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Trios in Bach’s vocal works

Bach Trios

Santu de Silva wrote (October 29, 2001):
I have an odd question.

One of my favorite numbers in the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) is the trio in the fifth cantata, I believe: . . . oh dear, I can't remember the first line, but anyway, it's the only trio in the thing.

In fact, it's the only vocal trio I can recall anywhere in Bach!

Are there other vocal trios? Am I forgetting an obvious one?

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 29, 2001):
[To Santu De Silva] Yes, BWV 243 Magnificat Mvt. 10 is now more recently being sung OVPP and not by a women's chorus, and when this is done well, it is truly a noteworthy trio that is unusual in many ways.

Steven Guy wrote (October 29, 2001):
[To Santu De Silva] In the apocryphal St. Luke Passion (BWV 246) there is a trio - "Weh und Schmerz in dem Gebären" for two sopranos and an alto. The accompanying ensemble consists of 2 flauti traversi, 2 violini and the viola acts as the lowest instrument - the basso continuo is tacet. Perhaps there are other terzetti in some of the cantatas?

Peter van Kranenburg wrote (October 29, 2001):
[To Santu De Silva] There is one in the Magnificat (BWV 243) (Suscepit Israel).

Isabella (Vittoria de Sebata) wrote (October 29, 2001):
Finally one I know!
There is another trio in Cantata BWV 122 - n.4 a Terzetto con Choral "Ist Gott versoehnt und unser Freund"

Daniel Page wrote (October 29, 2001):
[To Santu de Silva] There is another trio in Cantata BWV 150 - mvt. 5 "Zedern müssen von den Winden" for alto, tenor and bass.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 29, 2001):
This thread began with Arch's question:
< I have an odd question. One of my favorite numbers in the Christmas Oratorio is the trio in the fifth cantata, i believe: . . . oh dear, I can't remember the first line, but anyway, it's the only trio in the thing. In fact, it's the only vocal trio I can recall anywhere in Bach! Are there other vocal trios? Am I forgetting an obvious one? >

and Isabella found another:
< Finally one I know! There is another trio in Cantata BWV 122 - n.4 a Terzetto con Choral "Ist Gott versoehnt und unser Freund" >

Here is a more complete list according to the church calendar (as far as this goes):

BWV 243 Magnificat Mvt. 10 (Suscepit Israel) SSA
BWV 122 Das neugeborne Kindelein Mvt. 4 SAT
BWV 248 Christmas Oratorio Pt. 5 Sec. 51 SAT
BWV 249 Easter Oratorio Mvt. 6 (Recit) ATB
BWV 38 Aus tiefer Not Mvt. 5 (Terzetto) SAB
BWV 116 Du Friedefürst. Mvt. 4 (Terzetto) STB

BWV 215 Preise dein Glücke Mvt. 8 (Recit) STB
BWV 205 Zerreißet, zersprenget Mvt. 12 (Recit) SAT
BWV 201 Geschwinde, ihr... Mvt. 12 (Recit) SAT
BWV 211 Coffee Cantata Mvt. 10 (Final Chorus-Soloists) STB

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 29, 2001):
[To Daniel Page] Thanks Daniel for pointing this one out:
< There is another trio in Cantata BWV 150 - mvt. 5 "Zedern müssen von den Winden" for alto, tenor and bass. >
This is from the Cantata BWV 150 ("Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich"), at first thought not to be by Bach for many reasons, including the fact that both the original score and parts are not documented to have existed, only copies are available. Alfred Dürr himself considered this to be unbachian and very primitive, but he now thinks that this may have been due to the poor calibre of musicians that were available to perform it. The NBA has included it after having originally rejected it (It was not included in the initial projected cantata list when the NBA began its editorial work on the series. The NBA KB indicates the Brahms based the final mvt. of his 4th Symphony on the chaconne theme of this cantata's 7th mvt.

Santu de Silva wrote (October 29, 2001):
Thanks, everyone, for the information!

As you can imagine, in such trios Bach usually has an obbligato instrument somewhere- -in the case of the trio from the XO it's a violin- -and the bass line, so effectively the trio of voices and the two additonal parts is actually a quintet.

I suspect that my trio is likely to be the most melodious of these, but I must hasten to check them out!

Thank you very much.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 30, 2001):
[To Thomas Braatz] If I remember correctly, the motet "Jesu meine Freude" BWV 227 has a vocal = trio in it, too.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 30, 2001):
[To Bradley Lehman] Yes, I found it. It's SSA Measures 123-146 "Denn das Gesetz..." and also ATB Measures 277-299 "So aber Christus in euch ist"

No trios in any of the other motets!

 

Bach's Trios

Continue of discussion from: Cantata BWV 122 - Discussions Part 2

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 3, 2009):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< All have individual and slightly quirky continuo lines, two in the minor and one in the major. All quite individual in character and utterly beautiful making one wish that he had written more of them >
Bach is a prolific writer of trios in sacred music compared with Vivaldi and Handel. Vivaldi's great G Minor Magnificat has a comparable trio, but I can't think of anything in Handel. Certainly not in the anthems, but perhaps somewhere in the oratorios. Did the Trio in the Magnificat (BWV 243) get into the list? However, it's really not like the cantata trios, but more in the early Baroque tradition of "reduced" polyphonic verses.

Julian Mincham wrote (July 3, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Did the Trio in the Magnificat (BWV 243) get into the list? >
I was talking only of the second chorale cycle in which there are just the three trios in the 53 cantatas ---so I was not incluing that from the Magnificat (BWV 243). This compares with almost 20 duets in the same cycle. Elsewhere amongst the cantatas the provision of trios is equally sparse.

 

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Last update: ýJuly 30, 2009 ý21:18:20