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Cantata BWV 212
Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of December 7, 2008

Terejia wrote (December 7, 2008):
Introduction to BWV 212 Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet (alias Peasant Cantata)

First of all, I'd like to express my sincere appreciation to all who supported me despite /and complemented my deficiency last week. It was, needless to say, my first experience as a discussion leader and honestly, I couldn't help being nervous a bit.

It may well be the secular of the secular cantatas@along with Coffee Cantata, IMHO. As to sacred and secular music.

Jean Laaninen o expressed her view here: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29336
It is far beyond my ability to express as precisely as this. Although I have no capacity to judge its academic correctness, it makes sense to me.

For the sake of smooth bridging from last week over to this week, it was fortunate for us that William, Therese and Ed brought up the issue of Bach and theatrical music stimulated by the article .
http://www.americanbachsociety.org/Newsletters/BachNotes05.pdf
(In page 3 there is a comment on BWV 212)

(http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29363
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29353
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29364)

previous discussions :
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV212-D.htm
http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV212.html
for text and other commentar
http://www.emusic.com/search.html?mode=x&QT=BWV212&x=0&y=0
recording samples just in case, especially for beginners on this list or for those whose collection is so large to serve as a reminder.

Quoting William Hoffman from
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29389
g*Bach's extensive use of polonaise rhythms in his drammi per musica:
BWV 212/4,6,10,12; BWV 205/13; BWV 216/7; BWV 249a/5; BWV 214/3; BWV 201/13; BWV 210(a)/8; and BWV 30a/11.h His posting provides us an interesting thema, i.e. Bach and Polonaise.
I

Ifd like to be exempt from writing about recitatives, not because there is nothing in them, but, on the contrary, there are just too much to them for non-professionals like myself to write musical commental on. Over all, recitatives in this cantata sounds, to my non-professional ears, just like other recitatives in other sacred cantatas in its depth. I am no German speaker and for me, were it not for singerfs acting, I would have believed those are from Bible text.

Overture : as a Japanese CD jacket commentator notes, this short overture is a mixture of courtly dance music with elegance and rustic elements. I have Harnoncourt CD and IMHO, as is usually the case with Harnoncourt, he is making a vivid contrast here.

Mvt. 2 Cheerful duet by soprano and bass. Strangely enough music is still somehow solemn and mathematical (if my hearing perception is not too off the wall) despite this merrily and informal text

Mvt. 4 soprano aria Mvt. 6 Bass Aria and Finale tutti At first I felt as if Bach had written these just for his pastime. To repeat myself I am no professional and I simply fail to perceive what is the most characteristic about Bach-i.e. solemn sound and/or mathematical structure Nevertheless I do suspect if Bach had really succeeded in forefeiting his original talents of contrapunct 100 %. Maybe 80 % of his original flavour is lost but not quite 100 %, IMHO. My vague suspicion has no valid foundation but if you pardon me for my babbling a bit longer, for me, the musical thema being taken from popular songs instead of sacred church hymn/chorale melody or Gregorian chant simply doesnft seem to be a valid reason for Bach not to utilize his talent of contrapunct. With his talent, I personally believe it would have been still within his capacity to process out any vulgar music into solemn and mathematical music architecture, if he had wanted that way . My radical conjecture is the composer might well have meant to respect rustic music the way it is in order to explore into different type of aethetics.

Mvt. 8 and Mvt. 10 soprano aria, Mvt. 20 Bass aria, Mvt. 22 soprano aria I personally find what is familiar to us about Bach, i.e. contrapunctual construction especially in instrumental parts.

Mvt. 12 bass aria: IMHO dotted rhythm describes drunken man. Here Bach seems to have lost his original mathematical flavour and it sounds as if Bach were trying to utilize his music talent in the area of program music, which is not unsuccessful in my humble opinion, but I simply fail to perceive his original talent of mathematical contrapunct, which distinctly differentiate him from any other composers.

Now in previous discussion, Aryeh provided interesting personal opinions A.B.C.D.E (near the bottom)
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV212-D.htm

In my humble personal opinion, Bach seems to have had no loath for program music because for example, even in such pieces like Johanness Passion or Christmas Oratorio, we encounter what might be considered Bachfs program music from time to time ( at least simple-minded listener like myself perceive that in the chorus gLasset uns den niicht teilenh hte continuo sounds like as if it were dividing cloths ; or in the chorus g lasset uns nun gehen gen Bethlehem g from Part 3 Christmas Oratorio, 1/16 of string and flauto traverse seems to describe joyous hurrying up to Bethlehem along with uplifting diatonic line(both ascending and descending) of chorus, etc...) Again, no academic foundation, just my personal feeling.

