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Concertos for Violin & Orchestra BWV 1041-1043
General Discussions - Part 1

Mullova Ensemble

Neil Halliday wrote (May 22, 2003):
Heard on the radio tonight: a lovely performance of the Adagio from Bach's Concerto for violin and oboe in C minor (Philips 446 675-2), performed by the above ensemble.

Was it on period instruments? Going to google.com and typing in the subject of this post, gives some surprising information - check it out (and males of this group may get a pleasant surprise).

Apparently the violinist is earning a reputation for "playing on the modern violin with all the lightness and dance that one has come to expect of baroque performers".

"Would she consider playing on the baroque violin? No, its just too different." (Interviewer: John Sidgwick). The CD containing the above excerpt is described as "a delight from beginning to end".

Sidgwick concludes with this:
"More importantly, Viktoria Mullova has demonstrated that it really is possible to be utterly faithful to the fundamental message of the music and perform it on an instrument for which it was not conceived, something which up to now has not been readily admitted."

Those of us who loved baroque music from the English Chamber Orchestra, and Neville Marriner with the AoSMitF, and the best European chamber orchetras, could have told him that.

Riccardo Nughes wrote (May 22, 2003):
"Would she consider playing on the baroque violin? No, its just too different."
She had changed idea and now plays Mozart & Bach on a baroque violin. Now she plays with Il Giardino Armonico (Bach), Orchestra of The Age of the Enlightment (Mozart violin concertos) and Ottavio Dantone (Bach sonatas for violin and cembalo). http://www.deccaclassics.com/artists/mullova/index.html

 

Hahn Bach Ctos [MCML]

Lawrence Haber wrote (September 21, 2003):
I just recently got the new Hilary Hahn recording of the Bach violin concerti. I found the tempi she used to be a bit on the quick side. Although she can clearly play at this speed as neither her intonation nor articulation seemed to suffer at the pace she was going at, all I seemed to hear was the music going by at high speed. I must admit I turned the CD off well before the end.

I was a bit disappointed here and curious how others found this.

By the way, this was on DG, her new label.

Jim wrote (September 22, 2003):
I admired the spirit, but regretted the speeds. (Listen to the poor continuo players.)

My favorite--not that I've heard all the recordings of these pieces by any means--is still the Oistrakh, though it may be a little stately for some tastes (but only about a minute longer per movement). I don't like the Perlman set at all...it's as though they went out of their way to be non-HIP, and all the playing is laden with vibrato.

YMMV,

Bill McCutcheon wrote (September 22, 2003):
[To Lawrence Haber] I just picked it up a few days ago. I love it, as I generally prefer quicker tempi, so view those as a definite asset rather than a detriment.

A bit OT and of no real consequence ... I wonder why the graphic artists added a tear to Ms. Hahn's cheek on the CD cover. There is no tear on the large wall poster of the same photo which adorns the wall at the Lincoln Square Tower Records.

Back on topic ... I also recently purchased Lara St. John's "Concerto Album" of the same music. I also like that one a lot, maybe even a bit more than Hahn's.

Bill McCutcheon wrote (September 22, 2003):
I (a life-long New Yorker) wrote:
"... at the Lincoln Square Tower Records."
Make that "Lincoln CENTER." Ugh! ... should have had my morning coffee!

MIFrost wrote (September 23, 2003):
[To Lawrence Haber] I wonder if you generally prefer your baroque playing non-HIP and therefore slower in general. I have the Oistrakh recording and also a recording by Viktoria Mullova. The former is rather slow and the latter quite fast. I like each one in its own way.

Van Eyes wrote (September 23, 2003):
[To MIFrost] Is that generalization safe, though? Can we not have modern and energetic, and HIP and forgetful?

Mazzolata wrote (September 23, 2003):
[To Van Eyes] Depends what you mean by HIP, doesn't it?

If HIP is about trying to create performances closer to those from the time of the composer, this includes both instrumentation and tempo, right? I always thought that the theory was that the big romantic orchestras slowed tempos due to their unwieldiness, and the smaller ensembles in the HIP world were taking us back closer to original performing speeds. The fact that the HIP folks also like to use original instruments is really neither here nor there as far as tempi are concerned.

Van Eyes wrote (September 23, 2003):
[To Mazzolata] Yes, through interpretation, technique, acoustics, and equipment (eg strings), you often see both sides trying to meet somewhere in the middle.

Marc Perman wrote (September 23, 2003):
[To Bill McCutcheon] I'm a mostly life-long New Yorker who is less than fluent about the Upper West Side, but isn't Tower next to or near a high rise called Lincoln Square something-or-other?

Bill McCutcheon wrote (September 23, 2003):
[To Marc Perman] Hmm ... dunno ... If one of the nearby buildings is named that, then my initial gaffe was, well ... no!, it's still a gaffe.

 

Nigel Kennedy

Jan Hanford wrote (January 13, 2004):
I'm curious to hear what people on this list think of Nigel Kennedy's recording of the Bach violin concertos with the Berlin Philharmonic on EMI.

 

Violin concertos recommendations (modern violins)?

Juozas Rimas wrote (February 3, 2004):
What would be your recommendations of the JSB violin concertos on the non-Baroque violin?

I have an old soviet LP recording with Janson's/Kremer's BWV 1042 and I love it a lot (one my first Bach loves) but I doubt I could ever get it on a CD. I've heard of Kremer's recording with Marriner - a review on jsbach.org review isn't positive (although it addresses lack of authencity which is no problem to me).

I've also listened to Kennedy's BWV 1041 and enjoyed it, except for some unexplainable unpleasant violin screeches in the Allegro which is, otherwise, so plesantly fast and energetic - Shumsky's rendition was so much slower - almost didn't sound like Allegro...

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 3, 2004):
Juozas Rimas wrote:
< What would be your recommendations of the JSB violin concertos on the non-Baroque violin? >

On "non-Baroque" violin? I still enjoy the ultra-budget set by Altenburger with Winschermann, on Laserlight: Amazon.com
Maybe it's because I bought it 20+ years ago as the 2-LP set on Arabesque, as my first exposure to most of those pieces. But I think it's more than that familiarity: they really are nicely played performances here, agile, crisp, perky, fresh. That orchestra gives good focus to the bass line, too, as a line. That energy down there helps all the parts dance gracefully.

Another one absolutely not to miss is the 1950 performance of BWV 1060 on this CD, by Stern/Tabuteau/Casals: Amazon.com
That middle movement, especially, is so beautiful in that performance, it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it right now!

< (...) Shumsky's rendition was so much slower - almost didn't sound like Allegro... >
To keep things sorted out: "Allegro" is a character word, not a tempo word.

Donald Satz wrote (February 3, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] In addition to being a character word, allegro also refers to a brisk tempo. No?

William D. Kasimer wrote (February 3, 2004):
< What would be your recommendations of the JSB violin concertos on the non-Baroque violin? >
Grumiaux, on Philips 420 700-2.

Johan van Veen wrote (February 3, 2004):
[To Juozas Rimas] Thomas Zehetmair with the Amsterdam Bach Soloists on Berlin : modern instruments, but played in HIP style. The recording contains BWV 1041, 1042, 1052 and 1056.

Peter Bright wrote (February 3, 2004):
[To William D. Kasimer] Yes, this is one I'd almost forgotten about - but it's wonderful. How do list members rate Yehudi Menuhin in these works (and the solo sonatas and partitas)?

