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Cantata BWV 94
Was frag ich nach der Welt
Discussions - Part 2

Continue from Part 1

Discussions in the Week of July 23, 2006 (2nd round)

Peter Smaill wrote (July 22, 2006):
Cantata BWV 94, "Was frag' ich nach die Welt" - Introduction to Weekly Discussion

Week of July 23, 2006

Cantata BWV 94, “Was frag' ich nach die Welt”, for the 9th Sunday after Trinity

1st performance: 6 August, 1724 - Leipzig
Second Annual Cantata Cycle, 1723-24 (Jahrgang II)
Librettist: (?) Andreas Stubel (per Wolff)

Main Cantata page:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV94.htm
Previous Discussion:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV94-D.htm

This Cantata for the 9th Sunday after Trinity is based on the eight-verse hymn by Balthasar Kindermann (1664) (Robertson and Whittaker attribute it, inexplicably, to Georg Michael Pfefferkorn). Denouncing the “smoke and shadow” of the world, it is a typical baroque reflection on “Sein und Schein”- image and reality; the delusion being the false pomp and vanity of the world, the reality is Jesus, “my life, my treasure, my property, to whom I have quite surrendered myself”.

John Eliot Gardiner, in his programme notes to the 1999 recording [7], ponders the question as to whether any specific plutocratic individual was intended by the text of the Recitative BWV 94/3, which translates as follows:

“A proud man builds the most splendid palaces,
He seeks the highest post of honour,
He clothes himself of the best
in purple, gold, in silver, fine linen and velvet.”

The shock of the asceticism implied by this Cantata to the prosperous bourgeois of Leipzig gathered in the Thomaskirche must have been considerable, given the prosperity of the town at that time, the “marketplace of Europe”. Wolff goes on:

“Beginning around 1700, the city experienced a period of unprecedented growth and affluence. The prosperous, proud and influential merchant families, many of them prominently represented on the three-tiered City council, were struck by a real building fever. By 1710 the Romanus, Apel and Hohmann families had set the standard for opulent new edifices with ornate facades…. The grandest [of art collections] among them, [were] Johann Christoph Richter’s art cabinet in his Thomaskirchhof mansion (with four hundred works by Titian, Raphael, Lucas van der Leyden, Rubens , and others) and Gottfried Winckler’s collection (with paintings by Leonardo, Giorgone, Veronese, Tintoretto, Rubens, Hals, Breughel, Rembrandt and others).”

Against this background of unparalleled wealth Bach sets out the rival attractions of a life of faith and the challenging theme of treasure in heaven.

Quotations from selected Commentaries

Robertson:
As in all the cantatas for this Sunday, the librettists do not come to terms with Christ’s commendation of the unjust steward, who is advised to make friends with Mammon

Whittaker:

(BWV94/1) The emptiness of the world is revealed to us in this delightful fantasia; the serene figure of Christ floats in the heavens above. The number opens with a plucked continuo note senza l’Organo (the continuo is pizzicato throughout). The flauto traverse then ascends solitarily in detached semiquavers indicative of the transitoriness of earthly things. Blissful semiquaver triplets in both violin 1 and flute tell of bliss in Christ.

Boyd:

Bach revived the Cantata in the period 1732-5, and a further performance took place in Leipzig in the 1750’s, directed by Bach’s successor there, Johann Gottlob Harrer.

It has been noted that many of the Cantatas of the period (1724) contain important flute parts, probably pointing to the presence of a player of exceptional ability in the Leipzig musical establishment at the time.

Dürr:

In setting this text, Bach seems to have felt an exceptionally strong sympathy with it; and nowadays the impression might arise that a world that produces such splendid compositions should not be disdained so unreservedly as the baroque poet would have us believe.

Arnold Schering devoted a spirited study to the soprano aria, BWV 94/7, pointing out that the difficulty that arises for the present-day listener when a composition so obviously “secular” in style is based on a text showing disgust for the world.

Movements like this aria should caution us against conceiving Bach’s music too much as ‘exegesis’ of a text and against evaluating his art for its textual representation rather than on its purely aesthetic, musical value”

Stephen Daw:

Bach’s series of chorale-cantatas stretches, effectively uninterrupted, from Trinity+1 to Palm Sunday 1725. The preserved pieces number 41; a figure which would be wildly greeted by the number-searchers of our times had not two works evidently been lost. [Trinity 6 and 12].

The Chorales seem to have been selected with due attention to Benedikt Carpzov’s criteria of 1690: to be appropriate, they had to be good, beautiful (poetically), old, evangelisches (=of appropriate orthodoxy) and Lutheran.

Outstanding questions

Have we any idea of the identity of the flautist? It appears from the record of 1745, interviewing a deputy for the aged town piper, that the pipers included the transverse flute in their collection no less than five separate instruments in which they were skilled. But this level of agility suggests the figures outside the piper group, perhaps the pupils Friedrich Gottlieb Wild or Christoph Gottlob Wecker?

The continuation of the singing of Bach’s Motets at St Thomas is well-known; but only this cycle of Cantatas, the scores being sold (gifted?) by Anna Magdalena back to St .Thomas, could have been available for performance post 1750. Do we know how many were performed (as was BWV 94) post Bach’s death in Leipzig and what the factors for continued use were to be?

Finally, Benedikt Carpzov and his relevance appears indirect; have we further scholarship on this figure mentioned by Daw?

==================================================================

I look forward to the participation of BCML members old and new in the discussion of Cantata BWV 94, in which Bach’s orchestral palette is vital to relieving the otherwise unremitting world-negation of the text.