Mvt. 14: What I personally like about this elegant menuetto are where continuo playing 1/16 notes with much solemnity ; where triplet notes of flutes obligato is adding graceful texture. IMHO, we can enjoy Bachfs original flavour here. In my Harnoncourt version, Angela Maria Blasi sings with restrained vibrato.

Mvt. 16 bass aria I would say horn adds special flavour here, although I lack words to describe how horn is special in terms of aesthetic impact.. Maybe picturesque aesthetic effect?

Overall, I find this cantata to be less mathematical , less logical and more pastrale and picturesque than other cantatas(that I know of). I still find this cantata somehow gsacred h just like paintings of La Tour dealing with peasants or even more grotesque mundane thema still sheds somehow gsacredh flavour in his deep expression of light and shadow (http://www.salvastyle.com/menu_classicism/latour.html), if not as sacred as other pieces officially dealing with Bible thema. Ok, sorry, for detouring too much with La Tour. Anyway, all I wanted to say here is that mundane thema may have just as much valid aesthetic value to explore as Biblical thema for aesthetic and artistic genius. .

Now itfs your turn to sharyour joy on this beautiful piece!

(Now it's Sunday afternoon in Japan time and I suppose most of the region have reached Saturday evening or night. Time for myself to post introduction...)

Jean Laaninen wrote (December 8, 2008):
Terejia wrote:
< Mvt. 4 soprano aria Mvt. 6 Bass Aria and Finale tutti At first I felt as if Bach had written these just for his pastime. To repeat myself I am no professional and I simply fail to perceive what is the most characteristic about Bach-i.e. solemn sound and/or mathematical structure Nevertheless I do suspect if Bach had really succeeded in forefeiting his original talents of contrapunct 100 %. Maybe 80 % of his original flavour is lost but not quite 100 %, IMHO. My vague suspicion has no valid foundation but if you pardon me for my babbling a bit longer, for me, the musical thema being taken from popular songs instead of sacred church hymn/chorale melody or Gregorian chant simply doesn ft seem to be a valid reason for Bach not to utilize his talent of contrapunct. With his talent, I personally believe it would have been still within his capacity to process out any vulgar music into solemn and mathematical music architecture, if he had wanted that way . My radical conjecture is the composer might well have meant to respect rustic music the way it is in order to explore into different type of aethetics. >
I have yet to find the time to listen to the cantata, but there is something here that Terejia has written that I would like to respond to despite that fact.

She seems to be saying that on this movement (IV) Bach might well have used a more elaborate technique. Now, after writing my previous comments which she has graciously included, I must mention something my husband had to say when I commented on Bach's secular and sacred works and some difference between them. Having had a long and practical career and knowing Bach also from at least his high school years on, he felt that the secular works were more important in terms of the paycheck at the end of the process than of trying to share his own philosophy or create something very grand each time. I've given his comment some thought, and I'd have to say there's likely to be some truth in the matter. Moreover, I am guessing Bach created for a specific audience, and if he perhaps thought something did not need to be so elaborate or mathematical to the ear, he probably had a good reason. The reason might well have been the context...an audience that would have favored a different element.

I will get to the listening some time this week, and try to come back with something worth saying, but additionally, perhaps sometimes Bach got tired of elaboration and wanted simplicity. A cantata with a peasant flavor might have called for greater simplicity--maybe I will find out.

Terejia wrote (December 8, 2008):
Practical aspect of Bach ?Re: Introduction to BWV 212 Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet

Jean Laaninen wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29399
(..)
>> She seems to be saying that on this movement (IV) Bach might well have used a more elaborate technique. Now, after writing my previous comments which she has graciously included, I must mention something my husband had to say when I commented on Bach's secular and sacred works and some difference between them. Having had a long and practical career and knowing Bach also from at least his high school years on, he felt that the secular works were more important in terms of the paycheck at the end of the process than of trying to share his own philosophy or create something very grand each time. I've given his comment some thought, and I'd have to say there's likely to be some truth in the matter. Moreover, I am guessing Bach created for a specific audience, and if he perhaps thought something did not need to be so elaborate or mathematical to the ear, he probably had a good reason. The reason might well have been the context...an audience that would have favored a different element.<<
(..)
Thank you, Jean, for comment.

