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Cantata BWV 149
Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg in den Hütten der Gerechten
Discussions - Part 1

Discussions in the Week of June 15, 2003

Leo Ditvoorst wrote (June 2, 2003):
BWV 149 mp3 and score

The mp3's of BWV 149 performed by Leusink [6] can be downloaded at: http://bach.pfcorner.net/bwv149/
The full score from the Bach Gesamtausgabe is in volume 30. This can be downloaded from: http://bach.pfcorner.net/score/

Matthew Davis wrote (June 9, 2003):
Bach Cantata Performance Practice

I'm doing an essay on performance practice in Bach Cantata 149, movements 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7. Can anyone help me out by giving me all their knowledge about this cantata?

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 9, 2003):
[To Matthew Davis] You are indeed lucky! Cantata BWV 149 is planned to be discussed in the BCML (the main Bach Cantatas Mailing List) in the Week of June 15, 2003. If you are not yet a member of that list, I warmly recommend to you joining by going to the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/How.htm and follow the instructions.

Couple of days after the discussion is over, the various messages will be compiled into the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: Cantata BWV 149 - Discussions

If possible, you are also invited to publish your essay in the Articles Section of the Bach Cantatas Website.

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 18, 2003):
BWV 149 – Introduction

The chosen work for this week’s discussion (June 15, 2003) is the cantata for Feast of St MichaelMan singet mit Freuden vom Sieg’ (Songs are sung with joy).

Background
The commentary below is quoted from the liner notes to CD re-issue of Werner’s recording of the cantata on Erato [1]. It was written by the English scholar Nicholas Anderson.

See: Cantata BWV 149 - Commentary

Recordings
The details of the recordings of the cantata can be found at the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: Cantata BWV 149 - Recordings

Cantata BWV 149 has only 5 complete recordings, three of which are from the three complete cantata cycles – Helmuth Rilling (1983-1984) [4], Gustav Leonhardt (1985) [5] and Pieter Jan Leusink (1999) [6]. The other two are hard to get - Fritz Werner (1964) [1] and Wolfgang Gönnenwein (1967) [2].

Through the page of the Music Examples from this cantata: Cantata BWV 149 - Music Examples
you can listen to two complete recording: Leonhardt [5] (at David Zale Website) and Leusink [6] (at Leo Ditvoorst Website in its new location).

Additional Information
In the page of recordings mentioned above you can also find links to the original German text and various translations, three of which were contributed by members of the BCML: English (Francis Browne), French (Jean-Pierre Grivois), and Hebrew (Aryeh Oron). Francis Browne also translated Schalling’s chorale.

There are also links to the Score (Vocal & Piano version) and to commentaries: in English by Simon Crouch (Listener’s Guide) and Carol Traupman-Carr (Bethlehem), and in Spanish by Julio Sánchez Reyes (CantatasDeBach).

I hope to see many of you participating in the discussion.

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 21, 2003):
Most of the commentators consider the aria for soprano (Mvt. 4) and the duet for alto & tenor (Mvt. 6) as the most attractive movements of Cantata BWV 149. However, I could not resist the temptation to give the members the opportunity to listen to two great bass singers of the past - Erich Wenk (with Werner) [1] and Hans Sotin (with Gönnenwein) [2]. I uploaded into the BCW mp3 files of the aria for bass (Mvt. 2) from these recordings. For good measure, I also added the recording of Philippe Huttenlocher (with Rilling) [4]. You can listen to them all through the page of Music Examples from Cantata BWV 149: Cantata BWV 149 - Music Examples
The other two recordings of the cantata are located in their completeness in other websites, but can be listened through the same page. These are: Leonhardt (Bass: Max van Egmond) [5] [David Zale site] and Pieter Jan Leusink (Bass: Bas Ramselaar) [6] [Leo Ditvoorst site].

Simon Crouch, for example, wrote about the aria for bass: "The bass aria that follows provides an opportunity for the listener to relax after such a high octane start but certainly does not provide the same opportunity to the soloist. Although simply scored for continuo, bassoon and voice, the soloist has to be very mobile to match the staccato bassoon and make the most of this movement."

Enjoy, listen, and please write about your impressions.

