J.S. Bach: Der Herr denket an uns (Sinfonia, BWV 196.1)

6 parts5 pages01:534 months ago105 views
Violin(2), Viola, Cello, Other Woodwinds, Contrabass
The Sinfonia to Bach's cantata BWV 196. In MS3, Piano Roll Editor was used for some minimal phrasing and proper execution of the appoggiature. Continuo by me (pan flutes). Score (with figures) from the Bachgesellschaft Ausgabe (BGA via IMSLP).

The upper strings think it's a French Overture, but many characteristics of that genre are lacking and it's just a lot of neat dotted patterns and Italianate suspensions.

The cello being 10% pseudo-independent of the continuo is moderately unusual in the cantatas.

J.S. Bach: BWV 232 (B Minor Mass) - Crucifixus (figured)

6 parts6 pages03:117 months ago354 views
Flute, Violin, Voice(2), Cello, Contrabass
Posting this for the annotated harmony, in meticulous "closed score". There is nothing to say about this tour-de-force of gut-wrenching, agonized harmony, the last word in the classic "lamento bass". While this is based upon the opening chorus of the Cantata BWV 12, "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen", Bach has upped the harmonic and dramatic ante considerably for the B Minor Mass.

J.S. Bach/Pergolesi: Wasche mich doch rein von Sünden - comparison and analysis of Bach's changes to Pergolesi's vocal line

6 parts10 pages02:26a year ago54 views
Violin, Viola, Voice(2), Harpsichord, Cello
CLICK "Show more". Analysis and comparison of Bach's changes to Pergolesi in https://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/5090495 . Analysis of viola part content and genesis at https://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/5093086 .

https://musescore.com/user/1831606/sets/5093144 all three scores.

J.S. Bach: Ich folge dir nach / Ich will hier bei dir stehen (BWV 159#2, newly phrased -- even better!)(now Giubiasco continuo organ)

6 parts9 pages04:52a year ago265 views
Oboe, Voice(2), Other Woodwinds, Bassoon, Contrabass
Newly phrased with hidden portato and marcato phrasing. See https://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/960796 -- I cannot update that score because of the new limit (5000 chars) on "About texts". Go there to read what I have to say about this spectacular movement and my realization of it.

The portato and marcato phrasings can be seen by downloading the score and un-hiding "Invisible" elements. Every single word is phrased appropriately, and all of the bass. My phrasing is also influenced by many performances I have heard.

Latest version (3/3/2018) records the continuo realization on the Flauto a Camino stop on the Grande of the 2009 Mascioni organ at Giubiasco, Switzerland, as digitized by Piotr Grabowski, via Hauptwerk. If you select "... Audio sources" and choose "MuseScore audio", you will get the usual "Pan Flute" continuo, which isn't that bad, I think, but some disagree.

De Heer is mijn herder (Canone olandese all' 8va come aria di BSG 2018)

6 parts4 pages02:04a year ago231 views
Violin, Voice(2), Other Woodwinds, Cello, Contrabass
Original expansion of the Dutch Psalm 23 canon
https://musescore.com/user/1685616/scores/4924657 as a cantata duetto with solo violin and bass.

A few of the whole-measure notes of the canon were shortened by an eighth-note, otherwise nothing of it was changed in any way.

I have taken some contrapuntal liberties, viz., occasional interpretation of canon notes as functional ninths and unprepared minor sevenths, to provide harmonic/architectural interest where the canon suggests less interesting harmonic repetition.

Thanks to Timothy and Bob L. for catching bugs....

Fugue sur le 5ème sujet du Conservatoire (di BSG 2017) (organ perf. avail. as alt. Audio Source –read “about”)

6 parts8 pages03:28a year ago584 views
Voice(4), Other Woodwinds, Contrabass
Fugue on Subject #5 (1809 Competition) from the 1900 https://ia801700.us.archive.org/5/items/solfegerhythmiqu00elwa/solfegerhythmiqu00elwa.pdf of the French Conservatory (the red notes, mm. 1-4). Took days, not 18 hours, and the use of MuseScore, food and sleep.

For Bach models of choral fugues with sort-of-nonindependent continuo, please visit https://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/2482306 https://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/2023761 https://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/821621

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11/08 — A performance on organ, the Hautpwerk/Sonus Paradisi imaging of the Walcker organ now at Doesburg, Holland, is available as an audio source (click on the gear, “Audio sources”, and the bottom one (“B. Greenberg … Fugue”). The musical technique of reducing this chorus+continuo score to organ is non-obvious — a mysterious third hand plays the continuo realization on the the third manual, with all four choral parts rendered on the first, and the continuo bass on the pedal. The first manual is NOT coupled to the pedal, but by the score itself.

