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Bach's Choral Repertoire

Bach's Basic Choral Repertoire

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 12, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>There may be some Hammerschmidt in the collection of motets which Bach's choirs used every Sunday. Was the list of titles in the collection posted to list aa year or so ago when we discussed the non-cantata repertoire? I can't find it.<<
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Vespers.htm

I have updated and revised this list (it still is not perfect and will require later revisiting of this material). "Das Erbe deutscher Musik" Tübingen/Göttingen has planned to reprint it in 2007:

Florilegium Portense, Teil 1 (RISM 16181),Teil 2 (RISM 16212). Vorgelegt von Hans-Joachim Theill. In Vorbereitung.

Here is my updated list:

Agazzari (2 motets 1618 ed)
Aichinger (Gregor? Gabrieli Schüler) 1 motet 1618 ed.)
Andreas Berger (1584-1656 he represented in this
collection (1618) with 3 8-pt. motets)
Blasius Ammon (c.1560-1590 probably the 1st German musician to study under Andrea Gabrieli in Venice, where he learned how to compose for double chorus)
Felice Anerio (1 motet 1618 ed)
Anonymi
Girolamo Baglioni (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Benedetto Bagni (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Ludovico Balbi (5 motets 1618 ed.)
Giovanni Bassano
Giulio Belli (2 motets 1618 ed.)
Andreas Berger (3 motets 1618 ed.)
Carlo Berti (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Bertolusi (3 motets (1618 ed.)
Bianciardi (3 motets (1618 ed.)
Melchior Bischoff (1547-1614 8-pt double chorus »Deus misereatur nostri« 1603 ed.)
Erhard Bodenschatz (1576-1636 3 motets: one from 1603: "Ich dank dir" a 8, a homophonic arrangement of a hymn by Calvisius and for double chorus with a middle section in triple time: "Audi hymnun" a 8 and "Quam pulchra es" a 5 (1618 ed.) are the only compositions of his own included his collection)
Borsaro (2 motets 1618 ed.)
Girolamo Boschetti (dates unknown) 2 compositions in the 1618 collection
Christoph Buel (1 motet 1618 ed.) »Expurgate vetus fermentum«
Sethus Calvisius (Seth Kalwitz) (1556-1615)
Thomaskantor in Leipzig, represented by 7 motets, 5 of them for 6 voices: "Praetor rerum seriem" a 6 is a parody of a Josquin work,
»Das alte Jahr vergangen ist« »Quaerite primum regnum dei« both for 8 voices from the 1618 collection »Zion spricht: Der Herr hat mich verlassen« and »Unser Leben währet siebnzig Jahr« the latter for 8 voices included in the 1621 reprint, his last composition which was sung at his funeral)
Serafino Cantoni
»Laudate Dominum in sanctis«
Geminiano Capilupi (2 motets 1618 ed.) »Confitemini Domino« »Domini est terra«
Lodovico Casali (1 motet 1618 ed.) »Cognoverunt discipuli«
Ottavio Catalani (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Croatti (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Giovanni Croce (2 motets 1618 ed.)
Johannes Christoph Demantius (1567-1643) 1 motet for 6 voices (1618 ed. Part I) 3 motets for 8 voices in Part II (1621)
Dulcino (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Dulichius
Christian Erbach (1570-1635) (6 motets)
Eremita
Albinus Fabricius/Fabritius (5 motets)
Fattorini
Melchior Franck (1579/1580 - 1639 (4 motets for 6 voices 1618 ed. 1 motet for 8 voices (double chorus)1621 ed.)
Andrea Gabrieli (5 motets 1618 ed.)
Giovanni Gabrieli (2 motets 1603 ed.3 motets 1621 ed.)
Giulio Cesare Gabussi (2 motets 1618 ed.)
Jakob Gallus (Jakobus Handl) (1550-1591) (19 motets in 1603 & 1621 ed.)
Simone Gatto (1 motet 1618 ed.) »Obsecro vos fratres«
Ruggiero Giovanelli (1560-1625) Motets for 5 voices:
"Estote fortes in bello", "Iste sanctus pro lege Dei sui", for 8 voices: "Jubilate Deo omnis terra" (1603 ed.)
»Estote fortes in bello« »Iste sanctus pro lege Dei sui« »Jubilate Deo omnis terra«
Johann Ghro/Groh (Groß) (1575-1627) Motet for 8 voices »Lobet den Herrn in seinem Heiligtum«
Adam Gumpelzhaimer (1559-1625) (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Handl (see above)
Heinrich Hartmann (1582-1616) (2 motets for 8 voices:»Ist nicht Ephraim« »Lobe den Herren, meine Seele«) (1618, 1622 ed.)
Hans Leo Haßler (1564-1612) (3 motets for 8 voices, 1603 &1618 ed.)
Valentin Haußmann (??- 1611/1614) 1 motet for 8 voices 1603 ed.) »Man wird zu Zion sagen«
Moritz von Hessen
Ingegneri
Orlando di Lasso
Leone Leoni »Audivi vocem« »Petre amas me?« »Angelus Domini« »O Domine Jesu« »Tribularer« (only in 1618 ed.)
Luyton (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Marenzio (2 motets 1618 ed.)
Massaino
Meiland
Claudio Merulo (Meruli, Melotti (1533-1604) (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Philipp de Monte (motet 1618 ed.)
Moritz, Landgraf von Hessen "Hosianna"
Moro (Viadanus or Giacomo da Viadana) (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Alexius Neander »Adesto unus Deus«
Alessandro Orologio
Giulio Osculati (died 1620) (2 motets 1618 ed.)
Asprilio Pacelli (1570-1623) (9 motets 1618 ed.)
Benedetto Pallavicino (5 motets 1618 ed)
Parma (2 motets 1618 ed.)
Antonio Patarto or Patart (1560-1603 (1 motet 1618 ed.) »Quam dilecta tabernacula tua«
Annibale Perini (1 motet 1618 ed.)
von Pevernage
Dominique Phinot
Pinello di Ghirardi (1 motet 1618 ed.) »Pater peccavi«,
Costanzo Porta (1529-1601) (1 motet for 8 voices 1618 ed.)
Hieronymus Praetorius
Michael Praetorius (1671-1621) (Motet:»Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore« 1618 ed.)
Regio (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Teodoro Riccio (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Martin Roth (1579 or 1580 to 1610) 15 motets (only in 1618 ed.)
Antonio Savetta (3 motets 1618 ed.)
Annibale Stabile (2 motets 1618 ed.)
Giovanni Battista Stefanini (3 motets 1618 ed.)
Heinrich Steuccius (2 motets for 8 voices 1618 &1621 ed.) »Omnes gentes plaudite«, »Alleluja laetamini«
Tribiolo (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Valcampi (4 motets 1618 ed.)
Orazio Tiberio Vecchi (1 motet 1618 ed.)
Orfeo Vecchi (1550-1604) (1 motet for 6 voices 1621 ed.)
Stefano Venturi
Lodovico Viadana (1560-1627) (1 motet fro 5 to 10 voices 1621 ed.)
Caspar Vincentius (4 motets 1618 ed.)
Vulpius (3 motets 1618 ed.)
Christoph Thomas Walliser (1568-1648) (6 motets for 5 to 8 voices 1618 and 1621 ed. )
Friedrich Weißensee (1560-1622) (5 motets for 8 voices 1618 and 1621 ed): »Jubilate Deo omnis terra« »Anima mea exspectat« »Hosanna filio David« »Ich beschwöre euch, ihr Töchter Jerusalem« »Sage du mir an«
Zallamella
Zangius (3 motets 1618 ed.)
Gregorio Zucchini (2 motets 1618 ed.)

