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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 59
Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten [I]
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of May 7, 2006

Eric Bergerud wrote (May 7, 2006):
Introduction BWV 59

For the next couple of months I'll be writing the introduction for the weekly cantata selected for list discussion. (Much thanks to Doug Cowling for his wonderful work the past ten weeks.) Aryeh suggested that I explain how I became a small part of Kantatenwelt. The short answer is that my turn-table broke. I've been a serious classical music fan (fan, not musician) since the late 60's and developed a large vinyl collection. It was, however, overwhelmingly instrumental. Although I tried and failed to become a Wagnerian in the early 70's, I only had a three or four operas. I had a lot of Bach, but only the XO (BWV 248), Mass in B (BWV 232) and Mauersberger's BWV 80/BWV 140 among choral works. The problem, simply put, was that I still hadn't understood the vocal idiom employed in classical music. To my ears, Joan Baez was a great vocalist, not Beverly Sills. Luckily my son gave me a spare Sony portable CD player and I slowly began to rebuild my collection on CD. For reasons that I can't possibly explain, my ear had changed. I bought Cecilia Bartoli recitals and found them lovely. I tried Bel Canto, Mozart & Gluck operas and liked them a lot. And then I replaced BWV 80 with Herreweghe's version and heard beautiful things that I hadn't before. After that, the dam was breached (smashed is more like it) and I could not listen to enough of Bach's choral works. This all happened about eight back, but there's no end in sight. I might add that although I get paid for teaching and writing history, I've been a historian much longer than a cantata fan. My interest in the past, however, has certainly influenced my strong preference for period performances. Anyway, that's my excuse.

Introduction - BWV 59: Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten

I've been told that "good things come in small packages." That could well be true if we're considering emeralds or Faberge eggs. The cliché may not work for cantatas however. BWV 59 weighs in at about 10 minutes - a slight work measured in kilobytes. Simon Crouch gives it the back of his hand. The nine versions in print during the first set of discussions has shrunk to five and one requires buying a Koopman volume [6]: not exactly "Habe genug". The experts seem mostly interested in when the work was first performed and one them, Gillies Whittaker takes Bach to task for using a soprano instead of a tenor and faults Bach for ending with an aria. And during the 2002 list discussion the work elicited only three posts in addition to the introduction - no flame wars over BWV 59. So, ladies and gentlemen, did Bach write a clunker? (He had a good excuse after all. This was the first Leipzig cycle and Pentecost required three cantatas in as many days. Lots of work for everyone concerned.)

Maybe I'm not the one to ask because I haven't heard a cantata that I didn't like. That said, I consider BWV 59 very agreeable and wish I had more versions of it. I find the duet and aria lovely and the chorus very moving. One thing striking is the absence of a movement highlighting an alto. So this is a good work for soprano and bass fans. To my ears it vindicates the Harnoncourt approach [3]. Peter Jelosits, his boy soprano, teams up beautifully with van der Meer. Maybe today's opinion finds fault somewhere but it certainly proves to me that, at bare minimum, someone else should give it a try with a boy soprano. And, with without Sytse Bulwalda to kick around, this work shows Leusink's forces at advantage [8]. I am a big Ruth Holton fan and thinks she sounds great here. (Judge for yourself: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Mus/BWV59-Mus.htm )

I do hope to hear the opinions of list members on this work. It would be very nice for a Suzuki fan to post as the BCJ version [10] was not out during the first discussion.

BWV 59 Details:

BWV 59: Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten ('Who loves me will keep my word')
Whitsunday (First Day of Pentecost)
First Performance: Leipzig May 28, 1724 (Paired with BWV 172.) Perhaps played May 16, 1723 at Leipzig University Chapel.
Readings: Epistle: Acts 2: 1-13; Gospel: John 14: 23-31
Libretto: Erdmann Neumeister, Mvts 2, 4.
BWV 59
Provenance: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV59-Ref.htm
BWV 59 Discussions from 2002: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV59-D.htm
German - English text: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV59-Eng3.htm

Excerpt by Dingeman van Wijnen from liner notes accompanying Leusink performance [8]:

BWV 59 (16 May 1723) is a short Pentecost cantata, the music of which was later reused by Bach for BWV 74. Here the text is sung by soprano and bass in a fine duet. The musical figure on the words "Wer mich liebet" permeates the whole movement: only towards the end do the two voices sing it together. An accompanied soprano recitative is followed by a chorale with a lot of movement and speed. The cantata ends with a bass aria in which the violin plays an attractive melody which is taken over by the bass.

