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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

Johannes-Passsion BWV 245
General Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Unknown Work

Jeremy Martin wrote (July 9, 2004):
Hopefully someone can help me.

About a year ago I recorded some of the St. John's Passion off TV to a Videotape. There was one work on there I cannot find the recording of St. John's Passion. I really love the piece that is why I have looked into it.

It starts with a Solo on the Cello or the gamba followed by a Baritone then Choir along with Flutes.

The only way I could think one may be able to name it is if they heard the opening statement. So I notated the first 2 measures from my mind and saved it as Midi format. This link will open the midi: http://www.geocities.com/the_art_of_the_fugue/Bach.mid

I hope this mystery piece can be named and I can get a recording of it...

Ludwig wrote (July 9, 2004):
[To Jeremy Martin] St. John's Passion is one of the lesser known works in that when it comes to speaking of such works---people usually are referring to the other Passion Bach wrote.

Please go to wwww. tower.com and sign up for an account. Then go to the Johann Sebastian Bach section and you will find a wealth of performances to buy from and which you can sample.

Tarslane wrote (July 9, 2004):
[To Jeremy Martin] Could it be "Betrachte meine Seele"?

Jeremy Martin wrote (July 9, 2004):
[To Tarslane] Nope. It's not "Betrachte meine Seele" I do not believe the piece I am looking for is in BWV 245 in this recording from TV they played O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross from BWV 244. It was a Mixture of different works with the focus on St John's Passion.

John Pike wrote (July 9, 2004):
[To Jeremy Martin] "O Mensch" was first used by Bach in the 1725 version of the SJP. Maybe the piece you are thinking of is also in the 1725 version. It included a number of other choruses and arias not found in the 1724, 1730s or 1749 versions of SJP. He moved "O Mensch" from the SJP to be the end of part 1 of the SMP (BWV 244) sometime between 1725 and 1736. "O Mensch" is not in the 1727/1729 version of the SMP. Herreweghe's 2nd recording of the SJP is of the 1725 version but I haven't heard it yet.

Russell Telfer wrote (July 9, 2004):
[To Jeremy Martin] A new voice: I'm Russell Telfer, recently joined. I can't answer this one, Jeremy, although I like a challenge. Having heard the motif you quoted, I'm fairly sure it is not in the 75% of the cantatas and choral works I have heard. I will listen out for it.

Jeremy Martin wrote (July 9, 2004):
[To Russell Telfer] Thank you, Russell.

Perhaps later I will watch the Video and notate a larger portion. If I can notate the first minute then someone should get it. Thanks again.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (July 9, 2004):
[To Jeremy Martin] What you are referring to is not an actual part of the Johannespassion proper (that is to say, the version known today and written between 1739 and 1749). The part is actually originally from the so-called "Weimarer Passion" of 1717 and reused by Bach in the 1725 version of the Johannespassion. The first words are "Himmelreise, Welt erbebe". It also includes a setting of the Choralsatz "Jesu, deine Passion," for ripieno Soprano choir.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (July 9, 2004):
[To Jeremy Martin] As to recommendations, here are my picks:

Modern version: Günther Ramin and the Thomanerchor Leipzig and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Karl Richter and the Münchener Bach-Orchester and Muenchener Bach-Chor, Kurt Thomas with the aforementioned ensembles that Günther Ramin used. Also recommended Gustav Leonhardt.

All versions: Helmuth Rilling and the Gächinger Kantorei and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart.

1725 version: Peter Neumann (and possibly Philippe Herreweghe). Also Seosbury (Brilliant Classics).

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (July 9, 2004):
[To Jeremy Martin] Yeah. From what you have notated, it is already about half over.

Jeremy Martin wrote (July 10, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] Great. Mystery Solved. Thanks for the help everyone. I found the sheet music for it I will look for a recording later.

Thanks,

Jeremy Martin wrote (July 10, 2004):
Here is a Mp3 of the Work. In case anyone here has not heard this piece. I love it.
http://peterkooij.de/himmel.mp3

 

Civility please
Johannes Passion

Sean Burton wrote (October 7, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] I joined this forum about three days ago and am still in awe over my "initiation." The lack of civility here is extremely disturbing. Gentlemen, can we get back on point and explore the works of the master? Perhaps we can discuss the perception of anti-Semitism in the Johannes Passion or some other worthy topic.

Yoël Arbeitman wrote (October 7, 2004):
Sean Burton wrote:
< Perhaps we can discuss the perception of anti-Semitism in the Johannes Passion or some other worthy topic. >
Some months ago when I was on NO MAIL, I saw weeks and perhaps months of posts on the subject of Judenhass and then some posts on Deutschenhass. There is really no useful purpose in endless discussions of the obvious. I acknowledge and accept that Judenhass is part and parcel of European Christian history and I accept that Schuetz and Bach and all the others accepted the theologies with which they were brought up. I also accept that this music, this European Christian music based on a certain set of "beliefs" is my music and I leave it at that. No purpose rehashing all this.

Sean Burton wrote (October 7, 2004):
For those who are interested in learning about this topic, I suggest the link below and we can leave it at that.
http://www.icjs.org/scholars/bachcml.htm

Charles Francis wrote (October 7, 2004):
[To Sean Burton] And for newcomers who wish to see what has already been discussed on this forum over the years, go to: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/
and use the search engine with the term: Judenhass

Eric Bergerud wrote (October 8, 2004):
Funny the SJP should come up: I just trebled my collection. Saw a really nice Messiah via Netflix with Goodman/Brandenburg Consort and Kings College Choir/Cleobury. Brilliant just reissued the same duo's SJP. I like boys choirs in Bach and consequently I bought this one and like it. Also picked up the recent reissue of SJP, Easter & Ascension Oratorios and Mass in B by Parrott and the Taverner Consort. I find OVPP pleasing to my ear. But what I was really looking forward to was the Mass in B which is OVPP and also includes a boy soloist, Panito Iconomou. (An interview with Panito is on the articles page, although I don't think he mentions working with Parrott.) Anyway, I find it a sweet combination. If wiser heads know of any OVPP cantata performances out there that include boy soloists I'd like to know about it.

