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General Discussions - Part 7

Continue from Part 6

Follow The Bouncing Bach Gardiner's Bach Cantata Pilgrimage Recordings

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 12, 2004):
I have great news for you!

The famous Bach Cantata Pilgrimage (= BCP), performed and recorded by John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists with a wide roster of soloists along the Centenary Bach Year 2000 will at last be released.

The first release is now set for January 2005. It will be two 2-CD sets containing the cantatas for the Feast of John the Baptist, and for the 1st Sunday after Trinity, and the 15th and 16th trinity Sunday. The content and soloists of the first two volumes can be seen at the page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Rec2.htm

The whole project will be released (all being well - i.e. If we sell enough records!) in 2-CD sets, except for the Xmas cantatas, which will be in singles, on the Soli Deo Gloria label.

They will be distributed in shops but they will also be available for purchase on Monteverdi Productions Website: www.monteverdiproductions.co.uk, which is under construction now (but already open for visitors and people who want to join the mailing list). CDs will be sold at £19.99!

The BCP have been discussed at length in the BCML. Those discussions are compiled into several pages, starting at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Gen1.htm

This upcoming release also means that apart from the 3 complete cantata cycles (Rilling, Harnoncourt & Leonhardt, and Leusink), we have 4 more complete cycles along the way: Koopman (has already finished being recorded, 16 of 22 volumes of 3-CD each have already been issued), Suzuki (24 of about 60 CD's have already been released), Eric J. Milnes & Montreal Baroque (OVPP, first album planed for October 2004), and the Gardiner's BCP (already recorded, about 60 CD's).

Another important addition are the reissues of great cantata recordings from the past: Jonathan Sternberg (2-CD, issued last year), Fritz Werner (2 sets of 10-CD's each, planned for release later this year) and Hans Grischkat (also later this year).

This is indeed an exciting era for lovers of Bach Cantatas.

Ehud Shiloni wrote (August 12, 2004):
[To Aryeh Oron] Great news indeed! Impatiently looking forward to the first CD release.

 

JEG Cantatas

Arthur Swanson wrote (August 19, 2004):
Are the projected BCP recordings different from the already issued albums directed by JEG? I just ordered several last night. (FYI, I ordered from overstock.com, which has several hundred entries for J.S.B., including discounted albums featuring Hewitt, Gould, Kipnis,Kirkpatrick--many more.Worth a look.) Thanks--I will check out the link re BCP mentioned by Aryeh later.

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 19, 2004):
[To Arthur Swanson] If you look at the page of Gardiner's Cantata Recordings: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner.htm you will be able to see that only few were recorded during the BCP: [C-8], [C-9], [C-11], [C-12] That means that all the others would be new recordings of cantatas, which have already been recorded by JEG.

 

Gardiner Cantatas

Twoshed 2000 wrote (September 10, 2004):
Thanks for the nice welcome and the lenient approach to my off topic ranting!

I appreciate the recording recommendations very much,I will certainly go after the McCreesh!

About my expertise I am not too sure,I am more of a learner here. The reason I want to pursue this is that I sincerely believe that Bach's piano music(and Mozart's and Schubert's and....) is based overall on a singing quality (compare the foreward to the Inventions:..."eine cantable Art des Spielens .."), and pianists like Fischer and Feinberg realized that beautifully..

Hardly surprising if one looks on the vocal output of Bach (same with Mozart). So I feel I need to know these works better, though I grew up with lots of them. How good are the new Gardiner recordings? I really estimate this conductor very highly.(His Haydn oratorios are simply breathtaking,though he cannot replace Janowitz and Wunderlich, but never mind that.)

Off topic: I am flying from and to Berlin from Dorset during the semester, I enjoy both places very much.Berlin is a great hotspot for culture now,probably because the town is basically bancrupt(with 3 oper houses and 6 symphony orchestras still running).That sometimes brings out the best in people, as culture becomes more important.Here in affluent Dorset its a rather sad affair,the whole south of England (excl.London) once hosting 200 music-clubs is now a desert (I have been told 5 are left!).But there is always cream tea and a good ale,and that's NOT to be despised!

Neil Halliday wrote (September 10, 2004):
"twoshed" asks:
<"How good are the new Gardiner recordings?>.
As with all conductors, I suppose they (the recordings) vary from excellent to unsatisfactory.

I have Gardiner's recording of the much-loved BWV 147 "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben".

Gardiner's opening movement is a most joyous affair that has to be danced to.

