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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

Lukas-Passion BWV 246
General Discussions

Brilliant Classics label

Wim Huisjes wrote (October 21, 1999):
< Brian Ratekin wrote: I understand the Brilliant Classics Mark and Luke passions don't include the texts. Do you know where I could find the texts with an English
translation? (Snip)
Don't know about the texts. Brilliant Classics did provide the texts of Schemelli's Gesangbuch, Mass in b (both with English translations), the motets, Lutheran masses and Easter Oratorium (without English translations). Not very consistent, so I'll have to wait and see what happens when Kruidvat comes around with the passions set. Since each reconstruction of the Luke and Mark passions will have a different text: if B.C doesn't provide them, we'll have a problem, though Simon Crouch mentioned a source where the text of the Goodman performance of St. Mark can be found. Maybe the text of the Luke passion comes close to the one Helbich uses on CPO. (Snip)

 

In praise of the St Luke Passion

Steven Langley Guy wrote (November 19, 1999):
I have not heard a recording of the St Luke Passion of J S Bach but I do have the Kalmus Study Score (No.902) of this work. Although it is clear that much of the work is devoted to recitatives and chorales there are some rather attractive movements in this little known work. Starting from the end, the Aria "Lasst mich ihn nur noch einmal kussen" for bass and strings also has 2 oboes, a Taille (tenor oboe in F) and a bassoon playing a chorale melody with mutes. Muted oboes were rare and the pear shaped mutes jammed into the bell of these instruments makes the oboes "whimper most pathetically" according to Anthony Baines. Bach (or the composer) recommends paper mutes may be possible ("piano, und zwar die Hobön mit Papier gedampft").

The aria for soprano "Dein Leib, das Manna meiner Seele" features strings and a solo oboe and quite a charming looking echo effect. The next aria for alto; "Du giebst mir Blut" has pizzicato strings (including the bass strings) and two solo flauti traversi. The middle part of the aria features the strings bowed provide a very hushed background to the singer and the two flutes. A solo bassoon and solo oboe with the strings feature in the tenor aria "Den Fels hat Moses' Stab geschlagen". The middle section is a real test for the bassoon (at least the instruments and players of the time) and reminds me of the kind of solos for "fagotto" (curtail) in the works of Schmelzer, Castello, Biber and Buxtehude. The next tenor aria "Das Lamm verstummt vor seinem Scherer" also has more gymnastics for the bassoon. Both of these parts are mostly separate from the continuo. In Part II of the St Luke there is an interesting trio for 2 sopranos and an alto featuring 2 violins and 2 flutes. Not a long piece but it looks nice in the score.

The choruses are short but effective, with fairly simple string and/or unison instrumental accompaniment.

I am not saying that the St Luke is a great work but it certainly isn't a bad work either and it would work fine for a German speaking audience. If it is by Bach it is certainly a formative piece and has characteristics of earlier composers. I know that CPO has a recording of this work and some have commented on it on the List.

Luis Villalba wrote (November 19, 1999):
(To Steven Langley Guy) Thanks for your interesting note.

May I ask you where do you buy your Kalmus study scores?

Steven Langley Guy wrote (November 20, 1999):
(To Luis Villalba) The Kalmus scores cover all Bach's cantatas (volumes 805 - 871 and includes most of the spurious works as well!), passions and vocal works as well as pretty much everything else! They are small little booklets - about the size of a copy of Readers' Digest. Each copy has around three or four cantatas (I have about ten copies from the cantata editions, which covers quite a lot!) They are, as far as I can tell, Urtext - they use original clefs and no editorial "pianos" or "fortes" clutter the scores. In the back pages of many of these scores are several photos of Bach's written scores. The inside cover has: Copyright 1968 by Edwin F. Kalmus, Publisher of music, Huntington Station, L.I. N.Y. I bought my copies various print music shops in Adelaide and Melbourne in Australia. Fine Music in Melbourne is where I bought quite a few and very cheap too! Only about $5 each - they had lots and were trying to get rid of them, they'd been sitting on the shelf for years. Good music shops all over Australia used to carry these scores but hardheaded (and heartless/thoughtless?) business decisions mean that music shops will only order in Kalmus scores if you specifically want them and you pay more money. If Fine Music in Melbourne is on-line they may take orders? I haven't been there for a few years. I'm sure better shops exist in Europe or the United States? Does AMAZON.COM do music scores? They seem to do just about everything else!

Sorry I couldn't be of more help. They are great little scores though! Good luck!

Carl Burmeister wrote (November 20, 1999):
(To Steven Langley Guy & Luis Villalba) Amazon does carry a number of Kalmus scores, but no JS Bach.

They do carry a number of Dover Scores of, which I have bought a few lately e.g. B Minor Mass (BWV 232), Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). I've had the Brandenburgs and suites on Dover for more years than I like to count. There are a few Cantata collections which I haven't ordered yet and an SMP (BWV 244) was listed, but I ordered same and am still waiting (on their out of print service).

However, if you really want to get serious, I could suggest Sheet Music Plus at http://musicianstore.com click the sheet music plus tab and Classical Search. Under Bach I get 185 items Bach Scores. Not all cantatas are represented but there are more than a few. They don't appear to stock anything so be prepared to wait. Since my first order is still in process I can't offer any opinions one way or the other regarding service. I also notice they have a SJP (BWV 245) score but nothing for St. Luke.

 

Luke Passion/Jirasek/Orff/ACH!

Marie Jensen wrote (February 12, 2000):
J.S. Bach: St. Luke Passion recomposed by Jan Jirasek after an idea by Carl Orff. With Boni Pueri, Munich Oratorio Choir, Munich Symphony Orchestra, Clear, Zanasi, Cold, Kronauer conducted by Douglas Bostock

I don't know how "world wide" this new CD is distributed. It is a Danish/Czech co production (Classico/ Bon Art)

In the good old days Bach wrote a copy of a Luke Passion. In the 1930es Orff tried to reconstruct it, but the most of it ended in the flames of WW2. Recently Jirasek, a Czech composer, has completed a reconstruction.

That some of the notes were found in Bach's hand writing, does not make him the composer. I couldn't with my best will hear any Bach in it at all. Yes, I recognized some of the chorales from Bach's sacred works, but as we all know, they are not Bach compositions. Here they are sung with the famous winged monster breathing in their necks, with unlogic shifts in tempo or modern plastic tubes howling over them. Lots of updated Orff percussion is involved. Orff took out every aria. Only choruses, chorales and recitativos remained, the Bible story so to say.

If I should describe the music, it is a mix of mediocre baroque music, rococo Requiem drums, Carmina Burana style, and contemporary music kitsch performed by a large choir and orchestra (NON HIP) and lots and lots of recitativos (not on a JSB level)

That sounds pretty awful, but I have in fact listened to it more times thanks to the beautiful Bible text and it has a few good moments with interesting sound effects.

But using the name Bach is a sales gimmick! The booklet admits this, quoting Mendelssohn: "If this is Sebastian; I shall hang myself" Well I will not, just want to warn you.

PS. Just thought of other "Hommages á Bach" at his anniversaries for example Schostakovitch's 24 preludand fugues, Kagel's St. Bach Passion, which also include lots of instruments and percussion or Noergaards.

Simon Crouch wrote (February 14, 2000):
< Marie Jensen wrote:
< In the good old days Bach wrote a copy of a Luke Passion. In the 1930's Orff tried to reconstruct it, but the most of it ended in the flames of WW2. Recently Jirasek, a Czech composer, has completed a reconstruction. >
Marie, this has got me puzzled! The St. Luke Passion was edited as part of the BG edition at the end of the nineteenth century and thus survives in full - So what needs to be re-constructed? Or was Orff just recomposing it for fun?

Also, as far as I know, the (partially autograph) manuscript still survives in Berlin. Is there some confusion with the St. Mark Passion, the libretto of which was destroyed in WW2? (the music, lost around the start of the nineteenth century). Or was this all referring to Orff's manuscript?

Marie Jensen wrote (February 16, 2000):
(To Simon Crouch) The Luke Passion here is based on the full Luke Passion in Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesizts Berlin .I can see now, that I didn't put myself clearly. It was Orff's version that burned. Here are a few quotations from the booklet:

Wenzel Andreasen writes: …Of the 57 pages, only 23 were written by J.S. Bach himself, the rest were presumably copied by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The unerring and regular handwriting of the pages written by J.S. Bach more than suggest that also in this case it was most likely a copy…

Jirasek writes: …After studying the piano reduction of Bach's original version of the piece I realized what my task should be. Bach's version involved recitatives, chorales, arias etc. Orff's version was shorter, more compressed, more compact. He focused just on the story of the passion and had eliminated all redundant parts. In other words, almost everything which did not relate directly to the story, was not incorporated into the new version…

…Unfortunately, the overwhelming part of Orff's version got burned during World War 2. All I could use were his handwritten comments in the piano reduction of Bach's original…

…I also realized that Orff finished the St. Luke Passion in 1932, five years before he had written his famous Carmina Burana. Recomposing the piece in 1995 I was able to take in consideration all the orchestral innovations of the later Orff...

I hope this will help.

 

Reconstructions, reconstructions / Lucas Passion by Bach ????

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 18, 2001):
(To Leo Ditvoorst) But don't they also include the "Lucas Passion"?

Leo Ditvoorst wrote (February 18, 2001):
(To Yoël L. Arbeitman) Also, but this "Lucas passion" has nothing to do with Bach.

If you buy the "passions" box from Brilliant you can replace it by something else, eg. some st. Mathew recording you own already.

Pablo Fagoaga wrote (February 18, 2001):
(To Leo Divoorst) Exactly. The only relation between Bach and this passion is the fact that Schmieder included it in BWV as number 246. As far as I know (not too far), the belief that this passion was composed by JSB had a strong argument, that is the fact that there was a manuscript by JSB. Later research, and it's musical "weakness" convinced scholars that this probably was a mere transcription Bach did of another composer's work for study, or may be performance in the Leipzig period.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 18, 2001):
< Pablo Fagoaga wrote: As far as I know (not too far), the belief that this passion was composed by JSB had a strong argument, that is the fact that there was a manuscript by JSB. >
Pablo, how wonderful that a non-native speaker (but a great speaker/writer) of English can create such an addition to my phraseology. AFAIK is common, but I have never heard the wonderful qualification you make: "not too far" which we can abbreviate as NTF !!!! I sincerely love it!

< Later research, and it's musical "weakness" convinced scholars that this probably was a mere transcription Bach did of another composer's work for study, or may be performance in the Leipzig period. >
But this is the same story with Cantata BWV 53, nicht wahr? (I don't know how to say that in English at all). And, if Bach learned from it and copied it, then we need it. Good enough for Bach, good enough for us!

Pablo Fagoaga wrote (February 18, 2001):
(To Yoël L. Arbeitman) About the language, I take it as a compliment. Curiously, in spite of the fact that I grew up in touch with personal computers, I feel I'll never get used to this "abbreviated" internet dialect. My fear is that in a few years I'll have a complete inhability to even suspect the topic of the messages I receive!!!

About "good enough for Bach, good enough for us", I agree 100%. I think it's important and extremely interesting to take a look to Bach's influences and environment. If listening to Chuck Berry helps you understand where the Beatles came from, why not to do this with Bach??

Take, for instance, Buxtehude, or Pachelbel, or Reincken or Kuhnau (personally, I "discovered" Buxtehude relatively recently, and he's just outstanding!!) Therefore, I think that BWV 53, Luke's Passion, etc, HAVE TO be included in "Bach's world", just with the explanation about the fact they're not Bach compositions. Because if you absolutely discard from the scene this works just because the identity of the composer, I don't get the point of recording or listening to the 6 Organ Concertos, or the 16 Harpsichord ones, don't you think ??

Just to see how good Bach could be in the technique of adaptation, does´'t seen to be enough. Give me a brake!

Then AGAIN, I'm complaining about Teldec's inclusion/exclusion criteria in Bach 2000 (don't get me wrong, it's a great deal, but it culd hace been perfect). On one had, they include twenty and something works with even identified composers, just for the sake of technical curiosity, and, a moment after, they discard other works on such dubious grounds as taking as good the assumption that Bach never had a bad day!! This happens many times with cantatas, and other vocal works (not to mention fields like keyboard music!).

Only remembering the weekly "compose-rehearse-perform" routine Bach sometimes had, I think it's logical to assume that when parody didn't work well, there was the possibility that he "turned" into a human being for a while!! So: dubious works and other people compositions, be welcome!!

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (February 18, 2001):
(To Leo Ditvoorst) I don't quite understand what you mean by "you can replace it by something else". Why would I want to replace it by something I already own. There is some mis-communication here.

 

How Wonderful Aryeh’s Ref. sites are

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (April 30, 2001):
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV246.htm

How wonderful it is that when each one of us gets around to listening to the various works, in this case I am finally listening to the Brilliant Classic Markus Passion reconstruction, one can just read up on the item on the website. I have copied here the Lukas discussion, but I have not gotten to listen to that yet. It is to the Markus which I am listening. And, as these sets have no notes, it is good indeed that we have the site davka (precisely, ausgerechnet) for these works. The lack of text and translation doesn't bother me as the German is very clear and obvious here in the Markus. In the Lukas discussion, I see at the end a conversation between myself and Leo with some misunderstanding which time has made clear, more or less. Let me recommend at this occasion the Hyperion Robert King Pergolesi Stabat Mater (also at Berkshire). It is a .

 

“Bach or not Bach”

Steven Langley Guy wrote (May 20, 2001):
< Donald Satz wrote: There have been many compositions attributed to Bach which have been proven to not come from his pen and an even greater number where authorship is not clear. >
I understand that there are some doubts about the St. Luke Passion. Perhaps it wasn't really by Bach? It looks like a nice work (I have the score but I've never heard it) even though it has a much more modest vision than the St. John or the St. Matthew (BWV 244). The score includes flauti traversi and oboes so it can't be very old!

Any thoughts?

Pablo Fagoaga wrote (May 20, 2001):
[To Steven Langley Guy] More than "perhaps", I understand that St. Luke Passion's authorship is definitely NOT Bach, according to the uniform opinion of scholars, which I have to endorse because of their intellectual authority.

It is said that the position is based on musicological aspects, that apparently reveal an extremely weak composition technique, and poor musical resources.

Ok, let's take it (I can't argue on such a deeply informed and technical view).
The strong argument to define St. Luke's as a work by Bach is the existence of manuscript by JSB.

But the fact that the manuscript is partly made by Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach admits the possibility that the Bach's just joined efforts, to produce faster a mere copy of a third party work.

