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Events in the Church Year
Part 6

Continue from Part 5

Bach and liturgy

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 20, 2010):
I thought this weeks near coincidence of Bach on the radio and Bach on the BCML discussion schedule (a couple Sundays after Epiphany, plus or minus) might be worth a comment, other than mine.

How many weeks to Candlemas? Does anyone have the crepe formula at hand?

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 20, 2010):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< How many weeks to Candlemas? >
A week from next Tuesday.

 

Epiphany Cantatas

Peter Smaill wrote (February 20, 2010):
We touched on the puzzle- raised before in 2002- that there are no surviving Bach Cantatas for the fifth and sixth Sundays after Epiphany. These occur when Easter is late; Epiphany 5 did occur in 1726 when Bach used a Cantata by his cousin Johann Ludwig. In 1734 Easter was so late there were the full six Sundays.

Given Bach's strong predilection for using the Chorale associated by the Leipzig hymnbook for the day (according to Stiller) the chorale that would have applied is Elisabeth Cruciger's " Herr Christ, de einge Gottessohn". Bach has already written in Jahrgang II a work by this name, for the 18th Sunday in Trinity. The hymn was associated with both Epiphany 6 and Trinity 18.

However, on examining the text, this Cantata would have fitted Epiphany 6 surprisingly well. It is true that there is an allusion in the recitative to the Gospel for Trinity 18, the challenge to Jesus as to how the Saviour could be both Son of David and Lord of David. But the choice of the particular verse which closes the Cantata, "Ertoet uns durch deine Gute", is the allusion to the Epiphany 6 sermon on the curing of the leper. The expression "den alte Menschen kraenke", " Make the old man sicken /that he might have new life", invites, in an analogical sense, the Christian to be like the leper whose cure is the text for the Gospel for Epiphany 6. (This odd phrase is sometimes coyly translated as "weaken", but the German should then be "schwaechen?")

Bach also uses this verse for the Probestueck BWV 22 and there it is the aspect of mortifying the flesh which (as Duerr notes) is appropriate to the contemplation of Lent.

Epiphany 6 stands at a turning point in the Christian year. It commences with the Incarnation and the associated morning-star, twinkling away in the form of the sopranino recorder in BWV 96. But the Christian then turns towards Lent. BWV 96, opening with the festal greeting of the divine incarnation, closes with the mortification of human flesh; and is well suited to this liturgical purpose. It is as if the libretto had skillfully been devised to be used on both the main associated dates.

So could it have been used for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany in 1734, and not October 24th? Dürr tantalisingly says only "probably" for that latter date, which means perhaps we do not conclusively know which Sunday was involved. It will be recalled that the opening chorus was rescored for violino piccolo in that year.

Although it is generally the case that the Cantatas are purely appropriated to a single day, the obvious exception BWV 71 "per ogni tempore", the multiple occasions on which this Chorale is set in the Leipzig hymnal gives it the potential to have fitted the bill on those very rare years when a long Epiphany season occurred.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 20, 2010):
Cantatas & Calendars

Peter Smaill wrote:
< We touched on the puzzle- raised before in 2002- that there are no surviving Bach Cantatas for the fifth and sixth Sundays after Epiphany. These occur when Easter is late; Epiphany 5 did occur in 1726 when Bach used a Cantata by his cousin Johann Ludwig. In 1734 Easter was so late there were the full six Sundays. >
Although there is usually a general glazing-over of eyes when we get into calendrical conundrums, this is a good example of a problem in discerning Bach's planning in the composition of cantatas.

The pre-Reformation Roman calendar which Luther adapted is a bit of a mess in the late Sundays after Epiphany and after Trinity. The Roman calendar provides for six Sundays after Epiphany, even though Epiphany 5 & 6 don't occur very often. However, a full provision of readings is only provided as far as Trinity 22 (Pentecost 23 in the Roman numbering). After that, if there are more Sundays, the readings from the Sundays after Epiphany not used that year are inserted for Trinity 23-26 (Pentecost 24-27). There are readings for the Last Sunday of the season.

Still with me?

On the BCW list of readings here: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/index.htm
there are no readings listed for Epiphany 5 and 6. Does that mean that late Sundays after Epiphany shared readings with the late Sundays after Trinity? If so, that would indeed mean that a cantata could well have been used at both ends of the church year. Does Dürr list the readings for Epiphany 5 & 6? If he does, we should add them to the BCW page.

On a practical note, even someone raised in the Lutheran pattern would need a reference work to know the byzantine ins and outs of the year's calendar. Was there a printed source which listed tables for the occurrence of Sundays over several years (they certainly exist for Catholic and Anglican calendars). Although there is no evidence to support me, I believe that Bach must have been planning ahead at least five years -- there's that five years again -- so that he knew what cantatas he had to write. A good example is the Christmas Oratorio whose structure is dictated by the occurrence of days in a specific year. Bach must have had a reference work to check as he planned this monumental work. A masterpiece like "Wachet Auf (BWV 140) may well have been percolating away for years in Bach's mind as he saw the rare occurrence of Trinity 27 approaching -- just as we plan centenary celebrations for years in advance.

Deglazing may commence.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 20, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< On a practical note, even someone raised in the Lutheran pattern would need a reference work to know the byzantine ins and outs of the year's calendar. Was there a printed source which listed tables for the occurrence of Sundays over several years (they certainly exist for Catholic and Anglican calendars). Although there is no evidence to support me, I believe that Bach must have been planning ahead at least five years -- there's that five years again -- so that he knew what cantatas he had to write. A good example is the Christmas Oratorio whose structure is dictated by the occurrence of days in a specific year. Bach must have had a reference work to check as he planned this monumental work. A masterpiece like "Wachet Auf (BWV 140) may well have been percolating away for years in Bach's mind as he saw the rare occurrence of Trinity 27 approaching -- just as we plan centenary celebrations for years in advance. >
I really wished there was a spreadsheet or graphic that would illustrate this, visually it would be so much easier to grasp I think.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 20, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I really wished there was a spreadsheet or graphic that would illustrate this, visually it would be so much easier to grasp I think. >
I've often wished we had a page which had a table for all the years of Bach's life which showed Sunday occurences as well as weekday festivals. I think there's much we could learn about Bach's long-range planning and compositional technique.

I'd be willing to work on it if someone could develop a good graphic interface which would have links to the cantata pages.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 20, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I'd be willing to work on it if someone could develop a good graphic interface which would have links to the cantata pages. >
There's a super field that marries infomation science and data and graphics to generate fascinating charts and graphics*, it's really a fascinating field if you love that sort of thing; and I firmly believe this topic would make a perfect candidate for such a graphic. The trouble is the software is expensive and not easy to learn, and you'd need a decent database. While I don't think we need anything that complicated, I could try to help out with some of the gruntwork in this project, but not all of it.

===============
* See this link as an example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdsdigital/4362450550/sizes/o/

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 21, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< However, a full provision of readings is only provided as far as Trinity 22 (Pentecost 23 in the Roman numbering). After that, if there are more Sundays, the readings from the Sundays after Epiphany not used that year are inserted for Trinity 23-26 (Pentecost 24-27). There are readings for the Last Sunday of the season.
Still with me? >
Yes indeed, and thanks for this essential bit of info.

DC:
< Does Dürr list the readings for Epiphany 5 & 6? If he does, we should add them to the BCW page. >
EM:
Durr goes directly from Epiphany 4 to Septuagesima, no mention of Epiphany 5 or 6. However, he does give the readings for Trinity 23 to 27. Does not your prior statement suggest that these are in fact the readings for Epiphany 5 and later? There is a certain pleasing symmetry in the sharing of readings between late Epiphany or late Trinity, depending on the date of Easter.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 21, 2010):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Does not your prior statement suggest that these are in fact the readings for Epiphany 5 and later? There is a certain pleasing symmetry in the sharing of readings between late Epiphany or late Trinity, depending on the date of Easter. >
I'll pose the question on another list and see what Lutheran historians come up with.

 

Epiphany 5 & 6

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 22, 2010):
A few comments on the question of readings for Epiphany 5 and 6 by Frank Senn, a prominent Lutheran scholar:

"Typical Gospel readings for Epiphany 5 and 6 in post-Reformation Lutheran calendars were Matthew 13:24-30 (Jesus' wisdom) and Matthew 17:1-9 (Jesus' transfiguration) respectively.

There was no sharing of readings between Epiphany and Trinity. I don't know whether the Lutheran readings had pre-Reformation precedents. As you know, Transfiguration on August 6 was a late medieval addition (15th c.) to the Western calendar. It wouldn't surprise me if the transfiguration event was commemorated elsewhere in the calendar, considering its importance in the gospel narratives. I know that both Johannes Bugenhagen and Veit Dietrich preached sermons on the transfiguration on Epiphany 6 in the 1520s."

That tells us that there were proper readings for Epiphany 5 and 6 but that Bach never wrote cantatas for them -- a cantata on the Transfiguration would have been interesting!

Does Stiller tell us anything about the holes in our list of readings? Was this another peculiar feature of Leipzig? Did Graupner and Telemann write cantatas for Epiphany 5 & 6?

Why didn't Bach?

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 22, 2010):
More calendar commentary ...

Luther Reed's "The Lutheran Liturgy"

"Since this feast (Transfiguration) received only limited observance on August 6, usually a weekday, and since it seemed appropriate as a climax to the Epiphany season, the reformers Bugenhagen and Veit Dietrich chose it as the theme for sermons on the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany. Eventually this became the general Lutheran use. "

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 22, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< That tells us that there were proper readings for Epiphany 5 and 6 but that Bach never wrote cantatas for them -- a cantata on the Transfiguration would have been interesting!
Does Stiller tell us anything about the holes in our list of readings? Was this another peculiar feature of
Leipzig? Did Graupner and Telemann write cantatas for Epiphany 5 & 6? >
Christoph Graupner wrote 6 cantatas for Epiphany 5 (and none apparently for Epiphany 6, which is odd, and I will make inquires regarding this):

(1.)
Seid nüchtern und wachet, GWV 1116/18 [1718] in B major
wrapper sheet:"Seydt nüchtern u. wachet / a / 2 Violin / Viol / Cant /
Alto / Tenore / Basso / e / Continuo / Dn. 5 p. Epiph. / 1718."

(2.)
Wachet und betet, GWV 1116/29 [1729] in G major
wrapper sheet:"Wachet und bethet, daß ihr / nicht in Anfechtung / a /
2 Violin / Viola / Canto / Alto / Tenore / Basso / e / Continuo. / Dn.
5. p. Epiph. / 1729."

