CHAN 0715 CHACONNE J.S - Bach Cantatas Chandos-CD-CHA · PDF filechaconne chandos early...

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    CHANDOS early music

    CHAN 0715





    CHAN 0715 Cover.qxd 12/9/06 2:44 pm Page 1

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    Johann Sebastian Bach (16851750)

    Early Cantatas, Volume 1

    Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4 20:491 Sinfonia 1:142 Versus 1. Christ lag in Todes Banden. Allegro Alla breve 4:273 Versus 2. Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt 4:244 Versus 3. Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn. [Allegro] Adagio

    Allegro 2:015 Versus 4. Es war ein wunderlicher Krieg 2:226 Versus 5. Hie ist das rechte Osterlamm 3:257 Versus 6. So feiren wir das hohe Fest 1:388 Versus 7. Chorale. Wir essen und leben wohl 1:188








    Johann Sebastian Bach




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    Der Herr denket an uns, BWV 196 11:421 Sinfonia 1:462 Der Herr denket an uns und segnet uns 2:063 Er segnet, die den Herrn frchten 2:224 Der Herr segne euch je mehr und mehr 2:385 Chorus. Ihr seid die Gesegneten des Herrn 2:52

    TT 76:48

    Emma Kirkby sopranoMichael Chance counter-tenorCharles Daniels tenorPeter Harvey bassThe Purcell QuartetCatherine Mackintosh Catherine Weiss violinsRichard Boothby cello viola da gamba violoneRobert Woolley organwithRachel Beckett recorderMarion Scott recorderAnthony Robson oboeAndrew Watts bassoonJane Rogers violaClare Salaman violaRichard Campbell viola da gamba







    Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131 23:251 Sinfonia. Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir.

    Lente (Adagio) 2:31Herr, hre meine Stimme. Vivace 1:48

    2 So du willt, Herr, Snde zurechnen. Andante 4:333 Ich harre des Herrn. Adagio Largo Adagio 3:214 Meine Seele wartet auf den Herrn 7:225 Israel, hoffe auf den Herrn. Adagio Un pocallegro

    Adagio Allegro Adagio 3:50

    Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV 106 20:19Actus tragicus

    1 Sonatina. Molto adagio 2:432a Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit. [ ] Allegro

    Adagio assai 1:442b Ach, Herr, lehre uns bedenken. Lento 2:072c Bestelle dein Haus. Vivace 1:102d Es ist der alte Bund. Andante 3:493a In deine Hnde befehl ich meinen Geist 2:043b Heute wirst du mit mir im Paradies sein 3:494 Glorie, Lob, Ehr und Herrlichkeit. [ ] Allegro 2:4822














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    J.S. Bach: Early Cantatas, Volume 1


    violin Catherine Mackintosh by Antonio Mariani, Pesaro 1674(BWV 4, 131, 196)Catherine Weiss by Tomaso Eberle, Naples 1770(BWV 4, 196)

    viola Clare Salaman by John Cresswell, Sutton Coldfield 1985, kindly lent by(BWV 4, 131) Catherine Mackintosh

    tenor viola Jane Rogers by Rex H. England, Paulersbury 1994, after Gaspar de Salo(BWV 4, 131, 196)

    cello Richard Boothby by James Mackay, 1995, after Andrea Amati, 1565(BWV 196)

    viola da gamba Richard Boothby seven-stringed by Jane Julier, Devon 1992, after Nicolas Bertrand(BWV 106)Richard Campbell seven-stringed by anonymous maker, probably eighteenth (BWV 106) century, possibly composite

    violone Richard Boothby in G by Robert Eyland, Devon 1982, after Ernst Busch, c. 1640,(BWV 4) kindly lent by William Hunt

    alto recorder Rachel Beckett by Friedrich von Huene, Boston 1981, copy of Thomas (first, BWV 106) Stanesby Jr, LondonMarion Scott by Friedrich von Huene, Boston c. 1983, copy of Thomas (second, BWV 106) Stanesby Jr, London

    oboe Anthony Robson by Richard Earle, 1984, copy of Thomas Stanesby Sr, London(BWV 131) c. 1700

    bassoon Andrew Watts by Paul Hailperin, 1992, copy of M. Deper, Vienna, early (BWV 131) eighteenth century

    organ Robert Woolley single-manual, six-stop continuo organ by Robin Jennings, 1999, case design inspired by the organ in Freiburg Cathedral

    Organ supplied, tuned and maintained by Robin JenningsPitch: A = 466 Hz (strings), A = 415 Hz (winds)

