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Cantata BWV 5
Wo soll ich fliehen hin?
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of October 1, 2006

Alain Bruguières wrote (September 30, 2006):
Introduction to BWV 5, "Wo soll ich fliehen hin?"

Week of October 1, 2006
---------------------------
Cantata BWV 5, Wo soll ich fliehen hin?

Second Annual Cantata Cycle, 1723-24 (Jahrgang II)
18th Sunday after Trinity
1st performance: October 15, 1724 -– Leipzig
---------------------------
Bach Cantatas resources:
Previous Discussions: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV5-D.htm
Main Cantata page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV5.htm
Text:
German http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/5.html
English http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV5.html
French http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV5-Fre4.htm
Score Vocal & Piano: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV005-V&P.pdf
Recordings: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV5.htm#RC
Listen to Leusink recording (free streaming download):
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Stream/BWV5-Leusink.ram
---------------------------
Librettist : unknown
Biblical sources:
EPISTLE Ephesians 4: 22-29: Put on the new man, who is created after God.
GOSPEL Matthew 9: 1-8: The healing of a man sick of the palsy.

This is a chorale cantata, based upon the chorale of the same name.
Eleven-verse hymn by Johann Heermann.
See http://bach-cantatas.com/CM/Wo-soll-ich-fliehen-hin.htm
for details on this chorale melody.
--------------------------------------------------------
Structure:
1. Chorale S + tr da t ATB ob I,II str bc
2. Recit. B bc
3. Aria T vla (vln? vln picc?) solo bc
4. Recit. A ob I bc
5. Aria B tr str + ob I + II bc
6. Recit. S bc
7. Choral SATB bc (+ instrs)
--------------------------------------------------------

Comment (mostly based on Dürr).

In this Chorale cantata the unknown librettist uses the eleven verses of
the hymn in the following way:
Mvt. 1 (Chorale) = verse 1
Mvt. 2 (Recit B) = free paraphrase of verses 2, 3
Mvt. 3 (Aria T) = free paraphrase of verse 4
Mvt. 4 (Recit. A) = free paraphrase of verses 5, 6, 7
Mvt. 5 (Aria B) = free paraphrase of verse 8
Mvt. 6 (Recit. S) = free paraphrase of verses 9, 10
Mvt. 7 (Choral) = verse 11.

The phrase 'Your sins are forgiven you', spoken by Jesus to the man sick of Palsy, induce us (=the supposedly christian audience) first to a distressing awareness of our sins, (Mvt. 1) then to the gradual realization that through Jesus' death, the blemish of sin may be whashed away (Mvt. 2, Mvt. 3). Having regained confidence (Mvt. 4) we find the strenght to silence the raging host of hell (Mvt. 5).

The opening movement is a chorale fantasia with cantus firmus in the soprano, reinforced by trumpet. This movement is characterized by a great thematic unity. The instrumental parts, while developped in an automous way, are based on thematic elements derived from the chorale melody (unlike BWV 96). The instrumental sinfonia opens with a theme based on the first line of the chorale melody, and introduces in the 3d bar a second theme based on the second line of the chorale melody, which is a free inversion of the first line. This theme and its inversion dominate the instrumental parts as well as the vocal parts not involved in the cantus firmus throughout the movement. Frequent occurrences of three- an four-note scales, ascending and descending in the instrumental parts seem loosely related to the same theme. Each chorale line is treated in a largely imitative style.

Introduced by a secco recitative (Mvt. 2), the tenor aria (Mvt. 3) is based on the baroque image of the 'divine spring' of Christ's Blood whashing away the blemish of sin. Hence a flowing melody in semiquavers on the viola. [In fact the obbligato instrument is not specified]. The expressive and agile melodic flow conveys very effectively the text's pathetic purport.

The second recitative (Mvt. 4), which constitutes the turning point and the center of symmetry of the cantata , combines with the chorale melody on the oboe.

The bass aria (Mvt. 5) is characterized by a passionate, sharply accented rythm [spirited in a martial way perhaps, what with the trumpet and imperative mode - my suggestion!], based on the firm injunction 'Verstumme' (Be silent) - while rests depict the effect of this injunction on the hosts of hell.

After a last secco recitative (Mvt. 6), the conclusive movement (Mvt. 7) is a plain four-part chorale with instumental reinforcement.

-------------------------------------------------------
Possible topics of discussion ?

Any opinions about

- what instrument Bach meant in Mvt. 3? this was already discussed previously (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV5-D.htm). Any new insight?

- Who's the unknown librettist? Same as BWV 96's? Is J. S. Bach himself a plausible suspect?

Peter Smaill wrote (October 1, 2006):
This Cantata for this Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity is in the company of the 1723 BWV 48 "Ich elender Mensch" and the 1726 BWV 56 "Ich will das kreuzstab gerne Tragen", works of high and contrasting qualities, and none of the three Canatas using chorales associated with this Sunday.

In BWV 48 IMO the image is of a funeral procession interrupted at the end by the trumpet as the rhetorical answer to the question, "Wretched man that I am , who will deliver me from the body of this death?" BWV 56 uses the mystical image of the navigatio viate to depict the journey of the sin-tormented Christian; in BWV 5 it is a wholly different mystical concept , the "Tropfen" at work, a single drop of Christ's blood as the antidote to sin. Whereas, for example, the Sixteenth Sunday in Trinity has a remarkable unity of all the related Cantatas in Bach's sublime approach to the theme of death, on this Sunday the inferences are completely different.

