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Cantata BWV 126
Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of March 11, 2007

Chris Kern wrote (March 10, 2007):
Introduction to BWV 126 - Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort

Discussion for the week of March 11, 2007

Cantata BWV 126 - Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort

Date of first performance: February 4, 1725 (Sexagesima Sunday)

Information about recordings, biblical readings, translations, etc: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV126.htm

Music example (Leusink [6]): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Stream/BWV126-Leusink.ram

Each cantata has its own set of problems and challenges. Definitely in this cantata it is the trumpeter and the tenor that are given the greatest difficulty.

The text is problematic for some modern listeners. The first verse of the chorale exhorts God to beat back the "muderous rage of the Papists and Turks". It would be curious to know what Bach and the Leipzig audience thought of this chorale; whether they actually felt that it applied to their life or whether it was just something of a historical relic that survived primarily due to its association with Martin Luther. (Emmanuel Music suggests replacement lyrics but all the recordings I know of use the original ones.)

Mvt. 1
It's been a while since the trumpet was used in a chorale cantata, and it sounds a rousing battle cry here. Interesting to me is the use of the oboes -- on both the Leusink [6] and Harnoncourt [4] recordings (particularly H's), the oboe lines in the opening ritornello almost sound like mini-trumpets due to the high register and the music played. Rilling's oboes [3] are too quiet for this effect, and I have no idea whether this was intentional on Bach's part or not. The fantasia is relatively short. Also interesting is that in the third line ("Dei Jesum Christum, deinen Sohn"), rather than the usual fugal entries, the bass starts and then the alto and tenor come in together.

Mvt. 2
This movement continues the battle cry with a tenor aria supported by oboes. The movement contains treacherous and extremely difficult melismae that none of the recordings seem to be able to do well, despite the aria not being taken at a particularly fast speed in any of them. It's hard to know what Bach was going for with this.

Mvt. 3
The text of this movement deals with an interesting theological question -- one of the tents of fundamentalist Protestantism has always been that mankind is utterly undeserving of anything from God except punishment. So the question is, why should God pay any attention to the cries for help in the first movement? "The wish and will of mankind are of little use, if You do not choose to protect your little flock" is the answer this text gives.

The movement itself is another chorale/recitative combination except that this time the chorale segments are in duet. Whittaker predictably calls it unsatisfactory.

Mvt. 4
Another continuo-only bass aria. Continuo-only arias rarely do much for me, and I did not find much of interest in this one. It is very blustery and continues the battle call theme.

Mvt. 5
The tenor recitative represents an abrupt shift towards the concluding chorale -- the text here is all about peace and God's blessing.

Mvt. 6
Unusually, the concluding 4-part chorale is not the same chorale as the one used for the opening fantasia. Rather it is a combination of two chorales ("Verleih uns Frieden gnadiglich" and "Gib unsern Fursten und all'r Obrigkeit") that are both complementary and opposing to the mood and tenor of the opening number. The text calls for peace and good government, but the implication is there that this will happen through God's support of the "good" armies.

I listened to three recordings of this cantata: Rilling [3], Harnoncourt [4], and Leusink [6].

[3] Rilling:
Rilling's opening fantasia has a very clear, modern trumpet that sounds a clarion call to arms. The oboes in the tenor aria do not sound good (in general the R oboes are inconsistent -- in some places, like here, they sound almost like an electronic keyboard simulating an oboe, but maybe this is just because I've gotten used to how HIP oboes sound). Overall, I found this performance a bit lacking after the opening

[4] Harnoncourt:
H's trumpeter seems to have trouble controlling his HIP instrument. It doesn't necessarily sound bad, it's just not as clean as the other versions. The recitative/chorale movement is the best of the three -- the tempo slows and the duet is done in legato style with the two voices blending together very well. The concluding chorale here is very well done; not the usual fragmented staccato affair that we expect from this cycle. I would probably put this at the top of this week's offerings, although I do like Rilling's opening movement [3] better.