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 22, 2003):
BWV 149 - Provenance:

See: Cantata BWV 149 - Provenance

Commentary:

See: Cantata BWV 149 - Commentary

Arjen van Gijssel wrote (June 22, 2003):
[To Aryeh Oron] First of all, thank you very much for these examples! They allow me to participate in the review of different recordings. My order of preference for the bass aria would be:

1. Leonhardt [5]
2/3 Gönnenwein [2]/Leusink [6]
4. Werner [1]
5. Rilling [4]

[4] Rilling
IMO, Rilling takes a too high tempo, which takes away the nice pulse which you hear in the other recordings. If Crouch is right ("you can relax with this aria"), then Rilling/Huttenlocher prevent that from happening. I cannot understand why the bass is not singing the melisma's legato. It results in a sort of bleating. Also, I found his pitch somewhat too high on the higer notes.

[1] Werner
In principle, I like the quiet tempo. However, cello and clavecin seem out a tune. The bass has a much better voice than in the Rilling recording. All in all, I wasn't taken away by this recording. An aria is being sung, but that's about it.

[6] Leusink
I like Bas Ramselaar's pleasant voice. It is uncomplicated (light) and he knows what he is singing about. The athmosphere of the aria is nice, and I like the pulse of the continuo-group.

[2] Gönnenwein
What a fantastic voice! This man must have a big chest. Now here is an example of somebody who knows to sing the melisma's without any difficulty, as if it is nothing, and very legato. But the problem is this: it is a voice for an opera buffa. The way he sings "Kraft", I almost get the impression that I am listening to Figaro. Another problem is that the continuo group is playing very softly (or is it a problem of recording?). In any case, I think there is a balance problem.

[5] Leonhardt
Nice tempo (perhaps a litte bit too quick), but very nice pulse from the continuogroup (with bassoon this time, what happened in the other recordings)? A very nice voice (clear, kräftlich, legato, no problems in the high range). My favourite.

A pthat I do not have the other movements available. In all recordings, interesting things happen.

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 23, 2003):
BWV 149 - Recordings

Last week I have been listening to 5 complete recordings of Cantata BWV 149:

[1] Fritz Werner (1964)
[2] Wolfgang Gönnenwein (1967)
[4] Helmuth Rilling (1983-1984)
[5] Gustav Leonhardt (1985)
[6] Pieter Jan Leusink (1999)

The Three Arias - Background and personal preferences

The short background preceding the list of my personal preferences for the recordings of the three arias, is quoted from the book ‘The Church Cantatas of J.S. Bach’ by Alec Robertson (1972).

Mvt. 2: Aria for Bass
The aria reports the struggle described in the Epistle (Revelation 12: 7-12); not in the powerful terms of the opening chorus of Cantata BWV 19, but by a solo bass accompanied only by the continuo! The declamatory vocal part ranges widely, taking its combative first phrases from the continuo ritornello. The reference to the Lamb becomes clear in the text of the second section as ‘Honour and victory… through the lamb’s blood come’.

Personal preferences: Sotin/Gönnenwein [2], Wenk/Werner [1], Egmond/Leonhardt [5], Ramselaar/Leusink [6], Huttenlocher/Rilling [4]

Mvt. 4: Aria for Soprano
This is a most beautiful aria. One can only marvel that in his noisy composer’s room at the St. Thomas’ School Bach could tranquilly and tenderly contemplate the angels who guard us in our waking and sleeping.

Personal preferences: I do not have any, because I like them all. Here we have four first-rate adult female singers (Agnes Giebel with Werner [1], Elly Ameling with Gönnenwein [2], Arleen Augér with Rilling [4], and Ruth Holton with Leusink [6]), and one excellent boy soprano (Sebastian Hennig with Leonhardt [5]). Although coming from different schools, each one of the singers gives a convincing and satisfying rendition.

Mvt. 6: Duet for Alto & Tenor
The melody of the bassoon part in this duet is remarkably evocative of the picture the words paint. It ends, just before the voices enter, in canon, with an astonishing cadence. Whittaker truly says that the choice of the bassoon is not fortuitous, ‘[it] gives a feeling of loneliness, almost of awesomeness… and is apt as Gluck’s use of the flute in the Elysian scene in Orpheus.’

Preferences: Baker-Altmeyer/Gönnenwein [2], Esswood-Equiluz/Leonhardt [5], [gap], Hellmann-Jelden/Werner [1], Georg-Baldin/Rilling [4], [big gap], Buwalda & Schoch/Leusink [6].

