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Systematic Discussions of Bach’s Other Vocal Works

Mass in B minor BWV 232 – Part 3: Credo

 

 

Discussions in the Week of March 14, 2004

Uri Golomb
wrote (March 13, 2004):
Tempi and affect in "Crucifixus"

While discussing something on the Bach Recordings list, I realised that the disucssion touches upon the Crucifixus -- part of the Symbolum Nicenum of the B minor Mass, which we're due to discuss starting tomorrow. So I'm forwarding part of the correspondence to this list, to start the discussion.

Ugliness in the performance of Bach [BRML]

Charles Francis wrote:
< Actually, there's a longstanding tradition of HIPsters confusing incompetence with historical practice. See for example: http://slate.msn.com/id/2087887 >

Uri Golomb wrote in response:
This artlce has already been discussed last year on BCML; members of this list who are also on that list can check the discussion there
(http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/6268;
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/6279;
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/6285).

For what it's worth, my own view is that this article is rather shallow and inaccurate. Among other things -- and this is by no means the only reservation I have -- is takes for granted that "fast speed = lack of expression". As in the following:

"Six years ago in Boston I heard a Bach "B Minor Mass" from which slow tempos had been essentially banished. No more grandeur, no more sublimity, no more sweetness, no more tragedy-all qualities in which the "B Minor" is incomparably rich. Or used to be. In this performance the speeds were brisk, brisker, breakneck. In the "Crucifixus" movement, Christ trotted all the way to Golgotha, pumping his cross."

Well, quite apart from the fact that some of the fastest "Crucifixus" recordings have nothing to do with HIP -- check out Karajan -- the notion that fast tempi automatically and always translate into a "banishment of grandeur, sublimity, sweetness and tragedy" is simply wrong. I wasn't at the concert the author alludes to, and maybe, if I had been there, I would have responded the same way s/he did. But if so, I would certainly be careful about attributing my response solely to the fast tempo. What was the performers' approach to tempo modifications -- were they strict or flexible? What was their articulation like? Their accentuation? Their dynamics? All these factors (and more) are no less important than tempo in determining the character. Which is why I do not agree with him that Gardiner's SMP (BWV 244) opening movement is cheerful and ignores the drama. Yes, it's quick -- but it's also incredibly dramatic: Gardiner is very much concerned with building up tension and resolution in this movement, shaping it towards an inexorable climax (which is, incidentally, easier to achieve in a fast tempo). If you want to hear a truly over-cheerful, dance-like, inconseqneutial "kommt, ihr Töchter" (or a similarly-spirited First Kyrie), check out Peter Schreier's recording. But since Schreier recorded with modern instruments, mentioning him would rather spoil Jan Swafford's thesis...

Uri Golomb wrote (March 13, 2004):
At the end of the article discussed in the previous message, Jan Swafford writes:

"I hope someday our greyhoundish conductors will stop and smell the flowers: rediscover that tempo has something to do with meaning and expression and that a scrawny sound isn't always the right sound. I hope they'll let music be tragic and intense and sumptuous again, when it needs to be. For myself, I'm swearing off live performances of Bach for a while, until conductors have worn themselves out chasing that rabbit."

Well, for better or worse, that day has already come. Swafford believes that tempi have been speeding up all through the 1990s. At least as far as recording of the Mass are concerned, it would be more accurate to say that they've been somewhat speeding in the 1970s and 1980s -- and started to slow down again in the 1990s. Actually, Nikolaus Harnoncourt was something of a trend-setter in both cases -- initaiting the speed-up in his 1968 recording, and the slow-down in his 1986 recording. Same with sonorities -- you hear more HIP recordings these days which go for a richer, smoother, more bass-heavy sound, starting with Harnoncourt 1986 and culminating in Thomas Hengelbrock.

Of course, it depends what performers and what movements you're looking at. Thomas Hengelbrock, for example, gives us a perforamnce of extremes -- approaching the slowest tempi on record in movements like the First Kyrie and Crucifixus, and the fastest tempi on record in movements like the Resurrexit.

And check out, also, Jeffrey Thomas in the Crucifixus: here is a very fast performance (but no faster than Richter's!), which is nonetheless incredibly dramatic. Whether you like it or not, you certainly cannot claim that it ignores the text. Thomas shapes the orchestral parts with a strong, crescendo-sforzando gesture, which he intended to illustrate Christ being nailed to the cross. If you want to describe the resulting affect, I think words like "angry", "aggressive", "ferocious" etc. would be appropriate. Cheerful it certain isn't! (As for sound: in the Crucifixus, he goes something very sharp, but, as he proves elsewehre, it's a matter of choice: his orchestra sounds incredibly sweet, for example, in the "Domine deus").

Uri Golomb wrote (March 13, 2004):
Just one final correction to my previous. I wrote:
< Same with sonorities -- you hear more HIP recordings these days which go for a richer, smoother, more bass-heavy sound, starting with Harnoncourt 1986 and culminating in Thomas Hengelbrock. >
Sorry -- my mistake. in terms of orchestral sound, Hengelbrock is not the best example (though he might be a good one in terms of choral sonority). I should have said Herreweghe (especially in his second performance of the Mass). Or Jeffrey Thomas -- at least in some movements.

Neil Halliday wrote (March 14, 2004):
B minor Mass: Section 3: Credo.

Again, we have a wonderful variety of music, in this section of the Mass.

I have three recordings.

1st movement (chorus). Credo.

1. Münchinger (1970).
The warbly sopranos in the choir detract from an otherwise fine performance. Especially attractive are the lovely violins (there are no violas) that enrich the overall sound.

2. Hickox (and Collegium 90).
He has an accurate, clean choir, but the fast tempo results in somewhat featureless, shapeless music.

3. Richter (1961).
This is a very grand performance. The large organ registration adds interest in the beginning, when we have only continuo with tenors and altos, before the entry of the violins. Richter's clean choir sound is featured.

2nd Movement (chorus) Patrem omnipotentem.

Same remarks as above apply to this movement. The expression of powerful commitment to the tenets of the faith, is outstanding in Richter.

3rd movement.(duet, S.A.)

1. Münchinger.
Features a bright orchestral sound (oboes, strings and continuo). Fine singing from the vocalists.

2. Hickox.
The somewhat brisk, 'tight' articulation, results in a version lacking the 'spaciousness' of the two non-HIP versions. Nevetheless, an enjoyable performance.

3. Richter.
Here the strings are strong enough to allow the listener to follow each part (eg, the violas) at will. The vibratos of the vocalists verge on becoming distracting at times, but this is an engaging performance.

4th movement (chorus). Et incarnatus est.

1. Münchinger.
Satisfactory, but the 'warblers' in the choir detract from the perormance.

2. Hickox.
With this movement, Hickox rises to the top of the class. It is slow; and spiritual and mournful at the same time. The timbre of the period violins is (at last!) appealing; and Hickox recognises that the dot the first note in each group (violins) merely means that this note is to be detached from the following slurred pairs, not literally played staccato. The pulsing continuo is powerfully present, yet in balance with the rest of the ensemble.

3. Richter.
This recording seems to be plagued by the 'low loudness level' that plagues some of the other movements eg the 'Qui tollis', and the following 'Crucifixus'. (Any attempt to turn the volume up, results in audible tape hiss.) Otherwise, it might have been as effective as Hickox.

5th movement (chorus). Crucifixus.

Münchinger.
Starts off well, but the violins 'disappear' as the movement progresses.

Hickox.
This slow tempo 'Crucifixus ' is very moving. The minims in the violins and flutes are long held, but detached, and very clear.(In Bach's score, notice that the 'strokes' on the violins and flutes overlap, with the violins playing on the 3rd and 1st beat, and the flutes playing on the 2nd and 3rd beat of the bar, except for some variation at the end of phrases). The articulation here is not extreme, as in a version referred to by Uri; here one experiences the grief of the the crucifixion in an abstract sense (with its relationship to the redemption of mankind), rather than in its physical horror.

