Cantata BWV 199Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut
Discussions - Part 5
Continue from Part 4
Discussions in the Week of January 26, 2014 (4th round)
William Hoffman wrote (January 27, 2014):
Cantata 199: My Heart Swims in Blood, Intro
Composed and presented in 1713 in Weimar for the penitential 11th Sunday after Trinity, Bach’s Cantata BWV 199, Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (My heart swims in blood), represents his first known solo church service piece, for soprano and pastoral oboe. In its“richness of invention of the youthful composer,” it constitutes a “perfect chamber cantata” in the new Italian style. One of Bach’s first musical essay sermons for the church year, it includes a quote from the day’s Gospel parable and embraces the Introit Psalm 130de profundis, uses a simple confessional chorale. In its poetic, alternating four da-capo arias and four recitatives based on a text of Georg Christian Lehms describes a “complex psychological interchange” in which the individual believer progresses from distressed sinner to repentance, confession, comfort, reconciliation, and redemption.
This comfort comes in reflecting upon Christ’s Death on the Cross,” the so-called “Toddesstünde” (death-hour). It embraces various facets of humility, penitence and ultimate justification found in the texts of the four cantatas Bach presented in Leipzig (BWV 199, 179, and 113, and JLB 15). The de profundis of penitential Psalm 130 suggests that Bach could have performed two additional works in Leipzig on the 11th Sunday After Trinity and Saturday penitential services. The two are Cantata 130, “Aus der Tiefe, rufe ich, Herr zu dir (Out of the depth I cry to thee, Lord),and in the motet cantata setting of Psalm 51, "Tilge, Höchester, meine Sünden" (Blot out, Highest, My Sins), BWV 1083, set to the music of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater.
The New Testament readings are the Epistle, 1 Corinthians 15:1-10 (Of Christ’s resurrection); and the Gospel: Luke 18:9-14 (Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican) [readings, Martin Luther German 1545 and English KJV 1611; BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Trinity11.htm]. Bach rarely used the term “Cantata” to describe his church pieces but did so with Cantata 199, as he also did with the Weimar c.1714 alto solo Cantata, BWV 54, “Wiederstehe doch der Sünde,” set to another Georg Christian Lehms text (coming BCW Discussion, week of February 9), as well as the Leipzig c.1730 solo soprano Cantata 51, “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” (BCW Discussion, week of January 5 (http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BachCantatas/conversations/topics/37835).
The Introit Psalm for the 11th Sunday after Trinity is Psalm 130, the de profundis, “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord” (KJV, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+130&version=KJV. It is described as an individual lament among the penitential psalms1 (Nos. 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143). It also is described as a “Gebet um vergebung der Sünden” (Prayer for forgiveness of sins), says theologian and Bach scholar Martin Petzoldt in hisBach-Kommentar.”2 Given its liturgical usage, Petzoldt classifies Bach’s early setting of the de profundis, Cantata BWV 131,“Aus der Tiefe, rufe ich, Herr zu dir, of 1707 for a Mühlhausen special service, as appropriate to be performed on the 11th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig. It is possible that Bach, having preserved the manuscript of this old-style choral work with two aria-like movements (Nos. 2, 4) with two different stanzas of the hymn “Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut,” chorale interpolations, could have utilized it in the Leipzig service.3 Bach certainly could have performed Cantata 131 during a Saturday Mass and/or later vespers penitence service. (Ibid.).
Also at these Leipzig Saturday penitential services, besides Cantata 131, Bach could have presented his Psalm 51 cantata motet adaptation for soprano and alto, "Tilge, Höchester, meine Sünden" (Blot out, Highest, My Sins), BWV 1083 (c.1745), of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, his arrangement of Conti's soprano cantata, "Languet anima mea" (1724 added organ continuo part for church service).4 This is special service music that Bach provided as part of a well-ordered church music. Petzoldt (Ibid.) suggests that "Tilge, Höchester” also as appropriate to be performed on the 11th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig. (Ibid.)
First performance of Cantata 199, Weimar, was probably 27 August 1713, or 12 August 1714 (C minor version); repeat 1718-22 (solo violin replaced oboe), in Köthen; and 8 August 1723 (D minor version, probable double bill with Cantata 179) in Leipzig [BCW Details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV199.htm). Cantata 199 was Bach’s only solo cantata to be presented in the first two annual cycles.
