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Cantata BWV 216
Vergnügte Pleißenstadt [Fragment]
Cantata BWV 216a
Erwählte Pleißenstadt: Apollo et Mercurius
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the November 24, 2013 (3rd round)

William Hoffman wrote (November 24, 2013):
Cantata 210 Intro & Wedding Cantatas 216, Ang. 196

In Leipzig Bach sporadically composed a handful of secular wedding cantatas with only one extant, a parody piece also for soprano solo, O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit (O glorious day, longed-for time), BWV 210, dating to about 1742. It is a classic case of Bach’s use of virtual, strict text parody in compelling, intimate lyrical music with new text and music found only in the alternating recitatives describing a different occasion.

There are five presumed versions dating from before 1729 to 1742 for various civic celebrations. The original material is assumed to be from a secular proto-cantata. “The existence of the first version, from the period before 1729, cannot be proved from documentary or other sources, but is a hypothetical deduction as a common starting point for the later arrangements,” says Klaus Hoffmann in his liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki 2004 BIS recording.1

The two extant versions begin with a homage serenade, Cantata, BWV 210a, “O Angehnehme Melodei” (O pleasing melody).” The work has only slight textual changes for three occasions in the Leizig area: “Herzog” Duke Christian of Saxe-Weißenfels, visiting Leipzig, January 12, 1729; the birthday of Governor “Graf” Count von Flemming, at his Pleissenburg Castle, August 25, now dated to 1739; and for unidentified patrons, “Gönner.” “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 Hoffmann (FN1). Finally, the music was parodied with new, extended recitatives for the extant secular wedding cantata a voce solo, “O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit” (O glorious day, longed-for time), 1738-41. No librettist has been identified for any version.

Wedding Cantata BWV 210, O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit (O glorious day, longed-for time), soprano solo cantata for a secular wedding, 1738-41. “As is usually the case with [Leipzig secular] wedding cantatas, this one is divided into two sections, the first to be performed before the exchange of vows, the second afterwards,” says the Oxford Composer Companions: JSB; edited by Malcolm Boyd (Oxford University Press: 1999: 332).

Details of Cantata 210 are found at BCW, . The ten movements, scoring, and incipits are:

1. Recitative [Soprano]; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo (Cembalo e Violone)
O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit,
O fair day, longed for time,

2. Aria da-capo [Soprano]; Oboe d'amore, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo
Spielet, ihr beseelten Lieder,
Play, you inspired songs

3. Recitative [Soprano], Continuo
Doch, haltet ein, / Ihr muntern Saiten; (But stop / you lively strings;
4. Aria free da-capo [Soprano]; Oboe d'amore, Violino, Continuo
Ruhet hie, matte Töne,
Rest here, weak notes,

5. Recitative [Soprano], Continuo
So glaubt man denn, daß die Musik verführe
So it is believed that music leads us astray

6. Aria trio [Soprano]; Flauto traverso, Continuo
Schweigt, ihr Flöten, schweigt, ihr Töne,
Be silent, you flutes, be silent, you notes,

7. Recitative [Soprano], Continuo
Was Luft? was Grab? / Soll die Musik verderben, / Die uns so großen Nutzen gab?
What air, what grave? / Shall music be ruined / that gave us so great benefits?

8. Aria A-B [Soprano]; Oboe d'amore, Violino I/II, Continuo
Großer Gönner, dein Vergnügen / Muß auch unsern Klang besiegen,
Great patrons, your pleasure / must also overcome our sound,

9. Recitative [Soprano]; Flauto traverso, Oboe d'amore, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo
Hochteurer Mann, so fahre ferner fort,
Most respected Sir, continue further on this way,

10. Aria da-capo [Soprano]; Flauto traverso, Oboe d'amore, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo
Seid beglückt, edle beide,
May you be made happy, noble couple,

[German text (?Picander) and Francis Browne English translation, BCW, ]

Bach’s music and the five arias are discussed in @ Klaus Hoffmann 2004 (Suzuki BIS) liner notes:

