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Cantata BWV 104
Du Hirte Israel, höre
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of April 9, 2006

Doug Cowling wrote (April 9, 2006):
Week of April 9 - Cantata 104

Week of April 9, 2006

Cantata 104, “Du Hirte Israel

1st performance: April 23, 1724 - Leipzig

First Annual Cantata Cycle, 1723-24 (Jahrgang I)

Previous Sunday in 1724 (Quasimodogeniti Sunday)
Cantata BWV 67: Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ
Next Sunday in 1724: (Jubilate Sunday):
Cantata BWV 12, “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen

Libretto:
(Mvt. 1) Psalm 80:1
(Mvts. 2-5) Anon
(Mvt. 6) Cornelius Becker

Text:
See http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/104.html
Translations:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV104.htm

Movements & Scoring:

Mvt. 1: Chorus
“Du Hirte Israel, höre”
Choir: SATB
Instruments: 2 Oda, Tle, 2 Vn, Va, Bc

Mvt. 2: Recitative
“Der höchste Hirte sorgt vor mich”
Soloists: Tenor
Instruments: Bc

Mvt. 3: Aria
“Verbirgt mein Hirte sich zu lange”
Soloists: Tenor
Instruments: Oda, Bc

Mvt. 4: Recitative
“Ja, dieses Wort ist meiner Seelen Speise”
Soloists: Bass
Instruments: Bc

Mvt. 5: Aria
“Beglückte Herde, Jesu Schafe”
Soloists: Tenor & Bass
Instruments: Oda, 2 Vn, Va, Bc

Mvt. 6: Chorale
“Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt”
Choir: SATB
Instruments: 2 Oda, Tle, 2 Vn, Va, Bc

Liturgical Comments:

Written for the Second Sunday after Easter. The name “Misericordias Domini” Sunday comes from the opening words of the Latin introit, “Misericordias Domini plena est terra”. The Gloria in Exclesis was not sung during Lent either in Latin or German and returned in the Easter season: the final chorale in this cantata uses the melody of the German Gloria, "Allein Sei Gott".

The orders for Mass and Vespers can be found in an appendix at the end of this posting. Extracted from Wolff.

Other Cantatas written for Misericordias Domini Sunday
BWV 85 Ich bin ein guter Hirte (Leipzig, 1724)
BWV 112 Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt (Leipzig, 1731)

Texts of Readings:
Readings: Epistle: 1 Peter 2: 21-25; Gospel: John 10: 12-16
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Misericordias.htm

Introduction to Lutheran Church Year:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/index.htm

Piano Vocal Score: (free PDF download)
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV104.htm

Recordings:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV104-2.htm

Music (free streaming download):
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Mus/BWV104-Mus.htm

Chorale:
Allein Gott in Der Höh” (Mvt 6)
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/index.htm

Commentaries:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV104-Guide.htm
http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/bachjs/cantatas/104.html
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=42:86785~T1
http://www.emmanuelmusic.org/notes_trans/notes_cantata/bwv104.htm

Previous Discussion:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV104-D.htm

Performances of Bach Cantatas:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concerts/Concert-2006.htm

Appendix:

ORDER OF SUNDAY & HOLYDAY MASS (Amt) - 7:00 -10:00 am

1. Choir: Hymn in figural or polyphonic setting
2. Organ: Prelude introducing Introit
3. Choir: Introit Motet in figural or polyphomic setting

4. Organ: Prelude introducing Kyrie
5. Choir: Kyrie in figural setting
6. Choir: Gloria in figural setting (minister sings intonation from altar)

7. Minister & Altar Singers (lower form boys):
Salutation & Collect (Prayer of Day) sung from altar
8. Minister: Epistle sung from altar steps

9. Organ: Prelude introduing Hymn
10. Congregation: Hymn of Season (de tempore)
11. Minister & Altar Singers: Gospel with responses sung from altar steps

