Cantata BWV 51Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!
Discussions - Part 10
Continue from Part 9
Discussions in the Week of January 5, 2014 (4th round)
William Hoffman wrote (January 5, 2014):
Cantata 51: BCML Bach-ground & Fugitive Notes
Beginning the fourth round Discussion of the Bach Cantata Mailing List, the popular solo soprano Cantata BWV 51, “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!” (Shout for joy to God in every land!), is emblematic of Bach’s vocal works and the scholarship that has shaped the portrait of the Leipzig cantor and music director during the past century, particularly the past 30 years. This bravura Italian-style showpiece with stirring trumpet has helped craft the new image of Bach the Progressive, fostered through growth, transformation and reinvention involving extensive 20th century recordings of noted musicians as well as growing world-wide interest and enthusiasm, and unparalleled, exacting studies from scholars, musicians, and amateurs alike.
This enigmatic 20-minute work dating to c.1730, whose origins and initial purpose remain uncertain, is symptomatic of the currents of thought and pursuit that have vested growing interest in Johann Sebastian Bach. Grounded in Italian singing vocal and instrumental concerto ritornello styles, Cantata 51 also exhibits the larger Germanic stylistic interests embracing motet-like polyphony, the Lutheran hymn, French dance and syncopation, and spiritual pursuits with a musical aura of collective energy, nobility and drama. Bach scholars have proposed the work, with initial music possibly dating to Bach’s Weimar tenure (1708-17), was composed in its current form with Bach’s designation as “et in ogni tempo” (and at any time) sacred service.
Bach’s rare general designation suggests music primarily for festive sacred services. In the case of Cantata 51 the music could have been performed at special Nikolaikirche services opening the three annual Leipzig Fairs: Winter, New Year’s Day or the Feast of Epiphany (January 6); Spring, Jubilate (Third Sunday after Easter), and Fall, St. Michael and All-Angels, September 28. Visitors and dignitaries, including non-Lutherans and members of the Catholic Dresden Court, often attended these services. Specifically, Cantata 51 was conceived for the Italian interests of the Saxe-Weißenfels Court in 1729 or its authority at the Dresden Court in Saxony in 1731, and then for the 15th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig. Bach added the specific sacred service designation and a few textual changes in the 1730s (see excerpt from Thomas Braatz’ BCML Round 1 Discussions Part 2, below). The manuscript score and parts set were found in Bach’s estate for that Trinity Time Sunday, filling a gap in his third cantata cycle with numerous other solo cantatas and texts dating to the Meiningin court in 1705.
Bach scholars, commentators (and others) have speculated about the Cantata 51 possible soprano soloist. They range from Thomas schoolboy Christoph Nichelmann for Leipig church services, to Bach’s wife Anna Magdalena at the Saxe-Weißenfels court, to Dresden court castrato Giovanni Bindi during a Bach visit to son Friedemann, as well as Court Capelmeister Johann Adolf Hasse’s diva wife, Faustina Bordoni in Dresden or during one of their visits to Leipzig in the 1730s, staying at Bach’s home and she possibly performing the work at Zimmermann’s, perhaps in a contest with Anna Magdalena. In the realm of pure fantasy could be young castrato Farinelli (Carlo Borschi, 1705-82) singing the Cantata 51 opening aria in Carbsbad, Bohemia, in the early summer of 1720 where Bach was visiting the spa with his Köthen prince Leopold. Meanwhile Duke Christian fromSaxe-Weißenfels could have been taking the baths, bring in tow his court trumpeter, Johann Caspar Wilcken (c.1662-1731) with talented young daughter Anna Magdalena (1701-1760). Farinelli probably was still being groomed by Neopolitan composer Nicola Porpora. Handel, who had visited the Continent in 1719 to audition singers for his new royal opera company in London, was unable to engage Farinelli until 1734.
Contemporary technology, intellectuality, and musicianship have driven Bach interest, culminating in the growth and development of institutions such as the Bach Cantatas Website, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/index.htm, as an essential source of Bach interest. Here is comprehensive coverage of “all aspects of J.S. Bach's cantatas and his other vocal works and many of his instrumental works. The BCW contains for most works: detailed discographies, discussions, texts and translations, scores, commentaries, references, music examples.” An “international collective project,” primarily in English, it includes biographies, audio-video discographies, publications, scholarly articles, and general topical interests. Of special note are the categories of the Lutheran church and chorales, commentaries and text translations in many languages, on-line scores and references, and current Bach tours, festivals, and concerts.
Established in 1998 near the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death in 1750, the BCW began with Bach Cantatas Mailing Lists (BCML) on-line discussions of Bach’s works, recordings and basic information, beginning with Christmas 1999 and continuing in 2000 with weekly Discussion Round 1 of cantatas for each church-year service. The year 2000 also saw the release of two “complete” collections of Bach’s music, focusing on the some 220 extant cantatas, called “musical sermons.” Cantata 51 is typical of both this growing interest and the evolution of resources and materials. At the same time, it is Bach’s sole cantata (and merits Bach’s designation “Cantata”) for soprano, trumpet and, strings, in the manner of Neopolitan composer Allesandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) with echoes of Handelian grandeur in its opening unison triadic statement. Cantata 51 is the most-discussed BCW cantata with six-part discussions in Round 1 (2001) and two in Round 2 (2008) and has a large number of recordings (listed by decade), see BCW Details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV51.htm, with Recordings and Discussions. The most-discussed BCW vocal music is the St. Matthew Passion, BCW Details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV244.htm. Through BCW Details (Ibid.), the discography pages of Recordings are being updated from the current 91 to at least 125, including designated audio-videos, says BCW Webmaster and Moderator Aryeh Oron.
