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Vespers

Bach Vespers

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 23, 2004):
Uri Golomb wrote:
< Actually, I think that's a re-coupling of two recordings that originally came separately. Parrott's Dixit Dominus was originally part of his 2-CD album titled Carmelite Vepsers 1707 -- an attempt by Graham Dixon to reconstruct a ceremony for which Handel supposedly wrote many of his Latin psalm settings and other works. To my ears, there's too much plainchant in that set; but the Handel works themselves are performed with great energy and refinement. The set is now available on a 2-for-1 set on Virgin (5615792). It's too bad they dropped the original liner-notes though -- the new set doesn't even have texts! -- so I might try to find the original booklet at some point. But it's still highly recommended. >
Still on Vespers but back in Leipzig now.

I know that McCreesh has reconstructed a Lutheran Christmas Vespers with the Schütz Christmas Story, but has anyone recorded a Bach Vespers with the D Major Magnificat in its proper liturgical setting?

The Magnificat and the Symblum Nicenum, the Credo of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232) have so many common features in scoring (SSATB soloists and choir) and structure (mirror symmetry around a central movement) that I've always wondered if there was a connection. Do we know when the the free-standing Credo was performed?

Riccardo Nughes wrote (November 23, 2004):
I know that McCreesh has reconstructed a Lutheran Christmas Vespers with the Schütz Christmas Story, but has anyone recorded a Bach Vespers with the D Major Magnificat (BWV 243) in its proper liturgical setting?

There is a "Bach Christmas" featured on this CD: Amazon.com
not a Vespers "reconstruction" however. I'm pretty sure that Vespers of this "kind" have been performed in live concerts, but I don't know any CD.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 23, 2004):
Doug Cowling wrote:
< I know that McCreesh has reconstructed a Lutheran Christmas Vespers with the Schütz Christmas Story, but has anyone recorded a Bach Vespers with the D Major Magnificat (BWV 243) in its proper liturgical setting? >
Excellent idea!

< The Magnificat (BWV 243) and the Symblum Nicenum, the Credo of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232) have so many common features in scoring (SSATB soloists and choir) and structure (mirror symmetry around a central movement) that I've always wondered if there was a connection. Do we know when the the free-standing Credo was performed? >
Back in the early version when it was in G instead of A? Controversial. Marshall (1989, p300) holds out for 1748-9 for the A version, citing Kobayashi, but (if I've read this correctly) that analysis didn't take the earlier G version into account.

What does Wolff say in the further notes of his 1997 Peters edition of MBM (BWV 232), as he's the one who had opined that it's 1742 or earlier? See: http://g.sheetmusicplus.com/Look-Inside/large/1024547_02.jpg
and: http://g.sheetmusicplus.com/Look-Inside/large/4361913_02.jpg
but Wolff's explanation is pages 378-83 (which I haven't seen yet). I also haven't seen the Wollny 1994 article that Wolff cites in Learned Musician, top of p507.

Unfortunately, the 1998 BWV's entry (and bibliography) for this piece is too far out of date to be helpful on this question. The latest resource they've cited there is 1991.

How about using one of the other Bach Credo settings? See Wolff, Essays, p96, and chapter 26.

I'd like to hear the Caldara C major Magnificat, with "Suscepit Israel" movement interpolated by Bach. Wolff, Essays, p96-9.

Doug Cowling wrote (November 23, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< I'd like to hear the Caldara C major Magnificat, with "Suscepit Israel" movement interpolated by Bach. Wolff, Essays, p96-9. >
There are so many bits and pieces floating around from the Lutheran Vespers that it would be fascinating to reconstruct a Bach Vespers with the D Major Magnificat (BWV 243) and a Christmas cantata -- Part One of the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) would make a scrumptuous pairing with the Magnificat (BWV 243)! But then what settings were used for the parts of the service? Praetorius wrote a lovely little German setting of the responses, and there are some Vesperals that show the psalms sung in Latin to faux-bourdons. Oh, for infinite time to sit in a library and assemble a "Bach Vespers for Christmas Day"

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 23, 2004):
[To Doug Cowling] Agreed! How about keeping some of it as plainchant, especially if you're also using the chant-based Credo of BMB, and of course the chant-based Suscepit of the D Magnificat (BWV 243)? It would make a nice connection there. There are plenty of organ chorales that would fit in here well, too. And put in the Sanctus of MBM (BWV 232), as that was for Christmas Day 1724.

As for plainchant, I'm thinking also of the liturgical performance of Mozart's Requiem for John F Kennedy's funeral, conducted by Leinsdorf, with Cardinal Cushing doing the proper bits. What an occasion! (When is RCA ever going to move that recording to CD?!)

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 23, 2004):
Doug Cowling wrote:
>>The Magnificat (BWV 243) and the Symblum Nicenum, the Credo of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232) have so many common features in scoring (SSATB soloists and choir) and structure (mirror symmetry around a central movement) that I've always wondered if there was a connection. Do we know when the the free-standing Credo was performed?<<
I am not certain that I fully understand this question, but I assume, in light of the discussion which preceded it, that you wish to know the context in which the Credo was performed. During Bach's lifetime, as you probably already know, there is no evidence of any performance of this section in the final stage as we know it now. But there are some interesting indications from the period after 1750. Perhaps the most important one is a charity performance by CPE Bach which took place on April 1, 1786 in Hamburg. While this is not a church setting, it nevertheless gives information about the location within the liturgical year for such a performance. In those days, people were still quite aware of liturgical appropriateness, even when the concerts took place outside of a church setting. Here is the program:

1. An introduction by CPE Bach (spoken?)

2. Credo by J. S. Bach (from B-minor Mass (BWV 232))

3. "I know that my redeemer liveth" Handel

4. The 'Hallelujah' Chorus Handel

Intermission

5. Sinfonia by CPE Bach

6. Magnificat (BWV 243) by J. S. Bach

7. "Heilig" ('Sanctus'?) for 2 Choirs by J. S. Bach

A glance over the subsequent performances of the Mass or parts thereof show that the months of March and April predominate (the pre-Easter period of Lent and Holy Week.)

