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Chorale Melodies: Sorted by Title | 371 4-Part Chorales sorted by Breitkopf Number | Explanation

Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works
In dir ist Freude

Melody & Text | Use of the CM by Bach | Use of the CM by other composers | Arrangements/Transcriptions | Some Characteristics of BWV 615

 

Melody & Text: Zahn: | EKG:

Chorale Text: In dir ist Freude

1. In dir ist Freude
in allem Leide,
o du süßer Jesu Christ!
Durch dich wir haben
himmlische Gaben,
du der wahre Heiland bist;
hilfest von Schanden,
rettest von Banden.
Wer dir vertrauet,
hat wohl gebauet,
wird ewig bleiben. Halleluja.
Zu deiner Güte
steht unser G’müte,
an dir wir kleben
im Tod und Leben;
nichts kann uns scheiden. Halleluja.

2. Wenn wir dich haben
kann uns nicht schaden
Teufel, Welt, Sünd oder Tod;
du hasts in Händen,
kannst alles wenden,
wie nur heißen mag die Not.
Drum wir dich ehren,
dein Lob vermehren
mit hellem Schalle,
freuen uns alle|
zu dieser Stunde. Halleluja.
Wir jubilieren
und triumphieren,
lieben und loben
dein Macht dort droben
mit Herz und Munde. Halleluja.

The earliest record of this text is found in Johannes Lindemann’s 1594 collection of 20 Christmas carols first printed in Erfurt where it appears as the German sacred text replacing Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi’s Italian secular text for one of his balletti entitled L’innamorate from the collection of 5-part vocal dance songs printed in Venice in 1591.

In Lindemann’s collection there are also other contrafacta of Gastoldi’s original Italian texts: Questa dolce Sirena becomes Wohlauf, ihr Musikanten and Il bell’ humore is now Jesu, wollst uns weisen. Lindemann calls these “christlich immutirte Gesänglein” (“little [secular] songs transformed into Christian songs/chorales”).

Footnote: Gastoldi’s title is also given as L’innamorato in various sources.

Footnote: Some sources mistakenly report that the text for In dir ist Freude first appeared in print in David Spaiser’s 24 geistliche Lieder, Augsburg, 1609. Even if this source printed this chorale text along with
Gastoldi’s original melody, it still could not be considered as the first hymnal to include the combination of this text and melody since hymnals generally contain more than simply 20 or 24 chorale texts. Other sources had even incorrectly attributed this German text to Cyriakus Schneegaß, 1598.

For comparison here are the texts used by Gastoldi and Morley:

Balletto vocale a 5 voci (SSATB) Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi Nr. 12 L’innamorata

L’innamorate

A lieta vita
amor ci invita,
fa la la la la
la la la.
Chi gioir brama,
se dir cor ama
donerà’l core
a un tal signore,
fa la la la la la
la la la la.

Chi a lui non crede
pri vo e di fede,
Fa la la la la
la la la.
Quanto ci resta,
vivi amo in festa,
e diam l’honore,
a un tal signore,
fa la la la la la
la la la la.

Ne fuggir giova
ch’egli ognun trova
Fa la la la la
la la la.
Veloci ha l’ali
e foco e strali
dunque s’a dore
un tal signore,
fa la la la la la
la la la la.

Hor lieta ho mai
Scacciando i guai,
Fa la la la la
la la la.
Quanto ci resta
Viviamo in festa
Ediam’ l’honore
A un tal signore,
fa la la la la la
la la la la.

Thomas Morley’s text:

Sing we and chant it
While love doth grant it.
Fa la la la la
la la la.
Not long youth lasteth,
And old age hasteth.
Now is best leisure
To take our pleasure.
Fa la la la la la
la la la la.

All things invite us
Now to delight us.
Fa la la la la
la la la.
Hence, care, be packing!
No mirth be lacking!
Let spare no treasure
To live in pleasure.
Fa la la la la
la la la la.

 

Chorale Melody: Zahn: 8537 | EKG: 288

Footnote: Zahn, now in some respects an outdated source, still has this chorale melody listed with the text incipit: “O Gott, mein Herre”.

The first documented evidence of this melody is found in a collection of 5-part vocal Balletti set by Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi (c. 1554–1609) and published in Venice, Italy in 1591. Here it appears as a 5-part dance song with the descriptive title L’innamorate and beginning with the words A liéta vita. The printed collection also contains settings for 6 and 8 voices as well. Its complete title is Balletti, 5vv, con li suoi versi per cantare, sonare, & ballare; con una mascherata de cacciatori, 6vv, & un concerto de pastori, 8vv (1591).

