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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 93
Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of July 2, 2006 [Continue]

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 7, 2006):
A spurious document [was: BWV 93.]

Someone asked (of course the quotation does not include who made the statement or asked the question):
>>Brad Lehman continued: Bach having asserted that thoroughbass is the soul of music... Maybe the source was cited in the recent lengthy chat on figured bass. Wouldn't hurt to repeat a brief reference here. Did Bach actually assert this? Documented?<<
to which Brad Lehman replied:
>>It's readily available in the introductory sections of The New Bach Reader (Wolff et al), and we've gone over this many times already in discussions; see archives....<<
And thus, as usual, the issue is simply glossed over and easily dismissed.

Here is what I found this time around:

“When Bach dictated to his pupils excerpts from Niedt’s book on thorough bass, he reworded thoughts expressed by Niedt as follows: “The thorough bass is the most perfect foundation of music, being played with both hands in such manner that the left hand plays the notes written down while the right adds consonances and dissonances, in order to make a well-sounding harmony to the Glory of God and the permissible delectation of the spirit, and the aim and final reason, as of all music, so of the thorough bass should be none else but the Glory of God and the recreation of the mind. Where this is not observed, there will be no real music but only a devilish hubbub.” (from pp. 16-17 of “The New Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents” Norton, 1945, 1966, 1998, edited by Hans T. David, Arthur Mendel, and Christoph Wolff)

In his preface to “The New Bach Reader” on pp. ix and x, Christoph Wolff explains that many new documents had been added to the “Bach Reader”, 1945 and 1966 editions, (see footnote at the bottom of p. ix). But also that some “documents of questionable value have been dropped” such as “The Precepts and Principles…for Playing a Thorough Bass” which is referred to and quoted in the essay from the first edition of the book. However, now, as a result of Wolff’s deletion, this quotation no longer has the promised documentation in the body of the book for which we need to go to other sources:

1. Philipp Spitta’s biography of Bach is the first to present documentation and analysis of this ‘questionable document’ [Wolff’s own description of this source in 1997]. Spitta pointed out the plagiaristic aspect of this source which points to Friedrich Erhard Niedt’s “Musicalische Handleitung” (Hamburg, 1710). Current Bach scholarship is aware of the fact that not a single word of this document (including the title page with a reference to J. S. Bach) shows any evidence of Bach’s direct input. The document, according to Spitta’s own admission, even contains “numerous and silly blunders of writing” as well as “frequent inaccuracies in the four-part writing” and “thus there remain mistakes”. Spitta, however, still praises this document as evidence for Bach’s method of instruction, a view apparently not held by more recent Bach scholars such as Wolff who have good reason to doubt the authenticity of this document. All of this has been discussed previously on the BCML and can be found by doing a search on “Niedt”. [It was Niedt who, in an early edition of the “Musicalische Handleitung”, defines “Andante = gantz langsam (very slow)”.]

2. The authoritative “Bach-Dokumente” Vol. 2 (Bärenreiter, 1969) casts doubt about Bach’s possible connection with this document since there is no evidence that Bach ever possessed Niedt’s book. The editors of the BD were also quite concerned about the numerous glaring, but uncorrected errors in the musical samples given in the body of the document which they no longer reprinted in the BD (only the text of the title page appears). There was a subsequent attempt to attach specific names of possible students at the university who might have sought musical instruction with Bach to the handwriting of the two individuals who copied/wrote out the title page and text of this document. However, at least two major questions remain: Did Bach in 1738 own a copy of Niedt’s book in 1738 from which these students could plagiarize or only slightly reword a whole section of the original? Why would Bach quote directly or almost directly Niedt, who, as stated clearly in his own books, abhorred counterpoint and fugues in figural music for the church?

None of the above is meant as a criticism of the content of initial statement as quoted by Spitta/David/Mendel, but rather as means clarifying the following:

1. No serious evidence has been provided that the statements by Niedt, plagiarized, reworded , and/or paraphrased as they are in this unusual and questionable document can be attributed to J.S. Bach.

