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Chorales in Bach's Vocal Works
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 10, 2005):
Chorale Melody 'Es ist das Heil uns kommen her'

The Chorale Melody 'Es ist das Heil uns kommen her' has been added to the BCW.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Es-ist-das-Heil.htm
This CM is used in Mvts. 6&11 of BWV 186, the cantata for discussion this week.

Doug Cowling wrote (August 10, 2005):
[To Aryeh Oron] I appreciated the note that this chorale was sung on Easter and would really like to see on which liturgical occasion each melody was sung primarily by Leipzig congregations. I liked Thomas' introduction to chorales which appear in cantata movements in an instrumental voice without text. As he points out, Bach expected his listeners to recognize the significance of the tune -- the way we recognize the "Marseillaise" in the "1812 Overture" I would put in another plea to list where the tune occurs in the Leipzig hymnbook. It would help us appreciate Bach's symbolic use of the chorales.

Thomas Braatz wrote (August 10, 2005):
Doug Cowling wrote:
>>I would put in another plea to list where the tune occurs in the Leipzig hymnbook. It would help us appreciate Bach's symbolic use of the chorales.<<
I have never myself seen such a hymnal from Bach's time in Leipzig. It is interesting that the NBA KB, when tracking down the text variants (not melodic variants - they seem to know how Bach very easily modifies the melody to suit his needs), often refers to as many as a dozen different hymnals used in Leipzig, Dresden, Weimar and other places where Bach might have had contact with them. Never do I get to see the categories into which the chorale text was originally placed. Some of these categories are directly related to the major periods of the liturgical year: Advent, Christmas, etc. and can easily be guessed at. But others are more difficult. Today I had just come upon such categories in Samuel Scheidt's Görlitzer Tabulaturbuch which has the chorales (4 pt.) arranged according to categories established very strictly by the churches which his printed music was to serve. The chorale "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her" is listed there as "Von der Rechtfertigung" ["a chorale about justification/defence of one's belief/faith."] I am certain that similar categories are still being used in hymnals generally. Some of the chorales have obvious connections, others not. If possible I will try to remember to include, if even only with a word or two, to which category the hymn belongs. Bach's 'Orgelbüchlein' seems to be organized according to the liturgical year as well just the same way most German hymnals are (Advent, Christmas, first then in sequence to Passion-tide and Easter, etc. But then, after the liturgical year has generally been spanned through the major feast days, there are those special occasions and very general situations as well where it becomes more difficult to draw the lines: Hymns of Faith and Belief, Trust in God, Songs of Praise.

Doug Cowling wrote (August 10, 2005):
Bach's Hymn Book

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< I have never myself seen such a hymnal from Bach's time in Leipzig. It is interesting that the NBA KB, when tracking down the text variants (not melodic variants - they seem to know how Bach very easily modifies the melody to suit his needs), often refers to as many as a dozen different hymnals used in Leipzig, Dresden, Weimar and other places where Bach might have had contact with them. >
Even Wolff, who give so much detail about the services in Leipzig, only gives a few references. That there was a normative hymn book is evidenced by Bach's dispute with the Subdeacon at St. Nicholas who usurped Bach's right to choose hymns and chose a chorale from a collection other than the 1725 "Dresdener Gesangbuch", which appears to have been the hymn book always used (Wolff p,258). This book had words only but was indexed to chorales. At the same time, there appears to have been a choir hymn book in use, the "Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch". That Bach kept his hymn books close to hand is shown by the close correspondance of the Orgel-Büchlein to the Weimar hymn book, the "Schuldiges Lob Gottes" (Wolff p, 127).

We tend to view Bach's choral works as if they exist apart from their liturgical context. When an instrumental chorale suddenly appears in an aria, we scramble to find out what the chorale was. Bach's listeners immediately nodded in appreciation when "Meine Seele Erhebt" was heard in the oboes in the "Suscepit" -- it was the chorale version of the Magnificat that they all sang when concerted settings of the canticle weren't performed. Just as they heard a sacramental allusion in the opening of the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) when the German Agnus Dei was sung from the gallery in the arch beneath which they passed to receive the Lamb of God of communion.

I believe it is almost impossible to appreciate the cantatas of BAch without onsidering closly their liturgical context.

John Pike wrote (August 10, 2005):
[To Alan Melvin] I guess there are many of us who live in university towns but who, not being members of the university, do not have access to the wealth of academic publications. Nor do I (and I suspect many others) have the time to go and do work like this, much as I would love to spend the rest of my time on this mortal coil immersed in listening to, playing, and studying music. I would therefore greatly welcome this web page (actually several hundred of them!), that i can dip into, free of charge, between patients or during the lunch hour, on my computer at work. So, once again, a big thank you to those taking on this work.

John Pike wrote (August 10, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] Wonderful! How incredibly helpful! I have the Williams book at home, but to be able to do this from a computer is just great!

John Pike wrote (August 10, 2005):
[To Aryeh Oron] From my perspective, both this and the "Werde Munter" page look really excellent. I suspect that this is perfectly adequate for most people's needs. It seems very comprehensive, easy and interesting to read, and well presented. Congratulations!