Structure and Timing

1. Aria (Duetto) [Soprano, Bass] (3'10 - Leusink)
Tromba I/II, Timpani, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

2. Recitative [Soprano] (1'49 - Leusink)
Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

3. Chorale [S, A, T, B] (1'28 - Leusink)
Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

4. Aria [Bass] (3'17 Leusink)
Violino solo, Continuo

Aphilla the Hun wrote (May 8, 2006):
Introduction BWV 59 - Gardiner recordings

[To Eric Bergerud] This is a nice summary, thanks, and thanks for your background which is also interesting.

I also arrived late to the Bach Cantatas, in fact discovering for myself their beauty only this year. (I posted a similar query to a classical recording newsgroup a week or so ago and got what seemed to me a strange variety of responses, but here goes again). So having found out about these treasures I subscribed to the Gardiner series
that he is releasing on the Soli Deo Gloria label. I contacted them via email but received limited response. I was wondering how regularly and then how frequently these are coming out? I also understand they are releasing works that they already released on DG/Archiv, but maybe not the same performances. Does anyone here have details about this?

I'm attaching it to the thread on BWV 59 because the latest package I received is 4 cantatas for Whitsun (BWV 172, BWV 59, BWV 74, and BWV 34) [9] and one of the DG/Archiv discs [7] has the same set.

Thanks,

Eric Bergerud wrote (May 8, 2006):
[To Aphilla the Hun] Archive produced about 12 cantata CDs under Gardiner. Except for a wonderful pairing of BWV 140/BWV 147 with Ruth Holton at her best, all appear to be Pilgrimage CDs. Only four or five actually are. Most were done in studio a few years earlier. The real deal are marked by a very small notation "live recording" on the back. Pretty ugly marketing in my view, but I doubt Gardiner and DG were thinking kiof each other toward the end.

We all wish SDG the best I'm sure, but I have no plans of throwing my Archive CDs away. They're pure Gardiner - whether that's good or bad is up to the listener - and well recorded. And, if such mundane things matter, are widely available used and hence an economical alternative to the SDG CDs. As for the new SDG volumes, I'm not sure if there's a set schedule or not. The works are already recorded obviously, so I should think the SDG are putting them out in a pace not to fast to overwhelm the market but not too slow that buyers will forget about them. Others are subscribers to the series and should have more detail.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: John Eliot Gardiner - Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works - General Discussions Part 11

Neil Halliday wrote (May 10, 2006):
In the opening duet, the tonality at first seems to shift between C major and G major; and this is reflected in the entry of the soprano and bass in canon, where the soprano appears to begin in G major, but the bass re-establishes C major. This is a richly textured movement (sounding almost symphonic in Rilling's recording [4]) in which various motives are swapped and imitated, in Bach's manner, in the instrumental and vocal lines of the three main groups: brass and tympani, strings, and voices. The text is sung through five times, the first four times in canonical fashion, and the final time soprano and bass sing together (ie, not in canon).

The accompanied recitative sounds strongly emotional, especially with Rilling's rich string sound and Auger [4]; and I think Rilling has a trumpet doubling the soprano and 1st violin line in the following chorale, for extra colour.

The final bass aria with solo violin is pleasant and tuneful, if not having any especially memorable features.

The usual comments apply to the recordings: Rilling's continuo [4], relatively un-phrased/unshaped, may sound thick, while certain instrumental (and vocal) parts, of some period ensembles can sound delicate to the point of daintiness. Others have enlarged on such details in previous discussions.

Peter Smaill wrote (May 10, 2006):
A question which was triggered by Thomas Braatz' review of the Ascension Cantata for 1724, BWV 37 "Wer da glaubet und Getauft Wird" is also relevant to BWV 59, for Whitsun, which falls two weeks later.

In the Western church it was traditional to prepare neophytes for confirmation at Whitsun, and in BWV 37 Thomas, following Duerr, identifies one of the hidden chorales introduced as a countersubject, as the catechism chorale, "Dies sind die heiligen zehn Gebot."

Was Whitsun also the traditional time for confirmation in the Lutheran church?

