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Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

Cantata BWV 51
Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!
Discussions - Part 9

Continue from Part 8

Discussions in the Week of February 26, 2012 (3rd round)

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 26, 2012):
Introduction to BWV 51 -- Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue Trinity season cantatas with BWV 51, the last of three works for the 15th Sunday after Trinity. Note that BWV 100 is also sometimes designated as an additional cantata for Trinity 15. We will discuss it next year with works for special occasions.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV51.htm

The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham] is especially recommended as an introduction to listening, music examples included.

The BWV 51 page has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner, Koopman (notes by Christoph Wolff), Suzuki, and Leusink CD issues, via link beneath the cover photo.

The chorale text and melody are accessible via links at the BWV 51 page. Francis Browne has recently added new commentary on the cantata texts to his interlinear translations, linked via [English 3]. We can expect these to continue, not necessarily weekly. Douglas Cowling and William Hoffman are also posting relevant to chorales and other music for the Lutheran Church Year, accessible via LCY pages.

I do not always take the time to check all links before posting. Special thanks to the folks who provide timely corrections.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 27, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV51.htm >
There is a mountain of previous discussion. A few points which catch my eye immmediately:

The suggestion that Julianne Baird with Joshua Rifkin had her high C engineered, rather than sung. You can compare her other performance with Jeffrey Thomas (American Bach Soloists), and form your own opinion.

Another comparison for the USA approach is soprano Dominique Labelle with Dan Stepner (Music from Aston Magna). I believe the continuo organ is the chapel organ at Slosberg Recital Hall, a bit more Bachish than most of what we hear on recordings. The voice perhaps leans toward the operatic, but the overall balance strikes me as appropriately baroque (as if I was there!)

Plenty of other recordings if any interest in discussion.

Charles Francis wrote (February 27, 2012):
BWV 51 - Some Performances

While going through various web performances, these caught my ear:

A beautifully sung aria by Gemma Bertagnolli (note, her cute accent):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4Su4tRlh14

Violin transcription with Carlos Jaime (plausibly hinting at a long lost original):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtPCDL41Dyk

Effortless trumpet playing by Gabriele Cassone:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgYFEu04ZkA

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 27, 2012):
Cantata BWV 51 - Revised & Updated Discography

The discography of Cantata BWV 51 on the BCW has been revised & updated.
With 80 complete recordings this is the second most recorded Bach cantata after BWV 82.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV51.htm
Please also notice the addition of the liner notes to the 1st CD edition of G. Leonhardt's recording of this cantata, as well as the exact recording dates & location of this recording.
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV51-Rec4.htm [25].

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 27, 2012):
Introduction to BWV 51 -- Bach & Mozart

Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Introduction to BWV 51 -- Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! >
One of my formative experiences as a grade-school student was buying Teresa Stich-Randall's performance of Cantata 51 --such independence of taste and purpose at such a tender age! The performance stands up remarkably well. Her light agile voice was mocked by many who preferred a heavier "operatic " voice, but she still feels "right" for Bach:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsSTNcckfoo

A couple of questions about the cantata ...

Thomas Braatz's Provenance page should be, as always, required reading. Evidently, there is a note in CPE Bach's hand that the scoring is for 2 trumpets and timpani. Were these CPE's additions? (as WF added brass to BWV 80). Do the parts survive?

What is the present state of scholarly opinion on the origin of the cantata?
Does Stauffer or others speculate whether it may have been originally for a castrato in Dresden? I have always been struck by the similarity of the cantata with Mozart's "Exultate Jubilate".
http://dme.mozarteum.at/DME/nma/nma_cont.php?vsep=20&gen=edition&l=1&p1=157
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC7dyaO8z0Y

He wrote it in 1773 in Milan for the castrato Venanzio Rauzzini.

The showcase coloratura of both works is an obvious similarity, but the structure of the motet mirrors the cantata as well, especially the "Alleluia" coda.