According to Haselböck the origin of the image of a single drop of Christ's blood assuaging the sins of the whole world , "Dass jeder Tropfen, so auch noch so klein, die ganze welt kann rein, Von Sünden machen", (BWV 5/6) is not in Lutheran piety but originates in St Thomas Aquinas. we have met it before; for the final, exquisite Chorale setting of BWV 136 is also a verse from "Wo soll ich fliehen hin", - "Dein Blut, der edle Saft, hat solche Stärk' und Kraft", which is in BWV 5/6 is paraphrased by the soprano in the "unexpectedly naïve and charming little recitative".(Robertson).

Just as the flowing image brings from Bach word painting relating to the outpouring of the divine spring (BWV 5/3), so in the Chorale of BWV 136 the violin plays a high ascending descant, a consistent musical device showing the flowinnature of the saving blood , thus relating to this mystically-charged image. Sadly in neither the Leusink or even Suzuki recordings of BWV 136 is the beautiful, limpid violin meditation wholly audible above the choir and the full meaning of Bach's special treatment is perhaps only brought out by Christoph Poppen in the related strings-only setting of "Auf meinen Lieben Gott" which prefigures the recordings by the Hilliard Ensemble of BWV 1004.

By contrast the lower-pitched fluid violincello piccolo/viola line of BWV 5/3 is fully audible against a solo voice -this setting perhaps a reaction by Bach to the smothering of the word-painting technique by the choir in 1723 ?- and is further evidence of Bach's particular affinity for illustrating the mystical images current in Pietism and Lutheranism in his day.

Julian Mincham wrote (October 1, 2006):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< By contrast the lower-pitched fluid violincello piccolo/viola line of BWV 5/3 is fully audible against a solo voice -this setting perhaps a reaction by Bach to the smothering of the word-painting technique by the choir in 1723 ? - and is further evidence of Bach's particular affinity for illustrating the mystical images current in Pietism and Lutheranism in his day. >
Several interesting questions arise from this aria. It presentsa powerful image and it may seem surprising at first sight that Bach chooses the somewhat muted tone of the viola (or possibly cello)as the unstoppable obligato instrument. The viola gives us a constant stream of infectious semi-quavers; but they are also to be found in the vocal melody e.g. on the word 'waschet'.The unrelenting tumbling energy of this movement has been aptly described by John Elliot Gardener as a sort of 'Baroque washing machine' (BBBC 3 Bach week, Dec 2005)

The imagery, then which reinforces the basic theme of the cantata, is of a constant pouring of a stream of blood as from a divine spring which never requires replenishment. It is there to wash away our burdensome sins. The viola line is a mixture of vigorous arpeggios and descending scales depicting both the act of pouring and uplifting of the heart at the release from sin. One notes how seldom Bach used the viola in this role in the cantatas and it is tempting to speculate that on these rare occasions he might even have performed the solo himself. He was said to have liked to play viola parts as it put him in the midst of the harmony.

Of course Bach uses this sort of highly idiomatic string writing elsewhere, more often for violin than for viola. Look, for example, at the violin solos in the opening chorus of BWV 7 'Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam'. It is surely no coincidence that the text is here also concerned with the washing away of sin.

Reutning to the decision to use the viola instead of the more obvious, brighter- sounding violin---why the flat key (Eb major) instead of a sharp key, which would have been more comfortable for string players? It is reasonable to suppose that, although Bach's religious optimism causes him to set this text in such an extrovert and joyous manner, there remains a very serious caveat underpinning the basic premise. Burdensome sin and human error do not disappear; they are ever present and we must be eternally vigilant. I would suggest that the muted sounds of viola and the employment of a flat key are intended to prevent us from taking the message too lightly. One should be joyful; but not frivolous. Optimism is one thing, frivolity, particularly about serious religious and philosophical issues, another. One aspect of Bach's greatness is his ability to convey opposing or disparate emotions simultaneously.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 1, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
>>Returning to the decision to use the viola instead of the more obvious, brighter- sounding violin---why the flat key (Eb major) instead of a sharp key, which would have been more comfortable for string players? It is reasonable to suppose that, although Bach's religious optimism causes him to set this text in such an extrovert and joyous manner, there remains a very serious caveat underpinning the basic premise. Burdensome sin and human error do not disappear; they are ever present and we must be eternally vigilant. I would suggest that the muted sounds of viola and the employment of a flat key are intended to prevent us from taking the message too lightly. One should be joyful; but not frivolous. Optimism is one thing, frivolity, particularly about serious religious and philosophical issues, another. One aspect of Bach's greatness is his ability to convey opposing or disparate emotions simultaneously.<<
Johann Mattheson, in one of his earliest published works on music when he was reflecting on the previous century's notions (Kircher et al) of affective key/tonality associations, stated in his "Das Neu-Eröffnete Orchestre" Hamburg, 1713, Part 3, Chapter 2, Paragraph 19, p. 149-150: >>[Es] dur, nach unserer Rechnung der zwölffte Tohn / *hat viel 'patheti'sches an sich;* will mit nichts als *ernsthafften* und dabey 'plaintiven' Sachen gerne zu thun haben / ist auch aller Uppigkeit gleichsam *spinne feind.* (Hier stehet der Alten Verstand gantz stille.)<< [the words between the asterisks (*) are bolded for emphasis while the words or portions of words between the single quotation marks (') indicate a special appearance in Roman type rather than in German Fraktur in the original text] ("Eb major, according to our [Mattheson's] scheme/plan is the 12th key/tonality. There is much feeling/pathos [almost excessively solemn and ceremonious] associated with it). It [this key signature] does not like to have anything to do with any musical compositions that are not serious and, at the same time, plaintive/sad. At the same time, it cannot stand any kind of richness/voluptuousness/luxuriousness, or sumptuousness. {Musicians/Scholars from the previous century - [or does this refer back to Antiquity?] had great difficulty in comprehending it.}")