Also known as Pentecost, i.e. fifty days after Passover and a feast of Hebraic origin as well as commemorating the founding of the Church. The choice of a duet perhaps representing the "cloven tongues" and the rare combination of these two voices with trumpets-unusually also two in BWV 59 - representing the "rushing wind?"

 

3rd trumpet in BWV 59

Continue of discussion from: Instrumentation [General Topics]

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 23, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< The only cantata with two trumpets and timpani is BWV 59 "Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten", a cantata from the first Leipzig cycle. >
Surely the third trumpet part is missing: I could improvise one as I read along in the score. Alas, the full score didn't survive.

Evan Cortens wrote (September 23, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Surely the third trumpet part is missing: I could improvise one as I read along in the score. Alas, the full score didn't survive. >
Fair enough. I knew pulling this information from a database without actually examining it critically would get me eventually!

Speculation as to missing parts certainly leads one down a very interesting path. I was recently listening to one of my favorite cantatas, BWV 192 (another cantata for which no score survives), and put on the Ton Koopman recording which I hadn't heard before and was quite surprised to hear two (rather virtuosic!) horn parts! A little checking of the liner notes reveals this to be based on Christoph Wolff's speculative conclusion that the work may once have contained horn parts. The first time this crops up in the literature is in the Bach-Compendium entry on this cantata (again, written by Prof. Wolff [and Hans-Joachim Schulze]). In the sections on sources, we see: "NB Stimme T nicht erhalten; denkbar erscheint darüber hinaus, der Verlust von Blechbläserstimmen (Cr 1, 2 in G?)". Roughly translated: "NB The T[enor] part is not extant; furthermore, the loss of brass parts appears to be possible (C[o]r[no] 1, 2 in G?)". Absolutely no justification is given for this, and perhaps a thematic catalogue is not the place for it. It would seem then, that in looking at the music Wolff felt something to be missing. (I've conferred with Joshua Rifkin on this point, and he notes a number of points where the chord-tone doublings are unusual, to say the least.) Why horns? Why not, I guess! Short of a score turning up in some church basement, we'll never know for sure, either with BWV 192 or with BWV 59.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 23, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Short of a score turning up in some church basement, we'll never know for sure, either with BWV 192 or with BWV 59. >
It can happen! Edmund Fellowes, the great editor of the works of William Byrd at the beginning of the 20th century, was editing a motet which had a missing part. Unwilling to let the work languish unpublished, he wrote a part based on his considerable knowledge of Byrd's technique. There was much tsk-tsking among musicologists about his presumption. Decades after his death, a new source was found for the motet which was complete. Fellowes' conjectural part turned out to be remarkably similar.

William Hoffman wrote (September 23, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
Evan Cortens wrote:
<< Short of a score turning up in some church basement, we'll never know for sure, either with BWV 192 or with BWV 59. >>
William Hoffman replies: Here is a case of something that probably never existed. Pentecost Cantata BWV 59 probably was Bach's first work composed in Leipzig in May 1723, before he officially assumed office on the First Sunday After Trinity, beginning his first cycle with BWV 75 and BWV 76 with just one high trumpet. It appears that he was invited to compose the Pentecost piece for the University Church and was content to secure two trumpets. The work was reperformed a year later at Pentecost 1724 as the penultimate church piece in the first cycle. Bach certainly could have added another trumpet if he chose and even had it played by his forgotten daughter, Brunhilde Wilhelmena Victoria. Incidentally, in late September 1723 Bach should have presented a St. Michael's Feast Day cantata for the Fall Leipzig Fair, the first great opportunity for the new Cantor to really show his stuff. What's left may be remnants known as BWV 50, with three trumpets. Also, I am personally convinced that Bach finally did full justice to Pentecost with a festive parodied oratorio in 1735, now lost by Friedemann. Just imagine the trumpets in such a work!

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 23, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Also, I am pconvinced that Bach finally did full justice to Pentecost with a festive parodied oratorio in 1735, now lost by Friedemann. Just imagine the trumpets in such a work! >
Oy! Fridemann, such a disappointment :(
How could he have lost such an important document? Any hunches?

Ed Myskowski wrote (September 23, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Bach certainly could have added another trumpet if he chose and even had it played by his forgotten daughter, Brunhilde Wilhelmena Victoria. >
If she was a member of the brass players guild?

WH:
< Also, I am personally convinced that Bach finally did full justice to Pentecost with a festive >parodied oratorio in 1735, now lost by Friedemann. Just imagine the trumpets in such a work! >
EM:
Parodied? Not reworked (not to say contrafactum)? Imagine the trumpets? Are we not imagining the entire work? Is this too many question marks in a single paragraph?