12. Organ: Prelude introducing cantata
13. Choir: First Cantata

14. Choir:: Credo sung in chorale setting, minister intones from altar steps
15. Organ: Prelude introducing Wir Glauben
16. Congregation: Wir Glauben All (German Credo)

17. Minister: Spoken annoucement of Sermon from altar
18. Organ: Prelude introducing hymn
19. Congregation: Hymn
20. Minister: Text of Sermon & Lord’s Prayer from pulpit
21. Minister: Sermon (8:00 a.m., 1 hour)
22. Minister: Prayers, Announcments & Benediction from pulpit

23. Organ: Prelude introducing hymn
24. Congregation Hymn
25. Mnister & Altar Singers: Preface in Latin from altar
26. Choir: Sanctus in figural setting (without Osanna or Benedictus)
27. Minister: spoken Communion admoniton, Words of Institution
28. Congregation: Distribution of Communion at altar steps

29. Organ: Prelude introducting Communion Cantata
30. Choir: Second Cantata

31. Organ: Prelude introducing hymn
32. Congregation: Hymn during Communion
33. Minister & Altar Singers: Collect with responses sung from altar
34. Minister: spoken Benediction

35. Organ: Prelude introducing Hymn
36. Congregation: Hymn
or
36. Choir: Hymn in figural setting (festal days)

ORDER OF AFTERNOON VESPERS ­ 1:30 pm

1. Organ: Prelude introducing Hymn
|2. Choir: Hymn in figural setting

3. Choir: Cantata (repeated from morning)

4. Organ: Prelude introducing Hymn
5. Congregation: Hymn
6. Minister & Altar Singers: Psalm
7. Minister: Lord’s Prayer from altar steps

8. Organ: Prelude introducing hymn
9. Congregation: Hymn

10. Minister: Annoucement of Sermon from pulpit
11. Congregation: Hymn
12. Minister: Sermon from pulpit
[13. Choir: Passion or narrativer oratorio, no cantata]
14. Minister: spoken Prayers, Collect & Benediction from pulpit

15. Organ: Prelude introducing Magnificat
16. Choir: LatinMagnificat in figural setting
17. Congregation: German Magnificat Hymn (Meine Seele)

18. Minister: spoken Responsary, Collect & Benediction from altar
19. Congregation: Hymn ­ Nun Danket Alle Got

Raymond Joly wrote (April 9, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< [...]
Written for the Second Sunday after Easter. The name “
Misericordias Domini” Sunday comes from the opening words of the Latin introit, “Misericordias Domini plena est terra”.
[...] >
Shall we have to admit that differences of opinion concerning human salvation influenced Latin syntax?

I do not remember where I found the designation "Misericordias Domini" for the second Sunday after Easter; probably in a collection of cantatas by Georg Christian Lehms, for example the GOTTGEFÄLLIGES KIRCHENOPFER both Graupner and J.S.B. turned into music. I noticed that my popish PAROISSIEN ROMAIN had "Misericordia" and let it rest at that, because I was too lazy to read on.

Now Douglas Cowling rouses me from my lethargy. "The earth is full of God's mercy": we all agree (many of us with reservations). But what is "misericordiaS"? PLENA MISERICORDIAE or MISERICORDIA or, if you want it in the plural,MISERICORDIARUM or MISERICORDIIS would be all right. But what is that accusative (plural) instead of a genitive or an ablative?

Kyrieleis.

Doug Cowling wrote (April 9, 2006):
Raymond Joly wrote:
< Now Douglas Cowling rouses me from my lethargy. "The earth is full of God's mercy": we all agree (many of us with reservations). But what is "misericordiaS"? PLENA MISERICORDIAE or MISERICORDIA or, if you want it in the plural, MISERICORDIARUM or MISERICORDIIS would be all right. But what is that accusative (plural) instead of a genitive or an ablative? >
This struck me as odd as well. The Introit of the Roman Mass is "Misericordia Domini plena est terra" which is drawn from Psalm 32:5. The Lutheran calendar retained the Latin names after the Reformation but somehow it became "Misericordias" Sunday.

