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Cantata BWV 164
Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of July 22, 2007

Russell Telfer wrote (July 22, 2007):
Introduction to BWV 164

Week beginning 22nd July 2007

Introduction to J.S.Bach's Cantata BWV 164

Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet
Ye who the name of Christ have taken

Link: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV164.htm

The cantata was intended for the 26th August 1725 for the 13th week after Trinity.

The work was previously discussed from 9th September 2001 onwards. This previous discussion was quite overwhelmed by the tragedy that erupted during that week.

Text is taken from the Gospel of Luke 10: 23-37, dealing with the parable of the good Samaritan, having pity on one's neighbour's suffering and helping one's neighbours.

For music scholars there are rich pickings here. Just as in the Art of Fugue (BWV 1080), Bach creates all manner of canon and inversion to weave his complex but seamless way through the verses, making each an object lesson of composition.

In what follows the opening movement, the pattern of canonic treatment continues.

The first may well depict the Good Samaritan on active service - the 9/8 rhythm calls in mind a rustic scene but one which, with its minor key, underlines the serious message that Bach is presenting. Note though that compared with the day of judgment theme of last week's cantata, this is almost a let off for Bach's congregation.

The second verse is a recitative for bass with continuo accompaniment. The theme of the cantata is suggested by the words:

Wir hören zwar, was selbst die Liebe spricht:
Die mit Barmherzigkeit den Nächsten hier umfangen


We've heard, indeed, what love itself doth say:
All those with mercy who have here received their neighbour ..

In the third verse we see a pattern shown elsewhere in the cantata but here with reduced forces, namely two flauti, the alto soloist and continuo. There is a reliance on four part harmony with much use of canonic variation and inversion: the continuo part is powerful, busy, and interesting: the movement is very compelling.

There follows a fifteen bar recit for tenor with fully scored strings and continuo. Lovers of the Passions will know how riveting Bach's music can be when all the harmonies are 'strung tight'.

In the penultimate (fifth) verse, the soprano soloist holds one top line whilst flutes, oboes and violins provide a beautiful interweaving counterpoint line. The bass soloist remains mostly in the baritone register and is underpinned by continuo.

The final (sixth) movement: Ertödt uns durch dein Güte is also found in BWV 22 although here we have only the plain chorale without the superlative obbligato accompaniment of the other version.

A review of available recordings is available on this link: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV164-D.htm

You will be able to read (amongst several useful contributions) two very erudite and comprehensive analyses by Aryeh Oron and Thomas Braatz. One of the virtues of our particular dedication is that our efforts remain of lasting value, and if there are occasional swings in fashion they do not impair the values that we have already invested.

Neil Halliday wrote (July 24, 2007):
Russell Telfer wrote:
>For music scholars there are rich pickings here. Just as in the Art of Fugue, Bach creates all manner of canon and inversion to weave his complex but seamless way through the verses, making each an object lesson of composition.<
It might even be that the canon form - with its leader and follower - is a representation of the title of this cantata: "You (Christians) who are named after (or follow) Christ".

In any case, in what may be seen as a kind of unifying element, the three main movements all have the opening vocal motifs at first presented in canon in the ritornellos:

1. In the tenor aria (Mvt. 1), at the unison in the 1st followed by the 2nd violins;

2. In the alto aria (Mvt. 3), at the fourth in the flutes (ie, the follower - 2nd flute - is an interval of a fourth lower than the leader); and

3. In the SB duet (Mvt. 5), in inversion (briefly) at the 12th (with the upper unison instruments leading the continuo). Moreover, the voices themselves begin with a canon at the octave (soprano leading bass).

I have Rilling's recording [1].

The tenor aria (Mvt. 1) has rich four-part writing for the strings (including continuo), vividly presented in Rilling's recording [1]. Rilling's somewhat rigid articulation works well in this movement, IMO. (As pointed out by Thomas B., Rilling's phrasing has the slur over two notes, instead of Bach's phrasing with the slur over groups of three notes). Harder (appropriately named, in light of the text that refers to "hearts that are harder than a stone"!) endows the music with heroism tinged with desperation; the last long-held note on "Stein" accompanied by the final repeat of the canon on the `forte' violins is magnificent (here the 2nd violins lead the first). The text in this aria is repeated in a somewhat complex manner, as opposed to the more usual "da capo'form.

