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Cantata BWV 201
Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of December 8, 2013 (3rd round

William Hoffman wrote (December 8, 2013):
Cantata 201: Phoebus & Pan Contest, Intro., Part 1

With the composition of two sharply contrasted works, the St. Matthew Passion, and the satiric Cantata 201, “Der Streit Zwischen Phoebus und Pan” (The Contest between Phoebus and Pan), 1729 was a watershed year for Sebastian Bach in Leipzig. Each work is the representation of Bach’s dual occupation and interest: the Good Friday oratorio Passion as the fulfillment of his calling as Leipzig Cantor to create a “well-ordered (Lutheran) church music to the Glory of God,” and the profane drammi per musica as Bach’s emerging interest in and fulfillment of his title of Leipzig Music Director. Both works sound major overtones of opera seria and opera buffa as well as progressive music using da-capo choruses and arias in dance-styles.

Bach’s Cantata 201, entitled “Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde” (Hurry, you whirling winds), has several distinctions. It is Bach’s longest extant profane work, lasting almost an hour (50 minutes). It was his first and foremost expression of the progressive galant style in its six da-capo arias and two choruses, particularly in the use of dance character. It has six mythological characters, four of whom are males, each singing a da-capo aria in different dance style: Tmolus (Tenor I), Midas (Tenor II), Phoebus Apollo (Bass I), Pan (Bass II), as well as Momus (Soprano), Mercurius (Alto). It was performed at least three times: to inaugurate Bach’s directorship of the Leipzig Collegium musicum in 1729, in response to critic Johann Adolph Scheibe’s attacks on Bach’s music in the last half of the 1730s (in the Midas character), and in response to the 1749 Biedermann attack on the corrupting influence of church-school music, with the last two lines of the final recitative (No. 14) revised.

Coming soon after Bach’s definitive second version of the dramatic St. Matthew Passion, Cantata 201 is Bach’s polar opposite composition and his most integral, personal, independent secular work. It owes its existence and allegiance to Bach himself and not to the princely courts, nobility, bourqeoise, or academics to whom Bach composed a series of commissioned secular cantatas of homage or congratulation on their birthdays, name days, weddings, installations, promotions, ascensions, or departures.

At the same time, Bach was able to savor and celebrate the best of all probable and possible worlds: diligent cantor of a “well-regulated music to the glory of God” and successful capellmeister to the wider world of “Tumultuous Philosophers, Pious Rebels, Revolutionary Teachers, Pedantic Clerics, Vengeful Bureaucrats, Threatened Tyrants, Worldly Mystics,” part of “The Religious World Bach inherited,” as Carol K. Baron describes various personages in Bach’s Changing World: Voices in the Community.

Behind the loose Picander satirical, allegorical adaptation of the Ovid Metamorphosisstory in Cantata 201 is Bach’s own aesthetic credo, replete with musical examples: “his unwavering commitment to solid musical craftsmanship and his emphatic repudiation of the easy, light and merely pleasing in music,” says Robert L. Marshall in his 1976 essay, “Bach the Progressive: Observations on his later works” (The Musical Quarterly: 332ff).1 Of particular note is Phoebus Apollo’s poignant, crafted air to Hyacinth (No. 5, a sarabande-menuett) in contrast to the buffoon Pan’s contesting response (No. 7, giga II). Cantata 201 “is by no means written in a complex or austerely contrapuntal idiom. Quite the contrary. While the texture on the whole is rich, the music seems really to be permeated more by elements of the dance than by systematic polyphony,” says Marshall (Ibid.). “It would seem, then, that Bach here is mocking pretentiousness in art at least as much as ‘simplicity’.”

Cantata 201 Basic Description: Christoph Wolff, Liner notes (1996): <<"Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde", BWV 201, dramma per musica after the poem "Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan" by Christian Friedrich Henrici (known as Picander), printed in part III of his Ernst-Schertzhaften und Satyrischen Gedichten (Leipzig 1732). The characters of this Mythological drama are Momus (soprano), Mercurius (alto), Tmolus (tenor I), Midas (tenor II), Phoebus (bass I) and Pan (bass II). In the singing contest Phoebus is seconded by Tmolus, Pan by Midas; Momus and Mercurius are neutral observers. The work offers Bach the possibility of presenting his own aesthetic credo in musical form by contrasting Pan's coarse and crude manner of singing with Phoebus's highly polished artistic style. The first performance of the work apparently took place at an event of Bach's Collegium Musicumin autumn 1729, perhaps during the Michaelmas fair. Several repeat performances are traceable between 1735 and 1740. Bach's autograph score and the original parts, which show the generous scoring, have been preserved. Besides the large orchestra the vocal soloists are supplemented ripienists in the soprano and alto sections, so that for the tutti movements a six-part chorus is available>> [[AM-3CD].pdf , BCW Recording Details, .