Aria: Exsultate, jubilate
Recitative: Fulget amica dies
Aria: Tu virginum corona
Aria: Alleluia

Is there any scholarly speculation that there may have been an earlier version of the cantata which didn't have the concluding chorale but rather had an "ex abrupto" Alleluia coda like the Mozart?

The Italian shape of the work might suggest that it was meant as a showstopper in Dresden. Perhaps even originally with a metrical Latin text?

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 27, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< One of my formative experiences as a grade-school student was buying Teresa Stich-Randall's performance of Cantata 51 --such independence of taste and purpose at such a tender age! The performance stands up remarkably well. Her light agile voice was mocked by many who preferred a heavier "operatic " voice, but she still feels "right" for Bach: >
If that's the one that was on Nonesuch Records, it was my first expsure to Bach (along with the Magnificat).

Wonderfully fresh and vibrant recording.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 27, 2012):
There is a video of the unusual version of this cantata with the added trumpets and timpani:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlwrTXbvYVQ

I've never heard this before, it's interesting to be sure. But it's a wee bit fast for my tastes.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 27, 2012):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I've never heard this before, it's interesting to be sure. But it's a wee bit fast for my tastes. >
Fascinating example for a study for contemporary taste. Is two trumpet and timpani scoring common amongst Bach's contemporaries?

But that tempo! It sounds like she's being pursued by a swarm of bees.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 27, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Fascinating example for a study for contemporary taste. Is two trumpet and timpani scoring common amongst Bach's contemporaries? >
All of Graupner's cantata with trumpets are for only 2, but he would have up to six to seven timpani.
Stölzel seems to have two trumpets with or without timpani it would seem.
Telemann required three trumpets with timpani if he was being opulent.

A friend has just finished a commissioned edition of a Telemann Easter cantata for a church performance, that has an obbligato glockenspiel part. It's quite lovely.

Evan Cortenwrote (February 27, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Thomas Braatz's Provenance page should be, as always, required reading. Evidently, there is a note in CPE Bach's hand that the scoring is for 2 trumpets and timpani. Were these CPE's additions? (as WF added brass to BWV 80). Do the parts survive? >
For those interested, the title page can be seen online, at:
http://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalSource_source_00000971

The addition in CPEB's hand is on the far right side, where it says "2 Trombe | e | Tamb[uri]". This is the title wrapper for the score, however, and the score makes no mention of any parts other than those listed in Bach's hand. 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 1: http://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalSource_source_00002371
St 49 Fasz 2: http://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalSource_source_00002372

< What is the present state of scholarly opinion on the origin of the cantata?
Does Stauffer or others speculate whether it may have been originally for a castrato in
Dresden? >
I don't think there are any definite answers on this question...
However, there's a fascinating article by Robert Marshall, entitled "Bach the Progressive: Observations on His Later Works," Musical Quarterly 62/3 (Jul 1976): 313-57. (Reprinted in his collection of essays: The music of JSB: the sources, the style, the significance [New York, 1989].) In this article, he speculates both on the compositional origins, including suggesting that it may have been composed for a castrato in Dresden, saying: "Perhaps, more specifically, the soprano part was intended for the castrato Giovanni Bindi" (p. 325)

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 28, 2012):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< "Bach the Progressive: Observations on His Later Works," Musical Quarterly 62/3 (Jul 1976): 313-57. (Reprinted in his collection of essays: The music of JSB: the sources, the style, the significance [New York, 1989].) In this article, he speculates both on the compositional origins, including suggesting that it may have been composed for a castrato in Dresden, >
"Viv'il stiletto!" (Long live the knife!)

Does he speculate whether there may have been a Latin original?

Although there appears to have been a ban on castrati singing in Lutheran churches, Bach would certainly have heard them in the Italian-dominated Catholic court chapel in Dresden.

It may surprise some that boys were not part of the Sistine Chapel Choir until 1903. All of the great works of the Renaissance including Palestrina were sung by adult men. Falsettists were the norm in the Renaissance but castrati began to be used in the early 17th century.