(Apparently Wagner remarked of the last movement of Beethoven's 7th Symphony that it is "the apotheosis of the dance"; I think the same can be said of this movement, albeit is a more graceful example than Beethoven's wild creation.)

[Interestingly, I was pleased to discover that Richter (over 30 years earlier) creates an almost identical effect of light-hearted joy, at the same tempo as Gardiner, in one his eminently successful performances].

But IMO, Gardiner trivialises the famous chorale concluding (Part 1 and Part 2 of) the work, in that he changes it from the graceful chorale with a substantial instrumental accompaniment, that we all know, into a fast little dance of minimal impact. (Rilling's recording shows a happy medium between the approaches of the above two conductors, in this movement.)

Happy exploration of Bach's cantatas!

Juozas Rimas wrote (September 12, 2004):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< I have Gardiner's recording of the much-loved BWV 147 "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben".
Gardiner's opening movement is a most joyous affair that has to be danced to.
(Apparently Wagner remarked of the last movement of Beethoven's 7th Symphony that it is "the apotheosis of the dance"; I think the same can be said of this movement, albeit is a more graceful example than Beethoven's wild creation.) >
Bach has written heaps of pieces in the major key that can be called apotheoses of the dance and boundless joy. I'm positive HE is the biggest expert of all in creating this sort of music. I have listened to Gardner's BWV 147 as well as to his BWV 59/BWV 74 ("Wer mich liebet...") - the latter being not so well-known, but miraculously cheerful bit of music. The examples of Bach's joyful bombastic music, all of similar unsurmountable level, are countless: first and last movements of the X-mas and Ascension oratories, major ouvertures of the Orchestral Suites, the chorus of BWV 70 ("Wachet! betet!"), the first chorus of the Magnificat (BWV 243), "Gloria in excelsis Deo" from BWV 232 and so many others.

Brendan (Dorian Gray) wrote (September 12, 2004):
Neil writes
"But IMO, Gardiner trivialises the famous chorale concluding (Part 1 and Part 2 of) the work, in that he changes it from the graceful chorale with a substantial instrumental accompaniment, that we all know, into a fast little dance of minimal impact."
When I fisrt heard this version, it was a revelation. The tempo is heart-warmingly unsentimental, and brighly inspired. What makes it work forme, however, is the articulation of the obbligato. The repeated tones in the obbligato can actually have a deadening effect to my ears (in other recordings), but the skilled variance between legato and sharp staccato, as well as the incredible syncronicity of the oboe and violins, fills this chorale with the joy that it is supposed to convey. The Gardiner is my favorite by far- he knows how to excite with sharp articulation! Also of note is the 'swinging' effect that the subordinate 2nd and viola line has - the dotted rhythm aginst the triplets of the obbligato. You woud think this would be less obvious, or even swallowed up by the quick tempo- not so on this recording. Praise be to Gardiner for clearing things up enough to allow us to appreciate this very unique accompanimental texture to an otherwise straightforward chorale setting- for it truly expresses the believer's faith in a simple, direct relationship with God which is not ignorant of the complications involved when one delves deeper into that relationship.

Uri Golomb wrote (September 12, 2004):
Putting in my own two bits on Gardiner's reading of the BWV 147 chorale: In my view, Harry Christophers makes a better case for this tempo than Gardiner does. The two conductors employ virtually the same tempo; but Christophers projects a much clearer sense of movement and momentum, with more purposeful inflection of articulation and dynamics, making Gardiner seem somewhat bland and uniform by comparison. (This is not a general comparison between Christophers and Gardiner -- only a comparison between their recordings of this particular chorale). I suppose Christophers' main advantage is in the shaping of the orchestral *bass* line, which creates a satisfying sense of ebb-and-flow that also carries the texture above it. Gardiner often succeeds in doing precisely what Christophers does here -- shaping local details in a way that enhances the shaping of the entire movement, imbuing it with a sense of structure and momentum. But in this particular case, I feel that Christophers out-Gardiners Gardiner.

I do look forward to the publication of Gardiner's complete Pilgrimage. I attended one concert in that series (see my review on: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Gen6.htm), and heard several radio broadcasts and several of the CDs that have already been released. My impression: at its best, the Pilgrimage produced stunning, deeply-felt performances. At its worst, it contained some scrappy, hastily-prepared readings. I don't know what the proportions are between the better and worse concerts in the cycle as a whole; but if even half were at the level of the best concerts (such as the one I attended, or the one listed as C-11 on http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner.htm#RC), then this cycle is very worth hearing.

