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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 34
O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe [I]
Cantata BWV 34a
O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe [II]
Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Discussions in the Week of January 30, 2011

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 30, 2011):
Introduction to BWV BWV 34 -- O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe

This weeks discussion continues the ongoing series of cantatas spanning from Easter to Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity. With BWV 34, we have the fourth and concluding work for Whit Sunday (Pentecost), among the large group of works for the three-day Whit festival which is the focus of our weekly discussions for a couple of months, through the week of March 13.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV34.htm

That page also has convenient access to Gardiners notes to the pilgrimage CDs, by clicking on the PDF link under the picture of the CD cover.

The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham} is especially recommended as an introduction to listening. Julians essay also has a concise summary of Bach’s four works for Whit Sunday.

Julian Mincham wrote (January 30, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] Just to add that for those who don't know this lesser known work it is fully worth exploring particularly for the scintillating first movement and its moto perpetuo violin line representing the eternal flames, and the peaceful alto aria with muted strings and flutes.

Peter Smaill wrote (January 31, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski & Julian Mincham] The devotees of this list may recall that as recently as 2009 the scholar Tatiana Shabalina reported that a text booklet had been discovered in St Petersburg which redates the splendid BWV34 to 1727 (along with 3 other Cantatas): http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub4/shabalina.pdf

Overall we are left with hardly any freshly composed works for the Church Year after 1730 (BWV 140 for the rare 27th Sunday in Trinity the exception) and the theory of the fifth cycle looks ever more tentative.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 31, 2011):
[To Peter Smaill] Thanks for bringing this key detail to our attention, news (not recall!) to this devotee. This 1727 evidence explains the uncharacteristic twenty year lag in prior choronologoies, between the secular BWV 34a and the subsequent reworking as BWV 34, ca. 1747. That late date is in fact a repeat performance, with whatever modifications, perhaps reflecting Bachs final thoughts.

Also new to me, as the result of our current discussion schedule oriented to the liturgical year, is the fact all four cantatas for Whit Sunday are reworkings of existing material, in one way or another. Rather than attributing this to time pressure and/or heavy work loads, it seems equally possible that Bach reserved his most favored inspirations for this (and other) special festival events.

Note that the Gardiner pilgrimage recordings and associated notes (notes available via BCW link) are also oriented to the liturgical year, along with our ongoing discussion cycle (through 2013). Plenty of time to join in. for newcomers.

Thanks as always to Peter, and other regular contributors.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 1, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Rather than attributing this to time pressure and/or heavy work loads, it seems equally possible that Bach reserved his most favored inspirations for this (and other) special festival events. >
This would certainly be the case of the Christmas Oratorio for which the accusations of haste or lack of inspiration can hardly be levelled.

William Hoffman wrote (February 2, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 34 -- Pentecost Calendar & Oratorio

Knowledge of Bach's Pentecost Festival performing calendar continues to grow. Bach's Pentecost Cantata BWV 34a, is now dated to the 1727 third cantata cycle. Thanks to the recent BCW discussion reference of Peter Smaill we have: Tatiana Shabalina, "Recent Discoveries in St Petersburg and their Meaning for the Understanding of Bach's Cantatas," Understanding Bach, 4, 77-99, © Bach Network UK 2009 http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub4/shabalina.pdf .

A recently-found libretto book shows that Bach began repeating his church-year cantatas in 1727. Here are the dates:

Pentecost Sunday, June 1, 1727 - `O ewiges Feuer! o Ursprung der Liebe', BWV 34 (new)
Pentecost Monday, June 2, 1727 - `Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut', BWV 173 (probable repeat)
Pentecost Tuesday, June 3, 1727 - `Erwünschtes Freudenlicht', BWV 184 (repeat)
Trinity Sunday, June 8, 1727 - `Gelobet sey der Herr', BWV 129 (new)

Another libretto book exists for the same period in 1731 when Bach reperformed, respectively, Cantatas BWV BWV 172, BWV 173, BWV 184, and BWV 194 for the Pentecost Festival and Trinity Sunday. In addition, source-critical manuscript changes reveal further repeat performances of BWV 172, BWV 173, and BWV 129 between 1732 and 1735.

