Cantata BWV 76
Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes
Discussions - Part 1
J.S. Bach and the Mystery of "Haydn's" Serenade
Walter Meyer wrote (January 8, 1999):
Those who wonder at the authorship of the delightful "Serenade" for string quartet which some of us for the longest time thought had been written by Haydn, need wonder no longer.
Taking advantage of BMG's latest sale, I obtained, among other things, Volume 6 of Ton Koopman's recordings of Bach cantatas. It's now clear to me that the Serenade comes from the first soprano aria ("Hoert, ihr Voelker, Gottes Stimme") in "Die Himmel erzaehlen die Ehre Gottes", BWV 76.
Suzuki - Vol. 9
Ryan Michero wrote (December 20, 1999):
 Here is another triumph of Suzuki's ongoing complete cantata cycle. This one certainly lives up to the high standards Suzuki has set in previous volumes. There is not a whiff of tedium here; Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan bring freshness and excitement to every cantata. The works recorded here are from Bach's first few weeks at Leipzig, and one gets the feeling the new Kantor was trying especially hard to impress his new employers with the large-scale BWV 76. The other two pieces here, BWV 24 and BWV 167 are smaller in scale but, to me, equally impressive.
BWV 76 - "Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes"
This is a large-scale, fourteen-movement piece from Bach's first days at Leipzig, a companion piece to BWV 75, recorded on Vol. 8. The opening chorus is rousing and majestic, culminating in an exciting fugue, and Suzuki and the BCJ perform it with an irresistible sense of joy. A fine accompanied recitative follows, with beautifully shaded strings and excellent singing from Gerd Turk, who has quickly become one of my favourite tenors. The next aria, for soprano and solo violin, is beautifully performed by Midori Suzuki and Ryo Terakado, with each of them adding nice ornaments on the repeat. After a bass recitative, there is an aria with obbligato trumpet played wonderfully by Toshio Shimada, who makes a great impression on this volume. Robin Blaze expressively sings the next alto recitative, and he seems to be a worthy replacement to Yoshikazu Mera. The BCJ choir and orchestra, who always sound fine, surpass themselves on this volume, producing a ravishing sound on the closing chorale of part one. The second part begins with an instrumental Sinfonia with obbligato viola da gamba and oboe d'amore (played by the wonderful Alfredo Bernardini) which sounds amazing in these musicians' hands. After Chiyuki Urano sings a dramatic recitative, there is an almost violent tenor aria, sung with much expression by Türk, accompanied with a rough-edged cello in the continuo. Blaze excels in the ensuing recitative and aria (again with viola da gamba and oboe d'amore), singing with heart-melting sweetness. The chorale reappears to close the work, and the final bars are ravishing.
Discussions in the Week of July 2, 2000
Aryeh Oron wrote (July 2, 2000):
This is the week of cantata BWV 76, according to Ryan Michero's suggestion. This is the twin sister of BWV 75, which was discussed in this group last week. Somehow, and I do not understand why, it is much more recorded. There are at least 9 complete recordings of BWV 76 (of which I have 8), where BWV 75 has only 4. I do not have anything against the many recording of BWV 76, on the contrary. But why has BWV 75 been less recorded? Anyhow, enough with the complaints and let us enjoy with what we have in our hands this week. As a reference I shall use this time the old Philipp Spitta's book, named simply 'Johann Sebastian Bach':
"The Gospels for the first two Sundays after Trinity (the other is BWV 75) are more than usually rich in deep and beautiful thoughts and striking contrasts. The librettist unfortunately did not understand how to take advantage of this in the interests of music. In both he devotes his energies to didactic trivialities, which have but a loose connection with the Scriptural narratives, and might just as fitly have been written for many other Sundays."
"Not only in the division into two parts and the insertion of an instrumental movement, but also in the number of its choruses and chorales, its recitatives and arias, and the order in which these forms are arranged, the cantata (in C major) for the 2nd Sunday after Trinity, "Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes" (BWV 76) - "The heavens declare the glory of God" - agrees with the one just spoken of (BWV 75). Nay, the arias, whether intentionally or not, are in the same keys as those of the other work, their order alone being different."