Peter Smaill wrote (September 23, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote to Kim Patrick Clow:
<< I would note here though that when Telemann moved to Hamburg in 1721 (or was it 22? I always forget...), this situation changed. He now had a standing brass ensemble available whenever he needed it. This ensemble had been around since the middle ages, I believe (considerably longer than the choral organization and the rest of the orchestral players, incidentally), and continued at least until C.P.E. Bach's death in 1788. >>
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Righto, but in Hamburg, Telemann still had issues with instrumentalists other than brass players. Telemann had constant fights with the city fathers (sound familiar?) about other things as well. >
<< I wonder if someone has done an extensive study of surviving pay records and membership rolls for brass/timpani guilds in Germany in the eighteenth century... Certainly that'd be a fascinating read! >>
< I'm sure that would be in Edward Tarr's book(s). >
Doug has raised the interesting observation that this Cantata uniquely features two trumpets, every other with the instrument being scored for one , three or (on two occasions) four.

Triple trumpets correlate strongly with Cantatas which feature reference to or events concerned with the Holy Trinity; to which one has to add the feast of St Michael and All Angels. In the case of BWV 59 my thesis, though it is by no means certain, is that Bach is illustrating the unity of Father and Son in the incipit, just as he does in the canonic writing in the "Et in unum..." in the BMM. A ?reference to the Holy spirit comes later in the Neumeister text, which is consistent with Bach's acceptance of, and illustration of, ?the third person proceeding from the first two.

This order of referring to the Persons( Father and Son first, then the Holy Spirit later on )?does not occur in van Ziegler's text to BWV 74 and so Bach sets the Trinitarian triple trumpets throughout.

William Hoffman wrote (September 24, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
<< Also, I am personally convinced that Bach finally did full justice to Pentecost with a festive parodied oratorio in 1735, now lost by Friedemann. Just imagine the trumpets in such a work! >>
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Oy! Fridemann, such a disappointment :(
How could he have lost such an important document? Any hunches? >
IMVHO, Friedemann was responsible for the loss of many Bach sacred, well-regulated church works. Fortunately most were early versions, parodies, or apocryphal works so that most of the material survives. Friedemann and C.P.E. shared the manuscripts of Sebastian's sacred music. Christoph Wolf in JSB:TLM believes that Bach designated the overall distribution of his vocal works among Bach Family members shortly before his death. Friedemann did the actual selection. CPEB and Agricola did the basic listing in the Obituary.

Also fortunately, the oldest sons split the church cantatas, taking either parts sets or scores with doublets (at Dad's behest?) so that in most cases where Fredemann's were lost, the corresponding parts or scores survived. The Chorale Cantata parts sets went to Anna Magdalena (possibly as CPEB's gift) and were donated to the Thomas School in exchange for her and the minor kids staying in the Cantor's residence for, I think, six months. The motets were kept at the Thomas School. CPEB got the third, hybrid cantata cycle which included 18 of cousin Johann Ludwig Bach.

For the major works, which were stored separately, CPEB got the bulk and the best works
-- B-Minor Mass (BWV 232) Magnificant in D (BWV 243), John (BWV 245) and Matthew Passions (BWV 244), and the three surviving oratorios for Christmas, Easter, and Ascension Day. Freiedemann apparently got the parodied St. Mark Passion and apocryphal St. Luke Passion which were bought by Breitkopf a decade later and listed in their catalogues for manuscript copies to be purchased. What about other works? I think early versions of Oratorios, Passions, Masses, and other Latin music probably went to Friedemann. This could have included the lost Weimar Passion, Weimar Funeral Music and Cöthen Funeral Music, BWV 244a (later listed in Forkel's 1820 estate), and the lost Pentecost Oratotrio, first suggested by Alfred Deurr.

It is documented that Friedemann tried to sell the Chorale Cantata cycle scores to Forkel, who couldn't afford the price and only could pay for copying two cantatas. The cycle was divided into seasonal segments and sold off. A portion were lost but fortunately, most of the corresponding parts sets were safe in the Thomas School.

