Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

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Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by Lance » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:04 pm

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DGG Archiv 463 585

Whilst driving in my new Toyota RAV4 Limited and listening to Sirius XM Radio, I heard a performance of Bach's Cantata No. 83 described in the subject line. I was overwhelmed by not only the music by the voice. When I got home, I looked for a recording of it and, much to my surprise, did not have one! (Really!) I never got the big JS Bach complete boxes on Brilliant, Teldec or anybody else since I have so much Bach already, except perhaps, for every one of the Cantatas.

So, I bought a copy - and was joyous once again. It is in a DGG/Archiv collection [463 585, live, 68:59, DDD]. The collection is entitled "Cantatas for the Feast of the Purification of Mary." The other cantatas are No. 82 (very well known to me mostly by Fischer-Dieskau), "Ich habe genug," No. 125, "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin" and a brief one, No. 200, "Bekennen will ich seinen Namen". The Monteveerdi Choir and The English Baroque Soloists utilize authentic instruments all under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner. Just how Archiv managed to get audience-noiseless recordings is amazing. The soloist in No. 83 is Robin Tyson, countertenor andPeter Harvey is the bass elsewhere. In No. 125, there is a magnificent aria/duet between these two singers (Mvt. 4) that I thought to be absolutely exquisite. Recording quality and venue (Christchurch Dorset, Priory Church, recorded February 2000.

So, how'd I do - getting this? I love No. 83 - and want another recording - or maybe even finally get one of the big complete Bach sets - probably Rilling on Haensler. Any thoughts on this?
Lance G. Hill
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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:45 pm

When I was in college I was privileged to have a private conversation with Arthur Mendel (the already retired professor who was the main editor of The Bach Reader) in which he unaccountably expressed his opinion that the Telefunken recordings of the complete cantatas, then still in progress, might not be such a great idea. I didn't have the nerve to question him on this. Now, instead of a single incomplete putatively dubious first recorded cycle, we have an abundance of riches to choose from. But for me, the farther along this process goes, the harder it becomes to advise someone like Lance who wants to fill gaps. I also have no complete set, though as I have recently posted I would not recommend the Rilling for that purpose (or the Teldec).

These days I am often inspired to turn to YouTube, which seems to have covered every cantata one way or the other. Lance was moved by the fourth number in Cantata 125, but the second is even more astonishing, worthy of a place in one of the passions:



Ich will auch mit gebrochnen Augen
Nach dir, mein treuer Heiland, sehn.
Wenngleich des Leibes Bau zerbricht,
Doch fällt mein Herz und Hoffen nicht.
Mein Jesus sieht auf mich im Sterben
Und lässet mir kein Leid geschehn.

Even with broken eyes,
I will look for You, my loving Savior.
Even if my body’s frame be destroyed,
yet my heart and hope will not fall.
My Jesus looks on me in death
and allows no pain to befall me.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by Lance » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:59 pm

Well, quite frankly, I was interested in having in hand all the Bach cantatas in a reasonbly priced set which does have some good reviews. While I recognize the genius of John Elliott Gardiner in Bach (such as Cantata #83), I was not ready to drop around $300 for his set and opted for the $75 set. I already have some 1900 individual discs of the music of JS Bach in all his areas of composition. I was also looking at the Brilliant Complete Edition for a reasonable price. It does not bother me much to hear Bach's orchestra/choral music with modern-day instruments rather than original instruments. After all, we listen to much of Bach's keyboard music on the modern-day piano and most of the great artists continue to play those works on the piano.

I'll soon find out what I think of the Rilling. It should be here in a day or two. Eventually, however, as I learn to love more and more of the cantatas, I may well put out the word that a nice birthday present would be the Gardiner set! :evil:

As always, John, your comments are well taken and are always thought-provoking.
Lance G. Hill
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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:34 pm

Free-associating, my mind went back to my first exposure of any kind to a Bach cantata. Believe it or not, I participated in the performance of my first Bach cantata, which was with the Princeton Chapel Choir as a freshman. It was number 155, Mein Gott, wie lang ach lange, which because of its short length was performed in its entirety during the offertory at the Sunday service (the choir only sings for the chorale, as is the case in a number of cantatas). The notable movement for me is the second one, a duet in which the obbligato instrument is most unusually a bassoon. Looking for this just now, I noted that it was intended for the Second Sunday of Epiphany, which was a week ago yesterday. This performance was entirely with modern-style forces, and I have to say that a modern bassoon works better for me. (I shudder to think how I might have approximated the German pronunciation in the chorale, which was my very first experience of German. It is a verse of the chorale "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her." The first line contains the contraction "sich's," which is hard to pronounce even after years of practice.)