Recent research has determined that some of the melodies and dance forms that Gastoldi used in his settings of these balletti may originally have come from German sources and were German dance types named either tadesca/todesca and todeschina, terms which like allemande allude to their German origin. In Italy at the end of the 16th century, the terms bal, ballo or balletto referred generically to dances of foreign origin (bal boemo, ballo francese and baletto polaco). However, since most of the balletti were those of Germanic origin (bal/balo/ballo/baletto todescho, or ballo/balletto alemano), it is quite reasonable to assume that Gastoldi was quite familiar with German sources possibly using one of them for his setting of L’innamorate . Unfortunately, the original source has not yet been documented.

The Italian instrumental balletti, primarily in the form of lute and keyboard compositions, were mainly of the Germanic type with only rare examples indicating other national origins; hence, the term balletto toward the end of the 16th century was soon applied generically to mean the Germanic type of dance unless it was followed by a descriptive adjective as indicated above. It was Gastoldi who transformed the instrumental balletto into a vocal one that may have constituted part of a costumed dance that originally might have been performed at the Mantuan court or at an academy. His 5-voice collection from 1591 contains the earliest documented balletti of this new, primarily vocal type of composition. His achievement was soon recognized by such composers as Thomas Morley in England and Michael Praetorius in Germany. As evidence of its popularity, Gastoldi’s collection was reprinted approximately 30 times in Venice as well as north of the Alps, the last reprinting taking place in 1657. As early as 1594, Johannes Lindemann (1550-1555?-after 1633), a German cantor, composer, music editor and teacher living primarily in Gotha, Saxony, published Amorum filii Dei decades duae … Zwantzig Weyhenachten Gesenglein … zum Theil unter … Madrigalia und Balletti (Erfurt, 1594, 1596 and 1598), a 3-volume anthology of 5-part Italian secular pieces, eight of which were based on Gastoldi’s compositions (only minor changes in the musical settings were involved). Notably, however, new German sacred texts in the form of Christmas songs or carols replaced Gastoldi’s original secular texts on the subject of love. Lindemann’s opening words of the title of his collection (see above) pay tribute to the original Gastoldi songs of love like Amor, tu che congiungi and Filli vezzosa e lieta. Specifically, in regard to the chorale melody and the text for In dir ist Freude undiscussion here, Lindemann created a contrafactum of Gastoldi’s composition which has the descriptive title L'innamorate and the subtitle and text incipit A liéta vita. Thus, assuming that the reasonable conjecture has some validity, a simple 16th-century German dance melody and form were transformed by Gastoldi into a light song and dance, madrigal-like entertainment piece for an Italian court which Lindemann then adapted and transformed into a sacred composition to be sung at Christmas, a composition which would eventually be included as a chorale for New Year’s in German hymnals, sung by congregations throughout Germany and for which Bach later provided a chorale prelude.

According to the MGG1, there are similarities between the dance characteristics of the melody of In dir ist Freude and Johann Georg Eberling’s 1666 melody for Paul Gerhardt’s Die güldne Sonne voll Freud und Wonne. Despite the obvious differences between the verse structure of each and Ebeling’s apparent modification of the melody to express the content of the first verse in the upward and downward movement of the melodic line, an uncanny resemblance between both melodies nevertheless remains.

Following are some of the sources for the information given above. They are quoted from Grove Music Online,Oxford University Press, 2008:

There are many musical concordances for the dances in the manuals based on well-known migrant tunes or basses, whether originally sacred or secular, vocal or instrumental; for example, Gastoldi’s balletto L’innamorate was choreographed by Stefano, an associate of Negri’s, as Alta mendozza, but the tune appeared in England as Sing wee and chaunt it and in Germany as the chorale In dir ist Freude. Furthermore, the same dance music might appear in duple or triple meter in different sources (e.g. Arbeau’s and Negri’s canaries). Phrasings were usually regular but could occasionally be irregular, and changing meters or hemiola provided charm and interest. National differences in style emerged in dance music as elsewhere: the English, for instance, were in general more tuneful than the Italians, who tended to emphasize the basses and chordal schemes (romanesca, folia, passo e mezzo). Nonetheless, most of the music is rather commonplace; obviously the physical delights suggested by dance music and the social status dance enjoyed were more responsible for its great vogue than the quality of the music itself. Gems are to be found, however, in (for example) Monteverdi’s Scherzi musicali, while the famous sets of variations on dance themes by such composers as Sweelinck, Byrd and Cabezón exemplify the opportunities and challenges that dance music could suggest. Among the stage works it is Monteverdi, once again, whose ballos and Orfeo are masterpieces pervaded by dance; appreciation of these is increased by recognition of the dancing they evoke.
Author: Julia Sutton