To the best of my knowledge-I've read biography of Bach in Japanese-Bach also had a practical aspect. Bach needed money in order to educate his sons and for that reason he pursued better paid position, as I read in the book.

Now detouring off toward OT to some degree : I recently bought a CD of Bach cantata in "morawin", a Japanese music download site in Japan. During my search, I was confronted with a sheer stark reality of marketting.

An animation hit song, "Poyno on the Cliff(Gake no Ue no Poyno)", some 3 minutes long, sung by untrained 8~9 year old girl, who so often gets off the tone and sings with untrained layman voice, is priced HIGHER than a track of BWV 210 Mvt 2 Aria performed by Christine Schäfer, who sings challenging Aria so excellently...hmmm....this is really what marketting is about...

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (December 8, 2008):

Terejia wrote:
[...]
< My vague suspicion has no valid foundation but if you pardon me for my babbling a bit longer, for me, the musical thema being taken from popular songs instead of sacred church hymn/chorale melody or Gregorian chant simply doesnft seem to be a valid reason for Bach not to utilize his talent of contrapunct. With his talent, I personally believe it would have been still within his capacity to process out any vulgar music into solemn and mathematical music architecture, if he had wanted that way . My radical conjecture is the composer might well have meant to respect rustic music the way it is in order to explore into different type of aethetics. >
Thanks for your interesting introduction.

According to Gilles Cantagrel (I translate roughly from his book "Le moulin et la rivière, page 360-61), this cantata was written outside of formal obligations and as a friendly homage to Carl Heinrich von Dieskau, who had just inherited an estate near Leipzig. The cantata was perfomed at the occasion of a great outdoors celebration in the countryside, with fireworks at night.

Apparently Picander's libretto is full of friendly ironical allusions (von Dieskau was his superior as director of tax perception) and develops on an unusual register of popular simplicity, in a spirit similar to that of the final Quodlibet of the Goldberg variations. It also uses the popular Saxon language rather than the formal German.

Cantagrel notes that this cantata is exactly in the midst (chronologically and aesthethically) between Pergolesi's "Serva pardona" and Rousseau's "Devin du village".

(Here I speak personnally) Maybe this simply shows another side of Bach, a more familiar and "funny" side, which complements the side we are more used to. It seems in any case that Bach took pleasure to write this music...

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 8, 2008):
Thérèse Hanquet wrote:
< Cantagrel notes that this cantata is exactly in the midst (chronologically and aesthethically) between Pergolesi's "Serva pardona" and Rousseau's "Devin du village". >
The cantata has always struck me as a social satire not unlike John Gay's contemporary "Beggar's Opera" in London. Certainly the implicit critique of social caste leads us to Beaumarchais and ultimately to Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" Bach as proto-revolutionary?

In the odd turns of history department ... in the 20s or 30s, the Metropolitan Opera staged an opera, "Village Life," which combined the Peasant and Coffee Cantatas with other orchestral and vocal bits to create a two-act Bach opera!

William Hoffman wrote (December 8, 2008):
Dance related movements (Finke-Hecklinger): 1, Polonaise (Mazurka); 1,4,6,8,10,12; bouree 2, 24; menuett 14, 20.

Only one movement is a parody: 212/20=201/7. The rest are original -- except that they use popular melodies in vernacular, so these are a form of parody in the loosest sense.

Szymon Paczowski, who has access to special sources, including dating of BWV 210 wedding cantata version 19 September 1741 in Berlin, at the recent American Bach Society conference Bethlehem PA suggested in his paper on BWV 213 connections to the Dresden Court, that those drammi per musica texts have special illusions to said court. Can we pursue that concept with BWV 212?

I think that in Cantata BWV 212 Bach is having his cake and eating it too. He's making money, having fun, thumbing his nose at those pedants Scheibe, Gottsched and Mathessen (sp.) and perhaps showing that German burlesque opera is indeed alive and well in Saxony. The Peasant Cantata was his last original hurrah. Remember also that Bach could not get the Dresden Court Capellemeister position (vacant 1730-35) because, as Wolff or Geck or both suggest, he didn't have fluency in Italian Opera. And by the early 1740s Bach had lost interest in Dresden Italian style except for stile antico.

I think the ever-calculating Bach, the well-regulated and well-appointed composer, functioned at many levels simultaneously -- sacred and secular, parody and original, repertory and transformation, moderno and antico, serious and satirical -- best exemplified in his secular cantatas. And, eat your heart out, Lord Georg Frideric!

