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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 62
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland [II]
Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Discussions in the Week of January 11, 2009

Chris Kern wrote (January 12, 2009):
BWV 62 intro

(My previous intro post lacked a comparison -- my plan was to compare the cantatas in a progressive fashion; i.e. compare BWV 62 with BWV 61 this week, and then to compare BWV 36 with BWV 62 and BWV 61 the week after. I personally think this makes more sense than loading all the comparisons right off the bat, and makes it easier for people who haven't listened to all the cantatas before to participate in the discussions without being overwhelmed.)

BWV 62 - Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland II

The second cantata we have for Advent is 10 years or so after the first. This one is during Bach's extremely prolific time at Leipzig, in the second yearly cycle of cantatas. It is one of the 40 "chorale cantatas" which are all based around the same general plan -- a seasonal chorale is adapted to the cantata form by having the first movement be a choral fantasia and the last movement a simple 4-part chorale, with the middle movements being arias and recitatives adapted from the lyrics of the chorale verses.

Obviously this cantata invites direct comparison with BWV 61, although we shouldn't let the titles mislead us -- remember that the so-called "titles" of the cantatas are actually just the first lines of the cantatas and were not assigned by Bach. Although BWV 61 has been given the title "Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland", it was not based around that chorale in the same way that BWV 62 is. After the first movement in BWV 61, the chorale plays no further part in the cantata. Whittaker believes that BWV 61 is superior with BWV 62, and I agree with him.

The primary importance in the lyrics of the chorale seem to be the wonder of Christ's birth, and particularly the mystery of how the Son of God could have such a humble birth. This is in contrast to BWV 61, whose lyrics were mostly focused on the idea of welcoming Christ (although that's present in this cantata as well). This represents two different aspects of the religious feeling that is expressed in the Advent season.

Mvt. 1 is the chorale fantasia. I like the versions such as Suzuki [11] and Gardiner [5] that take this at a fairly quick tempo -- I think the cantus firmus is clearer when it's not slowed down to a crawl. This, for me, is the only really standout movement in a relatively bland cantata (Whittaker seems to agree with me). Whittaker: "The modern practice of employing huge choirs, mostly of untrained voices, causes conductors to omit all choral trills and so an invaluable feature is lost. One finds also a notion that such embellishments are undevotional; yet Bach uses the device over and over again. Trills should always be observed..."

Mvt. 2 is a tenor aria with accompaniment, but no obbligato instruments. It is a fairly delightful aria; a little long, but overall pleasing.

Mvt. 3 is a recitative with some arioso at the end.

Mvt. 4 is a bass aria with only continuo accompaniment (although Whittaker mentions that the violins and violas are accompaning the continuo, I was not aware of this); this is my least favorite type of aria in the entire Bach oeuvre. I can't think of many bass + continuo arias that I like. Incidentally, I just watched Caesar in Egypt
(Handel) with my father over break, and this really reminds me of a Handellian aria, although I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the rushing continuo accompaniment.

Mvt. 5 is a recitative duet, a fairly rare occurence and a nice break from the usual solo recitatives. Whittaker: "[It] has all the fragrant charm of a Christmas carol...it is as if two children wandered into the stable hand in hand with wondering open eyes and sang an innocent song to the Babe."

Mvt. 6: is the standard 4-part chorale.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 12, 2009):
BWV 62 Bach & Handel

Chris Kern wrote:
< Whittaker mentions that the violins and violas are accompaning the continuo, I was not aware of this); this is my least favorite type of aria in the entire Bach oeuvre. I can't think of many bass + continuo arias that I like. Incidentally, I just watched Caesar in Egypt (Handel) with my father over break, and this really reminds me of a Handellian aria, although I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the rushing continuo accompaniment. >
Handel wrote several arias which are totally in unison. The orchestral strings play without any harmonic realization from the continuo: they even play in unison with the voice (examples in "Alcina" and "La Resurrexione") Bach's aria is figured and the voice has a different melodic line but it has much the same effect as Handel's quite extraordinary arias.