By the time (April 30, 1828) rolls around, the program in the Royal Opera Hoof Berlin begins to look like this:

1. Beethoven's 'Coriolan Overture' and his 5th Symphony

2. Beethoven's Missa solemnis (Kyrie and Gloria)

3. J.S. Bach's 1st 6 mvts. of the Credo (but not the 'Et resurrexit.') (notice the sensitivity to the liturgical appropriateness of the choice made)

4. CPE Bach's "Heilig"

I have no idea whether this answers your question or if it is helpful. It is certainly rather confusing, and even disconcerting, to see both the Magnificat (BWV 243) and the Credo on the same program. However, I do not think that the Credo would be sung at any Christmas Vespers.

Doug Cowling wrote (November 23, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Agreed! How about keeping some of it as plainchant, especially if you're also using the chant-based Credo of BMB, and of course the chant-based Suscepit of the D Magnificat (BWV 243)? It would make a nice connection there. There are plenty of organ chorales that would fit in here well, too. And put in the Sanctus of MBM (BWV 232), as that was for Christmas Day 1724. >
I was just speculating that the similarity between the Credo and the Magnificat (BWV 243) makes me wonder if they were performed on the same day, the Credo during the Mass in the morning and the Magnificat at Vespers in the afternoon.

Are there any cantatas which match the SSATB choir, festival orchestration of the Magnificat and Credo? How about the "Gloria in Excelsis" cantata that Bach assembled from three movements of the Mass in B Minor (BWV 232)? I'd have to look at a score.

Doug Cowling wrote (November 23, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< I have no idea whether this answers your question or if it is helpful. It is certainly rather confusing, and even disconcerting, to see both the Magnificat (BWV 243) and the Credo on the same program. However, I do not think that the Credo would be sung at any Christmas Vespers. >
The Credo was sung, usually as "Wir Glauben All", at mass in the morning; the Magnificat was sung at Vespers in the afternoon.

It is not much of a stretch to envisage the MBM's "Credo" (BWV 232) replacing the cantata in the morning, given the cantata's liturgical proximity to the Creed. Several Bach cantatas are designed in two halves to be sung before and after the sermon which places the second half beside the Creed.

Johan van Veen wrote (November 23, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< I'd like to hear the Caldara C major Magnificat, with "Suscepit Israel" movement interpolated by Bach. Wolff, Essays, p96-9. >
That has been recorded by Hermann Max (EMI - CDS 7 54426 2).

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 23, 2004):
Doug Cowling wrote:
< Are there any cantatas which match the SSATB choir, festival orchestration of the Magnificat and Credo? How about the "Gloria in Excelsis" cantata that Bach assembled from three movements of the Mass in B Minor (BWV 232)? I'd have to look at a score. >
Yes, BWV 191 is SSATB. BWV gives it a date of 1743/6.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 23, 2004):
Doug Cowling wrote:
>>Do we know when the the free-standing Credo was performed?<<
Rarely, and considering perhaps that the Bach Vespers during the Christmas season asked more of his singers during the Hauptgottesdienst (parts of the WO, etc.) than a normal Sunday might, Bach had to be careful not to wear out his singers (who were also engaged in caroling, etc., I rather doubt that he would have included the Credo from the MBM (BWV 232) in the morning service.

Here is what Robin A Leaver [Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press, 2004, acc. 11/23/04] describes the general situation concerning this matter:
>>The Creed continued to be sung in Latin to the traditional plainchant melodies as well as in polyphonic settings, though not as regularly as in the Roman Mass. Virtually every generation of Lutheran composers produced through-composed settings of the Latin Credo, which was sung somewhat sparingly in contrast to the vernacular congregational credal chorale, "Wir glauben all an einen Gott," which was always sung.<<

Put this observation together with the earlier observation which can be documented (Bach's concern for 'overusing' his choirs, particularly the primary one), it would seem unlikely that a quasi-replacement of a part or even whole cantata (one more specifically dedicated to the season) in order to have the main choir sing a 'grand' Credo would have taken place in the main morning service. Not impossible, but highly unlikely, if the Vespers on the same day were to include the Magnificat.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 23, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] Still in print? Perhaps Europe-only? No luck so far, but my taste buds are tingling.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 24, 2004):
[To Thomas Braatz] Oh, come on. Totally guessing there, backward from the foregone conclusion that he didn't. Let's see some reasonable combination of research and practical thinking as a real church musician, not wild guesswork pressing foregone conclusions.

First off, this isn't a cogent argument against it. The conclusion "I rather doubt that he would have included the Credo from the MBM (BWV 232) in the morning service" doesn't follow from the several premises presented earlier in the same paragraph. All it says, under the surface, is that if Thomas Braatz were Johann Sebastian Bach (wow, what a premise!) he wouldn't do so, for whatever set of reasons he can make up. Well, that says nothing about the real Bach or his practices.

Furthermore, if one considers that perhaps Bach's "primary" choir was four or five people, all the rest of the kids could be off doing their caroling or whatever at the same time. Think practically! Whether one accepts this OneVoicePerPart historical hypothesis or not, as a factor in this, it's well-nigh moot anyway. The Oxford and Cambridge choirs of boys (today) sing multiple times per day, occasionally; what's to stop Bach's group from having done the same? It's their job to have thorough preparation and good stamina. Think practically!

