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Psalm 51 BWV 1083
Tilge, Höchester, meine Sünden
General Discussions - Part 1

Psalm 51

Somebody wrote:
I know Bach made a paraphrase of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, [SNIP] I can't find it on BWV catalog...What is the "name" of the work and has it a catalog number?

Last but not least, are there some good recordings of this work, and will it be included in Bach 2000 edition?

Wim Huisjes wrote:
It's BWV 1083 "Tilge, Hoechster; meine Sünden" (= appr. "Cancel, Highest, my sins"). The text is a rhymed version of Psalm 51. [SNIP]

Can't find it in Teldec's listing. Hänssler will have it on Vol.73 (# 92.073). On CD, up till now, the only recording I've been able to find is a live one with mediocre sound by Fabio Maestri on an Italian label Bongiovanni.

Ehud Shiloni wrote
(To Wim Huisjes) Here is another recording of Psalm 51:

[V-3] It is on the "SYMPHONIA" label [See: http://www.affari.com/symphonia/Welcome.html] Catalog No. SY-95139.
Also on the same CD: Cantata BWV 182 ("Himmelskönig, sei willkommen").

Ars Antiqua Austria, dir. Gunar Letzbor
St. Florianer Sangerknaben + Kepler Consort.
Recording: March 1995.

Wim Huisjes wrote (October 12, 1999):
[V-3] Had another look at Teldec's listing: BWV 1083 (Psalm 51) is in their Vol.6: "Sacred Vocal Works", also by Ars Antiqua Austria. Probably same recording?

Vol.6 also contains on 13-CD's:

- Harnoncourt: Mass in b (BWV 232) (the digital one), Magnificat in D (BWV 243), SMP (BWV 244), SJP (BWV 245), Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248)

- ? Three alternative arias from SJP (BWV 245) (sung by Schreier)

- Preston: Magnificat in Es (BWV 243a) (how does L'Oiseau-Lyre suddenly show up at Warner's?)

- Corboz: 4 Lutheran Masses (BWV 233-236), Sanctus (BWV 237-241), Christe eleison (BWV 242)

Which shows again the disadvantage of "complete editions". I would want to buy Psalm 51 (maybe) & 6 short works: BWV 237-242, I already have everything else and have absolutely no need for another 13 CD's.

Why don't they release their Edition on singly available CD's? !

Matthew Westphal wrote (October 13, 1999):
There is another CD version of "Tilge, Höchster"

[V-2]
Bach: Transcriptions / Thomas, American Bach Soloists
Koch International Classics - #7237

1. Concerto for 4 Harpsichords in A minor, BWV 1065
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by American Bach Soloists with John Butt, Phebe Craig, Jonathan Dimmock, Jeffrey Thomas
Conducted by Jeffrey Thomas

2. Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by American Bach Soloists with Judith Malafronte, Benita Valente
Conducted by Jeffrey Thomas

For my money, the American Bach Soloists do (in general) the most interesting, nuanced, beautiful instrumental work of any HIP group. (Warning: they typically use chamber-scale forces, which aren't to everyone's taste.) The four-harpsichord concerto is quite nice; I'm not so thrilled with "Tilge" myself -- Benita Valente is a wonderful musician (and was coached and encouraged by my grandmother while singing in the choir at my grandfather's church during her student days at Curtis - if I may name-drop, but she's a mainstream opera and concert singer with a mainstream technique and sound that (to my ears) just don't blend with period instruments. Others may like it a great deal - there's certainly no questioning the performers' professionalism. Amazon.com has sound clips if anyone wants to check them out.

Donald Satz wrote (October 13, 1999):
Wim Huisjes wrote, concerning the Bach 2000 Teldec set:
< Why don't they release their Edition on singly available CD's? ! >
Because they want folks to buy the big sets, so they can make greater profit. For seasoned collectors, those big sets entail much wasted money and likely will not be purchased. The sets might be an excellent purchase at Christmas time for relative novices to Bach.

As for me, I'm not buying those sets. I would be duplicating much of what I already have, and the notion of telling folks that I have the Bach 2000 Teldec set holds no appeal.

Paul de Vries wrote (October 13, 1999):
Here I have 2 versions:

[V-3] - Teldec Bach 2000 vol.6/13 3984-25711-2
St. Florianer Sangerknaben
Ars Antiqua Austria, Letzbor
with BWV 245 a, b, c

[V-2] - Koch International Classics 3-7237-2H1
Valente, Malafronte, American Bach Soloists, Jeffrey Thomas, 1993
with BWV 1065

Wim Huisjes wrote (October 13, 1999):
(To Paul de Vries) Have you been able to find a store where they already sell the Teldec volumes separately?

In a previous message on the list it was mentioned that the packaging of Teldec is rather clumsy. Any chance that some store is going to tear apart the volumes and sell the CD's as single issues?

Simon Crouch wrote (October 14, 1999):
Somebody wrote, talking about BWV 1083 in particular (sorry, I've lost the attribution in the mess of follow-ups):
< Isn't strange that paraphrases of Vivaldi's concerts have a catalog number and paraphrases of others work have not? What is the criteria that catalog compilers adopted in this field? >
I believe that the criterion used for assignation of a catalogue number is that Bach himself had to have composed some of it. In the case of Psalm 51 (BWV 1083), Bach added a viola part to Pergolesi's music. The Vivaldi transcriptions involved more than straight transcription, there's a fair amount of re-composition (at the micro level). Works such as Keiser's St. Mark Passion, which come down to us in Bach's hand, but which only involve copying, do not get a BWV (although it's thought that one of the chorales is due to Bach and hence does get the BWV number 1084...)

Paul de Vries wrote (October 14, 1999):
Wim Huisjes wrote:
< Have you been able to find a store where they already sell the Teldec volumes separately? >
No.

< In a previous message on the list it was mentioned that the packaging of Teldec is rather clumsy. Any chance that some store is going to tear apart the volumes and sell the CD's as single issues? >
I imagine that next year when they have large quantities of unsold sets they will do just that, like they did on the 60 CD set of cantatas.

 

Psalm 51, BWV 1083

Zsidai Laszlo wrote (August 23, 2000):
[V-3] Yesterday I found a vocal work on the Teldec Bach 2000 CD-s: BWV 1083 Psalm 51, with German text. I think the music is the same as the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi. Am I right? If so, then what is the relationship between the two works / composers? Is the BWV 1083 a Bach work at all?

Thanks for your answers,

John Hartford wrote (August 23, 2000):
Yes, Bach made an arrangement and parody of this work by Pergolesi toward the end of his life.