John Pike wrote (August 10, 2005):
[To Aryeh Oron] I forgot to say that I am wondering whether this a typo error "Etlich Christlich lider". Should the last word read "lieder", or is it just an archaic spelling?

John Pike wrote (August 10, 2005):
[To Doug Cowling] I agree with Doug's suggestion but recognise that this is a mammoth undertaking. As a matter of interest, how many Chorale melodies do you expect to cover in due course. I note that the Zahn numbers are in 4 figures. Will you be doing several thousand Chorale melodies, or did Bach not use most of them?

John Pike wrote (August 10, 2005):
I have come across a useful resource on the web. It is interesting in itself and may save you some typing work: http://www.gesangbuch.org/index.html

Doug Cowling wrote (August 10, 2005):
Bach's Symbolic Use of Chorales

John Pike wrote:
< I agree with Doug's suggestion but recognise that this is a mammoth undertaking. As a matter of interest, how many Chorale melodies do you expect to cover in due course. >
I don't think we need to establish a complete catalogue of all chorales in all their various manifestations. The best resource would be a listing of the six chorales sung each Sunday and Holy Day under Bach's tenure at Leipzig. That would give us the musical and literary context of Bach's cantatas.

I'll give you an example of hothis resource can inform our knowledge of Bach's intentions. I never understood why the wonderful opening chorus of "Sie Werden Aus Saba" was followed immediately by a chorale "Die Kön'ge aus Saba" sung to "Puer Natus in Bethlehem" -- it seemed so anticlimactic. It was only when I heard McCreesh's reconstruction of the Epiphany Mass that I realized that the chorale had already been sung at the beginning of the service as the Introit hymn when the clergy entered. It suggested to me that Bach was symbolizing the journey of the Three Kings in the opening chorus and the entry into the creche in the chorale. Perhaps even that the congregation's journey to church and entry into the building to the chorale is symbolic of the soul's life journey to Christ. I know that sounds flat when explicated in words, but as a subtle musical allusion it is typical of Bach's brilliant use of chorales to enrich the meaning of the music.

John Pike wrote (August 10, 2005):
[To Doug Cowling] There is a lot of very interesting information in Thomas' and Doug's e mails below. Far be it from me to want to burden Thomas and Aryeh with even more work but I wonder if it would be helpful to have a general introduction page about Chorale melodies, Gesangbuecher, Zahn, other compilers etc. The information below and much more besides, no doubt, could usefully be included on such a page. This would be very interesting to many of us, I am sure, before all the individual chorale melodies have been added. Indded, it might be easier to digest the general information rather than the specific. It would also aid understanding of the specific if the general information had been read first. I tried to visit the root page on Chorale melodies, which is currently very rudimentary, of course. Having a general introduction here, with links to specific meodies would also help presentation at an early stage. Once again, congratulations and good luck on a most interesting project.

Thomas Braatz wrote (August 10, 2005):
John Pike wrote:
>>I guess there are many of us who live in university towns but who, not being members of the university, do not have access to the wealth of academic publications. Nor do I (and I suspect many others) have the time to go and do work like this, much as I would love to spend the rest of my time on this mortal coil immersed in listening to, playing, and studying music.<<
Why complain about this online if you are not able to help or supply a source of help?

>>I have the Williams book at home, but to be able to do this from a computer is just great!<<
I still have not received an answer to my question put to Brad on this book, perhaps you can supply it.

>>From my perspective, both this and the "Werde Munter" page look really excellent. I suspect that this is perfectly adequate for most people's needs.<<
So 'adequate' in your estimation means that experts would require much more and increasingly more accurate information. Pray tell, what these additional requirements would be and how you happen to know what they are.

>>I forgot to say that I am wondering whether this is a typo error "Etlich Christlich lider". Should the last word read "lieder", or is it just an archaic spelling?<<
Your last guess is correct, otherwise I would not have let this go through. <>

>>I agree with Doug's suggestion but recognise that this is a mammoth undertaking. As a matter of interest, how many Chorale melodies do you expect to cover in due course. I note that the Zahn numbers are in 4 figures. Will you be doing several thousand Chorale melodies, or did Bach not use most of them?<<
What does your better judgment tell you here. That will be the correct answer.

>>I have come across a useful resource on the web. It is interesting in itself and may save you some typing work: http://www.gesangbuch.org/index.html <<
It is very kind of you to point this out, but, for instance, the chorale under discussion this week "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her" is listed by this organization as an incomplete chorale. They actually stop with their final verse in the middle of the Lord's Prayer. This is somewhat like a surgeon who has finished cutting out what seems necessary, but then instructs the others to wheel out the patient without stitching the wound.

>>Far be it from me to want to burden Thomas and Aryeh with even more work but I wonder if it would be helpful to have a general introduction page about Chorale melodies, Gesangbücher, Zahn, other compilers etc. The information below and much more besides, no doubt, could usefully be included on such a page. This would be very interesting to many of us, I am sure, before all the individual chorale melodies have been added. Indded, it might be easier to digest the general information rather than the specific. It would also aid understanding of the specific if the general information had been read first. I tried to visit the root page on Chorale melodies, which is currently very rudimentary, of course. Having a general introduction here, with links to specific meodies would also help presentation at an early stage.<<
An introductory page on chorales is not a top priority at this stage. In any case, an avid Bach lover needing an introduction would do well to read Robin A. Leaver's full-length article in the OCC which I assume that you have already purchased and consulted. Doug Cowling would find this article interesting as well. I do not see any reason why the general article would have to be a prerequisite for the specific pages of chorale melodies.