And what's the evidence, really, that the free-standing Credo was not performed more than "rarely"? How do we know? Is every single performance of every single piece written down somewhere in some convenient list, which could not possibly be incomplete? What about all those other compositions in the Leipzig library, by dozens of composers? Couldn't Bach have performed those at any time, or multiple times, without writing it down? See a list of the representative composers on pp332-3 of Wolff's Learned Musician...the old collection and the newer collection. Bach brought in all sorts of music for potential use by his singers, any of which could have been sung much more often than "rarely", as could his own Credo have been. Think practically. Think about the nature of proof, especially the alleged proof of a negative (that Bach didn't use it more than "rarely", according to what?).

And consider this. The Credo's something like three or four minutes, and not particularly taxing vocal writing compared with some other parts of MBM (BWV 232) (especially if it's down in G instead of A, for the earlier version...). How does this use of singers for four minutes in the morning "wear people out"? What a hardship! C'mon, think practically. Ever sung in or directed a choir, or played organ for services? Ever been in a church service where the congregation itself sings for half an hour or more? We do this all the time. And every year I play organ for a 2.5 hour Easter service of congregational singing. Four minutes of the Bach Credo is not taxing, enough to be substance of Mr Braatz' argument as presented here.

I've gotta stop even reading this guy's guesswork, becauseall it does is make me angry with all the ludicrous half-reasoning and pseudo-research and impractical nonsense. "Mehr That als Wort"?! Well, in answer to that, the pseudo-reasoning put up here is only Wort after Wort after Wort, with no That (deeds, practical experience) at all behind it!

People like JS Bach and Doug Cowling, who conduct and rehearse and put together services regularly, are credible. There are deeds to their thinking, as practical musicians. Doug has excellent ideas here as to putting together such a Vespers...considering style, keys, psalms, antiphons, service flow, instrumentation, theology, liturgical logistics, deployment of the available singers, rehearsal schedules, acoustics, hiring of additional musicians, interpretation, cooperation with the clergy, and all the other things a director needs to think about. The right questions and solutions occur to him, automatically, by practical experience and training. He knows which pieces are easy and which are difficult, and how to balance all this with the resources he's given to work with. He thinks like Bach. It's part of the job.

But the other guy answering Doug does not; his notions of "unlikely" and "doubt" and "rarely" and "wearing out the singers" are totally guesswork, with little grounding in reality. Get real. Think practically. Do music. Do logic. Get a clue what "thinking like Bach" is: practical musicianship and experience, doing the job of a music director, rather than making up nonsense and passing it off as research, even informally. Earn some credibility. Work on Bach's music, and ACQUIRE A CLUE as to how it functions, liturgically and in other settings.

Especially so, if notions of "Bach's intentions" are to be bandied about, as anything more than a cruel and inappropriate joke against everybody in the discussion, and especially a joke against Bach. Does Mr Braatz have ANY idea what's normal in service-playing, as to changing Bach's written-down scores, by omitting sections or improvising extras or repeating parts, or making segues into other pieces, or transposing, or re-orchestrating, or other techniques that go alarmingly against the holy collection of notes that Mr Braatz has purchased so diligently in the Neue Bach-Ausgabe? Does he have ANY clue whatsoever as to a church musician's "intentions" toward any sacrosanct interpretation of any particular piece of music, by himself or any other church musician? It's all done for normal and practical reasons, not that Mr Braatz might know what they are. Does Mr Braatz expect that Bach himself as a music director and organist did exactly the same thing twice in succession, ever, when using the same piece of music more than once, and that "Bach's intentions" were one single immutable thing for all eternity and all occasions? This, I suspect, is the reason why Doug Cowling's suggestion of using the MBM's Credo (BWV 232) in the morning service is so thoroughly outside Thomas Braatz's grasp of possibilities.

Doug Cowling wrote (November 24, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< The Credo's something like three or four minutes, and not particularly taxing vocal writing compared with some other parts of MBM (BWV 232) (especially if it's down in G instead of A, for the earlier version...). >
When we discuss the Credo here, we're talking about the whole Symbolum Nicenum "cantata" from "Credo in Unum Deum" to "Et Exspecto". It runs about 40 minutes.

John Pike wrote (November 24, 2004):
[To Doug Cowling] Ah. Thank you for clarifying this. I, too, was assuming that we were referring to the stand-alone Credo "portion" which does, indeed, only last a few minutes.

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 24, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>The Oxford and Cambridge choirs of boys (today) sing multiple times per day, occasionally; what's to stop Bach's group from having done the same? It's their job to have thorough preparation and good stamina. Think practically!<<
What an interesting way 'to think musicologically' with 'scientific rigor'! Simply say: "If something is possible today, it must have been possible in Bach's time."