I think that Bach's sacred manuscripts were stored in segments of church pieces (Kirchen-stuecke) in his work room: the three extant church year cantata cycles by dates, from Advent to Trinity+27 (divided between Friedemann and CPE); the Christological Cycle of Passions, Oratorios and Masses (mostly to CPE); and miscellaneous late cantatas as well as the original scores of the some 20-something Weimar cantatas revised in Leipzig (mostly to Friedemann), as well as the secular cantatas (to CPE). I don't think Bach the Borrower threw away anything! Most of my evidence is collateral or circumstantial.

Until recently, only two Bach scholars, Gerhard Herz and William Scheide, looked systematically in their dissertations into the transmission and reception of Bach, 1750-1800. Only now are Bach scholars looking into the Polish, Bohemian, and other non-German connections.

Friedemann & Handel:

Young Freidemann met Handel in 1729 in Halle when the later was visiting the European Continent and staying at his hometown. Sebastian was unable to go and sent first-born instead. In the fall of 1750, following Sebastian's death and the division of his estate, Handel coincidentally made his final visit to the continent and Halle, where Friedemann was the Music Director. Could Friedemann have shown some of his father's manuscripts to Handel? Maybe he gave a score or two to Handel, who was going blind and couldn't copy them! The plot thickens.

As for a possible Bach-Handel connection, that's another story that is in my unfinished novel, "Sebastian." Maybe fiction is stranger than truth!

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 24, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< As for a possible Bach-Handel connection, that's another story that is in my unfinished novel, "Sebastian." Maybe fiction is stranger than truth! >
Tell us more!

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 24, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Friedemann & Handel:
Young Freidemann met
Handel in 1729 in Halle when the later was visiting the European Continent and staying at his hometown. Sebastian was unable to go and sent his first-born instead. In the fall of 1750, following Sebastian's death and the division of his estate, Handel coincidentally made his final visit to the continent and Halle, where Friedemann was the Music Director. Could Friedemann have shown some of his father's manuscripts to Handel? Maybe he gave a score or two to Handel, who was going blind and couldn't copy them! The plot thickens.
As for a possible Bach-
Handel connection, that's another story that is in my unfinished novel, "Sebastian." Maybe fiction is stranger than truth! >
This could be VERY plausible. Dr. Ian Payne has written several monographs about Handel and his borrowings of Telemann's music. The issue seems to be-- where are the Telemann sources that Handel obviously knew and was quoting from. Dr. Payne believes there were definitely manuscript exchanges between these two closest of friends. It makes sense, Handel was sending Telemann rare plants and other goodies. Why wouldn't have Telemann sent him music ?

I can't believe that Handel would have passed up the chance of buying J.S. Bach manuscripts if he had the opportunity.

William Hoffman wrote (September 24, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
<< As for a possible Bach-Handel connection, that's another story that is in my unfinished novel, "Sebastian." Maybe fiction is stranger than truth! >>
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Tell us more! >
William Hoffman: Just a taste: In late 1705 Bach was in North German to attend Buxtehude's Abendmusik. It is just a coincidence that at Hamburg Handel was introducing his first opera Almira and Keiser had just introduced his first two Passions which were to have a great deal of influence on Bach and Handel and other German composers and lyricists. Bach overstayed his one-month visit by two months. Subsequently, Bach composed church cantatas in Mühlhausen while Handel was composing sacred Italian cantatas, Vespers, and the Resurrection Oratorio in Italy, as well as operas. Bach beat Handel to publication with BWV 71 in 1707, his only published vocal work.

The parallels and coincidences go on throughout their lives. Who is the father of the keyboard concerto and the best keyboardist? Who composed the best dramatic Passions? Who wrote the first systematic oratorios? Who wrote the best orchestral suites? It's the stuff of engaging historical fiction, like "Amadeus."

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 24, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< The parallels and coincidences go on throughout their lives. Who is the father of the keyboard concerto and the best keyboardist? Who composed the best dramatic Passions? Who wrote the first systematic oratorios? Who wrote the best orchestral suites? It's the stuff of engaging historical fiction, like "Amadeus." >
"Who wrote the best orchestral suites?"

Hands down, Telemann I'm afraid.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 24, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< "Who wrote the best orchestral suites?"
Hands down,
Telemann I'm afraid. >
I try and try to make Telemann stick, but I can't whistle a single tune.

Why is there not a single Telemann work which has caught the popular imagination?