[6] Leusink:
The organ in the first movement is distracting, but the trumpeter seems to have better control of the instrument than H's trumpeter does. However, the trumpet is too quiet for the most part. The tenor aria is good -- I like Van Der Meel's singing. He is a rare tenor who is able to sing without operatic vibrato (of course he falters on the melisma, but it's hard to imagine somebody doing this correctly).

I hope we can put aside some of the squabbling over HIP trumpets and get some discussion or thoughts on other aspects of the cantata as well.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 10, 2007):
Changing the text (was Introduction to BWV 126 - Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort)

Chris Kern wrote:
< The text is problematic for some modern listeners. The first verse of the chorale exhorts God to beat back the "muderous rage of the Papists and Turks". It would be curious to know what Bach and the Leipzig audience thought of this chorale; whether they actually felt that it applied to their life or whether it was just something of a historical relic that survived primarily due to its association with Martin Luther. (Emmanuel Music suggests replacement lyrics but all the recordings I know of use the original ones.) >
I fear we would have to have replacement lyrics in a lot of Bach and that is not really right. All one can do, as I see it, is to face the reality that Catholics and Muslims were felt by the creators of these lyrics to be a danger to their civilization in the same way that they believed that Jews had murdered their savior. To "clean up" Bach or any other music is certainly not an acceptable option. But we do need to accept the reality.

I know that in 1960 such danger was felt by many USA Protestants about the possibility of JFK becoming president and building a Papal Wing in the White House where the Pope would actually tell his presidential stooge what to do. If that seems ridiculous today, it was a true fear at that time.

Peter Bloemendaal offers his article (on our website) about his perceptions of what and why Bernstein chopped up the MP. Most of what he says sounds on target. However his analysis of what Bernstein did with Handel's Messiah does not sound right to me.

He asserts in the case of the MP that Bernstein wished to eliminate the Jews = Bad Guys parts. That makes sense. But then he asserts that Bernstein also mangled Messiah because he objected to Christianity and that does nomake sense to me, not for Bernstein and not for Messiah. I cannot imagine feeling uncomfortable with Messiah or with Handel. I would really assume that Bernstein was just going his thing with Messiah with rather weird results.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 10, 2007):
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote:
< I fear we would have to have replacement lyrics in a lot of Bach and that is not really right. All one can do, as I see it, is to face the reality that Catholics and Muslims were felt by the creators of these lyrics to be a danger to their civilization in the same way that they believed that Jews had murdered their savior. To "clean up" Bach or any other music is certainly not an acceptable option. But we do need to accept the reality. >
How appropriate that this should follow immediately on the heels of a discussion of Bach's adherence to 'orthodox Lutheran theology' in the 17th [sic] century. And how sharing that faith increases the 21st C. listener's appreciation of the music and texts.

Indeed, don't mess with the texts. Leave the warts shining through, to remind us of the validity and humor of Einstein's statement: 'There are only two things which are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not at all certain about the universe.' (quote courtesy Harry, from the back of the pub).

Peter Smaill wrote (March 10, 2007):
[To Chris Kern] How interesting that Emmanuel Music have tried to sanitise the text of BWV 126, with its reference to murderous Popes and Turks. Alas these sentiments would have been authentically held by German speaking congregations - from the Saxon viewpoint, because of the Thirty Years War ending in 1648, and from a more general Teutonic perspective, the attempted second sack of Vienna by the Ottomans in 1683. The choice of chorale text is not entirely due to Reformation antiquarianism.

However, the connection to Luther is perhaps the key textual feature. Quite apart from the authorship of the basic chorale, the repetitive bass line in the eighth line of the final Chorale IMO recalls "Dies sind die heil'gen Zehn Gebot", also by Luther and also introduced by Bach to the Ascensiontide Cantata BWV 37, "Wer da glaubet und getauft wird", emphasising in both cases the Lutheran quality of text and chorales.