Arnold Schering, in his book "Johann Sebastian Bachs Leipziger Kirchenmusik" [Leipzig, 1936, pp. 43 ff.] gives evidence of the difficulties Kuhnau and Bach had, particularly during the Christmas-New Year season:

In addition to singing outside in the cold for burials (there were, on an average, 6 to 8 each week in Leipzig in Bach's time), the caroling groups, of which there were 4 from the 4 different choirs that Bach had described, would arrive at home at the following times: 1st group at 9:30 pm, 2nd at 10, the 3rd at 10:30, and the 4th at 11. They were described in an official document as being "very tired and frozen through and through." As some church services would begin as early as 5:30 to 6:00 am on the next morning in a church that was not heated at all [there were, I believe small containers (very tiny ovens) in the organ loft for some wood to be burned, but these gave off very little heat unless you were standing right next to them) and perhaps with very little or no food eaten beforehand, it is easy to imagine that this situation was very unlike anything that takes place today in England or elsewhere. We have records that Bach, as his predecessor Kuhnau also did, managed with difficulty to have the church pay 'Schonungsgelder' ['protective monies'] which would keep at the most two of the best boys from the primary choir from having to or wanting to participate in all the outdoor extracurricular singing that took place during the Christmas season. [I assume that the boys, for their efforts, received various money gifts {not from the church} as they went about caroling (also for funerals and weddings. By having the church pay them in advance, they could be persuaded not to expose themselves to long hours in the cold.) Schering speaks of the "Neujahrssingen" [probably referring both to Christmas and New Year, or to the period which followed the New Year, I am not certain] as normally lasting 14 days. This means a considerable strain placed upon young, developing voices if you keep in mind the long hours in a very cold church followed by hours of singing outside in the cold as well. Lack of proper sleep could easily be surmised here as well.

Gabriel Jackson wrote (November 23, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
".......This means a considerable strain placed upon young, developing voices if you keep in mind the long hours in a very cold church followed by hours of singing outside in the cold as well. Lack of proper sleep could easily be surmised here as well. "
In other words you have absolutely no idea, but your need to contradict Brad at every turn means you have to convince yourself that you know better than him.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 24, 2004):
[To John Pike] Yes. I too (obviously) thought we were talking about the possibility of using the several-minute Credo bit itself (on the plainchant) in its earlier G mixolydian version, since that's the part that had some semblance of a separate life before its inclusion in the MBM (BWV 232). Sorry for the confusion!

Hence also my suggestion that the remaining portions of the Credo text would be supplied from plainchant, or movements by other composers, or whatever. Or, by instrumental pieces while the text is spoken inaudibly to the congregation. Or, indeed, by bringing later portions of "Wir glauben all" into play?

Has anybody here actually had a look at Wolff's edition that presents this Credo movement, yet, the one in G mixolydian? Is the ending different (as I'd suspect) so it sounds less like it's closing on a dominant as in MBM (BWV 232)?

Eduard van Hengel wrote (November 26, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Has anybody here actually had a look at Wolff's edition that presents this Credo movement, yet, the one in G mixolydian? Is the ending different (as I'd suspect) so it sounds less like it's closing on a dominant as in MBM (BWV 232)? >
I have Wolff's edition before me here, and there seem to be only a few very minor differences between the two versions, one of them in the last bar (representative, and likewise uninterestingly IMHO): the last two quavers in the second violin (e", f") were a crotchet on d" in the original G-mix version.

 

Psalms at Vespers

Doug Cowling wrote (May 16, 2005):
Does anyone have any knowledge of how the Psalm was sung at Vespers in Bach's churches? Latin or German? Plainsong or figuraliter?

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 16, 2005):
[To Doug Cowling] Beyond Wolff's table 8.4 (p259) and his follow-up at p288ff?

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 16, 2005):
In the Oxford Composer Companion: J S Bach there's a short article by Robin Leaver, saying that it varied by occasion: sometimes plainchant, sometimes figural. Leaver's selected bibliography at the end of that article:
http://www.qub.ac.uk/music-cgi/bach2.pl?22=15123
http://www.qub.ac.uk/music-cgi/bach2.pl?22=5335
http://www.qub.ac.uk/music-cgi/bach2.pl?22=12122

Try also "psalm" and "liturgy" etc at
http://www.music.qub.ac.uk/~tomita/bachbib/bb-complex.html
....

Doug Cowling wrote (May 16, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< Beyond Wolff's table 8.4 (p259) and his follow-up at p288ff? >
I'm starting to research a concert reconstruction of a Christmas Vespers which would include the appropriate part of the the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) and the Magnificat in D Major (BWV 243). I just can't find out how Bach performed the weekly Psalm. There is a 17th century Tonale from Leipzig which has the psalms in Latin in fauxbourdon (harmonized plainchant). I'm wondering though if the polychoral German settings of Schutz and other 17th century composers were still performed under Bach. The library at St. Thomas would have been full of this repertoire. Do we have any catalogue lists?

Doug Cowling wrote (May 18, 2005):
Bach's Vespers

Re: the music of the Psalm at Vespers in St. Thomas, Dr. Paul Walker kindly responded to my email:

"It looks as if for a big feast day such as Christmas no Psalm was done for Vespers in Leipzig. In the place where one would expect the Psalm to be, the choir repeated the cantata of the morning. A Psalm (Psalm 3) was done only for Vespers only during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, and it seems to have been Gregorian."

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 18, 2005):
Doug Cowling wrote:
>>Re: the music of the Psalm at Vespers in St.Thomas, Dr. Paul Walker kindly responded to my email:
"It looks as if for a big feast day such as Christmas no Psalm was done for Vespers in
Leipzig. In the place where one would expect the Psalm to be, the choir repeated the cantata of the morning. A Psalm (Psalm 3) was done only for Vespers only during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, and it seems to have been Gregorian."<<
This eliminates the possibility that the choir would sing the Psalm and that it was either sung in Gregorian or spoken by the "Preacher and/or Ministrants" as indicated by Wolff on p. 259 of his Bach bio, where he seems to indicate that the Psalm was present FRL (Festal Season, Regular Sunday and even Lent.) But viewed from the heading of Wolff's table, he has conflated the Leipzig main churches so that it is no longer possible to tell them apart; for instance, Wolff has the motet sung figuraliter at Vespers on regular Sundays and during Lent, but not during a festal season. The fact is, according to Arnold Schering in his "Johann Sebastian Bachs Leipziger Kirchenmusik" [Leipzig, 1936) pp. 22-28], the 2nd choir under the direction of a prefect sang a motet at St. Nicholas Church at the same time Bach, at St. Thomas Church, would be giving a repeat performance of his figural cantata that he had performed at St. Nicholas Church at 7 o'clock on that same feast day. It appears as that, contrary to Wolff's table, the organ and choir would also be involved in singing the chorales/hymns (alternatim with the congregation or leading it?) Unfortunately, it is just at this point (a 1:45 pm {Schering's starting time} regarding the Vespers service at St. Thomas Church on a special feast day) that Schering omits important details concerning the other portions of the service where the 1st choir has to perform, while both St. Nicholas and the New Church have the 2nd and 3rd choirs singing a motet, a Latin Magnificat (figural) and chorales/hymns, we are left to assume that the 1st choir under Bach's direction would be doing essentially the same types of music at St. Thomas Church with the one, all important exception being the figural cantata which only the 1st choir could sing properly.