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 12, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< I have updated and revised this list (it still is not perfect and will require later revisiting of this material). "Das Erbe deutscher Musik" Tübingen/Göttingen has planned to reprint it in 2007:
Florilegium Portense, Teil 1 (RISM 16181),Teil 2 (RISM 16212). Vorgelegt von Hans-Joachim Theill. In Vorbereitung.
Here is my updated list: >
This is an extremely important list for it outlines the large standard repertoire which Bach used every Sunday -- he even ordered replacement copies. A cantata like "Wachet Auf" may have only been sung once during Bach's tenure but these choral works were sung frequently and were the basis of the teaching in the school.

There are number of features which we should highlight:

The repertoire is overwhelmingly Italian in origin and dates roughly betweeen 1550 and 1650. This is long after the Reformation and indicates that the music of the Catholic Counter-Reformation was so influential that it was still being sung in the mid-18th century.

These are not simple chorales: this is demanding repertoire that requires a high degree of choral competence. For instance, the Calvius reworking of the Josquin "Praeter Rerum Seriem" is extremely complex counterpoint. If this was Bach's basic choral library, then his choirs were absolutely first-rate.

There is a large number of polychoral motets for double choir for 8 and 10 voices which attests to the persistent German love of the Venetian style which had gone out of fashion elsewhere in Europe. Motets by both Giovanni
and Andrea Gabrieli were still being sung in Leipzig long after the style had been abandoned in Venice. The connection between Lassus in Munich and Venice was clearly still very fruitful. The double-choir format of course was still used by Bach in his own motets and transfigured in the St. Matthew Passion.

