Bach & Zelenka: J.S. Bach: "Tönet, ihr Pauken!" [BWV 214] - Collegium 1704/ Luks (20.08.11) (2of2)





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Uploaded on Dec 2, 2011

(For more details, see part 1 about Zelenka)
Collegium 1704, conducted by Vaclav Luks. recorded on 20.08.2011 in the Abbatiale Saint-Robert, France, during the 45th "Festival de la Chaise-Dieu".

The "Bach & Zelenka" -program's main companion pieces:
-Jan Dismas Zelenka: "Te Deum" (ZWV 146) for two choirs (1731, NOT 1733 as Mezzo announces on the screen)
-Johann Sebastian Bach: "Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!" (BWV 214), from 1733.

Orchestration of BWV 214: 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 transverse flutes, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, continuo (with organ & bassoon).
Soloists: Bellona - Goddess of War (Soprano: Blazikova), Pallas - Goddess of Wisdom (Alto: Kukrova), Irene - God of Peace (Tenor: Monti), Fama - God of Fame (Bass: Krejcik).

Subtitled "Drama per Musica" and performed on the Birthday (8 December) of Maria Josepha, Princess Elector of Saxony and Queen of Poland.

1. Choir : "Tönet, ihr Pauken ! Erschallet, Trompeten !"
2. Recitative (Tenor) : "Heut ist der Tag"
3. Aria (Soprano) : "Blast die wohlgegriffnen Flöten"
4. Recitative (Soprano) : "Mein knallendes Metall"
5. Aria (Alto) : "Fromme Musen ! Meine Glieder !"
6. Recitative (Alto) : "Unsre Königin im Lande"
7. Aria (Bass) : "Kron und Preis gekrönter Damen"
8. Recitative (Bass) : "So dringe in das weite Erdenrund"
9. Choir : "Blühet, ihr Linden in Sachsen, wie Zedern !"

Soprano - Hana Blazikova
Alto - Marketa Cukrova
Tenor - Sebastian Monti
Bass - Marian Krejcik

Sometimes Johann Sebastian Bach's secular cantata "Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!" (BWV 214, dated to 7 December 1733) is mistakenly thought about as a parody variant of his much more famous "Christmas Oratorio" from 1734/5 (BWV 248). Actually the opposite is the truth. BWV 214 is among Bach's relatively few genuinely original compositions from the 1730s. When people nowadays immediately recognize "this" juyful, generously scored opening chorus, it is the magnificent "Jauchzet, frohlocket!"- chorus introducing the Christmas Oratorio they implicitly refer to. Movement 3, Bellona's soprano aria, was in fact the only music NOT recycled from BWV 214 in BWV 248. Commentators suggest that Bach considered this soprano & flute aria to be too extravagant and daring for BWV 248's listeners. Analogue, intricate harmonies with corresponding complexities are often found in the concert's companion piece (ZWV 146, 1731) by Zelenka. Dense movements where vocal and instrumental parts are woven together in intricate patterns, fundamental importance given to older polyphony, as well as frequent use of fugal themes are their exceptional common hallmarks. Likewise, Zelenka recycled much music, e.g. in his other, first "Te Deum" (ZWV 145, 1724). From their generation, the major composers (Bach, Zelenka, Handel, Vivaldi) were also the greatest recyclists. No contradiction here. Other musical similarities relevant to Vaclav Luks' well-considered concert program are explained more in detail under the related Zelenka video (ZWV 146) (see part 1).
Despite being termed "Drama" there is on real plot or action taking place. Four mythological figures - Bellona, Pallas, Irene & Fame - shaped in baroque fashion as allegories of the qualities they traditionally stand for, celebrate and honour the real protagonist's (Maria Josepha) virtues accordingly. All these flattering phrases served a concrete occasional purpose (Birthday here), where individual concerns are connected with current socio-political circumstances. Leipzig's functional counterpart to the Italian serenata?
Secular cantatas like BWV 214 are typhical in the context of Bach's production in this period, when his mind had moved to Saxony's capital Dresden, although he remained in Leipzig. Even though only BWV 214 was dedicated to Queen Maria Josepha, Zelenka's most important patron, Bach dedicated several similar cantatas to other members of the Royal family at this time. Often he went to the capital to attend or participate in musical performances, and it is reasonable to assume that he took aquired knowledge of the legendary Dresden Court orchestra's abilities into account when composing. Originally, the short version of the famous b-minor Mass (BWV 232a) (Kyrie & Gloria) was performed in the Court Curch in 1733. So, why all these efforts? Like Zelenka, Bach wanted to impress, hoping that the vacant post as Royal Court Kapellmeister for the world's best orchestra would become his... Whether Zelenka inspired Bach to start composing Masses from the 1730s remains a reasonable hypothesis based on circumstantial evidence, but we DO HAVE direct evidence, through son C.P.E. Bach, that they both admired and knew each other personally after his father's Dresden journeys.

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