    Temperament: Sixth comma mean tone

    Bach, God and CantillationIn the Christian hierarchy Bach, surely thegreatest of European religious composers,came late, for the Age of Enlightenment wasdawning at the time when he was composinghis first devotional works. Even so, he had nodoubt that he would find the heart of humanexperience in the story of Christs Passionand in the symbol of his Cross; he could notseparate the tale from the doctrine of theCatholic Church, and would not havewanted to, as the story and the dogma areidentical in psychological terms. The mostcomprehensive manifestation of this is, ofcourse, found in the two Passion settings,according to the Gospels of St John andSt Matthew; but all Bachs church music,including the cantatas that he composed tofulfil the diurnal demands of the ChurchYear, fused story with dogma, for whatProtestantism protested against was preciselythe substitution of ritual forms for revealedtruth. That substitution represented a formof idolatry which, Protestantism maintained,is recurrently a threat to the religious mind.This is why there is no answer to Gods

    question, which became Christs, To whomshall ye liken me that I am like? except thestory of Christs life.

    The high baroque was an age duringwhich proud man dramatised himself in themythological terms of opera, which enhancedmere narration with poetic stylisation andmusical incarnation. Believing that no mancould hope for a nobler task than animitation of human actions in so far as theyapproached those of God-become-Man inthe form of Christ, Bach saw that thetechniques of classical baroque opera could,given his genius, tell mans ultimate story,which turned out to be also that of God.Baroque opera itself, ostensibly recountingheroic mans triumph, had turned out toembrace a mythology of failure, or at most ofwish-fulfilment, for man, however grandiosehis aspiration, is in fact mortal, doomed todeath. But Bachs church music, culminatingin his two Passions, represents a mythologynot of failure, but of sublime success, howeverpainful, as his hero is at once human anddivine. In this insistence on the unfolding ofa story birth, epiphany, humiliation,

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  • relevance to Bach himself as well as to us asworshippers. Nevertheless, the popular andcommunal nature of the tunes created notprimarily by Bach but by the People and theLutheran Church is not relinquished. Inthis the audience becomes also acongregation that participates in story anddogma vicariously. Both elements, thepopular and the individual, tell the tale of aDying God in terms that are simultaneouslydramatic and sacramental; both intensifyspeech to chant or song as human beings, ina cosmological context, may become largerthan life; both relate the heros destiny tothat of a people, interrelating personaldrama (monologue, dialogue, recitative-arioso-aria) with public action andcommentary upon it.

    The cantatas performed on this disc wereall composed during the two years whenBach was organist and choirmaster atSt Blasius Church in Mhlhausen, before hetook up his first major appointment atWeimar. This was in 170708, and Bach wasin the first flush of youth, in his earlytwenties. Only one of these four cantatas isrecorded as having been actually performedin St Blasius: Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr,zu dir, BWV 131, which seems to have beencommissioned to commemorate a savage

    municipal fire that had ravaged the town inthe previous year, 1706. The words, mostlyfrom Psalm 130, speak de profundis, inspiringBach to an appropriate grandeur andmonumentality, though the work is scoredmodestly for strings, whose parts may or maynot have been doubled, with solo oboe andbassoon, and organ continuo. The layout is,however, impressive, with an instrumentalSinfonia in the French style, preceding achorus; this is followed by a duet for sopranoand bass, succeeded in turn by an interludialchorus affirming our hopefulness in waitingfor the Lords answering voice. The work iscapped by a duet for alto and tenor, androunded off by a chorus testifying to ourhope of redemption. In Bachs day the foursoloists would have been members of thesmall chorus; in this recorded performancethe soloists serve, together, as the chorus.

    The cantatas preludial Sinfonia is divided,in the French manner, into two parts, oneslowly solemn, the other vivacious, the twosections reflecting the gravity of the humancondition, and its potential happy release.Initially the bass line of the Sinfonia minglesnobly rising and falling octaves witharpeggiated figures, while the main melody,on oboe and violin, grandly answers fallingfifths with rising fourths both perfect

    betrayal and martyrdom, leading to anapotheosis as bridegroom, monster-slayer,and leader into a land restored spiritualepistemology parallels most of the myths ofclassical antiquity, as well as those of so-called primitive peoples. As Isak Dinesen putit, All sorrows can be borne if you put theminto a story, and tell about them.

    The three operatic elements that Bachadapted to his church music are recitative,arioso, and aria in the music for solo voices:roughly paralleled by the relationship amongthe three kinds of choral music he employed.Just as recitative evokes the immediacy of thepersonal life (people speaking, here andnow), so naturalistic outbursts of the turba,or crowd, represent the public life in action:music of the people, in more than one sensecommon in being unredeemed. The larger-scaled polyphonic choruses, on the otherhand, present the experience of mankindrather than of specific men and women, s