Text: Mvts. 1-5, Georg Christian Lehms (BCW Short Biography, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Lehms.htm); Johann Heermann (Mvt. 6), Chorale Text: Wo soll ich fliehen hin (Stanza 3). Chorale commentary: <<Movement No. 6 is soprano chorale trio aria with obbligato viola and continuo, using the chorale text of Johann Heermann (1630) the 11-stanza penitential and general communion hymn, "Wo soll ich fliehen hin" (Where should I fly from here). It is listed in the <Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> (NLGB, 1682) as No. 182, a Buß Lied (Repent Song), and specifically as a communion hymn for the 3rdSunday after Trinity. The soprano sings Stanza 3, "Ich, dein betrübtes Kind,/ Werf alle meine Sünd" (I, your troubled child, cast all my sins). The associated chorale melody in the Thuringian variant is "Wo soll ich fliehen hin"/"Auf meinen lieben Gott" (In my beloved God), a penitential (Confessional Catechism hymn. For further details, see BCW:http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity8.htm, Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales for 8th Sunday after Trinity].>>
Movements, scoring, first line are:
1. Recitative (Soprano; Violino I/II, Viola, Fagotto, Continuo): “Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut” (My heart swims in blood);
2. Aria da-capo and Recitative (Soprano; Oboe solo, Continuo (con, Violone): “Stumme Seufzer, stille Klagen, / Ihr mögt meine Schmerzen sagen” (Silent sighs, quiet moans, / you may tell of my pains); Recitative secco (in middle): “Mein Herz ist itzt ein Tränenbrunn” (My heart is now a well of tears)
3. Recitative (Soprano; Violino I/II, Viola, Fagotto, Continuo (con, Violone): “Doch Gott muß mir gnädig sein” (But God must be gracious to me);
4. Aria da-capo (Soprano; Violino I/II, Viola, Fagotto, Continuo (con, Violone): “Tief gebückt und voller Reue / Lieg ich, liebster Gott, vor dir” (Deeply bowed and full of remorse / I lie, dearest God, before you);
5. Recitative (Soprano; Continuo (con, Violone): “Auf diese Schmerzensreu / Fällt mir alsdenn dies Trostwort bei” (Amidst these pains of remorse / this word of comfort comes to me);
6. Chorale [Soprano; Viola solo, Continuo (con, Violone): “Ich, dein betrübtes Kind, / Werf alle meine Sünd” (I, your troubled child / all my sins);
7. Recitative (Soprano; Violino I/II, Viola, Fagotto, Continuo (con, Violone): “Ich lege mich in diese Wunden” (I lay myself in these wounds);
8. Aria da-capo gigue (Soprano; Oboe, Violino I/II, Viola, Fagotto, Continuo (con, Violone): “Wie freudig ist mein Herz” (How joyful is my heart). [Lehms 1711
German text and Francis Browne 2011 English translation and “Notes on the text”, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV199-Eng3.htm]
Score Vocal & Piano [1.01 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV199-V&P.pdf; Autograph Score (Facsimile): D B Mus. ms. Bach P 1162 (BWV 199 (Köthener Fassung)/8 (Partitur), 0199 (Weimarer Fassung)/6 (Stimme)) [Bach Digital], http://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalSource_source_00002224.
BGA: XLI (inc., Alfred Dörffel, 1894); NBA-KB I/20 (Cantata for Trinity +11, Klaus Hofmann, Ernest May, 1985), BC: A 120; |Zwang: K 15; First Published: BG, 1912; Autograph score (facsimile): Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek.
Cantata 199 Overview
Cantata 199 is the “perfect chamber cantata,” says Julian Mincham’s 2012 Introduction, http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-14-bwv-199.htm. Mincham discusses operatic influences in Bach Leipzig sacred cycles, especially involving solo cantatas, reuse of older works, and limited instrumental forces. He also talks about the textual theme and treatment in the three Bach cantatas for Trinity +11(BWV 199, 179), as well as “the dramatic and expressive use of the recitative,” in Cantata 199.
The musical structure of Cantata 199, based on the Lehms transitional cantata text, is more complicated than other early, experimental Weimar cantatas possibly dating to 1713 (BWV 18 and 21), with texts of Erdmann Neumeister and possibly Weimar court poet Salomo Franck). The 26-minute overall form of eight movements in two parts alternates four proclamation recitatives using varied accompaniment with four distinct and varied interpretive da-capo arias emphasizing the pastoral oboe, including a gigue setting (closing No. 8). To counter the potential monotony, Bach inserts recitatives passages in the first aria (No. 2), uses a transition from recitative (No. 3) to the most popular aria (No. 4) and sets the internal chorale (No. 5) as melody aria with obbligato oboe.