Koopman [5] (sample) has a gentler, more flowing performance at the same speed.

In the secco recitative (Mvt. 2), Rilling's [1] continuo strings are too strong (perhaps the double bass should have been omitted) and the harpsichord is weak.

In the alto aria (Mvt. 3), the BGA shows the initial motifs on the flutes minus the embellishment that is added to the corresponding vocal part, but I think Rilling [1] has made a musically satisfying choice by adding this embellishment to the flute parts as well. [This is the embellishment that is found in the leap of the sixth at the start of another aria concerned with "Erbarmung" (pity), namely, the `Erbarme dich' aria from the SMP (BWV 244)]. The fourth line of text has a characteristic chromatic treatment on the words "Schmerz" and "schmerzen"; second time round, these words have a figure reminiscent of the "falling leaves" motif in the alto aria of BWV 205. Rilling has one of the finest altos in his set, Julia Hamari.

The accompanied recitative (Mvt. 4) has rich string harmonies expressively played by Rilling's modern string orchestra [1]. Personal note: I would prefer Bach to have finished on a major chord, rather than the minor, in order to represent "(Christ's) image", and to prepare for the more upbeat mood of the following duet.

In the rhythmically lively SB duet (Mvt. 5), the six lines of text are presented (canonically) in three pairs of two; the soprano leads with the first pair of lines, the bass with the second pair, and the soprano with the third pair. The second line in this third pair: "God will Himself his heart give" is presented in a characteristically expressive manner with a construction in a partial cycle of fifths; for five bars the unison upper instruments, low on the treble stave (lower than the soprano), contrast beautifully with the vocal parts while the continuo descends in crochet scale passages. Finally the bass leads in a repeat of the entire text, pausing for a long melisma on "streben" ("strive") during which the soprano `catches up' with her text. The special timbre of the six non-continuo instruments playing in unison is a feature of this movement.

Jean Laaninen wrote (July 24, 2007):
[To Russell Telfer & Neil Halliday] Thanks to both Russell and Neil for the detailed insights. I waglad for the opportunity to read both postings before fitting in the time to listen. Indeed this cantata does sound unified and the sweet and serious quality of the message is so nicely conveyed by Bach's choices. Of particular note to me was the use of the flutes in Aria 3, and now I will be listening as the weeks go by to observe the different uses Bach makes of flutes related to conveyance of emotion in the cantatas. Dürr mentions that the flute's sighing melody is meant to symbolize love and mercy, possibly in this case an interpretation of the work of the Spirit.. The final chorale, while in the nature of a petition for a focus to have a charitable mind, also seems to contain an element of triumph to my thinking thus blending in some manner the emotional directives of the preceding sections by creating a fushion of ideas that says in simple language to me--this is a good way to live.

The chorale was new for me and gave me a very positive feeling about the ending.

Russell Telfer wrote (July 26, 2007):
Neil Halliday wrote, with regard to the use of canon form:
< It might even be that the canon form - with its leader and follower - is a representation of the title of this cantata: "You (Christians) who are named after (or follow) Christ". >
A good point. I should have emphasised this.

Neil's more detailed comments had me looking over the text again. I have felt that one or two of the cantatas under discussion (or due to be discussed) do not, unusually for Bach, match text to music as closely as they could. Bearing in mind the theme of love and compassion, is it not surprising that so much of BWV 164 is in the minor mode?

As to Jean's remarks about the chorale, I would say: if it is new to you, you must listen to cantata BWV 22. Just as a jewel can have an even more brilliant case, so the Ertödt Uns chorale has an even more captivating obbligato.

Jean Laaninen wrote (July 26, 2007):
[To Russell Telfer] Thanks Russell,

I will check out Cantata BWV 22 after a bit. We are having intermittent monsoon storms here, and I've been turning my computer off and on today to protect it. But I'm always ready for a musical treat, and when mother nature calms down I'll listen. I have time today.

Nicholas Johnson wrote (July 26, 2007):
One of Bach's most astonishing canons is hidden deep in the texture of BWV 682.

Neil Halliday wrote (July 26, 2007):
[To Nicolas Johnson] Astonishing indeed! Not only is the cantus firmus in canon in both hands, the accompaniment begins in canon in both hands, all over a free pedal, resulting in music in five voices. This is complex music, needing serious study. (I'll check some recordings later, to see if I can actually hear the c.f. in canon).