Darryl Clemmons wrote (August 23, 2000):
I am extremely fond of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. It is true that Bach used the music for the setting of Psalm 51. I am not sure what the BWV number is though. I believe the new number is 1083 and previously it didn't have a number.

The fact it now has its own number is due to the fact Bach added an additional harmonic line to the music. The original work had a nice transparent (maybe someone has a better word?) effect achieved by eliminating the lower harmonics. Bach's works are generally grounded by the lower harmonies; therefore he added them back in. Maybe this arrangement fit the words better, I don't know. Either way this was consistent with Bach's musical . Generally when harmonizing, he wrote the soprano melody first, added the bass harmony and then the inner voices.

Jens Richter wrote (August 24, 2000):
Darryl Clemmons wrote:
< I am extremely fond of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. It is true that Bach used the music for the setting of Psalm 51. I am not sure what the BWV number is though. I believe the new number is 1083 and previously it didn't have a number. The fact it now has its own number is due to the fact Bach added an additional harmonic line to the music. The original work had a nice transparent (maybe someone has a better word?) effect achieved by eliminating the lower harmonics. [snipped] >
Interesting. I feel the same way. When I heard Bach's arrangement the first time I was disappointed. In this special case I really prefer the original.

 

Bach did a parody of his famous" "Stabat Mater"

Toño Kolias wrote (April 21, 2003):
Today I found and ordered an out of print Lp; Pergolesi´s Missa Romana sung by two of my favorite choirs: The Tölzer Knabenchor and La Escolania de Montserrat; reading the review written on VoA by Shel Ritter (message no. 674), which says: It's a pure shame, as Pergolesi in his few short years, in my humble estimation, wrote some of the most beautiful lyric sacred works of all time, "Bach did a parody of his famous" "Stabat Mater". Now, as for me Pergolesi´s Stabat Mater sung by Sebastian Hennig and René Jacobs is pure delight, I wonder if any of you knows "the parody" Mr. or Mrs. Ritter :-$ was referring to. Many thanks.

Joost wrote (April 21, 2003):
Toño Kolias wrote:
>>>Now, as for me Pergolesi´s Stabat Mater sung by Sebastian Hennig and René Jacobs is pure delight, I wonder if any of you knows "the parody" Mr. or Mrs. Ritter :-$ was referring to. Many thanks. <<<
There are several recording with this parody. As the 'original' with Hennig and Jacobs is my very favourite too, you may like my pet parody performance as well:

Bach und die Italiener, with Monika Frimmer and Kay Wessel, and the Neue Hofkapelle Munchen, dir. Christian Brembeck. Also on this disc an organ version of BWV 974 (Marcello's oboe concerto) and a cantata by Conti, with oboe parts added by JSB. (Christophorus 77186)

Johan van Veen wrote (April 22, 2003):
[To Toño Kolias] That parody is a setting of the German translation of Psalm 51, which is composed for two voices (soprano and alto), strings and basso continuo. Text and music don't always match ideally, but on the whole it is a very good adaptation. My favourite recording is that with the St Florianer Sängerknaben and Ars Antiqua Austria, directed by Gunar Letzbor. The solo parts are sung by soloists from the choir. The CD originally appeared on Symphonia (SY 95139) and was later reissued as part of Teldec's Bach2000 Edition.

Toño Kolias wrote (April 22, 2003):
[To Johan van Veen & Joost] Thanks very much to both of you for your reply.

P.S Today I started my "new day" with cantata BWV 36

 

"Bach's" Stabat Mater

Juozas Rimas wrote (November 8, 2003):
What has Bach done with Pergolesi's Stabat Mater in his parody of the work "Psalm 51" (BWV 1083) - are there any changes? If there is nothing added by Bach perhaps it's better to start from the original? (I haven't heard neither the original nor the parody).

And, historically, what was the point of the mentioned parody? (the point of Bach's parodies of his own works was, as far as I understood, "had no time to compose from scratch" and the point of transcriptions of Marcello et al was "admired the composers and wanted to play them in his room").

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 8, 2003):
[To Juozas Rimas] He has recomposed the piece around a new text in a different language, on a different spiritual topic. He also enriched the orchestration, most obviously adding an independent viola part. So, yes, it's substantially changed.

Neil Halliday wrote (November 9, 2003):
[To Juozas Rimas] Thanks for asking this question! I was not aware of Bach's transcription of Pergolesi's famous 'Stabat Mater'. Here is some information at the BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV1083-Gen.htm

And a sound bite of the opening duet at: Amazon.com

(This sample has a bad case of 'HIP disease' to my ears; Hogwood's version (with Kirkby/Bowman) is better - he applies the power more evenly and continuously to each vocal and instrumental musical line than is shown in this sample. The ecstatic score does not need the super-imposed 'expressive' contrasts and hiatus's shown in the sample, and the violins sound weak, IMO.)

I cannot find Bach's score in my BGA CD-ROM's.

Neil Halliday wrote (November 9, 2003):
Here is a modern instrument recording with a part for violas - I wonder if it's Bach's version of the viola line. (I know it's not Bach's BWV 1083 transcription!)
http://www.naxos.com/naxos/naxos_marco_polo.htm

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 9, 2003):
Neil Halliday wrote: And a sound bite of the opening duet at: Amazon.com >
The recording is of the original Stabat Mater by Pergolesi. However, couple of months ago, I uploaded into the BCW Music Examples of the opening duet from 7 recordings of Bach's arrangement. See:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Mus/BWV1083-Mus.htm

< (This sample has a bad case of 'HIP disease' to my ears; Hogwood's version (wih Kirkby/Bowman)is better - [snip] >
Has Hogwood recorded Bach's arrangement or the orofiginal Stabat Mater?

< I cannot find Bach's score in my BGA CD-ROM's. >
You can't find it in the BGA, because the work was firstly published as late as 1963.

Neil Halliday wrote (November 9, 2003):
[To Aryeh Oron]
1. The excellent Hogwood recording is of the Pergolesi original.

2. Thanks for confirming that the score of BWV 1083 is not in the BGA.

3. And thanks for all those wonderful examples at the BCW:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Mus/BWV1083-Mus.htm

There is something for everbody here, with powerful period and modern instrument performances of this marvellous duet, (nearly all better than the version about which I spoke negatively, and which Hogwood proved is not due to the lack of a viola part).

Some impressions: Rilling is very effective, despite being the fastest (as usual!!:-)), but notice that glaring wrong note (2nd violin?) about 2/3 of the way through!; and Hengelbrock, mentioned recently re the E flat Magnificat (BWV 243a), is very powerful.