Santu de Silva wrote (February 3, 2004):
>> What would be your recommendations of the JSB violin concertos on the non-Baroque violin? >>
Viktoria Mullova (phillips)

 

Violin concertos: Authenticity

Júlio Galvão Dias wrote (October 27, 2004):
Some people contest the authenticity of Bach's Violin Concertos.

Someone could tell me what are the main reasons and arguments for that?

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 27, 2004):
Júlio Galvão Dias wrote:
>>Some people contest the authenticity of Bach's Violin Concertos. Someone could tell me what are the
main reasons and arguments for that?<<
If you are referring to the two solo violin concertos [BWV 1041 in A minor and BWV 1042 in E major and possibly the 'double' violin concerto BWV 1043], the only aspect of authenticity that might be questioned is not concerning Bach's authorship, but rather for which instrument(s) these concertos were originally conceived; in other words, whether these concertos were 'authentically' composed for the violin. Below are some quotations from Boyd's "Oxford composer Companions: J. S. Bach" [Oxford University Press, 1999] which discuss some of the problems, including the possible chronology of the concertos. The listing of works found in an appendix wisely refuses to assign any date or period to any of these works, although Christoph Wolff and other Bach scholars, as explained below, thought that two of them derive from the Leipzig period.

The NBA VII/2 KB indicates that the autograph scores for these concertos no longer exist, but some parts are available which confirm clearly that Bach had composed these works, but whether these parts represent the original form of Bach's conception of these works in their original state or some later reworking or a later arrangement of an earlier work can not yet be determined.

BWV 1041: The watermark of the Violino Concertino part which is autograph dates from 1729 until the end of 1731 and by dating some of the other original parts in this incomplete set, parts by various copyists, the best date to be assigned is 1730.

The autograph score of BWV 1058, which is the harpsichord concerto arrangement of BWV 1041 was completed between 1738 and 1740.

Among the problematical issues discussed in the NBA KB, is the fact that the 2nd violin part, copied by an unknown copyist, shows the most errors that Bach needed to correct and of these the most common error was that of notating the part a second (interval) too low, possibly indicating that the part was being copied from an original score/part that was in G minor instead of A minor.

BWV 1042: In this instance, both original score and all of the original parts have been lost. The oldest copy is one by Hering who seems to have been a copyist whom CPE Bach employed in Berlin. It is not known whether the latter directed the former to make this copy.

Fortunately again, we have Bach's own transcription of this concerto for harpsichord as BWV 1054 in D major. The autograph score of the latter was probably completed between 1738 and 1740.

BWV 1043: The score is not extant and only 3 parts of the 'original' set have come down to us. Of these, only the Violino 1. Concertino and the Violino 2 Concertino parts are autograph, the continuo part is not. All the remaining parts of this Leipzig set are missing and there may possibly have been an earlier Cöthen set of parts as well.

Again, there is an autograph transcription of this concerto for 2 harpsichords as BWV 1062.

A number of Bach scholars plead their case for the origin of BWV 1043 to be linked to Bach's activities with the Leipzig Collegium musicum and the latest date for the origin of this music being c. 1730.

Stylistic analyses of all three violin concertos have only begun and much work is still needed in this regard so that a better, slightly more reliable chronology of these works can be ascertained. Certain violin techniques used by the solo violins, such as bariolage, point to the violin as the uniquely designated instrument for which the concertos were composed.

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

From "Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach" [Oxford University Press, 1999]

>>Violin Concertos. Bach wrote three violin concertos, two (in A minor and E major) for violin and orchestra, BWV 1041-2, and one (in D minor) for two violins and orchestra, BWV 1043. They are generally thought to have been composed at Cöthen in 1717-23, but autograph material (incomplete) exists only for the A minor and D minor concertos, and Christoph Wolff has suggested the possibility of a later, Leipzig origin for these two works. Bach is believed to have written several more violin concertos at Weimar and Cöthen, and it is likely that many of his harpsichord concertos were arranged from earlier violin versions which have since been lost; thus, the violin concertos in G minor BWV 1056R and D minor BWV 1052R and the D minor Concerto for violin and oboe BWV 1060R are the conjectural originals of works which have come down to us as harpsichord concertos. The Triple Concerto for flute, violin, and harpsichord is also a reworking (c. 1730) derived from BWV 894 (outer movements) and BWV 527 (slow movement), and Brandenburg Concertos nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5 include prominent parts for solo violin (violino piccolo in the case of no. 1).<<
Robin Stowall

>>Bach's original concertos BWV 1041-64. Bach's first complete, free-standing concertos may date from his Cöthen years (1717-23), although many of them draw on material that had existed earlier, in different contexts, in Weimar. It must be remembered that the post of Kapellmeister to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen was the first to require him to produce concertos as part of his normal duties. At Cöthen Bach probably composed many concertos, but only nine survive in their original state. These are the violin concertos in A minor and E major BWV 1041-2, a concerto for two violins in D minor BWV 1043, and the set of six Brandenburg Concertos, all for different instrumental combinations, that he sent in 1721 to the Margrave of Brandenburg as a demonstration of his talent. (It should be added here that Christoph Wolff has argued for a possible Leipzig origin for the violin concertos BWV 1041 and 1043.)

A second phase of concerto composition and (increasingly) arrangement occurred in Leipzig in connection with Bach's directorship (1729-37 and 1739-41) of the collegium musicum. These concertos have in common the participation of at least one solo harpsichord; they were evidently vehicles for Bach himself, his sons, and his pupils. Only one of them, a concerto for two harpsichords in C major BWV 1061, originated with certainty as a keyboard concerto. Otherwise, we have harpsichord versions (transposed down a tone) of the three surviving concertos for one and two violins BWV 1058, 1054, and 1062; a similarly transposed version of the Fourth Brandenburg Concerto, with harpsichord replacing violin (BWV 1057); a pastiche of earlier chamber works (BWV 1044); arrangements for three harpsichords of two lost concertos for three violins (BWV 1063-4); four solo harpsichord concertos wholly or partly arranged from lost concertos for violin (BWV 1052 and 1056) and for oboe or oboe d'amore (BWV 1053 and 1055); and a two-harpsichord concerto in C minor BWV 1060, based on a putative original (possibly in D minor) for violin and oboe. Reconstructions of the original versions published in the NBA and elsewhere have in some cases begun to rival the 'harpsichord' versions in frequency of performance; the last-mentioned concerto, in particular, is already more popular in its reconstructed form.<<
Michael Talbot

>>The violin concertos BWV 1041-3 and 1049 are notated a major 2nd lower in Bach's arrangements for harpsichord, primarily because of range. Bach would not, then, appear to have taken the affective properties okeys very seriously.<<
Bruce Haynes.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 27, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< From "Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach" [Oxford University Press, 1999]
>>The violin concertos BWV 1041-3 and 1049 are notated a major 2nd lower in Bach's arrangements for harpsichord, primarily because of range. Bach would >not, then, appear to have taken the affective properties of keys very seriously.<<
Bruce Haynes. >
...from the article "Pitch". The excerpting of these two sentences, in isolation, is quite a misrepresentation of the overall thrust and directions of Haynes' article! It's also a gross oversimplification from (at least) two major articles by Haynes (one of which is mentioned in the bibliography of that Composer Companions article), and his dissertation. [That is, don't expect dictionary entries in a general-consumption book for amateur readers to have given the whole picture...especially when they're further shortened by a reporter such as Mr Braatz with his own agenda of being misleadingly selective with the available material! And, Mr Braatz has neglected to quote from the separate entry about the harpsichord concertos, by John Butt....]

