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Cantata BWV 171
Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm
Provenance

Thomas Braatz wrote (July 11, 2003):
The Autograph Score:

It is very probable (but no direct evidence is available) that this cantata was inherited by W. F. Bach, who may either have auctioned it off in Braunschweig, where his friend, Professor Eschenburg may have acquired it along with other Bach (autograph) manuscripts, or else it was placed up for auction during W. F. Bach’s stay in Berlin. In any case, the next verified owner, Privy Postal Councillor Carl Pistor (1778-1847) of Berlin. It was Franz Hauser (1794-1870) who noted this ownership in his Thematic Catalog of J. S. Bach’s works. Pistor’s nephew, Ernst Rudorff (1840-1916), later inherited this score from his uncle. The next owner of the autograph score, at least during the time period from 1879-1888, was Dr. Max Jähns (1837-1900), the son of Friedrich Wilhelm Jähns, who was famous for his research on the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber. Later (date unknown), it was acquired by Siegfried Ochs (1859-1929) who had a large music manuscript collection. At some point at the beginning of the 1920s, this entire collection was purchased by a Frankfurt jeweler and manuscript collector, Louis Koch. Today this collection is located in Switzerland.

There is no cover for this cantata score. The autograph title at the top of the 1st page is:

J. J. Festo Circumcisionis Xsti. Concerto à 4 Voci. 3 Trombe, Tamburi, 2 Hautb. | 2 Violini, Viola e Contin: di Bach.

Above mvt. 2: Aria 1

Above mvt. 3: Recit.

At the end of mvt. 3: Aria 12/8

[At this point different paper and handwriting are apparent.]

At the top of mvt. 4: Aria Violino | solo

At the beginning of mvt. 5: Recit. Hautb.

Above mvt. 6: Choral Trombe è Tamburi

After the chorale: Fine SDG [there is a fancy paraph extending from the final ‘G’]

The score is in rather poor condition. It is behind glass (partially or entirely.) The 1st half of the cantata (mvts. 1-3) is one type of paper and the 2nd (mvts. 4-6) of another type (different watermarks.) Bach’s handwriting is relatively ‘clean’ and ‘free of errors’ (some notable exceptions are transposition mistakes which he corrected), but the handwriting is decidedly different in both halves of the cantata. Bach’s handwriting throughout indicates that none of this cantata is an original composition, but rather is based on previously existing material that is being used. There is also a fairly clear indication that the two parts of the cantatas were ‘composed’ at different times (not at one sitting just before the 1st performance of this work.) The set of original parts is missing. This set would have helped to explain many things about the ‘irregularities’ that exist concerning this cantata as a whole. In both the tenor and soprano arias there are typical oversight corrections (Bach catches himself using the wrong clefs for the voices {clefs which would have been used only by the solo instruments} and thereupon makes the necessary corrections.) It would appear that Bach, in the major mvts., was working from mvts. for instruments only.

Mvts. 4 & 6 are parodies of early existing cantata mvts.: mvt. 4 comes from the secular cantata BWV 205/9 and mvt. 6 from BWV 41. The soprano aria from BWV 205 has a text quite unlike that which Picander, the librettist of BWV 171, included in his cantata text. The fact that Picander was not enlisted to make his text fit the earlier (BWV 205/9) version of this aria, means that Bach was responsible for changing the music to accommodate the new (BWV 171/4) Picander text. Here are the non-parallel texts for these arias:

BWV 205/9 BWV 171/4

Angenehmer Zephyrus Jesus soll mein erstes Wort
Dein von Bisam reicher Kuß In dem neuen Jahre heißen.
Und dein lauschend Kühlen Fort und fort
Soll auf meinen Höhen spielen Lacht sein Nam in meinem Munde
Großer König Aeolus, Und in meiner letzten Stunde
Sage doch dem Zephyrus, Ist Jesus auch mein letztes Wort.
Daß sein bisamreicher Kuß Jesus soll mein erstes Wort
Und sein lauschend Kühlen In dem neuen Jahre heißen.
Soll auf meinen Höhen spielen.

Bach transposed this aria down one whole tone. Some negligible melodic variants of the instrumental parts were undertaken after Bach had completed his transformation (corrections in ms. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 40; some changes in the vocal part (ms. 14, 36, 49) and in ms. 33 of the continuo part, Bach at first allows the continuo part to go down one accolade too low. Quite revealing are the structural changes made necessary by the rather obvious differences between both aria texts. Bach’s task was to transform the structure of a 2-pt. aria into a 3-pt. da-capo-form aria. He accomplishes this by inserting ms. 37-46, in which he goes back to include the introductory ritornello and the opening of the vocal section to create a da-capo effect. The earlier insertion of a new ms. 24 obviously serves to ‘smooth out’ a textual problem.

The final chorale keeps the same text as in BWV 41, but Bach transposes it a whole-tone higher from C to D major.

It is not possible to determine the special reasons that Bach may have had to return to two separate cantatas (BWV 41 and BWV 205) which had been composed a few years earlier. It is possible that the 2nd half of the cantata (BWV 171, mvts. 4-6) is another, 2nd replacement of an earlier existing sacred cantata. The NBA KB gives an involved theoretical argument based upon tertiary scores from the late 18th and 19th centuries with a different text. Picander’s printed text dates from 1728, but it is possible that Bach may have had access to an earlier, not-yet-printed version of the text which Picander later revised.

The opening mvt. of BWV 171 is the basis for the ‘Patrem omnipotentem’ of the B minor Mass, a parody of a much later date.

 

Cantata BWV 171: 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: ýSeptember 22, 2011 ý11:36:27