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Parodies in Bach’s Vocal Works
Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Secular to Sacred Parody, Contrafaction (1725-27)

William Hoffman wrote (October 23, 2016):
A dramatic shift in Bach’s compositional activities, related to his positions as Cantor at the Thomas School/Church and director of music in Leipzig, came at Lenten Time 1725 when Bach was nearing the end of his second consecutive church year cantata cycle of musical sermons, involving his unique new chorale cantatas. During the Lenten hiatus which began on Ash Wednesday, February 14, when Bach could not compose cantatas every Sunday and turned to a required annual Passion oratorio for Good Friday vespers, Bach instead scheduled a reperformance of the 1724 St. John Passion on Good Friday with additional chorale-laden movements.

Bach during Lent focused his creativity for the first time since coming to Leipzig in May 1723 to the secular realm, more in keeping with the Leipzig music director’s post. He produced three unique, remarkable celebratory works which contained all the earmarks of music for special events that could be transformed through parody or new-text underlay into major sacred works as part of a “well-ordered church music to the glory of God.” Bach was a prodigious borrower of his own music, both instrumental and vocal, sometimes involving both forms and multiple recycling of the same music, whether called adaptations, transcriptions, or transfers. Selectively, Bach had utilized Cöthen vocal congratulatory serenades and instrumental concerto resources to forge mostly parodied sacred cantatas for Feast days and occasional secular events in Leipzig. Bach was expanding his use of parody in the third cycle as well as lay the groundwork for his Christological Cycle of major works, primarily involving parody or contrafaction from German to Latin.

For his pending third cantata cycle, Bach took off Trinity Time 1725 to search for appropriate, published texts, review existing materials on hand and suitable for transcription, and to compose instrumental music involving keyboard Partitas as the beginning of his Clavierübung (keyboard studies) as well as concertos appropriate for sacred solo and dialogue cantata sinfonias and selective choruses and arias.

During Lenten Time 1725 Bach produced his first sacred wedding Cantata BWV Anh. 14, “Sein Segen fließt daher wie ein Strom” (His blessing flows like a stream, Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 39:22), 12 February 1725, which possibly involved four arias as contrafactions for the Mass in B Minor, BWV 232; the extended Shepherd’s Cantata, “Entflieht, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen” (O flee now and vanish, O yield now, ye sorrows), BWV 249a, 23 February 1725, parodied as a cantata on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1725, and later as an oratorio c.1736; and the sprightly congratulatory, BWV 36c, “Schwingt freudig euch empor” (Soar in your joy), 5 April 1725, which became a cantata for the First Sunday in Advent opening the third cycle liturgical year.

The date of 12 February 1725 is significant in Bach's compositional history. The previous day, Quinquagesima Estomihi Sunday, Bach presented his penultimate chorale cantata in the second cycle, “Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott” (Lord Jesus Christ, True Man and God). The next day, he presented this wedding cantata, which may have been the springboard for his Great Mass. On February 23 his Weißenfels serenade BWV 249a, which eventually became his parodied oratorio, for Easter, Sunday April 1. Other music presented during Lent was Bach’s last extant chorale cantata in the cycle, BWV 1, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” (How beautifully shines the morning star), for the Feast of the Annunciation, Sunday, March 25, and on Good Friday, March 30, the second version of his St. John Passion, BWV 245.

BWV Anh. 14 Sacred Wedding, B-Minor Mass

Bach's first Leipzig wedding cantata was BWV Anh. 14, “Sein Segen fließt daher wie ein Strom,” presented in Leipzig on Monday, February 12, church location unknown, possibly the Nikolaikirche where prominent Leipzig families had boxes. The groom, Friedrich Christoph “Lösner had by appointment of the King [Saxon Prince Augustus] oversight over the flow of the rivers through Leipzig and the transport of lumber upon them,” says Z. Philip Ambrose.1 The four arias in the cantata are based, “upon Biblical [Old Testament] passages which deal with waters and timber,” with text by an unknown librettist.

