Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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

Cantata BWV 124
Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht
Discussions - Part 1

Discussions in the Week of January 7, 2001

Aryeh Oron wrote (January 7, 2001):
Background - Aria for Tenor

This is the week of cantata BWV 124 according to Andrew Oliver's suggestion. This is the first cantata in our weekly discussions for year 2001 and also the first in the series of 10 cantatas proposed by Andrew. I have not had too much time this week to write about this cantata, because I was busy in building the New Archive Site. But during building and updating, I have been listening several times to the three recordings of this cantata. With every repeated hearing one fact became more and more conspicuous. This cantata has one captivating aria, this time for tenor (No.3). I remember that Marie Jensen wrote once, regarding another aria from another cantata, that Bach had a 'Hit'. Actually Bach wrote numerous 'hits', which unlike most of the contemporary songs, grow on you with every repeated hearing, and stay in your mind forever.

Original German Text
Und wenn der harte Todesschlag
Die Sinnen schwächt, die Glieder rühret,
Wenn der dem Fleisch verhaßte Tag
Nur Furcht und Schrecken mit sich führet,
Doch tröstet sich die Zuversicht:
Ich lasse meinen Jesum nicht.

English Translation (by Robertson)
And when the hard death-stroke
The sense weakens, the limb touches,
When the by-the-flesh-hated day
Only brings fear and shrinking,
Yet confidence comforts me:
I leave my Jesus not.

As a background for this aria I shall use some of the usual reliable sources.

Alec Robertson wrote in his book 'The Church Cantatas of J.S. Bach':
"'Trembling semiquaver figures on the strings illustrate 'the hard death-stroke', etc., and a most expressive melody on the oboe d'amore expresses love for Jesus in this lovely aria."

W. Murray Young wrote in his book 'The Cantatas of J.S. Bach - An Analytical Guide:
"This is an exceptionally beautiful number, accompanied by the oboe d'amore and the strings. It begins with a slight terror-motif in the quavering strings but concludes in a tone of confidence with the motto of the hymn 'Ich lasse meinen Jesum nicht' (I do not leave my Jesus). Both melodies illustrate the text very well."

Review of the Complete Recordings - the Aria for Tenor

I have only three recordings of BWV 124 and I am not aware of any other recording of this cantata, or any individual movement from it. See: Cantata BWV 124 - Recordings (1) to [4].

[1] Karl Richter (1967; Aria for Tenor: 3:08)
Aria for Tenor: Heroic and dramatic singing from Haefliger. Comparing with him, the two other excellent tenor singers sound subdued. The bold playing of both the oboe d'amore and the strings matches the singer. This picture is painted here with strong colours. There is slight hesitation in Häfliger's voice, when he sings the word 'Nur Furcht und Schrecken' (fear and terror), which disappears when he gets confidence again. The man knows what he is doing!

[3] Helmuth Rilling (1980; Aria for Tenor: 2:38)
Aria for Tenor: The playing of the accompaniment here is more colourful, lively and joyous than that Richter. Should we call it accompaniment? The playing of the instruments is the main cause for this aria to sweep you away. Aldo Baldin sense for drama is no less convincing than that of Häfliger, although his expression is less overt. The results are no less convincing than Richter's is. A strong empathy between the singer and the players is felt. This rendition disappears too fast and leaves us only half satisfied. It reminds me of the famous statement of the Jazz reed player Eric Dolphy, quoted at the bottom of this message: When you hear music, after it's over, it's gone in the air. You can never capture it again". But we can always play it again, over and over again, never really satisfied, neither in this rendition of the fascinating aria, nor in any other.

[4] Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1982; Aria for Tenor: 3:26)
Aria for Tenor: Equiluz is in his prime here. His voice is flexible and penetrating. As far as I can discern, his diction is faultless (but so are the two other tenor singers). His approach is very similar to that of Baldin, but he gives more weight and different treatment to every phrase and every word, according to their meaning. The playing is more expressive and less fragmented than what we have come to expect from Harnoncourt. It magnetises you in very different way than the two previous recordings do. There is charm in the playing of the old instruments and slight sadness along the whole aria. Looking at the text of the aria, this approach seems to be more appropriate. Equiluz causes you to feel the weakness, the fear and the regained confidence together him. To summarize, in this rendering the singer stands at the centre of the event, where in the previous one, it was the accompaniment. Both approaches are valid and justified.