Bach preserves all of Lehms’ original text, which “contains a complex psychological interchange,” says Ulrich Leisinger in “Affections, Rhetoric, and Musical Expression”in The World of the Bach Cantatas.5 “The theological message results from a succession of emotional steps that develop logically one after another: The Christian [in the opening recitative] is aware of his sins that make him ‘into a monster in God’s sacred eyes.’ Grief (No. 2 aria) brought about by this thought is followed by repentance (No. 3 recitative) and confession of sins (No. 4 aria). Trust in God, which the repentant sinner derives from the comforting verse of a hymn (No. 5) brings new confidence and joy.
Details of the Lehms text, the “richness of invention of the youthful composer,” and other highlights of the individual movements is found in Alfred Dürr’s commentary on Cantata 199 in The Cantatas of JSB.6 The opening awareness of the torments of sin and resulting grief is followed by the verbatium Gospel prayer (Luke 18:13) of the publican, “Gott sei mir Sünder gnädig!” (God, be gracious to me, a sinner”). In the second half of Cantata 199, “the remorseful sinner finds comfort in reflecting upon Christ’s Death on the Cross,” observes Dürr (Ibid.: 492), the so-called “Toddesstünde” (death-hour) of the Passion suffering and death), followed by the comfort of God’s reconciliation of the sinner’s suffering and repentance.
Trinity +11 Cantatas
In the cantatas Bach presented on the 11th Sunday after Easter, the titles and their chorales reveal various facets of humility, penitence and ultimate justification:
+Solo Cantata BWV 199, Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (My heart swims in blood, Weimar 1714; repeat Leipzig 1723); with the hymn stanza "I, your troubled child, cast all my sins" from the hymn "Where should I fly from here";
+Chorus Cantata BWV 179, Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei(See that your fear of God is not hypocrisy"; Leipzig 1723) to the opening hymn stanza, "I poor man, I poor sinner," set to the melody, "Who only the loving God lets govern";
+Chorale Cantata BWV 113, Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut (Lord Jesus Christ, you highest good; Leipzig 1724), with the closing Stanza 8, "Strengthen me with your joyful spirit"; and
In 1726, Bach presented Johann Ludwig Bach’s Chorus Cantata JLB-15, Durch seine Erkenntnis wird er, mein Knecht, der Gerechite (by thy recognition will my righteous servant [Isaiah 53:11]; Leipzig 1726), with two different closing chorales: "Zion mourns with anxiety and pain" and stanza 10, "Therefore on you alone, Lord Christ, I rely" from "Where should I fly from here" (also found in Cantata BWV 199). The opening biblical dictum quotes from the so-called “Toddesstunde” (death hour) omen found in Isaiah 52:11 to 53:12, that Handel set in The Messiah Crucifixion part with the following: the air “He was despised” (Isaiah 53:3); the series of choruses “Surely he hath borne our griefs” (53:4), “And with his stripes we are healed” (53:5) and “All we like sheep have gone astray” (53:6); and the recitative, “He was cut off out of the land of the living” (53:8).
In addition, for the 11th Sunday after Trinity in 1728 (August 8), the Picander published cycle text, that Bach did not use, lists Cantata P-54, "Ich scheue mich, Gerechter Gott" (I shy away, righteous God) to the Johann Rist chorale "Werde munter mein Gemüte" (harmonized in plain chorales BWV 359-60). It is listed in theNLGB as No. 208, "Morgengesänge (Morning Song), melody to various texts. The Cantata text closes with Stanza 6, "Laß mich diese Nacht empfinden/ Eine sanft und süße Ruh" (Let me experience this night/ a sweet and gentle rest. Although Bach did not set this text, it appears that Picander, probably with the blessing of Bach and the Consistory, approved the text for publication. Later, Bach in the 1730s used at least two of these texts for cantatas composed by his students, son Emmanuel, "Ich bin vergnügt in meinem Stande" for Septuagesima Sunday, and Johann Friedrich Doles’ "Rauset und brauset, ihr heftigen Winde" for Pentecost. Doles became the Thomas School cantor in 1755.