Here are some personal observations I made while listening to and writing about BWV 76:
a. The close relations and the many similarities between the two consecutive cantatas, may raise in interesting question. Did Bach try to recapture in BWV 76 the 'big success' he had experienced a week before with BWV 75 by adopting the same formula? I remember that Charles Rosen, the fine writer and pianist (His Goldberg Variations and Art of Fugue, played on piano, are among the best recordings of each work), was once asked, after the unexpected success of his book 'The Classical Style' (One of the best books about music I have ever read): "Do you plan to write a follower to this book?" His smart answer was: "Shall I call him 'The son of the Classical Style' or 'the Classical Style rides again?'" So, the question is: "Can we call BWV 76 - 'BWV 75 rides again?'" In other words, was Bach at that time not sure enough about his new job as Kantor in Leipzig, to have the bravery to write according to his heart and soul, using his intelligence, imagination and craftsmanship, as he would do so many times afterwards? There are some signs indicating this, because regarding my personal taste, BWV 76 is a little bit less inspired and less captivating than BWV 75 is, despite its being more popular.
b. In many cases the opening movement of a musical work, or even the first section of the first movement, or even the first few bars - set our relation to the whole work. In many times an impressive introduction can compensate for a less inspired remainder. In Bach case, it happens many times that the most memorable movement of a cantata is hidden somewhere in the middle. But in the case of BWV 76, the most impressive and glorious movement is indeed the opening chorus. I believe that this is the main cause for this cantata being more often recorded than BWV 75. Regarding my personal taste, I like them both, with slight preference for the opening chorus of BWV 75, which is more touching and more varied regarding the moods and the feelings it delivers.
c. Another thought that came to me during listening to the opening chorus of BWV 76 is that in some ways it can be seen as a capsule, which contains the major elements of the whole cantata. Like the whole cantata, the opening chorus has two parts; all the solo voices, most of the instruments, the choir, and the full orchestra - are given the opportunity to say something. The festive and glorious and even enthusiastic moods, which are expressed in this movement, inspire most of the other movements of the cantata. Due to limitations of time and space, I was forced this time to reduce my review of BWV 76 to only one movement. In this sense, Bach made this decision easier for me to take.
The opening Chorus
In order to understand why did the opening chorus of BWV 76 cause such attraction for relatively big number of performers, and to complete the picture given above, I shall allow myself to quote from some experts.
Here is Spitta again:
"Here, again, tmost important part of the whole is the first chorus, although scarcely any connection subsists between its words and the Gospel of the day (Luke 14: 16-24). As before the chorus consists of an opening section with free imitations and an independent instrumental accompaniment, agreeing with the other even in the time - and of a fugue; there, however, the entry of the full choir is preceded by a movement for soprano and alto, while here some of the basses begin alone. The resemblance is seen even in similar phrases (compare bars 24 ff of the C major (BWV 76), with bars 26 ff of the E minor (BWV 75) cantatas). The whole piece is very full and brilliant, and the fugue theme is strong and vigorous. An effect noticed in cantata "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" (BWV 21) is repeated here, and once again in a new work that we shall consider next in order of present ("Ein ungefärbt Gemüthe" (BWV 24); the fugue is begun by solo voices, the tutti parts coming in gradually at the recurring entrances of the theme, giving the effect of a slow crescendo such as that produced on the organ by the gradual drawing out of more and more stops. This fugue also bears a resemblance to some of the earlier fugues, in that the trumpet is used as a fifth part in the working out."
Alec Robertson wrote in his book 'The Church Cantatas of J.S. Bach':
"The text is verse 1 of Psalm XIX in the first section of the movement, verse 3 in the second section. The short and triumphant introductory prelude, with the trumpet prominent, leads one to expect the chorus will enter in the full cry, but it is the solo bass who declaims - to a fine phrase not again heard - the opening line, accompanied only by the continuo until the last word when the oboes come in, with violins responding, the trumpet silent. Only then does the chorus, with the full orchestra burst in. When this section has exultantly run its course the solo tenor starts the fugal section. 'There is no language or speech where one hears not their voice'. The three other soloists complete the exposition accompanied only by the continuo, and bring in the chorus, from which point builds up a great structure of glorious sound, withholding the trumpet until the rise to the peak climax."
Robertson description above is simple and clear and allows one to follow easily the progress of the music. I shall not quote here from W. Murray Young's book or from Simon Crouch's Web pages, because they repeat more or less the same description. We are now ready for the comparison between the recordings of this opening chorus.
The comparison of the recordings below relates only to the opening chorus.
(1) Hermann Scherchen (1952)
I do not have this recording yet. However, I ordered it and I intend to review it when I get to hear it.