Smaill P. wrote (September 12, 2004):
[To Dorian Gray] Your pseudonym implies interest in the harmony as well as musical idiom , in "Jesu joy of man's desiring"

As to idiom , the emphasis on dance-rythmn in Gardiner's setting of "Jesu bleibet meine freude" is precisely JLG's avowed interpretative aim in his great Cantata Pilgrimage of 2000.

In this idiom he is concurring with Wilfred Mellors' "Bach and the Dance of God" , which achieved some popularity as an antidote to the stolid interpretations of Bach which were on offer in the 1950's and 1960's. Those who are troubled with the rythmic vitality of JLG's interpretation have my sympathy, for we have all been brought up to a registration for this extended chorale which implies a stately progress rather than the joyous intertwining of dance rythms with one of the finest (presumably Thuringian ) melodies .

"There is no need to comment on this well-known and beautiful setting " says Alec Robertson in his 1972 survey of the Cantatas . But there is ; for the harmonies are not that of a straightforward chorale setting at all. In the chorale at two points Bach resolves dissonances at the semitone in exquisite harmonies , which many listening hundreds of times to the chorale do not hear because of the the seductive river of melody in the strings and oboe .

This chorale, variously "Werde munter, meine gemuthe" and "Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne", is one of Bach's favourites; in addition to BWV 147, it is found no less than five times in Reimenschneider, one setting being from cantata BWV 154 in which the second pulse of the penultimate line also reveals a D on C sharp, the text being the believer crying out for Jesus .

Even more adventurous are the harmonies in the deployment of the chorale in the second part of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244). Following from the exquisite "Erbarme dich" alto aria, at the same point in the chorale, a triple dissonance of G sharp, A and B resolve into a glaring dissonant open fifth (F sharp - C sharp in the lower voices set against D in the upper voices) against any rules of harmony then, before or until the last century. Only BWV 60 's "Est ist genug" excells in harmonic innovation - famously used by Alban Berg in his Violin Concerto (But not transposed accurately!)

In conclusion : the multitude think they either know nothing of the Cantatas ; or if they do , they are considered abstruse , difficult and remote from the world of popular classical music . But everyone knows "Jesu , Joy" ; and despite the hackneyed dangers to which the setting is exposed , it bears repetition to an extent rarely equalled in music . Hidden within the chorale is harmonic colour which has almost a subliminal effect in ensuring that the ear never tires of this most popular Chorale.

It does not just happen to be a piece which subsequent musical taste found attractive ; unusually, it is repeated twice (within BWV 147); the chorale is not only used often elsewhere by Bach but selected for his more adventurous harmonies.The faithful step progression of the instrumental bass, the ta ti fe rythm of the oboes and violin, with the trumpet backing to the chorale melody all conspire to create the sense of joyful forward movement.

In this , the sole known Cantata for the the Visitation of the BVM, Bach set out to create a concluding Chorale of exceptional quality. In this he succeeds. It remains sophisticated and yet accessible; qualities as true then as now.

John Pike wrote (September 13, 2004):
[To Twoshed 2000] I lived in Dorset for 4 years....beautiful part of the world. John Eliot Gardiner lives there as well. He owns a farm and, when not conducting, is a very active farmer. I read an article about him once in which he said it was not uncommon to get back home after a concert in London, only to have to help a birthing animal or to engage in another urgent farming task.

I have the 12 CDs released a few years ago of the cantata pilgrimage cycle. All very enjoyable. I eagerly await gradual release of all the others, due to start in January 2005.

John Pike wrote (September 13, 2004):
[To Dorian Gray] This chorus has been arranged by many others as the very free translation "Jesu, Joy of Man's desiring". Although a free translation, the sentiment expressed is in accordance with the original words and, for me, Gardiner's recording expresses superbly all the emotions implied in the words and the musical ideas.

Juozas Rimas wrote (September 13, 2004):
Smaill P wrote:
< This chorale, variously "Werde munter, meine gemuthe" and "Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne", is one of Bach's favourites >
Despite of the apparent value and harmonic secrets (known to musicologists), practically, I can't put the chorale in question among my favorites. With such astounding miniatures like the chorale of BWV 116 ("Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ") or highly elaborated superb settings (that can rival concertos), like the finalchorale of the X-mas oratorio, available, I can hardly find any sincere desire to listen to the famous and popular BWV 147 chorale...