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 10, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>As a printed text/tune resource on all chorales used in the organ works, Peter Williams's 2nd edition (2003) of The Organ Music of JS Bach is indispensable.<<
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Does Williams indicate precisely where each tune tune is taken from? Please give examples of the sources he uses for "Werde munter" and "Es ist das Heil" so that I can know what you are talking about. >
This was already provided directly in the same message where I recommended the book. Bring up Williams's sample pages THEMSELVES on the web, with the search link I provided and explained, and study them yourself! (Dr Pike and perhaps some others have already done so.) Even better, go to a library or bookstore and get the book. Look at the whole book, not just a couple of isolated pages. But see at least Williams's treatment of "Nun komm der heiden Heiland" on p239, as one of the more extensive examples!
<>

Thomas Braatz wrote (August 11, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>As a printed text/tune resource on all chorales used in the organ works, Peter Williams's 2nd edition(2003)of The Organ Music of JS Bach is
indispensable.<<
My response was: Does Williams indicate precisely where each tune tune is taken from? Please give examples of the sources he uses for "Werde munter" and "Es ist das Heil" so that I can know what you are talking about.

Brad Lehman wrote:
>>This was already provided directly in the same message where I recommended the book. Bring up Williams's sample pages THEMSELVES on the web, with the search link I provided and explained, and study them yourself! (Dr Pike and perhaps some others have already done so.)<< <>
Well, it appears that neither you, John Pike, and perhaps some others have done this very thoroughly, otherwise you and they would have caught a glaring omission in the last Chorale Melodies page on "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her." Perhaps I was still too busy trying to provide examples to Aryeh, when you mentioned Williams' book, but this is no excuse on my part for not having looked at this book to determine what type of resource it could possibly be. I am grateful for this, but I also can see where this book's shortcomings are.

This is Williams' statement on the chorale melody for
BWV 638:
>>The MELODY is that of an Easter song, published with the text and used in Cantatas for Weimar (BWV 155) and Leipzig (BWV 9, BWV 86, BWV 117, BWV 155, BWV 186). See Example 156 [the melody extracted from BWV 155/5] <<

What does Williams mean with the "melody was published with the text"? No details given here as to what this could mean.

Bach certainly did not publish the melody with the text during his lifetime. Who did?

Is Williams referring to one of many hymnals used by Bach? Which one? Why didn't Williams use the melody from one of the hymnals that Bach would have been acquainted with? Why did Williams choose as an example BWV 155/5?

Now I am glad that Williams did choose BWV 155/5 because it is the missing element in this week's list. How could such a thing happen? So far I have had occasion to consult the BWV chorale melody cross-reference list only twice for last week's chorale melody (where the BWV forgot to include one of the most famous instances of "Werde munter": BWV 147/6,10; this time for "Es ist das Heil" the BWV forgot to list BWV 155/5. I had forgotten to double check with the NBA listings where this melody is properly listed as appearing both as No. 334 in CPE's 4-pt. chorale collection and BWV 155/5 which are both the same.

Other questions about Williams' scholarly explanation of the chorale melody: he did not refer to Zahn, nor did he even bother to list an earlier form of the melody with which Bach might have been acquainted. He simply quoted from a concluding 4-pt chorale which does not even agree completely with the melody used in BWV 638!

Williams gives only one verse from the Speratus text. He does not mention the fact that BWV 638 is a clean copy and not a composing score as many others in this collection are. This might help to understand why there is a BWV 638a.

Summary based upon one example:

Williams has had to cut corners considerably regarding the origin of the chorale melody (nothing quoted nor musical examples taken from Zahn.)

Williams does list all of the occurrences of the melody compared with the BWV which missed an important one.

Williams' explanation of the chorale melody is rather cryptic and difficult to understand. Yes, he does mention the earlier form of the melody as related to Easter, but where are the connections to Speratus' text which is not an Easter text. Just how, when, and where was the 'Easter melody published with the text'? Is Williams even aware of the alternate chorale text "Sei Lob und Ehr dem höchsten Gut" that Bach had associated with this melody as well. What does the latter text or Bach's use of it have to do with Easter?

It would appear that an interested reader, if wishing to explore these many avenues, would come up rather short-handed in regard to the origin and history of a chorale melody. Certainly, Williams' book was never intended to be source for the history of a chorale beyond simple hints like 'Easter' which does not make too much sense for the organist playing BWV 638. At least Williams supplied the 1st verse of Speratus' text (but other editions of Bach's organ works have done the same.)

BWV 155/5 will be quickly added to the Chorale Melody list for "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her." If those who read the Chorale Melodies list discover a mistake or omission, they should pass this information on to Aryeh Oron so that whatever is wrong or missing can be rectified.