Conclusion

My first choice for the Tenor aria would be Equiluz / Harnoncourt [4], but Haefliger / Richter (1) and Baldin / Rilling [3] are no less convincing and pleasing. The three tenor singers embody the tradition of German Bach singing at its very best. Each one of them has his own characteristics and merits. I am glad that I have all three of them.

And as always, I would like to hear other opinions, regarding the above mentioned performances, or other recordings.

Leo Ditvoorst wrote (January 8, 2001):
[10] Since the Leusink cycle of cantata is complete now, there is also a Leusink recording of BWV 124. I only own this recording so I cannot compare this one to other performers but I will try to say something about it in my first contribution to this list.

To begin, I like this cantata, it has a balanced structure. The orchestration of the opening chorus and the aria / duet is attractive. Two recitatives separate the main parts of the cantata with a simple choral as conclusion.

BWV 124 Meinen Jesum lass ich nicht.
Holland Boys Choir, Netherlands Bach Collegium, cond. Pieter Jan Leusink.
Ruth Holton, soprano, Knut Schoch, tenor, Sytse Buwalda, altus, Bas Ramselaar, bas.
Recorded: summer 2000.

The performers in the tenor aria 'Und wenn der harte Todesschlag' did not take the dramatic approach. The orchestra plays transparent and colourful with no over-expression and Knut Schoch sings controlled in (also) a clear tone. This in spite of many reviews where Schoch was accused of shouting rather than singing. The result is that there is no emphasis on the singer or the orchestra. Maybe in hip performances the choice goes to colourful sounds rather than to heroism and here that is working fine in this aria.

After a recitative where Bas Ramselaar is at his best, there follows a duet 'Entziehe dich eilends' I mention this because I like the soprano, Ruth Holton very much. IMHO she has the perfect voice to sing the treble parts in the Bach cantata and in this duet she demonstrates that again.

In all the parts of this cantata the Bach Collegium plays excellent and meets the high standards (both technical and musical) needed for hip Bach playing.

Recommended, this recording!

Andrew Oliver wrote (January 9, 2001):
This cantata is quite short, but I think it is a little gem. It is one of Bach's 'chorale cantatas', that is, the music quotes or is based on the melody of the chorale, and the text of the cantata quotes the hymn, either throughout the cantata or, as is usual in Bach's second cycle of Leipzig cantatas, the outer movements quote the first and last strophes, or verses, of the hymn, while the text of the inner movements does not quote the hymn directly but is based on it. That is the case with this cantata. The same verse which closes this work also closes BWV 154 and BWV 157. Not only that, but it was also the original closing movement of Part One of tSMP, performed 15 April 1729, and set in a similar manner to the closing movement we have here, though with differences of harmonization.

I have two versions of BWV124, Harnoncourt [4] and Leusink [10]. In this case, I prefer the Harnoncourt in general, though there are things I like about the Leusink. Bas Ramselaar always seems to be a reliable bass, and Ruth Holton is always a delight as the soprano. I think these cantatas suit her particularly, as her voice has a purity and lightness similar to that of a boy soprano, yet she also has the necessary experience and range of expression to be able to interpret both words and music correctly, generally speaking. As for Leusink's tenor, Knut Schoch, I have tried to think what it is that I do not like about his singing. It is not really the quality of his voice, because in the lower part of his range he sounds quite acceptable, even pleasing. On the high notes, however, he seems to be straining. Even if that is not at all the case, it is still the impression he gives, whereas Equiluz (with Harnoncourt) appears to sing the same notes effortlessly. Harnoncourt uses a bass I do not think I have heard before, Thomas Thomaschke. I like the resonance his voice has. In the duet, Harnoncourt uses boys for both the soprano and alto parts. This must sound very much as it sounded to Bach himself.