Taking over the Collegium musicum in the spring of 1729, Bach had the services of Leipzig’s best orchestra. Cantata 201 uses the full compliment as he would for his secular cantatas presented in the 1730s: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 transverse flutes, 2 oboes d’amore, 2 violins, viola, continuo. The movements with different dance styles are: No. 1, da-capo chorus, 3/8 passepied-menuett; No. 3, Momus da-capo aria, 2/4 general dance style; No. 5, Phoebus Apollo da-capo aria, 9/8 sarabande; No. 7, Pan da-capo aria, 3/8 giga II; No. 9, Tmolus free da-capo aria, 12/8 pastorale; No. 11, Midas da-capo aria, 2/2, no dance style; No.13 Mercurius da-capo aria, ¾ sarabande-polonaise; and No. 15, da-capo chorus 2/4 gavotte (gigue).

The movements and forces are:

1. Chorus [SATB], tutti orchestra | “Geschwinde, / Ihr wirbelnden Winde” (Hurry, you whirling winds);
2. Recitative [Bass I (Phoebus), Bass II (Pan), Soprano (Momus)], Continuo | Phoebus: “Und du bist doch so unverschämt und frei” (And are you so shameless and bold in speech);
3. Aria [Momus, Soprano], Continuo | “Patron, das macht der Wind” (My lord, this is just wind:
4. (Recitativo [Alto (Mercurius), Bass I, Bass II], Continuo | Mercurius; “Was braucht ihr euch zu zanken?” (Why do you need to quarrel?);
5. Aria [Bass I, Phoebus]; Flauto traverso I, Oboe d'amore I, Violino I/II, Viola con sordino, Continuo | “Mit Verlangen / Drück ich deine zarten Wangen” (With contentment / I press your tender cheeks,
6. Recitative [Soprano (Momus), Bass II(Pan)], Continuo | Momus: “Pan, rücke deine Kehle nun / In wohlgestimmte Falten!” (Pan, now move your throat / in a well tuned manner!)
7. Aria [Bass II (Pan)], Violino I/II, Continuo | “Zu Tanze, zu Sprunge, so wackelt das Herz (In dancing and leaping my heart shakes);
8. Recitative [Alto (Mercurius), Tenor I (Tmolus)], Continuo; Mercurius | “Nunmehro Richter her!” (Now step forward, judges);
9. Aria [Tenor I(Tmolus], Oboe d'amore I, Continuo | “Phoebus, deine Melodei / Hat die Anmut selbst geboren” (Phoebus , your melody / was born from charm itself);
10. Recitative [Bass II (Pan), Tenor II (Midas)] Continuo | “Pan: / Komm, Midas, sage du nun an, / Was ich getan!” (Come on, / Midas, say / how I did!);
11. Aria [Tenor II (Midas); Violino I/II all' unisono, Continuo | “Pan ist Meister, laßt ihn gehn!” (Pan is master, give him first place);
12. Recitative [all six: Soprano, Alto, Tenor I, Bass I, Tenor II. Bass II], Continuo | Momus: “Wie, Midas, bist du toll?” (What, Midas, are you mad?);
13. Aria [Alto (Mercurious),]; Flauto traversI/II, Continuo | “Aufgeblasne Hitze, / Aber wenig Grütze / Kriegt die Schellenmütze” (Puffed up passion / but little brains / gets the fool's cap);
14. Recitative [Soprano (Momus)]; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo | “Du guter Midas, geh nun hin” (My good Midas, go away now); and
15. Chorus [S, A, T, B], tutti orchestra | “Labt das Herz, ihr holden Saiten” (Refresh our hearts, lovely strings).

Details of Cantata 201 are found at BCW ; Picander German text and Francis Browne English translation at BCW, , and the Score BGA [6.63 MB],, and Score Vocal & Piano [4.08 MB], REFERENCES-- BGA: X1/2 | NBA: I/40 | BC: G 46 | Zwang: W 12 | First Published: BG, 1862 | Autograph score (Facsimile): Berlin, Staatsbibliothek.

