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Two-Part Cantatas

OT: cantatas explicitly in two parts (e.g., "before" and "after" the sermon)

Bruce Simonson wrote (April 12, 2011):
After performing BWV 147 at Christmas, and looking forward to BWV 187 in a couple of weeks, I find myself wondering how many of Bach's cantatas feature a first and second part. You know, cantatas composed with an explicit "intermission", where a sermon, announcements, or other diversions could be inserted between the main parts of the music program (that's meant as a respectful joke, of course).

Doug clearly has an excellent handle on the order(s) of service(s) that were followed in Bach's time. Does anyone have access to a summary list of the cantatas, that enumerates those with "first" and "second" parts, or similar clear partitioning?

Just thought I'd ask, before trying to do the research myself.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 12, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< Does anyone have access to a summary list of the cantatas, that enumerates those with "first" and "second" parts, or similar clear partitioning? >
Stiller lists the bipartite cantatas in "Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig". I was surprised that he apparently assumes that the two halves of the cantata did not book end the sermon, but rather the second half was sung later in the service as Communion music. He also appends a long list of cantatas which he asserts could have been repeated as Communion cantatas, although there doesn't seem to be any documentary evidence.

Does Dürr or Wolff address this question?

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 16, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] According to Wolffs timetable, the sermon itself was an hour, followed by other incidental music. Do you suppose Bach ever played an entire cantata first half twice, just to see if anyone noticed? I bet Haydn would have given it a try!

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 13, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Wolff, Table 8.3, Order of the Mass at Leipzigs Main Churches (JSB:TLM, pp. 256-57) appears to agree with Stiller on both counts. Cantata I is preceded and followed by a prelude, then the sermon. Prayers, announcements, Benediction, Prelude, and Hymn, all precede Cantata II (under communion). In a footnote to the table presentation, Cantata II is indicated as <second part of Cantata I, separate second cantata, or concerted piece of a different kind>.

Citing some of the same primarty sources as Wolff, Robin Leaver and Paul McCreesh (booklet notes to Bach Epiphany Mass CD) come to a comparable mass structure, especially with regard to the second cantata: <that is, a cantata as musica sub communione>.

In response to the original question, there appears to be ample support for allowing significant time between Cantatas I and II, which may be the two parts of a single bipartite work. BWV 75, for example, Bachs formal Leipzig debut, which is coming up shortly as our weekly discussion topic.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 15, 2011):
[To Ed Myskowski] Just to add one more note on this question, Friedrich Blume, in Protestant Church Music (1975) says the following: "Like the concerto, the cantata was performed before the sermon; cantatas in two sections were performed with the sermon between (the second part sometimes occurring simultaneously with Communion). This practice varied according to local conditions." (p. 271)

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 15, 2011):
[To Evan Cortens] It's worth pointing out that if the second half of a cantata was sung at Communion, the duration separating the halves was considerable: an hour for the sermon, plus at least a half hour of hymns, preludes, prayers, and concerted settings of the Sanctus on principal festivals. For Bach's listeners, it would be almost impossible to maintain an aural connection between the two halves. I've never heard any discussion of WHY Bach chose bipartite structures. There are plenty of long cantatas which have not been divided.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 15, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< For Bach's listeners, it would be almost impossible to maintain an aural connection between the two halves. >
It is worth mentioning in this context that often when Bach performed two works as part of a single service, they are not "explicitly in two parts", as we have been discussing, but rather what are now considered two separate pieces. To give just two examples, on Trinity 4, 1723, Bach presented both BWV 24 and BWV 185 and on Pentecost 1724, Bach presented both BWV 172 and BWV 59. Thus there may have been no expectation on Bach's part this his listeners "maintain an aural connection between the two halves."

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 15, 2011):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< To give just two examples, on Trinity 4, 1723, Bach presented both BWV 24 and BWV 185 and on Pentecost 1724, Bach presented both BWV 172 and BWV 59. Thus there may have been no expectation on Bach's part this his listeners "maintain an aural connection between the two halves." >
However, there are some two-part cantatas which have a musical unity, the most famous being "Herz und Mund und That und Leben" (BWV 147), whose two halves both end with the same music, the ubiquitous "Jesu, Joy of Man's of Desiring", to two different texts. Perhaps the duration of time between the two halves prevented listeners from noticing that the music was repeated!

