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Cantata BWV 90
Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende
Provenance

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 22, 2002):
BWV 90 - Provenance:

The original parts were lost early on and only the autograph score still exists in the BB. C. P. E. Bach inherited the score but then gave it away some during his lifetime. The catalog of his estate prepared shortly after his death no longer lists this cantata along with a number of other cantatas that J. S. Bach had prepared for the final Sundays in the liturgical year. The next owner was the Berliner Singakademie for whom Dehn prepared a catalog in which this cantata is listed as “Es reifet euch ein schrecklich Ende.” [‘reifet’ (‘ripens’) is Dehn’s misreading of the original title. In 1761 Breitkopf had for sale in his catalog a copy (made from the original parts?) Catalog entry: Cantate: In Tom. [sic!] XXV. P. Trinit. Es reißet euch ein schrecklich etc. à Tromba, 2 Violini, kViola, 4 Voci, Basso ed Organo. A 1 thl.] In 1855 the Berliner Singakademie sold it to the BB. The cover or folder in which the score is contained has a title as follows:

25 post Trin. | Von | J. S. B. [in C.P.E.’s handwriting]
No: 96. | Es reifet euch ein schrecklich Ende. [in Carl Zelter’s handwriting]

On top of the 1st page of the score, Bach wrote:
J. J. Concerto Dominica 25 post Trinit.

There are no indications of the instruments to be used. Otherwise only a ‘DC’ for a da capo, one ‘Recit.’ and ‘Choral’ above the final chorale are to be found.

The spelling problems that caused the change of word from ‘reißet’ to ‘reifet’ was complicated by J. S. Bach’s own spelling in his handwriting where he used a single ‘s’ that begins to look very much like, or would actually mean a double ‘s’ or ‘esszett’ (ß), the latter often rendered as 'sz' in earlier centuries. There is even a precedent for this problem: BWV 60/4 measure 3 where Bach writes ‘reiset’ [here Bach means to use the word, ‘reißet’ but writes ‘reiset’ instead – in Bach’s time the difference between the ‘s’ and ‘ss’ or ‘ß’ was not clearly established] and Johann Andreas Kuhnau, the copyist, writes ‘reiset’ [this means ‘to travel or take a trip’] instead in the part he was copying. Take Eric Chafe to add a further complication to this messy situation: In the old German handwriting (and Bach did not always use the orthographical rule regarding the use of ‘s,’ ‘ss,’ and ‘ß’ that was established at the end of the 20th century) two ‘s’s’ might begin to look like two ‘f’s’ (of course, a knowledgeable reader would see a difference if the handwriting is clear – otherwise a decision would have to be made based upon the context.) Now we have to deal with four possible forms of a single word, three of which are misreadings/misunderstandings of the 3rd person singular form of the verb that Bach wrote:

‘reißet’ [actually in this context: from ‘hinreißen’ = ‘to be carried or swept away’ ]
‘reiset’ [from ‘to travel, to take a trip’ as it appeared to Kuhnau]
‘reifet’ [from ‘to ripen’ as Carl Zelter read Bach’s title]
‘reiffet’ [Chafe’s rendering of this word - this could be an obsolete, obscure form of ‘reifet’ but more likely it is a misreading of 'ss' in old German script]

Spitta, Voigt, and Schweitzer still used ‘reifet’ and this had a profound effect upon scholars who referenced the title of this cantata with this spelling.

Dürr comments that these mistakes have continued until the present time. You need only look at Simon Crouch’s commentary on this cantata with an incorrect translation of the title to verify this statement, as Christian Panse has already correctly pointed out. http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/works/bachjs/cantatas/090.html

The Text:

The librettist for this cantata is unknown. There is only a general connection between the Gospel for this Sunday (Matthew 24: 15-28) and the text in mvts. 1 to 4. There are, however, a number of biblical references of which the following are most obvious:

Mvt. 2
Des Höchsten Güte wird von Tag zu Tage neu, [Lamentations 3:22ff]

Der Undank aber sündigt stets auf Gnade [Romans 6:1

Ach! Wird dein Herze nicht gerührt? daß Gottes Güte dich zur wahren Buße leitet? [Romans 2:4]

Bald läßt er Tempel auferbauen [Zechariah 6:12-15]

Bald wird die Aue zubereitet [Psalm 23:2]

Mvt. 3:
So löschet im Eifer der rächende Richter den Leuchter des Wortes zur Strafe doch aus [Revelations 2:5]

Ihr machet aus Tempeln ein mörderisch Haus [Matt 21:13]

Mvt. 4:
Doch Gottes Auge sieht auf uns als Auserwählte [Matt 24:22]

Mvt. 5:
For the final chorale Bach uses the 7th verse of “Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott” by Martin Moller (1584). This is the same text that Bach used as a final chorale ¾ of a year later in BWV 101. The melody used, BTW, is from the chorale: “Vater unser im Himmelreich.’

Date of Composition:

This cantata was composed for its 1st performance on November 14, 1723 [Dürr]. That this was an original composition (not based on mvts. from earlier cantatas) is evidenced by Bach’s many corrections and even some sketches on one page before beginning the mvt. on the next page.

The Instrumentation:

Bach did not designate the instruments to be used, although it is fairly obvious which parts are for the strings and the bc. Notwithstanding Breitkopf’s copy offered in 1761, a copy which is regarded as spurious, but because it can not be connected with any later handwritten copies, what is not clear here is whether oboes might have been used to back up the violins. The solo instrument could be for a tromba or a horn. Because Bach usually has such a solo instrument also play along in the final chorale, it might have been a tromba da tirarsi, since that part would require additional notes not available to a tromba.

 

Cantata BWV 90: 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: ýDecember 29, 2012 ý00:22:18