In Momus’ recitative, No. 14, the last three lines were changed in the 1749 performance:

Renew, O Phoebus, now
Music and singing,
Though rage both Borolius and Hortensius rage against thee!
(Birolius, is the characature of Biedermann)

Bach parodied two arias in secular cantatas with Picander texts, Peasant Cantata BWV 212 and birthday Cantata Anh. 10. They are No. 7, Pan bass aria, “Zu Tanze, zu Sprunge, so wackelt das Herz” (In dancing and leaping my heart shakes) became bass aria, No. 20, “Dein Wachstum sei feste und lache vor Lust!” (May your growth be steady and laugh with delight!), 1742 Peasant Cantata BWV 212, and No. 15, closing chorus, “Labt das Herz, ihr holden Saiten” (Refresh our hearts, lovely strings) became closing chorus, closing chorus, No. 7, “Lebe und grüne, grosser Flemming” (Live long and flourish, mighty Flemming, 1731 congratulatory Count von Flemming birthday Cantata Anh. 10, and also No. 9, “Himmel, streue deinen Seegen auf Ernesti und sein Hauß!” (Heaven, cast abroad thy blessing on Ernesti and his house!), in the lost 1734 Thomas School Cantata BWV Anh. 19.

This story in Cantata 201 “is based upon Ovid, Metamorphoses 11,” says Ambrose (Ibid.). “Momus, the Greek god of ridicule, is not found in Ovid's version. Midas is the King of Lydia who befriended Dionysus and became a patron of the music of the reeds. Tmolus is a mountain of Asia Minor. Phoebus Apollo is the patron of the lyre while Pan favors the aulos, the pipe. It is probably significant that Phoebus' contest aria is accompanied by strings, reeds (oboe d'amore), and flauto traverso while Pan's aria is accompanied by violins alone. Even though the final chorus hails the noble strings and in the final recitative Momus bids Apollo pick up again his lyre, the implication of the orchestration of Phoebus' contest aria may be that his musical powers are more universal than Pan's. Whether Picander and Bach were aware that in historical fact there was in antiquity no exclusive association of the lyre with Apollo or the aulos with Dionysus, we cannot say, but Ovid does make clear that Orpheus the lyre-player was associated with both Apollo and Dionysus.”

Bach’s primary conflict with Scheibe is the main subject of Julian Mincham’s Commentary introduction,

<<A musical drama for Zimmermann's coffee garden.

In 1737 Bach suffered a strongly worded attack upon his 'outdated' compositional style by the composer and critic Johann Adolph Scheibe, through the publicationCriticus Musicus. Over the next decade these criticisms were restated by Scheibe and others and, even though Bach had his supporters, they must have been galling to him. (Documents relating to these events are to be found in the New Bach Reader, pp 337 and 348). The nub of the censure was clearly related to the lighter, less contrapuntal and more overtly melodic, emerging galante style, compared with which Bach's music was considered (by some) to be too complex and overly ornamented. In short, Bach's music suffered from an 'excess of art'.

It would be tempting to claim that Bach composed the Contest between Phoebus and Pan, C 201, as a direct response to, or refutation of, these comments, but it seems not to have been the case. This cantata, with a text by Picander, was probably first performed in Zimmermann's coffee garden towards the end of the 1720s, nearly a decade earlier.

Nevertheless, it might be claimed that Bach was foresighted and prescient about the artistic problems of changing styles and it seems certain that this work was revived in the 1730s and 40s as a direct result of the ongoing debate. Certainly the criticisms seem to have little affected Bach's views on the nature of counterpoint lying at the heart of true musical expression; the 1740s was a decade of some of his most intense contrapuntal writing, not the least examples of which were the Art of Fugue and the Musical Offering.

But as we can see from the Peasant's Cantata (C 212, chapter 98) and other pieces, Bach was quite capable of producing light 'galant' music when he deemed it appropriate.>> (See: ).

The two topics of Bach’s Cantata 201 as an hour-plus static mini-opera and the Phoebus homoerotic bass air to Hyacinth, No. 5, “Mit Verlangen / Drück ich deine zarten Wangen” (With longing / I press your tender cheeks) are discussed at length in two separate essays at the BCW Cantata 201 Discussions 2nd Round, Part 3, contributed by Douglas Cowling (July 6, 2008), .

The Liner notes of conductor Hansjörg Albrecht (Münchener Bach-Chor, Bach-Collegium München) are entitled “Bach and the Dramma per musica."2 Albrecht’s version includes the seven-minute, two-part Overture from the 1725 Shepherds’ Cantata serenade, BWV 249a (Picander text), followed by an introductory opening chorus and March from 1735 Augustus III name day drammi per musica Cantata 207a (parody of 1726 Leipzig University congratulatory Cantata BWV 207). Following the 15 movements of Cantata 201, it closes with a reprise of the March. Albrecht’s notes describe the music in detail with an imaginary setting conflating the actual Leipzig marketplace name day evening celebration, August 3, 1735, with a stage erected in front of the Apel House royal residence for the presentation of Cantata 201 in 1729, probably at the opening the Michaelmas fall fair, around the feast day, Thursday, September 29. The Cantata 201 premiere probably took place at the Zimmermann’s coffee garden adjacent to the city main Grimma Gate, says Alfred Dürr in The Cantatas of JSB (Oxford University Press, 2005: 913. Dürr’s original Liner notes to the first Helmut Rilling recording (1966) are found in the BCW Cantata 201 Discussions 1st Round, Part 1, scroll down to “Aryeh Oron wrote (September 7, 2003): BWV 201” – Introduction and Background, .3

