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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 223
Meine Seele soll Gott loben
Discussions

BWV 223 discovered

Marten Breuer wrote (May 21, 2002):
According to 'Alte Musik Aktuell' 4/02 (p. 6), a copy of the cantata "Meine Seele soll Gott loben' BWV 223 has been discovered by Marx who 2 years ago had already discovered a new Gloria by Händel. Does anybody know more about it?

Marten Breuer wrote (May 21, 2002):
Sorry, I should have mentioned that the music of BWV 223 has been so-far unknown.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 21, 2002):
[To Martewn Breuer] In his monumental biography of Bach (volume 1 printed in 1873), Spitta (I, 339 ff.) refers to Bach's Mühlhausen period during which his (Bach) musical interests would take him into the surrounding countryside. The village of Langula seemed to have a strong musical tradition centered on the church there. Spitta personally discovered there BWV 223, a church cantata, which is a fragment around which later cantors in Langula added their own "embellishments" (compositions), but Bach provided the 'kernel' upon which everything was built. The 1st mvt. is a soprano and bass duet (F major) that begins with the words, "Meine Seele soll Gott loben, denn das ist sehr wohlgethan." The vocal bass line is treated in the manner of older German church cantatas by other composers, but the form is already that of the Italian aria with some very interesting features. The final fugue (Bb major), "Alles was Odem hat lobe den Herrn," is a splendid composition with a strong forward-moving flow that nevertheless encompasses some daring leaps (Spitta includes an example of the theme.) These bold leaps can also be found in another Mühlhausen cantata that Bach composed.

Dürr (Die Kantaten, p. 848) indicates that this cantata has been lost and that we have no way of determining the purpose (within the liturgical year) for which it was composed.

The NBA KB I/34 p. 58 (1990) comments by repeating what Spitta had discovered and related. The manuscript's condition was "halbzerfressen" (already 'half eaten up') at the time (1868) when the cantor (Sachs) who held the position made a copy of it and sent it to Spitta. Now both the original and the copy are missing.

In any case, the cantata was already fragmentary when Spitta wrote about it. Now, all that we have left of it, is the fugal subject that Spitta included to show how it compared to another Bach cantata of the same (very early) period.

Juozas Rimas wrote (May 21, 2002):
<< Sorry, I should have mentioned that the music of BWV 223 has been so-far unknown. >>
< In his monumental biography of Bach (volume 1 printed in 1873), Spitta (I, 339 ff.) refers to >
How come http://www.jsbach.org/bwv223.html indicates the piece is spurious and probably composed by Johann Ernst Bach (?)

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 21, 2002):
[To Juozas Rimas] As far as I can determine the fault seems to lie with Dave's J.S.Bach Works Catalog. It appears that his research on this item is spurious in itself. All the other listings seem to confirm its existence, as partial as it may be. In his recent biography of Bach (2000), Christoph Wolff p. 101 even dares to conjecture that a sinfonia and choral mvt. preceded the soprano/bass duet that Spitta had listed and that another chorus followed later in the cantata (possibly the final mvt.?)

Wolff also refers to M. Petzoldt's (1992) theory that Bach performed this cantata (where? in Langula?) on the Marian feast day (the Visitation - July 2, 1707) based on a connection that Petzoldt made between the very incomplete text of this fragmentary cantata and the outline of a sermon held on this day by Pastor Eilmar. Wolff adds, "The question is, however, whether there was really sufficient time (the Visitation fell on a Saturday and Bach was committed for Sunday services in Mühlhausen, a post that he had just begun) for communicating with Eilmar, moving from Arnstadt to Mühlhausen, and preparing for a performance." Bach requested his dismissal from Arnstadt on June 29, 1707 and began his post at Mühlhausen on July 1, 1707. Wolff reasons that all this would have placed a very undue burden on Bach during a time of adjustment to a new position. It appears then that Wolff still accepts this cantata, as fragmentary as it may be, to be by Bach and not by one of his relatives as suggested elsewhere.

Marten Breuer wrote (May 21, 2002):
[To Thomas Braatz] Thank you, Thomas, for your detailed reply! My original intention was to get to know more about the recent discovery by Marx, but your comment was really worth reading and made me curious what the music of BWV 223 might sound like!

 

Cantata BWV 223: Details | Discussions

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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