J. S. Bach: Air from Suite in D, BWV 1068, #2, organ (Hauptwerk Doesburg) and violin

6 parts5 pages04:502 years ago1,156 views
Violin(3), Viola, Cello(2)
An unusual offering. One of Bach’s best known and best-loved movements, certainly one of the first I came to know, set for solo violin and organ.

The organ, the Sonus Paradisi image of the Walcker organ at the Martinikerk in Doesburg, Holland, transorganized by the Hauptwerk Virtual Pipe Organ application, is playing the three lower parts of this 4-part string movement (the famous arrangement for violin G String and piano by August Wilhelmj is from the nineteenth century). I have not chosen to rewrite Bach’s maximally exquisite, touchstone-perfect counterpoint to solve the problem of inner-part crossings that become invalid when played on a single keyboard (e.g., m. 16, beats 2-3), or add a fifth voice to fill out the organ part— I assure you, Bach would have done both. If you click on “…” … “Audio Sources” and choose “MuseScore audio”, you can hear the original string “quartet” setting that you see!

The "churchy" cast of the Organ, as well as the 16' (sub-octave) bass, befit this grave, meditative movement well.

I have taken care to phrase both the solo part and the bass part, the latter given to the organ pedal, by the use of auxiliary staves, which I have left visible so you can see and judge what I’ve done. Rather than Piano Roll torture, I said, “I’m going to both see and show what I do.” I also executed the ornaments in a better way than the default MuseScore ornamentation, with more appropriate tuplets at this very slow tempo. Note that double-dotting of short notes is used extensively in the execution.

My performance follows the collected, average cues of a lifetime of memories of hearing this masterpiece performed properly. “Your mileage may vary”.

Finally, there are serious intonation issues with the MuseScore violin—to wit, the notes above the clef suffer increasingly serious problems apparent to trained/sensitive ears (not necessarily mine!), including pitch that wanders during sustained notes. @Gertim has done me the huge favor of customizing the inspector “Tuning"s of all such notes in the Violin 1 Execution part of this score, fixes apparent in the score, as well as in both (MuseScore and with-Hauptwerk) audible renditions. It is a shame that this is necessary.

For more info on Hauptwerk in the MuseScore context, please visit the (new) Hauptwerk/Grand Orgue group cited among those in which this score appears (after "show more").

J.S. Bach: Aria: Ich will an den Himmel denken (BWV 166 #2, Violin reconstruction by BSG, 9/2016)

6 parts12 pages05:402 years ago739 views
Oboe, Violin, Voice, Other Woodwinds, Cello, Contrabass
“I will think upon the Heavens, and to the world not give my heart. Whether I go or stay, the question remains in my mind, ‘Man/humanity, whither goest thou?' ”

This gorgeous aria from the Cantata BWV 166, “Wo gehst du hin?” (“Whither goest thou?”) comes to us incomplete. The obbligato violin part is lacking: several reconstructions have been attempted, and this is mine, done in the first days of Sept. 2016. I have had and loved a 1960 recording by Helmut Barbe and the St. Nicholas Choir of Berlin/Spandau almost that long, and the reconstruction on that LP (whose origin I don’t know) explicitly and implicitly informed many of my choices (e.g., the basic canon at the fifth and interlocking obbligato figures in the first five measures and elsewhere), but it seems clear that “those were there to be found”, based upon similar Bach arias and the interaction of the oboe and the tenor. So how much is Bach’s and how much is mine is a fair question, but I don’t think there’s much of anyone else’s reconstruction here. The Bachgesellschaft (BGA) shows only the oboe, tenor, and continuo (i.e., no violin reconstruction). I did not listen to or refer to the LP or any other reconstruction while doing this. Reconstruction is a curious exercise related to both discovery and invention – if I succeeded in the reconstruction, then none of it is mine and all of it is Bach's.

The key to the reconstruction is the figuring of the bass, which, in its “descriptive/reductive” role, almost always provides a sure indication of what “important notes” are to be sounded by the obbligati - account for the oboe and tenor, and you’re set. As always, maximal economy on “shapes” is best — I suppose I could still do better.

I have also realized the continuo, whose figuring runs off the rails at m. 30, at which point I had to infer the right harmony from context and idiom, and lacked this guide for the obbligato.

J.S. Bach: Von Gott kommt mir ein Freudenschein (BWV 172, #6)

6 parts2 pages01:243 years ago411 views
Violin, Voice(4), Contrabass
The closing chorale of the cantata BWV 172, a verse of "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern", posted as a tutorial of Bach's techniques for adding, so to speak, a "dispensable obbligato", of "medium interest."