2. The numerous glaring errors in the samples of 4-part harmony and even in the German language itself, left uncorrected as they were in this spurious document even after two individuals had labored over it, stand quite apart from the only other similar evidence found in the even shorter list of rules of thorough-bass as found in the 2nd Notenbuch für AMB. These are given on p. 206 of “The New Bach Reader” referred to above under the section entitled: “Bach writes out Through-Bass Rules” where the scholarly fact of the matter is that that Bach did not lift his pen to write anything at all or even attempt to make a correction in the text. It is now known that approximately 1/3 of the document (the first part) was written by Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (a son who was still quite young at the time) and the remainder by Anna Magdalena Bach. The errors in JCF Bach’s section were corrected by a yet unidentified hand, and AMB’s section has an uncorrected, but understandable copy error. Although quite short and succinct, and as fragmentary as this set of rules is, it is a very usable basis for learning through-bass. This is in stark contrast with the Niedt-based, error-filled set attributed to Bach.

3. By leaving in “The New Bach Reader” the initial quotation from 1945 given at the very beginning of this message, Wolff has perhaps unwittingly allowed the misconceptions of outdated scholarship (Spitta, David, Mendel) to continue and influence uncritical readers, despite Wolff’s commendatory efforts to expunge the documentary listing of it in the main part of the book which was a step in the right direction.

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 7, 2006):
Mattheson on 'liturgical recitative' [was:BWV 93]

On the „liturgical recitative“, use of chorales in larger cantata mvts., arias, and recitatives, among other things:

Johann MatthesonDas Beschützte Orchestre“ (Part 2, Chapter 3 of the „Orchestre-Schriften”, Hamburg, 1717, pp. 132-133.

Mattheson claims that all reasonable people would agree with him that at the present time and place (1717, Hamburg with the rest of the German-speaking principalities in mind) and considering only the best music available, there are only 3 categories of music with their specific subcategories:

Stylo Ecclesiatico or Kirchen-Styl (church style) with the following subcategories:
Ligatus, Motecticus, Madrigalescus, Symphoniacus, and Canonicus.

Stylo Theatrali or Theater-Styl (opera style) with the following subcategories:
Dramaticus, Symphoniacus, Hypochematicus, Phantasticus, and Melismaticus.

Stylo Camerae or Kammer-Styl (chamber style) with the following subcategories:
Symphoniacus, Canonicus, Choraicus, Madrigalescus, and Melismaticus.

Ecclesiasticus Stylus, more properly givenanother term, (1) Stylus ligatus. My opponent, if he has all his wits about him, does not comprehend all the types that belong to this category when he considers only choral singing and the so-called “Kirchen-Recitativ” (“church or liturgical recitative”) which is sung before the altar. These are the antiphons, graduals, etc. which were composed at a time when all that they knew about was Gregorian chant or at most something about the Greek church modes which forced them to follow the inherent prescriptions that these imposed, and which no ‘galant’ individual nowadays would even consider to be real music. For if anyone would now say: There is music in the churches today, then no one would understand this to mean what a priest or pastor sings as a ‘Praefation’, ‘Collect’ or a ‘Dominus vobiscum’, etc. while standing before the altar, or when, here and there, the congregation sings to the accompaniment of the roaring sound and inane doodling coming from the organ and joins in so splendidly out of tune that your ears often begin to ache; but rather they would understand this [‘church music’] to mean only figural music which is the type that is the nobler and more excellent part of the church service.

(2) Motecticus, vel Muteticus Stylus (Motet style) comprises compositions having fugues, allabreves, double counterpoint, and numerous other, very artistic compositions called “Kirchen=Musik” (“Church music”). Whenever canons appear to issue from these types, the Stylus Canonicus would also be applicable here.

(3) Madrigalescus Stylus (Madrigal style); counted as belonging to this style are all oratorios, so-called Passions, dialogues, soliloquies, arias, accompaniments, cavatas, recitatives, etc, all of which are preferred nowadays.