Whittaker notes the insistent bass figure but none of the usual authorities spot the inference; I wonder what other BCW participants think of this possibility.

"Erhalt Uns, herr bei deinem wort" and its extension, "Verleih uns Friedn gnaediglich" until the middle of the eighteenth century was sung as the closing hymn in almost all Lutheran churches. (Fischer, "Das deutsche evangelische Kirchenlied des 17 Jahrhunderts, repr.1964).

Thus this fine Cantata will have resonated with the Leipzig congregation for many potent reasons of affekt and antipathy.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 10, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
< The text is problematic for some modern listeners. [...] (Emmanuel Music suggests replacement lyrics but all the recordings I know of use the original ones.) >
The venue in which EM performs may offer a partial explanation, a congregation which takes pride in its social tolerance and outreach. They should be forgiven the occasional 'too much of a good thing'.

< Mvt. 3
The text of this movement deals with an interesting theological question -- one of the tenets of fundamentalist Protestantism has always been that mankind is utterly undeserving of anything from God except punishment. >

And they are the optimists! See my recent quote from Einstein, re human stupidity.

< I hope we can put aside some of the squabbling over HIP trumpets and get some discussion or thoughts on other aspects of the cantata as well. >
It is sometimes hard to realize what Aryeh has pointed out. The discussions in the second round have much wider participation than round one. If that also applies to the squabbling, so be it. Attendance is not mandatory, in any case, so we (BCML) probably represent a pretty good cross section of bright people having fun. If that doesn't scare you, you haven't been paying attention . See above, re optimists.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 10, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
< Mvt. 1
It's been a while since the trumpet was used in a chorale cantata, and it sounds a rousing battle cry here. >
It is always interesting to compare Bach's writing for a single obligato trumpet with the festive ensemble of three trumpets and timpani. The obligato player gets a phenomenal workout. We see this kind of virtuoso writing in 'Wachet Betet" and "Herz und Mund".

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 10, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
< The text is problematic for some modern listeners. The first verse of the chorale exhorts God to beat back the "muderous rage of the Papists and Turks". It would be curious to know what Bach and the Leipzig audience thought of this chorale; whether they actually felt that it applied to their life or whether it was just something of a historical relic that survived primarily due to its association with Martin Luther. (Emmanuel Music suggests replacement lyrics but all the recordings I know of use the original ones.) >
I think this cantata is a classic case where we have to apply a rigorous historical method to understand the context in which such an intolerant diatribe against Catholics and Muslims was commonplace.. It is false to Bach to pretend that he didn't share his contmeporaries' beliefs. To change the text just avoids the problem.

If we look historically at 18th century Germany, we would still see a lingering memory of the horrors of the Thirty Years Wars when the Catholic powers were a self-declared enemy. As late as the 1690's, Louis XIV had led Catholic France against the western German states. The Huegenot refugees from the Edict of Nantes were a constant reminder of "Catholic" aggression. It was only in 1683 that the Turks were defeated outside of Vienna and an invasion of Central Europe was stopped. The Catholic and Muslim powers were still military threats in Bach's life. The political talk in Zimmerman's coffee house must have frequently touched on the "Pope and the Turk".

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 11, 2007):
Peter Smaill wrote:
>>...the repetitive bass line in the eighth line of the final Chorale IMO recalls "Dies sind die heil'gen Zehn Gebot", also by Luther...emphasising in both cases the Lutheran quality of text and chorales.<<
The chorale melody for "Dies sind die heil'gen Zehn Gebot" begins with 5 repeated notes before ascending scalewise to a 4th higher than the beginning note. I find the following problems in relating this CM to the BWV 126/6 mm 17-20 vocal bass line with the words "ein geruh'g und stilles Leben führen mögen":

1. Instead of beginning with the repeated note as in the chorale melody incipit, this line begins a half step (semitone) below the repeated note.