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 1, 2006):
Peter Smaill wrote:
>>According to Haselböck the origin of the image of a single drop of Christ's blood assuaging the sins of the whole world , "Dass jeder Tropfen, so auch noch so klein, die ganze welt kann rein, Von Sünden machen", BWV 5/6)...<<
("That every drop [of blood], be it ever so small...")

Aryeh Oron has kindly posted some score samples from BWV 5/1 at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV5-M1.htm

[for a larger view of the sample, simply click again on the image]

I wonder if the staccato markings beginning in the Oboe 2 part and elsewhere throughout the mvt. represent 'the single drops of blood' (3{!}drops)?

The main purpose of these samples is to demonstrate how the main motif is derived directly from the incipit of the chorale melody, but expanded musically into various contrasting segments which are melded/welded? together to form a working unit (a kernel idea consisting of contrasts of various types) which Bach can continue to exploit during the course of the mvt.

Peter Smaill wrote (October 2, 2006):
[To Thomas Braatz] <> Fascinated by the idea that you lead, namely that the markings on the score may hint at the "droplets" image. On this symbolism tack, perhaps stating what is now a commonplace, I notice that BWV 5 is of seven-section chiastic design and centres on "Angst und Pein" in the centre of BWV 5/4.

Peter Smaill wrote (October 3, 2006):
A further thought on the poetic structure of BWV 5, and on the chiastic subject (sorry-again!) generally.

Often where there is a seven verse Cantata text (such as BWV 163 or BWV 101) although the symmetry in placing of choral, recitative and aria components is apparent, line lengths are not quite exactly identical either side of the central axis, the fourth movement.

This is the case with BWV5. Assigning algebraic values to the line lengths of the seven movements we have :

a 6
b 10
c 5
d 1
e 5
f 11
g 6

In puzzling why there is the slight assymetry ((f )has an added "droplet" of a single line) here (and in other chiastic structures) I happened to glance at an article on Fibonacci sequences in the "Financial Times" (of all places).

BWV5's line lengths are all conforming to combinations within the Fibonacci sequence, where each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers- ( 1, 1, 2, 3 ,5, 8, 13 .....) - except, of course, that the chiastic BWV5 retreats from the apex of 13 to create the cross -like structure. Let me try to illustrate this, praying all the while that the God Microsoft does not scramble the output:

Title 1 1

a 1+2+3 = 6
b 2+3+5 = 10
c 5 = 5
d 5+8 = 13
e 5 = 5
f 1+2+3+5 = 11
g 1+2+3 = 6

This structure creates an undercurrent of numerical equivalence as follows:

a+c=f
(a+b+c)=(b+f)
e+g=f
c+g=f
c+e=b

The absent numbers are 4,7 and 9 which cannot be construed by any combination within a to g using a sequence of Fibonacci values.

Or is it all coincidental? It would be interesting to know is the putative librettist Andreas Stübel, in addition to his theological background, was also a mathematician.

Alain Bruguières wrote (October 3, 2006):
[To Peter Smaill] The symmetry of the structure is indeed striking and reflects the logical and dynamic articulation of the text.

Yet I'm not entirely convinced by the numerology: a and g have same number of lines because they are both verbatim verses of the hymn. c and e have 5 lines because they are both da capo arias.

Only b and f have no objective reason to have same number of lines, and it turns out that they don't.

The number of lines are not all Fibonacci numbers; if you choose randomly a few numbers between 1 and say 12, it is likely that some of them will be Fibonacci numbers more or less in the proportion we have here. And if you allow variations on the definition of a Fibonacci number then anything can happen...

So my personal view would be: this is coincidental.

However the length of the median recitativ perhaps is of some significance: 13 (not Fibonacci but prime) = 12 + 1: one of the lines is a verbatim line of the hymn. Jesus and his apostles?

Peter Smaill wrote (October 3, 2006):
[To Alain Bruguières] I'm quite relaxed on the analysis that coincidence may be at work, but there has I note been a paper by the Bach expert Ruth Tatlow on Bach, Fibonacci and the Golden Sequence. Has anyone been able to read it (unpublished) or specifically looked at the Italian cantatas which demonstrate Fibonacci sequence? Also it is stated that the KdF has the sequence in some of the contrapuncti.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 3, 2006):
Alain Bruguieres wrote:
< However the length of the median recitativ perhaps is of some significance: 13 (not Fibonacci but prime) = 12 + 1 >
Reply:

Is not Peter's original post correct, showing 13 in the sequence (as well as prime, coincidentally):

<the Fibonacci sequence, where each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers- ( 1, 1, 2, 3 ,5, 8, 13 .....)>

Alain Bruguières wrote (October 3, 2006):
[To Ed Myskowsky] You're right (and Peter was) of course, 13 is Fib'. My mistake! However that was not really my point.

