Sinfonia in D major BWV 1045
Discussions - Part 2
Discussion in the Week of July 28, 2013
Continue from Part 1
William Hoffman (July 27, 2013):
Sinfonia in D, BWV 1045: Intro., Use, Bach's Sinfonias
[Note: Cantata BWV 216, Vergnügte Pleißenstadt, Wedding (1728), scheduled for this week's discussion, will be discussed in the coming BCW Discussions, Secular Weddings:
Nov 17, 2013, 202, Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten, Wedding (1717-1723?), and
Nov 24, 2013, 210, O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit, Wedding (1738-1741?), along with Quodlibet BWV 524 (fragment), and Cantatas BWV Anh. 196 (text only) and BWV 34a (parody).]
Sinfonia in D to Church Cantata BWV 1045
Between 1742 and 1746 Bach virtually adapted a revised version of an earlier (?Weimar) violin concerto movement as the Sinfonia in D Major, BWV 1045. The surviving music adds a closing cadence in another hand. The title in Bach's hand includes four voices plus three trumpets and drums, suggesting an opening sinfonia leading to a sacred chorus. Bach's addition of three trumpets and drums with flourishes and pulses, especially in tutti passages, at this late date suggests a festive sacred service, either a feast day or special service such as the annual installation of the Leipzig Town Council.
Sinfonia, BWV 1045, Details & Discography, see BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV1045.htm
Discussions, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV1045-D.htm
Sinfonias in Bach Cantatas, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Sinfonias.htm
Provenance & More, Thomas Braatz, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV1045-Ref.htm
Complete Recordings (10), see Details & Discography.
The recent liner notes of Klaus Hofmann on the Masaaki Suzuki recording (Discography No. 9, 2009) are the most comprehensive and informed (see http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Suzuki-C45c[BIS-SACD1801].pdf ). Hofmann notes that the last of the six pages of Bach's manuscript score "breaks off" at bar 150 with the cover sheet in another's hand a bar and a half cadence written out.
Christoph Wolff in the liner notes to the Ton Koopman recording (No. 7), 2001, observes and suggests:
"Not only are the final bars of the sinfonia missing (they have been supplied for this recording), the remaining movements of the cantata are also missing, which were detached from the surviving score in about 1800 at the latest and whose whereabouts are unknown. The indicated scoring, solo violin, three trumpets with drums, two oboes, strings and continuo, is unusual lavish and indicates that the work could have been written for a particular occasion - perhaps for one of the church high feasts or for the services for the change of council held in August every year." [ http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Koopman-C14c[AM-3CD].pdf ]
Another recording of BWV 1045 is Helmut Rilling (No. 6, Reconstructed Violin Concertos, Hänssler Edition Bachakademie Vol. 138, 2000, 5:45). Dr. Andreas Bomba liner notes. "In this recording, some bars from the ritornello have been added as a da capo for the sake of musical unity" in the final bars.
Videos are available of the Bach collection recordings of Koopman/Erato (Discography No. 7, 6:33, 6:22), Suzuki/BIS (No. 9, 6:59), Harnoncourt/Teldec (No. 2, 7:03), and Rilling/Hänssler (No. 6, 5:47).
Peace Dankfest Services
Bach may have used the Sinfonia to introduce a festive cantata for one or both special services celebrating the Peace Treaty of the Second Silesian War in Leipzig, January 1, 1746. In the fall of 1745, Prussian troops had occupied Leipzig. Two church events are documented. The first was "a special academic service of thanksgiving on Saturday, December 25, 1745 at the Paulinerkirche, the university church, to celebrate the Peace of Dresden at the conclusion of the 2nd Silesian War. Leipzig had been occupied by the Prussian troops of Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau" [Douglas Cowling, BCW Cantata 191 Discussion 3, http://bach-cantatas.com/BWV191-D3.htm]. Two weeks later a community service of thanksgiving was held on Sunday, January 9, the First Sunday after Epiphany, in the Nikolai Church
For the Christmas Day 1745 "Dankfest" service, various Bach scholars (Gregory Butler, John Butt and Robin Leaver) agree that the Latin setting, Cantata BWV 191, "Gloria in excelsis Deo," was presented in two parts. Before the sermon, the Lesser Doxology, chorus "Gloria" and "et in terra pax" from the Kyrie-Gloria, <Missa>, BWV 232 (1733) was presented, text unaltered, running 6½ minutes. After the sermon, the Greater Doxology was presented in a contrafaction from the <Missa>: the G Major soprano-tenor duet with flute solo, "Gloria patri" from the "Domine Deus," and the concluding chorus response, "Sicut erat in principio," from the "Cum sancto spiritu," both running about 10 minutes.
