Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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

Mass in B minor BWV 232
General Discussions - Part 14

Continue from Part 13

BMM - Breitkopf & Härtel Urtext Edition

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 8, 2007):
Thanks to Brad for pointing out Rifkin's BMM Urtext edition. This certainly is a necessary update to Smend's conflated version presented in NBA II/1 dating from 1954. In 2005 NBA II/1a appeared with the 1733 version. This is BWV 232(I). This volume also includes the "Credo in unum Deum" BWV 232(II/I), the early version in G major and the "Sanctus" BWV 232(III)-version from 1724. What was direly needed was a version "aus letzter Hand" that could remove the layer of additions and corrections made by CPE Bach (the latter often made corrections to his father's original score with a razor blade! The "Symbolum Nicenum" seems to have suffered the worst fate at CPE Bach's hands. Other sections of the BMM were "easier" for reconstructing the BMM according to Bach's last wishes. Read Rifkin's "Preface" for a rather detailed summary of the history of the BMM, differences in the notation (called "text"), notational conventions and scoring (yes, Rifkin, true to his OVPP theory still maintains that only one singer read from the single vocal part and that there would be no ripieno doubling because there are no markings in the score nor are there any vocal doublets -- such observations are not unexpected with Rifkin).

There is a wealth of information about this new, important Urtext edition of the BMM (much better than reading anything that Bitter might have to say about this work). It can be found at the following addresses

Interview with Joshua Rifkin on the BMM:

Either click on the "Interview with Joshua Rifkin"
link in red type on this page: http://www.breitkopf.com/featureDetail.php?feaId=4377

or start the download directly at: http://www.breitkopf.com/fileDownload.php?fileId=3286
[The English translation follows the German directly.]

Also, for a detailed description of this Urtext edition, click on "Preface" link (in red type) at: http://www.breitkopf.com/featureDetail.php?feaId=4313&wrkId=8492

or start the download of the "Preface" directly at: http://www.breitkopf.com/fileDownload.php?fileId=3268

and scroll down to p. XII for the English translation

You will also see an example (p. 1) of the Urtext score when you click on "Sample Page": (this link is also in red type).

Jean Laaninen wrote (May 8, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] Thank you. Now I am beginning to catch up with this discussion. The sample page looks lovely. I've only listened all the way through to the BMM once some years ago, but as a singer I was simply amazed at the vocal demands of producing such a big work. And, it is such a beautiful work, too. I'll read the preface shortly.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 8, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Other sections of the BMM were "easier" for reconstructing the BMM according to Bach's last wishes. Read Rifkin's "Preface" for a rather detailed summary of the history of the BMM, differences in the notation (called "text"), notational conventions and scoring >
Fascinating preface which indicates that there is still so much we don't understand about the actual score. Rifkin's brief description of the bassoon doubling problem is mind-boggling.

I didn't realize that Haydn knew the score through Van Swieten. Am I correct in understanding that Rifkin says Beethoven knew the work? .. Or is he saying that Beethoven was trying to get a copy of the score?

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 8, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>I didn't realize that Haydn knew the score through Van Swieten.<<
There is an early copy of the score known as the "Haydn" copy which was among his collected scores at the time of his death. In 1804, the Viennese publishing firm, Traeg, offered this copy for sale.

>>Am I correct in understanding that Rifkin says Beethoven knew the work? .. Or is he saying that Beethoven was trying to get a copy of the score?<<
Rifkin is probably relying here on Smend and Stauffer. The latter (1997) reports that Beethoven twice tried to obtain his own copy of the score (in 1810 from Breitkopf & Härtel and in 1824 from Nägeli who would not even later allow the BGA editors to look at the score). Stauffer surmises that Beethoven may have known the ground bass from the "Crucifixus" from Kirnberger's "Die Kunst des reinen Satzes". However, Stauffer seems to have overlooked Smend's research which uncovered information about the Haydn-Traeg copy of the score. A book by Eduard Hanslick ("A History of Concerts Given in Vienna", p. 140) reports that in the years from 1816-1820, a series of house concerts featuring the "Kyrie" and "Gloria" from the BMM were given at the house of Raphael Georg Kiesewetter, a music historian. (Had he purchased the "Haydn" copy?) Armed with this information, there is no need to lament the fact, as Stauffer does, that Beethoven did not live in Berlin where concerts featuring portions of the BMM were being performed. With the Haydn copy of the score probably circulating in Vienna and the reports of concerts featuring portions of the BMM there as well when Beethoven was residing there, there is no reason to believe the Beethoven did not have personal contact with the music in some form or other. He may have wanted a personal copy of the score when he wrote to Breitkopf & Härtel and Nägeli.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 8, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote about Joshua Rifkin's Preface (Vorwort) at
http://www.breitkopf.com/fileDownload.php?fileId=3268
< Read Rifkin's "Preface" for a rather detailed summary of the history of the BMM, differences in the notation (called "text"), notational conventions and scoring (yes, Rifkin, true to his OVPP theory still maintains that only one singer read from the single vocal part and that there would be no ripieno doubling because there are no markings in the score nor are there any vocal doublets -- such observations are not unexpected with Rifkin). >
Does the phrase "such observations are not unexpected with Rifkin" imply that you think he's pressing some improper agenda? Based on what? Have you read his 2002 book yet....? How about "yes, Rifkin, true to his OVPP theory still maintains..."? Are you implying with that rather smirky phrasing that he's somehow fond of his own theory, and "still" stuck there, instead of respectful of the evidence?

Instead of doing scholarly work that you might find admirable, if you'd deign to read it?

=====

What I expect from Rifkin, having read a pile of his articles and that 2002 book Bach's Choral Ideal, is that he's extremely thorough with following out and documenting every little objection that could spin off from his text. Rifkin's writing regularly gives longer footnotes/endnotes than the main text! Rifkin is very good at restoring context around the comp, to establish probable dates and scorings based on the other things Bach was doing at the time.

I noticed this again, last night, in spending a couple of hours reading his book-length 2007 article about the BWV 1067 Ouverture -- the footnotes are much longer than the article, and extremely dense and detailed about every little thing. His writing does not press an agenda, although it's well-informed by actually trying out the pieces in the configurations his work reveals; he focuses on facts, thorough documentation, and careful inferences based on his detective work with the sources. He remarks a bit about the musical effect when his ensemble played a concert tour, including this Ouverture 1067 transposed to A minor and with the solo part given to violin.

I find Rifkin's footnote asides to be sometimes as intriguing as the thrust of the main text. For example, in that 1067 article, I learned that somebody else has established the B minor flute sonata (1030) -- with its earlier version in G minor -- to have been not for oboe as it's sometimes played in reconstructions, but rather for violin(!) and harpsichord. And...both this sonata 1030 and the Ouverture 1067 were likely inspired by JSB's performance of his cousin Johann Bernard Bach's Ouverture in G minor, whose fugue subject is almost identical with the "flute" sonata's first-movement theme. The JB Bach Ouverture is similarly a 20+-minute piece for solo violin and strings; I'm listening to and enjoying it this morning.

One of Rifkin's observations in this article is: the romantic tradition of B minor being some "favorite" key of Bach's is really a shaky one. When we list all the big B minor pieces on which that 19th century conception was based...almost all of them were originally in keys other than B minor! That includes the B Minor Mass's first movement, which looks to have come from a C minor earlier model by Bach...and the rest of this Mass spends so little time in B minor anyway....

Another interesting outcome from the BWV 1067 article is: it's not convincingly likely anymore that the piece was written for Buffardin. Instead, it looks more reasonable now that Lorenz Mizler(!) may have been the first soloist for both this Ouverture and the sonata, among other things. Or perhaps, some other flautist still unknown.

The "such observations" that I regularly see from Rifkin, reading his scholarly work, is that they're invariably well-argued and they open up important new understandings of Bach's music. Not only the music's history, but with important implications for performance as well. Personally, inspired by what I read last night, I want to go grab a violinist at earliest opportunity and play the 1030 sonata in G minor, to hear it; I've already performed it in B and G minor with wind players, so it's just a matter of finding a violin colleague willing to give it a go, maybe even for a concert this autumn.

=====

Well, getting back to the main subject of the B Minor Mass, and Rifkin's editorial aims (as opposed to any presumed bias imputed to him by people who don't read his work...), here's exactly what he says in that Preface for the B Minor Mass. Page XIV, left column:

"Scoring"

"As usual in his scores, Bach provided no explicit information on the size of the ensemble or the make-up of the continuo group. Given the late date of the Mass, his earlier practice, as revealed above all through his performing materials, may not necessarily apply to this work; on the other hand, the score contains nothing that would contradict the longstanding and consistently maintained practice of the composer's Leipzig years. [32]"

"The great majority of Bach's performance materials contain only one copy of each obbligato vocal part. To all indications, no more than one singer read from any of these parts; only in rare instances, moreover, do separate ripieno parts provide reinforcement. [33] The absence of any reference to ripieno voices in the Mass does not, in and of itself, preclude their use, as Bach did not always fix such details in his scores but did so only when writing out parts. [34] Nevertheless, Parts II-IV of the Mass stand out for the care with which -- perhaps because [Bach] did not anticipate immediately producing a set of parts -- he indicated such matters as the assignment of the soprano lines in nos. 14, 15 and 17, the pairwise grouping of the voices in no. 27 or the entrances and rests of the supporting oboes in no. 15. Against this background, his silence concerning possible ripieno doubling surely gains in significance."

I'd like to see where those endnotes 32-34 go to, but the web PDF copy of this Preface doesn't include them.... Presumably it's to sections V-IX in his 2002 book, his discussion of concertists and ripienists, where on pages 36-37 he includes a table of "ripieno participation in Bach's performances after 20 June 1723", and describes the separate ripieno parts for those compositions. [That is, if there were any ripieno singers for a given piece, they had their own music to hold; they weren't standing beside/behind a concertist and looking at the same piece of paper he had. Concertist parts had all the solos and all the "choruses" written in them; ripienist parts didn't have the solo movements included.]

=====

And from the top of page XV, here in the Preface of the B Minor Mass edition, Rifkin makes it still clearer that he's not pressing a performance agenda with this edition:

"Obviously, "historical" practice constitutes only one possibility among many for the performance of the Mass in B Minor; the "symphonic" tradition inherited from the nineteenth century has its own historicity, which not everyone would wish to discard. Ultimately, the responsibility for determining the size of the ensemble as well as the use of "historical" or "modern" instruments and all issues of interpretation rests with the performer alone. A critical edition by its very nature seeks not to prescribe rules but to open possibilities."

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 8, 2007):
BMM - Giant Mass Tradition

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< With the Haydn copy of the score probably circulating in Vienna and the reports of concerts featuring portions of the BMM there as well when Beethoven was residing there, there is no reason to believe the Beethoven did not have personal contact with the music in some form or other. He may have wanted a personal copy of the score when he wrote to Breitkopf & Härtel and Nägeli. >
Although there doesn't seem to be direct influence on the Missa Solemnis, there appears to have been some sort of Gigantic Mass tradition in Austria and Germany in the 17th and 18th centuries.