Dale Dedcke wrote (September 13, 2004):
Smaill P wrote:
" ...... But everyone knows "Jesu, Joy" ; and despite the hackneyed dangers to which the setting is exposed , it bears repetition to an extent rarely equalled in music. Hidden within the chorale is harmonic colour which has almost a subliminal effect in ensuring that the ear never tires of this most popular Chorale. It does not just happen to be a piece which subsequent musical taste found attractive; unusually, it is repeated twice (within BWV 147); the chorale is not only used often elsewhere by Bach but selected for his more adventurous harmonies.The faithful step progression of the instrumental bass, the ta ti fe rythm of the oboes and violin, with the trumpet backing to the chorale melody all conspire to create the sense of joyful forward movement . ......."
Smaill P's points,and those raise by other recent posting of John Pike, Uri Golomb, Dorian Gray, Juozas Rimas and Bachloverau, have generated these questions in my mind concerning the "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" chorale. Perhaps some of you can provide more informed answers.

1) What is Gardiner's (faster than normal) tempo for this chorale?

2) SmallP seemed to say that Bach used this chorale in other compositions. Did I understand this comment correctly? Was it exactly the same in each instance, or did he use variations on the main theme and accompaniment?

3) There is a modern arrangement of the "Jesu, Joy..." choral in concert C that uses strings with a (3-valve) C trumpet doubling the singing from the chorus. You can hear this on a recording by the Vienna Boys' Choir. The trumpet plays from circa the lower G on the treble clef to essentially the F at the top of the treble clef. The trumpet trills sound very beautiful. I have played this trumpet part myself with a string quartet, via an arrangement produced by Lynne Latham of Latham Music Inc.. It is essentially the same arrangement used by the orchestra with the Vienna Boys' Choir.

SmallP seems to mention the same doubling by a trumpet in the original composition by Bach. But this melody could not have been played between the lower G and the upper F on the treble clef on a natural (valveless) trumpet in Bach's era. What was the original instrumentation called for by Bach on this chorale?

Bradley Lehman wrote (September 13, 2004):
Werde munter

< This chorale , variously "Werde munter , meine gemuthe" and "Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne", is one of Bach's favourites ; in addition to BWV 147, it is found no less than five times in Reimenschneider , one setting being from cantata BWV 154 in which the second pulse of the penultimate line also reveals a D on C sharp, the text being the believer crying out for Jesus .
Even more adventurous are the harmonies in the deployment of the chorale in the second part of the St Matthew Passion. Following from the exquisite "Erbarme dich" alto aria, at the same point in the chorale, a triple dissonance of G sharp, A and B resolve into a glaring dissonant open fifth (F sharp - C sharp in the lower voices set against D in the upper voices) against any rules of harmony then , before or until the last century. >
Interesting spot there during "ist viel groesser...", yes. (In the "Bin ich gleich" of SMP, penultimate phrase.) But what rules of harmony does that really violate? It's merely passing motion in several voices at once, really having A major prolonged during both those two beats, and then E major on the third beat, followed again by A major on the fourth beat.

Here are the four parts at that spot, in those three beats:

C#-D-----E

E-A-----G#

A-B-C#-B

A-G#-F#-G#

The first beat is obviously A major, and the third is obviously E major; we only have to deal with the weak second beat and figure out what it's doing, in between those.

The alto is leaping from E to A, all within A major, then moving to G# for E major. No problem.

The soprano has a passing D (non-harmonic) between the C# and the E. That's prescribed by that phrase of the chorale.

The tenor has A-C# leap within A major, plus the accented passing tone B (an appoggiatura to the C#), then a B for the E major. The only non-harmonic tone there is the first B, like a port-de-voix into the C#.

The bass in the second beat has the two neighboring-tones G# and F# anticipating the G# of the third beat. If he hadn't had the bass fool around in that manner, he'd have had parallel octaves there between alto and bass going into the third beat; so, it's decorated to disguise it. This would have been clearer to see on paper if he'd had the bass go A-E-F#-G# instead of A-G#-F#-G#, but harmonically it's the same, dressed up with the vocally smoother decoration within A major.

Gotta think of all this stuff as lines moving forward, not as vertical harmonies to figured out by the coincidences of notes in time........

=====

Frankly, I think the fourth beat of that same bar (last half of the word "grösser") is just as interesting: where the alto leaps up to the unprepared 9-8 suspension over the absent A root!

That, and the cadences "wieder ein" and "Todespein" earlier. In those two, identical to one another, the tenor's passing motion from G#-F#-E creates parallel fifths (!) with the soprano's B-A-A anticipation of the tonic A. (Bach pulls that same stunt in the first movement of the Bb capriccio 992, too: parallel fifths created by passing motion plus an anticipation...but in that example everything's moving upward instead of downward.)