Richter.
This is the last of the 'faulty' tracks on this 2-CD set. The flutes and violins are nearly inaudible for large sections of the movement; and, as in the Qui tollis, Richter seems to be wanting to slow everyone down soon after starting.

6th movement chorus. Et resurrexit.

Münchinger.
At a somewhat leisurely pace, and with a slighty 'fuzzy' choir sound, this is not the most convincing of the recordings I have.One small detail - I do not like the the incongruously small sound of a chamber organ which can be heard in the quiet sections of the movement.

Hickox.
Fast, yet accurate and exciting.

Richter.
HOLY SMOKES! Did I forget to turn the volume down? This is a huge, yet accurate, clear and exciting rendition, in short, it is sheer joy. (The quest for an authentic 18th century sound is one thing, but I would not want to be without this magnificent 20th century reading). The trumpets are amazing, yet not plagued by the 'over-the-top' blaring that occurs in the Sanctus.

7th movement. (Bass aria) Et in Spiritum sanctum

All three versions are very effective.

8th movement (chorus) Confiteor.

Münchinger.
More warblers in the choir.

Hickox.
Back to the fast/lacking features type of reading.

Richter.
This is a glorious reading. The large organ registration is particulaly effective in this movement, which has continuo only, accompanying the choir.

9th movement (chorus) Et expecto resurrectionem.

Same remarks as for movement 8, except that, with the addition of the full orchestra (including trumpets and drums), the Hickox reading gains considerable 'shape' and excitement. Once again Richter excels.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 20, 2004):
B Minor Mass - Symbolum Nicenum, a few questions

1. There's a Peter Wollny article from 1994 describing the earlier version of the "Credo in unum deum" movement: a whole step lower, in G. Have there been any recordings of that version yet? And, is it printed in Wolff's edition (Peters) of the BMM? Wolff barely mentions its existence, in passing, on p438 of The Learned Musician.

2. My copy of the Fasolis recording recently arrived and I'm enjoying it. One thing I noticed right away, in addition to the especially dramatic "Crucifixus" and "Et resurrexit", is the "Et in unum" duet. They are using the alternate version where it gets through more text. The "Et incarnatus est ... et homo factus est" portion of the Credo text is therefore included here in the duet; and then the "Et incarnatus est" movement covers that text again.

That next movement therefore wouldn't even need to be there at all, and probably shouldn't be included in the performance if that version of the duet has been sung. Bach slipped the choral "Et incarnatus" in as one of the last portions, in 1749. Obviously, one can program the CD player to skip right over it, from the end of the duet to the "Crucifixus"...an interesting segue.

The duet's music is somewhat different, too, in addition to the changes of word underlay: the often shrill high A in bar 15 isn't in this version. (I, for one, have never liked that note coming in there anyway: it's so unexpectedly high and draws so much attention to itself.) What other available recordings use this alternate version of this duet?

Neil Halliday wrote (March 22, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman]
"That next movement therefore wouldn't even need to be there at all, and probably shouldn't be included in the performance if that version of the duet has been sung."

The fact that the earlier version of the duet that you refer to, results in text - Et incarnatus est - being repeated in the following chorus, should not be regarded as a reason to omit the later. The two movements can be regarded as representing different viewpoints of the same text; the duet gives us the quiet acceptance of the creed, while the chorus meditates on the awe and mystery of the incarnation itself. In any case, it is compelling music!

(A possible explanation for the (later?) inclusion of the 'Et incarnatus est' chorus is: Bach realised that the jump from the quiet spirituality of the 'Et in unum Dominum' duet, to the grief of the 'Crucifixus' chorus, is unsatisfactory).

Another example - of same text, different settings - happens in the 'Confiteor', where the text "expecto resurrectionem mortuorum" is first presented in a very moving, quiet, and highly chromatic 'Adagio' section; immediately, the same words are presented in the contrasting and highly exuberant D major chorus which follows. We may regard the first setting of the words as representing the mystery of, and yearning for, eternal life, while the second represents the joy of its attainment.

As a matter of fact, I indulge in a little 'rearrangement' of my own when listening to the whole work - I skip the first exposition of the 'Hosanna', because I find the level of excitement engendered by the, in effect, 3 previous overwhelming choruses ('Et expecto','Sanctus', and 'Pleni sunt', is just too much to sustain.

1. I need to come 'refreshed' to the exhilirating double chorus 'Hosanna'; the calm beauty of the 'Benedictus' achieves this.

2. Both the 'pleni sunt coeli' and the 'Hosanna' are 'allegro' D major choruses in 3/8 time; I find the impact of the latter is reduced if it follows immediately on the 'Pleni sunt' - and this probably is related to '1' above.

Since Bach apparently never heard the work performed in its entirety, I'm confident he would allow my 'rearrangement'!

BTW, Auger/Rilling and Fiedler/Hengelbrock are both wonderful on that high A. Could it be the performers you have heard, rather than the score, that is the 'problem'....?

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (March 22, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote: < What other available recordings use this alternate version of this duet? >
Herreweghe-but he also has the chorus right after

It's the appendix (i.e. the only movement) in the Rietz edition for the BGA (I have the Dover mini-score), but only has the vocal parts.

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (March 22, 2004):
Neil Halliday wrote: < The fact that the earlier version of the duet that you refer to, results in text - Et incarnatus est - being repeated in the following chorus, should not be regarded as a reason to omit the later. The two movements can be regarded as representing different viewpoints of the same text; the duet gives us the quiet acceptance of the creed, while the chorus meditates on the awe and mystery of the incarnation itself. In any case, it is compelling music! >
I for once agree with you (and disagree with Brad! How shocking!-lol)-the duet then chorus works fine imo, and the reason for Bach to reset the text in the duet is clear-the original text seems spread too thin over a whole duet-it sounds a tad awkward (the Parrot recording does this-haven't checked if the Gardiner does too-but no, the awkwardness is not from the performers: the difference between Herreweghe and Gardiner or Parrot is musmaller than the difference between Herreweghe and Richter or Solti or whoever).

< Another example - of same text, different settings - happens in the 'Confiteor', where the text "expecto resurrectionem mortuorum" is first presented in a very moving, quiet, and highly chromatic 'Adagio' section; immediately, the same words are presented in the contrasting and highly exuberant D major chorus which follows. We may regard the first setting of the words as representing the mystery of, and yearning for, eternal life, while the second represents the joy of its attainment. >
I'm afraid this example doesn't quite work in your argument Niel-the repetition of texts is simply part of a great dramatic device here-not a reseting of awkward text.

< As a matter of fact, I indulge in a little 'rearrangement' of my own when listening to the whole work - I skip the first exposition of the 'Hosanna', because I find the level of excitement engendered by the, in effect, 3 previous overwhelming choruses ('Et expecto','Sanctus', and 'Pleni sunt', is just too much to sustain.
1. I need to come 'refreshed' to the exhilirating double chorus 'Hosanna'; the calm beauty of the 'Benedictus' achieves this.
2. Both the 'pleni sunt coeli' and the 'Hosanna' are 'allegro' D major choruses in 3/8 time; I find the impact of the latter is reduced if it follows immediately on the 'Pleni sunt' - and this probably is related to '1' above.
Since Bach apparently never heard the work performed in its entirety, I'm confident he would allow my 'rearrangement'! >
Of course do what you like (i.e. I might do the opposite for highlights' sake-I love those glorious choruses!), but the liturgy requires 2 Osannas-do you suggest Bach would have written a more serene setting for the first one?