Aryeh rightly pointed out the quality of the tenor aria. This is powerful music. Unlike modern so-called 'music', this aria does not need to be exceptionally loud to convey the strength of the emotions behind it. However, it is not the only good part of the cantata. I particularly like the opening chorus, where the fairly plain homophonic style of the vocal parts is enlivened by the oboe d'amore, and I always like the closing chorales, whether they are simple or elaborate. One point to note about this chorale is that the words with which it begins the cantata are repeated at the end of each verse, and so, of course, the work ends as it began - Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht.

Jane Newble wrote (January 12, 2001):
Andrew Oliver wrote:
< correctly, generally speaking. As for Leusink's tenor, Knut Schoch, I have tried to think what it is that I do not like about his singing. It is not
> really the quality of his voice, because in the lower part of his range he sounds quite acceptable, even pleasing. On the high notes, however, he seems to be straining. Even if that is not at all the case, it is still the impression he gives, >
[10] I have never liked Knut Schoch's singing, but always thought it must be me. The reason why I don't like his voice, is that I cannot detect any feeling in it. It sounds like hard, cold metal, totally detached from the music. And IMHO baroque music should be sung with feeling. Just my thoughts.

 

BWV 124 Probable Composition & Copy Procedure

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 4, 2007):
BWV 124 "Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht"

A probable scenario for its composition and the preparation of its performing parts

Existing conditions:

Although Bach had some time (possibly 2 to 3 weeks during Advent 1724) to devote to composing new music

and

although Bach may already have had in hand the printed booklet of cantata libretti (possibly beginning the church year with the 1st of Advent until the Sunday after New Year or beginning with New Year and continuing into the Sundays after Epiphany),

Bach may have begun composing BWV 124 only after January 1, 1725 when all of the music for Christmas and New Year had been completed and performed.

In the 4 days (January 2nd to 5th, 1725) allotted to him for composition, Bach would necessarily also need to be concerned about not only this music to be composed and performed on the 1st Sunday after Epiphany (January 7, 1725) but also for Epiphany which falls on January 6 each year. For the latter Feast Day, Bach had composed and performed BWV 123 "Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen". With only one afternoon and evening left for finishing the composition of BWV 124 and preparing all the necessary performance parts, Bach was once again faced with working against the clock. He already had an exhausted crew of copyists who were tired from all their intense activity that took place the night before (January 5, 1725). Now there was even more intense pressure to accomplish a similar feat only a day later with this new cantata, BWV 124.

Evidence from the autograph score:
[This score is referred to by the NBA as exhibit "A".]

Provenance:

This score seems to have been part of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's inheritance, but soon after J. S. Bach's death it was returned to Leipzig where Nacke and Penzel, who are referred to in the previous post about BWV 123, once again used the autograph score of BWV 124 for generating a new set of parts (circa 1755). Nacke indicates that the score was in his possession in 1760. It then passed to his pupil, Penzel, and later to the latter's nephew, Johann Gottlob Schuster. For his own collection of Bach manuscripts, Franz Hauser acquired it from Schuster, and this collection eventually (1904) became part of the manuscript collection (Preußischer Kulturbesitz)
held by the Staatsbibliothek Berlin.

Description of the autograph score:

The title page in Bach's handwriting reads:

Dominica 1 post Epiphan: | Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht. | à | 4 Voci | 1 Hautb: Conc: d'Amour | 2 Violini | Viola | e | Continuo | di | J: S: Bach.

The manuscript consists of 4 large sheets which are numbered by Bach 2-4 in sequence (the first sheet has no number). The size and format of each page is 35.5 to 35.8 cm by 21.0 to 21.4 cm. The watermark is consistently the same one throughout. It is visible on sheet 1, page 2; sheet 2, page 3; sheet 3, page 6; and sheet 4, page 7. There is a big hole caused by a much too rigorous correction on p. 6 verso. It is at a point in the 3rd mvt. in the last measure in the part for the 2nd violin. It had been repaired with silk-chiffon.