<<The secret of the cantata's reusablility lies in the generalized nature of its content: it is about music, about the eternal theme of the power of musical sounds: their ability to beguile and bewitch, to invigorate and to comfort, to refresh and to encourage, but also about those who are contemptuous of music (whose views, unsurprisingly, are contradicted). Only at the end does it allude to the recipient of the cantata, the connoisseur and patron of music, who cannot be praised enough and who deserves all our good wishes. For its application as wedding music the recitative texts were rewritten and, where necessary, recomposed. In the case of the aria texts, however, only minor adjustments were normally necessary; at any rate the metre and rhyme schemes were retained, so the music could remain unchanged. In addition, a reference to the new function (if a rather forced one) was created by posing the question in the text of whether music is compatible with the love of a young married couple'

In the five arias, Bach has aimed for to the greatest variety both of expression and of instrumentation. The first aria (second movement) stands for 'Beseelten Lieder' ('lively anthems'), the second (fourth movement) for 'matte Töne' ('notes so weary') but also for Harmonie' ('harmony'), expressed in full-toned parallel thirds and sixths. The third aria, 'Schweigt, ihr Flöten' ('Hush, ye flutes now'; sixth movement), represents of a paradox: the

flute duly falls silent repeatedly, but becomes all the more animated in the interludes' The folk-like aria 'Großer Gönner, dein Vergnigen' ('Mighty patron, thy diversion'; eighth movement) follows, in the manner of a stylized polonaise, a dance pattern imported from Slavic folk music, which was then enjoying great popularity in Saxonn where the rulers were bound to the Polish royal family. In the hymn-like final aria, 'Seid beglickt, edle beide' ('Live in bliss, noble couple'; tenth movement), Bach also gives some of the instruments - the flute, oboe d'amore and first violin - the opportunity to take on a soloistic role alongside the soprano.>>2

Complete Youtube recordings of wedding Cantata BWV 210 are found on-line at:
1. Koopman-Erato, , BCW Recording Details with liner notes, ; and
2. Violon du Roy-Dorian, , BCW Recording Details, .

Three of the five arias are in dance form: No. 2, a 3/8 menuett; No. 4, a 12/8 pastoral-sarabande; and No. 8, a ¾ polonaise. The last is a parody of the tenor aria, No. 11, “So, wie ich die Tropfen zolle” (Just as I pay tribute with my drops of water), in the 1737 dramma per musica, Cantata BWV 30a, “Angehnemes Wiederau, freu dich sehr in deinen Auen” (Charming Wiederau, take pleasure in your meadows!). It was for the controversial Johann Christian von Hennicke (1681-1752), prominent Leipzig area landowner and Saxon Secret Council member and cabinet minister. For more information on the polonaise in Bach’s secular cantatas see Yahoo Discussion, . Bach’s only other completely extant secular wedding cantata, BWV 202, “Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten” (Vanish now,mournful shadows), also had five arias with three in dance style: No. 3, 12/8 Giga; No. 7, 3/8, menuett; and No. 9, 2/2 bouree.

“It is unknown for whose wedding the cantata was first performed. Among suggested weddings for the subsequent performances are: Dr. Friedrich Heinrich Graff to Anna Regina Bose, 3 April 1742 (so Neumann T); Johann Zacharias Richter to Christina Sibylla Bose, 6 February 1744 (so Neumann, Krit. Bericht I/40); Friedrich Gottlieb Zoller to Johanna Catharina Amalia Schatz, 11 August 1746 (Hermann von Hase, BJ (1913), cf. Dürr, p. 704)” [Footnote, Z Philip Ambrose, English translation, ; also listed in Oxford Composer Companions: JSB (Ibid.).

<<In the version heard on this CD – the only one to have survived intact – the cantata appears with all kinds of textual adjustments as wedding music for a couple whose identities are not specified; from the context, we gather that the bridegroom was a ‘mighty patron’ of music who possessed ‘wisdom’s treasures’, i.e. who had received an academic education (eighth movement) and who apparently was at the start of a promising career (ninth movement).