Leonardo Been wrote (August 11, 2005):
well-studied and confidence-inspiring Re: Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works - Improved Version

[To Thomas Braatz] Thomas Braatz wrote a well-studied (discerning) and confidence-inspiring exposition, regarding his present, highly appreciated undertaking for us.

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 11, 2005):
[To Leonardo Been] <>

Charles Francis wrote (August 11, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] <> Nevertheless, I am disappointed that both persona wish to pour cold water on the admirable efforts of an active contributor to the BCW.

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 11, 2005):
[To Charles Francis] Whatever; the occasional bath of cold water tends to be good for living things.

And "admirable" and "disappointed" (vis-a-vis "efforts" by another) are surely value judgments made separately by each observer, made on whatever subjective expectations are in play. Undiscerning observers may be easily impressed, but that impressibility doesn't guarantee that any given presentation is credible to a different observer.

My own expectation--as an observer--is simply that any "admirable effort" be accurate and reliable (both in methodology and results), and that it properly respect other such efforts that are already available as resources on the same topic.

"A man with a watch 'knows' what time it is. A man with multiple watches isn't so 'sure'."

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 12, 2005):
CM Project (was: [BachCantatas] Re: well-studied and confidence-inspiring)

[To Bradley Lehman] Let's put things in order instead of talking about condemnations, accusations, cold water and similar 'interesting' topics, which do not have a place in this forum.

The CM project is a huge undertaking, which request some patience and dedication from all concerned, both the builders and the users.

The first step was setting the format in a way, which gives the maximum information and usability. After the initial proposal had been presented, it has been improved significantly based on the input from the BCML members; you included (please take notice that the Zahn numbers have been added).

The second step and the most challenging one is building the CM database. There are some hundreds of them used in Bach's vocal works. The main sources for the data are the NBA, the BWV and Dürr. I believe that not many experts would disagree that for the initial version of the database these are good and reliable sources.

The third step is fine-tuning of the info. More categories of data can bee added; corrections should be made; additional data to existing categories can be added. All members of the BCML are invited to contribute and suggest corrections, additions and improvements. The data in the database should be checked against other reliable source, such as those proposed by you.

Indeed, we should accept such suggestions in a more positive way that it has done so far. On the other hand, attacks on the integrity and behaviour of other members might lead us to places in which I would not like this forum to be. Since you have more than minor share in this regard, I ask you to stop sending this kind of messages to the BCML.

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 13, 2005):
The 371 (Riemenschneider) online as a web resource

Peter Smaill wrote:
< Is not the potential secondary output of this work a more comprehensive version of Reimenschneider, whose 371 harmonised Chorales are incomplete, subjectively described, and with allusions to (not fully set out examples of) really good English translations?
I love Reimenschneider and my copy is therefore falling to pieces; but the organisation and indexing of the work is chaotic. There is no reference to the harmonic relationship of words to the settings, and the sources are often absent. Other settings by notable composers are ignored (except Rosenmuller) and reception of the Chorales into later hymnals only touched upon (especially via Catherine Winkworth, a key figure in hymnody).
I think it can be improved on by individuals in our Group, given the lowered costs of desktop publishing - volunteer(s) please ! >
It's already been done, as a strong start (focusing on the musical side, not the texts): http://www.jsbchorales.net/riemen.html
The PDF files present the chorales in open-score format, which is a terrific way to study them and play them: as four interweaving lines, not thinking of them as block chords. This presentation includes all the parts, not only the mel-giving the important harmonic and contrapuntal context that influences any changes in the melody. That's important context musically.

http://www.jsbchorales.net/
The site doesn't presume to press any performance-practice preferences--lecturing musicians how to do our jobs--or present any public reviews that bash published work by scholars or performers. The author (Margaret Greentree) mentions her personal interests gently, but she doesn't hector an opinion about being somehow better prepared than trained specialists are. That is, she sticks nicely to musicological facts. Her bibliography recommends some very good books without proposing to overturn them, or to pick nits at the authors' abilities to have written them.
http://www.jsbchorales.net/books.html
It's refreshing and straightforward. (Not that any of these principles are ones that should merit special congratulations! Her presentation simply comes across as normal, respectful, adult treatment of source material carefully organized.) Her web site is therefore a resource that I can personally trust and go use, next to my printed copies of the 371 as additional insight into that music.

She has at least half a dozen cross-referencing indexes of the various numbering systems: Riemenschneider, Kalmus, BWV, German title, Church calendar, and "Group" (where a tune has more than one name). And her page of incremental
updates shows the amount of work that went into this, and her care with cross-checking her scores (where the current NBA reading wins any discrepancy). All round, an excellent web site.

As for an updated Riemenschneider in print, isn't that what this ongoing series proposes to be, at Carus?: http://www.carus-verlag.com/index.php3?BID=94

And of course there's the NBA/Bärenreiter of 2002, itself, which Ms Greentree lists at: http://www.jsbchorales.net/books.html
and provides in her own open-score format: http://www.jsbchorales.net/list.html

In summary: why reinvent a wheel? Buy the Carus and NBA offprint editions, and supplement them with Greentree's excellent web site.... (But I'm still working from the old Breitkopf and Kalmus editions of Riemenschneider myself, leaving them on the harpsichord for informal play-throughs. Between the 371 and the WTC for day-to-day edification, this is essential material, as music in the fingers.)