Cantata 51 dates to 1729-31 and is linked in style, soprano and trumpet scoring, and galant characteristics to Bach’s directorship of the Leipzig Collegium musicum. At that time Bach ceased to compose church-year cantatas but selectively provided some works to fill specific service gaps in the three cantata cycles as well as works for festive occasions. Instead, he turned almost exclusively to profane, so-calleddrammi per musica to celebrate special events. Cantata 51 bears progressive musical characteristics while its text provides only general psalm-like praises and references to the day’s sacred service lessons. Cantata 51 movements (types, scoring, incipit) are:
1. Aria (Soprano; Tromba, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo), “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!” (Shout for joy to God in every land!);
2. Recitative (Soprano; Strings, Continuo), “Wir beten zu dem Tempel an” (We pray at the temple)
3. Aria (Soprano, Continuo), “Höchster, mache deine Güte/ Ferner alle Morgen neu” (Most High God, make your goodness/ new every morning from now on);
4. Chorale (Soprano; Violino I/II, Continuo), “Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren” (May there be praise and glory and honour; and closing, fugal “Allelujah” (Soprano, tutti orchestra). [German text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV51-Eng3.htm]
The text is a traditional general “jubilant song of praise and thanks for God’s support, with a prayer for Hifuture faithfulness,” says Bach authority Alfred Dürr’s The Cantatas of JSB.1 The heterogeneous text shows an unknown author, possibly Bach himself, in Movements 1-3 and Johann Gramann in the soprano chorale Movement 4, with closing “Allelujah.” The text for recitative Movement 2 is based on Psalm 138:2 and Psalm 26:8 and there is an allusion to Lamentations 3:22-3 in the da-capo aria, Movement 3, a da-capo aria in 12/8 pastorale-giga style.
Cantata Details include the following: Scoring: Score Vocal & Piano [1.47 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV051-V&P.pdf ; Score BGA [2.01 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BGA/BWV051-BGA.pdf ; Score with additional trumpet and timpani parts by W F Bach (Appendix to the NBA KB I/22) [8:45 MB]; Autograph Score (Facsimile): D B Mus. ms. Bach P 104 [Bach Digital], http://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalSource_source_00000971 ; Score Examples, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV51-Sco.htm. References: BGA XII/2 (Church cantatas BWV 51-60, Wilhelm Rust, 1863); NBA KB I/22 (Cantatas for the 15th Sunday after Trinity, Matthias Wendt, 1988); |BC A 134; Zwang: K 180; Autograph score (facsimile): Berlin, Staatsbibliothek (Leipzig, 1985; Stuttgart, 1985).
Commentary. The BCML discussions of Cantata 51 began with Aryeh Oron’s General Background (9/23/2001), including general comments and recordings. Thomas Braatz’ Commentary summarizes Bach writers (9/25/2001): Philipp Spitta, Woldemar Voight, Albert Schweitzer, Alfred Dürr with movement descriptions); http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV51-Guide.htm (from BCW Discussion No. 1. Another important resource is Braatz’ Provenance, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV51-Ref.htm (2008, Score & Parts Provenance, Bach Performances & Text, Critical Edition & Other Publications). These are primarily based upon the appropriate Neue Bach Ausgabe Kritischer Bericht (NBA-KB, New Bach Edition Critical Commentary).
Cantata 51 BCML Discussions Round 1, Part 1, Week of September 23, 2001, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV51-D.htm, began with Aryeh Oron’s Introduction, Recordings and Commentary (Ibid.), citing two sources regarding the soprano soloist: Simon Heighes2 suggesting Thomas schoolboy Christoph Nichelmann (1717-62) and Dresden castrato Giovanni Bindi, and Hans-Günther Ottenberg, perhaps Bach’s wife Anna Magdalena. Oron outlines Bach solo cantatas, including soprano solo cantatas with one obbligato instrument, BWV 51, and 199, differing “from one another as much as two works from him can be. By that they show us how wide-spread Bach musical world is.” He describes the characteristics of these two cantatas with BWV 199, Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, being Bach’s only early solo Weimar cantata, dating to 1713, to be the BCML weekly discussion, January 26. Oron also has Cantata 51 Ratings of Recordings, Comments and conclusions. Thomas Braatz also offers his general Commentary as well as commentary on various recordings.
Bach’s connections to the Dresden court’s Hasse (1699-1783) and Bordoni in 1731 as well as Bach’s text variants in the soprano part are discussed in Thomas Braatz’ posting, January 17, 2004, BCML Round 1 Discussions Part 2 (2001-2004), http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV51-D2.htm. “There is a lot of circumstantial evidence for a Bach connection here; however, ultimately, it seems to fail, possibly because of the range of her voice,” says Braatz. The text <<variants in mvt. 1 and 3 seem to be Bach’s own:
In mvt. 1 the following variants run side-by-side (more correctly over and under each other):
…und wir wollen unserm Gott gleichfalls itzt ein Opfer bringen, daß er uns in Kreuz und Not allezeit hat beigestanden. [and now we also want to make/bring a sacrifice/offering to our God who has always stood by us in time of suffering]
…mit den Engeln laßt uns heut unserm Gott ein Loblied singen, daß er uns in Neid und Leid allezeit hat beigestanden. [along with the angels let us sing a song of praise to our God today, because he has always stood by us in the face of envy and in our suffering.]