Some interesting notes about authorship come in the Oxford Composer Companion, stating that probably the copy was made to perform on Good Friday (1730) at the Nikolaikirche (Leipzig). With an interesting point of view, Simon Heighes proposes that maybe, the instrumental introduction to the second part of the work, and the orchestation of the subsequent recitative were written by JSB, due to the fact that Leipzig's liturgical practice, which needed the Passion the be divided into two halves.
Bach took a "one piece" work, and he wrote an instrumental intro to smooth the "cut" he made to the work, and disguise the continuity of the original.

Of course, "truth"...is gone.

Johan van Veen wrote (July 21, 2001):
[To Steven Langley Guy] There is a common view that this isn't by Bach. In the 19th century Mendelssohn and Brahms were convinced it wasn't a work by Bach. The music isn't as bad as some people say. In fact it's quite a nice work, if you don't compare it to Bach's Passions. There is a fine recording on CPO, which puts the work in the best possible light.

These are the details:
Mona Spägele, soprano; Christiane Iven, contralto; Harry van Berne, Rufus Müller (Evangelist), tenor; Marcus Sandmann, Stephan Schreckenberger (Jesus), bass; Alsfelder Vokalensemble; Barockorchester Bremen/Wolfgang Helbich (CPO - 999 293-2)

There is a very interesting essay on this work in the booklet. I'll quote two passages from it.

"Our only source for the St. Luke Passion is a score copy begun by Johann Sebastian Bach and completed by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Today the manuscript is housed in the Berlin State Library. Since neither the title page nor the superscription mentions the composer by name, we can understand why this score in Bach's hand (his son's participation was not recognized until much later on) was attributed to him. Another factor suggesting Bach's authorship was the »J. J.« (Jesu juva = Jesus, help!) at the beginning of the copy; this was the petition for divine assistance with which he usually began his manuscripts.

The Breitkopf music publishing house presumably obtained the manuscript from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's estate. The Bach collector Franz Hauser acquired it during the nineteenth century and asked his friend Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy to state his opinion of it. Mendelssohn wrote that »I am sorry that you gave so much money for the St. Luke Passion. It was not too much to pay for it as a manuscript of unquestioned authenticity, but it is just as certain that this music is not by him....You ask for what reason the Luke is not by Sebastian Bach? For internal reasons...; if that is by Sebastian, then I'll be hanged, and yet it is unmistakably his handwriting. But it is too clean; he copied it...« This judgment of 1838 is the one that has ended up prevailing. Later Hauser's son, the chamber singer Joseph Hauser, had the family collection with him in Karlsruhe, where Johannes Brahms found occasion to look at the manuscript. As Mendelssohn before him, Brahms did not let himself be fooled by the fact that the manuscript was in Bach's hand. He too firmly rejected the nation of Bach's authorship for artistic reasons. It was impossible to overlook the vast divide separating this work of modest design from the St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244). Nevertheless the Bach biographer and researcher Philipp Spitta was of another opinion. He regarded the St. Luke Passion as a work of the Thomaskantor's youth, and his support of its authenticity secured it a place in the old complete edition of Bach's works.

When Max Schneider demonstrated that Bach's son had collaborated on the copy (more than half of the score is in his hand), the doubts about its authenticity became a certainty. Although the St. Luke Passion was listed in Wolfgang Schmieder's catalogue of Bach's works as BWV 246 as late as 1950, today the general consensus is that this composition is a work not by Bach but by a contemporary of his, one who most likely lived and worked in Central Germany, and that Bach copied out and performed this composers work. The repeated abjection that it is an extremely weak composition takes Bach's genuine passions as its yardstick and is unjustified. After all, the Thomaskantor himself was willing to invest the time and energy required for two performances of the St. Luke Passion. We should not forget this fact in our evaluation of it."

"The identity of the composer of the St. Luke Passion is a question that has often been considered. He must have been a musician active in Central Germany around 1735 and was probably born shortly before 1700. In my research I have come up with a number of bits of evidence suggesting the possibility that its composer may have been the still little-known Eisenach court music director Johann Melchior Molter (1696- 1765). Molter, the son of a Kantor, was born in Tiefenort bei Eisenach and attended the Eisenach Preparatory School before entering the service of the Margrave Carl-Wilhelm of Boden-Durlach in Karlsruhe in 1717. Studies in Venice and Rome during 1719-21 brought him into direct contact with Italian musicians such as A. Vivaldi and A. Scarlatti. He was appointed to the post of court music director in Karlsruhe in 1722. After the disbandment of the court orchestra at the end of 1733 as a result of the outbreak of the Polish War of Succession, Molter was appointed to the then vacant music director's post in Eisenach. He began his service in Eisenach during Easter 1734 and held this post until the dissolution of the Eisenach court in the summer of 1741.

The St. Luke Passion exhibits many parallels and points of relation to other compositions known to be by Molter, not only to eleven church cantatas discovered in Regensburg some years ago and a two-part passion oratorio extant in Sondershausen, all doting to his Eisenach years, but also to other works of his. All of this makes his authorship at least seem possible. These resemblances have been overlooked for the simple reason that Molter's sacred works have managed to elude researchers up until now.

This almost direct juxtaposition of old-fashioned traditional elements and modern elements is also found in Molter's passion oratorio dating to around 1735. Elegant instrumentations with, for example, a solo instrument and string pizzicato occur repeatedly in his arias and in the clearly recognizable technique combining different tonal and motion layers (oboes, strings, chorus, continuo) in the introductory passion chorus. It is precisely the introductory measures ascribed to Bach at the beginning of the second part that correspond especially well to Molter's orchestral style of strong Venetian stamp. Linguistic and formal points of relation also exist between the madrigal texts in the St. Luke Passion and those by Gottfried Loos (1686-1741), the Eisenach court poet who wrote for Molter."

 

Lukas Passion

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 6, 2001):
I am not sure whether the Major Vocal Works of Bach are discussed these days on the Bachrecordings list or the Bachcantatas list as I have seen the passions discussed last on the cantatas list (where IMVHO they form an integral part more than on the non-vocal list). Be that as it may, as I cannot follow the schedule, I have just had my first experience of the Attributed to JSB Lukas Passion on the licensed to Brilliant Classics set and found it wonderful. No wonder JSB loved it enough to copy it.

Of the various great singers in it, I find the following (www.Operissimo.com). Georg Jelden, Elizabeth Künstler and Charlotte Lehmann are all three in the Penderecki Lukas Passion (see below). Charlotte Lehmann alone is listed as being on a Corona recording of the Bach Lukas Passion which may be this very one "licensed from Bayer-Records", according to the only information on the Brilliant Classics set. She is also listed as the teacher and ACTUALLY the discoverer of Thomas Quasthoff.
Two recordings (and a bio) are given for:
Jelden Georg tenore
1985
Studio View
Rec Sold out
Penderecki Krysztof
Lukas-Passion BWV 246
Collegium Musicum Tübingen
Tenor
Carus CD 53103/5
=====================
1967
Studio View
Rec Sold out
Händel Georg Friedrich
Deborah

NDR Hannover Sisera

SDG LP SDG 610 401/402
======================
There are no entries for Schaibe, Nicolson, and Schmid. I assume that it is Nicolson who as Tenor II sings the tenor arias as Jelden is the evangelist. If this is indeed the case (the voices sound similar enough to my poor ears), it is amazing that he is not better known. The tenor arias (there are only three other arias, two for soprano, one for alto) are the great musical moments of this work which is fine as a whole and a
major delight for me. I do not have any reason to believe in any double chorus here and must assume that tenor II and bass II are simply non-evangelist and non-Jesus (roles already accounted for). Forgive me if I am miscalculating.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (June 4, 2001):
While I rather suspect that Operissimo has confused the Pseudo-Bach Lukas Passion with the same title by Penderecki, the fundamental questions in this post remain. The unlikihood of three such soloists in the Penderecki work are, I believe, obvious.

 

Markus and Lukas passions Brilliant set again

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (December 9, 2001):
Some time ago, maybe 8 months ago, when we were for a while discussing the Markus Passion reconstruction as done by SH and contained in that supercheap set from Brilliant Classics together with the non-Bach Lukas Passion, I distinctly recall everyone having the same experience as I myself, to wit that it was a shame that no notes and esp. no libretto, no German words of the two passions were included whatsover. I recall not a dissenting voice.

By chance, the subject came up elsewhere, in a most unlikely place where the poster insisted that his set came with booklets in each of the passions and that he had texts to the Lukas and Markus passions.

Does anyone else share this bounty? Please do tell,

Tom Hens wrote (December 10, 2001):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] At least as sold in the Netherlands and Belgium (in downmarket chain drugstores), all the vocal works in the Brilliant series came with booklets with the full texts (no translations), and the St. Mark also has notes by Simon Heighes explaining his reconstruction. I believe that in the compact reissue of the complete set in cardboard sleeves all these booklets have been combined into one book.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (December 10, 2001):
[To Tom Hens] Thank you, Tom.
The set of the 4 passions in a box which I have had no texts and no notes at all. Obviously neither was necessary for Markus and Matthäus.The person with whom I was disputing this matter is sending me the necessary texts.

Eitan Loew wrote (January 30, 2002):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] The other day I've purchased the same disk of the St. Luke Passion BWV 246 (Brilliant Classics, 99369/8-9) and there was a booklet; however – it contains the German text only, no notes.

I wonder if somebody can enlighten me - who reconstructed this lost Passion? what musical material did he use?

I have also St. Mark Passion BWV 247 reconstructed by Ton Koopman. In the booklet there Koopman explains his work, including his decision to write the recitatives himself. Who knows about the St Luke? By the way, the recitatives here sound very "non-Bach" to me.

Also, how come that the BWV list numbers had been allocated for these Passions, while it was not done for hundreds of other Bach lost works?

By the way, in the same booklet Christoph Wolff tells about a fifth Passion
composed in 1717 for the Duke of Sachsen Gotha. Anybody knows more about it?

Thanks for any information,

Marten Breuer wrote (January 30, 2002):
< Eitan Loew wrote: By the way, in the same booklet Christoph Wolff tells about a fifth Passion composed in 1717 for the Duke of Sachsen Gotha. Anybody knows more about it? >
If I am not mistaken, it was Forkel who in the first biography on Bach's life mentioned a Passion composed in 1717 but the music is completely unknown. However, it is assumed that those parts of the second version of the St. John Passion that were newly introduced might be taken from the 1717 Passion.

Johan van Veen wrote (January 30, 2002):
[To Eitan Loew] That is not a reconstruction, but a Passion which once was thought to be composed by Bach, something has been proven to be wrong. It is now called 'apocryphal St Luke Passion'.

Here are the notes to the recording on CPO (Alsfelder Vokalensemble and Barockorchester Bremen, directed by Wolfgang Helbich).

In his post as the Thomaskantor in Leipzig, Johann Sebastian Bach performed not only his own compositions but also the works of other masters. Among these latter works were cantatas by Georg Philipp Telemann and Johann Ludwig Bach, masses by J. Baal and J. H. von Wilderer, the St. Mark Passion by Reinhard Keiser, and, at least twice, the St. Luke Passion by an unknown author.

Our only source for the St. Luke Passion is a score copy begun by Johann Sebastian Bach and completed by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Today the manuscript is housed in the Berlin State Library. Since neither the title page nor the superscription mentions the composer by name, we can understand why this score in Bach's hand (his son's participation was not recognized until much later on) was attributed to him. Another factor suggesting Bach's authorship was the »J. J.« (Jesu juva = Jesus, help!) at the beginning of the copy; this was the petition for divine assistance with which he usually began his manuscripts.

The Breitkopf music publishing house presumably obtained the manuscript from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's estate. The Bach collector Franz Hauser acquired it during the nineteenth century and asked his friend Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy to state his opinion of it. Mendelssohn wrote that »I am sorry that you gave so much money for the St. Luke Passion. It was not too much to pay for it as a manuscript of unquestioned authenticity, but it is just as certain that this music is not by him....You ask for what reason the Luke is not by Sebastian Bach? For internal reasons...; if that is by Sebastian, then I'll be hanged, and yet it is unmistakably his handwriting. But it is too clean; he copied it...« This judgment of 1838 is the one that has ended up prevailing. Later Hauser's son, the chamber singer Joseph Hauser, had the family collection with him in Karlsruhe, where Johannes Brahms found occasion to look at the manuscript. As Mendelssohn before him, Brahms did not let himself be fooled by the fact that the manuscript was in Bach's hand. He too firmly rejected the nation of Bach's authorship for artistic reasons. It was impossible to overlook the vast divide separating this work of modest design from the St. John Passion (BWV 245) and St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244). Nevertheless the Bach biographer and researcher Philipp Spitta was of another opinion. He regarded the St. Luke Passion as a work of the Thomaskantor's youth, and his support of its authenticity secured it a place in the old complete edition of Bach's works.

When Max Schneider demonstrated that Bach's son had collaborated on the copy (more than half of the score is in his hand), the doubts about its authenticity became a certainty. Although the St. Luke Passion was listed in Wolfgang Schmieder's catalogue of Bach's works as BWV 246 as late as 1950, today the general consensus is that this composition is a work not by Bach but by a contemporary of his, one who most likely lived and worked in Central Germany, and that Bach copied out and performed this composers work. The repeated abjection that it is an extremely weak composition takes Bach's genuine passions as its yardstick and is unjustified. After all, the Thomaskantor himself was willing to invest the time and energy required for two performances of the St. Luke Passion. We should not forget this fact in our evaluation of it.

In 1971 a page that had fallen out or had been taken out of the score was brought to light in Japan. This page containing the chorale for bass and basso continuo at the conclusion of the first part is in Bach's hand and also has a masterful instrumental accompaniment that he added to it. The hand of the page paints to a date around 1745, a fact indicating that Bach's first Leipzig performance of the St. Luke Passion in the 1730s was followed by a second performance during his late period or at least by plans for a second performance. In any case, its shows that he valued the score. The few instrumental measures introducing the second part of the work are also regarded as being an addition on his part. These measures have served as the basis for the suggestion that the passion originally did not contain the two-part division, »Before the Sermon« and »After the Sermon«, that was customary in Leipzig. Whether this suggestion is correct will have to be left open for the time being.

As in the case of the St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), the text for the St. Luke Passion consists of three layers of material; the dramatically recited biblical narrative and its various roles (Gospel of St. Luke 22;1 -23;53), a striking number of chorale strophes including citations from liturgical compositions such as the Te Deum, litany, and Lord's Prayer (thirty-two numbers), and free poetry in the form of eight do capo aria texts, with four in the first part and four in the second part. They are set as a chorus, terzetto, and six solo arias (two for soprano, one for alto, and three for tenor). As in Bach's passions, the aria and chorale inserts offer a meditative commentary on the gospel narrative.