Peter Smaill

==================================================================

Appendix: Further Resources

Structure (per Robertson):

1 Chorus SATB
2 Aria B
3 Recitative and Chorale T
4 Aria A
5 Recitative and Chorale B
6 Aria T
7 Aria S
8 Chorale SATB

Libretto: possibly Andreas Stübel (per Wolff)
1 Corinthians 10 6:13 (Consider and avoid the sins of the Israelites in the wilderness)
Luke 16:1-9 (Parable of the dishonest steward)

Chorale:

”Was frag ich nach die Welt”, vv. 1, 3,5 ,7 and 8; 2, 4 and 6 paraphrased.
Balthasar Kindermann (1664)
See http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Kindermann.htm
Chorale Text:
Was frag ich nach die Welt
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale059-Eng3.htm
Chorale Melody:
"O Gott, du frommer Gott" - Melody 3
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/O-Gott-du-frommer-Gott.htm

Text:
See: http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/94.html
English Translation:
See: http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV94.html
Other translations:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV94.htm

Scoring:

Choir: SATB
Instruments: Fl trav, Ob I, ii Vln i, ii, Org,

Liturgical Comments:

Written for the 9th Sunday after Trinity 1724
Other Cantatas written for this Sunday:
BWV 105, "Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht" (1723)
BWV 168, "Tue Rechning! Donnerwort!" (1725)

Piano Vocal Score: (free PDF download)
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV94.htm

Recordings:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV94.htm

Music (free streaming download):
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Mus/BWV94-Mus.htm

Online Commentary:
http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/bachjs/cantatas/94.html

Performances of Bach Cantatas:
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Concert-2006.htm

Order of Discussion (2006)
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Order-2006.htm

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 23, 2006):
Cantata BWV 94, "Was frag' ich nach die Welt" - Avant Garde!

One of the great joys of this website is the opportunity to listen systematically to cantatas that I might never have encountered. I had never heard this work and I was positively electrified by the way in which Bach broke down the chorale-fantasy form, interrupting what could have been a very conventional movement with dramatic recitatives. The section in which the orchestra keeps trying to play its ritornello only to be stopped by the tenor shows a degree of fragmentation which takes Bach right to edge of his art. He could easily have written a chorus which merely presented the chorale with charming oboe interludes. Instead we hear a baroque chorale fantasy on the verge of dissolution. What better avant garde musical image could he have chosen to betray the dissolution of the world?

The tenor aria "Ach, Schlage Doch Bald" has an extraordinary tenor range: low D to high B. Bach was certainly writing for a talented singer this week! I was also struck by the lovely pizzicato strings depicting the ticking of a clock. It reminded me of Cantata BWV 53, "Schlage Doch" which has staccato strings and similar pauses for the clock -- how I wish it was by Bach! It's interesting to notice that this Baroque clock figure is still going strong in Poncielli's "Dance of the Hours" (made famous by Disney's "Fantasia")

Julian Mincham wrote (July 23, 2006):
BWV 94 context

Thanks to Peter for a comprehensive and stimulating introduction. I'd like to add three points which I think are important.

1) Bach's use of Major and Minor modes.

This, the 9th cantata of the cycle, is only the second with the chorale fantasia set in a major key. Bach's choices of maj/min modes, not only for the opening choruses (where he is always committed to retaining the mode of the
selected chorale) but across the movements of complete works, is an interesting area and more is yet to be written on it.

For those interested in such matters (and in a sense all cantata listeners are likely to be, albeit subconsciously, since the choice of major or minor very much dictates the characters of the opening choruses) these are the brief statistics.

2nd cycle chorale fantasias-- of the first 13 cantatas (up to BWV 78) only two are set in the major (BWV 20 and BWV 94). After four more minor mode choruses (BWV 101, BWV 113, BWV 33 and BWV 78) three majors come at all together---just like buses----BWV 99, BWV 8, BWV 130--and it is of interest to note the ways that Bach uses the major keys in these three works to greatly contrasting expressive effect. From here to the end of the ecclesiastical year (with BWV 116) he more or less alternatesmajor and minor (only accepting that two consecutive cantatas, BWV 115 and BWV 139 are major).

Thus in this first half of the complete cycle, out of 25 cantatas 10 are major, 15 minor. The majority of the minors (11 out of 13) come in the first half of this segment and the majority of the majors (eight out of ten) come in the second half.

2) The metaphor of shadow and smoke

This is explicit in the text of the bass aria (second movement). However, the twirlings of flute and strings in the first movement represent the image more clearly; another example of Bach's taking an image from one stanza and suggesting it musically it in the setting of another.

Compare the setting of the bass aria with the soprano aria from BWV 64 where Bach uses a similar metaphor . In that case the puff of smoke rising and dissipating is clearly heard in the violins early in the ritornello.

But we know that Bach almost never repeats himself and even the same allusion is given quite different musical treatment. In BWV 94 it is the 'rootedness' of Christ's certainty rather than the fleeting smoke and shadow on which Bach chooses to concentrate. The opening continuo swoops down to low notes symbolizing ideas of strength and permanence. The singer's line, however with its melismas and lines of semi-quavers does carry suggestions of dispersal and diffusion. Note too how the quality of his line alters when the text moves from notions of worldly intransigence to assertions of Christ's trust.

3) recit/chorale third and fifth movements

The setting of the third stanza creates a problem due to its length.

Clearly there are too many words for a chorus or aria so recitative is the obvious solution. But long, fragmented recitatives tend not always to command full attention, so Bach's solution in both this and the fifth movement is to combine the recitative layout with the chorale melody. We have already seen (Cantata BWV 93) Bach's adept technique of incorporating chorale phrases into every movement. Here it is partially a matter of the overall unity of the work, partly an opportunity for dramatic intervention but it is equally likely to be a practical matter of sustaining the interest of the congregation through a cascade of text. Thus emerges an alternation of chorale phrases (embellished so as to give the impression of an arioso) and recitative. These are combined with a recurring instrumental ritornello (two oboes and continuo) creating a sense of a mini- concerto. Bach's innovative method of combining existing forms (dating back to and before the Brandenburg days) is seldom more apparent. Here he combines four elements: chorale, recitative, arioso and ritornello/concerto.

The division of the thirty lines of text into five embellished (but easily recognizable) chorale phrases and four sections of recitative is thoughtfully done. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing whether this was principally the work of his librettist. or whether Bach himself had a hand in the structuring. The words of the chorale melody reiterate the theme from the first two moments and the recitative elaborates with examples of wealth, arrogance and impermanence. The ritornello begins and ends the work and accompanies the
chorale phrases.

The fifth movement is based upon similar principles to the third but lacking the instrumental ritornello; the bass voice is accompanied by the continuo only. The phrases of the chorale are sung five times and, yet again, reassert the moral of the day. The recitative sections take on a more hectoring tone.