Both Morley and Praetorius (Syntagma musicum, iii, 1618, pp.18–19) considered the Mantuan composer G.G. Gastoldi to have invented the vocal balletto as a musical genre with his publication in 1591 of the Balletti a cinque voci con li suoi versi per cantare, sonare, & ballare (ed. in Le pupitre, x, 1968). These works enjoyed great popularity, being reprinted many times in Italy and northern Europe up to the mid-17th century. In most of his ballettos Gastoldi set strophic texts in a homophonic texture, with sections of nonsense syllables (‘fa-la’, ‘na-na’, ‘li-rum’) interpolated at the ends of couplets or tercets. Nearly all consist of two repeated strains (AABB) and the nonsense syllables, sometimes set contrapuntally, act as a refrain at the end of each section. The songs are syllabic and rather repetitious, the strophic form limiting the opportunities to depict the content of the verses, and all are highly rhythmic. It is likely that Gastoldi’s songs were originally part of a costumed dance, perhaps performed at the theatrically active Mantuan court or at an academy; the title-page states that they were for ‘singing, playing and dancing’. Each has a descriptive title (e.g. L’innamorato, Il premiato, Caccia d’Amore) on which the text (but not the music) elaborates, and several texts suggest the kind of costuming or dance that might have been used (as in Amor vittorioso: ‘Tutti venite armati, O forti miei soldata, fa-la-la’, etc.). The order of texts in the collection suggests that it follows that of a performance, opening with an Introduttione a i balletti exhorting the listener to enjoy the delights of the mythical ‘Cucagna’, ‘ove chi più lavora men guadagna’ (‘where the more one works the less one earns’) by dancing, singing and playing, and concluding in the dialogue-like Concerto de pastori for eight voices, with a conventional reference to the returning golden age. The six-voice Mascherata di cacciatori, more complex than the usual simple form and style of the ballettos, is the only piece that shows any musical reflection of the presumed spectacle.
Author: Suzanne G. Cusick

The Italian instrumental balletto appeared from about 1561 to 1599 (mainly for lute) and from 1616 to 1700 (for chamber ensemble). During the second half of the 16th century, ‘bal’, ‘ballo’ or ‘balletto’ was a generic name in Italy for various foreign dances, such as the bal boemo, ballo francese and baletto polaco. Barbetta in 1585 referred to them collectively as ‘baletti de diverse nationi’. The most numerous were those indicating Germanic origin: the bal todescho (in Gorzanis’s lutebooks of 1561, 1563 and 1564), the ‘todescha’ or ‘tedescha’ (Mainerio’s ensemble collection of 1578), balo todesco (Gorzanis, 1579), baletto todesco (Barbetta, 1585), ballo tedesco (Terzi, 1593) and finally ballo or balletto alemano (Terzi, 1599). Similar terminology continued in the guitar books of the first half of the 17th century. Some of the earlier chamber examples are also entitled ‘balletto alemano’ (Biagio Marini, 1617, 1626 and 1655, Farina, 1627, and Gandini, 1655). During the second half of the 17th century such pieces were called simply ‘balletto’ (or occasionally ‘ballo’), and the non-German types (for example, a balletto francese of 1692 by Corelli) occurred very rarely.

A balletto alemano in Terzi’s 1599 book is based on an earlier baletto todesco by Barbetta, thus suggesting that the sources from 1561 to 1599, in spite of changing terminology, represent a unified Italian development of the native German dance called ‘tantz’, ‘tanz’, or ‘dantz’ in 16th-century German lute and keyboard tablatures. Furthermore, the three pieces designated ‘tedescha’ or ‘todescha’ in Mainerio’s volume of 1578 were each called ‘almande’ in Phalèse’s collection of 1583, thus revealing some sort of connection between the Italian balletto and the Franco-Flemish allemande. It is difficult to assess the influence on the Italian instrumental balletto exerted by two other forms using the same name: first the French ballet, which began during the 1570s and later produced lute pieces entitled simply ‘ballet’ (Besard, 1603 and 1617, Ballard, 1611 and 1614, Vallet and Fuhrmann, 1615); and second, the vocal ballettos beginning with those of Gastoldi, whose 1594 book of three-voice examples also includes intabulations for lute.