The BCW Discussion article on the Phoebus homeerotic air examines the Cantata 201 creation, “Mythological Background of the Phoebus Air,” text author Picander, and the composer Johann Rosenmüller case in a translation of the Frank Shrader German original. “Klaus Häfner assumes that BWV 201 together with two other cantatas of the same length, of which only the texts by Picander have survived, formed a kind of trilogy produced by Bach when he had assumed his duties as director of the ''Collegium Musicum'' in the spring of 1729,” says Shrader.4

The other two works with surviving Picander texts but no music have not been accepted into the Bach canon. They are cited in Hildegard Tiggemann's article:5 1. Not catalogued with no Bach Compendium (BC) listing is the secular wedding cantata, Dort wo der Pleissen Urn’ und Fuß, BWV deest (text only), for JohanGweorg Artopae and Johann Judith Härtel in Leipzig on 5 July 1729, referred to in NBA I/33 critical commentary.

2. Also not catalogued with no BC listing is a cantata for the name day of Leipzig University Professor Gottlieb Korte, “Erschallet mit doppeleter Anmut und Schöne” (Resound with doubled grace and beauty), on September 12, 1929. Previously, Bach had composed the academic <dramma per musica> Cantata 207, “Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten (United discourse of varying strings) for the installation of university Roman Law Professor Korte, on December 11, 1726. Details of Cantata BWV 207 are found at BCW,


1 Entire article printed in facsimile in BACH, Baroque Composers series of Bach articles; edited by Yo Tomita with editor’s “Introduction” (Farnham GB: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2011: 399-443).
2 Subtitled "Heaven forbid! It is as if one was in an opera comedie," BCW Recording Details, ; and the 20 tracks and MP-3 buy at
3 Another recording available is the video, Leonardo García-Alarcón; Arte Live Web [101:02], ; BCW Recording Details,
4 Editorial Board (translation of original), World History of Male Love, "Gay History," A Homoerotic Love Air in the Cantata 'The Quarrel Between Phoebus And Pan' By Johann Sebastian Bach, 2000, Citation: A Homoerotic Love Air in the Cantata ''The Quarrel Between Phoebus And Pan'' By Johann Sebastian Bach (Gay History).
5 "Unbekannte Textdrucke zu drei Gelegensheitkantaten J. S. Bach aus dem Jahr 1729" (Unfamiliar Printed Texts of Three Occasional Cantatas of J.S. Bach From the Year 1729),Bach Jahrbuch 1994: 7-22).

TO COME: Cantata 201 Intro., Part 2, 1729 and the Collegium musicum

Julian Mincham wrote (December 8, 2013):
In brief response to William's (as always) comprehensive essay on BWV 201 it may be worth pointing out the value of making a substantial analysis of Phoebus's bass aria and that of Pan as these would seem to encapsulate much of Bach's personal aesthetic.The plot makes clear that the first is thought to be superior to the secondnd it is inconceivable that Bach, with his highly tuned sensivities to textual nuance, would not have wished to represent this in musical terms. Certainly the latter aria is more obvious, more repetitive and makes less use of 'learned' musical devices. The word painting of the former is more subtle, something that Bach himself sought to achieve throughout his composing life.

However it is notable that Pan's aria was not an incompetent piece of truly 'bad' music such as Mozart presented is his Musical Offering and there is no doubt that Bach believed this since he was willing to reuses the music in paraphrased form elsewhere.The lesson one might take from this is, in its most simplistic form, that Bach believed that music should be crafted so as to sui perfectly its differing functions and purposes. There is a place for 'high art' music in serious circumstances. There is an equally important place for music that is more obvious and less subtle in other situations. In this sense Bach would seem to be head and shoulders above the minnows who criticised him in the 1730s and 40s---he was the one taking the wider and more encompassing view.

Whilst on these works, a word about 204 which William presented recently. I agree it is one of the most unjustly neglected of the 'secular' cantatas. The reason for this cannot be that it is for soprano alone--so is the wedding cantata 202 which is widely known and loved. It is, however, a very personal work which, it might be argued, reveals other aspects of Bach's views and aesthetic philosophy.

