Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

Cantata BWV 99
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan [II]
Discussions - Part 1

Hidden triple concertos

Olivier Raap wrote (December 4, 1999):
Cantata BWV 99 "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" opens with a Coro movement that seems to be an arrangement of a part (allegro?) of such a lost triple concerto: a concerto in G for flute, oboe d'amore, violin, strings and continuo. Maybe some major parts of the original work are not used in the cantata, and the solo violin part is relatively unimportant. Perhaps the work originated as a double concerto for only flute and oboe d'amore. If that would be the matter, a second part (slow tempo) of this concerto could be found in the opening Coro of cantata BWV 125 "Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin". Those cantatas are composed in 1724 and 1725, relatively short after the Kothen years. Maybe a Kothen concerto that is lost is borrowed for composing them. I didn't find any 3rd movement yet.

Another triple concerto, a concerto in D for 2 oboes, bassoon and continuo, can be assembled. For the 1st movement (allegro?) we can use the opening Sinfonia of cantata BWV 42 "Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats" For the 2nd slow movement the alto aria "Wo zwei und drei" can be used, but much reconstruction work has to be done. As a final fast movement the opening Sinfonia of the Easter Oratorio is a good choice. The trumpets and timpani, that probably are added later, have to be omitted.

 

Discussions in the Week of September 8, 2002

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 8, 2002):
BWV 99 - Introduction

The subject of this week’s discussion (September 8, 2002), according to Klaus Langrock’s suggested list, is the Chorale Cantata BWV 99 ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan [II]’ (What God does, that is done well). The [II] indicates that this is a second of the three Bach Cantatas on this text. Chronologically, BWV 99, composed in 1724, is the first. The other two - BWV 98 and BWV 100 - were composed in 1726 and 1732-1735 respectively. BWV 99 was written for the 15th Sunday after Trinity, and set by Bach on the original 1st (1st Mvt.) and 5th (6th Mvt.) stanzas of Samuel Rodrigast’s hymn, while the unknown librettist paraphrased in the intervening stanzas for the two arias and the two recitatives. ‘Trust in God to help us in our distress’ is the theme of this cantata, reflecting the Gospel for the day, Matthew 6: 24-34.

Recordings

The details of the recordings of this cantata can be found in the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV99.htm

Apart from four recordings from complete cantata cycles (Rilling [1], Harnoncourt [2], Leusink [5]), and the one that aim at that goal (Koopman [6]), we have an OVPP recording from the man who initiated this trend, Joshua Rifkin [3].

Additional Information

In the page of recordings mentioned above you can also find links to:
The original German text (at Walter F. Bischof Website); English translations by Francis Browne and Z. Philip Ambrose. Hebrew translation will come later;
Score (Vocal & Piano version);
Commentary: in English by Simon Crouch and by "Blue Gene" Tyranny (AMG); in Spanish by Julio Sánchez Reyes:

Later today I am leaving for four days for my first vacation in three years. I have not been able to listen to this cantata for this week’s discussion before my short trip. In the meantime do not hesitate to send your contribution. I hope to catch up with the discussion at the end of this week, when I am back.

Thomas Shepherd wrote (September 11, 2002):
I haven't this Cantata.

I have read the words in translation (http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV99-Eng3.htm ) slowly and carefully on this most solemn day (9/11) and believe they speak eloquently of the care and love of almighty God despite all the troubles of this life. It is a text essentially about the theology of Christian hope.

The chorale, Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan is one of my favourites, I wish it were in Anglican hymn books. It is a happy and joyous tune

Many years ago I came across a most charming, gently flowing chorale prelude based upon this melody for the organ by Johann Peter Kellner (1705-1772).

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 13, 2002):
BWV 99 - Provenance:

See: Cantata BWV 99 - Provenance

Commentaries: [Smend, Dürr]

See: Cantata BWV 99 - Commentary

Ludwig wrote (September 13, 2002):
[To Thomas Braatz] Thanks you Thomas for this account of the miraculous survival of the autographs---through Napolean, the Franco Prussian Wars, WW I and II of which the last was the most dangerous of all to the manuscripts and some probally got lost anyway through the ignorance of some military person who decided that it was waste paper or who lit his pipe with the score and from the burning of buildings.

Thomas, please tell us what if any damage was done to works related to Bach in Dresden in the floods of 2002.

