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Matthäus-Passion BWV 244b

General Discussions

BWV 244b

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 31, 2004):
I have just received NBA II/5b containing the printed score of the early version (BWV 244b) of the SMP (BWV 244.) The following information is provided for those who might have more than just a passing interest in this major composition by Bach.

Robin L. Leaver, in his article on BWV 244 in the “Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach [Boyd ed., Oxford University Press, 1999] pp. 430 ff., writes about the early version of BWV 244 as follows:
>>Evidence found in scores and parts of other works suggest that Bach was planning this ambitious Passion setting at least as early as 1725…it means that Bach had begun to compose the SMP by the beginning of 1725….it would seem that the composition of such a large-scale work was more time-consuming than the composer anticipated, and it was clear that it would not be ready for performance on Good Friday 1725. Indeed, it would be another two years before it was ready. This protracted compositional process is probably the reason why Bach repeated his 1724 SJP, with some substitute chorale movements and other changes, in 1725, and it is also possibly why he performed Reinhard Keiser’s ‘St. Mark Passion’ in 1726….A further indication that 1727 was the year of the first performance is provided by a Passion libretto by Picander that appeared among the installments of cantata librettos issued during the liturgical year 1724-1725….Although the evidence is fragmentary, the fragments together make a persuasive case for concluding that the early version of the SMP was first performed on Good Friday 1727….The manuscript score and parts of this early version of the SMP are no longer extant, but much of it can be determined in detail from the following important sources: Picander’s libretto, published in 1729, a manuscript score in the hand of Bach’s pupil and son-in-law J. C. Altnickol, written some time between 1744 and 1748 (BWV 244b); and an incomplete score copied some time after 1741 by J. F. Agricola, another Bach pupil. Comparison of these scores with the 1736 autograph reveals many revisions and adjustments. Particularly noticeable is the strengthening of the continuo and various changes made to the instrumentation. A more significant change is found at the end of Part 1, which had originally concluded with a simple four-part chorale, a stanza of Christian Keimann’s ‘Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht.’ In the 1736 version this chorale was dropped in favor of the magnificent chorale fantasia ‘O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß,’ which had been composed in Weimar, employed as the opening movement of the temporary second version of the SJP in 1725, and now found its final place in the SMP.<<

In 1972 the NBA published an annotated facsimile of BWV 244b ‘die Frühfassung’ [‘the early version’] edited by Alfred Dürr as NBA II/5a

Much of Leaver’s commentary above is already contained in Dürr’s introduction to the facsimile. Dürr explains that the late, autograph version of the SMP (1736) contains most of the improvements over the earlier version; hence there is less interest in the earlier, non-autograph version. The two versions are therefore not really equal, but anyone who is interested in Bach’s tireless motivation to improve upon an already existing work will find here a welcome opportunity to see these changes firsthand. The copy of this early version of the SMP is attributed to Johann Christoph Altnickol (1719-1759). This manuscript consists of two volumes divided into Parts 1 and 2. The titles on both volumes, bound in leather, were written by Johann Philipp Kirnberger: “Passio. | Secundum Matthaeum. | Pars 1. [or 2 on the 2nd vol.] | Joh: Seb: Bach.” For a long time it was therefore believed that Kirnberger was the copyist for the entire contents of both volumes. Attached in an inside pocket of volume 1 preceding the contents is a libretto written out by Johann Friedrich Agricola. This is on paper stemming from Agricola’s time in Berlin: 1741-1774, whereas the paper used by Altnickol can be dated from 1731 to 1760. Agricola made some additions and corrections to the Altnickol’s copy of the score, but these are easily decipherable. It would be hoped that Altnickol’s copy would offer reliable insight into the real nature of Bach’s first ‘composing’ score, but here no guarantee can be made that certain differing aspects of Altnickol’s copy were actually Bach’s intentions as spelled out in the original version of the score. They can just as easily be attributed to Altnickol’s errors who seemed to be quite careless at times in transferring notes or text from the original. For instance, he actually uncritically wrote as text under the notes: “Ach! mein Lamm, mein Tigerklauen” [“O! my Lamb, my Tigerclaws.”]