2. Instead of having only 5 repeated notes as in the CM on the words "Dies sind die heilgen..." , there are 6 (or 7, repeated notes in a row, if you count the eighth note on "-ben").

3. The connection between the content of "Dies sind die heilgen Zehn Gebot" is very vague (both texts are by Luther, but why would it be cited at this particular point near the end of the chorale?)

Solution:

In this passage, Bach has found a way to express musically through word-painting the meaning of the text being sung at this point: "geruh'g und stilles" ("peaceful and quiet). By having the bass line (basso continuo and vocal bass) remain on the same note without moving off in any direction up or down, Bach stresses the notion of an unchanging status (lack of war and turmoil) so that people can lead a peaceful life.

I am reminded here of one of my most favorite passages found in the New Year's Cantata BWV 41/1 mm 103-119: "...daß wir in guter Stille, das alt Jahr hab'n erfüllet" ("that we fulfilled/completed the old year in a wonderful state of quietude - literally: 'in good stillness'"). Notice the repeated and held notes particularly in the bass and the fact that there is hardly any movement in the other vocal parts. The instrumental parts, however, weave mysterious melodies around the vocal parts. [I like the Koopman recording [7] of this mvt. very much. It never fails to give me goose bumps whenever I play this recording.]

Peter Smaill wrote (March 11, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] Thomas has taken the trouble to consider whether the chorale "Dies sind die heil'gen Zehn gebot" is hidden in the bass line of the final Chorale of this Cantata. Like Whittaker the conclusion is that an unusual affekt is created by the repeated bass note, which Thomas suggests can plausibly be related to the call in the text for " a peaceable and quiet life".

This interpretation is indeed attractive but I would like to put forward another reason why there may also be an allusion to the Lutheran chorale which celebrates the Ten Commandments. It is precisely because the chorale refers to "good government" that the law of the Ten Commandments is apposite. In this the allusion is to the thinking of Jakob Arminius in which the State and Church conjoin in upholding Holy Law, otherwise known as Arminianism.

Thomas is right to say that although the incipit of "Dies sind..." is present, it has non-relevant introductory notes, and not exactly five hammered out repeated notes - six or seven in this case. But the Duerr example from BWV 37 has only four repeat notes before ascending to the fourth interval above.

A better example of the linkage to the chorale is the alternative harmonisation by Bach of "Verleih' uns Frieden".It is No.91 in Reimenschneider, and begins the ninth strophe on a repeated E, albeit rising after eight repetitions to the fourth tone above. Within this version the parallel is closer even if not a perfect match. But often Bach makes slight variations to received Chorales yet their distinctive pattern is still observable. Within the line is the Chorale incipit in every particular.

The context is BWV 42, "Am abend abe desselbigen Sabbaths", and, again there is the reference to good government:

"Gib unsren Fuersten und der Obrigkeit
Fried' und gut Regiment,
dass wir unter ihnen ein' geruhig und stilles Leben Fuehren moegen
"

Neil Halliday wrote (March 11, 2007):
In addition to the interesting comments of Peter and Thomas concerning the final chorale, it might be worth noticing that variations of the four CM sections of 126/1 occur in the much-extended final chorale (126/6).

The first and second sections of the 1st movement's CM (cantus firmus) are quoted in the first two lines of BWV 126/6, but with variation of the first five notes of line one of the chorale. Line two is almost identical. This is noted in the OCC; I also see the 3rd section of the CM in the second half of line nine, and line ten has a variation of the 4th (last) CM section of BWV 126/1.

Russell Telfer wrote (March 13, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
(Introduction to BWV 126 - Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort)
< Each cantata has its own set of problems and challenges. Definitely in this cantata it is the trumpeter and the tenor that are given the greatest difficulty.
Mvt. 1
It's been a while since the trumpet was used in a chorale cantata, and it sounds a rousing battle cry here. >
It's an impressive movement. Put in a flute and take out the choir and what have you got? A quick alternative to Brandenburg 2's opener, which is quality indeed.

