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Cantata BWV 66
Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen
Cantata BWV 66a
Der Himmel dacht auf Anhalts Ruhm und Glück
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of March 27, 2016 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (March 29, 2016):
Easter Monday, Cantata 66 Intro.

While Bach’s music for the Leipzig three-day Christmas festival (nativity, shepherds annunciation and adoration) was substantial, his music for the Easter and Pentecost festivals, following the annual Good Friday Passion and the closing of the closing Thomas School year was meager in comparison. Only three cantatas each were composed for the Easter Festival observance of the resurrection of Christ, the disciples walk to Emmaus, and Christ’s appearance to the disciples in the upper room in Galilee and for the Pentecost Festival, referred to in John’s gospel and Luke’s the Acts of the Apostles. Further, Bach composed only two or three cantatas during the rest of the Easter Season, using works of cousin Johan Ludwig Bach in 1726 and composing no chorale cantatas in 1725 while delaying or substituting cantata texts.

On the other hand, Bach during this busy period was able to recycle festive works previously presented in Weimar (BWV 4 and 31 for Easter and 172 for Pentecost) as well as five serenades (BWV 66a, 134a, 173a, 184a, 194a) composed in Cöthen for the second and third day of Easter and Pentecost and the Trinity Festival ending the de tempore part of the church year and the Thomas School year.

Bach’s first full recycling endeavor, Cantata 66 BWV 66, “Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, / Entweichet, ihr Schmerzen” (Rejoice, you hearts, / Run away, you sorrows), for Easter Monday, April 10, 1725, also was his first composition for in 1718 to celebrate the birthday of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, December, 11, 1718. Bach took up residence as capelle-meister with the dramatic dialogue BWV 66a, “Der Himmel dacht auf Anhalts Ruhm und Glück” (Heaven thinks of Anhalt’s Fame and Fortune). The recycling process is called parody or new text substitution or underlay, as a Dialogue between Fear (Alto) and Hope (Tenor).1

Cantata 66 Gospel, Premiere, Chorale

Easter Monday Cantata 66 was a model for the other four works festival works with a new text, possibly by Picander, making reference to the day’s readings: Epistle, Acts 10: 34-43 (Peter‘s sermon on Christ), and the Gospel, Luke 24: 13-35 (Disciples journey to Emmaus). The original music was transformed into a typical sacred cantata form with opening chorus in gigue-passepied style, alternating recitatives (including a dramatic scena), two dance-style arias, and a new, closing plain chorale, “Christ ist erstanden” (Christ is arisen). The half-hour work involves chorus and both arias in da-capo form. The German text of Luther’s translation published in 1545 and the English Authorised (King James) Version 1611 is found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Easter-Monday.htm.

Cantata 66 was premiered at the early main service of the Thomas Church, before the sermon on the day’s gospel by Archdeacon Gottfried Sieber (1669-1741) and repeated at the noon service of the Nikolaikirche, sermon by Archdeacon Friedrich Werner (1659-7141), says Martin Petzoldt in his Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinityfest.2 It was repeated on March 26, 1731 and possibly on April 11, 1735). The opening introit polyphonic motet was Psalm 66, Nonne Deo (On God alone my soul waits), says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 705).

Cantata 66 closes with the final Stanza 3, “Alleluja! Alleluja! Alleluja! / Des soll'n wir alle froh sein” (For this we should all be joyful) in the Martin Luther 1533 setting of the Easter chorale. Each 4-line stanza closes with plea, “Kyrie eleis” (Lord, have mercy). The full text and Francis Browne English translation are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale090-Eng3.htm. Information on the text and melody are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Christ-ist-erstanden.htm. For the BCW “Musical Context: Motets& Chorales for Easter,” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Easter.htm.

Cantata 66 Overview & Context

Julian Mincham BCW overview and context of Cantata 66 is found at http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-48-bwv-66.htm. <<The remaining two cantatas presented for the 1724 Easter celebrations [BWV 66 and 134] were again, transcriptions of earlier secular compositions, originally seeing the light of day in Cöthen (see Dürr pp 277 and 284 for details of the reworkings and transmission of these works). Clearly this means that the texts will have been altered and Bach′s methods of devising musical motives from the textual images cannot be assumed. Nevertheless, it is always instructive to see how he adapted non-sacred music to spiritual purpose.