One thing is certain: Altnickol was copying from a score and not from the parts themselves. All the irregularities are spelled out in detail for anyone wishing to note precisely what Altnickol did and how it compares to the later version by Bach.

Now, 32 years later, the NBA has published the same “Frühfassung” as NBA II/5b as a printed score. The editor is Andreas Glöckner whose introduction is shorter than Dürr’s (it does not note all the detailed changes/variations which I presume will be contained in the NBA KB II/5b which has not yet been published.) I will attempt to relate the contents of this introduction in greater detail [still a rather free translation on my part] than Dürr’s, since there is significantly new information that is not contained in any other reference work as yet.

>>Bach’s SMP has a rather long history, perhaps even extending to the period before 1727. It is still uncertain whether Bach had really wanted to perform his own (new) composition for the usual Leipzig Passion performance in 1726, a composition that he had begun, but not yet finished, or whether he had already planned to give a repeat performance of his St. Mark Passion which had had its first performance 1712/13 in Weimar (this Passion has previously been incorrectly ascribed to Reinhard Keiser.) As evidence speaking for an original, new composition on Bach’s part is the fact that Bach made for himself, for later reference, a fragmentary notation, the possible original, kernel idea for just the melody of “Mache dich, mein Herze, rein” in the empty space left at the end of a viola part for the D-major Sanctus BWV 232 (tiny Roman numeral 3 in superscript follows) which had been freshly written out for an Easter performance on April 13, 1727 in Leipzig. It can not be determined with any degree of certainty whether this aria (melody) was intended for the new SMP or whether it already had belonged to another earlier work. In any case it is clear that the older version of the SMP already existed when Bach noted at the end of a letter to his pupil Christoph Gottlob Wecker: “I would gladly let you use the ‘Passions Musique’ that you have requested if it weren’t for the fact that I need it here myself this year.” Bach was referring to the imminent performance of the older version of the SMP to take place in Leipzig on Good Friday, April 15, 1729.

A very basic question arises here as to just how much of this 1729 performance at the Vesper services on Good Friday is based upon new material that Bach had been working on, and just how much of this SMP was based on a pre-existing form. It has been known for over a century now that at least 10 movements/sections of the SMP had already been performed in the Cöthen city church, St. Jakob, on March 24, 1729 as funeral music set for double-choir and orchestra in memory of Count Leopold von Anhalt-Köthen. The assumption that both the funeral music and the SMP may derive from a common source might be supported by the observation that almost all double-choir turba choruses of the SMP can easily be reduced with insignificant minor changes to a single choir version. Bach’s reworking and expansion of the same music from a single choir to a double choir version would be plausible since Bach had just rebegun conducting one of the two Leipzig Collegia [Leipzig University musical ensembles, I assume]. This put him in the position, for the first time since coming to Leipzig, to perform a work with close to 60 performers at one time. [not very promising evidence for Bach’s OVPP Passions!]

While we have all the original performing materials (autograph score and original parts) for the 1736 and 1742 performances of the late version of the SMP, we only have a copy of the score of the early/earliest version of the SMP originating from the period subsequent to Bach’s death Until now the copyist had been identified as Bach’s son-in-law, Johann Christoph Altnickol. The most recent analysis of the handwriting by Peter Wollny has determined that this copy of the early version of the SMP, along with some other copies of Bach’s music attributed to Altnickol, are, in reality, not his work, but rather that of another copyist and pupil belonging to Bach’s inner circle of contacts: Johann Christoph Farlau, who most likely prepared this copy upon request of his teacher [Bach, I assume, although he had been dead for a few years already – perhaps Farlau’s conscience was bothering him or he simply did not get around to completing this project until many years after the request had been made of him.] It seems quite apparent that Farlau had Bach’s original manuscript of the early version before him. It can not be reliably determined whether Farlau’s effort is in some way connected with a later repeat performance of the SMP or even whether this supposed performance took place in Leipzig or elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the original printed text for the early version of the SMP has been lost. It may still have existed in 1829 and disappeared after that. Carl Friedrich Zelter’s report of the remarkable SMP performance under Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy that year included information that there must have been such a printed text of Picander’s libretto (1729 version) but that an earlier one (1727?), with the exception of mvts. 1 and 19, is missing the chorale texts, so that it is not clear which mvt. was intended as the final one in Part 1. Farlau’s copy, however, tells us, in contrast with the later version that everyone is acquainted with, that Bach intended to have a 4-pt. chorale at this point (mvt 29) of the SMP: “Jesum laß ich nicht von mir.” This was later changed in the final 1736 version and replaced with the expansive chorale mvt. “O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß.”