Neil Halliday wrote (March 22, 2004):
Mattew Neugebauer writes: "the liturgy requires 2 Osannas-do you suggest Bach would have written a more serene setting for the first one?"
Hmmm. No.

Perhaps I will just need to find a greater capacity to stand the excitement of this succession of choruses!

Uri Golomb wrote (March 22, 2004):
Matthew Neugebauer wrote: < What other available recordings use this alternate version of this duet?
Herreweghe-but he also has the chorus right after >
To be precise: Herreweghe's 2nd recording (on Harmonia Mundi), not his first recording (on Virgin), which uses the more conventional version. Other recordings that feature the alternate version include Jochum (in both his recordings -- and he slows down massively towards the entry of the words "Et incarnatus"), Shaw (in his 2nd and 3rd commercial recordings, 1960 and 1990 -- but not in his first, late 1940s version), Harnoncourt (in both recordings), Koopman and Hickox. There are a few others as well -- I have a list, but unfortunately don't have access to it at the moment... In all these recordings, the words "Et incarnatus [etc.]" appear twice -- both in the duet and in the following chorus.

There is a tendency in many of these recordings to make a mood-shift within the movement -- to gradually make the ending mellower than the beginning (though, in Jochum's case, the change is abrupt, not gradual). However, this also happens in many recordings that use the revised version (the most notable example being Hengelbrock).

< it's the appendix (i.e. the only movement) in the Rietz edition for the BGA (I have the Dover mini-score), but only has the vocal parts. >
It's also an appendix in Wolff's edition (BTW, to answer an earlier question of Brad's -- this also includes the early version of the Credo in an appendix). On the other hand, in Smend's Neue Bach Ausgabe version, the earlier version (with "Et incarantus" in the duet) is featured in the main text, and the revision in an appendix: Smend believed that Bach changed his mind again, and re-instated the earlier version. Most scholars disagree. Also, the issue has come up in a fascinating article about the compositional history of the Symbolum Nicenum (specifically, about whether or not the "Incarnatus" was an afterthought, as is normally assumed -- teh authors challenge this), which is due to be published soon in the Journal of Musicological Research).

Neil Halliday wrote (March 22, 2004):
Mass in B minor. Sanctus. (part 1)

Now we come to this mighty structure, made up of 'choirs' of 3 trumpets, 3 oboes, strings, 6-part choir (S1S2A1A2TB), continuo and tympani.

The music of the first part, with its continuous triplet quavers, is in effect, in a flowing (compound) 12/8 time - while the notated time signature of C (4/4), emphasizes the powerful stride of the underlying rhythm.

Early on, we have an impressively powerful wave-like figure (in bars 3 and 4) given to the 3 upper voices (S1S2A1); later on, this figure is alternated with the 3 lower voices(A2TB), while the strings and oboes accompany with long-held chords (especially bars 25-27. All this results in what sounds to me remarkably like complex early 20th century choral writing).

Perhaps the most majestic music in existence begins at bar 17; here we have the five upper voices singing long-held chords ("Sanc-tus"), while the basses stride powerfully with their 'octave-interval' figure ("Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth"), accompanied by a double-forte full orchestra.

If the first part epitomises majesty, the associated 'Plei sunt' epitomises sheer exhilaration and joy (allegro, in 3/8 time); if anything, the vocal and instrumental writing is even more complex than previously. The trumpets and drums are outstanding. (Are you sure you are ready to 'plunge' straight into the 'Osanna'? :-).

All of the conductors I have (Richter, Münchinger, Rilling, Hickox, and Hengelbrock, adopt a suitablely majestic tempo for the first part (but Hengelbrock may be a little fast in the 'Pleni sunt coeli').

Münchinger suffers with his large 'fuzzy' choir (and I'm pleased to see he has better - sometimes boys' - choirs, for the works on the other CD's in this 10 CD set of Bach's "Sacred Masterworks"), but the rest of the recordings (of this Sanctus) are extrememely satisfying in their different ways, including Hickox and Hengelbrock.

For sheer excitement in the 1st part, perhaps Richter wins out; this is a remarkable recording made just a few years after the introduction of stereophonic sound. The trumpets blare mercilessly, but it's part of the excitement! Rilling perhaps offers more instrumental and vocal clarity, in the 'Pleni sunt'.

I was initially concerned with Hengelbrock's sudden reduction in dynamics, with the quaver upper-string notes in bars 3 and 4 (he treats them 'staccato e piano', whereas they need to be 'tenuto e forte - surely there is no room for 'pussing-footing' around in this score!), but in fact the movement holds together well, and projects dollops of majesty, as it progresses. The powerful, well-recorded drums help in this regard.

Jason Marmaras wrote (March 22, 2004):
B Minor Mass: Section 3: Credo - violins in the Continuo in Credo in unum Deum (mvt.1)?

I participated, some years ago, to a performance of the BMM (quite a disappointing one), and our conductor said "just the basses and organ werent enough for Bach in his continuo; he wanted violins as well [referring to the 1st mvt.]".

It didn't make sense though. I do know that the violin was used as a continuo instrument in the Early Baroque, but I cannot imagine how 2 (or is it 3?) violins can improvise their parts through a five-part (or rather six-, including the continuo) contrapuntal movement. Later I heard more than one performance with the violins playing the same thing, and concluded that there must be violin parts written by Bach.
But I wonder, why did Mr. Klapses call them "continuo"?

And why weren't they in the BGA? (I was in the luck to have the BGA for the performance - and thus I can read a note or two from the tenor clef) And, also, if not in the BGA, where can they be found?

Thanks for any answers/information.

PS: By the way, I remember King's BMM recording with Hyperion to have had a very good manual (aside from being a very good recording altogether)

Jason Marmaras wrote (March 22, 2004):
[Brad Lehman wrote (March 20, 2004):]
>>2. My copy of the Fasolis recording recently arrived and I'm enjoying it. One thing I noticed right away, in addition to the especially dramatic "Crucifixus" and "Et resurrexit", is the "Et in unum" duet. They are using the alternate version where it gets through more text. The "Et incarnatus est ... et homo factus est" portion of the Credo text is therefore included here in the duet; and then the "Et incarnatus est" movement covers that text again.

That next movement therefore wouldn't even need to be there at all, and probably shouldn't be included in the performance if that version of the duet has been sung. Bach slipped the choral "Et incarnatus" in as one of the last portions, in 1749. Obviously, one can program the CD player to skip right over it, from the end of the duet to the "Crucifixus"...an interesting segue.<<
My thought as well, while I was reading you previous paragraph(!) (I hadn't noticed it does/thought it didn't cover all the 'et incarnatus' text). Indeed quite interesting, I wonder if anyone 'dared' record it.

>>The duet's music is somewhat different, too, in addition to the changes of word underlay: the often shrill high A in bar 15 isn't in this version. (I, for one, have never liked that note coming in there anyway: it's so unexpectedly high and draws so much attention to itself.) What other available recordings use this alternate version of this duet?<<
King (is it Robert or Edward? or what?), on Hyperion, uses that version, and includes the 'et incarnatus' as well.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 22, 2004):
[To Jason Marmaras] The Credo movement is a seven-voiced fugue: five vocal parts, and two violins playing parts that are too high for anybody to sing. The violin parts are written-out and have nothing to do with the continuo group.

Jason Marmaras wrote (March 22, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] Thanks, Brad; do you know, though, why they weren't included in the BGA, and if they are in the NBA?