The most popular composer was Handl (aka Gallus) with no less than 19 motets. Handl was one of the greatest composers of the German Renaissance and is really the equal of Lassus. He is enjoying something of a revival at moment: the Tallis Choir of Toronto is programming his 8-voice "Missa Pater Noster" for its 2007-2008 season.

It would be very interesting to have a complete index of the titles and see how they were distributed across the church year. The thought that there may be literary and musical connections with the cantatas is intriguing.

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 12, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>>It would be very interesting to have a complete index of the titles and see how they were distributed across the church year. The thought that there may be literary and musical connections with the cantatas is intriguing.<<
The information you seek should be found in Charles Sanford Terry's "Joh. Seb. Bach, Cantata Texts sacred and secular" London, Constable & Comp. Ltd. 1926, to which I do not have access.

In this book you should be able to find the numbers of the pieces as given in the Florilegium Portense I and II. (I do not know whether Terry translated these numbers into the name of the composer and piece involved). All of this is possible because the father of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, a teacher at St. Thomas School in Leipzig (BTW, his famous son attended St. Nicholas School and enrolled at the University of Leipzig at age 15), kept a detailed list of all the devotional music, specifically those motets from the Florilegium Portense performed by the Thomaner on every Sunday and Feast day in 1694. Assuming that the specific assignments of these motets remained stable through the decades, we should be able to ascertain which motets Bach performed or heard his prefects perform on the specific days of the liturgical year.

If the book is not accessible at a university or very comprehensive library, it is for sale at between $175-$200 USD from various second-hand book dealers.

I do not intend to buy this book, but if any does, or has a copy or can easily find one in a library, I hope that that individual will share the list if it includes the names of the composers and motet incipits as they are related liturgically to the church year.

Here are some additional thoughts (and caveats) from Arnold Schering's treatment of this subject pp. 121-129 of "Johann Sebastian Bachs Leipziger Kirchenmusik" Leipzig, 1936:

1. Part 1 (1603) of the Florilegium Portense is without a figured bass while Part II (1618 &1621) does have it included.

2. There is a vast difference between the above collection(s) and another collection also assembled by Bodenschatz called "Florilegium selectissimorum Hymnorum quatuor vocum qui in Gymnasio Portensi.ab Alumnis decantantur". This consists of simple 4-pt. chordal (non-polyphonic, non-contrapuntal, chorale-based, but in Latin) compositions that were sung by the lowest level choir (the 4th and lowest of Bach's choirs (see "Entwurff") usually directed by a prefect). This collection was printed differently as well: all four parts could be seen together with the staves running directly from the left to the right-side page before returning for the next accolade. Schering claims that up to eight pupils could sing from one book of this sort. He envisions an organ accompaniment (duplication of parts) to lend support to the singers. The books for the "Florilegium Portense" were printed separately for each individual part, i.e., the tenor book showed only the tenor part for all the compositions in the collection.

3. For the inventory (assessing the condition before buying a new set of part books), in 1729 (the 1st time that Bach requested a replacement of this sort), it was determined that they were being used daily and were entirely worn out. This means they were being used, not only on Sundays and Feast days, but also for weddings, funerals, etc. Bach was required to keep them under lock and key ("und hat selbiges der Cantor gleichfalls bey sich in Verwahrung") in his apartment. In 1737-1738, Bach once again requested "das Florilegium" (no 'Portense' is added so this must be the other collection of simple hymns with the cantus firmus in the soprano part. In 1736, the Rector of St. Nicholas School also received about the same amount of money to purchase the "Florilegium Hymnorum". [This makes me wonder if the 4th choir for which Bach was responsible was made up of pupils from St. Nicholas School or from the lowest echelons of the Thomaner.]

4. Bodenschatz, in his introduction to the second volume (with the figured bass) indicates that the music should be accompanied by the organ "and various musical instruments". Schering tries to make clear that the purist 19th century notion of 'a cappella' meaning all voices and no instruments does not apply here. On contrary, the various groupings of instruments: brass, string, organ/theorbo, etc. serve to enrich the sound [and possibly also help to distinguish the 2 choirs in the many 8 pt. settings.] Schering is amazed that Bodenschatz refers specifically to the importance of the organ accompaniment when, as Schering points out, the pitch of the organs in Leipzig would not be the same as that of the other instruments. That is why Schering is much in favor of a harpsichord which would serve more as an instrument for direction/conducting rather than one of accompaniment and support of the voices. Schering simply cannot believe that an organist could sight-read the figured bass part while at the same time transposing the notes given in the Florilegium Portense so that the voices would not have to sing so high and the instruments in Cammerton could play along as well. Schering reasons that this is the reason why Bach would not use the organ (even though Bodenschatz recommends it highly and gives reports on how successful such performances with organs and other instruments were) but rather delegated the direction of the music to a prefect sitting at a harpsichord which could be tuned more easily to match the pitch of the instruments.