(3.)
Lasset uns Gutes tun, GWV 1116/32 [1732] in A minor
wrapper sheet:"Laßet uns nicht schlaffen wie / die andern / a / 2
Hautb. / 2 Violin / Viola / Canto / Alto / Tenore / Basso / e /
Continuo. / Dn. 5. p. Epiph. / 1726.

(4.)
Ihr Menschen wacht der Satan will, GWV 1116/34 [1734] in G major
wrapper sheet:"Ihr Menschen wacht, der Satan / will im finstern / a /
2 Violin / Viola / Canto / Alto / Tenore / Basso / e / Continuo / Dn.
5. p. Epiph. / 1734.

(5.)
Herr hast du nicht guten Samen, GWV 1116/37 [1737] in G major
wrapper sheet:"Herr! hastu nicht guten Saamen / auf deinen / a / 2
Violin / Viola / Canto / Alto / Tenore / Basso / e / Continuo. / Dn.
5. p. Epiph. / 1737.

(6.)
Da Gott wollte Zorn erzeigen, GWV 1116/40 [1740], in C minor
wrapper sheet:"Da Gott wolte Zorn / erzeigen / a / 2 Hautb. / 2 Violin
/ Viola / Canto / Alto / Tenore / Basso / e / Continuo. / Dn. 5. p.
Epiph. / 1740.

There doesn't seem to be any Graupner cantatas for Epiphany 6.


TELEMANN:
----------------------------
Cantatas for Epiphany 5:
01: 300 Der höchste Gott ist rein SATB avec 2 hautbois, 2 violons, alto, violoncelle et continuo
01: 312 Der Regen Gottes fällt auf gute Sprossen Voix solo avec 2 violons et continuo
01: 631 Gleich wie man das Unkraut [perdu]
01: 731 Herr Christ, den rechten Soprano solo et SATB avec 2 violons, alto, violoncelle et continuo
01: 748 Herr Gott, wann manches gläubige [perdu]
01: 871 Ich wandle mit furchtsamen Schritten SATB avec 2 violons, alto et continuo
01:1021 Lasset das Wort Christi unter [perdu]
01:1030 Lasset uns rechtschaffen sein [perdu]
01:1044 Liebe, die vom Himmel flammet Voix solo avec violon et continuo
01:1273 Seid nüchtern und wachet SATB avec 2 hautbois, alto, violoncelle et continuo
01:1275 Seid nüchtern und wachet SATB avec 2 hautbois, 2 violons, alto, contrebasse et continuo
01:1277 Seid nüchtern und wachet [perdu]
01:1364 So lasset uns nun nicht schlafen SAB avec 2 violons, alto et continuo
01:1663 Wir haben ein festes prophetisches Wort SATB avec 2 violons, alto, violoncelle et continuo
01:1677 Wir sind Gottes Mitarbeiter SATB avec 2 hautbois, 2 violons, alto, violoncelle et continuo

Cantatas for Epiphany 6:
01: 39 Ach, wie so gut ist hier zu sein SATTBBB avec hautbois d'amour, 2 violons, alto, violoncelle et continuo
01: 305 Der Mensch lebet nicht allein [perdu]
01: 328 Dich, den meine Seele Voix solo avec 2 violons et continuo
01: 432 Ei nun, mein lieber Jesu Alto solo er SATB avec 2 violons, alto, violoncelle et continuo
01: 655 Gott hat sein Kind Jesu verklärt [perdu]
01: 754 Herr, in dir ist Freude die Fülle [perdu]
01: 967 Jesu meine Freude SATB avec 2 violons, alto, violoncelle et continuo
01:1229 Reiss los, reiss vom Leibe Voix solo avec violon, alto et continuo
01:1437 Und siehe, eine Stimme aus den Wolken SAB avec 2 violons, alto et continuo
01:1448 Unser Wandel aber ist im Himmel [perdu]
01:1516 Was ist das Herz Voix solo avec violon et continuo
01:1517 Was ist dein Freund vor andern Freunden SATB avec 2 hautbois, 2 violons, alto, violoncelle et continuo
01:1645 Wie teuer ist deine Güte [perdu]

I hope thihelps.

< Why didn't Bach? >

Evan Cortens wrote (February 22, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Does Stiller tell us anything about the holes in our list of readings? Was this another peculiar feature of Leipzig? Did Graupner and Telemann write cantatas for Epiphany 5 & 6? >
A quick scan of Kim's wonderful spreadsheet:
(http://www.baroquewave.com/darmstadt/graupner_cantata_Listing.htm)
reveals 3 cantatas by Graupner for Epiphany 5:

Seydt nuchtern u. wachet a 2 Violin Viol Cant Alto Tenore Basso e Continuo Dn. 5 p. Epiph. 1718.
Laset uns nicht schlaffen wie die andern a 2 Hautb. 2 Violin Viola Canto Alto Tenore Basso e Continuo. Dn. 5. p. Epiph. 1726.
Ihr Menschen wacht, der Satan will im finstern a 2 Violin Viola Canto Alto Tenore Basso e Continuo Dn. 5. p. Epiph. 1734.

None for Epiphany 6.

Regrettably I can't seem to find a complete listing for Telemann online, and I don't have the TVWV handy...

Evan Cortens wrote (February 22, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Christoph Graupner wrote 6 cantatas for Epiphany 5 (and none apparently for Epiphany 6, which is odd, and I will make inquires regarding this): >
Clearly I'm out of my league here! :)

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 22, 2010):
It appears that there was considerable variation between Lutheran churches' celebration of Epiphany 5 & 6:

Bach wrote no cantatas for either Sunday.

Graupner wrote for Epiphany 5 but not Epiphany 6.

Telemann wrote cantatas for both.

Interestingly, the titles of Telemann's cantatas clearly indicate that the Gospel reading for Epiphany 6 was Matthew 17:1-9, the account of the Transfiguration:

39 Ach, wie so gut ist hier zu sein
655 Gott hat sein Kind Jesu verklärt
1437 Und siehe, eine Stimme aus den Wolken

What DID Bach perform on those Sundays?

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 22, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Christoph Graupner wrote 6 cantatas for Epiphany 5 (and none apparently for Epiphany 6, which is odd, and I will make inquires regarding this) >
Epiphany 6 should be about equally rare as Trinity 27, occuring only a couple times per century, if memory serves.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 22, 2010):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Epiphany 6 should be about equally rare as Trinity 27, occuring only a couple times per century, if memory serves. >
Yet Telemann wrote so many for Epiphany 6. What years did Trinity 27 occur? One Graupner cantata for Trinity 27 survives (1742). If another instance happened prior to 1739, Graupner's asst Grunewald must have written it (and doesn't survie).

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 22, 2010):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Epiphany 6 should be about equally rare as Trinity 27, occuring only a couple times per century, if memory serves. >
Epiphany 6 and Trinity 27 each occur roughly once every ten years.

Epiphany 5 will occur twice a decade.

It would interesting to compare the texts of Graupner and Telemann's cantatas against Bach's to see if there could be cantatas which Bach performed again on those missing Sundays.

The great conundrum in all of this is why Bach chose to write perhaps his greatest cantata, "Wachet Auf," for a Sunday which appeared once during his tenure in Leipzig.

Did he take a long view of cantata composition and assume that his sons and successors would have many Trinity 27's ahead and need the cantata? Or was the cantata a real "Gebrauchsmusik" composed for a particular practical need and then laid aside?

Neil Halliday wrote (February 22, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
>Christoph Graupner wrote 6 cantatas for Epiphany 5<
Notice that four of these are for SATB, strings and continuo; the other two cantatas have two oboes added.

In the 27 Telemann cantatas listed, the orchestration of five of them is augmented with two oboes. The second cantata listed is for solo voice, two violins and continuo. The third from the bottom is for solo voice, one violin and continuo only. The rest are for SATB, strings and continuo.

In general, these cantatas appear to show much less variety in orchestration, as well as smaller ensembles, than we are used to with Bach.

There is one (Telemann) cantata showing a rather adventurous setting with unusual vocal forces: the first of the cantatas for epphany 6 - for SATTBBB, two oboes d'amore, strings and continuo.

Is this general lack of variety in instrumental forces (that we observe in this list) the rule, amongst the thousand or so Telemann cantatas, and Graupner's cantatas?

Evan Cortens wrote (February 22, 2010):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< There is one (Telemann) cantata showing a rather adventurous setting with unusual vocal forces: the first of the cantatas for epphany 6 - for SATTBBB, two oboes d'amore, strings and continuo. >
Just a guess here, but I'd wager that rather than two independent Tenor parts and three independent Bass parts, that notation means rather that there's more than one extant copied part for that voice. Based on my experience with Hamburg, where conventions for this kind of thing were set in the 17th century and continued through until CPE Bach's death, I'd guess that the bass and tenor parts almost exclusively double in the choruses, though there may be some alternation with which singer gets the solo part.

Neil Halliday wrote (February 22, 2010):
Evan Cortens wrote:
>Just a guess here, but I'd wager that rather than two independent Tenor parts and three independent Bass parts, that notation means rather that there's more than one extant copied part for that voice.<
Thanks Evan; that went through my mind when I first read it but I forgot to mention the possibility.

If there are three extant bass copies, does that imply three soprano copies, etc, originally existing (now lost) for the choruses?

(Somewhat mystified)

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 22, 2010):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
<< Epiphany 6 should be about equally rare as Trinity 27, occuring only a couple times per century, if memory serves. >>
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Yet Telemann wrote so many for Epiphany 6. What years did Trinity 27 occur? One Graupner cantata for Trinity 27 survives (1742). >
I wrote in general, without checking exact dates. Doug gave us the historic dates for Trinity 27 the other year (2009?) when we had one. My point was that Trinity 27 only occurs when Easter is at its earliest; conversely, Epiphany 6 only occurs when Easter is at its latest. The fact that Telemann wrote so many for Epiphany 6 suggests that the probabilities (the span of possible dates for Easter) are not precisely equivalent for early or late.

Those who find this thread tedious might like to ponder the following from <How the Irish Saved Civilization>, by Thomas Cahill. Descussing the final conflict and resolution between Celtic and Roman Christianity, he writes (p. 200):
<The main issue--as had also, by the way, been the case in the Burgundian Synod--was the correct date for celebrating Easter.> (end quote)

Those with still-unglazed eyes may recall other discussions that the original impetus for any calculation of the date for Easter was to provide a clear distinction from the Hebrew Passover, which of course established the timing of the original. Is it too late to go back? Never mind.

