Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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 84
Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of March 7, 2010

Peter Smaill wrote (March 6, 2010):
Introduction to BWV 84, "Ich bin Vergnügt in meinen Glücke"

Cantata BWV 84, “Ich bin vergnügt mit meinen Glücke

First Performed: February 9th 1727, Leipzig, for Septuagesima (Third Sunday before Lent)

Fourth Annual Cantata Cycle, 1727-28 (putative Jahrgang IV)

Bach Cantata Website Link: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV84-D.htm

Marked “Cantata” by J S Bach

Movements & Scoring

Mvt. 1: Aria: “Ich bin vergnügt mit meine Glücke
Soloist: Soprano, Instruments: Ob STR, BC

Mvt. 2: Recitative; “Gott ist mir ja nichts schuldig
Soloist : S Bc

Mvt. 3: Aria: “Ich esse mit Freuden mein weniges Brot
Soloist: Soprano, Instruments: Ob Vln 1 solo Bc

Mvt. 4: Recitative: “Im Schweisse meines angesichts
Soloist: S Str Bc

Mvt. 5: Chorale “Ich leb indes in dir vergnüget
SATB marked “a soprano solo e a 3 ripieni”

Background

Bach’s third Cantata for this Sunday is the most intensely personal; unusually marked “Cantata” and sung by the soprano soloist, and as revealed by Eliot Gardiner [13] (though contradicted by Dürr), concluding in an unaccompanied Chorale setting. The wistfully ecstatic mood of the opening Aria progresses to a fervent closing prayer, redolent of the deathbed chorale performance traditions of Lutheranism, at which only singers were present.

David Schulenburg suggests that BWV 56, the “Kreuzstab-Kantate” for 27 October 1726 also calls for solo voices for the chorale, perhaps unaccompanied, following Rifkin. In either case the orientation to resignation in the face of death is clear.

We know from Stephen Rose’s work on the Schein tradition in 1620’s Leipzig that, in line with the sumptuary laws permitting opulent fabrics only for the dress of the upper echelons of society, funeral music was also socially regulated; polyphonic settings were the perquisite of the rich, a simple chorale sufficing for the generality. It is this a capella ending under the Eliot Gardiner [13] baton that therefore gives for me added poignancy to the work. But there is more……..

Doctrine

“I am content with my good fortune”. This Cantata represents a deeply personal reflection on the meaning of the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, reacting by the assertion of a joyous, yet extremely passive, acceptance of life and death. “Ich” occurs twelve times in this short work; H J Schulze detects in the text, which originates in Neumeister as reset by Picander, that the philosophy at work is that of the “recreatio animae”. He quotes Smend on this point: the pursuit of contentment, peacefulness and fulfilment is “nicht in ein verburgerlichten Sinne diessitig zu verstehen, sondern als recreatio animae, als ein Befriedetsein in der Hingabe an Gott und in der Ergebung in seinen Willen”. (….not situated within the justifying mind’s understanding, but being a recreation of the soul, fulfillment through abandonment to God and resignation to His Will “).

As with BWV 144 the effect is a work where the text displays a Quietist temper, accentuated at the end by the incursion into the parable, of reflections on death and heaven. In the final Chorale, to the relevant tune, “Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten” . In this last movement, orthodox Lutheranism emphasis on belief, Grace and the efficacy of the Blood of Jesus, counterbalances the soloist’s utterly passive resignation to the will of God.

In this turn away from the parable to expectation of death the librettist(s) are anticipating the movement of the apostle’s record of the life of Jesus; for Matthew moves directly from the parable of the labourers in the vineyard (Mt. Ch 20: 1-16) to Jesus’ approach to his condemnation and death in Jerusalem, the next passages of the Gospel commencing with the words which are the incipit of BWV 159, “Wir gin hinaus nach Jerusalem” (Mt. Ch 20,18-19).

Symbolism and Numerology

“God will distribute my pennies to me”, states BWV 84/4 (Mvt. 4). Eliot Gardiner [13] considers at length the meaning of the Sexagesima texts for Bach. The accounts of his disputes (over resources, wedding fees, choice of hymns and prefects) suggest that Bach was engaged in defending his self interests vigorously; however, all these events can also be read, in the context of a hierarchical society, as fulfillment of his duty to defend the office of Cantor.