In mvt. 3 the variants are as follows:
Höchster, mache deine Güte ferner alle Morgen neu [O highest Being/God, continue to renew your kindness/goodness with each new morning]
Höchster, mache deine Güte auch bei unsrer Herrschaft neu [O highest Being/God, let your kindness/goodnessalso be bestowed upon our ruler(s)]
The variants seem to point to the presence of some dignitary with great authority (‘our ruler’) possibly someone like Friedrich August I (August the Strong) or his son Friedrich August II of Saxony who had their residence in Dresden.>>
Differing perspectives about the origin and original purpose of Cantata 51 are found in the BCML Round 1, Discussions Parts 3 and 4 (2004-2005), involving Bradley Lehmann, Braatz, Terri Noel Toe, and Ms. Sean Burton, author of the first article below, “The Need for Bach.” Recordings and performances occupy much of the Discussions in Parts 5 and 6.
More recent studies suggest that Bach's Cantata BWV 51, "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!", was conceived as part of Bach’s third cycle while taking possible detours or double usages into the secular realm:3
On Sept. 29, 1726 for Cycle 3, the Feast of St. Michael fell on Trinity 15, when Bach presented Cantata BWV 19, "Es erhub sich sein Streit" (There arose a strife), text after Picander (1724/25). The original score source critical evidence for Cantata BWV 51 (c. 1730) suggests an interesting genesis: Bach planned a soprano solo cantata for the third cycle, perhaps for the 15th Sunday after Trinity in 1726, then set aside his sketches (mostly for the first movement) to compose Cantata BWV 19. Later he took it up and crafted the sketches for another solo birthday cantata for the Duke of Weißenfels (23 February ?1729; see Alfred Dürr's <Cantatas of JSB> (Oxford Univ. Press 2005: 540f), perhaps with Anna Magdalena; finally, under the spell of the gallant stylistic trend, especially in Dresden, about 1730, Bach parodied the text (?using Picander) with added allusions to the 15th Sunday after Trinity) and added the closing acrobatic "Allelujah," preceded by the soprano chorale aria.
About Sept. 17, 1730 (the 15th Sunday after Trinity), solo Cantata BWV 51, "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" (Praise God in all the lands) was first performed. A variant text revision, Cantata BWV 51(a), may have been performed between 1732 and 1735, perhaps on Michaelmas, Sept. 29, 1732-34, as well as the same date in 1737 when Michaelfest again fell on the 15th Sunday after Trinity. The chorale usage is in No. 4 soprano canto aria (S. 5), "Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren" (Be honor and praise with glory) from "Nun lob nein Seel" (Now praise my soul), by Johann Graumann, 1548. The author of the cantata text is unknown, possibly a collaboration of Thomas church pastor Christian Weiss Sr., Picander and Bach, as with the St. Mark Passion, BWV 247, in early 1731. The wrapper of the original parts set in Bach's hand designates the work "in ogni tempo" (at any time).
Before 1750, Friedemann Bach presented "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" at the Halle Marienkirche for an unspecified feast day, perhaps the Michaelfest, as part of his duties as Halle director of music. He added parts for a second trumpet and timpani, similar to the scoring in Cantata BWV 80, "Ein feste Burg ist under Gott" (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) for a 1763 special service for the end of the Seven Years' War. In 1750, Emmanuel inherited both the score and parts set of Cantata 51 as part of the third cycle estate distribution between him with younger brother Johann Chrisand Friedemann. "The parts, however, do indeed survive, as D-B Mus ms Bach St 49. Fascicle 2 of the parts contains a second trumpet and a timpani part, which the Bach-Digital entry describes as follows: `Zusatzstimmen fuer eine Auffuehrung der Kantate durch W. F. Bach in Halle, vermutlich zu Lebzeiten J. S. Bachs.' (Additional parts for a performance of the cantata under W. F. Bach in Halle, probably during JSB's life.) Again, Full info on the parts here: St 49 Fasz 2: http://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalSource_source_00002372 [Evan Cortens wrote (February 27, 2012, see BCW,
Cantata 51, Discussion No. 9, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV51-D9.htm ].
With advocacy from his father, Friedemann assumed the Halle post in May 1746 and presented at least 20 cantatas of his father, most of which he inherited in 1750 (Peter Wollny, "W.F.B.'s Halle performances of cantatas of his father, <Bach Studies 2, ed. Daniel Melamed, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1995: 202-230).
[Much of the above information is found in "Chorales & Sacred Texts for 15th Sunday After Trinity"; BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity15.htm. Some is confirmed in David Schulenberg's "Music of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach" (Universty of Rochester Press, 2010: 200ff).]
Article: Sean Burton, “The Need for Bach: A discussion of his life, Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen, BWV 51 and Ich habe genung, BWV 82”; BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Bach-Notes[Burton].htm. Burton, Artistic Director, Boston Orpheus Ensemble; program notes, Concerts, October 8 & 10, 2004.
<<“Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51 and Ich habe genung, BWV 82 are among a group of exquisite solo cantatas that also includes Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54,Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht, BWV 55 and Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56. All five of these cantatas demonstrate Bach’s undisputed mastery of contrapuntal technique, harmonic originality and word-painting.
Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51 was most likely composed at some point during the early 1730’s for an occasion not known. Scholars conjecture that this cantata may even have been intended to serve as music for New Year’s. The joyful text made it suitable for other celebrations in the ecclesiastical year such as Michaelmas Day or even an election of the Council in Leipzig. The author of the text in the first three movements is unknown, though some scholars contend it came from the pen of Bach himself. The text of the closing chorale verse is from Johann Gramann’s Nun lob mein Seel.
The opening aria of Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51 is a jubilant exclamation in C Major from both the soprano soloist and trumpet. The aria’s middle section, in the relative minor key of A minor, provides an expected harmonic contrast before a return to the triumphant opening. The solemn yet brief recitative following the aria, also cast in A minor, induces a plethora of striking images with Bach’s lithe melody and quick modulation in only sixteen measures. It is in the third movement where Bach’s commitment to faith and sense of urgency breaks forth. The soprano soloist, with only continuo accompaniment, implores the listener to be righteous children of God. Bach’s exploitation of the circle-of-fifths throughout this movement heightens the drama. The fourth movement is a C Major fantasy on Johann Kugelmann’s exquisite choral melody with the cantus firmus sung by the soprano. The cantata concludes with a lively fugal treatment on the word Alleluja including frequent imitation between the soprano and trumpet.>>
1 Revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones (New York, Oxford University Press, 2005: 540f).
2 Oxford Composer Companion – J.S. Bach, edited by Malcolm Boyd (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999: 245f)
3 Source, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV219-D.htm, Cantata BWV 219, Siehe, es hat uberwunden der Lowe, BCML Discussions in the Week of March 10, 2013.
William Hoffman wrote (January 10, 2014):
Bach’s solo soprano Cantata 51 “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!” (Shout for joy to God in every land!), is a special work composed in the midst of harsh Trinity Time to celebrate God. It utilizes the triadic unison trumpet theme of sacred eschatology (last things) through an affirmative “Alleluia,” with a mature setting of text in popular contemporary Italian style that shows Bach’s “Collusions and Collusions” of word and music.
Julian Mincham’s recent (revised 2012) Cantata 51 commentary (see below) points out that this solo soprano “Cantata” has little connection to the two previous Cantatas for the 15th Sunday after Trinity, embryonic chorale cantata BWV 138, Warum betrübst du dich, mein Hertz? (Why trouble yourself, my heart, 1723, Cycle 1), and chorale cantata BWV 99, Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (What God does, that is done well, 1724, cycle 2). Cantata 51 has no references to the day’s lessons and has only a chorale aria melody (Mvt. 4) instead of a closing four-part chorale. It also has no opening chorus. Instead, it features a festive trumpet triadic unison opening and a festive, fugal “Alleluia” closing, seemingly inappropriate for this middle-late Trinity Time service. It’s musical form, however, as a solo cantata with obbligato instrument is typical of Bach’s heterogeneous yet incomplete cycle of 1726-27. Cantata 51 was composed c.1730 to fill a gap in the cycle when the 15th Sunday after Trinity in 1726 fell on the Feast of Michael and All-Angels, September 29, and Bach instead presented a festival work, Cantata BWV 19. Cantata 51 also could have done double duty when the festival fell on a Trinity Time Sunday, particularly when the feast again fell on Trinity Sunday +15 in 1737 (see BCML Discussion, http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BachCantatas/conversations/topics/37835 ).
The festive Cantata 51 trumpet and strings triadic unison opening and the fugal “Alleluia” (Alleluja. Hallelujah) closing both represent symbolic, as well as musical, spiritual, and textual relationships. It has these direct connections dating back to 1708 when Bach composed his festive Cantata 71, Gott is mein König (God is my King, Psalm 74:4), for the installation of the Mühlhausen Town Council.1 Cantata 71 opening tutti movement has similar parallels or concordances with the festive prelude and fugue chorus, Das Lamm, das Erwürget ist (The lamb which slaughtered us, Revelation 5:12), closing Cantata BWV 21, Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, Bach’s only other vocal work that he labeled “Per ogni tempo” (For any time), composed in Weimar for the 11thSunday after Trinity, 1714, but with evidence of earlier performances. This festive chorus, also with three trumpets and drums, may have been composed for one of the two succeeding Mühlhausen Town Council installations in 1709 or 1710.2 In addition the closing chorus, “Alleluia” with chorale “Gedank, Herr Jesu,” in festive Cantata 143, “Lobe den Herrn Meine Seele,” for New Year’s Day, also may have originated as for one of the Mühlhausen installations.3
“Alleluia” phrases occur throughout Lutheran chorales, especially in the 1707 eschatological Mühlhausen chorale Cantata BWV 4 for Easter Sunday, Christ lag in Todesbanden (Christ lies in death’s bondage). At the same time, Bach utilizes only one other “Alleliua” coloratura aria, in the tradition of Vivaldi and Mozart. This is in the closing of Francesco Conti’s “operatic” solo devotional cantata with strings, “Languet anima mea,” that Bach apparently transcribed in Weimar, added 2 oboes at Köthen, and a basso continuo organ part for church service in Leipzig in 1724 (see BCW Details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Conti-Languet-anima.htm ).
