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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

Cantata BWV 221
Wer sucht die Pracht, wer wünscht den Glanz
Discussions

Discussions in the Week of August 4, 2013

William Hoffman wrote (August 4, 2013):
Cantata 221: Intro. (Source, Provenance, Details, Text)

Cantata BWV 221, "Wer sucht die Pracht, wer wünscht den Glanz," (Who seeks the splendor, who desires the radiance) is catalogued as BWV 221/Appendix II 23 >, "Works of Doubtful Authenticity." It is an Italian-style Baroque dialogue cantata for unknown sacred event, composer unknown, and text anonymous. Forces are tenor and bass soloists and an orchestra with bassoon, violin solo, 2 violins, violoncello, and organ.
BCW Details & Discography are found at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV221.htm .
Recording: The Apocryphal Bach Cantatas, Vol. 1 [Discography C-1], Cantata BWV 221 [20:04]; Wolfgang Helbich, Alsfelder Vokalensemble / Steintor Barock Bremen; CPO DVD 999139, Feb. 1991.

Source

Its first source is found in the Leipzig Breitkopf publisher's initial spring 1761 catalog of music available from manuscript for a hand-written copy at a set price. On Page 11, under the category of sacred occasional cantatas is this listing: "Anonymo, Cantate: Wer sich die Pracht, a Violino concert.(ante), Viola, Fagotto obligato, tenor bass e cambalo. A 2 thal.(er)." The occasional works of Bach are listed under Funeral Cantatas as: Cantata BWV 106, "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit"; BWV Anh. 17, "Mein Gott, nimm die gerechte Seele" (not extant); and BWV 53, "Schlage doch gewünschte Stunde" (by Georg Melchior Hoffmann).

Breitkopf's publication for the Leipzig Spring Fair contained works thought to have been composed by the "Capellmeister Herr Bach" and available for copying. The two primary sources were the church cantata manuscript inheritance of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, who probably made them available for copying at a price, as well as various Leipzig sources. These included members of the Bach family and circle, such as colleagues and former students, and other Leipzig sources such as the churches and the Collegium musicum. Invariably, works without a composer listed or presumed to be from Bach were included. Later scholarship has shown these involved works of Georg Melchior Hoffmann, Telemann, and others with Leipzig connections (see Bach & Other Composers, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/index.htm ).

The Breitkopf catalog mistakenly listed the three Telemann sacred cantatas, catalogued later as BWV 217- 219, and the still-anonymous Cantata BWV220 as being by Bach. Copies of these works made their way to the Library of Princess Anna Amalia in Berlin, with Breitkopf retaining ownership. Early Bach scholars such as Philipp Spitta questioned their authenticity although the four apocryphal cantatas (BWV 217-220) were published in a late edition (BG XLI) of the Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe (Bach Society Edition) by Alfred Dörfel in 1894.

Provenance

The Cantata BWV 221 score eventually was copied as part of a collection of manuscripts of seven Bach cantatas and two motets of Johann Theodor Mosewius (1788-1858), choral conductor, prominent member of the Bach Revival and author, "Johann Sebastian Bach in Seinen Kirchen-Cantaten Und Choralgesängen" (Amazon.com). The collection, including Cantatas BWV 8 and 54, from the Mosewius estate became the possession of the Warsaw University Library in 1945. Another collection copy, also from the first half on the 19th century, by Bresslau copyist Schlottnig who worked for Mosewius, was acquired in 1846 by the Berlin Deutsche Staatsbibliothek. Sources are: Neue Bach Ausgabe (NBA), Kritischer Bericht (KB) I/18:12, Trinity 7-8 Cantatas (Alfred Dürr, Bärenreiter Kassel, 1967:12) and NBA KB I/41: Varia, account of cantatas erroneously attributed to Bach (Andreas Glöckner, 2000:126f).