One incident can be interpreted as much in line with the text quoted. The widow of Bach’s Lämmerhirt uncle Tobias, Martha Catherina (neé Brückner) died in September 1721, the couple having been childless, Bach’s sister Maria and one of the Lämmerhirts wanted to challenge the will to increase their entitlement and that of Johann Sebastian and his brother Jacob (in Sweden at that date). Bach objected and declared that he wanted no part in the litigation, petitioning the Erfurt authorities in 1722 that he was “satisfied with that which is bestowed” and renouncing further claims.

Perhaps in line with this personal identification with the message, the bar structure of BWV 84/2 (Mvt. 2) totals 158, numerological “Johann Sebastian Bach”. Hirsch appears to consider this the most significant appearance of this number in the Cantatas and he highlights it accordingly.

We also have the interesting symbolism in BWV 84/4 (Mvt. 4) of the coin being given to the thankful Christian, a mere Groschen, but bearing the image of heaven. Apart from the classical allusions to the payment for the ferryman of the Styx, this coin image also occurs in the sermons of the medieval mystic Johannes Tauler and again hints at the recreatio animae:

"The image on the face of the coin is manifest. It not only shows that the soul is created in God's heavenly image; it proclaims that the soul is that image, the same image God possesses within his own pure divine essence....."

Musical Imagery and Texts

The opening Aria BWV 84/1 (Mvt. 1) achieves, as Doug Cowling has noted before, one of Bach’s especial effects on the ear: the impression of joyfulness, yet throughout in a minor key (E minor). Overall the progression is e b-d G e-f# b. This creates a sense of rising in confidence in line with the “satisfaction” idea up to the dancing, triple-time, G major “I eat with joy my scanty bread” until the text turns to contemplation of death; the zeugma is in the recitative BWV 84/4 (Mvt. 4), “when life’ evening comes to an end, briefly touching the remote key of f# minor.

The interest in tonality lies in the probable proximity of this work (and arguably BWV 159) to the first performance of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244), nowadays dated to Good Friday 1727. We are uncertain about dating BWV 159, often assigned to 1729 because Picander’s cycle was published in 1728. But then, on such reasoning; how come BWV 84, unless exclusively from the older Neumeister source, could belong to 1727?

As we have seen the Gospel readings from BWV 84 and BWV 159 are proximate. Both make heavy demands on the oboist and eschew opening choruses.

If we view both as preparations for the Great Passion which is now establishas first performed in 1727, not 1729, then the Picander cycle begins to fill out already in 1727/8. In view of recent discoveries in St Petersburg, the dating of other Cantatas to this period is increasingly suggesting a full cycle did indeed exist, including reworked earlier compositions: and that, as with the von Ziegler libretti, Bach used the Picander texts before they were published.

For a full account of the new discoveries by Tatiana Shabalina the link is: http://www.bachnetwork.co.uk/ub4-2009.html

Conclusion

In examining the three extant Cantatas with which the Leipzig congregation began contemplating Lent, all in varying degrees reflecting the same parable, it is striking how contrasting the works are. Firstly, BWV 144 contains the spruch, “Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin”, within a severe motet, the communal voice. BWV 92 is a dialogue between the individual voice and the faithful community. The last of the three, BWV 84, has become an intensely personal interpretation. From the superb writing throughout for oboe – commencing with the intertwining BWV 84/1 (Mvt. 1) and then, in BWV 84/3 (Mvt. 3) weaving around the gyrations of the solo voice, and then answering the continuo- to the funerary chorale, this work achieves an exceptionally close adhesion of text to music.

The position of the work in the approach to the composition and performance of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) is a further reason to consider that Bach created BWV 84 in a period of especial creative intensity. Quite apart from the numerological suggestion, the personal orientation of the work makes it one of the most intimate of the Cantatas and one in which the numinous qualities of the writing achieve an atmosphere of spiritual ecstasy, a mystical sense in which the minds of composer and librettist are united in purpose and effect. This short Cantata is expertly crafted and merits rather more attention than is generally accorded to it.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 6, 2010):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< The accounts of his [Bach's] disputes (over resources, wedding fees, choice of hymns and prefects) >suggest that Bach was engaged in defending his self interests vigorously; however, all these events can also be read, in the context of a hierarchical society, as fulfillment of his duty >to defend the office of Cantor. >
This is an interesting point, on which I believe there has been some previous discussion, as well as some analogies with current BCML correspondents. I did not check BCW archives at the moment, for review. I also note the agreement of this view with Will Hoffman's suggestion of <Bach the contented composer>.