Much still has to be found and recovered from WWII including a painting in which Monks are processing into a Church from a snowy outdoors.

I had been under the impression that nearly all of Bach's originals had been brought to the United States sometime before WW II and were at Baldwin Wallace College in Ohio or the Library of Congress. I do know for a fact that much of Bach's original mansuscripts of his Organ scores are at Baldwin Wallace.

I am wondering what is being done to conserve the originals or they are just sitting on a shelf somewhere instead of a fireproof and water proof vault with controled hepa air filtered air and humidity control.

If they are not they need to be as well as computer scammed copies made of the originals and then distributed all over the world to major libraries so that if the original is ever lost then we at least know what it said precisely as well as being able to produce precise copies of it for distribution to scholars.

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 14, 2002):
BWV 99 - The Recordings

Last week I have been listening to 5 complete recordings of the Cantata:

[1] Helmuth Rilling (1979)
[2] Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1979)
[3] Joshua Rifkin (1988)
[5] Pieter Jan Leusink (1999)
[6] Ton Koopman (2000)

Pre-Review

Fresh from a short vacation I had only one day to listen couple of times to the five complete recordings listed above, doing the translation to Hebrew, reading some commentary and writing the review. Therefore, I limited myself to only one movement this time. The movement I have found as the most appealing is the duet for soprano and alto (Mvt. 5). Indeed it is also tempting to compare Rifkin’s OVPP approach, especially in the choral movements (Mvt. 1 & Mvt. 6), with the more conservative approach of the four other conductors; Indeed, it is also tempting to compare William Walton’s orchestration of the opening chorus, which he did for his ballet ‘The Wise Virgins’, with the original score. But such temptations and others will have to wait for other reviewers and/or for the next round of weekly cantata discussions.

Background & Review

The background below is taken from the following sources:
Alec Robertson: ‘The Church Cantatas of J.S. Bach’ (1972),
W. Murray Young: ‘The Cantatas of J.S. Bach – An Analytical Guide’ (1989), and
Nicholas Anderson in ‘Oxford Composer Companion – J.S. Bach (1999).
The English translation is by Francis Br.

Mvt. 5 Aria (Duet) for Soprano and Alto
Flauto traverso, Oboe d'amore, Continuo
Wenn des Kreuzes Bitterkeiten
(When the bitterness of the cross)
Robertson: The text reflects St Paul’s words in the Epistle for this Sunday about the antagonism between spirit and flesh. It is hammered home by the constant use of repeated notes in the instrumental and vocal parts. The struggle is vividly depicted whenever ‘streiten’ (struggle) comes into the voice parts.
Young: Accompanied by a transverse flute and an oboe d’amore, they sing in cannon of the struggle between the flesh and the spirit. The rhythm indicates writhing to depict this contest. The spirit must endure the tortures of the flesh in order to be sanctified.
Anderson: (The recitative for alto) leads to a duet in B minor for soprano and alto with obbligato flute and oboe d’amore, and basso continuo. In this movement, where both vocal and instrumental lines proceed for the most part in imitation, Bach reaches ever greater heights of expressive subtlety. Contrasting themes of suffering and triumph over adversity, or, more, specifically, the conflict between the spirit and the flesh, are held in balance with the utmost delicacy.

[1] Rilling with Arleen Augér (soprano) & Helen Watts (contralto). Time: 2:34
In the preceding recitative one can clearly hear that Helen Watts is behind her prime. The beauty and stability of voice with care for nuances have all almost gone. The duet is performed too fast and many details are left unnoticed. In such velocity Watts’ shortcomings are not so evident. However, despite the presence of Augér and good flute & oboe d’amore players, this rendition of the duet fails to please.

[2] Harnoncourt with Wilhelm Wiedl (boy soprano) & Paul Esswood (counter-tenor). Time: 2:54
The match between the voices of the boy soprano and the counter-tenor does not work miracles. In some other cantatas Harnoncourt preferred to use team of boys (soprano and alto) for duets. The voices do not blend well here, and there is no real dialogue between the singers, either when they have to sing in cannon or when they have to struggle against each other. It seems that the singers are playing in different yards. I am also not very impressed by the playing of the two woodwinds, which has some stumbling here and there.