This was Bach’s first composition for a Leipzig civic official with direct connections to the Saxon Court. Soon after Bach would make the acquaintance of Count Joachim Friedrich von Flemming, the Saxon Court-appointed Governor of Leipzig, for whom Bach composed three congratulatory birthday serenades (August 25), BWV 249b, “Die Feyer des Genius: Verjaget, zerstreuet, zerrüttet, ihr Sterne” (The Festival of Genius: Dispel them, disperse them, destroy them, ye heavens), in 1726; BWV Anh. 10, “So kämpfet nur, ihr muntern Töne” Contend ye then, ye tones so lively), in 1731, and BWV 210a, “O Angeheme Melodei” (O Sweet and Charming Melody), between 1735-40. Cantatas BWV 249b and Anh. 10 have texts attributed to Picander; BWV Anh. 210a author is unknown, possibly Bach himself.

Recent findings of Bach scholar William Scheide,2 suggest that as many as all four arias from the lost sacred wedding Cantata BWV Anh. 14 of Feb. 12, 1725, may survive, adapted in the Great Mass in B Minor, BWV 232. They are opening aria, "His blessings flow" (Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 39:22), as No. 5, "Laudamus Te" for soprano and violin; BWV Anh. 14/3, aria "Happy are you" (Ezekiel 47:1,4), as No. 10, "Quoniam," for bass and horn; Arioso No. 4, "Bitterness withdraws from you" (Exodus 18:25) as No. 22, Benedictus qui venit," for soprano and flute; and Aria No. 6, "So step into paradise" (Genesis 2:11), as No. 18, "Et in Spiritum Sanctum" for bass and oboe d'amore.

While all the original music of BWV Anh. 14 is lost, Bach set the text directly from the Bible, as he had done in some of his earliest cantatas. The four suggested arias as found in the B Minor Mass all have progressive associations with the Saxon Court through dance rhythm: “Laudamus Te” in 4/4 common time has Lombard short-long syncopated notes, “Quoniam” in ¾ time is a polonaise, popular at the Saxon Court since Augustus also was King of Poland, “Benedictus qui venit” in ¾ time has generic dance elements, and “Et in Spiritu Sanctum Sanctum” in 6/8 time is pastorale profane love song. These arias as well as other arias and choruses in the Missa: Kyrie-Gloria (1725-27) will be the BCML Discussion in two weeks, November 6, examining the possible contrafaction origins involving secular music composed in 1725-27 with connections to the Dresden Court, for whom BWV 233a and the complete Mass, BWV 232 were composed.

Shepherd’s, Easter Sunday Cantatas

The date of Feb. 12, 1725 is significant in Bach's compositional history. The previous day, Quinquagesima Estomihi Sunday, Bach presented his penultimate chorale cantata in the second cycle, “Herr Jesu Christ, wahr ensch und Gott” (Lord Jesus Christ, True Man and God). The next day, he presented this wedding cantata, which may have been the springboard for his Great Mass. On February 23 his Weißenfels serenade BWV 249a, which eventually became his parodied oratorio, for Easter, Sunday April 1. Other music presented during Lent was Bach’s last extant chorale cantata in the cycle, BWV 1, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” (How beautifully shines the morning star), for the Feast of the Annunciation, Sunday, March 25, and on Good Friday, March 30, the second version of his St. John Passion, BWV 245.

The congratulatory Shepherds’ Cantata, BWV 249a, “Entflieht, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen” (O flee now and vanish, O yield now, ye sorrows), is a dramma per musica or static miniature opera, for the birthday of Duke Christian of Sachsen-Weißenfels, on Friday, February 23, 1725. It was Bach’s first active collaboration with Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici). Immediately, Bach with Picander took the 11-movement work lasting 40 minutes and expathe opening into a chorus, parodied the five arias and compose four new recitatives for an extended Easter Cantata, BWV 249, for Easter Sunday, April 1, 1726, as well as the Easter Oratorio c.1736. The Picander collaboration also would yield in 1727 the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, more than a dozen sacred cantatas, the 1731 St. Mark Passion, BWV 247, with parodied arias and choruses, and most of all, a series of drammi per musica through the late 1730s that would yield at least three sacred oratorios for Easter, Christmas, and Ascension Day.