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by Lance » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:28 pm

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Well, the Hännsler 71-CD boxed set of the Bach Cantatas arrived ... the Edition Bachakademie, with Helmuth Rilling conducting. Naturally, I turned to Canata No. 83 as the first listen. It thought it to be well recorded and didn't mind the modern-day orchestration (i.e. present-day) instrumentation. Two books accompany the set, plus a CD-ROM containing all texts and other information. What I immediately did not like was I could not find the names of any soloists in the church cantatas, attempted to use the CD-ROM, which is difficult to use, at least in Windows 8.1 (will figure this out). But soloist names are important to me. In No. 83, a contralto sings the countertenor part and a bass sings in one of the other sections. While I enjoyed the countetenor's singing in the John Eliot Gardiner (DGG-Archiv) recording, I didn't mind the alto singing the primary aria. For the price, however, this is an outstanding value ... pennies more than $1/USD a disc for the whole set.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by nosreme » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:54 am

[ deleted ]
Last edited by nosreme on Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:09 am, edited 11 times in total.

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:12 am

nosreme wrote:The Rilling religious cantatas are all good but no longer standouts what with more recent sets from Koopman, Suzuki, Gardiner, and a slowly-developing cantata discography by Herreweghe. Rilling's secular cantatas, however (recorded more than a decade after the religious cantatas) are in a class by themselves. The box described above costs little more than the collected secular cantatas once cost.

My preferences for more-or-less complete cantata sets put Gardiner and Koopman at the top with Suzuki running a close second. Koopman's contains the secular cantatas; Gardiner's really isn't complete in that it lacks any secular cantatas and even some of the important non-sacred religious cantatas--most notably BWV 29. Another Gardiner/SDG disc will be released next month (Easter Oratorio & Cantata 106-"Actus Tragicus"). Suzuki promises to continue with the secular cantatas, but I doubt they will match Rilling's vitality. We can only dream of what Gardiner secular cantatas would sound like.

One can't talk of the cantatas without mentioning the groundbreaking Harnoncourt/Leohnardt complete sets or the 75 Karl Richter completed before his untimely death. The H/L performances now strike me as dull and dated--mostly of historical interest--and I find knabenchoristers shrill, lacking in range, and downright annoying. Many of the Richter recordings still stand out as being in the must-have category (e.g., No. 78 for its delightful, stylish 2nd movement duet, and #80 with its WFB-added trumpets and drums). Some of the Richters sound ponderous and slow with the big chorus but overall this is a 75-cantata set to cherish. It is supposed to be reissued soon at a ridiculously low price.
Thanks for your comments, and welcome to the Classical Music Guide!

A few of the Telefunken recordings (e.g., BWV 8 ) were done with the King's College Choir (but still with Austrian or German boy soloists). I find that English boy choirs produce a more pleasing sound than those from German-speaking countries. I had it explained to me once why the vocal production is so different (and not just because one uses counter-tenors and the other boy altos), but it didn't make any sense to me, or perhaps I didn't really understand it. (It was something like German choirs project from the back of the mouth, English choirs from the front, which sounds like exactly the opposite of what one hears.) At least none of the recordings were done by the Sistine Chapel Choir. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by Lance » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:12 pm

No question, when the Gardiner box comes out at the usual excellent DGG "box" price, I'll go for it. For the moment, the Rilling is a nice addition supplemented with the many individual recordings I have of the more well-known cantatas.Very intereseting comments on this thread! Thank you.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by Marc » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:47 pm

jbuck919 wrote:[....]These days I am often inspired to turn to YouTube, which seems to have covered every cantata one way or the other. Lance was moved by the fourth number in Cantata 125, but the second is even more astonishing, worthy of a place in one of the passions:

QFT.

The first time I listened to it (long time ago) I forgot to breathe for about half a minute.

About cantata integrals: I still have a weak spot for the Leonhardt/Harnoncourt set, even though I realize that many people would call them a bit outdated and not everyone likes boy sopranos.
But when it comes to expression, that set remains my favourite.
Suzuki would be my second choice, but that one hasn't been (completely) boxed (yet).

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by Tarantella » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:40 pm

All these comments are very insightful, and I always enjoy John B's anecdotes from his days at Princeton and Yale!!

I read your translation of the text, John, of that Cantata. Years ago when I sang the Bach St. John Passion with the university choir I remember commenting to the woman next to me about the very sensual nature of the words and imagery of the text. As a student of the English language (the conductor had done the translations) I was staggered by its quasi-erotic qualities and this highly offended a couple of the singers. The nexus between sex and religious ecstasy is compelling; it's there and it might as well be enjoyed. One only has to look at the Bernini sculptures to find this idea rendered in marble. Glorious.

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=Berni ... 80&bih=623

My first experience with the Bach Cantatas was through the English Baroque Soloists/Monteverdi Choir/John Eliot Gardiner when they were on tour around Europe in 2000 for the "Bach Pilgrimage". During that time I had a dear friend who accompanied the choir and he sent me back pictures from the rehearsals and recordings of the concerts - broadcast on French radio - long before these were commercially available.

For me, this ensemble is the best with regard to these works. John EG has achieved wonders with that choir which, by the way, started from the Swingle Singers in the 1960's, and how he achieves that mellifluous sound from them I'll never now. I can instantly recognize this choir whenever I hear them, no matter whether I am familiar with the work or not.

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:36 pm

Tarantella wrote:All these comments are very insightful, and I always enjoy John B's anecdotes from his days at Princeton and Yale!!