Curiously, vocal ballettos seem to have appeared mainly between about 1591 and 1623, thus filling the gap, as it were, between the 16th-century lute and 17th-century chamber developments. Earlier, Mainerio’s balli (1578), though without text, were, according to the title-page of the book, ‘accommodati per caet sonar’. A number of sources from the early 17th century contain both vocal and instrumental examples. Antonio Brunelli’s Scherzi, arie, canzonette, e madrigali, libro terzo (1616) includes two vocal ballettos that are each followed by ‘il medesimo ballo per sonare solo senza cantare’, as well as an ‘altro ballo per sonare solo senza cantare’ for which no vocal version is given. Benedetto Sanseverino, in Il primo libro d’intavolatura per la chitarra alla spagnuola (1622), printed four chordal examples, one of which has a text. The Terzo scherzo delle ariose vaghezze of Carlo Milanuzzi (1623) contains 12 ballettos for solo voice and continuo, as well as seven for guitar alone. As late as 1639 Martino Pesenti presented ‘correnti, gagliarde, & balletti da cantar, & da sonar’.
Author: Richard Hudson

Todesca
(Italian, from tedesco: ‘German’).
A 16th-century genre of polyphonic song that satirizes Germans attempting to speak Italian. Mispronounced words, garbled syntax and verbs rendered as infinitives are standard features in the texts (e.g. ‘Mi folere star contente’). The earliest todescas form a substantial category in sources of Florentine carnival songs or Canti Carnascialeschi, especially I-Fn Magl.XIX.121 and Banco Rari 230 (facs. in RMF, iv, 1986). Stock characters are German lancers and bakers, whose descriptions of their trades and ability to play instruments are merely pretexts for boasting about sexual prowess.

Later todescas describe the lancer's notorious addiction to the bottle (Trince got è malvasie, RISM 15665 and Le Jeune’s Trink Trink Trink pon pokras, 1608) or his habit of serenading courtesans with ribald word-play, such as cazze/cacce in Azzaiolo's Bernardo non può stare (155919) and Lassus's Matona mia cara (1581). Bavarian courtiers were evidently amused by the parodies of their countrymen offered by Lassus (Mi me chiamere Mistre Righe) and Bottegari (Mi stare pone totesche). Vecchi's Selva di varia ricreatione (1590), dedicated to Jakob and Johann Fugger, contains a madrigal ‘a diversi linguaggi’ in which a bass impersonates the German (as in other madrigal comedies). The names ‘todesca’ and ‘todeschina’ were also applied to dance types, including allemandes, and Gastoldi's balletto Viva, viva Bacc'ogn-hor is aptly subtitled ‘Il Todesco’.
Author: Donna G Cardamone

If none of this ‘English’ music had survived, Morley’s reputation would remain undiminished by virtue of his madrigalian works. Yet his achievement in connection with the Italian style does not depend upon his ability simply as a composer but also as an editor, translator, arranger, propagandist and entrepreneur, roles which are all reflected in his publications. As editor and translator he produced two anthologies of Italian music of the lighter sort in 1597 and 1598, and in 1595 he published in simultaneous English and Italian editions a book of canzonets and one of balletts that are largely ‘arrangements’ of popular Italian pieces by Felice Anerio (Canzonette a 4 voci, 1586) and Gastoldi (Balletti, 1591) respectively.

Morley, then, was the true begetter of the English madrigal and the greatest influence on its subsequent development. Yet, as has been pointed out, he was not a ‘madrigalist’ in the strictest sense of the word, for although in the Plaine and Easie Introduction he showed himself fully conversant with all the Italian forms and with the aesthetic considerations behind them, in his own work he favoured the light canzonet style and rarely ventured beyond the less serious kind of madrigal. Within these limits he paradoxically tended to elaborate and develop his material, often for purely musical reasons, in a manner that his Italian contemporaries might not have understood but that his master Byrd would at least have appreciated. This can be seen by comparing his arrangements with their models: Sing wee and chaunt it, for instance, enlivens Gastoldi’s penny-plain A lieta vita by numerous small touches of the most musical kind; but when Morley goes further, as in What saith my daintie darling?, based on the same composer’s Piacer, gioia, the simple delicacy of the original tends to be lost in the welter of counterpoint and harmonic detail. The comparative stodginess of the 1597 Canzonets ultimately results from this very tendency to carry each contrapuntal idea a little too far and in the process to diffuse (and therefore defuse) what is ideally a pithy, epigrammatic style.

