2 LP - SKW 15/1-2 - (p) 1976

1 CD - 8.43745 ZK - (c) 1988

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Das Kantatenwerk - Vol. 15

Kantate "Selig ist der Mann" (Dialogus), BWV 57
23' 22" A
Solo: Sopran (Seele), Baß (Jesus) - Chor

Oboe I, II, Taille (Tenoroboe in f); Streicher; B.c. (Fagotto, Violoncello, Violone, Organo)

- Aria (Basso) "Selig ist der Mann" 3' 12"

- Recitativo (Soprano) "Ach! dieser süße Trost" 1' 12"

- Aria (Soprano) "Ich wünschte mir den Tod" 6' 01"

- Recitativo (Soprano, Basso) "Ich reiche dir die Hand" 0' 23"

- Aria (Basso) "Ja, ja, ich kann die Feinde schlagen" 5' 14"

- Recitativo (Soprano, Basso) "In meinem Schoß liegt Ruh und Leben" 1' 17"

- Aria (Soprano) "Ich ende behende mein irdisches Leben" 4' 14"

- Choral "Richte dich, Liebste, nach meinem Gefallen" 0' 49"

Kantate "Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid" (Dialogus),  BWV 58

12' 10" B
Solo: Sopran, Baß

Oboe I, II, Taille (Tenoroboe in f); Streicher; B.c. (Violoncello, Violone, Organo)

- Duetto, Adagio (Soprano, Basso) "Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid - Nur Geduld, Geduld, mein Herze" 3' 37"

- Recitativo (Basso) "Verfolgt dich gleich die arge Welt" 1' 17"

- Aria (Soprano) "Ich bin vergnügt in meinem Leiden" 3' 48"

- Recitativo (Soprano) "Kann es die Welt nicht lassen" 1' 10"

- Duetto (Soprano, Basso) "Ich hab vor mir ein schwere Reis - Nur getrost, getrost ihr Herzen" 2' 18"

Kantate "Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten", BWV 59
11' 36" C
Solo: Sopran, Baß - Chor

Tromba I, II (Naturtrompeten in C), Timpani; Streicher; B.c. (Fagotto, Violoncello, Violone, Organo)

- Aria (Duetto) (Soprano, Basso) "Wer mich liebet" 4' 15"

- Recitativo (Soprano) "O, was sind das für Ehren" 1' 58"

- Choral "Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott" 1' 38"

- Aria (Basso) "Die Welt mit allen Königreichen" 2' 33"

- Choral "Du heilige Brunst" 1' 41"

Kantate "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort" (Dialogus), BWV 60
16' 08" D
Solo: Alt (Furcht), Tenor (Hoffnung), Baß (vox Christi) - Chor

Corno (Zugtrompete); Oboe d'amore I, II; Streicher; B.c. (Fagotto, Violoncello, Violone, Organo)

- Duetto (Alto, Tenore) "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort - Herr, ich warte auf dein Heil" 5' 02"

- Recitativo (Alto, Tenore) "O schwerer Gang yum letzten Kampf" 2' 16"

- Aria (Duetto) (Alto, Tenore) "Mein letztes Lager will mich schrecken" 3' 19"

- Recitativo (Alto, Basso) "Der Tod bleibt doch der menschlichen Natur verhaßt" 4' 12"

- Choral "Es ist genug, Herr, wenn es dir gefällt" 1' 19"

Kantaten 57 - 58 - 59 - 60

Peter Jelosits (Wiener Sängerknabe), Sopran

Seppi Kronwitter (Tölzer Knabenchores), Sopran (58/3,4)

Paul Esswood, Alt

Kurt Equiluz, Tenor

Ruud van der Meer, Baß

Tölzer Knabenchor / Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, Leitung

CONCENTUS MUSICUS WIEN (mit Originalinstrumenten)