Psalm 88 has the text "Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo" (I will sing of the mercy of the Lord for ever) and this was often set as a generic motet of praise: the young Mozart wrote a superlative setting.

Any historians of late Latin out there?

Neil Halliday wrote (April 10, 2006):
Movement #1. (Chorus)

The serene, `pastoral' harmony of the opening chorus expresses the blessedness of Paradise ("appear, You who sits above the angels") a welcome relief after the dramatic lows and highs of the Passion and Resurrection.

Homophonic sections surround the two fugal sections. The first fugue on "who You Joseph protect like the sheep" in the order TASB is overtaken in all parts by cries of "appear"; the next time the fugue (same words), in the order of BTAS, is accompanied by exhortations of "hear" in the available upper voices until all vocal lines are used up, once again turning into cries of "appear".

Werner 1964 [4] most gloriously captures the feeling of Paradise, with his tender, flowing, richly symphonic reading (6.18). Richter (4.54) [7] is vigorous, but more earth-bound, and Rilling [8], the fastest of the lot (4.09), is extrovert and joyful, but missing the peacefulness and serenity of the sublime mood that Werner expresses. (The words of the text can be more easily heard in Rilling than in the earlier recordings, but I rate this to be of lesser importance than the effect of the music). Suzuki [14] gives a pleasing performance, in graceful dance tempo (4.25), but lacks the ethereal effect achieved by Werner.

Movement #3. (Tenor aria)
A stepping motive is first presented in a 'canon at the unison' on the oboes, who then engage in lovely flowing runs; this canon next appears between the tenor voice, and the continuo an octave lower. The long note on "lange", initiating a circle of fifth's harmony, tenderly expresses the yearning for reunion with the now absent
Saviour.

Once again, Werner [4] has a most expressive, tender performance, with tenor Huber's pleasant vocal timbre complementing the lovely orchestration. The Richter/Schreier performance [7] loses some of the affecting quality of the aria through the brisk tempo. Rilling [8] is bright and attractive. Suzuki's Sakurada [14] has the tenderness of Huber.

Movement #5. (Bass aria).
David Miell, in the last discussions (2001) made these interesting remarks about this beautiful aria:
"What is it about the wonderful bass aria Beglueckte Herde that seems to me to be so reminiscent of the bass arias at the end of the Passions? Is it simply that it is pastorale 12/8. There is more than a passing resemblance to Mein teurer Heiland of the St John Passion (BWV 245). It is set in the same key. Whittaker notes the 'surprising' occurrence of the C natural on Todes; in the SJP it occurs on 'sterben' with similar effect."

Werner [4] continues with one of the most pleasing performances of this aria (although I notice Philip Peters, in the 2001 discussions, while agreeing with the above assessment of Werner's movements 1 and 3, was disappointed with Staempfli in movement 5). I enjoy both Staempfli/Werner and DFD/Richter [7], who have similar performances (tempi c.8.20, rich strings etc). The enunciation of the low note on "To(-des)" and the long note on "schla(-fe)", in the central section, is particularly impressive and expressive in both performances. I found Stephan MacLeod with Suzuki [14] spoiling the effect on these notes, with his HIP swelling from a base of near inaudibility - the pitch of the note only becomes clear after it has been sounding for a while (reminding me of a current silly, fashionable TV camera technique where a subject, at first fuzzy and unclear, is slowly brought into focus). Rilling's performance [8] is too fast, destroying the pastoral mood (and you can hear the pallet mechanism of the organ pipes in the repeated pairs of notes on the continuo organ).

Werner [4] concludes with a large-scale but expressive performance of the chorale, making this overall the most pleasing performance I have heard of the cantata.

P.S. Interestingly, the recent Werner CD box re-release also contains this conductor's first attempt at BWV 104 - a mono performance from 1957 [3]. The first movement is not satisfactory, because the tempo is so slow that the notes of the ritornello almost fail to stay connected in a meaningful manner, and the recording engineering sounds primitive even for that era.