[3] Rifkin with Julianne Baird (soprano) & Allan Fast (counter-tenor). Time: 3:03
Rifkin brings clarity, transparency and precision unmatched by any of the other conductors. He seems to catch the real ‘spirit’ of this duet. It is well-balanced, but vivid and sensitive and not over-calculated. Both singers are in good form and one can almost sense visually the chemistry and empathy between the two. The correlation between all the participants, singers and players alike, is magical. With every repeated hearing you can notice another detail.

[5] Leusink with Ruth Holton (soprano) & Sytse Buwalda (counter-tenor). Time: 3:20
As Rifkin, Leusink is also using here a team of soprano and counter-tenor. The results are more satisfactory than one could have expected based on past experience. It is as if you here the previous rendition, but on somewhat lower level. It is less precise, less balanced; there is some difference between the approaches of the singers, etc. Nevertheless, I believe that if this recording is the only one you have, it will not fail to please.

[6] Koopman with Lisa Larsson (soprano) & Annette Markert (contralto). Time: 4:39
This rendition seems to come from a world, totally different from the other recordings. The first factor one can immediately notice is that is the slowest of all. And this comes from a conductor who is not known for his slow tempi in performances of Bach Cantatas. Secondly, it has a dreaming quality, not to be found in any of the other recordings of this cantata. Thirdly, the extra time gives the two singers a room to express. Both have beautiful voices and intelligent expression to offer. The unique contralto voice of Markert matches splendidly the more ‘conventional’ soprano of Larsson. They also listen to each other, and their overt enjoyment contributes to the enjoyment of the listener. The two sublime woodwind players leave nothing to be desired. The only factor missing is some tension and sense of struggle when the music and the text call for it.

Conclusion

Personal preferences of the Duet: Rifkin [3], Koopman [6], Leusink [5], Harnoncourt [2], Rilling [1]
A movement to take away: The Duet with Baird, Fast & Rifkin [3]

As always, I would like to hear other opinions, regarding the above mentioned performances, or other recordings.

Thomas Braatz wrote (September 15, 2002):
BWV 99 - Recordings:

This week I listened to the following recordings:

Rilling (1979) [1]; Harnoncourt (1980) [2]; Rifkin (1988) [3]; Leusink (1999) [5]; Koopman (2000) [6]

In this group there is only one non-HIP recording: Rilling [1], which uses modern instruments and is tuned at standard pitch. All the others are HIP and are tuned a semi-tone lower than Rilling’s recording.

Here are the comparative timings of the key mvts. (excluding the recitatives):

 
 

Conductor

Mvt. 1

Mvt. 3

Mvt. 5

Mvt. 6

 

[1]

Rilling

4:38

5:57

2:34

2:34

 

[2]

Harnoncourt

6:23

5:57

2:54

1:00

 

[3]

Rifkin

5:02

5:39

3:03

1:13

 

[5]

Leusink

5:03

5:22

3:20

1:01

 

[6]

Koopman

4:24

5:36

4:39

0:54

 

Mvt. 1: Koopman is 2 minutes faster than the slowest version by Harnoncourt!
Mvt. 3: Leusink hurries through this aria, 35 seconds faster than Rilling or Harnoncourt.
Mvt. 5: Rilling is over 2 minutes faster than Koopman!

Mvt. 1:

[1] Rilling:
Although this is the 2nd fastest tempo in all the recordings above, it does not sound rushed. On the contrary, all the instrumental and vocal parts can be heard in balance with each other. There is an astounding clarity that allows everything in the score to be heard, a feat rarely accomplished by the HIP recordings. Likewise Rilling observes all the dynamic markings and even varies the tempo and dynamics as appropriate. The overall effect of this performance is one of joyous affirmation. The flute part (on a modern instrument) adds considerable sparkle to this performance. The major drawback here is a wavering cantus firmus in the soprano voice. Actually the notion of a cantus firmus and the manner in which it is performed here are entirely incongruous. This can be blamed on one or two sopranos who are unable to controlled their ‘wobbly’ vibratos. Too bad that Rilling could not find special knobs on an audio-synthesizer that would turn off these uncontrolled soprano voices! Actually, she or they should have been released or fired after the 1st recording in this series, thus not spoiling the listening experience of many future listeners who have to hear this fault repeated over and over again without recourse to correcting this blemish that spoils many a good performance in this series.