Furthermore, my own research this year has overturned that second Haynes sentence as quoted.... Bach transposed his music for practical and affective reasons, having it sound different and equally usable in each key. Yes, there's avoidance of notes off the top of the harpsichord, in those arrangements, but that's not the whole story.

This is not an appropriate forum, however, to discuss this matter. It would just degenerate into yet another endless series of anti-academic potshots by Mr Braatz against additional materials he hasn't read, all based on his personal assessments of the authors' character!

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 27, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Bruce Haynes....from the article "Pitch". The excerpting of these two sentences, in isolation, is quite a misrepresentation of the overall thrust and directions of Haynes' article! It's also a gross oversimplification from (at least) two major articles by Haynes (one of which is mentioned in the bibliography of that Composer Companions article), and his dissertation.<<
Who cares about the 'overall thrust and directions of Haynes' article, when the question is primarily centered upon the existing Bach's violin concertos and their authenticity as violin concertos? Haynes was only quoted as an interesting, but very secondary sidelight into the transcription process.

>>And, Mr Braatz has neglected to quote from the separate entry about the harpsichord concertos, by John Butt....]<<
John Butt adds nothing substantially new, different, or important compared to the information already culled from the NBA KB which was cited and made all the necessary connections between Bach's harpsichord arrangements of the violin concertos.

As I understand the question raised, it did not mean to probe further into the possibility that other harpsichord concertos might also have been violin concertos, nor did it seem to want to find out in any greater depth just how Bach changed the violin concertos to make them into harpsichord concertos. Only the minimum information on this latter point was shared, whereas the focus remained, for the most part, on the three, violin solo concertos that were initially listed.

>>Furthermore, my own research this year has overturned that second Haynes sentence as quoted.... Bach transposed his music for practical and affective reasons, having it sound different and equally usable in each key. Yes, there's avoidance of notes off the top of the harpsichord, in those arrangements, but that's not the whole story. This is not an appropriate forum, however, to discuss this matter.<<
Perhaps this is not the forum to pique the readers' curiosity and interest without giving further details and by withholding information which other list members may misunderstand or misuse. This is an extremely condescending attitude toward the readers on this list and an insult to the intelligence of most readers who have a healthy curiosity which is not subject to undue reverence or veneration of degrees and titles. It is as if they are utterly incapable of understanding the evidence offered as proof for a theory and are simply unable to come to their own, independent decisions on a given matter. Certainly explaining how a theory advanced by one of the most renowned musicologists (Haynes) is 'overturned' by the research of a virtually unknown researcher (Brad Lehman) would add the necessary credibility to your yet unsubstantiated claim of a 'revolutionary' theory. This openness would be a move that would impress the readers more than simply cowering out of fear behind a wall of secrecy (ivory-tower mentality) because some amateurs on this list might discover something that an ongoing peer review has been unable to uncover or to set right until now.

On the subject of focus: what information of true significance for the question that was asked has been called into question here or which additional pertinent facts have provided additionally aid to the readers in gaining a deeper insight that can relate specifically to answering the question as it was posed originally by Julio Galvao Dias: "Some people contest the authenticity of Bach's Violin Concertos. Someone could tell me what are the main reasons and arguments for that?"

How does a real, expert musicologist go about answering this question?

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 28, 2004):
Here's a question about the violin concertos, specifically the E major. Bach himself rearranged it later as a harpsichord concerto, changing the figuration of the bass line and the solo part and some other things (along with the transposition to D). So, following the obvious theory that this version represents Bach's later thoughts, one of my university advisors (a violinist) about 20 years ago prepared a performing edition of the violin concerto, incorporating those changes back into the earlier orchestration. One of his best students played the solo violin part in the premiere: a student orchestra with another of his students conducting, and me at the harpsichord, which was fun. I don't know if that edition has got used since then; maybe, maybe not, or maybe someone else has followed the same idea separately.

That's my question: have there been any recordings, known to anybody here, of such a hybrid version where the solo is played by a violin (with the later melodic figuration, which is considerably more interesting)...and with the enlivened bass line with the passing notes in it?

======

On another topic, a brief response to the comments below, from earlier in this discussion thread:

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Perhaps this is not the forum to pique the readers' curiosity and interest without giving further details and by withholding information which other list members may misunderstand or misuse. >
You betcha it will be both misunderstood and misused! My on-list comments about that project (a paper about Bach's keyboard tuning), from May and June, magically turned up later in June as plagiarized ideas in an internet paper by another member of this group, as you know full well. Anything I'd mentioned on-list, in response to his own probing for information which had seemed innocuous enough at the time, he took as fair game to twist and reproduce into his own work, as if it were original ideas and a positive contribution to the argument of his paper. Not coincidentally, you "accidentally" sent an on-list posting yourself recently, asking him personally how his revisions are going (perhaps as some sort of peer reviewer for him?). You know there's misuse going on here, probably aided by your own searches into reference materials, not that he credited you either for the assistance in his topic. Doesn't that academic dishonesty bother you at all?

< This is an extremely condescending attitude toward the readers on this list (...) >
Rest assured, your supremacy at offering condescending commentary has only one serious challenger in the present forum, and it's not from me. I gladly concede you guys win in that department, with the myriad ways in which you misrepresent, mock, belittle, and overrule expert work. Sometimes you don't even bother to read it first!

So, you're eager to disprove my paper even before it's issued? Why, other than personal spite and arrogant cynicism on your part? And, what would be your stake in disproving it when it's out, to your own satisfaction and amusement?

If you're eager to try to prove or disprove something in public, which seems to be a regular hobby of yours (especially if you can somehow make real expertise itself look like foolishness that you can debunk to your satisfaction in a couple of hours), why not have a go at proving or disproving the other guy's paper mentioned above? As I recall, you haven't expressed an opinion about it, or even bothered to correct the obvious points where his public presentation disagrees with your reference books. Why is that? How do you explain the discrepancies? You seem to have explanations and "corrections" for everybody else's discrepancies, especially if they're real experts, and you pretend to know the researching mind so well that you can overrule any conclusions you don't fancy, and tell us all what the writer allegedly didn't even think about. So, go to it. Go tune a harpsichord that other guy's way (by ear in 15 minutes) as prescribed, play a sufficient quantity of Bach's keyboard music directly, check into his historical sources, bring in all the other historical sources he didn't use, and see if his hypothesis all works out better than accepted methods which early-keyboard specialists have been using for 40 years. Report your objective findings. I've already done so, myself. I'm interested to see what objective conclusions you'd come to about it, given that you fancy yourself to have the technical skills to assess such work. How do you explain his results, either historically or practically?

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 28, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Here's a question about the violin concertos, specifically the E major. Bach himself rearranged it later as a harpsichord concerto, changing the figuration of the bass line and the solo part and some other things (along with the transposition to D). So, following the obvious theory that this version represents Bach's later thoughts, one of my university advisors (a violinist) about 20 years ago prepared a performing edition of the violin concerto, incorporating those changes back into the earlier orchestration. One of his best students played the solo violin part in the premiere: a student orchestra with another of his students conducting, and me at the harpsichord, which was fun. I don't know if that edition has got used since then; maybe, maybe not, or maybe someone else has followed the same idea separately.
That's my question: have there been any recordings, known to anybody here,of such a hybrid version where the solo is played by a violin (with the later melodic figuration, which is considerably more interesting)...and with the enlivened bass line with the passing notes in it?<<
Comparing, for instance, the 2nd measure of mvt. 1 in both versions, it is obvious that Bach made the continuo part in the harpsichord concerto (BWV 1054/1) follow the exact same bass pattern that occurs in the left hand of the solo harpsichord part. In other words, Bach tries to match the continuo part with the solo harpsichord bass line which is 'busier' because perhaps of the lack of sustaining power compared to the violin. He did not want bass lines in BWV 1054 to be different. There is a unity in the movement of both lines and not a disparity as would occur if Bach's earlier violin part (BWV 1042/1) which does not move in running eighth notes were coupled with the bass line from BWV 1054 or the bc from BWV 1042 were used with the running bass line of the solo harpsichord part in BWV 1054. When Bach has a continuo accompany a solo instrument, he tries to adjust the continuo to preserve some similarity with the solo instrument, if this is possible. In the case of BWV 1042, the violin obviously does not have a bass line like the harpsichord does in BWV 1054, but continuo part nevertheless matches the rhythmic pattern of the violin more closely than it would if the hypothetical, hybrid conflation of versions such as the advisor had worked out were used. More important to Bach, it would seem, is creating or preserving a greater overall unity between the accompaniment and the solo instrument than trying 'by hook or crook' to make the piece sound more interesting and fun to play.