While the gospel setting and its turbo choruses as well as the chorales exhibit a certain old-fashionedness, the eight »madrigal« numbers clearly point to the hand of a composer who was a generation younger than Bach and Telemann, to someone who must have been the same age as Quantz, Hasse, and the Graun brothers. It has thus been conjectured that the St. Luke Passion might be a sort of pastiche, i. e., that the introductory chorus, the terzetto, and the arias were inserted into an older work sometime before Bach copied out the score. But when one reflects on the impact of the work, its overall unity becomes evident. The composer drew on older models with which he was familiar for the traditional parts (gospel narrative and chorales) while lending the free parts a modern design. The fact that he belonged to the younger generation is reflected, for example, in the assignment of two flutes and string pizzicato to the »Du gibst mir lut« aria, in the concertante parts of the oboe and bassoons and of the bassoon solo in the »Den Fels hat Moses Stab geschlagen» and »Das Lamm verstummt vor seinem Scherer«, in the continuo rests in the »Weh und Schmerz in dem Gebären« terzetto, and, last but not least, in the sextuplets in the dazzling »Selbst der Bau der Welt erschüttert« soprano aria (sung by the tenor on this recording).

The serious simplicity and the tone of warm­hearted, almost pietistic religiosity heard in the chorales are moving. The chorales, in their fullness and richness, figure predominantly in the work and reflect the heartfelt participation of the congregation in the events of Good Friday. Just as the melody »Herzlich tut mich verlangen« to strophes by Paul Gerhardt runs through the whole of Bach's St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), so too the hymn »Jesu, meines Herzens Freud« by Johann Flittner (1660) recurs in the St. Luke Passion: No fewer than four strophes are heard, two in the first part and two in the second part.

The numerous chorales in the St. Luke Passion represent a problem of a special kind. In the score of the two Bachs only four strophes and four liturgical pieces have a complete text; in the other cases father and son were content to insert text markers such as »Freu dich sehr o etc.« Most of the strophes are easy enough to identify on the basis of these short tags, but not all of them. Although a great deal of research effort has been put into their rediscovery, they have not yet been found in any hymnal of the period (e.g., in the Leipzig, Gotha, or Eisenach hymnbooks). It is not impossible that they were penned by the poet of the madrigal pieces in the St. Luke Passion. If this is so, then in these cases he would have written, instead of arias, meditative quasi-chorale strophes for assignment to certain set melodies. As is well known, there is a similar case in the St. John Passion (BWV 245): The text »Durch dein Gefängnis, Gottes Sohn«, set by Bach as a choralto the melody »Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt« is actually an aria text. There was presumably a copy of the printed text of the original performance in the score copied out by the two Bachs, and the Thomaskantor took the texts in question from this copy while preparing the no longer-extant performance materials.

Franz Hauser, aware of the chorale problem in the St. Luke Passion, commissioned a few pastors among his friends to do the necessary follow-up research. In most cases, their research led to satisfactory solutions. The ministers supplied their own poetry for the strophes that could not be found, and on the whole their efforts are not bad. The chorales concerned were included in the printed edition in this form. For lack of better textual alternatives, these are the texts that have been sung an the present recording.

The identity of the composer of the St. Luke Passion is a question that has often been considered. He must have been a musician active in Central Germany around 1735 and was probably born shortly before 1700. In my research I have come up with a number of bits of evidence suggesting the possibility that its composer may have been the still little-known Eisenach court music director Johann Melchior Molter (1696- 1765). Molter, the son of a Kantor, was born in Tiefenort bei Eisenach and attended the Eisenach Preparatory School before entering the service of the Margrave Carl-Wilhelm of Boden-Durlach in Karlsruhe in 1717. Studies in Venice and Rome during 1719-21 brought him into direct contact with Italian musicians such as A. Vivaldi and A. Scarlatti. He was appointed to the post of court music director in Karlsruhe in 1722. After the disbandment of the court orchestra at the end of 1733 as a result of the outbreak of the Polish War of Succession, Molter was appointed to the then vacant music director's post in Eisenach. He began his service in Eisenach during Easter 1734 and held this post until the dissolution of the Eisenach court in the summer of 1741. The St. Luke Passion exhibits many parallels and points of relation to other compositions known to be by Molter, not only to eleven church cantatas discovered in Regensburg some years ago and a two-part passion oratorio extant in Sondershausen, all doting to his Eisenach years, but also to other works of his. All of this makes his authorship at least seem possible. These resemblances have been overlooked for the simple reason that Molter's sacred works have managed to elude researchers up until now.

This almost direct juxtaposition of old-fashioned traditional elements and modern elements is also found in Molter's passion oratorio dating to around 1735. Elegant instrumentations with, for example, a solo instrument and string pizzicato occur repeatedly in his arias and in the clearly recognizable technique combining different tonal and motion layers (oboes, strings, chorus, continuo) in the introductory passion chorus. It is precisely the introductory measures ascribed to Bach at the beginning of the second part that correspond especially well to Molter's orchestral style of strong Venetian stamp. Linguistic and formal points of relation also exist between the madrigal texts in the St. Luke Passion and those by Gottfried Loos (1686-1741), the Eisenach court poet who wrote for Molter. If Molter did in fact compose the St. Luke Passion, then it was the inaugural music for his Eisenach post and was premiered at St. George's City and Court Church in Eisenach on Good Friday, April 23, 1734. The gifted tenor Johann Ebert (his participation would explain the no fewer than three tenor arias) and the organist Johann Bernhard Bach would have been among the performers. It is through Johann Bernhard Bach that Johann Sebastian Bach could have learned about the work in Leipzig and expressed the wish to see the score. Molter would have then sent his score together with a copy of the printed text (such texts were obligatory for Fisenach vocal performances) to Leipzig, and Bach and his son would hove completed their copy of the score before C.P.E. Bach left home in the autumn of 1734. The first Leipzig performance of the St. Luke Passion would presumably hove token place on Good Friday, April 8, 1735. The Bach scholar Alfred Diirr also regards this date as possible.

We should not fail to mention, however, that the dating of the copy to the summer of 1734 contradicts the findings of Bach philology about the development of C.P.E. Bach's manuscript hand. These investigations suggest a Leipzig performance date of Good Friday 1730. If this is so, then Molter could not have been the composer of the St. Luke Passion. Thus, despite the almost surprising parallels to Molter's oeuvre, his authorship is not certain here - especially since stylistic-compositional points of contact cannot be said to settle this question. They always leave the question open as to whether the similarities are only general features of the period or special features marking a personal style.

Whoever may have been the composer of the St. Luke Passion, one thing remains certain: the unpretentiously simple work that the genial author of the St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) honored with a repeat performance deserves a solid place in the early music repertoire.

Klaus Häfner
Translated by Susan Marie Praeder

Eitan Loew wrote (February 2, 2002):
[To Johan van Veen] Thank you Johan for the interesting article (it explains why the music sound non=Bach to me), and thank you Marten as well.

 

Lukas-Passion text

Anthony J. Olszowy wrote (November 19, 2002):
[To Bradley Lehman] Speaking of, peripherally, libretti, does anyone know where I can get my hands on an Englished text of the spurious St. Luke Passion? The Brilliant Classics series have just been made available in this part of Canada, and I picked up the Passions box at what was, for these parts, a phenomenally great price. I have translations of the other three passions from other recordings, but I have no other recording of the St. Luke. Aryeh's web site re: the Cantatas doesn't seem to have a link to a full one (unless I've missed something), and I've been utterly beguiled by this text--I guess I'm in good company, if Bach was too.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 20, 2002):
[To Anthony J. Olszowy] I too am looking for a copy of that libretto. On the back of the Brilliant Classics box it says the recording was licensed from Bayer Records, so I went hopefully to their web site: but all they have is a simple advertisement as part of their shopping cart system. Ah well, it was nice to see the original cover art anyway:
http://www.bayermusicgroup.de/shop/corona31013.htm

It's also disappointing that all of Rübsam's Bach recordings are out of print fBayer. As I'd noted here recently, not all of them were licensed over to Naxos. (To my knowledge, the only ones that were not were the English Suites, where he did a remake.)

Here are two other enjoyable Bayer discs, both containing (different) performances of the Saint-Saens "Danse Macabre" on organ along with other pieces that show a sense of humor. Organ and percussion, a nifty combination.
http://www.bayermusicgroup.de/shop/br150016.htm
http://www.bayermusicgroup.de/shop/br150009.htm
In the "C-Dur & Walpurgisnacht" album the web site doesn't say so, but there's an actress declaiming part of Goethe's "Faust" and some Brecht....

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 20, 2002):
[To Anthony J. Olszowy & Bradley Lehman] If you look at the page:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV246.htm
you will be able to see that SLP has four complete recordings, of which I have three. Two of them (Rehm & Bostock) include only the original German text. The third, conducted by Helbich, includes an English translation.

I could not find any German text of SLP over the web, and Z. Philip Ambrose's site include translation of only two movements. See: http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV246.html

Therefore, I consider putting both the complete German text and full English translation in the Bach Cantatas Website. But since I have tasks of higher priority, it will have to wait for a while. I shall send a message to the BCML & BRML when it is ready.

Roy Johansen wrote (November 20, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron]You can find the German libretto here, starting about one-third down the page: http://home.arcor.de/klangkirche/2000/20000409.htm

Anthony J. Olszowy wrote (November 19, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] As always, you are a great public servant!!

 

St Luke Passion

John Pike wrote (September 9, 2003):
I have been listening to Wolfang Helbich's recording of this apocryphal Bach Passion. The remaining manuscript is in Bach's hand but, apart from one short insert, it is now thought that the music is not by Bach but by a contemporary whose talents Bach obviously admired so that he copied down the music and probably performed it. It is a fine recording and, although the music does not have the hallmarks of Bach's genius, it is nevertheless interesting, reverential and sometimes beautiful music. I can well imagine that it influenced Bach to compose his own masterpieces in this genre, and can fully understand why Bach would have wanted to perform it. Recommended.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (September 10, 2003):
[To John Pike] I thought the same thing when I had it. The are two other recordings of the work as well. Have you heard them, and if so, what are your thoughts?

Johan van Veen wrote (September 10, 2003):
[To John Pike] I agree. In particular the tenor aria at the end, "Lass mich ihn nur noch einmal küssen", is extremely moving.

John Pike wrote (September 10, 2003):
[David Glenn Lebut Jr.] Hello, David. No, I'm afraid I haven't got the other recordings. Maybe I will someday, but there are lots of other things on my shopping list!

 

Apocryphal St. Luke Passion

Jimmy Satiawan wrote (February 2, 2004):
I just bought the CD of St.Luke Passion (Bach). And it subtitled "apocryphal"? What does it mean? Why not "reconstructed" as in St.Mark Passion?

Johan van Veen wrote (February 2, 2004):
[To Jimmy Setiawan] It is not reconstructed, because all the music exists. So what should be 'reconstructed'?

It is 'apocryphical' because the general view is that it was not composed by Bach.

It was included in the Schmieder catalogue on the basis of the view that it was composed by Bach. The manuscript is in Bach's handwriting which suggests he performed it.

But even in the 19th century there was widespread doubt about Bach's authorship. Mendelssohn was convinced it was not by Bach:
The manuscript was bought by his friend Franz Hauser, who asked Mendelssohn Bartholdy to state his opinion of it. Mendelssohn wrote that "I am sorry that you gave so much money for the St. Luke Passion. It was not too much to pay for it as a manuscript of unquestioned authenticity, but it is just as certain that this music is not by him....You ask for what reason the Luke is not by Sebastian Bach? For internal reasons...; if that is by Sebastian, then I'll be hanged, and yet it is unmistakably his handwriting. But it is too clean; he copied it..."

Brahms also thought it was not by Bach.

Thomas Braatz wrote (February 2, 2004):
According to the NBA KB II/9 (2000), the only portion of this almost entirely anonymously composed passion that is considered to be authentically composed by Bach (and the only portion which is printed out as music in the NBA) is the chorale “Aus der Tiefen rufe ich” designated as BWV 246/40a.

In a letter dated January 19, 1833 to Franz Hauser who owned this manuscript which was copied out in clear copy (not a composing autograph!) by J. S. Bach and C.P.E. Bach (J. S. Bach copied approximately only the 1st 3rd and C.P.E. the remainder of the passion), Felix Mendelssohn aptly expressed his assessment of musical quality of this work as follows:

Du fragst aus welchem Grunde der Lucas nicht von Sebastian Bach sein soll? Aus inneren. Es ist mir zwar fatal, daß ich’s behaupten muß, denn sie gehört dir, aber guck’ einmal den Choral oder, wie es sonst heißt, „Tröste mich und mach’ mich satt’ an; wenn das von Sebastian ist, so lass’ ich mich hängen, und doch ist’s unleugbar seine Handschrift Aber es ist zu reinlich, er hat es abgeschrieben. Von wem sonst? Fragst du. Von Telemann oder M. Bach oder Locatelli oder Altnickel oder Jungnickel oder Nickel schlechtweg, was weiß ich? Aber nicht von dem.“

[“You’re asking me why the St. Luke Passion is not by J. S. Bach? For inner reasons (reasons having to do with the quality of the composing rather than the appearance of the notes on the page.) It really hurts me to have to say this because I know that you own this manuscript, but do take a look at the chorale, or whatever it is otherwise called: “Comfort me and make me feel satisfied.” If this composition is by J. S. Bach, I’ll have myself hanged, and yet, it is in his own handwriting. But the copy is much too clean; he must have copied this directly from somewhere else. But whose composition is this then, you might ask. By Telemann, or M. Bach, or Locatelli, or Altnickel or {here Mendelssohn plays with the name “Altnickel” which refers to Johann Christoph Altnickol – one of Bach’s pupils who married one of Bach’s daughters – the name ‘old nickel’ is now transformed jokingly to ‘new nickel’ or ‘nickel’} Newnickel, or just plain old Nickel, how should I know? But certainly it is not by J. S. Bach.”]

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 3, 2004):
[To Jimmy Setiawan] The only known movement in the work that has come down to us that we call the Lukaspassion BWV 246 that can definitely demonstrated to be by Bach is the Tenor Choralsatz "Aus der Tiefe rufet ich". The rest of it is in a copy in both Sebastian and Emanuel Bach's hand. However, it is doubtful that it is by Bach himself.

Juozas Rimas wrote (February 3, 2004):
Interesting, though, how Mendelssohn's gut feeling is sufficient proof of apocryphalness. There must be a certain "saint cow syndrome" with regards to J.S.Bach and other great composers. When a doubtful work is of poor quality, your heart doesn't allow the mind to produce a thought that it sMIGHT be by the great one and you much more willingly search for proof that it's not by him to faithfully prevent the average sky-high level of composing from falling even by an iota.