But it is interesting to note the way in which Bach subtly distorts the chorale melody. Firstly he makes slight changes to the rhythm and line (listen to the opening phrase in which the first chorale line is clearly recognizable----yet not quite as we expect it). Secondly, it generates a chromatic bass line and, at times, some quite weird har. It is like the distorting mirrors one used to find in circuses. You recognize what you see/hear; but it is caricatured in unexpected ways.

Thus does Bach disfigure his chorale so as to represent the troubled world and its distorted sense of values.

Finally, it's fascinating to see what Schweitzer had to say about these combinations of recit and chorale which Bach was extremely interested in at this time. With particular reference to similar practices in next week's cantata (BWV 101) but equally applicable to BWV 94, he writes of the work being 'sadly disfigured by the excessively tasteless recitative-passages that are dovetailed into the chorale text' (Black, 1955, vol 2 p 375). He, mistakenly, attributes the text to Picander and further claims that 'Bach himself was unconscious of the wretched quality of this text'. This is, perhaps, an assumption too far and unlikely to be a widely held view today when we are more likely to recognise the innovation and drama sympathetically. Nevertheless, it is something of a mystery as to why Schweitzer felt so strongly about this particular issue. (apologies for the length of this posting--tried to edit it but always seemed to lose significant points)

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 23, 2006):
Peter Smaill wrote:
>>Finally, Benedikt Carpzov and his relevance appears indirect; have we further scholarship on this figure mentioned by Daw?<<
Ulrich Leisinger, in his article "Musikalische Textauslegung - Kontinuität und Wandel" included in "Die Welt der Bach Kantaten", Metzler/Bärenreiter, vol. 3, p. 228, mentions Johann Benedikt Carpzow as the basis of a Leipzig tradition. In 1689, Carpzow, a university teacher and pastor at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig announced that he would base each of his sermons in the coming year on a chorale text and that Schelle, the Thomaskantor at that time would provide suitable, delightful/charming ("anmutig") music during the service based upon the same chorale. Since a large portion of Schelle's music was acquired by the St. Thomas School's library, we can assume that Bach was acquainted with Schelle's music for the Carpzow yearly cycle of sermons. A similar situation occurred in 1724, but the difference was that the texts were not set to music verbatim, but rather were paraphrased as arias and recitatives while only the first and last mvts. used the original chorale text directly. The reason for this was probably due to the kind of thinking expressed in Scheibel's "Zufälligen Gedancken von der Kirchen-Music": Chorales basically have a different function than arias and recitatives do. Chorales, particularly those from the 16th century have a more narrative or contemplative nature, sometimes in the form of a prayer. The presentation of affect (engendering affect in the listeners) is rather unimportant. The unknown librettist, probably one of important pastors at one of the main churches in Leipzig or a theologian at the University of Leipzig, at first made only modest changes to the chorale texts, mainly for theological reasons, but offered
Bach little in the way of affect possibilities in his arias - Leisinger offers for inspection the text for BWV 135/3 to underline his point there was little opportunity for Bach to create affect.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 23, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< In 1689, Carpzow, a university teacher and pastor at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig announced that he would base each of his sermons in the coming year on a chorale text and that Schelle, the Thomaskantor at that time would provide suitable, delightful/charming ("anmutig") music during the service based upon the same chorale. >
This bears on our discussion of the literary planning stage of cantata composition. In this case, preacher and musician planned the entire year. If Bach had even a similar method of planning, it would mean that he was working on future cantatas mentally and probably in sketches for long periods of time. The compostion of a cantata a week thus becomes practical in human terms.

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 24, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>This bears on our discussion of the literary planning stage of cantata composition. In this case, preacher and musician planned the entire year. If Bach had even a similar method of planning, it would mean that he was working on future cantatas mentally and probably in sketches for long periods of time. The compostion of a cantata a week thus becomes practical in human terms<<
Without evidence indicating how the Carpzow/Schelle chorale cantata cycle was planned and executed, there is no way to make the claim that there was a long lead-in period for planning, sketching, and composing far in advance of the actual performance date. It could just as easily be the other way around: a grandiose plan is announced by the pastor from the pulpit that there would be a coordinated effort to present sermons based upon chorale texts and that Schelle had agreed in principle to participate in this venture by providing 'anmutige' figural music based on the same text and whatever melody was commonly associated with it. "Anmutig" seems to imply that this music would not be based solely and directly on various verses of the chorale, but might also involve independent compositions (arias?) unlike the chorale motets that were composed at the end of the 16th and early 17th centuries which would be quite serious in nature throughout despite the fact that they would include word-painting.

Here is a summary translation of part of an article on Schelle by Peter Hauschild in the MGG1 (Bärenreiter, 1986) [see also the short biography on the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Schelle-Johann.htm

>>Johann Schelle (1648-1701)
Recommended by the S. Knüpfer, Schelle’s predecessor, Schelle first was called to a position as cantor at the City School and St. Nicholas Church in Eilenburg in 1670. On January 31, 1677, he was chosen to succeed Knüpfer as Thomaskantor from among 11 applicants who included some very strong competition from G. Bleyer, J. Pezel, and J. Theile. His responsibilities included not only providing and conducting church music at St. Thomas and St. Nicolai churches in Leipzig, but he also held the position of “Director Chori Musici” which, at that time, included providing and performing special music for ceremonies held at the university church, St. Paul’s. He also had to teach music, Latin and Cathecism at the St. Thomas School. Schelle’s appointment succeeded despite strong resistance from the Mayor, L. von Adlershelm who had wanted Bleyer instead. Since that time, and probably because he was unsuccessful in promoting Bleyer, von Adlershelm opposed Schelle in many matter. The antagonism between both came to a head toward the end of 1683 when a controversy broke out regarding Schelle’s introduction of an innovation beginning on the First Sunday of Trinity, 1683. At the early service Schelle replaced the usual Latin motets composed by Italians with German figural music. At a Christmas ceremony at year’s end, the mayor decreethat Schelle would no longer be allowed to perform such music. The city council, however, outvoted and invalidated the mayor’s decree. Prompted and perhaps stimulated by the publication of J. C. Horns yearly cycle of cantatas covering the year 1679/1680, Schelle attempted to emulate this model; however, Horn had restricted himself to setting only the Gospel text. Schelle decided to include in his own compositions chorale verses [I assume this includes also the melodies associated with them]. In this effort he was supported by another teacher at the St. Thomas School, P. Thymich, who, as a poet, provided suitable texts which provided for a spiritual, subjective, inward-looking tone which gives evidence of the influence of Pietism. During the 1680s, Leipzig became the scene for heated disputes, confrontations and clashes between two factions: the supporters of Lutheran orthodoxy led by J. B. Caprzow, Jr., the main pastor at St. Thomas Church and the Pietists who were part of what was called the “Leipziger Bewegung” (“The Leipzig Movement”) led by A. H. Francke, among others. In 1690 this controversy was decided in favor of the supporters of Lutheran orthodoxy. Thus Schelle was now obligated to support Lutheran orthodoxy, which did not stop him from collaborating with J. Pezel in supplying melodies and hymn settings for "Andächtigen Studenten" (Leipzig, 1682) by Prof. J. Feller from the University of Leipzig, who in 1690 was reprimanded for his outspoken Pietistic views. Encouraged by Carpzow to compose chorale cantatas based on the old/original Lutheran chorales, Schelle, in 1689, turned his attention to this type of figural music and reaped very special approval from Carpzow for his efforts in this area.