PS: See in the archives that Telemann came up a couple months back. The new HIP complete Taflemusik (4CDs) by Musica Amphion is great fun. (Doesn't seem to be on Amazon, but Archive has it for $20.) It won't change your life, but might make you tap your toes. And you don't have to feel guilty if you don't give the recording 100% attention. I've gone through the whole thing twice in two weeks and am really happy with it. (Yikes! Did some gent really put his name on an article arguing that Vivaldi was a better composer than Bach? Poor guy doesn't have bad taste, I fear he's deaf.)

PS2: for a different take on the "Diminishing Returns" of HIP check out the long and interesting Hogwood interview in Goldberg where he discusses the "shock of the old."
http://www.goldbergweb.com/en/magazine/interviews/2004/04/22734.php

Peter Bright wrote (October 8, 2004):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< PS2: for a different take on the "Diminishing Returns" of HIP check out the long and interesting Hogwood interview in Goldberg where he discusses the "shock of the o."
http://www.goldbergweb.com/en/magazine/interviews/2004/04/22734.php >
Thanks for the link Eric - a really nice interview. I was lucky enough to live in the house next to Hogwood in 1995-6 (while a PhD student). He used an entire floor in our (rented) house as a music room. Although I never went into his room, he had a number of different keyboard instruments in there - which we often heard him play. He was always a very kind, unassuming and courteous person.

I particularly enjoyed reading his comments:

"Many aspects of music-making “are in the mind” in the best sense of that phrase. They are between the composer and the instrument. This is a great tonic for everyone and allows you to look into the heart of the music itself. It puts the amateur on the same footing as the professional, and for academics and critics it is a reminder that the material they work with is music to be played."

 

SJP From Prague

Sw Anandgyan wrote (November 29, 2004):
How often does it happen that a recording is not showing up on Bach Cantatas Website ?

Oh I tried hard to find a picture of its cover, alas all I could find was one mention of it on a commercial site from the Netherlands. Mr Oron, until I come across someone with a scanner, I shall offer these informations on this e-list.

If someone has ever heard of this CD, please let me know !

Johannes Passion BWV 245

Suk Chamber Orchestra + Coro Misto
- Conductor: Oliver Dohnanyi
- Tenore ( evangelista ) : Jiri Cee
- Basso ( Jesus ) : Vratslav Kriz
- Basso ( Pilatus ) : Pavel Klecka
- Basso ( Petrus ) : Jan Holub
- Tenore ( Servus ) : Stanislav Mistr
- Soprano ( Ancilla ) : Ludmila Vernerova
- Alto : Jaroslava Horska
- Tenore : Peter Oswald
- Basso : Dalibor Jenis

Recorded in the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brotbren
Prague February 27 - March 4, 1991

Total Time : 114 Min
Label : Pentagon Classics PTG 100.201

As far as I can tell, this is a modern instruments recording (Hey ... I'm learning !). The very first choral is impressive as it ought to be and the heart-softening arias are effectively performed. It's not going to dislodge anyof my top three favourite recording of the SJP, i.e. Suzuki, Brüggen and Herreweghe I but it's nice to have something somewhat different to listen to as in drinking some blended whisky after having enjoyed exclusively pure malt like Glenfiddich and the sort. ;-)

 

A question about the St. John Passion [Choral Talk]

Noel Stoutenburg wrote (January 2, 2005):
I expect that a choir with which I am affiliated will sing the Bach St. John Passion this spring, and in beginning to study the score, I found it interesting to note that in his St. John Passion, Bach sets about two and a half verses of text from the St. Matthew, specifically the veres relating to the tearing of the curtain in the temple, the shattering of the rocks, and the opening of the graves and resurrection of the dead.

Does anyone know if this was Bach's poetic license, or if this was a liturgical feature of the St. John from late XVIIth / early XVIIIth century Leipzig?

Harry Whitham wrote (January 2, 2005):
[To Noel Stoutenburg] The preface to the Barenreiter study score explains that Bach didn't leave a definitive version. The sources give evidence of 4 different versions used at 4 performances, 1724, 1725, about 1730 and in the last years of Bach's life. The interpolations from St Matthew were included in all except Version 3.

From this I assume that they were included by Bach for the dramatic effect they give. I can't think that there would have been any liturgical reason for their inclusion.

Good luck with your performance of this wonderful work.

John Howell [Virginia Tech Department of Music, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA] wrote (January 3, 2005):
[To Noel Stoutenburg] When I studied the piece, the word was that it was Bach's choice to increase the drama of Part II by doing this.

John Howell wrote (January 3, 2005):
[To Harry Whitham] If that preface (or the critical comments) were written by Arthur Mendel, you can take the chronology as definitive. It was his work group at Princeton that unraveled the mystery of the New Bach Chronology through examination of those different versions.

