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Cantata BWV 198
Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl
Provenance

Provenance:
Sole, primary source: Bach’s composing score (not a parody of an already existing music) with separate, autograph title page (extensive text – music category [“Trauermusik”] dedication, place and date of performance, signature of composer), separate title on the first page of music and, on the final page, dated by the composer upon completion of the score.

Johann Sebastian Bach → (1750) → (Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784) → (?) Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749-1818) → (1819) Georg Pölchau (1773-1836) → (1841) BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin) Signatur: Mus. ms. Bach P 41 to the present day.

Critical Edition BGA 13,3 (Berlin, July 1865) editor: Wilhelm Rust (1822-1892)
Critical Edition NBA I/38 (Bärenriter, 1960) editor: Werner Neumann (1905-1991)

 

Title page (autograph:
Trauer Music, | so | Bey der Lob- und | Trauer Rede, welche | auff das (abbreviated) Absterben | Ihro Königl-Maj. und Churfl. | Durchl. zu Sachsen, Frauen | Christianen Eberhardinen, | Königen in Pohlen etc. und | Churfürstin zu Sachsen etc. geb. | Marckgräfin zu Brandenburg-Bayr[euth] | von dem Hochwohlgeb. Herrn | von Kirchbach | in der Pauliner- | Kirche zu Leipzig gehalten wurde, | aufgeführet worden | von | Joh. Sebast: Bach | ao. 1727. | d. 18 Octob:

Page 1 Title and Other Markings:
J. J. Tombeau de S. M. la Reine de Pologne.
2 Traverse | 2 Hautb. | 2 Violinen | 2 Viole da Gamba | 2 Liuti.

[Mvts. 1 & 8 run concurrently on pp. 1-7, hence Bach wrote over mvt. 8]:
Pars 2da Nach gehaltener Trauer-Rede
[At the very end of the final page Bach wrote]:
Fine SDG Lipsia ao. 1727. d. 15 Oct. JS Bach.

There are other markings and indications throughout the score to indicate the instrumentation (repeating what was already given on the 1st page of the score), type of mvt. (Recit. Aria, Chorus), page turns (verte, volti), other directions (seque, sequitur, Chor ultimo pag 9 lat 3 Sub signo, Fine della 1ma Parte, Chorus ultimus post 2am Partem) There are no tempo markings.

 

Composing Timeframe:
For a detailed background on Bach’s composing timeframe, see my message dated July 20, 2006 about ¾ down the page at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Liturgical-Service.htm
in the section "Bach the Administrator"
and my message of January 19, 2005 about half-way down the page at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Composing-3.htm

 

Condition of Score:
The score is in poor condition making it difficult to read certain notes clearly. Some have been pasted over with paper strips to hold the paper together thus obscuring the notes hidden below them. The appearance of the score gives evidence of having been composed in great haste which leads to difficulties in deciphering in many instances what the composer actually intended. Had the original parts been available, many passages and notes which still remain unclear could have been resolved. Tempo and phrasing markings, as well as the actual instrumentation used at the time of the performance would have given other important performance details. Also, the figured bass would have been available.

 

Text:
The NBA recognizes only Bach’s version of Gottsched's text. This excludes also numerous variants based upon Gottsched's different versions or those which were well-intentioned improvements by later biographers and editors.

Besides Bach’s version of the Gottsched text (Ode), the NBA recognizes 5 separate printings of it during the fall of 1727 and the end of 1728:

1.

Large presentation printing by Breitkopf now the only existing copy and found in the University of Leipzig Archive. It begins with the word "ODE…"

2.

Christoph Ernst Sicul’s (1681-1732) “Das Thränende Leipzig” (1727) which is a detailed description of the mourning ceremonies in Leipzig along with a reprint of Gottsched’s ode (1st version)

3.

Reprint of the former, Leipzig, 1730 containing once again the ode with only very minor variations

4,

Presentation copy of a printing that contains Gottsched’s Ode along with other items. This version, however, is not a direct copy of #1 above, but has a greater resemblance with #5 below. It is, in essence, the second, revised version by Gottsched

5.