Schelle died at age 52 on March 14, 1701. Among his music students were Christoph Graupner, Reinhard Keiser and Georg Österreich.<<

What is not clear from the above description is to what degree Schelle was able to include freer mvts. such as arias and recitatives in his cantatas. Would they resemble the arias of his student Reinhard Keiser? Perhaps someone on this list who has a recording of some of Schelle's cantatas can answer this question. One such cantata with a date of 1689 is

»Ihr Christen freuet euch« for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, Bassoon, 2 Sopranos, Bc. (1689).

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 24, 2006):
Aryeh Oron wrote (on behalf of Peter Smaill):
< Against this background of unparalleled wealth Bach sets out the rival attractions of a life of faith and the challenging theme of treasure in heaven. >
Historians especially invited to comment. In my casual reading and other observation, the human species has never had a shortage of leaders of faith, ready to garner the excess productivity of work or good luck. Other species are limited to simple theft, so spiritual progress is apparent to the optimist.

When the excess, the wealth, is unparalleled, so is the intensity of the rival attractions (faith and heaven). You can hear and see a great variety of scenarios for the rewards of faith and heaven on USA TV (and many other places, I am absolutely certain), all with one common theme. Send me your money.

Soon to come, brief additions to the Gardiner [7] and Leusink [6] comments, already extensive and accurate (mostly so, IMO) in first round of discussions.

Julian Mincham wrote:
(apologies for the length of this posting -- tried to edit it but always seemed to lose significant points)
I did not find it long, for exactly that reason. All points musically significant! Thanks, as always, for early posts which add to listening enjoyment.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 24, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Without evidence indicating how the Carpzow/Schelle chorale cantata cycle was planned and executed, there is no way to make the claim that there was a long lead-in period for planning, sketching, and composing far in advance of the actual performance date. >
At the risk being accused of "folie de grandeur", may I compare my expereince to Bach's? (grin)

Last June, I looked over the church year and decided when I was going to write original works. For instance, next Dec 17 the bishop is coming for a formal visit. I looked at the readings and decided on a text for which I have a half-formed musical idea. Now, I won't actually write the piece until November, but I will think about it occasionally over the next three months along with several other ideas so that when I sit down to put it on paper (actually on FINALE) it will write itself.

At the same time, I have to be ready in case an occasion comes up suddenly. Two years ago, a prominent member of the parish died unexpectedly and I knew I had to write something for the funeral. I had three days and it turned out rather well. I've used it at other funerals ever since.

I've even parodied myself when pressed for time. I wrote a "Gymnopedie" for oboe, clarinet and piano for myself and my two sons to play for my wife's 50th birthday. A couple of years later, I had to come up with a chamber piece for a wedding. I asked my wife's permission, and reworked her piece for flute, cello and organ and called it "Epithalamium".

Needless to say, there will never be a Cowling Discussion List, but the more we look at Bach's compositional process the more I'm convinced that he was always composing every waking minute.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 24, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< the more we look at Bach's compositional process the more I'm convinced that he was always composing every waking minute. >
Thanks for sharing a bit of your own creative process, as well. Iwouldn't rule out the sleeping minutes!

Nicholas Johnson wrote (July 24, 2006):
[To Douglas Cowling] Cantata 94 also has a wonderful aria for soprano. Set in F sharp minor (as is often the case for oboe d'amore) the tune modulates a couple of times before the entry of the singer who sings an easier version . It is reminiscent of the fugue in the same key from book one of the 48, which also modulates before the entry of the second voice.

I wonder whether Bach found this key amusing to try out the unorthodox. Cf the fugue at the end of the toccata BWV 910, the tenor aria from the St John Passion (BWV 245) + the aria in the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). Bach seems to have a fondness for the key akin to his well-known pieces in B minor.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 24, 2006):
Nicholas Johnson wrote:
< I wonder whether Bach found this key amusing to try out the unorthodox. Cf the fugue at the end of the toccata BWV 910, the tenor aria from the St John Passion (BWV 245) + the aria in the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). Bach seems to have a fondness for the key akin to his well-known pieces in B minor >
He also uses it for "Deposuit" in the Magnificat which is dramatically cast as a "rage" aria in the Italian style. I'm wondering if F# sounded "sharper" ("out of tune"?) to Bach listeners. Brad?

Bradley Lehman wrote (July 24, 2006):
f# minor

<< I wonder whether Bach found this key amusing to try out the unorthodox. Cf the fugue at the end of the toccata BWV 910, the tenor aria from the St John Passion + the aria in the Christmas Oratorio. Bach seems to have a fondness for the key akin to his well-known pieces in B minor >>
< He also uses it for "Deposuit" in the Magnificat which is dramatically cast as a "rage" aria in the Italian style. I'm wondering if F# sounded "sharper" ("out of tune"?) to Bach listeners. Brad? >

Not "out of tune", but brisker/brig/crisper, yes. F# minor has a firm projection to it, a bold steadfastness: some effect of being tautly strung, with plenty of energy.