Jean Laaninen wrote (December 8, 2008):
[To William Hoffman] I appreciate William's insights on this number, and have finally finished listening. This cantata is just plain fun, and I don't believe it isintended to be taken very seriously, other for than analytical purposes. I have to laugh, because I hate housework even though I must do it. However, when I think I can no longer stand to do any more work, I think I will play this little cantata that is so full of attitude, and get through the domestic pain briskly.

John Pike wrote (December 8, 2008):
[To Jean Laaninen] Thanks for this, Jean. I haven't listened to this cantata for quite a while but, like the coffee cantata, I think it is cracking good fun and with some extremely enjoyable music from the master. He certainly knew how to let his wig down.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 8, 2008):
Terejia wrote:
>It was, needless to say, my first experience as a discussion leader and honestly, I couldn't help being nervous a bit.<
I very much enjoy the way you communicate sincerely. I was at first a bit nervous myself, encouraging you to write to BCML, in case you would not enjoy it. You add greatly to our group, and your constructions in English are very clear.

Cool (as we still say in USA). American Colloquial Expression, or International? Opinions invited.

As to BWV 212, like Jean, I have not yet begun to listen. Special thanks to Will for reports on the current and/or difficult-to-access research on dance characteristics, and for his sense of humor.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 8, 2008):
>Bach as proto-revolutionary?<
I am convinced!

Aloha, Ed Myskowski (Massachusetts, USA, birthplace of revolution)

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 9, 2008):
>I have to laugh, because I hate housework even though I must do it.<
I once heard British wag (?) Quentin Crisp say, as to why he ignores housework: <After the first year, the dust seems about the same>. Or words to that effect.

Keep those LP surfaces clean, however!

Jean Laaninen wrote (December 9, 2008):
OT: Housework [was BWV 212]

[To Ed Myskowski, regarding his last message] Thanks, Ed.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 9, 2008):
Terejia wrote:
>Over all, recitatives in this cantata sounds, to my non-professional ears, just like other recitatives in other sacred cantatas in its depth. I am no German speaker and for me, were it not for singer*fs [sic] acting, I would have believed those are from Bible text.<
I agree, and I believe it is an important point. It is one thing to recognize that Bach dedicated his sacred music to God, as he knew Him. It is quite another thing (as has been implied, at times, on these pages) to suggest that Bachs sacred music arose by divine inspiriation, intervention, or invention, or that the greatness of the music somehow proves the validity of Bachs particular divine milieu (a blessedly English word, from the French).

I am enjoying the current interlude of secular works, and also looking forward to several years of discsussion related to the Christian, and specifically Lutheran, liturgical calendar. As I note frequently, Brian McCreath on WGBH-FM (streamed at www.wgbh.org) presents weekly Sunday AM cantatas related to the liturgical calendar. Yesterday, for Advent 2, we heard BWV 91 (for Christmas 2), in the Herreweghe performance. I hope some of you shared it with me and Brian, along with the explanation of the shortage of music for the Sundays in Advent, the abundance of music for the days of Christmas, and the resulting need to fudge a bit.

I sometimes correct obvious typographic errors in citations, but I thought it better to leave <singer*fs> as is (with a [sic]), since it looks to be an <incompatible apostrophe> (to coin a phrase?). We shall see what comes through the technology transmitter.

Terejia wrote (December 9, 2008):
Thérèse Hanquet wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29402

Thank you, Thérèse, for adding valuable information, enriching the appreciation.

(..)
> (Here I speak personnally) Maybe this simply shows another side of Bach, a > more familiar and "funny" side, which complements the side we are more used > to. It seems in any case that Bach took pleasure to write this music...<
I concur with this. Missing "another aspect" of Bach would be one-sided.

Terejia wrote (December 9, 2008):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29403
(..)
< In the odd turns of history department ... in the 20s or 30s, the Metropolitan Opera staged an opera, "Village Life," which combined the Peasant and Coffee Cantatas with other orchestral and vocal bits to create a two-act Bach opera! >
Interesting staging! I would have enjoyed it, had I been there at that time.

Terejia wrote (December 9, 2008):
William Hoffman wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29404

(..)
Thank you, William, for adding your deeper insight into this masterpiece.