Indeed the ′discourse′ nature of these texts should alert us to their secular genesis. This approach may have been less common in the conservative Leipzig churches than in secular congratulatory or wedding pieces, perhaps because of their operatic implications. Bach did compose dialogue cantatas for Christ and the Soul at a later stage but they were not common in the first cycle and completely absent from the second.

But whatever the background to it may have been, one is grateful not to have lost C 66, a work bubbling with energy and invention. Like C 31 it is a predominantly major-mode work, proclaiming the elation of the Easter resurrection and the implications it has for mankind. Additionally, it takes the basic shape of the cantata which Bach was later to utilise for some time, particularly in the second cycle i.e. opening chorus and closing four-part chorale separated by a group of recitatives and arias, one of the latter frequently being a duet.>>

Cantata 66 movements, scoring, incipits, key, meter:3

1. Chorus da-capo free–polyphony and imitation [SATB; Tromba, Oboe I/II, Fagotto, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, / Entweichet, ihr Schmerzen” (Rejoice, you hearts, / Run away, you sorrows); B. “Ihr könnet verjagen / Das Trauren, das Fürchten, das ängstliche Zagen” (You can chase away / the mourning , the fear, the anxious trembling); D Major; 3/8 gigue-passepied style.
2. Recitative secco [Bass; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: “Es bricht das Grab und damit unsre Not” (The grave is broken and with it our distress); b minor to A Major; 4/4.
3. Aria da capo [Bass (Vox Christi style); Oboe I/II, Fagotto, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Lasset dem Höchsten ein Danklied erschallen” (Let a song of thanks resound to the highest); B. “Jesus erscheinet, uns Friede zu geben” (Jesus appears to give us peace); D Major, 3/8 pastorale style.
4. Recitative (Dialogue) e Arioso (Duetto) [Tenor, Alto; Continuo]: A. Recit. Tenor (Hope): “Bei Jesu Leben freudig sein / Ist unsrer Brust ein heller Sonnenschein.” (To be joyful in Jesus' life / is a bright ray of sunshine in our breast.); B. Dialogue: Tenor (Hope), “Mein Auge sieht den Heiland auferweckt” (My eye sees the saviour arisen)’ Alto (Fear): “Kein Auge sieht den Heiland auferweckt” (No eye sees the saviour arisen); Conclusion: Tenor (Hope): “Wenn Gott in einem Grabe lieget, / So halten Grab und Tod ihn nicht.” (If God lies in a grave, / then the grave and death do not hold him.); Alto (Fear): “Ach Gott! der du den Tod besieget” (Ah God! you who conquer death); G-D-A Major; 4/4.
5. Aria da capo (Duetto) [Alto, Tenor; Violino solo, Continuo]; A. “Ich furchte {zwar, nicht} des Grabes Finsternissen” (I fear {in deed, do not} the grave's darkness); B. Both: “Nun ist mein Herze voller Trost” (my heart is full of comfort); A Major; 12/8 generic dance style.
6. Choral plain [SATB; Continuo, Instrumentation not designated]: “Alleluja! Alleluja! Alleluja! / Des soll'n wir alle froh sein” (For this we should all be joyful) ; f-sharp minor; 4/4.

Alec Robertson commentary: BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV66-Guide.htm.

Cantata 66 General Observations

Mincham offers two general observations about Cantata 66 in the BCML Doscussion Part 2 (March 21, 2006, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV66-D2.htm. << Two general observations; one that Bach is here continuing the practice of not composing new works but resurrecting or rewriting earlier cantatas. This was a feature of this part of the first cycle possibly, as I mentioned in an earlier email, because of the workload imposed by the writing and performance preparations of SJP (BWV 245). This work, which has the 'feel' of a secular work, originated from the Cöthen period.

Secondly the scale of the work is worth a mention. All movements are lengthy. The opening chorus, even when taken at a good lick is the best part of 10 minutes long. Its opening is typical of Bach's representation of joyous celebration and the various motives which he was wont to use for this expression are noticeable e.g. Schweitzer's motive of joy (two quick notes followed by a longer one) and the swirls of very fast notes, usually covering a full octave of the major scale, first heard in the bass then taken up by the upper strings. (See also the opening choruses of BWV 11 and the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) to see how he uses similar ideas for joyous effect but, nevertheless, still producing movements with their own uniqueness of character. It is interesting to compare directly these three movements).