Farlau’s copy documents other changes as well: the aria (mvt. 30) “Ach! nun ist mein Jesus hin!” has been given to the bass voice rather than to the alto; the accompaniment to mvt. 56 “Ja freilich will in uns das Fleisch und Blut” and the following aria “Komm, süßes Kreuz” (mvt. 57) is with a lute rather than a viola da gamba; completely missing for no recognizable reason (probably carelessly skipped over while copying) is the chorale, mvt. 17, “Es dient zu meinen Freuden;” the basso continuo is noted as a single entity and not split into two groups as in the later version.

In contrast to the five versions of the SJP (BWV 245), Bach, with the exception of the already noted change at the end of Part 1 of the SMP, did not undertake any significant, overall structural changes in his final version. The changes from the early to the late versions of the SMP that do occur have mainly to do with voice-leading and choice of instruments. There are rather frequent exchanges of parts, particularly in the middle-range instrumental and vocal parts. Bach’s main efforts were directed toward the refinement of musical structures and making the text fit the music better. Half-, quarter- and eighth-notes were split into smaller time values, instrumental and vocal passages were ‘enriched’ with additional appoggiaturas. The tenor aria “Geduld” (mvt. 35) underwent a major transformation. There were even changes in the introductory chorus (mvt. 1.)

In contrast to the complaints and demands of Johann Adolph Scheibe, a representative of the younger generation of composers who desired more clarity and transparency in the musical lines devoid of embellishments as much as possible, Bach, in the final version of the SMP (1736) went out of his way to document fully and precisely his intentions by writing out fully the ‘willkürlichen Manieren’ [the variations and embellishments normally left for the performer to decide on the spur of the moment.]

Unfortunately, Farlau’s copy of the early version of the SMP offers us an unsatisfactory basis for making performance-practice decisions: he includes hardly any dynamic markings, articulation of phrasing, trills or appoggiaturas. The designation of which instrument plays which part is incomplete or completely lacking in most mvts. There are many mistakes in applying the accidentals (the necessary sharps or flats.)

Lacking the original parts (or even a copy of them) for the early (1727-1729) version of the SMP, we, it is sad to say, do not have all the necessary details that we would like to have for a full performance as intended by Bach, but there has been, nevertheless, on the part of performance groups, a noticeably growing interest in this version over the past few years.<<

Aryeh Oron wrote (May 31, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote: < I have just received NBA II/5b containing the printed score of the early version (BWV 244b) of the SMP (BWV 244.) The following information is provided for those who might have more than just a passing interest in this major composition by Bach. >
Thanks for the enlightening info.

I would like to add that there are already two complete recordings of this version of SMP BWV 244b:

Heinz Hennig from April 2000 [80]
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV244-Rec6.htm

Ryuichi Higuchi from March 2002 [85]
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV244-Rec8.htm

BTW, the systematic discussions of SMP in the BCML should start next week! The work for discussion this week is the Magnificat in E flat major BWV 243a.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (June 4, 2004):
[To Thomas Braatz] Would it be possible for you to scan your copy of NBA II/5b and e-mail it to me? Or could you make a copy of it and send it to me? If you choose the former option, the e-mail address is dlebutjr@aol.com. If the latter, I will post you individually off-list. The reason I ask is because, as I have said before, the NBA series at Arizona State University is outdated (they do not include most of the recent volumes), and besides which one it is non-circulating (meaning one could not check it out). As you are aware (or might not be), I am attempting (as a way of teaching myself Choral and Orchestral composition) to recreate the texts and scores of all the various versions of the Passion settings Bach wrote, as well as the three Passionspasticcio settings he wrote on the Markuspassion formerly thought to have been composed by Reinhard Keiser, the Passionspasticcio "Wer ist der, so von Edom kommt", the so-called "Weimarer Passion", and the Trauerkantate "Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt" Bach wrote for the funeral of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Koethen. Also, do you have NBA II/5a? If so, could you send a copy (same principle)?

