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Systematic Discussions of Bach’s Other Vocal Works
Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 - Cantata 3

Discussions in the Week of October 24, 2004

Planned but not discussed.

 

Discussions in the Week of June 14, 2009

Francis Browne wrote (June 14, 2009):
BWV248/3 introduction

Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen : Thoughts Out Of Season :

This week's cantata is the third part of the Christmas oratorio BWV 248 ..There is a splendid opening chorus (repeated at the conclusion), a fine aria for alto with an eloquent part for solo violin (which uniquely was written for this cantata), and an enjoyable duet for soprano and bass. The DVD by John Eliot Gardiner contains a memorable performance, and his earlier recording and that by Herreweghe are both joyous musicmaking. With some reservations I have also enjoyed the recordings by Richter and the Naxos recording.

If you follow this link: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/VD/BWV248-Part3.htm

you will find the discussion scheduled for the third part of the Christmas oratorio in October 2004 has not started yet. After almost 5 years even someone of Aryeh's positive and optimistic outlook will probably have to concede that discussion will never start. There was a similar jejune or non-existent response to the other parts of BWV 248 for which discussion was planned in that year.

In recent weeks response to the earlier parts of theChristmas oratorio and of the cantatas associated with Christmas has also been generally sparse or nil. It is not that these works do not contain splendid music, but evidently almost everybody on the lists must feel it is somehow inappropriate to concentrate on Christmas music in Midsummer.

Since the response to the earlier parts of Christmas oratorio has been so limited, it is unlikely that many people will suddenly take an interest in the third part, and so there seems little point in providing a lengthy introduction.

I reproduce what Dürr has to say about this cantata.

"The Third Part of the Christmas Oratorio concludes the first half of the work. Parts I-III are felt to belong together particularly closely on account of their tonality (D-G-D) and scoring (with flutes), the continuity of the Gospel* narra­tive, and their immediate succession on the three Christmas feast-days. This may explain why Bach concluded Part III not with a chorale, as in the other five parts, but with a reprise of the opening chorus* (no. 24). It is possible, however, that the concise simplicity of the movement, its plain bipartite form, its clearly per­ceptible periodic phrase structure, and its dance-like character would have given it too little weight on a single hearing, and Bach was therefore induced to repeat it. The second chorus from Part III, no. z6, is also brief in extent. Both its compositional type-a vocal texture with instruments that either double the voices or unite in an unthematic obbligato* part-and its bipartite form (imitative-freely polyphonic*) establish it as a derivative of the motet.*

The three chorales of Part III are less substantial than those of the preceding parts, since they are all set in a plain four-part texture. Our attention is therefore focused on the two arias, particularly on no. 31, which stands out as perhaps the only newly composed aria in the entire oratorio.* A first sketch of it was repeatedly altered and finally rejected; and even the draft of the new, definitive version, with its profusion of corrections, bears witness to Bach's self-critical engagement with its composition. The violin part, written out from the score, contains exceptionally conscientious articulation marks-a further indication of the care taken by the composer over this particular aria. Despite the almost virtuoso character of the violin part, Bach's art here seems much intensified. The solo scoring points to the personal content of the text; and the unison on the words 'Firmly within your Faith!' likewise serves the purpose of textual interpretation."

iamque opus exegi .... with this I have completed my task as stopgap and am happy to hand over to someone more knowledgeable. Evan Cortens, a graduate student in musicology, will be introducing cantatas, chorales and Geistliche Lieder over the next five weeks. I wish him well and hope that the varied works scheduled will provoke interest and discussion.

Neil Halliday wrote (June 20, 2009):
Francis Browne wrote:
> With some reservations I have also enjoyed the recordings by Richter and the Naxos recording.<
Richter is a bit slow in the opening (and closing) chorus, with rigid articulation of the continuo; Suzuki and Gardiber seem most joyful here. However, Richter has a marvellously fleet, but not manic, 2nd chorus "let us now go to Bethlehem, cf. Suzuki who is way too fast in this movement. Richter's recitatives and enthusiastic chorales are all excellent, but his alto aria is a bit slow and mournful. Preferences for the duet will depend on mood.

 

Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248: Details
Recordings: Until 1950 | 1951-1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Systematic Discussions:
Cantata 1 | Cantata 2 | Cantata 3 | Cantata 4 | Cantata 5 | Cantata 6 | Part 7: Summary
Individual Recordings:
BWV 248 - Collegium Aureum | BWV 248 - H. Christophers | BWV 248 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 248 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 248 - R. Jacobs | BWV 248 - N. McGegan | BWV 248 - R. Otto | BWV 248 - K. Richter | BWV 248 - H. Rilling | BWV 248 - P. Schreier | BWV 248 - M. Suzuki | BWV 248 - K. Thomas | BWV 248 - J.v. Veldhoven
Articles:
A Bottomless Bucket of Bach - Christmas Oratorio [D. Satz]

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: ýJune 21, 2009 ý16:03:48