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 9, 2013):
Cantata 201: Phoebus & Pan - Hans Sachs & Beckmesser

William Hoffman wrote:
< It was performed at least three times: to inaugurate Bach’s directorship of the Leipzig Collegium musicum in 1729, in response to critic Johann Adolph Scheibe’s attacks on Bach’s music in the last half of the 1730s (in the Midas character), and in response to the 1749 Biedermann attack on the corrupting influence of church-school music, with the last two lines of the final recitative (No. 14) revised. >
I've always claimed this wonderful work as Bach's Opera, and it's interesting to compare it to Wagner's "Meistersinger" which is full of musical and aesthetic references to the German Renaissance and Baroque. Phoebus and Pan are Bach's ancestors to the contest of Hans Sachs and Beckmesser in Wagner's "Lutheran" opera which opens with a chorale prelude.

William Hoffman wrote (December 9, 2013):
>> In Cantata 212, the “peasant searches for a musical language typical of his social rank,” says Konrad Kuster in his essay on Cantata 201 in Oxford Composer Companions: JSB (Oxford University Press, 1999: 138). “This may reflect Bach’s intentions regarding Pan’s music as well.”

William Hoffman wrote (December 9, 2013):
Cantata 201: Intro. Part 2: 1729 & Collegium musicum

The year 1729 was a watershed for the 44-year old composer. Bach had completed his transition from sacred to both worldly and personal music. During the four-year span, 1725-28, Bach was able to balance his output of initial celebratory music for the Saxon Court and its Leipzig adherents (BWV 249b, Anh. 9, 193a, and 210a), as well as homage works for members of the Leipzig University faculty (BWV 36c, 205, 207, 198), with smaller-scale personal music first begun with the household clavier booklets of oldest son Wilhelm Friedemann (Clavierbüchlein, 1720) and second wife, Anna Magdalena (Clavierbüchlein, 1722, 1725), the last, 1725, also known as Notenbüchlein or Little Music Book. These were followed by the intimate soprano solo Cantata BWV 204, “Ich bin in mir vergnügt” (I am content in myself), probably for home use.

The key to this great shift was Bach’s assuming the directorship of the Collegium musicum in 1729, as described in Thomas Braatz’ BCW summary translation, “Bach’s Collegium musicum in Leipzig and Its History.” 6 The article traces the genesis of the Collegia musica tradition in Leipzig with its connections to the opera house and other progressive elements such as the Neukirche, Leipzig University, and the emerging coffeehouse culture. Bach directed the Leipzig Collegium musicum from 1729 to 1737 and again from 1739 to the early 1740s, perhaps after the death of Gottfried Zimmermann in May 1741, owner of the coffeehouse and gardens. The group performed weekly concerts and twice weekly during the seasonal trade fairs. Bach also was free from church music cantor to pursue his other musical interests. He now had the time and opportunity to conduct weekly music at Zimmermann’s coffee garden near the city’s east Grimma Gate in the summer and indoors at the coffeehouse on the Catharinenstrasse in the town center the rest of the year. Besides many of his own profane works, Bach could present certain personal secular cantatas (201, 203, 209, 210a, 211, 212, 216a), as well as his instrumental concerti and suites, and the music of his colleagues. Meanhwhile, Bach had musicians to assist in his presentation festival music at the Paulinerkirche and Neukirche as well as his Passion music at the Thomas and Nikolaus Churches, in addition to secular works at other venues in the Leipzig area.

“In 1729, by taking over the leadership of the Comusicum (an independent, not a civic institution), Bach was signaling his bid to free himself from the [Liepzig town] council’s control and to establish a solid independent basis for his activities as Director Musices of the city,” says John Eliot Gardner in his new musical biography, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013: 249 – in Chapter 8, “Cantatas or Coffee?”). “The coffee-house and the church were its twin temples, and he could – andwould – serve in both.” Cantata 201, “a satirical skit on pedantic, ill-informed critics whose utterances are ridiculed,” filled the bill as Bach pursued more ‘enightened’ formulations” as “embracing aesthetic pleasure as well as devotion and edification,” says Gardiner (Ibid.: 252).7

The opportunity for Bach to assume the directorship of the Collegium musicum had occurred when Georg Balthasar Schott, also Neukirche organist, became cantor at the Gotha court where Gottfried Heinrich Stözel was capellmeister. Bach continued to fulfill both cantor and music director posts, with an emphasis on the latter, in the face of a parsimonious Leipzig Town Council and the Thomas School that was literally falling down. During his 10 official years with the ensemble, Bach provided “more than 1,200 hours of music,” Gardiner estimates (Ibid.: 259).