To temper all this <Bach making nice>, I remind us all that Bach seems to have been essentially uninterrupted in his quest for improved offices, almost until the end of his life. Modest success along those lines (titular appointment to Saxony) seems to have been an inspiration for renewed composition activity, ca. 1735 and onward.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 6, 2010):
Introduction to BWV 84, Accompaniment of Chorale

Peter Smaill wrote:
< Bach¹s third Cantata for this Sunday is the most intensely personal; unusually marked ³Cantata² and sung by the soprano soloist, and as revealed by Eliot Gardiner [13] (though contradicted by Dürr), concluding in an unaccompanied Chorale setting. >
Does Gardiner [13] adduce any evidence for this conclusion? "A capella" for Bach seems to have always meant at least organ support. The BGA full score has the familiar instrumental doubling. What do the manuscripts say?

As a non-Gardiner-phile, I'm in a distinct minority on this list, so I guess I'll have light the first flame by saying that this performance novelty is an imposition of a Romantic sensibility on Bach's music. And not the first eccentricity which mars his conducting style especially in performances of Monteverdi. I wish Suzuki had led the Bach Pilgrimage.

"See,the raging flames arise"
Handel: Joshua

Kim Patrick Klow wrote (March 6, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< As a non-Gardiner-phile, I'm in a distinct minority on this list, so I guess I'll have light the first flame by saying that this performance novelty is an imposition of a Romantic sensibility on Bach's music. And not the first eccentricity which mars his conducting style especially in performances of Monteverdi. I wish Suzuki had led the Bach Pilgrimage. >
Doubling the choir wouldn't really do anything except add more omph to the music; I would assume the congregation would have participated making up for the lack of the instruments? Having the instruments take a rest during a chorale is pretty small potatoes as an issue I believe, and it's certainly not the case music is being cut. JEG makes informed decisions about music performances; and he makes it painfully clear he's not interested in any attempts at a hundred percent recreation of Bach's original performances because he thinks that's impossible (hence his tacky and unfortunate snarks at Nikolaus Harnoncourt)

I do agree with you about Suzuki, his recordings are sonically some of the most luscious I've heard. When Erato dropped Koopman, the later recordings had a significant decrease in quality, no doubt to the smaller budget of the new label. Quite unfortunate. Variance in quality is the same issue with the JEG recordings, but it couldn't be helped due to the breakneck pace of the schedule and nightmare of venues.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 7, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< he [Gardiner] [13] makes it painfully clear he's not interested in any attempts at a hundred percent recreation of Bach's original performances because he thinks that's impossible (hence his tacky and unfortunate snarks at Nikolaus Harnoncourt) >
Painfully is perhaps the exactly correct word. But in fairness to Gardiner [13], he does emphasize that he intends nothing more (nor less) than a recorded documentation of the pilgrimage performances.

< Variance in quality is the same issue with the JEG recordings, but it couldn't be helped due to the breakneck pace of the schedule and nightmare of venues. >
Certainly one of the many reasons for Gardiner's caveats, re not to make too much of performance decisions on the pilgrimage recordings.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 7, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Doubling the choir wouldn't really do anything except add more omph to the music; I would assume the congregation would have participated making up for the lack of the instruments? >
I passed long a comment from Doug Major the other week, after he performed chorales for Clavierubung III, transcribed and transposed from cantata movements, that there is no way Bach intended these to be performed by the congregation. I believe Doug Cowling has expressed a similar opinion in the past (confirmation or correction invited).

Note that these are both people faced with a task comparable to Bach: creating passable (or better) music in church on a weekly (and more) basis, regardless of theoretical correctness. Not all that different from Gardiners pilgrimage challenge, come to think of it.

Vivat 205 wrote (March 7, 2010):
Certainly one of the many reasons for Gardiners caveats, re not to make too much of performance decisions on the pilgrimage recordings.