The bc part of BWV 1054, which was arranged later by Bach than the possible time period during which BWV 1042 was composed, shows Bach trying to adjust the original violin solo part to the characteristics (good and bad) of the harpsichord by overcoming as much as possible its deficiencies while still preserving the main core of the music already composed for a different instrument. Once the changes to the solo part (compared to the original violin solo part) had been made, the bc part required adaptation (to make it become similar and not different.)

Bach abhorred such things as 'inaequalitate' and 'deformitè' and perferred to 'concordiren' and 'accordiren.'

John Pike wrote (October 28, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
"This is an extremely condescending attitude toward the readers on this list and an insult to..."
and
"virtually unknown researcher (Brad Lehman) "
Using words like "condescending" and "insult" seems a touch ironic, given your later comment about Brad.

Wouldn't it be better to wait until Brad's paper is published (it has already been accepted for publication in a respected music journal). You might then be forced to eat some humble pie.

John Pike wrote (October 28, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] Some years ago, I heard Andrew Manze play the E major concerto in Bristol. It was a mesmerising performance, with very brisk tempi and much ornamentation. I think he had made some changes to the solo and orchestral parts, based on some research that had been done (?some of it by himself). He has recorded both concertos (and the D minor double concerto with Rachel Podger on the same CD) but I don't know off hand if it incorporates those changes. I have the CD at home and will look at the liner notes some time.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 28, 2004):
[To Thomas Braatz] I didn't ask you to make moral judgments for or against my advisor's work as an editor/arranger (you've already asserted below that my mentor was wrong, and you've invented excuses to rationalize your personal trashing of his work, even though you've never heard the piece played that way!!!). Nor do I agree with your fanciful guesses(**) about Bach's thought processes as an arranger of his own music, your guesses put together such that you can glibly put down anyone who thinks differently (i.e. those of us who think as practical musicians, recognizing that music is a process as much as a finished product). No, I simply asked if there have been recordings taking a similar approach, where Bach's own later melodic and rhythmic additions have been brought back into the violin version, making it more sprightly and giving it more forward drive.

[(**) And your guesses about all this are based on what, anyway? Have you ever composed anything with Baroque techniques, or written any fresh harpsichord transcriptions using Bach's many examples as inspiration (which was indeed one of our grad school assignments, doing it ourselves to understand Bach's working process as composers/arrangers, studying what he did to enliven or enhance his models)? Have you ever performed both the violin and harpsichord versions, and studied them phrase by phrase to see what's going on, and conducted the music from the keyboard? I have, and I know quite a bit more about composing and improvising within Bach's style than you do. So, hush your moral objections to the nature of my work, and your wild guesses at a "by hook or crook"-make-it-interesting approach, which isn't even the motivation at all! My goal as a performer (and as a researcher) is to find the spirit in the music, and bring it awith joy and intensity. The thing to be reconstructed here is not some firmly fixed set of notes exactly as they appear in Urtext editions, but rather a sparkling burst of lively and enjoyable music, based on recognizing Bach's working methods as a language...and in that way following his instructions and examples carefully.]

=====

I re-listened to the Manze recording this morning, at John's suggestion. But he hasn't changed the violin figuration as Bach's later harpsichord part does (converting the rather static and formulaic cross-string passages into melodic roulades), and hasn't changed the bass line's profile (where Bach later added passing notes); he's merely brought over a bit of the later harmony in the first movement's little cadenza (i.e. adding a few double-stops himself), and improvised various normal little bits here and there. Enjoyable and lively, but not really using much from the later version.

I'm enjoying the Naxos recording of reconstructed Bach oboe and oboe d'amore concertos, played by Hommel with the Cologne Ch Orch. The concertos here are 1055, 1056, 1059, 1053, 1060 (here keeping it in C minor rather than D minor, which also has some adherents). Joins some of my older favorites in this repertoire: Westermann/Camerata Koln, Hammer/Rifkin, Lorenz/Guttler (1055), Tabuteau/Stern/Casals (1060). I'd like to hear a little more feeling of swing and drive from Hommel's orchestra, but his oboe playing is nicely fresh and loose, spinning those lines out there. I still have never heard anybody surpass Lorenz/Guttler's graceful way with 1055.

Last week on the BBC's internet webcast they had a guy playing 1055 on accordion with a Scottish chamber orchestra...really had a nice dance and verve to it, a feeling of improvisation even though they were sticking fairly closely to the written notes. Then they went on to some wild and intense Piazzola pieces. Yeah, baby!

Well, it's pretty difficult to dislike the Bach concertos, whatever they're played on. They're so charming, tuneful, vivacious.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 28, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Nor do I agree with your fanciful guesses about Bach's thought processes as an arranger of his own music...And your guesses about all this are based on what, anyway?<<
I have listed specifically my observations about the harpsichord arrangement, but you have not pointed out specifically where my observations are in error or in need of correction. Certainly the starting point of a discussion must be centered upon the prime evidence (autograph score or original parts)and not immediately wander off into what a musician needs to do in order to 'spice up' Bach at all costs for a modern audience without even seriously attempting to assess Bach's intentions.

>>So, hush your moral objections to the nature of my work.<<
BRML Guidelines G.

>>The thing to be reconstructed here is not some firmly fixed set of notes exactly as they appear in Urtext editions, but rather a sparkling burst of lively and enjoyable music, based on recognizing Bach's working methods as a language...and in that way following his instructions and examples carefully.<<
As you well know, Bach was much more careful than most Baroque composers in making his musical intentions known by notating carefully exactly what he wanted. What he feared most were the well-intentioned musicians who lacked what he considered to be good taste. Changing the character of the bass line in BWV 1042 to another taken from BWV 1054 which was modified to suit the characteristic features of a very different instrument, the harpsichord, does not seem to be a way of 'recognizing Bach's working methods as a language' but rather shows disregard of them.

>>I re-listened to the Manze recording this morning, at John's suggestion. But he hasn't changed the violin figuration as Bach's later harpsichord part does converting the rather static and formulaic cross-string passages into melodic roulades), and hasn't changed the bass line's profile (where Bach later added passing notes); he's merely brought over a bit of the later harmony in the first movement's little cadenza (i.e. adding a few double-stops himself), and improvised various normal little bits here and there. Enjoyable and lively, but not really using much from the later version.<<
Perhaps Manze recognized that Bach's original intentions should be kept as is and not modified to sound more like the harpsichord figurations and techniques.