Alexa Doebele [DMA Student in Choral Music, University of Colorado / Conductor, CU Women's Chorus / Director of Music, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wheat Ridge, CO] wrote (January 3, 2005):
[To Noel Stoutenburg] While I am not an expert on the subject (yet!), it is my understanding that this was a common practice for the Lutheran church in Bach's time. In other words, this is a theological consideration and not so much a musical one. Lutherans did not think of four distinct Gospels, but rather four Gospels which complemented each other to create a whole. And while Lutherans were aware of discrepancies/contradictions which occur among the Gospels, they pretty much turned a blind eye to them in order to think of the Gospels as a cohesive unit.

Hope this helps!

 

1724 Johannes Passion (was: introducing..)

Continue of discussion from: Members of the BCML/BRML - 2005 [General Topics]

Markku (Mara) Laurikainen wrote (February 1, 2005):
Thank you for welcoming me to BachCantatas. I live in Finland. I started listening seriously to Bach's music already over 30 years ago. The first recording I bought was Toccatas and fugues with Helmut Walcha. I still like his interpretations very much.

Nowdays are the Passions most important to me. My immediate interest in the group is to find a certain "different" recording of St. John Passion (BWV 245).

Peter Bloemendaal wrote (February 2, 2005):
[To Markku Laurikainen] I hope Johan van Veen is still a list member. He wrote about a radio recording he made from an SJP performance of a reconstruction of Bach's very first 1724 version of SJP. Johan copied it for me and it is a very iteresting and good recording. Maybe Johan could make a copy for you, or,if Johan doesn't mind, I could make a copy of my copy, which is on CD.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (February 2, 2005):
< I hope Johan van Veen is still a list member. He wrote about a radio recording he made from an SJP performance of a reconstruction of Bach's very first 1724 version of SJP. >
I'm not sure but it should be this new release ->
http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//CCSSA22005.htm

Jim Groeneveld wrote (February 2, 2005):
[To Riccardo Nughes] No, I don't think so, Riccardo. You are referring to a CD-recording. The radio recording was a live OVPP performance, which I missed, but could enjoy later many times, thanks to Johan van Veen. It had the following cast, which information I copied from the radio guide in April 2001:

Cappella Figuralis:
Jos van Veldhoven (Conductor)
Achim Kleinlein (Evangelist)

Choir I:
Maria Rosenmöller (s), Peter de Groot (a), Robert Morvai (t), Henk Neven(b)
Choir II:
Irmela Brünger (s), Dorien Lievers (a), Immo Schröder (t), Arnout Lems (b)

The singers in choir I sang the arias in part 2, those in choir II sang the arias in part 1. The bass Henk Neven sang all bass solos, Arnout Lems sang the Christ part.

Instrumentalists:
Pieter Affourtit (solo), Antoinette Lohmann (violin), Sayuri Yamagata (violin, viola), Staas Swierstra (viola), Richte van der Meer (cello), Mieneke van der Velden (viola da gamba), Margaret Urquhart (contrabass), Michael Niesemann, Peter Frankenberg (oboe), Pieter Dirksen (organ), Siebe Henstra (cembalo), Mike Fentross (theorbe).

Riccardo Nughes wrote (February 2, 2005):
[To Jim Groeneveld] It'n not the same recording but it's the 1724 version ->
http://www.channelclassics.net/newReleasesCDML.htm#JP
The choir is now smaller, it seems, a "radical" OVPP recording.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 2, 2005):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Is Channel Classics distributed well in the US? I've had trouble finding thein the shops, for a long time. I haven't tried a direct order from Harmonia Mundi USA yet, but may have to do so after they offer this one.

This release looks attractive to me. And a 200-page booklet!

Stephen Benson wrote (February 2, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Is Channel Classics distributed well in the US? >
One source of Channel Classics recordings is a Vermont based distributor: https://www.hbdirect.com/index.cfm

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 2, 2005):
Channel distributor

[To Stephen Benson] Thanks. It had been so many years since I ordered from Haverstick/Ballyk
I'd forgotten about them....

Is there a handy list of these somewhere, list members' favorite distributors with good service in the US, for CDs?

Berkshire (BROinc)
Allegro
Qualiton
Tower
Amazon and all the other new/used links they have
Barnes & Noble
H&B

And of course individual labels.

Sw Anandgyan wrote (February 3, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] Greetings Brad, Aryeh and everyone.

The packaging is quite similar to their Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), albeit no velvet this time, with another association with the Museum Catharijneconvent. There is a hardbound booklet accompanying the two SACDs. Liner notes are written by: Dr. Pieter Dirksen, Drs Guus van den Hoot and Jos van Veldhoven.

Maria,

This is the different SJP recording you have been looking for.

Follow this link to listen to the first ten minutes: http://tinyurl.com/6ha2z

First part on CD 1
Second Part on CD 2

(if that matters ... )

What can I say?

More crystalline than dramatic because of the minimal forces used. It could resemble McCreesh's SMP though without the hurried tempi.

Remember I'm no expert. I'm just an averager joe who has had difficulties being seduced by the OVPP B minor mass done by Cantus Cölln and the Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 played by Concerto Italiano.

Not this time!

There is such an aura of intimacy, with just enough poignancy. I guess it might be called a madrigal passion by some. I find it quite delicate.

Let me quote Dr. Dirksen:

" The lack of flute sound, which we so strongly associate with Bach's passions ( the SMP in particular) is thus the most obvious element of our reconstruction. " P15

My feeling is that this recording will get real good reviews.