The flat minor keys, by contrast, have more of a softness or resignation to them, in the effects they make. Music in them tends to sound more relaxed.

Keep in mind also: when it's F# minor for the Leipzig instruments in the band, it's E minor for the continuo organ there...but the same remarks about crisp focus apply. E minor is another strong, firm key.

I have a complete sample of the F# minor fugue illustrating that character: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl/larips/samples.html

....and some other complete pieces in both F# minor and E minor are available at the links below, variously for organ or harpsichord.

=====

Apropos of Julian's comments earlier this weekend, about major vs minor:
I think it's intriguing that Bach used G minor as his home key (for opening choruses) as many as seven times in this 2nd Leipzig cycle, and all the other minor keys less often. G minor is outstandingly dark and troubled (sorrowful/melancholy), due in part to the way F minor sounds in the organ continuo.

We shouldn't look merely at major vs minor as if there were only two categories here; but which majors and which minors, specifically. I made myself a quick checklist of all 43 cantatas for the year, along with the key of the opening movement both as Cammerton (the band) and Chorton (the continuo organist's reading).

The whole year's cycle stays remarkably in the flats (from the organ perspective) with very few exceptions. B minor (which is A minor for the organ) gets used six times, and D major (C) twice, being at the central point among the keys; but almost all the cantatas are in fewer sharps than that, i.e. tending toward the flat side of expression instead of the sharp side. In the 6th week, with cantata 93, the band is in C minor and the organ in Bb minor, five flats!

There's not only a skew toward the minors in general, during the first half of this cycle (as Julian pointed out), but specifically toward the minors that make the most darkish effects.

An unusually somber year 1724-5, for some reason?

Bradley Lehman wrote (July 24, 2006):
< Without evidence indicating how the Carpzow/Schelle chorale cantata cycle was planned and executed, there is no way to make the claim that there was a long lead-in period for planning, sketching, and composing far in advance of the actual performance date. >
There is sufficiently clear claim that he DIDN'T have a long lead-in period, either; that he rushed anything to performance the last couple of days (as romantic tradition would paint into the picture).

To be at all fair as a reasonable process, positivism (and pseudo-positivism!) has to cut equally both ways, in cases where there isn't sufficient evidence to prove OR disprove something such as this.

< Last June, I looked over the church year and decided when I was going to write original works. For instance, next Dec 17 the bishop is coming for a formal visit. I looked at the readings and decided on a text for which I have a half-formed musical idea. Now, I won't actually write the piece until November, but I will think about it occasionally over the next three months along with several other ideas so that when I sit down to put it on paper (actually on FINALE) it will write itself. >
I have a similar process here, both with composing music for upcoming events and with preparing non-music projects (expository writing, computer programs, etc). The items are being worked on all the time, at some level of planning or detail, according to their position on the assignment queue and allowing for the occasional flash of inspiration to happen at any time(s) over several months. The better-planned the projects are, and the farther in advance, the better they tend to turn out. Things rushed to deadline on the last day or two tend not to do so well.

< At the same time, I have to be ready in case an occasion comes up suddenly. Two years ago, a prominent member of the parish died unexpectedly and I knew I had to write something for the funeral. I had three days and it turned out rather well. I've used it at other funerals ever since. >
Shades of Hindemith's "Trauermusik" for viola and strings?

< I've even parodied myself when pressed for time. I wrote a "Gymnopedie" for oboe, clarinet and piano for myself and my two sons to play for my wife's 50th birthday. A couple of years later, I had to come up with a chamber piece for a wedding. I asked my wife's permission, and reworked her piece for flute, cello and organ and called it "Epithalamium". >
I rework things and parody myself all the time, too (both in music and otherwise). If I've already solved a difficult problem within one project, I often reuse a parallel solution next time a similar problem comes up. This is simply good business and efficiency. Well-tested ideas are reusable and reliable. It would be absurd not to recycle them.

Today, for example, I'm working on a creative project where I received some of the initial requirements back in March, and I'm reusing some sections from other projects of two years ago. I sketched the whole thing mentally in the first day or two, way back then (could see most of the working result already in my imagination), but have only fleshed out all the details gradually in the intervening months.

There's something else I have at the printer that goes on sale next month. I got the assignment in January or February, and sketched the piece from then until April. That was turned in at that point, and sat untouched in a "finished" state for several months; then we made a few requested revisions in the last two weeks before printing. The piece gets better through such a long process, even if the final result looks as if it could have been written in a day or two.

< Needless to say, there will never be a Cowling Discussion List, but the more we look at Bach's compositional process the more I'm convinced that he was always composing every waking minute. >
I'm convinced, at least, that it's more plausible Bach planned things as far ahead as allowed (whether he wrote the sketches down or not; keyboard improv etc to work out ideas; text-setting outlines....), than the romanticized hagiography about composing Sunday's cantata totally fresh from midweek to Saturday night, in some feverish panic.

We've been through all this before, and I don't remember where my remarks about it are in the archive. Musicians need lead time to learn the music, especially when it's as technically tricky as much of Bach's is. It makes considerably more sense to me that they'd have a month or more (if conditions allow!) to work on the stuff in their practice and their private lessons, than being handed something new to sight-read on just a few days' notice. If there were any guest musicians brought in for particular Sundays, they needed plenty of advance notice to be sure they could be there for rehearsals and performance, also as confirmation that their parts could be composed into the piece. If any of the musicians needed individualized coaching from the composer (and how could they not?), when was this going to happen if the piece didn't even exist in any form before midweek?

Since there's a lack of evidence on how far ahead the compositions were "finished" enough to be rehearsed, I'd tip the default assumption toward earlier rather than later. And the pre-publication of libretto is additionally tantalizing in that direction. Bach could have had any number of scores in progress at once, for upcoming weeks planning ahead into the church year; we don't know firmly that he didn't. And, the opening movement usually sets the overall tone and instrumentation for the whole cantata; something to be decided first.

In one sense, the later Bach finishes the composition (nearer to downbeat time), the less well he's doing his job as to presenting his musicians with a reasonable performance situation.... Wshould we assume, without evidence, that Bach and/or his musicians operated regularly in such a state of last-minute panic?