Julian Mincham wrote (January 12, 2009):
Chris Kern wrote:
< My previous intro post lacked a comparison -- my plan was to compare the cantatas in a progressive fashion; i.e. compare 62 with 61 this week, and then to compare BWV 36 with BWV 62 and BWV 61 the week after. I personally think this makes more sense than loading all the comparisons right off the bat, and makes it easier for people who haven't listened to all the cantatas before to participate in the discussions without being overwhelmed.) >
I don't think it is a matter of what does, or does not, make more sense but?simply different ways of approaching it. If people have a?short essay of comparative comment ?at the beginning there is no sense in which they are likely to be overwhelmed. They can always save these comments and look through them as and when they feel they are relevant in later weeks. Different people will approach this in their own ways.

My reason for offering a very short piece (which is no means comprehensive; it still allows much to be said in the way of comparison of these threeworks) at this early stage was simply intended as a reminder to list members that the agreed ordering of the discussions that has just begun was brought about principally in order to make such comparisons possible. Personally I don't care HOW people do it. It's just a wasted opportunity if we don't.

Re the somewhat disparaging comments on the continuo arias, you are going to miss a great deal of vintage Bach if you dismiss these and I hope the comments don't put others off. As a counterpoint, can I suggest just two highly original fine arias of this type, BWV 107/4 and BWV 76/10. Bach's depictions of Satan, sin and/or the consequencences of these is always skittishly imaginative.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 12, 2009):
Julian Mincham wrote:
>Bach's depictions of Satan, sin and/or the consequencences of these is always skittishly imaginative.<
John Harbison would add (I am not sure he would do it in writing, however) one more arriving at the trio: Satan, Sin and the Pope!

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 12, 2009):
BWV 62 recordings

Although I will not be listening or commenting in detail until after the Mendelssohn Orgy(r) is completed on Weds., I want to remind the list of the availability of a recent recording in case anyone wants to acquire it in time for the Advent 1 discussions:

Thomas Folan/Publick Musick [12], including Bach performing legend Max van Egmond.

I guess if Max is still performing, he is not quite a legend, as yet, in the strictest sense of the word? This release was first brought to ouattention by Brad Lehman. A couple others of us have had very positive responses as well, myself and Steve Benson, for sure, all available in BCW archives. Our motto: <You can look it up!>

Some of us, for a few items, might rather you couldnt look it up. Write thoughtfully, I always say, and occasionally even do!

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 12, 2009):
BWV 62, BCW archives

Julian Mincham wrote (November 22, 2006):
< BWV 62 ----contrasting characters >
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Can we reconcile <rippling with joy> with <dramatic and poignant>? >
JM:
>Yes I think we can. Firstly just to note that it is an interesting and constructive exercise to attempt to describe the character of a piece of music in words<
EM (2009)
I highly recommend that everyone go back and read Julians entire statement. I would repeat the entire statement, but that is foolish from a number of perspectives. Not least, it is robbing you of the exploratory educational process. Or perhaps educational exploratory process. EEP, either way.

It not likely a secret that I have made a few very good cyber-friends (folks who could be ugly as sin, and I would never know) in my few years on BCML. Julian was the first, based on exchanges like the one I cited to open, as well as the fact that he is a 600 ma fossil. No, that is not the proper phrasing. There is a 600 ma (Creationists take note, ma = million years) Ediacaran fossil in Oz which carries his family name. Julian is not responsible, he blames it on his Dad. My excuse, precisely, in times of stress.

I am looking forward to an enjoyable and enlightening five years, going forward (as if there is any other direction of time) which will no doubt test the skills and patience of the moderator. I expect he is looking forward to the challenge, recognizing that we are breaking new ground in the communication field. BCW, better than a book.

Neil Halliday wrote (January 13, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<Can we reconcile <rippling with joy> with <dramatic and poignant>?>
Thanks for mentionoing this. I seem to remember the "rippling with joy" characterisation of the opening chorus as a reference to (a) the frequent repetition of the 'two semiquvers and quaver' figures on the oboes (Schweitzer's joy motif), and (b) the 'rocking' broken chord and scalar figures on the first violins via a continuous flow of semi
quavers, in the ritornello.