The previously-documented initial performance of Cantata BWV 34, "O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe," according to Shabalina, is now dated to the reperformance on Pentecost Monday, May 21, 1747, or May 29, 1746 in Halle, where Sebastian is believed to have revived the work for his oldest son Fridemann's debut as music director. Friedemann, who was required to present original major works on the first feast day of high festivals (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost), also may have repeated BWV 34a in 1756 on a double bill with his own Pentecost Cantata, "Wer mich liebet," Fk 72.

Bach's expansive Pentecost music calendar now appears to be more substantial than Easter. Like the Christmas calendar, which includes various reperformances, revisions, and parodies, possibly including a repeat of the Christmas Oratorio, Bach appears in his later Leipzig years to have strengthened his well-order church music while providing material for son Friedemann, especially in Halle

Wedding Cantata BWV 34a

The original cantata, BWV 34a, was written and performed in 1726 as a wedding cantata for an apparently important Leipzig clergyman. More than just a perk for the Thomascantor, if it gained him 50 Reichsthaler ($ 3,600), the usual honorarium for composing a congratulatory cantata in 1736, and another Thaler ($ 72), being the cantor's fee for weddings and funerals, according to the 1723 Regulation for St. Thomasschool, Leipzig. [Source: Chr. Wolff - Bach, the Learned Musician, p. 540, appendix 3] As already pointed out here, Bach parodied the original work into the cantata for Whitsunday some 20 years later. Although 34a was not a church cantata according to Bach's cantata cycles for the Lutheran church year, we know from the text, which has survived, that it was certainly a deeply religious work. Like many other so-called secular cantatas, it is full of references to Biblical texts. Human love is depicted as a reflection of divine love and marriage as an institution by God, needing his blessing so that it will be heaven on earth. I read that the only recording is by Rilling.

Unfortunately, I have never heard it and I wonder whether Rilling made a musical reconstruction based on the later church cantata. For a lot of the parts have not been preserved. So we do not know if instrumental scores of the opening chorus "O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe", the alto aria "Wohl euch, ihr auserwählten Seelen" and the Tutti "Friede über Israel" - the three movements both versions have in common - were as rich and elaborate in the original as in the parody. If so, this Lutheran clergyman and his bride must have had the most impressive wedding service ever, the most magnificent music on the most memorable day of their lives.

In addition to that what has been remarked about flames, fire and love, we should realize that Bach and his contemporaries were quite aware that there was an opposing aspect to the eternal fire. In Exodus chapters 3:2, 14:24 and 19:18, God reveals and hides himself in fire (the burning bush, the clouded pillar of fire, and the holy presentation of the ten commandments on smoking mount Sinai). The statement "Our God is (like) a consuming fire" is often heard in the Old Testament and repeated in the New Testament in Hebrews 12:29. In Matthew 18:8, Jesus warns his disciples for the eternal,"l fire as a punishment for their sins, and in Matthew chapter 25 and Revelation chapters 19 and 21, the pit of fire is a fearful image of eternal damnation. So, when the bridal couple and all the wedding guests heard the crackling sparks and flames of the eternal fire through the semi quavers they knew that God was not only the origin of love, but also a consuming fire. When the tenor and alto sing of God's merciful blessings there is this serious undertone, a warning that God wishes our devotion in return. Therefore, already in the first movement, the choir sing out their pledge: "Wir wünschen, o Höchster, dein Tempel zu sein."

For me, this cantata is not only one of my favourites because of the music, which is so extremely magnificent that words are failing, but also because "Friede über Israel" was the very last movement we (Holland Boys Choir) recorded as the conclusion of our 16 months' Bach cantatas project. It was an emotional moment with mixed feelings of joy, pride and melancholy. Immediately after, when the machines stopped, we performed the cantata for only a handful of people in St Nicholas church, the venue where it had all happened, the smallest audience we've ever had, but a concert I will never forget.

* * *

Two quick remarks: Rilling has performed the BWV 34a three original movements (Hänssler CD 92,140, 2000): No. 2, Bass Recitative, "Wie, daß der Liebe hohe Kraft"; No. 3, Tenor Aria and Alto Recitative, "Siehe, also wird gesegnet": and Soprano Recitative, "Das ist vor dich, o ehrenwürdger Mann." A completion of Wedding Cantata 34a probably from the surviving parts, the BWV 34 score, and the original text by B. Todt, in a vocal-piano edition, was published by Breitfkopf & Härtel, according to Werner Neumann's <Handbuch der Kantaten JSB>, 5th edition, B&H, 1984, p. 60. Apparently it is out of print.