[2] Harnoncourt:
As seen in the listing of times given above, Harnoncourt’s version is almost 2 minutes slower than Rilling’s. At this slower tempo, the listener gets to hear things not ain faster versions such as the true sound characteristics of period instruments, in particular, the wooden transverse flute that is used in this and all the following recordings. The boy sopranos singing the cantus firmus are excellent because here you can hear the clarity and strength that a cantus firmus requires. But this is where the good aspects of this performance end. The supporting voices in the choir lack the very qualities that distinguish the sopranos. It is frustrating to follow the score and determine that altos, tenors and basses should be singing certain notes that are not heard. The feeling one gets is that ‘they are singing, to be sure, but it is very difficult to determine just what they are singing.” The best descriptive term for this might be “muddy.” Among the other usual drawbacks in a Harnoncourt recording are surprisingly strong, unprepared accents on occasional notes (Haydn’s Surprise Symphony must have made a strong impression on Harnoncourt in his youth!) Listen to the accompanying voices (other than the sopranos) as they sing each quarter note with a strong accent and separation from the following note. Nothing of this sort is indicated in the score, and we all know that Bach knew how to notate this type of thing had he wanted to have this effect. The tender, soft beginning is all the sound that the feeble strings are able to muster. On numerous occasions Bach wants the strings to play ‘forte’, but all they can produce is a wimpy ‘piano.’ Can these strings play ‘forte’? Yes, when Harnoncourt wants strong accents, the volume they should be producing elsewhere is suddenly present. When the flute plays its wonderful 16th note passages with the choir, only the very high notes can be heard. All the rest of the notes are lost. The oboe d’amore has the usual wobbly vibrato that only serves to disturb the harmony because of its tonal insecurities.

[3] Rifkin:
This performance is about 1 ½ times faster than Harnoncourt’s. Although there are less of the very strong accents found in the former recording, Rifkin has the instrumental parts played very staccato and detached. The effect of this is to remove the dignity and sacredness of the music (usually associated with church music) and place it squarely into the category of dance-like entertainment for a courtly setting. While the woodwinds in Harnoncourt’s recording still had audible overtones, here, with Rifkin, they begin to sound very dull. It is unfortunate that Rifkin seems to copy Harnoncourt’s accented non-legato singing style just a bit. With only four voices singing, this is certainly a dangerous course to follow, unless, of course, you are more interested in ‘lite’ entertainment for the important people at the court who do not want to hear serious church music with legato cantabile singing. Again here, the dynamic markings that Bach indicated in the score are not observed: the violins play almost everything throughout at the same volume level. It is a mystery to me how a flute part featured in its high range so prominently in this cantata can not be properly heard (just as if it is not playing at all) in its entrances in mm. 34 and 69. So much for the much-vaunted transparency of the parts the HIP and OVPP promised to deliver! The OVPP choir sound resembles somewhat the quality of choral singing that Leusink’s choir delivers: the individual voices do not always blend together, but rather stand out with their unique timbres – some raspy, others clear and bell-like. The weakest voice, the voice that does not carry well with OVPP is the bass. If it were not for the fact that there is frequent duplication of the musical line with the bc, the bass, in the lower range would barely be heard, if at all. Although it may be an interesting experiment to hear Bach performed this way, because one hopes to hear things that would not be as apparent in the traditional approach, the reality of the situation is that other aspects are definitely lost, most importantly of all, the fullness of a choir with at least 3 or 4 singers per part. OVPP seems unable to rise up to the occasion and give a fulfilling rendition of an introductory choral mvt. of the type that Bach composed for his tenure in Leipzig. Another way to distinguish OVPP from all the other versions is that OVPP, when done extremely well, has a much more intimate appeal that can speak directly to a listener in his private confines [this is more like a private conversation spoken in subdued tones], but a larger choir, assuming that the singing is excellent, can move the listener to feel an inclusion in something greater than the individual [here the notion of congregational unity lends a sense of power that comes from being a member of a larger group.]