Bach scholars have speculated widely as to the identity of the bride and groom for whose wedding the cantata was destined. Bach edited the parts of the cantata with remarkable care – also a copy that may have been intended for the couple in question, containing the vocal line and basso continuo, beautifully hand-written, raising the suspicion that the occasion was a wedding in Bach’s own circle of friends. Marriages in 1742 and 1744 involving the Bose family – Leipzig patricians who were linked with Bach’s family not only by friendship but also by god-parenthood – were considered, but more recent research into the source materials dated the work precisely to I74I. To which couple might the work have been addressed in 1741, therefore? One possibility is the Berlin court doctor, Dr. Georg Ernst Stahl the younger (1713-l772), who married Johanna Elisabeth Schrader (1725-1763), the daughter of a Berlin court apothecary, on 19th September 1741. Stahl was on good terms with Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and apparently also with Wilhelm Friedemann, who dedicated his first published keyboard sonata to him in 172t4. Johann Sebastian Bach had been in Berlin in the summer of 1741 and had stayed at Stahl's house. It is easy to imagine that the cantata could have been a token of his gratitude for his host, that could have been performed at the ceremonies under the direction of Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel. A

striking line of text in the ninth movement also suggests Stahl as a possible recipient: 'Dein Ruhm wird wie ein Demantstein, ja wie ein fester Stahl bestiindig sein' ('Thy fame will like a diamond-stone, yea, like the hardest steel steadfast endure' ['Stahl= steel]).>>

Wedding Cantatas 210 and 202

A comparison/contrast of Wedding Cantatas 210 and 202 are found in Julian Mincham’s BCW Commentary:

<<It is worth taking a few moments to compare this less well known, but somewhat weightier work, with C 202 discussed in the previous chapter. Both are for solo soprano (possibly Anna Magdalena?) and, as in the case with most of the secular works, neither incorporates a chorale. There are no choruses and the instrumental resources are sparse. They are similarly structured, C 210 consisting of five paired recitative/arias whilst C 202 has four similar groupings following the opening aria. All the recitatives from C 202 and three from C 210 are secco and considerable use is made of the da capo ternary aria in both cantatas.

<<Nevertheless, there are some important differences. The arias in C 202 tend to be shorter and more succinct, bringing to mind the perfect miniature movements from the Magnificat. But C 210, with only one additional movement (a short recitative) runs to over half an hour of performance time as opposed to the twenty minutes of C 202. Bach makes liberal use of both oboe and flute in the last recitative of C 210, an effect which presumably pleased him as this was one of only two to survive the reworking of the cantata from the original C 210a (see below). All in all, C 210 is the more substantial and weighty of the two cantatas, a fact which might indicate the greater importance or social status of the couple whose union the music celebrated.>>


Three of the five arias in Cantata 210 are in dance form: No. 2, 3/8 menuett; No. 4, 12/8 pastoral-sarabande; and No. 8, ¾ polonaise. For more information on the polonaise in Bach’s secular cantatas see Yahoo Discussion, . Bach’s only other completely extant secular wedding cantata, BWV 202, “Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten” (Vanish now, mournful shadows), also had five arias with three in dance style: No. 3, 12/8 Giga; No. 7, 3/8, menuett; and No. 9, 2/2 bouree.

Bach’s later Cantata 210 “not only shows mature artistry, it is also extremely demanding in vocal technique,” and “considerable ability is expected of the instrumentalists,” says Alfred Dürr in the Cantatas of JSB (Oxford University Press, 2205: 899f. He also points out Bach’s varied treatment of the arias and the instrumental accompaniment, as well as the librettist providing “valuable assistance through his description of the diverse character of music.”

The librettist treatment of the glories of music in 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” (BCML Discussion, week of December 8), adding some pointed barbs.

Because so many of Bach’s secular and sacred wedding cantatas involve parody, few of the materials survived intact. It is possible that the original scores in many cases were given to the couples being honored while the parts were salvaged and used in the parody versions. One exception is the score and the voice and wind parts of Cantata 210, copied by the hands of Bach student J. F. Agricola, along with the some parts from homage Cantata 210a. The materials were found in the 1790 estate catalog of son Emmanuel Bach.

Other Leipzig Secular Wedding Cantatas

Two other works for civic weddings in Leipzig, both involving parodies, do not survive intact: Cantata BWV Anh. 196, Auf! süß-entzückende Gewalt, and Cantata 216Vergnügte Pleißen-Stadt. A serenade for a 1725 wedding, BWV Anh. 196 has two arias, one in menuett style, that became part of the 1735 Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11. The incomplete 1728 wedding Cantata BWV 216 for soprano and alto was parodied for a Leipzig civic event after 1728 and has an aria in polonaise style that is a parody of the alto-tenor duet, No. 13, in the 1725 University of Leipzig homage Cantata BWV 205, its parody in the August III coronation homage, BWV 205a, of 1734.