Boys were part of other choirs in the 16th century, but it was only in 1903 that the last castrato died in the Sistine choir, and the choir reconstituted with a choir school and admitted boys.

Alessandro Moreschi has been called "The Last Castrato" and his recordings are a fascinating echo of another age. Alas, his age and the intrusion of 19th century singing styles give us only the barest indication of what artists like Farinelli sounded like.

Biography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alessandro_Moreschi
recording: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv-S3uoeTXg

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 28, 2012):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Article by Robert Marshall, entitled "Bach the Progressive: Observations on His Later Works," MusicalQuarterly 62/3 (Jul 1976): 313-57. (Reprinted in his collection of essays: The music of JSB: the sources, the style, the significance [New York, 1989].) In this article, he speculates both on the compositional origins, including suggesting that it may have been composed for a castrato in Dresden, saying: "Perhaps, more specifically, the soprano part was intended for the castrato Giovanni Bindi" (p. 325) >
Marshall builds a fairly plausible case that the cantata was written for a group of singers trained in Italy and brought especially to Dresden to serve the court.

Marshall is more speculative on the question of who sang the work in Leipzig:

"But the Bindi hypothesis is rather more plausible: the year fits the evidence somewhat better; the sex of the singer suits the circum- stances much better (since it is unlikely that women sang in a Leipzig Protestant church service and the cantata remains a Lutheran work, which, it must be assumed, was to be sung at some time in one of the Leipzig churches); and Bindi's range was perfect, presumably, for the vocal requirements of the composition. On the other hand, well-trained falsettists at the time were reportedly able to sing in the soprano range; and the possibility cannot be eliminated that one of the advanced students of the Thomasschule or the university - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach has been suggested - may have been equipped for the part. But if there had been a singer of this caliber regularly available in Leipzig at the time, then one wonders why Bach evidently wrote no further music of this nature for him." (p.326)

Is there any evidence that there were trained sopranists able to sing this kind of music in Bach's choir at St. Thomas? Even modern specialists would be hard pressed in this cantata, although there are some remarkable voices out there today:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4WgsvT91U0&feature=related

Bach probably had boys who could sing the cantata:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTNEm9ijSTs

There is one place in Leipzig where a Catholic castrato could have conceivably sung: the Catholic Chapel Royal maintained by the King in the Pleissenburg Castle for use when the Royal Family was in town. Do we know anything about the music of this Catholic dedoubt in the midst of Lutheran Leipzig?

George Bromley wrote (February 28, 2012):
Kim Patrick Clow] wrote:
< If that's the one that was on Nonesuch Records, it was my first expsure to Bach (along with the Magnificat).
Wonderfully fresh and vibrant recording. >
Yes I love her voice and well remember her recording of the Mozart Requiem, where can I get a copy of it?

Claudio Di Veroli wrote (February 28, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:(on the recording by Musica Antiqua Köln)
< . . . it's a wee bit fast for my tastes.
. . . that tempo! It sounds like she's being pursued by a swarm of bees. >
Oh very well put Doug thanks!

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 28, 2012):
BWV 51 W F Bach's trumpet and timpani parts


Thomas Braatz contributed a PDF with the additional trumpet and timpani parts by W F Bach as included in the Appendix to the NBA KB I/22.
See: http://bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV51WFBach.pdf
I remind you that this score sample, as all other score samples on the BCW, is for study purposes only.

At the main page of Cantata BWV 51, I have also added a link to the Autograph Score (Facsimile) on Bach Digital Website.
See: http://bach-cantatas.com/BWV51.htm [Scoring]

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 28, 2012):
Claudio Di Veroli wrote:
< Oh very well put Doug thanks! >

I thought the tempo was a bit quick in the Dan Stepner recording I mentioned, as well. I will try to pursue the comparisons.