Chris Rowson wrote (October 3, 2006):
I have just been looking through the freely downloadable score materials for BWV 5. The movement that has particularly caught my attention is the bass aria. A slide trumpet playing a virtuoso part in Bb, with marvellous rhythmic counterpoints to the remainder of the band.

Does anyone have any idea as to the exact nature of this trumpet? What was its root pitch: Eb perhaps? And what facilities did the slide give it? How about those repeated note figures on Bb and D in bars 7 and 8 - were these not pretty difficult to get in tune? And then those insistent Ds in bars 61-62, which have to make accurate fifths and octaves with the bass instruments.

And why all this noise? The text here speaks of falling silent, although that is a command addressed to the hosts of hell. So is the trumpet there to drown them out? It surely cannot represent them.

As a peripheral issue, I can wonder if this aria doesn´t give me a clue regarding my recent question about continuo instruments playing when the bass has a rest - here we see the violins, viola and oboes doing just that. No evidence, but it does leave the question whether it´s good for, for example, a harpsichordist to play on those beats.

And on another topic again, what´s that in the bass line at the change from bar 65 to bar 66? Is that really a C# rising to an F? How often do you see something like that in J.S. Bach´s writing? I´ve seen it W.F., but always thought it´s one of the things that distinguishes them.

However, I only have the free downloads, and in less than ideal format, so apologies for anything that just results from my poor materials.

Alain Bruguières wrote (October 3, 2006):
Chris Rowsonwrote::
< I have just been looking through the freely downloadable score materials for BWV 5. The movement that has particularly caught my attention is the bass aria. A slide trumpet playing a virtuoso part in Bb, with marvellous rhythmic counterpoints to the remainder of the band.
.../...
And why all this noise? The text here speaks of falling silent, although that is a command addressed to the hosts of hell. So is the trumpet there to drown them out? It surely cannot represent them. >
You have a point here! In the Leonhardt-Harnoncourt booklet, Dürr mentions 'eloquent rests'... but on the whole I find this piece rather loud! On the other hand talking louder than one's contradictor seems to be a well-established technique for silencing him (generally resulting in a less melodious effect than in the aria under scrutiny).

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 3, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
< And why all this noise? The text here speaks of falling silent, although that is a command addressed to the hosts of hell. So is the trumpet there to drown them out? It surely cannot represent them. >
I assumed it was the angelic trumpet of judgement.

Chris Rowson wrote (October 3, 2006):
[To Douglas Cowling] Well yes, it does feel like that doesn´t it, but what´s he doing here? He´s not mentioned in the text is he?

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 3, 2006):
[To Chris Rowson] No angels in the text, but when it comes to to silencing the powers of hell, they are usually the agents.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 3, 2006):
BWV 5/1 Articulation

Aryeh Oron has kindly place some additional score samples regarding BWV 5/1 at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV5-M1.htm
[Click on the image to increase magnification]

The staccato markings on the opening theme may fulfill various purposes:

1. as possible allusions (word-painting) to the "teardrops"

2. to highlight the entrance of the theme where it might otherwise go unnoticed (when the choir and other instruments are singing and playing something else)

3. to emphasize or call attention to the inversion of the theme when it occurs.

After the middle of the instrumental ritornello is reached, one might wonder about the sudden profusion of the pattern illustrated by the example of Violino 1, m 11: drooping 16th-notes divided into repeated two-note slurs. The answer might be found in the text when the choir sings "beschweret" ("laden, weighted down") in m 26 and particularly in m 27 where the tenor and bass voice also have slurred 8th notes right after the Violino 1 pattern m 11 is repeated in m 27.

The ascending 16th-note pattern (3 16th-notes followed by an 8th-note) in m 9 (Violino 1) has a staccato indication for the final note followed by rests. This seems to indicate "a fleeing/ up and away" with the staccato abruptly cutting off each attempted flight prematurely before another one is attempted a short while later. The staccato here seems to emphasize the sudden interruption of movement even more than if it were not indicated thus.

It is interesting to see the continuo also being involved in enunciating the key notes of the main theme. In m 40 the continuo along with the bass voice have the 'inversus' of the theme while the upper are simulataneously playing the 'rectus'. By applying staccato markings to both versions, Bach is ensuring that this should not be lost to the careful listener. What might this symbolically signify? Being torn in both directions while "looking for salvation"?

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 3, 2006):
Correction:

>>1. as possible allusions (word-painting) to the "teardrops"<<
"teardrops" should be "einTropfen heilges Blut" = drops of sacred blood - singular "Tropfen" here can be understood as the smallest part of the "blutige Stömen" = "bloody streams from a heavenly source" of which these droplets of Christ's blood wash away one's sinful spots: "Es wäschet die sündlichen Flecken von sich."