>> I think the ever-calculating Bach, the well-regulated and well-appointed composer, functioned at many levels simultaneously -- sacred and secular, parody and original, repertory and transformation, moderno and antico, serious and satirical -- best exemplified in his secular cantatas. And, eat your heart out, Lord Georg Frideric!<<
I can't describe as richly as you can.

It's good that we can enjoy multiple viewpoint on the same piece of music.

Terejia wrote (December 9, 2008):
Again dance rhythm Re: Intro. to BWV 212 OOPS!!

"William Hoffman wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29405
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29404

And also thank you for your commentar on dance rhythm.

gratefully

Terejia wrote (December 9, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29406

(..)
> I have to laugh, because I hate housework even though I must do it. However, when I think I can no longer stand to do any more work, I think I will play this little cantata that is so full of attitude, and get through the domestic pain briskly.<
Aside from if Bach had intended this piece to be used to that way or not, I suppose it is one of the functions music can.

Today, my boss was unusually cross and serious and office staffs felt unusually tense. In our office, we have BGM all the time, ranging from Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, etc(my boss loves Brahms and Mozart). to pop music or even Japanese Enka, but today my boss turned off BGM, which was our first experience in these 5 months. The veteran officstaffs were plainly at a loss, because they don't understand what made the boss so cross. Now one of the solutions would be BWV 211 or BWV 212.

Doug referred to "Le Nozze di Figaro" in connection with satirical aspect of this cantata text. I have watched the opera several times and one day, it suddenly occured to me that the opera is by no means as comical as I had used to consider. It actually describes an extremely tense situation under feudal system, which, were Figaro and/or Suzanna were below average mental capacity for bearing mental stress, might well have caused even suicide.

Back to BWV 212, yes, the text shows this kind of tense situation here and there. The flavour of text of some bass Arias, I often encounter in our legal office in modern Japan.

My conclusion as to common denominator in "Figaro" and BWV 212 : both are comical DESPITE extremely tense situation instead of comical in an easy-going way.

Terejia wrote (December 9, 2008):
John Pike wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29407
(..)
< like the coffee cantata, I think it is cracking good fun and with some extremely enjoyable music from the master. He certainly knew how to let his wig down. >
Indeed. Another aspect of the maestro, which might be more important than we(or at least myself) used to consider...

Terejia wrote (December 9, 2008):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29412
(..)
< I agree, and I believe it is an important point. It is one thing to recognize that Bach dedicated his sacred music to God, as he knew Him. It is quite another thing (as has been implied, at times, on these pages) to suggest that Bachs sacred music arose by divine inspiriation, intervention, or invention, or that the greatness of the music somehow proves the validity of Bachs particular divine milieu (a blessedly English word, from the French). >
As to recitative, I'd like to give a try to go deep into music in the future, although not right now. Thank you for pointing out that we might as well keep different matters separate, to the best of our ability. Oh, isn't it part of the polyphony music, i.e., keep different voices/instrumental parts separate and isn't it also what your most favorite performer, Kuijken is extremely good at?

(..)
< I sometimes correct obvious typographic errors in citations, but I thought it better to leave <singer*fs> as is (with a [sic]), since it looks to be an <incompatible apostrophe> (to coin a phrase?). We shall see what comes through the technology transmitter.>
I always deeply appreciate your kind consideration toward me and toward others. If you wish, you can treat my typo and misspellings differently than you treat myself:-)

Time to go to bed for me, in Japan time.

See you "tommorow".

Stephen Benson wrote (December 9, 2008):
Terejia wrote:
< My conclusion as to common denominator in "Figaro" and BWV 212 : both are comical DESPITE extremely tense situation instead of comical in an easy-going way. >
Let's not forget the buffoonery of Bach's 'Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan" and the fatuous absurdity of Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte". I think it's safe to say that ALL these "comedic" masterpieces expose elements of the human condition that are far from comical. And, in a sense, isn't this the essence of comedy?

Julian Mincham wrote (December 9, 2008):
[To Stephen Benson] And let's also include Bach's opera buffo characterisation of Satan in some of the bass arias from the religious cantatas. Bach more than once depicts Satan an a grovelling rather ridiculous figure contrasting strongly with?portrayals of the Lord and even characters like St Michael.??