As for "harmonic relationship of words to the settings", I believe that is inextricably related to the organ tuning as well. I've been playing through the chorales for a year or so, with that in mind, but not systematically yet as to cataloguing those findings. Details about the importance of that exercise are at: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/larips/testpieces.html
and: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/larips/faq2.html

Santu de Silva wrote (August 13, 2005):
This is an interesting idea. I was condering how the chorale would be identified (i.e. 'keyed'), whether by the first line, or by the tune (a la Barlow and Morgenstern). A quick look at the website made it clear that (A) it was the tune by which the list would be keyed, but the (B) it would be identified by one of the many first lines of hymns that are sung to the tune.

Thus, (as I'm sure someone has described already,) if one were to look for "Jesu bleibet meine Freude", one would be referred to the entry under "Werde munter, mein Gemüthe". (Thus, one would expect that the entry for "O Haupt, voll blut und wunden" would be large, since Bach set many verses and many chorales to this tune, if I understand correctly.)

The discussion about Bach's use of chorale melodies brings up many questions.

(A) did Bach, indeed, use chorale melodies by allusion, for expressive purposes?

(B) was the allusion a literary one, or a purely musical one - - in other words did the tunes evoke a particular feeling with Bach without the mediation of words, or was he depending on the best-known words attached to the tune to narrow the meaning of the allusion?

The question above implies another question:

(C) is it possible for a musical phrase to have its own emotional meaning in the fist place? This was the thesis of Deryck Cooke, the well-known musicologist whose musical analysis of the Wagner Ring will be familiar to many. In a work (The Meaning of Music) he sets out musical phrases whose meanings he traces by comparing their use in the traditional music literature. It seems clear to me - -and Cooke may have said this- - that much of our agreement bout such meanings suggests that they must be acquired, rather than built into us, in which case the hymnody - -or rather the hymn tunes to which the hymns were sung- - is a good candidate for the agency for the creation of this musical lexicon. (If there is one, which I believe, but which, of course, I'm not equipped to defend.)

As a (former) Methodist, I have had cause to experience and deplore the practice of singing a multitude of hymns to the same tune. (When I was substitute organist of a tiny church in my teen years, this was a very convenient situation; one didn't need to sight-read a lot of unfamiliar tunes.) This argues against the theory that Hymn-tunes were crafted to perfectly reflect the emotion accompanying the words of the hymn. I merely mention this sad practice in case it comes up later. Of course paid organists would not stoop to reckless substitution of hymn-tunes ;)

The whole question of whether music has extra-musical meaning is a difficult one, and one cannot hope to make progress without introducing careful language to limit the meanings of terms one is using. At any rate, I urge those who are vigorously discussing this topic ("Music is waves of ...") to take a look at Deryck Cooke's book, which I hope is available in print. Many musicians, of course, feel threatened by this kind of semantic approach to music. The whole theory, anyway, only applies from the Baroque through the Romantic styles of music.

P.S. Recitatives are a very credible piece of evidence for believing that Baroque composers, at least, treated music as a means of, if not expressing emotions, at least underscoring them.

Santu de Silva wrote (August 13, 2005):
Brad Lehman's hostility to the project is getting increasingly heavy-handed.

<> It is a particularly poor strategy to criticize an all-volunteer amateur project at its outset, particularly because there's really nothing to prevent its subsequent improvemen! Good heavens, man, why not wait until it's finished, if you want to scrutinize it for defects? What with copyright and all sorts of obstructions to sources of the web, a hyperlink-rich depository of this kind of information will be invaluable, and its shortcomings easily rectified.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (August 13, 2005):
[To Santu de Silva] In Brad's defence (without agreeing or disagreeing with his observations) this is a bit unfair. Why should the amateur nature of this project render it immune from criticism? For if it is legitimate for amateurs to offer opinions on, to criticise, or to to disagree with the work of professionals, it is is surely equally legitimate for professionals to do the same to the work of amateurs.

 

CM & CT 'Wo soll ich fliehen hin'

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 14, 2005):
Two additions to the database of Chorale Melodies (CM) & Chorale Texts (CT).

CM 'Wo soll ich fliehen hin / Auf meinen lieben Gott'
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Wo-soll-ich-fliehen-hin.htm
Contributed by Thomas Braatz.

CT 'Wo soll ich fliehen hin'
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale021-Eng3.htm
Contributed by Francis Browne.

Both the CM & CT are used in Mvt. 6 of of BWV 136, the cantata for discussion this week.

The format of the pages have been revised and expanded, mostly based on input from members of the BCML. I would like to thank you all.

Two pages were also added:
Hymnals with which Bach possibly may have been acquainted
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Hymnals.htm

Links to other sites.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Links/Links-Chorales.htm

You are invited to send corrections/additions/suggestions for improvements.

Peter Smaill wrote (August 15, 2005):
Aryeh Oron writes: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Hymnals.htm
Could I suggest an addition to the list of hymnbooks with which Bach was likely acquainted , unless there is a scholarly reason contra?