William Hoffman wrote (September 24, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< "Who wrote the best orchestral suites?"
Hands down,
Telemann I'm afraid. >
Best Water Music: Maybe Bach's BWV 129/1, BWV 206, or lost BWV Anh. 13 (maybe Friedemann also got that one!). I really put Telemann's first! Thanks, Will

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 24, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I try and try to make Telemann stick, but I can't whistle a single tune. >
That's nice to know. And most folks can't whistle a single Palestrina or Monteverdi tune either, so what bearing would that have on Palestrina and Monteverdi's musical contributions?

< Why is there not a single Telemann work which has caught the popular imagination? >
Define popular? Is the bar of "popular imagination" CD sales and concert performances? The A & R director for Naxos America told me that Telemann was one of their best selling composers, and at that time, Naxos was rushing several CDs into release. I see plenty of Telemann scheduled in concert performances, to great reviews.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 24, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Best Water Music: Maybe Bach's BWV 129/1, BWV 206, or lost BWV Anh. 13 (maybe Friedemann also got that one!). I really put Telemann's first! Thanks, Will >
Thank you Will ;)

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 24, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< And most folks can't whistle a single Palestrina or Monteverdi tune either, so what bearing would that have on Palestrina and Monteverdi's musical contributions? >
You should hear me hum the Stabat Mater! I did a quick rumination and I could come up with at least 12 Palestrina Top Hits of 1570 and about 10 Monteverdi-Town Golden Oldies

Telemann is always a delight but I thought those audio samples of Kuhnau cantatas were much more memorable.

Popularity in the 21st century, of course, tells us nothing about Telemann's stature in his time or his artistic achi. It always strikes me odd that Vivaldi, who is often mind-numbingly formulaic, struck a popular chord which Telemann can't touch.

Taste is a funny thing.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 24, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< You should hear me hum the Stabat Mater! I did a quick rumination and I could come up with at least 12 Palestrina Top Hits of 1570 and about 10 Monteverdi-Town Golden Oldies >
Well, remember I said most people. Let's face it, you're in the top 1 percentile of the public that knows anything about classical music, you're a trained singer etc, etc, etc. I mean, I get it Doug, you haven't drank the Telemann Kool-Aid ;)

If you ever whistle the theme to the middle movement of BWV 1056 (it was used in Barry Lyndon), then you've whistled a Telemann tune (Bach borrowed the theme from an early Telemann oboe/flute concerto).

< Telemann is always a delight but I thought those audio samples of Kuhnau cantatas were much more memorable. >
and
< Taste is a funny thing. >
And Bach threw out all of Kuhnau's music (or well he passed on the option to buy the manuscripts from Frau Kuhnau after he became Kantor at Leipzig). And Bach copied and performed several Telemann cantatas we know about, and potentially many more.

< Popularity in the 21st century, of course, tells us nothing about Telemann's stature in his time or his artistic achievement. It always strikes me odd that Vivaldi, who is often mind-numbingly formulaic, struck a popular chord which Telemann can't touch. >
I suppose. The manager of a Public Radio once told me he thought most Baroque music (and Vivaldi in particular) was "sewing machine music." The NERVE!! ;)

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 24, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< If you ever whistle the theme to the middle movement of BWV 1056 (it was used in Barry Lyndon) >
Hmmm ...wasn't that the D Minor Sarabande by Handel?

Let me try whistling it ...

Neil Halliday wrote (September 24, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>Surely the third trumpet part is missing: I could improvise one as I read along in the score. Alas, the full score didn't survive.<
Listening to Rilling's BWV 59 [4] (following this week's BWV 58), I like the 'soloistic' effect of the two trumpets. Some considerations against three trumpets:
1. The piece is a duet for S and B; the two trumpet texture is a satisfying foil to the vocal texture;
2. There are long sections where the 2nd trumpet is silent, with only widely spaced, short entries of the 1st trumpet, emphasing the 'soloist' effect;
3. If there were three trumpets, the first note on the 2nd trumpet would likely be a B (with 3 trumpets making a GBD chord), but the lower note (G) is already assigned to the 2nd trumpet, or rather, a third trumpet is superfluous to the harmony at the start; also notice the octave drop to middle C on the second trumpet in the fourth last bar, not likely if there were a third trumpet.
4. Compare the trumpet parts with BWV 175/6, an aria for two trumpets and (vocal) bass.

