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Cantata BWV 88
Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of July 17, 2011

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 18, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 88 -- Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue Trinity season cantatas with BWV 93, the second of two works for the 5th Sunday after Trinity.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via:

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

The BWV 88 page also has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner and Koopman (notes by Christoph Wolff) CD issues, via links beneath the cover photos.

Chorale texts are accessible via the BWV 93 home page, and the chorale melody is accessible via the chorale text page.

From Julian’s essay:
<The same verse of text is used for the closing chorales in both Cantatas BWV 93 and BWV 88 although, as almost always, Bach has tinkered with the harmonisation.>

William Hoffman wrote (July 20, 2011):
Cantata 88: Not-So-Fugitive Notes

Bach's Cantata BWV 88, <Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden> (Behold, I will send many fishers forth), holds certain distinctions, besides being an appealing, intimate Trinity Time church work for a quartet of soloists companied by a pastoral orchestra. Composed for the 5th Sunday after Trinity, July 21, 1726, it is the first in a series of five concise two-part solo cantatas typical of the incomplete and enigmatic third Leipzig cantata cycle of music for the church year. In all, Bach used seven so-called Rudolstadt cantata texts (two were for the earlier Feast of Ascension, BWV 43, and the First Sunday After Trinity, BWV 39) that also were the basis for the some 18 cantatas of Meiningen cousin Johann Ludwig Bach he also presented in 1726, interspersed with his own new compositions.

Cantata BWV 88 remains the only Bach work for which a J.L. Bach Cantata. (No. 23) also exists using the same text for the same service, the 5th Sunday after Trinity. Thus Cantata BWV 88 raises two important questions: Why did Bach set this text to music when JLB 23 was readily available? Further, during all of 1726 there are 10 of 60 services for which no composition can be found and, in the case of the early Trinity Time services, there is a possibility that while the Rudolstadt texts exist, possible Bach cantata may have been composed and were lost.

The first question -- Why compose a new cantata? -- is readily answerable: Given that Bach only composed one other cantata for that Sunday, BWV 93, two years previous, to the chorale <Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten> (Who only the loving God lets govern), Bach was able easily to create another cantata, one that closes with the final verse of that same chorale. And not to be outdone, Bach probably had a hand in seeing that a Telemann Cantata TVWV 1:310, <Der Segen des Herrn machet reiche ohne Mühe> (The blessing of the Lord makes right without trouble), to an Erdmann Neumeister 1711 text, was presented on the same Sunday the previous year. Further, while rejecting a Picander libretto for the same Sunday in 1728, reflecting teachings in the popular Paul Flemming <omne-tempore> chorale of submission and humility, "In allen meinen Taten," (In all my deeds), to Paul Gerhardt's Passion melody, "O Welt, ich muss dich lassen" (O world, I must leave thee), six years later Bach finally completed one of his last cantatas, the pure-hymn nine-verse BWV 97, which he dated "1734" yet left this utilitarian work with no inscription for a particular service. Bach was continuing to expand his concept and calling of a well-regulated church music.

The other reason Bach used this Rudolstadt text was its inherent appeal, from the biblical quotations and poetry to the closing chorale. This was noticed by the first Bach scholars while, IMHO, the historical perspective of various Bach writers suggests that Bach scholarship has significantly improved in the past 120 years, as well as the specific focus of the figures such as Philipp Spitta, Albert Schweitzer, Friedrich Smend (available only in German), W. Gillies Whittaker, and Alfred Dürr.

While these authorities remained faithful to source critical materials, in essence the early writers Spitta and Schweitzer were making the case for the importance of Bach's music and chose evidence (examples) that illustrated features of the form more than the content, often from the contemporary perspective of late romanticism. Spitta, who championed biblical aria movements and solo cantatas, cites the opening Vox Christ aria of Cantata 88, callling it a "grand tone picture in two divisions" that "constitute the romantic aspect of the feeling he desires to depict," also found in the St. Matthew Passion (<JSB> II: 472, 561). Schweitzer singles out the wave motive "tone-painting" or "mood painting" and wind fanfares in this same biblical dictum movement (<JSB> II: 44, 76, 256).