Julian's characterisation of the chorus as <dramatic and poignant> is obviously correct as to the overall tone of the chorus with it's B minor tonality, and strident 6/4 rhythm.

Julian Mincham wrote (January 13, 2009):
[To Neil Halliday] Thanks Neil I have always considered this opening fantasia to be one of the most subtle of the 42 in the second cycle.

One might also note that this cantata contains one of only 4 recitatives written for two voices in this cycle---presumably to mark musically the plural 'we' who join together to approach the crib.

Jean Laaninen wrote (January 13, 2009):
Chris Kern wrote:
< My previous intro post lacked a comparison -- my plan was to compare the cantatas in a progressive fashion; i.e. compare BWV 62 with BWV 61 this week, and then to compare BWV 36 with BWV 62 and BWV 61 the week after. I personally think this makes more sense than loading all the comparisons right off the bat, and makes it easier for people who haven't listened to all the cantatas before to participate in the discussions without being overwhelmed.) >
The week by week approach is a little easier for me. I tried all three at once and found remember the comparisons not so easy. But after going back and now playing a little of BWV 61 (each movement) and going on to review BWV 62, I have something that will stick in my mind. BWV 61 is pleasing in a simpler way than BWV 62, which I find in the first four movements more elegant and energized than the first four of BWV 61. The closing movements of BWV 62 definitely are as Julian described...poingant.

My listerning was entirely Rilling [4].

Jean Laaninen wrote (January 13, 2009):
Bach's choir and orchestra size in Weimer--question

Does anyone have this information. I do not have it in any references I have at home, though I do for Leipzig.

Thanks.

Paul T. McCain wrote (January 13, 2009):
[To Jean Laaninen, regarding Bach's choir and orchestra size in Weimer] I can't put my finger on it, but I thought I read somewhere that Bach's choir/orchestra in Weimar was fairly small. Sorry, that's not much help.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 13, 2009):
Paul McCain wrote [Bach's choir and orchestra size in Weimer]:
>I can't put my finger on it, but I thought I read somewhere that Bach's choir/orchestra in Weimar was fairly small. Sorry, that's not much help.<
For once, I agree 100%!

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Choir Forn - Part 8 [General Topics]

Neil Halliday wrote (January 13, 2009):
Julian Mincham wrote:
> Thanks Neil I have always considered this opening fantasia to be one of the most subtle of the 42 in the second cycle.<
I see now, after a read through of the BCW archived comments on BWV 62, that I need not have replied to Ed's message about reconciling "rippling with joy" and "dramatic and poignant". Many members contributed to the unusually extensive discussion; I can understand Alain's preference for "exhilaration" rather than my "rippling with joy", in BWV 62/1. Anyway, a lot of people obviously find much enjoyment in this "exhilarating, poignant, dramatic" chorus, with moments of sheer joy, depending on the particular recording.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 13, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
>I see now, after a read through of the BCW archived comments on BWV 62, that I need not have replied to Ed's message about reconciling "rippling with joy" and "dramatic and poignant"<
Although we have not heard from Neil Mason for a while, I will continue to distinguish the two Neils, just in case. Not to go all nostalgic on you, but I well remember Neil M. for introducing me to the phrase <generosity of spirit>. Alas, he brought it up in the breach, the lack of it, on BCML. I have always taken it as part of my mission to rectify that lack. If that is not apparent, perhaps the mote is in your eye (Biblical reference, I can look it up, if necessary)?

I pondered long and hard (many seconds, for sure) about how best to handle references to previous discussion on the Cantata of the Week. I settled on brief citation and hint in the right direction. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse? No surprise a guy from Oz, and an old friend to boot, would catch it first.

There was a time, summer of 2006 as I recall, when no one posted but Neil and Julian, with me chiiming in with an occasional <I am reading, keep it up>. Had I known, at the time, I would have simply said <Good show, Mates>. Or some such.

This is an interactive forum. That is its uniqueness. It is also a forum with archives, which we are under some obligation to try to use.