Pentecost Oratorio

The prospect that Bach composed a Pentecost Oratorio was first entertained by leading Bach scholar Alfred Dürr in his 1961 Preface to the Bärenreiter/NBA edition of the <Christmas Oratorio>, BWV 248: "A Whitsun Oratorio may also have been planned: indeed, it may have been written and later lost." The rest is speculation: that, like Bach's other oratorios for major Christological feast days of Christmas, Easter and Ascension, this now "lost" work could have been performed in 1735 (on June 5) to a Picander text that parodies secular cantatas with celebratory lyrical music (choruses, arias, and ariosi) involving three trumpets and drums, interspersed with narrative Gospel text.

Ironically, if such a Pentecost Oratorio was written, Friedemann probably would have inherited it in the estate division of 1750 with C.P.E., who received the Christmas and Ascension Oratorios, as well the mid-1730s version of the Easter Oratorio. Friedemann also possibly received the initial 1725 version of the Easter Oratorio, which is lost.

While various Bach scholars have undertaken realizations of his lost <St. Mark Passion Oratorio>, BWV 247; the <Kothen Funeral Music>, BWV 244a; and Cantatas 34a, 147a, 186a, 197a, 216, and 249a, no such realization of a Pentecost Oratorio has been undertaken, probably because of a lack of the necessary ingredients: original source materials and a printed text. Instead, there have been two further suggestions of the lost Pentecost Oratorio: Dürr in his <Cantatas of JSB> (2005: 44) repeats his thesis that "one might imagine a `Whit Oratorio'," and Mariane Helms and Artur Hirsch ask, "does a lost Pentecost `oratorio' belong to this group?" in their notes to Helmut Rilling's 1985 Hänssler recording of Bach's <Ascension Oratorio>, BWV 11 (CD 98.858).

Despite the lack of a printed text, collateral evidence suggests several extant musical sources that may have been performed as part of a Pentecost Oratorio. Most obvious are five Pentecost plain-chorales, surviving in his collected chorales:
1. "Des Heiligen Geistes reichte Gnad" (NLGB 396), BWV 295 (D Major, 16 bars).
2. "Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend" (4 verses, NLGB 817), BWV 332 (G Major, 8 bars);
3. "Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier" (3 verses) (no NLGB), BWV 373 (G Major, 10 bars);
4. "Komm Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist" (6 verses, NLGB 401), BWV 370 (C Major, 8 bars);
5. "Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist" (Luther, 4 verses, NLGB 402), BWV 385 (A Major, 14 bars).
Most likely would be "Des Heiligen Geistes reichte Gnad," in the key of D Major, appropriate for trumpets.

Lyrical movements from secular congratulatory cantatas (drammi per musica) composed in 1733 and 1734 could have been source materials for the Pentecost Oratorio. While composing the <Christmas Oratorio> in late 1734, Bach considered and rejected two dance-influenced numbers from Cantatas BWV 213 and BWV 214 and composed original music instead, Werner Brieg points out in the notes to John Eiot Gardiner's 1987 Archiv CD 225106. For the opening chorus of Part 5, for Jesus' Name Day, Bach rejected the closing F-Major 3/8 gavotte extended da-capo chorus, "Lust der Völker, Lust der Deinen," BWV 213/13. For Part 3, the adoration of the Shepherds, Bach composed an original slumber aria in lieu of the A-Major ¾ polonaise (mazurka) modified da-capo soprano aria, "Blast die wohlgegriffnen Flöten" BWV 214/3.

While the A-Major aria, BWV 214/3 is appropriate for a work with trumpets, the F-Major chorus with horns, BWV 213/13, would have been inappropriate. Instead, Bach had at hand a celebratory da-capo chorus in D major with trumpets, "Schelicht, spielende Wellen." It was originally composed for August's Nameday, October 5, 1734, but set aside for two years in favor of music with a more appropriate text, Cantata BWV 215. "It seems likely that between October 1734 and October 1736, this first movement had become part of another cantata, presumably a cantata with a text differing from the original one and referring to matters other than the Elector's birthday or nameday," says Hans-Joachim Schulze in "Bach's Secular Cantatas - A New Look at the Sources" (BACH 21, 1990/1: 34). "The whereabouts of such a hypothetical cantata are unknown except for the traces in the source material of Cantata BWV 206."