- happy listening -

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 3, 2005):
[To Markku Laurikainen] Finally, someone who speaks my language--the Passion story. I find that to me (not just as a Christian or as an Evangelical (Lutheran), but also as a person, and a deeply religious one at that, who has studied countless hours both religious history and doctrine for my own amusement) the Passion and Passiontide holds a great deal more weight than that other great religious holiday, Christmas. After all, whilst it is important to commemorate the coming of our redemption in the person of the Babe of Bethlehem, I find that it is even more important to truly commemorate the fulfillment of our redemption that took place that first Friday in April the year 33 CE at a place known variably as Golgatha or Calvary. For this reason (as well as the fact that I like minor-keyed music), the settings of the Passion and Oratorios inspired by the Passion story hold a chief place amongst my favorite musical works of art.

A side note: I just listened to samples of the Channel recording of the 1724 Johannespassion, and whilst I would gladly buy it, there is one serious flaw in the performance. The same is shared with the Max recording of the 1749 version. The flaw is that it only uses 10 singers in the Choir. In Bach's day, it was customary to use 10 singers per part. That is to say, to use 10 Sopranos, 10 Altos, 10 Tenors, and 10 Basses. Therefore, the size of the Choir would be 40 members.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 3, 2005):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote:
"The flaw is that it only uses 10 singers in the Choir. In Bach's day, it was customary to use 10 singers per part. That is to say, to use 10 Sopranos, 10 Altos, 10 Tenors, and 10 Basses. Therefore, the size of the Choir would be 40 members."
We've been here before! Not necessarily (to put it mildly....)

Doug Cowling wrote (February 3, 2005):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote:
< I find that it is even more important to truly commemorate the fulfillment of our redemption that took place that first Friday in April the year 33 CE at a place known variably as Golgatha or Calvary. >
The weight of scholarship suggests April 7, 30 C.E. as the probable date of the Crucifixion.

Neil Halliday wrote (February 3, 2005):
Sw Anandgyan wrote: (of Veldhoven's new SJP)
http://www.avroklassiek.nl/index.asp?ID=0
"....More crystalline than dramatic because of the minimal forces used. It could resemble McCreesh's SMP though without the hurried tempi..... There is such an aura of intimacy, with just enough poignancy. I guess it might be called a madrigal passion by some. I find it quite delicate."
Nice description of this very enjoyable version. I believe this is the correct tempo for this chorus. I would enjoy more presence in the strings in the opening ritornello (but then I sometimes find 'scratchy' period strings to be irritating, so perhaps best left as is...). The harpsichord and lute in the continuo perhaps compensate with their own charms.

Interestingly, in certain (forte) sections the appealing and effective chorus sounds like it is more than OVPP, in others you can hear the four individual singers.

John Pike wrote (February 3, 2005):
[To Gabriel Jackson] Indeed. David, with the greatest respect, this is an EXTRAORDINARY suggestion. Check the Entwurff and check what scholars say about Bach only using the first choir (approx. 13 choristers at most) for his concerted church music. Where did you get this idea from?

John Pike wrote (February 3, 2005):
[To Sw Anandgyan] Sorry to pester about this again. I get the impression from this that the 1724 version is rarely recorded. If so, which version is usually recorded? Is it the 1749?

Guido de Winne wrote (February 4, 2005):
[To John Pike] Yes in 1749.

 

OT as in Occasionally Trite

Richard Bradbury wrote (March 16, 2005):
[To Sw Anandgyan] I've been listening to SJPs in preparation for going to hear a live performance tomorrow night and I still find that the Scholars Baroque Ensemble (bought when I was still new to this game and therefore my money was more of an object of concern that the quality of the performance - a state my partner regrets I've moved beyond!) has a dramatic quality that I associate with live performance. Though I suspect that - having read the comments on the van Veldhoven on the list - once tomorrow's live peformance has gone by, the more careful considerations of recorded performance may weigh heavier in my mind and on my sound system.

 

SJP in translation…

Tom Dent wrote (September 10, 2005):
I can sympathize with Mark Padmore's wish to sing the Evangelist and the rest of the St. John in German. The translation I have encountered is horrid, completely changing the rhythms and even notes of the recits in an (unsuccessful!) attempt to use the King James Bible text, and often quite changing the meanings in the other numbers.

Not that every note of Bachian recit necessarily ought to be preserved in translation, but every alteration seemed to be for the worse.

'Lasset uns dann nicht verteilen, sondern darum losen, wess es sein soll' became 'Let us let us not divide it, but draw lots for it, who shall have it' which is virtually impossible to sing on the 16th-notes, has the mother of all false accents on 'for', and has a bad repetition.

However there are other translations going around - apparently Novello has a new one from Neil Jenkins, and there is this from Cleveland Baroque: Amazon.com which might be better. "Imagine That His Blood-bespattered Body" may be overdoing it, though - the front row better bring brollies.

Since English has much the same basic vocabulary as German and similar vowel and consonant sounds, it ought to be possible to make a translation that sounds natural and immediate. Well, in principle...

Eric Bergerud wrote (September 10, 2005):
[To Tom Dent] Well, translation is nearly an art itself. With luck someone will try to capture the spirit rather than form on the text the Seamus Heaney did in his splendid translation/revision of Beowulf. Course Heaney didn't have to worry about music. But there's got to be a way.

David Hitchin wrote (September 10, 2005):
Avoid the 1981 Barenreiter translation.

"Peter denied a third time, and straightway then did the cook crow."

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (September 10, 2005):
[To David Hitchin] Did it really say "cook"?

David Hitchin wrote (September 10, 2005):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] Yes, in black and white on page 58.

Chris Kern wrote (September 10, 2005):
The translation that appears on the Suzuki SJP DVD has "He set Barrabas free, a robber!" which goes further than simple poor phrasing.