Charles Francis wrote (November 9, 2003):
[To Aryeh Oron] Nice to hear the performance with the boys of St. Florian. This Abbey has a great musical heritage - in his will, Anton Bruckner requested that his last resting place be in St. Florian where he had been a chorister, teacher and organist. For detail about the so-called "Bruckner Organ" (1771) that features so prominently on this recording see: http://www.eclectic.kennett.net/ABruckner/florian.htm

For info on the choir and CDs, see: http://www.florianer.at/english/index.html

 

Stabat Mater

Jill Gunsell wrote (January 12, 2004):
I believe JSB wrote a Stabat Mater butcan't find it in any online indexes. If he did, was it in Latin or German? Is there a recording - preferably not in a very expensive box set? If anyone can help, thank you.

Riccardo Nughes wrrote (January 12, 2004):
[To Jill Gunsell] He made a parody of Pergolesi's Stabat mater (in German). See recordings and discussions here: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV1083.htm

Thomas Braatz wrote (January 12, 2004):
[To Jill Gunsell] Bach has a parody BWV 1083/243a of Pergolesi's 'Stabat Mater' (1735). Bach rranged Pergolesi's composition as a German paraphrase of Psalm 51, "Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden."

Joost wrote (January 12, 2004):
[To Jill Gunsell] The first part of your question has already been answered.

There are several recording of this work. My favourite is with Monika Frimmer and Kai Wessel, and the Neue Hofkapelle München, directed by Christian Brembeck. The disc is called "Bach und die Italiener" (Bach and the Italians), and combines the Tilge, Höchster... with the organ version of Marcello's oboe concerto, and a cantata by Conti "Languet anima mea" for soprano, strings and bc, to which Bach added two oboe parts. (Christophorus 77186, 1996)

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (January 12, 2004):
[To Jill Gunsell] He didn/t actually write a "Stabat Mater". His work BWV 1083 is a very liberal parody of the Pergolesi Stabat Mater with the German of Psalm 50 (or 51, I don't remember which). It is in German and there is a recording for both Edition Bachakademie (Hänssler) and Bach 2000 (Teldec). The work is entitled "Tilge, Hoechster, meinen Sünden".

Jill Gunsell wrote (January 12, 2004):
Thank you all very much. I have found the CD I want, with your help.

 

JS Bach & Pergolesi STABAT MATER

Teddy Kaufman wrote (April 10, 2005):
As a fan of the Stabat Mater (SM), frequently listening to over 40 works of various composers,I always bear in my mind unanswered questions concerning the Bach' Bwv 1083, so called "a parody of Pergolesi' SM ".

To my ears, the Bach Psalm 51 BWV 1083
"Tilge, Höchester, meine Sünden" is very attractive due to its orchestration, however the dramatic and liturgic atmosphere was abolished as compared to Pergolesi' SM.

Even after reviewing the discussion on this net (1999 through Jan. 2004), some unresolved questions of mine still remained to be answered.

I wish to address to the experts some provocative questions, having no intention to insult someone, nor to underestimate JS Bach, which to my taste and ears is one the greatest Masters of the Baroque period .

[1].Is the BWV 1083 a real "parody" or,just a fraud ?

[2]. What about the other transcriptions of Vivaldi, Telemann et al.? Have they been transcribed just to "Honor" the original composers, as some critics claimed ?

[3]. One might assume that Bach as well as other Baroque composers, were obliged to confront very great demands for productivity and hence, struggled for their own survival. In this respect, I would wish to mention the debate regarding "Publish or Perish" which took place on this net, several weeks ago. I would assume that this approach was definitely applicable to Bach and his colleagues in Europe during the Baroque period.

[4]. We are aware that numerous Baroque composers "adopted" others musical works. Is JS Bach an exception?

[5]. Any rational to use the German version of Psalm 51, instead of the original Latin?

Thanks and regards,

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 10, 2005):
Teddy Kaufman wrote:
>>[1].Is the BWV 1083 a real "parody" or,just a fraud?<<
The watermark of the paper upon which BWV 1083 was written has characteristics similar to another work in Bach music library: a cantata by Johann Gottlieb Goldberg: "Durch die herzliche Barmherzigkeit" but with similar watermarks which do not agree with each other ["unter sich nicht übereinstimmend"] there are also the following: BWV 34, BWV 118, BWV 191, BWV 1080 (only 3 pages of the latter.) Another watermark ("verschiedene Formen") bears resemblances with paper used for BWV 96 (an additional organ part only), BWV 195 (most of the score and parts); BWV 232 (certain sections but with unclear watermark); and BWV 234 (all the parts.) These determinations were made in 1985 by Yoshitake Kobayashi in NBA IX/1.

On p. 216 of NBA IX/2, [Bärenreiter, 1989] Yoshitake Kaboyashi, the editor of this volume on 'Bach's Notation' determined that BWV 1083 was only partially in Bach's handwriting. A red flag was sent up.

It was still accepted as a genuine 'Bearbeitung' ["arrangement/adaptation"] of Pergolesi's original by Bach by the BWV in 1998 which claims that it was undertaken and completed by Bach circa 1746/1747. Both the Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach (pp. 548 and the "Bach Handbuch" [Konrad Küster, editor] pp. 375 & 386 still bring no new information about BWV 1083.

The OCC indicates this BWV 1083 was first published in 1963 and was a parody (p. 478) of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. It is significant that the article on Pergolesi p. 364 in the OCC was written by Alberto Basso, whose work I do not find entirely reliable at times. Konrad Küster's "Bach Handbuch" [Bärenreiter, Kassel, 1999) on pp. 375 and 386 repeats essentially the foregoing conclusions regarding this arrangement with no new information being added.

However, the NBA II/9 KB (2000) no longer includes any reference to BWV 1083 in its volume dedicated to arrangements by Bach of works by other composers.

It does seem to appear that BWV 1083 has been dropped, unless another subsequent volume to NBA II/9 will be issued which I rather doubt. This volume NBA II/9 and
KB covers the remaining Latin church music, remaining mvts. from Passions, doubtful compositions, and arrangements of works by other composers such as Palestrina, Kerll, Caldara, Lotti, Pez, Durante and Johann Ludwig Bach. Pergolesi is not among them. This would be the place to include the Pergolesi in the NBA if it were considered worthy.