- Alice Harnoncourt, Violine
- Ralph Bryant, Zugtrompete
- Walter Pfeiffer, Violine - Josef Spindler, Naturtrompete
- Peter Schoberwalter, Violine - Hermann Schober, Naturtrompete
- Wilhelm Mergl, Violine
- Kurt Hammer, Pauken
- Anita Mitterer, Violine (57/8; 59/3,5; 60)
- Jürg Schaeftlein, Oboe, Oboe d'amore
- Ingrid Seifert, Violine (57/1,5; 58; 59/1) - David Reichenberg, Oboe (57)
- Josef de Sordi, Violetta - Robert J. Alcalá, Oboe (58)
- Kurt Theiner, Viola - Paul Hailperin, Oboe d'amore, Taille
- Otto Fleischmann, Fagott

- Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Violoncello, piccolo

- Eduard Hruza, Violone

- Herbert Tachezi, Orgel

- Johann Sonnleitner, Orgel (59/1)

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gesamtleitung
Luogo e data di registrazione
Casino Zögernitz, Vienna (Austria):
- giugno e novembre 1975 - (BWV 57)
- novembre 1975 - (BWV 58, 59 e 60)
Registrazione live / studio
Producer / Engineer
Wolf Erichson
Prima Edizione CD
Teldec "Das Alte Werk" - 8.43745 ZK - (1 cd) - 63' 26" - (c) 1988 - AAD
Prima Edizione LP
Telefunken "Das Alte Werk" - 6.35305 EX (SKW 15/1-2) - (2 lp) - 35' 32" + 27' 44" - (p) 1976