Cantata BWV 215 has three arias and Bach used one, the soprano trio aria in B-Minor, "Durch die von Eifer entflammen Waffen,", in Part 5 of the <Christmas Oratorio, while the opening double chorus with trumpets, "Preise deine Glücke," in the late 1740s became the <Osana in excelsis> in the Mass in B-Minor, WV 232. Meanwhile, the other two arias were available for a Pentecost Oratorio: a tenor G-Major da-capo aria in 4/4, "Freilich trotzt Augustus' Name," and a bass A-Major da-capo bouree in 3/8 time, "Rase nur, verwegner Schwarm."

Concerning the Gospel text for Pentecost Sunday, Acts 2:1-13, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, only the first four lines narrate the actual event, the rest concerns the reaction of the Jews and Gentiles to believers in the known world speaking in their own languages. Thus Bain setting the narrative would only have had to compose a brief recitative with no turba choruses. Like Bach's Ascension and Easter Oratorios, a Pentecost Oratorio could have limited itself to the immediate narrative of the first day of the festival, with an opening chorus, several arias and perhaps accompanying ariosi, the brief narrative, and a closing chorale.

Unless a Pentecost Oratorio printed libretto survives, no parody can be produced. The only other possible text source would be Picander's Pentecost Sunday libretto for the (Fourth) Cantata Cycle of texts of June 5,1729, P-38, "Rauset und brauset, ihr heftigen Winde" (Rage and roar, you violent winds). Regrettably, this text doesn't seem to fit the extant source material: There are two da-capo arias:
No. 3, Mein Herz gehet dir engehen," and No. 5, "Geist des Trostes bleib in mir."

Interestingly, around 1740, Picander's text P-38 was set as a Pentecost cantata by Bach student Johann Friedrich Doles, according to Daniel R. Melamed, "J. F. Dole's Setting of a Picander Libretto and J. S. Bach's Teaching of Vocal Composition," <The Journal of Musicology> 1996, pp. 453-474. It is a simple gallant work in D-Major in the manner of Graun and Hasse, for chorus, soloists, two trumpets, drums, strings and basso continuo, with festive opening chorus, two da-capo arias, two recitatives, and two simpler chorale settings than those designated in Picander's libretto, instead from the Vopelius 1682 <Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch, "O heiliger Geist, o Heiliger Gott," instead of "Komm heiliger Geist." Doles later served as Bach's second successor as Leipzig cantor, 1755-1789. Melamed finds no documentation that Bach was involved in Doles' composition or performance of this work.

William Hoffman wrote (February 2, 2011):
Insertion with heading: "Wedding Cantata BWV 34a":

Turning to the original source of Bach's Pentecost Cantata BWV 34, I take the liberty of repeating the following from BCW Discussion, Part 1: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV34-D.htm

Peter Bloemendaal wrote (June 12, 2003):

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 2, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Thus Bach in setting the narrative would only have had to compose a brief recitative with no turba choruses. Like Bach's Ascension and Easter Oratorios, a Pentecost Oratorio could have limited itself to the immediate narrative of the first day of the festival, with an opening chorus, several arias and perhaps accompanying ariosi, the brief narrative, and a closing chorale. >
The notion of a Pentecost Oratorio is fascinating. I would still say that the Easter Oratorio is in a genre of Italian oratorios unlike those for Christmas and Ascension.

The other difference is that the narrative would be taken not from the Gospel of Pentecost but from the Epistle: Acts 2:1-15 (as in the Ascension Oratorio.) Unlike the Ascension and parts of the Christmas Oratorio, the Pentecost narrative is quite dramatic with lively crowd speeches.

It's amusing to try to outline the oratorio as if we were Picander chatting with Bach over coffee at Zimmerman's before writing the libretto. The only problem is the list of nationalities, although they could be trimmed a bit.