I tried to start a thread here about "disappointing Bach" but there were no replies so I understood J. S. Bach has a strong immunity against frank confessions to oneself that you weren't particularly amazed by a composition, not only by a performance. I know that the feeling is almost always mistaken, as it is nicely described in the Forkel's words in Aryeh's old signature (simplified: you don't "dig things" at first but gradually you appreciate the beauty which then never dies out), but with some pieces (very few indeed), even definitely by Bach and even after many listens, I couldn't say to myself frankly that they were as imaginative as I'm used to expect and not just masterful.

 

SLP S. 246

Bachcl43 wrote (August 21, 2004):
Hello-I just listened to the Lukas Passion, for the very first time. (It's part of a boxed set including the others (the Markus a reconstruction.) Knowing at the outset that it's not by JSB--anonymous-- makes it somewhat tricky to evaluate, but I was really rapt with absorption in this music. (Dir. Gerhard Rehm). Found it to be terrific- I may try to briefly comment on it another time--it's late where I am.

 

Lukas-Passion BWV 246

Aryeh Oron (on behalf of Owen) wrote (April 30, 2006):
I received the following message off-list from Owen, who is not a member of the BCML. He allowed me forwarding his message to you.

You are invited to comment.

I am a musical ignoramus in that I can only barely read music. However, I have "listened" to music for some 40+ years and am quite good at picking composers by their style even if I do not know the work.

I have owned a copy of the St Luke for some 30 yrs but for some reason it drowned in the cantatas and never rose to the surface once I discovered that it was not by JS Bach.

Recently I have been slowly transferring my LP collection onto my PC for future CD creation. Unfortunately my LP copy of the St Luke was "missing" for reasons that are not clear. So I decided to pick up a copy and have the Volume 10 Bach edition: Passions.Of these the St Matthew (BWV 244) and the St John (BWV 245) are clearly inferior to my old Harnoncourt versions.

However the St Luke was a revelation. Clearly it is not by JS Bach as the counterpoint is minimal, the orchestration clumsy at times and in its harmonies it seems more to be very early classical than late baroque. But it IS a gem. several of the choruses are superb and there is a degree of emotion expressed by the music which JSBach even in the St Matthew (BWV 244) could not approach.

The point of this note is that I believe that JS Bach himself loved the work and used it as an ideal to equal, if possible, and perhaps even surpass. Obviously as JS Bach reached a level unequalled by all other composers (IMHO) many would assume that he did indeed surpass the work. Yet when I first heard the opening chorus, the chorus: "aus der Tiefe rufe ich", the aria: "lasst mich ihn nur noch eunmal kussen" and the closing chorus, and even now weeks later, I am NOT convinced that JSBach in his own mind felt that he had surpassed this work in its greatest moments. Certainly his own music made most of the St Luke seem almost banal but not in its brightest and greatest moments.where it reaches a peak of emotion that even JS merely approaches, say in: "mache dich mein herze lang" (from memory sorry!!).

Another possibility, is that he discovered it late in his career when the new classical era was starting to begin its labour pains and he saw it as a worthy, if premature, child of this era with its emphasis upon harmony at the expense of counterpoint and that this, plus the emotional quality of several of its pieces had a particular appeal to him and thus it was considered worthy of imitation. It had to be late in his career because of its construction and also because he did not use any of its "better moments" for his own use, which implies that it was late in his life and that the composer was still alive.

Remember it is only an opinion and one formed because I was trying to see why JSBach thought it worthy of copying.

I have no idea what you may think of this note and I suppose that it doesn't really matter anyway, but I thought that I would pass it on as my humble opinion.

Owen

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 30, 2006):
From "Bach-Dokumente II" Item 439 (Verbot einer Passionsaufführung) [Injunction against performing a Passion to take place in Leipzig on Good Friday (March 27, 1739)]

"According to order issued by the City Council of Leipzig, I approached Mr. Bach personally and told him that the Passion music which he had planned for this year could not be performed until he had received permission from the council to do so. Whereupon he responded: "It has always been the custom here to perform the Passion music on Good Friday, but this wasn't really a task which I ever enjoyed doing because I really don't get anything out of it. Besides, it's just an extra burden for me. I will, however, report this to the superintendent that an injunction against this performance has been issued. If, as I surmise, the reason for this injunction is due to a problem with the text, it should be pointed out that there have been a few performances in previous years using the same text." All of these comments are being respectfully reported by the assistant scribe for the undertaker, signed Andreas Gottlieb Bienengräber [this family name does not mean "one who buries the bees" but rather "one who digs a plot of land"] March 17, 1739."

Current status of scholarship regarding BWV 246 "The Passion according to St. Luke" as given in the NBA KB II/9 pp. 69-80

Major Points for Consideration:

1. This Passion is not by J. S. Bach (although still listed as a work of doubtful authenticity)

2. The only part that shows J. S. Bach's hand as a composer in reworking and arranging a mvt. is BWV 246/40a "Aus der Tiefen" which Bach undertook for a repeat performance between 1743 and 1746.

3. The first performance of BWV 246 took place in Leipzig in 1730 on Good Friday.

4. Although the original sources from which Bach copied his score have never been located, we do have a substantial portion of this score in Bach's own handwriting. Of the 30 pages which were copied in 1730, pp. 3-23 were done by J. S. Bach and the remainder by C.P.E. Bach. The only title in J. S. Bach's handwriting appears on the 1st page of the score: J. J. Passio D. J. C. secundu à 4 Voci: 2 Hautb. | 2 Violini Viola e Cont. This is a clean copy of the score with almost no mistakes or corrections.

5. There are 9 copies of the score from the 18th and 19th centuries. These are all based upon Bach's own copy. Many of these state that they are based upon the Bach 'autograph' which could mean two things: 1. The copyists and/or collectors correctly recognized that the score was mainly in Bach's own handwriting; 2. They assumed incorrectly that the latter meant that Bach had also composed this music.

Historical Background on the Issue of Authenticity

Johann Friedrich Doles (1715-1797), Cantor of St. Thomas Church and School from 1755-1789, had no qualms whatsoever in passing this work off as a Bach original composition when he performed it in Leipzig. After Doles there were several different owners of the manuscript until it eventually came into the hands of Franz Hauser (1794-1870), an avid collector of Bach manuscripts who was also a friend of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. The latter, in a letter probably addressed to Hauser and dated January 19, 1833, stated: "You ask me what reasons I might have to think that the St. Luke Passion may not be by J. S. Bach? There are very personal reasons why I feel this way. It is really very awkward for me to have to say this to you as the owner of this score, but, for instance, just look at the chorale, or whatever else it is called, "Tröste mich und mach' mich satt". If this was composed by J. S. Bach, I'll go and hang myself, and even if it happens undeniably to be in his handwriting. The score is too clean and free from errors; he must have copied it from another source. Who else might have composed this? Perhaps it is simply by Telemann, J.M. Bach, or Locatelli or Altnickel or Jungnickel or even Nickel [old nickel, new nickel or any kind of nickel you might have - here Mendelssohn is probably facetiously playing with the name "Altnickol" (Johann Christoph Altnickol was J. S Bach's son-in-law) who was responsible for a number of copies of Bach's manuscripts.]

Hauser nevertheless had a number of copies of the original made and distributed or sold them. In his list of manuscripts, however, he noted that "it seems to be a copy of a composition by another composer."

In a letter to Julius Schubring early in 1869, Johannes Brahms decisively rejected Bach's authorship of this work: "there are errors in voice-leading, mistakes in declamation and illogical modulations. There is an uneven quality present and a lack of overall unity." Brahms was unable to say who might have been the original composer. The only reason for printing it (in the BGA) would be because it had been copied in Bach's own handwriting. Other BGA editors and Bach scholars, Moritz Hauptmann, Wilhelm Rust, Robert Franz and Julius Rietz were likewise very negative and critical in their observations.

In the 1880s, however, a great controversy arose with Philipp Spitta speaking in favor of the authenticity of this work just as the BGA was still preparing it for future publication. Spitta's reasons were as
follows:

1. C.P.E. Bach had mentioned in J. S. Bach's obituary that the latter had composed 5 Passions, of which two were complete, the third (St. Mark Passion) would need to be reconstructed. Spitta surmised that the fourth was based upon a Picander text from 1725 and that would mean that the fifth was the St. Luke Passion.

2. A Breitkopf catalogue entry from 1761 had such a Passion for sale in Bach's own handwriting and it even had a J. J. at the beginning proving that it must be a Bach original composition [What Spitta did not realize is that Bach also had copied 11 cantatas by Johann Ludwig Bach where the J. J. also appears in Bach's handwriting.]

3. The chorales Spitta considered a strong point in favor of Bach's composing this work.

4. The use of an obbligato bassoon might be compared to some early cantatas from the Weimar period.

Spitta's doubts:

1. Spitta did have some doubts, however, about the quality of the composition which simply did not fit into the style of Bach's compositions in his Leipzig period; but Spitta thought that it might have been a very early work.

2. The text contained far too many chorales and not enough 'freer' verse.

The critical response to Spitta's conjectures came swiftly from Erich Prieger, in his "Echt oder Unecht? Zur Lucas-Passion" Berlin, 1889. Prieger brought forth strong counter arguments against all of Spitta's contentions. Compared to other early works by Bach (BWV 71 and BWV 131), Prieger contended, this Passion was "expressionless". Prieger could not understand why Bach in 1730 would leave untouched numerous objectionable passages from his early years as a composer.

Another sharp attack on Spitta's notions came from Bernhard Ziehn in his "Betrachtungen über den Choralsatz, nebst Vor-, Zwischen-, und Nachbemerkungen, im Anschluß an die vorgeblich Bach'sche Lukas-Passion" Allgemeine Musikzeitung, No. 27-39, 1891. Ziehn compares the irregularities in the composition of the chorales of the St. Luke Passion with those of other composers of the time and with the chorales that are definitely known to be composed by Bach. The results of Ziehn's investigation show:

1. Irregularities can be observed in all three categories

2. Nowhere except in the "Lukas-Passion" can there be found such a large number of simply 'stupid mistakes' revealing 'such a deplorable lack of knowledge about the rules of composition'.

The BGA editor for the "Lukas-Passion", Alfred Dörffel in the BGA 45/2, cites some of the argumentation on both sides, but finds it impossible to state conclusively that this composition is not by Bach.

After the publication of the "Lukas-Passion", speculation about the possible source continued with such potential composers as Johann Hermann Schein and Heinrich Schütz even being mentioned around the turn of the century.

The death knell for potential performances of the "Lukas-Passion" was sounded with the pronouncement by Albert Schweitzer (Leipzig, 1908) that no practicing musician in his right mind would ever be tempted to perform this work, whether its authenticity could be proven or not.

In 1911 Max Schneider succeeded in proving that a part of the score was copied by C.P.E. Bach and not his father. From this point onward it became clear to Bach scholars that this work could no longer be considered as being by J.S. Bach.

One last attempt to revive the argumentation of J.S. Bach's authorship was attempted by Andreas Glöckner in 1977, but his arguments have subsequently been refuted, leaving only BWV 246/40a as a 'reworking' or 'arrangement' by Bach that can be considered a genuine change and addition to whatever existed as a source from which Bach worked.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 1, 2006):
[To Thomas Braatz] Terrific summary, Thomas.

This should be posted to the Passion link.

 

Discussions in the Week of May 8, 2011

William Hoffman wrote (May 9, 2011):
Apocryphal St. Luke Passion, BWV 246: Introduction

Although not an authentic Bach composition, the apocryphal <St. Luke Passion (SLP), BWV 246> score is partly in his hand, has particuar connections to his interests, and fulfills his goal of a Gospel Passion cycle. Despite its weaknesses, this music exemplifies Bach's Passion creative template, represents an important contribution to the German Passion form, and fulfills the spiritual voice of Luke's unique synoptic Gospel.

The Lucan setting Bach performed uses mixed style (<stile misto>) that he favored in the oratorio-Passion form, with both the stile antico narration and 32 chorales as well as the eight stile moderno poetic choruses and arias. The <St. Luke Passion> has important connections to Bach and would have fulfilled his Passion purposes. For details, see BCW Template, Discussion and Recordings: www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV246.htm

Following the 1729 performance of his <St. MatthePassion, BWV 244> at the annual Good Friday vespers service in Leipzig, Bach turned his attention to the presentation of all four Gospel oratorio-Passions. This cyclic tradition of Thomas Seele had begun in 1641 in Hamburg and currently was observed there by Bach colleague, Georg Philipp Telemann. Having available two dramatic settings of Matthew and John, Bach presented traditional, chorale-vested Passions: presenting Luke, <BWV 246>, on April 7, 1730; in setting Mark, <BWV 247>, for 1731; and probably reperforming his <St. John Passion>, BWV 245, in 1732.

Bach's compositional practice had changed greatly since he came to Leipzig in 1723 as St. Thomas Church cantor and city music director, charged with presenting cantatas at the Lutheran main services on Sundays and feast days as well as liturgical Passion settings on Good Fridays. In the next six years, having composed three annual cantata cycles but producing only two original annual Passions, Bach in 1729 ceased composing regularly for the church and resumed creating instrumental works and secular cantatas. He continued, however, to direct yearly Passion presentations and sacred cantatas for the annual installation of his employer and nemesis, the Leipzig Town Council, until his death in 1750.

Bach's original choice of setting John's and Matthew's Passion accounts was based on theological practice and teaching as well as musical tradition. Latin recitations of the Passion stories were appointed during Holy Week for Matthew Chapters 26 and 27 on Palm Sundays and John Chapters 18 and 19 on Good Fridays, while mid-week Mark Chapters 14 and 15 was read on Tuesdays and Luke Chapters 22 and 23 on Wednesdays. Two Gospel accounts portray Luther's emphasis on the triumphal Christus Viktor in the non-synoptic Gospel of John and the sacrifical Theology of the Cross in the three synoptic Gospels, best found in Matthew.

Johann Walter's two German musical settings of Matthew and John for Good Friday are found in the Gottfried Vopelius <Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> of 1682. Following the Walter and Seele practices, German composers most often set the Gospels of Matthew and John. Given its brevity as the first of the synoptic or read-together Gospel accounts of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, Mark was set to music much more often than Luke. Bach possessed two Marcan Passion settings: the Keiser-Bruhns of 1707, which he performed in 1726, and his Leipzig predecessor Johann Kuhnau's traditional version of 1721, which inaugurated the annual Good Friday musical observance in Leipzig and included 20 chorales and 18 simple verse-hymn arias (Spitta JSB II: 491f).