Bach composed Selig ist der Mann (BWV 57) for the Second Day of Christmas in 1725. The Feast ot St Stephen also falls on the Second Day of Christmas. Thus the work is not a Christmas but a St Stephen's cantata, interpreting the martyrdom and redemption of the saint as an allegory upon the salvation of Christians through death. The text from the first annual cantata cycle dates from 1711 and is by the Darmstadt court poet Georg Christian Lehms. He coriceives of it as a dialogue between Jesus and the believing soul, and Bach himself described the two solo parts - bass and soprano - as ”Jesus” and ”Anima." The work is clearly laid out in two parts: the voice of Christ nxpounds the parable; the soul dwells upon earthly sufferings and recognizes that it cannot live without Christ's love. A short duet-recitative leads to the certainty that Christ is the Saviour; he appears as the victor and the soul departs with joy from mortal life. The musical setting takes up this structure. First we shall consider the tonal scheme: the first two arias are in G minor and C minor,. The decisive duet-recitative leads from G minor to B flat major, the key of the following Christ aria; the last aria for the believing soul goes once more from G minor to B flat maior and then to the key of the concluding chorus. However, the differentiation ranges far beyond the modulatory scheme. The first two arias appear to be formal, and in their dark, five-part polyphony completely enveloping the singing voice, have a consciously archaic effect. On the other hand the two arias after the decisive dialogue recitative are modern da capo settings: the Christ aria with its warlike signals, in operatically drastic style, while the aria of the soul subtly traces the mystical yearning for death in the text. The effect is overwhelming when the concluding chorus in a solemn but simple movement provides the yearned for answer to the hovering question with which this aria closes.
Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid (BWV 58) was composed for the Sunday after New Year’s Day, probably in 1727. In 1733 or 1734 Bach rearranged the work by adding the oboe chorus to the outer movements and recomposing the central aria. In the first version the work must have been a pronouncedly “quiet” cantata - perhaps too simple to do justice to the internal movement of the anonymous text which, with allusions to the flight to Egypt, describes the path from temporal suffering to heavenly joy. The construction of the work, which like Cantatas No. 57 and No. 60 is a dialogue, displays perfect symmetry: two chorale aria dialogues in C major form the framework, while the aria in D minor constitutes the centre; in between, and linking them, are a bass recitativc (A minor-F major) and a soprano recitative (F major-A minor). With consummate but entirely unobtrusive artistic skill the first movement combines instrumentally and vocally expressive qualities - a saraband tone and chromatic lamento bass, the soul’s plaint incorporated in the Chorale and the freely expressive arioso of the voice of Christ. The result is a polyphony of expression exceeding by far the apparent link between chorale and arioso. A figured recitative of unusual richness leads to the soprano aria whose pious paradox (”lch bin vergnügt in meinem Leiden”) is again fully composed in a highly complex manner: dancing rhythm, but sighing melody, allemande tone, but the key of D minor. The second recitative intensifies into an arioso in which the soul yearningly calls out for paradise. The supplicating demeanour with which this arioso ends is answered by the concerto-like C major fanfare which dominates the concluding movement and the meaning of which is uttered by vox Christi: “Nur getrost, ihr Herzen.”
Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten (BWV 59) was meant for the First Day of Whitsuntide and was probably performed in 1724 in the Leipzig University Church. This venue presumably explains the modest instrumentation of the work, its extremely unusual form and the singular fact than in this instance Bach composed only the first four movements from a text by Erdmann Neumeister (from the latter's fourth annual cycle of cantatas tor 1714). Perhaps Bach himself felt the work to be unsatisfactory , for a year later it was expanded into the large Cantata No. 74 for Whit Sunday. The first movement is just as unusual as the whole of the work. His text, a quotation from the Sunday Gospel, is rendered four times in canonic form, until eventually the two soloist come together in parallel sixths; around this nucleus strings and trumpets (two instead of the usual three) weave a fine chamber musical setting which continually reverts to the two essential motifs of the vocal parts. The contrast between the symbolic strictness of the vocal movement and the concertante freedom of the instruments seems in turn to have a symbolical intention. The recitative which follows proceeds from A minor to the G maior of the succeeding chorale; harmoniously rich string accompaniment, ecstatic exclamations and the quick vocalisations of the concluding arioso give this movement a hint of rapturous exuberance. It also establishes the linlk with the chorale of which this exuberance is a natural part. The bass aria with obbligato violin combines a concise ritornello arrangement (ritornello - first text section a a b - ritornello abbreviated - second text section c d e - ritornello) with a markedly contrary representation of the two text sections. This consists of easily perceived, songlike line melody to contrast secular and divine glory, and wideranging, emotional melismas to descrihe the bliss of eternal life. In the present performance, in order to provide the cantata with a formal finish, the chorale movement (with the final verse of the chorale text) is repeated.
O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (BWV 60) was composed for the 24th Sunday after Trinity (November 7) in 1723. Like Cantatas No. 57 and No. 58, it is a dialogue, in this case between ”Furcht” (fear), contralto and "Hoffnung” (hope), tenor. On the strength of its unusual emotional and formal density, the composition makes up for the disadvantage that the anonymous text hardly becomes an actual dialogue. The first movement is designed entirely upon the apocalyptic vision of the chorale text: the "Donnerwort" (word of thunder) reverberates almost unceasingly in the strings, while the two oboes d'amore continue to weave the sighing motifs. "Fear" intones the chorale line byline, while "Hope" counters with a bible quotation in which awaiting divine salvation is set in an increasingly beseechful idiom. The succeeding recitative begins with a distorted quotation of the chorale opening and increases, especially in the "martyr" sequence of ”Fear”, to almost excessive graphic illustration. In similar manner to the first movement, the B minor duet rn the center of the cantata amalgamates vocal and instrumental contrasts into complicated expressive polyphony. The strongly opposed emotions in the melodies of "Fear" and "Hope" are joined by the oboe d’amore and violins each with their own motifs which in turn contribute continuously changing references to the textual content. The last recitative confronts the laments of "Fear" with an arioso which is no longer entrusted to the tenor (”Hope”), but to the newly introduced bass as the voice of Christ which now brings about the decision; the arioso, which extends itself in longer and longer phrases where only the last repetition provides the full text, finally induces ”Fear" to conquer itselt. Its hope a ”Blick in Jene Freude” (vision of that joy) is answered by a Chorale which in its intensity, its wealth of harmony and boldness is well-nigh unique even among Bach’s chorales. It is the chorale which Alban Berg innorporated into his violin concerto as the prayer of death.
Ludwig Finscher

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)
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