Alan Bruguieres wrote (September 11, 2005):
Babelfish is a precious resource; here's what I got (guess from which number!):

Mr., our ruler, whose fame is wonderful into all landing! Show us by your passion the fact that you which protects God son, at all time, also in the largest lowness, gentleman light is!

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 11, 2005):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< Well, translation is nearly an art itself. With luck someone will try to capture the spirit rather than form on the text the Seamus Heaney did in his splendid translation/revision of Beowulf. Course Heaney didn't have to worry about music. But there's got to be a way. >
Recitative in the cantatas which is metrical poetry is perhaps the easiest to adapt because it is syllablic and you can adapt and paraphrase without offending literary taste. In arias and choruses, you have to be careful of runs on difficult English vowels: even a good choir will have trouble singing the opening of the SJP as "Lord, our Redeemer" -- the runs on "-deem" will inevitably sound like "hee hee hee".

The recitatives in the Passions are an insoluable problem because the Scriptural text in English is such a literary icon and so well-known. The old Novello editions were right up front and said that the text of the Authorized (King James) Version would take precedence over the music, and it must be admitted that they did a good job and the word-underlay sounds natural and idiomatic. Only in a couple places were the editors defeated by the German original: the great cry of "Barrabam" in the SMP cannot be anglicized because the accent falls on the second syllable in English. The editors just left "Barrabas" with its dactylic rhythm.

The only solution would be to commission a translation which was adapted exactly to the German. This would be difficult in itself as the German, with its long words and frequent weak endings, is hard to match in English. And I doubt that audiences would be comfortable with a translation which would be constantly drawing attention to itself because of its difference with the familiar versions.

The solution would of course be to use surtitles as most opera houses do. In a way, Bach anticipated this visualization when he wrote the Evangelist's part in red ink. It would be very expensive to develop, but a sophisticated projection of the English text would electrify audiences.

Eric Bergerud wrote (September 11, 2005):
Sorrell and Britten SJPs

Eric Bergerud wrote: < Well, translation is nearly an art itself. With luck someone will try to capture the spirit rather than form on the text the Seamus Heaney did in his splendid translation/revision of Beowulf. Course Heaney didn't have to worry about music. But there's got to be a way. >
Actually, on second thought, there are two English language SJPs in print: one by Apollo's Fire (or the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra: take your pick) under Jeannette Sorrell, the other by the English Chamber Orch under Benjamin Britten. (They join the English language SMPs by Bernstein and Vaughn Williams: also in print.) I haven't heard either English SJP: are they bad? I do have Lenny's SMP and don't find it at all clunky.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 11, 2005):
Translation

Eric Bergerud wrote:
< Well, translation is nearly an art itself. With luck someone will try to capture the spirit rather than form on the text the Seamus Heaney did in his splendid translation/revision of Beowulf. Course Heaney didn't have to worry about music. But there's got to be a way. >
Recitative in the cantatas which is metrical poetry is perhaps the easiest to adapt because it is syllablic and you can adapt and paraphrase without offending literary taste. In arias and choruses, you have to be careful of runs on difficult English vowels: even a good choir will have trouble singing the opening of the SJP as "Lord, our Redeemer" -- the runs on "-deem" will inevitably sound like "hee hee hee".

The recitatives in the Passions are an insoluable problem because the Scriptural text in English is such a literary icon and so well-known. The old Novello editions were right up front and said that the text of the Authorized (King James) Version would take precedence over the music, and it must be admitted that they did a good job and the word-underlay sounds natural and idiomatic. Only in a couple places were the editors defeated by the German original: the great cry of "Barrabam" in the SMP cannot be anglicized because the accent falls on the second syllable in English. The editors just left "Barrabas" with its dactylic rhythm.

The only solution would be to commission a translation which was adapted exactly to the German. This would be difficult in itself as the German, with its long words and frequent weak endings, is hard to match in English. And I doubt that audiences would be comfortable with a translation which would be constantly drawing attention to itself because of its difference with the familiar versions.

The solution would of course be to use surtitles as most opera houses do. In a way, Bach anticipated this visualization when he wrote the Evangelist's part in red ink. It would be very expensive to develop, but a sophisticated projection of the English text would electrify audiences.

Eric Bergerud wrote (September 11, 2005):
[To Douglas Cowling] Well, the Suzuki DVD of the SJP has English subtitles and I do like it. But a few on the list didn't because you can't turn the titles off - a fact I didn't notice but certainly find odd. I have the DVD of Harnoncourt's recent Magnificat (BWV 243) and cantatas BWV 61 & BWV 147. It doesn't have subtitles at all which surprised me. Classical DVDs must be done on a shoestring budget.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Translations of Texts of Bach's Vocal Works - Part 3 [General Topics]

 

Flauto traverso in BWV 245/21f and 23

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (July 23, 2006):
I noticed in the scores I have of the Johannespassion BWV 245, movements 21f and 23, that the Tenor part is also marked "Flauto traverso I, II alla octava col Tenore". What exactly does this mean? Is it that the Flauto traverso parts are written at the same pitch as the Tenor part and played an octave higher? Or does it mean that they are both written and played an octave higher than the Tenor part? Or are they played and written and/or played an octave apart of each other?

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 23, 2006):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] In modern scores, the solo or choral tenor part is written in the treble G clef and sounds an octave lower (in some scores, the G clef has a little "8" attached to its tail to indicate the tenor voice). A flautist looking at the score would play at pitch and thus sound an octave higher than the tenor part. The two flutes would play in unison at the same pitch.