Whittaker (<The Cantatas of JSB>) was the first to systematically and extensively explore in depth both the form and the content of each movement of the cantatas, although hampered by Spitta's exacting but flawed dating of the manuscripts that distorted the big picture of Bach's creative world. . Still, Whittaker's findings and observations have an insight and enthusiasm develoed from those first expressed by Spitta and Schweitzer. Whittaker (Cantatas of JSB I:425ff) speaks of <Cantata 88> having "a certain spaciousness which is created in" the first movement. "It is not one of the most popular solo cantatas, yet it has a fascination that increases on acquaintance." He also notes the strong contrast between the mood and language of the two parts of the cantata, a rare natural division.

Finally, with the lead work of Alfred Dürr and Georg van Dadelsen, the "Big Picture" is becoming full and clear while challenging and intriguing.

The other question - Did Bach compose now-lost cantatas written for early Trinity Time 1726 in the third cycle? - is intriguing and perhaps enlightening in a quest to better understand Bach's creative agenda, especially as a more complete picture of this period is developed with the findings of libretto books showing cantata reperformances and parodied works presented earlier than previously thought as well as the introduction of church works of other composers as part of Bach's weekly needs and growing compendium of works.

Lost Bach Third Cycle Cantatas

The possibility of specific lost Bach cantatas within the context of a known annual cycle was explored indepth in Konrad Küster's <Bach Jahrgang> 1989 study, "The Frankfurth and Leipzig Preservation of the Cantatas of Johann Ludwig Bach," pp. 65-105. Using the extant 1726 republication of the original 1704 edition of the Rudolstadt church year annual cycle as well as source-critical studies of the cantatas of both Bachs, Küster (p.103f) lists all of the known works and performance dates as well as the incipits of Rudolstadt works for services where no music has been found. Here are found 17 of the 18 J.L. Bach Cantatas, as well as the seven Bach Rudolstadt cantatas. In addition, the author fills in the gaps with new Cantata 146 for Easter +3, possibly to a Picander text, and an abridged repeat of Cantata BWV 194 for Trinity Sunday.

Most intriguing is the early Trinity Time 1726 when Küster suggests (p. 100, my translat): "To a certain degree it thus appears conceivable that between June 23 and August 4, 1726, alternate J.S.B. and J.L.B. compositions were presented." "At all events, its is viable that J.S.B. performed his own works at Pentecost and Trinity." For early Trinity Time, it appears likely that Bach could not rely on one of two feast day of John (June 24) and Mary's Visitation (July 2) falling on a Sunday After Trinity. Instead Bach would have to present four compositions for the First Sunday after Trinity, June 23, followed the next day, Monday, with the Feast of John, and the Second Sunday After Trinity, June 30, followed on Tuesday with the Marien Feast.

Previously Bach's solution in the first cantata cycle of 1723 was to compose no works for Trinity 5 and Trinity 6 (which fell on July 2 anyways and let him off the hook!). In the 1724 second cycle of chorale cantatas Bach did manage during the preceding Pentecost and Trinity Sunday four festivals in one week to repeat Weimar works (BWV 172 and 165) and parody Köthen serenades BWV 173(a), 184(a), 194(a)). Thus he was able to compose new cantatas for both the first five Trinity Sundays - June 11, 18, 25; July 2 fell on Sunday, and St. John on Saturday, June 24. Bach had the same serendipitous situation for early Trinity Time 1725 when the Feast of St. John occurred on the Fourth Sunday After Trinity, June 24. At that time, Bach repeated Cantatas 75 and 76 in shortened versions for the First two Sundays After Trinity and then had his second, Georg Balthasar Schott, present already-composed works of Telemann and G.M. Hoffmann while the Leipzig cantor took a short vacation.

Here is Küster's 1726 early Trinity Time performace calendar:

Date|Service BWV JLB Text incipit (Rudolstadt)
06/23|Tr.+1 39 Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot
06/24|John 17 Siehe, ich will mienen Engel senden
06/30|Tr.+2 (?) Und der Herr Zabaoth wird allen Völkern
07/02|Mary 13 Der Herr wird ein Neues im Lande erschaffen
07/07]Tr.+3 (?) Wo such aber der Gottlose behekret
07/14|Tr.+4 (?) Ich tue Barherzigkeit an vielen Tausenden
07/21|Tr.+5 88 Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussernden
07/28|Tr.+6 7 Ich will meinen Geist in euch geben
(double-bill) 170 Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust

Thus, there may be two Bach cantatas composed to Rudolstadt texts that are lost: 06/30|Tr.+2 (BWV ?deest), "Und der Herr Zabaoth wird allen Völkern," and 07/07]Tr.+3 (BWV? deest), "Wo such aber der Gottlose behekret," alternating with two J.L. Bach feast day cantatas: 06/24|John, JB-17 "Siehe, ich will mienen Engel senden," and 07/02|Mary JLB-13 "Der Herr wird ein Neues im Lande erschaffen."

