Systematic Discussions of Bach’s Other Vocal Works
Motet BWV 230Lobet der Herrn alle Heiden
Discussions in the Week of February 8, 2004Aryeh Oron wrote (February 9, 2004):
Do I have to remind the members of the BCML that this year is dedicated to systematic discussions of Bach's other vocal works? After a promising start with the Motet BWV 225 the discussions of the following Motets have been declining gradually to almost zero. Although I have not intended to be actively involved in the discussions (I did it with all the Bach Cantatas during last four years and need some rest), I feel that some push is needed. Therefore I supply a short introduction to the discussion of this week's motet, hoping that some other member of the BCML will take the lead.
The list of works to be discussed during 2004 appear in the page:
The Home Page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/
(right side) include short list of the works which have been discussed in previous weeks, as well as those which are planned for discussion in the forthcoming weeks
Motet BWV 230 - Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden- Introduction
The chosen work for this week's discussion (February 8, 2004) is the Motet BWV 230 'Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden' (Praise the Lord, All Nations).
Recordings, discussions & additional information
Your gate to the Motets BWV 225-231 - list of recordings, previous discussions, and additional information (texts & translations, score, commentaries, music examples, etc.) - is located at the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV225-231.htm
BWV 230 is a short motet, which differs from the others in having only one four-part chorus and no chorale. It is not mourning music and is the only motet to have a figured bass-line. Therefore it must have been accompanied by the organ and at least one of the bass strings. Further evidence that it had instrumental accompaniment comes from the possibility that it was the opening movement for SATB of a lost cantata that Bach had composed.
A joy motif pervades the whole chorus in a straightforward hymn of praise to God, according to the text of Psalm 117. It may be of interest to note that G.Ph. Telemann composed a motet on the same Psalm, which was published in Nürnberg in 1744, with a much more lavish instrumentation: 3 trumpets, timpani, strings and basso continuo, but using only soprano and alto with a choir of just three parts. The later motet by Telemann is a stupendous tonal painting, which might make the listener wonder whether he was trying to surpass Bach in his setting of this Psalm. No doubt he was aware of Bach's earlier work.
Bach follows his text closely, dividing the text into three sections – an animated fugue with a joy motif for the fist two lines, a motif of calm for the next two lines, and a return to the joy motif in the final Alleluja.
Let's the discussion begins!
Klaus Langrock wrote (February 9, 2004):
For those, who are able to read German: there is a new book on the motets by Klaus Hofmann: Johann Sebastian Bach, Die Motetten. A short review you will find on: http://www.die-tonkunst.de/dtk-0312/Neuerscheinungen/ind.html
Neil Halliday wrote (February 9, 2004):
Can anyone supply some timings for this single movement work?
Rilling's 2nd (1990) recording comes in at just under 6 minutes.
At this brisk tempo, I find that the features of the dense contrapuntal writing, at least in the outer sections, can tend to become lost in the choral sound, because in these motets there are no independant instrumental parts supplying other musical details.
(This motet does have a separate continuo).
What was the time for Rilling's 1960's take on this work?
Thomas Braatz wrote (February 9, 2004):
Klaus Langrock indicated: >>For those, who are able to read German: there is a new book on the motets by Klaus Hofmann: Johann Sebastian Bach, Die Motetten.<<
Thanks for pointing out your review of this new book!
Richard Sams wrote (February 9, 2004):
Neil Halliday wrote: < Can anyone supply some timings for this single movement work? >
These are the timings for the versions I have:
Cantus Cölln: 6:14
Scholars Baroque: 6:35
Matthew Neugebauer wrote (February 9, 2004):
Neil Halliday wrote (February 10, 2004):
Thanks to those people who listed some timings. It does not surprise me that Rilling is the fastest of those listed so far, in his 1990 recording of this motet.
The loss that results from overly fast tempos can be judged by comparing this performance of BWV 230 with his 1980 recording of the 4th movement of BWV 108, which is a brilliant fugal chorus without ritornellos, in the manner of the fugal writing in the motets.
The cantata movement (of BWV 108, which I listened to today) has a powerful motion engendered by the moderate tempo, allowing the 'shape' of the music to be easily grasped - and marvelled at; as I said earlier, the detail in the motet is not so clear.
My favourite motet in the Rilling 2-CD motet set is BWV 229. I may comment on it later.
BTW, The clarity and orchestral colour of the cantata recording is excellent. The entire CD, containing cantatas 106, 107 and 108, is one of Rilling's high quality cantata recordings).
Ehud Shiloni wrote (February 10, 2004):
Carol wrote (February 11, 2004):
[To Aryeh Oron] I'm sorry, having just joined your website, not to have listened yet to the motets, but, unfortunately, own none. I must tell you that I'm astounded at how staggeringly thorough, accurate and complex your list is, going back to the 40's and in some cases, the early 1900's. I even saw a children's recording we have called, "Mr. Bach Comes to Call". So I have been feeling very guilty that I haven't at least written to say I'm listening to the motets. Your post prompted me to tell you how appreciative I am that you have put this work into helping us.
I had intended to buy all the cantatas, and have pretty much exhausted my funds for awhile. But my next purchase will be some of the other vocal works on your list, if I can find recordings by either Herrewaughe or Gardiner, or Suzuki. I have a terrific problem with sopranos who have mature voices, and these three usually steer clear of them. Sorry, but that's my choice. I have to order by mail, because the local Barnes and Noble bookstore is the best source of available classical Bach CDs where I live, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and even that is pretty dismal. I'm sure the people who work there considered me a weirdo where my music choice is concerned. They had no idea how to help me order music, before I subscribed to the internet and found it all myself.
Everything is relative, because the people on this and the other Bach websites who have read my posts consider me a Bach novice, and, of course, I am, but those here where I live think I'm an expert.
My most sincere thanks to you,
Aryeh Oron wrote (February 11, 2004):
[To Carol] Thanks for your kind words.
The two best sources to expand your Bach's collection cheaply and rapidly are:
All of us in the BCML/BRML are weird in some way or another regarding our enthusiasm and passion for Bach's music. That's why I can live with the personal clashes which arise in our lists from time to time. I feel that they are mostly originated from over-enthusiasm. But we all have common interest, aren't we? Where could we all meet if these mailing lists have not been existed?
Good luck with your hunting and enjoy,
Motets BWV 225-231: Details
Recordings: Until 1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001
General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Systematic Discussions: BWV 225 | BWV 226 | BWV 227 | BWV 228 | BWV 229 | BWV 230 | BWV 231
Individual Recordings: Motets – Cantus Cölln | Motets – Ericson | Motets – Fasolis | Motets – Harnoncourt | Motets - Kammler