Contents of each page:

Page 1 recto:

The autograph title on the 1st page is:

J. J. Dom. 1 post Epiphanias Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht.

mm. 1-28 of Mvt. 1

(Under the title beginning with m1 until m 28, there are 3 bracketed accolades containing Mvt. 1 on 5 staves and thereafter one accolade with 9 staves. The only indication for orchestration occurs at the top of the 1st accolade: "Hautb. concert. d'Amour".)

p. 1 verso: mm 29-42 (Mvt. 1 ctnd. in the following groupings with 2 accolades having 9 staves each on each page.)
p. 2 recto: mm 43-54
p. 2 verso: mm. 55-68
p. 3 recto: mm. 69-82
p. 3 verso: mm. 83-96
p. 4 recto: mm. 97-108
p. 4 verso: mm. 109-123 (End of Mvt. 1; at the end of the mvt. the staves for the vocal parts are omitted just as they were at the beginning of the mvt.)
p. 5 recto: mm. 1-10 of Mvt. 2 ("Recit:") on 3 accolades with 2 staves. To the right of the 3rd accolade "Aria." Mvt. 3 begins (mm. 1-19) with the 1st accolade containing 5 staves and the 2nd and 3rd accolades having 6 staves. The instruments playing are not indicated and the measures where the voice does not sing are omitted..
p. 5 verso: mm. 20-38 with 3 accolades containing 6 staves
p. 6 recto: mm. 39-57a (on the 2nd quarter note) (at the bottom of the page on a freestanding staff at the lower right: a 3 to 4 measure (mm 57b - 60) sketch of the continuo line which will follow immediately on the next page; however, this sketch is one that Bach discarded for a different version which he did use) p. 6 verso: mm 57b-71 (end Mvt. 3) with 3 accolades containing 6 staves
Below this follows:
mm. 1-13 of Mvt. 4 designated "Recit." using 4 accolades with 2 staves. at the very bottom of the page on the right: "Sequitur [abbreviated] Aria"
p. 7 recto: mm. 1-66 Mvt. 5 begins with a title above it: "Duetto" but no instruments or voices are indicated. There are 3 accolades with 3 staves each.
p. 7 verso: mm. 67-128 Mvt. 5 ctnd. There are 4 accolades with 3 staves each
p. 8 recto: mm. 129-137 (end) with a "DC" = da capo indicated after the last measure/bar There is one accolade with 3 staves. Below this is the title "Choral." (Mvt. 6) which is on 3 accolades with 5 staves each. No instrumentation is indicated. To the right of the final measure (m. 13) in appear the words: "Fine SDG."
p. 8 verso: 22 empty staves drawn by a rastral.

This is a 'composing' score (a first-draft score which serves as a final score) because Bach never gets around to making a 'clean' or 'clear' copy which would be more readable. The NBA KB lists 237 separate instances of corrections made personally by Bach. Some of these corrections involve more than simply changing a note.

There is some evidence from a set of parts made after Bach's death by Johann Georg Nacke (1718-1804) with help from his pupil Christian Friedrich Penzel (1737-1801):
Nacke had access to 3 original parts (doublets) and the autograph score. Nacke copied all the new parts from the original score. These new parts show some changes made out of necessity for a performance at that later date. Nacke even wrote the precise date for this performance on the autograph score: it was performed on the 2nd (!) Sunday after Epiphany in 1760. For Mvt. 5 there is a special continuo part with a high-octave duplication of the vocal parts and a special part for a bassoon. This set of parts is referred to by the NBA as exhibit "C".

Evidence from the original parts:
[These parts are referred to by the NBA as exhibit "B".]

Here is the simple list of these parts:
1. Canto.
2. Alto.
3. Tenore
4. Basso.
5. Corno.
6. Hautbois Concert d'Amour.
7. Violino 1mo
8. Violino 1mo. (doublet)
9. Violino 2do
10. Violino 2do. (doublet)
11. Viola
12. Continuo (figured mvts. 1-5) (Primary)
13. Continuo. (doublet)
14. Organo. (transposed & figured)

Here is a more detailed listing of the above indicating who copied each part and the corrections and additions made by J. S. Bach. The following abbreviations will be used to conserve space:

JAK = Johann Andreas Kuhnau (born 1703 - at this time circa 21 years old)
CGM = Christian Gottlob Meißner (1707-1760 - at this time circa 17 years old)
WFB = Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784 - had turned 14 a month and a half ago on November 22, 1724)
AMB = Anna Magdalena Bach (1701-1760) - at this time circa 23 to 24 years old
JSB = Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750 - will turn 40 in about 3 months from now)

C1 = Copyist 1 identified by Dürr only as Anonymous IIe

[Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, born 1714 would turn 11 two months later. Was he perhaps one of the other anonymous copyists mentioned above, C1 or the unnamed copyist of the 1st mvt. of the Continuo doublet? For reasons not given, Dürr seems to have rejected this idea although he would certainly have considered this possibility.]

1. Canto.
CGM: Mvt. 1
WFB: the key signatures for the first 4 staves of the accolade beginning Mvt. 5
JSB: mvts. 5 & 6 with tacets for mvts. 2-4

2. Alto.
CGM: Mvt. 1
JSB: mvts. 5 & 6 with tacets for mvts. 2-4

3. Tenore
CGM: Mvt. 1
JAK: mvts. 2 & 3
JSB: Mvt. 6 with tacets for mvts. 4-5

4. Basso.
CGM: Mvt. 1
JAK: Mvt. 4 with tacets for mvts. 2-3
JSB: Mvt. 6 with tacet for Mvt. 5

5. Corno.
JSB: mvts. 1 & 6 with tacets for mvts. 2-5

6. Hautbois Concert d'Amour.
JAK: mvts. 1 & 3 with tacets for 2 & 4
JSB: Mvt. 6 with tacet for Mvt. 5 [under Mvt. 6 "Hautbois d'Amour Concertato"]

7. Violino 1mo
JAK: mvts. 1 & 3 with tacet for Mvt. 2
JSB: Mvt. 6 with tacets for mvts. 4 & 5

8. Violino 1mo. (doublet)
AMB: mvts. 1, 3 & 6 with tacets for mvts. 2, 4 & 5

9. Violino 2do
JAK: mvts. 1 & 3 with tacet for Mvt. 2
JSB: Mvt. 6 with tacets for mvts. 4 & 5

10. Violino 2do. (doublet)
AMB: mvts. 1, 3 & 6 with tacets for mvts. 2, 4 & 5

11. Viola
JAK: mvts. 1 & 3 with tacet for Mvt. 2
JSB: Mvt. 6 with tacets for mvts. 4 & 5

12. Continuo (figured mvts. 1-5) (Primary)
JAK: mvts. 1-4
JSB: mvts. 5 & 6 (with bass figures in Mvt. 1 from m1-60, and mvts. 2 & 4)
[the figures for Mvt. 1 m 61 to the end and for mvts 3 & 5 by an unidentified copyist]

13. Continuo. (doublet)
C1: Mvt. 1
WFB: mvts. 2-6

14 Organo. (transposed, figured)
JSB: mvts. 1-6 + all the figures for the figured bass

Totals:

C1:
Continuo (doublet) Mvt. 1

CGM:
Canto Mvt. 1
Alto Mvt. 1
Tenore Mvt. 1
Basso Mvt. 1

WFB:
Canto Mvt. 5 only one set of key signatures
Continuo (doublet) mvts. 2-6

AMB:
Violino 1mo mvts. 1, 3 & 6
Violino 2do mvts. 1, 3 & 6

JAK:
Tenore mvts. 2 & 3
Basso Mvt. 4
Hautbois Concert d'Amour mvts. 1 & 3
Violino 1mo mvts. 1 & 3
Violino 2do mvts. 1 & 3
Viola mvts. 1 & 3
Continuo (Primary) mvts. 1-4

JSB: Mvt. 6 added to the following parts:
Canto, Alto, Tenore, Basso, Hautbois Concert d'Amour, Violino 1mo, Violino 2do, Viola. Continuo (Primary), Organo.