Bruce Simonson wrote (April 16, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] This thread brought out a bit of Bachana that is new to me.

Is this an understanding taken seriously by current Bach scholarship: two different cantatas on a typical Sunday, if the cantata for the sunday wasn't bipartite?

This possibiliy is awakening new amazements for me:

a) One cantata per week seems superhuman, but two? Bach really had two new cantatas performed per week, at least during a hyper-productive period in his life? Two cantatas per week: composition, preparation of performance materials, rehearsals, and performances? Huh?!

b) Two cantatas specifically for the scriptures (pericope) of the day? Really? If so, then, holy macanoly!

Can it be that I've been less impressed with JSB than I should be?

Julian Mincham wrote (April 16, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< a) One cantata per week seems superhuman, but two? Bach really had two new cantatas performed per week, at least during a hyper-productive period in his life? Two cantatas per week: composition, preparation of performance materials, rehearsals, and performances? Huh?! >
It was a very rare occurrence I think, from memory, only occurring a couple of times in the first cycle (and one of those is suspect). It wasn't a lot of additional work because

1 Bach was recycling earlier works

2 the combined length of the two cantatas was no more than had already occurred in some of the works conceived in 2 parts---e.g. around a dozen movements.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 16, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< It was a very rare occurrence I think, from memory, only occurring a couple of times in the first cycle (and one of those is suspect). It wasn't a lot of additional work because
1 Bach was recycling earlier works
2 the combined length of the two cantatas was no more than had already occurred in some of the works conceived in 2 parts---e.g. around a dozen movements. >
Very much agreed with Julian. The source evidence suggests that this happend with extraordinary infrequency, though, it seems, it was not limited to particularly important feast days. This raises the question, however, if not the second half of a bipartite cantata or a second whole cantata, what music was performed "nach der Predigt"?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned Bach's autograph inscription on the back of the title wrapper for BWV 61 (translated with facsimile in the New Back Reader, no. 112). On this document Bach lists, as the last item, after the sermon, hymn, and words of institution as: "(14) Preluding on [and performance of] the music", which Wolff takes to mean the second part of the cantata. On this particular sunday, Advent 1 in 1723, the only cantata we have evidence of is BWV 61 itself, and this work is only six movements long. It's worth noting that BWV 61 was the "Hauptmusic" and this slot is only the "Music".

P. S. Aryeh, the page for Advent 1 doesn't list the reperformance (2nd time) of BWV 61 on Advent 1, 1723 (Nov 28). See Dürr, "Zur Chronologie der Leipziger Vokalwerke," 63. This was one of many Weimar cantatas (including, for example, BWV 147 and BWV 70, though these two were significantly revised, both into two parts, it's worth noting in this context) reused as part of the first Leipzig Jahrgang.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 16, 2011):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< Very much agreed with Julian. The source evidence suggests that this happend with extraordinary infrequency, though, it seems, it was not limited to particularly important feast days. This raises the question, however, if not the second half of a bipartite cantata or a second whole cantata, what music was performed "nach der Predigt"? >
Stiller has a long list of cantatas which were sung as the first cantata, but which he asserts may have been performed on other occasions as the second cantata at Communion. His principal evidence is that the cantata texts have eucharistic imagery of the Lord's Supper and the bread and wine. There is no documentary evidence beyond the collateral statutes that other music was sung at the communion. Dürr and Wolff do not seem to address this question.

In McCreesh's recording of a reconstructed "Epiphany Mass", the principal music is the Mass in F major, "Sie Werden aus Saba" (BWV 65),and the Sanctus in D. The cantata "Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele" (BWV 180) is sung as the second cantata primarily because of the eucharistic themes of the libretto. This would parallel Bach's documented use of "Christ Lag in Todesbanden" (BWV 4) as the second cantata: the whole cantata is a meditation on Christ as the Passover Lamb in the mass. Robin Leaver was the consultant on the reconstruction.