Richard wrote (April 10, 2006):
Neil Halliday wqrote:
< Movement #1. (Chorus)
The serene, `pastoral' harmony of the opening chorus expresses the blessedness of Paradise ("appear, You who sits above the angels") a welcome relief after the dramatic lows and highs of the Passion and Resurrection. >
There is a beautiful 1960 recording of the work by the Bach Choir and the Amsterdam Philarmonic Orchestra society, conducted by André Vandernoot [5]. It reminds me of the Werner disc [4], and the soloists are brilliant: Heinz Rehfus, Richard Lewis.

Julian Mincham wrote (April 10, 2006):
BWV 104

Two thoughts following Neil's thoughts on the musical structures of this work.

1 This work is unusual NOT because it includes a special pastorale movement but, because it includes, perhaps uniquely, two of them (movements 1 and 5) Both deal with the theme of the chorale--the faithful shepherd and his flocks--both are built upon very obvious and conventional pastorale themes of the time. Both use compound time, associated in the C18 with pastorale themes--one 9/8 (which, for the non musician, is three bar, each subdivided into threes). Both, significantly, are set in major keys. (The pastorale background in the first movement, incidentally, makes the chorale cries of 'hore'---hear me--the more powerful by contrast).

2 All this draws attention to Bach's overall tonal planning of the cantatas. Excluding the recits (not because they are unimportant but because their tonal planning follows different principles) we find that of the 4 remaining movements, 3 are in major keys. Whenever we find that the majority of the movements of a Bach cantata are in major (or minor ) keys it is always instructive to look at the one or two which break the pattern. In this case it is the tenor aria (no 3).

The point is that in planning the overall structure of the work, Bach looked for the opposite or opposing point of view, the antithesis, the different slant. Clearly the 'alarms', 'desert foes' and 'halting steps' in the text of the tenor aria paint an antithesis to the pictures of shepherds' primitive, natural pleasures. This goes beyond the obvious fact of the 'stepwise' movement of the opening motive. It demonstrates Bach's overview of the structure of the work and his requirements for texts which allowed him to exprethese contrasting emotional and philosophical ideas within the one work. Certainly, when we get to the second cycle we can see many examples where he seemed to have a clear overview of the entire text and a definite idea of the ways in which the use and balance of major and minor keys represented it. Personally, I think that he probably made specific demands upon his librettists is order to get the overall textural structure that he knew would serve him best in musical terms. Certainly, this cantata demonstrates the maj/min principles of a macro-structure which seemed to be important to him. Moral--when the majority of the movements in Bach cantata seem to be in a major or minor key, look closely at the few that aren't--they may provide the key to the work!

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 10, 2006):
< BWV 104
1 This work is unusual NOT because it includes a special pastorale movement but, because it includes, perhaps uniquely, two of them (movements 1 and 5) Both deal with the theme of the chorale--the faithful shepherd and his flocks--both are built upon very obvious and conventional pastorale themes of the time. Both use compound time, associated in the C18 with pastorale themes--one 9/8 (which, for the non musician, is three bar, each subdivided into threes). Both, significantly, are set in major keys. >
Even more than that: those are the two most pastoral major keys (D and G majors), where the continuo organist is playing/reading in C and F majors and getting the calmest character.

The B minor aria makes stark contrast against this--with the organist reading/playing in A minor--since these simplest minor keys (fewest sharps or flats) have the strongest variation between tonic and dominant. That is, the E major and A major triads on the organ have the brightest and most active sound, needing to move forward in resolution back to tonic. From the perspective of the orchestra and singers these are F# major and B major....as, for example, in the tenor's recitative here, movement #2 making dramatic use of F# major in various inversions, and especially on "Sorgen" in root position.

