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Part 9

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Article: Arnold Schering on "Who sang the soprano and alto parts in Bach's cantatas?"

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 26, 2009):
Thomas Braatz contributed his translation of an extract from Schering's book that helps to clarify some issues that come up for discussion on the BCML from time to time.
"Who sang the soprano and alto parts in Bach's cantatas?"
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/ScheringFistulanten.pdf

Linked from: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/index.htm
[scroll down to the bottom of the page]

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 26, 2009):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< an extract from Schering's book that helps to clarify some issues that come up for discussion on the BCML from time to time.
"Who sang the soprano and alto parts in Bach's cantatas?"
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/ScheringFistulanten.pdf >
The first part of Schering's chapter has some valuable documents about payments to choirboys, but his conclusions have no evidence to back them up. His thesis that boys were de facto unable to sing Bach's demanding soprano parts and therefore that adult falsettists took the parts is a supposition.

Falsettists were certainly used as sopranos and altos in Lutheran music throughout the 17th century, and Bach may very well have continued the tradition in the "antique" repertoire which was sung every week in addition
to the cantata.

You can get a sense of a falsettist singing soprano in McCreesh's recording of the Schütz "Magnificat" from Dresden. This is a work with Christmas interpolations that Bach might have known: Amazon.com
Click Track 30

Although these modern countertenors have recently begun to address the castrati repertoire, they are as rare as a boy who can sing the big Bach arias. David Newman's page has a good audio example: http://www.davidnewmansoprano.com/

However, it is questionable whether any adult soprano would have been able to scale the heights of "Aus Liebe" in the Matthew Passion or "Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen." Rather than dismissing the possibility of boy sopranos, it would make better history to investigate the teaching methods in choir schools.

By the way, there are Male Sopranos and Altos Lists:
http://malesopranos.com/
http://www.tp4.rub.de/~ak/disc

Julian Mincham wrote (November 26, 2009):
[To Douglas Cowling] Amazing the Schering had such insight into aspects of Bach's choir over 70 years ago when few people, musicians, musicologises and the general public included, would have even been awareof the problems that existed at the time. It was only years later that most people started to come to grips with these issues.

it's interesting what he says about aspects of balance much of which would depend upon the instrumental resources he envisaged. Are his comments translated on these matters?

Thanks Thomas

William Hoffman wrote (November 26, 2009):
Thanks one again for another crucial Thomas Braatz article essential to our discussions. They offer us greater insight and perspective as well as new directions, beyond the debates over OVPP and HIP. I think this is what true study and scholarship are all about.

Some of my "down and dirty" Fugitive Notes from Schering, who opened the door to the St. Mark Passion: Bach was an experienced boy choir member until his voice broke. He became a talented bass. Ernesti shows that when leading his vocal music, Bach sang the entrances for all the parts. The example of Altnikol suggests that Bach's special students could bring great experience, leadership and low voices to his church choirs. The ever-calculating Bach didn't miss a beat or opportunity.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 26, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Thanks one again for another crucial Thomas Braatz article essential to our discussions. They offer us greater insight and perspective as well as new directions, beyond the debates over OVPP and HIP. I think this is what true study and scholarship are all about. >
It's good to have this in translation (and those enclosed pages of facsimile)...but the translation is still one that [mis]leads the witness. For example, in the facsimile near the bottom of p45, where Schering gives a "Summa" assessing the skills of 17, 20, and 17 people, the corresponding translation (p5) inserts the word "[singers]". Bach's jurisdiction (see the preceding sentence) was over a "Chor" of 54, and that does not mean a set of 54 singers. It means a set of 54 musicians, many of whom had to play instruments instead of singing; Bach's Entwurff itself makes this quite clear. So, the reading of "[singers]" into the translation is misleading. Let the reader beware!

Andrew Parrott and Joshua Rifkin both dealt with this 1936 Schering book in their books, too. This book by Schering was one of the primary things Rifkin pointed out as unreliable, way back in his original paper about all this. Rifkin cited this Schering book again (although several different sections of it) in endnote 139 of his book Bach's choral ideal.

Participants in this forum have discussed those books before, in past discussions. See, for example:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/OVPP-17.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Re-Writing.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Books/Bach-Choral-Ideal%5BRifkin%5D.htm
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Choir-Form-5.htm

Here is a bibliographic entry for Rifkin's book, along with a scholarly review of it (by Dr Yo Tomita):
http://www.qub.ac.uk/music-cgi/bach2.pl?23=18242
http://www.music.qub.ac.uk/tomita/bachbib/review/bb-review_DortmundBf5.html

Neil Halliday wrote (November 27, 2009):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Bach's choral ideal. >
That has to be one of the most poorly chosen titles for a book ever.