Robert Marshall's research has at least shown that Bach tended to write these cantata scores from first movement to last; but doesn't say one way or the other how many weeks encompassed this process, typically.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 24, 2006):
Bradly Lehman wrote:
< I'm convinced, at least, that it's more plausible Bach planned things as far ahead as allowed (whether he wrote the sketches down or not; keyboard improv etc to work out ideas; text-setting outlines....), than the romanticized hagiography about composing Sunday's cantata totally fresh from midweek to Saturday night, in some feverish panic.
Musicians need lead time to learn the music, especially when it's as technically tricky as much of Bach's is. It makes considerably more sense to me that they'd have a month or more (if conditions allow!) to work on the stuff in their practice and their private lessons, than being handed something new to sight-read on just a few days' notice.
In one sense, the later Bach finishes the composition (nearer to downbeat time), the less well he's doing his job as to presenting his musicians with a reasonable performance situation.... Why should we assume, without evidence, that Bach and/or his musicians operated regularly in such a state of last-minute panic? >
As always, I'm intrigued by the practical side of Bach's music. Is there any documentary evidence that Bach sketched out movements as "works-in-progress" to test them or provide a lead time for rehearsal? I simply don't believe that there is any person on earth at any point in history who could prepare "Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen" in five days (even if it was a pre-existing Dresden work reused in Leipzig)

Testing a work makes practical sense to me. Many times I've read though a work of my own with a choir, only to head home and revise it because I didn't like a passage or found it was too difficult and required more rehearsal time than I could give. Interestingly, Rifkin argues that a clean score from Bach indicates that he is copying directly from an existing score. If your "work-in-progress" concept is right, Brad, then the final clean copy could mean the final version of a tested work which was now ready to fly.

If I was Bach -- Cowling's "folie de grandeur" again! -- I would look ahead at the texts I had chosen and start working on the individual movements where I was going to try something new or experimental -- this week's opening chorus for example -- or a movement which I knew was going to be technically difficult for the performer -- the voice part of the tenor aria "Ach, Schlage Doch" would be welcomed by the singer, but all those pizzicato string parts could be filled in much later when the "clean" score and parts written.

Oh, for an hour sitting at the desk in Bach's study!

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 24, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>In one sense, the later Bach finishes the composition (nearer to downbeat time), the less well he's doing his job as to presenting his musicians with a reasonable performance situation....Why should we assume, without evidence, that Bach and/or his musicians operated regularly in such a state of last-minute panic?<<
No need for panic if you possess the talent and compositional abilities of a J. S. Bach who also expected and could rely upon his vocalists and instrumentalists to sight-read flawlessly what he presented to them at the last minute. He knew precisely what he could expect from his performers. If an excellent flautist or soprano soloist happened to be visiting Leipzig (the Leipzig Fair, for instance) for a limited time, he could rather quickly compose music for them in which they could display their superior talents. If, in the case of BWV 198, discussed recently, the actual performance was called into question after he had just started thinking about what to do with the text and may have jotted down a few sketches, Bach would wait for final confirmation and then, within a week or two, complete an entire cantata, have the parts copied out a day before the dress rehearsal with the actual performance taking place the day after the rehearsal. This is information rather firmly based on evidence which tends to be overlooked or, unfortunately, incorrectly classified as an exceptional situation.

The fact that some 21st century composer/musicians have their own specific modus operandi for planning, composing and performing their own music does not mean that Baroque composers like Vivaldi, Telemann, and Bach would operate at the same slow pace of planning, composing over an extended period of time, allowing a number of weeks for rehearsal time before the actual first performance of the music. The evidence has been presented that Bach did not need such a long lead-in time to come up the superior results almost every time.

Perhaps Bach's genius is being underestimated by those who would like to compare their own methods of composition with Bach's?

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 24, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Perhaps Bach's genius is being underestimated by those who would like to compare their own methods of composition with Bach's? >
Now Thomas, play nice!

Brad and I only offered our personal experiences in an attempt to understand Bach the practical working composer and church musician. I would never underestimate the working methods of the greatest composer in history.

However, I'm not prepared to accept the Romantic notion that Bach's modus operandi cannot be investigated or compared to the experieces of other lesser mortals.

In the second act of Hans Pfitzner's opera, "Palestrina", offstage angels dictate the "Missa Papae Marcelli" to the swooning composer. I'm sure that the real Palestrina and the real Bach had to work hard all their lives to perfect their craft and bring their music to performance.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (July 24, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] I do not know but would submit the hypothesis that Bach seem to write in the minor keys reflecting the puritianical oppressiveness of religion of his day not to mention gloomy winters.

Compared to Anglican Puritans (Congregationalists these days); Bach and the Lutheran Church was anything but Puritan but it still was very restrictive and we see this when he got fired (others put it more diplomatically) from one of his jobs because he allowed his wife to sing in the Choir.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Women in Bach's Vocal Works - Part 4 [General Topics]

Bradley Lehman wrote (July 25, 2006):
>>In one sense, the later Bach finishes the composition (nearer to downbeat time), the less well he's doing his job as to presenting his musicians with a reasonable performance situation....Why should we assume, without evidence, that Bach and/or his musicians operated regularly in such a state of last-minute panic?<<
< No need for panic if you possess the talent and compositional abilities of a J. S. Bach who also expected and could rely upon his vocalists and instrumentalists to sight-read flawlessly what he presented to them at the last minute. He knew precisely what he could expect from his performers. >
Do you have any firm evidence WHATSOEVER that any of Bach's regular people (or guest musicians) at Leipzig ever "sight-read flawlessly" even a single piece of his music "presented to them at the last minute", as you assert here?

Teenagers, who were also full-time students of other curricula on the side?

On the planet known as Earth?

< The evidence has been presented that Bach did not need such a long lead-in time to come up the superior results almost every time. >
What evidence? Where has it been presented? Does it exist at all, outside a romanticized notion (as asserted above) that Bach had an ensemble of perfect sight-readers at his disposal?

What about the continuo players who occasionally had to play from an UNFIGURED (i.e. incomplete) bass part, alleguessing at those harmonies at sight and without rehearsal, but allegedly flawlessly?

Have you ever tried this?

