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Bwv 616 Mit Fried Und Freud (orgelbuchlein)


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Guest Echo Gamba

I usually dig this out around this time for Candlemas, based as it is upon the chorale setting of the Nunc Dimmitis. Due to the frequent "collision" of parts, should this be played on 2 manuals? I have the Barenreiter edition which gives no indication for this piece, although for some preludes it does specify 2 manuals. Advice/views welcome please.

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I usually dig this out around this time for Candlemas, based as it is upon the chorale setting of the Nunc Dimmitis. Due to the frequent "collision" of parts, should this be played on 2 manuals? I have the Barenreiter edition which gives no indication for this piece, although for some preludes it does specify 2 manuals. Advice/views welcome please.

 

[Thinks: This is the sort of question where Stephen Farr's opinion would have been so useful.]

 

Not particularly qualified to answer this on academic grounds, I respond in purely practical terms. I have always played it on a single manual. The 'collisions' are usually much more a question of a note held by one hand needing to be repeated. Elsewhere in the Orgelbuchlein, Bach indicated in several cases where 2 manuals would be required and put no such instruction on this one.

 

If you were to play it on two manuals, would this be any benefit? The LH is a single line, florid - agreed - but it is not the cantus firmus. Playing the whole lot on one manual does at least make some of the stretches easier because notes can be taken with the other hand where necessary. At all events, it's a fine prelude, sombre and rich. Well worth the trouble.

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Guest Echo Gamba
[Thinks: This is the sort of question where Stephen Farr's opinion would have been so useful.]

 

Not particularly qualified to answer this on academic grounds, I respond in purely practical terms. I have always played it on a single manual. The 'collisions' are usually much more a question of a note held by one hand needing to be repeated. Elsewhere in the Orgelbuchlein, Bach indicated in several cases where 2 manuals would be required and put no such instruction on this one.

 

If you were to play it on two manuals, would this be any benefit? The LH is a single line, florid - agreed - but it is not the cantus firmus. Playing the whole lot on one manual does at least make some of the stretches easier because notes can be taken with the other hand where necessary. At all events, it's a fine prelude, sombre and rich. Well worth the trouble.

 

Thank you Paul - very helpful reply. I think I have been missing a very big point, that you have clarified, regarding repeating notes. I take it that that is what one should do then? That is indeed what I meant by parts "colliding". I have never been happy with the effect of just leaving out the "unplayable" notes, so have been in the habit of repeating them, but was not sure if this was what was intended.

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Thank you Paul - very helpful reply. I think I have been missing a very big point, that you have clarified, regarding repeating notes. I take it that that is what one should do then? That is indeed what I meant by parts "colliding". I have never been happy with the effect of just leaving out the "unplayable" notes, so have been in the habit of repeating them, but was not sure if this was what was intended.

 

 

Yes. The rules about repeating a note go something like this:

 

If a note in the same part repeats, the first of the two (or the first and second of a set of three) gets shortened (followed by a tiny rest, of course), in fast music by something like a half. There are exceptions but not many - so for instance, if one was playing a chorale where essentially the composer has given a note for every every syllable (for singing purposes) and thus loads of repeated notes, one tends to smooth these or even run them together. So the subject of The Great G major fugue which gives three quaver Ds, you would actually play, semi-quaver, semiquaver, quaver and the composer's intentions are communicated*. Less of a break than that and you might as well have a dotted crotchet and play just one note! Of course, in order to bring a firm accent on the first beat of the next bar, you might actually shorten all three Ds, but this is then a question of interpretation.

 

*Detaching a note always draws attention to it, but then this is what a composer wants if it is a melodic or rhythmic feature. If you ever want to draw attention to a note, either delay it fractionally (called an agogic accent) or shorten the note before, weakening that and bringing the full value note into sharp relief.

 

Where notes are shared between parts, as in your Orgelbuchlein example, the ear will pick up the natural flow of the LH running line if you simply break the long-held note in the RH (Alto part) by the smallest amount and play/hold it again. Note, you do not release it at the end of the quaver if it is still part of a long note in the other line. I hope you can follow this not terribly clear explanation; it would be much easier to demonstrate than talk about! In this case, the smallest of breaks is correct.

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Guest Echo Gamba
Yes. The rules about repeating a note go something like this:

 

If a note in the same part repeats, the first of the two (or the first and second of a set of three) gets shortened (followed by a tiny rest, of course), in fast music by something like a half. There are exceptions but not many - so for instance, if one was playing a chorale where essentially the composer has given a note for every every syllable (for singing purposes) and thus loads of repeated notes, one tends to smooth these or even run them together. So the subject of The Great G major fugue which gives three quaver Ds, you would actually play, semi-quaver, semiquaver, quaver and the composer's intentions are communicated*. Less of a break than that and you might as well have a dotted crotchet and play just one note! Of course, in order to bring a firm accent on the first beat of the next bar, you might actually shorten all three Ds, but this is then a question of interpretation.

