William Hoffman wrote (January 29, 2013):
Cantata BWV 30 Intro, Chorales, Other Music
This week's BCW Discussion of music for the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist is Bach's joyous, expansive, recycled Cantata BWV 30, "Freue dich, erlöste Schar" (Rejoice, redeemed host). Details, with Francis Browne's English translation of the text, Julian Mincham's commentary, and the Recordings, particularly John Eliot Gardiner's notes for the Bach 2000 Cantata Pligrimage (No. 8), are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV30.htm. Materials on the Musical Context of the motets and chorales and other background are found on-line logging into Yahoo at:
In between Chorale Cantata BWV 7, "Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam" (Christ our Lord came to the Jordan), Bach put down his pen and turned to the music of other composers, Johann Ludwig Bach for the initial third cycle date, and two cantatas of Gottfried Heinrich Stöezel just before belatedly filling the third cycle gap in 1738. Meanwhile, Bach also composed blessing chorale settings most appropriate for the Feast of John the Baptist: Chorale Cantata BWV 129, "Gelobet sei der Herr" (Praise be the the Lord) in D Major in 1726 with at least three reperformances, and plain chorale settings, about 1730, of Luther's Catechism hymn, "Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet" (May God be praised and blest), BWV 322-23, and Johann Franck's versatile, popular hymn in the plain chorale BWV 358. "Jesu, meine Freude" sometimes known by the alternate title, "Selig ist die selig."
Johann Ludwig Bach Cantata
Sebastian in 1726 presented cousin Johann Ludwig Bach's Cantata JLB-17, "Siehe ich will meinen Engel senden" (See I will send my angel, Malachi 3:1 1726). It is score for two oboes, strings, basso continuo, only the parts survive and it uses a Rudolstadt text of 1704 focusing on the Old Testament Malachai prophecy and the New Testament coming of the Messiah. The movements, based on fragmentary information, are:
No. 1, tutti chorus in B-flat Major, ¾ time: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts." Handel's use the same text in The Messiah, opening bass recitative, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts."
No. 2, Recit (S): It is not enough
No. 3, alto aria
No. 5, Gospel dictum
No. 6, solo not identified
No. 7, chorus (tutti): That I thy holy look
No. 8, plain chorale not identified
Picander's John the Baptist Cantata Text
For the Feast of St. John in 1728, Picander's cycle text had just been published and P-46, "Gelobet sei der Herr, der Gott Israel," was available. Picander's original text uses the Zechariah Benedictus but the remainder is not the same as Neumeister in Teleman's Cantata, TVWV 1:596), (1728); see above.
The text closes with No. 6, plain chorale, "Jesu, meine Freude" (Jesus my joy) stanza 2, "Unter deinem Schirmen/ Bin ich vor den Stürmen/ Aller Feinde frei" (Beneath your protection/ I am free from the attacks/ of all my enemies). It is the same stanza 2 in the Picander cycle text P-10 for the Sunday after New Year 1729. The same Stanza 2 also was set as five-voice (SSATB) chorale in E Major, 1723 Funeral Motet BWV 227, "Jesu, meine Freude," No. 3; and the text may be harmonized in free-standing plain chorale BWV 358 in D minor/Major. The Johann Franck 1650 6-stanza chorale is found in Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682, No. 301, "Cross, Persecution and Tribulation" (Zahn melody 8032). Bach organ chorale prelude settings are BWV 610 (Orgelbüchlein OB 13, Christmas), BWV 713(a)(Kirnberger Chorales), BWV 753 ?fragment (Miscellaneous Chorales), BWV 1105 (Neumeister Chorales); Anh.58 (Miscellaneous Chorales); and Anh. 59?(MC), as well as the plain chorale BWV 358 in D Major. "Jesu, meine Freude" sometimes is known by the alternate title, "Selig ist die selig"
Stöezel John the Baptist Cantatas
Bach presented two Gottfried Heinrich Stöezel cantatas for the Feast of John the Baptist in the second half of the 1730s as part of two complete cycles. Little material survives, including plain chorales that closed Parts 1 and 2 of each cantata:
+Stöezel 45, "Es ist in keinem andern Heil, ist auch kein ander Name" (Rec. 4:12, Neither is their salvation in any other, for there is none other name) (1736) (Benjamin Schmolck String Cycle, lost)
+ Stöezel 45, no incipit (Schmolck Names of Christ Cycle, as early as 1737)
Cantata BWV 30, Joyous Feast
In 1738 for the Feast of John the Baptist, Bach presented Cantata BWV 30, "Freue dich, erlöste Schar" (Rejoice, redeemed host; 1738, belated cycle 3). It is a parody of the poetic madrigalian chorus and arias as well as one recitative from the progressive secular homage Cantata BWV 30a, "Angenehmes Wiederau, freue dich in deinen Auen!," composed a year earlier in 1737. A full BCW Discussion of both works can be found at
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV30-D2.htm, Parts 2 and 3. Picander is probably the original poet and the parodist of the sacred version, which is an extended joyous celebration of the meaning of Baptism, as the Christian initiation, and the resulting salvation of the believer.