Does that help to clarify the melodic/harmonic syntax of that passage? Beautiful stuff because there's so much going on at once, independently...but it's not unparseable! Tonic-tonic-dominant-tonic is rather boring in itself, so he's dressed it up.

=====

And in the above-cited example from cantata BWV 154, i.e. #233 in Riemenschneider, that crunch of the D vs C# is merely from an artistic little bit in the tenor part, while everybody else's part is "garden variety" at that moment. A major on the downbeat, D major (first inversion) on second beat, E major (first inversion) on the third. Try playing it with the tenor going "A-B-D-C#-B" in quavers, and then delete the D which would have been consonant, substituting the C# crotchet (i.e. moving it a little earlier than we'd hear it as a passing tone downward). Its melodic direction is then clear.

Furthermore (and now we're really getting arcane...): playing those several bars on a keyboard tuned the way Bach's Leipzig organ was, in its transposing function at Chorton (i.e. the organist reading in G major instead of A major), that spot simply isn't terribly crunchy after all, due to the particular spacing of the intervals in it. It's a little spicy, sure, but it does come across as a weak beat in the music and not a suddenly startling one. That's why it's important to get the keyboards tuned correctly: it affects "small" stuff as this, such as how much accentuation a beat really gets from the harmonic tension in it.... That particular moment may indeed be a "believer crying out for Jesus", to be illustrated, but in this instance it's not an anguished sound, only a mildly dissonant accented passing tone resolving downward in the tenor. The other three voices there are rock-solid in the subdominant, on the way to the dominant.

Thomas Braatz wrote (September 13, 2004):
Dale Gedcke wrote:
>>Smaill P. seems to mention the same doubling by a trumpet in the original composition by Bach. But this melody could not have been played between the lower G and the upper F on the treble clef on a natural (valveless) trumpet in Bach's era. What was the original instrumentation called for by Bach on this chorale?<<
The answer is given by Uwe Wolf in his discussion of BWV 147 in the NBA KB I/28.2 p. 55 [Bärenreiter, 1995] where he states:
"Die Choralmelodie dieses Satzes läßt sich auf der Naturtrompete nohne weiteres ausführen; es fehlen auf diesem Instrument (C-Stimmung vorausgesetzt) die häufig vorkommenen Töne a' und h'. Man wird hier an eine Zugtrompete denken können. Fraglich ist, ob Bach an der Verstärkung dieser Partie mit Trompete auch für spätere Wiederauffühurungen festhielt. Zwar ist der Satz in der Stimme nicht gestrichen, die Trompete wird allerdings in der Partitur A nicht erwähnt."
["The chorale melody of this movement {actually mvts. 6 & 10} can not be simply played on a natural trumpet without taking recourse to other measures; the notes a' and b' which occur frequently (assuming an instrument in C) are missing on this instrument. It will be necessary to contemplate using a tromba da tirarsi {slide trumpet}. The question here is whether Bach wanted to have this extra support of the trumpet part in later performances which he undertook. To be sure, the trumpet part was not crossed out, however the same part was never mentioned or included in the autograph score BWV 147 (a score that is a clean copy by Bach in Leipzig and does not represent the original Weimar score BWV 147a, an Advent cantata, which has been lost.)"]

The Csibas from whose book ["Die Blechblasinstrumente in J. S. Bachs Werken" {Merseburger, 1999} I scanned the tromba part for BWV 147 also point out on p. 11:
"Alle Stimmen, die mit Tromba oder Clarino bezeichnet sind und entweder Tirarsi-Töne enthalten oder Transponieren erforderlich machen, wurden ausschließlich auf der Tromba da tirarsi ausgeführt, ohne daß es eines ausdrücklichen Hinweises bedurft hätte. Alle übrigen J. S. Bachschen Stimmbezeichnungen sind unbedingt als verbindliche Instrumentationsvorschriften zu betrachten."
["All the parts which are designated as being for Tromba {natural trumpet} or Clarino and which either contain notes only playable by the tromba da tirarsi {slide trumpet} or which would necessitate transposition, were all played exclusively on the tromba da tirarsi without any special/specific indication by Bach being necessary. All the rest of Bach's designated parts are binding and must be followed as a specific direction regarding which instrument is to be used."]

You will find the original tromba part available under the files section of the BachCantatas Group as "BWV147Tromba.jpg"

Johann Andreas Kuhnau copied everything on the page except the chorale (mvts. 6 & 10) which is in Bach's own handwriting.