< Mvt. 2
This movement continues the battle cry with a tenor aria supported by oboes. The movement contains treacherous and extremely difficult melismae that none of the recordings seem to be able to do well, despite the aria not being taken at a particularly fast speed in any of them. It's hard to know what Bach was going for with this. >
- Indeed. There are 6 long bars of demisemiquavers. The first group of 2 bars has the soloist on the word 'erfreuen' and in the second group on the word 'streuen'. Apart from these horrendous passages I reckon the movement is not seriously challenging for a tenor: it's helped by having several runs and relatively few leaps.

To achieve the melismae, Bach uses the voice as an instrument. The double dots over repeated very fast high notes stop the singer's flow and make it near impossible to keep the continuity. As for meaning!? Practise saying
any word and interrupting yourself six or more times!

Neil Halliday wrote (March 14, 2007):
Chris Kern wrote:
<"Mvt. 4. Another continuo-only bass aria. Continuo-only arias rarely do much for me, and I did not find much of interest in this one. It is very blustery and continues the battle call theme.>"
I find that both Richter's [2] and Harnoncourt's [4] organists, through the addition of bright, higher pitched stops to their respective realisations, bring considerable colour to the otherwise stark continuo line of this aria.

The organ realisations of Leusink [6] and Koopman [7], with soft, lower pitched, (8-foot?) organ tones, are dull by comparison.

I especially like Harnoncourt's version [4], and would put Harnoncourt ahead of Richter [2] in this aria, because the latter's prominent staccato bassoon, in those 1/32 note descending runs, sounds a bit odd to my ears; Harnoncourt's singer projects the necessary authority while sounding quite musical, and the brilliant continuo runs on the cello are quite clear. I have only heard H's BCW sample, but I would expect the whole aria to maintain the impact demonstrated in the sample.

Rilling [3] has powerful, clear continuo strings, but the 'busy' harpsichord does not bring the appropriate counterbalancing force/colour to the vigorous continuo line in this aria, IMO.

Robertson is obviously impressed: "It is a superb piece of declamation, needing a very accomplished bass to make its due effect"

In the tenor aria (Mvt. 2), Rilling [3] has clarity of instrumental lines, with an effective continuo bassoon, and with Kraus managing to nail the astonishing melismas, at a more moderate tempo than Richter [2]. Richter is almost too fast for Schreier to present the individual notes of the melismas, otherwise this is a pleasing performance.

Richter [2] has a nicely flowing recitative with chorale (Mvt. 3); I'm surprised Whittaker did not appreciate this movement more, because the chorale sections for AT duet are quite musical. The chorale melody sections of the first movement, ornamented, are alternately given to one of the two voices (in the duet sections) in the order T,A,T,A.

The opening chorus is stirring, even exhilarating.

Robertson notes the "bloodcurdling runs" on the word "Murder"; I suppose he is referring to the bar in which the ATB parts, all in 1/16th notes, are in close proximity with crossing of parts. The brilliant obbligato trumpet is cleanest in recordings with the modern instrument, as has been discussed. Rilling's c.f. [3] is a bit weak in the first two lines. Apart from the trumpet, which is soft at times, Suzuki [8] is ablaze with animation and rhythm, and, as with Rilling, the passage referred to above is very clear. Richter [2] has a crystal clear c.f. and despite occasional muddiness in the lower voices, his is also a stirring performance.

Robertson notes a thrilling moment when the long held A on the trumpet (sounding B) shrills above the stave for three bars leading into thefinal chorale section, with the trumpet still sounding as the first note of the c.f. is sung. This is most effective in the Rilling recording [3]. At the end of the choral section, the sopranos hold their final note for no less than six bars, joined halfway through with the ATB voices modulating from D minor and combining with the sopranos in a magnificent A minor chord.

