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OVPP (One-Voice-Per-Part)
Discussions - Part 22

Continue from Part 21

Another paper on the OVPP VS More debate

David D. Jones wrote (April 29, 2013):
here's another paper that folks on the site may feel is helpful. Enjoy.

David Herzstein Couch wrote (May 1, 2013):
On April 29, David Jones tried to send us the article "Performing Bach: One or Many?" by Robin A. Leaver
from The Choral Scholar, Volume 1, Number 1 Spring 2009

This brief survey contains a discussion and bibliography of articles about OVPP.

Here is a link to it: http://www.ncco-usa.org/tcs/issues/vol1/no1/leaver/TCS_Leaver_Performing_Bach.pdf
or see: http://www.ncco-usa.org/tcs/issues/vol1/no1/

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 1, 2013):
[To David Herzstein Couch] Great article, thanks for posting that. I know from conversations with Joshua Rifkin, it was the Graupner sources in Darmstadt that started him on the one voice per part "journey." For what it's worth, Joshua Rifkin thinks highly of Graupner as a cantata writer :-)

Evan Cortens wrote (May 1, 2013):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] Indeed, great article! On Graupner specifically, see Leaver's footnote 4, which points to an article by Guido Erdmann clearly showing that at least these particular alto parts are very clearly intended for a single Italian singer, who can be identified by name. Indeed, due to their phonetic spelling, they would have been practically unusable by anyone else! One can debate whether this can be extended to other courts, but it seems clear that at Darmstadt, during Graupner's time, the norm was one singer per physical part. (There is, from time to time, more than one physical part per voice part, sometimes as many as three.)

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 1, 2013):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Indeed, great article! On Graupner specifically, see Leaver's footnote 4, which points to an article by Guido Erdmann clearly showing that at least these particular alto parts are very clearly intended for a single Italian
singer, who can be identified by name. >
Thanks for drawing attention to vocal parts which are named for particular singers. We can see this as far back as Palestrina who noted specific singers' names on manuscripts of his music for the Sistine Chapel, Despite modern protests, it is quite clear that Palestrina's Sistine music should be sung OVPP and with adult sopranists in the upper parts (The Sistine Choir did not have boys until 1903!) At the same time, there is plenty of evidence that multiple voices per part could be found even in contemporary Rome. Victoria was writing music in much the same style at the same time, and when he returned to Madrid, the records show that he used 5-3-3-3 voices in his music. Thus, there is a wide diversity of performance practice for several centuries.

It is also interesting that Handel wrote for a variety of choral ensembles. In some of the Chapel Royal music, it is clearly OVPP because the choral parts have the names of the singers written in. The "chamber" proportions are perhaps due to the miniscule size of the Chapel Royal. Yet at the same time, Handel happily assembles large choruses for occasions such as the Coronation Anthems.

It seems to me that our modern notions of choir size first appear in the last third of the 18th century where in England the mass choirs of the Handel Commemoration fixes the concept of a choir. I suspect that in Germany the same effect was produced by the advent of large mixed symphonic choirs such as were heard in Haydn's "Creation" and Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis".

Although .. I heard a brilliant period instrument performance last year of Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony" with 50 voices.

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 2, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Thus, there is a wide diversity of performance practice for several centuries. >
Indeed, continuing through the 21st C, e.g.:

< Although .. I heard a brilliant period instrument performance last year of Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony" with 50 voices. >

 

Passions video question

Uri Golomb wrote (November 27, 2014):
Are there any videos of either of Bach's Passions sung one-per-part? There are several audio recordings – I own most of them – but so far haven't found any videos listed, or on Youtube. Am I missing something?

I am asking because in a few months I'll be giving a course on the work, and I want to show my students a clip – preferably one which clearly shows that the Evangelist and Christus are also members of the Choir (or, in the case of the ST Matthew, members of Chorus One). The closest I have so far is Masaaki Suzuki's Johannes Passion – it's not one-per-part, but at least his Christus is visibly part of the choir.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Paul Beckman wrote (November 27, 2014):
[To Uri Golomb] Also not one-per-part is Simon Rattle's Matthew Passion ("ritualized" by Peter Sellars), which has been uploaded to Daily Motion (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x18f1bs_j-s-bach-matthaus-passion-simon-rattle-2013-1-4_music) in four parts. The soloists are part of the choir as in the Suzuki video. It's a bit exotic, and not everyone's cup of tea, and it's not HIP, so it may not be at all what you're looking for - so take it for what it's worth.

William Hoffman wrote (November 27, 2014):
I am impressed with the attempt to use the performers to interpret the text in a semi-staging. I especially like the quality of the performance and the interaction, gestures and movements of the chorus, chorale, turbae, Evangelist and the first soloist. While it rarely tells the story literally, the intent of Bach's setting of the text is fully realized. While I still have some reservations about some of Picander's text, I understand the impact that it could have had on the congregation.

Luke Dahn wrote (November 27, 2014):
Perhaps some of you saw Anthony Tommasini's NY Times review last month of the Sellars-Rattle production. Tommasini said, "I have seldom felt so much a participant in the musical drama of this staggering masterpiece."
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/09/arts/music/Berlin-Philharmonic-Park-Avenue-Armory-St-Matthew-Passion.html

 

Will be continued…

Choir Form: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9
One-Voice-Per-Part (OVPP):
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 | Part 22
Articles:
Bach’s Choir and Orchestra [T. Koopman] | Evidence for the Size of Bach’s Primary Choir [T. Braatz]
Books on OVPP:
The Essential Bach Choir [A. Parrott] | Bach's Choral Ideal [J. Rifkin]: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


General Topics: Main Page | About the Bach Cantatas Website | Cantatas & Other Vocal Works | Scores & Composition, Parodies, Reconstructions, Transcriptions | Texts, Translations, Languages | Instruments, Voices, Choirs | Performance Practice | Radio, Concerts, Festivals, Recordings | Life of Bach, Bach & Other Composers | Mailing Lists, Members, Contributors | Various Topics



 

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