The more traditional, biblically-based oratorio-Passion had become well-established in Germany. Georg Böhm (1661-1733) of Lüneberg composed some of the earliest modern oratorio Passions, often vested with many chorales. The Postel St. John Passion text of 1704 has been attributed to him, although it has no chorale settings. Böhm's St. Luke Passion, 1711, survives, as well as the librettos for a St. Matthew Passion, 1714, and a St. John Passion, about 1720.

Spitta JSBII:510f, lists various liturgical chorale Passions (texts only), similar to Kuhnau's <St. Mark Passion> and the Bach apocryphal <St. Luke Passion>. They are the Rudolstadt St. Matthew Passion, 1729 (28 chorales); Gera Passion, nd (25 chorales); Gotha St. Matthew Passion, 1707 (19); Schleiz Passion, 1729 (27 chorales); and Weißenfels Passion, 1733 (33). In these settings in various German towns, no composer is listed and the lyrics involve hymns as well as Litany and <Te Deum> passages, also found in the apocryphal <St. Luke Passion."

It is quite possible that the "composer" of the <St. Luke Passion>, as a liturgical chorale passion emphasizing the sung biblical text interspersed with 32 chorales, remained anonymous, contributing only seven da capo arias and an opening choruses for a traditional municipal Holy Week service. "It has been conjecture that the <St. Luke Passion> might be a sort of pastiche, i. e. that the introductory chorus the terzetto and the arias were inserted into an older work sometime before Bach copied out the work," says Klaus Häfner in the most detailed article available, see BCW Discussion: www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV246-Gen.htm
Scroll down to: Johan van Veen wrote (January 30, 2002):
Here are the notes to the recording on CPO (Alsfelder Vokalensemble and Barockorchester Bremen, directed by Wolfgang Helbich). [English] -- © Dr. Klaus Häfner, Karlsruhe (1997)

Bach's Passion Interests

In 1730, Bach turned to more traditional oratorio-Passion settings emphasizing chorales instead of poetic and dramatic arias and choruses, possibly due to the embedded Lutheran Pietist faction and sentiment on the Leipzig Town Council and elsewhere in the German province of Saxony. Pietists complained that musical Passions, both biblical and poetic, were too theatrical, with opera and dance-style movements (see Addendum). Meanwhile, the purely poetic <summa> or blended account of the Passion-oratorio form popular elsewhere had found little favor in Leipzig. The best-known, Brockes Passion, set by Telemann, had been performed at the progressive Leipzig New Church in 1717.

In Leipzig, the next documented Brockes Passion-oratorio setting, first set by Keiser in 1712, was presented at the New Church in 1729 on the same day, April 15, as Bach's <St. Matthew Passion> at the Thomas Church. [Quelle: Bach-Jahrbuch 2008; p. 37 with footnote No. 9, Tatjana Schabalina, Textheft aufgefunden in der Nationalbibliothek St. Petersburg, Signatur 6.49.9.47). Ob Eingriffe und Änderungen durch Bach erfolgten ist derzeit nicht zu ermitteln.] The composer was former Bach student Christoph Gottlob Fröber (1704-59), who unsuccessfully had sought the New Church cantor's post. No music for this probe piece survives, only the libretto. Fröber, who in 1731 became cantor at nearby Delitzsch and presented Bach's <St. Mark Passion> there in 1735, was once thought to be the composer of the Bach apocryphal <St. Luke Passion> (SLP), BWV 246 Anh. II, 30: "Furcht und Zittern, Scham und Schmerzen" (Fear and Shaking, Shame and Anguish, Z. Philip Ambrose, BCW). It includes 32 chorale settings and also has been attributed possibly to Johann Melchior Molter (1696-1765); source, Klaus Häfner, BCW Recordings No. 3 CPO 999293
www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Molter-Johann.htm

Finally a hybrid Passion was performed on April 23, 1734 in the Leipzig Thomas Church): Passionsoratorium "Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld" von. G. H. Stölzel (Schabalina, Ibid. pp. 77ff). This is a version of Stölzel's first Passion, presented soon after he assumed the Gotha Kapellmeister post in early 1720. This poetic Passion-oratorio libretto has 22 clusters or sections usually involving an evangelist recitative, a Faithful Soul aria, another aria, and a chorale of the Christian Church. Like the apocryphal St. Luke Passion, BWV 246 (Leipzig 1730 or 1735, 1745), this work contains numerous less-familiar, general thematic chorale settings. The only well-known ones, in addition to the opening incipit, are: "Ich will hier bei dir stehen" (4th cluster), "O Lamm Gottes unschuldig" (15th), and "O, Jesu du, mein Hilf und Ruh" (22nd).

In general, the poetic Passion-oratorio contained only lyric, interpretive settings set as arias and ariosi, accompanied recitatives and soliloquies, and choruses from the four Gospel Passions, without direct bibquotation and with few chorales. The first, in 1704, Reinhard Keiser's "Der blutige und sterbene Jesus" (The bleeding and dying Jesus), set to a Hunold-Menantes text, emphasized naturalistic, devotional and graphic language.

As both Passion forms developed over the next decade, each adopted elements of the other. Bach's St. John oratorio-Passion of 1724 uses lines from the Brockes Passion-oratorio in its commentary arias. Meanwhile, in 1714 in Gotha, the Johann Georg Seebach Passion-oratorio, Der leidende und sterbende Jesus (The suffering and dying Jesus) allows for as many as 49 interspersed chorales in the surviving libretto (Spitta JSB2:496, 510). Also in 1714 in Hamburg, Keiser presented a traditional liturgical St. Luke oratorio-Passion as part of the traditional, quadrennial Passion cycle established in 1741 by Thomas Selle. Surviving only is the opening chorus, "Wir gingen alle in die Irre" (We all go in deception).


Bach's Interest and Involvement

While the identity of its composer and its first Leipzig performance date of the <St. Luke Passion> -- April 7, 1730, or April 8, 1735 (Häfner) -- remain in dispute, there is no doubt that Bach and son C. P. E. copied the original score, Sebastian writing out pages 3-23, and C. P. E., pages 24-59 (BGA XLV2 A. Dörffel, 1898, v). The fair copy manuscript score (BB [DS] Mm P. 1017) carries the Posthorn watermark Bach used between c. 1728 and 1731, also found in the scores of Cantatas BWV 188, 197a, 174, 171, 201 (all Picander texts), and BWV 112 (chorale cantata). Source is Gerhard Herz, "The New Chronology of Bach's Vocal Music," in <Bach's Cantata No. 4>, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1967, pp. 38-41. As Herz observes at the beginning (p. 3): "Column I gives the date of the <performance>, not of the <creation> of the composition. However, in the majority of cases, Bach, the greatest composer of sacred <Gebrauschmusik> (applied, utilized music), wrote his cantatas only when time and occasion demanded."

Passion and chorale infuences are initially found in two of Bach's earliest extant vocal works. In the summer of 1707 at Mühlhausen, Bach at the age of 22 composed two vocal concertos for penitential occasions, probably memorial services. They are entitled and Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (God's Time Is the Very-Best Time), BWV 106, and Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir (Psalm 130; Out of the Depths I Cry, O Lord, to Thee), BWV 131, These works use biblical text sometimes accompanied by brief chorale lines in long notes in the soprano. They are set in the old continuous madrigalian style, which connects through-composed movements, and are sometimes called scenas, comprising ensembles, arias, and ariosi. This open form is modeled after Dietrich Buxtehude's sacred vocal concertos using primarily Psalm settings and Lutheran chorale quotations.

The texts of Bach's Cantatas 106 and 131 were traditionally used in Passiontide and funeral services. In BWV 106, Bach selected various passages from the Bible as well as chorale texts. In BWV 131, Bach used the entire text of Psalm 130 (<De profundis>) and the contrasting chorale, "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut" (Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Highest Good). Bach set these penitential texts in a myriad of musical styles in contrasting tempos.

Luke Passion Scenes

A miniature Passion setting, BWV 106, subtitled Actus tragicus (Tragic Action), is Bach's first extant venture into Passion treatment. The first two movements are an orchestral sinfonia and a commentary scena of two ensembles, two ariosi, and an aria, set to texts from Acts, Psalm 90, Isaiah, Ecclesiastes, and Revelation. The focal point of BWV 106 is its third movement, a narrative scena from Luke 23:46 and Luke 23:43a, containing an alto aria, "In deine Hände befehl ich meinen Geist" (Into thy hands I commit my spirit; quoted from Psalm 31:6a), and a bass aria, "Heute wirst du mit mir im Paradies sein" (Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise), the latter accompanied by Luther's Nunc dimittis chorale, "Mit Fried und Freud" (With Peace and Joy). The two passages from Luke are two of the three quotations from Luke that are found in the "summa" or "harmony" Passion text, "The Seven Last Words of Christ From the Cross." The third quotation is, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Cantata 106 contains the only extant treatment of the Luke Passion story by Bach using direct quotation.

Another possible connection to Luke's Passion account occurs in the plaintive tenor aria "Zerschmettert mich, ihr Hügel und ihr Felsen" (Crush me, ye rocks and hills), BWV 245b. It was inserted into the 1725 version of Bach's St. John Passion, BWV 245, after Peter weeps bitterly. Its text shows the influence of Weimar Court poet Salomo Franck and is thought to have originated in Bach's 1717 Gotha Passion-oratorio. The aria's first line is a reference to Luke's Passion account, 23:28-30, where Jesus, prophesies as he begins the "Way of the Cross" (<Via crucis>). Jesus admonishes the Women of Jerusalem not to weep for him but for themselves and their children, for a time will come "when people will say to the mountains, `Fall on us!' and to the hills, `hide us'." This incident is found only in Luke's Gospel and is Station No. 8, "Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem," in the Catholic 14 Stations of the Cross (also known as the <Via dolorosa> or Way of Sorrows). This passage is not referred to in the Brockes Passion text. Interestingly, this aria was removed about 1730 from the subsequent two versions of the St. John Passion. Is it possible that Bach serendipitously made use of this aria elsewhere, perhaps inserting it into the apocryphal St. Luke Passion in the most appropriate place?

Chorale Influences

Chorales play a major role in the Bach's apocryphal St. Luke Passion. Bach's first use of chorales in his vocal music appears to be in his Cantata 106. Bach uses four chorales in varied settings, including "Ich hab mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt," found at Jesus' death in the sinfonia and succeeding chorale of the Luke Passion. The other three chorales in Cantata 106 are: "In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr," "Mit Fried und Freud," and "Glorie, Lob, Herr und Herrlichkeit." They show a remarkable gift for using chorales and lay the groundwork for invention and transformation of this essential ingredient in his well-regulated church music. The chorale cantata, BWV 4, "Christ lag in Todesbanden," may date a little earlier as his Mühlhausen probe piece.

First in Cantata 106 is Johann Leon's hymn, "Ich hab mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt" (I have left all that concerns me up to God, 1589, Francis Browne BCW) for "death and resurrection" (Freylinghausen Pietist songbook, 1741). It appears as a recorder melody in the cantata's second movement closing, a remarkable original chorus with two other elements. The section begins with a stile antico fugal setting of Ecclesiastes, 14:18, "It is the old decree," for the three lower voices, interspersed twice with a stile moderno soprano arioso from Revelation 22:20, "Yes, come Lord Jesus," with the plain chorale melody or canto in the initial instrumental accompaniment.

Bach has one four-part harmonized nine-bar setting of "Ich hab mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt," BWV 351 (Breitkopf 19), opening in G Minor and closing in G Major. The shift from minor to major reflects the 12-verse hymn's theme tracing the soul's conversion from misery to hope and praise (Peter Williams' <The Organ Music of JSB>). Bach's mature setting contains numerous accidentals, a running bass, and a cadential embellishment in the tenor. Recordings are available in the complete Bach editions of Teldec Vol. 7 and Hänssler Vol. 85.

The canto also appears in the organ chorale preludes, BWV 707, 708, and 1113 (Neumeister). Williams considers two, BWV 707 and 1113, display authentic characteristics of possibly early Bach works, composed before Mühlhausen. He cites elements of a "gifted learner" in BWV 707, with its closing four-part chorale setting in the manner of an organ motet. He points out the church organ fantasia setting the Neumeister version with its harmonized sung lines alternating with interludes reflecting the chorale's phrases. Recordings of BWV 707 and 708 from the Kirnberger Collection Vol. 3 are found in the Art & Music complete CD collection of Bach's organ music. A recording of BWV 1113 is found in the Christopher Herrick Hyperion CD of the complete Neumeister Chorales.

A four-part chorale setting of the 12th verse of Leon's hymn is found at the death of Jesus in the apochryphal St. Luke Passion, BWV 246, possibly by J. M. Molter and performed by Bach in 1730 or 1735. The movement begins and ends with a sinfonia for wind band. It is a chorale harmonization similar to the extended wind setting of Bach's funeral chorale motet, BWV 118, "O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, composed in the mid-1730s and repeated at least once.

Question. What was the purpose of Bach's brief chorale setting of "Ich hab mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt," BWV 351. In all likelihood, it was composed as part of a memorial service in Leipzig, which could have included an extant Bach funeral cantata or motet, or inserted into the apocryphal St. Luke Passion. In his famous 1730 letter to his childhood friend Erdmann, Bach complained that he wanted more opportunity to get commissions for music for weddings and funerals. It also is documented that Bach probably composed wedding music on a regular basis, beginning in 1729. It is quite possible that Bach did chorale settings on request from participating families, such as the wedding chorales, BWV 250-252. The existence of BWV 351 confirms Bach's calling for a well-regulated church music involving the central element of the chorale, music and text.

Other Early Chorale Influences

The second chorale usage in Cantata BWV 106 is Martin Luther's 1524 setting of Simeon's prayer, "Mit Fried und Freud," the Nunc dimmitis (With Peace and Joy). It appears as an alto canto in the midst of the bass continuo arioso, "Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise," in Movement 3b. The young Bach skillfully weaves the canticle chorale melody and first verse into the summa Passion phrase, accompanied by the antique instrumental ensemble of pairs of recorders and violas da gamba, found elsewhere only in the 1727, and its parody, the St. Mark Passion, of 1731.

Simeon's Prayer, the Nun Dimmitus, is one of several canticles involving prophecies found only in Luke's Gospel, with its emphasis on servanthood and solidarity, symbolically demonstrated through the concept of kenosis, or emptying. The initial passages and Bach's uses are: the Annunciation, Lk. 1:26-38 (Cantata BWV 1); Mary's Magnificat anima meae (My soul doth magnify the Lord), Lk. 1:46-55 (BWV 243, 10); Zechariah's prophecy, Lk. 1:57-80 (BWV 30); and Nunc dimmitis (BWV 83, 382, 616). Those in the Passion include Jesus' commendation of Mary Magdalene at the Bethany anointing, Lk. 7:44-46; The Two Swords (reckoned with the transgressors), 22:35-38; the Daughters of Jerusalem, Lk. 23:28-31 (BWV 245b); and the Two Thieves, Lk, 23:39-43 (BWV 106). After the Resurrection is the Gospel reading for Easter Monday, the Walk to Emmaus, found only in Luke, 24:13-35 (Cantata 66).

