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Cantata BWV 14
Wär' Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit
Provenance

Provenance

Provenance (based on NBA KB I/6 pp. 131-153; Peter Wolly, 1996):

A. Autograph Score (Berlin State Library, Prussian Cultural Repository, Shelfmark: Mus. ms. autogr. Bach P 879)

This manuscript, like all the other autograph scores belonging to the Chorale Cantata Cycle, most likely was inherited by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Forced by the dire conditions surrounding him during the Seven-Year War during which the assessment on his house and property was increased radically1, the latter probably needed to liquidate some of his valuable holdings in the form of cantata manuscripts from his father. The next owner of the score is documented as being the cantor from Oelsnitz, Johann Georg Nacke (1718-1804). His initials and the year of acquisition appear on the title page as: J.G.N.|1762. After Nacke’s death, this autograph, along with others by J. S. Bach as well, came into the possession of Nacke’s successor, Johann Gottlob Schuster (1765-1839) who then sold them to an avid Bach manuscript collector, Franz Hauser (1794-1870) in 1833. It remained in Hauser’s collection until it was acquired in 1904 along with large portion of this collection by the BB (Berlin State Library) where it is still located today.
More recently the score has received a cardboard binding. Among the entries, not in J. S. Bach’s handwriting, on the score itself are those by Hauser, probably not his own handwriting.

The autograph title on the title page reads as follows:

Dominica 4. post Epiph: | Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit. | à | 4 Voci. | 1 Corne da Caccia | 2 Hautbois | 2 Violini | Viola | e | Continuo. | di | Joh: Sebast: Bach.

At the top of the first page of the score, Bach writes:

J.J. Do[min]ica 4 post Epiph: Wär Gott nicht mit uns [abbreviated] diese Zeit. à 4 Voci. 1 Corn. 3 [corrected from an original 2] Hautb. 2 Violini | Viola e Cont. di Bach.

At the beginning of the first accolade:

Cornu e due Oboi in unisono

Other markings:
At the beginning of Mvt. 2: Sopr.

In Mvt. 2 beginning with m 57 for revisions in which the upper strings are moved up one staff and space is made below the viola part, a corrected soprano part is inserted, then a return to the former arrangement with the addition of the indication: Tromba tacet and Tromb. in the topmost staff. In combining the horn and first violin parts on one staff, Bach indicates: Tromba in unisono over the uppermost staff in m. 93. At the end of Mvt. 2: Seqt Recit. to indicate the mvt. to follow.
At the beginning of Mvt. 4 before the first accolade: Aria â due Obboe then in the middle of m 74 at the bottom of the page: Volti
Mvt. 5 is entitled: Choral
At the end of this mvt. and the cantata: Fine | SDGl. |1735.

This is a composing score with numerous corrections.

B. The Original Set of Parts:
B 1-11 (the vocal, horn, oboe, violin, viola, and continuo part {not transposed, not figured})
These were all copied by Bach personally.

These were originally part of Anna Magdalena Bach’s inheritance which she soon donated to the Thomasschule in Leipzig the same year after Bach had died. Today they are located in the Leipzig Bach-Archiv.

B 15 Organo (transposed a whole tone lower and partially figured by Bach) all in J. S. Bach’s handwriting – This part is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Shelfmark: Mu. Ms. 632)

B 12-14 Violino 1 & 2 doublets (copied by Anonymous Vh) and a Continuo part copied by A. M. Bach – These parts are in the BB (Berlin State Library)

C. Another set of parts copied by Johann Georg Nacke after 1762
D. through G. are later copies of the score which are of no critical value

The NBA KB includes a discussion about the proper orchestration intended for the horn/trumpet part.
Bach’s own title page states: Corne da caccia
On top of the first page of the score: Corne
In front of the first accolade of Mvt. 1 he writes: Cornu
In the score, where he makes corrections: Tromba tacet, later Tromb., then Tromba in unisono
His personally handwritten part has written over it: Corne. par force.

From the Nacke materials (C.), the part Nacke copied is designated as Corno. The folder in which these parts copied by Nacke are found has a title written by Christian Friedrich Penzel. It contains the designation: 1 Corno da Caccia while a later score prepared in the 19th century has simply Corno.