The opening and closing choruses are written in D Major while the Sinfonia in D Major, BWV 1045, could have been presented before the "Gloria," giving a fitting introduction and balance to the two-part music. The extant BWV 1045 manuscript in Bach's hand breaks off at the end of the last page at the beginning of the tutti ritornello conclusion. Another, later hand added a 1¼ measure cadence, marked "Adagio" and "Allegro" with fermatas, written under the first violins (see BCW Manuscript, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BGA/BWV1045-MS.pdf).
Further, before the cantata, there were organ chorale preludes. "Butler also proposes that Bach was the organist who "preludised" at the service, that is introduced hymns and choral works with chorale-preludes," says Cowling (Ibid.). Butler suggests that Bach revised the "Fughetta super Allein Gott in Der Höhe" (in C Major, BWV 677, German "Gloria") to produce the large-scale fugal Chorale-prelude (BWV 547 in C Major), both of which were played at the service." [Butler's article appeared as "JSB Gloria in Excelsis Deo: Musik für ein Leipziger Dankfest," Bach <Jahrbuch 78> (1992), pp. 65-71.]
The other "Dankfest" later in early January may have involved a reperformance of the 1730 Chorale Cantata BWV 192, "Nun danket alle Gott" (Now thank we all our God), an undesignated work fit for festive occasions such as Reformation Day, New Years, and special services of thanks and praise. The chorale was sung with the <Te Deum> at various Dankfest services. Bach also had composed a setting of Luther's 1529 German hymn version as a four-part chorale with extended cadence in C Major, BWV 328 (c.1730) as well as its companion, Miscellaneous Organ Chorale Prelude BWV 725. Also at that service, Bach could have presented the organ prelude and hymn settings of the Te Deum as well as the Sinfonia in D immediately preceding the three-movement pure-hymn Cantata BWV 192, containing opening and closing chorale choruses chorus in G Major, and middle soprano-bass duet in D Major.
Sinfonia Models/Adaptations (Reincarnation or Resurrection)
Extant are two similar adaptations of a sinfonia and chorus, in Cantata 146 and the Birthday Shepherd Cantata and Easter Oratorio parody, BWV 249(a). The first two movements of the Clavier Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052 may have originated as a violin concerto from Bach's later years in Weimar (1714-1717). Later it was adapted as the sinfonia and opening chorus in Cantata BWV 146, "Wir müssen viel Trübsal" for Jubilate Sunday (Easter 3) in 1726 or 1728. The two-part Sinfonia and vocal movement of BWV 249(a) of 1725, including three trumpets and drums, is based on a presumed, unknown concerto model.
The addition of trumpets and drums also is rare in Bach's vocal music adaptations. An example is the Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D, BW1069. In 1725, Bach used the French Overture (grave introduction and fugue set to the Georg Christian Lehms text) as the opening of his Christmas Day Cantata, BWV 110, "Unser Mund sei voll Lachens," repeated in 1728. It is thought that Bach added the trumpets and drums to the original version, which dates to Weimar and probably was performed in Cöthen.
Today the "original concerti" published and performed as reconstructions have an "R" attached, such as BWV 1052R as a violin concerto. The original violin concerto music may have undergone adaptation, like arrangements of Cöthen violin music (Partita in E, BWV 1006/1, Sonata in C, 1019a, BWV ?97/4a, ?BWV 209/1a) for other Leipzig cantatas sinfonias or arias.
Bach primarily composed sinfonias to open cantatas and cantatas Part Two. They were written throughout his formative career from 1707, BWV 106/1 Sonatina, to the mid 1740s, BWV 1045, an adaptation of a movement from a "lost" violin concerto. Bach's sinfonia efforts were focused on works of "disparate character" (studies of various forms) in Weimar and to the Leipzig years 1725-31 when Bach often adapted now-lost violin/oboe and extant Brandenburg concerto movements, says keyboard specialist Richard D. P. Jones in "Sinfonia," <JSB:Oxford Composers Companion>, 1999:452. One original work that quotes a chorale is Cantata BWV 75, "Die Elenden sollen essen," sinfonia in G Major (Mvt. No. 8), opening part 2, with the trumpet quoting the melody, "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, supported with strings and continuo. It was Bach's first cantata as the Leipzig music director and cantor, for the First Sunday after Trinity, May 30, 1723
Bach's earliest cantatas involve concise instrumental introductions (BWV 4, 150, and 196) for strings and basso continuo as well as the intimate, antique sound of pairs of recorders and violas da'gamba (BWV 106). That special chamber music sound continued in Weimar, notably with Cantatas BWV 152/1 and 18/1 as well as solo winds in BWV 12/1, 21/1, and 182/1. The festive Easter Sunday piece, called "Sonata," BWV 31/1, with trumpets and drums, set the tone for similar works in Leipzig, BWV 120/a6=29/1 and 249/1, 2.