Meanwhile, Bach also engaged Picander to write text for another secular cantata: BWV 36c, “Schwingt freudig euch empor” (Soar in your joy), for the birthday of an unknown Leipzig University professor, on April 5, the Thursday after Easter Sunday. As with the original Shepherd’s Cantata, BWV 249, Bach with Cantata BWV 36c, did multiple parodies, both for secular and sacred occasions. Probably for the First Sunday in Advent, December 2, 1725, Bach presented the first parodied sacred version, BWV 36, “Schwingt freudig euch empor” (Soar in your joy, same title as BWV 36c), without the chorale insertions (nos. 2, 4, 6, and 8), which were added in 1731, chorus and four arias Picander parody (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRtcW5CR96s; details, “(January 21, 2009),

BWV 36: Art of Parody,” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV36-D3.htm; see BCML Discussion, November 27, 2016). Secular Cantata 36c became BWV 36a, “Steigt freudig in die Luft” (Soar gladly through the air), for the birthday of Charlotte Friederike Amalie, second wife of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, 30 November 1726 (Picander text). Finally, Bach presented secular Cantata BWV 36b, “Die Freude reget sich” (Now gladness doth arise), Congratulatory Cantata for the Leipzig scholar Johann Florens Rivinus (probably for his inauguration as Rector of the University), in November 1735, ?Picander text.

Cöthen Instrumental Sources in Leipzig Cantatas

The first three movements of Cantata BWV 249 in its various versions in Italian style are two instrumental movements, a 3/8 Allegro and a ¾ Adagio (oboe and strings), followed by a da-capo form duet (1725) that later was expanded into a four-voice chorus. The festive music is score for three trumpets and drums, two oboes and strings, based on the surviving late 1730s manuscript for the oratorio version (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5ICH1gK5fQ). Early Bach scholars, quick to find passages of cantata music borrowed from earlier instrumental music composed in Cöthen when Bach was court composer (capellmeister), suggested the source of the fast-slow-fast fast movements was a now-lost Cöthen instrumental concerto.

Examples of movements from the six Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1056-61, later found as vocal movements and sinfonias in the Leipzig cantatas, confirm the Cöthen origins. The movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major, BWV 1046, probably originated as the Sinfonia to the Hunt Cantata BWV 208, “Was mir behagt ist nur die muntre Jagd!” (What pleases me is above all the lively hunt!) [music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wppcQaStOpE ). The early version (BWV 1046a) with two horns opened Bach first “modern” cantata in the Italian style, to a Salomo Franck text, for the birthday of Duke Christian of Sachsen-Weißenfels, 12 years before a similar serenade, also 11 movements lasting 40 minutes.

Bach wasn’t finished with Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 or Cantata BWV 208. The third movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, an Allegro with violin solo, was added to the original Sinfonia to give it more of a concerto character (Allegro music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHC-KAO5MXg. In December 1726, Bach set the music as a da-capo chorus with trumpets replacing horns to open his congratulatory dramma per music, Cantata BWV 207, “Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten” (United division of changing strings) for a the appointment of Leipzig University law professor, text possibly by Picander (music) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0ypkKbOdRI.). Its parody, BWV 207a, “Auf, schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten” (Resound, pealing notes of the vigorous trumpets), for the Name Day of Augustus III was [presented on August 3, c.1735]. Also, the second trio in the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 menuett (no. 4) was adapted as the ritornello material in Cantata 207 da-capo soprano bass duet (no. 5), “Den soll mein Lorbeer schützend decken” (My laurels shall cover and protect him).