Penitence & Tonal Wavering
“The mix of ‘disquieting phrases” in the Lehms text, the initial emphasis on penitence, the tonal wavering in the first half of the work, the special placement and treatment of the chorale, and the spare use of instruments to emphasize intimacy gives this unique work a special, arresting character, says Calvin R. Stapert in My Only Comfort: Death, Deliverance and Discipleship in the Music of Bach.7 Further, “This wavering among a wide range of emotional states reflects the stages leading from sin and humility to recognition with comfort and, ultimately, redemption, in this spiritual allegory of suffering as passion,” says Eric Chafe in Tonal Allegory in the Vocal Music of JSB (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1991: 141f).8
In summary, the cantatas Bach presented or considered for the 11th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig between 1723 and 1728 are a balance between law and gospel, moving toward the affirmative, as are the Trinity Time chorales prescribed for the 11th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig which Bach did not use in the cantatas he presented on that Sunday. They rely primarily on repentance hymns prescribed in the Dresden hymn schedules for this day, observes Günther Stiller, JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig: 243f.
1Bernard W. Anderson, Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak to Us Today (New York: Board of Missions, United Methodist Church, 1970: 167).
2Petzoldt, Bach Commentary, Volume 1: The Sacred Cantatas of the Sundays after 1-27; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2004: 249). For his commentary on the Johann Olearius sermon for the 11th Sunday after Trinity and Bach’s music for this Sunday, see Cantata 131, pages 256-263; Cantata 199, pages 263-272, and"Tilge, Höchester,” pages 291-302.
3See BCW Discussions, Round 6, Week of June 16, 2013, especially regarding the Cantata 131 purpose and initial application, with responses from Joshua Rifkin, Robin Leaver, and Marcus Rathey to David Jones, discussion leader (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV131-D6.htm).
4 See BCW Discussion 2 of "Tilge, Höchester,” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV1083-Gen2.htm
5 Leisinger (188), The World of the Bach Cantatas: Early Sacred Cantatas, ed. Christoph Wolff (New York: W.W. Norton 1995: 188).
6Alfred Dürr, The Cantatas of JSB, Revised and Translated by Richard D. P. Jones (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005: 491).
7 Stapert (Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids MI, 2000: 65-73), from “BWV 199: Two Musico-Theological Commentaries,” November 12, 2011, cited in BCW Discussions Round 3 (Part 4), Week of November 6, 2011, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV199-D4.htm. This discussion also includes Francis Browne’s extensive “Notes on the Text,” also found at the end of his translation of Cantata 199 (Ibid.).
8Previous Bach Cantata Mailing List (BCML) Discussions have produced a wealth and variety of information on Cantata 199: +BCW Discussions, Round 1, Part 1, Week of September 3, 2000, Aryeh Oron Background and initial Review of Recordings, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV199-D.htm; Part 2, Thomas Braatz’s May 31, 2002 text information from NBA-KB 21 and linguistic history of Cantata 199 title, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV199-D2.htm. +BCW Discussions Round 2 (Part 3), Week of March 20, 2005, include Masaaki Suzuki’s 1996 liner notes to his complete BIS cantata CD, now found at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Suzuki-C04c[BIS-CD801].pdf, BCW Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Suzuki.htm#C4. Also in 1996 is Christoph Wolff’s liner notes to the Koopman-Erato CDs, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Koopman-C02-2c[AM-3CD].pdf, BCW Recording Details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Koopman.htm#C2.
To Come: Cantata 199 and Lehms text in Graupner’s version, the creative development of Bach, and John Eliot Gardiner’s thoughts. Also Cantata 199 current Recordings and an overview of Bach’s solo cantatas.
Claudio Di Veroli wrote (January 27, 2014):
[To William Hoffman] An excellent account, thanks!
My eyesight must be failing, however, because I fail to see due emphasis in what, for my personal taste, is the most remarkable feature in this beautiful cantata: the Aria for Soprano and Solo oboe.
The first (and last) oboe solo is, arguably, the longest subject JSBach ever composed. And the Aria as a whole is also, arguably, one of the most beautiful pieces ever composed for the Baroque oboe. It can also be said (and unlike most other works by JSB) that it uses quite an advanced musical language for the time.
It is, indeed, one of my favourite cantatas.