The NBA editors explain as follows: "Der vorliegende Band umfaßt Werke zweifelhafter Echtheit sowie Bachsche Bearbeitungen fremder Werke aus den Berichen Latinische Kirchenmusik und Passionen. Von den im Kritischen Bericht behandelten Werken zweifelhafter Echtheit werden nur diejenigen im Notenband abgedruckt, bei denen die Echtheitsdiskussion nicht abgeschlossen ist; als Bearbeitungen wurden nur solche Werke aufgenommen, bei denen das Gewicht der Eingriffe Bachs dies rechtfertigt." ["The present volume embraces works of doubtful authenticity as well as Bach's own arrangements of works by other composers covering the areas of Latin church music and Passions. Regarding the works of doubtful authenticity covered in the critical report, only those for which the discussion regarding authenticity has not been concluded are printed here; as far as Bach's arrangements of works by other composers, only those works are included where Bach's intervention in these works justifies it." -- in other words, a copy with no discernable modifications or changes by Bach in the score will not be considered to be worthy of having Bach's imprimatur attached.]

>>[2]. What about the other transcriptions of Vivaldi, Telemann et a.? Have they been transcribed just to "Honor" the original composers, as some critics claimed?<<
Certainly Bach did learn from transcribing and performing works by these composers. There were times during Bach's life when he simply needed good music (as for the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig) for performance so that he could 'show-case' his sons and other worthy performers when visitors from far and wide would come to visit the Leipzig Fairs.

>>[3]. One might assume that Bach as well as other Baroque composers, were obliged to confront very great demands for productivity and hence, struggled for their own survival. In this respect, I would wish to mention the debate regarding "Publish or Perish" which took place on this net, several weeks ago. I would assume that this approach was definitely applicable to Bach and his colleagues in Europe during the Baroque period.<<
This could well be considering Bach's many other musical obligations in Leipzig.

>>[4]. We are aware that numerous Baroque composers "adopted" others musical works. Is JS Bach an exception?<<
No, Bach proves this in his uncanny ability to recycle his own works in the form of parodies and that we have direct proof that he would also copy or arrange works by other composers if he felt they had merit and provided good examples of compositional styles.

>>[5]. Any rational to use the German version of Psalm 51, instead of the original Latin?<<
It would be sung as a motet during a Sunday church service, possibly by the 2nd choir, if the setting was not too difficult. The use of Latin texts in the Leipzig German church services in Bach's day was declining, and if this composition was designed for a performance in a smaller church/town outside of Leipzig or Dresden, then the use of German would probably be mandatory.

Doug Cowling wrote (April 10, 2005):
Teddy Kaufman wrote:
< [4]. We are aware that numerous Baroque composers "adopted" others musical works. Is JS Bach an exception?
[5]. Any rational to use the German version of Psalm 51, instead of the original Latin? >

Bach adapted concertos of Vivaldi for his six organ concertos.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (April 10, 2005):
Teddy Kaufman wrote:
< [1].Is the BWV 1083 a real "parody" or, just a fraud? >
I am no expert, simply a music lover and also a lover of the Stabat Mater genre. I actually find the simple text very moving and meaningful. See below.

< [2]. What about the other transcriptions of Vivaldi, Telemann et al.? Have they been transcribed just to "Honor" the original composers, as some critics claimed ? >
Unlikely to honor anyone but for Bach's own purposes, as noted.

< [3]. One might assume that Bach as well as other Baroque composers, were obliged to confront very great demands for productivity and hence, struggled for their own survival. In this respect, I would wish to mention the debate regarding "Publish or Perish" which took place on this net, several weeks ago. I would assume that this approach was definitely applicable to Bach and his colleagues in Europe during the Baroque period. >
Maybe better to forget about that previous discussion.

< [4]. We are aware that numerous Baroque composers "adopted" others musical works. Is JS Bach an exception?
[5]. Any rational to use the German version of Psalm 51, instead of the original Latin ? >
Funny for an Israeli to speak of "the original Latin"! At all events recently a new DVD called "Bach's Stabat Mater" was listed in a "New DVDs" post to opera-L and here is what I responded:
-------------------
Dana listed (not his fault)
* Bach - STABAT MATER - J.S. Bach's arrangement of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater; Nancy Argenta, Guillemette Laurens, Diego Fasolis, I Barocchisti (EuroArts)
=======================
I have never seen ever JSB's German Psalm 51 text set to his adaptation of Pergolesi's Stabat called "Bach's Stabat Mater". What an odious selling gimmick. See discussion at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV1083-Gen.htm

My personal opinion. Stick with Pergolesi (much more interesting).

Alain Bruguières wrote (April 10, 2005):
JS Bach & Plagiarism

[To Teddy Kaufman] Plagiarism is considered a severe offence nowadays, but this is all recent. In the baroque era, it was considered very natural. If somebody wrote something good, why not use it? After all, it's pretty much the same with jazz, isn't it? In any case, Haendel, for one, was a magnificent plagiarist. More than half of 'Israel in Egypt' is copied from previous works of other composers, including Vivaldi.

In fact, I have a feeling that Bach was rather an exception in this respect. Usually, the plagiarist would take a piece of music and adapt it to his imediate needs. But in the case of Bach, I suspect that he copied many concerti (not without modifications, of course) not so much to gain time because he was hard pressed to produce, as to possess the art of the victim in a kind of vampiric embrace! I think he was eager to get at the 'substantifique moelle' (substantific marrow) of the art of his predecessors and contemporaries. If the anecdote be true, he began very early, copying Nicolas de Grigny's mass at night when he was a kid. But then, he turned that stuff into genuine Bach stuff. On the whole, he plagiarized himself perhaps more than others.

It's a matter of interpretation really. I prefer to see it that way!

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 11, 2005):
<this part of the message was removed>
To pick a different example here, showing the inherent weakness of this particular argument: nobody doubts the authenticity of Clavieruebung III which was published in Bach's Leipzig. Yet, the handwriting in it (for the engraving, by two different engravers) isn't Bach's but only an imitation of it. There are also some uncorrected mistakes in it, for example in the Duetti (various missing ties and accidentals, at positions other than the first note of a bar, e.g. on p64), despite production under Bach's own guidance. Is that any sort of evidence that Bach didn't compose that music after all? Of course not. And is there any stigma attached to letting assistants write out the music for a copy? Why would there be? The result is a remarkable clear (if scrunched) edition that is easy enough to read directly off the page, learning the music. Those original publishers did an excellent job. It's not in Bach's hand; so what?