The third chorale used in Cantata BWV 106 is Reusner's hymn "In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr" (In you I have placed my hope, Lord, Browne trans.; based on Psalm 31) for "spiritual struggle and victory" (Freylinghausen, 1741).

Bach closes the cantata with the full ensemble singing the seventh strophe of Reusner's hymn, beginning "Glorie, Lob, Herr und Herrlichkeit" (All glory, praise and majesty), a doxology in four-part homophonic form, with the Calvisius 1581 chorale melody in the soprano and recorders, ending with a fugal "Amen."

The chorale's opening alludes to the Te Deum (Lord, in thee have I trusted). The next six verses are a prayer and the doxology. Bach harmonized the chorale in Passion-related settings: SMP BWV 244/38, verse 6, betrayal by false witness, and the same verse in the SMkP, BWV 247/5, betrayal by Judas, as well as the late Trinity Cantata BWV 53/6, closing chorale, first stanza. Bach used the Calvisius melody in the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248/46, as he also did with another Passion chorale melody, "Herzlich tut, mich verlangen," to close the work.

A reference to the text, Aus der Tiefe(n) rufe ich, Herr, zu dir (Psalm 130, <De profundis>; Out of the Depths I Cry, O Lord, to Thee), cf. Cantata BWV 131, is found in the apocryphal <St. Luke Passion>:

40. Chorale (Peter and Chorus T)

Aus der Tiefe rufe ich:
From the depths I cry to thee:
Jesu Gnade tröste mich.
Jesus' blessing, comfort me.
Ich hab Unrecht zwar getan,
I have surely been unjust,
aber Jesus nimmt mich an.
Jesus, though, doth take me in.

This movement closes Part 1 of the <St. Luke Passion>, following the Luke passage 22:62, "And he (Peter) went out and wept bitterly," and the tenor aria, "Den Fels hat Moses Stab geschagen" (Moses' rod had struck the rock). The Bach Gesellschaft (BGA XLV2 Alfred Dörffel, 1898, xi) identifies the text as Stanza 6 of Georg Christoph Schwämlein's ". . . Jesu Gnade tröste mich." The melody could not be identified. The chorale, which originated in the 1673 Halberstadt churchbook, is also found in the Vopelius 1682 <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch>, No. 936, for "Atonement" and is a funeral hymn, like Luther's 1524 setting of the same Latin <De profundis>, "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir," NLGB No. 703 that also is a catechism hymn for "Penitence, Confession and Justification. The organ chorale prelude setting of the melody Aus der Tiefe(n) rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 745, probably is dated after 1750, possibly to one of Bach's sons (Williams, <Organ Music of JSB, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003: 490f).

Z. Philip Ambrose' Libretto BCW English-1 Translation, provides this information:

"Only two (SLP) movements attributed to Bach: 40, an unidentified chorale and 41, Luk. 22:63."

[The Helbich CPO recording contains both (Nos. 48 and 49) the original setting of No. 40, the chorale "Aus der Tiefe," found in the c1730 Bach maunscript, as well as the subsequent Bach setting
Movement No. 41, tenor recitative opening Part 2 in the c. 1730 Bach score: "Now the men holding Jesus mocked him" (Lk. 22:63), with accompaniment of oboes, strings, and basso continuo, is designated as a Bach composition in the Bach Compendium (BC D-6/1, 1985) given its placement and accompaniment but is not accepted in the Neue Bach Ausgabe Summary Catalog, 2000.]


Thomas Braatz wrote (BCW 246 Discussion, April 30, 2006):

Current status of scholarship regarding BWV 246 "The Passion according to St. Luke" as given in the NBA KB II/9 pp. 69-80:

"Major Points for Consideration:

1. This Passion is not by J. S. Bach (although still listed as a work of doubtful authenticity)

2. The only part that shows J. S. Bach's hand as a composer in reworking and arranging a mvt. is BWV 246/40a "Aus der Tiefen" which Bach undertook for a repeat performance between 1743 and 1746."

Bach's harmonization for tenor and string accompaniment in five parts (BWV 246a) is based on the original chorale melody (source unknown), sung by tenor, designated Petrus (Disciple Peter) with basso continuo. "Thus Bach did not merely copy the two lower voices , but instead attempted to refashion the chorale melody in order to make it fit the the expanded form prevalent in his parish," says Andreas Bomba, citing Yoskitake Kobyashi, <Bach Jahrbuch 1971. The fascsimile, after p. 8, of single page, was found in Japan and assumed to be an insertion into the original Bach score for the subsequent performance and later removed and sold separately, provenance unknown. These information is found in Hänssler edition JSB complete works vol. 73, 1999, that also has the Bach parodied SMP arioso, BWV 1088, inserted into the Graun Passion Pasticcio, 1740s; BCW Discussion: Mar 31, 2013.

The Z. Philip Ambrose' Libretto BCW English-1 Translation lists the most recent edition of the apocryphal <St. Luke Passion>, now recorded:

"BG 45/2. The BG 45/2 text of the entire work edited by Alfred Dörffel forms the basis for the new edition by Winfried Radeke, Passion, nach einer Handschrift von/based on a manuscript by Johann Sebastian Bach für Soli, Chor und Orchester/for Soli, Chorus and Orchestra (BWV 246), (Wiesbaden, Leipzig, Paris: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1979, = Edition Breitkopf 6574)."

The BCW original "Score BGA [9.00 MB]" in the BG 45/2 is also found in the Kalmus Study Scores No. 902 (M 2000 B2 L8).


Significance of Suffering

The oratorio-Passion settings Bach performed involve the two classic Old Testament readings from Psalm 22:1-21, "A Cry of Anguish," and Isaiah 52:13-16, "The Suffering Servant," containing the four prophecies of the crucifixion found in the Gospels and most appropriate for the Good Friday Vesper sermon.

Psalm 22 has three prophecies:
A. Verse 1, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mt. 27:46 and Mk. 15:34);
B. Verses 7-8, "All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him, seeing he delighted in him" (Mt. 27:39, Mk. 15:29, and Lk. 23:37;
C. Verse 18, "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture"
(Mt. 27:35, Mk. 15:24, and Lk. 23:34, and John 19:24).

Isaiah 52 has one prophecy:
D. Verse 12, "He was numbered (reckoned) with the transgressors (malefactors)"
(Mk. 15:28 and Lk. 22:37, just before the Garden of Gethsemane scene).

Seven Last Words from the Cross

The Passion-oratorio text by Barthold Heinrich Brockes is entirely poetic, paraphrasing passages from all four Passion accounts, with appropriate commentary. It is known as a "summa" Passion treatment, emphasizes the trial confrontation in John's Gospel, and includes the so-called Seven Last Words of Christ from the Cross. Three "Words" are from John, three from Luke, and one from both Matthew and Mark.

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43, cf. Ps.31:6a).
Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26-27).
Eli Eli lama sabachthani? ("My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?", Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34, from Psalm 22:1.
I thirst (John 19:28).
It is finished (John 19:30).
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46)

Eight da capo arias (four in each part): chorus, terzeto, six solos (two soprano, one alto, three tenor)


Chorale Settings

The 32 chorale settings found in the apocryphal <St. Luke Passion> rely primarily on melodies found in chorales associated with the Passion as set to mostly less-familiar or unknown text sources. Ten of these settings are based on melodies found in the liturgy (psalms, Te Deum, and Our Father) and one (No. 74) has no known source for the melody or the text. Following in the recent tradition of anonymous chorale oratorio Passions, the SLP inserts specific commentary after particular actions as the gospel Passion story unfolds. This is in the reverential, pietistic mode, in contrast to the dominant dramatic settings of both Bach and Telemann oratorio Passions.

In addition, the use of familiar hymn melodies with less-familiar texts was a trend throughout Lutheran German, beginning in the 1730s, as new church song and devotional books emphasized only a few familiar melodies set to new texts so that the congregation could better participate in hymn singing. The best example is Bach's participation in the Schemelli Sacred Song Book, published in Leipzig in 1736, in which Bach oversaw the use of 69 melodies with figured bass provided for 954 songs. Most of the melodies are assigned to the categories "Of the Suffering and Death of Jesus" together with "On Good Friday" and "Death Hymns" (notes of Klaus Häfner, CPO recording 439507, 1998).

Besides commenting directly on the action in Luke's Gospel, the chorales represent a variety of compositional techniques in the simple North-German style that Spitta used to date the SLP to 1710 in Weimar. The mostly terse homophonic settings involve the 15 four-part chorales in Part 2, including varied settings: No. 54, the long "Jesu, Leiden, Pein und Tod"; No. 60, AAB "Was mein Gott will"; Nos. 72-73 the da capo four-part "Ich hab mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt," with A section sinfonia for four winds (two oboes, taille, and bassoon), followed by the same harmonization for four voices; and the final, two-verse general "Christian Life and Conduct" chorale, No. 78, "Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein."

In contrast, the 17 chorales in Part 1 incorporate six responsory settings beginning with soprano alone. The SLP opens with two four-part AAB chorales Nos. 3"O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort," and 5. "Herzlich tut mich verlangen." n No. 7, melody, "Werde munter, mein Gemüte," present a one-bar soprano refrain, "Stille," then the four part setting and a closing repeat of the soprano "Stille," followed with the same soprano-lead setting in No. 9, "Jesu, meines Herzens Freud," the first of four uses of this popular general Johann Flittner chorale text (also Nos. 11, 62 and 63), set to stanzas 3, 4, 5, and 2 respectively.

Based on information in Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe (BGA) XLV2 A. Dörffel, 1898) and Z. Philip Ambrose, BCW, www.UVM.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV246.html


3. Melody, "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort," 1642, Johann Rist (1607-67); *text source unknown: "Verruchter Knecht, wo denkst du hin."

5. Melody, "Herzlich tut mich verlangen," Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612); melody alternate title, "Befiehl du Deine Wege," BGA XLV2; *text source unknown: "Die Seel' weiß hoch zu schätzen."

7. Melody, "Werde munter, mein Gemüte," Johann Schop (d. 1665?); text exists, source unknown, possibly libretto poet: "Stille, stille! Ist die Losung."

9. Text and melody, "Jesu, meines Herzens Freud," Johann Flittner; S. 3, "Weide mich und mach' mich satt."

11. Melody source unknown, ?composer; text: "Jesu meines Herzens Freud," Flittner; S. 4, Nicht ist lieblicher als du."

17. Melody, "O Welt, ich muß dich lassen," Heinrich Isaac (1450?-1517); melody alternate title, "Nun ruhen alle Wälder," BGA XLV2; text, "O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben," Paul Gerhardt; S. 4, "Ich, Ich und meine Sünden."

19. Melody, "Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen," Johann Cruger (1598-1662); text, Johann Heermann, S. 13, "Ich werde dir zu Ehren alles wagen."

21. Melody source unknown, ?composer; text from the Te Deum (O Gott, wir loben dich), Thomas Müntzer: "Der heiligen zwölfe Boten Zahl."

23. Melody source unknown, ?composer; text from the <Litany>, "Wir armen Sünder bittern."

25. Melody, "Nun danket alle Gott" (1636), Martin Rinckart (1586-1649); melody alternate title, "O Gott, du Frommer Gott" (BGA XLV2); text, "Mein Vater, wie du wilt" (source unknown).

27. Melody source unknown, ?composer; text from the <Litany>, "Durch deines Todes kampf."

29. Melody, Psalm 42, Claude Goudimel (1514-1572); melody alternate title, "Freu' dich sehr, o meine Seele (" BGA XLV2); text, "Treuer Gott, ich muss die Klagen," Johann Heerman (S. 5, "Lass mich Gnade für dir finden").

31. Melody, "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" (see No. 5); *text source unknown.

33. Melody, "O Welt, ich muß dich lassen" (see No. 17); text, "O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben," Paul Gerhardt (S. 13, "Ich will darus studiren").

35. Melody source unknown; text from "Vater unser im Himmelreich" (Luther); "Und führe uns nicht in Versuchung."

37. Melody, Psalm 42, (see No. 29); text, "Weg, mein Herz, mit den Gedanken, Paul Gerhardt (S. 5, "Kein Hirt kann so fleißig gehen").

40. Melody source unknown; text, "Aus der Tiefe" (Ps. 130), Georg Christoph Schwämlein (S. 6, ". . . , Jesu Gnade tröste mich").
This movement is attributed to Bach. See BG 45/2. Winfried Radeke in the second Breitkopf edtion (1981) of the vocal score includes another harmonization of this unidentified chorale melody, discovered in Japan (see BJ 1971).

42. Melody, "Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen" (see No. 19); text, "O dass ich könnte Thränen," Gottfried Wilhelm Saucer (S. 6, "Dass nicht ewig").

44. Melody source unknown; text Te Teum (see No. 21): "Du König der Ehren."

46. Melody source unknown; text Te Teum (see No. 21): "Dein göttlich Macht."

48. Melody, "O Welt, ich muß dich lassen" (see No. 17); text: "O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben" (S. 5, "Ich bins, ich sollte büßen").

52. Melody, "Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten," Georg Neumark (1621-81); text source unknown.

54. Melody, "Jesu, Leiden, Pein und Tod" (1633), Paul Stockman (1602-36); text, "Siehe, mein getreuer Knecht," Paul Gerhardt (S. 2, "Ei, was hat er denn getan").

56. Melody, Psalm 42 (see No. 29); *text, source unknown, "Es wird in der Sünder."

60. Melody, "Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit" (1547), Markgrave Albrecht von Brandenburg-Ansbach (1490-1568); text "Hör' an, mein Herz, die sieben Wort," Paul Gerhardt (S. 2, "Sein' allererste Sorge war").

62. Melody, "Jesu, Leiden, Pein und Tod" (Cf. No. 54); text, "Jesu, meines Herzens Freud," Flittner (S.5, "Ich bin krank, komm, stärke mich").

64. Melody, "Christus, der uns selig macht"; text, Abraham Klesel, ""Seele, mach dich eilig auf" (S.4, "Das Kreuz ist der Königsthron").

66. Same melody as No. 62. (BGA XLV2, melody "Jesu, meine Freude"); text, "Jesu meines Herzens Freud," Flittner (S.2, " Tausendmal gedenk ich dein").

68. Melody, Psalm 42 (see No. 29); text, "Freu' dich sehr, o meine Seele," Caspar von Warnberg (after Schamelius) Freiburg, 1620); S. 1.