< Perhaps Bach's genius is being underestimated by those who would like to compare their own methods of composition with Bach's? >
Bach's genius doesn't stand or fall on the ability of his musicians to have sight-read anything.

Is a composition somehow magically and inherently a "greater" piece--and emanating from some allegedly greater form of genius!--if it happened to be composed in two hours on a Saturday night, vs across a period of (say) four months? Why? Who says?

How far should we take unsupported assertions coming from people who haven't composed/directed church music at all, as to appropriately practical processes (or Bach's!) to do so?

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 25, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< How far should we take unsupported assertions coming from people who haven't composed/directed church music at all, as to appropriately practical processes (or Bach's!) to do so? >
Brad, play nice!

There are examples of some historic ensembles which had extraordinary sight-reading talents. The Sistine Choir in the time of Palestrina was famous for never having a rehearsal and singing Palestrina's incomparable polyphony at sight.

I don't believe the myth for a second. I think they were like Harvard students who make a virture of never being seen studying in public. Even the Sistinistas were probably swatting up their parts in private.

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Sight-Reading [General Topics]

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 25, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>There are examples of some historic ensembles which had extraordinary sight-reading talents. The Sistine Choir in the time of Palestrina was famous for never having a rehearsal and singing Palestrina's incomparable polyphony at sight.<<
"Er singt vom Blatt fertig" ("he sings from the page so that what you hear is the finished product - no further preparation or rehearsal is necessary") This is the type of sight-reading of music that passes Bach's keen judgment in these matters. [From Bach-Dokumente I, item 62 on p. 130 - Bach's report on Johann Christoph Schmied, who was 19 years old at the time. Dated Leipzig, May 9, 1729]

As far as the younger boys in the Thomanerchor, if it was not question of honor which moved a boy to perform to the best of his own abilities on Sunday, then there was also the incentive of having the boy pay out of his own pocket a monetary fine for any audible blemishes that he may have caused during his performance at a church service.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 25, 2006):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< "Er singt vom Blatt fertig" ("he sings from the page so that what you hear is the finished product - no further preparation or rehearsal is necessary") This is the type of sight-reading of music that passes Bach's keen judgment in these matters.
Then there was also the incentive of having the boy pay out of his own pocket a monetary fine for any audible blemishes that he may have caused during his performance at a church service. >
A good sight reader always makes a choirmaster drool. You can really hear Bach's excitement at identifying that burgeoning talent.

The younger boys would have had their musical hurdles progressively raised as the years passed. They would have started with memorizing the musical repertoire which was repeated each week -- the mass repsonses, the German chorale mass -- and then moved on progressively to the chorales required for Choir IV. A few of the easier motets would have been added in Choir III and then movng up to the big 8-part motets in Choir II. There were probably many boys who could never progress beyond the repertoire of Choir III and IV, but the little sight-reader would have had a meteoric rise to the Choir I.

My sons both sang in a men and boys' choir which was more than capable of singing the St. John Passion. One year, a talented 8 year old joined who within a year had progressed to the solo work that the 12 and 13 yr old boys considered their prerogative. Talk about divo envy!. But the older boys were so dependable. There was one 12 yr old who could knock off the Mozart "Laudate Dominum" or the high C's in the Allegri "Miserere" with such ease that the choirmaster used to refer to him as "Ol' Leather Lungs"!

Alas, even Ol' Leather Lungs had to succumb to hormonal destiny.

Julian Mincham wrote (July 25, 2006):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< There's not only a skew toward the minors in general, during the first half of this cycle (as Julian pointed out), but specifically toward the minors that make the most darkish effects. >
An unusually somber year 1724-5, for some reason?
This is a fascinating area. There is also A minor which generally tended to induce Bach to write great whirls of semiquaver scales e.g.first movements of BWV 178, BWV 33 and BWV 26. Interesting that in these cases the organ would have been playing in G minor.

Also D minor tend to produce great depths of poignacy and depair e.g. BWV 101 and the tenor aria from BWV 114. This 'pairs off' well in that the organ would be in C minor.

Re Brad's comment about the 'dark year' I have wondered whether Bach deliberately chose most of the chorales for the first quarter of the cycle in minors keys (thus also establishing the mode of the chorale fantasia) because they can impart a certain 'gravitas' which major keys, in the main don't.

Having said that, he began the cycle in the softer key of F-- BWV 20---and look what he could do in terms of wringing sadness and reflection out a a major key with the marvellous 'when shall I die?' fantasia which begins BWV 8.

Of course for a fuller understanding of this complex process we also need to look at the ways in which he chose keys within a cantata--some of which were predominantly major and some predominantly minor (examples of which will shortly come up in the list schedule).

Julian Mincham wrote (July 25, 2006):
Ludwig wrote:
< I do not know but would submit the hypothesis that Bach seem to write in the minor keys reflecting the puritianical oppressiveness of religion of his day not to mention gloomy winters. >
Except that Bach could make a minor key sound as extrovert and exhorting than a major one (BWV 114 as one of many cantata examples--also last movement of A m violin concerto). He certainly did not subscribe to the school music-teaching tract of 'minor sad, major happy' I can't think of a composer who could squeeze a greater range and variety of expressiveness from M/m keys than Bach.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 25, 2006):
Biogrpahical Heresy

Julian Mincham wrote:
< Except that Bach could make a minor key sound as extrovert and exhorting than a major one (BWV 114 as one of many cantata examples--also last movement of A m violin concerto). >
D minor seemed to bring out extraordinary energy in Bach. Look at the Double Violin Concerto or the reconstructed Sinfonia of Cantata BWV 35. Nothing sad or lugubrious here:just unstoppable energy.

I'm not convinced at all that we can posit a "Sad Year" for Bach merely because of minor keys. Romantic commentators invented the Biographical Heresy where a composer's work is ransacked for clues to the composer's life:

"Composer X must have had a deep personal sorrow to express when he wrote this minor key lament" ...

Or ...

"Composer Y's marriage must have been a sham as he wrote this happy major key piece the day after his wife's death"

This kind of nonsense is still rife in concert programme notes. I have to admit that I succumb to it occasionally myself. For a concert which included the final fugue of the "Art of the Fugue" (BWV 1080) in its unfinished form, I wrote a note that Bach left his final fugue unfinished just as his name appears so that it could becompleted by a greater composer in the afterlife. Very touching and poetic, but there ain't a shred of fact in it!