A recent example, to my own embarassment (I am too embarassed to do a spell check on the one *r* or two):

In the rather obscure, but interesting to those of us involved, chat re Johann Christoph Bach (first cousin, once removed to JSB), at the end Aryeh gently (as always) pointed out that the answer was already archived on BCW.

Perhaps even more telling, I cannot count the times I have gone to Google, and quickly ended up back at BCW.

Rippling with joy? Dramatic and poignant? You can just call me Ed. Never ed.

Terejia wrote (January 13, 2009):
BWV 62, opening chorus

Julian Mincham wrote:
> Thanks Neil I have always considered this opening fantasia to be one of the most subtle of the 42 in the second cycle.<
Double cantus firms in Bass (continuo only?) and soprano voice?

Jean Laaninen wrote (January 13, 2009):
[To Paul T. McCain, regarding Bach's choir and orchestra size in Weimer] Thanks, Paul. It may then, compare to Leipzig.

Chris Stanley wrote (January 13, 2009):
"frequent repetition of the 'two semiquvers and quaver' figures on the oboes (Schweitzer's joy motif)",
I still seem to be in a minority (of one) when it comes to this cantata and especially the opening chorus. It is definitely the wretched oboes that soiund like cackling crows (Leusink version [7]) that give this the underlying malevolence that led to my Hitchcock's "Birds" analogy last discussion.

Terejia wrote (January 13, 2009):
Terejia wrote [opening chorus]: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29997
self-reply :

No, it is not exactly double cantus firms.
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV62-Guide.htm
first and second paragraph has more info about this. Instrumentals (bass continuo and oboe) plays only the first and last line of choral.

Terejia wrote (January 14, 2009):
Chris Kern wrote: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/29956
(large portion snipped)
> Mvt. 4 is a bass aria with only continuo accompaniment (although Whittaker mentions that the violins and violas are accompaning the continuo, I was not aware of this); this is my least favorite type of aria in the entire Bach oeuvre. I can't think of many bass + continuo arias that I like. Incidentally, I just watched Caesar in Egypt (Handel) with my father over break, and this really reminds me of a Handellian aria, although I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the rushing continuo accompaniment.<
In terms of music, I would rather sympathise a bass singer for his alloted role. I have hard time understanding why this almost ridiculously sounding music were ever included in this cantata. It feels so out of the place, to my ears which must be trained better at this point.

I like "quia fecit mihi magna" in BWV 243 and BWV 243a very much, by the way. It is "my Christmas".

this week, and then to compare

William Hoffman wrote (January 14, 2009):
BWV 62: Fugitive notes

Advent:

The use of dance-influence in movements of Bach's Advent Cantatas, BWV 61, 62, and 36, 70a, 186a, and 132, according to information in Fincke-Hecklinger's <Tanzcharaktere in JSB Vokalmusik> and Little & Jenne's <Dance and the Music of JSB> 2nd ed.:
BWV 61: No. 1, Chs. "Nun komm der Heiden Heiland," ¾ French Overture, pastorale-giga
No. 3, T dc aria, "Komm Jesu, komm," 9/8, general dance character
BWV 62: No. 1 Chs. Nun komm.3/4, general dance character
No. 2, T dc aria "Bewundert, o Menschen," 3/8, passepied-menuet or siciliano
No. 4, B dc aria "Streite, siege," 4/4 gavotte
BWV 36: No. 1, Chs. "Steigt freudig euch empor," ¾, minuet
No. 3, T dc aria,"Dide Liebe zeit," 3/8 minuet
No. 6, T cle. aria "Der du bist dem Vater," ¾ polonaise in Leahy's "Bach's setting of `Nun komm." in <Music and Theology> Leaver festschrift
BWV 70a/2=70/3: A aria "Wenn kommt der Tag," ¾ trio sarabande
No. 5/10: B aria "Seligster Erquickungstag," ¾, adagio dance character
BWV 186a/2=186/3, B aria "Bist du, der da kommen soll," ¾ sarabande
BWV 186a/5=186/10: SA aria "Laß Seele, kein Leiden," 3/8 French gigue
BWV 132/1: S dc aria "Bereitet die Wege," 6/8, French gigue or passepied

Since the First Sunday in Advent is treated as a festival in Leipzig, one of the characteristics would be the use of trumpets and drums, found in the opening tutti movement in Bach predecessor Johann Schelle's (1648-1701) German biblical cantata, "Machet die Tore weit" (CPo recording).