Baker-Altmeyer’s duet brings out the individuality of each singer; in Esswood-Equiluz’ duet the prominent characteristic is the chemistry between the singers, as if they sing in one voice. Both renditions reflect mutual listening of the singers and both approaches are valid.

Conclusion

Movements to take away: the aria for bass with Sotin/Gönnenwein [2] and the duet for alto & tenor with Baker-Altmeyer/Gönnenwein [2].

Alex Riedlmayer wrote (June 24, 2003):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Personal preferences: Sotin/Gönnenwein [2], Wenk/Werner [1], Egmond/Leonhardt [5], Ramselaar/Leusink [6], Huttenlocher/Rilling [4]>
Aryeh, thanks for uploading the arias, but my tastes in this aria seem to completely diverge from yours... unless, that is, you meant to indicate that you preferred the ones nearer to the end of your list. :-)

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 24, 2003):
BWV 149 - The Recordings:

This week I listened to the following recordings:

Rilling (1983-4) [4]; Leonhardt (1985) [5]; Leusink (1999) [6]

Without much to compare, I only had one non-HIP and 2 HIP recordings that bore all the characteristics for these two main types of interpretation.

[4] Rilling:
Compared to the HIP versions, the choral mvts. here were the only ones that achieved a true sense of ‘the joy of victory.’ Nevertheless, they lack the full force that a Richter recording, if there had been one, would have had. Rilling seems to be holding the choir back at times in order to vary the dynamics. The voices of the choir with their vibratos tend to diminish somewhat the solidity of sound that the choir should have. Huttenlocher’s singing style is entirely inappropriate for the bass aria. Only Augér’s aria stands out as being above average. The duet is acceptable even though the voices are rather operatic. The interpretation of the final chorale exhibits all the necessary reverence, dignity and sensitivity that this text and chorale melody demand. It is, after all, the same special hymn verse that Bach chose as the final mvt. in the SJP (BWV 245).

[5] Leonhardt:
In this HIP version, the voice parts are in relatively good balance with each other, but the interpretation of the choral mvts. suffers from the overuse of exaggerated accents. The squawking of the oboes on the heavy, syncopated, accents is out of all proportion to the rather weak trumpets. With the exception of all the relentless, strong accents on the 1st beat of each measure, there is airy lightness in the unaccented portions of each measure, so much so that an impression of insubstantiality is created. The steadiness of the accents soon becomes boring and resembles the crude, primitive efforts of a fledgling choir master who is attempting to keep his forces together at all costs. Both Esswood and van Egmond are slightly better than their Leusink counterparts (Buwalda, Ramselaar.) Equiluz’ efforts are above average and Hennig, the boy soprano, with only some insecurities (intonation, etc.), gives us a fairly good idea of what this aria may have sounded like in Bach’s time. The voices in the duet aria are rather unpleasant to listen to and are not much of an improvement over the operatic Rilling version. The final chorale is an utter disaster as far as interpretative performance style is concerned. Here it becomes difficult to imagine that Bach would have chosen this same chorale and verse as a conclusion to the SJP. Better yet, try to imagine Leonhardt ending a performance of the entire SJP in this manner!

[6] Leusink:
The usual grotesque sounds emanate from the choir with the top voice parts having considerable difficulty in actually sounding out all the notes. The choral mvts. are, for the most part light-weight and do not convey the idea of solid joy that comes from victory. The demi-voix singers generally lack much in the way of any kind of expressiveness and when expression is attempted, it does not sound genuine (Ramselaar.) The tiny, trembling voice of Holton which has no substance in the low range can not do justice to her aria. The duet has a few interesting moments with Buwalda holding back so much at times that he is barely heard. The beautiful chorale has its fermati cut short and the warbling sopranos sing the cf insecurely. As a whole the interpretation of this magnificent chorale is very boring and uninspired.

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 24, 2003):
[To Alex Ridelmayer] The order of my preferences is co, starting from the most preferred and down.

I have been hoping that since I chose to move to the back seat couple of weeks ago, I would not need to explain my choices. After about 185 weekly cantata reviews in a raw, I assume that my taste is more or less familiar to the members of the BCML, and would not like to repeat myself. However, since you asked, here is a partial list of the factors according to which I rate the performers of a Bach's aria.