More accurately, it would be Bach's choral reality.

The fact that he had to forgo the talents of half the human race is a disaster in itself.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 27, 2009):
[To Neil Halliday] In the book with that title, Rifkin doesn't present OVPP as an "ideal". As the book itself makes clear (and remember the old adage, don't judge a book solely by its cover...or its title!), he's giving "Bach's choral ideal" as an open question. We can't know what Bach's ideal was, or assume that it was the same for every situation he found himself in, but can only look at the evidence to work out what Bach most likely did.

Julian Mincham wrote (November 27, 2009):
Andrew Parrott and Joshua Rifkin both dealt with this 1936 Schering book in their books, too. This book by Schering was one of the primary things Rifkin pointed out as unreliable, way back in his original paper about all this. Rifkin cited this Schering book again (although several different sections of it) in endnote 139 of his book Bach's choral ideal.

The point of my earlier email was, of course, not that Schering should be taken as an accurate guide (in the light of all the Bach research of recent decades of which he obviously had no knowledge it would be absurd to think that he could have been) but that it was amazing that someone was even attempting to deal seriously ith these issues at that early time.

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 27, 2009):
BrLehman wrote:
< We can't know what Bach's ideal was, or assume that it was the same for every situation he found himself in, but can only look at the evidence to work out what Bach most likely did. >
I suspect that there was greater diversity and lest rigidity in Bach's time than in a modern symphony orchestra where we have to listen to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann all played by the same size orchestra playing in the same late Romantic fashion.

It's not beyond the realm of possibility that Bach performed some 16th and 17th century with falsettists, that some outdoor cantata performances had specially augmented orchestras and choirs, and that women sang the solos in secular cantatas on state occasions and at Zimmerman's.

Who knows? Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen may have been sung by a visiting castrato as a one-off occasion: Bach may have had a "Don't ask, don't tell" attitude, and, if the authorities complained, it's always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Hmmm. The latter would have been a two-off occasion ...

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 27, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote
< if the authorities complained, it's always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. >
Perhaps not exactly easier, but certainly a more effective method of getting ones way; it has always served me well to that effect.

DC:
< Hmmm. The latter would have been a two-off occasion ... >
EM:
Always good to ponder history, if only becasue it makes it easier to maintain the illusion of social progress?

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 27, 2009):
Article: Bach's Definition of Chor in his Autograph Documents

Thomas Braatz contributed a short article:
"Bach's Definition of Chor in his Autograph Documents"
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/EintelungChor.pdf
Linked from: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/index.htm

In these documents Bach does indeed define the word "Chor" as primarily referring to singers and not instrumentalists. The Thomaner choirs are first and foremost known for their vocal abilities. Their instrumental capabilities were secondary. The City Pipers, Kunstgeiger (city paid violinists) and the supernumerari (a large cohort of musically talent university students) and others supplied the instrumental assistance that Bach needed for his sacred music performances.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 28, 2009):
< Thomas Braatz contributed a short article:
"Bach's Definition of Chor in his Autograph Documents"
See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/EintelungChor.pdf >
Yeah, I see all those parenthetical insertions of "[singers]" and "[vocalists]" and "[vocal]" in there, to make it look as if that's what Bach is saying, and as if that's the only part that's important!

On pp98-102 of Andrew Parrott's book, the situation is fully explained, straight from the _Entwurff_: even if Bach was lucky to get a pool of 12 usable singers somehow, with the logistical problems of instrumentalists some of those musicians would be playing instead of singing. That was Bach's "most pressing" complaint here: he needed enough skilled musicians to cover ALL the assigned needs, both instrumental and vocal, for all these responsibilities across multiple churches; and because some of the musicians who could have been singing were more urgently needed to play something, there were scarcely enough singers to populate all four parts (SATB) well. The notion of populating those SATB parts three deep is something that Arnold Schering made up, from a misreading on some mistaken assumptions; that's largely the point!