[For those who want to see the score, it's found in the BGA in Band 3, near the end of Clavierübungen Part 3, with the title 'Nun komm', der Heiden Heiland'; it's the second piece after the famous "Giant Fugue" BWV 680].

Fortunately, the canons in BWV 164 are much easier to appreciate!

Bradley Lehman wrote (July 26, 2007):
Clavierübung and other facsimiles (was Re: Introduction to BWV 164)


Neil Halliday wrote:
< [For those who want to see the score, it's found in the BGA in Band 3, > near the end of Clavierübungen Part 3, with the title 'Nun komm', der Heiden Heiland'; it's the second piece after the famous "Giant Fugue" > BWV 680]. >
Bach's own published edition (1739) is available for only $20 USD: http://www.omifacsimiles.com/cats/broude.html

That same distributor has a handful of Bach cantata scores in facsimile, too. I got #71 from them a couple of years ago: http://www.omifacsimiles.com/cats/bach.html

Neil Halliday wrote (July 27, 2007):
Neil Halliday wrote:
>For those who want to see the score (of BWV 682), it's found in the BGA in Band 3, near the end of Clavierübungen Part 3, with the title 'Nun komm', der Heiden Heiland'<
My apologies, the piece is entitled 'Vater unser im Himmelreich'. (I should have recognised the tune).

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 29, 2007):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< Bearing in mind the theme of love and compassion, is it not surprising that so much of BWV 164 is in the minor mode? >
'Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all' Source unknown (?), very minor mode.

More specific to the text of BWV 164:

<Your hearts should be rich in love
But they are harder than a stone> (Mvt. 1, Dürr trans.)

My very first post to BCML included a reference to felsen herzen (heart of stone), which was in the text of the cantata of the week, as I recall. I will look it up, but not this instant. The point was to introduce myself as a geologist and stone carver, but not felsen herzen. This seems like an appropriate moment to mention it again.

The text of BWV 164 is more about the failure of love, or our failure to love one another, despite Christ's sacrifice and example. Not to oversimplify, but you have to love (!) the example from Mvt. 2

<His eye that runs with tears;
Yet our heart is not driven to love!>

That seems to be as true in our day as in Bach's. If you think about it too much, even minor mode is way too optimistic. OTOH, we are listening to and discussing music, with occasional points of agreement. It's a start.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 29, 2007):
I previously wrote:
<My very first post to BCML included a reference to felsen herzen (heart of stone)>
I intended 'felsen herzen', the German phrase, to appear in italics, to inidcate that it is not English. Alas, this function has worked in the past, but not today. At least as the post appeared in my mail. Apologies for any confusion.

To emphasize: I am neither 'felsen herzen' nor stoney-hearted. Just the opposite, I like to think, although you are free to form your own opinions.

Russell Telfer wrote (July 29, 2007):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< That (our failure to love one another) seems to be as true in our day as in Bach's. If you think about it too much, even minor mode is way too optimistic. OTOH, we are listening to and discussing music, with occasional points of agreement. >
Well! Some music heavily in the minor can be a little cheerful, but into which mode would you move to express something even more downbeat?

On your major point I do agree with you. You can see that Bach, as an intelligent and humane man, had a wide awareness of human nature and of all the flaws in human behaviour, which are of course much more visible in others than ourselves. (!)

>occasional points of agreement....<
Rather more than occasional, surely? How often do you have a vigorous exchange of views about oboe da caccia with the fellow next to you on the commuter train or the Clapham omnibus?

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 30, 2007):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<< That (our failure to love one another) seems to be as true in our day as in Bach's. If you think about it too much, even minor mode is way too optimistic. OTOH, we are listening to and discussing music, with occasional points of agreement. >>
Russell Telfer wrote:
< Well! Some music heavily in the minor can be a little cheerful, but into which mode would you move to express something even more downbeat? >
Twelve-tone (equal temperament required?) still seems to have the ability to partly empty concert halls at intermission, and stimulate letters of protest to the papers, in my area. This does not say anything about the composers intent, more about the audience's expectations.

Bach had the luxury of texts based on unquestioned theology, the audience pretty much locked in. Perhaps Bach deserves the credit for consolidating , or even inventing, the association of major and minor modes with upbeat and downbeat moods?