The reuse of cantatas as Communion music some time after their "premieres" as the first cantata makes some practical sense. It would also allow us to believe that these cantatas became part of a living repertoire and didn't just sit on the library shelf until they were reused as the first canata often after as a long as a decade.

A revival presented no increased work load for Bach, and the choir already had to prepare demanding double choir motets for communion music.

But as I always say, alas, there is no hard evidence for any of this.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 17, 2011):
Douglas Cowling
< In McCreesh's recording of a reconstructed "Epiphany Mass", the principal music is the Mass in F major, "Sie Werden aus Saba" (BWV 65),and the Sanctus in D. The cantata "Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele" (BWV 180) is sung as the second cantata primarily because of the eucharistic themes of the libretto. >
I would not have been alert to this recording if Doug had not mentioned it often over the years as an example (the only one recorded, I believe) of a Lutheran service appropriate to Bach. The sermon is included, but abbreviated to a mere six minutes! Robin Leaver also presented this recording on the WKCR (89.9 FM radio) Bachfest, a few years ago. That was enough to send me in quest of a copy, not so easy to find.

I think we should make sure the details are clear. The principal music includes, in order:
Missa Breveis, F major, BWV 233
Cantata, Sie Werden aus Saba alle kommen, BWV 65 (Cantata I, before sermon)
Prelude, BWV 654, and Cantata, BWV 180, Schmucke dich, o Liebe Seele (Cantata II, after sermon)

Robin Leaver and Paul McCreesh note the latter items as <preluding on the music (that is a cantata as musica sub communione)> in the CD booklet.

That is all in agreement with Dougs post, and also with Wolffs mass schedule (JSB:TLM, Table 8.3, pp 256-57), specifically that Cantata II may be the second part of a bipartite Cantata I, a separate second cantata, or a concerted piece of a different kind. Note that the Sanctus in D, BWV 238, which Doug correctly indicates is on the McCreesh Epiphany CD, was included on feast days (but not regular Sundays) according to Wolff. Wolff does not indicate Epiphany as a feast day, but I believe that is an omission, as he does specifically state that a series of regular Sundays begins on the first Sunday after Epiphany.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 17, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< I think we should make sure the details are clear. The principal music includes, in order:
Missa Breveis, F major, BWV 233
Cantata, Sie Werden aus Saba alle kommen,
BWV 65 (Cantata I, before sermon)
Prelude, BWV 654, and Cantata,
BWV 180, Schmucke dich, o Liebe Seele (Cantata II, after sermon)
Robin Leaver and Paul McCreesh note the latter items as <preluding on the music (that is a cantata as musica sub communione)> in the CD booklet. >
Here's the outline for McCreesh's reconstruction of a festival mass in Bach's time.

The first thing that strikes one is that the cantata is a very small part of a vast musical presentation of Wagnerian proportions: it includes no less than 10 chorale and free organ preludes! The concerted Missa (Kyrie & Gloria) lasts over a half hour.

The first cantata is not heard until the second third of the 3-4 hour service.

The second cantata or second half of a two-part cantata is separated from the first by at least one and a half hours.

MASS FOR EPIPHANY

ENTRANCE & READINGS:
Puer natus in Bethlehem, BWV603
Puer Natus in Bethlehem (Benedictine Processional,14th C.)

Fantasia in E flat major
Mass in F major, BWV 233 - 1. Kyrie
Mass in F major, BWV 233 - 2. Gloria in excelcis

Salutation and Response: "Dominus vobiscum - Deus illuminator"
Epistle: So schreibt der Prophet Jesaja

Christum wir sollen loben schon, BWV611
Gradual hymn: Was fürcht'st du, Feind Herodes, sehr
Gospel: Der Herr sei mit euch - Da Jesus geboren war

CANTATA 1:
Toccata in B flat major
Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen Cantata, BWV 65 -

SERMON:
Credal hymn: Wir glauben all an einen Gott
Salutation: Gnade sei mit euch