72. Sinfonia, melody, "Ich hab mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt."

73. Continues the melody of the Sinfonia (No. 72); text, S. 12, "Derselbe mein Herr Jesu Christ"

74. Melody and text source unknown: "Straf' mich nicht in deinem Zorn."

78. Melody, "Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein"; *text source unknown: "Nun ruh' Erlöser in der Gruft."

* "text source unknown"; only text markers exist in score; texts realized by Franz Hauser, score owner, commissioning Lutheran pastors.

Addendum

If indeed it is true that there will remain a place for moderate music in the church, especially since the late D. Dannhauer regarded it as an ornament to the divine service, a view that does not meet with the approval of all theologians, it is at the same time a well-known fact that very often the performances are excessive. One might well agree with Moses when he says: "Ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi" (Num. 16:7). The reason is that this music often sounds so very worldly and jolly that it is more befitting a dance floor or an opera than the divine service. The last thing, in the opinion of many pious folk, that such singing should suitably accompany is the Passion of Christ. Fifty or more years ago, it was the custom on Palm Sunday for the organ to remain silent in church, and there was no music making at all on that day because it signified the beginning of Holy Week. Now, however, with the story of the Passion, which hitherto was sung de <simplici> et plano, in a straightforward, reverent manner, they have begun to set the occasion to music in the most elaborate artistic fashion, using many different kinds of instruments. From time to time they incorporate a verse from a Passion hymn and the whole congregation joins in in the singing, after which the instruments are again heard in company. When this Passion music was performed for the first time in a distinguished city, by 12 violins, numerous oboes, bassoons, and other instruments, many were amazed and did not know what to make of it. On another occasion in a court chapel, many high ministers and noble ladies were together assembled and were singing the first Passion hymn from their books in a spirit of great devotion. When the theatrical music struck up, all these persons were greatly astonished, looked at each other and said, "What shall become of this?" An elderly dowager warned, "Take heed, my children! It is like being at a comic opera." All were most heartily displeased and raised just complaint.

There are, it must be conceded, certain spirits who find pleasure in such idle matters, especially when they are of a sanguine temperament and inclined towards sensuality. Such people stoutly defend these great musical performances in church and regard those who think otherwise as capricious or miserable souls, or as facetious, as if they alone possessed the wisdom of Solomon and that the rest lacked understanding. Oh, how good it would be for the Christian church if we were to preserve that early devotional simplicity in the sermons, prayers, and hymns that make up our divine service. If some of those early Christians were to rise again and join our congregations, only to hear an organ thundering out its music, together with so many other instruments, I do not believe that they would recognize us as Christians and their own successors. (cited in Guenther Stiller's <JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, Concordia Pub., 1984: p. 264f)

- - - - -

To come this week, Introduction, Part 2: Spitta's comments on the music of the <St. Luke Passion>, Bach's use of the SLP chorale melodies and texts in his works, spitiritual connections to Luke's Gospel Passion, some musings on the possible origin of this Passion, and a Selected Bibliography.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 9, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< While the identity of its composer and its first Leipzig performance date of the <St. Luke Passion> -- April 7, 1730, >
I really wonder it its Fasch or Stoelzel, considering the close relationship they had during this time.

Great post too by the way ;)

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 9, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Johann Walter's two German musical settings of Matthew and John for Good Friday are found in the Gottfried Vopelius <Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> of 1682. >
What is the musical style of these Passions? Given the conservative repertoire of the Vopelius collection, I'm assuming that they were plainsong narratives with fauxbourdon crowd choruses on the model of Schütz. Or were they motet-passions with metrical versions of the narrative wholly sung to chorale-like tunes?

Peter Smaill wrote (May 9, 2011):
[To William Hoffman] The central chorale in this work is, as Will points out, the funerary chorale, "Ich hab' mein Sach' Gott heimgestellt", by Leon. By studying the appearance of this Chorale in Bach, especially in BWV1113, we come to some striking numerological underpinning suggesting Bach referentiality and further undermining the Molter authorship theory which is in any case problematic (cf. Melamed's chapter on the St Luke.)

Here is an extract from what I wrote in 2009 following study of the chorale in question, and setting out some of the evidence:

Leon lived his entire life in Ohrdruf (where later Bach was schooled) and the origin is thus Thuringia. However, the Chorale "Ich hab mein Sach Gott Heimgestellt" plays a special role as transmitted to the Leipzig tradition. Schütz’s friend Johann Hermann Schein, in his Leipziger Cantional (1627) instructs singers of Ich hab’ mein’ Sach’ Gott heimgestellt that:
“When they come to the tenth verse, there they sing adagio with a very slow pulse, because in this verse verba emphatica are present, namely:
Sterbn ist mein Gewinn"

We know for sure that Bach was aware of the tradition, for the expression “Sterben ist Mein Gewinn” appears also in the related chorale “Christus, der ist Mein Leben”, the incipit of Cantata BWV 95. These related Chorales sit together in the Neumeister collection as BWV 1112 and BWV 1113. They appear thus to share the same symbolic treatment.
Here in BWV 95/1 lies one of the strangest settings of all the Chorales, not only with a sudden augmentation of the chorale tune in the sopranos, but also at these words an exposed dissonance E- F occurs with the alto entry. So Bach by September 1723, if not before, has picked up the tradition of elongation. Notable, too, is the exceptional number of Chorales used in BWV 95 (there is but a single aria), a reflection perhaps of the deathbed traditions of Lutheranism in which numerous chorales were sung at the closing moments of the believ.
The Chorale is also set in the so-called Kirnberger collection (BWV 707/708). These settings have long been considered doubtful, and some recent thinking places them early in Bach’s career, and influenced by Samuel Scheidt.The chorale is also plainly harmonised as BWV 351.
The discovery by Christoph Wolff in the course of examining the Lowell Mason collection in Yale University (LM 4708) that 35 of the 82 “Neumeister Chorales” are by J S Bach allows us to consider whether even at Arnstadt, Bach is deploying symbolic devices in his settings. Specifically,,long before Bach comes to Leipzig) he is apparently aware of the tradition of according especial treatment to this chorale.
The following unusual features mark out “Ich Hab’ mein’ Sach’ Gott Heimgestellt” BWV 1113, from the rest of the collection:
Firstly, it is an echo chorale, each line being extended by a repeat of the preceding four chords, a feature rarely used by Bach. Echo is normally found in secular works denoting sympathy, whereas in the environment of BWV 1113 the suggestion may be a compassionate reply from a loving God, the “sole comfort and helper”, as verse 13 has it.
Next we have the most striking dissonance of the collection; at bar 28, F sharp must be played against E sharp (i.e. F natural), the clash of a semitone. Passing via a descending passus duriusculus, musical interest is further achieved by concluding the chorale with a triple descending cadence, unrelated to the ritornello and featuring, against the chordal descent, a rising line in the tenor. Overall the work which commenced in a wistful B minor, reaches the warmer tonal colour of B major. The final cadence is (uniquely in this collection) in seven voices and resolves the dissonance B flat-B natural arising in the soprano and bass lines.
At the same time, this unusual and artificial ending extends the work to 41 bars, numerological J S BACH (in the number alphabet, 9+18+2+1+3+8). If this is more than a coincidence, then the suggestion is that Bach is already experimenting with gematria at the beginning of his career.
How does this relate to the treatment of the chorale in the St Luke Passion?
In the key chorale (" Ich hab', Nos. 72 and 73) and in the appearance of the chorale in the significant tenor aria in the St Luke Passion, (77) "Lasst mich ihn nur noch einmal kuessen" all these components are re-presented: echo, dissonance, and exactly forty one bars -that feature is set out in No.77, which is artificially elongated by 12 bars, just as BWV 1113 is elongated by a three bar triple cadence so as to achieve 41 bars. There are two other movements of 41 bars elsewhere in the St. Luke Passion.
It thus appears that whoever wrote the St Luke Passion knows the tradition of special treatment accorded the chorale, and is attracted to a 41 bar length structure at three points, including the most important movement of the work. Unless, after over sixty years of numerology connecting 41 to JS BACH in the number alphabet code (A=1, B=2 etc.) we can discover another meaning for "41", then the writer of the St Luke Passion is seemingly making a reference to Bach in this work.
But exactly who wrote it and why..........??????

William Hoffman wrote (May 9, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< What is the musical style of these Passions? Given the conservative repertoire of the Vopelius collection, I'm assuming that they were plainsong narratives with fauxbourdon crowd choruses on the model of Schütz. Or were they motet-passions with metrical versions of the narrative wholly sung to chorale-like tunes? >
Plainsong. Here is the information on BCW:
St. Matthew Passion by Johann Walter: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/SMP-Walter-Sco.htm - 17k - similar pages, Dec 20, 2006 ... St. Matthew Passion by Johann Walter. The score samples below contain an excerpt from a responsorial St. Matthew Passion which might have ...
Contributed by Thomas Braatz (December 20, 2006)

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 9, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Plainsong. Here is the information on BCW:St. Matthew Passion by Johann Walter: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/SMP-Walter-Sco.htm >
Thanks for the link. It's interesting that this setting may be Bach's default Passion setting when a concerted setting was not sung. The similarities to the 16th century Catholic settings by Lassus in Munich and further afield Victoria in Madrid are striking. Lassus wrote settings for all four Passions for use during Holy Week.

Do we know if the Mark and Luke Passions were sung in similar fashion on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week in the Leipzig Lutheran rite?

Chris Kern wrote (May 10, 2011):
Melamed, in his "Hearing Bach's Passions" book, devotes an entire chapter to the Luke Passion. Most of the chapter is devoted to an interesting examination of how the fortunes of this passion have risen and fallen throughout the years based on how closely it could be connected with Bach. He refers to it as simultaneously Bach and Not-Bach at the same time; exemplified by recording titles like "J.S. Bach: Apocryphal St. Luke Passion".

However, he also makes the claim that we have little or no evidence that Bach actually ever performed this passion. We have no performing parts, there is no clearly known date of performance, and the passion in its current form is not performable as part of the Leipzig liturgy (for one thing, the chorales do not have the correct melodies for the Leipzig church). You can contrast this with the anonymous St. Mark Passion (which Bach had attributed to Reinhard Keiser), for which we have performing parts, a definite schedule of performances, and clear evidence of the changes that Bach made to the Passion to make it fit in with the liturgies of the churches he worked at.

This is not to say that we can be certain Bach absolutely never performed it, but the notion that he did perform it seems to be primarily an emotional one designed to "save" the passion and elevate its status rather than one based on hard evidence. Melamed says that we would be safest to simply regard it as part of Bach's musical library.

I haven't read any other scholarship on the Luke Passion so I don't know if anyone else takes Melamed's stance, but it is interesting to read.

William Hoffman wrote (May 13, 2011):
St. Luke Passion, BWV 246: Introduction, Part 2

Introduction, Part 2:

Spitta's comments on the music of the <St. Luke Passion>,

While advocating mistakenly for the "genuineness" of the <St. Luke Passion, BWV 246,> author and scholar Philipp Spitta in his 1889 biography, <Johann Sebastian Bach>, offers an intreresting and informative assessment of the work. "(T)he music itself is strange and puzzling: its very simple forms reveal a tender and soft expressiveness, but it is far away from the power, fervency, and solemn grandeur of the St. John and St. Matthew Passions," he says (Dover Publications, 1951, 1979, p. 509).

While finding the youthful work, composed in Weimar in 1710, "in many respects it is evidently inferior to the cantatas" "Aus der Tiefe rufe ich," BWV 131, and "Gottes Zeit," BWV 106, he suggests Bach "would naturally cling closely to the type of (liturgical) Passion [p. 510] music prevalent at the time. . . ." The Passion characteristics include few "independent lyric pieces," the full Luke Gospel narrative (Chapters 22 and 23), and the "lavish use of chorales (that) almost always occurs in the older Passions of central Germany which had not yet come within the influence of the Italian oratorio, and it was subsequently adhered to in any places where the new (poetic Hamburg) style found no favor." He cites similar chorale Passions in Rudostadt, Gera, Gotha, Schleiz, and Weissenfels, performed between 1707 and 1733.

Spitta criticizes (p. 511) the lyrical texts of the opening chorus and the eight all-da capo arias having "uniform metre and shallow purpose," wrby a stll-unknown author. Yet, he affirms the "glowing style of melody which characterizes Bach's (unaccompanied) recitatives" although the accompanying harmonic sequences "are sometimes rather loose and [p. 512] halting. . . ." and the often embellished ariosi endings seem out of place. "The style of the Biblical dramatic (crowd) choruses is equally unskillful" with only a few showing the "more general church-feeling" in 17th century passions. . . ."

Spitta offers praise for the music of the women's terzetto of "weeping and lamenting Jesus" (Luke 23:27), No. 58, "Weh und schmerz" (Pangs and sighs), as "well thought out" with effective instrumental accompaniment of two flutes and strings with no bass.

Also complimented are - ironically -- the <St. Luke Passion> opening chorus and closing two-verse chorale chorus that Spitta erroneously compares to two other now-apocryphal Bach works, respectively: Johann Kuhnau's Christmas Cantata BWV 142, "Uns ist ein Kind geboren," ?1720 and Easter Sunday Cantata BWV 15, "Denn du wirst meine Seele," actually composed in 1704 by Johann Ludwig Bach and originally though to be cousin Sebastian's first surviving vocal work.

Meanwhile, Spitta has particular praise for three movements: the Part 1 closing tenor chorale, No. 40, "Aus der Tiefe rufe ich," after Peter's denial (Luke 22:62), made personal and poignant; the da-capo chorale with woodwind quartet introduction and repeat, Nos. 72-73, "Ich hab mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt," at the death of Jesus (Lk. 23:46), and the repeated insertion of the woodwind chorale phrases in the moving, final tenor aria, No. 76, "Laßt mich ihn nur noch einmal küssen" (Let me kiss him only one more time), after Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate's approval to bury Jesus (Lk. 23:52).

Comments from Klaus Häfner:

"The repeated objection that it is an extremely weak composition takes Bach's genuine passions as its yardstick and is unjustified. After all, the Thomaskantor himself was willing to invest the time and energy required for two performances of the St. Luke Passion. We should not forget this fact in our evaluation of it."

"While the gospel setting and its turba choruses as well as the chorales exhibit a certain old-fashionedness, the eight »madrigal« numbers clearly point to the hand of a composer who was a generation younger than Bach and Telemann, to someone who must have been the same age as Quantz, Hasse, and the Graun brothers.
"Thus, despite the almost surprising parallels to Molter's oeuvre, his authorship is not certain here - especially since stylistic-compositional points of contact cannot be said to settle this question. They always leave the question open as to whether the similarities are only general features of the period or special features marking a personal style.