(4) Symphoniacus Stylus (Symphonic style) contains vocal compositions preceded by sonatas, sonatinas, the ritornelli which precede and appear between the vocal sections, and other types of instrumental compositions as well. Actually, this category could also appear under “Kirchen-Styl-Stylus ligatus” wherever a chorale melody is inserted into the composition. This can have a very beautiful special effect while also allowing great freedom despite the restrictions imposed.

[My comment: In the last statement it appears that Mattheson enthusiastically supports the type of effort found in BWV 93. However, his modern (‘galant’ – this word, at least apparently for Mattheson, did not yet mean musically moving away from pure polyphony to simple soprano and bass-line compositions as this term is now generally applied in musicology) viewpoint evokes a strong criticism of equating ‘liturgical recitative’ with recitatives found in the Madrigal style church compositions. Bach’s output of sacred music, however, seems to defy this division into categories by often making use of more or all of them at the same time in a single cantata.]

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 7, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< All of this has been discussed previously on the BCML and can be found by doing a search on “Niedt” >
This is a useful detail to ad to Brad's reference to BCW archives. By now, you might expect me to know what thicket I was wandering into. I plead innocence. Perhaps this is an appropriate moment for an intermediate summary update? As I read you both (Tom Braatz and Brad Lehman) from identified sources:

(1) Niedt is Brad's ultimate reference for Bach's approach to thoroughbass practice.
(2) The direct link from Niedt to Bach is now in question, by Wolff, and others, but not necessarily definitively discredited. As if there is such a thing as definitive in historical research.
(3) Brad supports the validity of Niedt with regard to period performance practice, whether or not there is a direct link to Bach

There is a lot of material in the archives, I have only had a quick look. If I have misunderstood, corrections are not only tolerated, they are invited. Concise responses are especially welcome, but I repeat my opinion: too much information is preferable to the alternative. However, no need to repeat material already archived, just tell us to look it up (keywords appreciated).

I did notice Brad's suggestion that Quantz should be required reading before anyone is allowed to comment on a HIP performance. A bit extreme, but I do agree with the underlying point: one cannot dismiss a performance out of hand without considering the intent, and the scholarly support for that intent.

Not to overlook Aryeh's distinctly different suggestion: send your comments, even if it is only to say <I like this recording> (or not). I stand by my often expressed opinion, post your ideas, read what you want, skip over the rest. Let Aryeh scream when the editing gets out of hand.

Apropros nothing, just not to forget, I second Yoel's comment that adult counter tenors, just as much as female altos, are a non authentic substitute in Bach church cantatas. The obvious is only obvious after someone points it out.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 7, 2006):
BWV 93

I previously wrote (7/03/06):
< In fact the instrumental articulation in the T aria BWV 93/3, as well as in the S aria oboe line, BWV 93/6, is a significant and consistent HIP distinction. I do not have access to a score, but in the piano reduction on BCW, as well as the thematic BWV index (thanks to Brad Lehman for the recommendation) both places are indicated as legato notes followed by staccato. This distinction comes across better in the HIP articulation. >
I naively (or conventionally) interpreted the dots over notes as staccato indication. I have since discovered (search on Niedt, as suggested by Thomas Braatz) the long BCW section Bach's Markings and Notations, which includes the comment that dots over notes do not indicate true staccato, which Bach indicates by a wedge (or dash). In fact the dots can indicate a range of emphasis, and are not necessarily specific. I concede that I am looking for a bit of free and convenient education here, as opposed to taking an appropriate university course, so corrections welcome as always.

Interesting to me is the fact that the HIP performers interpret the articulation as full staccato (or more). A question re the NBA score: are these notes (opening phrase of BWV 93/3 and 93/6) indicated with wedges, which have been converted to conventional dots in the thematic index and piano reduction? If not, and Bach in fact wrote dots, it seems that the traditional performers have a more historically informed interpretation than the HIP in the five recordings I previously commented on.

In fact, each of the five has a unique interpretation. Rilling in particular stands out, with a difference internally: the oboe staccato in BWV 93/6, but the strings not at all in BWV 93/3.