John Pike wrote (May 18, 2005):
[To Thomas Braatz] How can we be sure that Wolff is not correct and that Schering, who was writing much earlier, did not have access to the most up-to date scholarship, which Wolff would have done? Wolff must have dismissed Schering's views for good reasons.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 18, 2005):
[To John Pike] There are popular misconceptions that just because scholarship is old that it is therefore 'out-of-date' or that up-to-date scholarship always replaces old scholarship.

In this instance, can you document your opinion that Wolff had very good reasons for 'dismissing' Schering's views? Can you supply the missing documentation on Wolff's part on just what his 'more-recent' information is based? How about a specific footnote reference that explains where Wolff derived his conflated Table 8.4 on p. 259?

John Pike wrote (May 18, 2005):
[To Thomas Braatz] The comments about old v. new scholarship are valid and I don't know the answers to your questions, but one of your original sentences began "the fact is....." about Schering's work. While both Schering and Wolff are eminent Bach scholars, it would be interesting to know why you can be so certain on Schering being right here, so much so as to justify your comment about "the fact is....". I am not trying to be provocative, merely to get at the truth.

Doug Cowling wrote (May 18, 2005):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< In this instance, can you document your opinion that Wolff had very good reasons for 'dismissing' Schering's views? Can you supply the missing documentation on Wolff's part on just what his 'more-recent' information is based? How about a specific footnote reference that explains where Wolff derived his conflated Table 8.4 on p. 259? >
I'm still not sure what the sequence was. Was the psalm only chanted when there was no cantata? In McCreesh's reconstruction of Christmas Vespers in 1644 Dresden with the music of Schutz, the sequence is:

Organ Prelude
Chant: Deus in Adjutorium
Psalm: Warum toben die Heiden
Hymn: Christum wir sollen loben
Historia der Geburt Jusu Chritsi (Christmas Story)
Magnificat (with chorale interpolations)
Motet
Hymn: Gelobet Seist di
Prayer and Blessing
Organ Postlude

Presumably the "Historia" occupies the place where in Bach's time the cantata or Passion was sung. In Schütz's time, the psalm (which varied from week to week) was sung in German polychoral settings. I'm wondering if the "motet" in Wolff's list is in fact a motet setting of the proper psalm.

Doug Cowling wrote (May 18, 2005):
Psalm in Vespers

And another response from Robin Leaver:

"Lutheran Vespers were somewhat flexible in content and on special days concerted music would replace the Psalms, which would have been sung to the Psalm tones on weekdays. Thus all of the Cantatas of the Christmas Oratorio would have replaced the Psalms on the respective days they were performed."

An interesting reminder that the Office was sung daily inSt. Thomas.

Bradley Lehman wrote (May 18, 2005):
[To John Pike] Since I referred Doug Cowling's question to Paul Walker in the first place (off-list), I've also seen Walker's response behind all this. He's cited both Wolff and another book by Stiller, among other remarks of his own.

He (Dr Walker) has access to both his own very impressive personal library (I've done research in it myself, at his house) and the University of Virginia library. His response is better informed than merely looking it up in whatever books and online searches are most handy. This material is part of Walker's own field of specialty, being the author/editor of these books and articles: http://homepages.bw.edu/bachbib/script/bach1.pl?0=walker

Walker, among other real scholars, is well placed to know whether Wolff or Schering is more credible; not that any such credibility is the MAIN thrust behind scholarship to begin with. Scholarship is about the careful sifting and verification of facts, and logical reasoning using them, from a breadth and depth of knowledge and practice.

Walker himself regularly edits and performs this German 17th/18th C repertoire, both as a church musician and directing another chorus, and through teaching this material at university, and through membership in professional societies of 17th/18th C music. I can personally vouch that he knows what he's talking about, as I've worked with him in at least half a dozen of these projects in the past several years. Hence my referral over to him as a specialist to answer Doug's question.

<rest of the message was deleted>

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 18, 2005):
John Pike wrote:
>>The comments about old v. new scholarship are valid and I don't know the answers to your questions, but one of your original sentences began "the fact is....." about Schering's work. While both Schering and Wolff are eminent Bach scholars, it would be interesting to know why you can be so certain on Schering being right here, so much so as to justify your comment about "the fact is....". I am not trying to be provocative, merely to get at the truth.<<
Aren't we all trying to get at the truth? The questions prompted by "the fact is..." still remain unanswered as to why Wolff omitted documenting specifically where he got this information about Vespers in the main churches of Leipzig. "The fact is..." that in regard to Vespers services, Schering's information is much more detailed (except for the critical information as to all the details concerning what was performed when at St. Thomas Church) than the confusing, misleading conflation presented by Wolff. In what way is Wolff's table presentation, admittedly a modern one, better than Schering's?