The NBA KB also includes a version of Mvt. 1 of BWV 147 with only tromba, strings and voices by W. F. Bach (Fk 77.) Possibly some performers might use this as a basis/reason for keeping this orchestration sans oboes [even Oboe da caccia or oboe d'amore] & bassoon throughout the entire cantata.

Neil Halliday wrote (September 14, 2004):
Dale Gedcke asks:
<" 1) What is Gardiner's (faster than normal) tempo for this chorale?">.
Gardiner gets through it in 2.20.

Rilling (1977) around 3 mins; Richter (1961) around 3.30 (slight variation between first and second statements of the chorale in both recordings).

[Both the latter are excellent modern instrument examples. The Richter was recorded in Heilbronn Cathedral, and displays the clarity and intimate acoustic that Richter achieved in those early recordings - better than some of the later recordings he made, in the mid-70's, in the Hercules Hall in Munich , where the acoustic seems too 'live' for his large forces].

The BGA score shows the trumpet part doubling the soprano chorale line, and as you noted, never moves above or below the treble clef. (The trumpet part is written in G major, like the rest of the score; I take it this means it's a trumpet in C). In the first movement (in C major), the trumpet moves over a range of two octaves, from middle C to the C above the treble clef.

Re the chorale, I suppose there is nothing wrong with the 'light, happy dance' that Gardiner gives us (and the trumpet part in the chorale movement is clear and accurate); but this music is certainly beautiful and moving, in a deeper way, in the excellent 20th century examples noted above (assuming Gardiner gives us a replica of the 18th century version).

Dale Dedcke wrote (September 14, 2004):
Thanks to Neil Halliday and Thomas Braatz for their comments on the tempo and instrumentation for the Chorale, "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring".

On 9/14/04 Thomas quoted:
["The chorale melody of this movement {actually mvts. 6 & 10} can not be simply played on a natural trumpet without taking recourse to other measures; the notes a' and b' which occur frequently (assuming an instrument in C) are missing on this instrument. It will be necessary to contemplate using a tromba da tirarsi {slide trumpet}. The question here is whether Bach wanted to have this extra support of the trumpet part in later performances which he undertook. To be sure, the trumpet part was not crossed out, however the same part was never mentioned or included in the autograph score BWV 147 (a score that is a clean copy by Bach in Leipzig and does not represent the original Weimar score BWV 147a, an Advent cantata, which has been lost.)"]
MY COMMENTS:

Thanks for digging out the reference on the tromba da tirarsi application to this movement. I had not thought of that possibility.

But, it occurs to me that there are some difficulties with that alternative. If the tromba da tirarsi is pitched in C (length circa 250 cm) with the slide collapsed, then to hit the A on the treble clef the slide would have to be extended by about 47 cm (18.5 inches). If the slide is between the mouthpiece and the leadpipe (the usual description of the tromba da tirarsi), that is a huge distance to move the body of the instrument away from the lips. That would be a difficult feat.

On the Englebert Schmidt Natural Horn web site at http://www.corno.de/schmid/deu-eng/naturalhorn.htm, he shows corno da tirarsi models with the movable tuning slide positioned between the leadpipe and the bell. I am not sure whether or not such arrangements were available in Bach's time, but this arrangement would only need an movement of 24 cm (9.25 inches) to reach the A. And it could be done by hand action, without changing the distance between instrument and lips.

Schmidt suggests another possibility which makes more sense. Here is a portion of the list from his web site specifying what instruments to use for specific scores.

'Scores for horn by J. S. Bach
according to Gisela Csiba y Jozsef Csiba in "The brass instruments in the pieces of J. S. Bach"
* Corno da Caccia (bell diameter 120-180 mm)

in High D: BWV 232*
in High C: BWV 16/BWV 107
in High Bb: BWV 143
in G: BWV 174
in F: BWV 213/BWV 248/1046/1071'

If one uses a G tromba or G corno da caccia for playing the BWV 147 Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring then all the written notes are shifted up a fourth (relative to a C tromba) and fall in the range where the tromba can play the diatonic scale. The fact that BWV 147 was originally written in the concert key of G reinforces the suspicion that this score was played on a G tromba or a G Corno da Caccia. Still, it must have been challenging to play the trills that end with a turn in BWV 147 on the valveless trumpet.