Stefan Lewicki [Harrogate, North Yorkshire UK] wrote (February 22, 2010):
[To Douglas Cowling] I apologise for appearing suddenly/ unannounced in this thread, but the observation about 'Wachet Auf' and Trinity 27 puzzled me, for I had always thought that, although written for Trinity 27, it was meant as a cantata for the last Sunday of the church year, ie for the Sunday before Advent. Now I'm trying to track down where I got this notion from. Does it make sense to anyone else?

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 22, 2010):
Stefan Lewicki wrote:
< the observation about 'Wachet Auf' and Trinity 27 puzzled me, for I had always thought that, although written for Trinity 27, it was meant as a cantata for the last Sunday of the church year, ie for the Sunday before Advent. Now I'm trying to track down where I got this notion from. >
Perhaps from right here at BCML. See comments by Doug Cowling at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV140-D6.htm

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 22, 2010):
Stefan Lewicki wrote:
< I apologise for appearing suddenly/ unannounced in this thread, but the observation about 'Wachet Auf' and Trinity 27 puzzled me, for I had always thought that, although written for Trinity 27, it was meant as a cantata for the last Sunday of the church year, ie for the Sunday before Advent. >
Trinity 27 was the last Sunday in the Trinity season and thus the calendrical Sunday before Advent in the year that Bach wrote the cantata.

It's very easy for us to make errors by anachronistically projecting back modern usage to Bach's calendar which had some very unusual features. Most modern Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican calendars now have a set of readings which is always used on the last Sunday before Advent no matter how many Sundays there are in the Pentecost/Trinity season. Bach's calendar didn't have this feature.

As byzantine as this thread is, it does bear significantly on Bach's compositional and performance practice. What DID he do on Epiphany 5 & 6?

Reglazing of eyes may resume .

William Hoffman wrote (February 23, 2010):
I think one of the keys to understanding Bach's presentation of the less-frequent last Sundays after Epiphany is his utilization of the Johann Ludwig Bach cantata cycle. This cycle Bach introduced with the cantatas for the Fourth through the Sixth Sundays After Epiphany, beginning on Feb. 14, 1726. Presenting these works in Leipzig afforded him the opportunity to present these works as part of a "well-ordered church music to the glory of God," enabled Bach to use 18 cantatas from his cousin's, and absolved him of having to compose works less-frequently heard at a time when he had begun to curtail weekly composition of church-year cantatas. The J.L. Bach cantata cycle was a serendipitous situation, I suggest, for the intentional and calculating Bach.

Now, the challenge is to determine the precise year when the Sundays for the Fourth through the Sixth Sundays After Epiphany occurred around 1715, enabling J.L. Bach to compose these unique cantatas. I have checked the old calendars for 1714-16 and find that only the first three Sundays After Epiphany were presented. The key is when Good Friday occurred. I am still trying to pinpoint the exact year this cycle was composed.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 23, 2010):
Epiphany 5 & 6 - J.L. Bach

William Hoffman wrote:
< I think one of the keys to understanding Bach's presentation of the less-frequent last Sundays after Epiphany is his utilization of the Johann Ludwig Bach cantata cycle. This cycle Bach introduced with the cantatas for the Fourth through the Sixth Sundays After Epiphany, beginning on Feb. 14, 1726.
Now, the challenge is to determine the precise year when the Sundays for the Fourth through the Sixth Sundays After Epiphany occurred around 1715, enabling
J.L. Bach to compose these unique cantatas. >
Interesting. Are you suggesting that Johann Ludwig might be an active collaborator with Johann Sebastian rather than just a name in the latter's music library? Ludwig was almost a contemporary of Sebastian (1677-1731). Did he have an older brother/mentor role? He was a very experienced musician and could well have advised his cousin on the Leipzig Cantata Project, pointing out where his own works could help fill some awkward holes like Epiphany 5 and 6. Could he have written some of his cantatas on the request of Sebastian? Bach's broad use of Ludwig's music and his obvious influence on his choral style suggests a close, creative relationship. What do we know about that relationship?

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 23, 2010):
[To Douglas Cowling] Regarding Johann Ludwig Bach, May I suggest looking at his bio page:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Bach-Johann-Ludwig.htm
and follow many links on the BCW from this page.

William Hoffman wrote (February 23, 2010):
Epiphany 5

I tried to access on BCW: http://gfis.dataway.ch/teherba.de/bach/index.html , "Sundays in Bach's Lifetime." Safari says it's down. The current calendar shows that the six Sundays of Epiphany occur in 2000 and again in 2011, approximately each decade. In order for these six to take place, Easter would have to fall around April 25. I'll go to me dating of Holy Week Passion performances, 1700-1723, to try to find which years J.L. Bach may have composed his cycle. I'll also check William Scheide's extensive Bach Jahrbuch articles re. the J.L. Bach cantatas, which C.P.E. inherited and are listed in the BGA.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 23, 2010):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Regarding Johann Ludwig Bach, May I suggest looking at his bio page:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Bach-Johann-Ludwig.htm
and follow many links on the BCW from this page. >
"Johann Ludwig Bach wrote an imposing number of vocal works. Although orchestral music was probably his principal activity from 1711 onwards, hardly any material is extant."

Such a shame. He must have written dozens upon dozens of suites etc.

Thanks Aryeh!

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 23, 2010):
William Hoffman wrote:
< I'll also check William Scheide's extensive Bach Jahrbuch articles re. the J.L. Bach cantatas, which C.P.E. inherited and are listed in the BGA. >
Is there any documentary evidence of a personal relationship? Comments from the Bach boys?

Damn, it must be frustrating for a Bach historian -- so few primary sources!

William Hoffman wrote (February 25, 2010):
J. L. Bach

Further information, confirmed from Bach Jahrbuch, Sheide and Kuester articles, as well as JSB:OCC

The Johann Ludwig Bach Cantata Cycle was composed in 1714-15 and involves the Fourth and Fifth Sundays After Epiphany (no sixth), as well as the three pre-Lent "geisma" cantatas, for the Meiningen Court.

Sebastian is thought to have made connections with his cousin at the annuaBach Family Reunion, most likely at Erfurt c. 1715. Some of the cantatas also were presented in 1717 at Frankfurt, presumably by Telemann. It appears from Meiningen Court documents that J.L. composed a substantial Passion in 1713, about the time Bach performed the Keiser St. Mark Passion (not necessarily in Weimar, the parts show). J.L.'s employer and patron, Duke Ernst Ludwig, contributed lyrics to the assumed Passion oratorio. Earlier, around 1704, the Duke contributed the original cantata texts set by J.L.'s predecessor, Georg Caspar Schuermann, the libretto form predating the so-called "Neumeister-type" of cantata, and known as the Rudolstadt Texts in Sebastian's incomplete third cycle.

Peter Smaill wrote (February 26, 2010):
[To William Hoffman, regarding J.L. Bach] Thanks indeed for this informative note. The Johann Ludwig Bach Cantatas have most attractive chorale settings: QED, Hermann Max has recorded four of the best on Carus 83.186, the first being the title for the set , "Mache dich auf, werde licht". as long ago as 1981, but released again in 2006. The jewel case bears a pastel portrait by his son Gottlieb Friedrich Bach (1714-1785), who also depicted J S Bach ( the "Meiningen Pastel"). As far as I know from internet searches not all of the 1726 Cantatas performed by J S Bach in 1726 are recorded, which means we are unable to reconstruct even today to the fullest known extent the music performed at the Thomaskirche during J S Bach's Cantorate.

We know what the Cantatas were but maybe the materials are incomplete? Comments on this perception will be welcome especially, as I have suggested regarding the Meiningen texts set by J S Bach in the "third" cycle,the librettist is doctrinally suspect: stressing salvation by one's own efforts versus the Lutheran attiude of salvation by faith.

 

Bach's Calendar

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 26, 2010):
Below is a list of the dates of Easter during Bach's adult life including the number of Sundays after Epiphany and Sundays after Trinity.

A few observations:

1) Epiphany 5 occurred 10 times:
1702, 1710, 1713, 1715, 1718, 1724, 1726, 1729, 1740, 1745.
Bach appears never to have written a cantata for this Sunday.
In the 1710s, Epiphany 5 appeared four times in one decade.

2) Epiphany 6 occurred only twice: 1707, 1734
Bach appears never to have written a cantata for this Sunday.
Bach encountered the Sunday (which had the Transfiguration as its theme) when he he was 22, and then not again until he was 49.

3) Trinity 27 occurred 3 times: 1704, 1731, 1742
Could "Wachet Auf" (BWV 140) have been repeated in 1742?

4) Trinity 26 occurred 12 times: 1701, 1709, 1712, 1714, 1717, 1720, 1723,
1725, 1728, 1736, 1737, 1748
The Sunday occurred 4 times in the 1720's
Bach wrote only one cantata for this Sunday (BWV 70)

5) Even in a career of 50 years, there were a fair number of Easter dates which did not occur during Bach's lifetime.

**********************************************************
DATES OF EASTER: 1700 - 1750

E = Sundays after Epiphany
T = Sundays after Trinity

11 April 1700 - E4 T24
27 March 1701 - E2 T26
16 April 1702 - E5 T24
8 April 1703 - E4 T25
23 March 1704 - E1 T27
12 April 1705 - E4 T24
4 April 1706 - E3 T25
24 April 1707 - E6 T22
8 April 1708 - E4 T25
31 March 1709 - E2 T26

20 April 1710 - E5 T223
5 April 1711 - E3 T25
27 March 1712 - E2 T26
16 April 1713 - E5 T24
1 April 1714 - E3 T26
21 April 1715 - E5 T23
12 April 1716 - E4 T24
28 March 1717 - E2 T26
17 April 1718 - E5 T23
9 April 1719 - E4 T25

31 March 1720 - E2 T26
13 April 1721 - E4 T24
5 April 1722 - E3 T25
28 March 1723 - E2 T26
16 April 1724 - E5 T24
1 April 1725 - E3 T26
21 April 1726 - E5 T23
13 April 1727 - E4 T24
21 April 1726 - E5 T23
13 April 1727 - E4 T24
28 March 1728 - E2 T26
17 April 1729 - E5 T23

9 April 1730 - E4 T25
25 March 1731 - E2 T27
13 April 1732 - E4 T24
5 April 1733 - E3 T25
25 April 1734 - E6 T22
10 April 1735 - E4 T24
1 April 1736 - E3 T26
2 April 1737 - E3 T26
6 April 1738 - E3 T25
29 March 1739 - E2 T26

17 April 1740 - E5 T23
2 April 1741 - E3 T26
25 March 1742 - E2 T27
14 April 1743 - E4 T24
5 April 1744 - E3 T25
18 April 1745 - E5 T23
10 April 1746 - E4 T24
2 April 1747 - E3 T26
14 April 1748 - E4 T24
6 April 1749 - E3 T25

29 March 1750 - E2 T26

[compiled but not double-checked]

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 26, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< A few observations:
[...]
2) Epiphany 6 occurred only twice: 1707, 1734 Bach appears never to have written a cantata for this Sunday. Bach encountered the Sunday (which had the Transfiguration as its theme) when he he was 22, and then not again until he was 49. >
What did Telemann do with all those compositions for Epiphnay 6, about half a dozen I believe Kim reported the other week?