The vocal writing is clear, often homophonic and unencumbered by complex contrapuntal devices; it is, consequently a very easy work to 'get inside', despite its length.

Of note is the marked contrast between the A sections and the middle B section ('away with tears, terror and abandonment'). The theme here is based upon a series of repeated notes (linking it musically to the later duet) and a falling chromatic scale (representing desolation and fear but lacking the dense counterpoint or stringent harmonies of the first chorus of BWV 14 which has been alluded to recently). The texture is generally light, much of it based upon the two line of bass and alto with simple and uncluttered imitative entries when the full choir is called upon. There is just one brief reminder of the 'joy' figure and the swirling scales are completely absent.

The bass aria has much less differentiation between the A and B sections and is notable for the hornpipe -like rhythm of the strings. This rhythmic complexity is heightened by the change from 3 to 2 time preceding the cadences (hemiola)---no change of time signature of course but the syncopation provides the temporary feeling of two in a bar for just two bars on each occasion; a delicious moment.

As with the repeated notes mentioned above, the reiterated falling chords which concluded the bass recitative are brought back to form part of the instrumental accompaniment for the middle section of this aria---another piece of evidence of Bach's thinking organically in terms of the overall structure of the cantata.

The recit-- duet---recit (the duet texture is a reoccuring part of the musical thinking of this work) is too long to examine in detail. The feeling is operatic and reminds us Bach's enthusiasm in expressing exchanges between opposites or contradictions (e.g. the later secular cantata, Phoebus and Pan BWV 201).

I have gone on too long so will not comment upon the duet; but this should not reflect upon its quality. It is, however, slightly surprising to find the final Easter Chorale to be minor in a work which has been predominantly and triumphantly major. In the second cycle one sometimes finds a movement in the minor which one would have supposed to be much more obviously suggestive of the major mode (and vice versa). My view is that sometimes Bach returns to the darker minor tones in order to remind us of the seriousness of his theme. In this cantata the accent is upon the joy that the resurrection provides for the true believer. But the resurrection is a very serious business nevertheless, and Bach leaves us with a reminder of this. The Hallelujahs in the chosen hymn are a decidedly muted affair----see also, incidentally, the closing Hallelujahs of a couple of the movements from BWV 4 (And in order that I am not accused of pedalling any religious view I should declare that I am an atheist with no religious allegience and absolutely no missionary zeal of any kind! I am interested in Bach's responses to his theological texts because it reveals more of the nature and expression of the music and of his approach to composition. But what I take from the music is entirely humanitarian; a unique expression of the complexities and contradictions of human emotions).>>

Theological Considerations

Peter Smail wrote (March 21, 2006), BCML Cantata 66 Discussion, Part 2, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV66-D2.htm. <<The inclusion of the Chorale in BWV 66, the final verse of the ancient "Christ ist erstanden," marks a moment of anachronism by Bach compared with the rhythmic and stylistic modernity of the transferred secular cantata which precedes. Whereas in most instances Bach set a text to music (Wolff, quoting Scheide quoting Rochlitz says he generally submitted three for choice to the superintendent Deyling, professor of theology), here the poet has skilfully recast the text around the music.

Wolff also points out that Cöthen origins, namely of BWV 66a/1, BWV 66a/3, BWV 173a/6-7, BWV 184a/4, BWV 184a/6 and BWV 173a/4, create the importation into the relative sacred cantatas of dance-rhythms- respectively a Gigue-Passepied, a Pastorale, a Bourree, a Polonaise, a Gavotte, and finally "al tempo di Menuetto."

Thomas Braatz has contributed a fascinating and extensive link on the subject of "Christ ist erstanden," which, along with "Christus der uns Selig Macht" from the SJP (BWV 245) of the prior week is I think one of the few Chorales from the Hymnbook of the Bohemian Brethren of 1538, in Bach's library, to have been reproduced in Bach's sacred music output. It is perhaps strange that it is used but once in the Cantatas, although featuring also in the Orgelbüchlein, given the extensive use made of it by generations of composers.