Der Tag ist so freudenreich, BWV 719
Pulpit hymn: Ein Kindelein so löblich
Sermon: Lesung aus dem Heiligen Evangelisten Matthäo

AFTER THE SERMON - "Nach der Predigt" (Communion rite)
Hymn of the day: Was soll ich liebstes Kind

Prelude in C, BWV 567
Preface for Epiphany
Sanctus in D major, BWV 238
The Lord's Prayer: Vater unser / Unser Herr Jesus Christ

MUSIC FOR COMMUNION: (sub communione)
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654
CANATA 2: , BWV 180 "Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele"

Nun freut euch, liebe Christen g'mein, BWV 734
Hymn: Nun freut euch, liebe Christen g'mein

Christe, du Lamm Gottes, BWV619
Hymn: Christe, du Lamm Gottes
Response: Gott sei uns gnädig BWV 323

Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her, BWV 738
Vom Himmel hoch, o Englein kommt (Kölner Gesangbuch 1625)
Fantasia in G, BWV 572

Bruce Simonson wrote (April 18, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< After performing BWV 147 at Christmas, and looking forward to BWV 187 in a couple of weeks, I find myself wondering how many of Bach's cantatas feature a first and separt. You know, cantatas composed with an explicit "intermission", where a sermon, announcements, or other diversions could be inserted between the main parts of the music program (that's meant as a respectful joke, of course).
Doug clearly has an excellent handle on the order(s) of service(s) that were followed in Bach's time. Does anyone have access to a summary list of the cantatas, that enumerates those with "first" and "second" parts, or similar clear partitioning?
Just thought I'd ask, before trying to do the research myself. >
In honor and memory of the passing of Alfred Dürr, I turned once again to his masterful two volume set, "Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach", and culled out a list of Bach's explicitly bi-partite vocal works. These works can help motivate the question, "what happened during the intermission?".

I've included the passions, because of their obvious break into two parts. And I have also included wedding and funeral works, which seem to have an explicit break.

In addition to Dürr's books, I used information from the Bach-Cantatas website ( http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Date.htm ), Christoph Wolff's "JSB, the Learned Musician", and Jonathan Green's "Conductor's Guide to the Choral-Orchestral Works of JSB".

I think the layout of these works in this particular PDF is revealing. Thank you to Doug, Julian, Evan, and Ed for their input and ideas, and to Aryeh and the bach-cantatas website.

PS: Not exactly sure how to post a PDF to this yahoo group, so look here for the PDF:
https://sites.google.com/site/juneaubachsociety/miscellaneous

Aryeh, feel free to load the PDF onto the website somewhere, if you like.

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 18, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< I turned once again to his masterful two volume set, "Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach", and culled out a list of Bach's explicitly bi-partite vocal works. These works can help motivate the question, "what happened during the intermission?". >
Wow, the drop off two-parters after the first year is spectacular!

Question: Did Telemann, Graupner and Kuhnau write bipartitite cantatas?

Bruce Simonson wrote (April 19, 2011):
Doug gets it, spot on:
< Wow, the drop off two-parters after the first year is spectacular! >
I'm with Doug, and to me, the record of Bach's performance of cantatas of this form begs a couple of questions:

a) why did Bach hit the bipartite form in spades, starting Ascension Sunday of 1726, and

b) why did he essentially stop composing this form, after the 14th Sunday after Trinity in 1726?

I can speculate, but does anyone on the list have information on this spurt of bipartite cantatas that might answer these questions? ... (it looks like he composed one of these cantatas every other week, on average, during this period).

I am really curious about this.

And I am also curious about Doug's question:

< Question: Did Telemann, Graupner and Kuhnau write bipartite cantatas? >

If you haven't taken a looksee at the PDF, and are interested in this issue, take a gander, here:
https://sites.google.com/site/juneaubachsociety/miscellaneous

Comment by Aryeh Oron:
See also: Bach’s Performances of his Explicitly Bi-Partite Vocal Works [JPG, contrbuted by Bruce Simonson]

Julian Mincham wrote (April 19, 2011):
[To Bruce Simonson] Not quite accurate. it would be more true to say that the drop off after the first 6 weeks at Leipzig was spectacular. Thereafter there was only BWV 70 and one possible lumping together of two short works near the end of the cycle before he returned to the format around 3 years later.