The only surviving hymbook believed to have been in Bach's library, although, in common with much material , not specifically identified in the estate inventory, appears to be Michael Weisse's 1538 Bohemian Brethren hymnal. It exists here in Scotland , in the Library of Glasgow University.

The reference is Wolff p335, note 90 to Chapter 9., in " Bach : The Learned Musician".The original source of the authentication is the Schulze/Wolff Bach Compendium 1/4 p1273. If anyone has this text and can create a synopsis in English as to how this hymnal survived, found its way to Glasgow and was identified , I would be most grateful to know more background.

Doug Cowling wrote (August 15, 2005):
[To Peter Smaill] I would kill to see the indices in Bach's hymnbook!

John Pike wrote (August 15, 2005):
[To Aryeh Oron] This looks very good. One small point. On: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Wo-soll-ich-fliehen-hin.htm
in the very first musical example, original melody and text, the note values in the penultimate bar do not add up. I think the 3rd note is supposed to be a quaver.

Doug Cowling wrote (August 15, 2005):
Bach & folksongs

These chorale pages are a treasure trove of information (although I'd still like to see the liturgical context)

"Venus und seine Kind" is pretty racy stuff -- were these folksongs still sung in Bach's time or had they shed their folksong past and become gentrified?

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 15, 2005):
CM, CT & LCY (was: Bach & folksongs)

You asked: "although I'd still like to see the liturgical context"

We would like the CM & CT pages to be as comprehensive as possible. But, although I am not expert in this area, I am not sure that there is necessarily a direct connection between the CM and/or the CT and a certain event in the Lutheran Church Year. I have also read carefully the chapters about the history of the CM & CT in Schweitzer's book (a good introduction to this important topic, BTW) and I have not been able to find any indication about direct connection.

The facts show clearly that a connection of this kind is arbitrary. For example, if you press on the 2nd to left column in the list of works under the heading 'Text', etc., you will get the page of the work, which includes, among other things, the event for which the work was composed. Then you will be able to see for works listed at the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Wo-soll-ich-fliehen-hin.htm
Cantata BWV 5: 19th Sunday after Trinity
Cantata BWV 89: 22nd Sunday after Trinity
Cantata BWV 136: 8th Sunday after Trinity
Cantata BWV 163: 23rd Sunday after Trinity
Cantata BWV 199: 11th Sunday after Trinity
Cantata BWV 188: 21st Sunday after Trinity
Cantata BWV 148: 17th Sunday after Trinity

Am I missing something?

Thomas Braatz wrote (August 15, 2005):
John Pike wrote:
>>...in the very first musical example, original melody and text, the note values in the penultimate bar do not add up. I think the 3rd note is supposed to be a quaver.<<
Thanks for pointing this out. There were, after I looked at it again, two errors in the same line that needed to be corrected. The corrected copy is already in Aryeh's hands and will be substituted for the error-filled sample.

Thomas Braatz wrote (August 15, 2005):
Doug Cowling asked: >>were these folksongs still sung in Bach's time or had they shed their folksong past and become gentrified?<<

We know that Bach was acquainted with folksongs of his time (Quodlibets, Cantata burleque, etc.), but it appears that these folksongs which were current in Germany a century before Bach's lifetime were no longer being sung as folksongs.

Although I have never seen or held in my hands any hymnal with which Bach might have been acquainted during his career, I would guess that many of them did not even include the notes for the single line of melody. I would even seriously doubt that any information regarding the origin or details pertaining to the specific melody being used would appear in print anywhere in the hymnal, even if it did include musical notation. This means that most, if not all, members of a congregation such as St. Thomas or St. Nicholas under Bach's jurisdiction, would have no idea about the previous secular origin of a chorale melody. At most, I would guess, they might know or have indicated in their hymnals which chorales were by Luther (and again the melodic origin, unless stated that Luther also composed the melody, would be blissfully shrouded in history and of no significance (it could even have been too distracting, perhaps irreverant to find out the real words of a folksong which a later chorale text adopted.)

Of much greater concern to music directors in the 17th and 18th centuries was (as I had reported in the translation of a MGG1 article on congregational singing on the BCW) the proliferation, on the one hand of chorale texts (I think I read of one hymnal having 800 to almost 1000 chorale texts, while, on the other hand, the actual number of chorale melodies was being reduced to less than a dozen, to which all the texts were being sung. Imagine going to a church in another city in the region/principality where you lived, or even crossing the border of another less than fifty miles away. You pick up a hymnal (or was it assumed that you brought your own along with you - or perhaps even more common than that: you had memorized the complete chorale texts for 2 to 3 dozen chorales) and you find out which congregational hymn will be sung
next, but when you begin singing, you discover that everyone is singing this chorale text to a different melody! This must have been a fairly common situation back then. Is it no small wonder that we see Bach using different chorale melodies for the same, widely known chorale text? or that the same melody is reused over and over again for different chorale texts?