[5] Leusink:
At almost exactly the same tempo as Rifkin (did Leusink ever hear the Rifkin recording?), Leusink has much greater difficulty obtaining balance between the various groups, instrumental and vocal. The bc is too strong, due in part to the chest organ being too prominent. The cantus firmus entrance (sopranos) is much too weak. One reason is that Leusink’s performance disregards Bach’s use of a Zink (a part that Bach copied out personally – rather unusual in itself for Bach to copy parts.) The woodwinds are much weaker than in Rifkin’s recording, and the oboe d’amore seems to be struggling at times. When the choir enters, the woodwinds ‘do a disappearing act.’ This performance lacks instrumental ‘sparkle.’ Most of the recordings in this series are characterized by the very dull sound of the instruments and the booming bc. The tenors are much to strident and out of balance with the rest of the ensemble. There are no dynamic changes as Leusink seems to overlook all the markings that Bach placed into the score. Although others above have attempted to do this similarly, Leusink’s pianissimo on the word, ‘stille’ in mm. 70-71 is very effective in bringing out the meaning of this word.

[6] Koopman:
At this crazy tempo, everything has to be treated in a ‘lite’ fashion which automatically detracts from the seriousness that should be accorded this mvt. [By ‘seriousness’ I do not mean slow and sad, but a seriousness that can also be present in true joy. This is also a seriousness that lends an air of dignity to the mvt. Such things are missing here because of the extremely fast tempo.] Here you will find the violins playing in a ‘sotto voce’ style, if such a thing is possible. Much of the flute playing gets lost in the general ensemble sound. Again, both flute and oboe d’amore lack overtones and have a very dull tone. At least the voices that accompany the cantus firmus in the soprano sing legato, but the sound that they create is quite impressionistic. It is as though they are saying, “Yes, we’re actually singing here, but it’s up to you to figure out just what notes they are.” The basses are weak.

Order of preference:
Rilling [1], slightly above average, and a few levels lower and fraught with problems: Koopman [6], Rifkin [3], Harnoncourt [2], Leusink [5].

Mvt. 6 (Chorale):

Rilling [1], Koopman [6], Rifkin [3], and a few levels lower: Harnoncourt [2] and Leusink [5].

[Koopman may have cleaner singing, but lacks the power and clarity of all parts that Rilling has (despite the horrible soprano(s)). I really enjoy Rifkin’s chorale rendition despite the fact that it is non-traditional. I would love to have all the Bach chorales performed in this fashion as a set not belonging with the cantatas, just to be able to hear the balanced harmonies performed by vibratoless voices that can sing absolutely in tune. Rifkin’s group of singers, however, is not quite on the level of OVPP chorale version in one of Suzuki’s cantatas nor as good as the Swingle Singers can be in singing a chorale [if the latter group could enunciate German properly.]

Mvt. 3 (tenor aria)

The highest group would be Equiluz (Harnoncourt) [2] and Prégardien (Koopman) [6]; the middle group: Kelley (Rifkin) [3], Harder (Rilling) [1] and finally at the bottom: Schoch (Leusink) [5]

Mvt. 5 (duet – soprano, alto)

Here the question of expression is important. Phrases such as “Kreuzes Bitterkeiten” [“the bitter aspects of the cross“], “streiten” [“to do battle, to fight”] and „unerträglich“ [“unbearable”] are to be considered here. The best expression of these words is in the Augér/Watts (Rilling) [1] performance, but, as Aryeh correctly pointed out, Watts, who is even much worse in her recitative, is well past her prime, and despite the fact that she tries to restrain herself somewhat in the duet and does reasonably well on the coloraturas, this performance suffers greatly through her presence. The extremely slow version of the Larsson/Markert (Koopman) [6] interpretation does allow some sadness to be expressed, but the notion of a battle is entirely absent here. All the other versions, particularly the very cleanly sung Baird/Fast (Rifkin) rendition [3], lack much in the way of expression and concentrate mainly on performing only the notes as an interesting ensemble piece that is a pleasure to listen to. Just forget the words and imagine that they are sing a single vowel, and the effect would be the same. This is an interesting way to become acquainted with the music, but the next, and greater challenge, which none of these recordings have met, is to make a serious effort to include the interpretation of the words along with excellently and correctly sung notes that appear in the score.

Rilling (Augér/Watts) [1] - a promise of what this might have sounded like, but couldn’t because of Watts’ inability to control her voice properly; Koopman (Larsson/Markert) [6] – a dirge-like presentation lacks any sense of the ‘fighting’ or ‘battling’ that the text speaks of; Rifkin (Baird/Fast) [3] is much too ‘lieblich’ [“endearing, charming”] to do justice to the words; Leusink (Holton/Buwalda) [5] - even less perfect musically in addition to not doing much with the text; Harnoncourt (Wiedel/Esswood) [2] - musically even more problematical (Wiedl has some serious problems here) than Leusink.