Cantata BWV Anh. 196

Bach’s first known Leipzig secular wedding Cantata BWV Anh. 196, Auf! süß-entzückende Gewalt (Up! Sweet charming authority) was composed for the wedding of Peter Hohmann and Christian Sibylla Mencke on November 27, 1725. Hohmann in 1736 was raised to the nobility under the name von Hohenby the Saxon Court.

Cantata BWV Anh. 196 is the first of three Bach collaborations with the noted Leipzig poet and teacher, Johann Christoph Gottsched. The other two are the 1727 Funeral Ode, Cantata BWV 198, and Cantata BWV Anh. 13, illkommen! Ihr herrschenden Götter der Erden! (Welcome, you ruling royalty of earth) for the Saxon Elector August III visit and betrothal of Princes Amalia on April 27, 1738 (only the text survives).

“Not long before the wedding, Gottsched had arrived in Leipzig and meet with a warm welcome and encouragement from the highly reputed father of the bride [Johann Burkhardt Mencke]; and he may have welcomed the opportunity to show both his gratitude and his skill as a poet,” says Dürr (Ibid.: 895) Mencke (1674-1732), an established University of Leipzig professor and poet, Saxon Court Historian, and Gottsched mentor, “was no doubt soon introduced to (Marianne von) Ziegler’s salon,” says Katherine R. Goodman in “From Salon to Kaffeekranz: Gender Wars and the Coffee Cantata in Bach’s Leipzig.”3 The Coffee Cantata, BWV 212, will be the BCML Discussion for the week of December 15.

Gottsched’s first cantata text, BWV Anh. 196 involves four allegorical characters, Nature, Modest, Foresight, and Virtue, according to the printed text, in a lengthy work of 13 movements (chorus, scena, five arias and six recitatives) for four voices and small orchestra (two flutes, two oboes, strings and continuo), presumably held at the Mencke mansion next to the marketplace. The Gottsched German text and Z. Philip Ambrose English translation are found at . Bach had considerable time to compose the work, having taken a break from cantata cycle composition and presentation during the entire Trinity Time second half of the church year from June to November 1725. It is assumed that Picander may have introduced Bach, who was looking for secular commissions, to Mencke and his protégée, Gottsched.

All the music that survives are two arias later parodied in the 1735 Ascension Oratorio. Bach double parodied the original bass Nature aria, No. 3, “Entfernet euch, ihr kalten Hertzen” (Remove yourselves, ye frigid spirits) first as the alto aria, No. 4, “Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben” (Ah, stay yet, my dearest life) in the Ascension oratorio, and then made a contrafaction for the “Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God) in the Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 in the late 1740s. While the original version of the first aria cannot be recovered, due to extensive changes, the second with one parody can be: No. 5 soprano (Modesty), “Unschuld! Kleinod reiner Seelen” (Chasteness, jewel of pure spirits) from the aria, No. 8, “Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke” (Jesus, your gracious look).

“Indeed, the autograph of the Ascension Oratorio here reveals traces of an older instrumental scoring for two transverse flutes and two unison oboes da caccia, which was probably valid for the wedding Cantata [BWV Anh. 196] but altered for the oratorio version,” says Dürr (Ibid.: 899f).4 “Thus at least one charming aria from the lost wedding music may be recovered.” There is one recording of the reconstruction: Ursula Buckel, soprano; Deutsche Bachsolisten; Helmut Winschermann, conductor; Musical Heritage Society [1972] MHS 1474, also has Cantata 210, [BCW Recording Details, ].

The Modesty aria (No. 5) in the high-point of wedding Cantata BWV Anh. 196. Modesty “at first recoils from love out of fear of defilement until she is advised by Nature that a pure love exists that is pleasing to God,” says

Dürr (Ibid.). The absence of continuo, replaced with basset technique in the two oboes da caccia, is used as a symbol of innocence, similar to the aria, “Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben” (From love will my Saviour die).