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 22, 2004):
< It's also an appendix in Wolff's edition (BTW, to answer an earlier question of Brad's -- this also includes the early version of the Credo in an appendix). On the other hand, in Smend's Neue Bach Ausgabe version, the earlier version (with "Et incarantus" in the duet) is featured in the main text, and the revision in an appendix: Smend believed that Bach changed his mind again, and re-instated the earlier version. Most scholars disagree. Also, the issue has come up in a fascinating article about the compositional history of the Symbolum Nicenum (specifically, about whether or not the "Incarnatus" was an afterthought, as is normally assumed – the authors challenge this), which is due to be published soon in the Journal of Musicological Research). >
Yep, that's what I have here: Smend's NBA edition, already 49 years old. I should get the Wolff.

Thanks for the tip on the JMR article, I'll watch for that.

Are there any recordings of MBM where the older version of the duet is in an appendix, and the newer one in the main run? The booklet could have instructions about programming it in (and omitting the "Et incarnatus" ensemble movement) on the CD player for those who wish to hear the flow right through. McGegan's recording of "Messiah" does that. I like how Cleobury's recording of the SJP has the appendix of the alternate versions.... And Hill's Hänssler recording of the AoF. (And there's Mahler 1 with "Blumine", and the Beethoven quartet 13 with the "Grosse Fuge", and Brandenburg 1 with different movements near the end, &c &c &c.)

John Pike wrote (March 22, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] A number of Bach's sonatas for violn and keyboard also exist in various forms.

John Pike wrote (March 22, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] Here is the abstract of the JMR article

"Et incarnatus": An Afterthought? Against the "Revisionist" View of Bach's B-Minor Mass

Eduard van Hengel A1, Kees van Houten A1

A1 's-Hertogenbosch/Boxtel, The Netherlands

Abstract:

Although it is the current viewpoint among scholars that the separate choral "Et incarnatus" of Bach's B-Minor Mass was an afterthought, considerations of symmetry, tonal structure, and traditions of Roman Catholic mass composition suggest that Bach must have planned the independent "Et incarnatus" from the beginning. This conclusion is reinforced by a study of the autograph and by a musical analysis of the "Et in unum" duet and its parody. It would seem that Bach deliberately inserted the choral "Et incarnatus" in the autograph on an extractable leaf in order to provide his missa tota with alternative performing options, both Lutheran and Roman Catholic. A performance that avoids the structural and musical weaknesses of both these confessional alternatives is both possible and preferable, and would be fully in line with Bach's old-age universalist orientations. This calls for a change in the prevailing performance practice.

Uri Golomb wrote (March 22, 2004):
John Pike wrote: < Here is the abstract of the JMR article >
Has it already been published, then? I haven't seen the journal's most recent issues -- what I saw was a draft version of the article... If it has been published, I'll be grateful for a bibliographical reference.

John Pike wrote (March 22, 2004):
[To Uri Golomb]
http://taylorandfrancis.metapress.com/app/home/contribution.asp?wasp=mgnhqmyulrkamt7g9j4k&referrer=parent&backto=issue,3,5;journal,1,6;linkingpublicationresults,id:300261,1

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 22, 2004):
[To John Pike] Interesting!

I'm eager to read more in that article. Anyway, here's my current understanding and remarks: liturgically, the words should not go again with two movements in succession. (This is different from the Kyrie and the Osanna, where they must be reprised.) So, if the one version of the "Et in unum" duet is used, the "Et incarnatus" choral movement should be skipped. If the other is used, keep it in. Just don't mix-'n'-match the wrong way, so the text goes twice or gets left out! [In other masses where some of the required text is left out of the concerted musical setting, the priest still sings that text at the required places...even if the congregants can't hear it.]

And musically, it works just fine to skip the "Et incarnatus" choral movement. The transition from the G major end of the duet into "Crucifixus" E minor is a natural, normal one: a drop to the relative minor.

We're not accustomed to hearing it go on that way without that intervening movement in B minor, but our modern expectation there ("HORRORS! We could never omit a single note that Bach wrote, let alone a whole movement!!!!") is not a sufficient reason to insist on keeping it in there.

John Pike wrote (March 23, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] A solution would be to record the movement not used for the main performance as an appendix.

I have Sir Thomas Beecham's recording of Messiah (another example of definitely not Handel orchestration, but great music-making and fun for all that)in which movements not used in the main performance are recorded on an additional CD for those who are interested (which I most certainly am).

John Pike wrote (March 23, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] I have thought of another example of alternative movements. The original slow movement of Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 in A was described by one of the first critics as "too studied" and Mozart went away and composed another, alternative, version. Today, the wonderful original movement is usually played as part of the concerto, but the alternative movement is also sometimes played as a stand-alone "Adagio" for violin and orchestra. I think it's in E.


OT: gig, and the BMM "Confiteor"
BMM "Confiteor"

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 4, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote:
>>As far as I'm aware, in the continuo part of the "Confiteor" Bach only notated the bass line without any figured bass (I await correction from the knowledgeable Mr. Braatz if I am in error). For this reason, I don't think Bach intended a keyboard instrument ttinkle along duplicating the voice parts or adding harmony.<<
50 years ago when Friedrich Smend prepared this very early volume of the NBA from the existing autograph scores, he had access only to the original Dresden parts for everything preceding the Symbolum Nicenum, after which he was forced to use only the autograph scores which generally do not include a figured bass. Thus, in the NBA II/1, the figured bass stops abruptly at the end of the ‘Cum sanctum spiritu” mvt., after which only a bass without figures is indicated in the continuo. This would simply mean that a continuo performer would have to devise his/her own figured bass from the score that exists, not that a figured bass was to be excluded entirely from the performance at this point.

>>Indeed, I am surprised the NBA has issued such a corrupt edition, which might easily mislead gullible period performers.<<
The performing editions based upon the NBA and printed by Bärenreiter have been criticized even by the likes of Alfred Dürr who pointed out that certain ‘secco’ recitatives had been rendered with shortened accompaniment in contradiction with what was indicated in the autograph score and original parts. Dürr felt that the editors of the performing editions had overstepped their bounds by recommending and making these changes to the Bach Urtext, when this entire matter of performance practice has, according to Dürr, still not been satisfactorily resolved or proven.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 4, 2004):
<< Perhaps Mr. Francis should demonstrate that he can do any of this work himself, beyond even a second-year university level of competence. >>
< Perhaps not, Brad; you know what I think of ad hominem arguments. >
Indeed: whatever I post, of substance about the music, you automatically calumniate: belittling my expertise with period instruments and techniques, and my university training. You try to knock it down because I said it. That's ad hominem argumentation, used by you, regularly. Obviously you are in favor of that method of argumentation, even though it's not a valid method of proving anything.

The invitation was that you could demonstrate you understand the material, at even a minimal level any director would need to know to rehearse and perform the music properly. (Anyone who ventures to criticize others on their published professional work should be prepared to show that he himself understands the material at some level of competence, as a basis for valid criticism.) Since you refuse to demonstrate that, we can safely conclude you're interested only in ad hominem argumentation rather than substantial musical points; and probably unable to complete the exercise.

Q.E.D.

< Here is a relatively easy tripartite question, from the B Minor Mass'
<< "Confiteor", focusing on the five vocal lines: (...) Such a question would be allotted about half an hour in a university placement exam in music theory, writing the analysis onto the score and a separate sheet. It's a "piece of cake" for anyone coming to this music as a conductor or continuo keyboardist mentally prepared to perform it, knowing what features should be brought out. Therefore, it should also be within the grasp of any who presume to criticize the work of conductors and keyboard players, or belittle our intelligence. Enjoy. >>
< I'm sure this exercise has significant pedagogic value, Brad, and therefore trust you will post your answers in due course. >
The pedagogical point has already been made, by your refusal to answer the exercise with anything but disdain.