>>Last week on the BBC's internet webcast they had a guy playing 1055 on accordion with a Scottish chamber orchestra...Yeah, baby!<<
Why is it that we always seem to end up with a thread on Bach played on the accordion? And what does this really have to do with the stated subject of this thread?

>>Well, it's pretty difficult to dislike the Bach concertos, whatever they're played on. They're so charming, tuneful, vivacious.<<
This is something we can agree on. But you always seem to confuse "Hearing Bach on any instrument played in any possible manner is better than hearing no Bach at all" with "Performing Bach authentically means adhering more strictly to what prescribed in his scores, using the performance standards enhanced by historical study and the use of reconstructions of older instruments whereever possible as well as vocal techniques as described in the period sources." Certainly these historical performance practices are still being defined and experimentation continues. Whatever Bach is performed accordingly today represents an ongoing experimentation, the results of which are anything but final.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 28, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Nor do I agree with your fanciful guesses about Bach's thought processes as an arranger of his own music...And your guesses about all this are based on what, anyway?<<
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< I have listed specifically my observations about the harpsichord arrangement, but you have not pointed out specifically where my observations are in error or in need of correction. >
Your whole APPROACH to this is in need of correction, since you've now asked for some. Will you accept some? Bach had at least two different rounds of intentions about this piece, and maybe more, depending how many times he and his students performed it, in whatever venues and on whatever instrumentations. The existing versions show different stages of that process. It behooves us to THINK LIKE MUSICIANS and recognize this process by which a piece grows organically each time its composer (and those around him) rethinks and revisits the material. That process is the musical entity, just as much as a photographic snapshot of any particular stage of its development is. Authenticity here is to see the DYNAMIC of all this, and do something musically intelligent about it.

< Certainly the starting point of a discussion must be centered upon the prime evidence (autograph score or original parts)and not immediately wander off into what a musician needs to do in order to 'spice up' Bach at all costs for a modern audience without even seriously attempting to assess Bach's intentions. >
You're throwing sticks at a straw man of your own invention, again.

The intent of my advisor, a professional violinist himself, was to prepare a performing edition that gets inside "Bach's intentions" so fully that the notes of the E major violin version come out changed (improved) by Bach's later thoughts about the D major harpsichord version. He (my advisor) told me so, that that's what he was after. It's not about "spicing up Bach at all costs" for modern audiences, as you are fond of inventing as your straw opponent. It's about TAKING BACH'S INTENTIONS SERIOUSLY. More seriously, and with deeper practical understanding, than you do!

The starting point of a discussion must be centered on musicianship. THAT is prime evidence. Bach's musicianship. Not the holy worship of relic scores which must be rendered exactly, which is a surefire way to kill any music, raising literalistic worship of the notes above the recognition that they're a recipe to do musical things. Mr Braatz, since you're personally not inclined to bring any demonstrabexperience or training as a composer/improviser/performer of music in this style, i.e. the practical musicianship that Bach himself brought to the task and expected his performers to have as a basis, that is why our discussion goes nowhere, and degenerates regularly into this score-worship and the other anti-musicianship accusations that you foist upon us. YOU don't trust that we musicians (and especially we professional specialists in this particular repertoire) have pure motives for the work, or an understanding of the material. Well, that's YOUR problem.

>>So, hush your moral objections to the nature of my work.<<
< BRML Guidelines G. >
So, you get to make up whatever anti-education and anti-musicianship crap you want to, telling everybody how musicians should do our jobs better, but nobody gets to protest that YOU'RE being too bossy about it?! You tell musicians and researchers (some of us right here, to our faces) how to behave EVERY DAY, with an attitude that is clearly out to destroy independent thought and make everything conform to your personal expectations...and then you have the nerve to complain when somebody asks you to desist in this, to follow guideline G yourself? It's Orwell's Thought-Police, your attempts to squelch serious education and musical enterprise at every turn, while claiming that you alone have a window into "Bach's intentions" such that you can boss everybody around and correct their work.
<>

John Pike wrote (October 28, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] The liner notes by Manze himself are worth reading. Commenting on 1041, 1058 and 1043, 1062, he says "These later versions are important in that they can shed new light on the violin originals, when used with discrimination. The performances presented here incorporate a few inconspicuous though telling details from these arrangements, which could perhaps be described as Bach's second thoughts".

Then, referring to 1042 and 1054, he says "Apart from revealing some straightforward copying errors, comparison of the 2 versions (1042 and 1054) suggests that Bach rewrote certain passages in the outer movements to a degree that goes far beyond the demands of mere rearrangement. Having made these alterations to the score he then proceeded to change some of of them yet again, using a short form of tabulature under the relevant staves, and it is this third and final stage which harpsichordists play today. Over the years most violinists have read Hering's version (the copyist of an unknown original 10 years after Bach's death): for this recording, however, Bach's second or third thoughts were preferred to Hering where they seemed to be idiomatic improvements."

The recording of 1060 is a reconstruction for 2 violins in D minor (with Rachel Podger), which Manze describes as being "the little-heard alternative to the Seiffert solution" (a 1920s reconstruction by the notable German Bach scholar Max Seiffert for Violin and Oboe in D minor). There is also a reconstruction for Violin and Oboe in C minor, so more of it fits on the baroque oboe's range. Manze refers to the D minor version for 2 violins as being a "more violin-friendly key". Having played solutions in both C minor and D minor, I have to say myself that I think the C minor version lies more easily under the fingers.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 28, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Bach had at least two different rounds of intentions about this piece, and maybe more, depending how many times he and his students performed it, in whatever venues and on whatever instrumentations. The existing versions show different stages of that process.<<
This is similar to what happened with Bach's own repeat performances of the cantatas with often a space a number of years between performances or the same music was used in a parody of the original. The instrumentation/orchestration may have been changed from the original because the availability of good soloists had changed: different voice ranges and/or different instruments were used with some inevitable changes in the notation made necessary. The resulting version, although successful because Bach recognized the high quality of the music which he reused and recycled, does not always represent fully the integral unity of the original: the new words do not always fit or are not represented as well in the music that accompanies them as they had originally and the different solo instruments (in arias, for instance, where a violin or flute is substituted for an oboe) lose their former unique features/characteristics for which the music had been envisioned. The result of this loss often means a blander generality of musical figuration where none of the more unusual and impressive characteristics of an instrument are exploited to their fullest. It's still the same music, but it is no longer on the highest level of integration which Bach could achieve. He simply had to live with this and, in the case of the cantatas, after he had been disillusioned by the musical situation in the churches of Leipzig after 1730, no longer exerted himself to the degree of providing a completely new composition to substitute for the old. One reason he had composed the yearly cycles in the first place was to be able to fall back upon these reserves as needed. He then 'made do with what he had' as much as this was possible. The result is that the final version of some cantata movements still contain, for the most part, the great music of the original conception, but lack the full capabilities that Bach had 'built into them' when they were first freshly conceived and committed to paper. Hence it is not the case that the final version of a composition to come from Bach's hand necessarily means that it is the best or demonstrates the Bach was always improving his compositions with a wealth of new ideas that reveal yet another level of his genius.

In the case of BWV 1054, the process of arrangement and adaptation to a new solo instrument is an important consideration. In this instance Bach did consider the characteristic abilities and sound qualities of a completely new instrument, a change not comparable for this reason with a shift from a solo oboe to a solo flute or violin in a later version of a cantata. Now the problem for the musician and musicologist is to consider whether the characteristic writing of a solo violin (Bach was certainly equal or superior to any of his great contemporaries in his ability to make use of the violin's capabilities to the fullest extent) should be replaced by a later, but quite different conception of the music that Bach had when he introduced typical harpsichord techniques as elaboration of the original violin solo. It still has not been explained at all just how the 'wiping out' or modification/extension of the original violin part by overlaying the harpsichord features of the later version is in any way an improvement over the original. In essence, the musicians or arrangers who perform the violin concerto BWV 1042 in this manner are insulting Bach's ability to compose properly a solo violin part that displays the wonderful characteristics of the violin to its fullest. They desire instead to hear/play a harpsichordized version of this great violin composition.