Cantata 216

Bach’s next extant wedding Cantata BWV 216, Vergnügte Pleißen-Stadt (Contented Pleisse Town) was presented on February 5, 1728 for the wedding of Leipzig merchant Johann Heinrich Wolff and Susanna Regina Hempel, daughter of Commissary of Excise, Christian Andreas Hempel of Zittau. The “cantata was presumably performed at the Schellhafferischer Hause at Klostergasse in Leipzig (known after 1767 as the Hôtel de Saxe). The house’s grand hall was the venue of choice for all kinds of celebrations, and Johann Gottlieb Görner’s Collegium Musicum (Bach’s competition) regularly used it for concerts.[53] The surviving sources do not indicate any personal connection between Bach and the couple, hence Neumann’s suggestion that the librettist, Picander, was the intermediary in the acquaintance.[54] ”

[53] Werner Neumann, KB NBA 39 Festmusiken fur Leipziger Rats- und Schulfeiern. Huldigungsmusiken fur Adlige und Burger , p. 37, Bach-Compendium IV, p. 1603.
[54] Neumann justifies his suggestion with the fact that in same volume of Picander’s poetry the libretto of BWV 216 is followed by a poetic love scene containing allusions to the names of the newly-weds, ‘Liebes=Congreß zwischen dem Kupido, Wolff und Hampelmann’ (Picander, cited in note 52, pp. 382–89); cf. Neumann, KB NBA I/40, p. 38.

[Source: Szymon Paczkowski article, “A Polonaise Duet for a Professor, a King and a Merchant (and the Royal City of Leipzig): on Cantatas BWV 205, 205a, 216 and 216a, by Johann Sebastian Bach.”5

The plot is as follows: “The text of BWV 216 is a dialogue between two rivers, the Neiße and the Pleisse[56] (the bride came from the town of Zittau on the Neiße, and the groom hailed from Leipzig on the river Pleisse). In the opening duet, the two rivers compliment each other’s towns. The Neiße is reluctant to bid farewell to Miss Hempel, who was Zittau’s ornament, and she wonders what might have attracted the girl to the banks of the Pleisse. The Pleisse invites Miss Hempel to Leipzig, where she promises to find her a fiancé worthy of her beauty (he was in fact rather an elderly widower by the standards of the day) and to take good care of her. In Recitative 6, the Pleisse assures Miss Hempel that she will be welcome in Leipzig, and promises that Wolff will be faithful and will accept her with her dowry. The Neiße accepts the Pleisse’s assurances and offers her best wishes for the health, happiness and progeny of the married couple, sung by the two rivers in the duet ‘Heil und Segen’ (No. 7). This closing duet from Cantata BWV 216 uses the polonaise music of ‘Zweig und Äste’ from BWV 205” [Paczkowski, Ibid.].

[56] The Pleisse is a tributary of the Weiße Elster. It starts southwest of Zwickau and flows into the Weiße Elster in Leipzig.

The Picander text survives but only the two voice parts are extant, the soprano, Neiße, and the alto, Pleiße. “The Pleisse is a small river of Leipzig, the home of the bridegroom, and the Neisse is the river on which Zittau lies, the town of the bride,” explains Z. Philip Ambrose in his English translation and notes found at . The Picander German text is found at BCW, .BWV 216 BCW Details are found at .

The text and music contain nine movements, lasting about 23 minutes, involving two duets and two arias as well as three interspersed recitatives. The instrumental accompaniment is assumed to be flute, strings, and continuo, based upon the two movements that are parodies: soprano aria No. 3, “Angenehme Hempelin” (O most charming Hempel miss), from the soprano aria with flute, strings and continuo, No. 8, “Himmlische Vergnügsamkeit” (Heavenly contentment) from the 1726/27 soprano solo house Cantata BWV 204, “Ich bin in mir vergnügt” (I am content in myself), and soprano-alto polonaise-style duet, No. 7, “Heil und Segen” (Health and blessing), from N. 13, alto- tenor duet with two flutes in unison and continuo, “Zweig und Äste / Zollen dir” (Boughs and branches / offer in tribute), from the 1725 Leipzig University dramma per musica, Cantata 205, “Der zufriedengestellte Aeolus” (Aeolus Pacified).