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 3, 2006):
BWV 5/5 Tromba or Tromba da tirarsi

Chris Rowson asked:
>>Does anyone have any idea as to the exact nature of this trumpet?<<
Using as a basis for answering this question, I consulted the following:

NBA KB I/24 pp. 150-151

Gisela & Jozsef Cziba "Die Bleichblasinstrumente in J. S. Bachs Werken" Kassel, 1994, pp. 28 and 94

Ulrich Prinz "J. S. Bachs Instrumentarium" Stuttgart/Kassel, 2005 p. 51 and 68

Summary translations involved in the following:

Bach's autograph indication of "Tromba da tirarsi" would make it appear as though it was absolutely clear that a 'slide' trumpet [one which could be adjusted even during the rests in a performance to achieve difficult notes on a natural trumpet] was intended the same as the one used in mvts. 1 & 7. But it is rather apparent that the notation of mvts. 1 & 7 (notated as they should sound)is quite different from that used in mvt. 5 (transposed). Charles Sanford Terry in his "Bach's Orchestra" London, 1932, pp. 188 and 191, already foresaw the need for two different instruments that would be involved: a tromba da tirarsi for mvts. 1 & 7 and a normal, modern trumpet for mvt. 5. Reinmar Emans in his "Zum Problem der Besetzungsangabe 'Corno da tirarsi' bei Bach", Leipzig, 1988, p. 346, believes that a Zink was intended for mvts. 1 and 7, but a tromba da tirarsi for mvt. 5. Since the problem of instrumentation was not yet solved in 1991 when the NBA volume containing this mvt. was prepared and printed, the editors decided to leave in place Bach's indication ["Tromba da tirarsi"] and present the part in normal notation as it sounds showing its original notation in C preceding the part, but the part is scored for Bb major.

The Csibas in 1994 saw this tromba part as one for a natural Tromba in C with an extension to make it into a Tromba in Bb.

Ulrich Prinz in 2005 also sees this part as being for a tromba and not a tromba da tirarsi. On p. 51, Prinz sees this part being played by a Tromba in Eb, relying on J. E. Altenburg's statement that the player should use a specially made tromba to avoid, if at all possible, using any extensions or "Stimmbögen" [these are the curved bows used to adjust the pitch of the instrument - I forgot what they are called in English). Prinz believes (p. 46) that the same instrument may have been used for playing all the mvts. in BWV 5. A telescopic extension at the end of the mouthpiece would make the chorale sections easier to play (BWV 5/1,7) while an added longer length extension ("festgeklemmt" = 'clamped/clipped on') would be needed for BWV 5/5 and inserted only once without being manipulated during the performance. Prinz admits that, lacking firm evidence for such assumptions regarding the methods used by Bach's instrumentalists, it still remains a matter of conjecture as to just how they were able to accomplish this.

Tom Hens wrote (October 4, 2006):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< This is the case with BWV5. Assigning algebraic values to the line lengths of the seven movements we have :
a 6
b 10
c 5
d 13
e 5
f 11
g 6 >
Sorry, but what do you mean by "algebraic values"? All I see is a list of the number of lines of text for each movement. Putting the letters a to g in front of a list of numbers doesn't mean you're suddenly doing algebra.

<snip>
< This structure creates an undercurrent of numerical equivalence as follows:
a+c=f
(a+b+c)=(b+f)
e+g=f
c+g=f
c+e=b >
Wow! 5 plus 6 (e + g) equals 11. And 5 plus 6 (c + g) equals 11, too! And 6 plus 5 (a + c), too! What are the odds of that!? There must be some deep symbolic significance in 5 and 6 adding up to 11 three times over. I bet it's symbolic of the Trinity. After all, *anything* in Bach's music that involves the number 3 is symbolic of the Trinity, everybody knows that. And that 5 + 5 equals 10, but only once, is no doubt not a coincidence either. I bet it's symbolic of there only being one God. The one remaining "equivalence", as you call it, 21 = 21, I'm sure must have some hidden significance too, but I can't think of one. Perhaps Bach was fond of card games?

< Or is it all coincidental? >
Definitely not. I've just discovered this sequence of numbers symbolizes my birthday. b - (a - c) = 9, that's September, and (d + f) - (g - e) is 23. Surely, it can't be a coincidence that Bach used seven numbers that add up to my birthday is this way, and that the month is encoded in the first three movements and the day of the month in the last four? (He obviously used the American date format.) Also note the exact parallelism of both equations: the elegant chiasm between the chorus/aria pair (a - c) and the aria/chorus pair (g - e), bookending the cantata, which for both halves of the cantata has to be subtracted from the added total for the recitatives to make up my birthday. Coincidence, you say? I think not!

Sorry, but anybody who likes this kind of thing can take pretty much any set of random numbers and produce all kinds of "patterns" that aren't there, except in his own mind. It usually doesn't even matter to such people if the data don't really fit the supposed pattern, as you also demonstrate here: you just explain it away as a "slight assymetry", and come up with some convoluted ad-hoc non-explanation, in this case by dragging in the Fibonacci sequence out of a newspaper article you just happened to have been reading, without explaining why on earth it's supposedly relevant. My silly personal birthday explanation at least only relies on numbers that are actually there.

< It would be interesting to know is the putative librettist Andreas Stübel, in addition to his theological background, was also a mathematician. >
Mathematicians, by Bach's time, had moved far beyond the first grade arithmetic you've displayed here.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 4, 2006):
Chris Rowson asked:
>>What´s that in the bass line at the change from bar 65 to bar 66? Is that really a C# rising to an F?<<
The 9th note in m 65 of the Bass vocal part of Bach's autograph score was an Eb without a natural sign while the original copy of the bass vocal part has the same note with a natural sign, hence E is intended and this is what the NBA has chosen as the correct version.

CR: >> I can wonder if this aria doesn´t give me a clue regarding my recent question about continuo instruments playing when the bass has a rest - here we see the violins, viola and oboes doing just that. No evidence, but it does leave the question whether it´s good for, for example, a harpsichordist to play on those beats.<<
No specific instances are given, hence it would be dangerous to generalize anything from such a vague description. In measure 13, for instance, the continuo echoes or mimics with only a slight lag what the bass voice presents. This appears very intentional on Bach's part. It would not make sense to have the continuo play anything during the rests despite the fact the strings enter on the beats when the continuo should not be playing.