A lieta vita (= Sing wee and chaunt it), 5vv, 1595b
The First Booke of Balletts to Five Voyces (1595, 3/1600) [1595a]
Il primo libro delle ballette, 5vv (1595, It. edn. of 1595a) [1595b]
Author: Philip Brett

Balletto
Both Morley and Praetorius (Syntagma musicum, iii, 1618, pp.18–19) considered the Mantuan composer G.G. Gastoldi to have invented the vocal balletto as a musical genre with his publication in 1591 of the Balletti a cinque voci con li suoi versi per cantare, sonare, & ballare (ed. in Le pupitre, x, 1968). These works enjoyed great popularity, being reprinted many times in Italy and northern Europe up to the mid-17th century. In most of his ballettos Gastoldi set strophic texts in a homophonic texture, with sections of nonsense syllables (‘fa-la’, ‘na-na’, ‘li-rum’) interpolated at the ends of couplets or tercets. Nearly all consist of two repeated strains (AABB) and the nonsense syllables, sometimes set contrapuntally, act as a refrain at the end of each section. The songs are syllabic and rather repetitious, the strophic form limiting the opportunities to depict the content of the verses, and all are highly rhythmic. It is likely that Gastoldi’s songs were originally part of a costumed dance, perhaps performed at the theatrically active Mantuan court or at an academy; the title-page states that they were for ‘singing, playing and dancing’. Each has a descriptive title (e.g. L’innamorato, Il premiato, Caccia d’Amore) on which the text (but not the music) elaborates, and several texts suggest the kind of costuming or dance that might have been used (as in Amor vittorioso: ‘Tutti venite armati, O forti miei soldata, fa-la-la’, etc.). The order of texts in the collection suggests that it follows that of a performance, opening with an Introduttione a i balletti exhorting the listener to enjoy the delights of the mythical ‘Cucagna’, ‘ove chi più lavora men guadagna’ (‘where the more one works the less one earns’) by dancing, singing and playing, and concluding in the dialogue-like Concerto de pastori for eight voices, with a conventional reference to the returning golden age. The six-voice Mascherata di cacciatori, more complex than the usual simple form and style of the ballettos, is the only piece that shows any musical reflection of the presumed spectacle.

Gastoldi’s first set of ballettos enjoyed enormous popularity north of the Alps, spawning imitations in Germany (H.L. Hassler’s Lustgarten neuer teutscher Gesäng, Balletti, 1601) and England, where the ballett as cultivated and transformed by Morley and Weelkes produced a small repertory of enduringly popular vocal music. Morley’s Balletts to Five Voyces (1595, published in both English and Italian) deliberately imitated the structure of Gastoldi’s five-voice collection, replacing the Introduttione with a madrigal and the concluding Concerto de pastori with an echo dialogue (the seven-voice Phillis, I faine wold die now), the only English work of its kind; each ballett is a free parody of an existing Italian balletto, canzonetta or villanella. Morley’s seven parodies of Gastoldi ballettos are fairly close to their models, as a comparison of Sing wee and chaunt it with A lieta vita clearly shows; the English version is metrically re-arranged and boasts a considerably more sophisticated texture, particularly in the inevitable ‘fa-la’ sections. More interesting are Morley’s adaptations into the ballett form of canzonettas by Croce, Ferretti, Marenzio and Vecchi; by inserting ‘fa-la’ sections at the ends of the two couplets of Marenzio’s Le rose fronde e fiori, Morley stretched his model to twice its length and regularized the phrasing, creating a quite new work in Those dainty daffadillies. Ex.2 compares the superius of Morley’s Now is the month of maying with that of its presumed model, a balletto by Vecchi (So ben mi c’ha bon tempo, Selva di varie ricreatione, 1595), and that accompanying a pavan-derived choreography for the tune published by Cesare Negri (Le gratie d’amore, 1602, pp.222–3), revealing how far afield Morley’s melodic inventiveness and clear harmonic thinking led him in even so simple a work.