William Hoffman wrote (January 31, 2014):
Cantata 199: Additional Commentary & Recordings
Bach’s soprano solo Cantata BWV 199, Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (My heart swims in blood), is a remarkable early sacred work in the modern style both textually and musically. His first extant solo cantata composition in 1713 shows a sophisticated youthful work driven with a remarkable text by Georg Christian Lehms who also provided Bach with texts for three solo alto cantatas (BWV 35, 54, and 170, BCML Discussion in February). It engenders a special fascination in recent publications of John Eliot Gardiner, David D. P. Jones, and Andrew Talle. A revised, updated and expanded list of BCW Recordings has just been compiled by Aryeh Oron, including new YouTube audio-visuals, and is found at BCW Cantata 199 Details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV199.htm
Gardiner’s Musing & Description
Cantata 199 “exhibits enough operatic know-how and sensibility to suggest that he may have had a particular opera singer in mind, one of a kind unknown in Weimar (where only falsettists were employed) – perhaps a diva such as Christine Pauline Kellner, who regularly trod the operatic stage to nearby Weissenfels as well as in Hamburg and Wolfenbüttel,” says John Eliot Gardiner in his new Bach musical biography.1
Gardiner describes Bach treatment of the text as more a “complex psychological and emotional transformation of the conscious-stricken individual” than a sermon. The theological massage of the biblical parable “is still present but now couched in personal terms.” Gardiner analyzes all the movements, using graphic quotes from the Lehms text. Bach offers a “lucid presentation” of the ideas behind the text “from several vantage points and in a highly individualized style of his own devising.” Instead of the “mechanical patter of contemporary operatic recitative,” Bach “develops a musical declamation flexible enough to burgeon into arioso at moments of heightened significance and adjusted to the rise and fall of the verbal imagery. Every recitative acts as a springboard to the following aria” where “Bach weaves such an amazingly vivid atmospheric web for each aria that words . . . are not really needed to convey the specific Affekt.”
In the opening aria (Mvt. No. 2), “Stumme Seufzer, stille Klagen, / Ihr mögt meine Schmerzen sagen” (Silent sighs, quiet moans, / you may tell of my pains), Bach -- going beyond the verbal limitations of the text – “shifts the expressive burden on to the instruments” where the dominant oboe “expresses the turmoil of the sighing soul through its poignant cantilena as eloquently as the voice, perhaps even more so.” The second aria (Mvt. No. 4), “Tief gebückt und voller Reue / Lieg ich, liebster Gott, vor dir” (Deeply bowed and full of remorse / I lie, dearest God, before you), with the melodic arch of the strings of this spacious sarabande suggests prostration so graphically . . . and the gestures of supplication.”
Bach in 1713
When it was premiered in 1713, Cantata BWV 199, Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (My heart swims in blood), Bach as court organist and concertmaster at the Weimar Court had little opportunity to compose vocal music. Meanwhile Bach was learning and beginning to apply the crafting of vocal music set to modern Italian-style texts, based on vocal interests in Weissenfels and instrumental interests in Weimar. The form and style of the recitative and da-capo aria-ritornello (instrumental passages) was new to Bach and his German colleagues as they developed more extensive, sophisticated music set to varied madrigalian poetic, structured texts and free-verse. Consequently, “both poet and composer were free to pursue their own individual invention at will, leading to a more pronounced element of subjectivity and expressiveness” says Richard D. P. Jones in his study of The Creative Development of JSB .2 Bach developed an “increasingly elaborate style, since his music tends to be at its most expressive when it is most florid,” showcasing both the singer and the obbligato instrumentalist.
Several months after his first, unique work in modern style, the profane “Hunt Cantata,” BWV 208, for the Weissenfels court, Bach presented Cantata 199, focusing on “the monologue of the soul,” one of his “most inward and personal” (Jones, Ibid.: 254ff). In the first two recitatives, two facets of Bach’s art are displayed, respectively: “extreme sensitivity to words” and the use of the musical notation of the motif of a triadic descent, repeated in the succeeding movements. The text in the three varied non-chorale arias (Nos. 2, 4 & 8) is portrayed effectively through special ritornelli application, particularly in the sarabande-like No. 4 in ¾ time and the gigue-like No. 8 in 12/8 time. The chorale trio-aria (No. 6) contains elements that suggest why Bach chose to set Lehms’ text in this manner rather than as a four-part chorale. This is “presumably influenced by the monologue character of the cantata as a whole” and “the use of the first person in the text” (Jones, Ibid.: 257). It resembles the chorale aria (No. 4) in the early Easter chorale Cantata BWV 4, Christ lag in Todesbanden, with more complicated use of the ritornello in a complex chorale paraphrase.