In fact the return to the form also saw him using some massive sinfonias (sometimes opening both parts of the cantata) and some massive choruses with a number of structural experiments at that time. Bach had clearly moved to a plane of 'thinking big'. He'd got his feet fully under the composing desk!

Bruce Simonson wrote (April 19, 2011):
[To Julian Mincham] After a more careful review of the performance dates of these bipartite cantatas, I agree with Julian. Bach seems to have hit the ground running in Leipzig, with four of these cantatas that could "sandwich the sermon" in 1723, but then, really none like these appear until the "Trinity" season of 1726, when these works flourish.

So, I guess I could add another question, giving these three:

1) Why did Bach abandon bipartite cantatas after 1723?

2) Why did he take them up again, in 1726?

3) Why did he abandon them again, after a full season in 1726?

Please understand that I appreciate and marvel at all of Bach's compositional output. These bipartite cantatas are magnficent (I can say with certainty, for at least the ones I have studied), but (IMHO) his other creations are also absolute works of genius.

By looking at these particular bipartite cantatas as a genre, I find myself asking questions like, "How did Bach interact with his Pastor (and his sermons)?", and "How did Bach's Pastor interact with Bach's music, especially these bipartite cantatas?".

As Poirot says, and my mother often quotes, "It causes one furiously to think ...".

Here's another question: Does history record the pastor(s?) in Leipzig (in particular), who preached during the services in which Bach's works were performed?

PS: I know I need to "bone-up" on "die Jahrgangen". There must be much there, which can be revealed by considering the chronological order of the performances. Sorry, I'm really a duffer about much of this, but really am very curious.

Evan Cortens wrote (April 19, 2011):
[To Bruce Simonson] To Bruce's excellent questions, I would add a fourth:

4) Since the church service required that Bach provide two cantatas for every service, what was Bach performing in the other slot if not the second half of a bipartite cantata, or another of his own cantatas?

This is a fascinating discussion!

Julian Mincham wrote (April 19, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< So, I guess I could add another question, giving these three:
1) Why did Bach abandon bipartite cantatas after 1723?
2) Why did he take them up again, in 1726?
3) Why did he abandon them again, after a full season in 1726? >
Don't expect we will ever know but the best guess is that Bach started at Leipzig going for the big scene---maybe he had an idea of a cycle of 2 part works in the same way that he had the idea for a cycle of chorale cantatas in the second year, but found it to be too much. He was fully established by 1726 and may have temporarily tried to revert to the original scheme--as I mentioned before the huge opening choruses and sinfonias he was producing at this time also indicated a desire to go for the big statements.

I suspect that changes in public taste may also have been a factor as i believe them to have been in the presentation of solo cantata---very few in cycle 1 and none in cycle 2 but he produced both solo and duet (dialogue) cantatas in some numbers from 1726. Might the growing popularity of Italian opera in germany have been a factor? it's interesting that after the second cycle his output was fairly well balanced with a mixture of 'grand scale' and 'intimate chamber' works.

I reckon there's no one simple answer but a combination of factors--which it is fascinating to speculate on.

Bruce Simonson wrote (April 20, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< ... it's interesting that after the second cycle his output was fairly well balanced with a mixture of 'grand scale' and 'intimate chamber' works. >
Nice turn of phrase here, byJulian: "intimate chamber" works, which could easily be applied to Bach's cantatas for solo voice(s).

After looking at the chronology for the bipartite cantatas, and noticing that they (sorta) seem to occur every other week, I found myself wondering about what was performed on the other sundays. And, in particular, I was very curious about the chronology of Bach's performances of his cantatas for vocal soloist(s).

Take a looksee here for what I was able to compile, regarding solo cantatas:
https://sites.google.com/site/juneaubachsociety/miscellaneous

Of course, (and thankfully), this particular listing generates additional questions.