Jean Laaninen wrote (December 9, 2008):
Terejia wrote:
< Aside from if Bach had intended this piece to be used to that way or not, I suppose it is one of the functions music can.
Today, my boss was unusually cross and serious and office staffs felt unusually tense. In our office, we have BGM all the time, ranging from Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, etc(my boss loves Brahms and Mozart). to pop music or even Japanese Enka, but today my boss turned off BGM, which was our first experience in these 5 months. The veteran office staffs were plainly at a loss, because they don't understand what made the boss so cross. Now one of the solutions would be
BWV 211 or BWV 212.
Doug referred to "Le Nozze di Figaro" in connection with satirical aspect of this cantata text. I have watched the opera several times and one day, it suddenly occured to me that the opera is by no means as comical as I had used to consider. It actually describes an extremely tense situation under feudal system, which, were Figaro and/or Suzanna were below average mental capacity for bearing mental stress, might well have caused even suicide.
Back to BWV 212, yes, the text shows this kind of tense situation here and there. The flavour of text of some bass Arias, I often encounter in our legal office in modern Japan.
My conclusion as to common denominator in "Figaro" and BWV 212 : both are comical DESPITE extremely tense situation instead of comical in an easy-going way. >
Probably we have the western mind-set...those of us who see the satirical.One must remember that an opera such as Figaro is NOT a real life situation.It's a story designed to entertain an audience and there-in contains some suspense. You might enjoy reading about opera buffa - the genre, to clarify. The opera should not be taken seriously because the people are not real. In western thought satire is used to release tensions--not to make one unduly sensitive. And again, this Bach number is a little story. Sure there are local political implications as in opera buffa, but Bach knew how to joke as a solution to releasing tension--and I take this selection as a little opera. This is not the same as being socially correct--this is recognizing humor on a different level.

As to your boss, it is also realistic to imagine that his tensions have nothing at all to do with the music and maybe he just needed peace and quiet to think clearly. One of the great rules even of music is to have a deep awareness of even the silences allotted to rests.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (December 9, 2008):
Jean Laaninen wrote:
< [...] I have to laugh, because I hate housework even though I must do it. However, when I think I can no longer stand to do any more work, I think I will play this little cantata that is so full of attitude, and get through the domestic pain briskly. >

This work and your comments reminded me two songs by Purcell:
"What can we poor females do" (a lot of fun to sing!) and the duet from King Arthur "Shepherd, shepherd, leave decoying", which says "But a little after toying, women have the shot to pay"...

Terejia wrote (December 10, 2008):
Stephen Benson wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29420
> Let's not forget the buffoonery of Bach's 'Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan" and the fatuous absurdity of Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte". <
Thank you for your reminder! BWV 201 happens to have one bass Aria in common with BWV 212. As to BWV 201, however, I personally feel Bach's flavour as mathematician more than BWV 212.

Again my personal viewpoint : overall, the text would differentiate sacred and secular clearly most of the times. When it comes to music, I feel the differentiation is not as easy as text. Many of Bach's chorus and arias might fall into "greyzone" musically, at least to my personal perception.

>I think it's safe to say that ALL these "comedic" masterpieces expose elements of the human condition that are far from comical. And, in a sense, isn't this the essence of comedy? <
Yes, I agree with you, although I also see valid point in the perspective that comedy is meant to be taken lightly.

Terejia wrote (December 10, 2008):
Bach and opera buffo Re: BWV 212

Julian Mincwrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29421
>> And let's also include Bach's opera buffo characterisation of Satan in some of the bass arias from the religious cantatas. Bach more than once depicts Satan an a grovelling rather ridiculous figure contrasting strongly with?portrayals of the Lord and even characters like St Michael.?? <<
Hi Julian, you triggered my curioucity here! I am curious what would be a specific example? Would "Gib mir meinen Jesum wieder" in SMP an example?

Terejia wrote (December 10, 2008):
Silence in music Re: BWV 212

Jean Laaninen wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29422
(..)
>>I take this selection as a little opera. This is not the same as being socially correct--this is recognizing humor on a different level.<<
Although for now I agree with Steve, I see you have valid point here. It's always good to have a different angle. I personally think that in the area of humanism we often have more than two "correct/right" answers, which is enriching.

(..)
>> One of the great rules even of music is to have a deep awareness of even the silences allotted to rests.<<

Indeed! Very important point to keep in mind both in listening to and performing music.

PS : Today my boss was as good mood/as cheerful as he usually is.Thank you for your kind consideration.

