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Cantata BWV 68
Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of February 20, 2011

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 20, 2011):
Introduction to BWV BWV 68 -- Also hatt Gott die Welt geliebt

This weeks discussion continues the ongoing series of cantatas spanning from Easter to Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity. With BWV 68, we continue with the second of three works for Whit Monday, among the large group of works for the three-day Whit festival (Whitsundtide) which is the focus of our weekly discussions for a couple of months, through the week of March 13.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV68.htm

That page also has convenient access to Gardinerís notes to the pilgrimage CDs, by clicking on the PDF link under the picture of the CD cover.

The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham} is especially recommended as an introduction to listening.

Relevant discussion has already begun with posts earlier today noting the relation (potentially confusing) between the sacred BWV 68 and the source for Mvts. 2 and 4 in the secular BWV 208, Mvts. 13 and 9. At the risk of adding to the confusion, I point out that to call the relation between these reworked movements *parody* could itself be called a parody of basic modern (20th C. and after) English:

Parody: a work, especially literary or musical composition, imitating the characteristic style of some other work (or artist), treating a serious subject in a nonsensical manner, as in ridicule.

Half a millennium ago the word apparently had a much more serious connotation, leading to the now standard musical term *parody mass* for a specific sacred work based on a secular precedent. It was already a stretch to apply that term to Bachs reworking of his own compositions back then. To continue now, given the changed meaning of *parody* in general usage, strikes me as obstinacy or perhaps scholarly obfuscation.

I have patiently waited for BWV 68 to come around, to point out this item from Gardinerís CD notes, with broader significance:

<A year later [with respect to BWV 173 from 1724] Bach turned again [within the ongoing series of works for 1725] to Christiane Mariane von Zieglerís, nine of whose texts he had perhaps commissioned in 1724 but had been unable to set to music on schedule because of the huge unforeseen effort spent in completing the St. John Passion [BWV 245] by Good Friday of that year. He was now in a position to complete an ambitious design for the Sundays leading up to Trinity Sunday [...]> (end quote)

This appears to be purely speculative, but with a relatively orderly satisfaction, and in direct contradiction to the also speculative Stubel hypothesis, that von Ziegler was a hasty recruit to accommodate an untimely death, with Stubel a candidate of convenience.

Julian Mincham wrote (February 20, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< A year later [with respect to BWV 173 from 1724] Bach turned again [within the ongoing series of works for 1725] to Christiane Mariane von Zieglerís, nine of whose texts he had perhaps commissioned in 1724 but had been unable to set to music on schedule because of the huge unforeseen effort spent in completing the St. John Passion [BWV 245] by Good Friday of that year. >
This is very interesting. Every source I have read tells us that Bach did not use her texts after the 9 (or possibly 10) he set to complete the second cycle.

Does anyone know where this information comes from?

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 20, 2011):
[To Julian Mincham] Gardinerís point is a bit unclear out of context. He does not suggest that Bach used more than nine of von Zieglerís texts, but that the nine set in 1725 to complete the second cycle had actually been commissioned by Bach in 1724, after which they were available on the shelf for a year. The major implication is in the nature of Bachs long-range planning for the structure of Jahrgang II, the second cycle.

In his CD notes, Gardiner does not give even a hint as to whether the idea of 1724 text commissions from von Ziegler is his own conjecture or someone elses, nor whether there is any external supporting evidence. I second Julians request for more information, if any is known, or clarification of the source of the conjecture.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 20, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Bach turned again [within the ongoing series of works for 1725] to Christiane Mariane von Zieglerís, nine of whose texts he had perhaps commissioned in 1724 but had been unable to set to music on schedule because of the huge unforeseen effort spent in completing the St. John Passion [BWV 245 by Good Friday of that year. >
Is there any documentary evidence that Bach was surprised by the "unforeseen" work load presented by the St. John Passion (BWV 245) and had to scramble to compose? Everything we know about Bach's working method indicates that he could meet any demand placed on him by his heavy calendar. What purpose is served by perpetuating this Romantic myth of last-minute Rossini-frenzy? Bach's own assertion of a "Well-regulated" music suggests that the major works had a long and considered compositional gestation. Bach doesn't have to be a Byronic hero.