Peter Smaill wrote (March 14, 2007):
Introduction to BWV 126 /BWV 63

[To Neil Halliday] One of the revelations relevant to this Cantata is that, according to Carol Baron's "Bach's Changing World" , there was a Roman Catholic chapel in Leipzig in Bach's time as a result of the influence of the Elector.

Another insight is that there was , at his instigation, an ostentatious marble altar with a metal-looking crucifix endowed in 1721 in the Thomaskirche . Whether it was installed then or took a while to be created begs a possible link with the strange text of BWV 63, "Christen , aetzet diesen tag/in Metall und Marmorsteine" ("Christians, etch this day /in metal and marble", which was first performed in Leipzig at christmas 1723, albeit originally likely a composition from Weimar.

The text omits all the usual Christmas paraphenalia of Shepherd, cribs and stars. The libretto (possibly by Hennecius) IMO may have be parodied from a secular original but the marble reference coincides with the relatively new altarpiece which was presuambly erected in St Thomas by December 25 1723 when the Leipzigers would be facing the gaudy object as a focus of veneration on Christmas Day.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 14, 2007):
Bach's buildings

Peter Smaill wrote:
< One of the revelations relevant to this Cantata is that, according to Carol Baron's "Bach's Changing World" , there was a Roman Catholic chapel in Leipzig in Bach's time as a result of the influence of the Elector.
Another insight is that there was , at his instigation, an ostentatious marble altar with a metal-looking crucifix endowed in 1721 in the Thomaskirche. >
We need to rethink our mental image of the churches in which Bach served. They were not the austere undecorated buildings which immigrant Lutherans built in North America. They were for the most part large gothic buildings which retained their Catholic decoration. The Danish and Swedish Lutheran churches have retained much of their 16th & 17th century appearance. This link shows a Danish royal chapel. Note the elaborate altar reredos which is almost contemporary with that in St. Thomas', Leipzig. Interestingly, it is a visual representation of a popular chorale. The pulpit positioned in the nave for better acoustics and the large west gallery would have been a familiar arrangement to Bach: http://www.vorfrelserskirke.dk/history_tekst.htm

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 16, 2007):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Robertson is obviously impressed: "It is a superb piece of declamation, needing a very accomplished bass to make its due effect" >

Certainly Harnoncourt's bass [4], Thomas Thomaschke, is rather perfect here. I have not listened to any other recordings. The bass aria puts one in mind of some Messiah arias and the accompaniment by b.c. only doesn't detract much for me here. A very powerful and declamative [non-word?] bass does this justice. This is not to say that either the text or the music is of the greatest type. Speaking of translation betrayal: The Harnoncourt English renders the "des Papsts und Türken Mord" phrase by "all them on evil bent".

Now I would not suspect a cleaning of the text here in particular inasmuch as almost all the English translations in H-L are of that sort.

Tom Lock wrote (March 17, 2007):
BWV 126

Chris Kern wrote (March 10, 2007): The text is problematic for some modern listeners. The first verse of the chorale exhorts God to beat back the "muderous rage of the Papists and Turks". It would be curious to know what Bach and the Leipzig audience thought of this chorale; whether they actually felt that it applied to their life orwhether it was just something of a historical relic that survived primarily due to its association with Martin Luther. (Emmanuel Music suggests replacement lyrics but all the recordings I know of use the original ones.)

In the Epistle (2 Corinthians 11: 19 - 12: 9) for the day St. Paul speaks of being attacked by Satan and that he had a thorn in the flesh. These things God allowed to happen to him so that His grace and strength would be revealed through his life of faith. The Gospel (Luke 8: 4-15) also speaks of the devil taking away God's Word so that the person would not believe (or would return to unbelief). These conditions will last until Christ comes again in triumph and His saints dwell with Him in heaven.