BACH'S IMAGINARY PENTECOST ORATORIO

1. CHORUS?

2. RECITATIVE (Narrative)

Narrator:
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Accompanied Recitative/Arioso:
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3.ARIA?

4. RECITATIVE (Narrative)

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them

5. ARIA?

6. RECITATIVE (Narrative)
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

7. CHORALE?

8. RECITATIVE (Narrative)

Narrator:
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

9. ARIA?

10. RECITATIVE (Narrative):

Narrator:

And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another,

Chorus:
Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born
[Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in
Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome,]
Jews and proselytes Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.]

Narrator:
And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another,

Chorus:
What meaneth this?

Narrator:
Others mocking said,

Chorus:
These men are full of new wine

11. ACCOMPANIED RECITATIVE?

12. CHORUS?

Julian Mincham wrote (February 2, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< If so, this Lutheran clergyman and his bride must have had the most impressive wedding service ever, the most magnificent music on the most memorable day of their lives.>
It is a fine work indeed, particularly the opening chorus and aria, but in scale somewhat eclipsed by at least two other wedding cantatas. BWV 197 has 10 movements and opens with the sort of chorus usually to be found in the big ceremonial works with three trumpets and drums and oboes. BWV 195 boasts two choruses with flutes as well as oboes, trumpets and drums. The frst of these appears to be written for a double choir (though close examination shows this not to be the case). It is, however, a very important work from which deductions may be drawn about Bach's use of concertino and ripieno singers.

There is, perhaps a notion that Bach's wedding cantatas tended to be intimate works, probably based upon the greater popularity of BWV 202 and BWV 210. But as the two above works demonstrate the range (almost certainly dictated by the pockets and status of the wedding couple) was very great.

Teri Noel Towe wrote (February 2, 2011):
Recording of BWV 34A

William Hoffman wrote:
< Unfortunately, I have never heard it and I wonder whether Rilling made a musical reconstruction based on the later church cantata. For a lot of the parts have not been preserved. So we do not know if the instrumental scores of the opening chorus "O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe", the alto aria "Wohl euch, ihr auserwählten Seelen" and the Tutti "Friede über Israel" - the three movements both versions have in common - were as rich and elaborate in the original as in the parody. If so, this Lutheran clergyman and his bride must have had the most impressive wedding service ever, the most magnificent music on the most memorable day of their lives. >
A recording of BWV 34A was made in the mid 1960s. The cantata was included on a 2 LP set containing 3 Bach wedding cantatas. The recording was produced, engineered, and released by the legendary Andre Charlin. (The others in the set are BWV 195 and BWV 197.) The performing forces were conducted by Justus von Websky. You will find a reference to the set in the discography on the Andre Charlin web page at: http://www.svalander.se/charlin/rec11aeng.htm

William Hoffman wrote (February 3, 2011):
[To Teri Noel Towe] Thank you so much for the information on the early recording of BWV 34a. I never saw it. The closest I came in France c.1965 was Erato LDE-3274, Cantatas BWV 131 and BWV 149; Werner, Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra. Now that we've had Rilling realizations with recordings of BWV 190, BWV 191 and BWV 193 (omitted by Leonhardt), as well as Koopman's, perhaps some enterprising conductor -- Wolfgang Helbig or Hermann Max -- will record the published reconstructions as well as all the 18 Johann Ludwig Bach cantatas,part of Bach's third cycle. I know the 11th Bach commandment: "Thou shalt not tamper with the Master." However, we've had great reconstructions of the concertos, beginning with the Double (Oboe-Violin) Concerto, for many years with many fine recordings, as well as instrumental ensemble realizations of the Art of the Fugue and the Trio Sonatas BWV 525-30.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 4, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Like Bach's Ascension and Easter Oratorios, a Pentecost Oratorio could have limited itself to the immediate narrative of the first day of the festival, with an opening chorus, several arias and perhaps accompanying ariosi, the brief narrative, and a closing chorale. >

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< The other difference is that the narrative would be taken not from the Gospel of Pentecost but from the Epistle: Acts 2:1-15 (as in the Ascension Oratorio.) >
EM:
Thanks for noting that key detail.