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 26, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
<< [...]
2) Epiphany 6 occurred only twice: 1707, 1734 Bach appears never to have written a cantata for this Sunday. Bach encountered the Sunday (which had the Transfiguration as its theme) when he he was 22, and then not again until he was 49. >>
Ed Myskowski asks:
< What did Telemann do with all those compositions for Epiphnay 6, about half a dozen I believe Kim reported the other week? >
Telemann lived another 17 years, to the ripe old age of 86, composing music pretty much up until he died. So it's possible he wrote some of those for subsequent Epiphany 6 feast days. Telemann could have written two cantatas for a specific event, where one cantata was presented before the sermon and another afterwards (Stolzel did this for the Sonderhausen court when commisssioned to provide them with a few cantata cycles).

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 26, 2010):
Telemann's Calendar

Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Telemann lived another 17 years, to the ripe old age of 86, composing music pretty much up until he died. So it's possible he wrote some of those for subsequent Epiphany 6 feast days. >
Tables the dates of Easter from 1600 to the present day can be found at:
http://www.census.gov/srd/www/x12a/easter500.html

Epiphany 6 occurs in years when Easter is late: April 22, 23, 24, 25.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (February 26, 2010):
[To Douglas Cowling, regarding Telemann's Calendar] 1754 and 1764 had the potential for cantatas then.
Thanks Doug, great job on doing this research. Much appreciated ;)

William Hoffman wrote (February 26, 2010):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote to Ed Mykowski:
< Telemann lived another 17 years, to the ripe old age of 86, composing music pretty much up until he died. So it's possible he wrote some of those for subsequent Epiphany 6 feast days. Telemann could have written two cantatas for a specific event, where one cantata was presented before the sermon and another afterwards (Stolzel did this for the Sonderhausen court when commisssioned to provide them with a few cantata cycles). >
Will Hoffman writes:

I have been reviewing my Telemann resources, especially convergences with the Bach Family. There is so much overlap, as with their colleagues. It appears ththeir use of the church year calendar and cantatas and texts was quite significant and variable. Sacred cantatas were reperformed for other occasions. Other composers' cantatas were substituted to fill gaps, for example when Telemann took an extended trip in late 1717, and when very late Epiphany or Trinity Sundays occurred. What's most interesting is that Sebastian, in his quest for a "well-ordered church music to the Glory of God," continually recycled and parodied cantatas such as the 20+ from Weimar and six from Koethen, including the Advent works and serenades altered for other occasions. I also found a Keiser oratorio, composed for June 25, 1730, for the 200th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, at the Hamburg Dom Cathedral, where he was the music director, succeeding Mattheson, who went deaf. I'm just wondering if Telemann, the Hamburg municipal music director, and his prolific and talented contemporaries did any repeats, borrowings, or parodies. I also wonder if Telemann did pasticcios of some of his annual biblical Passions, as did his Hamburg successor, C.P.E., whose 1772 St. John Passion includes the closing chorus, "Ruht wohl," from Dad's St. John Passion, text rewritten in an "Enlightened" style, as well as music of Telemann, Stölzel, and Homilius -- both lyric and narrative Passion music.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 27, 2010):
William Hoffman wrote:
< I also wonder if Telemann did pasticcios of some of his annual biblical Passions, as did his Hamburg successor, C.P.E., whose 1772 St. John Passion includes the closing chorus, "Ruht wohl," from Dad's St. John Passion, text rewritten in an "Enlightened" style, >
Can you post the revised text please? I'd be very interested in the shift.

William Hoffman wrote (February 27, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Can you post the revised text please? I'd be very interested in the shift. >
Will Hoffman replies:

In English translation: Bach's Oratorios: The parallel German-English Texts with Annotations (p. 133), Michael Marissen

Be fully at peace, you holy bones,
for which I no longer will inconsolably weep:
I know that someday death will grant me peace.
the tomb will not always enclose me;
someday when God, my redeemer, calls,
then I, too, will rush, transfigured, to God's Heaven

Original (p. 70):

Be fully at peace, you holy bones,
which I will no longer bewail;
be fully at peace and bring also me to this peace.
The grave, so to you predestined
and henceforth no distress will enclose,
opens to be the [gates of] heaven and closes the [gates of] hell.

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 27, 2010):
Bach's Calendar - PDF link

Thanks to Aryeh who has posted a PDF I put together with two helpful guides to Bach's calendar:

1) A Table of the possible dates of Easter with a grid of the dates of dependent moveable feasts (e.g. Pentecost) and the sequences of the Epiphany and Trinity seasons.

2) A Table of the dates of Easter from 1700 - 1750.

* PDF download: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Main/Bachs-Calendar.pdf

* Link from site: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/index.htm

Eventually, a comprehensive spread sheet of every day from 1685 to 1750 with links to pages on the site would be invaluable.

At the moment, I'd rather spend my time playing Bach!

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 27, 2010):
[To William Hoffman] Interesting, especially elimination of the word predestined, which I would agree with C.P.E., is an enlightened advance.

 

Sundays & Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 8, 2010):
On January 16, 2006, Douglas Cowling wrote:
"I know this is a huge request, but I would love to see lists of the Lutheran Church Year from 1685 - 1750 showing the dates of variable feasts such as Easter and the weekdays upon which fixed feasts such as Christmas fell.
This would be an invaluable resource in determining Bach's compositional calendar. For example in some years, depending on the day of the week which Christmas fell on, Bach might write a cantata for the Sunday after Christmas or one for the Sunday after Circumcision/New Year. Or the number of cantatas required between Epiphany and Lent or between Trinity Sunday and the last Sunday after Epiphany (the six parts of the Christmas Oratorio clearly reflect the weekday pattern of Dec 25 to Jan 6 in a particular year)."

Following this request and a recent discussion on the BCML, I have created a calendar of the Lutheran Church Year (LCY) for the Sundays & Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach (1685-1750).
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/index.htm

There is a page for every Year with dates of all the events in the LCY.
There is a page for each Event in the LCY with a list of all the Years/dates in which this event occurred.
There is also a table with the Events in German/English and the corresponding Bach's works.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/Table.htm

I am in a process of adding the vocal works performed by J.S. Bach to the Year/Event pages.
So far I have covered the Events from New Year's Day to Sexagesima.
See, for example the page of Septuagesima, which contains this week's Cantata BWV 84:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/Septuagesimae.htm
For easy reference, this page is also linked from the main page of Cantata BWV 84:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV84.htm

I was greatly helped by Dr. Georg Fischer from south-west Germany in preparing the calendar. I am sincerely grateful to him for his willing to contribute the data which was the basis for this calendar.

Please send me your comments and/or inform me of any error you find.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 8, 2010):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Following this request and a recent discussion on the BCML, I have created a calendar of the Lutheran Church Year (LCY) for the Sundays & Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach (1685-1750).
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/index.htm >

Wow in excelsis!!

Wir danken dir!!

Evan Cortens wrote (March 8, 2010):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Following this request and a recent discussion on the BCML, I have created a calendar of the Lutheran Church Year (LCY) for the Sundays & Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach (1685-1750).
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/index.htm >
Wow, this is awesome! Thanks Aryeh!

Ed Myskowski wrote (March 8, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Wow in excelsis!!
Wir danken dir!! >

I second both (makes four?)

 

Sundays & Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach - Phase 2

Aryeh Oron wrote (March 13, 2010):
Last week I informed you of the addition of a calendar of the Lutheran Church Year (LCY) for the Sundays & Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach (1685-1750).
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/index.htm

There is a page for every Year with dates of all the events in the LCY.
There is a page for each Event in the LCY with a list of all the Years/dates in which this event occurred.
There is also a table with the Events in German/English and the corresponding Bach's works.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/Table.htm

I am glad to inform me that I have just finished the second phase of this project. I have added Performances of vocal works by J.S. Bach to the calendar, including both works from his own pen and by other composers.
- Event pages contain now all the vocal works performed by J.S. Bach on this Event.
- Year pages contain only vocal works, of which definite performance date/s by J.S. Bach are known.

See, for example:
Year 1726 page, with many works by J.L. Bach: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/1726.htm
Sexagesima Sunday page, the cantatas of which would be discussed in the next few weeks, starting with BWV 18: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/Sexagesimae.htm
Another interesting Event page is Good Friday: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/Karfreitag.htm

The Event & Year pages in the calendar list only vocal works associated with the events in the LCY and performed by J.S. Bach. Vocal works associated with other events (such as weddings, town council, secular events, etc.) are not listed. However there are two complementary chronological lists on the BCW:
Vocal works performed by J.S. Bach: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Date.htm
Works of other composers performed by J.S. Bach: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Work-Perform.htm

The Year & Event pages would gradually be linked from the work pages and from other pages on the BCW.
See, for example, the main page of Cantata BWV 18: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV18.htm

I have a small request:
I would like to add to the Event pages descriptions of all the events, including:
- Meaning of the name.
- Meaning of the event.
- How the event is celebrated in the Lutheran Church, and especially how was it celebrated in J.S. Bach's time.
- Date of the event and how is it calculated.
- Other important information.

I know that the BCML has many members with good knowledge of this field. Any member wishing to contribute is asked to send me a message OFF-LIST.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 13, 2010):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< I am glad to inform me that I have just finished the second phase of this project. I have added Performances of vocal works by J.S. Bach to the calendar, including both works from his own pen and by other composers.
- Event pages contain now all the vocal works performed by J.S. Bach on this Event.
- Year pages contain only vocal works, of which definite performance date/s by J.S. Bach are known. >
This is a terrific resource, and, as far as I know, the only place where all of this information has been drawn together. I reiterate my belief that this site is not just an informal forum, but a significant reference tool for professional and amateur alike.

Bravo Aryeh!