A. Range. The voice should have wide-range. Many Bach's parts are very demanding vocally. Singers with a low range, might sound stressed when trying to sing the high notes. Others, with a high range, might sound hollow singing lower notes.
B. Technical control. It has been noted many times that Bach's vocal parts are instrumental in nature. That means that in many cases they are technically very demanding. The singer should be sound at ease with the complicated vocal lines and let it flow.
C. Expressive abilities. Many Bach's arias have more than one possibility for expression. The singer should use his expressive abilities to bring out most of the potential of the aria, to reveal hidden corners, and to dig below the surface.
D. Taste. Good taste is always a good merit. By taste I mean that the singer should not exaggerate in his expression. Many of Bach's arias enough substantial material that may be conveyed to the listener even through mediocre rendition. In some cases, over-expression might stand in the way of the music and ruin the whole picture.
E. Rich and pleasant voice. The main tool of the singer should delight our ears. This is the most obvious characteristic of the singer. Sometimes the voice is so beautiful that we tend to forgive the singer for deficiencies he might have in other areas.
F. Feeling. The ability to convey to the listener the emotional content of the cantatas - sadness, joy, distress, happiness, etc.
G. Understanding of the Bach's idiom. Operatic techniques are not necessarily bad for singing Bach well. But when a singer sounds as if he/she is singing Verdi while performing a Bach aria, we feel inconvenience.

Few singers are well-equipped to meat most of the above factors. Names like DFD, Arleen Augér, Julia Hamari, Andreas Scholl, etc. come to mind. Others are good in some arias and less convincing in others. Some singers almost never keep a minimal satisfactory standard.

In many arias we find an instrument (sometimes instruments), whose part is no less important than the singer's. If that is the case, the player of this instrument should be judged according to similar criteria. The chemistry/match/blending between the singer and the player are also significant.

The role of the conductor is, of course, very important. He dictates the tempo, the rhythm, and the general approach. Not one promising rendition by a capable singer, was destroyed by super-speedy conducting.

And above all there is this mysterious factor, called personal taste. We might prefer certain rendition to others simply because we like it more, sometimes without any explanatory reason or detailed analysis. This is based on our individual listening experience, acquaintance with the singer through a live performance, his/her look, etc.

Regarding all the above factors I prefer Hans Sotin/Wolfgang Gönnenwein rendition [2] of the aria for bass from Cantata BWV 149 to any other recording of this aria.

And now I would like to hear the reasons for your personal preferences.

Neil Halliday wrote (June 25, 2003):
[To Aryeh Oron] The examples Aryeh gave of this Bass aria, BWV 149, seem to point to a choice that a conductor must make between a musical or a literal interpretation of the text: "Strength...be sung to God...who subdued and drove Satan away".

The Rilling/Huttenlocher example [4], with its relentless continuo (including a brilliant part for harpsichord) perhaps comes closest to a literal depiction of the text, and Huttenlocher pulls out all stops with his almost raucous rendition of his part; but in some ways this is the least satisfying version, from an 'aesthetically pleasing' point of view.

I certainly find the less dramatic versions by the other performers more 'musically accessible' from the listener's point of view, but neither do they suggest the subjugation of Satan. Perhaps music such as the opening chorus of BWV 79 is needed for this task - and it is therefore too much to ask of a lone bass vocalist and continuo.

BTW, I notice Simon Crouch, at least as quoted by Aryeh (shown below), speaks of scoring for bassoon and continuo as:
<"Although simply scored for continuo, bassoon and voice, the soloist has to be very mobile to match the staccato bassoon and make the most of this movement">;
but I believe this bass aria is scored for bass, violone and continuo.

Peter Bloemendaal wrote (June 26, 2003):
BWV 149 - Michaelis

Michaelmas, the 29th of September, was my father’s birthday. I am almost certain, he never knew it was dedicated to St. Michael. These name days of Saints, which used to be so important in Bach’s day, seem to have been largely forgotten in our time. Yet, this is the Day of St. Michael, [He who is as God], one of the archangels [lit. chief messengers], the highest ranking angels. The others are Gabriel [Hero of God], the angel who announced the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, Rafael [God is Healer], who appears in the apocryphal book of Tobit, and Uriel [My Light is God] from the apocryphal book of Ezra. In ages past, Michael appealed most to people’s imagination because in the book of Revelation it is he, who slayed the Dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan (Revelation 12:7 ff.) and cast him out of Heaven onto the earth. Ironic, that St. John actually saw in his vision, that it was our hero Michael who did not only drive Adam out of Paradise, but was also responsible for the fact that Satan was exiled from Paradise in Heaven to fall down on earth, where he could do such devastating work throughout the history of mankind. Michael played another important part in Revelation 20 by chaining the old serpent and casting him into the bottomless pit.