Joel Figen wrote (July 24, 2006):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] It means the flutes are supposed to sound an octave higher than the tenor. Almcertainly, the flute part wasn't written out originally, and that message is all they got. It was common to double choral parts with wind and/or string instruments, so it wasn't necessary to give specific instructions. Even when there are specific instructions, I suspect they were taken more as suggestions than holy writ, given that the size of the chorus, the timbre of the voices, and taste of the director may dictate other choices.

Sometimes I like to hear a chorale sung by voices alone, or just voices and continuo. Almost all the plain, harmonized chorales in the cantatas have col-lines for the whole orchestra, and I like that, since it suggests a congregation singing together. But at times I prefer the sound of voices alone, depending on the cantata.

It's worth considering that back in the day, when all copies were made by hand, "col tenore" could apply literally as well as musically, at least on those occasions when copies were scarce, and the flute players might have had to go stand with the tenors and read off their part. This is something the musicologists on the list might know more about. I'm imagining a solemn game of musical chairs when the whole orchestra got up to stand with the appropriate choir sections in order to read off their parts in the final chorale.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 24, 2006):
Joel Figen wrote:
< I'm imagining a solemn game of musical chairs when the whole orchestra got up to stand with the appropriate choir sections in order to read off their parts in the final chorale. >
Most surviving engravings from the period show church musicians standing. I remember a period instrument concert of Handel and Vivaldi with Monica Huggett at which the players (with the exception of the cellist) stood. The violinsts all took turns as principal so that the stands and parts remained stationary but the players moved around. Quite an effective bit of choreography.

 

Creating a lost sound

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 16, 2007):
I was just reading the notes to the Parrott Johannes recording and noticed this observation by John Butt: "Finally the doubling 'ripieno' voices to the soprano and alto lines are assigned to boys' voices. It is hoped that the effect of a 'modern' boy and a woman singing together will approach the kind of sound, agility and insight which Bach would have expected from his boy students who were still singing high parts in their teens".

This puts me in mind of the sound track CD to Farinelli where they "homogenized" the voices electronically of their adult female soprano, Ewa Mallas-Godlewska, and their counter-tenor, Derek Lee Ragin.

Obviously the two matters are not the same but the concepts involved do seem to involve thinking along the same lines.

 

Multiple aria singers in the JP

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 3, 2007):
Is there any historical justification for the fact that various recordings (modern as far as I know) employ as the choose 2 tenors and/or 2 sopranos and/or 2 altos for the arias in the Johannes-Passion?

Obviously in the MP there is the reality of the two choruses which various performances choose to observe or not. That is a different matter and one of economy, it would seem and I don't want to confuse the two matters. As far as I know there is no reason to have more than one soloist each for the SATB arias in the JP.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (March 3, 2007):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] I believe each of the two choirs has its own designated set of soloists, and it is stated in the score that, for example, the bass from Choir I is to sing this aria, and the soprano from Choir II is to sing that aria, etc.

Neil Halliday wrote (March 3, 2007):
Cara Emily Thornton wrote:
>I believe each of the two choirs has its own designated set of soloists<
Cara, unlike the SMP, the SJP doesn't have two choirs (which I suspect you know; Yoel's post is not entirely clear).

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (March 3, 2007):
[To Neil Halliday] Right... Thanks for reminding me. It seems to me that the SMP assigns 3 arias or so to each of the soloists. Does anyone know offhand how many arias are assigned to each solo voice in the SJP? That might have something to do with it, although it still doesn't answer the question of historical practice, unless we find a consistent historical practice of assigning 3-ish arias to any given soloist in a Baroque oratorio-type work...

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 3, 2007):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Cara, unlike the SMP, the SJP doesn't have two choirs (which I suspect you know; Yoel's post is not entirely clear). >
I cannot imagine my post being more clear; Here it is again.

I specifically said we should not confuse the MP with the JP:
Is there any historical justification for the fact that various recordings (modern as far as I know) employ as the[y] choose 2 tenors and/or 2 sopranos and/or 2 altos for the arias in the Johannes-Passion?

Obviously in the MP there is the reality of the two choruses which various performances choose to observe or not. That is a different matter and one of economy, it would seem and I don't want to confuse the two matters. As far as I know there is no reason to have more than one soloist each for the SATB arias in the JP.

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 3, 2007):
Cara Emily Thornton wrote:
>>Does anyone know offhand how many arias are assigned to each solo voice in the SJP?<<
There are, for example, two soprano parts in the original set of parts: 1. Soprano concertante and 2. Soprano ripieno

It would appear that the Soprano concertante sings the two important soprano arias plus the very short part:
Ancilla.
9. Ich folge dir gleichfalls mit freudigen Schritten
10. Ancilla: Bist du nicht dieses Menschen Jünger einer?
35. Zerfließe, mein Herze, in Fluten der Zähren

Actually, the situation is much more complicated than this.

According to the original soprano parts described in detail in the NBA KB II/4, we have the following distribution:

Soprano concertante
sings mvts. (according the numbering in the NBA):
Part One:
1(II), 2, 3, (4), 5, (6-8), 9, 10 (with the part of Ancilla), 11, 11+, 12, (13{II}), 14
Part Two:
15-18 (19{II}), 21-27, 28, (29-34), 35, (36), 37, (38), 39, 40(II).

Soprano ripieno
Part One:
1-3, (4), 5, (6-10), 11, 12, (13), 14
Part Two:
15-18, (19-20), 21-28, (29-31), 32, (33-36), 37, (38), 39, 40.

There are various levels/stages of performances for which the NBA uses a system of brackets, parentheses, raised Roman numberals and plus signs which I have attempted to represent above.