We can see this as early as Biber's "Missa Salisburgiensis" from the 1680's where 56 vocal and instrumental parts are arrayed in eight choirs (In the engraving in this link, you can see the four galleries of musicians on the four piers of the dome: http://www.bluntinstrument.org.uk/biber/pics/biber_Prom-brux-talk_handout3.jpg )

The Dresden Court masses certainly have that scale although the taste for multiple choirs had waned. Interestingly, Bach uses antiphonal choirs in the "Osanna" and the B Minor Mass is very simialr to the Dresden repretoire.

In the next generation we see Mozart's Mass in C Minor which even unfinished is a work of heroic proportions. The Missa Solemnis seems to be the last of the Giant Masses.

Because of their scale, the Bach, Mozart and Beethoven masses have all been called "universal statements", and commentators have conventionally assumed that they rise above any practical church use. Monumentally comprehensive yes, but they were all conceived as works for liturgical performance.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 8, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Rifkin is probably relying here on Smend and Stauffer. (...) Stauffer seems to have overlooked Smend's research which uncovered information about the Haydn-Traeg copy of the score. >
Oh, come on! WHY do you think George Stauffer has "overlooked" anything, especially with regard to Smend?! Dr Stauffer knows where to find Smend's, and he cites various things from it at more than a dozen places in his (Stauffer's) book.

And, for his part, why must Dr Rifkin "probably" rely only on those two sources you say, as opposed to doing his own original research...which he is phenomenally good at doing?

Chris Kern wrote (May 8, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Because of their scale, the Bach, Mozart and Beethoven masses have all been called "universal statements", and commentators have conventionally assumed that they rise above any practical church use. Monumentally comprehensive yes, but they were all conceived as works for liturgical performance. >
I often wonder why there is so much resistance to the idea that the BMM might have been intended for liturgical use. The St. Matthew Passion was indisputably used in services, and it is much longer than the BMM. Of course we're talking about different churches and locations, but length seems to be no barrier to use.

Paul T. McCain wrote (May 8, 2007):
[To Chris Kern] Chris, you are correct. There is no reason to think that Bach wrote this thinking, "Surely, they will never use this in a Lutheran service." We know that the traditional Western Mass, in its Lutheran form, was used in Leipzig throughout Bach's tenure and portions of it were sung in Latin. I regard it as no big stretch at all to think Bach did not simply write this Mass in abstracto with no intention it would, or could, possibly ever be used.

Rick Canyon wrote (May 8, 2007):
[To Paul T. McCain] The current Thomaskantor Christoph Biller claims the B-minor mass was intended "for the consecration of the new Hofkirche or Court Church in Dresden". If true...aren't we talking about the BWV 232 being a Catholic Mass then?

Chris Kern wrote (May 8, 2007):
[To Canyon Rick] Stauffer seems to indicate that there is some evidence that Bach may have composed the Mass as a liturgical Catholic Mass as well. I guess the "murderous Pope" isn't so bad after all.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 9, 2007):
[To Canyon Rick] Although the connection with the musical traditions of the Catholic court at Dresden is strong, there is no documentary evidence that the Mass in B Minor was intended for a specific occasion. The Mass was however conceived as a Catholic mass even though it used comparable movements from the Lutheran liturgy.

The Dresden connection is mysterious. Stauffer points out that Bach had all but ceased to compose cantatas in the last decade of his life. That period was however marked by an interest in the Latin mass. Almost all of the Missae Breve were written for performance after 1738. One almost wonders if Bach was beginning to assemble a repetoire which could be useful if he received an appointment to a Catholic chapel royal.

The Saxon royal family was divided among those who converted in order to secure the Polish crown and those who remained Lutheran. Question: do we know if Lutheran musicians served in the Catholic chapels or were the principals expected to convert?

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 9, 2007):
In various places in the NBA KB II/1 Messe in h-moll by Friedrich Smend, 1956, Smend makes numerous references to the following book:

"Leipziger Kirchen-Andachten, Darinnen der Erste Theil Das Gebetbuch, Oder die Ordnung des gantzen öffentlichen Gottes-Dienstes.begreiffet, Der Ander Theil Das Gesangbuch, In welchem Alle Lieder, nebst einem Anhang der Lateinischen Hymnorum.Leipzig, verlegts Caspar Würdig.im Jahr 1694." (Leipzig Church Services; in the first part, The Prayer Book, or containing the order of the entire public church service.The other (2nd) part, The Hymnal, which includes all the hymns along with an appendix of Latin hymns.published in Leipzig by Caspar Würdig in 1694.)

Smend calls special attention to the 2nd part listed above, "The Hymnal". After the presentation of all the German hymns, there is another following section entitled:
"Cantica quaedam sacra veteris ecclesiae selecta, quae Dominicis & Festis diebus per totius anni curriculum in Templis Cathedralibus usitate.cantari & adhuc retineri solent."

This section begins with: "I. Precatio Ecclesiae" which consists of the "Kyrie" and "Gloria", in other words, the text of the "Missa". Next is: "II. Symbolum Nicenum" and "III. Praefatio ante Communionem canenda", beginning with the exchange/alternation of the sung prayer responses divided between the "Minister" and the "Ecclesia" (the pastor and the congregation) and ending with the "Sanctus" of the "Chores". Up to this point where the Latin text begins to deviate from the Missale Romanum (no "Osanna" follows the "Sanctus", even including the unique Latin spellings and numeration of the sections, everything corresponds exactly with Bach's composition (BMM). Here we have the source for Bach's sequence of these three sections.

Not found listed under "Cantica quaedam veteris ecclesiae selecta" of the "Kirchen-Andachten" are the "Osanna in excelsis", "Benedictus", "Agnus Dei" and the "Dona nobis pacem". But this should not lead to a wrong conclusion here since the "Kirchen-Andachten" were printed for use by the congregation so that they could follow with greater understanding the sequence of events that constitute the church service. For this purpose the proceedings in front of the altar are explained, the readings from the Bible and the appropriate hymns for any given Sunday or Holiday are listed, the specific prayers for any specific part of the liturgical year are given and the Latin hymns are also given in their German translations. Only the extensive texts for the "Hauptmusik" ("the main, figural compositions like the cantatas") are missing. But these could be purchased individually by members of the congregation, but did not include the texts for those compositions performed "sub communione" ("during communion") and which changed from week to week. It should not be surprising then that the Latin texts for such compositions from the "Osanna in excelsis" up to and including the "Dona nobis pacem" also are not found printed in the "Hymnal" portion of the "Kirchen-Andachten". This reflects precisely what would be considered the customary practices of the main churches in Leipzig. Another possible proof that the portions of the BMM mentioned earlier in this paragraph were performed during communion can be found in the statement (again from the "Leipziger Kirchen-Andachten" from 1694, p. 36) where the liturgy for the morning services on Sundays and holidays is described as follows:

"Unter der Communion (ehe die teutschen Lieder angefangen werden) wird ein Stück musiciret oder eine Motete gesungen. Wenn du den Text nicht verstehest, kanst du deine Andacht folgends erweisen: Gebet, wenn man andere siehet zum Tisch des Herrn gehen." ("During communion {before the singing of the German hymns begins} a composition is performed or a motet is sung. If you do not understand the text, you can demonstrate your devotion as follows: a prayer, when you see others go forward to receive communion." The phrase, "If you do not understand the text" is significant. There is a similar notion expressed elsewhere (chapter XII, section 1): "Wenn lateinisch musiciret wird, so ein Leye nicht verstehet, kann er indessen." ("If a composition with a Latin text is being performed, which a lay person does not understand, he/she can meanwhile."). When this is applied to the 'sub communione' section of the liturgy, it implies that such Latin text compositions as the final sections of the BMM could have been performed at that time. As such they would fulfill a purpose independent of might be considered a unified "Great Mass" (BMM) performed as a single unified composition.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 9, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< It should not be surprising then that the Latin texts for such compositions from the ³Osanna in excelsis² up to and including the ³Dona nobis pacem² also are not found printed in the ³Hymnal² portion of the ³Kirchen-Andachten². This reflects precisely what would be considered the customary practices of the main churches in Leipzig. Another possible proof that the portions of the BMM mentioned earlier in this paragraph were performed during communion can be found in the statement (again from the ³Leipziger Kirchen-Andachten² from 1694, p. 36) where the liturgy for the morning When this is applied to the Osub communione¹ section of the liturgy, it implies that such Latin text compositions as the final sections of the BMM could have been performed at that time. As such they would fulfill a purpose independent of what might be considered a unified ³Great Mass² (BMM) performed as a single unified composition. >
We need to be careful here about the way in which Luther shaped the Roman mass for Lutheran use.

The Kyrie, Gloria and Credo were retained but the Sanctus-Benedictus was altered. The Sanctus was changed to quote Isaiah exactly ("gloria ejus" rather than "gloria tua") so that it was a scriptural quotation. Luther then eliminated the Osanna-Benedictus-Osanna with the rest of the Roman canon/eucharistic prayer except for the narrative of the Last Supper which was sung as a scriptural passage. The Agnus Dei was eliminated with all the prayers which followed and the communion began imnmediately.

It is unlikely that the post-Sanctus movements were performed as general communion music. That would have meant interrupting the Sanctus before the Osanna to sing the Last Supper narrative. The lack of an orchestral intro to the Osanna indicates that the Sanctus, Osanna, Benedictus, Osanna were intended to be performed as a unit. There are no Latin settings of the Agnus Dei in the Lutheran tradition.

The unnamed Latin pieces mentioned in the Kirchen-Andachten are presumably motets such as those in the Floregium. The B Minor Mass is overtly Catholic in sequence, a fact that was noted by Bach's son when he called it the "Great Catholic Mass."

Chris Kern wrote (May 9, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< The lack of an orchestral intro to the Osanna indicates that the Sanctus, Osanna, Benedictus, Osanna were intended to be performed as a unit. There are no Latin settings of the Agnus Dei in the Lutheran tradition. >
On the other hand, Stauffer believes that before the Mass was bound, the Mass was stored as four parts in four separate folders, which were:
1. Missa (Kyrie + Gloria)
2. Symbolem Niceum (Credo)
3. Sanctus
4. Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei
This would seem to indicate that Bach at least wanted to leave the possibility of only parts of it being used, i.e. at a Lutheran service.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 9, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>The unnamed Latin pieces mentioned in the Kirchen-Andachten are presumably motets such as those in the Floregium. The B Minor Mass is overtly Catholic in sequence, a fact that was noted by Bach's son when he called it the "Great Catholic Mass."<<
Smend again (NBA KB II/1 p. 53:

When CPE Bach died in 1788, that last living connection with JSB in Hamburg was cut off. The following generation no longer knew anything about the circumstances for which JSB, as Thomaskantor in the tradition of the late Lutheran orthodoxy in Leipzig, had prepared the BMM in the 1st half of the 18th century. A basic change had taken place not only in regard to the music, but equally in church and liturgical life as well. The liturgy of the Enlightenment no longer was acquainted with its earlier Latin components. "Kyrie", "Gloria", "Credo", "Sanctus", "Osanna", "Benedictus", "Agnus Dei" were now only heard sung in the Roman Catholic Church. You should not be surprised that the author of the list of music in CPE Bach's possession at the time of his death (estate listing prepared in 1790) refers to the JSB's autograph score of the BMM as "the great Catholic Mass", the first such reference which places it into the "Giant Mass Tradition", a concept which attempts to place it in the proximity of the Missale Romanum. Beginning with Romanticism at the beginning of the 19th century, there arose the notion that Bach had created a complete Catholic mass and by the 3rd decade of the 19th century parallels were being drawn between the BMM and Beethoven's "Missa solemnis".