Canto Mvt. 5
Alto Mvt. 5
Corno Mvt. 1
Continuo (Primary) Mvt. 5 + bass figures for Mvt. 1 m1-60 and mvts. 2 & 4
Organo mvts. 1-5 + all the figures for the figured bass

A probable sequence of tasks that might explain how and why the parts were copied as they appear to us today:

1. The Layout of the Original Score

This has been dein detail above. Since JSB, as the copy session is about to begin, is very much still involved in finishing the composition of Mvt. 5 so that he could later copy out the parts personally for Mvt. 5 which begins on p. 7 recto, this would mean, if all the pages were separable, that other copyists could be working on mvts. 1-4 independently. They also would not be affected by the even later addition of the final chorale on p. 8 recto, a mvt. which JSB would then also need to add to a large number of parts.

2. Parts Finished before Mvt. 5 and the Final Chorale Had Been Completely Composed

Evidence from the Canto and Alto parts as well as from the Primary Continuo part indicates that Mvt. 5 (Duetto) and, of course, the final chorale (Mvt. 6) were not yet ready to be copied because JSB had not yet finished composing them at the point when the copy session began Saturday evening, January 6. Most likely he had completed mvts. 1-4 sometime during the period from January 2nd to 5th, 1727, while he was also working on the completion of BWV 123. Now on the 6th of January, after performances of BWV 123 in two churches earlier that day, JSB set about trying to finish mvts. 5 and 6 which were still incomplete or not even started when the usual two trustworthy and reliable copyists began arriving at JSB's house for yet another copy marathon after just having experienced intense copy activity on the evening before this one.

3. A Strange Beginning for This Session: the Vocal Parts

CGM seems to have been quite worn out since on this Saturday evening he copied only 4 mvts. into the vocal parts. It appears as though CGM was there at the beginning of the session, or earlier than the rest, but that he left after having completed only these 4 mvts. When JAK arrived, he could not begin until CGM finished copying the 1st mvt. into the four vocal parts. As soon as CGM left, JAK took over the task of completing the vocal parts as far as this was possible. Since Mvt. 5 and Mvt. 6 were not yet ready at this early point in the evening, JAK could not add any more mvts. to the Canto and Alto parts. He thus began with mvts. 2 and 3 of the Tenore and followed this with the 4th mvt. in the Basso part.

4. The Need to Copy the Violin Parts Early

JAK would next begin with the violin parts because copies could then be generated from his copy when once he had finished, so he copied mvts. 1 and 3 into both violin parts (the final chorale, of course, would still be missing and would have to be added later by Bach).

5. The Oboe d'amore and Viola Parts

Next JAK copies out all but Mvt. 6 (still unfinished at this point) for the Oboe d'amore and Viola parts.

6. The Primary Continuo Part

Another part that needed to be copied out early on is the primary Continuo part because this part would also need to be duplicated the same way that the violin parts each have a doublet. Once again, JAK can only copy mvts. 1-4 from the score because the remaining two mvts. are still not ready yet (JSB is still working on them with the final pages of the score that he has in hand.)

7. The Continuo Doublet

While JAK moves on to his next copy tasks (Oboe and Viola parts), JSB, having now completed the composition of both mvts. 5 and 6, takes up JAK's recently completed (up to Mvt. 4) primary Continuo part and adds mvts. 5 and 6 so that the Continuo doublet can be copied directly from the primary Continuo part. JSB does the same for both Violin parts by adding Mvt. 6 to the parts that JAK had already completed.

As soon as C1, who mysteriously appears on the scene and manages only to copy Mvt. 1 of the Continuo doublet before disappearing for the rest of the evening, leaves, WFB takes over for C1 and continues copying mvts. 2-6, a task which will take him the rest of the evening.

8. The Violin Doublets

A similar fate awaits AMB, who has probably put some of the young children to bed and has finished her kitchen chores. AMB will spend the rest of the evening at one end of the table working side-by-side with WFB. Both will not have to be shuffling about locating various unfinished parts that still need attention. Their task is routine and they will not need to ask any questions about what they are supposed to do.

9. JSB Copies Mvts. 5 & 6 to the Various Parts As Needed

JSB decides to reinforce the Cantus Firmus (Canto part) with a Horn (Corno) part that is not in the score. For this he only needs to look at the Canto part.