While Küster's calendar is only a theory, it's a beginning that raises other questions such as, "What happened to these two Rudolstadt works, as well as the other 10 gaps in the third cycle, as well as the gaps created when the 18 (one was presented later) J.L. Bach cantatas were found separate from Bach's own works, bound together and given to Carl who, along with brother Christel, and possibly Friedemann inherted the third cycle. Friedemann probably had assembled the third cycle after his father's death in 1750, beginning with Bach's work composed in 1726 to nine texts of Lehms, the at-least seven (maybe nine) from Rudolstadt, maybe eight from Picander, and at least five miscellaneous works showing the influence of Neumeister, Franck, and Helbig. Then the 1725 Easter Season nine Mariane von Ziegler cantatas and three or four early Easter works were added, as well as some five Epiphany and "geisma" pieces composed in 1727. What a hodge-podge!

Focusing on Cantata 88, an examination of the basic form and intentions of these so-called traditional Rudolstadt-texted church works, shows that this pioneering achievement in the libretto form of the annual cycle cantatas provided a satisfying integration of the biblically based-text, descriptive poetry, and appropriate chorales in the individual movements, and a framework for Bach to build his final cantata cycle. Bach's Rudolstadt Cantatas generally require minimum performing resources, show challenging yet clear texts, and a textual template for a variety of movements, and the opportunity to utilize varied materials.

The heart and motivation for this heterogeneous yet incomplete collection was the libretto created in Meiningen in 1704 that yielded 18 cantatas set by cousin Johann Ludwig Bach, seven works Bach set, including Cantata 88, and the opportunity to cherry pick acceptable, usually published texts from other established writers. using works which generally require minimum performing resources, challenging yet clear texts, and a textual template for a variety of movements, and the opportunity to utilize varied materials.

J.L. Bach Cantatas

Here is a summary of my earlier BCW remarks on Johann Ludwig Bach: BCW Source: "Cantata BWV 15 - Discussions, scroll down to: Jul 10, 2010 - Discussions in the Week of June 20, 2010. William Hoffman wrote (June 20, 2010): Cantata 15: Intro. Johann Sebastian Bach's Easter Cantata ...":

Meiningen Prince Ernst Ludwig (1672-1724) was an accomplished musician, poet and sermon-writer. He published the first edition of the so-called Rudolstadt Text Book of devotional church lyrics in 1704. With their madrigalian verses paraphrasing biblical texts set to recitatives and arias, the Prince's complete church year cycle of 71 Sunday and feast-day services "anticipated the so-called reform cantatas of Erdmann Neumeister," written a few years later, and is the beginning of the new type of cantata (OCC:JSB, 159), taking pride of precedence.

Johann Ludwig's predecessor, noted opera composer Georg Caspar Schürmann (1672/3-1751), immediately set six of the Prince's texts while his younger assistant, Ludwig Bach, began to set these texts also as sacred concerti, perhaps with the assistance of Rudolstadt Court cantor-clergyman Christoph Helm (c.1670-1748). Other text book printings were done in 1713, 1719, and 1726 (the volume which survives) from which Bach set texts to seven cantatas for his third cycle (BWV 17, 39, 43, 45, 88, 102 and 187). At least 33 cantatas to the Rudolstadt text are extant: 20 from JLB, seven from Sebastian, and six from Schürmann,

Schürmann apparently wasn't interested in composing cantata cycles but simply used the Prince's texts for special church events in 1705 involving New Year's, Epiphany, the three-day Pentecost Feast, and Reformation. Johann Ludwig began composing his cantatas to the Prince's texts during 1704-05 while presenting Schürmann's cantatas. He started his first cycle in 1711 when he was appointed Capellmeister at Meiningen, and completed the cycle in 1714-15, when Sebastian Bach and Telemann were beginning to compose cantatas on a regular basis.

