2 LP - SKW 5/1-2 - (p) 1972

2 CD - 8.35031 ZL - (c) 1985

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Das Kantatenwerk - Vol. 5

Kantate "Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich", BWV 17
17' 45" A
Solo: Sopran, Alt, Tenor, Baß - Chor

Oboe d'amore I/II; Streicher; Bc.

Prima Parte

- Concerto (Coro) "Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich"
5' 04"

- Recitativo (Alto) "Es muß die ganze Welt" 1' 03"

- Aria (Soprano) "Herr, deine Güte" 3' 49"

Seconda Parte

- Recitativo (Tenore) "Einer aber unter ihnen" 0' 40"

- Aria (Tenore) "Welch Ubermaß der Güte" 4' 12"

- Recitativo (Basso) "Sieh meinem Willen an" 1' 07"

- Choral (Coro) "Wie sich ein Vat'r erbarmet" 1' 50"

Kantate "Gleich wie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt", BWV 18 *

14' 17" B
Solo: Sopran, Tenor, Baß - Chor

Viola I/II/III/IV; Fagotto; Violoncello; Continuo (Violone e organo)

- Sinfonia 3' 06"

- Recitativo (Basso) "Gleich wie der Regen und Schnee" 1' 05"

- Recitativo (Soprano, Tenore, Basso - Coro) "Mein Gott, hier wird mein Herze sein" 5' 50"

- Aria (Soprano) "Mein Seelenschatz" 3' 03"

- Choral (Coro) "Ich bitt', o Herr, aus Herzensgrund" 1' 13"

Kantate "Es erhub sich ein Streit", BWV 19
19' 35" C
Solo: Sopran, Tenor, Baß - Chor

Tromba I/II/III (Naturtrompeten in C; Naturtrompete in D) Timpani; Oboe I/II; Oboe d'amore I/II, Taille (Tenoroboe in F); Streicher; Bc.

- Coro "Es erhub sich ein Streit" 4' 46"

- Recitativo (Basso) "Gottlob, der Drache liegt" 0' 50"

- Aria (soprano) "Gott schickt uns Mahanaim zu" 4' 20"

- Recitativo (Tenore) "Was ist der schnöde Mensch" 0' 47"

- Aria (Tenore) "Bleibt, ihr Engel, bleibt bei mir" 6' 40"

- Recitativo (Soprano) "Laßt uns das Angesicht" 0' 37"

- Choral (Coro) "Laß dein' Engel mit mir fahren" 1' 35"

Kantate "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 20
26' 46" D
Solo: Alto, Tenor, Baß - Chor

Tromba da tirarsi (Zugtrompete), Tromba (Naturtrompete in C), Oboe I/II/III, Streicher, Bc.

Prima Parte

- Coro "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort" 4' 43"

- Recitativo (Tenore) "Kein Unglück ist in aller Welt zu finden" 0' 52"

- Aria (Tenore) "Ewigkeit, du machst mir bange" 3' 21"

- Recitativo (Basso) "Gesetzt, es dau' rte der Verdammten Qual" 1' 13"

- Aria (Basso) "Gott ist gerecht" 4' 26"

- Aria (Alto) "O Mensch, errette deine Seele" 2' 23"

- Choral (Coro) "Solang ein Gott im Himmel lebt" 1' 01"

Seconda Parte

- Aria (Basso) "Wacht auf, wacht auf, verlornen Schafe" 2' 45"

- Recitativo (Alto) "Verlaß, o Mensch, die Wollust dieser Welt" 1' 15"

- Duetto, Aria (Alto, Tenore) "O Menschenkind, hör auf geschwind" 3' 42"

- Choral (Coro) "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort" 1' 05"

Kantaten 17 - 18 - 19 - 20

Solist der Wiener Sängerknaben, Sopran

Paul Esswood, Alt

Kurt Equiluz, Tenor

Max van Egmond, Baß

Wiener Sängerknaben - Chorus Vienneisis / Hans Gillesberger, Leitung

CONCENTUS MUSICUS WIEN (mit Originalinstrumenten)