In the list of hymnals which Bach may have been acquainted with and used (Aryeh recently posted the list on the BCW, but I could not find just now), there is one hymnal, the Vopelius, which first appeared in Leipzig with music in parts, but in the later editions all the parts and melodies were removed leaving only the chorale texts. This meant that the music director of the churches had greater freedom in choosing the melody (and perhaps 'bucking the tide' of the regular church-goers who still remembered the older melody association given in the 1st edition of the hymnal.) In any case, the confusion arose in many churches, where one congregation member with a loud voice would sing loud and clear a melody for a chorale which was not the one designated for use in this particular church on this particular Sunday while the Praeceptor/Präzeptor (I hope I remembered this term correctly) would be attempting to lead (perhaps along with a few boys) the congregation in singing a different melody.

I think a closer study of the chorales melodies and texts will make clear the diversity, and often confusion, that existed in Germany in the 17th and 18th centuries. From our vantage point historically, we are perhaps much better able to understand where the chomelodies originated and how they became attached to certain chorale texts, than someone living in Bach's time would. Then we need to stand back and appreciate how some of these miraculous combinations have endured until the present day with undiminished vitality. Knowing about the secular origins of some of the important chorale melodies serves only to deepen my appreciation of them and gives early proof of their durability. Wasn't it interesting to find out that Regnart's collection of villanellas with German secular texts remained constantly in print for over 35 years when it first came out. This tune still moves hearts today, whether as a secular 'street' song or with at least two important text associations of a religious nature.

Leonardo Been wrote (August 15, 2005):
Very Interesting background data and feeling by Thomas Braatz Re: Bach & folksongs

[To Thomas Braatz]Very Interesting background data and feeling by Thomas Braatz.

Lew George wrote (August 15, 2005):
BWV 136 - Erforsche mich Gott

[To Aryeh Oron] And thanks to you too, Aryeh, for the links to cantata scores. This bach-cantatas site has so much on it; as a relatively new member it will take me forever I think to navigate it expertly. By the way, I visited the chorale project the other day and was knocked out by the wealth of detail. What a fabulous project!

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 21, 2005):
CM 'Jesu, der du meine Seele'

A page dedicated to the CM 'Jesu, der du meine Seele' including alternate CM's connected to it has been added to the BCW.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV105.htm
Contributed by Thomas Braatz.

This CM is used in Mvt. 6 of BWV 105, the cantata for discussion this week.

The format of the CM pages continues to be revised and expanded, since each CM sets new challenges. An important addition are the full scores of the chorales (PDF format), contributed by Margaret Greentree from the website 'The Bach Chorales', highly recommended by Bradley Lehman last week: http://www.jsbchorales.net/

Margaret Greentree wrote to me as follows:
"This giant project is a very much larger scale of the database I created in FileMaker of the chorale melodies for my own use.
The database you are working on is more detailed and more up to date. I was basing my data on Charles Sanford Terry and Peter Williams.
Your project looks very good, I am looking forward to using it in the future."

You are invited to send corrections/additions/suggestions for improvements.

John Pike wrote (August 22, 2005):
[To Aryeh Oron] Another noble effort but I'm afraid I found this section a bit confusing (as no doubt you did too):
"At this point, the BWV Verzeichnis, asks the reader to make a 'leap of faith' and equate (an equal sign '=' is used) the above melody with "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" and "Wachet doch, erwacht, ihr Schläfer." For the latter chorale melody, I can find no record in Bach's works whatsoever, while the former does yield some interesting material, but nothing that approaches an equivalent melody or melodic form. For this reason, a separate page is devoted to "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" and disregard the imagined connection expressed by the BWV Verzeichnis as "Jesu, der du meine Seele" = "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" and "Wachet doch, erwacht, ihr Schläfer.""

I think the last sentence would better read "For this reason, a separate page is devoted to the chorale melody "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" and I have disregarded the equation suggested by the BWV Verzeichnis between the chorale melodies "Jesu, der du meine Seele" and "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" and "Wachet doch, erwacht, ihr Schläfer."

What is confusing is that, having said a separate page is devoted to (the chorale melody) "Alle Menschen muessen sterben", the next section (on Chorale texts) starts:
Chorale Text: "Alle Menschen müssen sterben"
This chorale text is generally attributed to either Johann Georg Albinus 1624-1679) or Johann Rosenmüller (1620-1684). The year of its first appearance as a text is 1652. It has always been associated with funerals and death. (By 1649 Rosenmüller was appointed to the official position in Leipzig of 'Baccalaureus funerum.')

It seems to me that the = sign may be a careless way of saying that the melody "Jesu, der du meine Seele" is used with the text of "Alle Menschen müssen sterben". It may be helpful to readers to emphasise the distinction here between a melody and a text, both with the same name. There is a link between the chorale melody of "Jesu, der du meine Seele" and the text of "Alle Menschen müssen sterben", but not with the chorale meody of that name.

Thomas Braatz wrote (August 22, 2005):
John Pike wrote:
>>What is confusing is that, having said a separate page is devoted to (the chorale melody) "Alle Menschen muessen sterben", the next section (on Chorale texts) starts:<<
Aryeh and I have considered this problem. It seems to be better to include all the information about melody and text of both "Jesu, der du meine Seele" and "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" on the same page with links/references to this page from a separate, empty page devoted to "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" to which many readers searching for information on this particular chorale melody (and text) will turn first before they can even begin making any kind of association between these two chorales as tenuous as this connection may be.