JSB now revisits all those existing parts that still demand completion:
He adds mvts. 5 & 6 to the Canto part
He adds mvts. 5 & 6 to the Alto part
He adds Mvt. 6 to the Tenore, Basso, Hautbois Concert d'Amour, Violino 1mo, Violino 2do, and Viola parts.

10. JAK leaves after another long evening spent copying parts. While AMB and WFB are still working on their parts, Bach, who has been checking existing parts for errors and making additions as necessary, now turns his attention to his last major task: the creation of an Organo (Continuo) part that has to be transposed and well as provided with figures. Once this task is complete and he has made one last final check of the parts to see that they are in order and that he has not overlooked any important details, JSB, now alone at one end of the table, takes a moment to consider how thankful he is that he was able, during the hectic weeks surrounding Christmas, New Year and Epiphany, to accomplish all the tasks he had set for himself SDG.

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 4, 2007):
[nice roster of facts, deleted, leading to this following section:]
< A probable sequence of tasks that might explain how and why the parts were copied as they appear to us today:

1. The Layout of the Original Score
This has been described in detail above. Since JSB, as the copy session is about to begin, is very much still involved in finishing the composition of
Mvt. 5 so that he could later copy out the parts personally for Mvt. 5 which begins on p. 7 recto, this would mean, if all the pages were separable, that other copyists could be working on mvts. 1-4 independently. They also would not be affected by the even later addition of the final chorale on p. 8 recto, a mvt. which JSB would then also need to add to a large number of parts.

2. Parts Finished before
Mvt. 5 and the Final Chorale Had Been Completely Composed
Evidence from the Canto and Alto parts as well as from the Primary Continuo part indicates that
Mvt. 5 (Duetto) and, of course, the final chorale (Mvt. 6) were not yet ready to be copied because JSB had not yet finished composing them at the point when the copy session began Saturday evening, January 6. likely he had completed mvts. 1-4 sometime during the period from January 2nd to 5th, 1727, while he was also working on the completion of BWV 123. Now on the 6th of January, after performances of BWV 123 in two churches earlier that day, JSB set about trying to finish mvts. 5 and 6 which were still incomplete or not even started when the usual two trustworthy and reliable copyists began arriving at JSBís house for yet another copy marathon after just having experienced intense copy activity on the evening before this one.

3. A Strange Beginning for This Session: the Vocal Parts
CGM seems to have been quite worn out since on this Saturday evening he copied only 4 mvts. into the vocal parts. It appears as though CGM was there at the beginning of the session, or earlier than the rest, but that he left after having completed only these 4 mvts. When JAK arrived, he could not begin until CGM finished copying the 1st mvt. into the four vocal parts. As soon as CGM left, JAK took over the task of completing the vocal parts as far as this was possible. Since mvts. 5 and 6 were not yet ready at this early point in the evening, JAK could not add any more mvts. to the Canto and Alto parts. He thus began with mvts. 2 and 3 of the Tenore and followed this with the 4th mvt. in the Basso part.

4. The Need to Copy the Violin Parts Early
JAK would next begin with the violin parts because copies could then be generated from his copy when once he had finished, so he copied mvts. 1 and 3 into both violin parts (the final chorale, of course, would still be missing and would have to be added later by Bach).

5. The Oboe díamore and Viola Parts
Next
JAK copies out all but Mvt. 6 (still unfinished at this point) for the Oboe díamore and Viola parts.

6. The Primary Continuo Part
Another part that needed to be copied out early on is the primary Continuo part because this part would also need to be duplicated the same way that the violin parts each have a doublet. Once again,
JAK can only copy mvts. 1-4 from the score because the remaining two mvts. are still not ready yet (JSB is still working on them with the final pages of the score that he has in hand.)

7. The Continuo Doublet
While
JAK moves on to his next copy tasks (Oboe and Viola parts), JSB, having now completed the composition of both mvts. 5 and 6, takes up JAKís recently completed (up to Mvt. 4) primary Continuo part and adds mvts. 5 and 6 so that the Continuo doublet can be copied directly from the primary Continuo part. JSB does the same for both Violin parts by adding Mvt. 6 to the parts that JAK had already completed.
As soon as C1, who mysteriously appears on the scene and manages only to copy
Mvt. 1 of the Continuo doublet before disappearing for the rest of the evening, leaves, WFB takes over for C1 and continues copying mvts. 2-6, a task which will take him the rest of the evening.