Julian Mincham wrote (December 10, 2008):
Terejia wrote:
< Hi Julian, you triggered my curioucity here! I am curious what would be a specific example? Would "Gib mir meinen Jesum wieder" in SMP an example? >
I was thinking more of arias like BWV 76/10,? about the scuttling demons of hell and 107/4, about Satan raging from hell. Sorry about the typo--these arias are for TENOR of course not BASS as I stated below. Bach uses a serpentine and twisted continuo line in such settings which gives a distinct impression of scuttling malice. The devil seems, from Bach's depictions to be evil, influential and unpleasant. But he is not heroic or glorious or all powerful and I think that Bach takes some pains to get this across to his congregations.

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 10, 2008):
Terejia wrote:
< Thank you for your reminder! BWV 201 happens to have one bass Aria in common with BWV 212. As to BWV 201, however, I personally feel Bach's flavour as mathematician more than BWV 212. >
Has anyone studied the relationship between this cantata and the strophic songs in the Anna Magdalena Notebook?

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 10, 2008):
Julian Mincham wrote:
>Bach uses a serpentine [snakelike?] and twisted continuo line in such settings which gives a distinct impression of scuttling malice. The devil seems, from Bach's depictions to be evil, influential and unpleasant. But he is not heroic or glorious or all powerful<
I once heard John Harbison express his observation that Bach uses snakelike riffs to accompany mentions of the Pope, as well!

Incidentally, I agree with Steve and others who have noted the <human nature> content of comedy. In fact, this is a requirement for the dramatic form (comedy), otherwise it is more properly called farce, although this is clearly not a hard and fast distinction.

To put it another way, <humor is nothing more than the truth writ large>.

Julian Mincham wrote (December 10, 2008):
[To Ed Myskowski] I once heard John Harbison express his observation that Bach uses snakelike riffs to accompany mentions of the Pope, as well!

I'm interested in this comment. As I recall bach's references to the pope are fairly guarded. Can anyone come up with any specific examples???

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 10, 2008):
Julian Mincham responded to my post:
EM
>I once heard John Harbison express his observation that Bach uses snakelike riffs to accompany mentions of the Pope, as well!<
JM
>I.m interested in this comment. As I recall bach's references to the pope are fairly guarded. Can anyone come up with any specific examples???<
Full disclosure: I am citing this from memory, from a couple years ago. Harbison was introducing a performance of the motet BWV 227, as part of a program also including his own composition <But Mary Stood>. With respect to the opening line of BWV 227/5, with satan as dragon, Harbison said, with a bit of humor (I paraphrase my recollection): <Here, the music becomes snakelike. Bach also uses this effect for the Pope.> Not in BWV 227, however, and Harbison did not provide any specific examples (it was an informal talk, as you can infer). I do recall finding an example later, at home, but it will take me a little effort to recover the reference.

I am curious, as well as Julian, so examples from others doubly appreciated.

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 11, 2008):
Bach and opera buffo (BWV 18, was BWV 212)

For a link between Satan and Pope in text and serpentine musical style, and contrast with God, see:

BWV 18/3 (extract from Pamela Dellal translation for Emmanuel Music, via BCW link, English 6):

That Satan be crushed under our feet.
Hear us, dear Lord God!
Ah! Many deny word and faith
and fall away like rotten fruit,
if they suffer persecution.
So they plunge into eternal suffering,
in order to avoid a temporary woe.
That we, from the Turks and the Pope’s
[That we, from the Enemy's and Satan's]*
horrid murder and blasphemy,
raging and fury, be fatherly protected.
Hear us, dear Lord God!

I suspect this may be the single example John Harbison had in mind, as he is closely connected with Emmanuel Music, and the reference to the Pope has been a sensitive subject there (note alternate text). Sorry that I overinterpreted his very offhand comment to be more generalized.

See also our BCW discussion from early 2007, re BWV 126, where <murderousness of Pope and Turk> is the text. Emmanuel Music also provides an alternate text in that instance. Curiously, both BWV 18 and BWV 126 are for the same Sunday, Sexagesima.

Terejia wrote (December 11, 2008):
Julian Mincham wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29428
(..)
> Bach uses a serpentine and twisted continuo line in such settings which gives a distinct impression of scuttling malice. <
I understand what you mean now. Both pieces you mentioned (BWV 76/10 and BWV 107/4 Tenor arias) have twisted continuo line which sounds, to my personal ears, with flavour of agony.

