Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

The 5 Cycles

The five? cycles

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 19, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote (July 4, 2011):
< Indeed, it seems entirely plausible that J. S. Bach - in part for pedagogical reasons would have offered his sons and gifted students opportunities to present their own works in the context of Leipzig's liturgical life, reserving his own compositions for the larger feast days. >
If this is the case, there is no need to label Bach's cantata cycles "incomplete" or lament that the composer "lost interest" in the genre. Rather he strategically planned a spectacular introduction to his style of cantata composition in the first two years in Leipzig, and then shifted to a more inclusive, familiar pattern which included musical colleagues like Telemann and family members like Ludwig and his sons.

This collegial dimension to a well-regulated church music is no better demonstrated than in Will's extraordinary list of 17 mass settings which Bach is known to have performed. That is a sweeping breadth of repertoire which not only tells us much about Bach's attitudes to his contemporaries but the multi-faceted experience which was Sunday in 18th century Leipzig.

Peter Smaill wrote (July 19, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Coinciding with these interesting posts was mention of Barbara Stockigt (ed)'s "Music at German Courts" in which Barbara Reul writes at length on the fasciinating subject of nearby Zerbst. Fasch appears to have performed BWV 21, "Ich hatte viel bekuemerniss", a rare documented example of a J S Bach Cantata being put on outside Leipzig when Bach was Kappelmeister there. But although Fasch called for a general interchange of cantatas in Saxony/Thuringia, and the Zerbst library has a wide cross section, there is nothing at all by J S Bach. Similarly when W F Bach arrived at Halle his father's music, almost alone of the contemporaries, was absent. Exchange was a one-way street for J S Bach who nevertheless had ample stocks of other composers' music on hand.

Reul mentions a new name for me - the deputy Kappelmeister at Zerbst, J G Roellig. Apparently the Leipzig library (Thomaskirche) had over 60 of Roellig's cantatas in its inventory, suggesting that quite apart from Johann Ludwig Bach, Telemann Graupner and Stoelzel, the Zerbst connection was part of the broad repertoire enjoyed by Sebastian. Roellig taught the future Catherine the Great of Russia who was a princess of Anhalt-Zerbst (christened Sophie).

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 19, 2011):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< Roellig taught the future Catherine the Great of Russia who was a princess of Anhalt-Zerbst (christened Sophie). >
I understand that the "Horse Cantata" is irretrievably lost.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 19, 2011):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< Exchange was a one-way street for J S Bach who nevertheless had ample stocks of other composers' music on hand. >
This is a provocative thesis. Did Bach, who was not widely published, want to control his public works, presumably so that his sons would have them as assets?

Evan Cortens wrote (July 19, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] I think one must be very careful about genre here, however. Works like church cantatas were rarely published: Telemann's "Harmonische Gottesdienst" is the only significant exception here, I think, out of the thousands of works written in the eighteenth century. Keyboard music, on the other hand, was published with regularity. Indeed, most of Bach's own publications are in this genre.

I wonder if one could learn something by looking at what percentage of Bach's works were published, broken down by genre, and contrasted with his contemporaries. A time consuming project to put together though...

Peter Smaill wrote (July 19, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] That's an interesting thesis Doug, and particularly relates to the last decade of Bach's life when the guest works appear to have proliferated. We do not really know why the Cantatas (other than the Zerbst and Hamburg putative performances of BWV 21) did not migrate beyond Leipzig (Hochterwuenschtes Freudenfest was of course designed for nearby Stormthal).

It is possible that the Leipzig consistory banned their export but no evidence of this is known to me.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (July 19, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] I think it was because other courts had issues with either the scoring, or other composers had completed cycles of their own music they could fall back on. The liturgical circumstances and the nature of Bach's cantata texts could have been another issue. Considering the investment in copying cantatas either for the the original performance set or recopying another set to help out another peer(just the time alone was a big investment) and the cost of paper and knowing if he sent out big bundles of manuscripts, I'm sure Bach feared their return would be unlikely.

For comparison purposes, Graupner didn't apparently lend out any of his cantatas (there maybe less than five I know of that have other sources other than Darmstadt). And considering the legal issues his estate had with the Landgrave over his music after his death, I'm pretty sure there were prohibitions against sharing the courts
"intellectual property." Althhough I don't think Bach was under any such prohibition in his "contract."

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 19, 2011):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< And considering the legal issues his estate had with the Landgrave over his music after his death, I'm pretty sure there were prohibitions against sharing the courts "intellectual property." Althhough I don't think Bach was under any such prohibition in his "contract." >
Who owned Bach's "copyright"? I've always assumed that Bach considered his scores and parts to be his possessions which could be copied and dispersed to his sons as he chose. Did the Leipzig authorities have any legal control of works which after all they had paid for by hiring Bach? Do we have any inventory of the church/school library which Bach could access during his tenure? For instance, there may well have been printed scores of his predecessor Schein's music purchased by the school, but were there manuscript works. If I'm not mistaken Walther's manuscript of Luther's "Ein feste Burg" was in the library.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (July 19, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote to : Kim Patrick Clow:
< Who owned Bach's "copyright"? I've always assumed that Bach considered his scores and parts to be his possessions which could be copied and dispersed to his sons as he chose. Did the Leipzig authorities have any legal control of works which after all they had paid for by hiring Bach? >
No, he owned his own music, but that understanding varied by court and city authority you worked for. There has been some interesting research done on "intellectual property" in the early 18th century. I know in Graupner case, his family entered a disposition from Benda--Gottfried Stoelzel's successor in Gotha, detailing that the court's position was that the family owned the music manuscripts and it was the property of the estate. He also recounted how the Duke purchased the entire manuscript collection back at a very handsome fee (and as a way to honor the 25 years of service Stoelzel gave the court). Out of what had to have been 1000s of manuscripts, only ten survive in Gotha today.

< Do we have any inventory of the church/school library which Bach could access during his tenure? For instance, there may well have been printed scores of his predecessor Schein's music purchased by the school, but were the manuscript works. If I'm not mistaken Walther's manuscript of Luther's "Ein feste Burg" was in the library. >
I think Will or Evan or Thomas Braatz would be the experts on that information ;)

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (July 20, 2011):
Peter Smaill wrote t Douglas Cowling:
< Coinciding with these interesting posts was mention of Barbara Stockigt (ed)'s "Music at German Courts" in which Barbara Reul writes at length on the fasciinating subject of nearby Zerbst. Fasch appears to have performed BWV 21, "Ich hatte viel bekuemerniss", a rare documented example of a J S Bach Cantata being put on outside Leipzig when Bach was Kappelmeister there. But although Fasch called for a general interchange of cantatas in Saxony/Thuringia, and the Zerbst library has a wide cross section, there is nothing at all by J S Bach. >
There was at least ONE J.S. Bach cantata in Zerbst (now lost). A payment record of it survives along with two copies of the text book.

 

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: żAugust 20, 2011 ż23:54:39