 Wilhelm Ehmann (Mid 1960’s?)
This recording really skies high. Is this old-fashioned recording? Not to my ears! Based on the 4 LP's of Bach cantatas recorded by Ehmann that I have (see my message about BWV 84 couple of days ago, and the reviews of BWV 4 and BWV 182), he was a born Bach conductor. Always the right tempi, always sensitivity to the meaning of the text, transparency of all the components, balance between all the factors, well chosen accentuation, achieving the best performance from his soloists, etc. He could hold his own even in today's heavy competition in the field (Although I am quite sure that if he has conducted today, he would have used HIP approach). Here he allows his soloists to sing the solo parts of the opening chorus and they are so good! The combination of sensitivity, taste, joy, and enthusiasm is irresistible and sweeping. I wanted to sing with them!
 Fritz Werner (1960)
Hearing this recording immediately after Ehmann does not do any good to Werner. This recording sounds fatigue and ponderous. It is slow and heavy and it seems to be that all the power and life and soul were taken from the work. The solo parts are sung by small choir (two voices per part?). It adds to the clarity, but not to the spirit. Not recommended.
(4) Kurt Bauer (Late 1960’s?)
I can hardly believe that anyone in this group has this LP. In this case I can say to you loud and clear: AVOID IT. This is among the worst cantata recordings I have ever heard. It was released in the early 1970's on a bootleg label from unknown source. As you can see, even the names of the soloists are not mentioned. I have couple more LP's of cantatas under the conducting of Kurt Bauer, but I know nothing about him. Based on this recording, I am not sure that I want to know more. I remember somebody in the second half of the 1970's claiming that Kurt Bauer is pseudonym of Karl Richter, who did some cantata recordings for East German labels without permission from Archiv label. The comparison of this recording to the recording of the real Karl Richter (below) proves how ridiculous this claim is. This is an awful rendering - unclean playing, unpleasant singing, no taste, no care for details, no nothing. This is the first time in the weekly cantata discussions that I dare to say something so strict about a recording of a cantata. But believe me, it is justified.
(5) Karl Richter (1974-1975)
Here we have a dignified and honourable performance that simply does not deliver the goods. The orchestra playing is good if not impressive. So is the choir. All the vocal parts are sung by the choir. One could think that if the whole world is singing, it also means that as many voices sing in the God praise, as it is better. But in this movement I think that solo voices are preferable. In other words, more is less, or less is more. There is a glory in this performance; there is boldness and seriousness. But more important factors are missing - lightness, joy and enthusiasm. The recording does not carry you away with it.
(6) Helmuth Rilling (Early 1970’s?)
Glory, Glory, Halleluia! This performance is characterised by lightness and clarity, as it should be (we are talking about the skies singing!). Rilling's forces express their joy openly without inhibitions. The solo parts are performed by the vocal soloists. Here we have the rare opportunity to hear Rilling with OVPP approach. Their singing reflects their intelligence, their mutual listening, and their voices match so well together. The instrumental parts are also played splendidly. Every instrumental and vocal voice can be clearly heard. Nobody covers the others, as though they do not try to compete with each other, but encouraged by each other to express their happiness and enthusiasm. I can recommend this recording warmly to those of you, who are unfamiliar yet with Rilling's cycle of cantatas.
(7) Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1978)
This recording sounds pedantic and dogmatic. The tempo is right, but there is no life in it and no enthusiasm. The solo parts are sung by the vocal soloists, but they adopt the problematic approach of their conductor. The boy has a nice voice, but this voice does not blend very well with the other soloists' voices. There are some insecurities in the playing of the orchestra and the singing of the choir.
 Ton Koopman (1997)
This is a pleasant rendering. Dare I say too pleasant? I could think that nothing could go wrong when the first solo voice that I was hearing belonged to Mertens. The reason that this recording, light as it is, does not sky, is lack of some power and real enthusiasm. It is strange, because all the other components sound so right - the tempo, the matching of the voices, the clean playing of the instruments, the overall balance, etc. Maybe, if that was the only recording I knew, I would have been pleased with it. But hearing it in the group of some supreme r, some of them are relatively old, cause it to pale. Sorry, Koopman, you are not alone in the field!