The reason to have three competent singers AVAILABLE for each part is to be able to put in a good one as needed; it's the same reason why a sports team needs for each position on the field several players who are able to serve in that role, with the appropriate skills. If one of them gets hurt, or tired, or sick, or is needed to perform elsewhere, at least (given enough adequate participants) there is some way to cover each role. One wouldn't put three tenors onto a vocal part any more than one would put three goalkeepers onto the field!

I like this paragraph from Parrott's page 99:

"What this all amounts to is that the _Entwurff_ cannot be construed as a plea for a full complement of 12 (let alone 16) pupils to be deployed as a purely 'vocal choir' when instruments were also involved. At the very least, three of his musically most able boys were 'always' required to play rather than sing; and as many as five to eight boys might be needed to bring the string group up to the 11 players specified elsewhere in the same document. And on feast days, at least two pupils -- a pair of violinists, perhaps -- had to be reallocated to the second choir. Under such circumstances, and allowing for absence through illness 'as very often happens', Bach can never have used as many as 12 pupils as singers in his cantatas. Moreover, the chances of forming a balanced SATB group from those singers who were not needed as instrumentalists cannot have been particularly good. If, then, he had chosen to compose in a way that not only called for several voices per part but also required equal numbers of each voice-type, he would have been exacerbating what was in any case a considerable organizational problem."

Furthermore, don't miss that quote from Scheibe (1737) on Parrott's page 98, where Scheibe uses the word "Singechor" to designate an ensemble that is ONLY about singers. Bach used a different word: "Chor". If Bach had intended to designate ONLY singers, perhaps he could have chosen the word "Singechor"?

It seems to me that the more accurate translation of "Chor" would simply be "musical ensemble" than "choir [of singers]"!

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 28, 2009):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Thanks on[c]e again for another crucial Thomas Braatz article essential to our discussions. They offer us greater insight and perspective as well as new directions, beyond the debates over OVPP and HIP. I think this is what true study and scholarship are all about. >
As concisely as I can manage:

(1) The generalization from one Thomas Braatz article to all of them is a stretch.

(2) Brad Lehmans response to the posts re Schering article strike me as essential to our discussions, as well. As do all of Brads contributions, whether I happen to agree or not, in any particular instance. Most often I find that Brad has the last (of a lot of!) words, quite convincingly.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 28, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< (1) The generalization from one Thomas Braatz article to all of them is a stretch. >
Meow. Meow.

< (2) Brad Lehmans response to the posts re Schering article strike me as essential to our discussions, as well. As do all of Brads contributions, whether I happen to agree or not, in any particular instance. Most often I find that Brad has the last (of a lot of!) words, quite convincingly. >
I find the discourse interesting and always engaging, but none of it would happen without Thomas Braatz's time and effort contributing the articles.

Neil Halliday wrote (November 28, 2009):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< In the book with that title, Rifkin doesn't present OVPP as an "ideal". As the book itself makes clear (and remember the old adage, don't judge a book solely by its cover...or its title!), he's giving "Bach's choral ideal" as an open question. >
Thanks for claryfying this (you are correct, I have not read the book).

Some observations on the documents supplied by Thomas:

1. (from the 18th May, 1729 document) "In the church of St. Nicholas
as to the first 'choir' (the disputed word) are heard 3 sopranos, 3 altos, etc.

Any significance in the word "heard" (gehören)? It would seem that 3 sopranos, etc, are to be actually heard.

2. Note that the S, A, T, and B numbers for each of the four "choirs" are specified exactly; yet surely instrumental proficiency is not equally distributed amongst the members of the four vocal types, some of whom (it is said)may (or may not) be required as instrumentalists.

3. Likewise in the Entwurff: "In each musical 'choir' are heard at least 3 sopranos", (etc) .... it would be even better for each vocal line (Stimme) to have four subjects (subjecta)".

Parrott's argument seems an unnecessarily complicated reading (of the above) to me; it's easier to consider that some of the instrumentalists moved from church to church as required, since (I presume) services were not conducted at the same time.

Evan Cortens wrote (November 28, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< 1. (from the 18th May, 1729 document) "In the church of St. Nicholas as to the first 'choir' (the disputed word) are heard 3 sopranos, 3 altos, etc.
Any significance in the word "heard" (gehören)? It would seem that 3 sopranos, etc, are to be actually heard.
2. Note that the S, A, T, and B numbers for each of the four "choirs" are specified exactly; yet surely instrumental proficiency is not equally distributed amongst the members of the four vocal types, some of whom (it is said) may (or may not) be required as instrumentalists.
3. Likewise in the Entwurff: "In each musical 'choir' are heard at least 3 sopranos", (etc) .... it would be even better for each vocal line (Stimme) to have four subjects (subjecta)" >.
First, I too want to say that I always appreciated Thomas Braatz's contributions; they always make for an informative read!