I'm an enthusiastic amateur - captivated, galvanized, and engrossed (as many are) by Gardiner's recordings (and Koopman's...Susuki's... Rilling's... Richter's...Herreweghe's...many others) and don't consider myself worthy of judging performance decisions.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 7, 2010):
Vivat 205 wrote:
< I'm an enthusiastic amateur - captivated, galvanized, and engrossed (as many are) by Gardiner's recordings (and Koo's...Susuki's... Rilling's... Richter's...Herreweghe's...many others) and don't consider myself worthy of judging performance decisions. >
I was not judging, so much as simply passing along Gardiner's caveat, which is in the general introduction accompanying each and every release of the pilgrimage series on his SDG label:
<The recordings which make up this series were a corollary of the concerts, not their raison d etre. They are a faithful document of the pilgrimage, though never intended to be a definitive stylistic or musicalogical statement.> (end quote)

Herreweghe on more than one occasion notes that, faced with a choice among equally valid performance decisions, he favors those which have not yet appeared on recordings, simply to provide a diversity of listening options.

Koopman, more than anyone, provides recordings of alternate scorings, etc., pretty much leaving it to the listener to make up his own mind.

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 7, 2010):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Herreweghe on more than one occasion notes that, faced with a choice among equally valid performance decisions, he favors those which have not yet appeared on recordings, simply to >provide a diversity of listening options. >
That should be Suzuki, not Herrreweghe. Sorry for my haste.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 6, 2010):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I passed long a comment from Doug Major the other week, after he performed chorales for Clavierubung III, transcribed and transposed from cantata movements, that there is no way Bach intended these to be performed by the congregation >
This isn't the forum to debate the suitability of Bach's harmonizations as congregational hymns, but it's worth pointing out that the settings from the cantatas and oratorios only begin to appear in hymn books in the late 19th
century after the Bach revival is well under way.

The question of Sing-Along Bach is controverted. Here's a program note I wrote for the Tallis Choir of Toronto's recreation of a Lutheran mass last December:

******************************

One of the most surprising developments of recent musicology is the discovery that Martin Luther did not invent congregational chorale singing. In fact, German Catholics were singing vernacular hymns during mass for more than a century before the Reformation. The letter of church law was fulfilled by the clergy¹s sotto voce recitation of the prescribed Latin texts. Luther¹s provision of new hymns merely consolidated the status quo in churches. German-speaking Catholics continued to sing strophic hymns during mass for centuries after the Reformation: Schubert¹s 'Deutsche Messe' was not a novelty in 1826 but the culmination a 400 year old tradition.

The variable Hymn of the Season (de Tempore) replaced the old Gradual and Sequence chants. The Christmas hymn, 'Gelobet Seist Du', had been sung in both Latin and German as early as the 14th century. Chorales were sung in a variety of ways in Bach¹s churches. The three verses here demonstrate the most popular conventions. In the first, Bach would have played his fugal organ prelude, and the choir and congregation (about a thousand strong) would have sung unaccompanied with bass voices dropping down to the lower octave.

The second method has the melody in unison with the organist improvising interludes between the lines. Bach¹s contemporary fame rested on this type of unwritten improvisation. However, he did leave sketches for three Christmas chorales, perhaps intended as teaching aids for student organists. In the third method, the congregation sang the chorale in four-part harmony. Scholars are not certain whether instruments doubled the voices, but the tradition went back to Praetorius in the early 17th century, and Bach provided instrumental parts for individual chorales as well as his own motets.

We conclude with the last verse of 'Gelobet Seist Du': Bach¹s congregation would have sung twelve verses. This splendid setting is taken from the last movement of Bach¹s Cantata #90 which is based on the Christmas chorale. Congregations were not supposed to sing the chorales in cantatas, and Bach generally discouraged any possibility by giving the chorales new texts and setting them in high keys beyond the parishioners¹ abilities: the final chorale of the St. John Passion (BWV 245) is difficult even for choirs. However, there is evidence from the cantata performances of Telemann that, if the congregation recognized the text and, if the hymn was not pitched too high, parishioners would gradually begin to sing along. 'Gelobet Seist Du' was one of the old Christmas chestnuts that everyone loved to sing -- the 'Joy to the World' of 18th century Leipzig. Bach used the familiar text and the same key as the hymnbook. The temptation must have been irresistible. Perhaps we have a rare example here of authentic Sing-Along Bach!

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 7, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Bach generally discouraged any possibility by giving the chorales new texts and setting them in high keys beyond the parishioners1 abilities: the final chorale of the St. John Passion (BWV 245) is difficult even for choirs. However, there is evidence from the cantata performances of Telemann that, if the congregation recognized the text and, if the hymn was not pitched too high, parishioners would gradually begin to sing along. >
Thanks for the info. If we have seen it before, it has been a few years. I trust I did not misquote Dougs opinions too badly.