While on the subject, do you have a copy of NBA II/10, NBA III/2, NBA II/4, NBA II/5 (particularly for the part about the Markuspassion), and NBA I/8-12, 38, & 40-41? If so, could I get a copy (same principle)?

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (June 4, 2004):
[To Aryeh Oron] Where could one find a copy of this recording?

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 4, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut, Jr. inquired:
>>Would it be possible for you to scan your copy of NBA II/5b and e-mail it to me? Or could you make a copy of it and send it to me?<<
>>Also, do you have NBA II/5a? If so, could you send a copy (same principle)?
While on the subject, do you have a copy of NBA II/10, NBA III/2, NBA II/4, NBA II/5 (particularly for the part about the Markuspassion), and NBA I/8-12, 3, & 40-41? If so, could I get a copy (same principle)?<<

This sure sounds like a tall order!

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (June 4, 2004):
[To Thomas Braatz] I realize it does, but so is the project I have set out to do. If I could, I would check out the NBA volumes that the ASU library has. However, as I stated earlier, they are non-circulating. Besides, I don't have enough money to afford the complete NBA edition or the BGA edition, and photocopying can be problematic (only half a page could copy, money would be a problem, etc.).

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 4, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] BGA is available in *.pdf online for A LOT less than it would cost you to get those NBA volumes - as I recall, all of the cantatas in BGA for the price of one copy of NBA. Another matter that the 'gentleman' who puts out this PDF of the BGA claims he has copyright to these PDF's, which is surely sheer nonsense because the BGA is over 100 years old - surely it is public domain by now...

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 6, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. asked: "Where could one find a copy of this recording?"
I have them both. However, they are not sold by the usual internet stores.

I bought the Higuchi directly from KK MEIJI GAKUIN SERVISE.
E-mail address: mgs@m.email.ne.jp <mgs@m.email.ne.jp>

And the Hennig directly from Stefanie Brandt at KNABENCHOR HANNOVER
E-mail address: Stefanie Brandt <s.brandt@knabenchor-hannover.de>

The service in both cases was excellent.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (June 6, 2004):
< And the Hennig directly from Stefanie Brandt at KNABENCHOR HANNOVER
E-mail address: Stefanie Brandt <
s.brandt@knabenchor-hannover.de>
Aryeh (and everybody else if they know the recording), a brief comment on this one? I'm really interested in it.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (June 7, 2004):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] However, if you look at the .pdf files, these are largely of the Vocal Works, not of the Instrumental, or at least complete instrumental.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (June 7, 2004):
[To Aryeh Oron] I know roughly how much for the Henning (except for shipping and that stuff). How much for the Higuchi?

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 6, 2004):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Hennig recording of BWV 244b is preferable to the Japanese one. Although this rendition leaves something to be desired regarding the dramatic intensity and control of the forces, it has much to its credit. The line of soloists is good indeed and there is an atmosphere of event in process and nice flow.


SMP BWV 244b 1727/9 version

John Pike wrote (July 2, 2004):
A few weeks ago, Aryeh mentioned two recordings he had acquired of the earlier version of the SMP. Neither is available from larger suppliers. I got a copy of the Hennig recording (Hannover Knabenchor, Thomanerchor Leipzig and a group from Berlin specialising in early music). I have been listening to it and there is much to enjoy, with plenty of drama and some fine singing. It is interesting to pick out the differences from the 1736 version commonly recorded. My major concern is with what seems to me to be some rather abrupt and aggressive continuo. Sometimes this adds to the drama but on other occasions I find that it just jars.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (July 3, 2004):
[To John Pike] How much did you have to pay for S & H and taxes? I had written to the Knabenchor Hannover, and was told that it would be about $30 before S & H and taxes. They didn't know about that part. I am still interested in purchasing it, but do not know that part yet.

John Pike wrote (July 5, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] It was 25 Euros plus 6 Euros Post and packing to the UK. I think it is about 8 Euros for postage to the USA.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (July 7, 2004):
[To John Pike] So they haven't changed the price much.