Cantatas 52, 174 Sinfonias

The Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 also provided instrumental materials for Leipzig third cycle sacred solo soprano Cantata, BWV 52, “Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht!” (False world, I do not trust you!), for the 23rd (and final) Sunday after Trinity, November 24, 1726, libretto possible by Christoph Birkmann. The opening Allegro became the opening sinfonia with virtually no changes in the instrumentation, the violino piccolo was removed but no organ obbligato added since there was no keyboard part in the original (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCo_LukrJkw.

Later, for Pentecost Monday, 6 June 1729, Bach commissioned Picander for the text to Cantata BWV 174, “Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte” (I love God most high with all my heart), which was Bach’s last service cantata composed on a regular basis as Thomas Cantor. For the opening Sinfonia, Bach turned to Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048 and chose the opening Allegro. This music, which may have originated in Weimar, according to Alfred Dürr in the Cantatas of J. S. Bach,3 is scored for strings (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLj_gMBqHX8), to which Bach added two high hunting horns, two oboes and hunting oboe ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scrT3jOE0Yo). “This is a truly magnificent example of Bach’s contrapuntal genius,” says Norman Carrell in BACH the Borrower.4 Bach probably employed member of the Leipzig Collegium musicm for the 1729 performance of Cantata 174, after which he became its director as part of his responsibilities as Leipzig music director until the early 1740s This involved an impressive collaboration with Leipzig musicians which produced numerous performances in the 1730s of congratulatory dramma per musica at Zimmermann’s Gardens and on the Leipzig plaza celebrating visits of the Saxon Court.

Studies of the possible genesis of the Allegro third movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 suggest that it may have originated early in Cöthen as now-lost vocal music, given the high tessitura in the vocal lines of the Cantata 207 adaptation as well as the tuning of the violino piccolo “and the unusual nature of the solo part, which with its frequent multiple stops which is quite unlike the composer’s writing for” that instrument, and different from the solo violin parts in the other concertos,” observes Malcolm Boyd in his musical biography, Bach.5 The chorus and concerto movement “may have originated in some still earlier

vocal composition in F major, now lost (the high tessitura of the vocal lines in such a work would have presented few problems if it was performed in Cöthen, where Bach wrote the other vocal works with similar ranges,” says Michael Marissen in “Brandenburg Concertos” essay.6

By 1721 when the Brandenburg Concertos were compiled, the Concerto No. 1 with its additional Allegro “makes the work much more of a concerto, but even so the style and [da capo] structure of the added movement point to Bach’s secular vocal music rather than to his other orchestral works,” says Boyd (Ibid.: 87). The final result in Cantata 207 makes the adaptation “soundmore at home there,” he suggests. “To adapt a concerto movement in this way as a da capo chorus, with negligible alterations to the actual substance, presupposes an almost unbelievable degree of skill.” Boyd has “argued persuasively that the vocal version is the original,” says Alfred Dürr (Ibid.: 861).

Other music such as the first three movements of Cantata BWV 249 strongly suggested other salvaged instrumental music from a vast corpus of music Bach composed there between 1717 and 1723 when he came to Leipzig. An estimated “well over 350 compositions, mainly chamber and orchestral music, but also serenades and other vocal works,” were composed, calculates Christoph Wolff.7 While most of the music is lost Bach had various opportunities as court composer to access the library during subsequent visits c. 1724, 1725, 1726, and 1729.