Part 1 of Cantata BWV 30 closes with No 6, the Johann Olearius (1611-84) chorale of 1671 "Tröstet meine Lieben" (Comfort ye my people, Isaiah 40:1; Stanza 3, Eine Stimme läßt sich hören/ In der Wüste weit und breit" (A voice is heard far and wide in the desert) (four stanzas, not in NLGB). The scriptural citation of Isaiah and the reference to John the Baptist make this hymn very appropriate also for the Fourth Sunday in Advent.
German text, http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/german/tlh061g.htm
English translation, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/winkworth/chorales.h083.html
Olearius BCW Short Biography, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Olearius.htm
Other Blessing Chorales
In 1665, Olearius published a Trinitarian chorale setting of "Gelobet sei der Herr,/ Mein Gott, mein Licht, mein Leben" (Praised be the Lord,/ my God, my light, my life), set to the popular melody, "O Gott, du frommer Gott" (O God, Thou very God). Bach used all five verses, unaltered (per omnes versus) for his 1726 chorale Cantata BWV 129 for the Trinity Sunday Festival. Following the Bendictus dictum, the chorale is a tribute to God the Father, strengthening the Trinitarian concept first articulated in the Gospels at John's baptizing of Jesus in the presence of God the Father and the Holy Spirit. See Francis Browne's BCW English translation of the entire chorale, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale061-Eng3.htm.
Besides "Nun lob mein Seel, den Herren," another Communion hymn with strong Trinitarian references is Luther's three-stanza "Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet" (May God be praised and blest). It is found in the NLGB as No. 185, as a Catechism chorale, Zahn melody 8078, based on a pre-Reformation vernacular folk hymn. In 1525, Luther revised the hymn for his Deutsche Messe (German Mass). Bach set the hymn (c. 1730) as a plain chorale, BWV 322, in C-G Major (AAB, 20 measures). The Hermann Schein 1627 four-part setting, with text and English translation is found in On-Line Library of Liberty, http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=754&chapter=87887&layout=html&Itemid=27. The hymn is listed as No. 79, "Lord's Supper" (Communion), in Bach's Orgelbüchlein collection (C.1714 Weimar) but not set. The melody and figured bass are found in "Sebastian Bach's Choral Buch," p. 122 as a Communion hymn. There is a Johann Christoph Bach organ chorale setting of the hymn, No. 37 (published 1703) that Sebastian probably knew and played.
Bach also set another version of the dictum, "Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet," as a plain chorale, BWV 323 in F-Sharp Major, in a two-line, three-stanza paraphrase of Psalm 67, "May God be merciful to us and bless us" (Deus misereatur), with another melody from the Joseph Klug 1535 Gesangbuch.
Next, February 3 BCW weekly discussion, involves anonymous Cantata BWV 220, "Lobt ihn mit Herz und Munden" (Praise him with heart and mouth); appropriate settings of the chorale "Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele" (Rejoice greatly, o my soul); and a cantata Bach kept on hand from Weimar, possibly to revise for the Feast of John the Baptist, but the only one not recycled in Leipzig, Cantata BWV 132, "Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn!" (Prepare the ways, prepare the path!).