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 9, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
< On the other hand, Stauffer believes that before the Mass was bound, the Mass was stored as four parts in four separate folders, which were:
1. Missa (Kyrie + Gloria)
2. Symbolem Niceum (Credo)
3. Sanctus
4. Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei
This would seem to indicate that Bach at least wanted to leave the possibility of only parts of it being used, i.e. at a Lutheran service. >
Agreed. The first three items in your list were standard repertoire in the Lutheran mass and there is a high probability that they were performed in Leipzig -- we know the Sanctus was performed.

The Catholic bits -- Osanna to Dona Nobis -- were added to the pre-existing movements to form a complete Roman mass ordinary but kept separate. Thus, Bach could perform the Sanctus in two ways: 1) Lutheran style with Sanctus alone, 2) Catholic style with Sanctus-Osanna-Benedictus-Osanna.

I still think it unlikely that the Osanna-Dona Nobis sequence was performed during communion especially because the texts were suppressed by Luther (the Agnus Dei survived as the German chorale, "O Lamm Gottes") There doesn't seem to be any evidence that such large scale festive music was used at the communion -- a sizeable portion of the congregation left after the chorale following the sermon and only a minority stayed to receive communion.

But then, there doesn't seem to be much scholarly interest in the question of whether a second cantata or motets were sung at the communion. McCreesh's recording of the Epiphany Mass includes the canata, "Schmücke Dich" (based on a communion chorale) as music "sub communione". Schiller adds a long list of cantatas which he thinks are communion cantatas.

A translation of Luther's preface to the mass reforms is full of interesting detail: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/germnmass-order.txt

My favourite is his abolition of the custom of preaching for EIGHT HOURS on Good Friday!

Bring a lunch.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 9, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
>>On the other hand, Stauffer believes that before the Mass was bound, the Mass was stored as four parts in four separate folders, which were:
1. Missa (Kyrie + Gloria)
2. Symbolem Niceum (Credo)
3. Sanctus
4. Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei
This would seem to indicate that Bach at least wanted to leave the possibility of only parts of it being used, i.e. at a Lutheran service.<<
According to Smend, there apparently never was a cover page for all four parts.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 9, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
< On the other hand, Stauffer believes that before the Mass was bound, the Mass was stored as four parts in four separate folders, which were: 1. Missa (Kyrie + Gloria)
2. Symbolem Niceum (Credo)
3. Sanctus
4. Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei
This would seem to indicate that Bach at least wanted to leave the possibility of only parts of it being used, i.e. at a Lutheran service. >
Agreed. The first three items in your list were standard repertoire in the Lutheran mass and there is a high probability that they were performed in Leipzig -- we know the Sanctus was performed.

The Catholic bits -- Osanna to DonNobis -- were added to the pre-existing movements to form a complete Roman mass ordinary but kept separate. Thus, Bach could perform the Sanctus in two ways: 1) Lutheran style with Sanctus alone, 2) Catholic style with Sanctus-Osanna-Benedictus-Osanna.

I still think it unlikely that the Osanna-Dona Nobis sequence was performed during communion especially because the texts were suppressed by Luther (the Agnus Dei survived as the German chorale, "O Lamm Gottes") There doesn't seem to be any evidence that such large scale festive music was used at the communion -- a sizeable portion of the congregation left after the chorale following the sermon and only a minority stayed to receive communion.

But then, there doesn;t seem to be much scholarly interest in the question of whether a second cantata or motets were sung at the communion. McCreesh's recording of the Epiphany Mass includes the canata, "Schmücke Dich" (based on a communion chorale) as music "sub communione". Schiller adds a long list of cantatas which he thinks are communion cantatas.

A translation of Luther's preface to the mass reforms is full of interesting detail:
http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/germnmass-order.txt

My favourite is his abolition of the custom of preaching for EIGHT HOURS on Good Friday!

Bring a lunch.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 9, 2007):
< My favourite is his abolition of the custom of preaching for EIGHT HOURS on Good Friday! Bring a lunch. >
Anything past about 90 minutes is a filibuster.

Chris Kern wrote (May 10, 2007):
Just yesterday I heard a piece on NPR about the Bethlehem, PA Bach festival, and someone (I think the conductor) was talking about how the BMM was Bach's unperformable testament to church music that represented the summing up of his life, etc. etc....the romantic ideal still lives on.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 10, 2007):
< Just yesterday I heard a piece on NPR about the Bethlehem, PA Bach festival, and someone (I think the conductor) was talking about how the BMM was Bach's unperformable testament to church music that represented the summing up of his life, etc. etc....the romantic ideal still lives on. >
My first introduction to the BMM, about 25 years ago, was in our library's copy of the LP set from that same Bethlehem Bach Choir. Some little brass group plays a Moravian chorale, quietly offstage, (which is incidentally also the way they give the starting tonality to the choir...) and then kaboom, everybody bursts in with "KYRIE!"

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 11, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>I'd like to see where those endnotes 32-34 go to, but the web PDF copy of this Preface doesn't include them.... Presumably it's to sections V-IX in his 2002 book, his discussion of concertists and ripienists, where on pages 36-37 he includes a table of "ripieno participation in Bach's performances after 20 June 1723", and describes the separate ripieno parts for those compositions. [That is, if there were any ripieno singers for a given piece, they had their own music to hold; they weren't standing beside/behind a concertist and looking at the same piece of paper he had. Concertist parts had all the solos and all the "choruses" written in them; ripienist parts didn't have the solo movements included.]<<
As you have already guessed, there is no new evidence being offered here by Rifkin. He is simply quoting from his previous publications which contained his usual conjectures regarding the ripieno parts based upon the notion that "no more than one singer read from any of these parts". Armed with this shibboleth or mantra, for which no solid proof in Bach's performance practice has been offered, Rifkin continues to build his OVPP sand castle. No matter that "historical" practice constitutes only one possibility among many for the performance of the Mass in B Minor", as stated in the Preface of the Urtext edition, the fact remains that Rifkin is still insisting the OVPP is the only reasonable theory musicologists and/or performers should accept if they wish to emulate what Bach would have had in mind for a performance of his BMM.

Once anyone accepts as unquestionable any of the major arguments for OVPP advanced by Rifkin and his followers:

a) only one singer can sing from a single copy of a part

and/or

b) Bach's primary choir (12 according to the "Entwurff") worked in shifts with other singers 'sitting out' or 'resting from their labors' until their turn or the Sunday/Holiday cantata to which they were assigned came up

and/or

c) the normal membership of the primary choir (12 according to the "Entwurff") was constantly and seriously depleted by illness and by the need for vocalists to be assigned to the instrumental parts for which there rarely, if ever, were sufficient players,

then

OVPP begins to appear more reasonable to those who want to try something different with an absolute minimum of singers and instrumentalists while still claiming this as an authentic performance practice which Bach possibly might have used in a performance of the BMM during his Leipzig tenure.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 11, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< As you have already guessed, there is no new evidence being offered here by Rifkin. He is simply quoting from his previous publications which contained his usual conjectures regarding the ripieno parts based upon the notion that “no more than one singer read from any of these parts”. Armed with this shibboleth or mantra, for which no solid proof in Bach’s > performance practice has been offered, Rifkin > continues to build his OVPP sand castle. (...)

Dude, what makes you think it's only a "sand castle" without bothering to read his published 2002 book on it?

And what makes you think that "no solid proof in Bach's performance has been offered", based on YOUR OWN REGULAR REFUSAL TO READ Rifkin's presented evidence and argument?

Head. Sand. Plunk. Hard to read from such a subterranean position, I suppose....

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 11, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>...what makes you think that "no solid proof in Bach's performance has been offered"?<<
This is based upon your inability to quote succinctly any compelling evidence that Rifkin may have presented. If you have the new book in question in your possession and have studied it diligently, then you should be able to extract and state the key evidence which has been added or 'discovered' since Rifkin's initial presentation and Parrott's restatement and expansion of the OVPP theory. I have read and studied Parrott's book carefully. Has Rifkin presented any new evidenc or insights? In particular, has he given any documentary proof for:

1. Only one singer can and did sing from a single part under Bach's direction.

2. For his sacred music performances in Leipzig, Bach was required to and did use only musicians (other than the City Pipers) selected from those pupils enrolled as Thomaner.

There is no need to repeat what Parrott has already presented, since, I assume, that many list members interested in this topic already own a copy and have read/studied it as I have. Having intimated that Rifkin has more recently given new reasons and evidence in support of his OVPP theory in his new book which you possess, it would now be an opportune moment for you to pass on such specific information and contribute to the ongoing discussion of this subject matter, a matter which will affect how listeners will hear future, historically-oriented performances of the BMM. No one is asking you to infringe on Rifkin's copyright of this material bquoting extensively numerous pages of a small booklet. Some short extracts relating specifically to the points listed above would be very helpful indeed.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 11, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
>>...what makes you think that "no solid proof in Bach's performance has been offered"?<<
< This is based upon your inability to quote succinctly any compelling evidence that
Rifkin may have presented. >
No "inability" here. Just an unwillingness to summarize and therefore misrepresent any part of Joshua Rifkin's fine argument, which stands on its own merit (as does all good scholarship).

Why would anybody want to give you further fodder for lambasting the thing, yet again excusing yourself from any responsibility to read it in formulating your skeet-shooting opinions against it?

< I have read and studied Parrott's book carefully. >
As have I and a bunch of other people here; good for you. Well done.

< Has Rifkin presented any new evidenc or insights? >
Yes.

< There is no need to repeat what Parrott has already presented, since, I assume, that many list members interested in this topic already own a copy and have read/studied it as I have. Having intimated that Rifkin has more recently given new reasons and evidence in support of his OVPP theory in his new book which you possess, it would now be an opportune moment for you to pass on such specific information and contribute to the ongoing discussion of this subject matter, a matter which will affect how listeners will hear future, historically-oriented performances of the BMM. No one is asking you to infringe on Rifkin's copyright of this material by quoting extensively numerous pages of a small booklet. Some short extracts relating specifically to the points listed above would be very helpful indeed. >
You've tried begging, on this point, at least half a dozen times before. And it didn't work. What makes you think it would suddenly work, now? It won't. Please go read the book yourself. That's what libraries are for: for interested people to go look up and read scholarship in which they would be interested.