Probably not only by coincidence, BWV 93/3 is the very phrase which Julian Mincham gave as the example of the chorale tune re-rhythmatised (sic), indicating its importance to Bach's thematic structure in BWV 93. This would be a nice example for me, while fresh in our minds and ears, to get the professionals' and researchers' opinions as to what is the historically informed preferred articulation (or range of articulations), and how certain (or not) can we be of Bach's intentions?

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 7, 2006):
BWV 93/Staccato

My copy of the Harvard Dictionary of Music (1972 edition), in the entry for staccato, states: Today, the dot is used as the normal sign, and the dash for a more pronounced staccato.

However, in the entry for legato, a note with a dash is indicated as between legato (tied) and staccato (dot), described by the word leggiero. Exactly different - less, rather than more pronounced staccato. So much for reliable scholarly standards. I believe everyone has good intentions, probably no worse (or better) than 250 years ago. Informed remains elusive.

The wedge is covered as <the preferred notation for staccato by earlier composers, such as K.P.E. Bach, Haydn, and Beethoven.>

Not so fast, this only would go back to J.S. Bach by inference, and the entry continues: Five scholars [named] investigate the signifof the wedge, vertical stroke, and dot in Mozart's autographs and first editions, with more or less differing results.

I accept, indeed welcome, the challenge to become a historically informed listener. I suggest scholars, performers, et al make every effort to distinguish between informed and opinionated (HIP vs. HOP). I think we all agree, HOP is welcome, or at least not a crime (other than the acronym). Just label it as such. Well, don't call it HOP. You know what I mean.

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 7, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
>>A question re the NBA score: are these notes(opening phrase of BWV 93/3 and 93/6) indicated with wedges, which have been converted to conventional dots in the thematic index and piano reduction? ...how certain (or not) can we be of Bach's intentions?<<
The pattern of phrase markings/slurring and dots (no wedges) as you see it in your sources is absolutely according to Bach's intentions since he was, according the NBA KB I/17.2, "very precise" in marking all articulation and dynamic markings as well as embellishments on the violin and oboe parts in BWV 93/3 and BWV 93/6 (as well as most other parts).

In the cantatas I have noticed that Bach sometimes uses 'dots' to call attention to a specific pattern of notes that might go unnoticed if it were not for the 'dots' markings. Here he may be ensuring by means of a contrasting, non-legato treatment, that the listener might be able to recognize these motifs as being based upon the chorale melody.

Raymond Joly wrote (July 7, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
"I suggest scholars, performers, et al make every effort to distinguish between informed and opinionated (HIP vs. HOP). I think we all agree, HOP is welcome, or at least not a crime (other than the acronym). Just label it as such."
A witty and wise admonition!

As to the certainly misguided notion that any dot above a note in music from any period should be interpreted to mean "play as sharp as staccato as you can", I wonder if it is a coincidence that some HIP performances fell into that trap just as a genius emerged who did just that with all notes systematically, no matter if they had no dot or indeed had a slur above them. Now, you certainly would not call Glenn Gould or a Moog machine HIP, would you? And was not there a fascination for tinkling jazz pianos and vibraphones in some quarters around that time too? Maybe very different pursuits and persuasions coalesced in one same fashion. Is that what they call "Zeitgeist"?

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 8, 2006):
BWV 93/Notation

Ed Myskowski wrote:
>>A question re the NBA score: are these notes(opening phrase of BWV 93/3 and 93/6) indicated with wedges, which have been converted to conventional dots in the thematic index and piano reduction? ...how certain (or not) can we be of Bach's intentions?<<
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< The pattern of phrase markings/slurring and dots (no wedges) as you see it in your sources is absolutely according to Bach's intentions since he was, according the NBA KB I/17.2, "very precise" in marking all articulation and dynamic markings >
First of all, thanks for being so generous with your time and resources to respond to questions, especially regarding NBA, as well as for posting musical examples to the archives. Very useful for future reference, in addition to weekly discussions. I gather you enjoy this or you wouldn't bother. Truly appreciated, nonetheless.