<< Print out the NBA vocal score from: http://members.vaix.net/~bpl/confiteor.pdf >>
< Thanks for posting this, Brad; it certainly is a beautiful moment in Bach's masterpiece. But do let me warn you that your edition appears to be in error. As far as I'm aware, in the continuo part of the "Confiteor" Bach only notated the bass line without any figured bass (I await correction from the knowledgeable Mr. Braatz if I am in error). For this reason, I don't think Bach intended a keyboard instrument to tinkle along duplicating the voice parts or adding harmony. Indeed, I am surprised the NBA has issued such a corrupt edition, which might easily mislead gullible period performers. >
What's corrupt here? The pages in question do not include any spurious figures, in that vocal score (Baerenreiter 5102a). The NBA's published organ part (among the orchestral parts), Baerenreiter 5102, also does not include figures in this passage. If your conjecture is that the organ therefore should not play (directly because there are no figures with the bass part)--you will need to demonstrate that with evidence.

But again, that would require you to deal with musical substance, and grapple with serious issues of research. Instead, it appears you're content merely to belittle people who are trained in music and research methods: not only performers, but also the editors and publishers of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe.

Anything "the knowledgeable Mr. Braatz" would contribute here about the figured bass, from his copious collection of reference books and computer search engines (i.e. his purchases of information, in lieu of specialized training and experience), still would not be about the musical substance of the passage: unless he, in turn, would have a go at the harmonic analysis exercise as given, along with successfully completing the thorough-bass composition exercise posted earlier. It would be only a further demonstration of his prowess in plagiarizing creatively from (and distorting) published research that has been done by other people. So, why ask for it except to distract us away from the music? Perhaps because you require his assistance (his willingness to look up misleading facts for you) in this bizarre crusade of yours against the value of intelligence and accreditation?

An open invitation to both Mr. Francis and Mr. Braatz: instead of the unending and ludicrous posturing against "Historically Informed Performance" on these lists, why not just state forthrightly and honestly that you don't understand and don't enjoy some of the results? And then, leave the appreciation of that musicianship and research to those of us who do understand and enjoy it.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 4, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The performing editions based upon the NBA and printed by Bärenreiter have been criticized even by the likes of Alfred Dürr who pointed out that certain ‘secco’ recitatives had been rendered with shortened accompaniment in contradiction with what was indicated in the autograph score and original parts. Dürr felt that the editors of the performing editions had overstepped their bounds by recommending and making these changes to the Bach Urtext, when this entire matter of performance practice has, according to Dürr, still not been satisfactorily resolved or proven. >
An objection by Mr Braatz that is surely empty argumentation, and irrelevant here, since there are no recitatives in the B Minor Mass.

Charles Francis wrote (April 5, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote: < What's corrupt here? The pages in question do not include any spurious figures, in that vocal score (Baerenreiter 5102a). The NBA's published organ part (among the orchestral parts), Baerenreiter 5102, also does not include figures in this passage. If your conjecture is that the organ therefore should not play (directly because there are no figures with the bass part)--you will need to demonstrate that with evidence. >
Try to get hold of the NBA Urtext edited by Friedrich Smend (you'll find it in most good music stores), then you'll soon realise there isn't a part marked "organ", but rather one marked "continuo". And if you look at this continuo part for the "Confiteor", you'll see it consists of only one line of music (a base line). Your edition adds a keyboard part populated with notes taken from the voice parts.

It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that the NBA makes such editorial additions. It doesn't even present these additions as figured bass, which might be excusable if clearly marked as inauthentic. Instead, it provides a fully worked-outkeyboard part (something you've railed against in the past, by the way).

Karl Richter is one conductor who makes extensive use of added organ harmonies along the lines of your inauthentic score. But note that in the Adagio section of the "Confiteor" he cuts this out, allowing the "heart beat" to be clearly heard. The problem arises, when a less able musician sees what the NBA has written and equates it to Bach's intentions.

For those that may be interested, I've uploaded a short sample from Richter's 1962 BMM recording to illustrate these points:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/files/

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 5, 2004):
BMM "Confiteor"

On p. 268-9 of George B. Stauffer's "The Mass in B Minor" (Schirmer, 1997), the author provides some details about Georg von Dadelsen's critique of Smend's NBA presentation of the BMM and mentions the NBA-Bärenreiter performing edition based upon the problematical volume of the NBA - it is available in full score, piano-vocal score (as submitted in the link excerpt) and the instrumental parts.

Stauffer then goes on to explain the new Peters edition (1994) edited by Christoph Wolff: in it Wolff has attempted to restore the all-important P 180 autograph score [the score which Smend primarily used] to its original state devoid of C.P.E. Bach's adulterations of his father's score. "The Peters edition thus represents the most accurate text of the B-Minor Mass to date. Second, Wolff fleshes out the scoring, continuo figures, and other performance details in the Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei by widening the range of primary sources to include those of parody models, parodies, and relevant arrangements. Thus in the Symbolum Nicenum portion he provides continuo figures from the recently discovered early version of the "Credo in unum Deum" movement and from C.P.E. Bach's 1786 Hamburg arrangement....The new Peters edition combines thorough source work with a pragmatic concern for performance matters, and it goes a long way towards filling in the gaps in the B-Minor Mass score caused by the lack of performance materials for the Credo, Sanctus (in its revised form), and Agnus Dei. The Peters edition is available in full score, piano-vocal score, and instrumental parts. The vocal parts are printed in modern clefs."

In Smend's NBA II/1 KB p. 351 of the BMM notes, he carefully documents the 'mess' that C.P.E Bach created by the latter's erasures and corrections of his father's work and the addition of C.P.E. Bach's own indications like a stray figured bass notation on the 3rd (quarter-note) beat of ms. 87 of the 'Confiteor' [not reproduced in the NBA score.] All of these along with J. S. Bach's own corrections and erasures on the same autograph score!

Attempting to provide an 'Urtext' version of the BMM has certainly been a monumental editorial task undertaken by various, enterprising editors who have been frustrated by continual problems, beginning with the BGA which had wanted to make the BMM the first work with the number '1' of the complete edition of J. S. Bach's works, but did not succeed because the owner did not want to share the autograph score with anyone else. Eventually the editors of the BGA had to settle for a cantata to begin the series, a series that still reflects the rather random order (not chronological) in which the cantatas were eventually published.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 5, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] Thanks for the sample. But, the observation that Karl Richter (or any other musician, for that matter) did something on a recording is not proof that anyone should automatically do the same thing, to be correct. The science of musicology does not build upon such shaky evidence.

The only thing proven here, really, is that you personally prefer the work of the dead Karl Richter (in this example, anyway) to the work of some living musicians who make different choices.

And your asinine bit about a "less able musician" is surely irrelevant here, because a less able musician wouldn't be able to improvise and play the part competently at all, thinking actively during the performance and rehearsals instead of slavishly rendering a written-out score. Indeed, as I see from my own copy of that NBA continuo part (Smend edition, further realized by Mueller), bottom of page 92 leading into this Adagio portion of the "Confiteor", I scribbled the marginal note "Out" to myself: to stop playing in this passage, and re-enter in bar 146. That was for one particular performance in 1985; as I recall, I played the passage in some other performances later, going (as always) by listening and improvising something that balances appropriately with the other musicians. I'm glad to see that I'm at least as able as the late Karl Richter to make such musical decisions from practical considerations.

As for any other musicians or non-musicians who might take the NBA's score as gospel: that's their problem, not mine. I daresay it's not a problem for at least 95% of the keyboard players who have participated in recordings of this piece, since 1961. The incompetent usually don't land such gigs; and the competent know how to listen carefully and play something that sounds musically appropriate. Whether that's different from or the same as Karl Richter's decisions on any given occasion, that's neither here nor there.