Sometime in the past, I also forwarded an OCLC search string that shows which libraries in North America have the thing! So, go to it. How much more helpful could I be?!

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 11, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Just an unwillingness to summarize and therefore misrepresent any part of Joshua Rifkin's fine argument, which stands on its own merit (as does all good scholarship).<<
Ah, so there is an ineffable quality in Rifkin's 'fine argument' here, one which cannot be translated or rendered into words directly, not even by a degreed musicologist! Now I am beginning to comprehend where all this is coming from! All good scholarship can only stand on its own merit when it is presented accurately and extensively in a long direct quote from the author's original presentation. It cannot be summarized, distilled or represented in succinct quotations relating directly to the question at hand. (as if I did not already suspect this might be your answer, but momentarily I had relapsed into the hope that you might deign to be truly helpful and not send anyone off needlessly on a chase after library materials)

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 11, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< It cannot be summarized, distilled or represented in succinct quotations relating directly to the question at hand. (as if I did not already suspect this might be your answer, but momentarily I had relapsed into the hope that you might deign to be truly helpful and not send anyone off needlessly on a chase after library materials) >
It's a 54-page (and coherent) argument, set forth from pages 13 to 66 of his book, including all the endnotes. An excerpt of any smaller part of that would do it a disservice.

Don't you understand the nature of proof? If this were, say, a mathematical theorem 54 pages long and to be understood as a unit, what good would any tiny excerpt do except to whet the appetite for someone to go read the whole thing? The steps of the argument are all there for a purpose.

And clearly, YOU'RE NOT INTERESTED IN READING THE WHOLE THING, OR UNDERSTANDING RIFKIN'S ARGUMENT FREE OF YOUR OWN PREJUDICES AGAINST IT. You've had three or four years of opportunity to go do so, but instead of that you continually beg to have it all summarized to you...so you can proceed to knock it down, unread.

Nope. Your word "needlessly" above pretty much says it all. You're obviously not interested in taking Rifkin's work seriously enough to read it directly, with even the tiny effort of going to look it up.

Coupled with your regular humphing that it's not long enough for you to bother with, anyway, that does say it all. You're so firmly prejudiced against the piece (and so publically vocal against it for so many years already) that you'll never stoop to take it seriously, whether you read it or not. Rifkin's concision -- he was able to express his point so well in only 54 pages! -- is (to you) only one more liability among a whole wall of them, that you've constructed around yourself as excuse not to study his presentation.

So, don't bother. Leave the issue to people who are able and willing to assess serious work fairly, starting by reading it.

I feel like I'm trying to describe the concept of "strawberry" to a guy who flatly and petulantly refuses to take a bite of fruit. And it can't be done. Either experience the piece directly or forget it. Criticisms against Rifkin's book are ABSOLUTELY MEANINGLESS coming from a guy who flatly refuses to taste it directly.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 11, 2007):
BMM - Shibboleth vs. Mantra

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Armed with this shibboleth or mantra, for which no solid proof in Bach¹s performance practice has been offered, Rifkin continues to build his OVPP sand castle. No matter that "historical" practice constitutes only one possibility among many for the performance of the Mass in B Minor², as stated in the Preface of the Urtext edition, the fact remains that Rifkin is still insisting the OVPP is the only reasonable theory musicologists and/or performers should accept if they wish to emulate what Bach would have had in mind for a performance of his BMM. >
I am always amused that you are so vitriolic against the OVPP hypothesis when you have erected such implausible scenarios as the NRSS dogma (No Rehearsal, Sight-Singing) and the SNFC doctrine (Saturday Night Fever Copying) from the scantiest of documentary sources.

As much as I am instinctively unsympathetic to the Rifkin hypothesis of OVPP, his analysis of the surviving scores and parts is quite compelling and no scholars have refuted his observations. As with just about every controversory of performance practice in Bach, I suspect that we will never have enough documentary evidence to prove it one way or the other.

And your FCSOEOSTRTM doctrine isn't even in the running (Four Choirboys Sitting On Each Other's Shoulders To Read The Music).

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 11, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Don't you understand the nature of proof? If this were, say, a mathematical theorem 54 pages long and to be understood as a unit, what good would any tiny excerpt do except to whet the appetite for someone to go read the whole thing? The steps of the argument are all there for a purpose.<<
But if the initial premise is rotten ("only one singer can sing from a single copy of a part"), how can all the succeeding arguments/proof (54 pages long with all the steps methodically leading to the OVPP theory) as a supreme schoeffort have any validity? All the fine logic is for naught if we begin with a major premise like "All humans (their physical bodies) are immortal". This is exactly what Rifkin does by stating categorically: "only one singer can sing from a single copy of a part" without ensuring that every human being can reasonably make the same assumption and declare it to be universally true (not to mention the fact here that there is ample evidence of the contrary from illustrations and part books from the period along with reasonable empirical evidence obtained by actually reading and performing from the same part that another or other musicians are using at the same time).

BL: >>I feel like I'm trying to describe the concept of "strawberry" to a guy who flatly and petulantly refuses to take a bite of fruit.<<
Can you blame a guy who has already tasted a rotten fruit from the same 'strawberry' plant and has no high expectations that the other strawberries will be any different? Perhaps the strawberry season is over and the plant is incapable of producing edible fruit any more. Perhaps the vendor is saying: "You are not allowed to taste one or two to see how good they are before buying them, instead you must buy the entire lot and hope that they will be good. If I allowed you to try just one or two beforehand, you might decide not to buy any at all. This is my insurance policy that people will buy them based upon hope whether they really like them afterwards or not ."

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 11, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Can you blame a guy who has already tasted a rotten fruit from the same 'strawberry' plant and has no high expectations that the other strawberries will be any different? Perhaps the strawberry season is over and the plant is incapable of producing edible fruit any more. Perhaps the vendor is saying: "You are not allowed to taste one or two to see how good they are before buying them, instead you must buy the entire lot and hope that they will be good. If I allowed you to try just one or two beforehand, you might decide not to buy any at all. This is my insurance policy that people will buy them based upon hope whether they really like them afterwards or not ." >
So: you tasted ONE article that Rifkin wrote in 1981, which is a very long time ago already, and you didn't fancy it; and you decided categorically that all of his stuff is therefore worthless to you. Not even worth taking a peek at.

By the same token: I've seen a few of your postings (not to be mistaken for scholarship) that you wrote 2000 and later, and I didn't fancy them; and therefore, should I decide categorically that all of your stuff is therefore worthless to me?

That would only be fair, by your bizarre reasoning, if it were consistent! Why should we believe ANYTHING you write, or even bother looking at it, if that's the dismissive way you yourself treat the work of real scholars such as Joshua Rifkin?

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 11, 2007):
< I am always amused that you are so vitriolic against the OVPP hypothesis when you have erected such implausible scenarios as the NRSS dogma (No Rehearsal, Sight-Singing) and the SNFC doctrine (Saturday Night Fever Copying) from the scantiest of documentary sources. >
Yeah. If the initial premise is rotten ("the musicians didn't need to practice or even read through any of Bach's music, before performing it in public at church service"), how can all the succeeding argumentation/pseudo-proof (100+ e-mail pages long with all the steps haphazardly repeating the NRSS dogma) as an effort have any validity?

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 11, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>As much as I am instinctively unsympathetic to the Rifkin hypothesis of OVPP, his analysis of the surviving scores and parts is quite compelling and no scholars have refuted his observations.<<
Rifkin's analysis of the surviving scores and parts is based upon the research conducted by the NBA editors and explained in detail in the NBA KBs from which Rifkin carefully gleaned and conveniently listed the results for each sacred vocal work. Once Rifkin leaves this secure ground and begins to entertain the notion that "only one singer can sing from a single vocal part", he has conveniently disregarded existing evidence to the contrary (the size of Bach's Primary Choir in Leipzig) or has attempted to subject it to unrealistic divisions within the choir (vocalists needed as instrumentalists) caused by Rifkin's refusal to recognize external circumstances that actually affected the choir greatly (use of "Externii"/"Supernumerarii" many of them university students (Thomaner graduates as well as non-Thomaner as vocalists and instrumentalists).

DC: >>And your FCSOEOSTRTM doctrine isn't even in the running (Four Choirboys Sitting On Each Other's Shoulders To Read The Music).
It is not a doctrine! It is a fact derived from existing evidence. The Schulordnung of 1723 states that all the singers in a choir (the Primary Choir of the St. Thomas School included) should remain seated until they are called to the music stands to sing. (Each music stand has on it a single copy for a specific voice part.) They are to take their positions around the part for their designated vocal range in such a way that each one can see the music/text placed before him and that no one is hindered from singing the part (by not being able to see and sing from it).

[St. Thomas School Schulordung, Leipzig, 1723, Chapter 13 (Comportment of choir members during church services), paragraph 2: "So lange auf ihren Bäncken stille sitzen, bis sie zu denen Pulten geruffen werden, so dann aber sich dergestalt vor dieselbe stellen, damit ein ieder den aufgelegten Text sehen, und keiner den andern im Singen hindern möge."]

Rifkin would have us believe that it was "a longstanding and consistently maintained practice" that Bach would have only one obbligato part copied for each voice range and since no more than one singer could read from a single vocal part/copy, the choir would generally be OVPP unless ripieno parts also existed. It is evident that OVPP as a theory is now already being treated by Rifkin as a historical fact, even a tradition which Bach followed throughout his tenure in Leipzig.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 11, 2007):
Bradlery Lehman wrote:
>>If the initial premise is rotten ("the musicians didn't need to practice or even read through any of Bach's music, before performing it in public at church service"), how can all the succeeding argumentation/pseudo-proof (100+ e-mail pages long with all the steps haphazardly repeating the NRSS dogma) as an effort have any validity?<<
You are conveniently forgetting the evidence from the original parts which reveal no physical proof that they were ever used for practice or rehearsals.

According to Rifkin's OVPP theory, a single vocalist, throughout the entire performance of the cantata or sacred work, would hold a single part close to his heart with his sweaty fingers and would spray the page with spit emanating from his mouth as he pronounced properly all those German consonants. Where are all those oily fingerprints, dog-eared pages, notes obliterated by saliva causing them to be smeared?

Chris Kern wrote (May 11, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< You are conveniently forgetting the evidence from the original parts which reveal no physical proof that they were ever used for practice or rehearsals. >
Is there any evidence they were used for performances?

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 11, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< According to Rifkin's OVPP theory, a single vocalist, throughout the entire performance of the cantata or sacred work, would hold single part close to his heart with his sweaty fingers and would spray the page with spit emanating from his mouth as he pronounced properly all those German consonants. >
You mean Germans can't sing without spitting?!!