The record for 1729 shows scant but significant music beyond the Good Friday St. Matthew Passion and fall’s “The Contest Between Phoebus and Pan.” It begins in January with another musical defense of music, soprano solo cantata (homage serenade) Cantata, BWV 210a, “O Angehnehme Melodei” (O pleasing melody).” It is an homage to the Leipzig visit of “Herzog” Duke Christian of Saxe-Weißenfels, visiting on January 12. Then, Bach and Anna Magdalena journeyed to Weißenfels to celebrate the Duke’s birthday on February 23 with a reperformance of Hunting Cantata, BWV 208, first presented on his birthday in 1713. Soon after, Bach was officially designated Weißenfels “Capellmeister von Haus aus,” a title he held until 1736 when he received the honorary title of Saxon Court Composer.

Cantata 210a, possibly with text by Picander, with only slight textual changes, was presented on two further occasions in the Leipzig area: the birthday of Governor Count (Graf) von Flemming, at his Pleissenburg Castle, August 25, now dated to 1739; and for unidentified patrons (Gönner) in the 1740s. “Further amendments, and the removal of all salutations to people of noble rank, indicate a later performance paying tribute to unidentified but evidently bourgeois musical benefactors,” says Klaus Hoffmann (Liner notes, Koopman-Erato CD, , BCW Recording Details with liner notes, The last performance may have coincided with the 1749 revival of Cantata 201.

The librettist’s treatment of the glories of music in the later parody c.1740 wedding Cantata 210 “is in reality more of a defense of music than a true wedding text with historical-biographical motivation,” says W. Gillies Whittaker in The Cantatas of JSB(Oxford University Press, 1959: 706). Thus, “one may opine that it has a bearing on the squabble, appropriately because the bridegroom, whose identity, however, is not revealed, was evidently a patron of music and that a date following the (Johann Gottlieb) Biedermann offensive [against music that corrupts] is most likely.” Although the Freiberg rector’s attack took place in 1749, it was reminiscent of the downgrading of music Bach experienced from the Leipzig Thomas School Rector J. A. Ernesti, beginning in 1734. Bach in 1749 responded with a revival of his 1729 satiric dramma per musica, Cantata BWV 201, “The struggle between Phoebus and Pan,” adding some pointed barbs.

Other Bach works in 1729 included performances of cantatas from the Picander cycle 1728-29 for church year special services: BWV 171 for New Year’s; BWV 156 for the Third Sunday after Epiphany (January 23) during the Leipzig winter fair, BWV 159 for Quinquagesima Estomihi (February 27), the last Sunday before Lent; BWV 145 for the Easter Tuesday festival (April 19); and the festive BWV 174 for the Pentecost Monday festival (June 6), probably with 20 members of the Collegium musicum. Other events involved the Köthen Funeral Music, BWV 244a, on March 23-24, for Prince Leopold, a parody mostly from the St. Matthew Passion that was then presented on Good Friday, April 15, and possibly supplemented with players from the Collegium musicum. With the death of Prince Leopold, Bach lost his title of Anhalt-Köthen Capellmeister. Leopold’s successor was his brother, Prince August Ludwig, who was honored with a homage cantata on July 21, “Des Zephyrs Atem rausch und fleigt” (The zephyrs breath rushes and flies), to a surviving text of Conrad Benedict Hulse, cited as the third occasional 1729 cantata with possible connections to Bach (Tiggermann, Ibid.: 21), but not accepted into the BWV canon.

Parody secular Cantata BWV 216a perhaps was presented on the evening of August 29 at Zimmermann’s Garden, following the installation of the Leipzig Town Council at the annual morning sacred service in the Nikolaikirche, perhaps with Cantata BWV 120. It also is possible that another sacred-secular double-bill was presented on September 29, the feast of Michael and All-Angels, when the Leipzig fall fair began on the Marketplace. Bach could have presented Cantata BWV 149 at the main churches in the morning and his satirical Cantata 201 in the evening.

In addition, Bach’s use of the Collegium musicum dates to his first weeks in Leipzig in May 1723. There also is an account of Bach’s first presentation of music for the Saxon Court, with 40 musicians from the Collegium musicum. It is possible that Cantata BWV Anh. 9, “Entfernet euch, ihr heitern Sterne” (Picander text) was part of a sacred-profane double bill for the Augustus II birthday visit on Monday, May 12, 1727. Before the evening’s festivities, a Service of Allegiance possibly was held at the Nikolaus Church, and may have began with Bach’s joyous eight-voice motet, “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied” (Sing unto the Lord a new song, Psalm 149:1), which originally may have been presented on New Year’s Day, 1727. A decade later, Augustus the Strong’s son, Augustus III, also visited the Leipzig Spring Fair and heard Bach’s music. Bach’s last (and lost) “original” homage work, Cantata BWV Anh. 13, “Wilkommen! Ihr Herrschenden Götter,” an evening serenade to a text of Johann Christoph Gottsched, leading poet and Leipzig University professor, was presented on Monday, April 28, 1738, during the Easter Fair that began the previous day, Jubilate Sunday.