The Wolfgang Schmieder Bach Werke Verzeichnis (BWV, Bach Works Catalog) of 1950 has the first listing of the work, as Cantata BWV 221. It is listed in the BWV 1990 Second Edition under Anhang (Appendix) as "BWV 221 / Anh. II 23 > with shortened music examples.

Cantata BWV 221 Details

The liner notes of the CD, "The Apocryphal Bach Cantatas," by Christoph Henzel (English translation Susan Marie Praeder) observe that the work is distinguished from the previous four sacred cantatas (for designated church year services) by its length (20 minutes), as a solo cantata instead of the three Telemann chorus cantatas closing with plain chorales (BWV 217-219) and the anonymous "Magnificat" Cantata BWV 220, and having a two-minute opening sinfonia. It is a solo work limited to tenor and bass voices.

Bach composed only three cantatas for tenor and bass - - one solo Cantata BWV 157, "Ich lasse dich nicht" (I leave Thee not), 1727, for Purification and a funeral, and two chorus cantatas: BWV 65, "Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen" (They all will came from Sheba), for Epiphany 1724, and Cantata 104, "Du Hirte Israel, höre" (Thou Shepherd of Israel, listen), for Misercordias (First Sunday after Easter), 1724. Only one, Cantata 157, has a duet, opening aria. The other two, BWV 65 and 104, open with choruses, close with plain chorales, and have four solos: one recitative and one aria each for both voices.

The text by an unknown author is structured as an integral dialogue cantata with eight vocal movements in symmetrical (balanced) form for tenor (self) and bass (soul): two duets, two tenor recitatives, a tenor aria, two bass recitatives, and a bass aria. Cantata 221 contains a dramatic opening, accompanied tenor recitative with strings; three traditional secco recitatives with continuo; two arias with string accompaniment, the tenor da-capo "Vivace" with solo concertante violin, and the brief bass "Affectuoso" (No. 7) with bassoon reinforcing the continuo; and the two duets with string accompaniment, an extended, alternating da capo duet, and a brief, concluding, straightforward duet.

Cantata BWV 221 has nine movements [CPO timing]:
1. Sinfonia [2"11]
2. Recitative (tenor): Wer such die Pracht, wer wünscht den Glanz [0:40]
3. Duet aria (tenor and bass): Seele suchst du dein Vergnügen [5:28]
4. Recitative (bass): Umsonst ist hier die Kunst, mur Schatten [0:40]
5. Aria (tenor): Felsenfest muss der Grund von Hersen Stehen [6:36]
6. Recitative (bass): So ist denn das dein einziges Bemühen [0:26]
7. Aria (bass): Entfernet euch, Vergänglichkeiten [1:49]
8. Recitative (tenor): O schöner Schluss, o wohl [0:37]
9. Duet aria (tenor and bass): Der Himmel selbst zerfällt, seine Glanz [1:37]

Commentary: "BWV 221 remains in Anhang II of the BWV (which is reserved for works of uncertain origin that have not yet been definitely identified as being by anybody else) and is discussed in the critical commentary to NBA I/18. A straightforward and attractive sinfonia opens the work. To me this is more in a style reminiscent of Handel than of Bach. A tenor recitative leads into a fine tenor/bass duet which reinforces this Handelian feeling. A bass recitative then leads into the long central tenor aria. This is, despite a strong accompanying violin line, less interesting than would be suggested by what has preceded it. A bass recitative leads into a short and attractive bass aria and a final tenor recitative precedes the upbeat concluding tenor/bass duet. To my ears, not a single hint of JSB here!" Copyright © 1998, Simon Crouch, see BCW Details (above), Commentary, http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/bachjs/cantatas/221.php

German/English Text

Original German Text (BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV221-Ger5.htm ), and English translation (see Recording: The Apocryphal Bach Cantatas, Ibid.).

1. Sinfonia

2. Recitativo [Tenor]
Wer such! die Pracht,
wer wünscht den Glanz,
der ewig bleibet,
der keieitle Machtund keine Zeit vertreibet,
der muß schon hier verlangen,
damit er dort kann ewig prangen.
(Who seeks the splendor, who desires the radiance, he remains eternally, he exercises no idle power or time; he was to yearn for it here before that he may be resplendent there eternally.)