To my ear and unplayed (Riemenschneider only lists the not-to-be-confused "Christ ist erstanden,") it sound modal rather than minor, IMO a glorious tierce de Picardie at the end providing a fitting end to the Easter Monday celebrations. Others more clued up on modes maybe could put me right on this. Whatever, the archaism creates a striking contrast.>>

*Chorale note: Bach in Cantata 66 uses the Easter Season Leipzig pulpit hymn, “Christ ist Erstanden,” Luther’s three-stanza setting of the Latin Easter sequence <Victimae paschali> (1200 Leise) transformed into 3-part chorale. This unusual chorale setting has there stanzas each of different poetic meter and different tunes. Bach’s definitive setting (1712-13) is found in the Orgelbüchlein No. 36 (BWV 627) and was set in three distinct movements, unlike any other composer’s treatment in a single work (Stinson, <Bach Ob.> p. 113f. Bach also composed two four-voice plain-chorale settings: the closing chorale in Cantata BWV 66, for Easter Monday 1724, which uses only the third, “Allelujah” “verse,” and the full four-part plain chorale, BWV 276, which appears to have been composed later in Leipzig because of its tonal shifts, opening in D Minor and Closing in F-Sharp Major, and intricate and wide-ranging voicing. The Miscellaneous Organ Chorale Prelude setting, “Chriist Erstanden,” BWV 746, is attributed to J.K.F. Fischer (Peter Williams, <Organ Music of JSB>: 491). [This paragraph and below

Originated in Cantata 66, BCML Discussions Part 3, week of July 18, 2010, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV66-D3.htm.

Genesis of Cantata 66

Here is the original Köthen birthday serenade, based upon the surviving original Hunold Text and parodied music in Cantata BWV 66: BIRTHDAY: BWV 66a, Der Himmel dacht auf Anhalts Ruhm und Glück, serenade; Köthen Prince Leopold birthday, 12/10/1718 (no performing materials extant), original text and parody music survive: BWV 66, Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, Easter Monday, 4/10/1724. Literature: NBA KB I/35, Cantatas for Princes (Dürr 1964); Smend <Bach in Köthen> (1985, 86-92). Text: Hunold (Menantes) "Auserlesene" II (Halle 1718/21): Fortune (A), Fame (T); Eng. trans. below, BCW, Phillip Z. Ambrose: http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV66a.html. Movements: 3 recits, 3 arias, scena, chorus

1. (Rec.) Fortune: Since heaven cared for Anhalt's fame and bliss. (=66/2)
2. Aria, Fortune: Waft hence, ye breezes, your glad jubilation, (66/3) (da capo, pastorale)
3. (Scena: rec.-aso.-rec.) Fame/Fortune: Fame rec. Great wisdom on the throne to see; Fame aso. Both might and high rank put in trust; Fame-Fortune dialogue rec., {I will/Thou canst} therefore in this {my/thy} honor-chariot (66/4)
4. Aria, Fame-Fortune duet): I'll leave then {now; I would/not; thou shouldst} all earth be telling (66/5) (da capo)
5. (Rec.) Fortune-Fame: How far hast thou with Anhalt's fame divine, (music lost)
6. Aria, Fortune: O happy land of sweet repose and quiet! (music lost) (da capo)
7. (Rec.) Fortune-Fame: Now worthy Prince! God who adorns his purple,
8. "Aria" (Tutti): Let sun shine forever, (=66/1) (da capo, gigue-passepied)

For the 1724 parody adaptation, Bach moved the closing tutti chorus (no. 8) to the traditional opening dictum position, probably adding the solo trumpet part, then followed the original order with the sequence of opening paired recitative and aria, and the paired dialogue recitative-arioso-recitative scena and dialogue aria. He then closed the sacred parody with an appropriate Easter chorale, dispensing with the serenade's two dialogue recitatives flanking a solo aria (BWV 66a/5-7). Bach's first Leipzig cantata parody was for Easter Monday, April 10, 1724.

EASTER MONDAY: BWV 66, Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen; chorus/parody. Sources: (1) score ? 1735 (DS P.73, CPEB Berlin Sing. Akad.); (2) parts set (lost, ?WFB); Literature: BGA XVI (Rust 1868), NBA KB I/10 (Dürr 1956), Whittaker I: 533-43, Robertson 109f, Young 101ff; Dürr 274-78, 798.

Bach preserved the original serenade dialogue form, substituting the alto Fear in place of Fortune and the tenor Hope in place of Fame. Particularly in the parodied, instructive recitatives, Bach took the opportunity to substitute sacred Easter references in place of Hunold's profane language.