Cöthen Resources, Parodies, Transcriptions

It is quite possible that the original, now-lost vocal serenade was composed between 1717 and 1723 in Cöthen, for the birthday of Prince Leopold annually on December 10 or for New Year’s Day court celebrations, as part of Bach’s position as court composer. The original music and text are lost but other such celebratory works survive as parodies in Leipzig sacred cantatas BWV 66, 134, 173, 184, 194, and Anh. 5, and possibly Cantata 59, as well as early secular congratulatory Cantatas BWV Anh. 195, 20, and 15.8 The five original serenades later parodied for the Easter and Pentecost festival in 1724 in Leipzig, and their dance-style movements are: BWV 66a, 12/10/1718 (gigue-passapied, pastorale), BWV 173a, 12/10/1722 (gavotte, minuet, bourree, gavotte, polonaise), BWV 184a, ?1/1/1722 (minuet, polonaise, gavotte); and BWV 134a, 1/1/19 (gigue, minuet, gigue). Only the Hunold/Menantes text survives for sacred Cantata BWV Anh. 5, “Lobet den Herrn, alle seine Heerscharen” (Praise ye the Lord, all ye of his great armies, Psalm 103:21), performed on December 10, 1718, at the palace Reformed church. The opening chorus, “with its typically Cöthen, duet formations,” says Wolff (Ibid.: xxiv) may have been parodied in Cantata BWV 69a, “Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele” (Praise the Lord, my soul, Psalm 103:2), for the 12th Sunday after Trinity, 15 August 1723. Later, it is possible that some of the music in BWV Anh. 5 was parodied for the Augsburg Confession special service, 25 June 1730, in Cantata BWV 190a, “Singet dem Herr nein neues Lied! (Sing to the Lord a new song, Psalm 149:1.

In addition, Bach utilized instrumental and vocal music thought to have been composed originally in Cöthen, particularly dance-related movements as well as vocal duets and arias with obbligato instrument from serenades. Of particular note are the French Overture and four dance movements (Nos 3, 5, 8, 10; pastorale, gavotte, gigue, minuet) in Cantata 194, “Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest” (Most greatly longed for feast of joy), for Trinityfest in Leipzig, 4 June 1724. The original source, supposedly an instrumental dance suite, is lost but all five movements are set to new texts.

Another example of parody, says Wolff (Ibid.) is the French Overture with chorus and three arias (nos. 3, 5, 7) for Bach’s first Leipzig Town Council Cantata BWV 119, “Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn” (Praise, Jerusalem, the Lord, Psalm 147:12), 30 August 1723.

Concerto Movements in Cycle 3 Cantatas

At the same time in late 1726, Bach used the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 first movement as the Sinfonia opening Cantata BWV 52, he also began to compose a series of Sinfonias with organ obbligato opening other solo and dialogue cantatas for the 18th to the 22nd Sundays after Trinity (BWV 169, 56, 49, and 55), also possibly to texts of student Christoph Birkmann (1702-73.9 Early Bach scholars had assumed that Bach’s Clavier Concertos, BWV 1051-58, complied in manuscript for 1738 for the Collegium musicum, were composed in Cöthen, and that some traces of the music originally as violin concerti date back to the Weimar period c.1714 with the Italianate styles and forms involving ritornelli, Vivaldi concertos, and da capo arias. At the same time, as Bach began to compose service cantatas every fourth Sunday with instrumental sinfonias, he made transcriptions of solo keyboard concertos and Italian-style instrumental concertos for organ and orchestra, notably Weimar Prince Johann Ernst (BWV 592, 595, 982) and Vivaldi (BWV 593, 594, 596). Bach in Weimar also pursued the beginnings of orchestral suites with dance movements, according to recent scholarship.

The opening Sinfonia to Cantata 188, for organ obbligato and strings, itself dates possibly to Weimar 1713-14, beginning with the first movement of the Clavier Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052. It may have originated then, particularly its striking first movement in da capo ABA form with extensive Italianate ritornelli or long passages connecting material that then could be adapted to the Italian da-capo aria form. In September 1725 when Bach was not composing church year cantatas weekly, it is quite possible that he turned to composing at least two keyboard concertos, BWV 1052 and 1053 in E Major. The genesis of these concerti is suggested in Christoph Wolff’s essay, “Did J. S. Bach Write Organ Concertos? Apropos the Prehistory of Cantata Movements with Obbligato Organ.”10 On 21 September 1725 Bach performed concertos with instrumental support on the new Silbermann organ in the St. Sophia Church in Dresden, possibly BWV 1052 and 1053, says Wolff (Ibid.: 65).