>>it would be interesting to know why you can be so certain on Schering being right here,<<
It is not so much as question of my personal opinion, but rather that of any objective mind viewing the available evidence and coming to a rational, albeit often temporal, conclusion. If anyone reading these lines has information to the contrary or viable evidence to support Wolff over Schering in this issue, I certainly would want to know so that I can change my present view of this matter. Pointing to an inaccessible article without knowing the details about which sources were accessed and how they were interpreted is really of no help here and will not aid Doug Cowling in reconstructing his Christmas Vespers Order of Service under Bach's direction at St. Thomas Church.

On the other hand, I am quite certain that Arnold Schering was mistaken in his presentation of materials used as proof for the theory that Bach, in his sacred secco recitatives, used 'a shortened accompaniment' in which the long notes in Bach's scores and parts were generally shortened considerably in what is termed an 'esoteric practice' (a method of performance musicians under Bach knew about, but never bothered to mention) that can not be documented adequately. Nikolaus Harnoncourt relied upon Schering's documentation to perpetuate this theory by putting it into practice and mentioning the same or similar evidence as that provided by Schering. In his book, "Bach's Continuo Group," Laurence Dreyfus, using all the methods of modern scholarship, attempted to update this theory with further evidence and interpretation of that evidence. But this presentation, in my estimation, is not entirely convincing. At the same time, he refers to the original parts of the revised version of the SMP as offering "the most impressive evidence" for this theory. Who had pointed this out before Dreyfus? Schering, of course, back in 1936!

While a question always remains in the back of my mind whether Schering is unreliable/outdatedin or not in regard to a certain theoretical presentations, some evidence which he presents is given in such factual and extensive detail that it is convincing in itself. Who can dispute his detailed lists of who tuned the harpsichords in the various churches under Bach's direction and when did the payments for such service take place? Would an eminent Bach scholar have simply made up these lists or others like it (the Order of Church Services) as padding for his book?

Wolff's presentation of such facts is condensed and conflated, leaving the reader to wonder whether there were any differences at all between the main churches in Leipzig during Bach's tenure there.

Which of these presentations is better? Schering's, with greater detail or Wolff's watered-down version intended not to tax the reader any more than is necessary?

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 18, 2005):
Doug Cowling wrote:
>>I'm wondering if the "motet" in Wolff's list is in fact a motet setting of the proper psalm.<<
"Motette" as listed by Schering refers to a selection exclusively taken from Erhard Bodenschatz's "Florilegium Portense" or its smaller version "Florilegium selectissimorum hymnorum." These were collections of motets in Latin from which the prefect (Schering indicates that Bach avoided having to conduct these motets as much as possible) had to select and perform this simple music with organ or continuo accompaniment. Bach never performed his own motets during these services as it had become a requirement from many years of tradition to have these specific motets performed. On regular Sundays, all three choirs performed these motets only in the churches of Leipzig. I do not know whether Latin versions of any of the psalms were included. I have a setting of a Christmas chorale "Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ" by Bodenschatz which may have come from this collection dated 1608, but appears to be more like a 4-pt chorale of Bach's. Perhaps this is what was called a 'motet' as sung in the Leipzig churches during Bach's time?

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 19, 2005):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
>>I do not know whether Latin versions of any of the psalms were included. I have a setting of a Christmas chorale "Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ" by Bodenschatz which may have come from this collection dated 1608, but appears to be more like a 4-pt chorale of Bach's. Perhaps this is what was called a 'motet' as sung in the Leipzig churches during Bach's time?<<
In the meantime I have discovered that this is from a different collection by Bodenschatz. Here is more information about this important motet collection by Bodenschatz:

Since Bach was extremely aware of Erhard Bodenschatz' collection of motets which were in constant use during Bach's tenure, and certainly before his time as well, (he had to replace them twice using municipal funds, once in 1729 after he had a 'run-in' with the authorities about his negligence in arranging for teaching classes and canceling singing classes and later there was another purchase in 1737), it is certainly worthwhile to investigate this collection more carefully, whether one subscribes to Arnold Schering's contention that Bach wanted as little to do with these part books and the musiccontained in them, or whether one believes that Bach mined these treasures and generally held them in high regard.

Here are some facts about this collection, actually collections which were modified and expanded and were still being used as late at 1789. J. A. Hiller, who started as a substitute for Doles as Thomaskantor and took on this position after Doles, "selbst ersetzte die lateinischen Motettenlateinischer Singsang, den Meister Bodenschatz zusammengeschleppt hat«) durch deutsche und behielt nur wenig lateinische Kirchenmusik für hohe Feste bei." [Rudolf Eller in the MGG1 reports: "Hiller himself substituted German motets in place of the Latin motets which he considered 'monotonous songs which Master (used here ironically) Bodenschatz has ploddingly dragged together' and then retained very little of the Latin church music only for high feast days."]

The "Florilegium Portense" is specifically a collection of motets that appeared in part books printed in two main parts as follows:

1a. "Florilegium Selectissimarum Cantionum praestantissimorum aetatis nostrae autorum, 4. 5. 6. 7. & 8. vocum, in illustri Gymnasio Portensi ante et post cibum sumtum nunc temporis usitatarum, in gloriam Dei, scholae decus et studiosae juventutis utilitatem collectum et editum studio ac labore M. Erhardi Bodenschatz Lichtenbergensis, eiusdem illustris Gymnasii Cantoris ... Lipsiae ... anno M. DC. III.
(1603)
"

1b. This collection is the same as the above and appeared as a second edition. It was shortened in a few places (leaving out a few compositions) but others expanded considerably by including many new compositions not in the first edition. This edition appeared in 1618 and was reprinted many times after that without any further changes.