Service Order in Leipzig is found in Bach's hand at the beginning of the ms. scores of BWV 61 ad BWV 62, presumably for Bach's emphasis on the start of the new church year, says Dürr in <Cantatas of JSB>, p. 76. In NBR, No. 113: No. 2, motet (replaced Introit Psalm chants), often in Latin, such as "Peur natus in Betlehem" or German motet settings such as Machet die Tore weit" (Psalm 24:7-10). The chorale "Nun komm der Heiden Heiland" was Luther's adaptation (contrafaction) of the Latin hymn "Veni redemptor genitum."

Motet settings of "Machet die Tore weit" ("Fling wide the Gates) abound, besides Schein, Seele and Briegel, including Schütz, Flor, H. Grimm, and M. Tobias, as well as cantatas of Schelle and Graun.

Another Advent-Christmas hymn is "Der Tag, der ist so freundlich," set by Bach as BWV 294 as an untexted 4-part chorale in Bach's Breitkopf published collection, 1784-87 based on the Latin hymn "Die est laetitiae" (Klug 1535).

Neil Halliday wrote (January 14, 2009):
Terejia wrote:
>I have hard time understanding why this almost ridiculously sounding music were ever included in this cantata. It feels so out of the place, to my ears which must be trained better at this point.<
Have you heard your countryman's version (Suzuki [11])? The vigour and vitality is exhilarating; Kooij does a good job of actually conveying the pitch of all those semiquavers, at fast tempo.

Two suggestions (if I may) 1. Play the continuo line and vocal line (difficult on one manual since both lines are on the bass clef, but it will suffice) in order to appreciate the imitative nature of the writing. 2. Now listen to the music with a score (BCW score will do; piano left hand is the continuo line), and be astounded by Kooij's vocal gymnastics.

It's opera, for sure, and no doubt caused some consternation among some memebers of the church authorities.

Interestingly, it seems Koopman [8] has done away with the unison upper strings, highlighting the continuo instruments, but I prefer the unrelenting vigour and brightness of Suzuki's [11] upper strings in unison with (ie, an octave above) the continuo. Suzuki's organist brings just the right colour to the piece.

[Strangely, in the BGA the upper strings in the first three bars are written on a separate (3rd) stave on the bass clef - impossible for the upper strings to actually play in this clef, down to low A, for example. Obviously they play an octave higher than written; and this 3rd stave drops out with the indication that violins and viola are to play (sempre) in unison with the continuo].

Neil Halliday wrote (January 15, 2009):
Chris Kern wrote:
>Mvt. 2 is a tenor aria with accompaniment, but no obbligato instruments. It is a fairly delightful aria; a little long, but overall pleasing.<

There are some subtleties of instrumentation, eg, oboes 1,2 doubling violins 1,2 in the ritornellos, but tacit (ie, oboes) in other places. Rilling [4] has a further refinement: toward the end of the middle section where "divine Manna is made evident", the 1st violins, playing alone at this stage, are reduced in Rilling's version to a solo violin, most effectively.

Featured in this tuneful aria are long passages set to single syllables of text, especially "(Be)-herr-(scher)" (ruler), where the singer holds the syllable for 20 bars! (I wonder what is the longest example in the cantatas).

William Hoffman wrote (January 17, 2009):
Cantata 62: Fugitive Chorale Note

Cantata BWV 62 for Advent Sunday officially opens the church year in Bach's only unified, homogeneous cantata cycle, while Telemann was doing homogecycles based on one librettist, dance forms, solo cantatas, etc.