Original/New Forms

Julian Mincham in his thorough BCW essay on Cantata BWV 66, http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-48-bwv-66.htm, in the second paragraph speaks to the original form: "Indeed the 'discourse' nature of these texts should alert us to their secular genesis. This approach seems to have been less common in the conservative Leipzig churches than in secular congratulatory or wedding pieces perhaps because of their operatic implications. Bach did compose four dialogue cantatas for Christ and the Soul at a later stage but they were not common in the first cycle and completely absent from the second."

Thus, in order to preserve the "discourse" dialogue nature and structure of his available Köthen serenades, Bach parodied the recitatives as well as the madrigalian paired arias and tutti ensembles. This wasn't simply Bach hastily cobbling a wholesale, perfunctory text underlay of embarrassing self-plagiarism, as 19th century Bach scholars simply assumed. Easter Monday Cantata BWV 66, "Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen" (Rejoice, ye hearts), was a template, a model, for Bach's four later feast day parodies. Indeed, something successful and pleasing bears repeating and Bach performed again all five Köthen-origin cantatas in the Easter season of both 1731 and (perhaps) 1735.

Bach made one change in the vocal music. He transposed the opening Fortune (Glückseligkeit Anhalts) recitative and aria pair down an octave from alto to bass to add another solo voice to the cantata, Smend points out (p. 51). Dürr notes that the original two allegorical figures "Fortune" and "Fame" are designated in the 1724 original sacred version as "Schwachheit" (Weakness) and "Zuversicht" (Confidence), becoming "Furcht" (Fear) and "Hoffnug" (Hope) in 1731. This final characterization, says Dürr, is based on the Gospel reading, "But we HOPED that he would redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21) and "Certain women have FRIGHTENED us" ("Luke 24:22).

The original Fortune and Fame duet passages should be retained in the Cantata BWV 66 performances of the opening da capo chorus vocal and middle sections and "no doubt should be sung by soloists," says Dürr (p. 277). "The middle section, by comparison with the outer (A section) ones, brings a reduction not only in sonority but in tempo ('andante')."

The discourse or dialogue form is entirely appropriate for adaptation to a cantata for Easter Monday, since the Gospel reading is from Luke 23:13-35, the Disciples' "Walk to Emmaus" journey or pilgrimage. In Bach's time, this event symbolized conversation strengthening the Lutheran concept of discipleship through witness in the immediate post-Resurrection or "in-between" time. In his Epistle address to the Roman house of Cornelius, The Apostle Peter says, "We are witnesses of all things that he did" (Act 10:39), the beginning of proclamation, evangelism, going fourth into the world.>>

Walk to Emmaus

Throughout the day-long Easter Monday Walk to Emmaus, there is a sense of personal discovery, revelation, opportunity and commitment. The 20th Century Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhöffer speaks eloquently of this in his The Cost of Discipleship, of taking up the practice of unconditional, unquestioning "followship," especially in the pursuit of "costly grace" instead of "cheap grace." Today, mainline Protestant churches, particularly the Methodists, have an "Upper Room" renewal movement four-day program called, "Walk to Emmaus."

The original Köthen serenade BWV 66a may have opened with a sinfonia, possibly later used to open Cantata BWV 42, "But in the evening of the same Sabbath, for the First Sunday in Easter (Quasimodogeniti) in the 1725 second cycle, according to Joshua Rifkin as cited in Dürr (p. 296). Norman Carrell in <Bach the Borrower> (1967, pp. 118, 185, said the sinfonia must have been written for a (lost) cantata which dealt with the walk to Emmaus." W. Gillies Whittaker in <Cantatas of JSB> I: 296, says the sinfonia, originated possibly as a Köthen double-chorus da capo concerto, "is a heavenly picture of evening. The throbbing chords remind one of the first chorus of (Cantata) No. 6 [1725], "Abide with us, for the Evening is far spent." It is possible that Bach in 1724 planned to retain this six-minute-long sinfonia in D Major, in the same key as Cantata 66a, but set it aside because Cantata 66, even without the omitted three movements from Cantata 66a, was too long, running a half an hour. While there is no "Lost Emmaus Cantata" there exa sinfonia with a link to Köthen and a serenade later used for the Easter Monday Walk to Emmaus.