Notes on the text
Bacon Bach’s composition of Cantata 199, the Lehms text and Christoph Graupner’s version are found in BCW translator Francis Browne’s 2011 “Notes on the text,” in his English translation, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV199-Eng3.htm. <<It is a cantata of striking and original beauty, and it is therefore not surprising that Bach produced further performances not only at Weimar [August 12, 1724], but also at Cöthen (1717-23), possibly at Hamburg (1720) and Leipzig (first performance August 8th 1723). These later performances were adapted to circumstances by change of key and different instrumentation.3 Hans-Joachim Schulze suggests also that Bach's awareness of the libretto's merit may have led him to give the work a prominent and lasting place in his repertoire.
The text was written by Georg Christian Lehms (1684-1717), court poet and librarian at the court of Darmstadt. He wrote a very great number of cantata texts which were set by Christoph Graupner and Gottfried Grünewald, who were Kapellmeister and vice-Kapellmeister at the Darmstadt court. It is very probable that Bach possessed a copy of Lehms’ yearly cycle of cantata texts printed in 1711 Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer. Around 1714 Bach set the present text by Lehms and also [alto solo]Widerstehe doch der Sunde BWV 54; around Christmas 1725/January 1726 he used Lehms for BWV 110, BWV 57, BWV 151, BWV 16, BWV 32 and BWV 13. In the following summer he again drew on Lehms' cycle for BWV 35 and BWV 170, both cantatas for solo alto.
Lehms’ cycle includes larger texts for morning services and more intimate ones for afternoon services. Among the texts set by Bach only BWV 110 comes from the texts written for the morning services. All the others are for the afternoon services and their intimate character - as in the case of BWV 199 - is reflected in their vocal scoring. Graupner set the text for solo soprano two years before Bach and scholars argue that Bach was familiar with Graupner's piece. (Hans Bergmann and the Ensemble Musica Poetica Freiburg have recorded both settings. See the list of recordings [36, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Bergmann-H.htm#C1].4
The text deals with sin and repentance, guilt and reconciliation in general terms which allowed Bach to use the cantata on various occasions. His autograph score, which was not discovered until 1911 in the Royal Library, Copenhagen, is headed 'Cantata a Voce sola'. But the text is tenuously connected with the gospel for the 11th Sunday after Trinity, the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18: 9-14). The tax collector's plea, "Gott sei mir Sünder gnädig" is placed in the centre of the text as the turning point where anguish for sin turns to repentance and hope.
The extensive opening recitative deals with self-accusation with increasing intensity. The opening image - Mein Herz schwimmt Blut - is connected by Schulze with a motif in baroque emblems used earlier by Weißenfels and Sorau and later by Erdmann Neumeister in Hamburg. Nicholas Anderson (Oxford Composer Companions, JSB: 291) argues: ‘The images of torment, though out of tune with modern sensibilities were in accordance with the Baroque concept of piety". Certainly some expressions -Sünden Brut, Ungeheuer, Höllenhenker, Lasternacht - and the repeated apostrophes may seem strained but the text which uses the intimacy of the first person throughout is carefully structured to progress from the initial anguish through self-awareness to contrition, reconciliation and finally joy in God. The chorale in movement 6 - a beautiful setting of Johann Heermann's hymn - Wo soll ich fliehen hin (1630 during the Thirty Year's War)- is skillfully integrated in this structure.”
Bach's setting shows how well he understood the text. What may seem alien in the unfamiliar poetic style of German Baroque becomes profoundly moving in his music.>> [English Translation by Francis Browne (April 2002; revised & notes November 2011), BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV199-Eng3.htm.
A comparison of the Graupner and Bach settings of Lehms text to Mein Herz schwimmt Blut shows "a number of uncanny coincidences, including the use of the same keys in most movements," says Andrew Talle in “Bach, Graupner, and the Rest of Their Contented Contemporaries.”5 The coincidences are attributed to current "aesthetic forces" and the composers' spirit of their time," Talle says. "I think it more than likely that Bach knew Graupner's setting" "and aimed to improve on it."