 

Bach's Classification of Sundays

Continue of discussions from: Magnificat BWV 243 - General Discusssions Part 6 [Other Vocal Works]

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 26, 2010):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Don't forget the Hasse, Caldara and Zelenka Magnificats, as well as theGerman Magnificats such as Bach's Cantata BWV 10 and (G.M. Hoffmann's) BWV Anh. 21,"Meine Seele erhebt den Herren," and BWV 189, "Meine Seele ruhmt und preis," for Visitation. I wonder if the German Magnificats could have been subsituted for Latin Magnificats at Festival and Marian Vespers. >
Although Luther abandoned the Catholic calendar's ranking of Sundays and festivals according to their importance, it's clear that Bach and his contemporaries used some sort of classification system which indicated the music and personnel required. The consistent use of Latin indicates that St. Thomas and St. Nicholas considered themselves in the collegiate tradition proposed by Luther's "Formula Missae" while St. Peter's, which had the least sophisticated music and was served by Bach's Choir IV, exemplifies the more common "German Mass" tradition.

I'm guessing, but we could posit the following schema:

Class 1) The Three-Day festivals of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost and their related festivals

Music: usually with large-scale scoring (trumpets or horns)
Cantata
Concerted Missa (Kyrie & Gloria) in Latin
Concerted Credo (?) or Latin plainchant (followed by "Wir Glauben")
Concerted Sanctus in Latin
Concerted Magnificat in Latin

Class 2) Festivals (e.g. Michelmas, Marian festivals)
Cantata
Concerted Missa (Kyrie & Gloria) in Latin
Concerted Credo (?) or Latin plainchant (followed by "Wir Glauben")
Concerted Sanctus in Latin
Concerted Magnificat in Latin or German

Class 3) Non-Festival Sundays (Sundays after Epiphany, Easter and Trinity)
Cantata
Polyphonic Motet-style Missa (Kyrie & Gloria) in Latin (e.g. Palestrina)
Credo in Latin plainchant (followed by "Wir Glauben")
Polyphonic Motet-style Sanctus in Latin or German (e.g. Schein & Schütz)
Polyphonic Motet-style Magnificat in Latin or German (e.g. Schein & Schütz)

Class 4) Weekdays (and Sundays at St. Peter's)
No Cantata
Chorale versions of Kyrie in German
(Chorale version of Gloria in German on Sundays)
(Chorale version of Credo in German on Sundays)
Chorale version of Sanctus in German
Chorale version of Magnificat in German

I'm guessing that the Credo was occasionally sung in concerted settings.
Most of the Marian cantatas are not written for "festal" scoring of trumpets or horns. Hoffman's delightful German Magnificat could well have been the liturgical setting of the canticle at Vespers. Cantata BWV 10 uses a paraphrase and couldn't be sung officially as the canticle. It's also noteworthy that Bach didn't restrict festal scoring to Classes 1 and 2 above.

 

The Musical Context of Bach's Cantatas: Motets and Chorales - Trinity Sunday

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 6, 2011):
See: Motets & Chorales for Trinity Sunday [LCY]

 

Motets and Chorales for the First Sunday after Trinity

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 17, 2011):
See: Motets & Chorales for 1st Sunday after Trinity

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 18, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< THE MUSICAL CONTEXT OF BACH'S CANTATAS:
MOTETS AND CHORALES FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
[...]
4) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns:
"Weltliche Ehe und zeitliche Gut"
"Es war einmal ein reicher Mann" [lyrics based on introit text]
"Ach Gott vom Himmel sief darein" (Luther)
[used in Cantata BWV 2 for Trinity 2]
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale026-Eng3.htm
"Kommt her" >

Note also the link to chorale melody, via the referenced BCW page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Ach-Gott-vom-Himmel.htm

Thanks for all the information from Doug, and Will Hoffman, putting the cantata performances in context.

 

Palm Sunday , April 17, 2011

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 18, 2011):
I wrote, a bit carelessly, <Trinity season is underway>, in conclusion to my introduction for our current discussion topic: BWV 75, Trinity 1.

Apologies for any unintentional disrespect to folks who follow the real time church calendar. Thanks to Brian McCreath (Bach Hour, www.99.5allclassical.org) for the reminder. Brian continues the long-standing (38 years +/-) Boston tradition of a weekly cantata broadcast. He took the initiative toorient the weekly selection to the church calendar, from his predecessors cycling of works in BWV sequence, five times around, I believe.

If you think about it a bit, the liturgical sequence creates a lot more work, to make sure that no works are omitted. I trust someone is keeping score?

 

Assigning Bach Cantatas to particular Sundays in the Lutheran Church year

Bruce Simonson wrote (May 5, 2011):
So, here I go, stepping into deep waters, from off of a long pier, with a blind-fold on.

Just curious, in a chicken-vs-egg kind of way, how were the decisions made to associate a particular religious cantata with a particular sunday in the church year?

Seems there are two obvious options:

A) The autograph cover of the cantata specifically names a particular Sunday, or

B) The text matches the pericope for a particular Sunday.

The great shoulders upon which I stand, in these deep waters, must have used one, or the other, or both, of these, or possibly other methods which don't occur to me right off the bat.

Questions:

1) Are there other ways of nailing down the Sunday for which a cantata has been associated?

2) It seems that (A) above should be given much more weight. Is there a way of knowing (summarized in handy list would be great!) of knowing how the associations were made?

BTW, I think this is on-topic for chasing down and focusing discussion on the upcoming Trinity sunday cantatas (as well as others), and I hope others will agree that the question has some merit.

Anyway, can someone on the list send me a life-line while I struggle to keep afloat, treading water in these deep waters?

Evan Cortens wrote (May 6, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< So, here I go, stepping into deep waters, from off of a long pier, with a blind-fold on.
Just curious, in a chicken-vs-egg kind of way, how were the decisions made to associate a particular religious cantata with a particular sunday in the church year?
Seems there are two obvious options:
A) The autograph cover of the cantata specifically names a particular Sunday, or
B) The text matches the pericope for a particular Sunday. >
Off the top of my head, I would say that when the attribution is definite, it's on the basis of a specific mention in the title page/heading of that particular Sunday or feast. While Bach rarely gives a date/year on his scores, he almost always gives a liturgical occasion. It's only in the rare event that this information is missing that folks speculate on the basis of the pericope. Often the connection with the Epistle/Gospel is a thematic one rather than a literal one, and so such attributions can be tenuous.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 6, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< Questions:
1) Are there other ways of nailing down the Sunday for which a cantata has been associated? >
Music was kept in wrapper sheets for easy identification and shelving: (title, instrumentation, and the particular holiday all clearly marked). Here's an example from the period (in this case, an Advent cantata by Gottfried Stoelzel: http://i.imgur.com/pMfWU.jpg

Bruce Simonson wrote (May 6, 2011):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Music was kept in wrapper sheets for easy identification and shelving: (title, instrumentation, and the particular holiday all clearly marked). Here's an example from the period (in this case, an Advent cantata by Gottfried Stoelzel: http://i.imgur.com/pMfWU.jpg >
Thank you, Kim. This helps. Imminently sensible way to maintain a workable music library.

These cover sheets, were they typically in the composer's hand, or handled "by the librarian" ... if there was difference? In particular, was this practice used for Bach's music, and are the examples that survive in Bach's hand? Do we know?

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 6, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< These cover sheets, were they typically in the composer's hand, or handled "by the librarian" ... if there was difference? In particular, was this practice used for Bach's music, and are the examples that survive in Bach's hand? Do we know? >
Varies greatly by composer, but they'd need to keep things pretty tidy too, it had to be easier to find things if it was organized is my guess. But typically the wrapper sheet or the designation on the first page would be by the composer or a copyist(s) in his inner circle. One frustrating case where a sinfonia was literally ripped out of a unidentified Bach cantata is the BWV 1045 I think, we have no way of knowing what feast day this was for, or civic holiday it was written for because the wrapper sheet is gone, and the title across the top margin by Bach is a very generic title (I think it's "Concerto"). I can't recall the specifics, but it's one of my favorite Bach pieces, and criminal that someone literally ripped this music out of an Bach manuscript. Why they didn't save the entire piece is beyond me ;)

Bruce Simonson wrote (May 6, 2011):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< ... typically the wrapper sheet or the designation on the first page would be by the composer or a copyist(s) in his inner circle. >
Thanks. Brings to mind the next question, perhaps niggling and unascertainable.

Are current methods of chirography sufficiently sophisticated to determine if the "wrapper" was prepared in advance of the service, or if it was made "after the music was performed, collected from the musicians, and prepared for the shelves"?

PS: I shall have to look up BWV 1045. Anything recommended by a reader/contributer to this list is invariably worth the effort.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 6, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< Are current methods of chirography sufficiently sophisticated to determine if the "wrapper" was prepared in advance of the service, or if it was made "after the music was performed, collected from the musicians, and prepared for the shelves"? >
Well, paper studies, ink analysis, handwriting all play a part of dating the paper and music. Entire careers are dedicated to that ;) Alan Tyson has done amazing studies with Mozart's piano concertos showing Mozart would work on a concerto with great gaps of time between starting it, and finishing it. I think in Bach's case, these studies are important for dating any surviving performance materials.

Evan Cortens wrote (May 6, 2011):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] Speaking about Bach specifically, very often the wrappers that survive today were prepared by CPE Bach after his father's death. There is of course no way to know whether or they replaced a pre-existing wrapper. Emanuel, it seems, was very keen to keep his father's music in order.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 6, 2011):
Bach's knowledge of the Lectionary

Evan Cortens wrote:
< While Bach rarelygives a date/year on his scores, he almost always gives a liturgical occasion. It's only in the rare event that this information is missing that folks speculate on the basis of the pericope. >
Bach's knowledge of the prescribed texts was extraordinary. He knew that Cantata BWV 70a, "Wachet Betet," that was written for Advent 2 in Weimar, could be reworked for Trinity 26 in Leipzig because the respective Gospels, Luke 21 and Matthew 25 both present visions of the Second Coming of Christ.

The most brilliant is the reworking of the Weimar "Himmelskonig sei Willkommen" (BWV 182) which was originally written for the Annunication, the entrance of Christ into the world through conception. On the year that the feast fell on Palm Sunday, Bach links the Coming of the Incarnation with the Entry in Jerusalem and the Coming of the Passion. Brilliant libretto and brilliant music.