The two parody sources, solo “Himmlische Vergnügsamkeit” and duet “Zweig und Äste” have special places in Bach’s secular canon. The former from Cantata 204 (BCW Discussion, week of December 1), also may have been parodied in the 1731 St. Mark Passion, BWV 247, as the aria “Angenehmes Mordgeschrei” (Pleasing murder-cry) at the point where the crowd shouts “Crucify him.” The latter from Cantata 205 is the title of aSzymon Paczkowski article, “A Polonaise Duet for a Professor, a King and a Merchant [and the Leipzig City Fathers]: on Cantatas BWV 205, 205a, 216 and 216a, by Johann Sebastian Bach,” Understanding Bach, 2, 19-36 © Bach Network UK 2007.

Parody Cantata 216a, "Erwählte Pleißenstadt"), with characters Apollo and Mercurius, dates to about 1729 and may have been performed by Bach Collegium musicum members at Zimmerman's Coffeehouse. Only the written text survives as a Picander text adaptation of Bach student Christian Gottlob Meissner, with Bach’s handwritten corrections. It is catalogued as Bach Compendium BC G 47, BWV 216(a), BGA XXXIV Forward (Paul Graf Waldersee, 1887), and NBA KB I/39 (Leipzig secular music, Werner Neumann 1977). Its four arias were parodied from a secular wedding cantata, BWV 216, "Vergnügte Pleißenstadt" (Pleasant Pleisse-Town), February 5, 1728. It is cataloged as BC B 43, BGA XXXIV, NBA KB I/40 (wedding/secular, Werner Neumann, 1977), Picander published text. Details, BCW .

Both Cantatas BWV 216 and 216a are discussed at BCW, . It includes two references on-line to the “re-discovery” of the lost two parts of Cantata 216 and Joshua Rifkin’s recreation.

<<Lost Bach score found in Japan

A lost musical score by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach has been found in Japan, scholars have revealed. The 1728 composition, called "Wedding Cantata BWV 216," was found among the papers of Japanese pianist Chieko Hara, who died in Japan in 2001 aged 86. The work, written for the wedding of a daughter of a German customs official, was missing for 80 years. Professors at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo say they may release copies for future performances.

'Invaluable material'

The eight-page handwritten composition contains soprano and alto parts with notes and lyrics written in German, Professor Tadashi Isoyama said. It is not clear how Hara obtained the manuscript - its last known owner was a descendant of German composer Felix Mendelssohn. However, researchers believe Hara may have obtained it from her husband - Spanish cellist Gaspar Cassado, who knew Mendelssohn's descendant.

Born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685, Bach is acknowledged as one of the world's most prolific composers and as a master of the baroque music style. "This is invaluable material that will lead to greater understanding of Bach," Professor Isoyama told French news agency AFP>> [ ].

<<Lost Bach Cantata Recreated by Musicologist Joshua Rifkin, By Emily Quinn, 22 Mar 2005.

Musicologist Joshua Rifkin has recreated a lost Bach cantata, the BBC reports.

The world premiere of the work took place at Tokyo's Suntory Hall on March 20. The Bach Concertino Osaka was conducted by Rifkin, with soprano Susanne Ryden and alto Marianne Beate Kielland in the vocal parts.

The eight-page work, BWV 216, is known as the Wedding Cantata. It had been missing for 80 years when it turned up among the papers of Japanese pianist Chieko Hara after his death in 2001.

The cantata was written in 1728 for the wedding of a German customs official’s daughter, and portrays an allegorical conversation between rivers representing the bridge and groom.

Rifkin, a conductor and composer, created instrumental parts for the cantata, which as it was found contains only soprano and alto parts, in German, for the seven-movement vocal work. Two of the movements had been recycled into other Bach compositions, with complete instrumentation.

Rifkin said his first impulse was to leave the work be. “Maybe a fragment should stay a fragment,” he said. What he ended up with, he said, was not “[a reconstruction] of what Bach wrote, but I could give the people of today an idea of what his music was like. It sounds like Bach’s music, but the listener should not know which part is Bach’s and which part is mine” [ ].