Twenty J.L. Bach cantatas with Rudolstadt texts survive: 18 (JLB1-17, 21) performed by Johann Sebastian Bach, and JLB 22 (Xmas 2) and JLB-23=BWV 88 text [also Trinity +5] (plus extant duplicate JLB 8, 13, 14) performed in Frankfurt in surviving fragments, as well as non-Rudolstadt texts found in JLB 24 (Trinity +13/18) in Göttingen and JLB 25 (Trinity +25) in the hand of J. L. Gerber, Bach student and copyist in Leipzig (1724-26), found in the Paris Library.

The solos are derived from Italian models. The texts often are based on the Bible, freely paraphrased, beginning with Old Testament and then New Testament references. Meiningen Prince Ludwig "may have been responsible for at least part of these `madrigalian sections'." Each of the cantatas is for a particular event of the church year whthe "texts are of a general character," Says Karl Geiringer, <Music of the Bach Family London: Allen and Unwin, 1954, p.109f).

"The individual numbers are usually short, and there is often no demarcation between arioso and aria. The difference between Sebastian and his Meiningen cousin is particularly obvious in the recitatives, which are calm and gentle in Ludwig's cantatas, lacking the vehemence and poignancy of those of his kinsman."

[The best source of current information on Johann Ludwig Bach is Daniel Melamed's five-page "Introduction" to JLB Motets, A-R Editions, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era, 108 (2001).
Melamed says that in the case of the two Frankfurt Rudolstadt-text cantatas, JLB 22 and 23, "it is not certain where or by whom they were used."]


In coming BCW discussions, it might be beneficial to consider Bach's possible motivations, based in part on actual practice, for pursuing a third cantata cycle, given our increasing knowledge of his composing challenges, methods and opportunities. Perhaps the third cycle was a way-station, a coachman's holiday, a respite from rigors or a transition to a wider world to pursue the Christological cycle of extended vocal works - Passions, Masses, Oratorios -- and collections of organ chorale preludes and church songs.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 20, 2011):
Common texts

William Hoffman wrote:
< Cantata BWV 88 remains the only Bach work for which a J.L. Bach Cantata. (No. 23) also exists using the same text for the same service, the 5th Sunday after Trinity. Thus Cantata BWV 88 raises two important questions: Why did Bach set this text to music when JLB 23 was readily available? >
Is the JLB score available online? If not, could someone who knows it provide a comparison between the two settings? There will be another example of common texts when we reach the Michelmas cantata,"Es erhub sich
ein Streit
" - Johann Christoph Bach set the same verse for his opening chorus.

William Hoffman wrote (July 21, 2011):
Cantata 88: Common texts

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Is the JLB score available online? If not, could someone who knows it provide a comparison between the two settings? There will be another example of common texts when we reach the Michelmas cantata,"Es erhub sich ein Streit" - Johann Christoph Bach set the same verse for his opening chorus. >
William Hoffman wrote:
< Cantata BWV 88 remains the only Bach work for which a J.L. Bach Cantata. (No. 23) also exists using the same text for the same service, the 5th Sunday after Trinity. >
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Is the JLB score available online? If not, could someone who knows it provide a comparison between the two settings? There will be another example of common texts when we reach the Michelmas cantata,"Es erhub sich
ein Streit" - Johann Christoph Bach set the same verse for his opening chorus. >
William Hoffman replies:

While no score of JLB-23, <Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden>, has been published, there is a description of each movement, in the Appendix (pp. 126-129) of Conrad Bund's <Bach Jahrbuch> 1984 article, "Johann Ludwig Bach und die Frankfurter Kapellmusik in der Zeit Georg Philipp Telemanns: Eine Untersuchung zu fünf im Stadtarchiv Frankfurt am Main neuentdeckten Kantatenfragmenten" (Johann Ludwig Bach and the Frankfurt Chapel Music in the Time of Georg Philipp Telemann: An Inquiry Into the Five Cantata Fragments Recently Discovered in the Frankfurt on Main City Archives)

Cantata JLB-23 is believed to have been composed in Meiningen no later than for the Church Year 1714-15 and the Frankfurt manuscript score probably for the church year 1717-18, from identified city municipal copyists, possibly for Telemann assistant Johann Christoph Bodinus to present as part of a mixed cantata cycle of Telemann and other composers. The copy was made either from JLB's manuscript or from a version obtained by Telemann as Frankfurt music director. There are no differences in wording between the extant 1726 printed Rudolstadt text and the texts in JLB-23 and BWV 88.