A summary of the Bach-Scheibe controversy of 1737 that provoked the first revival of Cantata 201 is found in “Bach and his contemporaries” of Claude V. Palisca’sBaroque Music, third edition (New York: Prentice-Hall Publishing, 1991: 334-336) as cited in BCW, "Among the few reviews that give an inkling of how Bach's music was regarded by his contemporaries are those of Johann Adolph Scheibe (1708-1776), editor and author of one of the earliest journals of music criticism.”

"It is Scheibe again who presented the clearest statement of what people found least pleasing in Bach's music. It is, he says, unnatural, overly artful, and confused in its style. Both vocal and instrumental music are written as if meant for his own remarkable technique on the organ. He writes out all the ornaments instead of leaving them to the player and in so doing covers up the beauty of the melody and obscures the harmony. Instead of assigning the melody to one principal voice, he makes all voices equally busy and difficult. These tendencies make his music turgid, artificial, and somber, whereas, Scheibe proclaimed, it should be natural, simple, and noble.

“Indeed, we [Germans] have finally found in music too the true good taste, which Italy never showed us in its full beauty. Hasse and Graun, who are admired also by the Italians, demonstrate by their richly inventive, natural, and moving works how fine it is to possess and practice good taste.'

"In defending Bach against Scheibe's criticism, another editor of a musical periodical, Lorenz Christoph Mizler, made in 1738 a penetrating comment on Bach's historical position. 'If Mr Bach at times writes the inner parts more fully than other composers, he has taken as his model the music of twenty or twenty-five years ago.' Italian, French, and German music of the first decades of the eighteenth century, as Mizler perceived, was indeed the source of Bach's compositional practice, but he realized its possibilities in ways no one else had conceived.”

The elements of galant style are found in Section III, Robert L Marshall’s 1976 essay, “Bach the Progressive: Observations on his later works”: melodies borrowed from folk song and folk dance; rich harmonic vocabulary reduced (hamonic rhythm slowed down); polyphonic and intative textures discarded in favor of melody-dominated setting; and long, freely spun-out phrases and melodic arches replaced with balanced phrases.8
Provenance & Description of Sources, Thomas Braatz, BCW : <<“The Autograph Score and the Original Set of Parts” At the time of the distribution of cantata materials among family members in 1750, it may not have come into CPE Bach’s possession directly. It is clear, however, that it was in his possession from some point later in his lifetime since there is evidence in the score of the handwriting of CPE Bach’s main copyist, Michel, who is described by Georg Poelchau (1773-1836) as a tenor voice soloist in Bach’s church choir in Hamburg in 1787. Yet between 1755 and 1760 another copyist (Anonymous 300) belonging the circle of copyists that CPE Bach used prepared a copy of the score which was not copied from the original score but rather from the original set of parts. Why was this copy made in this way if CPE Bach had had the score in his possession since 1750? Perhaps CPE Bach acquired the autograph score after the Anon 300 score had been completed? In any case, at the end of CPE Bach’s life both the autograph score and the set of original parts were in CPE Bach’s possession and were listed in his estate in 1790: Der Streit zwischen Phöbus und Pan. Mit Trompeten, Pauken, Flöten und Hoboen. Eigenhändige Partitur, und auch in Stimmen. Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Schwencke (1767-1822) purchased the autograph score and the original set of parts from the estate sale and it remained in his possession until the time when it was auctioned off in 1824 when it was listed in the auction catalog as 229 Bach, J. S., Der Streit zwischen Phöbus u. Pan. P u. St. The original materials for BWV 201 were then purchased by the famous Bach manuscript collector, Georg Poelchau. A catalog list of his manuscript collection dating from 1832 contains the following item: 43 Cantate: Der Streit zwischen Phöbus und Pan. Geschwinde ihr wirbelnden Winde, für 6 Singst. mit Flöten, Hoboen, Tromp. u. P. Eigenhändige Part. 13 Bg. In 1841 Poechau’s heirs sold?/bequeathed? the entire manuscript collection to the BB (Berliner Staatsbibliothek) and in 1851 this entire collection was merged with the general collection of manuscripts in the library. The score has the call number: Mus. ms. Bach P 175 and the original parts are listed as: Mus. ms. Bach St 33a.”

Dating. <<Modern research has been able to place the date of composition earlier yet into a time frame when Bach took up his activities with the Telemann Collegium musicum which is documented to have begun in early spring of 1729. Supporting evidence is found in the type of paper which Bach used only between 1729 and 1731, in the rare copyist (#4 – known as Anonymous Vd who fulfilled the same function in copying the Violino 1 doublet as he did in BWV 192), and in the early form of handwriting revealed by Johann Ludwig Krebs who as a student helped Bach from 1726 to 1737.