In September 1726 in the third cantata cycle, as he was finishing performances of chorus cantatas set to Rudolstadt texts of 18 by cousin Johann Ludwig Bach and seven of his own cantatas, Sebastian turned to his clavier concerti to provide materials for opening sinfonias, arias, and choruses. For the 12th Sunday after Trinity, 8 September 1726, he presented alto solo Cantata BWV 35, “Geist und Seele wird verwirret” (Soul and spirit are thrown into confusion, Hebrews 4:12), to a printed Georg Christian Lehms text (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqPKwJOnv5c . All three movements from a presumed Clavier Concerto No. 8 in D Minor, BWV 1059, were utilized, although only a fragment of the first nine bars in the 1738 manuscript survives (Igor Kipnis reconstruction, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bvRRu9kL1E ). The opening Allegro became the opening Sinfonia with three oboes, strings and organ obbligato. The second movement is set as a tutti da-capo aria in siciliano dance style 6/8. The third movement Allegro became the tutti Sinfonia in 3/8 menuett time, opening Part 2.

“Fragment consisting of 9 bars (only the first 9 bars survive in Bach's own hand),” says Ton Koopman (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApgCxwAImCE). “Taken from the opening Sinfonia of the Cantata, BWV 35 ,‘Geist und Seele wird verwirret’ (1726). In the cantata, Bach uses an obbligato organ not only in the two sinfonias (which evidently form the first and last movements of a lost instrumental concerto, possibly for oboe) but also in the aria No. 1, whose siciliano character likewise points to its original function as a concerto movement. Bach intended to write this out as a harpsichord concerto but abandoned the endeavor after only 9 bars. The sprightly character of this cantata is appropriate with the other two festive cantatas composed for this Sunday, BWV 69a, “Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele” (Praise the Lord, my soul, Psalm 103:2), 1723; and BWV 137, “Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren” (Praise the Lord, the mighty king of honour, Psalm 103:1, Psalm 24:8), 1725.

Six weeks later, on 20 October 1726, Bach began his series of Late Trinity Time mostly solo and dialogue cantatas, possibly to text of Christoph Birkmann. For the 18th Sunday after Trinity Bach composed another alto solo Cantata BWV 169, “Gott soll allein mein Herze haben” (God alone should possess my heart, Proverbs 23:26). Bach used the first two movements of Clavier Concerto No. 2 in E Major, BWV 1053 (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ic2S3TyC56c). The opening Allegro becoming the da-capo form Sinfonia for three oboes, strings and obbligato organ (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdW4w2TYilc). The slow movement became the aria with obbligato organ and strings (no. 5), “Stirb in mir, Welt und alle deine Liebe” (Die in me, you world and all your loves), another siciliano in 12/8 time (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZVGDgqtCTM).

Two weeks later, on 3 November 1726 for the 20th Sunday after Trinity, Bach used the closing third movement Allegro of the Clavier Concerto No. 2 as the opening Sinfonia for oboe d’amore, strings and organ obbligato in Cantata BWV 49, “Ich geh und suche mit Verlangen” (I go and seek with longing, Song of Salomon 3:1) in 3/8 gigue-passepied style (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkRTklN8uYQ.

“At a still later date, Bach seems to have made a fresh clavier arrangement based on the cantata materialand there is a very early version of the Siciliano for solo harpsochord,” says Carrell (Ibid.: 75). Three weeks later, on the final 23rd and Sunday after Trinity, 24 November 1726, Bach the solo soprano Cantata BWV 52 (see above, “Cantatas 52, 174 Sinfonias”).