Bund's information on Johann Ludwig Bach's version is in brackets below in the Francis Browne translation:

First Part

1. Aria [Bass]; Corno I/II, Oboe d'amore I e Violino I all' unisono, Oboe d'amore II e Violino II all' unisono, Taille e Viola all' unisono, Continuo (D-G 6/8, 2/2)

[1. Aria (Jerem. 16 v. 16), bass, 2 violins, viola, 2 oboes, bassoon and continuo, C, ¾, A Minor, C Major]

Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden,
See, I will send out many fishermen,
spricht der Herr, die sollen sie fischen.
says the Lord, who shall fish them.

Und darnach will ich viel Jäger aussenden,
And afterwards I shall send out hunters
die sollen sie fahen auf allen Bergen
who shall hunt them on all the hills
und allen Hügeln und in allen Steinritzen.
and mountains and in all the stony cracks..

2. Recitative [Tenor], Continuo (b-e, 4/4)

[2. Recitative, soprano, Bc. C, A-Minor]

Wie leichtlich könnte doch der Höchste uns entbehren
How easily can the Almighty dispense with us
Und seine Gnade von uns kehren,
and turn his grace from us

3. Aria [Tenor]; Oboe d'amore I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo (e, 3/8)

[3. Aria, soprano, tutti instruments. C, G Major]

Nein, Gott ist allezeit geflissen,
No, God is always concerned
Uns auf gutem Weg zu wissen
to know that we're on the good way

Second Part (BWV only)

4. Recitative [Tenor] and Arioso [Bass], Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo (G-D, 4/4, ¾)

[4. Luke 5, v.10]

Jesus sprach zu Simon:
Jesus said to Simon:

Fürchte dich nicht; den von nun an wirst du Menschen fahen.
Don't be afraid ; from now on you will catch of men.

5. Aria (Duet) [Soprano, Tenor], Oboe d'amore I/II e Violino I/II all' unisono, Continuo (A, 2/2)

[5. Aria]

Beruft Gott selbst, so muss der Segen
If God himself arranges, then must blessings
Auf allem unsern Tun
on all our actions
Im Übermaße ruhn,
pour down abundantly

6. Recitative [Soprano], Continuo (f#-b, 4/4)

[6. Recitative, alto, Bc; C, A Minor]

Was kann dich denn in deinem Wandel schrecken,
What can make you afraid in your wandering

[7. Chorus, tutti. C, A Minor)

Geh allzeit freudig fort, du wird am Ende sehen,
at all times go forward joyfully , in the end you will see
Dass, was dich eh gequält, die sei zu Nutz geschehen!
that what in the past tormented you happened for your benefit!

7 Chorale [S, A, T, B]; Oboe d'amore I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Taille e Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Continuo (b, 4/4)

[8. Chorale, Vers. 7; SATB, 2 violins, viola and Bc, 12/8, A Minor]

Sing, bet und geh auf Gottes Wegen,
Sing, pray and go on God's way,

BCW, Francis Browne Interlinear translation:

As can be seen, Bach follows the basic template of JLB-23 and the Rudolstadt text. There are no da-capo arias.

In JLB 23, Nos. 4-5, the New Testament text (Luke 5:10) and succeeding aria have only incipits without forces, key, and tempo information. These probably are the fragments in the Frankfurt score.

Various scholars have observed that J.L. Bach made no distinction between arioso and aria and that his recitatives are secco (without orchestra accompaniment) and straightforward, without Bach's dramatic emphasis. J.L. Bach uses the basic orchestra, except adding brass in cantatas for feast days. Sebastian's cousin stays with the basic key C-Major/A-Minor throughout.

There are two distinct special treatments found in JLB-23. A tutti chorus sings the last two lines of No. 6, the recitative, now designated Movement 7, "Geh allzeit freudig fort, du wird am Ende sehen" (at all times go forward joyfully , in the you will see). The closing chorale in 12/8 time.

It would be interesting to hear a performance of both works. Obviously, Bach had much empathy and approval of his cousin's cantatas, which IMHO, the Leipzig authorities and congregations did also. It was a serendipitous situation. While there is no documented correspondence between the two cousins, collateral evidence suggests they met and conversed during the big Bach Family annual reunions at Erfurt, until J.L. Bach's death in 1730, when Sebastian no longer composed new service cantatas on a regular basis but began to compile the Bach Family geneology and "Altbachisches Arkiv."


Cantata BWV 88: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Last update: ıSeptember 29, 2011 ı07:24:50