A later performance of Cantata 199 during Bach’s tenure in Köthen (1718-23) is supported by resource references in the first surviving performing parts set. In this version, Bach substituted solo violin for oboe, while the actual performance circumstances have not been authenticated. “But it is by no means impossible that the solo part of BWV 199 was assigned to the royal court signer Anna Magdalena Wilke, Bach second wife, when this cantata had its repeat performance in Köthen,” suggests Christoph Wolff in “Choirs and Instruments,” in The World of the Bach Cantatas.6 It is unlikely that Bach presented Cantata 199 as his probe test for the position of organist at the Jakobikirchke in Hamburg in November 1720. There also is no evidence to support the Bach Cantata 199 reperformance in his Lutheran Agnuskirche in Köthen from surviving party’s set also composed then (1718-23) for Cantatas 21, 172 (probably Hamburg probe) or movements later found in Cantata BWV 120a and 132.
1 Gardiner, Chapter 12, “Collision and Collusion,” BACH: Music in the Castle of Heaven (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2013: 443f. This summary chapter explores Bach’s use of text and “metatext” implications, particularly in the intimate solo cantatas of Bach’s third Leipzig cycle, 1726-27.
2 Jones, Volume 1: 1695-1717, Chapter II.5, “The Weimar cantatas” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007: 244). The 1713 date of composition was established by Yoshitake Kobayashi (and cited in Jones: 249), “Quellenkundliche Überlegungen zur Chronologies der Weimarer Vokalwerke Bachs’, Das Frühwerk JSBs, ed.s. K. Heller, H.-J. Schultze (Conference Report, Rostock 1990; Cologne 1995: 304).
3 The Weimar C minor version is score for oboe, two violins and viola obbligato, according to the Bach Compendium: Analytisch-bibliographisches Repertorium der Werke JSBs, Vokal Werke Part 2; Schultze and Christoph Wolff (Peters Edition: Leipzig, 1986: BC A 120a, b, c; pp.519ff). The extant parts show that the Köthen version in D minor uses viola da gamba in place of viola, presumably for Prince Leopold to play; and the Leipzig D minor version substitutes violoncello piccolo.
4 Recording details, Amazon.com, Graupner: Amazon.com
5 Talle in J. S. Bach and his German Contemporaries; Bach Perspectives, Volume 9 (University of Illinois Press 2013: 71). Talle spends most of his article showing the similarities between the Bach’s (BWV 170) and Graupner’s settings of Vergnuegte Ruh, done 14 years apart. Bach’s Cantata 170 will be the BCML Discussion, Week of February 23.
6 Wolff, The World of the Bach Cantatas: Early Sacred Cantatas (New York: W.W. Norton 1995: 148.)
This concludes the current BCML discussions of Bach’s four Solo Sacred Cantatas for Soprano:
Jan 5, 2014 51 Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!, 15th Sunday after Trinity (1730?) / ‘et in ogni tempo’;
Jan 12, 2014 52 Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht!, 23rd Sunday after Trinity (1726) borrowed material;
Jan 19, 2014 84 Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke, Septuagesima Sunday (1727); and
Jan 26, 2014 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, 11th Sunday after Trinity (1714).
Bach’s four Solo Secular Cantatas for Soprano were recently part of the BCML Discussions, Round 3, 2013):
202, Weichet nur, betrübte , wedding (?1717-23): Discussions - Part 4
204, Ich bin in mir vergnügt, home (?c.1727): Discussions - Part 3
209, Non sa che sia dolore, farewell (?1729-35): Discussions - Part 3; and
210, O holder Tag, erwüunchste Zeit, wedding (c.1738-41): Discussions - Part 3;
Cantata BWV 82, Ich habe genug (genung), for Feast of Purification of Mary, will be the BCML Discussion for the Week of March 16 in the 1727, C Minor version for bass solo). The other settings are the recitiative-aria (BWV 82/2-3), 1725 Anna Magdalena Songbook Nos. 34, 38 (soprano), and the later E Minor version (soprano with flute), and the C Minor version (mezzo-soprano).
William Hoffman wrote (February 4, 2014):
Thomas Braatz has just completed a full “Provenance” of Cantata 199 (BCW http://bach-cantatas..com/Ref/BWV199-Ref.pdf), “Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut,” a solo cantata for the 11th Sunday after Trinity 11I, based primarily on “Source: NBA KB I/20 pp. 13-57 (Bärenreiter, 1985) editor: Klaus Hofmann” [1 translated and collated from various NBA sources by Thomas Braatz © 2014. It is linked from: http://bach-cantatas.com/BWV199.htm [References row in the frame of details]. Braatz begins with a summary of the Weimar autograph score and parts discovered and published in 1913 and a comparison with the NBA edition I/20 (1985/86) that shows four versions of Cantata 199 (a Leipzig, two Weimar, and a Köthen version), based on three groups of parts sets.