Manfred Tessmer's preface for the NBA, translated by Roger Clement and included directly in the NBA reprint, includes the remarks: "The sole independent source is the original print of 1739, which was carefully engraved by two craftsmen. One of the two engravers--who produced 43 of the 77 pages of music--fashioned a musical text whose appearance reproduces all the essential characteristics of Bach's energetic and aesthetically attractive handwriting. It is not surprising that Bach literature has often claimed that Bach himself had a hand in engraving this work, one of his particularly important collections. However, after carefully examining the engraving and printing techniques of the time, the editor was able to establish for the first time in his Critical Notes to the NBA (IV/4), that this edition must have been a facsimile-like imitation of Bach's lost autographic engraver's copy. It is thus certainly one of the earliest facsimiles of a composer's manuscript in music history." [From Baerenreiter #288, 1988 reprint of the 1969 NBA edition; preface in both German and English. This preface includes updates that are not in the NBA's KB. The most substantial of these, in terms of recent research, is the footnote that Gregory Butlhas identified the workshop where this "extremely skillful reproduction engraver" worked.]

=====

Getting back to Teddy Kaufman's question [2], which was:
"[2]. What about the other transcriptions of Vivaldi, Telemann et al.? Have they been transcribed just to "Honor" the original composers, as some critics claimed?"
Back at Weimar, young Bach and his cousin Walther both produced a pile of these transcriptions of Italianate concerti from other composers. Part of that task was to serve the needs and interests of Walther's student, the young prince who was also Bach's patron. The prince had the means to go buy these freshly available compositions abroad and bring them back home, where he learned them (in part) through the practical efforts of Walther and/or Bach.

As for practicality, these manualiter arrangements by Bach are beautifully composed and work well on harpsichord, clavichord, or organ. They're strong and effective music, which itself is a good practical argument for their existence. Just because they don't have pedal parts is no decent reason not to play them on the organ; I've used them that way for years. And of course the other ones that do have a pedal part are likewise for any instrument(s) having pedals; organ, pedal harpsichord, or pedal clavichord. Of all these concertos, any separation between "harpsichord music" and "organ music" is an artificial one, carried over from mistaken assumptions in the Bach-Gesellschaft more than 100 years ago. That's also why they're at two different sequences of numbers in BWV, that artificial division from BG. BWV 592+ and 972+.

Personally, I think it's sad and unfortunate that these pieces are considered as lesser stepchildren, or even some manner of batard, on account that they're arrangements of other people's music. Likewise the Vivaldi-Bach concerto that was for four violins, arranged for four harpsichords by Bach. And this Pergolesi-Bach Psalm 51, too. If it's good music and enjoyable to listen to and perform, why is there ANY less value in any way, compared with wholly original works by Bach? Since Bach turned his attention to writing these things in the first place, why not accept that he believed in their value himself?

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 11, 2005):
[To Teddy Kaufman] Very provocative questions. I shall attempt to answer as best as I can.

Firstly, the "Stabat mater dolorosa" is not a psalm. It was a liturgical piece that (along with the "Salve regina" and [perhaps] the "Miserere") represents the sum total of Catholic music for Holy Week.

As to using the German rather than the Latin version of Psalm 51, it should be noted that the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible) was not the original language used in any of the books of the Bible. The OT (which includes the Psalms) was originally written in Hebrew, then (at the time of the Ptolemies) was translated into Greek (the Septuagent--so called because of the seventy scholars used to produce the translation) and the NT was in Aramaic or Greek. It should also be further pointed out that the German used was that of the Luther Bible, which itself relied on the Greek version of Desiderius Erasmus (which was more accurate) rather than the Latin Vulgate of Jerome.

Musically, the work (BWV 1083) could be considered a parody with a new text. Bach was not exempt from adopting others' musical works. A case in point was the first piece of Passion music he wrote--an adaptation dating from between 1710 and 1713 of the Keiser/Bruhns Markuspassion he made for performance at the Weimar court.

In regards to transcription, it should be noted that there were (and are) many reasons for transcribing works. One reason (used by both Bach and his cousin Johann Gottfried Walther) was for instructional purposes. In the days before professional instructors in composition, many composers took to handwriting copies of others'
works and transcribing them for other instruments. To this group belongs the 22 Concerto transcriptions Bach wrote for Keyboard instruments (16 for Klavier, 6 for Organ). Another might be to honor a particular composer. The list goes on....................

As to demands, it is possible that one reason Bach resorted to parodying others' works is because of the demands placed on him. However, it is more likely (especially in the case of his tenure in Leipzig) that his constant warfare with his superiors caused him to lose interest in the compositional requirements of his duties. It is well known that Bach, when faced with unfavorable conditions, tended to be recalcitrant and derelict in his duties. It is also well known that Bach had only written three full cycles of Kantaten for his post in Leipzig (which was not in keeping with his promise when hired of a "new Kantate every Sunday and Feast day"--which would have entailed about 23 full cycles of Kantaten). It is entirely possible that the gaps in the remaining cycles were actually filled by works that are now lost (either because of World War II and the bombing of Leipzig or, more likely, because the works in question were part of the patrimony bequethed to Wilhelm Friedemann Bach [who would have had more opportunity to use them in his post of Organist at the Liebfrauenkirche zu Halle]). However, it is more likely that Bach was so fed up with his constant quarrels with his superiors that he neglected to finish the other cycles, performing instead the works of others (including members of his own family, such as BWV 15 which is now believed to have been composed by Johann Ludwig Bach).

Gabriel Jackson wrote (April 11, 2005):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote:
"Very provocative questions. I shall attempt to answer as best as I can.
Firstly, the "Stabat mater dolorosa" is not a psalm. It was a liturgical piece that (along with the "Salve regina" and [perhaps] the "Miserere") represents the sum total of Catholic music for Holy Week."
David, he didn't say that the "Stabat Mater" was a psalm! In any case it is a hymn, strictly speaking, and was originally said/sung on the feast of Our lady of the Seven Sorrows (15 September). The "Salve Regina" was/is not sung/said during Holy Week - it is said/sung from Trinity Sunday until Advent. In the early part of Holy Week Up until Maundy Thursday), the prescribed Marian Antiphon is "Ave Regina Caelorum".

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 12, 2005):
Mea culpa!!!

I just found BWV 1083 in the NBA in a volume I overlooked BWV I/41 Varia etc. This was certainly unintentional on my part and I do apologize for this oversight.