Of particular note is the triadic statement (theme, motto) in the trumpets on “Alleluia” in all four works (Cantatas 51, 71, and 21, and 143), especially “as the major triad was taken in the Lutheran tradition to symbolize the Trinity,” observes Eric Chaffe in his study of Cantata 21.4 While triadic statements are typical of trumpet playing, the “symmetrical ascent-descent figure with which the trumpets begin the movement [Cantata 21] has associations with God in majesty in other Bach cantatas, most notably Cantata 71,” says Chafe (Ibid.), whose book deals with theological topics and whose best-known work is Tonal Allegory in the Vocal Music of JSB.5
“The expansion of this idea [in Cantata 71] to an ascent-descent arpeggio for the third segment of the theme, on ‘Alleluia,’ and the rising fifth that follows it, introduce a further thematic association of a similar kind. This related theme appears in other of Bach’s works, often in pronounced eschatological contexts,” Chafe continued (Ibid.). Eschatology or the principal of the End Times of the Last Days/Things, is found most prominently in Bach’s vocal works for “the eschatologically-oriented feast days that come toward the end of the liturgical year,” notes Chafe (Ibid., xiv), particularly in Cantata BWV 70, Wachet, betet, betet, wachet (Watch, pray, pray, watch), for the 26th Sunday after Trinity (1723), and Cantata BWV 52, Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht! (23rd Sunday after Trinity, 1726). Cantata 52 (Ibid., FN 34: 252f) begins with the theme originally sounded in the horns from the first Brandenburg Concerto and is the work for the BCML Discussion next week, beginning January 12.
Bach musical settings of texts related to eschatology are found both in works of consolation and celebration. Other works with an eschatological context (Ibid.) include Cantata 127, Herr Jesu Christ, wah’r Mensch und Gott (Lord Jesus Christ, true man and God) for the pre-Lent Quinquagesima Sunday 1725; Cantata 130, Herr Gott, dich lob en alle wir, for the Feast of Michael and All Angels, 1724), Cantata 172, Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!, for Pentecost Sunday 1724; and the militant middle section, Der Held aus Juda seigt mit Macht (The Hero of Juda fights with might) in the alto aria Es ist vollbracht (It is finished) at Christ’s death in the St. John Passion. “The first appearance of this [eschatological] theme that is known to me is in the setting of Psalm 136 from Heinrich Schütz’s Psalmen Davids of 1619, where it is associated with God’s Majesty,” says Chafe (Ibid.).
“Bach’s vocal music allows us to appreciate his extraordinary achievement in expressing the essence of Lutheran eschatology – ideas about eternity that can never satisfactorily be put into words,” suggests John Eliot Gardiner in his new Bach musical biography, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven.6 “In the very special quality of consolation his music conveys, we have a sense of the past and present being bound together. This is a central tenet of the ‘eternal future’ envisioned by the seventeenth century Lutheran theologians represented in Bach’s library,” Gardner says (Ibid.). Although the principles of eschatological were not developed until after Bach’s time, the theme of “last things,” with the symbolic sounding of the trumpet, pervades Bach’s sacred music.7 The seeds of eschatological pursuits were sewn in the landmark Mühlhausen music found in Cantatas BWV 4, 21 71, and 143. All are based on biblical passages, primarily Psalms both penitential and God-praising, as well as chorales -- the textual essence of German proto cantatas, called concertos more motets Only one, Cantata 4, was composed for the church year, and became a legacy work in the pure-hymn style of later chorale cantatas.
Bach began producing all manner of both landmark and legacy (cyclic) church service pieces, now known as cantatas, in Weimar when the Italian operatic cantata style vocal music was established in two places with texts the Bach used mostly in solo cantatas. This form actually began in 1704 at the Meiningen court in the Rudolstadt texts of biblical-incipit choruses and poetic arias and free-verse recitatives – known as madrigalian verse-driven music. In 1726, during his Leipzig third cantata cycle, Bach presented 18 works of cousin Johann Ludwig Bach as well as half a dozen of his own mostly solo cantatas also set to Rudolstdadt texts between the first Sunday after Trinity, BWV 39 (6/23/26) and the 14th Sunday after Trinity, BWV 17 (9/22/26). In 1711, the Erdmann Neumeister-style cantata annual church cycle texts, alternating arias and recitatives, were first published in Gotha and set by Georg Philipp Telemann in Eisenach while a cycle also was presented at the Weißenfels Court. Georg Christian Lehms also produced an annual cycle in 1711 at the Darmstadt Court and Bach set 11 texts, mostly solo cantatas, beginning in 1713 with solo soprano Cantata 199 (BCML Discussion January 26) and Cantata 54 (BCML Discussion February 9) and nine during the third cycle in 1726, most in the Christmas-Epiphany time with two solo alto cantatas in Trinity Time (Trinity +6, BWV 170, and +12, BWV 35; BCML Discussions February 23 and 2, respectively).
Many of Bach’s intimate solo cantatas were composed for Trinity Time in its exposition of church teachings, primarily the Catechisms, with “a persistent thematic emphasis in the Lutheran lectionary on sin and sickness in mind and body,” observes Gardiner (Ibid.: 298f). Bach often sought to put an empathetic human face on his texts through music that increasingly showed the composers skills in adaptation beginning in Weimar with Cantata 199 and culminating in Leipzig with solo alto Cantata 169 (BCML Discussion February 16). Bach’s technique increasingly involved placing “text and its musical voice in a symbiotic relationship” producing a “collision at one extreme or collusion at another, or some combination of the two,” suggests Gardiner (Ibid.: 435).Through the emphasis on eschatology, Bach in his mature “motets and cantatas provided an alternative route to Christian edification and contemplation, asserting the bleak truths of their texts as well as providing palliatives that the texts often deny,” he emphasizes (Ibid.: 477).