DC:
< BACH'S IMAGINARY PENTECOST ORATORIO
[...]
6. RECITATIVE (Narrative)
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. >
EM:
If found it instructive and enjoyable to spend a bit of time with Wills idea and Dougs imaginary construction. The recitative texts are from the referenced Epistle, Acts 2:1-15, worth considering in context. One key point is that the twelve disciples (including replacement for the traitor Judas) are empowered by the Holy Ghost to *speak in tongues*, that is, the languages necessary to spread the word amongst all people.

DC:
< 10. RECITATIVE (Narrative):
Narrator:
And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another,
Chorus:
Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born
[...]
Narrator:
Others mocking said,
Chorus:
These men are full of new wine >
EM:
The Epistle continues, Acts 2:14-15: <But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: <Men of Judea [...] these men are not drunk, as you suppose> (end quote, RSV Common Bible)

William Hoffman wrote (February 5, 2011):
Pentecost hymns in Mass in B-Minor Recording

Euroarts DVD C2000, the B-Minor Mass from St. Thomas, conducted and intoned by Cantor Georg Christoph Biller, includes two Latin selections from the Pentecost Festival Service, Track No. 1 Opening Hymn to Pentecost, <Spirtu sancti gratia> Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch 1682 (NLGB), No. 394(I); and Track No. 30, the Pentecost Praefatio (Latin Preface) Prayer chant, beginning "Dominus vobiscum," NLGB No. 415, immediately preceding the <Sanctus>, BWV 232III,
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV232-Biller.htm

Friedemann Bach Pentecost Cantata New Recording

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710 - 1784)
Cantatas 2
Der Herr wird mit Gerechtigkeit BR-WFB F 17/Fk 81 [19:30]
Missa in g-Moll BR-WFB E 1/Fk 100 [8:40]
Heilig ist Gott, der Herr Zebaoth BR-WFB E 3/Fk 78a [4:10]
Agnus Dei BR-WFB E 4/Fk 98b [5:45]
Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten BR-WFB F 12/Fk 72 [27:56]
Rastatter Hofkapelle/Jürgen Ochs
rec. 5-7 July 2010, Hans-Rosbaud-Studio, Baden-Baden, Germany. DDD
CARUS 83.429 [66:35]

Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten is another of the longer works on the CD. At almost 30 minutes, it is, indeed, the most substantial of all the pieces on either CD released so far. A cantata for Pentecost, it dates from Bach's first year (1746) in Halle. Again, the opening is a remarkable choral tour de force, though with largely unison singing. Showing his father's influence, other movements present as much contrast as they do convincing devotional concentration.

Read more: MusicWeb

Pentecost Oratorios

The Lutheran church of the Baroque observed three days of Pentecost. Some composers wrote sacred cantatas to be performed in the church services of these days. Johann Sebastian Bach composed (seven) several cantatas for days of Pentecost, including Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! BWV 172 in 1714. Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel wrote cantatas such as Werdet voll Geistes (Get full of spirit) in 1737.[41]: Amazon.com
Olivier Messiaen composed an organ mass Messe de la Pentecôte in 1949/50. In 1964 Fritz Werner wrote an oratorio for Pentecost Veni, sancte spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit) on the sequence Veni sancte spiritus, and Jani Christou wrote Tongues of Fire, a Pentecost oratorio. Richard Hillert wrote a Motet for the Day of Pentecost for choir, vibraphone, and prepared electronic tape in 1969. Violeta Dinescu composed Pfingstoratorium, an oratorio for Pentecost for five soloists, mixed chorus and small orchestra in 1993.
Wikipedia. "Dave Brubeck is also a prolific composer of sacred works, including To Hope! A Celebration (mass), Beloved Son (Easter oratorio), The Voice of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost oratorio), The Gates of Justice (on text drawn from the Old Testament and from writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), and the Gregorian chant-inspired Pange Lingua. . . . (Yale Divinity School

English oratorios with Pentecost sections: Elgar's "The Kingdom," Handel's "Messiah," and David Perkins' "Creation" (2007) to be performed at the London Pentecost Festival, June 11, 2011.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 5, 2011):
W.F. Bach mass movements