The NBA KB I/41 pp. 85-110 gives many details about this 'Bearbeitung' ['reworking/transcription'] of Pergolesi's 'Stabat mater.' What I can gather (I just found this a few minutes ago) from a very quick perusal is that the provenance of Bach's autograph 'Particell' [not 'Partitur' - I am not certain at this point what 'Particell' means] has been traced along with the parts which Altnickol copied himself from another, intervening version of the 'score' as part of Altnickol's inheritance and was, after Altnickol's death passed on to CPE Bach by Altnickol's widow. Then these materials were sold at an auction of CPE's documents in 1789 in Hamburg where it was acquired by a manuscript collector, Casper Siegfried Gähler, the 1st mayor of Altona (major suburb of Hamburg)and a student of CPE Bach. The next owner was Georg Poelchau, but the date of acquisition is unknown. In 1841 both 'Particell' and parts came into the possesof the BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin.) The title in Bach's handwriting is : [Greek letter 'psi' for Psalm] 51. Motetto a due Voci, 3 Stromenti e Cont. [Poelchau later added 'di G. B. Pergolese.' The only other words (aside from the text) are tempo designations: Largo, Larghetto, Largo, Andante, Adagio, Largo, Vivace and at the very end: 'Fine SDGL.'

There are some corrections, additions and erasures such as the replacement in the soprano part of the original text with "Herr dein Urtheil mindern oder deinen Ausspruch hindern Herr, Herr, du bist recht, Herr, du bist recht" but then this is crossed out and the original text retained once again.

Altnickol's parts which he copied include
1. Soprano
2. Alto
3. Violino Primo
4. Violino Primo Ripieno
5. Violino Secondo
6. Violino Secondo Ripieno
7. Viola
8. Violon.
9. Organo (transposed, figured)

There is a later (also by Altnickol after 1750) harpsichord part 10. 'Cembalo' (transposed, figured) which did not very likely belong to the above set, but was added later.

Parts 1-7 are in F minor; parts 3-7 have a special marking in red ink twice underlined: "Cammerthon"

Parts 8-10 are notated in D minor. The figures in the Organo part (9.) are by Bach. Altnickol then copied these figures to the harpsichord part.

Missing are Bach's source copy of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and Bach's 'working score' ['Ausarbeitungspartitur'], and the source for Altnickol's copy of the Ripieno parts, 4 and 6.

The stemma for the complications involved is given and described in detail. I am skipping this section (3 pages.)

The librettist for the rhymed paraphrase of the 51st Psalm has not yet been determined. This librettist was faced with the task of making the structure of his verse fit the already existing music. Because of the sequence of verses in the 51st Psalm, Bach was forced to deviate from Pergolesi's original and shift Pergolesi's two duets section 11 and 12 around in sequence, thus changing their order. Also, at the end of the composition, Versus 14, the F minor fugue is repeated in its entirety while being shifted up to F major keeping almost every note as it was in the original. The last mvt. therefore, is 65 measures longer in Bach's version. This is only evident in the parts, not in Bach's score. The repetition of the 'Amen'-fugue indicates Bach's displeasure with the original manner in which the work closed.

We have no idea for which purpose this transcription was undertaken, nor do we even know if it was intended for church. It might just as well have been for a temporal purpose. Diethard Hellmann thinks it might have been used on the 11th Sunday after Trinity based on some associations with the Gospel for that Sunday. It is possible that Bach simply wanted it to be used for many different occasions without specifying any specific one: 'in ogni temp.' It would also fit quite well as a composition to be performed during communion ['sub communione.']

The date of origin for this transcription is 1746/47. The original parts (with the exception of 4, 6, and 10 were completed for the 1st performance during the above time span.

A section about the key used for performance reports that the original key of the performance was most most likely E minor as based upon the constellation of the various parts. With the exception of the Violone player, the strings had to tune down a half step (deep cammerton) because a transposition of their parts from f to e minor would be out of the question since the range would be insufficient (going below the low G on the violins.) Perhaps, because they could not ask the violone player (it would have been too difficult) to play in the seldom-used key of F minor, the bass part was notated as it sounds in E minor. For a performance in E minor the Organo part had to be notated a whole tone lower (in D minor.)

The reasons for these key changes can be explained as follows: By changing the performance key from F minor to E minor, it was possible to avoid having the organ play (and be notated) in Eb minor. For the vocal soloists this would have been less of a problem, a fact which is not to be underestimated in a figural composition lasting 50 minutes. All of this gives the appearance of a solution that involved a number of compromises.

The 1st modern edition of this composition was prepared by Diethard Hellmann and appeared in 1963 [Hänssler-Verlag, Stuttgart, 1963.]

Thomas Braatz (I am not proofreading what I have quickly written here because I want to send this as soon as I have finished - which is right now.)

John Pike wrote (April 12, 2005):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] But I think I am right in saying that CPE Bach tells us in the obituary that there WERE 5 cycles of cantatas. I suppose it is just about possible that CPE Bach was unaware that his father never got round to doing 2 complete cycles of cantatas but this seems most unlikely. It is surely more likely that they are lost.

Doug Cowling wrote (April 12, 2005):
[To John Pike] I'm more inclined to assume that Bach's contract to provide a cantata each week did not necessarily mean that he would compose a new cantata every week for the next couple of decades. Rather that the Leipzig authorities could expect to hear a cantata each Sunday whether it was Bach or another composer

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 12, 2005):
Thank you, Thomas.

Incidentally, the whole "Stabat mater" of Pergolesi does work pretty well transposed down a minor third. (Not referring here to the Bach reworking, but the original.) I played it with a conductor/musicologist who had prepared a complete edition this way, for two male singers who were much more comfortable down a third from the original. Yes, he had to adjust the places where the violin parts now ventured below the open G string; not a difficult arrangement. And we tuned the orchestra to A=415, another semitone there. There were some errors of accidentals in the figured bass (caused by transposition) that he didn't bother to correct in the printed part, but hey, that's the keyboard player's job to work out (play something intelligent that sounds good). And there aren't many unexpected harmonies in this Pergolesi piece anyway, compared with the thickets of surprises that typically come up in Handel and Bach continuo parts.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 12, 2005):
[To Doug Cowling] They meant for Bach to write a new Kantate every week.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 12, 2005):
CPE and the cantata cycles

< But I think I am right in saying that CPE Bach tells us in the obituary that there WERE 5 cycles of cantatas. I suppose it is just about possible that CPE Bach was unaware that his father never got round to doing 2 complete cycles of cantatas but this seems most unlikely. It is surely more likely that they are lost. >
Given that CPE himself was employed as harpsichord tuner at the Thomaskirche for some of those years, it's pretty likely he knew what music was being done there in performances and rehearsal schedule.