"Whoever may have been the composer of the St. Luke Passion, one thing remains certain: the unpretentiously simple work that the genial author of the St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) honored with a repeat performance deserves a solid place in the early music repertoire."

[BCW Discussion: www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV246-Gen.htm
Scroll down to: Johan van Veen wrote (January 30, 2002):
Here are the notes to the recording on CPO (Alsfelder Vokalensemble and Barockorchester Bremen, directed by Wolfgang Helbich). (English) -- © Dr. Klaus Häfner, Karlsruhe (1997)]


St. Luke Passion Settings

The earliest complete polyphonic setting of the Passion is the anonymous English <St. Luke Passion> in Latin (Windsor, early 15th Century); three-voice polyphony, <"Contenance Angloise"> style.

Other Luke liturgical Passions (Wikipedia, except where noted) are primarily found in the Hamburg tradition of the oratorio Passions of Cantors Gurstenbüttel, Telemann, and C. P.E. Bach and the Walter responsorial historia tradition of Lassus, Schütz, and Funkel.

Hamburg Passions

Thomas Selle (1599-1663): Hamburg Johanneum cantor and music director, beginning 1642; first oratorio Passion, John 1643 (<Das Chorwerk> XXVI, Wolfenbüttel and Berlin 1934).

"From the late seventeenth century onward (Joachim Gurstenbüttel c1650-1721), the Hamburg Passions followed a fixed annual sequence of gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Both Telemann and [C.P.E.] Bach adopted this sequence as directors of the Hamburg church music." Ulrich Leisinger, http://www.cpebach.org/cpeb/prefaces/passions-preface.html

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) composed 11 St. Luke oratorio Passions in Hamburg. Three are
unknown and may have been repeats, three are lost and five exist with two recorded.
1724, TVWV 5:9, "O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig" (N. Decius chorale, lost);
1728, TVWV 5:13, "Israel, ach geliebtes Vater-Herz!," Bärenreiter modern edition;
1732, TVWV 7:17, "Brüllest du? Gewaltger Donner!," lost;
1736, TVWV 5:21, "Wenn meine Sünd' mich kränken," lost;
1740, TVWV 5:25, unknown;
1744, TVWV 5:29, "Wenn meine Sünd' mich kränken," recorded S. Heinrich 1973;
1748, TVWV 5:38, "Wisset ihr, dass ihr," recorded Hermann Max;
1752, TVWV 5:42, unknown;
1756, TVWV 5:46, unknown;
1760, TVWV 5:45, "Welche Feind des Kreuzes," Johannes Pausch modern edition; and
1764, TVWV 5:49, "Hier lass uns ruhn, o Teurer!," Johannes Pausch modern edition (recorded).

C.P.E. Bach (Hamburg, 5): 1771, 1775, 1779, 1783, 1787 (pasticcios, no scores exist, none recorded).

Walter Responsorial Historia

Orlando de Lassus (1632-1594): St. Luke Passion, c.1575, Munich; plain chant a capella, polyphonic turbae only; Bärenreiter edition 1961 (no recording).

Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672): Lukaspassion SWV 480, 1663; Johann Walter-style full gospel responsorial historia; plainchant soloists, polyphonic turba choruses, <exordium>, <conclusion>; Dresden court, annual Passion for court liturgical services provided by Kapellmeister, predececcor Rogier Muchael (c.1550-1624), and successor Johann Zacharias Grundig (1669-1720). Published, Bärenreiter Schütz Neuausgabe Sämtliche Werke II 1957, Eu. No. 978 (Ed. F. Stein); recording, Matteo Messori, Cappella Augustana, Brilliant Classics CD 92795 (2005).

Friedrich Funcke, St Luke Passion (1683, Lüneburg), "only the text survives. Funcke must have taken a considerable step towards the Passion oratorio, for the compiler of the text not only inserted reflective passages but occasionally altered the Gospel text and elaborated on it. BCW: Thomas Braatz (December 2005).

Contemporary

Rudolph Mauersberger (1889-1971), choral conductor, Dresden Kreuzkirchke: "St. Luke's Passion for two choirs a capella," 1947. BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Mauersberger-Rudolf.htm

Krzystof Perderecki (1933- ): St. Luke Passion, 1966, Latin Catholic, atonal; Warsaw National Phil., Antoni Witt, Naxos 8.557941 (2003).

Wolfgang Rihm (1952 ): <Deus Passus: Fragments of a St. Luke Passion>, Paul Celan German poetry; Bach Projekt Passion 2000, International Bach Academy Stuttgart; Helmut Rilling, Hänssler 98.397.

Greek-Dutch composer Calliope Tsoupaki's St. Luke's Passion (2008 Holland Festival), EtCetera reccords 1402. http://www.allmusic.com/album/w204680


Bach Performance or Not

May 10, 2011 12:03 PM, Chris Kern wrote:

(Daniel) Melamed, in his "Hearing Bach's Passions" book (2005), devotes an entire chapter to the Luke Passion. Most of the chapter is devoted to an interesting examination of how the fortunes of this passion have risen and fallen throughout the years based on how closely it could be connected with Bach. He refers to it as simultaneously Bach and Not-Bach at the same time; exemplified by recording titles like "J.S. Bach: Apocryphal St. Luke Passion".

However, he also makes the claim that we have little or no evidence that Bach actually ever performed this passion. We have no performing parts, there is no clearly known date of performance, and the passion in its current form is not performable as part of the Leipzig liturgy (for one thing, the chorales do not have the correct melodies for the Leipzig church). You can contrast this with the anonymous St. Mark Passion (which Bach had attributed to Reinhard Keiser), for which we have performing parts, a definite schedule of performances, and clear evidence of the changes that Bach made to the Passion to make it fit in with the liturgies of the churches he worked at.

This is not to say that we can be certain Bach absolutely never performed it, but the notion that he did perform it seems to be primarily an emotional one designed to "save" the passion and elevate its status rather than one based on hard evidence. Melamed says that we would be safest to simply regard it as part of Bach's musical library.

I haven't read any other scholarship on the Luke Passion so I don't know if anyone else takes Melamed's stance, but it is interesting to read.

William Hoffman's reply:

I have found no other source accepting Melamed's theory. Melamed himself has a <Bach Jahrbuch 2006> article, "Hat Johann Sebastian Bach die Lukas-Passion BWV 246 aufgeführet?" (pp. 161-169)

Bachdiskographie: Exkurs IV: Kalendarium der Passionsaufführungen unter Bach
1730, 1735: Eine Aufführung der Lukasspassion wird von Daniel R. Melamed bezweifelt [doubted] (BJ 2006)
1745: Keine Passionsmusik bislang nachweisbar, siehe jedoch oben,
evt. Lukaspasion BWV 246 ??(Quelle: Wolff, Christoph, Johann Sebastian Bach 2000 S. 310ff.
http://www.s-line.de/homepages/bachdiskographie/vok_lat/vok_lat_messen.htm

Besides Christpoh Wolff's continuing speculation, there is considerable documentation that Melamed reviews in his <Bach Jahrbuch article a year after publication of his book that shows support of a Bach connection to BWV 246. Here are my responses to the evidence against a Bach performance:

. "We have no performing parts". We have no performing parts sets for various other performances of the annual Passions (1724-50) and we have no performing parts sets for some 14 Bach Cycle 1 cantatas, possibly lost by Friedemann in the estate division with Emmanuel, including BWV 61, 152, 65, 155, 144, ?23, 66, 186, 105, 179, 77, 138, 148, and 90.
. "there is no clearly known date of performance". The same is true for many other Passion performances except those documented through a printed libretto: 1734, Passionsoratorium "Ein Lämmlein geht und trät die Schuld" von. G. H. Stölzel at St. Thomas (Bachdiskographie), and 1744, St. Mark Passion, BWV 247.
. "the passion in its current form is not performable as part of the Leipzig liturgy (for one thing, the chorales do not have the correct melodies for the Leipzig church)". The printed 1734 libretto, examined after Melamed's articles, shows that the Stölzel Passion oratorio (composed at Gotha) performed at the St. Thomas Church (Bach probably directing), departs significantly from the previous liturgical oratorio Passion performances and includes 21 chorales of the Christian Church that have melodies not found in the 1682 Vopelius <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch>, such as the opening "Ein Lämmlein geht und trät die Schuld," "Ein Artzt ist uns gegeben," and "Wenn der Wollust Laster-Kertzen."

I would respectfully suggest that the non-Bach <St. Luke Passion> was a transitional work (copied in c.1730) between the previous, strict liturgical oratorio Passion and the latter Passion oratorios as well as the documented pasticcio Passions (Keiser-Handel and after-Graun) of the 1740s that were presented during Bach's tenure.

As to the notion that we regard the SLP simply "as part of Bach's musical library," then we would have to dismiss Bach's connection to works of Johann Ludwig Bach, Telemann and other composers that we assume Bach presented just because the scores were written out by him.

Luke's Gospel

Luke's Passion account is considered the least anti-Semitic. "The special features by which St. Luke's passion narrative is distinguished are very numerous and important. Just as St. Matthew emphasizes the Messianic character, so St. Luke lays stress on the universal love manifested by our Lord, and sets forth the Passion as the great act by which the redemption of mankind was accomplished. He is the only one who records the statement of Pilate that he found no cause in Jesus; and also the examination before Herod. He alone tells us of the angel who came to strengthen Jesus in his agony in the garden, and, if the reading is right, of the drops of blood which mingled with the sweat which trickled down upon the ground. To St. Luke again we owe our knowledge of no less than three of the seven words from the Cross: the prayer for His murderers; the episode of the penitent thief; and the last utterance of all, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit". Finally it is St. Luke alone who tells us of the effect produced upon the spectators, who so short a time before had been so full of hatred, and how they returned home "striking their breasts". <Catholic Encyclopedia>, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11530a.htm

Peter Smaill wrote (May 13, 2011):
[To William Hoffman] Though not agreeing at all with Spitta that Bach actually composed very much of this work, his choice of key movements is interesting.

When the revised Breitkopf edition of the work was produced by Winfried Radeke in 1979 alas two changes were wrought to the adaptation of the nineteenth century old Bach-Gesellschaft edition by the conscientious Alfred Doerffel. In the plangent Sinfonia (No 72), (the chorale "Ich hab mein Sach Gott heimgestellt), Radeke is so bold as to correct an error as it appeared- the oboe in the urtext plays A flat against A in the choral parts. This he removes as a mistake, and indeed there are many in the original manuscript. But this dissonance is precisely indicated as appropriate to the chorale, in BWV 1113; just as is the echo effect in the Tenor aria with chorale. It symbolises the pain of death, and the echo is the compassionate response of God to man. Dissonance is related to death also in general in Baroque theory and by Schein.

John Butt in his "Music Education and the Art of Performance in the German Baroque" also notes an inexplicable dissonance in Schelle's setting of "Christus der ist mein Leben " the sister chorale. As mentioned, this sister chorale likewise has the word "Sterben ist mein Gewinn", calling for prolongation and/or , I'd suggest therefore, an intentional symbolic dissonance.

Furthermore, as regards the St Luke Passion BWV 246, the instruction in the Doerffel copy that the oboes intoning the chorale in the tenor aria, "may the oboes be muted with paper" (zwar die hoboen mit papier gedaempft") disappears in the modern edition. Apparently so muted they produce an "exquisite whimpering sound". This fascinating historically informed direction is thus lost to us moderns, which I'd like very much to hear one day!

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 13, 2011):
St. Luke Passion, Disparaging Passion Music

William Hoffman wrote:
< Orlando de Lassus (1632-1594): St. Luke Passion, c.1575, Munich; plain chant a capella, polyphonic turbae only; Bärenreiter edition 1961 (no recording). >
Lassus' four late 16th century Passion settings for the Catholic court in Munich are notable in that, unlike Palestrina and Victoria, he sets many of the character utterances as brief two-voice motet-like passages. That would suggest that there was an early Germanic tendency for musical elaboration of the Passions that existed in both the Lutheran and Catholic churches north of the Alps.

All of the pre-Bach passions have been unfairly compared to the St. John and St. Matthew - the St. Luke under discussion here as well. It's an old tradition dating back to Mendelssohn who heard the music of Holy Week in Rome and after a performance of the Victoria St. John Passion sniffed, "Very tame Jews, indeed!"

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 14, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Luke's Gospel
Luke's Passion ais considered the least anti-Semitic. >
EM:
Damning with faint praise? The whole issue of anti-Semitism is a misinterpretation, in any case. *Christianity* was a group of Judaic sects, for the first few centuries, until Constantine found it politically expedient to make it the religion of the Roman Empire.

Bit of an oversimplification, but not inaccurate.

WH:
< "The special features by which St. Luke's passion narrative is distinguished are very numerous and important. Just as St. Matthew emphasizes the Messianic character, so St. Luke lays stress on the universal love manifested by our Lord, and sets forth the Passion as the great act by which the redemption of mankind was accomplished. He is the only one who records the statement of Pilate that he found no cause in Jesus; and also the examination before Herod. >
EM”
Would it not be more impressive if all the reporters agreed on the details?

I do share the emotional desire to make Bachs setting of Luke authentic, if only for the humanitarian aspects.

Love thy neighbor, Epistle for Trinity 1. Give it a try?

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 14, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< All of the pre-Bach passions have been unfairly compared to the St. John and St. Matthew - the St. Luke under discussion here as well. It's an old tradition dating back to Mendelssohn who heard the music of Holy Week in Rome and after a performance of the Victoria St. John Passion sniffed, "Very tame Jews, indeed!" >
(1) What do you suppose he meant by that?

(2) Source of the quotation?

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 14, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< * (1) What do you suppose he meant by that? >
The crowd choruses are essentially harmonizations of the plainsong. Given that the "key" of the chant sounds like benign major key harmonies to modern ears, the choruses would sound very tame to Mendelssohn who was immersed in the drama of the Bach Passions. A sample of the Victoria Passion in an English adaptation is linked below.

It's worth listening to as it is very similar to the Walther setting in Bach's hymn book which he may very well have performed if there was not a concerted setting. Was the Good Friday Passion music presented in only one church in Leipzig? If the Passion was sung in the other churches, Walter's setting was probably used.

Note that the chronista (narrator) is sung by a cleric, hence the rather unpolished performance: Bach's pastor would have taken this role. The choir makes a valiant effort to sing "Hail King of the Jews" with some force, but the Renaissance aesthetic is not one of realism, rather a symbolic contrast between solo and tutti.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HSOBILgYAA

< * (2) Source of the quotation? >
It appears in every biography of Mendelssohn that I've seen: I assume there is a German original as it appears in various forms. Anyone have a source?

 

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