>The devil seems, from Bach's depictions to be evil, influential and unpleasant. But he is not heroic or glorious or all powerful and I think that Bach takes some pains to get this across to his congregations.? Julian.<
I went to the court to see my boss standing at the bar today...is Bach's message in re to evil wishful ideal? Even though in case it SHOULD be wishful thought, it is good to see my boss doing his best to make Bach's such a message come true, i.e., evil is not as powerful nor as glorious as it might seem. My boss is a member of SokaGakkai Buddhism sect, while I am Catholic. by the way. We are getting along really well and he has good understanding of Bach's music, including cantatas, to the best of my knowledge.

Ed's reply is enjoyable and this is an interesting thread !

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29430
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29431
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29432
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29433

Julian Mincham wrote (December 11, 2008):
[To Terejia] A boss with an understanding of Bach Cantatas?? That's a first. I certainly have never had one. Should give you something to natter about at the bar!

Terejia wrote (December 11, 2008):
Thérèse Hanquet wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29423
< This work and your comments reminded me two songs by Purcell: "What can we poor females do" (a lot of fun to sing!) and the duet from King Arthur "Shepherd, shepherd, leave decoying", which says "But a little after toying, women have the shot to pay"... >
Now Therese mentioned Purcell. As I don't have Purcell among my CD collections, which are not so large anyway, I searched web and I am listening to Purcell as of this writing. Today, we were listening to some pieces of F. Couplin in the legal office(as a BGM, sorry music lovers). As Bach fans, probably we cannot help noticing something distinct about Bach.

The cantata on our agenda happens to be BWV 212 this week. By no means I would say that Bach didn't do really good job on this type of music-on the contrary. However, to my personal ears, it sounds that Bach doesn't differentiate himself from other Baroque composers in this type of pieces as distinctly as he does in his contrapunct pieces.

Good luck with your singing,

John Pike wrote (December 12, 2008):
[To Terejia] For those of you who have not yet discovered Purcell, I urge you to start soon. I know I am British and would say it anyway, but Purcell is one of my very favourite composers. There is such a rich output there, ranging from the deeply profound, heart felt, spine-tingling and moving to the hilariously funny, and just about everything inbetween. I wouldn't rank Purcell with Bach, but there is much versatility there.
There are worse places to start than the Ode for St Cecilias Day and the Music on the death of Queen Mary.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Henry Purcell & Bach [Bach & Other Composers]

Terejia wrote (December 13, 2008):
Bach's agonying continuo

Julian Mincham wrote:
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29436
> A boss with an understanding of Bach Cantatas?? That's a first. I certainly have never had one. <
As a solicitor/certified shihou-shoshi lawyer, he is very good at logical thinking. He likes analytical listening.

>Should give you something to natter about at the bar! <
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29428

About court trial and Bach's agonying bass continuo, which describes evil agonying : as a legal professional, both my boss and myself, as well as other sensitive colleagues, wish to see that evil agonying until at last good triumphs but more than often we have testified this is NOT always the case. Bach's agonying bass continuo representing evil thrashing around is comforting all the more; resurrection of Christ(representing good, right, etc.) after crucifiction is moving even though my boss is SokaGakkai member. He is fighting for "social Christ/Buddha??" so to speak.I'm nowhere near my boss...

As Jean suggested, to see humor to be different than reality would also be comforting for myself or for my boss, as well as hoping that good/righteousness would triumph in the end. Anyway, power of music, power of art is great- without which how can we manage fighting social evil?

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 14, 2008):
A furtive (to avoid infringing fugitive) thought:

From the liner notes to the Angel Seraphim LP budget reissue (probably 1970s), with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone (quite a wonderful performance, BTW):

<In 1742 the Chamberlain Carl Heinrich von Dieskau [!] inherited the villages of Klein-Zschocher and Knauthain. Picander, as a local government official, probably [oh, oh] suggested to Bach that he compose a cantata in the Chamberlains honor. Picanders text (in which he makes fun of his own tax-collecting duties), was published in in 1751.>

As best I can tell, these liner notes are unattributed. However, do not miss BWV 212/5, where the tax-collector is equated with the devil (or perhaps a humbug?), no serpentine effects at that exact point, but the subsequent lightning strike is electric.

James Atkins Pritchard wrote (January 9, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< In the odd turns of history department ... in the 20s or 30s, the Metropolitan Opera staged an opera, "Village Life," which combined the Peasant and Coffee Cantatas with other orchestral and vocal bits to create a two-act Bach opera! >
Doug, was this ever recorded? Or was a score ever published? And who put it together?

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 212: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

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