BACH'S CHORALS - Part IIby Charles Sanford Terry
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Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure. (Worth every penny!) *** An excerpt from the beginning of the PREFATORY NOTE: IN Part I of this work the Hymns and Hymn melodies of the “Passions” and Oratorios have been dealt with. In the present volume those of the Cantatas and Motetts are considered. The Hymn melodies of the Organ Works are reserved for Part III. e author approaches the Chorals from the historical rather than an aesthetic standpoint. His object is to reveal the origin and authorship of the Hymns and Hymn melodies which, like jewels, decorate Bach’s concerted Church music. The melodies are printed here in their earliest form and, where possible, Bach’s variations of them are traced to an earlier tradition or attributed to himself. In similar manner, the text of his Hymn stanzas, as printed by the Bachgesellschaft, has been collated with the originals in Philipp Wackernagel’s Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der altesten Zeit bis zu Anfang des XVII Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 5 vols. 1864-77) or Albert Fischer and W. Tümpel’s Das deutsche evangelische Kirchenlied des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts (Gütersloh, 1904-16). The few Hymns which are not in those collections are marked with an asterisk in the following pages. The author has not had the opportunity to examine their original texts elsewhere.
For the help of students and others the author, on the first occurrence of every Choral melody, states where Bach uses it elsewhere in his concerted Church music and Organ works. Thus, Bach’s treatment of a particular tune can be studied exhaustively. Since all but a few of the Cantatas are published only with German texts, it has seemed advisable to provide an Appendix of translations of the Hymn stanzas, upwards of two hundred and fifty in number, which Bach uses in the Cantatas and Motetts. Wherever it is available, the text of Novello & Co.’s and Messrs J. & W. Chester’s Editions has been used, with the permission of the two firms. Six melodies that occur in the “Passions” and Oratorios are not found in the Cantatas or Motetts. They are printed in an Appendix. This volume therefore contains all the Choral tunes used by Bach in his concerted Church music. In the Introduction, besides other topics relative to the subject of this work, there will be found a section on Bach’s original Hymn tunes. The subject is one which hitherto has not received adequate attention. Schweitzer does not deal with it, and Spitta’s chapter is unreliable. The author thanks the Rev. James Mearns, Mr Herbert Thompson, Mr Ernest Newman, and especially Mr Ivor Atkins, for the valuable help they have given him. He also acknowledges material aid from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland towards the publication of this work. *** And an excerpt from the INTRODUCTION - The Cantatas: There is early and adequate authority for the belief that Bach wrote five complete “year books” of Church Cantatas, i.e. five Cantatas for every one of the Sundays and Festivals of the ecclesiastical year. At Leipzig fifty-nine Cantatas were required annually1 . Consequently, Bach must have written two hundred and ninety-five Cantatas. Of that number certainly thirty were written before he was inducted at Leipzig as successor to Johann Kuhnau (1667-1722) on May 31, 1723. Bach did not write Cantatas during the last years of his life: the latest that can be dated is “Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ” (No. 116), written for the Twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity, November 15, 17442 . It is therefore reasonable to limit his activity as a composer at Leipzig to twenty-one years. On that hypothesis, he must have written twelve or thirteen Church Cantatas every year, or at the rate of one every month1 . If it be remembered that during the same period Bach’s genius was exceedingly productive in other forms of musical expression, the conclusion that he was a rapid writer hardly can be challenged, though Spitta disputes it. Less than seventy per cent. of Bach’s Church Cantatas survive. The set of five is complete only for Christmas Day, New Year’s Day (Feast of the Circumcision), Whit Sunday (though one of the five is of doubtful authenticity), Feast of the Purification of the B. V. M., and the Feast of St Michael the Archangel (one of which is of doubtful authenticity). There are four Cantatas in every case for the Third Sunday after Epiphany, Quinquagesima, Easter Day, Ascension Day, Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, and the Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity. For no other Festival or Sunday have more than three Cantatas survived, and most of them have less.
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