Not only had there been many physical battles with Rome and the Turks (Islam) but there was a continuing spiritual battle which Lutherans would see as the most important battle. The cantata text not only speaks of these two foes but also of false brethren within the Church (especially Mvt. 3). Confessional Lutherans like Bach and his pastors at Leipzig would include those who would spread Pietism and Rationalism through the Christian congregations. Leipzig was one of the relatively few hold-outs at this time; they continued to battle these two teachings by confessing what Scripture teaches and what Lutherans confess (as included in the Book of Concord). Primary in this teaching and confession is that a person is saved by grace alone (sola Gratia) through faith alone (sola Fide) in Christ alone (solus Christus) as He is revealed in Scripture alone (sola Scriptura). The aforementioned foes (as far as confessional Lutherans were concerned) placed their own heart or mind above Scripture. And this spiritual warfare will continue as long as we live in this world until Christ comes.

Now I know that not everyone on this list will go along with those sentiments, but they are the sentiments of the conservative/confessional branch of Lutheranism -- of which Bach was a worthy member.

Julian Mincham wrote (March 17, 2007):
[To Tom Lock] Welcome to the list.

Thanks for these observations--always interesting to get the views of those 'inside' the faith (if you know what I mean).

And, I think it probable that some of our list members may feel that, as a practising Lutheran you may appreciate these cantatas more deeply than those of us who are not! ( a teasing point, partly put in jest!)

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (March 17, 2007):
Tom Lock wrote:
< Primary in this teaching and confession is that a person is saved by grace alone (sola Gratia) through faith alone (sola Fide) in Christ alone (solus Christus) as He is revealed in Scripture alone (sola Scriptura). The aforementioned foes (as far as confessional Lutherans were concerned) placed their own heart or mind above Scripture. >
Are you giving ablatives or nominatives as the feminine phrases can be either since we don't write macrons any more than the Romans did while the one masculine phrase is in the nominative. If you are intending nominatives, is Fide a typo for Fides?

More importantly if what you call Scripture was no important to these persons, I repeat my question why did Luther create this substitution for what the Greek New Testament actually has and why has no one here who reads the Bible in either Latin or English or any translation express amazement at this part of Bach we all know so well. BTW, Luther did the same in Mark where, although much of the Greek is different from that of Matthew, the same substitution was created by Maartin Luther.
See below.
Certainly some scholar has dealt with this.

In Matthew 27:46 in the Greek Jesus's cry "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" is cited in ARAMAIC sabachthani (as correctly in all English bible translations that I know of).
Luther, followed by Bach reverts to the Hebrew that Jesus was citing, namely Ps. 22:1 with azavthani.

And so we have in the Bach passion Ps. 22:1 and its Hebrew rather than Matthew 27::46 with its Aramaic.

Thanks for any illumination,

Paul T. McCain wrote (March 18, 2007):
[To Tom Lock] Thanks for your post! Much appreciated.

 

Gardiner and BWV 126 from the newly released volume (Which our good Areyh has YET to note on the website)

David D. Jones wrote (March 12, 2009):
There is nothing like the sound of Lutherans going to war. Gardiner is often my first introduction to a particular cantata and I was absolutely stunned by BWV 126 and his interpretation of it. The cantata's stern, solemn words "Uphold us, Lord, by thy Word and cast down the murderous Papists and Turks who would bring down Jesus Christ, thy Son, from His throne" and Bach's dazzling musical setting, shot through with clarino trumpet took my breath away. Gardiner's interpretation was absolutely flawless. Much of his interpretive authority is derived from his intuition about tempo. Compare the stately, andante march of Rilling [3], Kooman [7],etc. with the burning, almost terrifying allegro of Gardiner [5]. You can hear the battle cries, the clash of swords.............transcendent. Yeah yeah yeah, it's politically incorrect......How about that weather?

John Pike wrote (March 12, 2009):
Latest Gardiner release and Bernius MBM (Was Gardiner and BWV 126 from the newly released volume (Which our good Areyh has YET to note on the website))

[To David D. Jones] I have also been listening to the latest Gardiner release [5] and agree that it is very fine. I thought the intonation was a bit off in one movement but it is otherwise excellent. The choir is superlative as always and I agree that Gardiner brings a distinctive and compelling interpretation to all the works.