The Weimar "disparate character" pieces involve a chaconne (BWV 18), prelude and fugue (BWV 152) and concerto slow movement (BWV 12 and 21). French Ouvertures are found in BWV 75/1, 76/8, and 152/1. Bach's oldest son, Friedemann, is supposed to have played the concerted organ part adaptations from keyboard and Brandenburg concerti: BWV 35/1, 49/1, 52/1, 146/1, 169/1, and 188/1 in Leipzig. Special note is made of the pastorale sinfonias opening the BWV 208 Hunting Cantata, and opening the Christmas 2 Festival, BWV 248/10, with the shepherd's sound of pairs of flutes, oboes d'amore and hunting oboes. The last two categories show Bach, originator of the keyboard concerto, beating Georg Frideric to the punch.
Foremost among sinfonia recording compilations is Helmuth Rilling's "Complete" (26) Hänssler (Musical Heritage 2006) 2 CDs, 5286579, followed by Helmut Wünscherman on Phillips (BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Winschermann.htm , C-3) and Nonesuch LP H-71129
Discogs.com , and the E. Power Biggs/Richard Kapp album, "Sinfonias and Orchestral Movements from Cantatas" (Sony CD SBK 62829, Amazon.com.
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYteXS21wVQ (with scores, Richter 7)
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iw3eH7YKbjU&list=RD02dYteXS21wVQ (with scores, various groups, Empire Brass, Rilling, Vozzella)
Sinfonias to Cantatas
1. BWV 4/1 - Christ lag in Todesbanden; Easter, 1707; str, bc; Venetian style
2. BWV 12/1 - Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen; Eas.Sun +3, 1714; ob, str, bc
3. BWV 18/1 - Gleich wie der Regen und Schnee; Sexagesima, 1715; 2rec, 4va, bc(+vc, bn)
4. BWV 21/1 - Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis; Tr.+3, 1714; ob, str, bc(+bn); trio
5. BWV 29/1 - Wir danken dir Gott; Council, 1731; conc.og, 3 tp, ti, str bc (orig. 1006/1)
6. BWV 31/1 - Der Himmel lacht (Sonata); Eas., 1715; 3tp, ti, 3ob, tai, str., bc(+bn)
7. BWV 35/1 - Geist und Seele wird verwirret; Tr.+12, 1726; conc.og., 2ob, obd'c, str, bc (=1059/1)
8. BWV 35/5 - Geist und Seele; same instr (=1059/3)
9. BWV 42/1 - Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats; Eas.+1, 1725; ob, str, bn, bc; dc (vn. work)
10. BWV 49/1 - Ich geh und such emit verlangen; Tr.+20, 1726; od'a, con. og, bc; dc
11. BWV 52/1 - Falsche Welt, dir trau' ich nicht; Tr.+23, 1726; 2hn, 3ob, str, bc(+bn) (=1046/1)
12. BWV 156/1 - Ich steh mit einem fuß im Grabe; Eph.3,1729 (ob., str, bc) (=1056/2)
13. BWV 75/1 - Die Elenden sollen essen; Tr.+1, 1723; tp, 2 ob, obd'a, str, bc(+bn) (Fr. Ov.)
14. BWV 75/8 - Die Elenden; tp, str, bc (chorale adapt.)
15. BWV 76/8 - Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes; Tr.+2, 1723; oba'd, vad'g, bc (Fr. Ov.)
16. BWV 106/1 - Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit; memor., 1707; 2rec, 2v'dg, bc; Sonatina
17. BWV 120a/5 - Herr Gott, beherrscher alert Dinge; wedding 1729 (=29/1, no tps, ti.)
18. BWV 142/1 - Uns ist ein Kind geboren (Concerto); Xmas, 1712-13; 2fl, 2ob, str, bc; ?Kuhnau
19. BWV 146/1 - Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal; Eas.+6, 1727;con.og; 2ob, obd'c, str, bc (=1052/1)
20. BWV 150/1 - Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, memorial, 1708; 2vn, bc(+bn)
21. BWV 152/1 - Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn; Sun.a.Xmas, 1715; fl, ob, vad'a, vad'g, bc (Fr.Ov.)