Francis Browne wrote (September 15, 2002):
Not the least advantage of translating the cantatas is that I listen intently to each cantata at two different times. Often my opinion of the cantata changes markedly with the second hearing. This is the case with BWV 99. When I listened to Leusink's recording [5] some weeks ago I enjoyed but was not particularly gripped by the music. Listening again last week with Koopman's recording [6] for comparison I found far more in the music than at first, particularly in movement 5, the duet for soprano and alto. Neither recording I have heard is without faults , but the approach Aryeh mentioned recently - listening to different recordings to imagine an ideal performance- makes me feel I have gained some appreciation of what Bach intended with this marvellous music.

In the first movement Whittaker remarks that "the ritornelli are disproportionately long. For example, the introduction lasts nineteen bars, the first choral entry four and a half." But he adds justly:"This in no wise interferes with the beauty of the movement". Clearly the striking, constantly interesting orchestral writing is intended to comment on, deepen and enhance the meaning of the text which is presented comparatively simply line by line. The joy in the music brings out the meaning and implications of each line of the hymn. Because of the absurdly rapid tempo none of this happens in Koopman's recording [6]. No weight is allowed to be given to the words as the composer intended. Instead they seem merely an interruption to the frantic race going on in the orchestra. Bach intends jubilation, celebration, deliberate joy; Koopman conveys scurry, bustle. Simply by dint of a less hurried tempo Leusink [5] is more successful in conveying the essence of the music - and this despite the faults so accurately observed, as always, by Tom Braatz.

In terms of the emotional architecture of this cantata the joy and reassurance of the opening movement form an important background for what follows. Suffering and struggle are more prominent in the aria and duet but they are meant to be heard , I feel, in the context that has been established: Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan.

In the tenor aria the words are formally reassuring but I found it was the wonderfully expressive writing for the flute that haunted me. Robertson comments " the flute has demisemiquaver phrases in most of its part...perhaps depicting the fears of the 'despondent soul' " and Whittaker says vividly:" the obbligato flute soon slides down chromatically...and flutters like a wounded bird for many bars at a time". Just as the orchestra conveys joy and reassurance in the opening movement, so here it is the flute which gives expression to the suffering and fear implied by the text and the role of the tenor should be straightforward .Unfortunately the strain in Knut Schoch's singing in Leusink's recording [5] puts the impression of suffering in the wrong place and unbalances the movement. Simply by singing more easily Pregardien and the excellent flautist in Koopman's [6] achieve much more.

After repeated listening it is the fifth movement, the duet for soprano and alto, which stays with me as the jewel of this cantata. Robertson comments: " The text reflect's St Paul's words in the Epistle for this Sunday about the antagonism between spirit and flesh. It is hammered home by the constant use of repeated notes in the instrumental and vocal parts. The struggle is vividly depicted whenever' struggle ' comes into the voice parts". Leusink's version [5] seems so miscalcuated with its jerky, jaunty tempo that I do not want to comment further on it. But I feel more may be said about Koopman's version [6] which Tom found "a dirge-like presentation [that] lacks any sense of the ‘fighting’ or ‘battling’ that the text speaks " and in which after some very perceptive positive comments Aryeh found " The only factor missing is some tension and sense of struggle when the music and the text call for it."

Again, as in the opening movement and the tenor aria, it seems to me that Bach conveys much the implications of the text in the instrumental writing; and in Koopman's performance both the instrumentalists and singers combine wonderfully to convey what music and text express : in this there is 'streiten' - the fighting, battling, struggle to which Tom and Aryeh refer- but there is also Bitterkeiten (bitterness), Schwachheit (weakness) and what seems unertraglich(unenduurable) : after repeated listening it seems to me that Bach has -as so often- accomplished something different and more worthwhile than what one might expect at first. To convey simple joy, sorrow, struggle is comparatively straightforward for a compser of Bach's abilities. But to express a sense of the difficulty of the effort, constant discouragement, occasional hope in trying to lead a moral life as most people do from day to day - this is far harder, and this I feel is what Bach accomplishes in this duet and whaKoopman's performance [6] in a large measure succeeds in conveying.

 

Continue on Part 2

Cantata BWV 99: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion

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



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýMarch 13, 2012 ý00:07:21