5. To supplement Terry's listing of the motets used Sundays and Feast days by the Thomaner in 1694, Schering offers the following list of motets for other occasions (as noted by Leibnitz's father):

Church dedications (in dedicatione novi temple):

Bodenschatz: Audi hymnum a 8
Gallus: O quam metuendus a 8
Erbach: Sanctificavit domino a 8
Bagnius: Exultemus domino a 8

Investiture of the new superintendent (in investitura Novi Superint. etc.):

Anon: Ecce nunc benedicite a 8
Giov. Gabieli: Laudate nomen domini a 8

Election of city council members (in electione Novi Senatus):

Fabritius: Exaudiat te dominus a 6

At the beginning of the new school year (sub initium lectionum Scholast.):

Fabritius: Sis praesens deus a 6
Hasler: Deus meus ad te a 6
Gallus: O quam metuendus a 8

Weddings (in nuptiis):

Gallus: Beatus vir qui timet (Psalm 112) a 8
Anon: Beati omnes a 8
Anon: Felix o ter et amplius a 8
Giov. Gabieli: Jubilate deo a 8
Anon: Nisi dominus aedificaverit a 8
M. Rothe: Non est bonum hominem a 8
Vinc. Bertolusi: Osculetur me a 7
Bodenschatz: Quam pulchra es a 5
Lud. Balbus: Tota pulchra es a 8
Borsarus: Ecce tu pulcra a 8

Beginning of spring (Tempora veris):

Hier. Praetorius: Surge propera a 8
Mart. Rothe: Surge propera a 8

At banquets (in conviviis):

Incertus: Ecce quam bonum a 8
Anon: Gemmula carbunculi a 6
Mart. Rothe: In Domine Deo gaudebimus a 8

For funerals (in funeribus):

Gallus: Media vita a 8
Hasler: Si bona suscepimus a 8
Incert.: Nunc dimittis a 8
H. Stabile: Nunc dimittis a 8
Gallus: Ecce quomodo moritur a 4
Jam moesta quiesce querela (not in the Bodenschatz collections)

Bradley Lehman wrote (January 12, 2007):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< The most popular composer was Handl (aka Gallus) with no less than 19 motets. Handl was one of the greatest composers of the German Renaissance and is really the equal of Lassus. He is enjoying something of a revival at moment: the Tallis Choir of Toronto is programming his 8-voice "Missa Pater Noster" for its 2007-2008 season. >
Have you sung the GF Handel piece that sticks a handful of Gallus-Handl bars (no pun intended) into the middle of it, wholesale? It's one of the funeral anthems. Neat bit, Handel quoting Handl. The music suddenly sounds archaic and it's in older metric notation...and then it switches back just as suddenly.

Gallus-Handl, ki-ki-rikiki!

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 12, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Have you sung the GF Handel piece that sticks a handful of Gallus-Handl bars (no pun intended) into the middle of it, wholesale? It's one of the funeral anthems. Neat bit, Handel quoting Handl. The music suddenly sounds archaic and it's in older metric notation...and then it switches back just as suddenly. >
Handel quotes Handl's "Ecce quomodo" in his funeral anthem, "The Ways of Zion Do Mourn". It's a perfect example of how the Reniassance repertoire continued to be sung in the Lutheran service and influenced a composer in the 18th century even when he was writing an English anthem for the Anglican rite. Bach knew this motet very well for he always conducted it on Good Friday at a later point in the service after the singing of the Passion.

Neil Mason wrote (February 1, 2007):
You wrote:
< The most popular composer was Handl (aka Gallus) with no less than 19 motets. Handl was one of the greatest composers of the German Renaissance and is really the equal of Lassus. He is enjoying something of a revival at moment: the Tallis Choir of Toronto is programming his 8-voice "Missa Pater Noster" for its 2007-2008 season. >
A personal note:

Yes Handl's music is wonderful. I was involved in a concert series in Slovenia to mark the 400th anniversary of his death in the early 90's.

 

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Last update: ýNovember 28, 2008 ý07:59:33