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Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Systematic Discussions of Bach’s Other Vocal Works
Motet BWV 228
Fürchte dich nicht

Discussions in the Week of January 25, 2004

None.

 

Discussions in the Week of January 2, 2010

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 2, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 228 -- Fürchte dich nicht

This is the second week of a brief holiday interruption in the continuing series of cantatas spanning from Easter to Ascension , Pentecost, and Trinity. After last weeks BWV 227 (Bachs longest, and arguably most intricate motet.) we move to the motet BWV 228.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV225-231.htm

The previous BCW discussion specific to BWV 228 is none. For those of us who would like to open that topic, there is interesting information available in the OCC (Daniel Melamed article, referencing his own work, <J. S. Bach and the German Motet>, Cambridge, 1995), and in the booklet notes by Thomas Seedorf to the Rene Jacobs recording of the motets. Both suggest that BWV 228 is a relatively early work, in the tradition of the Bach family. Seedorf cites a work with the same title by uncle Johann Christoph. If there is interest, I will try to probe those brief notes a bit further, but the Melamed text looks to be the extant authority, which I do not have at hand.

Many fine recordings available. In addition to Jacobs, both Kuijken and Junghängel (Cantus Cölln) appeal to my ears, with transparent textures. The scoring is worth discussion, Kuijken with two voices per part. Can that be reconciled with OVPP cantata performance? Are these motets distinct from those that would have been performed as part of a church service, along with cantata(s)? I am guessing the answer is yes, but expert commentary invited.

Happy New Year (fear not, but be alert)

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 2, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Are these motets distinct from those that would have been performed as part of a church service, along with cantata(s)? >
With the exception of "Lobet den Herrn" and "Singet den Herrn", the motets appear to be funeral pieces. According to Stiller, the choir met the casket at the home and sang chorales during the procession to the grave. After the interment, the funeral party would return to the church for chorales, readings and a sermon. For important people, the choir might sing a funeral motet at that service.

For a REALLY important citizen, a commissioned motet would replace the cantata at the next Sunday's afternoon Vespers. "Komm Jesu Komm" and "Jesu Meine Freude", which are substantial works, probably fall into this category. This Sunday commemoration was probably granted to Bach after his death, and Wolff suggests that he copied a cousin's motet for his own Sunday obsequies.

"Singet dem Herrn" is a grand festal work which has the scale of a major cantata. It appears to have doubled by orchestra which adds to its splendour. The occasion for its composition is unknown, perhaps a royal accession or visit. "Lobet den Herrn" is the only motet with an independent continuo. It too may be a "homage" work.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 2, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<>
< Are these motets distinct from those that would have been performed as part of a church >service, along with cantata(s)? >
See Doug Cowlings response, re suggested intent for the motets. To my ears, the Cantus Cölln texture, with minimal continuo support, is most accurate for performance outside church. It is a fine sound, in any case, and recommended also from archived BCW reports.

After the fact, I realize the three recordings I mentioned are not among those Aryeh has posted. There goes my commission.

Peter Smaill wrote (January 3, 2011):
<>

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 3, 2011):
<>
I have been listening to the Junghänel (Cantus Cölln) motet CD a bit, this weekend. It is a new acquisition for me, as part of a 50 CD Deutsche Harmonia Mundi anniversary bargain box. A while back, I chose to order the Jacobs based on my interpretation of BCW review comments. They are both fine recordings which I am happy to have, but I would add my voice to those who prefer the Junghanel. As I already posted, I find the transparency of texture especially enjoyable, and also perhaps most consistent with the original function of the motets as suggested by Doug Cowling.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 3, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Many fine recordings available. In addition to Jacobs, both Kuijken and Junghanel (Cantus Colln) appeal to my ears, with transparent textures. The scoring is worth discussion, Kuijken with two voices per part. Can that be reconciled with OVPP cantata performance? >
Perhaps. Both Kuijken and Junghänel are two OVPP choirs. Jacobs is a more conventional choir, plus four soloists. In particular, note that Kuijhken is not two voices per part, as I first wrote.

It remains an open question for me, whether these (or other) double-choir motets were performed routinely in church, at the same services along with cantatas written for only a single choir, or are the double-choir motets strictly special events, for Bach?