3. Duetto, Aria [Tenor, Bass]
Seele, suchst du dein Vergnügen,
so hast du dereinst zu siegen,
so erwähle, was dich schmückt.
(Soul, if you seek your delight, then you will have to triumph someday; so choose what adorns you.)

Ja, ich suche mein Vergnügen,
ach, ich hoffe, einst zu siegen,
so erwähle, was mich schmückt.
(Yes, I seek my delight; oh, I hope to triumph someday: so I choose what adorns me.)

Fort mit dem, was sich verlieret,
was aut kurze Zeit nur zieret,
was dich ewiglich beglückt.
(Away with that which passes away, which adorns only for a short time, which does not bring eternal happiness.)

4. Recitativo [Bass]
Umsonst ist hier die Kunst,
nur Schatten, was man liebet,
die Lust, der si ch das Herz ergiebet,
verfliehet als ein Dunst, nur das,
was unsre Seele schmückt,
das ist und bleibt und macht uns recht beglückt.
(Here art is in vain, only a shadow; the desire indulged in by the heart disperses like a vapor: only that which adorns our soul is and remains and makes us truly happy.)

5. Aria [Tenor]
Felsenfest muß der Grund im Herzen stehen,
daß wenn alles wird vergehen,
uns der Glaube nicht verläßt.
Felsenfest muß das Herze dahin stehen,
daß wenn alles wird vergehen,
uns der Glaube nicht verläßt.
Laß das Ungewitter stürmen,
Gottes Hand wird uns beschirmen
und so stehn wir felsenfest. [dc]
(Our heart has to be founded on firm ground, solid as rock, so that when everything passes away, faith will not abandon us. The heart has to stand firm so that when everything passes away, faith will not abandon us. Let the tempest rage; God's hand will shield us, and thus we will stand firmly.

6. Recitativo [Bass]
So ist denn das dein einziges Bemühn,
O Seele, jenes wohl aut dich zu ziehn,
du wirst so in der Ewigkeit erblühn!
(Thus your sole striving, o soul, is to acquire that happiness, and than you will blossom in eternity.)

7. Aria [Bass]
Entfernet euch Vergänglichkeiten,
ich liebe jene Seltenheiten,
die mir der Himmel selbst verspricht,
entflieht ihr unbeständgen Schätze,
woran ich ewig mich ergötze,
ist einer grössern Ehre wert.
(Depart from transitory things; I love those rarities promised to me by heaven itself. Flee from treasures that perish; that which brings me eternal delight is worthy of great honor.)

8. Recitativo [Tenor]
O, schöner Schluß, O wohl!
der nie mißlungen,
wenn man zu dem Genuß,
zu höchsten sich also geschwungen,
wo unser Herze lacht,
in unvergänglicher, in steter Pracht,
wo ewiges Vergnugen wohnet
und Gott dein Treu belohnet.
(O beautiful conclusion, o happy the one who never failed when the time comes to soar to the pleasure, to the highest heaven, where our heart laughs in everlasting, unceasing splendor, where eternally delight abides and God rewards your faithfulness.)

9. Duetto, Aria [Tenor, Bass]
Der Himmel selbst zerfällt,
ein Glanz kann nicht bestehen der
so dies Kund erält läßt endlich es vergehen.
Nur das, allein, was uns im Himmel zieret,
wird nicht also beruhret
und prangt mit stetem Schein,
was uns im Himmel zieret,
das prangt mit stetem Schein.
(Heaven itself crumbles: the radiance containing such tidings cannot abide, so let it finally pass away. Only that which adorns us in heaven remains untouched and is resplendent always; that which adorns us in heaven is resplendent always.)