William Hoffman wrote:
< Track No. 1 Opening Hymn to Pentecost, <Spirtu sancti gratia> Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch 1682 (NLGB), No. 394(I);
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710 - 1784)
Missa in g-Moll BR-WFB E 1/Fk 100 [8:40]
Heilig ist Gott, der Herr Zebaoth BR-WFB E 3/Fk 78a [4:10]
Agnus Dei BR-WFB E 4/Fk 98b [5:45] >
I'm curious about the German Sanctus and Latin Agnus Dei. Is the Sanctus a concerted setting or a chorale arrangement such as Bach wrote (Riemenschneider collection)? And is the Agnus Dei part of a larger mass or a free-standing movement? Bach doesn't appear to have used the Latin text.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 5, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< The Lutheran church of the Baroque observed three days of Pentecost. >
In the course of writing introductions to the weekly cantata discussions, I have been a bit fuzzy and inconsistent in terminology. Here is what I now understand, corrections welcome.

The older, and ongoing, Roman Catholic term is Pentecost, for either Sunday alone, or for the three-day festival.

The preferred Lutheran terms are Whit for the entire festival, and Whitsun for Sunday only, followed by Whit Monday and Whit Tuesday.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 5, 2011):
Calendars again ...

Ed Myskowski wrote:
< The preferred Lutheran terms are Whit for the entire festival, and Whitsun for Sunday only, followed by Whit Monday and Whit Tuesday. >

Eye-Glazing Calendar Discussion Alert!

The "Whit" (=White) terminology is English from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer which echoed pre-Reformation usage. The three-day festival was Whitsunday, Whitmonday and Whituesday. The Monday used to be the Whitsun Bank Holiday which was fixed in 1971 on the last Monday in May.

On the title pages of his cantatas, Bach used the traditional Latin titles:

Feria 1. Pentecostes
Feria 2. Pentecostes
Feria 3. Pentecostes

The popular German titles which Bach would have used were:

Pfinstsonntag
Pfingstmontag
Pfingstdienstag

"Pfingsten" was the general title for the three days, as "Whitsuntide" was in England. The English usage by 19th century North American Lutherans was probably adopted from the English Prayer Book but was never common usage.

The modern Catholic calendar and the Revised Common Lectionary based on it have reconfigured the church year for Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans. The ancientitle of the Day of Pentecost (= fifty days) now marks the end of the Easter season and the weekdays after the Sunday have been abolished. This is the pattern that was observed until the high middle ages.

Modern calendars are the result of scholarship that was unavailable to Luther and the other reformers. It's always worth being cautious in reading back from contemporary Lutheran practice to Bach. Even the role of the organ would be unrecognizable to Bach.

William Hoffman wrote (February 7, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling, regarding W.F. Bach mass movements] Here is a new biography. I have ordered it. I suspect that church practices in Pietist Halle diverged from those in Leipzig. Perhaps Schulenberger covers it.

The Music of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
David Schulenberg
$85.00

Details
First Published: 01 Dec 2010
13 Digit ISBN: 9781580463591
Pages: 354
Size: 6 x 9
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: University of Rochester Press
Series: Eastman Studies in Music
Subject: Music
BIC Class: AV
Details updated on 06 Feb 2011

The first-born of the four composer sons of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann was often considered the most brilliant. Yet he left relatively few works and died in obscurity. This monograph, the first on the composer in nearly a century, identifies the unique features of Friedemann's music that make it worth studying and performing. It considers how Friedemann's training and upbringing differed from those of his brothers, leading to a style that diverged from that of his contemporaries.

Central to the book are detailed discussions of all Friedemann's extant works: the virtuoso sonatas and concertos for keyboard instruments, the extraordinary chamber compositions (especially for flute), and the hitherto-neglected vocal music, including sacred cantatas and a remarkable work in honor of King Frederick the Great of Prussia. Special sections consider performance questions unique to Friedemann's music and provide a handy list of his works and their sources. Numerous musical examples provide glimpses of many little-known compositions, including a concerto ignored by previous students of Friedemann's music, here restored to his list of works.

David Schulenberg, professor of music at Wagner College in New York City, has performed much of W.F. Bach's output on harpsichord, clavichord, and fortepiano. His previous writings include The Keyboard Music of J. S. Bach and The Instrumental Music of C.P.E. Bach.

 

Cantatas BWV 34 & BWV 34a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 34 | Recordings of Individual Movements from BWV 34 | Details & Recordings of BWV 34a | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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 2, 2011 ż01:01:11