>>It behooves us to THINK LIKE MUSICIANS and recognize this process by which a piece grows organically each time its composer (and those around him) rethinks and revisits the material.<<
As just demonstrated, Bach's compositions in the process of growth may move either down or away from the perfection of the original or upwards when Bach makes the effort to adapt the same music to a different instrument or a different venue (parodies). This later, different instrument, in any case, can not dictate to the original conception new and unique changes in figuration which might not be totally appropriate to the original instrument. With some arias from the cantatas, the inferior version would destroy the superiority of the original conception. With the later solo harpsichord version, the latter instrument would inflict its own inadequacies (for which Bach's genius compensated immensely) upon the solo violin which has capabilities not available to the harpsichord. Indiscriminately adding in the innovations from BWV 1054 is doing an injustice to the integrity of the original version.

>>The intent of my advisor, a professional violinist himself, was to prepare a performing edition that gets inside "Bach's intentions" so fully that the notes of the E major violin version come out changed (improved) by Bach's later thoughts about the D major harpsichord version. He (my advisor) told me so, that that's what he was after.<<
It is disturbing that a professional violinist would think that he had 'improved' on Bach's original version for violin by overlaying the harpsichord-like aspects of Bach's later version.

>> The starting point of a discussion must be centered on musicianship. THAT is prime evidence. Bach's musicianship.<<
Yes, and Bach's musicianship and knowledge of his instruments were far superior to that which some professionals today wish to arrogate to themselves. That is the reason why he made most of the changes in the score for the later harpsichord version.

>>YOU don't trust that we musicians (and especially we professional specialists in this particular repertoire) have pure motives for the work, or an understanding of the material. <<
This may be true and that is why I indicated above some important reasons for this and quoted from the evidence provided by the scores earlier in this thread. I am still waiting for a reasoned and well-focused response to my observations based upon the scores of both works under discussion here.

John Pike wrote (October 28, 2004):
[To Thomas Braatz] I think Thomas is just too dogmatic here. While I agree with some of what he says, and while much of the rearranging Bach did may well have been in order to suit the harpsichord better, it does not follow that this was his only thought as he rearranged. There may well have been other considerations. As Manze says, they "could perhaps be described as the composer's second thoughts." It therefore seems to me to be eminently sensible to use them to "shed new light on the violin originals, when used with discrimination" or to "prefer Bach's second or third thoughts to Hering where they seemed to be idiomatic improvements" (slight change in word order).

Santu de Silva wrote (October 28, 2004):
How can one argue from "Bach transposed works from one key into another" that "Bach did not take the affective properties of keys too seriously"?

In addition to the transposition, there was a degree of rewriting. The melodic lines are different. (of course, they have to be, since the violin is a melodic instrument.) Couldn't Bach have considered that the musical message was subltly different, also? Aren't there writers who write slightly different essays in different languages, instead of translating the same essay? (Does that mean that the writer is not aware of the subtleties of meaning that using a particular language imposes on the work? Or does that mean that he is indeed very deeply conscious of that influence?)

Donald Satz wrote (October 28, 2004):
[To Thomas Braatz] Sometimes a composer changes the original conception because he/she feels it would improve the work. It doesn't have to be based on the quality of singers in the vicinity.

It is humorous how Thomas keeps using the words "could" or "might", then later erects an edifice from these possibilities. If Thomas does not trust musicians and specialists, I consider it reasonable not to trust Thomas. He might have intuitive insight, but he instead always takes an academic and rigid line to his views.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 28, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< It's still the same music, but it is no longer on the highest level of integration which Bach could achieve. (...) Hence it is not the case that the final version of a composition to come from Bach's hand necessarily means that it is the best or demonstrates the Bach was always improving his compositions with a wealth of new ideas that reveal yet another level of his genius. >
And you're personally well placed to judge these levels of relative artistic quality....how, exactly?!

< Now the problem for the musician and musicologist is to consider whether the characteristic writing of a solo violin (Bach was certainly equal or superior to any of his great contemporaries in his ability to make use of the violin's capabilities to the fullest extent) should be replaced by a later, but quite different conception of the music that Bach had when he introduced typical harpsichord techniques as elaboration of the original violin solo. >
I'm quite well aware of the problems that are presented to musicians and musicologists.

< It still has not been explained at all just how the 'wiping out' or modification/extension of the original violin part by overlaying the harpsichord features of the later version is in any way an improvement over the original. In essence, the musicians or arrangers who perform the violin concerto BWV 1042 in this manner are insulting Bach's ability to compose properly a solo violin part that displays the wonderful characteristics of the violin to its fullest. >
Such as the long passages of two simple notes sawing back and forth, as compared with the much more varied melodic textures he contributed to those same portions of the movement in the later version.

< They desire instead to hear/play a harpsichordized version of this great violin composition. >
Don't tell me what I desire.

< With the later solo harpsichord version, the latter instrument would inflict its own inadequacies (for which Bach's genius compensated immensely) upon the solo violin which has many capabilities not available to the harpsichord. >
It could be said, equally, that violins inflict different inadequacies on music, simply bringing different adequacies and strengths. Meanwhile, your assertion about Bach's genius compensating "immensely" is just a bunch of hagiography where you're trying to enlist Bach on your side to beat me up in a back alley.

< Indiscriminately adding in the innovations from BWV 1054 is doing an injustice to the integrity of the original version. >
"Indiscriminately" doing anything is injustice. Especially, indiscriminately lecturing in public on topics that one does not really understand in practice. :)

< It is disturbing that a professional violinist would think that he had 'improved' on Bach's original version for violin by overlaying the harpsichord-like aspects of Bach's later version. >
Disturbing to whom? To non-musicians?

That violinist's wife, by the way, was a professional harpsichordist. A fruitful musical marriage there.

>> The starting point of a discussion must be centered on musicianship. THAT is prime evidence. Bach's >musicianship.<<
< Yes, and Bach's musicianship and knowledge of his instruments were far superior to that which some professionals today wish to arrogate to themselves. That is the reason why he made most of the changes in the score for the later harpsichord version. >
Now you're inside his mind and know for sure what his reasons are?! Do you play violin yourself? How about harpsichord? How about composing?

>>YOU don't trust that we musicians (and especially we professional specialists in this particular repertoire) have pure motives for the work, or an understanding of the material. <<
< This may be true and that is why I indicated above some important reasons for this and quoted from the evidence provided by the scores earlier in this thread. I am still waiting for a reasoned and well-focused response to my observations based upon the scores of both works under discussion here. >
You're not going to receive one because you refuse to accept what "reasoned" and "well-focused" responses ARE! You've ignored my point about an appropriate way to approach scores, for one thing.....

Gabriel Jackson wrote (October 29, 2004):
Donald Satz wrote:
"Sometimes a composer changes the original conception because he/she feels it would improve the work. It doesn't have to be based on the quality of singers in the vicinity."
Exactly! And to assert, as Thomas has, that re-assigning, say, a part originally designated as being foroboe to the flute in a subsequent version represents some sort of watering-down of Bach's original conception forced on him by circumstances, is actually pure speculation - a flute may equally have been his original inention but an oboe was forced on him by circumstances.