Another current analogy (in addition to the example of Joy to the World, which Doug gave) is Beatles tunes performed by pub bands, with or without vocals. In that venue, it is pretty much OK to sing or growl along. A local favorite is Get Back, with the verses sung by the band, but the chorus left to the crowd, for example:
<JoJo left his home in Tucson Arizona, for some California grass>
<Get Bach to where you once belonged!>

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 8, 2010):
Cantata BWV 84 - Provenance

Thomas Braatz contributed Provenance page to the discussion of Cantata BWV 84.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV84-Ref.pdf

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 9, 2010):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Thomas Braatz contributed Provenance page to the discussion of Cantata BWV 84.
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV84-Ref.pdf >
This information is fascinating: I hope someday we'll have these descriptions for all the cantatas.

Correct me if my reading is wrong, but the parts make it indisputable that the chorale was accompanied by the instruments. How does Gardiner [13] reach his supposition that the chorale was unaccompanied?

This is an intriguing footnote:

Johann Heinrich Bach, born August 4, 1707 in Ohrdruf, a Thomaner from 1724-1728, and later a musician and cantor in Ohringen where he died on May 20, 1738. He copied parts for Bach from December 26, 1724 to August 31, 1727 and was Bach¹s main copyist from January 1, 1726 to August 31, 1727. He also copied out all the parts for Johann Ludwig Bach¹s cantatas.

That indicates that Sebastian had two contemporary family members, composers in their own right, Ludwig and Heinrich, intimately involved in the Leipzig Cantata Project. There's a story here!

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 9, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Correct me if my reading is wrong, but the parts make it indisputable that the chorale was accompanied by the instruments. How does Gardiner [13] reach his supposition that the chorale was unaccompanied? >
From Gardiners notes to BWV 84 [13]:
<It [chorale, Mvt. 5] bears the rubric a soprano solo e a 3 ripieni, implying that none of the four vocal parts was intended to be doubled by instruments.> Any positive evidence for doubling would easily refute Gardiner’s inference [13].

DC:
< Tindicates that Sebastian had two contemporary family members, composers in their own right, Ludwig and Heinrich, intimately involved in the Leipzig Cantata Project. There's a story here! >
EM:
Indeed. I like the idea of Bach as CEO (from Therese, I believe), heading up something of a family consortium. That would explain a lot about the composition practices of the 1720s in Leipzig.

Peter Smaill wrote (March 9, 2010):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thanks Tom and Doug for looking into the sources/ Eliot Gardiner [13] theory of the unaccompanied Chorale in this work.

It certainly does appear, as per Duerr, that instruments were indicated after all.

However it may not be JEG who is the original source as the Oxford Composer Compnaion (ed. Boyd) has two entries by David Schulenberg, for BWV 84 and BWV 56, the "Kreuzstab" Cantata, suggesting (although not really consistently) that both Canatas have a capella final choruses. In fact the evidence seems now to me to be that they both indicate something rather different- that the solo voices (Soprano in BWV 84, Bass in BWV 56) were joined by 3 ripieni singers.

While it is a pity that the moving effect described by JEG is not really authentic, there the case must fall based on the NBA work - I'd be obliged if anyone else with the OCC, who also studies the passages referred to, found these two entries difficult to reconcile.

Meanwhile, turning to Tom's interesting display of the textual sources, it is indeed a puzzle as to how this Cantata was performed in 1727 when Picander's texts were not published till 1728. It raises the question of the nature and purpose of the librettist who altered Picander's draft efforts. it seems to be this way around, because the Bach set text is apparently superior. Stiller gives us a delightfully obscure review by a scholar in 1921 on this point:

P Brausch, "Die Kantate: Ein Beitrag zur Geschite der Deutschen Dichtungsgattung", Dissertation, Heidelberg:

"Brausch is also of the opinion taht the editing of the Henrici texts provided "improvement and added depth"" for them. Concerning the radical revision of the text for BWV 84, Brausch states that Henrici's "Philistine conception of contentedness has been revised on the basis of a genuine, heartfelt spirit of being resigned to the will of God".

Neil Halliday wrote (March 9, 2010):
I have enjoyed listening to Rilling and Auger [8] (in BWV 84) more this time around.

In the first aria, the sophisticated rhythmic setting, including syncopation, of the syllables of the text to the lovely bitter-sweet music is most engaging. I recommend taking the time to listen while following the text.