Bach's cantatas for vocal soloist(s) really do seem to run in consecutive weeks for any particular voice (i.e., S,A,T, or B). For one example, look at the run of ATB cantatas in the winter of 1723-1724.

For starters, here are some questions. Anybody know how to answer them?

1) Who sang the solos in these marvelous works?

2) Was it the same soloist during a "run" of cantatas for a particular voice? (I.e., e.g., did the same bass soloist sing throughout the winter of 1723-1724?)

3) How do these cantatas for vocal soloists interleave with the bipartite and grand scale cantatas, and inform or otherwise constrain the demands on vocal soloists at Bach's disposal?

4) Even more gently perhaps, how about this question: "Did Bach like his soloists?"

Evan Cortens wrote (April 21, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< Take a looksee here for what I was able to compile, regarding solo cantatas:
https://sites.google.com/site/juneaubachsociety/miscellaneous >
I confess, I'm not sure I quite understand your chart of cantatas for solo voice(s) alone. I take it you mean by this cantatas for which there are no choruses, only recitatives, arias, and sometimes (as you indicate in your fourth column) chorales? This definition as opposed to, for example, BWV 199 or BWV 51, for soprano singer alone, without any other voice parts whatsoever.

Fascinating stuff!

Bruce Simonson wrote (April 21, 2011):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< I confess, I'm not sure I quite understand your chart of cantatas for solo voice(s) alone ... for example, BWV 199 or BWV 51, for soprano singer alone, without any other voice parts whatsoever. >
Evan, sorry this isn't clear; I had a hard time phrasing the concept. Basically, these are solo only cantatas (or perhaps duets; or trios, like BWV 60, for example), with a possible straightforward SATB harmonization of a chorale, typically at the end.

So, BWV 51 does appear in the list, tagged for its first (and only?) performance by Bach, in Sept of 1730. Listed as S for soprano, without a C, because it does not include a four part SATB chorale.

Who was the lucky soul who got to premiere BWV 51? Anybody know, offhand?

William Hoffman wrote (April 21, 2011):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< I confess, I'm not sure I quite understand your chart of cantatas for solo voice(s) alone. I take it you mean by this cantatas for which there are no choruses, only recitatives, arias, and sometimes (as you indicate in your fourth column) chorales? This definition as opposed to, for example, BWV 199 or BWV 51, for soprano singer alone, without any other voice parts whatsoever.
Fascinating stuff! >
Bruce: Excellent lists. Just one possible addendum: Cantatas BWV 22 and BWV 23 presented as two-part for his Cantor's probe, February 7 (ref. NBR No. 95 (p.101).

Julian Mincham wrote (April 21, 2011):
[To Bruce Simonson] Thanks for the lists. It is useful to see them set out like that and it enabled me to correct an error I made in an earlier posting saying that there were no bi-partite cantatas in the second cycle. Of course there was one , BWv 20 which was the first of the chorale/fantasia cantatas---lesson---check it out, don't depend on memory.

It is also useful to be reminded that some of the secular cantatas are also in 2 parts. The weddings ones are thought to have been composed so that part 1 was performed before the ceremony and part 2 after it.

Re your question about the solo sop cantata BWV 51 several people have speculated that it may have been written for his wife to perform but there is no evidence to support this as far as I know. I would love to know who the tenor was that he wrote 55 for--a rather special work in my view as it is the only solo cantata for tenor that survives. As he wrote more than one for the other voices the assumptionm would be that some for tenor have been lost.

Another niggling question is why did he end some of the solo cantatas with chorales and some not? e.g. BWV 199? And why did he use, most unusually, a different sinfonia to open each part of one of the four alto solo cantatas?

Douglas Cowling wrote (April 21, 2011):
Two-Part Cantatas: Sacred & Secular Wedding Cantatas

Julian Mincham wrote:
< It is also useful to be reminded that some of the secular cantatas are also in 2 parts. The weddings ones are thought to have been composed so that part 1 was performed before the ceremony and part 2 after it. >
It's worth being a bit more precise here. There are really two categories of wedding cantatas: sacred and secular.