Bach was not the first composer to use entire chorales in a cantata or a cantata cycle, according to Alfred Dürr's "Bach's Chorale Cantatas" in <Cantors at the Crossroads> Essays (1967). While Dürr does not cite specific examples, composers such as Buxtehude used especially popular chorale texts unchanged in the earlier cantatas before the Neumeister Italian type with free-poetry recitatives, choruses, and arias.

Chorale cantatas of the Neumeister type were especially, inherently challenging. One result might be that to our contemporary sensitivities, depending upon the actual melody, these cantatas may not always sem as attractive as other settings using original texts, often biblical paraphrases. Bach partially surmounted that challenge by using a librettist to paraphrase the stanzas in between the first (choral fantasia) and the last, closing 4-part setting in his chorale cantatas. While festive tunes like "A Mighty Fortress" and "Praise to the Lord" can be embedded in a dazzling polyphonic, canonic, imitative setting, other chant-like melodies like "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," popularly called "Savior of the Nations, Come" (William Reynolds), just don't excite and engage as much. Take the motet tune, "Machet die Tore weit." Now that moves and has a beat! Perhaps that's why Bach predecessor, Schelle (late Buxtehude contemporary), set it as the opening tutti in an Advent cantata with trumpets and drums.

The set, unwavering strophic chorale stanzas (actually each successive stanza is a parody) too often seem rigid, static, repetitive, and monotonous. Even in creative choral-text paraphrases, recitatives can come out sounding stogy, and arias and choruses lacking the contrasts of da-capo (ABA) form. Also, because of this textual straight-jacket, Bach couldn't parody most chorale cantata movements as he did with his secular cantata movements. Imagine Bach finding an appropriate, well-know chorale for each of 60 occasions in the cycle that could be always effectively set to music, and then throw in engaging orchestral ritornelli or a catchy dance-like melody, and then find a competent choir to sing these highly-original works for a whole year!

Bach continues to challenge our sense and sensibilities, as I think he did his generation!

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 19, 2009):
BWV 62 recordings

In between Orgies(r) (music only) and other fun, I have been listening to three recordings: Herreweghe [6], Suzuki [11], and Folan/Publick Musick [12], without dong much reading, other than the BCML posts which have passed by. I was reparing next to read a bit to confirm (or not) some of my immediate impressions, recollections of previous posts, etc. One of those impressions is that Herreweghe sound s abit more relaxed in tempo than Suzuki.

When I checked the published timings on the CDs, Suzuki [11] is 17:47, Herreweghe [6] 16:39, for total time. What gives?

What gives is that the individual movements for Herreweghe [6] add up to 18:39, not 16:39. Someone somewhere along the line misread a 6 for an 8! I know how easy that is to do bedcause this very morning, reading my own writing, I made the very same mistake in a friends phone number, while trying to call for a Happy New Year and Inauguration DAy. I eventually figured it out, but not without a struggle. BTW, she lives in Washington DC, and works for the government (FDIC, the bank overseers and insurers). You would not believe how big a deal this all is:
(1) She anticipates that the city will be chaotic on Tues.
(2) The FDIC will be chaotic for the foreseeable future.

My standard advice applies (borrowed from my pals at Looney Tunes record shop): World ends soon! Buy records. Of course, they have been saying that since the world almost ended ca. 1981.

Some quick, one-word impressions of the records: Suzuki [11] is the most aggressive, but enjoyably so. Herreweghe [6] is perfectly balanced, nothing sticking out, as I have come to expect from him. Polan is quite a treat, the most relaxed of all, and with the special bonus of Max van Egmond, still chugging after all these years, in the no mans land of age between Old Dudes junior and senior. My impressions are in fact exactly in line with the corrected timings, but I spent more than a few minutes of puzzlement. More to come, I hope.

If six was eight, wasnt that a Jimi Hendrix tune? Never mind, but extra credit for getting the answer.

Glen Armstrong wrote (January 19, 2009):
[To Ed Myskowski, regarding recordings]
"If six was nine" is a Hendrix song, but I'm unsure of the eight.