Since Bach in 1724 already had on hand virtually all the music and original text of Cantata BWV 66, he easily could have assembled the new text, possible using the services of Picander and Pastor Christian Weiß Sr. It would have been relatively easy to assemble the printed text booklets containing cantatas for the three-day Easter Festival to the Second Sunday After Easter (Misericordia Domini), delivered to the printer no later than four weeks before Easter Sunday. Two such libretti booklets exists for that early Easter season period of five services in 1724 (first cycle) and in 1731 (BWV 31, BWV 66, BWV 134, BWV 42, and new BWV 112). For the initial 1724 cycle, Bach already had on hand the texts of repeat Weimar Easter Sunday, Cantatas BWV 4 and 31, and duplicated the parody process for Cantata BWV 134 for Easter Tuesday using the same resource team as BWV 66 for Easter Monday. For the first two Sundays following Easter, Bach composed new cantatas BWV 76 and BWV 104, possibly to texts of Christian Weiß Sr.

Bach would have repeated this same libretto process for succeeding Easter festivals, since he had much material already on hand and would rely on reperformances of his as the cantatas of Telemann and J.L. Bach.

Bach presented the following works on Easter Mondays:
4/10/1724 (1) 66 Erf reut euch, ihr Herzen chorus/parody
4/2/1725 (2) 6 Bleib bei uns, es will Abend werden chorus/not chorale cantata, borrowed material
4/22/1726(3) [JLB10] Es ist aus der Angst und Gericht by J.L. Bach
4/18/1729 (Anh.190, P.29) Ich bin ein Pilgrim auf die Welt fragments survive
3/26/1731 (66) Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen repeat
4/11/1735 (66) Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen repeat
c1736-39 (6) Bleib bei uns, es will Abend werden repeat

Easter Monday chorale settings:
1724: BWV 66/6, Klug “Christ ist erstanden” (S.3)
1725: BWV 6/6, Luther “Erhalt uns, Herr” (S.2)
1726: JLB10/7 ?chorale
1729: BWV Anh. 190/6=P-29, “Heut triumphiret Gottes Sohn” (S.3) (Wustmann text sub.)

FOOTNOTES

1 Cantata 66, BCW Details & Discography, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV66.htm. Score Vocal & Piano [2.47 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV066-V&P.pdf, Score BGA [4.37 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BGA/BWV066-BGA.pdf. References: BGA XVI (Church Cantatas 61-70, Wilhelm Rust, 1868), NBA KB I/10 (Easter Monday, Alfred Dürr, 1956), Bach Compendium BC A 56, Zwang K 64.
2 Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 717).
3German text (?Picander/Bach) and Francis Browne English translation, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV66-Eng3.htm.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (March 30, 2016):
[To William Hoffman] Excellent notes as usual, and thank you for your hard work.

But I'd add the likely possibility, based on Andreas Glöckner's research (1), that Bach performed the Easter cantatas from Stözel's 1732 cycle known as "Christ's Names," text composed by Benjamin Schmolck. Bach's copy of this cycle disappeared from Leipzig in the confusion of WW2 around 1944. But fortunately, half the music still survives in Sonderhausen, including all the Easter cantatas.

An interesting feature of this cycle: it's composed only for 4 part strings, and 4 vocal parts. Only the feast days of Easter and Christmas require trumpets and timpani. I think this muted scoring reflects the music was composed after Stözel's patron (2) became very sick, and wasn't expected to live.

Andreas Glöckner also mentions Bach performance of a Stözel oratorio/passion called The Good Friday Oratorio performed in St. Thomas on Good Friday, April 23, 1734 (3). Glöckner believes that Bach's performance of two entire cycles by Stözel and other composers, makes him question if Bach ever composed a 4th and 5th cantata cycle.

"By performing works by other composers, Bach could at least be temporarily relieved from some of his duties as a composer and performer of church music so that he could pursue other musical interests and attempt to obtain invitations for private trips, organ examinations, or performances outside Leipzig. It is possible that he changed his mind regarding the nature of his duties in Leipzig and redefined them entirely so that his church music duties were no longer among his primary objectives."

Many many thanks to Thomas Braatz for his generous help the German texts.

1: Is there another cantata cycle by Gottfried Heinrich Stözel that belonged to Bach's performance repertoire? Bach-Jahrbuch, 2009.

2: Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, B: 28 July 1676, in Gotha – D: 23 March 1732, in Altenburg

3. The proof of this came via the discovery of the oratorio's text booklet, discovered in St. Petersburg by Tatjana Schabalina.

 

Cantata BWV 66: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Cantata BWV 66a: Details & Complete Recordings
Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


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