Likewise the joyousness of the second aria, with dancing oboe and violin, is captivating.

Neil Halliday wrote (March 9, 2010):
Peter Smaill wrote:
>In fact the evidence seems now to me to be that they both indicate something rather different- that the solo voices (Soprano in BWV 84, Bass in BWV 56) were joined by 3 ripieni singers.<
The OCC entries are puzzling.

Schulenberg's entry on BWV 56 mentions Rifkin's observation that "Bach's listing of the vocal forces - S,A,T, et Basso Concertante - appears to limit the number of voices in the final chorale to one per part".

This seems a rather strange observation from Rifkin, who presumably believes that OVPP is overwhelmingly the norm in all Bach's cantatas.

The OCC goes on to state that "two oboes and strings join in the outer movements" - meaning the final chorale has instrumental doubling of SATB vocal lines (whether OVPP or not).

In BWV 84, Schulenberg writes "As in BWV 56, Bach's original list of performing forces implies that none of the vocal parts of the chorale was doubled ("a' Soprano Solo e' 3 ripieni")".

I can only find consistency in these two entries if the (lack of)doubling in BWV 84 is referring to vocal, not 'colla parte' instrumental doubling!

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 9, 2010):
Cantata BWV 84 - Libretto

Peter Smaill wrote:
< it is indeed a puzzle as to how this Cantata was performed in 1727 when Picander's texts were not published till 1728. It raises the question of the nature and purpose of the librettist who altered Picander's draft efforts. It seems to be this way around, because the Bach set text is apparently superior. >
Funny, I assumed that Bach was the revising librettist with this scenario:

Picander gives his manuscript libretto to Bach.

Bach either gives the manuscript back with changes to be revised or just makes the changes unilaterally.

When Picander comes to publish, he considers the revisions not his work and goes back to his original version even though Bach composed something different.

Whether this was a source of conflict between the two is unlikely. Librettists were used to accommodating composers.

The most famous is Handel's exchange with Thomas Morrell:

Handel : Damn your iambics!
Morell : Don't put yourself in a passion, they are easily trochees.
Handel : Trochees, what are trochees?
Morell : Why, the reverse of iambics, by leaving out a syllable in every line, as instead of,

'Convey me to some peaceful shore'

'Lead me to some peaceful shore"

Handel: That is what I want.
Morrell: I will step into the parlour and alter them immediately.

I doubt that Bach was that rude, but he was probably equally demanding. It also gives us some indication that Bach could well have written his own libretti (and may have in some cases), but that time considerations made him delegate the heavy lifting.

Fascinating to compare the two poems. You can almost visualize Bach's crossings-out and marginal insertions. This would make a wonderful Powerpoint presentation of Bach revising the text.

Kim Patrick Klow wrote (March 9, 2010):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Schulenberg's entry on BWV 56 mentions Rifkin's observation that "Bach's listing of the vocal forces - S,A,T, et Basso Concertante - appears to limit the number of voices in the final chorale to one per part".
This seems a rather strange observation from Rifkin, who presumably believes that OVPP is overwhelmingly the norm in all Bach's cantatas. >

Not strange at all because that's not what Rifkin "believes."

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 10, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I doubt that Bach was that rude, but he was probably equally demanding. >
Overall, a very satisfying scenario. But why suppose that Bach was not that rude? Most of his apparent politeness comes from letters, written to social superiors and/or employers. Even then, the politeness seems forced, at best, and the few glimpses we have of his true feelings confirm that. Perhaps when actually working out a particular piece, it was more like a collaboration of equals, Rodgers and Hart, for example, with all the heated give and take that implies.

DC:
< It also gives us some indication that Bach could well have written his own libretti (and may have in some cases), but that time considerations made him delegate the heavy lifting. >
EM:
Very germane to the parallel discussion of the chorale/recitative, BWV 92/2. With due respect to those who wish Bach had written it some other way, do we not owe him the courtesy, the respect for his artistry, of first trying to establish why he wrote it the way he did?

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 10, 2010):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< A further implication of these OCC statements - and Rifkin's own quoted observation - is that OVPP in the final chorales is the exception rather than the rule! >
Not necessa. Perhpas Rifkin is in fact simply citing one of the bits of hard evidence in support of the more generalized OVPP hypothesis.

 

Cantata BWV 84: Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýSeptember 8, 2011 ý12:01:03