How long did it take for the shipping?

John Pike wrote (July 7, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] It arrived very promptly. Like Aryeh, I found the service to be excellent. If you want to get it, you will need to transfer the necessary funds to the bank account of the Knabenchor Hannover. If you send an e mail to Stefanie Brandt, she will give you all the necessary details. I have listened to it all. It is worth getting. Parts of it are excellent, especially towards the end...bits of "Mache dich" and the build up to "Nun ist der Herr zu Ruh gebracht".

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (July 8, 2004):
[To John Pike] Thanks. Like I said earlier, I had contacted them, but they did not know the S & H details.

Of course, I probably would like it for different reasons than you do (namely the fact that there are 3 Choirs, 2 Orchestras, and that one of the ensembles is the Thomanerchor Leipzig).

Riccardo Nughes wrote (July 11, 2004):
< It arrived very promptly. Like Aryeh, I found the service to be excellent. If you want to get it, you will need to transfer the necessary funds to the bank account of the Knabenchor Hannover. If you send an e mail to Stefanie Brandt, she will give you all the necessary details. >
Just to say that I ordered too this CD set and I confirm what John & Aryeh told us about the KH service.


Matthäus-Passion BWV 244: 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 | BWV 244a | BWV 244b
Systemetic Discussions:
Part 1: Mvts. 1-8 | Part 2: Mvts. 9-20 | Part 3: Mvts. 21-29 | Part 4: Mvts. 30-40 | Part 5: Mvts. 41-50 | Part 6: Mvts. 51-57 | Part 7: Mvts. 58-63b | Part 8: Mvts. 63c-68 | Part 9: Role of the Evangelist
Individual Recordings:
BWV 244 - L. Bernstein | BWV 244 - F. Brüggen | BWV 244 - J. Butt | BWV 244 - R. Chailly | BWV 244 - S. Cleobury | BWV 244 - J. Daus | BWV 244 - D. Fasolis | BWV 244 - W. Furtwängler | BWV 244 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 244 - W. Gönnenwein | BWV 244 - P. Goodwin | BWV 244 - E.z. Guttenberg | BWV 244 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 244 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 244 - R. Jacques | BWV 244 - H.v. Karajan | BWV 244 - O. Klemperer | BWV 244 - T. Koopman | BWV 244 - S. Koussevitzky | BWV 244 - S. Kuijken | BWV 244 - F. Lehmann | BWV 244 - G. Leonhardt | BWV 244 - P.J. Leusink | BWV 244 - E.&R. Mauersberger | BWV 244 - H. Max | BWV 244 - P. McCreesh | BWV 244 - W. Mengelberg | BWV 244 - K. Münchinger | BWV 244 - R. Norrington | BWV 244 - G. Oberfrank | BWV 244 - S. Ozawa | BWV 244 - A. Parrott | BWV 244 - G. Ramin | BWV 244 - S. Rattlr | BWV 244 - K. Richter | BWV 244 - H. Rilling | BWV 244 - H.J. Rotzsch | BWV 244 - H. Scherchen | BWV 244 - G. Solti | BWV 244 - C. Spering | BWV 244 - M. Suzuki | BWV 244 - J.v. Veldhoven | BWV 244 - B. Walter | BWV 244 - F. Werner | BWV 244 - M. Wöldike
Articles:
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244 [T.N. Towe] | Two Easter St. Matthew Passions (Plus One) [U. Golomb] | St. Matthew Passion from Harnoncourt [D. Satz] | The Passion according to Saint Matthew BWV 244 [J. Rifkin] | The Relationship between BWV 244a (Trauermusik) and BWV 244b (SMP Frühfassung) [T. Braatz] | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 - Early History (A Selective, Annotated Bibliography) [W. Hoffman] | Spiritual Sources of Bach's St. Matthew Passion [W. Hoffman] | Bach and the "Great Passion" [D.G. Lebut Jr.] | The Genesis of Bach's `Great Passion': 1724-29 [W. Hoffman] | Early Performances of Bach's SMP [T. Braatz]

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

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Last update: ýJuly 11, 2004 ý20:23:27