Ed Myskowski wrote (September 24, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
>Listening to Rilling's BWV 59 [4] (following this week's BWV 58), I like the 'soloistic' effect of the two trumpets. Some considerations against three trumpets: <
I find Neils points both thoughtful and convincing.

In a more general sense, attempts to force Bach's instrumentation into a formulaic mold strike me as out-of-character. As I have pointed out with a few examples, just the opposite is the case: he strives for originality and uniqueness at every opportunity. This comes out frequently in our discussions of the vocal works, and was also especially noticed in the recent discussion of the Brandenburgs on BRML. Incidentally, Brandenburg No. 5, BWV 1050, is a supportable candidate, not yet specifically mentioned, for Bachs most popular work.

The old saw about Bach as consolidator of Baroque musical practices, something of a backward-looking figure, can be put to rest. While he certainly consolidated and used prior work, his own and others, his innovations are ongoing discoveries as well (at least for me). His striving to make each work unique is one of the hallmarks of the greatest and most creative artists.

Julian Mincham wrote (September 24, 2009):
[To Neil Halliday] Bach reused the first movement of BWV 59 a year later expanding it into a four part chorus (BWV 74).In this version 3 oboes and a third trumpet are scored. The oboes mostly only double other parts or take part of the string writing for antiphonal effects e.g. bars 1-2

Dürr quotes some confusion about this work and its performing parts so i wonder if there was an original third trumpet part which was lost (it would only be a few lines long) It it possible that Bach added the part when he added the oboes--equally possible that it existed all along.

or could it be that originally there were also three oboe parts doubling and these have also gone astray? (I can't think offhand of another example of a layout where Bach wrote for more than one trumpet, 2 or 3, with only strings and no other wind.)

It's quite an interesting little puzzle.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (September 24, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Hmmm ...wasn't that the D Minor Sarabande by Handel? >
I wasn't talking about the Sarabande, BWV 1056 was used as well ;)

Neil Halliday wrote (September 25, 2009):
Julian Mincham wrote:
> Bach reused the first movement of BWV59 a year later expanding it into a four part chorus (BWV 74).In this version 3 oboes and a third trumpet are scored.<
Thanks for reminding us of this.

This is another example of Bach reworking and considerably changing (in this case expanding) an earlier composition.

Interestingly in the expanded SATB version, the third trumpet virtually doubles the timpani all the way through. Only briefly (for two bars at the beginning of the closing ritornello) is there independent writing for this third trumpet.

The fourth to last bar confirms that BWV 59/1 was likely scored with two trumpets: in BWV 74 the octave leap down to middle C, which occurs on the 2nd trumpet in BWV 59, is indeed carried by the third trumpet in BWV 74.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 25, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Interestingly in the expanded SATB version, the third trumpet virtually doubles the timpani all the way through. Only briefly (for two bars at the beginning of the closing ritornello) is there independent writing for this third trumpet.
The fourth to last bar confirms that BWV 59/1 was likely scored with two trumpets: in
BWV 74 the octave leap down to middle C, which occurs on the 2nd trumpet in BWV 59, is indeed carried by the third trumpet in BWV 74. >
Fascinating to speculate if Bach was echoing the duet in the voices with a duet in the trumpet. If so, why do the trumpets not have more euphonious harmony? It's only in final dozen bars that trumpets have a real duet. The reason I though there was a missing 3rd trumpet is that a conventional Bach trumpet "choir" would have a third trumpet playing the notes g-e to complete the C major chords in the second bar.

Neil Halliday wrote (September 25, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>The reason I though there was a missing 3rd trumpet is that a conventional Bach trumpet "choir" would have a third trumpet playing the notes g-e tcomplete the C major chords in the second bar.<
Good observation, I now see your reasoning; and in fact this is what Bach does in BWV 74.

However, in BWV 59 the harmony of those g-e notes is already supplied by the string parts (v1 and v2) in BWV 59, so two trumpets are sufficient if Bach indeed originally conceived of the duet with two trumpets.

<Fascinating to speculate if Bach was echoing the duet in the voices with a duet in the trumpet.<

I wouldn't go as far as suggesting that Bach was actually echoing the vocal duet in the trumpet parts (in BWV 59), rather that we have an interesting, largish and unique scoring for a duet - with strings, two trumpets and timpani - but not as large as the more usual scoring with 3 trumpets plus 3 oboes and strings that we have in the expanded SATB version.

 

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Last update: ýSeptember 28, 2011 ý16:13:40