2. "Florilegii Musici Portensis, sacras harmonias sive motetas V. VI. VII. VIII. X. vocum, e diversis iisque praestantissimis aetatis nostrae autoribus collectas comprehendentis Pars Altera, quae exhibet concentus selectissimos CL, qui partim diebus Dominicis in communi: partim vero in specie Festis solemnioribus, per totius anni curriculum inserviunt, cum adjecta Basi Generali ad Organa musicaque instrumenta accomodata collectore et editore M. Erhardo Bodenschatzio Lichtenbergense, illustris Gymnasii Portensis olim Cantore, nunc vero temporis Ecclesiae Osterhusanae Pastore ... Lipsiae ... anno Christi M. DC. XXI. (1621)"

Bodenschatz considered this the second part of the entire collection consisting of 1b and 2.

Both 1b and 2 appeared with a basso continuo part in addition to the other part books.

Here is a general description of the contents of both parts 1 and 2:

There is a grand total of 271 compositions of which 89 composers are mentioned by name and 26 remain anonymous.

2/3 of the motets are for 8 parts.

9/10 are in Latin and the rest are in German with one composition being macaronic (German and Latin).

Heavy emphasis is placed upon a double-choir motet without, however, reaching the virtuosic performance practices of the late Giovanni Gabrieli.

Its main purpose was for 'Schulpraxis' - using these in school (class) settings for learning singing and obtaining a solid repertoire. In Meissen "Im 17. Jh. wurde tägl. nach Tisch aus E. Bodenschatz' Florilegium gesungen." [Peter Krause, MGG1, Bärenreiter, 1986, reports that in the 'Gymnasium' the students/pupils sang from Bodenschatz' 'Florilegium' after each meal in the 17th century. Imagine a large hall where all the students gathered for their main meal and that after the meal the part books would be distributed from which all students/pupils would sing and create this wonderful, harmonious sound!]

There are more Italian composers represented in the expanded Florilegium 2, but not to the detriment of other German composers who are also newly included in this collection.

Here is a list of the names of the composers without any attempt to indicate precisely which composer is represented with which number of compositions in which collection (in a few instances I was able to ascertain the actual titles of some of these motets-I do not recognize directly whether any of these are Psalm texts, but perhaps someone reading this list might be able to identify them from the titles given):

Agazzari
Aichinger
Blasius Ammon
Felice Anerio
Anonymi
Girolamo Baglioni
Benedetto Bagni
Ludovico Balbi
Giovanni Bassano
Giulio Belli
Andreas Berger
Carlo Berti
Bertolusi
Bianciardi
Melchior Bischoff
»Deus misereatur nostri«
Erhard Bodenschatz
Borsaro
Girolamo Boschetti
Christoph Buel
»Expurgate vetus fermentum«
Sethus Calvisius
»Das alte Jahr vergangen ist« »Quaerite primum regnum dei« »Zion spricht: Der Herr hat mich verlassen«
Serafino Cantoni
»Laudate Dominum in sanctis«
Geminiano Capilupi
»Confitemini Domino« »Domini est terra«
Lodovico Casali
»Cognoverunt discipuli«
Ottavio Catalani
Croatti
Giovanni Croce
Demantius
Dulcino
Dulichius
Christian Erbach
Eremita
Albinus Fabricius/Fabritius
Fattorini
Melchior Franck
Andrea Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli
Giulio Cesare Gabussi
Jakob Gallus (Handl)
Simone Gatto
»Obsecro vos fratres«
Ruggiero Giovanelli
»Estote fortes in bello« »Iste sanctus pro lege Dei sui« »Jubilate Deo omnis terra«
Johann Ghro/Groh (Groß)
»Lobet den Herrn in seinem Heiligtum«
Adam Gumpelzhaimer
Handl (see above)
Heinrich Hartmann
»Ist nicht Ephraim« »Lobe den Herren, meine Seele«
Hans Leo Haßler
Valentin Haußmann
»Man wird zu Zion sagen«
Moritz von Hessen
Ingegneri
Orlando di Lasso
Leone Leoni
»Audivi vocem« »Petre amas me?« »Angelus Domini« »O Domine Jesu« »Tribularer«
Luyton
Marenzio
Massaino
Meiland
Merulo
Philipp de Monte
Moritz, Landgraf von Hessen
"Hosianna"
Moro (Viadanus or Giacomo da Viadana)
Alexius Neander
»Adesto unus Deus«
Alessandro Orologio
Giulio Osculati
Asprilio Pacelli
Benedetto Pallavicino
Parma
Patarto
»Quam dilecta tabernacula tua«
Annibale Perini
von Pevernage
Dominique Phinot
Pinello di Ghirardi
»Pater peccavi«,
Costanzo Porta
Hieronymus Praetorius
Michael Praetorius
»Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore«
Regio
Teodoro Riccioi
Martin Roth
Antonio Savetta
Annibale Stabile
Giovanni Battista Stefanini
Heinrich Steuccius
»Omnes gentes plaudite«, »Alleluja laetamini«
Tribiolo
Valcampi
Orazio Tiberio Vecchi
Orfeo Vecchi
Stefano Venturi
Lodovico Viadana
"Otto ordini di Letanie ... concertate à 2 Chori"
Caspar Vincentius
Vulpius
Christoph Thomas Walliser
Friedrich Weißensee
»Jubilate Deo omnis terra« »Anima mea exspectat«
»Hosanna filio David« »Ich beschwöre euch, ihr Töchter Jerusalem« »Sage du mir an«
Zallamella
Zangius
Gregorio Zucchini

Doug Cowling wrote (May 19, 2005):
Thanks for this list -- a fascinating catalogue which was the meat-and -potatoes repertoire for Bach. This is the choir music which was performed side-by-side with Bach's concerted music week after week. And it's not all hack work: the Gabrielis, Lassus,, Marenzio and Handl are all A-list composers. The interesting thing is the dominance of polychoral works a format which the Germans continued to treasure long after it fell out of fashion elsewhere. The lineage of the SMP is impeccable/

Question: Did any of this music stray into the cantatas? Was a motet like "Welt Ade, Ich Bin Dir Müde" which closes Cantata (?) perhaps in this collection.