Not to belabor the dots and wedges, but I can see the topic has had plenty of attention and interest in the past, so I might as well share a few very inexpert thoughts. I hoped to find a passage or two with wedges to compare with the dots of BWV 93. I started scanning the thematic index at BWV 1 and got as far as BWV 127 without finding a single wedge. Dots prevalent, but by no means common, so clearly a special marking. At that point, I did notice that BWV 127/3 has a full measure (eight notes) for flute, all with dots over, and marked <stacc> in addition. I think this is a nice confirmation that the dot by itself does not indicate staccato, but some different special articulation or attention.

I wondered if the thematic index simply does not use wedges. I stopped scanning sequentially and skipped ahead to the Passions and Oratorios. Wedges still very scarce, but in part 6 of the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248/54 there are a handful of wedges, as well as an equal number of dots on different notes. The wedges don't appear to indicate staccato, more like attack.

As luck would have it, I recently found the Harnoncourt LP set including score, and bought it as much for that reason as anything. I got out the score a few minutes ago - not a wedge or dot in sight in BWV 248/54, in this version of the pocket score. I assume that the thematic index is correct and in agreement with NBA, as you confirmed for BWV 93.

Can you (or anyone) suggest any passages for comparative listening where wedges (or any other specific notation) are used to indicate staccato? Not to get too far away from the weekly discussion, but in any case, more dots coming in BWV 107, so we can carry the notation topic forward if necessary.

I have just revisited the prior discussion in Markings and Notations to recover the original reference I noticed in passing for wedges in modern score substituting for vertical dashes in the manuscripts. I realize that it was a discussion you had initiated, already citing BWV 248/54, not without subsequent controversy. Sorry, no intent on my part to stir up old misunderstandings, in fact just the opposite. I do like follow open and interesting questions which catch my attention and make listening more enjoyable.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 8, 2006):
BWV 93/Notation or OT

Raymond Joly wrote:
< A witty and wise admonition. >
Merci, mon ami, especially for noticing the attempted wit.

< you certainly would not call Glenn Gould or a Moog machine HIP, would you? >
No defense for the Moog from here, although I remember Switched On Bach by Walter (later Wendy) Carlos, quite well. Or maybe not so well. But isn't the point that, if you stretch the performance options, label them as stretched, maybe you get somebody to catch on? Either to Bach or you. Or with luck, both.

The first Bach recording I owned was Glenn Gould from the late 1950's. Not the first I heard, but that is a different story, too long for this moment. The things I loved at the time were:
(1) Rhythm-a-ning. A Thelonius Monk title, Julian. Rhythmatising? I am hard pressed to choose.
(2) Projection of an individual feeling, interpretation (you owe me one, Brad, and others)
(3) Superb marketing and packaging, with the double liner and thus double liner notes, by the performer, Gould. I still read them occasionally. In fact, if I hadn't stumbled into the cantata discussion cycle, the last several months would have been enjoyed listening to Goldberg Variation CDs, to compare with the original memories (and liner notes).

They will be around as long as I am. Faith in record player technology! Viva LP! No? Keep those harpsichords tuned.

For the BWV 93 die-hards, Richter has staying power. Stately, not ponderous, in BWV93/1. Once more, right now, for me, followed by Fischer-Dieskau. Then those short dots (long staccatos, whatever) on the strings behind Schreier. Thanks again to all for an illuminating week.

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 8, 2006):
BWV 93 - Articulation

Johann Gottfried Walther “Musicalisches Lexicon…”
Leipzig, 1732

>>‚Spiccato’ (ital.) bedeutet: daß man die Klänge auf Instrumenten wohl von einander sondern, und jeden‚ distincté’ soll hören lassen.

‚Staccato’ oder ‚Stoccato’ (ital.) ist mit ‚spiccato’ fast einerley, daß nemlich die Bogen-Striche kurtz, ohne Ziehen, und wohl von einander abgesondert werden müssen. Das erstere kommt von ‚staccare’, ‚entkleben, ablösen’, und d‚Verbum’ von ‚taccare’ ‚kleben,’ ‚dis’; oder, besser, von ‚attacare’ ,anhängen, ankleben’ her, und wird an statt der Sylbe ‚at’, ‚dis’ oder ‚s’, so ‚ent’ bedeutet, genommen; das zweyte aber kommt her von ‚Stocco’, ein Stock, heisset demnach ‚gestossen, nicht gezogen’. Die ‚marque’ dieser Art ist, wenn das Wort ‚staccato’ oder ‚stoccato’ nicht dabey stehet, ein kleines über oder unter den Noten befindliches Strichelgen, also gestaltet: ‚|’
.<<

(„’Spiccato’ {Italian} means that you should have the sounds made by instruments be separated [one from the other] and have each note be heard ‘distinctly’ [as a separate note not slurred with the note before or after].