Charles, since you have set yourself up with the (probably faux) appearance of some expertise in this part, why don't you tell us if you have ever improvised this continuo part in rehearsals, live performances, or recordings? All the way through the B Minor Mass: more than zero times? Be truthful, now. Or are you just some guy who listens to some recordings and flips open a couple of books and picks one favorite rendition, then uses that as if it's proof of anything substantial?

A related question: Charles, as you're on record (in the list archives) as convinced by the one-voice-per-part conclusions as put forth by Andrew Parrott et al, why are you citing this Richter recording (with big choir) as any sort of model for correct performance practice? Your inconsistency is troubling. It suggests that your musical judgment is arbitrary, and that you're merely a buffoon out to irritate and waste the time of serious musicians such as myself. Each time I call your bluffs, you simply come up with more bluffs and inconsistencies; will it ever end?

If you actually have some musical or historical evidence that Bach wanted either "tasto solo" or "tacet" in this passage, strictly for all occasions, by all means present it now with the appropriate scholarly apparatus. Meanwhile, as noted above, a recording by Karl Richter isn't sufficient evidence to prove anything.

Uri Golomb wrote (April 5, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote: < Try to get hold of the NBA Urtext edited by Friedrich Smend (you'll find it in most good music stores), then you'll soon realise there isn't a part marked "organ", but rather one marked "continuo". >
True, but irrelevant. Brad clearly stated that he is referring to "The NBA's published organ part (among the orchestral parts)" -- that is, to one part in a set of separate parts, printed out for individual players and sections. He wasn't referring to the full score.

< And if you look at this continuo part for the "Confiteor", you'll see it consists of only one line of music (a base line). Your edition adds a keyboard part populated with notes taken from the voice parts. >
But, as Brad explicilty stated, he extracted that PDF file from the NBA's vocal score. A vocal score contains all the vocal parts (soli and choir), and a solo keyboard part which represents the entire orchestra. It is intended for use in choral rehearsals and, perhaps, for performances where the organ plays instead of the orchestra (I understand such performances do happen from time to time -- though I have never attended one myself). A vocal score is, explicitly, an editor's reduction. It doesn't pretend to represent an Urtext (at least insofar as the instrumental parts are concerned). I don't think that such an edition is seriously liable confuse anyone: normally, it would not be used in a full choral-orchestral performance (except, as I said, in the choir's separate rehearsals -- before it is joined by the orchestra). In any case, no-one but the most ignorant musician would confuse the reudction contained in such a vocal score with the composer's intentions. I mean, do you really believe that any musician would pick up such a vocal score and conclude from it that Bach intended the B minor Mass to be accompanied, from beginning to end, by a single keyboard instrument with no orchestra whatsoever? Which is exactly what a vocal score would look like.

Charles Francis wrote (April 6, 2004):
Brad Lehman wrote: < Thanks for the sample. But, the observation that Karl Richter (or any other musician, for that matter) did something on a recording is not proof that anyone should automatically do the same thing, to be correct. >
You are right, Brad, there was no intent on my part to prove anything. After all, what is there to prove? That the erroneous keyboard part in your version of the Confiteor was not written by Bach? Or that I don't possess weapons of mass destruction? Do US academics still not grasp the fallacy of proving a negative?

< The science of musicology does not build upon such shaky evidence. >
Hopefully not!

< The only thing proven here, really, is that you personally prefer the work of the dead Karl Richter (in this example, anyway) to the work of some living musicians who make different choices. >
Not at all!

< And your asinine bit about a "less able musician" is surely irrelevant here, because a less able musician wouldn't be able to improvise and play the part competently at all, thinking actively during the performance and rehearsals instead of slavishly rendering a written-out score. >
So a less able musician deserves the assistance of the NBA-editors to inform performance choices?

< Indeed, as I see from my own copy of that NBA continuo part (Smend edition, further realized by Mueller), bottom of page 92 leading into this Adagio portion of the "Confiteor", I scribbled the marginal note "Out" to myself: to stop playing in this passage, and re-enter in bar 146. That was for one particular performance in 1985; as I recall, I played the passage in some other performances later, going (as always) by listening and improvising something that balances appropriately with the other musicians. >
Then presumably you question the NBA editorial policy of adding a keyboard
accompaniment that Bach didn't write and that you chose to ignore?

< I'm glad to see that I'm at least as able as the late Karl Richter to make such musical decisions from practical considerations. >
I'm sure we all are, Brad.

< As for any other musicians or non-musicians who might take the NBA's score as gospel: that's their problem, not mine. I daresay it's not a problem for at least 95% of the keyboard players who have participated in recordings of this piece, since 1961. The incompetent usually don't land such gigs; and the competent know how to listen carefully and play something that sounds musically appropriate. >
I suspect some on this list might disagree with that, though.

< Whether that's different from or the same as Karl Richter's decisions on any given occasion, that's neither here nor there. >
Isn't that why an Urtext (e.g. Smend) is to be preferred for performance, rather than an editorial guess at Bach's intent?

< Charles, since you have set yourself up with the (probably faux) appearance of some expertise in this part, why don't you tell us if you have ever improvised this continuo part in rehearsals, live performances, or recordings? All the way through the B Minor Mass: more than zero times? Be truthful, now. Or are you just some guy who listens to some recordings and flips open a couple of books and picks one favorite rendition, then uses that as if it's proof of anything substantial? >
Would a response one way or the other, imply that the organ should mirror the voice parts during the Adagio section of the "Confiteor"?

< A related question: Charles, as you're on record (in the list archives) as convinced by the one-voice-per-part conclusions as put forth by Andrew Parrott et al, why are you citing this Richter recording (with big choir) as any sort of model for correct performance practice? Your inconsistency is troubling. It suggests that your musical judgment is arbitrary, and that you're merely a buffoon out to irritate and waste the time of serious musicians such as myself. >
So it troubles you that I can appreciate the work of competent musicians without recourse to musicological doctrine?

< Each time I call your bluffs, you simply come up with more bluffs and inconsistencies; >
Can you provide examples of such alleged inconsistencies and bluffs, Brad? And why would anyone want to call my bluff?

< will it ever end? >
That's for you to decide, Brad.

< If you actually have some musical or historical evidence that Bach wanted either "tasto solo" or "tacet" in this passage, strictly for all occasions, by all means present it now with the appropriate scholarly apparatus. >
Did they not teach you about the fallacy of burden-of-proof, Brad? You're the one defending the NBA editorial decision to create an organ line out of the voice parts in the "Confiteor", without any evidence that Bach ever wrote such a part.

< Meanwhile, as noted above, a recording by Karl Richter isn't sufficient evidence to prove anything. >
Certainly not sufficient to prove a negative.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 6, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote: <
<< As for any other musicians or non-musicians who might take the NBA's score as gospel: that's their problem, not mine. I daresay it's not a problem for at least 95% of the keyboard players who have participated in recordings of this piece, since 1961. The incompetent usually don't land such gigs; and the competent know how to listen carefully and play something that sounds musically appropriate. >>
< I suspect some on this list might disagree with that, though. >
Would they be right though?

Uri Golomb wrote (April 6, 2004):
< Did they not teach you about the fallacy of burden-of-proof, Brad? You're the one defending the NBA editorial decision to create an organ line out of the voice parts in the "Confiteor", without any evidence that Bach ever wrote such a part. >
Actually, Brad didn't defend that decision, for the simple reason that there was no such decision to defend: the NBA did not create such an organ part. You made a simple yet lamentable confusion, mistaking a vocal score for a complete score. I already explained this on: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/7483.

Charles Francis wrote (April 6, 2004):
Uri Golomb wrote: < Actually, Brad didn't defend that decision, for the simple reason that there was no such decision to defend: the NBA did not create such an organ part. >
Do you have any evidence that Bach wrote the part, then?