I'm in trouble tomorrow: I'm sitting beside one to rehearse the Bach motets. Better get out my rubber Lederhosen!

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 12, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
< Is there any evidence they were used for performances? >
This is the great mystery with all the Bach parts. They show no sign of being used. It's almost as if they are library exemplars from which copies were made -- but no secondary copies survive.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 12, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
DC: >>And your FCSOEOSTRTM doctrine isn't even in the running (Four Choirboys Sitting On Each Other's Shoulders To Read The Music).
< It is not a doctrine! It is a fact derived from existing evidence. The Schulordnung of 1723 states that all the singers in a choir (the Primary Choir of the St. Thomas School included) should remain seated until they are called to the music stands to sing. (Each music stand has on it a single copy for a specific voice part.) They are to take their positions around the part for their designated vocal range in such a way that each one can see the music/text placed before him and that no one is hindered from singing the part (by not being able to see and sing from it). >
Now you're just taking Ton Koopman's word for it, along with your own amplifications!

From here: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/OVPP%5BKoopman%5D.htm

Ton Koopman, an English speaker, as creatively re-translated by Thomas Braatz from Koopman's German article:

"Is it even possible that the number of singers and instrumentalists can be ascertained from examining the extant parts? How many musicians played or sang from one and the same part? Why, for example was the 4-part “Florilegium” printed as a score? Would it not have been more practical to sing from separate parts as with the “Florilegium Portense?” Yes, unless the score was used simultaneously by more than a single singer. The “Florilegium Portense” was printed in 9 separate part books, however there was also a 10-part motet included in these books. Since 2 parts were printed in one book, it would be necessary for 2 singers to use the same part book. This type of situation also prevailed regularly with Bach’s predecessor Johann Hermann Schein [24] and still took place the same way much later as well. This can be seen in the “School Rules and Bylaws of St. Thomas School” (1723) where the rules of conduct during church services were spelled out: “All of the ‘Alumni’ (those staying at the school with room and board, not those living with their parents) should…sit still on their benches until they are called to their ‘lecterns’ [solid music stands], but then they should stand in front of these lecterns in such a way that each one can see the music and words placed on them and that none of the pupils should hinder the others in their singing.” [25] Here as well there is a description which gives details concerning the fact that several singers sang from the same music (or part books.)"

"It is not difficult to find picture, frescos, and engravings in which singers are depicted singing together from a single book or part. Particularly enlightening is a copper engraving which was published in 1712 on the occasion of the consecration of the Silbermann organ in Freiberg. This organ was built under the supervision of Bach’s predecessor, Johann Kuhnau. In the middle of this engraving we see 4 soloists with their parts and next to them, on the right, the ripieno. All 4 of them are reading from a single music stand (compare this with the rule of conduct cited from the “Rules and Bylaws for St. Thomas School” cited above.) If we carefully observe the direction in which they are looking, we can see that they are singing from one, or at the most, two parts. As far as it is possible, we can distinguish 11 vocalists in the choir that is being conducted by the cathedral cantor
Lindner along with the orchestra. Perhaps there were 4 sopranos, 3 altos, 2 tenors and 2 basses; or perhaps there were 3 sopranos, 3 altos, 3 tenors and 2 basses?"

=====

As I already pointed out, almost two years ago (June 2005!) when I went carefully through both the original German article and Braatz's creative translation of it: the illustrations printed in Koopman's article in that book are red herrings. They don't apply EITHER to the text of his article or to Bach's milieu in Leipzig, but they only give a suggestive twist (as if they were relevant) to readers who weren't paying close enough attention. My remark in June '05, about those illustrations: "They served as much to weaken Koopman's case, by being irrelevant, as to strengthen any of his remarks about part-sharing, or about practices specifically in Bach's time and place."

Catch the irrelevancy in the Koopman paragraph, above? Pay close attention here. The engraving is from Freiberg, not Leipzig; and it's 1712, more than ten years before Bach came into Leipzig; and the name of Kuhnau is brought in, as if endorsement of the Freiberg organ by him automatically means the vocal configuration can be read back from this engraving and transplanted into Bach's Leipzig. It also doesn't prove that the music being performed on that occasion (in that engraving) had anything whatsoever to do with the style of Bach's church music...or even Kuhnau's. Hmm. Weak circumstantial evidence there, at best, assembled by Koopman.

=====

And here was my closer critique of that English translation, having compared it carefully side by side with Koopman's German original: to see what all the translator (one Thomas Braatz) had added or amplified FROM HIS OWN OPINION. It was an instructive exercise to make this comparison, to see how extensively the translation itself was misleading on top of Koopman's arguments! Really eye-opening, and so I compiled my notes onto a web page: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/OVPP[Koopman]-errata.htm

Take a look there, to see my comments in red going all the way through that passage. It looks like this, lacking the red and the italics:

"Is it even possible that the number of singers and instrumentalists can be ascertained from examining the extant parts? How many musicians played or sang from one and the same part? Why, for example was the 4-part "Florilegium" printed as a score? Would it not have been more practical to sing from separate parts as with the "Florilegium Portense?" Yes, unless the score was used simultaneously by more than a single singer. The "Florilegium Portense" was printed in 9 separate part books, however there was also a 10-part motet included in these books. Since 2 parts were printed in one book, it would be necessary for 2 singers to use the same part book. This type of situation also prevailed regularly with Bach's predecessor Johann Hermann Schein [24] and still took place the same way much later as well. This can be seen in the "School Rules and Bylaws of St. Thomas School" (1723) where the rules of conduct during church services were spelled out: "All of the 'Alumni' (those staying at the school with room and board, not those living with their parents) [This entire parenthetical amplification is not in Koopman] should...sit still on their benches until they are called to their 'lecterns' [solid music stands] ["solid music stands" also not in Koopman] , but then they should stand in front of these lecterns in such a way that each one can see the music and words ["music and" added here by the translator] placed on them and that none of the pupils [more literally from Koopman, "that none of the pupils" is simply "none"] should hinder the others in their singing." [25] Here as well there is a description which gives details concerning the fact that several singers sang from the same music (or part books.) [Indeed, if these were lecterns, and since "music and" isn't in the quote, and neiare any music stands solid or otherwise...why is there this conflated idea that these pupils are singing from lecterns at all, as opposed to reading something aloud in the service? What if this is simply a code of conduct for readers not to interfere with singers who are different people from themselves?!] "

"Here is that same passage again, with the translator's conflations excised: This can be seen in the "School Rules and Bylaws of St. Thomas School" (1723) where the rules of conduct during church services were spelled out: "All of the 'Alumni' should...sit still on their benches until they are called to their 'lecterns', but then they should stand in front of these lecterns in such a way that each one can see the words placed on them and none should hinder the others in their singing." [Koopman's German of this passage: Denn die "Ordnung der Schule zu St. Thomae" (1723) gibt als Verhaltensmaßregel für den Gottesdienst: "Alle bey dieser Schule sich befindende Alumni sollen [...] so lange auf ihren Bäncken stille sitzen, bis sie zu denen Pulten geruffen werden, so dann aber sich dergestalt vor dieselbe stellen, damit ein ieder den aufgelegten Text sehen, und keiner den andern im Singen hindern möge." And then Koopman uses that to push his own point: "Auch hier wird beschrieben, daß mehrere Sänger dasselbe Notenbuch benutzten." What's in that ellipsis, by the way, about the proper behavior of the Alumni? And is it really about being singers, or is this a smoke-and-mirrors use of selective quotation from the school rules? Does any of this part-sharing have anything to do with lecterns, or Alumni, whatsoever? Or with the 1st ensemble (the one that performed Bach's concerted music) as opposed to the other ensembles that performed different music, sharing parts in different repertoire?]"

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 12, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< According to Rifkin's OVPP theory, a single vocalist, throughout the entire performance of the cantata or sacred work, would hold a single part close to his heart with his sweaty fingers and would spray the page with spit emanating from his mouth as he pronounced properly all those German consonants. Where are all those oily fingerprints, dog-eared pages, notes obliterated by saliva causing them to be smeared? >
BS. Rifkin doesn't say any of this. You're simply making it up (the sweaty fingers and the spit, or are the fingers "oily" rather than sweaty?), to make him look bad -- at least as far as it convinces YOURSELF.

And then, you're spraying your saliva in public.

Uri Golomb wrote (May 12, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Rifkin's analysis of the surviving scores and parts is based upon the research conducted by the NBA editors and explained in detail in the NBA KBs from which Rifkin carefully gleaned and conveniently listed the results for each sacred vocal work. >
No -- it is based on Rifkin's own examination of the actual sources (which doesn't mean that he hasn't read the NBA KBs -- only that he hasn't taken them on trust, but examined the same sources that the NBA scholars examined for himself). As a scholar, editor and performer, Rifkin has done his own, hands-on examination of primary sources. He did not just "carefully glean and conveniently list" results from secondary sources. Nor has he "conveniently disregarded" evidence on Bach's circumstances, performing forces etc. -- in that area, too, he has studied primary sources. But then, to know this, you'd actually have to read him (and not just the 1981 article, which represents an early phase in his scholarly endeavour). Obtaining and reading Bach's Choral Ideal, and other Rifkin articles, would actually have taken you less time than you spent on "refuting" them.

I know others have said, but let me repeat: There is something fundamentally wrong about the very idea of reviewing a book one did not, in fact, read. The fact that the reviewer read something else by the same author does not mitigate this one bit.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 12, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Rifkin doesn't say any of this. You're simply making it up (the sweaty fingers and the spit, or are the fingers "oily" rather than sweaty?), to make him look bad....<<
In his preface to the BMM, which you yourself have quoted in this discussion, Rifkin clearly asserts that "no more than one singer ever read from any of these parts" and that he has never seen any indications that would prove otherwise. He is probably thinking of the singers depicted in the Groschuff 1710 engraving (p. 55 of Parrott's book) where only one singer is clearly holding the part in his hand while the others are just standing around staring in different directions or are much too small to see the part that a singer is holding. The question here would be, if Rifkin and his followers discount the Schulordnung 1723 description of how the singers should place themselves, then the next choice would be to have a singer hold the part that he is singing from. However, there is no evidence that these original vocal parts were ever held during performance, nor do they contain any markings (breath marks or necessary corrections) which might have been useful to the singer who was studying and/or performing the music at rehearsals.

I am still patiently waiting for some historical proof for Rifkin's assertion: only one singer can sing at one time from a vocal part. Perhaps it is buried in footnote 54 of Rifkin's new book from which it cannot be extracted without doing a great injustice to the coherency of the entire OVPP theory?