22. BWV 156/1 - Ich steh' mit einem Fuss im Grabe; Eph. Sun. +3 1729; ob, str, bc (=1056/2)
23. BWV 169/1 - Gott soll allein; Tr.+18, 1726; conc.og, obd'a, obd'c, str, bc (d.c.=1053/1)
24. BWV 174/1 - Ich liebe den Höchsten; Pen., 1729; 2hn, 2ob, obd'c, str. Bc(+bn) (=1048/1)
25. BWV 182/1 - Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (Sonata); Pl.Sun., 1714; fl, str, bc
26. BWV 188/1 - Ich habe meibe Zuversicht; Tr.+21, 1728; obb.og; 2ob, obd'c, str, bc(=1052/3)
27. BWV 196/1 - Der Herr denket an uns; wedding, 1708; og, str, cb
28. BWV 209/1 - Non sa che sia dolore; farewell, ?1729; fl, str, bc (d.c.) (?lost oboe concerto)
29. BWV 212/1 - Mer Hahn en neue Oberkeet (Overture); burlesque, 1742; vn, va, bc
30. BWV 248/10 - Christmas Oratorio; Xmas 2, 1734; 2fl, 2ob d'a, 2obd'c, str,bc (pastorale)
31. BWV 249/1, 2 - Easter Oratorio, Eas., 1725; 3tp, ti; 2 rec., 2ob, obd'a, str, bc(+bn.) (lost con.)
32. BWV1045 - no title, 1743-46, opening sinf.; vn, 3tp, ti, 2ob, str, bc; frag. (lost vn.con.)
33. BWV 1046a=1071 - Sinfonia in F, ?1713; 2hn, 2fl., 2ob, bn, str, bc (?opening, BWV 208)
Bach also used the term "sinfonia" in the 15 Keyboard Inventions, BWV 787-801, notes Jones (Ibid.). For
BCW Details, see Three-Part Inventions (Sinfonias) (15), for keyboard BWV 787-801, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/NVD/BWV772-801.htm and Thomas Braatz' extensive Provenance at BCW,
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV772-801-Ref.htm, as well as the BCW Discussion, Blair Johnston (AMG), AMG .
In addition, as Jones observes, Bach used the term "Sinfonia" to open the Partita for keyboard No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 (BC L2), See Robert Cummings' BCW (AM) Commentary, AMG.
Kim Patrick Clow (July 27, 2013):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Sinfonia in D to Church Cantata BWV 1045
Between 1742 and 1746 Bach virtually adapted a revised version of an earlier (?Weimar) violin concerto movement as the Sinfonia in D Major, BWV 1045. The surviving music adds a closing cadence in another hand. The title in Bach's hand includes four voices plus three trumpets and drums, suggesting an opening sinfonia leading to a sacred chorus. Bach's addition of three trumpets and drums with flourishes and pulses, especially in tutti passages, at this late date suggests a festive sacred service, either a feast day or special service such as the annual installation of the Leipzig Town Council. >
I've read somewhere that the original violin concerto may been by another composer; and Bach re-arranged the piece in light for its adaptation for the cantata that was unfortunately later lost. It's pure conjecture on my
part, but I assume someone discovered this manuscript, and the occasion for the cantata was so obscure, but whoever yanked this sinfonia out wanted it for a performance (maybe it was a violin player). I cringe at the notion of someone ripping pages out of a manuscript, but considering that the only manuscript copy of Biber's Salzburg Mass was slated for the trash until someone realized what it was.
I've recently encountered one of Stoelzel's cantata sinfonias (he calls it a "sonata") that opens the 2nd part of a Epiphany cantata, scored for a large orchestra (trumpets, timpani, strings) and unexpectedly, doesn't end on a cadence, but leads immediately into a four voice accompagnatoo recitative. Beautiful music.
Thanks again Will for all your hard work with the write-ups; they're wonderful!