8. The Violin Doublets
A similar fate awaits
AMB, who has probably put some of the young children to bed and has finished her kitchen chores. AMB will spend the rest of the evening at one end of the table working side-by-side with WFB. Both will not have to be shuffling about locating various unfinished parts that still need attention. Their task is routine and they will not need to ask any questions about what they are supposed to do.

9. JSB Copies Mvts. 5 & 6 to the Various Parts As Needed
JSB decides to reinforce the Cantus Firmus (Canto part) with a Horn (Corno) part that is not in the score. For this he only needs to look at the Canto part.
JSB now revisits all those existing parts that still demand completion:
He adds mvts. 5 & 6 to the Canto part
He adds mvts. 5 & 6 to the Alto part
He adds
Mvt. 6 to the Tenore, Basso, Hautbois Concert díAmour, Violino 1mo, Violino 2do, and Viola parts.

10.
JAK leaves after another long evening spent copying parts. While AMB and WFB are still working on their parts, Bach, who has been checking existing parts for errors and making additions as necessary, now turns his attention to his last major task: the creation of an Organo (Continuo) part that has to be transposed and well as provided with figures. Once this task is complete and he has made one last final check of the parts to see that they are in order and that he has not overlooked any important details, JSB, now alone at one end of the table, takes a moment to consider how thankful he is that he was able, during the hectic weeks surrounding Christmas, New Year and Epiphany, to accomplish all the tasks he had set for himself SDG. >
Does there exist a reliable reference for ANY of this material, in print? Or is it all made up as an elaborate fantasy-conjecture, with the "Saturday evening" stuff and etc etc etc? It reads like a wild imaginary tableau, from a novel or perhaps a teleplay.

If it's from the NBA or its KB, in any way/shape/form, please provide the specific volume and page numbers so this may be corroborated. Thank you. (And remember, the question is about THIS portion as quoted above -- the "Saturday evening" business and the tables they sat at, and etc etc etc -- , not about the detailed roster of the parts themselves, in the deleted section of facts.)

===========

This other part (below) that opened the message, setting up a bunch of axiomatic assumptions, is also (apparently) a batch of conjecture piled on wishful results stacked on guesswork.

< Bach may have begun composing BWV 124 only after January 1, 1725 when all of the music for Christmas and New Year had been completed and performed.
In the 4 days (January 2nd to 5th,
1725) allotted to him for composition, Bach would necessarily also need to be concerned about not only this music to be composed and performed on the 1st Sunday after Epiphany (January 7, 1725) but also for Epiphany which falls on January 6 each year. >
"The 4 days...allotted to him for composition" by whom?! "May have begun composing...only after January 1", or may have had the piece substantially finished some weeks earlier! "May have" done anything. If Bach was so busy and "concerned" with a bunch of other music, why would he be constrained to wait until this last minute (i.e. the week of performance, January 1725) to begin composing the new one? Was he a horrible planner? And are we really to believe that all of these parts were SO fresh and SO last-minute that the whole ensemble sight-read the thing on Sunday morning, without panic? All of this seems wildly impractical and implausible to me.

But, let's set all that aside and focus on the copyist's tableau for now. Please answer the question with FACTS about where any of the Saturday-night copyist business is printed in a reliable source that may be corroborated.

I even hesitate to ask any of this, about the facts of the above case, because I already know the response is just going to be a bunch of perabuse against me. But, I really am interested to know the FACTS of this matter with respect to BWV 124 and Bach's working procedures. Where may I read about this in a reliable source? And if I go over to a nearby university library and open the NBA's volumes of BWV 124 and its KB, will I find ANY of this stuff in print (beyond the detailed roster of parts, of course), or is all the rest of it made up out of fertile imagination? Relevant page numbers for the copying scenario, please.

 

Continue on Part 2

Cantata BWV 124: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: żOctober 24, 2011 ż08:47:21