Although Morley knew the tradition of dancing to such songs (to which he referred in A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke), it is now generally assumed that neither his balletts nor those of his English successors were intended for dancing, hence their greater attention to musical and textual refinements.
Author: Suzanne G Cusick

For his next two books (1595) Morley turned to even lighter models. The Balletts to Five Voyces and Canzonets to Two Voyces consist largely of free transcriptions of the popular ballettos of Gastoldi and four-voice canzonets by Felice Anerio; Morley’s sets were actually issued in London in parallel English and Italian editions. Derived (or ‘parody’) compositions turn up in his other publications, too, the models ranging from the Domenico Ferrabosco classic Io mi son giovinetta to Giovanni Croce’s Ove tra l’herbe e i fiori from Il trionfo di Dori (1592), which provided the impetus for The Triumphes of Oriana. Then Morley edited two more Italian anthologies, of four-voice canzonets (1597) and five-voice madrigali ariosi (1598). In the latter, it is Ferretti and Giovanelli, not Marenzio, who share pride of place with Ferrabosco.
Author: Joseph Kerman

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by Bach:

Text: None.

 

Untexted:

Ver

Work

Mvt.

Year

Br

RE

KE

Di

BC

Score

Music Examples

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BWV 615

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BWV 615 In dir ist Freude from the Orgelbüchlein, P 283

Peter Williams, in his The Organ Music of J.S. Bach, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2003, p. 268, commented on BWV 615 as follows:

The greatest possible change is rung between this and the preceding chorale. Alone in the collection, BWV 615’s melody is split up and used in a web of thematic allusion, called the ‘Böhmian manner’ by Spitta (I, p. 593), in which the whole melody only gradually becomes audible. (In Böhm's ‘Allein Gott in der Höhe’, as in Buxtehude’s ‘Von Gott will ich nicht lassen’, both copied by Walther, the melody passes from one voice to another, becoming thus somewhat sectional and varied.) Quasi-ostinatos in chorale-settings are also found from time to time, as in Walther's ‘Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot’. But BWV 615 is more than its parts: its varying but unified texture, its momentum, its irrepressible gusto, even its repetitions, are found nowhere else.

The cantus can be heard more or less continuously in three sections as follows:

A: text lines
In dir ist Freude/in allem Leide” bb. 9-12, top part
O du süßer Jesu Christ!” bb. 13-16, alto, then top part
Durch dich wir haben/himmlische Gaben,” bb. 26-29 top part

B: text lines
“der du wahre Heiland bist;” bb. 39-40 scattered through various parts

C: text lines
hilfest von Schanden,/rettest von Banden;/wer dir vertrauet,/ hat wohl gebauet,/wird ewig bleiben, Halleluja
bb. 40-51 top part, middle lines decorated
ditto bb. 52 to end for “Zu deiner Güte…Halleluja.”

Full repeats not written out in P 283 are: bb. 1–12 (18–29) and bb. 39–50 (51–62). Despite most commentaries, it is not quite correct to describe the chorale as having interludes. Within the main sections, its compositional technique—through-composition of a melody above motivic accompaniment and quasi-ostinato pedal—is typical of the album. Less typical are the broken-up carillons of the opening, not only the ostinato but the manual figures in bb. 3, 5 etc; these are matched by the left-hand figure in the second half (bb. 40, 52). The ‘Freude’ of the text is breathless (bb. 8, 25: the only pedal solos in the album) and clamorous (bb. 48, 50: rare pedal trills).

In addition to its carillonesque ostinato, the pedal has some melodic phrases, the last two of which (bb. 48, 60) are decorated as in the right hand, and another of which quotes a line very like Gastoldi's original (b. 34). Nor is the pedal the only quasi-ostinato: the opening four notes of the melody appear in each of the first eleven bars, and again on their repeat. Only a melody with such short, repeated phrases could be treated in such a manner, and the exceptional setting matches the text's own short phrases and repeated rhythms. Rather, therefore, than seeing it as ‘more akin to Bach's large organ chorales’ such as ‘The Eighteen’ (Stinson 1994) or wondering why it is in the Orgelbüchlein at all (Kube 1999 p. 569), one might consider BWV 615 as a special evocation of a special text and melody, inspired by them.

More traditional is the combination in bb. 48ff. of a cantus firmus phrase with a decorated version of the preceding phrase. The quaver pattern is also familiar from the (contemporary?) Weimar chorale ‘O Lamm Gottes’ BWV 656a, where however there is no thrusting bass to compel it onward in the same way. Perhaps the turned trill evokes the ‘Hallelujah’ figure at the end of ‘Komm, heiliger Geist’ BWV 651, where again it leads to harmonies far more conventional than the logical but at first puzzling bb. 48 and 60. Despite a claim in J. Krause, MuK 1967 p. 131, it is difficult to see that any ostinato motif of the movement is related in shape (and thus in significance) to the rising Kreuzstab motif of Cantata BWV 56.