 Masaaki Suzuki (1998)
Do I hear two bass voices immediately after the instrumental introduction, or is it the echo of the bass singer? Anyway, the second section fugue is performed by one voice per part, as it should. This performance has sharpness, clarity and alertness, which were missing from Koopman's recording. These added values, together with the clean playing and singing, contribute to the success of this rendering. The only thing missing here is a little bit more joy and delight. I believe that because I have heard some recordings, which sound more spontaneous and enthusiastic to my ears, I have a feeling with that one that it is too calculated and somewhat laboured. All in all, this is a satisfying performance, and anyone who has it, does not have to look any further.
Recordings of individual Movements
[M-2] Herman Kreutz (1968; only Chorale (Mvt. 7))
See what I wrote about their recording of the chorale of BWV 75.
First rate - Ehmann , Rilling (6)
Almost there - Suzuki 
So and so - Koopman 
Problematic - Werner , Richter (5), Harnoncourt (7)
Awful - Bauer (4)
And as always, I would like to hear other opinions, regarding the above mentioned performances, or other recordings.
Marie Jensen wrote (July 3, 2000):
The second time Bach performed cantatas in Leipzig he apparently had to make a "double up" again. BWV 76 contains 14 movements as BWV 75 last week. Later he was more brief. I don't know who decided, how long a cantata should be. The sermon itself lasted at least an hour, and with long hymns and many rituals and prayers, a service could take its time. In Kagel's St. Bach Passion all this is listed up in a recitativo where stress is spiralling around the poor Kantor. And those who have the McCreesh Mass (I have not) must have an idea about it too. Sunday was certainly not recreation for him, wonder if it ever was...
BWV starts ecstatically with a chorus praising the glory of Gods creation. With the old words from Psalm 19
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Which of course relates to gospel of 2nd Sunday after Trinity Luke 14: 16-24 the parable: The Great Supper, where people invited have lots of excuses not to come, and all kinds of sinners and strangers out on the roads are allowed to the supper instead.
The second part deals with the epistle 1 John 3: 13-18 beginning: Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. Normally an epistle is just read by the priest and not commented as the gospel is in the sermon. With the cantata it is usually the same. Anyway here in 76 the epistle gets attention about half the time.
The best version of the three I know is good old Richter (5), close followed by Rilling (6). Sometimes Richter is simply too much in his atomic power grandiosity, but this time he caught me, especially in the two ending chorales. (The third version is recorded from the radio recently with Neumann/Collegium Carthusianum and represents the HIP side, but probably a concert version. Anyway though it is fine technically, it doesn't reach the same heights as Rilling and Richter, so no more about it.)
The first ecstatic trumpet fanfares of the opening "Die Himmel erzählen..." let us see Gods fantastic creation, nature, the power of the universe in a glowing light. Richter goes for it, the choir glows too, the orchestra lifts us. The fugue is splendid, filled with joy and clear in its structure, rhythmic allegro.
Rilling is more slow, cool and solemn without being heavy. Rilling introduces the theme OVPP (very great) and sends in the choir afterwards. Richter does not. Perhaps it is not his style. This antiphony effect reminds me of folk music, spirituals, shanties, where a choir leader sings and the choir repeats probably used because people can't remember long songs and as a simple way of conducting where working rhythm and singing rhythm is the same. Here in BWV 76 it is on a higher level of course used to underline and increase the effect of the words, not to forget variation.
The next recitativo: So lässt sich Gott nicht unbezeuget!
Schreier (Richter) sings with warmth and love. For me he will always be the classic tenor par excellence!
This warmth continues in the soprano aria. Notice the word "Gnadenthron", so gently, winding, so beautiful! Rilling's Augér hurries to the throne according the text.
Then the impious scum and Belial himself are exorcised by Bach's trumpet: "Fahr hin, abgöttische Zunft!" and Jesus praised as "Licht der Vernunft" a typical 18th century educational expression.
What I admire most in the Richter version are the two ending chorales. The drive of the low strings combined with trumpet power and a choir who can go on and on is like the invitation to the supper itself. I feel again lifted up by powerful hands, and pushed by a stream or a wind in the grass in the same worshipping direction as the choir. It is very grandiose and makes me tremble, feeling very little in the huge universe.
Those chorales simply deserve fame. Rilling seems to restrain the trumpet and choir a little.
The Sinfonia: I always love the way a Bach oboe adagio unfolds and then allegro rambles out on its own. Also here I like both versions.
The cobbling of the devotion in the Bass recitativo 9 "Gott segne noch die treue Schar" and the dramatic "Hasse nur" aria is so great and so typical baroque in its contrasts. Both Moll (Richter) and Nimsgern (Rilling) do fine in the recitativo. Moll perhaps is too slow but ends with drama and continues the aria with true passion. In Rilling's version the hatred is not as furious.