Julian Mincham wrote (February 20, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Gardinerís point is a bit unclear out of context. He does not suggest that Bach used more than nine of von Zieglerís texts, but that the nine set in 1725 to complete the second cycle had actually been commissioned by Bach in 1724, after which they were available on the shelf for a year. The major implication is in the nature of Bachs long-range planning for the structure of Jahrgang II, the second cycle. >
So does that mean that he is suggesting that the 9 late 2nd cycle cantatas that we though M v Z provided the texts for were actually written by someone else?

AS you say Ed without any references this gets weirder and weirder.

Julian Mincham wrote (February 20, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Is there any documentary evidence that Bach was surprised by the "unforeseen" work load presented by the St. John Passion (BWV 245) and had to scramble to compose? Everything we know about Bach's working method indicates that he could meet any demand placed on him by his heavy calendar. What purpose is served by perpetuating this Romantic myth of last-minute Rossini-frenzy? Bach's own assertion of a "Well-regulated" music suggests that the major works had a long and considered compositional gestation. Bach doesn't have to be a Byronic hero. >
I am not aware that bach fell behind in the provision of these cantatas---no credible source has suggested this. Some of the last cantatas of the 2nd cycle are very short---e.g. BWV 176, but that is hardly unique in his output.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 20, 2011):
EM:
< Gardinerís point is a bit unclear out of context. He does not suggest that Bach used more than nine of von Zieglerís texts, but that the nine set in 1725 to complete the second cycle had actually been commissioned by Bach in 1724, after which they were available on the shelf for a year. The major implication is in the nature of Bachs long-range planning for the structure of Jahrgang II, second cycle. >
JM:
< So does that mean that he is suggesting that the 9 late 2nd cycle cantatas that we thought M v Z provided the texts for were actually written by someone else? >
EM:
Not by someone else, but by M v Z a year earlier (1724 rather than 1725) than the conventional wisdom. I hasten to point out that I have no basis to endorse (or not) this conjecture, I am simply the messenger. If accurate, it is a satisfying alternative to the Stubel hypothesis (death) for the abrupt change in librettist for the second cycle texts.

For additional conjecture on the relation between Bach and M v Z, see the BCW commentary link to the 1971 notes (unrelated to OVPP theory) by Joshua Rifkin for the USA (Nonesuch label) release of the Ziegler (20th C. conductor, apparently unrelated to Mv Z) LP recording of BWV 68. In essence, Rifkin would have them squabbling over text details, with Bach having the final word for cantata texts, but M v Z recovering and preserving her preferences in subsequent book format. Personally, I do not see the need to invoke squabbling. Why not a jointly created and/or agreed first draft for music setting, with subsequent poetic polishing for book publication?

Gardiners conjecture seems ideal for this scenario. With Bach having texts in hand for a full year, there is ample time for tinkering to fit new, or especially reworked, music (as in BWV 68). Also ample time for M v Z to revise or recover her preferred poetic expression for later book publication.

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 20, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< For additional conjecture on the relation between Bach and M v Z, see the BCW commentary link to the 1971 notes (unrelated to OVPP theory) by Joshua Rifkin for the USA (Nonesuch label) release of the Ziegler (20th C. conductor, apparently unrelated to Mv Z) LP recording of BWV 68. In essence, Rifkin would have them squabbling over text details, with Bach having the final word for cantata texts >
Here is the link, in case anyone has difficulty navigating BCW:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV68-Guide.htm

I am writing again because my use of the word squabbling is an unfair characterization of Rifkinís careful writing. He does suggest that Bach found the initial versions of the texts unsatisfactory, and that the two (Bach and M v Z) never worked together again after the nine cantatas of 1725, but that is the extent of it.

 

Cantata BWV 68: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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: żSeptember 29, 2011 ż11:26:47