I especially agree with Julian Michams description of the Alleluia as Beethovian, although perhaps via Mozart, as Doug suggests.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 1, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< There is a mountain of previous discussion. A few points which catch my eye immmediately:
The suggestion that Julianne Baird with Joshua Rifkin had her high C engineered, rather than sung. You can compare her other performance with Jeffrey Thomas (American Bach Soloists), and form your own opinion.
I have a slight preference for the Thomas version, including clarity of the high C! Both are fine, I do not grasp the basis for suggesting engineering high-jninks.
Another comparison for the USA approach is soprano Dominique Labelle with Dan Stepner (Music from Aston Magna). I believe the continuo organ is the chapel organ at Slosberg Recital Hall, a bit more Bachish than most of what we hear on recordings. The voice perhaps leans toward the operatic, but the overall balance strikes me as appropriately baroque (as if I was there! >
EM (more)

Notes by Steven Ledbetter to the Stepner/Aston Magna CD, copyright 2004, Centaur Records

<Of Bachs 200 surviving sacred cantatas, [BWV 51] is somewhat anomalous. Its flamboyant style has no counterpart elsewhere in his music. The combination of soprano, trumpet, and strings was familiar in Italy, where an operatically ornate style was the norm. Most likely he composed the work for the musically brilliant court of Dresden, a Catholic court with strongly entrenched Italianate tone to its music. He probably conceived the virtuosic soprano part for the castrato Giovanni Bindi, one of the stars in Dresden, whose range reached the high C that Bach writes in this work.

Cantata BWV 51 is among the most difficult of all vocal showpieces for soprano, each movement making its own technical and expressive demands. The opening aria is a showpiece is a showpiece of festive coloratura calling for extremes of flexibility, speed, and range. The middle section of the aria offers opportunities for contrasting emotions at the reference to Kreuz and Not. The recitative begins in a straightforward way until the word lallen (babble) brings another ecstatic outburst from the singer. The ensuing aria eschews the fireworks of the opening, but it nonetheless makes other in its sustained legato lines.

For the final chorale, Bach gives the tune to the soloist, around whose voice the strings play a three part invention. At its end, he adds a unique touch, designed to close the cantata with the sort of brilliant virtuosity that opened it -- a brilliant Alleluia for the soprano in competition with the trumpet, in a festive spirit.> (end quote)

Dan Stepner and his crew manage that three part invention in the chorale better than anyone, to my ears, a highlight of this very fine recording.

William Hoffman wrote (March 1, 2012):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Article by Robert Marshall, entitled "Bach the Progressive: Observations on His Later Works," Musical Quarterly 62/3 (Jul 1976): 313-57. (Reprinted in his collection of essays: The music of JSB: the sources, the style, the significance [New York, 1989].) >
Update: Marshall's essay and Postscript are found in his essays collection, pp. 23-58. These also are found (without the plates and illustrations) in the new <Bach> Baroque Composers Series collection of essays, edited by Yo Tomita (Ashgate: Burington VT, 2011), with Frederick Neumann's 1985 response to Marshall's 1976 original, "Bach: Progressive or Conservative and the Authorship of the Goldberg Aria" (<Musical Quarterly> 71:281-94). It's fascinating reading, as well as two books on Bach and the dance: Little & Jenne "Dance and the Music of JSB" revised edition with vocal music, with BCW Thomas Braatz article, "Dance Movements in Bach's Vocal Work,"
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Dance.htm
and the definitive Finke-Hecklinger <Tanzcharaktere in Vokalmusik JSB> (Tuebinger Bach-Studies: Hohner Verlag Trossingen 1970, Appendix).

Also there is Gerhard Herz' pioneering "Lombard Rhythm in the Domine Deus of Bach's B-Minior Mass" (1974: 221) and "Lombard Rhythm in Bach's Vocal Music" (1978: 233) in <Essays on JSB> (Ann Arbor MI: UMI Research, 1985).

There also are fascinating articles on Bach's "Coffee" and "Peasant" cantatas and their progressive elements, especially dance, the horn, and singspiel (I can't find the sources). IMHO Bach's Coethen serenades also are earlier examples of the progressive direction. The best examples of the gallant and Empfindsamkeit (sensitive) styles are found in his sons' work, possibly suggesting Willie Wordsworth's concept that "The Child is father of the Man."