A new revision by Gottsched of his Ode appears in a 4-volume collection entitled: “Oden Der Deutschen Gesellschafft in Leipzig, In vier Bücher abgetheilet…Leipzig, Bey Joh. Friedr. Gleditschens sel. Sohn, Anno 1728”. In volume 1is "X. Ode. | Auf eben das vorige | Hohe Leich-Begängniß | Bey einer öffentlichen Rede | abgesungen. | J.C. Gottsched"

Bach’s version, adopted by the NBA with modern orthography, is as follows (the beginning of each verse in Gottsched’s Ode is numbered to the right):

Pars 1ma Vor gehaltener TrauerRede

1. Chorus:
Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl v. 1
aus Salems Sterngewölben schießen,
und sieh, mit wieviel Tränengüssen
umringen wir dein Ehrenmal!

2. Recitativo:
Dein Sachsen, dein bestürztes Meißen,
erstarrt bei deiner Königsgruft;
das Auge tränt, die Zunge ruft:
Mein Schmerz kann unbeschreiblich heißen!
Hier klagt August und Prinz und Land, v. 2
der Adel ächzt, der Bürger trauert.
wie hat dich nicht das Volk bedauert,
sobald es deinen Fall empfand!

3. Aria:
Verstummt, verstummt, ihr holden Saiten!
Kein Ton vermag der Länder Not
bei ihrer teuren Mutter Not,
o Schmerzenswort! recht anzudeuten.

4. Recitativo:
Der Glocken bebendes Getön v. 3
soll unsrer trüben Seelen Schrecken
durch ihr geschwungenes Erze wecken
und uns durch Mark und Adern gehn.
O, könnte nur dies bange Klingen,
davon das Ohr uns täglich gellt,
der ganzen Europäerwelt
ein Zeugnis unsres Jammers bringen!

5. Aria:
Wie starb die Heldin so vergnügt! v. 4
Wie mutig hat ihr Geist gerungen,
da sie des Todes Arm bezwungen,
noch eh er ihre Brust besiegt.

6. Recitativo:
Ihr Leben ließ die Kunst zu sterben
in unverrückter Übung sehn;
unmöglich konnt es denn geschehn,
sich vor dem Tode zu entfärben.
Ach selig! wessen großer Geist v. 5
sich über die Natur erhebet.
vor Gruft und Särgen nicht erbebet,
wenn ihn sein Schöpfer scheiden heißt.

7. Chorus:
An dir, du Fürbild großer Frauen,
an dir, erhabne Königin,
an dir, du Glaubenspflegerin,
war dieser Großmut Bild zu schauen.

Fine della 1ma Parte.

Pars 2da Nach gehaltener Trauerrede

8. Aria:
Der Ewigkeit saphirnes Haus v. 6
zieht, Fürstin, deine heitern Blicke
von unsrer Niedrigkeit zurücke,
und tilgt der Erden Dreckbild aus.
Ein starker Glanz von hundert Sonnen,
der unsern Tag zur Mitternacht
und unsre Sonne finster macht,
hat dein verklärtes Haupt umsponnen.

9. Recitativo + Arioso:
Was Wunder ists? Du bist es wert, v. 7
du Fürbild aller Königinnen!
Du mußtest allen Schmuck gewinnen,
der deine Scheitel itzt verklärt.
Nun trägst du vor des Lammes Throne
anstatt des Purpurs Eitelkeit
ein perlenreines Unschuldskleid
und spottest der verlaßnen Krone.
Soweit der volle Weichselstrand, v. 8
der Niester und die Warthe fließet,
soweit sich Elb’ und Muld’ ergießet,
erhebt dich beides, Stadt und

Recitativo (continued):
Land. Dein Torgau geht im Trauerkleide,
dein Pretzsch wird kraftlos, starr und matt;
denn da es dich verloren hat,
verliert es seiner Augen Weide.

10. Chorus ultimus:
Doch, Königin! du stirbest nicht, v. 9
man weiß, was man an dir besessen;
die Nachwelt wird dich nicht vergessen,
bis dieserWeltbau einst zerbricht.
Ihr Dichter, schreibt! wir wollen's lesen,
Sie ist der Tugend Eigentum,
der Untertanen Lust und ruhm,
der Königin Preis gewesen.

Fine della 2da Parte

Changes to Bach’s original reading of Gottsched’s ode were already made by Forkel who even did not mind correcting Gottsched’s original versions. Carl Hermann Bitter in his "Johann Sebastian Bach" Berlin, 1865, and later revised 1881 edition incorporates these alterations to Bach’s version of the text. Numerous errors committed by Bitter were carried over into the BGA edition 13,3 (1865) by Wilhelm Rust and are in need of correction. The NBA calls Rust’s version of the text “Umdichtung” (an adaptation, recasting) of both Gottsched’s original versions and Bach’s variants. The modification of the original Bach texts of cantatas by replacing words or phrases to make them more singable for the vocalists or understandable to a prospective audience has been and still is a fairly common practice. This has been discussed on the BCML from time to time in regard to specific cantata recordings. In more recent decades there has generally been an attempt to revert, if possible, to the actual text as performed by Bach by referring to the results given in the NBA (Leusink often providing a glaring exception in this regard).