Jubilate Sunday, Appropriate Music

Besides the 12th Sunday after Trinity often in late August around the time of the annual Town Council installation, another festive Sunday in Bach’s time in Leipzig was the Third Sunday after Easter, known as Jubilate Sunday, “the traditional opening Sunday for the spring trade fair,” observes Wolff (Ibid.: 61). On 12 May 1726 or perhaps a year later (or both), Bach premiered Cantata BWV 146, “Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen” (We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God, Acts 14:22). As with the first two movements of Clavier Concerto No. 8 in Cantata 35 and Clavier Concerto No. 2 in Cantata 169, which were adapted as opening Sinfonias followed by the slow movements transcribed as alto arias in Sicilano dance style, Bach took the iconic, striking and bravura Clavier Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052, and adapted the first two movements, probably set to an unpublished Picander text (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpqm1hxgH-w). The orchestration is the same: three oboes, strings and obbligato organ, this time even more prominent. All three of Bach’s cantatas for this Sunday (BWV 12, 103, 146) follow the pattern of sorrow turned to joy, based on the Gospel, John 16: 16-23.

The concerto transcription proved to be quite successful for the entire Cantata 146, with the dazzling opening movement setting up the contrasting, somber G Minor Adagio in 3/4 in motet style with four-part chorus superimposed (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpqm1hxgH-w). Coincidentally, the chorus text, Acts 14:22), is the same as the alto arioso (no. 3) in the Weimar is the same a 1714 Jubilated Sunday Cantata BWV 12, “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” (Weeping, lamentation, worry, apprehension). The chorus motet has a striking resemblance to the Cantata 12 opening da-capo chorus, which Bach adapted through contrafaction as the “Crucifixus” chorus in the Credo of the B-Minor Mass in the later1740s, the oldest identifiable borrowed music.

The two final arias in progressive style Bach may have composed with the Saxon Court in mind, which visited in 1727. The two-part gallant soprano aria with flute and oboe d’amore (no. 5), “Ich säe meine Zähren mit bangem Herzen aus” (I sow my tears with an anxious heart), which leads to the joyous tenor-bass da-capo duet (no. 7) with two oboes and strings in 3/4 passepied time, “Wie will ich mich freuen, wie will ich mich laben, / Wenn alle vergängliche Trübsal vorbei! (How I will rejoice, how I will delight, / when all mortal sorrows are over!). Various scholars have suggested that the source of this movement also was a Cöthen instrumental work or possibly a homage cantata.

Perhaps Bach’s adaptation was enhanced by the civic occasion, “which regularly brought to Leipzig a mass of outside visitors and many representatives of the European nobility,” observes Wolff (Ibid.). The next year, 1727, was even more momentous, as Bach had just premiered his St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 on Good Friday, after two years’ struggled to bring it to fruition, after which Bach no longer presented new Sunday cantatas on a regular basis. Instead, Bach turned to the profane realm while looking for opportunities to transform occasional secular music into well-ordered sacred works, particularly for his so-called Christological Cycle of major works, often through parody, that observed the earthly ministry and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

On Monday, 12 May 12 1727, Bach produced his first serenade for the court, BWV Anh. 9, "Entfernet euch, ihr heitern Sterne" (Disperse yourselves, ye stars, serenely!), for the birthday of August the Strong. It is possible that Cantata BWV Anh. 9 was part of a sacred-profane double bill for the Augustus II birthday visit on Monday, May 12, 1727. Before the evening’s festivities, a Service of Allegiance possibly was held at the Nikolaus Church, and may have began with Bach’s joyous eight-voice motet, “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied” (Sing unto the Lord a new song, Psalm 149:1), which originally may have been presented on New Year’s Day, 1727. Cantata BWV Anh. 9 (music lost, text survives) may have provided the impetus for as many as three movements in the Missa: Kyrie Gloria, BWV 233a, composed mostly through contrafaction from German to Italian in 1733 for the Saxon Court, as well as the four arias found in 1725 wedding Cantata BWV Anh. 14 , music lost but text survives (see above, Cantata BWV Anh. 14, Sacred Wedding, B-Minor Mass). These and other movements that may have originated as musical materials in Cöthen will be the BCML Discussion in two weeks, November 7. Motet BWV 225 will be the BCML Discussion, November 20, 2016.