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 29, 2004):
John Pike wrote:
>>Then, referring to 1042 and 1054, he [Manze]says "Apart from revealing some straightforward copying errors, comparison of the 2 versions (1042 and 1054)suggests that Bach rewrote certain passages in the outer movements to a degree that goes far beyond the demands of mere rearrangement. Having made these alterations to the score he then proceeded to change some of of them yet again, using a short form of tabulature under the relevant staves, and it is this third and final stage which harpsichordists play today. Over the years most violinists have read Hering's version (the copyist of an unknown original 10 years after Bach's death): for this recording, however, Bach's second or third thoughts were preferred to Hering where they seemed to be idiomatic improvements."<<
[Manze] >>Apart from revealing some straightforward copying errors<<
Manze is referring here to Bach's autograph score for BWV 1054 in which Bach, in the process of transposing his own original score for BWV 1042 down by a second from E to D major makes numerous mistakes in placing the correctly transposed note on the staff by forgetting to make the intended change.

In mvt. 1 there are 10 such notes; in mvt. 2 there are 12 instances of this error and in mvt. 3 there are 13.

[Manze] >>Having made these alterations to the score he then proceeded to change some of them yet again, using a short form of tabulature under the relevant staves, and it is this third and final stage which harpsichordists play today.<<
According to the NBA KB VII/4, p. 111, the late changes implied by the Bach's 'tabulatur' corrections/additions in BWV 1054 may be unique and not at all like what usually occurred in Bach's autograph scores from this group of concertos, that is, they may not be late additions after all. This all depends upon what source Altnickol was using for his copy of the solo harpsichord part. If this source was the original set of parts which have never been found, then Bach, as an exception here, did not add these so-called late corrections/additions at a later time, but simply used them to further amplify or clarify what was in the autograph score as he proofread what he had arranged from BWV 1042 that he had used as a source. These additions/corrections would have been almost simultaneous with the creation of BWV 1054. If, however, Altnickol had copied from Bach's original score of BWV 1054, then some of Bach's corrections would appear to be later than the time when Altnickol made his copy. It is not at all clear when Altnickol made his copy of the harpsichord part. It might have been completed during his stay in Leipzig (1744-1748) or later when he lived in Naumburg (1748-1759.)

[Manze] >>Over the years most violinists have read Hering's version (the copyist of an unknown original 10 years after Bach's death): for this recording, however, Bach's second or third thoughts were preferred to Hering where they seemed to be idiomatic improvements."
The NBA KB VII/3 p. 25 reports that the first printed version of BWV 1042 appeared in 1857. The publisher was Peters and the editor was Siefried Wilhelm Dehn who notes in his foreword that he considered BWV 1054 to be the original form {"Originalgestalt"} of BWV 1042. Wherever he was in doubt he brought in the material from BWV 1054.

The BG with Wilhelm Rust as editor issued its printed score of BWV 1042 in September of 1874. It, too, was partially based, but not as extensively as Dehn's edition, upon BWV 1054. [Dehn's theory still persisted but not at full strength.]

The new Peters Edition version which appeared in 1971 was prepared by Hans-Joachim Schulze and followed primarily the source B (Hering's copy of the parts, 1760) which the NBA considered as 'bedeutungslos' ['meaningless'] for its purposes. Schulze included only a few slight corrections based on BWV 1054.

The NBA edition (1989) referred to BWV 1054 only to clear up the messy situation that Hering left behind when the phrasing in his copy of the parts differs substantially from the phrasing he gives in the copy of the score for BWV 1042. It would appear that the NBA made the least use of Bach's autograph score of BWV 1054 to come up with what they consider to be the most authentic version of BWV 1042.

It is interesting to consider that all the performances of BWV 1042 from 1857 to 1971 were based on printed versions that were substantially amplified or based upon BWV 1054 because the prevailing theory was that the BWV 1054 came first as the original conception of this music.

John Pike wrote (October 29, 2004):
Interesting stuff.

Regarding [Manze] >>Apart from revealing some straightforward copying errors<<,
Thomas Braatz wrote:
"Manze is referring here to Bach's autograph score for BWV 1054.........."
Notwithstanding any errors Bach may have made in transposition, I felt sure that Manze was referring to errors made by the copyist Hering, which became apparent on close inspection of 1054, so giving a more reliable guide to Bach's original intentions in 1042.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 29, 2004):
A nicely objective presentation, for the most part! (Hurrah!) But some questions of clarification, from the last two paragraphs where it changes subtly from careful reporting into polemic:

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< (...)
Manze is referring here to Bach's autograph score for BWV 1054 in which Bach, in the process of transposing his own original score for BWV 1042 down by a second from E to D major makes numerous mistakes in placing the correctly transposed note on the staff by forgetting to make the intended change.
In mvt. 1 there are 10 such notes; in mvt. 2 there are 12 instances of this error and in mvt. 3 there are 13.
(...)
The NBA edition (1989) referred to BWV 1054 only to clear up the messy situation that Hering left behind when the phrasing in his copy of the parts differs substantially from the phrasing he gives in the copy of the score for BWV 1042. It would appear that the NBA made the least use of Bach's autograph score of BWV 1054 to come up with what they consider to be the most authentic version of BWV 1042.
It is interesting to consider that all the performances of BWV 1042 from 1857 to 1971 were based on printed versions that were substantially amplified or based upon BWV 1054 because the prevailing theory was that the BWV 1054 came first as the original conception of this music. >
That conclusion (by the reporter here, himself amplifying the NBA information which he'd otherwise presented carefully...) doesn't really follow logically from the evidence presented at the top, does it? If "the prevailing theory was that the BWV 1054 came first as the original conception of this music", then why would 1054 have 35 copying errors in it, by the composer himself?

It seems to me that the reporter, unfortunately, is taking a step too far in trying to put down all the non-NBA editors who worked on the piece earlier (especially my mentor who did his version in c1984), and to dismiss 1054 as an overall inferior version of the piece.

Also, from the report here, it appears that the NBA made much use of the 1054 score in their process of preparing the edition, although our reporter asserts that they made the "least" use of it! Get the distinction: "making use" of something as a source doesn't necessarily mean reproducing all its contents wholesale. The NBA editors consulted 1054 on every note, every bar, to see what's different...and to see what 1054 tells us about phrasing.

Furthermore, the reporter doesn't really know that "all the performances of BWV 1042 from 1857 to 1971" were based on the later conflated prints he mentions; he's making that up, to elevate the NBA's reading as automatically superior. What's to stop any of these earlier players from having consulted the manuscripts closely themselves, before 1971?

Thomas Braatz wrote (October 29, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>That conclusion (by the reporter here, himself amplifying the NBA information which he'd otherwise presented carefully...) doesn't really follow logically from the evidence presented at the top, does it? If "the prevailing theory was that the BWV 1054 came first as the original conception of this music", then why would 1054 have 35 copying errors in it, by the composer himself?<<
Isn't it obvious that the state of musicology in the middle of the 19th century was more primitive than what has been accomplished in the last half century? The musicologists did not compare watermarks to determine chronology, analyze very carefully the handwriting used and the types of errors that were being made. They were interested in stylistic elements, however: Forkel's comment written directly on the Altnickol copy of the solo harpsichord part for BWV 1054 (a part which Forkel owned) is "By Johann Sebastian Bach. Seems to be a violin concerto by Vivaldi which Bach transcribed for keyboard." How is that as evidence for the state of musicology in this earlier age?