Neil, I'm afraid I must correct your translation. (As politely as I can, bearing in mind Ed's previous post on email tone!) Gehören (gehoeren, in case my umlaut didn't come through, as it sometimes doesn't) means "belong to" rather than hear (which is hören [simply to hear], or zuhören [to listen]).

To speak about the topic more generally, however, I see it as an irreconcilable conflict between two seemingly contradictory pieces of evidence. On the one hand, we have the Entwurff and the May 18, 1729 letter quoted above which seem clearly to state that Bach envisioned a singing group consisting of three to four singers per part. On the other hand, we have virtually every piece of vocal music he ever wrote, for which only one physical part per musical part survives (see Parrott's Appendix 5, pp. 177ff. Out of roughly 300 surviving vocal works, only ten have extant ripieno parts). (Darn the imprecise term "part"! German isn't much better, since Stimme can mean both physical part and voice/vocal part as well.)

One can really only resolve this either of two ways:

1) The Entwurff and May 18, 1729 documents referred to something other than the actual number of singers participating in the service. Brad references Rifkin's sports metaphor to this effect, suggesting that the 12 to 16 voices were a roster from which actual singers were drawn. One can of course argue that instrumentalists were drawn from this group also.

OR

2) There have been massive losses of vocal parts. These losses would have to have occurred regardless of the provenance of the sources themselves, i.e. regardless of which libraries held them, from whose inheritance they descended or which private collectors owned them. Or, one could suggest that Bach simply never kept duplicate vocal parts. If that were the case, however, one would need to explain why the duplicate string and continuo parts come down to us fundamentally intact.

As I've said in this forum before, I personally take the latter approach, but like I say, I maintain that the two are basically irreconcilable. And unless some new evidence appears (I'd like a nice HD video of the premiere of the St. Matthew Passion in 1727 myself), it will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 28, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< 2) There have been massive losses of vocal parts. These losses would have to have occurred regardless of the provenance of the sources themselves, i.e. regardless of which libraries held them, from whose inheritance they descended or which private collectors owned them. Or, one could suggest that Bach simply never kept duplicate vocal parts. If that were the case, however, one would need to explain why the duplicate string and continuo parts come down to us fundamentally intact. >
Yep, how do you explain the similiar situation in Frankfurt and Hamburg with Telemann and Stoelzel cantatas, or Graupner in Darmstadt. All of these collections have pretty much one voice per part, but MUTLIPLE instrumentalist parts (e.g. doublet strings and continuo parts). While we can't make general assertions that was happening in one city was the rule for all of baroque Germany, it seems unlikely that all of these multiple vocalist parts just vanished mysteriously. The Darmstadt Graupner cantata collection is the most important for this type of research, because unusually, it survived completely intact, there isn't any other baroque cantata collection nearly as complete.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 28, 2009):
Re the Entwurff document, Evan and I had the following exchange in Feb. 2009

Evan Cortens asked:
< I recall that recently (i.e., within the past few months) someone mentioned an article reconsidering the political context of Bach's 'Entwurff'. I've searched through the website, but I haven't been able to track down this reference. Does anyone perhaps recall the volume in question? (I seem to recall that it might be C. Baron, ed., _Bach's Changing World_, but I'm not sure.) >
That is the correct volume. I believe the post in question was mine, although the general relevance of the book was first raised by Will Hoffman. I will take a moment tomoroow to check through my own records of posts to recover the article and author, within the general volume, and also to check that my post has been properly archived on BCW. It should be easy to recover with proper search constraints.

Meow. Meow.

Evan Cortens wrote (November 28, 2009):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< That is the correct volume. I believe the post in question was mine, although the general relevance of the book was first raised by Will Hoffman. I will take a moment tomoroow to check through my own records of posts to recover the article and author, within the general volume, and also to check that my post has been properly archived on BCW. It should be easy to recover with proper search constraints. >
Thanks for mentioning this again, Ed. "Bach's Changing World" is indeed the correct volume, and the article in question is "Bach's situation in the cultural politics of contemporary Leipzig" by Ulrich Siegele (author of a similar article in the Cambridge Companion to Bach). This article is nothing new, however, rather an abridged translation of two of his articles published in the Bach-Jahrbuch in the 1980s.