Meanwhile Bach welcomed and exploited the opportunity during the harsh Trinity Time (omnes tempore), with its few festivals to reaffirm and celebrate his God in works such as Cantata 51, “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!” (Shout for joy to God in every land!), “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!” (Shout for joy to God in every land!),
As the singer the words of the poet, possibly Bach, says in the middle section of the opening aria:
Und wir wollen unserm Gott
and to our God we would
Gleichfalls itzt ein Opfer bringen,
now likewise bring an offering
Dass er uns in Kreuz und Not
since in affliction and distress
Allezeit hat beigestanden.
at all times he has stood by us.
[English translation Francis Browne, BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV51-Eng3.htm] .
1 “A description of the full ceremonies and service” is found in BCML Cantata 71 Discussions Part 4, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV71-D4.htm, under “Mühlhausen Beginnings.”
2 In BCML Cantata 71 Discussions Part 4 (Ibid.), under “Lost Mühlhausen Town Council Cantatas.”
3 The early history of Cantatas BWV 21 and 143, and possible association with Mühlhausen are documented in Richard Douglas (D. P.) Jones’ The Creative Development of JSB, Volume 1: 1695-1717 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007: 249, 99).
4 Part 3, with “Commentary on the individual movements” in Analyzing Bach Cantatas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000: 68).
5 (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1991).
6 Chapter 12, “Collisions and Collusions” (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013: 476f).
7. Other Bach scholars/theologians with a strong emphasis on eschatology include Robin A. Leaver’s Luther’s Liturgical Music (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdman’s Publishing, 2007), and Martin Petz’s Liturgy and Music in Leipzig’s Main Churches (Translated by Thomas Braatz © 2013, BCW Article, http://bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Leipzig-Churches-Petzold.pdf ) and William Hoffman, “Liturgy and Music in Leipzig,”
For further information on the Italian style and the Leipzig Collegium musicum, see the following recent BCML discussions: Cantatas 203, http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BachCantatas/conversations/topics/37812 and 209, http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BachCantatas/conversations/topics/37830.
The following are pertinent extracts from Commentary and recording Liner notes concerning Cantata 51:
1. An important Bach Cantatas Website (BCW) source is Julian Mincham’s on-line The Cantatas of JSB, A listener and student guide with introduction and musical descriptions of each movement with musical examples, 2010, with later revisions http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-53-bwv-51.htm :
This work is known to have been performed around 1730 but was probably composed some time earlier. Dürr (p 540) notes that the designation for the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity was added at a later time. Consequently, comparisons with the two earlier cantatas for this day are likely to be meaningless.
There is little that relates C 51 to the discursive and embryonic chorale cantata C 138 from the first cycle or the fully established chorale/fantasia, C 99, from the second. Even the traditional four-part closing chorale is not to be found in C 51; the chorale melody is sung by the soprano to the accompaniment of rousing strings, concluding with a series of Alleluias.
What the original function of this work may have been, therefore, remains conjectural. Whether, as Dürr and others have suggested it was composed for a female rather than a boy soprano and whether that person may have been Anna Magdalena Bach herself, continues to be a teasing puzzle. Certainly, the joyousness of the cantata precludes its use at a funeral, celebratory events such as a wedding or birthday being the most probable source of the original inspiration.
This remains one of Bach’s most enduringly popular cantatas as well as one of the more difficult to perform; it requires an exceptionally good soprano with a wide range, as well as a very able trumpeter. It must have sounded extraordinarily exhilarating to eighteenth century audiences and it has lost none of its vitality or animation today. Indeed, many Bach lovers are likely to know it even if their general familiarity with the cantata repertoire is scanty.
2. Claude Role Cantata Commentary (in French) includes Overview with Bibliography, Dating, Sources, Editions, Biblical Pericopes, Text, Generalization, and Scoring, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV51-Role.htm.
3. Christoph Wolff, Koopman-Erato (2001), http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Koopman-C19c[AM-3CD].pdf ; Recording Details, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Koopman-Rec2.htm#C19 (C-19). “The cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen”, BWV 51, was performed on 17 September 1730, the 15th Sunday after Trinity – the only surviving cantata of Bach for this liturgical date. However, the work probably originated somewhat earlier, for an unknown occasion not long before 1730. Moreover, the express indication “et in ogni tempo” (for any time) shows that Bach did not consider the work's liturgical function to be restricted to Trinity Sunday. Also, there is no close connection to the Sunday Gospel (Matthew 6:24-34, from the Sermon on the Mount). The author of the text is unknown; the concluding movement uses a strophe from Johann Gramann's Lied “Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren” (1548). The surviving original sources (score and performing parts) unfortunately offer no further clues as to the work's history, except the information that after 1730 at least one further performance took place. This extraordinarily attractive work requires two virtuoso soloists, soprano and trumpet, accompanied by strings and continuo. The sober chorale arrangement in movement 4 prepares for the impressive finale (movement 5) on the final word of the chorale strophe, ‘Alleluja.’”
4. Klaus Hofmann, Suzuki-BIS (2005), http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Suzuki-C30c[BIS-SACD1471].pdf ; Recording Details, BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Suzuki-Rec2.htm#C30. <<The cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! is a highly unusual work in Bach's oeuvre. It is exquisitely scored for solo soprano and solo trumpet (with extremely demanding writing for both) and exhibits overflowing jubilation and radiant beauty. Also conspicuous - although readily understandable - is the popularity that this cantata has long enjoyed both in church and in the concert hall: only rarely are the musical and verbal meanings of Bach's works communicated so readily as here.