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 12, 2007):
Uri Golomb wrote:
>>There is something fundamentally wrong about the very idea of reviewing a book one did not, in fact, read. The fact that the reviewer read something else by the same author does not mitigate this one bit.<<
There is something also fundamentally wrong about all the pussyfooting on the part of those who have read and studied Rifkin's new book. Their inability to provide key examples of new evidence above and beyond what Rifkin had previously written and what Parrott presented in his book forces me to come to the temporary conclusion that there really is nothing significantly new that would make more plausible to me or any other interested list member Rifkin's statement: "no more than one singer ever read from any of these parts". This basic notion demands key evidence from the historical sources. It simply makes little sense to say: Bach usually had only one part copied out from the score for each vocal range, hence Bach had only one singer sing from such a copied part. I am missing an important step in Rifkin's reasoning here. How do we get from the existence of singleton parts to only one singer can sing from such a part? Why is this so inordinately difficult for those steeped in Rifkin's wisdom to answer in this forum? I am certain that even those with only a casual interest in these matters would enjoy finding out why they are beginning to hear more performances of the BMM in this reduced format (OVPP).

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 12, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Rifkin (...) is probably thinking of (...) >
Stop right there, bud. You have no idea what Rifkin "is probably thinking of" or not thinking of. You just have your own prejudice that whatever he's thinking (or not thinking), he's already wrong.

Thomas Braatz wro(May 12, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Does any of this part-sharing have anything to do with lecterns, or Alumni, whatsoever? Or with the 1st ensemble (the one that performed Bach's concerted music) as opposed to the other ensembles that performed different music, sharing parts in different repertoire?<<
Here again is the quotation from the Schulordnung:

>>[St. Thomas School Schulordung, Leipzig, 1723, Chapter 13 (Comportment of choir members during church services), paragraph 2:

"So lange auf ihren Bäncken stille sitzen, bis sie zu denen Pulten geruffen werden, so dann aber sich dergestalt vor dieselbe stellen, damit ein ieder den aufgelegten Text sehen, und keiner den andern im Singen hindern möge."

This statement refers to all the St. Thomas Choirs, including the Primary Choir. It is clear that the Primary Choir would follow the same procedure: the members sit on their benches until they are called to step up to the fixed lecterns (music stands) where Bach would have placed the parts from which they were to sing (singers did not hold onto such a part in order to study them in church before they would perform -- they were expected to pay attention to whatever was going on during the church service). As each one of the group of 3 or 4 singers for each part (3-4 Sopranos, 3-4 Altos, 3-4 Tenors, 3-4 Basses) gathered before the music stand where their part lay, it was very important for them to position themselves in such a way that they did not block the view of the other 2 or 3 singers who also sang from the same part. No one ever touched the part except to turn it over to see the reverse side if it was continued there. These were unlike the vocal score with piano accompaniment used by choirs who perform Bach's music today. Such a score today, with the advantage of seeing what all the other parts are doing, entail frequent page turning as well. This was not the case with Bach's vocal parts since they included only the part which was being sung.

It is quite clear that this refers to more than one singer singing from a single part. It also is a rule that pertains to all the choirs since each choir usually had at least 2 or more singers to a part.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 12, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>You have no idea what Rifkin "is probably thinking of" or not thinking of. You just have your own prejudice that whatever he's thinking (or not thinking), he's already wrong.<<
You don't seem to know either what Rifkin is probably thinking of, but that does not seem to matter one bit since you feel no need to explain it to anyone else. The mantra is Rifkin's new book. By reading it over and over again, the impression you receive is that it is so perfect that attempting to explain its lofty new elements to anyone else (the uninitiated) removes it from its lofty academic sphere, the only environment in which it can continue to thrive unabated.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 12, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The question here would be, if Rifkin and his followers discount the Schulordnung 1723 description of how the singers should place themselves, then the next choice would be to have a singer hold the part that he is singing from. However, there is no evidence that these original vocal parts were ever held during performance, nor do they contain any markings (breath marks or necessary corrections) which might have been useful to the singer who was studying and/or performing the music at rehearsals. >
This is a classic example of faulty reasoning.

You make reference to the Schulordnung as if it presents a specfic picture of performance practice. It doesn't. What it says is that all the students had a statutory obligation to be in the choir loft on Sunday whether they sang the figural music or not. Attendance in the loft was an act of mandatory devotion not a blueprint for musical perfromance.

Another "visualization" could see a constant movement of students to the singing lecterns: everyone for a unison chorale, a small ensemble for a motet and perhaps even a quartet for a cantata. It also has to be noted that the actual music (chorales, motets and cantatas) were in varying formats and sizes and that the placement and removal of music was a constant activity during the service.

You make reference to "breath marks" and "necessary corrections" in the parts. I can't think of a single 17th or 18th century manuscript which shows markings by an individual performer. A modern choir and orchestra may be well-equipped with pencils, but there are no such markings in the parts of music of Bach or Handel. Markings were added by copyists under the direction of the composer.

Nor are the parts for Bach's music filled with errors which were corrected by individual performers when something went awry in rehearsal (hmmmm ... there are those pesky rehearsals again). The copying and preservation of the parts show extraordinary care and precision.

You have a pre-conceived conception of what went on in that choir loft.

Chris O'Loughkin wrote (May 12, 2007):
I'd have thought that one of the problems to the BMM being performed in a liturgy would be finding a liturgy big enough to stop it being swamped by Bach (after all the music should be serving the liturgy rather than
the other way round). The biggest Roman Catholic Mass we've seen recently must be the funeral of Pope John Paul II which went on for (if I remember correctly) around 3 hours. Even the BMM in that setting would completely dominate the rest of the liturgy.

I struggle to think of a way it could be used, in entirety, in a liturgical setting with the correct emphasis.

(This makes it different from the (longer) passions which, of course, can completely dominate the setting and still be appropriate)

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 12, 2007):
< You have a pre-conceived conception of what went on in that choir loft. >
He has pre-conceived (and wrong) notions about what's in Rifkin's book, too; not surprisingly, as he refuses to read it, but instead demands summaries which he then goes on to shoot down.

The focus of Rifkin's book IS NOT on how many teenagers without showers or deodorant can crowd around any handwritten page of music, to read and sing from it in a church that probably didn't have artificial lighting.
The one-copy-per-person thing IS NOT any make or break point of his argument!

Rather, much of Rifkin's presentation goes line by line through Bach's Entwurff, showing what Bach was asking for from his superiors, within the context of his working environment at Leipzig.

And here's one quoted sentence, which if anything should encourage any interested parties to GO READ THE BOOK, instead of relying on any mere summary by anybody. "Surely, with Bach's chorus no less than with his orchestra, we underestimate the complexity and richness of his music if we reduce his ideal of sonority to a single denominator." (p39)

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 12, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>The one-copy-per-person thing IS NOT any make or break point of his argument!<<
It most certainly is when Rifkin repeats this unproven, insufficiently documented notion in his 2006 Preface to the BMM Urtext Edition published by Breitkopf & Härtel. In both the German and English versions (for which Rifkin appears to be responsible as no translator's name is given), there is a point that demands clarification:

Here is the English with a slightly larger context for better understanding:

Rifkin: "The great majority of Bach's performance materials contain only one copy of each obbligato vocal part. To all indications, no more than one singer read from any of these parts; only in rare instances, moreover, do separate ripieno parts provide reinforcement." [Here Rifkin is reflecting generally on the available vocal parts existing in the original sets of materials prepared by Bach's copyists for the first performances of most sacred vocal music. This would be part of what he refers to in his previous paragraph as "the longstanding and consistently maintained practice of the composer's Leipzig years." This fact has long been established and can be substantiated at any time by studying the results published in the NBA KBs.]

Rifkin: "Die überwiegende Mehrzahl Bachscher Aufführungsmaterialien enthält von jeder obligaten Vokalstimme ein einziges Exemplar, aus dem, soweit feststellbar, nicht mehr als ein Sänger musiziert hat; nur in vereinzelten Fällen gibt es eine Verstärkung durch gesonderte Ripienstimmen." [Most of vocal parts, when they are available from the original sets which were prepared for the first performances of such works traditionally exist only as singletons. There is no doubt concerning this statement.]

My concern is with the "to all indications" or "soweit feststellbar" which are, for the most part, synonymous, but not entirely. This is not necessarily a mistranslation, but careful reflection upon the possible meanings of each may lead to a formulation of a question that demands further explication.

"To all indications" implies that "everything points to the fact that." This is a presumptive expression roughly equivalent to Arnold Schering's frequently used "selbstverständlich" ("the matter is self-understood; it goes without saying that.; there's no question that."). In such a case, the author feels no need to explain himself or to provide the otherwise necessary information required to reach a certain conclusion. It implies that "any expert knows this to be true because it is so utterly basic that it does not require an explanation."

"Soweit feststellbar" seems to imply some in-depth research (direct examination of the vocal parts in question) in order to notice or detect, then identify or ascertain, and finally diagnose or establish visible indications that can help to lead to a determination or conclusion. If this is what Rifkin has done, then what, specifically has led him to the determination that "aus dem.nicht mehr als ein Sänger musiziert hat" or, as he put it in English: "no more than one singer read from any of these parts."

Aside from the obvious fact that Bach did not indicate in writing the number of singers to sing from a single part, what evidence die Rifkin discover from his careful examination of these original vocal parts? What evidence for claiming that only one singer ever sang from a single vocal part did he uncover? How did this evidence lead him to the conclusion that "only one singer could and did read" from any such given part? What was the thinking process Rifkin followed here when he came to such a conclusion? Was he basing this observation partly upon empirical evidence gained in present-day performances? Did he assume that the reader would accept his rather literal and very restrictive interpretation of Bach's musico-political statement as found in the "Entwurff", an interpretation, according to which, the membership in the Primary Choir, with its 12 to 16 vocalists, would seriously be depleted by illness and/or the requirement to play the instruments which would otherwise be missing and/or being specially set aside in a temporarily non-performing reserve group as part of a division of labor scheme, etc. thus usually leaving only a skeleton crew of 4 singers for the usual 4 different vocal parts? Did Rifkin also believe, for instance, that a recommendation for the size of figural choirs by a non-musician, Gottfried Ephraim Scheibel, would apply as viable evidence for Bach's performance practices in Leipzig (as indicated in Parrott's book)?

In summary, what specifically led Rifkin to his conclusion which is presented in 2006 Preface of the BMM Urtext Edition as a truism that numerous musicians and musicologists accept as "selbstverständlich" and not requiring any further elucidation or proof?

1). What was the specific evidence gleaned from examination of the original vocal parts?

2). How did this evidence lead to the determination that only one singer read from a single part?

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 12, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< In summary, what specifically led Rifkin to his conclusion which is presented in 2006 Preface of the BMM Urtext Edition as a truism that numerous musicians and musicologists accept as “selbstverständlich” and not requiring any further elucidation or proof?
1). What was the specific evidence gleaned from examination of the original vocal parts?
2). How did this evidence lead to the determination that only one singer read from a single part? >
Well, I guess you could find out "what led Rifkin to his conclusions" by reading his explanations of his findings, and his sufficient elucidations and proof.