His basic argument, if I recall correctly (I don't have the book handy), is that Bach may have overstated his case in the Entwurff at the request of a particular political faction of the Leipzig town council, which desired that the city be more cosmopolitan in nature. Thus, argues Siegele, the Entwurff may not actually reflect Bach's day-to-day performing circumstances.

Ed Myskowski wrote (November 28, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< His basic argument, if I recall correctly (I don't have the book handy), is that Bach may have overstated his case in the Entwurff at the request of a particular political faction of the Leipzig town council, >
Correct. Perhaps more importantly, he also suggests that the document survives becasuse it was in fact never submitted to the full council. It was simply kept on file as potential ammunition, but never actually considered. A pretty weak foundation for some of the mountainous structures it is expected to support, IMO.

Neil Halliday wrote (November 28, 2009):
Evan Cortens wrote:
>gehoeren.... means "belong to" rather than hear<
Ah! So it's not the past participle of hören. Damn.

> Brad references Rifkin's sports metaphor to this effect, suggesting that the 12 to 16 voices were a roster from which actual singers were drawn.<
They must have been an unhealthy lot in Leipzig.

The 1729 docuhas three members belonging to each vocal line, to guarantee (so we are told) an OVPP choir. A year later, the Entwurff prefers four members for each vocal line, to guarantee the same minimum "choir" numbers. Hmmm.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 29, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< They must have been an unhealthy lot in Leipzig. >
Pretty much they were unhealthy EVERYWHERE in Europe during this time period. Risks existed everywhere- from the food, to the lack of proper washing of hands, unwashed clothes, unsanitary medical habits, even the wine you drank was suspect (some scientists believe Handel suffered and died from lead used in the process of making wine in the U.K during the 18th century), and the rich weren't immune from any of this-- Queen Anne of Great Britian had 17 children, most of who died as infants or young children, and none lived to adulthood, and she wasn't all that unique either, most monarchs lost many of their children during this period.

Evan Cortens wrote (November 29, 2009):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Ah! So it's not the past participle of hören. Damn. >
Yep.. The past participle of hören is gehört. As it happens though, the past participle of gehören is also gehört. I confess I'm no native speaker though, maybe it's clear in context? Anyway, this isn't the issue here, thankfully!

< They must have been an unhealthy lot in Leipzig.
The 1729 document has three members belonging to each vocal line, to guarantee (so we are told) an OVPP choir. A year later, the Entwurff prefers four members for each vocal line, to guarantee the same minimum "choir" numbers. Hmmm. >
Again, I can't pretend to offer an explanation of this document better than Rifkin, or Parrott, or anyone else. Furthermore, Kim has just weighed in on this point as well. I would say though that they must have been getting sick with enough frequency that Bach thought to draw special attention to it. I quote here the relevant passage of the Entwurff, from Parrott's translation (with his editorial insertion):

"Each 'musical' choir must have at least three sopranos, three altos, three tenors, and as many bases, so that even if one person falls ill (as very often happens, and particularly at this time of year [late August], as the prescriptions written by the school doctor for the apothecary must show), at least a two-choir motet can be sung.
(NB though it would be better still if the student body were composed in such a way that one could take four individuals [_subjecta_] for each voice and thus set up [bestellen] each choir with sixteen persons.)"

(By the way, musical is not in scare quotes, but rather set that way so as to indicate Bach's use of the Roman text there, rather than the predominant Fraktur.)

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 29, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< The Darmstadt Graupner cantata collection is the most important for this type of research, because unusually, it survived completely intact, there isn't any other baroque cantata collection nearly as complete. >
I don't think we can make any conclusions about the damned Entwurf. I would much rather a lateral investigation of this cantata collection and see what principles emerge.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 29, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I don't think we can make any conclusions about the damned Entwurf. I would much rather a lateral investigation of this cantata collection [the Graupner cantatas held in Darmstadt] and see what principles emerge. >
Joshua Rikfin has said it's an unexplored gold mine of information about German baroque performance habits.