One of the most touching representations of Michael’s victory is to be seen on the front of Coventry Cathedral, England, next to the main entrance. This impressive cathedral was rebuilt after World War II, when it was destroyed by heavy bombings, with contributions from all over the world, including the former enemy Germany. Here Michael also symbolizes the idea that we need higher powers to inspire us humans to the awareness that destructive powers must be chained forever and war must be put to an end. For ever and ever. Alas, not yet, it appears!

The adoration of St. Michael started in the fourth century and was especially prominent in Eastern Europe and the Middle-East, where, from 811 to 1320 A.D., a dynasty of nine successive Michaels ruled the Byzantine Empire. St. Michael soon gained general veneration in the Western world, too. Hundreds of churches were consecrated to him, numerous babies were given his name, and, as a matter of fact, the name has never lost its popularity until this day, although hardly anyone seems to be aware of its origin. Would Gorbatshov know, or Schumi, or Owen? Chance probably would. The name appears in almost a million entries through a recent search on the internet, not counted the synonyms/derivatives Micha, Michaela, Michel, Michelle, Mick, Mickey, Michiel, Michal, etc. Famous and impressive are the holy places on mountains in Europe, the abbeys on Skellig Michael in Ireland, Le Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France and Monte Gargano in Southern Italy.

Orthodox tradition has it that Michael was the angel in Genesis 3:24 with the flaming sword, which turned every way to keep Adam and Eve away from Paradise and the Tree of Life. In Genesis 22:11, Michael is the angel of the Lord, who prevented Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, his one and only son. Michael is also believed to have been the man, wrestlwith Jacob all night long (Genesis 32:24), a decisive moment in the history of Israel. Jacob, meaning “deceiver”, showed himself here a man of character and of principle by not letting this man of God go, unless he blessed him. Consequently, he received a new name, Israel, which means “Warrior for God”. And Jacob called that place Pniel, which is in English “Face of God”.

In Numbers 22:24 ff. we read about Balaam or Bileam [devourer of the people] – interesting, these transparent names, aren’t they - a man with a reputation of having divine powers to either curse or bless people. Balaam was summoned by Balak [God has destroyed], the king of the Moabites, who was sore afraid of the expansion of the children of Israel. So he sent for Balaam to curse the Israelites. God’s anger was kindled when Balaam saddled his ass to follow the princes of Moab and he sent down his angel to thwart Balak’s plan. The story that develops is an extraordinary one. The ass, the only one to see the angel of the Lord standing in the way, his sword drawn in his hand, turned aside out of the way and into the field. But Balaam hit the ass to turn her into the way again. Then the angel of the Lord reappeared on a path through the vineyards with a wall on either side. The ass, seeing the angel, thrust herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot. And Balaam again gave the ass a thorough beating. On they went. A bit further, where the path was so narrow that they could not move to the right or the left, the angel blocked the way completely and when the ass saw the angel, she fell down under Balaam, who went furious and beat his animal with his staff. And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass and she asked Balaam if she had not always been his faithful ass. Anyone interested in the ending of this amazing story of the talking ass, I would recommend to read Numbers, chapters 22-24. Wonderful stuff, that –by the way- caused fierce theological debates over the question: “Did the ass really talk or not?”.

Just before the fall of Jericho, Joshua beheld a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand (Joshua 5:13), revealing himself as captain of the host of the Lord. The rest is common knowledge.

In the days of the great prophet Isaiah, during the reign of Hezekia, the king prayed before the Lord to be rescued from the Assyrian invaders. Then God promised him through the prophet that He would defend the city of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand (185,000); and when they arose early in the morning, behold they were all dead corpses. (2 Kings 19:35)

In the book of Daniel, chapter 3:28, Michael is believed to be the angel sent by God to protect Daniel and his friends in the burning fiery furnace. And again Daniel is saved from certain death by God’s angel, who shut the lions’ mouths (Daniel 6:22), when through a treacherous plot Daniel was convicted to be cast into the lions’ den. In chapters 10 and 12, Michael is called one of the chief princes, the great prince, which stands firm for the children of Israel against the princes of Persia.