For Bach scholars, however, the work poses some problems. According to an analysis of the paper and handwriting, the original score and parts must date from around 1730, and a probable performance occasion is the l5th Sunday after Trinity (l7th September of that year). It is believed, however, that Bach did not write the piece for the Leipzig service on that day but for a wholly different occasion: the scoring for solo trumpet, according to the customs of the baroque era, was associated more with special festivities in church, public or court circles than with a regular Sunday service during Trinity. Moreover, the demands of the vocal part go beyond anything that Bach asked of his soprano solos - which in Leipzig could only be sung by boy sopranos - and suggest instead that the part was intended for a professional female singer or castrato and thus indicate different performance conditions, probably at court. Suspicions are also aroused by other aspects. The title page of the autograph score is marked 'Dominica 15 post Trinitatis et In ogni Tempo' ('for the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity and for every time'). Such a twofold yet somewhat vague liturgical reference is unusual for Bach, and would appear to be a stopgap solution, and on closer inspection the reference to the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity proves to be a later addition. Moreover, the text of the cantata does not refer to the Bible readings for that Sunday not even, contrary to all precedent, to the Gospel passage, Matthew 6,24-34 (from the Sermon on the Mount, exhorting people not to concern themselves pettily with what to eat or wear, or to worry about the future, and the conclusion: 'seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you'). More recent considerations have suggested that Bach might have written the piece for the Weißenfels court, where this type of cantata for solo voice and trumpet enjoyed particular popularity, especially on the birthdays of Duke Christian of Sachsen-Weißenfels and his wife. For the Duke's birthdays in 1713 and 1725 respectively Bach had composed his Jagdkantate (Hunting Cantata), BWV208, and Schäferkantate (Shepherd Cantata, BWV249a. He was also invited to the Duke's birthday celebrations in 1729 [repeat of BWV 208], and he returned from this journey with the title of 'Hofkapellmeister of Sachsen-Weißenfels'. A link between these eventand the cantata is therefore highly probable.
The text of the cantata was also well suited to such a context. The words (the name of the librettist is unfortunately unknown) tell in general and easily understandable terms of the praise of God and, with the words 'Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen' ('Praise God in all lands'), reflects upon God's wonders, good deeds, goodness and paternal faith, culminating in a song of praise from the well-known chorale verse 'Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren' (Glory, praise and honour'), followed by an 'Alleluia'.
Bach's cantata is church music in the spirit of the Italian instrumental concerto. This role model - which for Bach and his contemporaries was especially associated with the name of Vivaldi - characterizes the thematic invention and form, particularly in the outer movements. The opening aria is formally just like a concerto movement, with tutti and solo passages; it begins with a ritornello that would have been equally at home in one of the Brandenburg Concertos. The beginning of the theme is especially characteristic with its triad motifs, evidently written with the trumpet in mind. In true Bach concerto style, the theme starts in the orchestra and is constantly worked into the solo soprano line.
The three middle movements correspond more closely to the formal models that we recognize from Bach's church music. The second movement, 'Wir beten zu dem Tempel an' ('We pray at the temple') is a festive stringaccompagnato; the second part is an arioso in which Bach is inspired by the words 'von seinen Wundern lallen' ('chatter about His wonders') to write a rhythmically complex coloratura. In the third movement, 'Höchster, mache deine Güte ferner alle Morgen neu' ('Most high, make thy goodness every morning anew') a cantabile solo part unfolds freely above an evenly flowingbasso quasi ostinato. In the fourth movement we hear the chorale verse 'Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren' ('Glory, praise and honour'), combined with the traditional hymn melody which is embedded as a cantus firmus in a thematically independent setting for two violins and basso continuo'.
The chorale proceeds immediately to the concluding 'Alleluia'. Here, as at the beginning, the concept of the instrumental concerto is to the fore. The movement is very much like a concerto finale and starts (as was popular in such movements) not in the orchestra but with entries from the soloists in turn: first the soprano, then the trumpet - only then does the orchestra join in. Like a real concerto finale, this movement is a fine display piece for the two soloists.>>
Jyrki Wahlstedt wrote (January 10, 2014):
Cantata 51: in a concert soon
It was really nice to read a comprehensive analysis of this wonderful cantata. This cantata will be in Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Feb 7th. The conductor is Pablo Heras-Casado, soloist Mojca Erdmann. It is combined with Mahler's 4th symphony. They might even use some period instruments, e.g. trumpets, being so different from the modern ones. I’m looking forward to listening to both works.
Douglas Cowling wrote (January 11, 2014):
Willliam Hoffman wrote:
< Bach’s rare general designation suggests music primarily for festive sacred services. >
The general designation would be commonplace for Bach in other repertoire. The Bodenschatz collection of motets which Bach's choirs sang from every Sunday has several comparable designations: "Alle hohe Festen" (All high feasts) is used to indicate several motets of a similar "rejoicing" affect, and "Feasts of Martyrs" provides a "Common" for a large number of motets.
Douglas Cowling wrote (January 11, 2014):
Willliam Hoffman wrote:
< Instead, it features a festive trumpet triadic unison opening and a festive, fugal “Alleluia” closing, seemingly inappropriate for this middle-late Trinity Time service. >
I've always thought that "Jauchzet Gott" and Mozart's "Exultate Jubilate" have many similarities — the Alleluia "bomba" in both are obvious examples. Are they both influenced by an Italian tradition of solo offertory motets? Could Bach have heard examples in Dresden? Or in the Chapel Royal in Leipzig? Could castrati have sung in the Leipzig chapel?