- Alice Harnoncourt, Violine, Viola*
- Jürg Schaeftlein, Oboe, Oboe d'amore
- Walter Pfeiffer, Violine - Paul Hailperin, Oboe, Oboe d'amore
- Peter Schoberwalter, Violine - Karl Gruber, Oboe, Tenoroboe in F
- Wilhelm Mergl, Violine
- Josef Spindler, Naturtrompete
- Josef de Sordi, Violine, Viola*
- Richard Rudolf, Naturtrompete, Zugtrompete
- Kurt Theiner, Viola* - Hermann Schober, Naturtrompete
- Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Viola*, Violoncello - Kurt Hammer, Pauken
- Hermann Höbarth, Violoncello* - Otto Fleischmann, Fagott
- Eduard Hruza, Violone - Herbert Tachezi, Orgel

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gesamtleitung
Luogo e data di registrazione
Casino Zögernitz, Vienna (Austria) - dicembre 1971
Registrazione live / studio
Producer / Engineer
Wolf Erichson
Prima Edizione CD
Teldec "Das Alte Werk" - 8.35031 ZL - (2 cd) - 32' 17" + 46' 37" - (c) 1985
Prima Edizione LP
Telefunken "Das Alte Werk" - 6.35031 EX (SKW 5/1-2) - (2 lp) - 32' 17" + 46' 37" - (p) 1972

Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich (BVW 17) was first performed September 22, 1726 on the 14th Sunday after Trinity. During this year Bach performed several cantatas of his cousin, Johann Ludwig Bach, who lived in Meiningen, and several of his own Cantatas display similarities in the libretto - rarely, however, in the music itself - to those of the Meininger music director. Although it cannot be proven, the most likely explanation is that the cousins both worked with the same lihrettist. The librettist himself, who was the author of seven cantatas by J. S. Bach, has up to now remained unknown. His libretto for the Cantata under discussion uses the Healing of the Ten Lepers (Luke 17: 15-16) and emphasizes our debt to God for His good works. The two parts ot the text are each introduced by a quote from the Bible (Old and New Testament), whereby the first part describes God’s immeasurable goodness and the second the Christian's duty to thank Him for it.
Now it would be quite logical to set the words from the Bible which begin both parts of the cantata in the same way in order to set up a certain bipartite symmetry within the work. However, Bach decided on another solution. The opening words of the second pan from the New Testament become a simple and short secco recitative in Bach's hands. By contrast, the Old Testament scripture chosen for the opening section becomes an expansively developed choral passage dominating the whole work and is stylistically in keeping with Bach’s more mature years spent in Leipzig. An extended instrumental sinfonia opens the work and is followed by two related sections, the second as a variation of the first. Both sections contain fugal expositions (dominated by the choir) which are in turn supplanted by choral interludes interspersed within the return of the opening sinfonia (dominated by instruments).
ln the following movements the two arias act first and foremost as counterweights to the artistic first movement. They, too, provide evidence of the mastery of the 41-year-old composer. The first aria (movement 3) is notable for the two alternating solo violins which are joined by the soprano. The second aria (movement 5) has rather dance-like string passages which am melodious and predominantly homophonic. Both arias represent a characteristic structural principal of Baroque movements: those of the dance forms and the concerto.
Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt (BWV 18) displays features characteristic of Bach's early Weimar cantatas. Condensed forms and unconventional instrumentation figure prominently within the introductory sinfonia which bears signs of Bach’s occupation with the Italian instrumental concerto. The
work was presumably written either in 1713 or 1714 (at the latest 1715) with a libretto hy Erdmann Neumeister based on the Sexagesirna Gospel, the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8: 4-15). This reading considers the effect of God's word in the world.
As far as the instrumentation is concerned, Bach's composition has two settings (further details can be found inthe Kritischer Bericht I/7 of the Neue-Bach Ausgabe): the doubling at the octave of the first and second violas by the recorders was first done at a performance in Leipzig. However, the Weirnar setting serves as the basis for this recording.
Apart from the conspicuous scoring of four violas (no violins), the unusual form of this cantala also catches the eye, the formal aspect heing emphasised rather than concealed by Bach’s setting: two recitative passages give way to the only aria which is then followed by the final chorus. Bach decided against the real possibility of making a choral setting of the introductory biblical quotation - perhaps he lacked a sufficiently capable choir. However, in order to give the opening a certain weight Bach has an extended sinfonia precede the choral passages. This sinfonia is almost like a concert piece in its constant alternation between tutti passages and sections highlighting the first and second violas. The tutti theme, which frequently returns very much as a chaconne does, may have been inspired by the thought of the sower striding over the fields. A biblical recitative is followed by an extended recilative, which is the central point of the cantata and is interrupted by parts of the Litany.
The way in which single parts of the libretto are drastically emphasised by vocal coloratura and by instrumental accompaniment figures is typical of Bach's early works. It is again the aria which after the dramatic central movement begins to bring an intimate atmosphere into the work. Such is the charm of this aria that one is sorry when its two short sections come so quickly to an end. However, it is just this closeness of the two parts to one another that is so stunningly dramatic in its inner absorption and also a basic trait of the ingenious young composer.
Es erhub sich ein Streit (BWV 19) was composed to celebrate the Feast ot the Archangel Michael on September 29, 1726. The libretto has as its basis a poem in verse written in 1724/25 by the poet Christian Friedrich Henrici (”Picander”) of Leipzig. However, whether the adaptation (and extension) necessary for the cantata was also done by him is uncertain. The libretto does not concern itself with a reading from the Gospel, which was otherwise the usual procedure, but with the Epistle (Revelation to John 12: 7-12) which tells of Michael's fight with the dragon from hell. Michael defeats Satan and prays for future protection through the angels and for their presence at the time of death.
Bach’s magnificent opening chorus based on a tree paraphrase of the Epistle (Revelation 12: 7-9) does almost entirely without use of the large orchestral forces conceivable for concert performance. The main section, a passage treated fugally, begins without any prelude. The instruments are sometime used thematically but for the most part provide accompaniment. The middle section is more hornophonic as a whole, even if free polyphonic writing occasionally gets the upper hand. This predominantly homophonic texture allows the instruments to come more into their own before the return of the da capo of the main section. Of the following movements, the fifth movement ("Bleibt, Ihr Engel, bleibt bei mir” - Stay, you angels, stay with me) is particularly noteworthy since it weaves a chorale melody into the aria’s texture. The strings play in siciliano meter (once called "angelic rhythm” by Albert Schweitzer) that strongly contrasts with the tumultuous opening chorus. After the entry of the tenor, a trumpet plays the highly pitched melody "Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr" (I love you so, deae God) immediately recognizable to listeners in Bach’s time as the hymn "Ach Herr, laßdein lieb Engelein am letzten End die Seele mein in Abrahams Shoß tragen..." (O God, may your sweet angel carry my soul to Abraham’s bosom). The simple final chorus is given ceremonial splendour by an obbligato choir of trumpets.
O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (BWV 20) is the first of the chorale cantatas of Bach's second cantata cycle and was first performed on June 11, 1724 in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. Choosing to make the hymn (in a twelve-verse setting) the basis for this cantata was inspired by the reading from the Sunday Gospel (Luke 16: 19-31) where the parable of the rich man and the poor man Lazarus is told. In the tenth movement the unknown editor of the cantata version took the opportunity to make an immediate reference to this parable, (”Ach spiegle dich am reichen Mann ..,” - Be reflected in the rich man's spirit...).
Corresponding to the previous year, when he took up his new post in Leipzig on the first Sunday after Trinity, Bach brought attention to this anniversary in many ways, but most clearly by giving the opening chorus the form of the French overture. The mainly homophonic outer sections setting lines 1-3 and 7-8 of the hymn (the first verse and closing couplet of the stanza) are marked by gracefully dotted rhythms of a stately composure; these two sections frame a sudden, polyphonic middle sections setting lines 4-6 (second paragraph). Within this traditional form borrowed from French opera Bach takes the opportunity to develop the theme of the first section from the libretto with musical figures such as the word "erschrocken" ("frightened") which Bach musically brings off as short rhythms set off by many rests at the beginning ofthe stanza.
The large number of choral and aria passages that follow necessitated a relatively short form. This is especially the case with the recitative (almost completely without sections of arioso) but is also true of the arias which, by means of their character and instrumentation, providecontrast from one movement to the next. Both parts of the cantata end with the same simple choral passage which is based on the 8th and 12th verse ofthe hymn.
Alfred Dürr

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)
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