CR: >>What facilities did the slide give the tromba and the tromba da tirarsi? Were these notes not pretty
difficult to get in tune?<<
[Questions slightly rephrased in order not to repeat the entire context]
The exact nature (size, dimensions, etc.) of these slides is not available through actual evidence from museum instruments still in existence- these slides were the first items to be lost. However, the Csibas provide endoscopic evidence from these historic trombae demonstrating from thtype of interior scratches that have remained that such slides were definitely used by tromba players in Bach's time. The rest is experimentation and conjecture which combine to create new extensions which will help to overcome the deficiencies inherent in the natural tone row of natural trumpets and horns. Do a search on "tromba AND bore' or "tromba AND mouthpiece" on the BCW. This matter has been discussed with trumpet players who do play Bach and are interested in recapturing the sound of these instruments. The difficulty in getting the notes in tune depends upon having the right equipment and the necessary time and effort to devote to practicing/specializing on these modern reconstructions of the original instruments used by Bach.

Peter Smaill wrote (October 4, 2006):
[To Tom Hens] Thanks for confirming my option (b)- it is just a coincidence. Obviously quite common to have 13 lines to a verse in poetry. Silly of me really.

Chris Rowson wrote (October 4, 2006):
Alain Bruguieres wrote: <... In the Leonhardt-Harnoncourt booklet, Durr mentions 'eloquent rests'... but on the whole I find this piece rather loud! On the other hand talking louder than one's contradictor seems to be a well-established technique for silencing him (generally resulting in a less melodious effect than in the aria under scrutiny). >
I´m finding Doug´s suggestion of the "angelic trumpet of judgement" convincing: he´s trumpeting to the hosts of hell that they should shut up. (I guess he´s entitled to shout his opponents down :-)

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 4, 2006):
Tom Hens wrote:
< Definitely not. I've just discovered this sequence of numbers symbolizes my birthday. b - (a - c) = 9, that's September, and (d + f) - (g - e) is 23. >
Reply:

You share your birthday with John Coltrane and Ray Charles? That's a party day on my block (anticipating Michaelmas?). Congrats, and belated Happy B'day!

Robert Sherman wrote (October 4, 2006):
[To Thomas Braatz] Note that if you have a movable extension on the mouthpiece receiver or shank (that is, betwee the player's hands and his mouth) you can only use it for relatively low pitch playing, around the middle of the treble staff. This is where these parts seem to be written.

For playing in the upper clarino register, the player must increase the pressure his hands exert on the trumpet, pushing it toward his mouth. If he doesn't do that, he won't be able to get the top range. The pressure is sufficiently high that a slide on the end of the muothpiece would either be fully compressed (putting the instrument in the highest key) or, if the slide action were stiff enough to prevent this, it would be too stiff for adjustment while playing.

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 4, 2006):
[To Robert Sherman] This is very informative information. Also perfect common sense, once it is pointed out. That is the nature of common sense.

Encouragement to anyone who has such details to contribute.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 4, 2006):
Robert Sherman wrote:
>>For playing in the upper clarino register, the player must increase the pressure his hands exert on the trumpet, pushing it toward his mouth. If he doesn't do that, he won't be able to get the top range. The pressure is sufficiently high that a slide on the end of the mouthpiece would either be fully compressed (putting the instrument in the highest key) or, if the slide action were stiff enough to prevent this, it would be too stiff for adjustment while playing.<<
Thanks for pointing this out.

A more careful inspection of the NBA KB I/24 pp. 126-7 and 140 reveals some other aspects for considering Bach's designation of the obbligato instrument in BWV 5/5:

1. The separate title page for the autograph score, although not written out personally by Bach, not an unusual occurrence, was created by Johann Andreas Kuhnau, an extremely reliable copyist whom Bach favored and used frequently, at the same time before the first performance as were also at least half of the original parts (Kuhnau shared this latter task with Christian Gottlob Meißner).

The Kuhnau's title page reads:

Dom: 19 post Trinit: | Wo soll ich fliehen hin? Weil ich | etc. | á 4 Voc: | Tromba | 2 Hautbois | 2 Violini | Viola | con | Continuo | di Sign: J. S. Bach

On the actual first page of music of the autograph manuscript, Bach writes at the top:

J. J. Doica 19 post Trinit. Wo soll ich fliehen hin? Concerto. [There is a 'strange' marking above the 'i' of 'Doica' to indicate the abbreviation - the 'min' has been left out]

No instrumentation appears on this first page - this is often the case with Bach's autograph scores. There are just lines of music that have to be identified by their position on the page and the type of staff signature used (treble, bass, etc.).

On the page just before the mvt. 5 begins, Bach adds "Tromba" to the topmost staff. On a subsequent page, as the aria continues, he lists before each staff: Tr: Viol 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cont.

From the original set of parts, B5 [the tromba part] in the NBA listing, was copied entirely by Kuhnau.