Are there any other examples of a soprano having a high C in another work of Bach?
Aryeh Oron wrote (January 13, 2014):
Cantata BWV 51 - Updated Discography
The discography pages of Cantata BWV 51 “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!” for solo soprano, trumpet, string & continuo on the BCW has been revised and updated. That includes:
- Adding many details, cover photos, etc to existing recordings.
- 37 (!) new recording, most of them from YouTube, making it a total of 138 complete (or near complete) recordings.
- Over 120 listening/watching options to recordings directly from the discography pages, just below the recording details.
- Adding over 50 bio pages of “new” performers of this cantata
- Adding over 20 performer discography pages.
Since in many cases the data presented in YouTube is only partial, I had to do a deep search over the web to complete the missing details. Also, finding all the segments of a specific recording on YouTube is not easy. However, you have now all the info of each recording presented in one place together with options to watching/listening to many of them..
As usual with all the discographies on the BCW, all the issues of the same recording are presented together. The discography pages are inter-linked. You can start, for example, at the last decade page (2010-2019) and go backward to pages of previous decades:
I believe this is the most comprehensive discography of this popular cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 51 I have missed or want to correct/add details of a recording already presented on the BCW, please do not hesitate to inform me.
I would be happy to get your input regarding this cantata, for example:
- If you are a listener: your opinion of the relative merits of the recordings available on the page above an/or other recordings at your disposal.
- If you have performed this cantata as a singer, player or conductor: your perception from preparing the cantata for performance and performing it.
NB: Currently BWV 51 is the most recorded of Bach church cantatas. However a few week ahead we shall discuss Cantata BWV 82 which can be sung by all 4 solo voices. I am afraid to think about the amount of work involving in updating the discography of that cantata “Ich habe genug“.
William Hoffman wrote (January 15, 2014):
[To Aryeh OAron] Aryeh: Thank you so much. Great job. I'm putting out a brief comment on Cantata 51 recordings. I noticed in the BCW home page at the bottom no new videos since Cantata 209.
Mostly off-topic… therefore not completely
Thomas Savary wrote (December 1, 2015):
The Norwegian boy soprano Aksel Rykkvin is about to record a baroque recital with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for the British Label Signum Classics. There will be works by Vivaldi, Handel… and Bach — the reason why my message is not completely off-topic.
He will sing the first aria from BWV 51: “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” as well as “Bist du bei mir” (actually by Stölzel, as we all know).
Although I would have prefered a complete Bach recording (at least the whole cantata BWV 51), I have decided to support this project — Mr. Rykkvin has launched a Kickstarter campaign, because Signum Classics will not pay everything. He needs 250,000 NOK (about 27,000 EUR or 29,000 USD) for this production.
It’s rare to have such good boy sopranos in Bach or baroque music.
Here are a few links to Aksel Rykkvin in concert — there are several flaws here and there, but he has a very sound vocal technique and splendid vocal colours.
He has much improved in the virtuoso works like Mozart’s Exsultate, which is very promising for “Jauchzet, Gott, in allen Landen”.
I know three recordings of this cantata using boy sopranos: the excellent but poorly recorded Allan Bergius and the fantastic Clint van der Linde (both on modern instruments) and the weak Augstin Serraz on original instruments. As far as I know, this would be the first interesting HIP recording of the first air from BWV 51 featuring a good boy soprano.
Even if this is just one work by Bach, I thought it was worth informing the list about this recital. I really hope that they will succeed to fund the project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/112214953/aksel-rykkvin-and-the-oae-cd-recording
Maybe some of you will feel like helping.
Thomas Savary wrote (December 2, 2015):
Boy soprano in Bach’s music — not so off-topic after all
Mr. Rykkvin has just sent me the planned track-listing for his son’s recital with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. I am happy to see that there will actually be more works by Johann Sebastian Bach (or formerly attributed to him) than I thought:
– Angenehmer Zephyrus (from BWV 205)
– Mein gläubiges Herze (from BWV 68)
– Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen (from BWV 51)
– Ich folge dir gleichfalls (from BWV 245)
– O Jesulein süß (BWV 493, unknown composer)
– Bist du bei mir (BWV 508, Stölzel)
Works by G. F. Handel:
– Chi m’insegna il caro padre (from Alcina)
– Barbara (from Alcina)
– Laschia chio pianga (from Rinaldo)
– Oh had I Jubal’s lyre (from Joshua)
– Let the bright Seraphim (from Samson)
– Happy, Iphis, shalt thou live (from Jeptha)
– Happy, oh thrice happy we (from Joshua)
Works by other composers:
– Sound the Trumpet (Purcell)
– Domine Deus (from Vivaldi’s RV 589 Gloria)
Although this programme might change a bit, Mr. Rykkvin told me, it gives a general idea.
Since this project could be the rare opportunity to hear a really good boy soprano in Bach’s music, I think it could interest some members of our mailing list.
Douglas Cowling wrote (December 2, 2015):
[To Thomas Savary] Oddly, they have chosen music mostly not sung by boys ...
Aryeh Oron wrote (December 2, 2015):
[To Thomas Savary] I am aware of one recording of Cantata BWV 51 by a boy soprano.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV51-Rec6.htm 
The singer, Clint van der Linde, has since become a counter-tenor.
Cantata BWV 51: Details
Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10
Article: The Need for Bach: A discussion of his life, Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen, BWV 51 and Ich habe genung, BWV 82 [S. Burton]