< You made a simple yet lamentable confusion, mistaking a vocal score for a complete score. I already explained this on: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/7483. >
Not at all! Mr. Lehmann has admitted performing from such a corrupt edition and scribbling the marginal note "Out" to himself: to stop playing in the "Adagio" and re-enter at bar 146.

But just imagine the scene back in 1962: the organist, certificates neatly displayed above the keyboard, and the voice of Karl Richter screaming up to the organ gallery: " Raus! "

Jason Marmaras wrote (April 6, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] Ah, Brad, I beg of you to explain these to terms:
Tasto solo: no continuo, just the strings?
Tacet: the continuo follows (other) written parts?
(the tasto solo has been coming up since my first contact with Bach's vocal music, and I haven't learned what it really means yet)
___

On Brad's message (April 5, 2004):
Brad, not examining the reasons, I think this is an ad hominem argument (attack).
___

Of Richter's continuo (using the 'Gedult' TenAria from the SMP): In my opinion: the organist, seemingly as a result of the lack of a melodic (G-clef, high pitch, whatever apart from a bass) instrument, deems himself obliged to improvise a sole melody (on a very <hard> register), and, since Bach probably didn't write the continuo with that in mind (there's the obligato - written out organ part - for that cause) the melody gets crappy in spots. He could have used, to better effect, a combination of chords and melody, in a <softer> register, so as to fill in with energy direction where the melody just doesn't seem (to me, perhaps) to fit. And, also, he could play some chords accompanying the tenor, in a softer register, even without changing anything else [if he does, I can't hear it - tell me so]. (Now that I think of it, he could even play chords on a softer register and another clavier with his left hand, given that he could think of all these together, and play the quite spirited pass on the pedals - which I suppose he could). IMO.
___

Of the role of the basso continuo:
Brad, I believe that the role of cementing down the ensemble does pass to the conductor. I don't know if that strips the harpsichord of this its role, completely, and I would truly like to know your opinion on this. As for the harpsichord not being heard at all, a teacher of mine jested "the definition of harpsichord continuo: the bee buzzing in the honey pot". And how effective - in energy direction - can this 'buzzing' be! By playing more or less notes - either harmonically or melodically, that is - it can 'give' all the course and direction the muisic needs, and, with it's attack (tsving!), all arpegios and briget chords make their presence quite clear. When you have a violin orchestra playing the chords, you don't need to discern all the notes the harpsichord plays; the "tchwing-tchwing" is enough to cement down, if not the ensemble's playing, its sound. [well, okay, I'm repeating myself here, perhaps due to incompetent vocabulary, but I think I've made my point; and now, I guess, it's comments time (didn't sound like an invitation, did it? =D ) ]

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 6, 2004):
"tasto solo" and "tacet"

Jason Marmaras wrote: < Ah, Brad, I beg of you to explain these to terms: Tasto solo: no continuo, just the strings? >
Tasto solo: stop improvising harmonic material for the given passage, but it's OK to keep playing along with some or all of the bass line, or optionally to double it with octaves.

< Tacet: the continuo follows (other) written parts? >
Tacet: stop playing altogether.

If a continuo player is doubling the lowest-sounding part at any given moment (and maybe also playing some other parts as well), instead of working from an independently-composed continuo line, that's called "basso seguente".

All these of course depend on a player to understand style, and to have good taste fashioning something that sounds appropriate and effective...which might well be different from each performance to the next. Always thinking sensitively like a composer, since composition/improvisation/thoroughbass are all part of the same craft.

< (the tasto solo has been coming up since my first contact with Bach's vocal music, and I haven't learned what it really means yet) >
Now you know!

Uri Golomb wrote (April 6, 2004):
<< Actually, Brad didn't defend that decision, for the simple reason that there was no such decision to defend: the NBA did not create such an organ part. >>
< Do you have any evidence that Bach wrote the part, then? >
Of coures not -- because Bach indeed no such part, and neither Friedrich Smend (the NBA editor) nor Brad Lehman ever claimed otherwise.

Let's be quite clear about this -- and this will be my last contribution to this debate. The NBA of the Mass -- like most editions of choral-orchestral works -- comes in three versions:
1. A full score.
2. A set of separate choral and orchestral parts, including -- in this case -- an organ part. This is what Brad played from.
3. A vocal score, in which the orchestral parts are reduced to a solo keyboard part. Brad's PDF file was extracted from the vocal score.
(1) and (2) are intended to be "Urtext" -- a representation of what Bach himself wrote. (3) does not claim to reproduce anything Bach himself had written.

< Not at all! Mr. Lehmann has admitted performing from such a corrupt edition and scribbling the marginal note "Out" to himself: to stop playing in the "Adagio" and re-enter at bar 146. >
Since Brad played from the organ part -- not from the vocal score -- he admitted to no such thing. The instruction he introduced was not a correction to the part, but a reminder to himself of his an artistic decision for that particular concert. (if I mis-understood something, Brad is welcome to correct me).And, incidentally, Richter did not use the NBA at all - he used the 19th-century Bach Gesellschaft edition. It says as much in the notes to his recording.

Bach himself did not write out parts for the Symbolum Nicenum -- only a full score (and these tend to be much less detailed than performing parts). If he had written out a separate continuo part (as he did for the Kyrie and Gloria, about 15 years earlier), and these parts included a "tacet" or "tasto solo" instruction, we'd have known that he wanted the organ to keep silent (or at least not improvise) in the passage in question. If he had written out figures for the continuo in that passage, we'd have known that he expected the keyboard player to go on improising on their basis. As it is, there is no conclusive evidence, either way, for his wishes. And, BTW, even if there had been a set of parts, they would have only preserved Bach's wishes with regards to a particular performance. He might have given different instructions in a different performance -- because of a different acoustics, a different organ, (a) different player(s), or simply a change of heart on his part.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 6, 2004):
John Pike wrote: < PLEASE can we stop this? I suggest we just ignore this sort of nonsense. Responding to it merely perpetuates it. >
[There really is musical content here; see below....]

Charles responded to me off-list, after I'd written to him off-list directly asking him to desist. According to Charles, any fish in a tank are fair game for as much poking and tapping on the glass as anyone wants to do. He didn't use that same analogy, but that's the gist of what he said: any musician whose work is in public view is a fair target for any sort of criticism anyone wants to offer. I trust I've represented his position fairly, even though he has shown no inclination to represent anyone else's fairly.

Try telling a fish not to react at all when a cruel little boy keeps tapping on the tank for his own puerile amusement, while taking no responsibility at all for stopping. That particular little boy has shown no inclination to be in the tank--which would require musical competence, training, and commitment to the work--but is content to calumniate all the fish whose colours he doesn't fancy.

The little boy's position is so arrogant: that the fish are not even sufficiently qualified to be fish. Instead of answering a direct challenge back to him (a request for his own qualifications to be a critic, in a position to judge the work), he just moves around to tap at a different spot on the tank: again taking no responsibility for his offensive actions and groundless insinuations. It shows disdain for the music, and disdain for those of us who are devoted to the (already thankless) work of being the fish.

How can a fish such as myself not respond at all as the victim of that puerile tapping, in the interests of the tank and the other fish? When I asked yesterday on-list,

<< will it ever end? >>
...Charles responded,
< That's for you to decide, Brad. >
Great. It's the fish's responsibility to end the cruel little boy's attacks? In what universe is it proper to blame the victim instead of the perpetrator?