>>It seems to me that the reporter, unfortunately, is taking a step too far in trying to put down all the non-NBA editors who worked on the piece earlier (especially my mentor who did his version in c1984), and to dismiss 1054 as an overall inferior version of the piece.<<
BWV 1054 is not an inferior version, it is a different version recomposed for a very different instrument. It should not be confused or conflated with BWV 1042 was was most likely composed specifically for a solo violin.

The NBA used BWV 1054 only to check on a few places in the 3rd mvt. where Hering's phrasing marks (ties) left much to be desired in regard to clarity. This is how it (BWV 1054) should be used in order to give the 'cleanest,' most idiomatic reading of BWV 1042. The NBA KB reports that Bach's autograph score of BWV 1054 was used 'only for comparison,' but they did not incorporate, as the early editors of printed editions did according to Dehn's theory, all the differences or variants in Bach's score, thinking that the . Only in regard to some questionable phrasings (caused by Hering) in the 3rd mvt. did they have to rely on Bach's score as the arbiter in determining what was correct: Hering's copy of the score for BWV 1042 or the readings given in his own copy of the parts. (The NBA calls Hering a rather sloppy copyist for this reason.)

>>Furthermore, the reporter doesn't really know that "all the performances of BWV 1042 from 1857 to 1971" were based on the later conflated prints he mentions; he's making that up, to elevate the NBA's reading as automatically superior. What's to stop any of these earlier players from having consulted the manuscripts closely themselves, before 1971?<<
Let's be realistic about this! Just how many (or should we say, how extremely few individuals would have had access to these rare parts hidden away in the collections of various manuscript collectors?) Isn't it much more likely that they would be playing BWV 1042 from the printed editions?

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 29, 2004):
Boiling all this down, about the E major violin concerto (1042) a.k.a. the D major harpsichord concerto (1054). My current understanding (getting into some of the philosophical area of "authenticity" also) is this:

- Bach wrote the E major concerto for violin and strings, first; original source(s) now lost, but there's a decent copy from c1760 made by Hering.

- Bach later rearranged it for harpsichord and strings: transposing it down to D, changing the bass line substantially, changing a lot of the melodic figuration (some of it to fit keyboard hands better, some of it to be melodically richer...replacing simple passages with more complex ones), adding some new harmonic emphases, and adding various flourish-swoops of new notes between the existing phrases. All this gives the piece more drive and flow, overturning its stop-and-start rhythms from the first version.

- That arrangement itself also contains alternate versions of some of these passages, crammed in as tablature notation between the staves...various options, perhaps from different performances. He's filling out details that would be improvised by players who were looking at the simpler E major violin version: giving several suggestions, showing the normal variety of approaches, and/or changing his mind across several performances of his own or by his students.

- Various phrasing/articulation marks disagree or are missing, comparing the Hering violin copy against the Bach hpsi score; neither version fully represents the normal things that performers do in technique and expression beyond such markings.

- Violinists and harpsichordists both can learn from one another's versions of this piece, as to seeing the varieties of phrasing and improvised details that are normal to such music, seeing the organic process of a composition's evolution as the composer has visited it several times. (Indeed, when I last conducted it from the harpsichord a few years ago, I went through the NBA's conclusions and several other editions, and copied various phrasings and articulations into my orchestra's parts, and into my solo part, adopting some of the violinistic phrasing wherever it can work well also on harpsichord. The goal here is to get the accentuation of the music to have the brilliant variety displayed by this and other Bach works for violin...that richly unpredictable mix of single notes, twos, threes, fours, fives, longer phrases. It's parsing the grammar of the music, clearly, to free the players to be naturally expressive on top of that basic articulation and not have to worry about it.)

- The important thing here, comparing the various versions and ossias, is that the performers recognize the compositional process of change and improvisation/elaboration. It is not authentic reproduction to try to strip all that away and play a bare-bones "Urtext" reading that has been carefully constructed by philology, back to some hypothetically super-clean original. (That's the fear approach: that we're somehow not worthy to think for ourselves beyond absolutely restrictive notation!) The reason to have such an "Urtext" (i.e. the NBA's reading, the product of positivistic philology) at all, on the players' music stands, is to have a clean [modern] source that can then be treated with the same freshness and flexibility that the presumed original (the lost E major source) was treated: differently at every performance, with the players making up delightful things in the spur of the moment, thinking actively and reacting to one another as it goes along, a normal approach to Baroque music.

- That spirit of flexibility, i.e. musicianship and taking seriously the fact that Bach himself was a master improviser, is (IMO) the most authentic way to realize "Bach's intentions"...taking his written-out examples of improvisatory and irregularly-shaped stuff, as models to go and do likewise. What might Bach himself play as either a violin soloist or harpsichord soloist, improvising on his own material? How might his orchestra react to this, as a dynamic process? Maybe the resulting performance is a conflation of several extant versions, and maybe it's something entirely new, with players taking new chances each time the music is played; but it's taking the sources with utter seriousness and being inspired by them into the active process of music-making. It's a treatment of the sources not as restriction, but as a recognition that they themselves are merely snapshots from a dynamic process. The music is what is made of that material on any given occasion, by players who know how to play. It's not an ossified reading on a piece of paper, to be reproduced exactly lest it transgress "Bach's intentions". [In such a case, it would be need to be demonstrated conclusively that "Bach's intentions" were for the music to sound cautious, stuffy, unfree, non-improvisatory, as if there were ever any way in existence to notate everything that performers would need to know, and as if music is about FORBIDDING things to happen!]

- Meanwhile, few (?) violinists venture to incorporate more of the ideas from the harpsichord version back into their performances of the violin version, as to modifying the bass line and making some of the first movement's solo figuration more varied. This puzzles me; I believe it's worth another look to take Bach's later thoughts about the piece (i.e. 1054) as models to do so. I listened again to the Manze recording this morning, and appreciated that he has brought in some of the octave runs between phrases (from the harpsichord version), allowing them to sound like normal improvisatory sweeps...but I feel it could be taken much farther in such a direction, as one of my professors was already doing 20 years ago, writing out such ideas into a violin edition to encourage that....

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 29, 2004):

Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Let's be realistic about this! Just how many (or should we say, how extremely few individuals would have had access to these rare parts hidden away in the collections of various manuscript collectors?) Isn't it much more likely that they would be playing BWV 1042 from the printed editions? >
Yes, of course. But it's not about staring at rare manuscripts, so much as knowing that there are different versions of the piece (each having some claim to Bach's intentions at some time(s) in his life) and that it's worth understanding them. Performers are not restricted to use ONLY some single performing edition that someone has prepared for them; the Bach-Gesellschaft and other editions have been available for more than 100 years, for comparative inspection, allowing performers to prepare or modify other editions accordingly. YOUR assertion (to which I object) was that performers before 1971 DID NOT do such comparison between existing readings of BWV 1042 and 1054. The way you stated it, performers are all mere victims at the mercy of editors who allegedly made bad choices (in YOUR opinion), and performers are not smart or enterprising enough to do such comparative work, or to come to any musical conclusions different from the pages of holy score that editors have placed before them.

And in the interest of "being realistic" (indeed!) in the bigger picture yet: how many of those performing individuals were lectured on things they must not do, by self-important non-musicians, rather than being taught normally by qualified teachers of the instruments, and allowed to play musically?

 

Continue on Part 2

Concertos for Violin & Orchestra BWV 1041-1043: Details
Recordings:
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
Review: The Concerto Album by Lara St. John | Violin concertos by Elizabeth Wallfisch
General Discussions:
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Last update: ýJanuary 9, 2009 ý17:36:35