I don't remember who originally recommended the Bernius (Carus) recording of the MBM on the list but I have been listening to it today and I agree that it must belong in the list of top recordings. It's a very pleasant sound throughout, and very polished. I found the opening Kyrie to have great dignity and gravitas and felt that this movement in particular stood out from some of the competition, so far as I recall. Elsewhere, the tempi are lively and seem just right. The balance is excellent.

David D. Jones wrote (March 13, 2009):
POST SCRIPT ON BWV 126 (GARDINER)

I forgot to mention also Gardiner's [5] way with the long held notes on the words "Erhalt" and "Thron"....With the other conductors, the notes are just held with no effect at all, almost stupidly, as if the choir had nothing else to do. Gardiner starts them softly and builds to a terrifying, battle ready crescendo......Uphold us Lord, uphold us!!!

Paul T. McCain wrote (March 16, 2009):
The cantata's stern, solemn words
> "Uphold us, Lord, by thy Word and cast down the murderous Papists and Turks
> who would bring down Jesus Christ, thy Son, from His throne"

A quote from Luther's "Lord Keep Us Steadfast, in Your Word" which included the line, "Curb murderous Turk and Papist swords."

David D. Jones wrote (March 16, 2009):
[To Paul T. McCain] Asking God for protection from a "Pope and Turk" or the "sword" of one......tomatoes ta mah toes if you ask me. It's a brilliant cantata.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (March 17, 2009):
David Jones wrote:
< Asking God for protection from a "Pope and Turk" or the "sword" of one......tomatoes ta mah toes if you ask me. It's a brilliant cantata. >
Actually, there is nothing about swords in the text. Here is the actual text and English translation (from Virtually Baroque site):

Chorale Text
German:
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort,
Und steur' des Papsts und Türken Mord,
Die Jesum Christum, deinen Sohn,
Stürzen wollen von seinem Thron.

English:
Maintain us, Lord, within thy word,
And fend off murd'rous Pope and Turk,
Who Jesus Christ, thy very Son,
Strive to bring down from his throne.

David D. Jones wrote (March 17, 2009):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] Here's a link to a discussion on the "violence" in Christianity that mentions the hymn this particular cantata is built on: http://northerngleaner.blogspot.com/2007/03/violent-christiananity-part-2.html
I'm quite sure to most of the people here it will be like a match on wood and spark plenty of debate, which in some quarters (See the Emmanuel website's ridiculous sanitizing of this cantata) it already has...........

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (March 18, 2009):
[To David Jones] And yet, again, the point is missed. There is no mention at all in the Luther Choral of any swords but the Word of God. You see, to him, as to us Evangelicals (Lutherans), physical violence, bloodshed, etc. will not topple kingdoms, the Devil, the Pope, and all enemies of God in Christ Jesus. What will topple these is the pure Word of God period.

David D. Jones wrote (March 18, 2009):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] Listen bud, you're preaching to the choir here. I'm a Christian and I get stomped into the ground by some of these people for even daring to bring up religion in relation to Bach, a staunch Lutheran. So I get it.......the words of the hymn are "Uphold us Lord, by your WORD".........I get it.

Neil Halliday wrote (March 18, 2009):
Gardiner's style ([5])

I listened to the first eight or so mp3 samples: Amazon.com (click on the mp3 link).

I don't like Gardiner's exaggerated HIP treatment of the first violins [5]; a number of very 'weak' notes surrounding a very 'strong' note (or whatever) is quite destructive of a phrase's musical sense, or cantabile, IMO.

His BWV 88 heard on radio the other night displayed inaccurate and uneven horn playing0, and tentative strings.

I often like his vocalists if they eschew pronounced vibrato.

IMO. (I take it that music criticism is part of this list).

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 126: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Last update: ýSeptember 27, 2011 ý23:57:22