’Staccato’ or ‘Stoccato’ {Italian} is almost identical in meaning with ‘spiccato’ meaning specifically that the bow movement is kept short without drawing out a long bow and that each of these short bow movements must be kept separate from the others. The first term, ‘staccato’, is derived from the Italian verb, ‘staccare’ which means to ‘unglue’’to remove something from something else so that it comes off’, and this verb [‘staccare’] comes from ‘taccare’ ‘to glue together’ with the prefix ‘dis’; or better yet, from ‘attacare’, ‘to attach or glue to’ where instead of the syllable [prefix] ‘at’, ‘dis’ or ‘s’ meaning ‘ent’ [the German privative, ‘ent’ = ‘away from’]; the second term [‘stoccato’], however, comes from the Italian word ‘stocco’ which in German is ‘Stock’ {= ‘stick’ or ‘pole’ in English}, hence it means ‘poking’, not ‘being drawn’. The marking [in notation] for performing in this manner whenever the word ‘staccato’ or ‘stoccato’ do not appear written out is a little vertical line which may appear above or under the notes. It looks like this: | .”)

[My commentary:

Playing or singing ‘staccato’ involves a decision reflecting the degree to which the notes are separated one from the other as well as the amount of accentuation given to each one.

If a quarter note is marked and played ‘staccato’, is it sufficient in the case of the quarter note to think in terms of a very short breath or stoppage of sound that reduces the value of the note only very slightly without reducing the overall tempo, or should the same quarter note be reduced to a 32nd note (or even shorter) as can be heard in some HIP recordings? How much separation is necessary to ‘unglue’ one note from the next so that they are not ‘run together’ without any separation at all? (Of course, the acoustical environment will play a role in all of this as well.)

If a note is marked ‘staccato’ and putting aside the fact that some notes in a pattern of subsequent dotted notes might receive a slightly stronger accent than some of the others, will not such a note with a staccato articulation simply ‘stand out’ from other notes normally played quasi legato and unmarked in the parts or score without having strong, sharp accents placed on each one or even to allow the unaccented staccato notes to become practically inaudible when they are played too fast?]

To add some further confusion to the above (I am unable to find anywhere in Walther’s dictionary an explanation of a simple dot over or below a note – his definition of ‘Punctum’, ‘Punctus’, or ‘Punto’ is only a dot which follows a note directly), here is a definition of small horizontal lines (dashes) appearing over or under notes (these are normally considered ‘tenuto’ markings today, but ‘tenuto’ as a term is still non-existent in Walther’s dictionary).

>>‘Punctus percutiens’ (lat.) heißt der, welcher so wohl in Sing- als Kling-Stücken über oder unter die Noten gesetzet wird, anzuzeigen, daß selbige ‚abgestossen’ werden sollen. Wenn nebst den Puncten auch Bogen sich über oder unter den Noten in Instrumental-Sachen befinden, müssen selbige mit einem Strich ‚absolvirt’ werden.<<

(„’Punctus percutiens’ (Latin) means that mark of notational punctuation which is placed above or under the notes in vocal as well as instrumental compositions, a mark [in the example Walther gives it is a short horizontal line or dash above or below the note] that signifies that these notes ought to be separated [by breaking off the continuous sound that otherwise occurs when moving from one note to the other in legato style]. When, in addition to these marks of punctuation, curved phrasing marks of articulation also occur above or below these notes in instrumental compositions, then all of these notes [in a group of notes] must be executed in one bow stroke in the same direction.”)