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 3, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV225-231.htm
The previous BCW discussion specific to BWV 228 is none. For those of us who would like to open that topic, there is interesting information available in the OCC (Daniel Melamed article, referencing his own work, <J. S. Bach and the German Motet>, Cambridge, 1995) [...] the Melamed text looks to be the extant authority. >

See also: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/MotetsHofmann.pdf
with translation by Thomas Braatz of sections from Klaus Hofmanns 2003 text in German.

Peter Smaill wrote (January 4, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] An interesting question: were the double choir motets performed routinely in church?

Unlikely for several reasons. Firstly, those that have specific funerary associations were not at least initially part of the standard motet repertoire (Wolff thinks that Bach's successor Doles used bach's motets as vocal exercises and that Singet dem Herrn was conceived purely for that purpose). Secondly, we can see in Spitta (Vol 2 p 220) that the conducting of the motet was left to the prefect: Stiller concludes that Bach was not even in the church when it was sung. Unlikely thus that the work entrusted would be the challenging double choir works IMO.

And we have so few of Bach's motets relative to the number of times a peformance of a motet was required.

So....unlikely that the motet, which was a frequent component of the service as we know from Bach's own notes as to the running order appended to the manuscript of BWV 62 (for the first Sunday in Advent, not a major festival), would be often or ever in Bach's time from the double choir repertoire that was inherited by St Thomas from the Bach estate. And rarely afterwards.

BTW, does the story that Mozart heard at Leipzig, and praised, one of the motets have any standing other than an appealing folk-myth?

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 4, 2011):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< BTW, does the story that Mozart heard at Leipzig, and praised, one of the motets have any standing other than an appealing folk-myth? >
Solomon's biography notes that Mozart passed through Leipzig on April 20, 1789. On April 22, he improvised in St. Thomas in the presence of Doles, Bach's successor and the organist Görner. A contemporary account tells the tale that the choir sang "Singet dem Herrn" for him, after which he spread the eight parts around him to examine the music. The impromptu organ recital sounds authentic - Mozart did that quite often. However, I find it hard to accept that the choir just fished out "Singet dem Herrn" and performed it. It's a VERY DIFFICULT piece with notorious graveyard in the final section where even the best choirs can spin off the choral autobahn.

The account could be interpreted that Bach's motets were considered old-fashioned by the end of the 18th century and that Doles' performance was a revival of "antique" music which was no longer in practical use. Certainly Bach's influence on Mozart can be seen a few years later in the great Prelude and Fugue which opens the Act One finale of the Magic Flute,

It's hard to believe that the motets, especially "Singet dem Herrn" and "Jesu Meine Freude" were ever academic closet pieces which were used only for pedagogical purposes. The scale of those works suggests that they were occasional works that replaced the afternoon cantata at Vespers, the former on a state occasion such as an accession and the latter for a funeral
commemoration.

It's worth noting that the motets of the Bodenschatz collection that were sung at the introit and communion were settings of Latin and German texts established in the 16th century and not expected to be freshly composed with new texts like the cantatas.

Neil Mason wrote (January 4, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] I seem to recall a story that Baron von Zweiten introduced Mozart to the music of Bach, and commissioned him to re-orchestrate Messiah, Acis & Galatea (yes I do know they're not Bach) and to "pianise" some of the Well-tempered Clavier. I think that was supposed to be earlier than 1789.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 6, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< See also: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/MotetsHofmann.pdf
with translation by Thomas Braatz of sections from Klaus Hofmanns 2003 text in German. >
Alas, none of the original references are easily accesible: Hofmann in German, Melamed pricey and not popular even as a libraray source, and the OCC published in 2003, but almmost immediately allowed to go out-of-print.

One point that arises from Melameds adapations in OCC, from his own earlier text, is that a portion of JS Bach’s motivation in his motets was a profound respect for his place in an enduring (and ongoing, to be continued!) family tradition of innate (not to say God-given) talent for music. Indeed, we owe a significant part of the transmitted knowledge of the Bach family to CPE Bachs continuation of that respect and talent.

 

Motets BWV 225-231: Details
Recordings: Until 1950 | 1951-1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | 2001-2010
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Systematic Discussions: BWV 225 | BWV 226 | BWV 227 | BWV 228 | BWV 229 | BWV 230 | BWV 231 | BWV 225-231 - Summary
Individual Recordings:
Motets - K. Junghänel & Cantus Cölln | Motets - E. Ericson | Motets - D. Fasolis | Motets - N. Harnoncourt | Motets - R. Kammler

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

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Last update: ýJanuary 22, 2011 ý17:07:39