Continue this part of the discussion, see: Number of Cantatas [General Topics]

Alain Bruguières wrote (April 13, 2005):
Since many excellent musicologists are around, here's a naive question: am I wrong in believing the following :

- in Bach's time the notion of intellectual or artistic property was completely inexistent;

- the notion of composer was similarly unknown;

- when you were a 'musicus', your job consisted in providing music at certain appointed times and managing the whole process;

- the only requirement regarding the music so produced was it being appropriate to the occasion and correctly execu, and nobody cared wheher it was an original work or some parody of some other work; and if it was a parody, you weren't even expected to mention it;

- a piece of music was typically meant for one occasion, or a few occasions, and usually didn't outlive the generation during which it was produced, and parody could be seen as a means of ensuring the survival of a good piece of music (playing the role of our CD? ;) )

My question are probably ludicrous, don't hesitate to say so!

Uri Golomb wrote (April 13, 2005):
Originals, parodies and works [was: JS Bach & Pergolesi STABAT MATER]

A brief initial response to Alain Bruguier:
(http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/13437):

Without getting into details just yet, I would say that most of the "beliefs" cited in Alain's message have at least a grain of truth, though, put this baldly, they are exaggerated and/or over-simplified (except the statement that "the notion of composers was unknown" -- that wasn't true, even then). Precisely how big that "grain of truth" might be is a matter of debate between musicologists, historians, philosophers of music etc.

Most of the ideas presented in Alain's message can be found -- broadly speaking -- in Lydia Goehr's seminal book The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), which baically argues that the notion of a unique, autonomous musical work, and the concomitant demand for originality and contempt for parody, were a product of the 19th century, taking root from Beethoven onwards. Her book proved controversial in the best sense, inspiring much scholarly activity to refine, defend and disprove aspects of Goehr's case (Goehr herself remains active in this controversy). The questions are in part historical-empirical, in part philosophical.

I find it impossible, at this moment, to write a short message on this subject -- precisely because the controversy is still very much alive. Suffice it to say that, far from being "ludicours", Alain's questions are taken very seriously indeed by many historians, musicologists and philosophers, and are the subject of some very lively discussions and debates.

One convenient source on this is The Musical Work: Reality or Invetion?, edited by Michael Talbot (vol. 1 in the series "Liverpool Music Symposium"; Liverpool University Press, 2000). This book presents many aspects of this debate -- both on the history and on its meaning for listeners, performers and scholars today.

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 13, 2005):
Alain Bruguières wrote:
>>am I wrong in believing the following:
- in Bach's time the notion of intellectual or artistic property was completely inexistent;<<
I think this depended on whether something was printed and whether special rights to such a printing were granted by the ruler of the state in which it was printed. Even if such rights were granted, pirated copies could be printed in a neighboring or distant principality (or country) without much fear that anything could be done about it. With Bach's own printings, often in the form of subscriptions, relatively few copies were printed. Unless a work was phenomenally popular, there really was no incentive for any other printer elsewhere to undertake the expense of printing copies (the resetting of type, proof-editing, cost of paper, etc.)

Even manuscript copies of an original composition were in high demand by musicians and collectors and were very expensive. I personally believe that one main reason why Bach did not lend his church compositions to others was not in order to increase their value by holding onto them and thereby protect his own rights to the material, but rather, as he must have experienced to his dismay on numerous occasions, because such compositions were lost or never returned.

WF Bach, as I related in this forum some time ago, would charge outrageous prices for allowing someone to simply look at his father's cantatas for a limited period (probably almost 100 cantatas to be examined in just one or two days) from which the individual had to make a small selection quickly and copy as much of these selected cantatas as possible (usually only a very few of them could be completed in such a short time.)

>>and nobody cared whether it was an original work or some parody of some other work; and if it was a parody, you weren't even expected to mention it;<<
It was the quality and effectiveness of the composition and its performance that mattered more than knowing or even recognizing that a parody was involved or that it was a composition by a certain, famous composer. In regard to Bach's use of Pergolesi's 'Stabat Mater', you have probably noticed that Bach did not even acknowledge Pergolesi on the score. The actual composer's name was added a half-century later by an astute manuscript collector as you can see from my report. Actually Bach had a few very 'quick turn-arounds' where he composed a secular cantata for a venue outside of church and a few weeks later it could be heard as a 'new' cantata in church. This must not have bothered anyone and Bach was spared having to compose yet another new cantata for church. There is some speculation regarding Bach's parodies that he did this rather frequently in order to ensure that the music in many of his compositions would have a greater likelihood of survival if it existed in various forms, even with different texts. As you have stated:

>>- a piece of music was typically meant for one occasion, or a few occasions, and usually didn't outlive the generation during which it was produced, and parody could be seen as a means of ensuring the survival of a good piece of music (playing the role of our CD?<<
You answered your own question here.

Eric Bergerud wrote (April 14, 2005):
[To Alain Bruguières] Hardly a silly question at all. The entire concept of copyright and patent were products of the Enlightenment. (They were new enough to warrant specific mention in the US Constitution, one of the best representation of one type of Enlightenment political thought and practice.) The first true law concerning copyright for individuals was passed in England in 1710, followed slowly by other countries throughout the 18th century. So the concept of protecting intellectual property was kicking around, but was far from formed and not enforced in Bach's world at all. So the way a musician made money off music was to actually be part of the publishing/printing process and hope that others wouldn't simply copy and fire away. Recall that publishing music with 18th century technology was no simple matter. If one wanted to make money with music it was to follow Handel and become composer/impresario. (A risky business indeed. Handel had real ups and downs financially. So did Mozart later.) I don't see Bach in that role for some reason.

I think this relates to a broader question. What did Bach consider himself? Certainly a musician. Obviously he was most proud of his compositions. But would he have thought of himself as a "composer" the way Beethoven or Wagner did? I rather doubt it. He was a civil servant and a teacher - both positions with some prestige in Bach's world. And status and prestige to someone in 18th century Germany was almost as tangible as money as a form of wealth. One thing that makes the 18th century interesting is that is was a transitional period between the Renaissance and the urban oriented world of the industrial 19th century. Political and economic intimidations looked both backward and forward. Odd chemistry. No wonder that the end of the century wasn't 1800 but 1789.

As for CPE Bach, I don't see him making a mistake as major as claiming cantata cycles that were not produced by his father. The obituary appears to have been done with great care. I don't see how anyone would be surprised that a large number of Bach's works could have been lost considering Bach's relative musicposition at the time and the way his estate was distributed. I think we're lucky to have as much as we do.