Personally, I subscribed to discuss the music, its wonderful features available to any who would study. Obviously the little boy outside the tank isn't adept enough to recognize a standard "Ge6th" chord in bar 145 of the BMM's "Confiteor" (i.e. the sound of a dominant-seventh chord resolving in an unexpected direction, through enharmonic reinterpretation). Or, to appreciate Bach's other enharmonic modulations immediately preceding that as an obvious symbol of bodily transformation in the resurrection (to illustrate the sung text "et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum"). [He probably also hasn't caught the dramatic way Brahms similarly used a German 6th at "Wo ist dein Sieg?" in the German Requiem: the same theological theme of transformation after death. Exactly the spot where Klemperer's majestic recording has an unfortunate and too-obvious tape splice!] Truly remarkable moments in the music.

Perhaps the little boy should therefore discard his assumption that musicians are stupid fish, and go find some other form of self-amusement that gives him pleasure. Little boys are typically resilient, and I trust he can find some suitable activity that's less annoying for everyone.

Charles Francis wrote (April 7, 2004):
Uri Golomb wrote: < The NBA of the Mass -- like most editions of choral-orchestral works -- comes in three versions:
1. A full score.
2. A set of separate choral and orchestral parts, including - in this case -- an organ part. This is what Brad played from.
3. A vocal score, in which the orchestral parts are reduced to a solo keyboard part. Brad's PDF file was extracted from the vocal score.
(1) and (2) are intended to be "Urtext" -- a representation of what Bach himself wrote. >
So how can the NBA create "Urtext" performance parts for a mass which was, most probably, never performed by Bach? Moreover, in the opinion of some, it was incapable of being performed in the liturgy of his day. And if you look at the Bach-Dokumente (Band 1), pg. 233-234, you'll see there is no mention of an organ part for the Missa. Is an organ indicated on the score of the Missa? If not, why the assumption that an organ was necessarily intended? Dreden, after all, had excellent lutenists like Bach's friend Weiss.

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 7, 2004):
Charles asked: >>And if you look at the Bach-Dokumente (Band 1), pg. 233-234, you'll see there is no mention of an organ part for the Missa. Is an organ indicated on the score of the Missa? If not, why the assumption that an organ was necessarily intended? Dreden, after all, had excellent lutenists like Bach's friend Weiss.<<
Some researchers (I am unable to find these sources quickly - you will simply have to believe me or not) have pointed to the presence of W.F. Bach with his position as organist in Dresden as well as connections to the court musicians (all of them, including W. F. Bach being potential performers of the "Missa." In a work of this size and magnitude, an "Organo" part is normally included, although in this instance, this particular original set of original parts, it is not. Read on:

Peter Wollny, in the New Grove (Oxford University Press, 2003), reported that:
>>[W. F.] Bach took up his duties [as organist at the Dresden Sophienkirche] on 1 August 1733; he was required only to play the organ for divine service and for the figural music performed on feast days, for which he was paid a modest salary of about 80 reichsthaler. However, the appointment gave him time to pursue other interests. He cultivated the acquaintance of Dresden court musicians such as J.G. Pisendel and S.L. Weiss, and presumably took an active part in the musical life of the court.<<

Friedrich Smend in the NBA KB II/1 pp. 120-124 conjectured reasonably that the completely autograph (J. S. Bach’s own handwriting throughout) bc part with figured bass was withheld deliberately and never submitted with the somewhat incomplete array of parts that make up this original set. He did submit a bc part (with figures) based upon the violoncello part (this is mainly in Bach’s hand, but not all of it) but kept the original, entirely autograph bc part, probably because it was a transposed a tone lower. The latter bc part has never surfaced and it can only be surmised that it once existed. It is quite possible that this part (the existing one is labeled 'Continuo') might have been designated as ‘Organo.’

Smend correctly points out that the cover page for the original parts [Bach-Dokumente referred to above] was not written by Bach (only the final text below the list was) but rather by an unknown hand or hands. Numerous changes in the list were made which seem to indicate, after all the changes are examined carefully, that J. S. Bach did not submit his complete set of parts, but rather kept some for himself. This raises all sorts of questions as to how a performance could have been brought about based solely upon the somewhat limited parts that were submitted. [Joshua Rifkin tried to make a lot out of this situation to support his OVPP/OPPP theory.]

George B Stauffer in “The Mass in B Minor” [Schirmer, 1997] pp. 208-9 quotes Hans-Joachim Schulze as having ‘reasoned that Bach may have done the same with the "Missa," carrying back to Leipzig a duplicate violin 2 part, one or two continuo parts, and possibly a viola part as well.’ “The same” here refers to a situation related by Stauffer: “When he [J. S. Bach] lent the performance parts for the “Sanctus” (in its original 1724 form) to Count Sporck in Bohemia, he retained the duplicates and later used them as the basis for a new set of performance materials when Sporck failed to return the originals.”

At the top of p. 209, Stauffer continues: “In addition, it was common practice in Bach’s day for several performers to read from one part, a procedure that saved time and labor in an age of handwritten materials. Even with printed music, which was expensive in the first half of the eighteenth century, sharing parts was a practical means of stretching available texts….Bach’s Weimar colleague Johann Gottfired Walther complained in his old age that his eyes were greatly weakened from years of straining to read shared parts.

Lest that I be accused of ‘providing irrelevant information which, which according some frequent postings, is only intended negatively to provoke a strong, defensive reaction' from those who have strong opinions about OVPP/OPPP or from those whose 'qualifications' allow them to belittle the intelligent use of genuine musicological sources when referenced by those they deem un- or under-qualified, I will stop right here. Nevertheless, until I receive a communication from Aryeh Oron that my postings have become a disservice and a source of biased misinformation that causes great consternation among reasonable musicians and musicologists who revere Bach's music and the recordings thereof, I will continue to overlook and disregard the barrage of personal attacks and sly innuendos which serve only to uncover and display the insecurities (imagined or real) on the part of those who continually engage in these tactics.

Johan van Veen wrote (April 7, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote: < (...) that my postings have become a disservice and a source of biased misinformation that causes great consternation among reasonable musicians and musicologists who revere Bach's music and the recordings thereof
That would be too much honour. >
That would be too much honour.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 7, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote: < So how can the NBA create "Urtext" performance parts for a mass which was, most probably, never performed by Bach? >
By extracting them from an "Urtext" score.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 7, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote: < I will continue to overlook and disregard the barrage of personal attacks and sly innuendos which serve only to uncover and display the insecurities (imagined or real) on the part of those who continually engage in these tactics. >
That is very noble and self-sacrificing of course but I wonder what insecurities lie behind the need to routinely disparage the work of serious musicians in such a contemptuous and self-righteous tone.

Charles Francis wrote (April 7, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote: << So how can the NBA create "Urtext" performance parts for a mass which was, most probably, never performed by Bach? >>
Gabriel Jackson wr: < By extracting them from an "Urtext" score. >
Quite! But the Urtext score shows only a bass line (as you would realise by reading contributions more carefully before casting aspersions).

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 7, 2004):
[To Charles Francis] What do you mean, it shows only a bass line? Your question referred to parts - plural. Given your inability to read contributions correctly, and/or your frequent inability or unwillingness to understand them, this is an odd remark. And as for casting aspersions, pots and kettles come to mind.....

Charles Francis wrote (April 7, 2004):
Gabriel Jackson wrote: < What do you mean, it shows only a bass line? >
The continuo part shows only a bass line. Am I to understand you do own an urtext of the B-minor Mass?

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 7, 2004):
Charles Francis wrote: < The continuo part shows only a bass line. >
And.....?


Mass in B minor BWV 232: Details
Recordings:
Until 1950 | 1951-1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001 | Individual Movements
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Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 (by Teri Noel Towe) | Bach’s B minor Mass on Period Instruments (by Donald Satz) | Like Father, Like Son [By Boyd Pehrson]

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Last update: ýApril 11, 2004 ý12:58:41