Hermann Keller’s (his doctoral dissertation was entitled: “Die musikalische Artikulation, besonders bei J. S. Bach“ - „Musical articulation, particularly as used by J. S. Bach”) article on ‘articulation’ in the MGG1 (Bärenreiter, 1986) has the following remarkable statement:

>>Noch Beethoven gebraucht fast ausschließlich den Keil als staccato-Zeichen.<<

(“Even Beethoven still used the wedge [this is, hopefully, the same as the ‘Strichelchen’ – the little vertical line referred to by Walther] almost exclusively as a means of indicating staccato.“)

Bradley Lerhman wrote (July 10, 2006):
BWV 93. (dots over notes)

< I naively (or conventionally) interpreted the dots over notes as staccato indication. I have since discovered (search on Niedt, as suggested by Thomas Braatz) the long BCW section Bach's Markings and Notations, which includes the comment that dots over notes do not indicate true staccato, which Bach indicates by a wedge (or dash). In fact the dots can indicate a range of emphasis, and are not necessarily specific. I concede that I am looking for a bit of free and convenient education here, as opposed to taking an appropriate university course, so corrections welcome as always. >
We've discussed notational dots-over-notes numerous times here in the past, and in various contexts of Bach's instrumental and vocal music. In addition to anything about emphasis (like a modern "hot" type of staccato, played crisply), the dots can also indicate a range of DE-EMPHASIS, i.e. playing the notes lightly and quietly and evenly so as *not* to draw special attention to them. For example, canceling rhythmic inequality or canceling normal patterns of strong/weak accentuation, by playing the notes more nearly the same (drawing less attention to any of them individually).

Short of giving direct harpsichord/organ/clavichord/fortepiano lessons to those here willing to learn these instruments (and which would have to be done on appropriate instruments in good acoustic spaces anyway): I believe I've described my position on these matters sufficiently in the postings that are archived at the following pages.

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Markings.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Minim.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Notes.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/HIP-2.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Perform-Gen13.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Recitatives-5.htm

I've also recommended several excellent books, in some of those postings.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 11, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] That's the spirit, Brad! I repeated the cross references just in case anyone missed them the first time, and as an excuse to sneak a personal message onto the list.

Until I get to looking at them, I will proceed on the understanding that a dot over/under a note to Bach, means nothing more specific (or less!) than pay special attention.

If we are ever in the same neighborhood for long enough, I would very much enjoy a bit of actual education. Until the real thing comes along, thanks for the BCW posts.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 17, 2006):
BWV 93/Bach on radio

The WGBH broadcast this morning was BWV 93, which we discussed two weeks ago. The performance chosen was Doormann [2], on MHS LP. This was the same recording Aryeh mentioned in the first round of discussions, while I commented on the Cantate release this time. Not exactly a precise comparison, but the MHS sounded superb, better than my Cantate. The announcement was incomplete, and I needed to phone in to be sure it was not a CD release. Alas, no such luck. Anyone looking for the LP can be well satisfied with the MHS version if it turns up.

 

BWV 93 (Trinity 5, June 22, 2008)

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 28, 2008):
This past sunday, Trinity 5, Brian McCreath played BWV 93, in the OVPP performance by Sigiswald Kuijken, La Petite Bande [14]. This concluded three weeks of broadcasts from this recording, on the liiturgically correct Sundays. Quite an informative and enjoyable mini-festival. You can recreate it from the CD (recommended), although you will have to wait a year for the calendar to come round again if it is your intent to get it exactly right.

The topic of liturgical correlation generates a tremendous amount of lip-service; the actual discussion seems to be limited to what Brian plays on the air (and web), and my occasional reports on his broadcast. Because of perceived indifference, I do not bother to post every week.

Brian sets a fine standard of respect for the special relevance of Bachs texts in his own time, and their ongoing, more universal spirituality. All within the few words available for introducing air-play. There is something to be said for the concept that the need to be concise brings out eloquence. Sermon writers, take note.

The weekly commentary (www.wgbh.org) is essential to any discussion of current respect for Bach's texts.

 

Continue on Part 4

Cantata BWV 93: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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: ýNovember 9, 2014 ý08:06:36