It is possible that this cantata could have been used to open in a very festive manner the new season of the Collegium musicum under Bach’s direction or that it might have been composed for performance during the Leipzig Fair (the sketch of a Michaelmas cantata providing a connection with this event).

The materials for this performance (score and original set of parts) give the clear impression that everything was completed in one go.

It is highly unlikely that Bach would have personally conducted the final performance in the last year or so of his life, although such a performance is verified by some text changes made to the soprano part. His ill health would most likely have prevented this (Harrer’s audition before the City Council on June 8, 1749, a good year before Bach’s death, gives clear evidence of Bach’s failing health). It is possible that university students may have worked toward having this cantata performed once again in his honor without involving him in this matter. Seven years earlier Bach had used Pan’s aria, Zu Tanze, zu Sprunge, in his (1742) Peasant Cantata (BWV 212) with a different text, Dein Wachstum sei feste (May your growth be steady), without detracting from the integrity of the original cantata conception.>> In Cantata 212, the “peasant searches for a musical language typical of his social rank,” says Konrad Kuster in his essay on Cantata 201 in Oxford Composer Companions: JSB (Oxford University Press, 1999: 138). “This may reflect Bach’s intentions regarding Pan’s music as well.”


6 A summary translation of Andreas Glöckner’s “Bachs Leipziger Collegium musicum und seine Vorgeschichte” from Die Welt der Bach-Kantaten Vol. 2 Johann Sebastian Bachs weltliche Kantaten; editors Christoph Wolff/Ton Koopman (Stuttgart: Metzler/Bärenreiter, 1997: 105-117)], BCW:[Braatz].htm.
7 Besides Gardiner’s and Wolff’s notes on the Collegium musicum and Cantata 201 are:
+Martin Geck, JSB Life and Work (New York: Hartcourt Inc., 2000: 189-194); an account of the Leipzig Collegium musicum, with its 40-plus performing members; Bach's succession to the directorship in 1729; and the immediate opportunity its resources offered Bach, especially in Cantatas BWV 174, BWV 149, and BWV 171.
+Peter Williams, JSB: A Life in Music (Cambridge University, 2007: 206-09); on the significance of the Bach involvement with the Collegium musicum: opportunities not only for him but his two oldest sons, Friedemann and Emanuel, the resources available, motive and method of Bach securing the position, and the influence on chamber repertory.
8 Page 33f, also reprinted in Marshall’s essay collection, The Music of JSB: The Sources, the Style, the Significance (New York: Schirmir Books, 1989: 23-54). SEE FOOTNOTE 1.


Details of Bach’s Leipzig Collegium musicum programs of music by other composers is found in George B. Stauffer’s “Music for ‘Cavaliers et Dames’: Bach and the Repertory of his Collegium Musicum,” in the “Bach Circle” section (About Bach; edited by Gregory G. Butler, Stauffer, and Mary Dalton Greer; University of Illinois Press 2008: 135-156). This collection of 15 essays is dedicated to Christoph Wolff as a type of festschrift. Stauffer’s essay provides further details about the Collegium musicum and has an extensive bibliographical “Notes.”

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (December 9, 2013):
[To William Hoffman] Great (as always) write up. I have a quick question:

Georg Balthasar Schott -- is there any connection with him and the music publishing company?:

William Hoffman wrote (December 9, 2013):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] Not that I could find. Schott bios in BCW, , and in Oxford Composer Companions: JSB (p. 441)gives no mention.

Evan Cortens wrote (December 9, 2013):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Not that I could find. Schott bios in BCW, , and in Oxford Composer Companions: JSB (p. 441) gives no mention. >
According to Grove Music Online, the Schott publishing firm was founded by in Mainz in 1770 by Bernhard Schott (b Eltville [just west of Wiesbaden], 10 Aug 1748; d Sandhof, near Heidesheim [the other side of the river from Eltville], 26 April 1809). The Grove articles on both Georg Balthasar Schott and Bernhard Schott don't mention the other one, and Bernhard was born 12 years after Georg Balthasar died in 1736.

So any connection between the two seems unlikely.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (December 9, 2013):
[To Evan Cortens] Thanks Evan:

Schott's moving to Gotha makes me really wonder: what musical treats could he have taken with him (or even if he had done so). Certainly he would have composed music himself, and I don't know if these collegiums even HAD such a library-- maybe the music that was performed was kept by the instrumentalists versus any modern idea. But there had to have been an enormous amount of music used for what were decades of concerts. The losses are staggering (e.g. Benda destroyed a lot of instrumental music once he became the director of music in Gotha in 1750, saying it was too old fashioned for his tastes).


Cantata BWV 201: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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