Thomas Braatz wrote (July 6, 2002):
BWV 10 Meine Seel erhebt den Herrn [Bach’s own spelling of the title] - Provenance:
According to Alfred Dürr, this cantata belonged to Bach’s second Leipzig cantata cycle. The first owner (of which there is an official record) of the autograph score was the private postal advisor/counselor for Berlin, Carl Philipp Heinrich Pistor. According to his grandson, Ernst Friedrich Karl Rudorff, Pistor acquired it second hand from a collection of Bach’s manuscripts and printed music that supposedly came from the estate of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, and that were auctioned off sometime early in the 1800’s. In Franz Hauser’s thematic catalogue of Bach’s works, Pistor is noted as the owner.
When Pistor’s daughter, Betty (Elisabeth) married Rudorff, the autograph score became the property of the Rudorff familiy. In 1879 the score was given as a present to Philipp Spitta, perhaps on the occasion of the completion of his monumental Bach biography. It is possible that the manuscript, with Joseph Joachim’s help as an intermediary, came into the possession of the Carl Wittgenstein family. [I am wondering whether this is the same 'Karl' who was the father of the famous philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein. Here is a short statement about that family:
>>The Wittgenstein family was large and wealthy. Karl Wittgenstein was one of the most successful businessmen in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, leading the iron and steel industry there. The Wittgensteins' home attracted people of culture, especially musicians, including the composer Johannes Brahms, who was a friend of the family. Music remained important to Ludwig Wittgenstein throughout his life. So did darker matters. Ludwig was the youngest of eight children, and of his four brothers, three committed suicide.<<
Was Paul Ludwig's sole brother who did not commit suicide? Does anyone know if there is a connection here?
I found the following after doing an internet search:
>>Paul Wittgenstein (1887-1961) had several works written for him, including one by Richard Strauss and one by Benjamin Britten. The Concerto was by Ravel and is very often played nowadays by two-armed pianists. Paul was one of eight children, one of whom was the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.<<
>>Erich Korngold/Franz Schmidt Music for Strings and Piano Left Hand (Sony Classical) Leon Fleisher, piano; Joseph Silverstein and Joel Smirnoff, violins; Michael Tree, viola; Yo-Yo Ma, cello.
These two works owe their existence to the pianist Paul Wittgenstein (Ludwig, the philosopher, was his brother). He trained for a musical career, but it was interrupted by World War I. During the war, Paul Wittgenstein suffered wounds which required his right arm to be amputated. Undeterred by this, he continued to pursue a musical career and commissioned a great many works for piano left-hand, including concertos and chamber works. Two of those chamber works are featured on this CD:
1. Erich Wolfgang Korngold: "Suite for Two Violins, Cello, and Piano Left Hand" (1930)
2. Franz Schmidt: "Quintet for Two Violins, Viola, Cello, and Piano Left Hand" (1926)<<
This seems to confirm the connection!
After Carl’s death, Paul Wittgenstein inherited the score and brought it with him when he came to the USA in 1938. In 1948, with the help of a gift of the Gertude Clarke Whittall Foundation, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC purchased it. This is where it is till located today (in the Whittall Foundation Collection as ML 30.8b. B2M4 case.)
In 1981 the cover (folder) was removed/detached, since it was breaking apart where it was folded. The pages with music on them were restored and covered with polyester and then bound in a new parchment folder. The title on the original folder was written by Johann Andrea Kuhnau. On top of the first page Bach wrote simply:
J.J. Festo Visitationis Mariae. Meine Seel erhebt den Herrn.
The autograph score is a ‚working’ score which demonstrates that this was the original conception and composition (not a parody!) There are very many corrections!
The set of 12 original parts were presented by Anna Magdalena Bach to the St. Thomas School in Leipzig soon after Bach’s death. They are now in the Leipzig city archive. Almost all the parts were copied by Johann Andreas Kuhnau. The only exceptions where Bach helped out were: Oboi I and II (mvts. 2 and 7 only) and only the numbers for the figured bass in the continuo part (not transposed.) A second continuo part (transposed) was copied by Christian Gottlob Meißner, who also added the numbers for the figured bass except for mvts. 2, 4-7 which Bach himself completed.
There must have been a repeat performance of this cantata sometime between 1740 and 1747 (or perhaps even earlier.) There must also have been further doublets for violin I and II, as well as the continuo part. These have been lost. It is assumed that Bach corrected errors in the parts and included articulation marks as needed.