Footnote Commentary on the above:

Re: “the broken-up carillons” “its carillonesque ostinato”

What characterizes the musical figures of a carillon (or what makes certain figures resemble a carillon in sound)?
Here are some classical examples, the first original musical pieces composed for the carillon. They use the typical toccata-like figures in the top part and tend to have a very sparse bass part. These pieces were composed for either harpsichord or carillon. The broken-chord figures are part of a long tradition of lute, harpsichord and clavichord playing.

Re: “the rising Kreuzstab motif of Cantata 56”

Here are the primary motifs from this cantata. Where is the similarity between any of these and the key motifs of BWV 615?

Pre-imitation and the Pachelbel-type of chorale prelude

Most of Pachelbel’s organ chorales, however, are strict cantus firmus settings cast in a form often referred to as the ‘Pachelbel type’. The complete chorale melody, typically unadorned, is presented in minims in the soprano or bass, each phrase prepared by an introductory pre-imitation usually derived from the cantus firmus. While it is sounding, the chorale cantus firmus is embellished as a rule either by two rapid counter-voices proceeding in semiquavers or by three accompanying parts in prevailing quaver motion. The non-motivic character of Pachelbel’s accompanyincounterpoint distinguishes his cantus firmus settings from those of Scheidt, in which the accompanying parts are based generally on chorale-generated motifs.
Authors: Robert L. Marshall and Robin A. Leaver

 

Use of the Chorale Melody by other composers:

Footnote: The lost cantata by Georg Philipp TelemannHerr, in dir ist Freude” (1721) 1:754 does not use the chorale melody cited above.

Cesare Negri (c1535-after1604):
Vocal work In dir ist Freude

Johann Pachelbel (1673-1706):
Organ Chorale In dir ist Freude, PWV 211

Peter Cornelius (1824-1874):
A setting of Gastoldi’s composition with a secular German text is contained in 4 italienische Chorlieder (Cornelius), Op.20, 1872: 1 Zug der Juden nach Babylon, SATB [after O. Vecchi], 2 Liebeslied, SSATB [after G.G. Gastoldi], 3 Amor im Nachen, SSATB [after Gastoldi], 4 Das Tanzlied, SATB [after B. Donati]; Peter Cornelius

Is the CM also found in this following collection?
Contrafacta of airs de cour and other secular pieces by G.G. Gastoldi, Guédron and La Tour are found in Amphion sacré (Lyons, RISM 16157, for four or five voices) Noël by Frank Dobbins

 

Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach's use of the Chorale Melody

Charles (Louis Eugène) Koechlin,(born in Paris, 27 Nov 1867; died in Le Canadel, Var, December 31, 1950). French composer, teacher and musicologist:
Orchestration of J.S. Bach: Chorale ‘In dir ist Freude’, 1933

See list of Piano Transcriptions of BWV 615 by various composers/arrangers at the page:
Piano Transcriptions of Bach's Works & Bach-inspired Piano Works - Index by BWV Number - Part 4: Chorale Preludes for Organ

 

Some Characteristics of BWV 615

1.

It can be considered a typical Pachelbel-type chorale prelude in that Bach often, but not always, uses pre-imitative entries to introduce each section of the chorale melody; however, the usual technique of introducing the main entry of each segment of the chorale melody with shorter note values in the pre-imitative fugal entries is abandoned in favor of using essentially the same note values that the main entry of each section has. Also, Bach deviates from pre-imitation to a style sometimes used in the introductory choral movements of his chorale cantatas: the main melody is presented first in the soprano and is followed by the other voices, sometimes even in pairs as a support and answer to the presentation of the CM.

2.

In the opening eight bars there are 5 separate entries (T,S,A,S,B) [presented in turquoise-blue notes] with another embedded entry in bar 3 [in violet notes] before the main appearance [in red notes] of the chorale incipit at bar 9. With the exception of the curious inverted incipit beginning at bar 13, the complete chorale can be found presented in red notes (to save space and time, Bach used repeats for the final section – these are written out in full in the version presented here – the asterisk at bar 51 marks the end of the composition with the direction to repeat the last part once again).

3.

In the first section of the chorale (1-38), the CM appears in the soprano (upper right-hand part) with the exception of the final phrase in the first section: “du der wahre Heiland bist” where it appears in the bass (pedal), thus rounding off appropriately with some finality the first section before moving on into the second.