< On your major point I do agree with you. You can see that Bach, as an intelligent and humane man, had a wide awareness of human nature and of all the flaws in human behaviour, which are of course much more visible in others than ourselves. (!) >
>> occasional points of agreement.... <<
< Rather more than occasional, surely? >
Certai, but I meant to emphasize that even bits of agreement are reason for optimism. I do think that the energy and word-count spent on disagreement on BCML are much the greater part. Perhaps about the same proportion as the world at large? Or perhaps we do a bit better than average? No worse, I don't think.

Mentioning a passion for Bach's cantatas to your commuter mate on train or bus is not likely to strike a chord (major or minor), but could be worth a try? You never know.

I agree with your perspective on Bach's awareness of human nature, but I am not so sure that it agrees with Bach's Lutheran theology, which leaves us in delicate territory.

I am going to continue with a separate post re BWV 178.

Alain Bruguières wrote (July 30, 2007):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Perhaps Bach deserves the credit for consolidating , or even inventing, the association of major and minor modes with upbeat and downbeat moods? >
I'm not so sure (meaning that 'perhaps' conveys a degree of certainty superior to my own on this). For one thing it seems to me that the association major/minor <-> upbeat/downbeat mood pre-exists Bach. It's certainly there in Purcell's music, for instance, but I would suspect that it is as old as major and minor themselves (but on that I'm not competent).

Besides, it seems to me that Bach transcends such simplistic relationships. To me many a piece in a minor key sounds pretty cheerful, and the converse is true also. Besides, Bach sometimes combines major and minor simultaneously (I think this happens in certain chorale fantasias, with the chorale melody in one mode and the ritornello in the other mode).

Jean Laaninen wrote (July 30, 2007):
[To Alain Bruguières & Ed Myskowski] To augment what Alain is saying, this morning I read in Schweitzer that Bach was neither a pietist or a truly orthodox Lutheran, but rather a mystic. As such minor tonalities would have expressed joy at times for him because mystics long to be one with their creator. Schweitzer explains that Bach's mystic center was his strength in withstanding so much of the trouble he encountered, and while Bach was happy with many aspects of his life he viewed death as something sweet as revealed in some of his compositions. The major/minor thing is also abundant in varying ways in Schütz, where the bitter sweet qualities are so engaging, though it was not perhaps used in the same manner as you have included in your discussion.

I hope this is helpful.

Julian Mincham wrote (July 30, 2007):
[To Alain Bruguières] Bach's relationships with major/minor modes are extremely complex and certainly do not relate to anything as simplistic as 'upbeat' and 'downbeat' emotions.

Try reading a stanza before you hear the cantata and attempt to guess whether Bach set it in the major or minor. My bet is that you will get it wrong as often as you get it right. For example the fantasia to BWV 8 ('When will I die'?) is set in the 'bright' key of E major and I can give many similar examples.

One of the ways in which Bach pulls off this enigmatic approach to the expressive use of modes is his use of the notes which differentiate the major and minor scales (in both the main melodic line and the harmony) where they are not expected. For example in E major the three notes which principally determine whether an E scale is minor or major are G, C and D naturals (in the major scales they would be all sharps) In BWV 8 these notes are all prominent in the ritornello ----D (bars 1/2 ) C ( bar 3) and G (bar 9). These notes soften the major scale by imbuing it with 'minor' elements---a case of appearing to use neither traditional major or minor modes but 'Mijer' as a colleague once quipped.

Such examples abound and an excellent one is the alto aria from BWV 33 where the three mode altering notes occur in the first 4 bars of the ritornello.

Paul T. McCain wrote (July 31, 2007):
There is also about on this list what I believe to be a confusion of Pietism with orthodox Lutheranism, when it comes to a certain view of life. The thought that orthodox Lutheranism precluded enjoyment and zest for life is entirely incorrect. In fact, it was precisely Pietism that introduced the dreary legalism that is confused with any form of religious conservatism.

Bach was an orthodox Lutheran. He enjoyed wine, women (his wives) and song. Pietism, on the other hand, spent too much time focussed on making sure people were not having too much fun at anything.

Jean Laaninen wrote (July 31, 2007):
[To Paul T. McCain] You are correct, here. Thanks for making these points.