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 6, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Bach's knowledge of the prescribed texts was extraordinary. He knew that Cantata BWV 70a, "Wachet Betet," that was written for Advent 2 in Weimar, could >be reworked for Trinity 26 in Leipzig because the respective Gospels, Luke 21 and Matthew 25 both present visions of the Second Coming of Christ. >
The pragmatic economy of finding an alternative use for an Advent work, not appropriate for the Leipzig music calendar, only adds to our admiration for Bachs attention to these details!

 

Psalms in Bach's services

Bruce Simonson wrote (May 6, 2011):
Still trying to get a handle on this scripture as part of the cantata thingy.

Several sources seem to indicate that singing and/or reading Psalms were not part of the normal order of service in Bach's (Leipzig) time.

If I am not mistaken, an order of service is presented in Wolff's "Learned Musician", and there is Robin Leaver's "Bach's Organ Music in the Context of the Liturgy" - an article in the recent Westfield Center's "Keyboard Perspectives, vol 3" (my copy arrived yesterday), and certainly Douglas Cowling has posted carefully on this topic.

Yet, where is the Psalm for the day? Was there one? (There is one now in Lutheran (and Catholic) services, typically, but how about then?)

Back-story:

If Psalms were not explicitly part of the service, then well, after Juneau's recent performance of BWV 187 (I know, it's a cantata for Trinity VII, and not due for a bit ... but please bear with me!), it is clear to me that this cantata is very explicitly about Old and New Testament texts, on the topic of "the propensity to be anxious" (to simplify one aspect of the matter). In particular, this cantata's texts are Psalm 104:27-28, and Matthew 6:31-32.

What I find interesting here, are several things:

a) The pericope for Trinity VII on the Bach Cantata website calls out Mark 8: 1-9 (definitely related, but not the same as the Matthew passage).

b) The Psalm 104 passage is totally on the mark.

The questions that I have, I guess, are:

i) Who substituted Matthew for Mark in BWV 187, for Trinity VII?

ii) Who was smart enough to recognize the appropriateness of Psalm 104 for use in BWV 187?

iii) Does this type of thing happen a lot?

End of Back-story.

More generalized questions:

1) Were spoken and/or musicked Psalms a part of the services, in Bach's Leipzig?

2) When were parallel texts substituted in for the pericope, and by whom?

3) Am I starting to be annoying?

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 6, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< Yet, where is the Psalm for the day? Was there one? (There is one now in Lutheran (and Catholic) services, typically, but how about then?) >
The current 3-year lectionaries in the Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican churches are quite different from the 1-year cycle which was maintained before the post-Vatican II reforms and was familiar to Bach. For instance, the new lectionaries have three readings: Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel. The Revised Common Lectionary provides for the singing or reading of a psalm between the first two readings, although it's worth noting that portions of the psalms have always been the source of the Propers of the Catholic mass: Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory and Communion.

If we look at the pattern of worship in Leipzig, we can see how the psalms were sung by Bach's choirs.

On Sundays and feasts days, a small choir of scholarship boys from the St. Thomas School sang Matins (Morning Prayer) at 5 am in St. Nicholas Church. This was an abridged version of the Roman Matins and included 3 or 4 psalms chanted in Latin to Gregorian chant with their introductory antiphons.

At the principal mass at 7 am when the cantata was sung, Luther's Formula Missae was followed, and Bach's choir sang a Latin motet instead of the psalm-based Introit (it's significant that nearly all of the motets have psalm texts). The Gradual and Alleluia chants between the two readings were replaced by Hymn of the Season (e.g. "Christ Lag in Todesbanden" during the Easter season). Thus there were no psalms at the mass/eucharist chanted or sung in polyphonic settings.

At the office of Vespers at 1 pm, most Lutheran churches sang a psalm in German on the pre-Reformation model of Roman Vespers. Praetorius, Schütz and Schein (Bach's predecessor) all composed huge collections of nearly all 150 psalms. The Lutheran historian, Robin Leaver, is not sure if Bach's choir followed the traditional pattern and sang a setting of a psalm at Vespers -- the Leipzig rite had many unique features. Bach may have had Schein's published psalm collections in the library.

During the daily services alternating between St. Thomas and St. Nicholas, metrical chorale versions of the psalms may have been sung as well.

Bruce Simonson wrote (May 6, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote ...
< ... at length about the use of Psalms in Bach's Leipzig services. >
Excellent, Doug, thank you much.

To follow up, you wrote:
< On Sundays and feasts days, a small choir of scholarship boys from the St. Thomas School sang Matins (Morning Prayer) at 5 am in St. Nicholas Church. This was an abridged version of the Roman Matins and included 3 or 4 psalms chanted in Latin to Gregorian chant with their introductory antiphons. >
Was there any way to predict in advance which Psalms would be used for a particular Sunday of the church year, or on feast days?

My memory may not be reliable on this point, but wasn't there a prescribed ordering of the psalms for Vespers, that guaranteed none would be missed, in a tradition that went "way" back, in the Catholic church, at least? And certain Psalms brought into play in particular festivals, like the "Lauda" Psalms?

Where I'm going is, did Bach pick the Psalm(s), or were they part of the established scripture for the day? Do we know?

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 6, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< Where I'm going is, did Bach pick the Psalm(s), or were they part of the established scripture for the day? Do we know? >
The original Benedictine cursus was to sing all 150 psalms in the course of one week. The contemplative monastic orders disappeared at the Reformation, and somewhere Luther probably produced a simplified ordo or schedule for the recitation of the psalms through the year. I've never seen one, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the psalm allusions in the cantata texts echoed the psalms prescribed in the daily office.

If I recall, "Lobe den Herrn" was sung at Christmas, which might suggest that Bach's festive motet with text from the psalm might have been intended for that season. Bach's training as a choirboy would have meant daily immersion in both the Latin and German psalters.

 

Motets and Chorales for Trinity 2 cont'd

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 17, 2011):
Thomas Braatz forwarded a link to an important dissertation on the Bodenschatz collection of motets which Bach used every Sunday: http://etd.ohiolink.edu/send-pdf.cgi/Chaney%20Mark.pdf?osu1180461416

"FOUR MOTETS FROM THE FLORILEGIUM PORTENSE" by Mark Allen Chaney
(Thesis, Ohio State, 2007)
[Abstract below]

It gives much background to the collection which arguably was the most important body of works performed by Bach's choirs. I would recommend the Introduction as a good overview of the relationship of polyphonic motets to the Lutheran liturgy. It also provides modern editions of four works previously unpublished:

Bodenschatz: Quam pulchra es
Valcampi: Senex puerum
Roth: Lieblich und schön seyn
Gumpelzhaimer: Iubilate Deo

The Gumpelzhaimer is an especially fine double-choir motet.

And to amend my previous posting:

THE MUSICAL CONTEXT OF BACH'S CANTATAS:
MOTETS AND CHORALES FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
See: Motets & Chorales for 2nd Sunday after Trinity [LCY]

*****************************************************
Abstract:

In 1618, a German clergyman and musician named Erhard Bodenschatz published a collection of 115 motets under the title Florilegium Portense. A second volume of 150 pieces appeared three years later. Both collections contain motets of five to eight voices mostly in Latin, though a few are in German. They contain works of Hassler, Lasso, Gabrieli, and a host of lesser-known composersóas well as several pieces by Bodenschatz himself.

The purpose of the collection was to provide a repertory of motets of high quality for practical liturgical use. The collection includes music by both German and Italian composers, and the style of the music ranges from Palestrina-like counterpoint to Venetian polychoral style. Both volumes were published with a figured basis generalis to facilitate performance with organ accompaniment in the Baroque practice that was just then in its infancy. The Florilegium Portense is an important collection because it was so widely used throughout central Germany; it was still being reprinted a century after its first publication.

There is very little published scholarship on the Florilegium Portense. There is no modern edition of the collection, and although some of the pieces are available in various Gesamtausgabe and Denkm‰ler editions, most of the music remains unedited. The purpose of this project is to explain the significance of this collection, to briefly summarize the style of the music it contains, and to offer a modern edition of four motets from the collection that have not previously been published.

 

BWV 21: Bach's Chorales & Hymns for Trinity 3

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 30, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< This week we continue the Trinity season with BWV 21, the first of two works for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity (Trinity 3, Trinity +3, or Trinity III are frequent shorthand). >

*****************************************************
THE MUSICAL CONTEXT OF BACH'S CANTATAS:
MOTETS AND CHORALES FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
See: Motets & Chorales for 3rd Sunday after Trinity [LCY]

 

Early Trinity Time Cantatas

William Hoffman wrote (July 6, 2011):
Reflections on Bach's Early Trinity Time Cantatas

While Bach authorities express amazement at his incredible compositional output during Christmastime and Eastertime, the beginning of the second half of the church year of Ordinary Trinity Time and the beginning of the new academic term at the Thomas School in Leipzig was a watershed period. The Thomas Church and School cantor took stock of available music resources and planned the coming year of musical performances at all the main church services in Leipzig. To do this, he needed competent musicians as well as skillful poetic texts and appropriate chorales fit for his cantatas as "musical sermons" commenting on the assigned Gospel and Epistle lessons, the basis of the pastor's preached sermon following the cantata.

It all began on May 30, 1723, the First Sunday After Trinity, when Sebastian Bach directed his first required Sunday main service cantata, BWV 75, <Die Elenden sollen essen, daß sie satt werden> (The poor shall eat as much as they want, Psalm 22:26). There followed some 58 more cantatas for all the Sundays (except eight in the closed seasons of Advent and Lent) as well as major three-day feasts of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, and numerous one-day Marian and saints feasts. The record shows that Bach met these requirement with original works for two successive years or annual cycles, while producing a major oratorio at Good Friday Vespers.

To meet his personal and creative goal of a "well-organized church music to the glory of God" Bach was both demanding and ambitious while continually observing various Lutheran and other traditions in this unique German community -- a beacon of orthodox spiritual reawakening, commercial prosperity, and enlightened university education. Although lacking a university education himself, the calculating Bach produced works of unparalleled quality and diversity. The first year was a test period, yielding a heterogeneous cycle, adapting some 20 previous sacred works for the particular needs and circumstances in Leipzig while creating 38 cantatas in various forms with new texts not found in publications of well-known librettists Erdmannn Neumeister, Salomo Franck and the like. Bach focused the second, homogenous cycle on chorale melodies and texts used as large-scale opening fantasia choruses and harmonized closing four-part chorales, with chorale text paraphrases set as internal arias and recitatives, with occasional troped chorale verses usually intoned by sopranos, or the hymn melody played obbligato by a solo instrument.