The G-tromba revelation came as somewhat of a surprise for me, because my perception was that the common trumpets during Bach's era were most commonly pitched in the keys of C and D, with trumpets in E, Eb and F being somewhat less common. One more rarely finds scores for a trumpet in A from that period and later time periods. I had not realized that a G tromba was available among Bach's trumpeters. With the variety of trumpets the Baroque trumpeters had to suppand play, it must have been a formidable investment, ..... comparable to the modern trumpeter needing Bb, C, D, Eb and piccolo trumpets.

Thomas Braatz wrote (September 14, 2004):
Dale Gedcke wrote:
>>If the tromba da tirarsi is pitched in C (length circa 250 cm) with the slide collapsed, then to hit the A on the treble clef the slide would have to be extended by about 47 cm (18.5 inches). If the slide is between the mouthpiece and the leadpipe (the usual description of the tromba da tirarsi), that is a huge distance to move the body of the instrument away from the lips. That would be a difficult feat.<<
The Csibas show that BWV 147 is for Tromba (da tirarsi - for mvts. 6 & 10) in C with a detailed explanation divided into two tables explaining the difference between the theoretical, mathematically attained compensations in extending or retracting the slide and those attained empirically. The results are amazing with some natural tones needing only corrections of 6, 7, 10, or 13.5 cm.

Here is the summary paragraph from the Csiba's book "Die Blechblasinstrumente in J. S. Bach's Werken" [Merseburger, 1994]p. 15:
"Diese neuen Erkenntnisse sind von größter Bedeutung für die Betrachtung J. S. Bachscher Trompetenstimmen, da nun der größte Teil der von J. S. Bach in diesen Stimmen verwendeten Töne tatsächlich eine wesentlich geringere Zugbewegung beansprucht, als es die allgemein übliche theoretische Berechnung in Tabelle 2 fordert."
["These new discoveries are of the greatest importance in the consideration/closer inspection of J. S. Bach's trumpet parts, since now the greatest portion of the notes used by J. S. Bach in these parts {those requiring a tromba da tirarsi} actually require a considerably smaller movement of the slide than that normally demanded by the usual theoretical calculations listed in Table 2."]

The slides (of the copies made by Jozsef Csiba after original instruments by Hans Veit, Naumburg, 1646 and J. L. Ehe, Nürnberg mid 18th century) between the mouthpiece and the "Mundrohr" [beginning of the tubing?] are generally only 20 cm. long (in a few special circumstances a longer slide was used.) Some adjustments for correction involved corrections of only 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 4 cm. movement of the slide.

>>Gisela Csiba y Jozsef Csiba in "The brass instruments in the pieces of J. S. Bach"<<
If this book is now available in English, I would highly recommend it!

Dale Dedcke wrote (September 14, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
"......The Csibas show that BWV 147 is for Tromba (da tirarsi - for mvts. 6 & 10) in C with a detailed explanation divided into two tables explaining the difference between the theoretical, mathematically attained compensations in extending or retracting the slide and those attained empirically. The results are amazing with some natural tones needing only corrections of 6, 7, 10, or 13.5 cm. ...."
MY COMMENTS:

Thomas, you are correct. I had overlooked the fact that there is a resonance at approximately a Bb4 on the C natural tromba. Shifting that down to an A4 is a slide extension of less than 15 cm (5.8 inches), not the 47 cm I calculated for a downward shift from the C5 to A4 pitch. A similar slide extension would shift the C5 resonance down to the B4-natural pitch. Thus all the notes in BWV 147 would be attainable on a C Tromba da Tirarsi with a slide extension of less than 15 cm. Additionally, some of the off-pitch problems of other notes could be adjusted with much smaller extensions.

However, the rapid trills with turns called for on those notes in several places in BWV 147 would still be very difficult. Because the Bach Cantatas web site currently doesn't recognize my ID and password, I have been unable to view the "BWV147Tromba.jpg" you provided on that site. Does the original score call for trills with turns?

Your recommendation is a good one. I will see if I can order the book by the Csibas.

Neil Halliday wrote (September 15, 2004):
Dale Gedcke wrote:
"The rapid trills with turns called for on those notes in several places in BWV 147 would still be very difficult. Does the original score call for trills with turns?"
Trills, yes, at the end of each of one (or two) lines of the chorale text.

But I expect the matter of a turn ending the trill is left to the judgement of the player - there is no indication (of the usual small notes) for a turn, in the score.

While this may be important in an arrangement of the the chorale such as you mentioned , eg, for trumpet and strings, in which the trumpet is featured as a solo, the role of the trumpet in the original version for choir and orchestra is obviously accompanimental, and intended to merely add brightness to the soprano line.