I read your translation of the text, John, of that Cantata.
Thanks for the kind words, but while I do occasionally provide my own translations (more likely from Latin than German), I lifted that one from an online source, I can't remember which one. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by Ted Quanrud » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:37 pm

Lance wrote:No question, when the Gardiner box comes out at the usual excellent DGG "box" price, I'll go for it. For the moment, the
Rilling is a nice addition supplemented with the many individual recordings I have of the more well-known cantatas.Very intereseting comments on this thread! Thank you.
Hi Lance --

The Gardiner box is already out, but not on DGG which abandoned the project after about 6 or 7 CDs. Gardiner then took up the project on his own, creating a new label, Soli Deo Gloria. He released the final volume in the series lat year, and just a couple of months ago released a big box set containing all 28 volumes (56 CDs), plus four CDs from the DGG set, plus a CD-ROM with complete texts, translations and liner notes. Here's the link: http://monteverdi.co.uk/shop/albums/can ... mplete-set

I recommend this to anyone who loves the music of Bach. Another complete set of the Bach cantatas by the Bach Collegium Japan conducted by Masaaki Suzuki was also completed last years. I expect it too will soon appear in a single box. I have been collecting both series since they started, thanks to the generous gift of a much cherished friend, and they have provided countless hours of musical bliss.

While I'm at it, I wholeheartedly recommend John Eliot Gardiner's new study of Bach: Music in the Çastle of Heaven. Here's the Economist review: http://www.economist.com/news/books-and ... -voice-god and the Nw York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/04/books ... .html?_r=0

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by Mookalafalas » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:55 am

I just bought the Archiv box yesterday and was playing through the discs in order and browsing this site when I saw this thread. Just by coincidence, I was listening to Bach Cantatas, and had just finished, about 30 minutes previously, listening to one of the one's Lance mentioned. It is an oldy from the 50s, however. The few i had heard randomly in the past left no impression on me whatsoever, but I'm really enjoying these from Fritz Lehman. Maybe just because I actually paid for them :) They make me wish I was a German christian :D
Call me Al (cuz its my name)

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:16 pm

Mookalafalas wrote:I just bought the Archiv box yesterday and was playing through the discs in order and browsing this site when I saw this thread. Just by coincidence, I was listening to Bach Cantatas, and had just finished, about 30 minutes previously, listening to one of the one's Lance mentioned. It is an oldy from the 50s, however. The few i had heard randomly in the past left no impression on me whatsoever, but I'm really enjoying these from Fritz Lehman. Maybe just because I actually paid for them :) They make me wish I was a German christian :D
Speaking strictly for myself, I find the religiosity problematic. I'm just as happy that I don't have a native speaker's grasp of the words and can usually still ignore their often cloying meaning when I want to. On the other hand, without that religiosity, what a monumental amount of the greatest music we would be missing! (There is a school of thought that Bach wanted the Leipzig job not so much because it was the best one open at the time, but because he specifically wanted to concentrate on church music.)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by Mookalafalas » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:27 pm

jbuck919 wrote: Speaking strictly for myself, I find the religiosity problematic.
Me too. That's why it would be nice to hear it as a true-believer. If you really felt that God was speaking directly through this music, I imagine it would have to be a pretty amazing feeling, and add a huge dimension to the impact of the music. Unfortunately, I'll never know...
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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:15 pm

Mookalafalas wrote:
jbuck919 wrote: Speaking strictly for myself, I find the religiosity problematic.
Me too. That's why it would be nice to hear it as a true-believer. If you really felt that God was speaking directly through this music, I imagine it would have to be a pretty amazing feeling, and add a huge dimension to the impact of the music. Unfortunately, I'll never know...
Two of my other peculiar interests are Gregorian Chant and Renaissance polyphony, but I don't have the same problem with those. To me it is the difference between text/music agreement (often remarkably poetic) born organically in a true age of faith and forced pietism expressed through bad poetry long after the Enlightenment should have taken hold. Yet, as I implied before, there's not much good music set to texts inspired by the Enlightenment. (IMO, Bach is closer to the ancient piety when he sticks to non-contemporaneous texts of his own choice, as in the motets and the B minor Mass, or the pure chorale- or scripture-based movements in the cantatas. With these I can find little fault in the purely religious expression.)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Bach's Cantata #83 "Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde"

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:00 pm

There are two current threads where this would be apropos. This, the default Bach cantata thread, and the thread on the Goldberg Variations with its side topic of alternative instruments. Or I could have started a new one. I'm putting it here in the hope that it will not be lost and that all interested members will see it and if they wish reply.

I came across Ton Koopman's performance of BWV 62, and in the second aria (advance to 12:50, there is some interesting instrumentation. There is something about Leipzig recently purchasing a "violone," and I hear what sounds like a way-too-soft recorder in there too. Every other performance I have heard uses straight strings for this movement. Apparently Bach himself performed it different ways in different years. I like this version, but as I said I'm not sure about the balance. Comments are invited, but you might check the Wikipedia article first, not that it is tremendously helpful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nun_komm,_ ... nd,_BWV_62


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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