Thomas Braatz wrote (May 19, 2005):
Doug Cowling wrote:
>>Question: Did any of this music stray into the cantatas? Was a motet like "Welt Ade, Ich Bin Dir Müde" which closes Cantata (?) perhaps in this collection.<<
This chorale "Welt ade, ich bin dein müde" from Cantata BWV 27/6 is traced back to a chorale melody and text by Johann Georg Albinus (1649) in a version/setting by Johann Rosenmüller (1652). Bach probably took this setting from a hymnal by Vopelius (1682). NBA KB I/23 has reproduced in facsimile both original Rosenmüller printing of his setting and the same setting in the Vopelius hymnal. This is one of the extremely rare instances when Bach uses a setting by another composer.

Somehow I don't see Bach ever using any setting/composition by Schütz (who was not included in the Bodenschatz anthology.) I have never read or seen any hint of such a use by Bach.

There are numerous motet-like movements in Bach's cantatas which have been classified as 'stile antico' because they seem to emulate without copying directly elements of the style found in many of the compositions in the Bodenschatz collection. [None of these has 'ever strayed into one of Bach's cantatas.'] Here is more information about this [with my comments inserted in brackets] by Stephen R Miller from the New Grove Online [Oxford University Press, 2005, acc.
5/18/05]:

>>The clearest examples of the 'stile antico' are found in 18th- and 19th-century sacred choral works, particularly masses or mass sections, by composers such as Bach, Schumann and Liszt. Bach copied out and performed Palestrina's six-voice 'Missa sine nomine' (1590, now sometimes known as the Missa 'Cantabo Domine'), [but according to Kobayashi this is a very late date in Bach's career: 1742] and at Leipzig he made regular use of Erhard Bodenschatz's 'Florilegium Portense,'[but Bach mainly delegated the rehearsal and performance of these motets to his prefects who were in charge of the 2nd and 3rd choirs] an anthology of 16th-century [the author omits stating early 17th century as well] German and Italian motets. In his 'Mass in B minor' (BWV 232) Bach placed 'stile antico' passages in positions of structural significance, for example in the 'Credo' and the 'Confiteor' choruses that frame the 'Credo.' Recognition of the stylistic references in such passages - the alla breve metre, the omission of obbligato melodic instruments - is crucial to comprehension of Bach's architectural rhetoric (see Wolff, 1968, 1991).<<

John Pike wrote (May 19, 2005):
[To Doug Cowling] "Welt Ade, Ich Bin Dir Müde" is at the end of BWV 158, "Der Friede sei mit dir". This cantata has a very nice violin obligato .

John Pike wrote (May 19, 2005):
I'm so sorry. I see now that Doug was referring to a different setting of these words. In BWV 158, the words are set for chorus and soprano solo.

 

Order of Vespers

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 3, 2010):
C. Wolff lists the order of Vespers in Leipzig on p. 259 of "Bach: The Learned Musician" as:

Organ: Prelude
Choir: Hymnus (figuraliter)
Motet (figuraliter)
Cantata (repeated from morning service)
Organ: Prelude
Congregation: Hymn de Tempore

According to the Neues Lepziger Gesangbuch (1682), which Bach used, Vespers begins with the responses "Deus in Adjutorium/Domine ad Adjuvandum" in a setting by Christoph Demantius. Is that what Wolff is referring to by the opening hymn? Seems an odd term to use: I think responsorium is more usual.

If someone has Stiller to hand,would they please check it for me?

 

Bach Vespers Recreation

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 23, 2004):
This a speculative question so hang on to your monocles lest they pop in horror.

A few years ago, the Tallis Choir of Toronto presented a concert recreation of a Lutheran mass for the Second Day of Christmas built around the Mass in F and "Dazu ist Erschienen." It made for a very satisfying performance and proved popular with the audience.

I'm now beginning some research towards recreating a Bach Vespers for Christmas Day built around "Jauchzet Frohlocket", Part One of the Christmas Oratorio, and the Magnificat. The program would include items like the Demantius "Deus in Adjutorium" from Bach's hymn book, and perhaps even chorales sung alternatim by the choir and audience!

Bach wrote the E flat version of the Magnificat when he first came to Leipzig where the old custom of troping the Latin canticle with four extra Laudes was still observed He inserted four extra movements, some of them in German, into the Latin canticle. He didn't reperform this version but went on to create the D major, presumably for another festival such as Easter or Pentecost - the Visitation is a strong candidate.

So here's the question.

Did Bach continue the Leipzig tradition of troping the concerted setting of the Christmas Magnificat with other movements? Could he conceivably have added tropes to other composers' settings or even the new D major version? Are we justified in using chorales and movements from other cantatas as tropes?

Perform the E flat version you say. A logistical consideration. The cost of scores and parts would be considerable and the scoring does not match "Jauchzet Frohlocket." This is still all very hypothetical and I want to look at more documentary sources and poke around in the Bach chorale collections. Any comments or even movements that might serve as tropes?

 

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