I'd love to write and say there is a lot of research happening, but from what I can tell, the GWV catalogue process is being done by one man: Dr. Oswald Bill, who is the retired Music Library director at Darmstadt. He wrote an article for the Graupner society about the process of developing a GWV vocal thematic catalogue, and I think he's finished all the cantatas up through Christmas now (he's working his way through the liturgical calendar). Dr. Bill is very through-- measure counts for each movement, instrumentation, annotations about the score, and counts for the parts, etc, plus any references in musciological papers or books or published editions, recordings, and he's doing this for over 1400 cantatas with NO funding, he's doing it completely on his own- no grad students or research assts. I'm hoping to do at least one or two cantata cycles in performing editions, but it's so much work. ;)

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 29, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I'd love to write and say there is a lot of research happening, but from what I can tell, the GWV catalogue process is being done by one man: Dr. Oswald Bill, who is the retired Music Library director at Darmstadt. >
Why don't you invite him on to the list as a guest for a week? It would be great ask him questions.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 29, 2009):
PM, Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Why don't you invite him on to the list as a guest for a week? It would be great ask him questions. >
I'd love to do that, but he's from the "older school" and does not like the Internet. I also believe he is a very private person, so he would not particpate in a forum like this. BUT Florian Heyerick is a music conductor, and reseacher and has an excellent Graupner website up and running. I could ask him to come here and maybe shed some light. I think Florian has about 800 of the Graupner cantata manuscripts (and I thought I was doing well by having a MERE 60 of them ;)

Could you give me some suggested questions that you would like him to answer?

Thanks Doug,

Douglas Cowling wrote (December 1, 2009):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Could you give me some suggested questions that you would like him to answer? >
Off the top of my head ...

* Are the collections still shelved in their original order? By composer,
Sunday of the church year? Scoring?

* Are there doublets of parts, especially vocal parts?

* Are the parts performing scores or exemplars for copying?

* What are the indications for organ and harpsichord?

* What are the Sundays and festivals for which there are cantatas?

* Are there significant differences to Bach's calendar?

Evan Cortens wrote (December 1, 2009):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Off the top of my head ... >
Good questions Doug!

The only question I can think to add would be about the dating of the works. Do we have accurate information about when/where the cantatas were performed, or can this be ascertained in a way similar to JSB (i.e., through watermark/copyist analysis)? What about reperformances of a given work?

I know we also have some general information about the performers working under Graupner, including an Italian falsettist, who required phonetic spellings for his vocal texts. (A goldmine of information on 18th-cent German pronunciation.) Do we have any ideas about the rest of his ensemble, from pay receipts, church records, and the like?

Thanks, as always, Kim!

 

Choral Vocal Technique

Neil Halliday wrote (January 10, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>German boys choirs have a much "rougher" sound that mixes a lot of chest tone in the sound. It's very interesting to hear the difference between the King's College Cambridge and the Tolzer Knabechor sing the Bach motets.<
Though I'm wondering if the Windsbacher all male choir (under Beringer) is a German example of the 'purer' English cathedral-choir sound, with it's vibrato-less treble boy section: Amazon.com

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 10, 2010):
Neil Halliday wrote:
< Though I'm wondering if the Windsbacher all male choir (under Beringer) is a German example of the 'purer' English cathedral-choir sound, with it's vibrato-less treble boy section. >
All of the German choirs use a "whiter" more focussed sound for Renaissance and Baroque music than they did 40 years ago. I suspect this is the influence of period ensembles which adopted that sas a recreation of boys voices in earlier periods.

Edward Lilley wrote (January 12, 2010):
Paul Johnson writes:
< It's very interesting. I like The Sixteen, The Tallis Scholars, and The Hilliard Ensemble a great deal. But singing the Bach Motets, I wouldn't favour them. >
Has anyone else experienced Cantus Colln's rendition of the motets? I much prefer them to the Rene Jacobs & RIAS-Kammerchor, and pretty much everyone else. (though I still love the several different versions that I have of King's, under Cleobury, doing Lobet & Der Geisthilft, despite it being a supposedly unauthentic cathedral-y sound)

George Bromley wrote (January 12, 2010):
[To Edward Lilley] l admire Sir David very much and have sung under him but Bach, no no , far to a romatic approach and not a Bach sound,

 

Choir Form: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9
One-Voice-Per-Part (OVPP):
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21
Articles:
Bach’s Choir and Orchestra [T. Koopman] | Evidence for the Size of Bach’s Primary Choir [T. Braatz]
Books on OVPP:
The Essential Bach Choir [A. Parrott] | Bach's Choral Ideal [J. Rifkin]: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Last update: ýJanuary 17, 2010 ý10:48:43