Uri Golomb wrote (April 14, 2005):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< I think this relates to a broader question. What did Bach consider himself? Certainly a musician. Obviously he was most proud of his compositions. But would he have thought of himself as a "composer" the way Beethoven or Wagner did? I rather doubt it. He was a civil servant and a teacher - both positions with some prestige in Bach's world. And status and prestige to someone in 18th century Germany was almost as tangible as money as a form of wealth. >
Well, here is how Birnbaum chose to honour Bach, when defending against Scheibe (translations from New Bach Reader, pp. 341-342):

"The man in question is the Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Court Composer and Cappelmeister, Mr. Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig [....] The Hon. Court Compser is a great a composer, a master of music, a virtuoso on the organ and the clavier without an equal, but in no sense a Musicant" (Musicant being the term used by Scheibe, and which Birnbaum finds appropriate only for "those whose principal achievement is a form of mere musical practice" and who are "employed for the purpose [....] of bringing pieces written by others into sound by means of musical instruments"; indeed, Birnbaum continues, the term Musicanten applies "only [to] the humblest and meanest of them [...] If one of those pratici is an extraordinary artist on an instrument, he is called not a Musicant but a virtuoso").

The issue of status is very much predominant here, in Birnbraum's enumeration of Bach's titles and in his constant references to Bach as "the Hon. Court Composer". However, so is the emphasis on Bach's ability AS A COMPOSER -- though, of course, also on his extraordinary prowess as a performer. As far as I could tell, Bach's positin as a civil servant and teacher is perhaps mentioned (insofar as it is implied by his titles -- and the title of Cantor, BTW, is not mentioned), but certainly not emphasised. Bach (through Birnbaum) reveals his pride, primarily, of his musical
achievements.

Of course, the circumstances partly explain this: Scheibe attacked Bach's compositions, so obviously Birnbaums' rebuttal focuses on that. And I, too, doubt that Bach thought of himself as Beethoven or Wagner did (not that these two were entirely like each other...) -- he didn't think of his art as a means of self-expression. But he definitely did find it important to stress that he is a composer (and, later in the same letter, that this gave him the right to expect performers to realise his intentions).

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 14, 2005):
[To Eric Bergerud] Good summary, but a few points.

1.) Bach never viewed himself as anything other than a musician, and certainly not as a civil servant. He only held three court positions: as a lackey at the smaller court at Weimar in 1703 before his appointment at Arnstadt, as a Konzertmeister at the greater court of Weimar from 1714-1717, and as Kapellmeister to the court at Köthen from 1717-1723 (this last was not, as the term would have been used, a religious position because the Köthen court was Calvinist, and therefore required no religious music outside of Psalm-singing). Beyond this, he had no part in civil service (unlike his father, who was employed by the city of Eisenach, or like one of the progenators of the Norddeutsche Orgelschule, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, who, as Organist, was employed by the city of Amsterdam, since the Netherlands was a Calvinist country, and therefore had no official musicians hied by the church specifically).

2.) Bach was a composer like van Beethoven and Wagner. The difference between them is that the concept of a person solely devoting himself/herself to composition did not come into being until the 19th century. This, however, did not obviously mean that there were no composers. There were truckloads of them. This is because composition was part of one's responsibilities as a musician, as was publishing (if desired), teaching, organizing performances, etc.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 14, 2005):
[To Uri Golomb] Good synopsis, but one should keep it in context.

The question that Birnbaum was addressing when he referred to Sebastian Bach as a composer was not his compositions themselves, but rather his style. Scheibe was of the generation of Philipp Telemann and Emanuel Bach, a generation that put more emphasis on simplicity and secularism in music rather than religiosity and complexity. Scheibe's critique was that a person could not follow Sebastian Bach's music. Scheibe would change his tune when Bach began publishing his works (and especially in the latter part of the 1730s and into the 1740s, after the publication of the Klavieruebung, zweiter Theil).

As to the compositions, they were no more than was expected of a musician of Bach's time. Musicians were expected to compose music up to the 19th century, when the "composer" as we know it today came into being.

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 14, 2005):
Telemann/CPE/Scheibe

< Scheibe was of the generation of Philipp Telemann and Emanuel Bach, a generation that put more emphasis on simplicity and secularism in music rather than religiosity and complexity. >
Telemann was CPE's godfather. They weren't of the same generation. Nor does their music sound particularly similar.

For a good book analyzing the Scheibe criticism of JSB, and the Bach/Birnbaum response to it, read David Yearsley's Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (April 15, 2005):
[To Bradley Lehman] Stylistically, however, they were.

Teddy Kaufman wrote (April 15, 2005):
I wish to express my gratitude to all members of this net, who significantly ontributed to the expansion of my understanding and knowledge of this issue.

 

Handel Cantatas + Bach's Psalm 51

Meidad Zaharia wrote (January 5, 2009):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< All the recordings of Handel's Italian Cantata Armida abbandonata (1707), which J.S. Bach performed with his Collegium Musicum in Leipzig c1730, are listed at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Other/Handel-Armida-Abbandonata.htm
If Bach performed more Handel cantatas, I would have prepared discographies of them as well (:-
BTW, this one is a charming beautiful work. >
This brings me to another question, I know that Bach made Pergolesi Stabat Mater as Psalm 51. Does anyone know exactly what changes he made in the music other than make it German? I hear different tempos for example but i'm not sure if it's the conductor or Bach's transcription. Also the last part (Amen) is very different.

Any info will be great.

Thanks,

Robin Kinross wrote (January 6, 2009):
[To Meidad Zaharia] The main change in the score is an added viola part -- thickening the texture of the music.

A new recording of the piece came out, just last month. I think it must be the first recording made from the NBA. (I declare an interest, as the publisher of this CD.) More information at:

http://www.thebachplayers.org.uk/recordings.html

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (January 6 2009):
[To Meidad Zaharia] Hi again, Meidad,

There are years of discussion on Aryeh's website for the BachArchives.Here is the specific link: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV1083-Gen.htm

You will probably want to fast scroll down until you find things that matter to you and are relevant to your own question. My own slight sorrow is that I did not know of the Letzbor recording (I don't have the extra--sacred cantatas Teldec set which, I now see, includes this recording). I currently have a rather awful recording.

BTW, I found Aryeh's discography of Handel's Armida frightening:-)

Meidad Zaharia wrote (January 6, 2009):
[To Robin Knross & Yoël L. Arbeitman] Thanks Robin and Yoel.

 

Continue on Part 2

Psalm 51 BWV 1083: Recordings | General Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2

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