The majority are sacred works such as "Gott ist unser Zuversicht" (BWV 197) which were performed during the church ceremony.

There is a smaller group of cantatas with secular texts (BWV 210 "O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit" & BWV 216 "Vergnügte Pleißenstadt") which were probably performed in social settings outside the church.

Going back to the two-parter church works, the second part is sometimes marked "Nach der Traung" (after the vows). What was the position of the sermon at a wedding, before or after the vows? If after, it would mean that the two halves of the cantata were separated by a significant period of time as a Sunday mass and vespers.

William Hoffman wrote (April 21, 2011):
[To Julian Mincham] Re. BWV 199, text is by Georg Christian Lehms and sometimes he, as well as colleague Salomo Franck, did not always end their cantatas with chorales.

It is interesting to note that the librettist(s) of the Cycle 1 are unknown, possibly pastor Christian Weiss Sr., including the expanded single-part versions of Weimar-Köthen Cantatas, while Cycle 3 has the two-part standard texts of Rudolstadt-Meiningen Prince Ulrich, found both in Sebastian's and Johann Ludwig's cantatas.

Bach composed "Leipzig" Cantatas BWV 22/BWV 23 and BWV 75 in Köthen and found opportunities for double-bills, perhaps in conjunction with his Leipzig pastor. The broader rule could be that, as with Telemann in Hamburg, who is the model for cantata cycles in three cities simultaneously (Hamburg, Frankfurt & Erfurt, 1722-30) and annual Good Friday Passions in Hamburg, that concise cantatas were presented in the Main Service, before and after the sermon, as well as a repetition of a cantata during communion and a partial cantata to close the service with just an aria and a chorale.

Brevity was the requirement in Hamburg, and extended to the Good FriPassion which was limited usually to no more than one hour.

As a general practice, I believe that Bach's cantatas always were presented just before the sermon, and after the sermon on a double bill or two-parter.

There also is Christoph Wolff's thesis (BJ 1982, 151-2), that Bach's "fifth annual cycle" may be a dopplejahrgang or double annual cycle, established by Stölzel in 1720-21 with texts by Gotha poet Knauer (similar to Rudolstdadt), and known to Bach (BWV 64, BWV 69a, BWV 77; Cycle 1, all reduced to one-part). Noting that Bach altered his cycles after their initial presentation, Wolff suggests that we have remnants of a double Cycle 1 surviving in 14 double-bill occasions and seven two-parters.

POPP, WADR: The NBR translation in the <Obituary> says Bach composed "Five full annual cycles [Jahrgaenge] of church pieces, for all the Sundays and holidays." However, <Bach Dokumente III>: 86 says: "Funf Jahrgaeng von Kirchenstuecken, auf alle Sonn- und Festtage." Nowhere in the German exists the equivalent word for descriptive adjective "full" -- "vollstaendig," "ganz," "komplett" -- whatever. It's a translator's assumption.

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 22, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< POPP, WADR: The NBR translation in the <Obituary> says Bach composed "Five full annual cycles [Jahrgaenge] of church pieces, for all the Sundays and holidays." However, <Bach Dokumente III>: 86 says: "Funf Jahrgaeng von Kirchenstuecken, auf alle Sonn- und Festtage." Nowhere in the German exists the equivalent word for descriptive adjective "full" -- "vollstaendig," "ganz," "komplett" -- whatever. It's a translator's assumption. >
I am stumped by POPP:
POPP Partnerships for Older People Projects (Department of Health; UK)
POPP Program On Peacekeeping Policy
POPP Pull, Observe, Push, and Press (mnemonic for weapons check)

The idea that five full annual cycles may be simply a misinterpretation or assumption in translation is fascinating. Peter Williams (JSB: A Life in Music) is organized around exploring and explaining details from the <Obituary>, including several pages (186-93) on Further Cantata Cycles, but I do not see that he entertains the simple explanation proposed by Will, which would explain a lot.

 

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Last update: żApril 27, 2011 ż01:20:02