Here are Bach’s unique variants not found in any of Gottsched’s version of the Ode [the Bach version will be followed directly by Gottsched’s first version]:

Mvt. 1
Umringen wir… Benetzen wir…

Mvt. 2
Erstarrt bei deiner… Erstaunt bei Deiner…
… kann unbeschreiblich heißen …muß unaussprechlich heißen
…August und Prinz und Land …August, der Prinz, das Land

Mvt. 4
Soll unsrer trüben… Soll der betrübten…
… geschwungnes Erze wecken …geschlagnes Erz entdecken
…dies bange Klingen …ihr banges Klingen

Mvt. 5
Da sie des Todes… Bis sie des Todes…

Mvt. 6
…denn geschehn …dann geschehn

Mvt. 7
An dir, du Fürbild… An Dir, Du Muster…

Mvt. 8
Zieht, Fürstin, Deine heitern… Zieht Deiner heitern Augen…
von unsrer Niedrigkeit… Von der verschmähten Welt…
… Dreckbild aus …Denkbild aus
… von hundert Sonnen …gleich hundert Sonnen

Mvt. 9
Erhebt dich… Erhebt dich beides…

Gottsched's original Ode has 9 verses with 8 lines each having the rhyme scheme: ABBACDDC.

 

Performance Practice:
Although Bach writes only "Hautb", it can be assumed that the Oboi d'amore are to be used in mvts. 1, 7, and 9 because of the range involved. Since Bach indicated "Traversa" for mvts. for 1, 4, 8, and 9, it can be assumed that these transverse flutes would also have played along in mvts. 7 and 10 as well. However, since Sicul (see above) went out of his way to describe the flutes being used during the performance as being “fleutes douces u. fleutes traverses”, there exists the possibility that Bach may have used recorders in his performance as well. Based upon evidence from the melodic line and the range of notes employed, mvts. 4 and 9 might appear to be possible; unfortunately Bach clearly marked these mvts. for "Traversa". There exists the possibility that Bach changed the instrumentation while the parts were being copied. Mvt. 4, under such circumstances, would have been particularly appropriate for the sound of recorders.

Completely unclear is the composition of the continuo group. Along with a violoncello and violone, a bassoon may also have been used in conjunction with the oboes. Sicul also reported that, in addition to an organ (the performance took place in church), a harpsichord was also used and played by none other than Bach himself. Just how and when these keyboard instruments were used (whether in conjunction or only separately in different mvts. remains unclear). A likely division would be that the organ was used in the choral mvts. and the harpsichord for arias and recitatives.

It is quite likely that only university students (not the Thomaner who only sang motets in the University Church [St. Pauli] for certain events there and never figural music) were involved in the performance of BWV 198. Werner Neumann speculates that perhaps a special arrangement may have allowed for the one-time-only participation of the Thomaner in this event.

 

Variation of Rhythmic Patterns:
This is a very long section which would require displaying many score samples in order to understand what the editors of the NBA did in resolving the numerous discrepancies that exist within the score in regard to dotted rhythms. It should be remembered that Bach was composing at a very fast pace. This caused him not “to dot all of his i’s” consistently. Sometimes these dotted 16th or double-dotted 8th notes had an infinitesimally small dot that was barely visible or sometimes it did not exist at all. By examining the context of such questionable notations, the NBA editors had to make some reasonable assumptions regarding Bach’s intentions. Of course, all the details of such editing decisions are recorded in the Special Commentary section of the NBA KB.

 

Performance of Dance Rhythms:
See previous BCML discussion on the differences existing in Bach’s time between music performed in a church and the same or similar music performed as chamber or operatic music in a court setting or opera house (toward the end of the page): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Opera.htm
Heinichen, Mattheson and other contemporaries of Bach have made it amply clear that there is a very clear division between church, chamber, and opera styles which affects, among other things, how such music should be performed depending upon the environment in which such performances take place.

 

Source: All information above is based upon the NBA KB I/38 pp. 98-142
Contributed by Thomas Braatz wrote (April 14, 2008)

Cantata BWV 198: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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 17, 2011 ý06:27:16