort (secco recitatives, for example) would come into play, in which case the desired effect could be executed by the harpsichord alone : a single quarter-note E followed by 29 measures of silence. In this case, also, no organ would be required.



Continue on Part 3


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