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 19, 2009):
Glen Armstrong wrote [recordings]:
>"If six was nine" is a Hendrix song, but I'm unsure of the eight<
Correct! I did not anticipate anyone reading that far, let alone getting the answer, so I do not have anything prepared for the extra credit. But you have the satisfaction of holding your own with all the experts.

The pun, the eight instead of nine, is because of the transposition of six and eight in both the published timing for Herreweghe [6], and in my misread phone number.

See how easy and fun it is to post to BCML!

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 19, 2009):
On the BCW recordings page, there are two bass singers indicated for BWV 62. I previously mentioned Max van Egmond, but in fact it is Jonathan Rohr who performs on BWV 62/3 (Mvt. 3) and 4 (Mvt. 4). Max does perform in other works on the CD, but not in BWV 62.

I made it a point to acquire some of his other recent work, but I have not had a chance to do much with it, as yet. Info to come in due time.

Russell Telfer wrote (February 24, 2009):
Jean Laaninen wrote: in reply to Chris Kern's Intro to BWV 62: Monday, January 12, 2009:
< BWV 61 is pleasing in a simpler way than BWV 62, which I find in the first four movements more elegant and energized than the first four of BWV 61. The closing movements of BWV 62 definitely are as Julian described...poignant.
My listening was entirely Rilling
[4]. >
Russell
I've recently taken part in a study performance of cantata BWV 62 so it's fresh in my mind. My impressions:
There is a wonderful freshness about the opening movement. Advent is one of the seasons, or states of mind or events, where freshness is appropriate: something great is about to happen (the start of the summer holidays perhaps?) and it is blissful to be transported by these repeated rhythmic figures cascading through the keys and feel the sense of joy that is appropriate at Advent, and other times.

At times I am reminded of some fairly light British compositions of the 20th century, so you might conclude that compositional structures like that in 62/1 may have influenced later composers. (I'm sure Bach has been imitated
more than anyone.)

In BWV 62/2, the tenor aria (Mvt. 2), I don't feel that this is a fully Advent-tide message (chastity shall not be defiled) but most of us will be listening rather than word-watching. This is a beautiful aria to sing, and only "rather difficult". It certainly raises the value of the whole as a work of art.

I'm not so happy with BWV 62/4 (Mvt. 4). "Fighting, conquering, overcoming." Bashing somebody or something into place. Have things changed over the centuries? I'd like to think so. Bach had to adapt to his environment and he survived very well, but we don't always have to like his message.As for the music,I find it bucolic, rustic, aggressive, and just a little repetitive. Set in an opera, I wouldn't turn a hair, it would match perfectly, but this unfolds in church and is to be taken seriously. I expect the pitchforks will be out for me.

As Jean says, the closing movements are poignant. The duet BWV 62/5 (Mvt. 5) reminds me of some late passages in the SMP (BWV 244). I like BWV 61 as well. I shan't choose between them.

 

BWV 62

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 27, 2009):
Chris Stanley wrote:
>Did I see mention from Ed of my favourite "Hitchcock birds" cantata BWV 62 the other day? <
Yes, indeed. I wrote, Nov. 22:
>Brian McCreath also announced BWV 62 for next week, Advent 1, [Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009] and specifically mentioned that it represents the New Year for Bach. It will also represent the final cantata broadcast at 89.7 FM, I believe. More next week re continuation (or not) at 99.5 FM and a corresponding website. <

BWV 62 will be broadcast and webcast at 8:00 AM EST (1300 UT) on 89.7 FM and www.wgbh.org. This will indeed be the final Sunday morning cantata broadcast, but the tradition will continue at 99.5 FM at a different time, 8:00 PM EST Sunday evening, (0100 UT, Monday), and with a somewhat different format: an hour of Bach, including a cantata, selected with consideration of the liturgical calendar. For the initial six weeks of the new format, the six cantatas of the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) will be presented.

I will continue to provide a brief comment more or less weekly, with updates on programming as the new format evolves, and on internet availability.

 

Cantata BWV 62: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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

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Last update: ıSeptember 29, 2011 ı10:14:36