A major shift occurred towards the end of the second, chorale cantata cycle in the spring of 1725, as Bach broadened his perspectives. He resumed other compositional forms, especially keyboard studies, secular cantatas, and instrumental collections. He began utilizing so-called parody technique leading to large-scale oratorios, Passions and celebratory birthday cantatas. He turned increasingly to the new "gallant" style involving popular dance forms while beginning to experiment in older techniques such as motets and extended fugues. Cautiously, he secured visibility with music publications, commissions for the upper class and Saxon Court, collaboration with fellow musicians and composers, and participation in learned societies. Some of these changes are revealed in his third and probably final, incomplete cantata cycle. Built around old religious libretti and a sprinkling of other published texts, these works were generally for small ensemble, often using sinfonias from existing instrumental movements or other recycled material from choruses and arias. Meanwhile, he presented 18 cantatas of his cousin Johann Ludwig Bach. Wherever possibly, he involved his eldest sons and wife, Anna Magdalena, not only as copyists but also as performers and composers.

Besides exhibiting diversity and new interests, Bach was both an experimenter and an adherent of tradition and practice, particularly in his early Trinity Time cantatas. Some of the key trademarks of his cantatas are found here. From the beginning, Bach created various diverse forms of cantatas, including extended two-part works and double-bill cantatas before and after the sermon. He was not content with a perfunctory opening chorus, alternating da-capo arias and short recitatives with biblical quotations, and a closing chorale; nor did he produce endless perfunctory solo cantatas for one voice. Bach utilized musical forces and keys and tonalities appropriate to the less-celebratory Trinity Time with its few feast days. He selected non-festive Trinity Time chorales using familiar melodies with either didactic texts found in the Lutheran Catechism and devotional books or comforting Psalm and communion hymns. Bach spun engaging melodies for the human voice, often with equally poignant solo obbligato instruments in duets and trios; he created engaging symbolic vocal duets for the Soul and Jesus; and his recitatives could be at turns dramatic, reflective, and compelling. Dance style infused many of his arias as well as choruses.

There are a few general and specialized studies of Bach's Trinity Time cantatas. The basic understanding of the works, their forms and features, is found in the late Alfred Dürr's omnibus, definitive <The Cantatas of J. S. Bach> (Oxford University Press, 2005). The book features a very informative overview Introduction, and covers each cantata by Church Year event, from Advent to Trinity Time to the festivals, as well as incidental works.

The Bach scholar William H. Scheide (b. 1914) has spent many years studying the first cantata cycle, in addition to his revelatory <Bach Jahrbuch> writings on the Johann Ludwig Bach cantatas. Here is the only description of his manuscript: "Sizeable through they are, these varied contributions pale in bulk alongside Scheide's regrettably still unpublished monumental study of the first cantata <Jahrgang>, "Bach Achieves His Goal," modestly referred to by its author as "B-A-G." Treating virtually every aspect of Bach's cantata production - calendrical and liturgical considerations, textual and musical forms, theological content, scoring, performance, etc. -- from the time of his arrival in Leipzig until mid-1724, the multi-volume typescript has become something of a legend in its time, thanks not least to the author's generous granting of access to fellow -scholars. It is the present editors' hope to see its status as an "underground classic" changed to that of a widely circulated standard work." Editors Paul Brainard and Ray Robinson wrote this in their "Foreward" to <Essays in Honor of William H. Scheide> (Bärenreiter / Hinshaw), published in 1993 but originally planned for Scheide's 75th birthday in 1889.

Sadly, there are no major studies of Bach's cantatas by cycle, genre, use, or type, only a scattering of essays. The best insight into the Trinity Time Cantatas in particular are found in American author Eric Chafe's two studies of tonal allegory. <Tonal Allegory in the Vocal Music of JSB> (University of California Press, 1991) has a general look at the cantatas in Weimar and some 40 in Leipzig, a surprising number for Trinity Time, as well as other chapters on the St. John and St. Matthew Passions. The topic of tonal allegory may seem a bit arcane but is very applicable in Chafe's second book, <Analyzing Bach Cantatas> (Oxford University Press 2000). Much of the focus here is on Trinity Time cantatas: BWV 9, Trinity +6, as a chorale cantata; BWV 21, Tr. +3, individual movements; BWV 60, Tr.+24; book summary, BWV 77 Tr.+13, the 10 Commandments (theology, individual movements). Also there are studies in of the influence of modal chorales such as Luther's Catechism "Dies sind" die heilge Gebot (BWV 77), "Durch Adams Fall" BWV 21 (modal) & BWV 109 Tr. +21 (I believe, modal), "Ach Gott, vom Himmel" BWV 2 (Chorale Cantata 2, Tr. +2, modal) "O grosser Gott BWV 46 (modal) (Tr. +10).

Turning briefly to tonality in the first four Trinity Sunday cantatas, the emphasis moves from the celebratory, festive Trinity Sunday and First Sunday After Trinity in the sharp keys of G and D to the flat, poignant side and often in the minor, from C Minor (3 flats) to A Minor (no accidentals). At the same time, it is interesting that Bach begins using chorales in Phrygian mode rather than keys. Wikipedia: "The two chorales [closing Parts 1 and 2] in Johann Sebastian Bach's cantata Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76 [Trinity +2, Cycle 1, 1723], elaborate the Phrygian mode of the original melody, by Matthaeus Greiter (c. 1490-1552) (Braatz 2006)," BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Es-woll-uns.htm. The rest of Cantata 76 is in the key of C Major and E Minor, gravitating to the sharp of center.

Of special interest is Bach's Cycle 2 Chorale Cantata 135, "Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder" (Trinity +3), which has both ends, the opening chorale fantasia and closing plain chorale, in Phyrigian mode while the inner recitatives and arias trend toward the flat side minor of D and G Minor. By the time Bach reaches the Fourth Sunday After Trinity in the first two cycles, Cantatas 24 and 185 double bill and Chorale Cantata 177 (belatedly composed in 1732 to fill a gap), he is firmly in flat keys. Cantata 185 is a repeat from Weimar, like the two-part Cantata BWV 21 for the Third Sunday in Trinity firmly in flat keys and performed the week before the double bill. Interestingly, the repeat Cantata 185 originally was in the key of F-Sharp Minor in Weimar but Bach simply transposed it up a half step to G Minor in Leipzig to accommodate it to its companion Cantata BWV 24 and its predecessor (BWV 21).

Also interesting is the fact Bach composed no Cycle 1 Cantatas for the Fifth, Sixth, and 18th Sundays After Trinity in 1723. He focused instead on composing cantatas for feast days: John the Baptist (BWV 167 in G Major with solo trumpet), the Visitation of Mary (BWV 147), Weimar expansion with solo trumpet in C and G Major), and an undetermined cantata for St. Michael's (Sept. 29). Reformation Day coincided with the 23rd Sunday After Trinity, October 31, 1723. Bach never filled these gaps in Cycle 1. On the other hand, the third cycle, began after Bach's first hiatus from composing weekly cantatas at Trinity Time (last half of 1725), has only one new early Trinity Time Cantata, BWV 39, for the First Sunday After Trinity (June 23, 1726), in B-Flat Major. Instead, Bach substituted cantatas of cousin J. L. Bach for the two feast days, June 24, and July 2, finally composing Cantata 88 for the Fifth Sunday After Trinity (July 21, 1726).

Besides the desire and need to provide cantatas for the two early Trinity Time feast days in 1723 (Bach had no Weimar cantatas available since he was unable to compose feast day works except when they fell on Sundays), Bach would have had to provide a double bill or a two-part cantata for the Fifth and Sixth Sundays After Trinity. He was only able to continue this practice every Sunday, begun with the First Sunday After Trinity, through the Seventh Sunday After Trinity, when he composed two-part Cantata BWV 186, <Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht>, with 11 movements. He was able to resume this provision on eight more occasions (four feast days) in Cycle 1: BWV 179 and 199 for Trinity +11; 2-part BWV 70 for Trinity +26); BWV 63 and 238 for Christmas Day; BWV 181 and 18 (Weimar repeat) for Sexagesimae Sunday; BWV 22 and 23 for Quinquagesimae Sunday; BWV 182 (Weimar repeat from Palm Sunday) and Anh. 199 for Annunciation; BWV 31 and 4 (Weimar repeats) for Easter Sunday; BWV 172 (Weimar repeat) and 59 for Pentecost Sunday; and BWV 194 (Cöthen) and 165 (Weimar repeat) for Trinity Sunday.

Bach scholar Christoph Wolf suggests that these seven two-part cantatas and seven double bills, totaling 21 church pieces involving 11 previously-composed works, may constitute a proto cantata cycle ("Wo bleibt Bachs fünfter Kantatenjahrgang?" [Where is Bach's Fifth Annual Cantata Cycle?], <Bach Jahrbuch 1982, p 151f [Kleine Beitrage - Brief Contributions]). Bach would compose no two-part chorale cantatas but take up the form again in Cycle 3 (1726) to Rudolstadt texts (BWV 43, 39, 88, 187, 45, 102, 35, 17) for, respectively, Ascension Day and seven Trinity Time Sundays (+1, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14), alternating them with cantatas of J. L. Bach.

For Trinity Time, three basic new cantata forms are found in the first annual cycle, Alfred Dürr describes in <The Cantatas of J. S. Bach> (p. 27), beginning with the Eight Sunday after Trinity. Cantata Form No. 1 (bible words, recit., aria, recit., aria-chorale) is found in the 8th to 14th and 21st -22nd Sundays After Trinity (BWV 136, 105, 46, 179, , 69a, 77, 25, and 109). Cantata Form No. 2 (biblical words., recit., chorale, aria, recit., aria, chorale), is found in BWV 48 for the 19th Sunday After Trinity. Form No. 3 (biblical words, aria, chorale, recit., aria, chorale) is not found in any Sundays after Trinity. Other forms are found in BWV 138 (Tr.+15, chorale cantata), 95 (Tr.+16, chorale cantata), ?148 (Tr.+17, after Picander), no. Tr.+18 composed, 162 (Tr. +20, Weimar repeat), 109 (Tr.+21, closing chorale chorus), 89 (Tr.+22, solo, no opening chorus), no Tr.+23 cantata, 60 (Tr.+24, opening chorale adapta), 90 (Tr.+25, solo, no opening chorus), 70 (Weimar repeat, two-part; Tr. +26).

Multiplicity of cantata forms and chorales play an important part in Bach's first cantata cycle, with two chorales in cantatas in Dürr Form 2 as well as opening and closing chorale choruses and chorale adaptations. Having experimented in so many forms with more chorales, it was logical for Bach to pursue an original, homogeneous chorale cantata cycle for the next church year.