Oh, but that method would be too obvious, and besides, it's something you've already refused to do!

Instead, you've just devoted another whole page (maybe more) of e-mail typing against it. You've wasted yet another half-hour (or whatever) of your particular method of divinations this morning: to try to bring up things you think Joshua Rifkin and his expert peer reviewers might not have ever thought of, over the past 30 years of serious work on this topic.

And you're still doing it without first looking at what it is you're trying to poke holes into. You're arguing from your own deliberate ignorance of his work, over and over and over. D'ohh!!

Whom are you actually trying to convince, with any of your machinations on this topic, your arguments against your own stubbornness? Is it just something fun to do on a Saturday morning?

One thing is clear. You apparently have limitless enthusiasm and time to keep beating up the straw-man enemy (i.e. what you think is in Rifkin's thesis, without looking at it) that you have constructed for your pugilistic exercise. It's mildly entertaining, the way you keep flailing at it...although it scarcely has anything to do with the real substance of Rifkin's scholarly work that you openly refuse to know about.

Well, have a good day. Find something fun to do, and stimulating music to listen to. Maybe even some good books to read, or take music lessons or something. There are always beneficial ways to salvage half a day, even after wasting the morning in such a useless round of straw-man thrashing.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 12, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Aside from the obvious fact that Bach did not indicate in writing the number of singers to sing from a single part, what evidence die Rifkin discover from his careful examination of these original vocal parts? >
This may be an obvious fact which was there for anyone to see, but Rifkin was the first to really analyse what was on the page in front of us. I was struck by his reproduction of a page of the alto part which shows the music of the Gloria written continuously without any markings of solo and tutti. There is nothing to indicate that there are "favoriti" soloists and "tutti" choir. You can't tell what is an aria or a chorus -- it looks like the part for one performer. There is nothing to alert choral ripienists to be ready.

Rifkin's extrapolation of OVPP is logical and worth seriously considering. As with all these performance questions, I don;t think we have enough documentary evidence to be dogmatic one way or the other. I that there was a broad acceptance of both OVPP and multiple performer ensembles for the same music throughout the 18th century. Handel performed his choral works with both: OVPP at Chandos and with monster forces in Westminster Abbey. We are much less well-informed about Bach's situation.

This is a realm of hypothesis and speculation. Why unleash such vitriol?

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 12, 2007):
Chris O'Loughlin wrote:
< I'd have thought that one of the problems to the BMM being performed in a liturgy would be finding a liturgy big enough to stop it being swamped by Bach (after all the music should be serving the liturgy rather than the other way round).
I struggle to think of a way it could be used, in entirety, in a liturgical setting with the correct emphasis. >

Modern experiences in concert halls or churches don't even begin to give us an idea of what the scale of the Lutheran mass and vespers in Leipzig or the Catholic high mass and vespers in Dresden was like. Modern performances of the St. Matthew Passion often have special hour long intermissions with "Bach's Lunch" sold at the door to revive flagging listeners. In Bach's time there was an hour-long sermon between the two parts as well as a whole preliminary and concluding rite. Luther may have eliminated the traditional eight hours of preaching on Good Friday, but the liturgy must have been pushing five hours when Bach's Passions were performed.

I had a vivid reminder of this scale recently when I was researching what a Catholic Vespers would be like when Handel was in Italy. The Tallis Choir of Toronto is going to celebrate the upcoming Handel 350th anniversary by reconstructing a Roman Vespers with his superb, "Dixit Dominus" and psalm settings. By the time I had assembled and timed the obligatory Latin pieces, I had already reached 2 1/2 hours of music (that's without pauses!), the absolute outside limit for a modern concert. Yet in the 18th century, Vespers was filled up with ad libitum solo and orchestral pieces which would have effectively doubled the time. I'm a Wagnerian, but nearly five hours of Handel would have finished me off.

I think we need to think about what was happening in liturgies in which the congregation/audience were passive observers for 3-5 hours every time they went to church. Even in the Lutheran liturgy which promoted congregational participation, there were only six chorales to sing. The rest of the time, they were talked at or sung at. This passivity is an important part of the aesthetic of Bach's music.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 12, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>This may be an obvious fact which was there for anyone to see, but Rifkin was the first to really analyse what was on the page in front of us. I was struck by his reproduction of a page of the alto part which shows the music of the Gloria written continuously without any markings of solo and tutti. There is nothing to indicate that there are "favoriti" soloists and "tutti" choir. You can't tell what is an aria or a chorus -- it looks like the part for one
performer. There is nothing to alert choral ripienists to be ready.<<
In the first round of cantata discussions on the BCML, I listened to some Thomaner recordings from the early 1950s where there were a few instances where certain arias (soprano, I believe) were being sung by at least 2 or 3 boys. The unison performance was so uncanny that at times I could not tell that more than one singer was involved. Schweitzer also mentions this 'tradition' and recommended it. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any evidence for this performance practice in German historical documents from Bach's time. Here again it becomes an unanswerable question of 'Did Bach do this or not?' Designating the switch from Concertist to Ripienist may not have been necessary where the entire group of 3 or 4 sopranos would sing both the choral parts and those sections/mvts. which we happen to single out as being normally for a single voice. Also, it would be much easier from a practical standpoint to include the choral sections and arias in the same part (usually only one sheet for any cantata). The concertist always sings in every mvt. of a cantata where the specific vocal part is called for, including the recitatives, while the ripienists would normally know without any special markings when they were supposed to sing and when not (as in the recitatives). The preparation of separate Ripieno vocal parts per se occurs rather infrequently.

Possibly then the fact that you can often not tell what is an aria or a chorus could indicate that 3 or 4 boys would sing from this single part (except for recitatives, and/or perhaps the more difficult arias). Of course this also depends upon whether you accept Bach's indications and other documents in the Bach-Dokumente that he did actually have at least 3 or 4 singers per voice part singing his sacred music in Leipzig.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 13, 2007):
>>Schweitzer also mentions this 'tradition' and recommended it.<<
Here are some pertinent passages:

Schweitzer, Vol. II,
p. 420-421
".it may be argued that not all the movements which we regard as solo numbers were allotted to soloists by Bach himself. For him solo singing and choral singing passed over into each other in a way to which there is no parallel now. We must remember that his choristers were soloists, and his soloists choristers. The best of them were skilful in coloratura. Perhaps it is not too hazardous a view to take that, as boys' voices blend so well, he did not scruple to have solos sung by two, and if necessary three, of these choristers..Anyone who has happened to hear boys' voices in a church, without seeing the singers, will have observed that it is almost impossible to say whether solo passages are being taken by one, or two voices. Voigt rightly remarks, when discussing, from the practical standpoint, the possibility of allotting the solo numbers to more than one voice, that Bach's solos "do not express individual sentiments, as opposed to the general sentiments of the chorus", and that "they should not be allotted o definite individual singers."

p. 466:

"Many duets and trios are so simple that, as has already been pointed out, they could be sung by the choir with several voices to each part" for example in BWV 10, BWV 37, BWV 38, BWV 78, BWV 79, BWV 116, BWV
122 and BWV 150.

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 13, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< It is not a doctrine! It is a fact derived from existing evidence. The Schulordnung of 1723 states that all the singers in a choir (the Primary Choir of the St. Thomas School included) should remain seated until they are called to the music stands to sing. (Each music stand has on it a single copy for a specific voice part.) They are to take their positions around the part for their designated vocal range in such a way that each one can see the music/text placed before him and that no one is hindered from singing the part (by not being able to see and sing from it).>
They are sight-reading it?

Chris Kern wrote (May 13, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The concertist always sings in every mvt. of a cantata where the specific vocal part is called for, including the recitatives, while the ripienists would normally know without any special markings when they were supposed to sing and when not (as in the recitatives). >
On the other hand, in the Dresden missa parts, the violin part has a "solo" marking on the Laudamus Te, which is obviously a movement for solo violin.

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 13, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
<< You are conveniently forgetting the evidence from the original parts which reveal no physical proof that they were ever used for practice or rehearsals. >>
Chris Kern wrote:
< Is there any evidence they were used for performances? >
Not a bit! The forgery of . . ?

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 13, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< There is something also fundamentally wrong about all the pussyfooting >
Picky as picky does. Who has been 'pussyfooting' (ACE?)? Is this speculation, or what?

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 13, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The mantra is Rifkin's new book. >
Well, at last! Now, what is the shibboleth/

< By reading it over and over again, the impression you receive is that it is so perfect that attempting to explain its lofty new elements to anyone else (the uninitiated) removes it from its lofty academic sphere, the only environment in which it can continue to thrive unabated. >
Some of us (one, anyway) are grateful for references to accessible publications, which we can read and judge for ourselves. Like all publications, they ultimately thrive (or not) on their merits. Some not so meritorious publications thrive much longer than they should, because of the obscurity of their environment. Not accessible to the public.

Lofty academic sphere? !Grad students unite!

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 13, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Rifkin's extrapolation of OVPP is logical and worth seriously considering. As with all these performance questions, I don;t think we have enough documentary evidence to be dogmatic one way or the other. I suspect that there was a broad acceptance of both OVPP and multiple performer ensembles for the same music throughout the 18th century. Handel performed his choral works with both: OVPP at Chandos and with monster forces in Westminster Abbey. We are much less well-informed about Bach's situation. >
A paragraph worth saving.

Many of the great Edward Kennedy 'Duke' Ellington 'compositions' exist in formats ranging from solo piano or trio, through various small groups, to full orchestra. Absent the recordings, would we have anything but the tiniest clue?

< This is a realm of hypothesis and speculation. >
In this realm, I think Rifkin deserves the hypothesis label, rather than the other.

< Why unleash such vitriol? >
It is the nature of people. You can read it in Bach's texts. Just consider those Turks and papists (one more time).

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 13, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I think we need to think about what was happening in liturgies in which the congregation/audience were passive observers for 3-5 hours every time they went to church. Even in the Lutheran liturgy which promoted congregational participation, there were only six chorales to sing. The rest of the time, they were talked at or sung at. This passivity is an important part of the aesthetic of Bach's music >
Another paragraph worth extracting for emphasis, while Doug is on a roll.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 13, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
>>On the other hand, in the Dresden missa parts, the violin part has a "solo" marking on the Laudamus Te, which is obviously a movement for solo violin.<<
Schweitzer interprets this solo marking to mean that only well-trained violinists should/can play this part and goes on to suggest that this part could be played by two good violinists for better effect. Vol. II, pp. 426-427

"Perhaps it is even justifiable to try the experiment of allotting the violin soli in certain movements to two or more desks in the tutti. Bach's reason for marking a movement "solo violin" was frequently simply this, - that the part was much too difficult for his ordinary players. As our orchestras contain many violinists with a technique sufficient for the solo, Bach himself, in these circumstances, would probably be the first to give the part to a number of the players in the tutti passages, when the themes are of a powerful nature. This experiment should be tried sometimes with the "Laudamus te" of the B minor Mass."