Bradley Lehman wrote (July 25, 2006):
<< Except that Bach could make a minor key sound as extrovert and exhorting than a major one (BWV 114 as one of many cantata examples--also last movement of A m violin concerto). >>
< (...) "Composer Y's marriage must have been a sham as he wrote this happy major key piece the day after his wife's death" >
Agreed, no reliable correlation between major=happy, or minor=sad, as big general categories.

But there may be some correlation of moods/themes with some specific keys. (Smaller categories of generality, anyway!)

F# minor? Try the "Buss und Reu" of the St Matthew (BWV 244), the manual "Aus tiefer Not" of Clav III, and the aria "Erleucht' auch meine finstre Sinnen" in Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) part 5. A theme of personal inward-looking anguish, but also a call for firm strength and resolve?

Much of Bach's most sinuously chromatic music happens in either A minor or D minor; as if the key is neutral and needs to be livened up with wilder adventure.

E major tends to sparkle and ripple. So does A.

F major tends to be more rustic, earthy or earthbound even when it's occasionally boisterous music. Calmer and more stable than E, even though it's higher in pitch.

Eb major seems warmer and darker than E or F...and gentler than D.

Exceptions would be numerous, of course. These are just general observations.

William Rowland (Ludwig) wrote (July 25, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] I do not know about the marriage sham when we consider the sunny music that Schubert( and sometimes tragic) and Mozart wrote.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 26, 2006):
General comments re Gardiner [7] and Leusink [6].

(1) There are a lot of comments on BCW regarding lack of preparation time for the Leusink cycle. He recorded in the same venue, with the same engineers, with mostly the same musicians available. A lot of considerations, once set, did not have to be repeated. Leusink himself says as much in his interview, BCW archives.

I do not see analogous comments about lack of preparation time re Gardiner. Instead, the travel, the constant venue changes, engineer and musician logistical issues, all seem to add to the spiritual mystique of the pilgrimage.

What gives? Just an attempt to sabotage the Leusink budget price concept? Or to support Sir John? And are not some of the same complainers about lack of preparation the very same same folk who suggest that Bach's boys could sight read this stuff? I guess those were the days when boys were boys!

(2) This is the first Gardiner performance I have listened to with the intent to comment. The ambiance is resonant, almost to the point of distraction. Is this a general characteristic throughout the series, or particular to this location? I have just received the Suzuki [8], his venue and/or engineering on first listening in an earlier discussion (BWV 144) also sounded too resonant to me, but I quickly adapted. Will I do the same with Gardiner? More wah-wah pedal!

A quick side by side comparison of BWV 94/1 suggests to my ears that the engineers got it better with Suzuki [8], at least in the resonance. Not too much wah-wah.

(3) Perhaps the live performance recording of the Gardiner series is its most important characteristic, not often enough emphasized, and overcoming other compromising considerations.

Details follow. And, the check is in the mail. A couple more of those phrases to watch out for (wachet auf?). Clearly appropriate.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 29, 2006):
Peter Smaill wrote (introduction to BWV 94):
< Dürr:
In setting this text, Bach seems to have felt an exceptionally strong sympathy with it; and nowadays the impression might arise that a world that produces such splendid compositions should not be disdained so unreservedly as the baroque poet would have us believe.
Arnold Schering devoted a spirited study to the soprano aria, BWV 94/7, pointing out that the difficulty that arises for the present-day listener when a composition so obviously "secular" in style is based on a text showing disgust for the world. >
Not only that, but after some very symmetrical works (BWV 107 and BWV 178), not to say chiastic in structure, the S aria is notable by its lack of symmetry. Showing up just when the Chorale finale is expected.

The recordings I have are Leusink [6], Gardiner [7], and Suzuki [8]. A few months ago, I had none. I wanted a Gardiner in any case, it was available as a cutout, and I thought it would be my BWV 94. Then the Leusink temptation became irresistible. By that time, it was easy to convince myself I needed the Suzuki for comparison. I am sure this is a familiar experience.

These are all good recordings, unless you are one of the folks who simply cannot bear to listen to Buwalda, with Leusink [6]. I find that a bit extreme, but on the other hand, I also find him the least enjoyable of these three performances. Not so much his problem, as that Robin Blaze with Suzuki [8] and Daniel Taylor with Gardiner [7] are especially good.

The major difference I find is the ambient resonance, ranging from slight with Leusink [6] to nearly overbearing with Gardiner [7]. Suzuki [8] has found a nice middle ground, which on first impression sounds a bit too live, but quickly grows on you (me, anyway). Gardiner, listened too by itself, does not sound bad, just not the best, by comparison.

I would rank these as Suzuki [8] first, then Gardiner [7], and Leusink [6], based on the counter-tenors, with Leusink and Gardiner reversed based on resonance. I wish to emphasize that these are distinctions which do not spoil the enjoyment of any one of the performances IMO. In fact, I find it an especially interesting group for comparative listening. Surprising that there are not more traditional choices, I hope to get to Rilling eventually.

An additional subtlety, which makes me happy to have the Suzuki [8], is his imaginative production decisions, and careful notes thereon. In this particular instance, it is the omission of organ in the continuo in several sections, including the alto aria, BWV 94/4. After several paragraphs of documentation, which is inconclusive regarding the original (1724) instrumentation in the case of BWV 94, he finishes:

As far as I am concerned, assuming that I am to have only a single chance to record this work, my choice will based on the desire to impart the greatest possible variety to the musical expression. From this standpoint, I feel that greater variety will result from following Bach's indication in his later years and omitting the organ.

There is a suggestion in the preceding discussion that organ was omitted behind prominent flute (traverso) parts, as is the case in BWV 94. In fact, despite an earlier flurry of discussion, we have not made a big deal of the emergence of the flute in BWV 107, and even more so in BWV 94. There is a lot of innovation to try to cover, but surely there is a flautist out there who could provide some insight, or just pride? The alto aria with prominent flute, BWV 94/4 would be at the crux of a symmetrical structure, were it not for the S aria surprising us (BWV 94/7).

 

Continue on Part 3

Cantata BWV 94: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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