Finally I have been pondering a little: What is it in Bach music that really takes me high? Not the same every time of course. But often as here it is this surrounding effect: I am simply surrounded under, over, beside myself by voices that all give meaning. It is a kind of architecture, never built on a ground of trivial chords, and when all those voices work together with a listener in the middle ...well you have all experienced that.
Marie Jensen wrote (July 4, 2000):
About the OVPP +followed by choir in the opening of BWV 76:
"Es ist keine Sprache noch Rede, da man nicht ihre Stimme höre."
Of course: It feels like the number of languages is multiplied, when the voices enter this way, and BTW: No other musical form will express this multitude better than a fugue, with the words repeated again and again as language after language.
PS, now we talk languages: Sorry, it is not "DIE Himmel" (feminine) as I wrote in the heading of my first mail but "DER Himmel" (masculine). But why is it "DIE" Hölle? Why not DER or at least DAS?
Marie-not that cruel.
Andrew Oliver wrote (July 4, 2000):
I cannot agree that this cantata is no more than a repetition of the successful formula, which Bach used for BWV 75. It seems to me that, although there are many similarities in the construction of the two works, there are also a number of points where they complement each other. Therefore, while they are independent and self-contained works, I think they ought to be considered as a pair, and I believe that is how Bach deliberately planned them.
The main area where they are complementary is in the choice of key. BWV 75 startin E minor and finished in the related key of G major. BWV 76 starts in C major, but how does it end? The booklet I have, issued by Teldec with the Harnoncourt's recording (7), implies that the musically identical chorale settings which close each half are set in E minor. That is not really true. His chorale melody is in the third church mode, the Phrygian, (which is equivalent to the old Greek Dorian mode), and Bach has harmonised it mainly as A minor, but it has to end in a chord of E major. I think this is why the first chorus of last week's cantata ended, as I said, with a tierce de Picardie, which in this instance means a chord of E major rather than the E minor with which it began. That chord closes the first movement of 75 and the last movement of BWV 76, binding the two together.
For another example of the Phrygian mode, consider Tallis's Third Mode Melody, arranged by Vaughan Williams.
Note also that the statement 'Die Elenden sollen essen' in BWV 75 is answered in BWV 76 by 'Der Liebe Suessigkeit erweist und mich mit Manna speist'.
'Die Himmel' is plural and refers to the sun, moon, planets and stars, not to the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven. I suppose the plural derives from the ancient idea of there being seven heavens one inside the other, like a Russian doll. As to Marie's query why Hölle should be feminine, my dictionary says that all German nouns, which end in E and represent inanimate objects, are classed as feminine.
One more point about the cantata. The first chorus begins (after the very first note C in the bass) with a flourish from the trumpet. This is decorated with passing notes, but is basically a 4-note motif, EGFE, and this is the same four-note phrase, which closes the chorale at the end of the work.
Now to listen to it again!
Marie Jensen wrote (July 5, 2000):
(To Andrew Oliver) First of all: Welcome to the group Andrew!
Whether the cantatas BWV 75 and BWV 76 are a pair or not: Your analysis is very convincing, though I don't know much of the ancient Greek keys.
About the texts: According the Bach Cantata Page http://uofapsy.psych.ualberta.ca/bach.html the librettist of both cantatas is unknown. So he could be the same, but we don't know. The cantata texts are closely connected with the Lutheran Canon, where every Sunday has an epistle and a gospel after two different successions, one for the uneven years and one for the even.
We have just begun the long Trinity period between Whit and Advent, and there are no great events to celebrate in Church. In this period the gospels do not deal very much with the biography of Jesus but more with His Teachings. I cannot figure, after which system the succession in the "After Trinity Period" is made (perhaps some of the theologists in the group know), but it starts with two parables. As 1723 is uneven, it is The Rich Man and Lazarus: Luke 16. 19-31 for the first Sunday and The Great Supper, Luke 14. 16-24 for the second. Both texts tell us, that we should let nothing secular come between us and God. The first Sunday Luke tells about the bread of this world. The second about God's Bread. So the Church has already connected the two Sundays thematically, or as Andrew writes:
< Note also that the statement 'Die Elenden sollen essen' in BWV 75 is answered in BWV 76 by 'Der Liebe Suessigkeit erweist und mich mit Manna speist'. >
It could very well be that Bach already wrote these cantatas in the last days of his Köthen period. May the 22nd 1723 he moved to Leipzig. May the 30th he performs BWV 75 and already Sunday the 6th of June BWV 76. Moving an entire family to a new place, new employers, new musicians, new choir. How could he have found time to compose two long works in such turmoil?