Russell Telfer wrote (July 31, 2007):
Twelve tone music [was: Introduction to BWV 164]

I asked:
<< Some music heavily in the minor can be a little cheerful, but into which mode would you move to express something even more downbeat? >>
Ed Myskowski replied:
< Twelve-tone (equal temperament required?) still seems to have the ability to partly empty concert halls at intermission, and stimulate letters of protest to the papers, in my area. This does not say anything about the composers intent, more about the audience's expectations. >
Right. Sir, you touch on one of my hobby horses. About "equal temperament" and atonal system I am not disinterested!

Whereas you are certainly right in what you say, and it answers my question, it is not IMO a satisfactory answer. The very worst atonal music is a not a steep downwards step into a deeper pit of misery. It does not make me downcast nor remind me of the funerals of loved ones; merely it irritates.

At one time I had a collection of the finest atonal music written in the nineteen sixties. I really don't know what I was doing. Who was I trying to impress? Eventually I began to see that the vast majority of atonal music had no lasting value.

Harry W. Crosby wrote (July 31, 2007):
Russell Telfer wrote:
"At one time I had a collection of the finest atonal music written in the nineteen sixties. I really don't know what I was doing. Who was I trying to impress? Eventually I began to see that the vast majority of atonal music had no lasting value."
Well, I have no illusion of being capable of pronouncing eternal verities, but I feel indebted to Russell for crystalizing my inchoate conclusions about atonal music so perfectly and in such few and pithy terms.

Esteemed Sir: Right on! Harry W. Crosby

Russell Telfer wrote (July 31, 2007):
Harry W. Crosby wrote:
< Well, I have no illusion of being capable of pronouncing eternal verities, but I feel indebted to Russell for crystalizing my inchoate conclusions about atonal music so perfectly and in such few and pithy terms >
Thank you Harry!

I could have much more to say about this. I meant to add OT (Off Topic) to this thread variation, and have done so now. What we need is for another member to direct us to a site where we can vent our frustration at wasting part of our lives listening to 'music' which obeys none of the rules that we think govern the musical universe.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 1, 2007):
Russell Telfer wrote:
< I asked:
Some music heavily in the minor can be a little cheerful, but into which mode would you move to express something even more downbeat? >
<< Ed Myskowski replied:
Twelve-tone (equal temperament required?) still seems to have the ability to partly empty concert halls at intermission, and stimulate letters of protest to the papers, in my area. This does not say anything about the composers intent, more about the audience's expectations. >>
< Right. Sir, you touch on one of my hobby horses. About "equal temperament" and atonal system I am not disinterested!
Whereas you are certainly right in what you say, and it answers my question, it is not IMO a satisfactory answer. The very worst atonal music is a not a steep downwards step into a deeper pit of misery. It does not make me downcast nor remind me of the funerals of loved ones; merely it irritates. >
I am going back a bit in the thread, to my last comment and response, but I have read subsequent posts by Russell, Harry, Jean, Alain, and more.

Welcome back Julian, even if not specifically on thetwelve-tone issue. Your comments on the complexity of even the major/minor relations in Bach were in agreement with what I hear, although I don't express the technical details as well as you do. Your comment on the specific notes which make the key change are very valuable to have in the BCW archives. The details accumulate.

To paraphrase (correct me if I misunderstand), the harmonic relations are about surprise and innovation, so if you are listening with expectations, you will be surprised. Perhaps irritated?

I raised the twelve-tone issue more to be humorous than provocative. You will not be surprised that I was not surprised that it turned out to be provocative as well.

A bit more than a year ago, before I was hip to some of the long-standing BCML issues, I mentioned in passing that Craig Smith of Emmanuel Music had once said that there were no intervals in twelve-tone music that Bach had not used first. I was unable to recover a written reference at the time, and I have not tried again. In the subsequent year of listening, I have heard many recitatives which I find supportive of the thought

No one has disclaimed the statement. Neither has anyone acknowledged it (a point often missed BCML). One more fertile project for the grad students. Not a joke, degree possible at the end of the quest.

Given the current research that suggests that Bach's intervals may not have been in equal temperament, should we give twelve-tone another chance with a bit of a tune-up?

Or face up to the fact that there is a lot of music written in the current (Bach's, ours, any old time) vogue, most of which does not survive for the ages. However enjoyable (or not) it may be at the moment.