Bruce Simonson wrote (March 3, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Dan Stepner and his crew manage that three part invention in the chorale better than anyone, to my ears, a highlight of this very fine recording. >
When we performed this cantata a few years back, I was struck by what Ed refers to as the "three part invention in the chorale". The viola is completely left out of the game for this part of the cantata. Benched, so to speak, for 125 measures. (Notice that the viola part requires some muscle in the opening movement (can't be a "soft tosser"), so it isn't likely that Bach was concerned about the abilities of his violist(s))*.

Does anyone think it odd (... interesting?, ... important?) that this is essentially a three-voice fugue, when it (easily**) could have been for four voices?

* Sorry about the baseball metaphors; I just finished reading Moneyball.
** "easily", assuming you're Bach, I reckon.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (March 3, 2012):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< Does anyone think it odd (... interesting?, ... important?) that this is essentially a three-voice fugue, when it (easily*) could have been for four voices? >
The source indicates it was being composed on the spot (based on the number of corrections and strikeouts*), and the "coda" was already pretty long. Faced with a deadline, maybe a three voice fugue was what he was able to generate for the deadlines. I see it with Graupner a bit-- same situation where he could have easily done a four part fugue and only used three voices.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 3, 2012):
The Bach Fugue

Bruce Simonson wrote:
< Does anyone think it odd (... interesting?, ... important?) that this is essentially a three-voice fugue, when it (easily*) could have been for four voices? >
I think Bach was blessed or condemned to see life as an infinite horizon of contrapuntal possibilities. The "Musical Offering" still gives me, a mere mortal, a headache. I always get a chill down my spine when Bach personally steps into the fugue of the universe by introducing the B-A-C-H subject in the final moments of the "Art of the Fugue." Did any other composer ever identify himself so closely with a musical form? Perhaps Beethoven and sonata form come closest.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 4, 2012):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< When we performed this cantata a few years back, I was struck by what Ed refers to as the "three part invention in the chorale". The viola is completely left out of the game for this part of the cantata. Benched, so to speak, for 125 measures. >
Full credit to Steven Ledbetter, whose concise liner notes I quoted in referring to the three part invention

BS:
< Does anyone think it odd (... interesting?, ... important?) that this is essentially a three-voice fugue, when it (easily*) could have been for four voices? >
EM:
I think these details are important and intersting points of discussion. Thanks for joining in with the details re viola lines, and specific performance experience!

Although we are near the end of the week specifically designated for BWV 51, it is certainly on-topic to continue comments re this popular, anwidely recorded work, at any time.

Brian McCreath aired the version by Emmanuelle Naim/Natalie Dessay(sop) (sp. from memory!) on WGBH/FM (available on-line) to begin Bach Birthday Month, on March 1. Take that, St. Patrick!

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 4, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I think Bach was blessed or condemned to see life as an infinite horizon of contrapuntal possibilities. >
Ah, if only the infinite were a possibility! Or perhaps not.

DC:
< Did any other composer ever identify himself so closely with a musical form? Perhaps Beethoven and sonata form come closest. >
EM:
Beethoven was haunted/inspired by the fugue (and Bach?!) as well: see late works, Grosse Fugue (Op. 133?) and Hammerkalvier Sonata (Op. 106)

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 4, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
<< I think Bach was blessed or condemned to see life as an infinite horizon of contrapuntal possibilities. >>
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Ah, if only the infinite were a possibility! Or perhaps not. >
I swear, when I wrote that, I did not realize that coming up next is:

Introduction to BWV 161 -- Komm, du süße Todesstunde (Come, sweet hour of death)

Mustafa Yaksel wrote (March 4, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Beethoven was haunted/inspired by the fugue (and Bach?!) as well: see late works, Grosse Fugue (Op. 133?) and Hammerkalvier Sonata (Op. 106) >
In addition to Gross Fugue, Erocia, as well,has a fugue

 

Continue on Part 10

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]

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