Text analysis. No direct biblical references or specific allusions are found. The "Felsenfest" (rock solid) reference in the incipit of the tenor aria (No. 5), and the tenor-bass duet (No. 9), "Der Himmel selbst zerfällt" (Heaven itself crumbles), are similar to the tenor aria, BWV 245b [13II], inserted into the 1725 second version of the <St. John Passion>, text possibly by Salomo Franck: "Zerschmettert mich, ihr Felsen und ihr Hügel,/ Wirf Himmel deinen Strahl auf mich!" (Crush me, you rocks and you hills,/ Heaven, cast your thunderbolt upon me; translation Michael Marrisen, <Bach's Oratorios: The Parallel German-English Texts with Annotations> [Oxford Univ. Press, 2008: 130). It is a reference to Luke 24:30, when Jesus on the Via Crucis addresses the Daughters of Jerusalem, warning of the earthquake and subsequent Temple destruction: "Then shall they say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, cover us" (KJV, allusions to Isaiah 2:19, Hosea 10:8, and Revelation 6:16).

The poetic text of simple, declarative sentences and repetitive phrases in Cantata BWV 221 seems to have little connection with Lutheran-based cantata librettists involving Lutheran theology and the principal strains of orthodoxy, pietism, or even enlightenment. Peter Smaill's "Bach among the Heretics: Inferences from the Cantata Texts" categorizes Bach texts by religious doctrines could suggest (to me) that the text of Cantata BWV 221 has comparative elements of Universalism and Quietism with Eschatological (Last Things) overtones, as contrasted with Lutheran teachings of grace, word and faith alone leading to salvation, and certainly not Calvinism's concept of predestination or Chiliasm (Christ's Second Coming). [Source: [<Understanding Bach>, 4, 101-118 c.Bach Network UK 2009; http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub4-2009.html
( http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub4/smaill.pdf ). It is possible that the poet had connections with the progressive St. Paul's Leipzig University Church, while the music seems traditional Baroque, perhaps (IMHO) by Johann Gottlieb Görner (1697-1778).

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 4, 2013):
William Hoffman wrote:
< The two primary sources were the church cantata manuscript inheritance of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, who probably made them available for copying at a price, as well as various Leipzig sources. These included members of the Bach family and circle, such as colleagues and former students, and other Leipzig sources such as the churches and the Collegium musicum.
Commentary: "BWV 221 remains in Anhang II of the BWV (which is reserved for works of uncertain origin that have not yet been definitely identified as being by anybody else) and is discussed in the critical commentary to NBA I/18. A straightforward and attractive sinfonia opens the work. To me this is more in a style reminiscent of Handel than of Bach <
Two questions ..

1) Did Bach himself operate a business which allowed copies to be made for a fee.

2) Wish we could see the score. Is the music Italianate? The dialogue form with "overture" sinfonia looks much like a devotional Italian cantata such as were offered by the Jesuits in Rome and Naples and the Pieta in
Venice. Could Dresden be calling again?

William Hoffman wrote (August 4, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Two questions ..
1) Did Bach himself operate a business which allowed copies to be made for a fee. >
The practice seems to be from Breitkopf while Friedemann also charged Forkel for copies of chorale cantatas. As to a Bach business, there is no record altho it's possible Bach had copies of secular cantatas made for the honoree or commissioner but there is no evidence. Lost works may have been part of the price.

< 2) Wish we could see the score. Is the music Italianate? The dialogue form with "overture" sinfonia looks much like a devotional Italian cantata such as were offered by the Jesuits in Rome and Naples and the Pieta in Venice. Could Dresden be calling again? >
A Dresden connection, possibly through the Leipzig Collegium musicum, is quite possible while Leipzig still seems to be the primary source. When we look at the apocryphal Latin Missae in two weeks, there is much Catholic Dresden connections and others from Bavaria and Stuttgart/Augsburg.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Life of Bach - Discussions Part 3

 

Cantata BWV 221: Details & Recordings | Discussions | Discussions of Bach Cantatas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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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Last update: żOctober 12, 2013 ż17:24:42