Beyond this factual information, the NBA KB discussion would need to be updated to include new information offered by Ulrich Prinz and the Csibas. It appears this might be another situation regarding horns being played ‘in alt’ (at the higher octave) or the lower one.

 

Which type of brass instrument did Bach want in BWV 14?

<BWV14horn001.jpg>

<BWV14horn002.jpg>

Bach’s own title page on the cover of this cantata states: Corne da caccia
On top of the first page of the score: Corne
In front of the first accolade of Mvt. 1, he writes: Cornu
In the score, where he makes corrections: Tromba tacet, later Tromb., then Tromba in unisono
His personally handwritten part for the ‘horn’ has written over it: Corne. par force. Just before the final Mvt. 5., Bach writes Corne ex F.

In Mvt. 1 of the autograph score, the brass instrument part which is transposed is designated as Cornu. A designation for this part is missing at the beginning of Mvt. 2. This would appear to indicate that the same brass instrument would continue playing this part; however, during the course of this mvt. because Bach ran into a problem and was forced to rearrange the order of staves for one passage and then return to the former arrangement, he used the designation Tromba in three different places: mm 57, 72, and 94. In the final instance he writes: Tromba in unisono. From this it would be clear that Bach, at least at the time when he was composing Mvt. 2, had considered and intended to use a Tromba for this mvt. rather than the Corne/Cornu (or the Corne da caccia as the title page has it, if indeed the title page had been written before he began composing the music for this cantata). At least for a certain period of time Bach had a trumpet in mind for Mvt. 2. After having finished composing the entire cantata, Bach began copying out all the major parts. The brass wind instrument part containing Mvt. 1, Mvt. 2, and Mvt. 5 is called Corne part with an additional par force added in somewhat smaller handwriting with a considerable amount of space between the Corne and the par force. Leading anyone examining this part to suspect that the second part was added later [there is no extant evidence that would suggest that this cantata received a repeat performance during Bach’s lifetime], perhaps closer to the time of the actual performance.

Taking into consideration the conditions requiring transposition, it becomes evident that the first and final mvts. would require an instrument in F. The Corno in F with a 12 foot length was also used by Bach in BWV 1/1,6; BWV 40/1,7; BWV 52/1,6; BWV 83/1; BWV 208/2, 11, 15. The lowest note C2 would sound as written while Mvt. 2 of BWV 14 would require a Corno in Bb, which based upon the notes called for in this mvt. would begin with the lowest note being C1 which would be played an octave higher. As the NBA KB I/6 puts it on p. 149: bei Satz 2 muß es sich allerdings um ein Instrument in hoch B handeln [in regard to Mvt. 2 it is a matter to be sure of {using} a Bb ithat plays in alt = an octave higher]. The only explanatory information given about the type of instrument to be used occurs before the final mvt. when Bach writes: Corne ex F. According to Thomas MacCracken [specific reference not given in the NBA KB], this could possibly mean that, not only is the player being instructed to return to the former (Mvt. 1) mode of playing or to the instrument already used in the first mvt., but also possibly that after using a trumpet in Mvt. 2, the player should return to the horn used in Mvt. 1. Peter Wollny, whose treatment of BWV 14 appears in the NBA KB, believes that the evidence presented does not preclude the possibility that a horn in alt Bb was intended for Mvt. 2. If such a change in the type of instrument is indeed the case, then analogous instances can be offered in support of such an argument: BWV 128 and BWV 195 where similar directions occur. Thus the original designation of Tromba in the autograph score could be interpreted as Bach’s initial intention, which he subsequently rejected. It is conceivable that he simply wanted to indicate the higher clarino range of the part in Mvt. 2.

 

Footnotes

1. Martin Falck Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sein Leben und seine Werke, Leipzig, 1913, p. 36 – This would have occurred in connection with the war-effort contributions demanded by the government in October, 1761, when his property assessments were substantially increased and he needed to find a way to pay off this elevated property tax.

 

Contributed by Thomas Braatz (February 15, 2010)

Cantata BWV 14: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

References: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-249 | Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-524 | Vocal Works BWV Anh | BGA | NBA | BC: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | Sources
Discussions of BWV Numbering System: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Last update: ýOctober 1, 2011 ý20:05:31