 

*Detaching a note always draws attention to it, but then this is what a composer wants if it is a melodic or rhythmic feature. If you ever want to draw attention to a note, either delay it fractionally (called an agogic accent) or shorten the note before, weakening that and bringing the full value note into sharp relief.

 

Where notes are shared between parts, as in your Orgelbuchlein example, the ear will pick up the natural flow of the LH running line if you simply break the long-held note in the RH (Alto part) by the smallest amount and play/hold it again. Note, you do not release it at the end of the quaver if it is still part of a long note in the other line. I hope you can follow this not terribly clear explanation; it would be much easier to demonstrate than talk about! In this case, the smallest of breaks is correct.

 

Thank you again Paul - makes perfect sense. I shall give this a try next practice session.

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I usually dig this out around this time for Candlemas, based as it is upon the chorale setting of the Nunc Dimmitis. Due to the frequent "collision" of parts, should this be played on 2 manuals? I have the Barenreiter edition which gives no indication for this piece, although for some preludes it does specify 2 manuals. Advice/views welcome please.

 

Hi

 

The Barenreiter edition is supposed to be an Urtex edition, and since one of the few things Bach specified in the Orgelbuchlein preludes was where 2 manuals were required, I think it's a pretty safe assumption that it can be played on one manual.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Definitely a single-manual piece as far as I'm concerned - the c.f. sings out over the florid underneath parts, well enough not to require "soloing" out.

 

As an aside, how do people like to register it? For me, it's usually a choice between a single Open Diapason (which I used for my swansong at Bath Abbey) or a pair of 8s, such as Gedackt + Viola da Gamba, such as was found on Thuringian instruments even when JSB was growing up in that neck of the woods... I'm sure one could also use 8 + 4 flutes, or even 8, 4, 2 / 8, 2 combinations if the voicing is right.

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Guest Echo Gamba
Definitely a single-manual piece as far as I'm concerned - the c.f. sings out over the florid underneath parts, well enough not to require "soloing" out.

 

As an aside, how do people like to register it? For me, it's usually a choice between a single Open Diapason (which I used for my swansong at Bath Abbey) or a pair of 8s, such as Gedackt + Viola da Gamba, such as was found on Thuringian instruments even when JSB was growing up in that neck of the woods... I'm sure one could also use 8 + 4 flutes, or even 8, 4, 2 / 8, 2 combinations if the voicing is right.

 

I agree that it is a single manual piece. As I said in reply to Cynic's v helpful post, i have been missing the point about repeated notes.

 

I play it on either 8 & 4 flutes or a single Diapason, whichever gives most clarity on the instrument in question.

 

Can anyone say how JSB's Viola da Gambas compared tonally to English examples?

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This question of repeated notes is an interesting one. What puzzles me more are those many instances in the Orgelbüchlein where the accompaniment collides with the long, held note at the end of a line of the chorale melody. Bar 9 of Mit Fried' und Freud' is a case in point, but there are quite a few others: the second bar of Jesu meine Freude, the end of the third line of Christ lag in Todesbanden, the end of the first dotted semibreve in Puer natus, etc. If you try to play these literally as written, it sounds incredibly messy and I seriously wonder whether, in such instances, Bach intended the chorale note to be held at all. There are several other contexts where it is well known that Baroque notation does not reflect what was actually played (notes inégales, dotted rests, etc.) Is this another one?

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Guest Echo Gamba
This question of repeated notes is an interesting one. What puzzles me more are those many instances in the Orgelbüchlein where the accompaniment collides with the long, held note at the end of a line of the chorale melody. Bar 9 of Mit Fried' und Freud' is a case in point, but there are quite a few others: the second bar of Jesu meine Freude, the end of the third line of Christ lag in Todesbanden, the end of the first dotted semibreve in Puer natus, etc. If you try to play these literally as written, it sounds incredibly messy and I seriously wonder whether, in such instances, Bach intended the chorale note to be held at all. There are several other contexts where it is well known that Baroque notation does not reflect what was actually played (notes inégales, dotted rests, etc.) Is this another one?

 

Blimey - I've never noticed that dot in Puer Natus, so the "collision" never bothered me! I played it the piece yesterday actually. :P

 

Incidentally, is there a name for this type of collision (my word for want of anything better) ?

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