Note that in this week's cantata, BWV 87, the vocal solo parts with the exception of the chorale at the end are all clearly marked 'solo'. This is not the case, for instance, if you go back to BWV 42 which was discussed a few weeks ago. There the parts (including the arias) are simply given with the voice category (no 'solo' is attached). It makes me wonder if this relates in any way to the school year the Thomaner would have been experiencing. Could this possibly be the time when the boys were studying for their final exams, a time when Bach could not rely on the Thomaner singing in the Primary Choir except for singing the final chorale? Very likely then, the vocal soloists would come from outside the school (supernumerarii).

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 13, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< "Perhaps it is even justifiable to try the experiment of allotting the violin soli in certain movements to two or more desks in the tutti. Bach's reason for marking a movement "solo violin" was frequently simply this, - that the part was much too difficult for his ordinary players. As our orchestras contain many violinists with a technique sufficient for the solo, Bach himself, in these circumstances, would probably be the first to give the part to a number of the players in the tutti passages, when the themes are of a powerful nature. This experiment should be tried sometimes with the "Laudamus te" of the B minor Mass." >
This is a very odd proposal. Bach clearly wants a concertante contrast between soloist and tutti strings. The only reason to assign more players is give to give the music more Romantic heft. I think the cascades of ornamentation would sound very odd played by two violins.

Just a note about mutliple singers singing solo arias. We still encounter this practice in choirs both German and English where women are not allowed to be members and the choirboys are not sufficient to handle solo arias. I wonder if this was an option ever used by Bach.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 13, 2007):
< Lofty academic sphere? !Grad students unite! >
I'm puzzled by that phrase "lofty academic sphere", too. In my various years as university student, and working on faculty and staff at universities, and being married to a university department chairperson: I've never encountered any academic folks climbing into any manner of spheres to do their jobs. I've also noticed that the best academic work that gets done tends to be done on the ground, with good solid research and sound reasoning, rather than in a "lofty" way.

Jean Laaninen wrote (May 13, 2007):
Brad Lehman wrote:
< I've also noticed that the best academic work that gets done tends to be done on the ground, with good solid research and sound reasoning, rather than in a "lofty" way. >
I have to support what Brad says here. Over several decades I helped mostly international students with their academic work, and the endless research and revisions that were required before a paper was finalized would surprise many people. As someone who did some editing and even entered into conferences or consultations with their professors regarding the issues within the papers outsiders would be surprised at the intensity of effort. It is one thing to search texts and substantiate a thesis, and another to take the material and present the material in a new and fresh manner as is required in much academic work. Even with our own US citizens there can be cultural mind blocks and missing elements of academic preparation that require assistance and even reminders about responsibility before a work is completed. Of course, some students have wonderful preparation for research, but to my amazement many libraries do not have the funding to effectively cross-reference all the
required material. Most of the grad students don't care to unite, either, being too busy with their own work to do more than exchange pleasantries or they are set on creating a special place of their own in the world. I was in a grad association at ASU for a while, and very few people even had the time to come to a monthly meeting, let alone unite. So my pragmatic take as regards the Bach Cantata's web association is that we need to have room for everyone who wants to contribute, and I think many people know they are taking risks of academic criticism when they put forth their ideas. But among tmost shocking revelations of my life was getting to know country people in the UP of Michigan. These folks didn't have the fancy educations that some of us have been priviledged to attain, but sometimes their clear insights brought a richness of life to me. So, Ed...I think you are dreaming, but also think that there is nothing so interesting to those of us with an intellectual side as a really well founded discussion. Grounded rather than lofty gets the job done, and that's my own opinion from my experience.

Philip Legge wrote (May 14, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< The Tallis Choir of Toronto is going to celebrate the upcoming Handel 350th anniversary by reconstructing a Roman Vespers with his superb, "Dixit Dominus" and psalm settings. By the time I had >assembled and timed the obligatory Latin pieces, I had already >reached 2 1/2 hours of music (that's without pauses!), the absolute outside limit for a modern concert. >
I performed in a very similar "extravaganza" which included the three Handel psalms from 1707 (Dixit Dominus, the Laudate pueri Dominum in D major, and Nisi Dominus - all edited by myself), each with plainchant antiphons preceding and "antiphon substitutes" afterward, various extra motets, chants, hymn, and Magnificat (by Caldara). The poor audience had to sit on hard pews in a cold church for nearly three hours - mainly on account of the conductor failing to allow for the pauses while he himself worked out "which bit came next" and shuffled his various scores. I would strongly recommend the Tallis Choir of Toronto not do this, unless they want to test the perseverance of a soon-to-be dwindling number of followers!

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 14, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
<< I've also noticed that the best academic work that gets done tends to be done on the ground, with good solid research and sound reasoning, rather than in a "lofty" way. >>
Jean Laaninen wrote:
< I have to support what Brad says here. [...] So, Ed...I think you are dreaming, but also think that there is nothing so interesting to those of us with an intellectual side as a really well founded discussion. Grounded rather than lofty gets the job done >
I believe we three agree that the word 'lofty' was inaccurate, bordering on (to be polite) insulting. I am making an effort to cite a few essential points from Jean's post for reference, not intended to be an out of context summary.

As to the dream, I had an experience as an adult graduate student, in a scientific field several (plus) years ago. Perhaps that makes the evaluation parameters more objective, so I will not infer that my experience relates to arts students.

An excellent teacher, especially respected for his abilities to convey basic communication skills to undergraduates, was about to be passed over for tenure. In that particular environment, the graduate students are the day-to-day teachers, for which they are paid very modestly. That is putting it generously.

We united in support of the tenure track professor, writing reasoned support for his teaching abilities, especially with respect to undergraduate students. If you understand the environment, you will recognize that the folks voting on his tenure application had little knowledge (or interest) re his teaching skills. Only the graduate student teachers, interacting most directly with the undergraduate students, could see this.

We were neither popular, nor well received. However, we were united. We did not threaten to strike, but there were hints. Point taken, tenure reconsidered, and granted. Pay remains modest (putting it generously), to this day. Hence my occasional mantra, 'graduate students unite'. Equal portions humor and dream.

A favorite piece of music, descended from Bach's Goldberg and Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, among many more, is Frederic Rzewski's variations on 'The People United Will Never Be Defeated', inspired by, written for, and recorded by pianist Ursula Oppens. Both Massachusetts based, at the time. The revolution will not be televised. It may begin here, once again.

The persistence of a simple theme, through an especially complex set of variations, is a lovely metaphor for the mantra.

Philip Legge wrote (May 14, 2007):
[Thomas Braatz quoting Albert Schweitzer:]
< "Perhaps it is even justifiable to try the experiment of allotting the violin soli in certain movements to two or more desks in the tutti. Bach's reason for marking a movement "solo violin" was frequently simply this, - that the part was much too difficult for his ordinary players. As our orchestras contain many violinists with a technique sufficient for the solo, Bach himself, in these circumstances, would probably be the first to give the part to a number of the players in the tutti passages, when the themes are of a powerful nature. This experiment should be tried sometimes with the "Laudamus te" of the B minor Mass." >
[Douglas Cowling:]
< This is a very odd proposal. Bach clearly wants a concertante contrast between soloist and tutti strings. The only reason to assign more players is give to give the music more Romantic heft. I think the cascades of ornamentation would sound very odd played by two violins. >
To be fair, the Schweitzer quote seems to envisage perhaps two desks or more are playing the solo (i.e. at least four players, not two). Naturally Schweitzer assumes much larger forces than justified by the Dresden parts! Of course if the parts were designed to be "examplars" a larger number of violins might be possible, but even then I find it extremely unlikely when the Laudamus te has the other two violin parts aside from the solo! I agree with you though that two players would be the most difficult number of performers to attempt a unison for such a floridly written solo.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 14, 2007):
Philip Legge wrote:
< The poor audience had to sit on hard pews in a cold church for nearly three hours - mainly on account of the conductor failing to allow for the pauses while he himself worked out "which bit came next" and shuffled his various scores. I would strongly recommend the Tallis Choir of Toronto not do this, unless they want to test the perseverance of a soon-to-be dwindling number of followers! >
We did a reconstruction of a Mozart mass two years ago. and the real trouble makers were the instrumentalists who, superb performers though they were, refused to see the historical sequence and relaxed after each piece as if they were at a modern concert. Even "attacca" markings in the parts could not get them to see what was going on.

I mused on what it must have been like in Bach's choir loft with individuals playing more than one instrument and singing. I have no doubt that there was quiet efficient discipline and there were no gaps and missed cues under Herr Kantor Bach.

I'm trying to find copies of the Albinoni G Minor Magnificat for this concert. What's the Caldara setting like? We need something to match the energy and brilliance of the Handel psalms.

Jean Laaninen wrote (May 14, 2007):
[To Ed Myskowski] Thanks for explaining, Ed. In other words...get behind a good cause.

 

Continue on Part 15

Mass in B minor BWV 232: Details
Recordings:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17
Systematic Discussions:
Part 1: Kyrie | Part 2: Gloria | Part 3: Credo | Part 4: Sanctus | Part 5: Agnus Dei | Part 6: Early Recordings | Part 7: Summary
Individual Recordings:
BWV 232 - C. Abbado | BWV 232 - Anonymous | BWV 232 - G.C. Biller | BWV 232 - F. Brüggen | BWV 232 - J. Butt | BWV 232 - S. Celibidache | BWV 232 - M. Corboz | BWV 232 - A. Eby | BWV 232 - G. Enescu | BWV 232 - E. Ericson | BWV 232 - D. Fasolis | BWV 232 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 232 - C.M. Giulini | BWV 232 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 232 - T. Hengelbrock | BWV 232 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 232 - R. Hickox | BWV 232 - R. Jacobs | BWV 232 - E. Jochum | BWV 232 - Ifor Jones | BWV 232 - K. Junghänel & Cantus Cölln | BWV 232 - H.v. Karajan | BWV 232 - R. King | BWV 232 - O. Klemperer | BWV 232 - S. Kuijken | BWV 232 - G. Leonhardt | BWV 232 - P. McCreesh | BWV 232 - M. Minkowski | BWV 232 - H. Müller-Bruhl | BWV 232 - S. Ozawa | BWV 232 - M. Pearlman | BWV 232 - K. Richter | BWV 232 - J. Rifkin | BWV 232 - H. Rilling | BWV 232 - H. Scherchen | BWV 232 - P. Schreier | BWV 232 - R. Shaw | BWV 232 - G. Solti | BWV 232 - M. Suzuki | BWV 232 - J. Thomas & ABS | BWV 232 - K. Thomas | BWV 232 - J.v. Veldhoven
Articles:
Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 [T. Noel Towe] | Bach’s B minor Mass on Period Instruments [D. Satz] | Like Father, Like Son [B. Pehrson]

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

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýJune 21, 2009 ý09:17:53