BCW Details of Rifkin’s recording are found at

Other Reconstructions

In addition to Rifkin’s reconstruction of Cantata BWV 216, there are several others: Fuchs 1846, Schumann 1924, and one broadcast on New York WQXR radio, March 31, 2013. The status of the music is found at:

“BWV 216 score: lost & found... [BCML], ”Thomas Braatz wrote (April 3, 2004):

<<The NBA I/40 KB has included all the available music and text for BWV 216 that can reliably be attributed to J. S. Bach. The 8 pages in question here are simply the 2 parts (Soprano & Alto) of which the beginning of the Alto part is given in the link above [NA]; and a similar facsimile (but only partial) of the Soprano part in given in the NBA. The NBA prints out all the reliable music & text but has not attempted to include any reconstruction of the missing parts which are also not included in the 'find' mentioned above [“Lost Bach score found in Japan”].

The provenance is a complicated one. Even after the 'disappearance' of these parts after an auction in 1901 (everything fully documented including the sale price of 990 marks,) work continued on the reconstruction of this cantata. One such reconstruction by Georg Schumann (with English translation by C. Sanford Terry) was scored for 2 flutes, oboe, and violoncello + Klavier (very likely piano) and was published in 1924 [Schleisinger, Berlin]. An earlier reconstruction can be traced back to a copy from Vienna dated November 1846 where it is quite apparent that the continuo (fully realized) part was added by Simon Sechter. This copy + reconstruction goes by the name of the owner, Aloys Fuchs.

The NBA used the following sources for comparison:

1) a facsimile of the original Soprano part (1st 16 ms. only)
2) the copy of the voice parts from Aloys Fuchs' copy
3) the printed version of the voice parts based upon the original parts - the Georg Schumann printed reconstruction
4) 8 examples excerpted by Wolffheim (1918) from the original parts
5) the text directly from a Picander book (1729)
6) the parody sources for mvt. 3 from BWV 204/8
7) the parody sources for mvt. 7 from BWV 205/13>>

[BCW Discussions, Cantatas BWV 216 and 216a, ]


The voice parts originally were in the possession of son Emmanuel Bach. Then, “they had passed through various hands, Georg Pölchau, Aloysius Fuchs, Sigismund Thalberg, and the widow of the last named sold them in London in 1872,” says Whittaker (Ibid.: 579ff).6 “After that, they disappeared, but Dr. Werner Wolffheim discovered them in 1918 in the collection of Generalkonsul Robert von Mendelssohn. Of Berlin, top whose son they descended after his death. They are in the composer’s autography.”

Et Cetera

+ Not catalogued with no BC listing is the wedding cantata, Dort wo der Pleissen Urn’ und Fuß, BWV deest (text only), for Johann Gweorg Artopae and Johann Judith Härtel in Leipzig on 5 July 1729, referred to in NBA I/33 critical commentary and in Hildegard Tiggemann's article, "Unbekannte Textdrucke zu drei GelegensheitkantaJ. 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>.

+ For information on Bach’s Sacred Wedding Cantatas, see BCML Discussion (Cantata 195), Discussions (Part 3) in the Week of May 12, 2013 .


1 Masaaki Suzuki Liner notes,[BIS-CD1411].pdf ; BCW Recording Details, .
2 Klaus Hoffmann Liner notes,[BIS-CD1411].pdf , BCW Recording Details, .
3 In Bach’s Changing World: Voices in the Community (University of Rochester (NY) Press, 2006: 192.
4 Alfred Dürr in the Cantatas of JSB (Oxford University Press, 2205: 899f.
5 Understanding Bach, 2, 19-36 © Bach Network UK 2007,
6 W. Gillies Whittaker in The Cantatas of JSB (Oxford University Press, 1959: 706).


+Cantata 210: BGA: XXIX (Waldersee 1881) | NBA: I/40 (Neumann 1970 | BC: G 44 | Zwang: W 22 | First Published: BG, 1881 | Autograph score (Facsimile): ? (Leipzig, 1967).

+Wedding Cantatas and Secular Cantatas for Various Occasions, NBA KB 40 (BWV 202, 216, 210, 204, 201, 211); Werner Neumann, editor (Kassel, Bärenreiter 1970).


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