Other Transcriptions

Subsequently, in 1728, Bach used the third movements Allegro of the Clavier Concerto No. 1, as a Sinfonia with organ obbligato to Cantata BWV 188, Cantata BWV 188, "Ich habe meine Zuversicht" (I have my confidence), also for the 21st Sunday after Trinity, probably 1728, to a published text of Picander. Only the last 45 bars exist in Bach’s original autograph score, the remainder has been reconstructed from the concerto version. The Sinfonia, like most of the other Sinfonias from concertos, is scored for three oboes, strings and organ obbligato, and is in 4/4 sarabande style (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gehHKBjR7eg).

The chorus text overlay to Cantata 146 is similar to other superimposed choruses with original texts, most notably in the French Overture adaptations from music originally composed in Cöthen found opening Cantata 194 for Trinityfest 1724 and Cantata 119 for the Town Council 1723. In addition, Bach adapted at least one and possibly two similar prelude and fugue French Overtures from the Orchestral suites throughout to have been composed as early as Weimar.

For Christmas Day 1725 at the beginning of the third cycle, Bach set the French Overture to Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D Major, BWV 1069, also to a text of Georg Christian Lehms, as a chorus to open Cantata BWV 110, “Unser Mund sei voll Lachens” und “May our mouth be filled with laughter, Psalm 126:2) (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2GBmjeFAv8). To the full orchestra of three trumpets and drums, three oboes, strings and continuo, Bach overlayed a polyphonic chorus in the fugal section, sometimes copying or simply doubling the instrumental lines with solo vocal passages in ripieno style. Bach also may have set the comparable French Overture opening the Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068, as the opening chorus to the partially lost c. Christmas Day Cantata BWV 197a, “Ehre sei Gott in der Hohe” (Glory to God in the Highest, Luke 2:14), to a published Picander text.

FOOTNOTES

1 Z. Philip Ambrose translation with notes, BCW, http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/XIV.html. The sacred work is in two parts, before and after the vows, with no chorales listed, Details, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWVAnh14.htm.
2 William Scheide, "Sein Segen fließt daher wie ein Strom, BWV Anh. I 14: A Source for Parodied Arias in the B-Minior Mass?," About Bach, eds. Gregory G. Butler, George B. Stauffer, Mary Dalton Greer; Christoph Wolff festschrift, American Bach Society (Urbana & Chicago, Univ. of Illinois Press, 2008: 69-77).
3 Alfred Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones New York: (Oxford University Press, 2005: 363).
4 Norman Carrell, BACH the Borrower (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1967: 73f, Footnote 8).
5 Malcolm Boyd, Bach, Music Masters Series, ed. Stanley Sadie (New York: Oxford University Press 2000 paperback: 88).
6 Michael Marissen, Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, ed. Malcolm Boyd (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999: 70).
7 Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013 Updated Edition: 200).
8 BCW Article, “Royal Court at Köthen: Serenades,” in “Bach’s Dramatic Music: Serenades, Drammi per Musica, Oratorios,” http://bach-cantatas.com/Articles/HoffmanBachDramaII.htm.
9 Christine Blanken, "A Cantata-Text Cycle of 1728 from Nuremberg: a Preliminary Report on a Discovery relating to J. S. Bach's so-called 'Third Annual Cantata Cycle'", in Understanding Bach, Bach Network UK, Vol. 10, 2015: 22, http://bachnetwork.co.uk/ub10/ub10-blanken.pdf.
10 Christoph Wolff, “Did J. S. Bach Write Organ Concertos?,” in Bach and the Organ, ed. Matthew Dirst, Bach Perspective 10, American Bach Society (Urbana Ill: University of Illinois Press, 2016: 60-75). The Clavier Concerto BWV 1053 may date to 1722-26, suggests Gregory Butler in “The Choir Loft as Chamber: Concerted Movements by Bach from the Mid- to Late 1720s,” Bach Perspectives 10: 77). In all, the organ functions as an obbligato instrument in 27 cantata movements, mostly arias, observes Matthew Cron in :Music from Heaven: An Eighteenth Century Context for Cantatas with Obbligato Organ,” Bach Perspectives 10: 87.

 

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