4.

Beginning at bar 44 (and 56 as part of the repeat), Bach uses the second technique outlined above: the CM is introduced alone in the soprano, top right-hand part and followed in imitation by the alto, lower right-hand part; then the CM is continued directly with the tenor, left-hand part providing a duet with the CM; next the CM continues on alone while the bass, pedal part continues with the same motif that had just previously been used in the alto, tenor, and once again alto parts.

5.

Throughout this composition Bach avoids the stereotypical regularity of the “Pachelbel-type” chorale prelude without abandoning the form entirely: the fughetta-like imitation of the CM not only preceding but also following the main statement of the CM, and the powerful expression of the CM in the pedal beginning in bar 34.

6.

The content of the text of this chorale inspires Bach to utilize various motifs, some of them based directly upon fragments of the CM. The latter are used as building blocks and serve to give greater coherence to this composition. Other motifs based upon the text express great joy and movement. In short, the text moves the members of the congregation to contemplate their personal situation of bondage (die Banden) in earthly matters such as evil, world, sin and death (Teufel, Welt, Sünd, Tod) which bring us shame (die Schanden), misery (die Not), harm (schaden) and general suffering (das Leid). From all of this, if their trust (vertrauen) is placed in Christ, they will be rescued (retten) from their shame and released from this bondage and misery eternally (ewig bleiben). By focusing their minds (G’müte) on his goodness/graciousness (Güte) and remaining steadfast (kleben) in their trust (vertrauen), they will then remain inseparable (nichts kann uns scheiden) with Christ and will not be harmed (nicht schaden). Thus Christ, as the true savior (der wahre Heiland) who has the power to change all evil to good (alles wenden) will bring joy (Freude) in the form of many heavenly gifts (himmlische Gaben) and eternal life (ewig bleiben). For this reason (drum) they must honor (ehren) and praise (Lob) with their voices and hearts (Herz und Munde) his power (Macht) using loud booming and clanging sounds (mit hellem Schalle) and thus expressing at this moment (zu dieser Stunde) their feelings of joy (Freude), jubilation (jubilieren) and triumph (triumphieren), love (lieben) and praise (loben).

7.

It is clear from the text that the movement expressed goes in both directions, simultaneously upwards and downwards: Through his goodness (Güte), Christ, from above, offers his gifts to those below who have built their trust upon him and maintain a strong tie with him; and those believers below who are suffering the evils of this earth and have been aided and continue to receive assistance through Christ’s graciousness send their praises upwards out of gratitude in songs and music filled with heartfelt love and joy. A cursory glance at the score of BWV 615 will reveal Bach’s deliberate effort in describing musically the both the upward and downward motion implied in the text. There are cascades encompassing three octaves which can easily be interpreted and Christ’s graciousness being bestowed upon believers below while, in contrast, the believers’ songs of joy and praise emanate upwards as an expression of gratitude for his support and help. In bar 6 both motions are combined simultaneously as contrary motion which is resolved in the following measure in a sweep upward of parallel sixths, thus implying the union of Christ with the believers who have met him at the half-way point and have joined him in his realm. Another interesting motif is found in bar 39 where the upward ascent (the believers striving upward to meet Christ) is interrupted by a sudden octave drop downward, a slow (larger note value) whole tone step upward followed again by an octave leap upward. This appears to describe the slower pace on the road taken by some believers who strive against the setbacks which befall them; however, they, too, are successful albeit with a greater expenditure of time and effort. There is something laborious in the nature of these upward-stalking octaves in the bass (pedal).

8.

The outstanding, very powerful pedal motif consisting of elements based on the G major chord (also repeain C and D major and E minor) appears no less than 20 times in this piece beginning with the first bar and ending in the third-last bar. It functions very obviously as a joy motif having a dance-like, foot-stomping quality about it.

 

Sources: NBA, vols. III/2.1 & 2.2 in particular [Bärenreiter, 1954 to present] and the BWV ("Bach Werke Verzeichnis") [Breitkopf & Härtel, 1998]
The PDF files of the Chorales were contributed by Margaret Greentree J.S. Bach Chorales
Software: Capella Professional 2008, Version 6.0.
Prepared by Thomas Braatz & Aryeh Oron (February 2008)

Chorales BWV 250-438
Recordings | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Chorales in Bach's Vocal Works: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Hidden Chorale Melody Allusions | Passion Chorale
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Last update: ýFebruary 20, 2008 ý15:46:45