Having all this information together on one page so that interested readers can begin to sort out the complicated connections themselves by viewing all the melodies (scores) on a single page and by reading the current information available about them without jumping back and forth between various links, makes more sense than separating the two main chorales so that they (the readers) might not be surprised by the shift from a statement about the chorale melody to another while simultaneously juggling the various, quite different chorale texts involved.

Perhaps, in order to avoid confusion for some readers, the reference to "a separate page devoted to..." should simply be dropped, since its existence is important only to someone searching only for "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" for which a separate page exists with a link pointing back to "Jesu, der du meine Seele."

Another interested reader, after having read about "Jesu, der du meine Seele," would be led by natural curiosity to find out why the BWV Verzeichnis, which clearly purports to have investigated and listed officially and made all the necessary connections between all of Bach's "Kirchenliedmelodien," needs to be examined with a wary eye for missing or misleading details. I, for one, would be grateful for anyone who would point out where these flaws and omissions are. In this case, one chorale melody "Jesu, der du meine Seele" flowed very awkwardly into another main chorale melody "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" which is also used by Bach. As you have discovered, there is an extremely tenuous thread, one vastly overstated by the BWV Verzeichnis, between one and the other and it has little or nothing to do with the the melodies being equivalent or even similar, but rather with the manner in which chorale melodies were applied at different times and in different places to existing chorale texts or vice versa.

I believe that a cautious reader will be quite aware of the distinctions being made between chorale melody and text.

>>I think the last sentence would better read "For this reason, a separate page is devoted to the chorale melody "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" and I have disregarded the equation suggested by the BWV Verzeichnis between the chorale melodies "Jesu, der du meine Seele" and "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" and "Wachet doch, erwacht, ihr Schläfer."<<
But the point is, that I have not disregarded the connections made. I have attempted to take the results of the BWV Verzeichnis seriously. Disregarding results because I am incapable of understanding them (the method you seem to support) would ato saying that I am not capable of judging the results provided by the BWV Verzeichnis. By making the statement and questioning certain results for which the evidence is not forthcoming, I am challenging anyone to come up with a better explanation and with more detailed information. The wonderful aspect of Aryeh's site, the BCW, is that this info is not in a printed form such as the BWV Verzeichnis which has not been updated since 1998. Here all you have to do is supply creditable, verifiable information which, when examined for its reasonableness, can easily be added to missing information or put in place of that which is erroneous. Also, there will, without a doubt, be a greater number individuals scrutinizing these results carefully online than would ever have occasion to consult the BWV Verzeichnis in book form. And who is to say that the Bach specialists who consult the latter Verzeichnis would even bother to check the results very carefully, let alone, even pass their observations about missing or confusing information on to others who could profit from having correct information available now and not at some date in the distant future when a new edition of the BWV Verzeichnis will be printed and available directly only to a limited number of individuals?

As Aryeh has already pointed out: each chorale melody presents a new set of challenges as we come to terms with the manner in which the information might best be presented and be easily accessible to the potential reader seeking information. The current Chorale Melody page is a good example of the difficulties we face and I am certain that there will be even more difficult ones in the future.

For this we seek your input or that of anyone else who wishes to help us improve the worthiness of this project.

John Pike wrote (August 23, 2005):
[To Thomas Braatz] I see that you are right. I wrote the e mail in haste before leaving work last night. I wasn't sure what you were trying to say and I misunderstood.

I agree it would be wrong to disregard the BWV, but it is right to draw attention to any points that are not clear to us at present. I am wondering whether it would be possible to send an e mail to the editors asking them to clarify the significance of the = sign?

I certainly agree about the website. I noticed that Aryeh has already included the recently rediscovered work by Bach with its new BWV number and details of first performance. First rate.

 

Continue on Part 5

Chorales BWV 250-438: Details & Recordings
Individual Recordings:
Hilliard - Morimur | Chorales - Matt | Chorales - Rilling | Preludi ai Corali - Quartetto Italiani di Viola Da Gamba
Discussions: General:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Chorales in Bach's Vocal Works: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Hidden Chorale Melody Allusions | Passion Chorale
References:
Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438
Texts & English Translations of Chorales:
Sorted by Title
Chorale Melodies:
Sorted by Title | 371 4-Part Chorales sorted by Breitkopf Number | Explanation
MIDI files of the Chorales:
Cantatas BWV 1-197 | Other Vocal Works BWV 225-248 | Chorales BWV 250-438
Articles:
The Origin of the Texts of the Chorales [Schweitzer] | The Origin of the Melodies of the Chorales [Schweitzer] | The Chorale in the Church Service [Schweitzer] | Choral / Chorale [Terry] | The History of the Breitkopf Collection of J. S. Bach’s Four-Part Chorales [Braatz] | Chorale Melody Allusions in Bach's Vocal Works [Braatz]
Hymnals used by Bach | Abbreviations used for the Chorales | Links to other Sites about the Chorales

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