The NBA KB I/24 p. 140 explains:

All of the parts prepared by the copyists were presumably ["vermutlich"] revised by Bach. This is the situation even if it cannot always be clearly substantiated. However [and this seems to be rather unusual in this instance] this revision could hardly have occurred before the first performance of this cantata [which would be the more normal situation/time frame for these corrections/additions, etc. to have been made]. [The reasoning here is documented with the help of another early copy of the score which shows various readings in agreement with Bach's original score, but not with the additions/corrections made in the parts. This need not be significant, however, since frequently some glaring errors are corrected in the parts, but not in the autograph score] The NBA editors state, however, that they know that the corrections were not made by either Kuhnau or Meißner and assume [again 'vermutlich' is used] that Bach may have added them later.

The tromba part B5 shows the later addition of "da tirarsi" that had been added to Kuhnau's "Tromba".

My commentary:

It appears that it may be reasonably assumed from the evidence (Bach's autograph score: only "Tromba" and Kuhnau's copy of the tromba part for the 1st performance: only "Tromba"), that the addition of "da tirarsi" occurred at a later date for a repeat performance, 1732/1735, and only possibly/probably represents a genuine change made by Bach at that time. It appears fairly certain from this that a slide tromba was not used for Bach's first performance of this work (mvt. 5).

Neil Halliday wrote (October 4, 2006):
Chris Rowson wrote:
<"And why all this noise, (in 5/5)? The text here speaks of falling silent, although that is a command addressed to the hosts of hell. So is the trumpet there to drown them out? It surely cannot represent them">.
Robertson explains it well: "One of the finest of Bach's many grand battle arias for bass. The trumpet rings out and seems to mock, in the triplet figures following, the scattered hosts of hell.The bass spits out 'Silence. hell's host' over and over again, and the disheartenment is all on the enemy's side".

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 9, 2006):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< This Cantata for this Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity is in the company of the 1723 BWV 48 "Ich elender Mensch" and the 1726 BWV 56 "Ich will das kreuzstab gerne Tragen", works of high and contrasting qualities >
Reply:

My compliments to Peter for accepting the challenge to correlate these works . For me, the week got away before I had time to do more than listen to my available versions of BWV 5, let alone the cognates from other years. I will make it a point to give a quick listen, even if no comments, before moving on.

I found the discussions from the current and earlier rounds very thorough with respect to both music and recordings, so just a few selected comments to close out the week. Thomas Braatz postings of music exare always especially enjoyed, thanks.

From an earlier post, Peter pointed out the chiastic structure of BWV 5, especially pronounced with a rec. (Mvt. 4) at the center, and arias with emphatic and unique instrumentation before and after (viola and trumpet obbligatos, respectively). Maybe the numerology was overdone, but the architecture is definitely there!

I first listened to Harnoncourt [1] from a beloved brown box LP, complete with score. Can't say enough about the good old days, especially with my number one turntable newly returned to service. This is a particularly good Harnoncourt performance, very enjoyable in overall effect, even with typical shortcomings: abrupt continuo in the recs. and shaky natural trumpet in Mvt. 5. I find the boy S in Mvt. 6 rec. especially effective, and noticeable thanks to all the discussion on these pages.

I also have Richter [3], Koopman [6], and Leusink [7] which were commented on in depth previously, and Suzuki [9] which was not. None have shortcomings which would make me say a performance to be avoided, although Koopman comes close because of the very fast tempo in Mvt. 3, losing the effect of the viola obbligato. Saving graces are the enjoyable soloists, not overly resonant ambiance, and accurate natural trumpet.

All of the HIP performances (that is, all of above but Richter [3]) suffer from the abrupt continuo problem argued at length on BCW. It is least abrupt with Suzuki [9], and this contributes to his being the preferred performance for me - no overly quick tempos to spoil the flow. As usual, soloists and orchestral balance sound correct or better, outstanding to my ears in the arias, Mvt. 3 and Mvt. 5. After a couple tempo disappointments in recent weeks, I am back to joining the ranks of Suzuki enthusiasts with BWV 5.

Leusink [7] has a very even performance, in fact a bit preferable to Koopman [6] I find, mostly as the result of the T and viola aria, Mvt. 3. I had a passing listen to several other Koopman performances (you have to get a bunch with 3 CD sets). A quick impression is that there are many highlights which make his interpretations worth comparing to Suzuki, just that BWV 5 is not one of his best efforts. Any comments on Gardiner, re BWV 5?

Richter [3] is a very satisfactory traditional performance, with the expected outstanding soloists, and my only opportunity to hear what an unabbreviated continuo sounds like behind the recs. Still sounds better to me, whatever the scholarly arguments. Hard to give credence to the idea that silence is not to overwhelm the soloist in a rec., when they manage the balance just fine in an aria, with continuo plus playing all the time..

Ed Myskowski wrote (October 10, 2006):
BWV 5, BWV 56

I previously wrote:
Peter Smaill wrote:
< This Cantata for this Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity is in the company of the 1723 BWV 48 "Ich elender Mensch" and the 1726 BWV 56 "Ich will das kreuzstab gerne Tragen", works of high and contrasting qualities >
Reply:

My compliments to Peter for accepting the challenge to correlate these works . For me, the week got away before I had time to do more than listen to my available versions of BWV 5, let alone the cognates from other years. I will make it a point to give a quick listen, even if no comments, before moving on.

I hope the thread is not confusing. No sooner did I look for BWV 56, than I found it on the same Richter CD I have been listening to [3], immediately following BWV 5. Impossible to let that go by without comment, for several reasons.

Richter only had the opportunity to record more than one cantata for a particular Sunday in a few instances, I would infer that he chose them carefully. Listening to DFDieskau in BWV 56 reflects insight back to his performance in BWV 5. I am groping for words a bit, but the pairng of these two cantatas makes a wonderful continuous listen, adding to the enjoyment of both, and adding an extra dimension to our ongoing chronological discussion.