The basic difference involves the Weimar viola part that was changed to violoncello in the second Weimar version, viola da gamba in the Köthen version, and violoncello piccolo in the Leipzig version. Also of particular interest is the actual provenance of Cantata 199: Says Braatz: <<This score was inherited by C P E Bach after the death of his father. In C P E Bach’s estate listing Cantata 199 appears on p. 71 as follows: “Discant-Cantate: Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut etc. Mit 1 Hoboe. Eigenhändige Partitur, und auch in Stimmen” [“Soprano Cantata: My Heart Swims in Blood etc. With 1 Oboe. Autograph Score and also with Parts“.] >>.
The C P E Bach 1790 Estate Catalog listing of Cantata 199 appears on the third page of listings of his father’s manuscripts of various sacred and secular pieces before the annual church-year cycle cantata scores or parts sets he inherited in the division with older brother Friedemann. On page 74 the cycle listings begin with Advent, listing all the cantatas by church year service, involving those of the first and third cycles. Emmanuel inherited none of the cantatas of the second cycle, including the chorale cantatas. Friedeman and step-mother Anna Magdalena got the scores and parts, respectively. It is believed that Bach designated the church cycles division.
The Cantata 199 manuscript carried no church year service designation, although Lehms’ text designates the 11th Sunday after Trinity. It may be that Cantata 199 was nominally considered “per ogni tempo” (for any time), as Cantatas 21 and 51 are labeled such. In addition, Cantata 54 (next week’s discussion), also carries no service designation and no cling plain cantatas, while, like Cantata 199, Bach entitles Cantata 54 as “Cantate.” All four cantatas have connections to Weimar.
It is quite possible that Cantata 199 was performed in Weimar on successive 11th Sundays after Trinity, possibly 27 August 1713, and probably 12 August 1714. The 1713 date is vague since the work may have been premiered “per ogni tempo” at the Weissenfels Court, because Bach did not begin composing service day cantatas every four weeks in Weimar until after he was appointed Concertmaster on March 2, 1714. The August 12, 1714, date was the sixth monthly performance date and fell on the 11th Sunday after Trinity. The Köthen performance appears to have taken place at the court during Bach’s tenure, 1718-23, since the Prince played the viola da gamba and the court was receptive to its pietist-flavored text with Calvinist overtones, Calvinism being the official court religious practice. The Leipzig performance date was probably August 8, 1723, the 11th Sunday after Trinity, in the first cantata cycle. Bach scholars find that Bach probably presented Cantata 199 that Sunday on a double bill with the premiere of Cantata 179, Siehe zu, daß eine Gottesfurcht nichtn Heuchelei sei. This is based on dating of the selective Cantata 199 parts copied by student Christian Gottlob Meissner.
Interestingly, when Bach’s manuscripts of were divided at his death in 1750, those for each service of the first and third cycles were divided usually equally and alternately between and Emanuel and Friedemann. For the cantatas performed as a double bill on the 11th Sunday after Trinity in the first cycle, Emanuel received the parts set of Cantata 179 and apparently Friedemann got the score that is lost. As for Cantata 199 and the five double-bill Weimar Cantatas reperformed in the first cycle, Friedemann got three with both scores and parts sets (BWV 18, 24 and 182) while Emmanuel only got Cantata 199 score and parts he put into a folder that he gave the title, “Cantate | von | J. S. Bach.” In the Weimar first cycle Pentecost Cantata 172 repeat on the double bill with BWV 59, Friedemann apparently got the score, which is lost, and Friedemann received the parts set.
Serendepitously and coincidentally, Emannuel received the score and parts sets for four consecutive third cycle cantatas between Trinity +9 and Trinity +12, respectively BWV 168, 102, 199, and 35 (BCW Discussion this week). Then, the normal third cycle division of Emanuel getting the cantatas scores and Friedemann getting the parts resumed and remained virtually consistent for the last 12 Sundays, from the 12th to the final 23rd Sundays after Trinity (BWV 164, 17, 51, 27, 19, 47, 169, 56, 49, 98, 55, and 52), the exceptions being Friedemann getting both score and parts sets for BWV 47 and 169. The solo cantatas are BWV 51 (soprano), 169 (alto), 56 (bass), 55 (tenor), and 52 (soprano).
Cantata BWV 199: Details
Complete Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Article: Sellars Staging [U. Golomb]