Details about those keys: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/larips/vocal.html

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (April 10, 2006):
Richard Lewis (was RE: Week of April 9 - Cantata 104)

Richard wrote:
< There is a beautiful 1960 recording of the work by the Bach Choir and the Amsterdam Philarmonic Orchestra society, conducted by André Vandernoot [5]. It reminds me of the Werner disc [4], and the soloists are brilliant: Heinz Rehfus, Richard Lewis >
I don't know the recording in question [5] but, If anyone has not heard Richard Lewis's Handel arias (most recently on a already out of print Dutton CD; I long had it on LP of course), that person is missing some of the most affecting and amazing interpretative singing conceivable.

His Jephtha is simple something which I almost cannot endure.

The two Jephtha complete recordings which I have, that of Creed which I find excellent and that of Gardiner [13] which I am less impressed with, when either is juxtaposed simply to Lewis's two arias, that's not a nice thing to do:-)

I wonder why "affecting" and "affected" are indicative of opposite effects and causes, I guess.

Peter Smaill wrote (April 12, 2006):
The extensive exposition of the background to this Cantata, "Du Hirte Israel, Höre" by Thomas Braatz in the last round of discussions, and the impact of other contributors, leads again to the view, not always universal, that there is a hidden gem - deceptively appealing via its rustic pedal point, pastorale-type rythyms and instrumentation, yet highly crafted.

One of the emerging themes in our discussion is the connections in structure and style with the SJP (BWV 245) which was performed only a few weeks before. In the last round, David Mieh noted the vocal similarity of the aria "Beglueckte Herde" to a tenor aria in the SJP. Also, an unexpected transition to C at "Todes", which resonates with the amazing descent of keys in the various settings of the Passion Chorale in the SMP (BWV 244) - four sharps,three flats, two sharps, one flat , then arriving at the natural.

Following from Thomas' discussion of the prominence of the imprecation "Halt!" in BWV 67, there is I think a stylistic development occurring which also features in the marvel of a chorus, BWV 104/1. Here the imprecations are "Höre" and "Erschallet", the latter very effective as its outburst contrasts with the limpid tenor line at "der du Joseph hütest", made especially attractive and elastic by the 9/8 signature.

It is perhaps to the SMP that we can go to find perfected this technique of a single word shot out against an elongated choral line , certainly in the opening Chorus "Kommt ihr Töchter" with its insistent "Wo?" and similar interjections, and in the interchange "Lasst ihn! Haltet! Bindet nicht!", set against a similarly elongated vocal background to that provided by the long line of sheep (IMO) described in the word painting of BWV 104/1.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 14, 2006):
Thanks to everyone for the weekly listening comments. As the result of home computer hardware problems, I will not be posting comments for a week or so. That's what they tell me, I am planning on the <or so>. I will be reading posts and listening, and will catch up when I can.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 20, 2006):
BWV 104

There has been little discussion of this music (BWV 104) amidst the overwhelming Judas (and related) chatter, Thanks as always to those of you who did take the trouble to post. Despite my limited computer access, I do want to record one observation for future reference.

BWV 104 appears to be the first prominent exposure in Leipzig music for the Good Shepherd. I did not try to research this at all, so correction is welcome. The reference does not occur in the 1724 SJP (BWV 245), but does in the new closing chorus for 1725 SJP (BWV 245). I would enjoy trying to follow this thread through the coming year or so of discussions.

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 20, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
>>BWV 104 appears to be the first prominent exposure in Leipzig music for the Good Shepherd. I did not try to research this at all, so correction is welcome. I would enjoy trying to follow this thread through the coming year or so of discussions.<<
It would appear that almost all of the important references to Christ, the Good Shepherd, are centered on the Sunday "Misericordias Domini" where the readings for that Sunday combine the 23rd Psalm with John 10: 12-16 in which this subject is treated: BWV 85, BWV 104, BWV 112. Some other indirect references, not as clear, occur in BWV 190/4 and BWV 57/2 (the latter being the least clear).

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 104: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

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