One (me, anyway) might wonder if Bach was filing away thoughts for the future as the B mvts. of BWV 5 were performed. They certainly run together seamlessly into BWV 56 (two years later), despite the different musical architecture. Not likely a coincidence in Richter's pairings,
or choice of soloist.

I have been vocal on these pages in recommending the Richter 75 CD set at US$100. Alas, it appears this price is no longer available. I have no inside knowledge, as to whether the set remains in print or is being sold as remainders. If you are interested, sooner may be better than later for shopping, Unless there is some expectation that the set may be due for budget reissue (doesn't seem likely) or may be available for easy download (still a mystery to me).

In my previous remarks, it does not do justice to DFDieskau, Peter Schrier, or Edith Mathis to call them the <expected outstanding soloists>. Alto Trudeliese Schmidt is obscure (to me), but no less outstanding. That is the problem with being outstanding on a regular basis, you get taken for granted.

I was startled to hear how good Richter sounds in BWV 5, after only one day away from all those HIP performances. Even in that supposedly stodgy fantasia. I believe I called it that , or something similar. Sorry. HIP is fine, don't miss Richter. The soloists are unsurpassed (only occasionally equaled), the shortcomings will pass by almost unnoticed in these classic performances.

Pardon my exuberance, it has been a bright and sunny Columbus Day holiday here in the land of the Yanks. Not a problem in sight. What? I have not been paying attention again?

Peter Smaill wrote (October 13, 2006):
At the risk of flogging a dead horse, some more researches relative to the unusual poetic structure of BWV 5, “Wo soll ich fliehen hin” Why is it unusual? It is one of a small group which are chiastic, in that the movement types form symmetry, just like BWV 4, BWV 9, BWV 163, BWV 101 and BWV 78, amongst others. However, except for the early BWV 4 where line lengths are identical, no other chiastic Cantata is so close to having exact symmetry in the lengths of line. In the case of BWV 5, the pattern is 6-10-5-13-5-11-6. Having checked, no other Cantata has a 13-line recitative as its central movement, here creating at the heart of the Cantata emphasis on “Angst und Pein”. So BWV 5 is definitely unusual in this respect. So is there any pattern to the appearance of thirteen-lined verses in the Cantatas generally? They are really quite rare and 14,15,16,17 are far commoner. Out of perhaps 1500 movements in the Cantatas of which over 350 are recitatives, a 13 line recitative occurs only ten times and a 13 line chorale, just once.

The analysis by structure, zeugma/emphasis (i.e., central line 7) and author (if significant in each case) is:

BWV 5/4 Chiastic; 13 line central; “Angst und Pein” (Anguish and Pain”) emphasised; by (?) Stübel
BWV 9/2 Chiastic;”Wir sollten in Gesetze gehn” (“We were supposed to abide by the law”) emphasised; Anon
BWV 31/3 Salomo Franck
BWV 35/6 Lehms
BWV 80/3 Salomo Franck
BWV 151/2 “Er lässtden Himmelstron” (“He leaves the throne of Heaven”) emphasised; Lehms
BWV 167/2 Anon
BWV 170/2 Chiastic; “Und will allein von Racha! Sagen” (“and speaks of naught but Raca!”)emphasised; Lehms
BWV 186/9 “Es ist ihres Fusses Leuchte und ein Licht auf ihren Wege” (It shines at the soul’s feet and lights its path”); Anon; most of Cantata by Salomo Franck.
The one Chorale with 13 lines is BWV 174/5 (by Martin Schalling), which like BWV 5/4 deals with salvation through Christ’s blood.

Is there any pattern at all? Not clearly, but there is a disproportionate tendency to be associated with Franck and Lehms, given that most of Bach’s Cantatas are generally not firmly attributable at all.

What about BWV 5 and the Fibonacci sequence 1,1,2,3,5,8,13? The sceptics win, and it is of course easy to scoff as has rightly happened with the excesses of gematria. But, look again at the introductory ritornello and its written staccato emphases, phrasing and note values.

It can be sung in phrases as follows:
1,1,2,3
1,2,3,4,5
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8-8 (drops octave)
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13…………….

On this phrasing the Fibonacci sequence is picked out by the staccato markings and end of phrase emphasis,and 1,2,3,5 and 8 occur at the appropriate pitch in the octave. Do I believe that this is significant? Not very much,
because like others in the BCML it is for me the musical effect and theological purpose which matter, rather than esoteric number games. But if there is a case to be made for any Cantata revealing this number sequence, based on my plodding researches, it has still got to be BWV 5.

Hope Microsoft and AOL do not conspire against the number array but a look at the downloadable score should help anyone interested in the topic.

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 13, 2006):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< Is there any pattern at all? Not clearly, but there is a disproportionate tendency to be associated with Franck and Lehms, given that most of Bach¹s Cantatas are generally not firmly attributable at all. >
Chiasm is used by biblical books especially those in the Johannine tradition to symbolize the descent of Christ to earth (his death being at the bottom of the "U") and then his ascent to heaven. Whether Bach uses this tradition for symbolic purposes would need some research. He certainly uses the structure in the Credo of the Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) (the Crucifixus being the central "low" point) and in the Magnificat (the "dispersit" in "Fecit Potentiam" is the central moment)

 

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