So he could, as you wrote, have planned them as a pair, though they never could be performed at the same service.
< Andrew wrote: 'Die Himmel' is plural and refers to the sun, moon, planets and stars, not to the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven. I suppose the plural derives from the ancient idea of there being seven heavens one inside the other, like a Russian doll >
Thank you for telling me the real name of the cantata. I should of course have checked it in the first place. BTW Bach lived in a period where physics, mathematics and astronomy flourished. It must have interested him?
Enrico Bortolazzi wrote (July 6, 2000):
[M-1] As with BWV 75 there's also Karl Straube (see previous message for details). The movements with time are:
Elly Hartwig-Correns, Alt
Georg A. Walter, Tenor
Albert Fischer, Bass
As wrote about BWV 75, the choir movements (No.1 and No.14) are the most confused, with the Bass section in the No.1 over all other parts.
In the booklet we read this curios note:
"In the recording of cantata BWV 76 (part 2: recitative and aria 'Liebt, ihr Christen, in der Tat') we possess one of the few existing sound documents of the viola da gamba's revival early in this century". It's interesting to listen to a viola da gamba played like a cello and a soloist singing with a lot of pathos and vibrato. The alto has a dark voice, very far from the altos of today or the male altos.
John Reese wrote (May 23, 2004):
I was just looking at the score of BWV 76, and there is something strange about it that I've always wondered about. The opening chorus has a trumpet part marked "Tromba" in the score, and the chorale arrangements for parts 7 and 14 also have a part marked "Tromba", but it doesn't appear to be the same instrument. In the later movements it plays notes not playable by a natural trumpet. Could this be a slide trumpet, or an early cornet? (it's possible that the score I have doesn't mark the parts the same way the original score did.)
Thomas Braatz wrote (May 24, 2004):
[To John Reese] The NBA KB I/16 explains on p. 55 that the original sources (autograph score & original set of parts) do not supply this specific information. The use of oboes, for instance, playing the same notes as the violins is documented only through later sources. Bach did not mark in his score all the instruments to be used and the critical parts from the original set of parts that would answer some of these questions are missing.
It is interesting, however, to see that what does remain of the original parts includes 1) Canto [Soprano] 2) Canto in Ripieno 3) Canto in Ripieno 4) Alto 5) Alto in Ripieno 6) Tenore 7) Basso 8) Violino 2do 9) Viola 10) Viola da Gamba 11) Viola da Gamba Notice the number of 'Ripieno' parts! Were the other 'Ripieno' parts for the Tenore and Basso lost as well? The NBA suspects that they did exist at one time along with the Tromba part and a few other missing parts.
Bach did designate on his score 'Tromba' for mvts. 7 & 14, but according to the Csibas in their book "Die Blechblasinstrumente in J. S. Bachs Werken" [Merseburger, 1994] p. 95, mvts. 1 and 5 were written for the Tromba in C while the cantus firmus (which often contained notes not playable on a natural trumpet - Bach could not easily change the hymn tune to accommodate the natural trumpet) was played by a Tromba da tirarsi [slide trumpet] as you already suspected.
Singable English for BWV 76
Martin Dicke [Cantor - Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peoria, IL 61606 USA] wrote (April 15, 2005):
Can anyone recommend a good singable English translation of Cantata BWV 76? I have reviewed the Carus-Verlag edition and the translation is not always accurate and is also somewhat awkward. We will be performing it in German for the Peoria Bach Festival 2005 (see www.peoriabachfestival.org) but would like to sing it in English at
our Sunday morning services also.
Thomas Braatz wrote (April 15, 2005):
[To Martin Dicke] I have some Breitkopf & Härtel piano reduction scores that come with additional English or French texts placed above and/or under the notes (along with the German.) Unfortunately I do not have BWV 76 in this format. There are possibly available piano reduction scores of all the cantatas (CD Sheet Music, dist. Theodore Presser Co. and perhaps even available on-line.) These may or may not have English translations included. Have you looked at the English translations available on the BCW?
Continue on Part 2
Cantata BWV 76: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3