I suppose this is the reason, in the Gardiner, Rilling and Richter recordings, I have to listen very carefully to hear this trill at all, neverlone discern its shape.

On the differing conceptions of the chorale, I note that Gardiner and Richter, in the rest of the cantata, take a surprisingly similar approach - with the opening chorus, soprano, bass and tenor arias all having very similar tempos. Richter's alto aria is slower, but the main point of divergence is in the tempo of the chorale movement. (Also noteworthy is Richter's addition of an imaginative and appealing organ realisation, in the tenor aria, which is scored for voice and continuo alone).

Dale Dedcke wrote (September 15, 2004):
On Sept 14, 2004 Neil Halliday wrote:
" ........ While this may be important in an arrangement of the the chorale such as you mentioned , eg, for trumpet and strings, in which the trumpet is featured as a solo, the role of the trumpet in the original version for choir and orchestra is obviously accompanimental, and intended to merely add brightness to the soprano line. I suppose this is the reason, in the Gardiner, Rilling and Richter recordings, I have to listen very carefully to hear this trill at all, neverlone discern its shape. ......"
MY COMMENTS:

I agree.

According to http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/147.html the accompaniment for the chorus in the original score of BWV 147 calls for 1 Tromba, 2 oboes, 2 violino, 1 viola, and continuo. The recording by the Vienna Boys' Choir sounds like it uses only 1 trumpet and strings (no oboe). The lack of oboe and continuo may make the trumpet accompaniment easier to discern in the latter recording. Of course, it all depends on how loudly the trumpet plays relative to the chorus.

It could also be that a trumpet player, like myself, naturally listens more intently to the trumpet part, hearing all the details. I imagine that the average listener would only hear the brightened tone of the soprano melody, but not notice it was due to a reinforcement by the trumpet. That is as it should be. I don't think Bach intended a trumpet solo. The sopranos in the chorus are intended to carry the primary melody. The tromba simply adds color and ornamentation (trills).

When this piece is play by strings and trumpet without a chorus, then the trumpet has to carry the melody line.

Bradley Lehman wrote (September 15, 2004):
< According to http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/147.html the accompaniment for the chorus in the original score of BWV 147 calls for 1 Tromba, 2 oboes, 2 violino, 1 viola, and continuo. The recording by the Vienna Boys' Choir sounds like it uses only 1 trumpet and strings (no oboe). The lack of oboe and continuo may make the trumpet accompaniment easier to discern in the latter recording. Of course, it all depends on how loudly the trumpet plays relative to the chorus.
It could also be that a trumpet player, like myself, naturally listens more intently to the trumpet part, hearing all the details. I imagine that the average listener would only hear the brightened tone of the soprano melody, but not notice it was due to a reinforby the trumpet. That is as it should be. I don't think Bach intended a trumpet solo. The sopranos in the chorus are intended to carry the primary melody. The tromba simply adds color and ornamentation (trills). >
For what it's worth: this very same point would be even further ancillary reason to consider the use of a cornetto, instead of any manner of trumpet. (As I was suggesting yesterday, or whenever it was.) The cornetto's big claim to fame in the first place was its ability to blend with voices, and to sound more like a human voice than any other instrument does. Its second big claim to fame, in its heyday, was that a good player of it could play almost ANY violin line; having that agility for trills, leaps, and so on. The part here in BWV 147 is a "piece of cake" for a good cornetto player, without ever threatening to overwhelm the vocal line (which in this instance might be performed by as few as one singer, anyway).

I remember a lovely recording of this movement in isolation on a "Baroque greatest hits" type of compilation CD, by Andrew Parrott and his players and singers. OVPP, with Mrs Parrott (Emily van Evera) on the soprano line; I don't recall what instrumentation they used on that "Tromba" part. My wife's parents have the disc; I'll have to give it another listen sometime. Might be this compilation, where it's track 17: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000002SSI
I feel their tempo choice for it is excellent: such a graceful lilt and flow, and such a sense of joy.

Dale Dedcke wrote (September 16, 2004):
I have been remiss in not providing the full information concerning the CD by the Vienna Boys' Choir, wherein one can find their beautiful rendition of the chorus, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring (Jesus bleibet meine Freude) from BWV 147. Here is the information:

"ANGELIC VOICES, The Best of the Vienna Boys' Choir. A treasure-trove of classical favorites and beautiful folk songs from the Vienna Boys' Choir. Philips Classics, a division of Philips Music Company, 1998; 462 778-2, PH DDD PY 925."

There are other excellent pieces on this CD. I highly recommend it!

 

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