Despite three cantata forms, we have a paucity of Trinity Time cantatas, especially in comparison with the first half of the church year, <de tempore>, focusing on the major, festive events in the life of Jesus Christ, from his birth at Christmas to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. During most of Trinity Time Bach seems to have paced himself, especially during the later Trinity period when again he had to compose festive cantatas, for St. Michael's Day, September 29, when the Fall Leipzig Fair took place, and Reformation Day, October 31, about a month prior to the beginning of the new Church Year on the First Sunday in Advent

Some important essays on individual Trinity Time cantatas are found in:

Chafe's "Bach First Two Leipzig Cantatas (BWV 75, 76): A Message for the Community," in "A Bach Tribute: Essays in Honor of William H. Scheide (Bärenreiter / Hinshaw), published in 1993 but originally planned for Scheide's 75th birthday in 1889.

Robert L. Marshall, <The Music of JSB: The Sources, the Style, the Significance> (Schirmer Books, 1989), especially Cantata 78 (Tr.+14), "On Bach's Universality, Chapter 4"; Cantata 105 (Tr. +9), Compositional Process, Chapters, 7 and 8.

Calvin R. Stapfert, <My Only Comfort: Death, Deliverance and Discipleship in the Music of Bach (Eerdmans Publishing, 2000), especially Cantata 77 (Tr. +13), and 140 (Tr. +27), under theme of "Discipleship."

Gerhardt Herz also has a mongraph on Cantata 140 (Norton Critical Score, 1972), with the exemplary essay "A New Chronology of Bach's Vocal Music" (especially the cantatas).

 

Motets & Chorales for Trinity 4

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 12, 2011):
See: Motets & Chorales for 4th Sunday after Trinity [LCY]

 

Motets & Chorales for Trinity 5

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 18, 2011):
See: Motets & Chorales for 5th Sunday after Trinity [LCY]

 

Motets & Chorales for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 25, 2011):
See: Motets & Chorales for 6th Sunday after Trinity [LCY]

 

Motets & Chorales - Summer Saints Days with Cantata

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 26, 2011):
The Musical Context of Bach's Cantatas:
Motets & Chorales for Summer Saints Days (June-August)
Cantata Required
FEAST OF THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (June 24)
FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF MARY (July 2)

Sources:

* BACH'S HYMN BOOK:
Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch des Gottfried Vopelius
(Leipzig 1682)",
Berlin: Merseburger, 1969.
ML 3168 G75

* BACH'S MOTET COLLECTION:
Otto Riemer, "Erhard Bodenschatz und sein Florilegium Portense"
Schünigen: Kaminsky,1927
ML 410 B67R4

Dissertation on Bodenschatz Collection (downloadable): http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi/Chaney%20Mark%20A.pdf?osu1180461416

NOTES:

* The Feasts of the Birth of John the Baptist (June 24) and the Visitation of Mary (July 2) were both celebrated as principal festivals which could displace the Sunday observance. Both required the performance of a cantata and a concerted Latin Missa and Sanctus.

* FEAST OF THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (June 24)

* Note: The prescribed hymns include the Latin plainsong hymn as well as the Latin canticle which may have been used at Matins.

1) MOTETS for Introit, Before Sermon at mass and vespers for Choir II, and During Communion:

i) "Benedicam Dominum" (8 voices) - Andrea Gabrieli (1532-1585)
Biography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Gabrieli

Text: Psalm 34:1-6
"I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. 2 My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his
troubles."

Comparison Sample: "Magnificat for 12 Voices" - A. Gabrieli: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAoHi48Gkfs

ii) "Omnes Gentes" (8 voices) - Heinrich Steuccius (1579-1645)
biography: http://tinyurl.com/3b5nn5j

Text: Psalm 47:
"O clap your hands together, all ye people : O sing unto God with the voice of melody. For the Lord is high, and to be feared : he is the great King upon all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us : and the nations under our feet. He shall choose out an heritage for us : even the worship of Jacob, whom he loved. "

Comparison Sample: "Omnes Gentes" - Giovanni Gabrieli: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_8H8AJvGy4

iii) "Et tu Puer" (8 voices) - Caspar Vicentius
Caspar Vicentius (1580-1624)

Flemish composer. He was civic organist of Speyer in c1602-1615, and after a period in Worms became organist of Würzburg Cathedral in 1618. He edited the first three volumes (1611-13) of the motet collection Promptuarium musicum with Abraham Schadaeus and compiled the fourth (1617) himself; the motets include 25 of his own, which are mainly conservative in style.

Edition of Motets: http://tinyurl.com/3cpmqwy

Text: Luke 1:76-79
" And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace."

2) HYMN OF DAY (de tempore)
"Gott de Vater wohn uns bei"

3) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns:
"O Lux beata Trinitas"
Sample http://www.amazon.de/Vespers-hymn-lux-beata-trinitas/dp/B001S3IXY8

"Herr Christ der einige Gottes Sohn"
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale114-Eng3.htm

"Gelobet seist du Herr Gott Israel"

"Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel"

"Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam"
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale106-Eng3.htm
Sample: [track 37] http://preview.tinyurl.com/3tehwtt

* FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF MARY (July 2)

* NOTES:

Hymns include the Latin Magnificat and Preface for concerted Latin Sanctus.

Motet is prescribed generally for "feasts of Mary"

1) MOTETS for Introit, Before Sermon at mass and vespers for Choir II, and
During Communion:

i) "Ecce tu Pulchra" (8 voices) - Borsarus ?

Text: Song of Songs 1:14
"Behold, you are beautiful, my love! behold, you are beautiful!
Your eyes are of doves."

2) HYMN OF DAY (de tempore)
"Meine Seel erhebt den Herrn" [German Magnificat]
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale109-Eng3.htm

3) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns:
"Herr Christ der einigen Gottes Sohn"
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale114-Eng3.htm

"Nun freut euch lieben Christen gemein"

4) LATIN PREFACE FOR SANCTUS

 

Motets & Chorales forthe Seventh Sunday after Trinity

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 8, 2011):
See: Motets & Chorales for 7th Sunday after Trinity [LCY]

 

Motets and Chorales for Trinity 8

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 28, 2011):
See: Motets & Chorales for 8th Sunday after Trinity [LCY]

 

BCW: Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales for Events in the Lutheran Church

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 11, 2011):
Based on the important contributions of Douglas Cowling and William Hoffman I have created pages in the LCY section on the BCW dedicated to Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales (M&C) for Events in the Lutheran Church Year (LCY).
Each Event in the LCY will have a M&C page discussing the Motets & Chorales associated with this Event.
This material has been presented so far in various pages of the BCW. I thought it would be more convenient for members of the BCML and visitors of the BCW to have it all in one stop shop in connection with the LCY pages.

So far I have created pages for Trinity Sunday to Trinity 8 containing the material of Doug and Will. All are linked from the table: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Table.htm
Each M&C page is also linked from the corresponding LCY page.
See for example: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity8.htm
Linked from: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/8.So.n.Trin..htm
In due time I intend adding links to these pages from more pages on the BCW.

The M&C page of the 8th Sunday after Trinity has now links from the three Bach Cantatas composed for this Event, including this week's Cantata BWV 45.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV45.htm [Event]

I hope you would find this addition useful.

 

THE MUSICAL CONTEXT OF BACH'S CANTATAS: Trinity 9

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 17, 2011):
See: Motets & Chorales for 9th Sunday after Trinity [LCY]

 

Garison Keillor on Michaelmas

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 29, 2011):
An interesting look at the Michelmas customs brought to the New World by Lutherans. Did Anna Magdalena have a roast goose with all the trimmings today?

Garrison Keillor: "Writer's Almanac" (September 29, 2011)

In the Christian world, today is Michaelmas, feast day of the archangel Michael, which was a very important day in times past, falling near the equinox and so marking the fast darkening of the days in the northern world, the boundary of what was and what is to be. Today was the end of the harvest and the time for farm folk to calculate how many animals they could afford to feed through the winter and which would be sold or slaughtered. It was the end of the fishing season, the beginning of hunting, the time to pick apples and make cider. Today was a day for settling rents and accounts, which farmers often paid for with a brace of birds from the flocks hatched that spring. Geese were given to the poor and their plucked down sold for the filling of mattresses and pillows. Michaelmas was the time of the traditional printer's celebration, the wayzgoose, the day on which printers broke from their work to form the last of their pulp into paper with which to cover their open windows against the coming cold < the original solution for those who could not afford glass yet had more than nothing < and the advent of days spent working by candlelight. In the past, the traditional Michaelmas meal would have been a roast stubble goose < the large gray geese that many of us only get to admire at our local state and county fairs. Today, when most poultry comes from the grocery store in parts and wrapped in plastic, a roast goose can be a difficult luxury to obtain, but any homey, unfussy meal is a fine substitute < especially with a posy of Michaelmas daisies or purple asters on the table. In folklore, it is said that when Michael cast the Devil from Heaven, the fallen angel landed on a patch of blackberry brambles and so returns this day every year to spit upon the plant that tortured him. For this reason, blackberries would not be eaten after today, and so folks would gather them in masses on Michaelmas to put into pies and crumbles and preserves. And they would bake St. Michael's bannocks, a large, flat scone of oats and barley and rye, baked on a hot griddle and then eaten with butter or honey or a pot of blackberry preserves. Whether you recognize Michaelmas or not, you can still greet what comes with the symbols of today: gloves, for open-handedness and generosity; and ginger to keep you warm and well in the coming cold.

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George Bronley wrote (September 29, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Very interesting, however I am happly to get my food from Tesco (just round the corner.

 

Lutheran Nuns

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 10, 2012):
A interesting video clip of Lüne Abbey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LOvvJ0slEfA

And photo gallery for Isenhagen Abbey: http://www.kloster-isenhagen.de/fotos.html

The nuns choir is not unlike the original arrangement of choir stalls in St.Nicholai where Bach's choirboys sang Matins in the early morning.

 

Table of liturgical calendar events for Bach's life?

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 23, 2013):
I know on the Bach cantata website, there is a table of all the feast days and occurrence of Sundays within specific liturgical seasons-- e.g. when was Pentecost Sunday for say 1723, or 1734 ? Or 1 Advent in 1720. What about Easter in 1743?

I can't seem to find that section of the website now. So any link would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance ;)

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 23, 2013):
Found it! :-)
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/Index-Bach.htm

 

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Last update: ýOctober 11, 2013 ý18:54:49