Douglas Cowling (July 27, 2013):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I cringe at the notion of someone ripping pages out of a manuscript, but considering that the only manuscript copy of Biber's Salzburg Mass was slated for the trash until someone realized what it was. >
I gasped in the scene of 'Amadeus' when the court censor was shown supposedly ripping out pages of "The Marriage of Figaro" because it had prohibited dance music.
The Biber 'Salzburg Mass' was almost thrown in the trash? Hmmmm ...
Claudio Di Veroli (July 27, 2013):
Thanks everybody for the interesting comments.
Harnoncourt's recording of 1969 was the first one with period instruments, an eye-opener at the time and still a pleasure to hear. The Concentus Musicus had "primitive" way of playing that is now lost: most present-day recordings are just too perfect, and they may exemplify how top players of the time performed, but not certainly the average performance, including one lead by JSBach.
Incidentally, and based on similar cases and on lots of details in the score, I strongly believe that this piece is not by JSBach at all, but a copy by Bach of somebody else's work, something he did at times. IMHO, too many elements do not match the way JSBach composed. Beautiful and impressive it is, but also strongly imbalanced and formally imperfect, something hard to find even in the earliest of JSB works. With a few Bachian elements, however, this looks like the work of one of JSB pupils.
After I wrote the above, I googled and found in
the comment: "Although most of the manuscript was written by J. S. Bach, his authorship of the work is uncertain." I certainly agree.
William Hoffman (July 28, 2013):
William Hoffman replies to Claudio Di Veroli:
Klaus Hofmann's liner notes in the Suzuki recording, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Suzuki-C45c[BIS-SACD1801].pdf , found at BWV 1045, Details & Discography (No. 9), http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV1045.htm , says:
"Stylistically the movement is hard to place. The first striking feature is the extremely virtuosic nature of the solo part, which employs an unusually large number of double-stops and arpeggios. In contrast to this, however, we find (by Bach's standards) an unusual lack of thematic working-out and of motivic connection between the solo passages and the thematic material of the ritornelli. With its striking opening, its signal-like broken chords and the sequences that follow, the opening orchestral ritornello betrays its orientation towards Italian models, but the relationship between the two thematic elements seems rather unevenly balanced. These stylistic characteristics have caused various scholars to doubt that the piece is based on an original composition by Bach at all. There is, however, insufficient cause to raise such a question. It seems far more likely that Bach here turned to a relatively early composition, perhaps from his Weimar period, around 1712-13 or even earlier. At that time, Italian concert pieces and Italian violin virtuosity were making an impact in Germany, partly thanks to print ed music from Amsterdam (e.g. the Op.3 concertos by Vivaldi) and partly imported by travelling musicians who crossed the Alps, causing enthusiasm and a creative bustle among the composers of Bach's generation. This therefore might be a later arrangement of an early work -a piece that reflects the historical arrival of the Italian concerto style in German music."
© Klaus Hofmann 2008
Your statement needs supporting evidence: "Incidentally, and based on similar cases and on lots of details in the score, I strongly believe that this piece is not by JSBach at all, but a copy by Bach of somebody else's work, something he did at times."
Yes, Bach did arrange other composers' works, but all are of high quality from which Bach was learning in Weimar. These involve "Bach: Concerti, BWV 972-987 - [& BWV 592a, clavier] arrangements of other composers," Amazon.com. These are 17 instrumental concerti of the Italians Vivaldi, A. and B. Marcello, and Torelli, as well as the Germans Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar, and Telemann. The sources of almost all are identified or attributed to specific composers. Only the composer of one, "Concerto No. 12 in G Minor," BWV 983, is unknown but possibly is Bach.
Here are the initial liner notes:
Sinfonia in D major for violin and orchestra, BWV1045
This recording concludes with a piece that is difficult to categorize within Bach's ouvre: the sinfonia for an unknown cantata (BWV1045). The genre itself is easy enough to determine: it is a concert piece for violin and orchestra -specifically for a `large' orchestra comprising not only strings but also three trumpets, timpani and two oboes. Beyond that, however, the piece poses many riddles. These begin with the way it has come down to us: the source is a score -or to be more precise a score fragment -in Bach's own handwriting. This is six pages long, and the last page breaks off at bar 150. On the cover sheet that encloses the fragment, some body else has then added one-and-a-half bars of ending. Whether this comes from Bach's original or is a free invention can no longer be determined. It is also impossible to tell why the manuscript breaks off: the instrumental section may have been separated from what came after it so that it could be used elsewhere, or Bach may simply have abandoned the composition.