The most reasonable solution is the one used in the printed NBA version of the score: it avoids any labels at all for the two main arias as they are listed simply as 'Soprano'. Looking, for instance, at the original Soprano concertante, the editors have found this aria was copied out by Johann Andreas Kuhnau, but Bach crossed it out the entire aria for a later performance, but then for yet another performance wrote the following: "NB diese Aria wird gemacht" ("NB This aria should be sung' [by the Soprano concertante from the crossed out part.)

It would thus appear from the above that for the soprano arias, based upon the direct evidence from the original parts revealing various distributions of the soprano parts in the SJP, that no general rule can be established stating that:

1. The Soprano concertante sang all the main arias throughout (this may have been true only for certain performances under Bach's direction but not for others)

2. The Soprano ripieno never sang any of the main arias (if Bach crossed out an aria for Soprano concertante, as with mvt. 35, who would then sing the aria? or did Bach simply cut the entire mvt. for certain performance(s)?)

Conclusion:

The decision as to who should sing the main arias must be left up to the conductor as no firm tradition or precedent had been established by Bach when he performed the SJP a number of times. This would be based upon a generalization or conflation of various stages/versions that have been observed. If, however, the conductor wishes to perform the SJP soprano arias as indicated from what would appear to be the first peof this work, then the same Soprano concertante singer should perform them (including the Ancilla part) and the arias should not be divided between Soprano concertante and Soprano ripieno parts.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 3, 2007):
Cara Emily Thornton wrote:
< Does anyone know offhand how many arias are assigned to each solo voice in the SJP? That might have something to do with it, although it still doesn't answer the question of historical practice, unless we find a consistent historical practice of assigning 3-ish arias to any given soloist in a Baroque oratorio-type work... >
It is quite obvious that there are two soprano, two tenor, and two alto arias. In e.g. Gardiner's recording, which I listened to last night, two different sopranos; two different tenors, and finally one single alto/counter-tenor Michael chance whom

I --for one-- enjoyed in this work very much.

Alas the bass aria in almost all recordings(?) that I can think of is given to the person who does Pilate and that is a shame. I remember when listening to Enoch v.G's recording that Quasthoff simply overwhelmed the whole and Pilate became the most interesting character in the whole performance.

As we all know, on the Harnoncourt DVD there are two boy altos. I then came to suspect, as i posted at that time that the two alto arias in the Gillesberger may not be one singer as one had a much darker timbre. The highly technical post by Thomas is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps if I print it and study it, I shall profit.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (March 3, 2007):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] Give the guy a break, he was trying to be diplomatic (in correcting me), OK?

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 4, 2007):
< As far as I know there is no reason to have more than one soloist each for the SATB arias in the JP. >
Beyond an admirable musical goal of having different singers deployed according to their strengths?

 

BWV 245 : Differences in divisions of the music between CDs

William Hoffman wrote (September 10, 2008):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Good Day: I'm pulling out my hair right now-- I'm editing and entering recordings of the St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passions. With BWV 245, I'm following the structure found on the Bach cantata website for each movement. But I've noticed on some recordings, they've got the numbers as high as the 70s, so are they using a different "table of contents" for the piece? For example: no 40, Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein is listed as no 68 in some editions?
Could someone explain what's happening here? What would be the offical "nos" for the movements Bach added when he revised the St. John Passion?
Thanks so much! >
William Hoffman replies: In the larger oratorical works of Bach, primarily the three Passions and the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), there are two numbering systems: the original Bach Gesellschaft (BG), which lists each movements as a number, whereas, the Neue Bach Ausgabe (NBA), clusters the narrative sections into one number. Therefore, the closing chorale is No. 68 in BG, No. 40 in NBA). The best illustration and understanding of this is Paul Steinitz' book Bach's Passions (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978). In the Chapter on the St. John Passion, the opening chorus, of course is No. 1 in both editions; then in the NBA, the series of recitatives and turbae choruses are 2a(2), Recit.; 2b(3), Turbae; 2c(4) recit., 2d(5), repeat of "Jesu vom Nazareth" Turbae; 2e(6), recit. Then the chorale "O grosse Lied" is No. 3 in NBA and No. (7) in the earlier BG.

I find both numberings are very useful and use both with one in parenthesis in my writings.

William Hoffman wrote (September 10, 2008):
ADDENDUM: In Steinitz' Chapter 7, "Changes made in the St. John and St. Matthew Passions," he explains the changes (insertions) in the 2nd, 1725 version of the SJP. No. 1, the opening chorus was replaced by "O Mensch, bewein'dein' Suende Gross" (now BWV 244/35(29). The three aria insertions, originally published as BWV 245 a, b, and c, are inserted as follows: BWV 245a, "Himmel reisse," was inserted between 15(11), chorale, and 16(12), recit.; BWV 245b, "Zerschmettert mich," replaced No. 19(13), aria; "Ach mein Sinn"; BWV 245c, "Ach, windet euch," replaced Nos. 31(19), arioso, and 32(20), aria; and the chorale chorus, BWV 23/4, "Christe du Lamm Gottes," replaced the closing chorale, No. 68 (40). In subsequent versions of the SJP, the insertions/replacements were taken out and the original version, 1724, essentially restored.

All of these changes and more are found in Rilling's recording of SJP, Hänssler 98.170 (1997). Have fun!

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 10, 2008):
William Hoffman wrote:
< In the larger oratorical works of Bach, primarily the three Passions and the Christmas Oratorio, there are two numbering systems: the original Bach Gesellschaft (BG), which lists each movements as a number, whereas, the Neue Bach Ausgabe (NBA), clusters the narrative sections into one number. >
Did Bach put any numbers or titles into his full score?