I took special notice of Jean's comment re Schütz, and major/minor tonality. John Harbison was commissioned by the Vatican to write a piece, which I have not heard. He commented in passing, with respect to another composition ('But mary Stood' previously noted), that he submitted many samples to the Vatican. They invariably preferred the major mode, a preference which dates back to the 14th century.

I pass that anecdote along, and close, without further research or opinion, although it is rich with innuendo.

Thanks to Russell, for the comments which brought out discussion.

< At one time I had a collection of the finest atonal music written in thenineteen sixties. I really don't know what I was doing. Who was I trying to impress? Eventually I began to see that the vast majority of atonal music had no lasting value. >
It's that durable, lasting, minority that you want to hang on to. If only we could tell which is witch, in advance. I do agree, I have heard a lot of bad, atonal music. I have also heard a lot of bad tonal music. Not better or worse, just more familiar.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 7, 2007):
BWV 164 recordings

There are only a few recordings of BWV 164. Three were available for the first round of discussions, and two have been added since then: Koopman [5] and Kuijken [6], neither yet commented on. Kuijken is a partial set in progress, all the others are from already completed sets. I originally intended to add a few thoughts on Koopman, but then decided to wait for the the Kuijken for comparison. This leaves me way behind the current discussions, which look to be getting a lot of comments.

Both Koopman [5] and Kuijken [6] are in the HIP (or non-traditional) style, Kuijken very much so, with OVPP for the chorus/chorale. In relation to posts in the first round of discussion, they are most comparable to Leusink [3], especially with regard to comments on tempo. If Rilling [1] is the traditional standard for Mvt. 5 (S/A duet), and Leusink is quick, Kuijken is even quicker.

I had only acquired the Koopman [5] as a fleeting BRO bargain, and I nearly overlooked that BWV 137 and BWV 164 are sequential, matching the chronology of our discussions. This instance is unique for Koopman, as best I can tell, although there is a loosely chronologic layout to his volumes (three CDs each). In any event, I enjoyed listening to the two together. The contrasts in texture and instrumentation are extreme. If these are indeed 'Jahrgang III' (or even if not exactly that), Julian's earlier question about Bach's intentions with these compact works is stimulating. I don't have any proposed answers, but I would like to acknowledge that the question makes me think.

I was originally prepared to write a few words about why I find Koopman's BWV 164 [5] the best choice. After comparing Kuijken [6], he has some superior points, but Koopman remains slightly preferable, IMO. The overall sound of Kuijken becomes a bit 'edgy' with repeated listening. I wonder if this has anything to do with recording engineering intended for the SACD format? Incidentally, this format does indeed seem to be completely compatible with conventional CD player. I would be interested to hear others' opinions on this point. The Koopman performance is more balanced, or flowing and smooth as noted by Neil H., especially in Mvt. 1.

The Mvt. 3 aria is a female alto for both, Bogna Bartosz with Koopman [5] and Petra Nioskaiová with Kuijken [6]. Both are excellent, clear voices with minimal vibrato. I find this welcome variety (not necessarily better) from the more typical HIP counter-tenors. As I understand it, neither choice (male or female) is 'authentic' nor 'correct'. The major difference between the two recordings is in the tempo, with Kuijken much slower at 4:17 vs. 3:47. In a direct comparison, I find the slower tempo preferable, but both sound good in the context of an overall
performance.

The Mvt. 5 tempos are reversed, so the total times are misleading, 16:08 for Kuijken [6] vs 15:22. In fact, the most noticeable tempo in either version is the speed of Kuijken's Mvt. 5 at 3:15, compared to 3:47. The lean orchestration is nicely balanced with the vocal duet, and the tempo sounds energetic rather than forced. The contrast with Mvt. 3 is likely the intent, as if one of the performance objectives is to extract maximum contrast from the minimal forces.

The continuo accompaniment by Kuijken [6] in Mvt. 2 is indeed continuous. Koopman [5] sounds choppy, by comparison, on this detail, often commented on BCML. I find Kuijken's sound preferable, whatever its scholarly correctness. This detail is not likely to be the reason for choosing one recording over another.

The OVPP chorale texture of Kuijken [6] is balanced and unhurried. It makes a fitting, and contrasting, conclusion to this energetic performance. Even if OVPP is not your first choice, it is worth sampling the recordings to enjoy the chorale texture.

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 164: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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