Cantata BWV 74Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten
BWV 74 Provenance, Composing & Copy Process
Thomas Braatz wrote (June 9, 2007):
The Autograph Score
The original score may have been inherited by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach at the time of the distribution of scores after JSB's death. No record of its existence has been found after 1750. It can be assumed to be irretrievably lost.
The Original Set of Parts
Soon after JSB's death, this set of parts was inherited by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who, at some later point, separated the doublets (Violino 1 & 2 and an incomplete continuo part) from the larger set. For these parts CPE created a titled cover folder in which they were inserted. For a while they still remained in CPE's possession until at some point in his life CPE gave the main set of parts to a choir prefect in Hamburg, S. Hering. From Hering's estate this main set was acquired by the manuscript collector, Count Karl Otto Friedrich von Voß-Buch (1786-1864) who donated his vast collection of manuscripts to the Staatsbibliothek Berlin (known then as "die Königliche Bibliothek Berlin" in 1851. Here the doublets were once again united with the main set of parts.
The parts with the identification of the copyists are as follows:
1. Soprano JAK
2. Alto JAK
3. Tenore JAK
4. Baßo JAK
5. Tromba 1 JAK
6. Tromba 2 JAK
7. Tromba 3 JAK
8. Tamburi JAK
9. Hautbois 1mo. JAK
10. Hautbois 2do JAK
11. Hautbois d'Caccia JAK
12. Violino 1mo. JAK
13. Violino 1mo. [doublet] WFB(?) p. 1r and p. 2v
(only staves 1-3 and 5); Anonymous IIe p. 1v staves. 4-5 and staves 9-13, p. 2r staves 1-8; p. 2r stave 8 m 3-13; Last page: JAK
14. Violino 2do JAK
15. Violino 2do Anonymous Iif
16. Viola JAK
17. Continuo [Primary] JAK
18. Continuo [incomplete] Copyist 6
19. Continuo [transposed and figured] pp. 1r to 4r
main copyist C; p 4v main copyist B; figured bass by JSB?
[At the time when this cantata was researched and printed in the NBA, many of the copyists were yet unknown; hence the designations: "Hauptkopist A, B, C" and Anonymous IIx or no categorization at all. In the meantime (since 1960) most of these copyists have been identified - see some of the cantatas discussed in January and February for some of these names.]
1. Johann Andreas Kuhnau (previously only identified as "Hauptkopist A")
2. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (probably)
3. Anonymous IIe
4. (not identified in 1960 as yet)
5. Anonymous IIf
6. (not identified in 1960 as yet)
7. (main copyist C = "Hauptkopist C")
8. (main copyist B = "Hauptkopist B")
Sequence of Preparation Process
a) the composition of the score
from indirect indications obtained from a close examination of the original parts, a reasonable conjecture would be that it was very much a composing score with more than the usual amount of corrections and additions. It was however completed (the final chorale as well!) at the time when JAK began copying out the bulk of the parts.
b) JAK received the autograph score and worked directly from it as he copied the bulk of the parts.
c) the doublets were copied by other copyists as soon as JAK had finished copying out the primary parts (1st & 2nd violins and continuo). (Note that 3 copyists were involved with the 1st violin doublet part and note also the unfinished continuo part.)
d) JSB corrected the parts and made some additions, but this was done rather superficially.
Evidence of Haste
a) the inclusion of a number of mvts. from another cantata (BWV 59) with few substantial changes
b) indirect evidence from the parts points to the score having been hastily composed
c) even JSB's most reliable and accurate copyist working from the completed score, JAK, makes more than the usual number of errors which JSB corrected using tablature
d) greater than usual number of mistakes in transposition made in the transposed continuo copy
e) Wilhelm Rust, in preparing the first BGA printing of this cantata commented that he had to clean up an unusually large number of mistakes (more than encountered elsewhere in Bach's original parts) made by the copyists("mehr als anderwärts mit ungewohnlich vielen Schreibfehlern aufzuräumen").
f) contrary to evidence from other sets of parts, there are hardly any additional markings by JSB (trills, etc.) in the parts
[All of the above determinations made by Bach experts point to the fact that Bach assembled, composed and performed this cantata within a very limited time frame amounting most likely to no more than just a few days.]
Date of Composition and 1st Performance
Historically Spitta and Smend assigned later dates to this cantata. It was Alfred Dürr, using watermark analysis along with the identification of handwriting of certain individuals (even when the copyist could not be identified by name), who narrowed down the date with this reliable information to May 20, 1725.
Cantata BWV 74: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3