Bach's score is labelled `Concerto. a 4 Voci. 3 Trombe, Tamburi, 2 Hautb:, Violino Conc: 2 Violini, Viola e Cont.' (`Concerto for four voices, three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, solo violin, two violins, viola and continuo'). The term `concerto' might have indicated a purely instrumental work, but the mention of four voices reveals that it was indeed a vocal work, evidently a cantata, which Bach often referred to as a `concerto' in thesense of `vocal concerto'. The movement has the title `sinfonia', the usual name for the instrumental introduction to a cantata. Before the title we find the prayer formula `J.J' (=Jesu juva, i.e. `Jesus, help!'). At first glance this would seem to point towards a church cantata, but Bach also uses this formula in the scores of secular works, and the cantata in question may have been one such piece.
One thing at least can be said with certainty: Bach's handwriting and the watermark on the paper allow us to date the manuscript to the years 1743-46. And furthermore: the fact that the manuscript is by and large a fair copy indicates that it is not a newly composed piece, but rather one that Bach adapted from an existing composition. Corrections and uncer- tainties in the handwriting show that he added the trumpet, timpani and oboe parts directly into this score, the original having been for strings and continuo alone.
Claudio Di Veroli (July 28, 2013):
[To William Hoffman] Thank you, William, very interesting material!
Just a few comments. You wrote:
< Your statement needs supporting evidence: "Incidentally, and based on similar cases and on lots of details in the score, I strongly believe that this piece is not by JSBach at all, but a copy by Bach of somebody else's work, something he did at times." >
Why should I give evidence I do not have? I just wrote down an informed opinion in this open forum, not a paper in a peer-reviewed magazine. A paper that I would never write, as I am not a scholar in Baroque composition. Also, and by the same token, the statement you quote: "These stylistic characteristics have caused various scholars to doubt that the piece is based on an original composition by Bach at all. " also needs supporting evidence. However, rather than asking for the evidence, I am just happy to know that I am not alone in my suspicion that the work did not originate in Bach.
> "Yes, Bach did arrange other composers' works, but all are of high quality from which Bach was learning in Weimar. These involve "Bach: Concerti, BWV 972-987 - [& BWV 592a, clavier] arrangements of other composers ...."
Works that any harpsichordist knows very well: you will find in the web and in YouTube that I have played some of them in public.
Douglas Cowling (July 28, 2013):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Bach's score is labelled `Concerto. a 4 Voci. 3 Trombe, Tamburi, 2 Hautb:, Violino Conc: 2 Violini, Viola e Cont.' (`Concerto for four voices, three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, solo violin, two violins, viola and continuo'). The term `concerto' might have indicated a purely instrumental work, but the mention of four voices reveals that it was indeed a vocal work, evidently a cantata, which Bach often referred to as a `concerto' in the sense of `vocal concerto'. >
"Concerto" was Bach's normal preference of term rather than "cantata". Perhaps this list should really be the "Bach-Concerto" list.
I still remain intrigued by the question of what kind of prelude preceded cantatas which begin "ex abrupto" with no orchestral introduction, especially when the scoring is lavish. I've asked this question before and I suppose my answer would be that Bach "preludised" spectacularly on the organ before cantatas such as:
"Gott ist mein König", BWV 71
"Ein Feste Burg", BWV 80
"Es Erhub sich ein Streit", BWV 19
"Nun Ist das Heil", BWV 50
All of these cantatas would be good candidates for an orchestral sinfonia, especially BWV 19 and 50 where the entry of the trumpets and timpani is delayed until the end of the fugal exposition and would balance a brassy
sinfonia like the Sinfonia in D. That effect is quite stunning in "Wir Danken Dir" BWV 29 which opens with Bach's Big Baroque Bumble-Bee arrangement of the E Major Violin Partita.
And I think I've opined before that it would not be difficult to have the parts for a concerto movement on the players' desks beside that of the Cantata.
Julian, how many Bach cantatas begin "ex abrupto"?
Julian Mincham (July 28, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Julian, how many Bach cantatas begin "ex abrupto"? >
I am not sure without looking them up but I don't think it's a lot. I think that the preludising before the opening chorus of cantatas like BWV 50 is very likely. Another possible solution occurred to me too. Could it be that the very thorough musical education that the boys undoubtedly had included developing a sense of absolute pitch from an early age? This too, would solve the problem of finding the first note.