In Jude vs. 9, Michael is called the archangel who disputed with the devil about the body of Moses.

According to the medieval cult, St. Michael’s three principal assignments comprised weighing the souls of the deceased, in order to establish whether they were destined for Heaven or to be doomed, guiding the chosen to heaven, whilst protecting them from attacks by satanic powers and finally guarding the gates of Paradise.

Against this background, Bach composed his cantatas “zum Fest des Erzengels Michael”, with the epistle reading of Revelations 12: 7-12 and the Gospel reading from Matthew 18: 1-11, where Jesus tells his disciples they have to be converted and become as little children, if they wish to enter the kingdom of heaven. Of these, BWV 130 – “Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir”, BWV 19 – “Es erhub sich ein Streit”, and BWV 149 - “Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg” have been completely preserved. All of them are festively scored with trumpets and timpani, plus oboi and the usual strings and basso continuo. Bach added an obligatory bassoon, the sound of which adds greatly to the atmosphere of the duet aria, Mvt. 6, for tenor and alto.

The opening chorus is an adaptation of the final chorus of the Hunting Cantata, BWV 208 – “Was mir behagt ist nur die muntre Jagd”. (See also message 5448) In this last movement, the four Greek gods, Diana, Endymion, Pan and Pales, sing out their “Long live our good Duke and his good wife” in words of obsequious flattering to our modern ears, but quite in accordance with contemporary ceremonial forms and manners. The original text is twice as long as the words of “Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg”, but no problem, Bach turned the chorus in to a da capo movement. He replaced the horns for trumpets, and thus changed the rural atmosphere in one of triumph after the victory has been won. Dürr rightly observes that the movement is uncommonly homophonic for a movement, based on biblical words, and that we do not hear any contrapuntal or chromatic reference, which we might expect here, to the fierce battle that preceded the final victory. This applies to the entire cantata as well.

Listening to and comparing the original and the parody movement, I hear the difference in interpretation between Schreier and Leusink [6]. It becomes even more apparent in the arias. This is partly due to the disparities between the conductors’ ideas, the dates of the recordings and the distinctions in singing a secular text to a secular ruler and singing in honour of God, who is holy and transcends our understanding of wisdom, power and love. The Lord Almighty, whom you can not honour in a theatrical performance as the Hunting Cantata no doubt was.

We know Picander had the text printed in 1728 for the church year 1728-9. Thomas Braatz wrote: “The autograph score for BWV 201 contains 14 ms. of a sketch for a Micaelmas cantata. Where the choir begins singing the first word “Man”, Bach breaks off at this point, but the question remains: Was this the beginning of an original cantata called “Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg?” Did Bach abandon this original beginning and turn to the final mvt. of the Hunting Cantata (BWV 208) because he was running out of time for composing an original cantata for this feast day?” Interesting thought. For, as BWV 201 - “The Dispute between Phoebus and Pan” - a highly interesting work, is thought to originate from 1729, this would imply that “Man singet mit Freuden” was also written for the autumn of 1729, the former for the annual St. Michael’s fair and the sacred cantata for the adornment of the service at Michaelmas. I wonder how many Leipzigers heard both performances and which of the two they preferred. I also wonder what the 14 measures of the sketch sound like?

Un fortunately, I only have the Leusink recording [6], and although I am very pleased with it, I would love to hear the Gönnenwein rendition [2]. Holton always touches me to the bone with her minimal-maximal” singing, so full of nuances, that she expresses so much more than many a loud-voiced celebrity. I must say that the instrumentalists of Netherlands Bach Collegium play splendidly and Trudy van der Wulp’s bassoon solo in the duet of the night watchers could keep me awake all night.

It makes you feel totally alive and protected even shortly before dawn, when sleep is often threatening, vigilance may slacken and enemy attacks are most likely to take place, when not expectanymore.

The final chorale is a very moving one. I have heard it twice performed live at funerals, and I am sure that our digital era has made it a generally beloved piece for the occasion. Beautiful is the final confirmative theme, marked by the trumpets and timpani to emphasize the choir’s “Ich will dich preisen ewiglich!”

Continue on Part 2

Cantata BWV 149: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Last update: ýApril 24, 2013 ý23:56:07