Evan Cortens wrote (September 10, 2008):
[To Douglas Cowling] While I must confess that I'm not intimately familiar with the SJP score, I would say that on the basis of every other Bach score and set of parts (the SMP, cantatas, etc) I've looked at: no.

If you're luck, Bach puts a simple heading like "Recit.", "Aria" or "Chor", perhaps with a tempo marking. As often as not, there's no heading at all. This means that the numbering in scores is entirely editorial and certainly up for debate, as we see in the considerable editorial change from the BGA to the NBA.

Certainly this speaks about performance practice in Bach's day. Combined with the fact that there are no measure numbers to be found in any part or score, it's clear that the original performing materials don't lend themselves well to rehearsal, at least in our modern sense. They were meant to be played or sung from top to bottom, as both the directions "Can we start from measure 12?" and "Lets skip to movement 15" would have been impossible.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 10, 2008):
BWV 245 : How to rehearse

Evan Cortens wrote:
< Certainly this speaks about performance practice in Bach's day. Combined with the fact that there are no measure numbers to be found in any part or score, it's clear that the original performing materials don't lend themselves well to rehearsal, at least in our modern sense. They were meant to be played or sung from top to bottom, as both the directions "Can we start from measure 12?" and "Lets skip to movement 15" would have been impossible. >
The logistics of Baroque rehearsals are a fascinating mystery. In fact, it is only in the late 19th century that we see works printed with standardized movement and measure numbers. And choirs, which today can see what all the others are singing, routinely sang from single parts even into the 20th century.

There are so many basic perfrmance practices that we really don't know about. How did choirs know the first note of "Gott ist Mein Konig" and "Ein feste Burg" which begin without introduction? A note or chord on the organ? Or an organ piece which "intoned" and gave the pitch?

Were spoken cues or the tapping of a baton or bow used? We know that Lully beat time with a staff and when necessary struck the floor audibly. Handel wrote "ripieno" and "tutti" into the orchestral parts of "Messiah" when he wasn't sure if the players could take his tempo -- the "Hallelujah" Chorus opens with reduced strings. Spoken cues in the choir loft in Leipzig might have been normative.

And what did they do when things fell apart in a rehearsal or worse in performance? Did they have to start again from the beginning of the movemeny, or were there cues in the text and music which allowed them to "pick it up" and which we no longer recognize?

 

Johannes-Passion BWV 245 - Revised & Updated Discography

Aryeh Oron wrote (May 12, 2009):
As informed last month, I am still busy with the major project of revising and updating the discographies of J.S. Bach's big vocal works.

For the already existing recordinI have added exact recording date (not only month/year) and link/s to source of info/possible purchase sources.
I have done the deepest possible search over the web and discovered many dozens of unfamiliar recordings.
For each new recording I have built performer page (or updated existing performer page) and bio page for each artist (conductor, vocal & instrumental ensembles, vocal soloists) who took part in the recording. Many of them had to be translated from German or other languages.
I have added hundreds bios and updated many others. The number of musicians' (& poets') bios on the BCW in now over 6,100, making it one of the biggest collections of (classical) musicians bios over the web.

I have just finished the revised discography of Johannes-Passion BWV 245. The 8 pages (a page for a decade + a page for SJP sung in English) are linked from: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV245.htm
156 complete recordings are now presented in the discography pages of SJP (in the previous version there were 124).
During the process of revising this discography, I have found 11 more recordings of SMP, which has now the amazing number of 170 complete recordings!

Despite my efforts, the info presented for some of the recordings is only partial. Therefore, I would appreciate any help in making this discography (as well as other discographies on the BCW) even more comprehensive, updated and accurate by adding recordings, correcting errors and completing missing details.

 

Continue on Part 6

Johannes-Passion BWV 245: Details
Recordings:
1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Sung in English | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
Systematic Discussions:
Part 1: Mvts. 1-7 | Part 2: Mvts. 6-14 | Part 3: Mvts. 15-20 | Part 4: Mvts. 21-26 | Part 5: Mvts. 27-32 | Part 6: Mvts. 36-40 | Part 7: Summary
Individual Recordings:
BWV 245 - F. Brüggen | BWV 245 - S. Cleobury | BWV 245 - P. Dombrecht | BWV 245 - D, Fasolis | BWV 245 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 245 - E.z. Guttenberg | BWV 245 - N. Harnoncourt-H. Gillesberger | BWV 245 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 245 - E. Higginbottom | BWV 245 - E. Jochum | BWV 245 - E. Kleiber | BWV 245 - P.J. Leusink | BWV 245 - H. Max | BWV 245 - P. McCreesh | BWV 245 - H. Münch | BWV 245 - P. Neumann | BWV 245 - A. Parrott | BWV 245 - P. Pickett | BWV 245 - K. Richter | BWV 245 - H. Rilling | BWV 245 - P. Schreier | BWV 245 - R. Shaw | BWV 245 - K. Slowik | BWV 245 - M. Suzuki | BWV 245 - J.v. Veldhoven
Articles:
Saint John Passion, BWV 245 [T.N. Towe] | The Passion of Saint John, BWV 245 [M. Steinberg] | St. John Passion [A. Wong & N. Proctor] | The St. John Passion on stage [U. Golomb] | Literary Origins of Bach’s St. John Passion: 1704-1717 [W. Hoffman] | Bach’s Passion Pursuit [W. Hoffman]

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: ýApril 23, 2010 ý15:44:31