Returning to the 'riddle wrapped within an enigma' of BWV 1045, I agree, for too many reasons to repeat here, that it is unlikely to be an original composition by Bach.Just a glance at parts of the score (e.g. from bar 17 on and elsewher) indicates that it doe not even 'look like' a Bach score, having the appearance of something much more 'galant' in style. THere is virtually no equivalent example of violin writing like this in the cantata canon with the possible exception of the alto aria from BWV 86. But this too is different, being the only aria in which Bach used a shorthand notation for the application of a particular figuration and the double stopping is entirely suited to the instrument unlike some of the crudities from 1045.
If it was by Bach, stylistic elements indicate that it must have been a very early work. Why would he wish to resurrect this in the 1740s? He was not composing church cantatas then (Dürr, by the way, scotches the idea that it might have been a 'secular' cantata which might have solved some of the problems) and Bach had not composed cantatas with large sinfonias for many years. Why would he wish to do so now with a relatively inferior one? Those who have read my essays, (and those of others) will note that Bach was particularly scrupulous about the choosing of just the right sinfonia for any particular cantata.
It really does not make much sense, the mystery made the more insoluble because it appears to have been written in Bach's hand. I think the question here is 'was it?' The Bach Archive leipzig has done much work on the handwriting of the score and I believe it has established the fact that some copyists appeared to copy Bach's score writing style and some works, thought to have been written out by him, have turned out not to have been. I wondered if it has been absolutely established that this is a genuine Bach score. If not, it solves several of the existing inscrutable problems.
If so, we are back to square one of course.
Douglas Cowling (July 28, 2013):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Another possible solution occurred to me too. Could it be that the very thorough musical education that the boy undoubtedly had included developing a sense of absolute pitch from an early age? This too, would solve the problem of finding the first note. >
Many good singers have a very reliable Relative Pitch in which they can intellectually find the pitch from a larger context. For instance, an attentive choir singing the Mass in B Minor can listen to the orchestra tuning and has no problem singing the opening B minor chord without "getting their note."
Absolute Pitch is something people are born with and can't be taught. Some singers complain that the "gift" is a real headache. Most singers do not mind if "Modern Pitch" (A = 440) or "Baroque Pitch" (A = 415) is used. Those with Absolute Pitch have to intellectually adjust when reading the music. And of course, if the choir is singing unaccompanied and the collective piich begins to sag, it is agony for those with absolute pitch. I remember once singing the Sanctus of the Bruckner "Mass in E Minor" which begins with two pages of unaccompanied singing after which a full wind and brass ensemble enters. Somehow the pitch slipped in the
unaccompanied opening. One singer with absolute pitch said it was like being tied to a railway track, knowing that a polytonal collision was approaching.
Bach made notes that he would normally "preludize" before all cantatas, even those with an orchestral introduction, so it would appear that he saw those improvisations as part of a practical continuum that stretched from the time of Gabrieli in the late 16th centuto Mozart in the late 18th century. Bach's singers were trained to take their pitch from these "intonazione", and McCreesh and Leaver suggest that the players were trained to tune discreetly during these preludes. Staying in tune for three hours in a cold German church starting at 7 am on a wintry Christmas Day must have been a logistical challenge. We don't know what the contemporary tolerance was for extraneous talking and tuning in Bach's time, but it is unlikely that the "Bayreuth Hush" of the modern concert hall after the high-formalized tuning was the expected norm.
Neil Mason (July 28, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Absolute Pitch is something people are born with and can't be taught. Some singers complain that the "gift" is a real headache. Thought I'd add my two bits worth to this subject. >
The first of the above sentences is one I cannot agree with. The second is 100% correct.
Of course it used to be thought that absolute pitch could not be taught. But Suzuki in Japan (after whom the Suzuki method is named) found that if kids were young enough they could indeed be taught absolute pitch. I can't remember exactly where the threshhold lies, but it was certainly under six years old.
(Off the topic, language acquisition is much the same. Young kids can be effortlessly multi-lingual, never confusing the separate languages with each other).
Yes, the "gift" can be a real headache, but not always. I have just been handed my part for a piece just composed for vocal quartet with small instrumental ensemble. My score has 40 bars rest, after which I have to sing an E. The other three singers have perfect pitch but I don't, so I will have to sing from a full score.
Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Perfect Pitch - Discussions [General Topics]
Sinfonia BWV 1045: Details & Recordings | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2