Nicolai's sweet, beloved 1597 Christmas tune contains a many long and repeated (arguably boring) notes. Bach has addressed this with a violin-section (not solo) obbligato above the soprano (and split the violas and assigned second violins to double the soprano, which I have not orchestrated here, although I've added contrabass and written in Bach's figures for your edification).

What is interesting here is the status of this violin part between utterly essential to the counterpoint (which it is not) and "really interesting, motivically rich enhancement" (e.g., BW 161 last mvt.), which it is not, either. As such, it seems clearly an add-on, added by Bach after the chorale had already been set, and worth study for the techniques he employs to effect such. The smoothness of the other parts is not in it; jumpiness and kludginess are not equally-distributed as they are in the best five-voice textures.

Note particularly his eighth-notes jumping between chord members to avoid obvious motions already stated in the other parts: e.g., the first beat of m. 14: he arrives at D upwardly, while the soprano has arrived at D downwardly. He could then go up to E (can't go down, as the soprano already does), but that would duplicate a leading-tone. So he leaps up to Bb, which must go down (if nothing else, the bass goes up from Bb), but the resulting A would conflict with tenor G in the next chord. So he puts an eight-note suspension, and its resolution in eighth-notes, the A, DOES conflict with the tenor G, but he assumed I wouldn't notice (it's short, consonant with the bass (a 6-5 with the G), and has defensible function in both the next chord and melodic pattern).

Note also the 6-5-6-5 pattern in in m. 5, plainly ameliorating parallel fifths (with the same consonant 6's, this time confessed to the figuring), although it still sounds mighty fifthy to my ears. "Your mileage may vary" on the subsequent downward 7th leap of that A to Bb, a "register shift/restore" gesture that makes sense in certain motivic contexts, but here seems devil-may-care.

He clearly stole an A from the tenor in 6 to give the violin indispensability there, and gave the choral voices open fifths in 9 to let the 4-3 suspension of the violin fioratura flourish, as it were...

At the end of 12, both vn1 and tenor approach A at m. 13 by step from above. Only the former's little twiddle of sixteenth notes cheats parallel octaves.

Otherwise, observe the contrapuntal space, the gestures not taken by other lines, upon which the vn1 sets. There is much to be learned here.

Canone alla sesta, alla Francese (di BSG, 2015)

6 parts2 pages01:143 years ago200 views
Flute(2), Oboe(2), Bassoon(2)
A new (bass-accompanied) canon at the sixth, in the French Ouverture (18th ct). style.

The gold (berg?) standard of canons at the sixth is Variation 18 of the Goldbergs, also bass-accompanied (and I have taken from it the scheme of half-note canon delay in a 4/4 measure, resulting in many similar "tricks"). I have heard Robert Levin discuss Variation 18, which looks as natural as the blue sky, saying "It looks so easy. Believe me, it's not at all."

There are hidden-track ornament executions.

Aprilis, per canonem ad quintam infra (di BSG, 2015)

6 parts7 pages02:203 years ago228 views
Flute, Voice(2), Cello, Other Woodwinds, Contrabass
An accompanied chorale canon with 2 obbligati on a chorale by a friend of mine on 2 verses of an American poem I can't reproduce here because of copyright.

My friend wrote a chorale-like song on a favorite poem of hers, although it includes some melodic features atypical of Baroque chorales. I created this "accompanied canon" upon it (via necessary and sufficient rhythmic distortion), setting it in canon at the fifth below, with "real" (exact semitone fidelity) imitation, adding the (figured) bass implied by my canonization, and an obbligato flute part, and realizing the continuo (in this MuseScore version).

This movement was performed live in a church in the Boston area in April, 2015, with four professional musicians (the bass line on solo cello), but the vagaries of live performance (including a vocalist with a bad cold) did not do it as much justice as this splendid MuseScore performance with typical MuseScore Bach Cantata-aria forces, incl. contrabass.

There is more description on the first page of the score.

J. S. Bach: Von den Stricken meiner Sünden (from Johannespassion, BWV 245, #11)

6 parts17 pages05:433 years ago2,149 views
Oboe(2), Voice, Other Woodwinds, Cello, Contrabass
The gnarly first alto aria from the -Johannespassion-, in which twin oboes in grating canon at the second illustrate tangles of sin.

Frequently omitted by putative abridgers of Bach's magnificent Passion According to St. John (1724), this lengthy (6 min at my tempo) peroration, positioned as a comment upon Jesus' arrest, depicts two contrastive pairs of the paradoxes at the heart of (Lutheran) Christology, "From the tangles of my sins to unbind me is my Saviour bound. From all lesions of sins to fully cure me he lets himself be wounded." (i.e., Jesus bound unbinds me, Jesus wounded heals me) (the original German text is in the score). Bach, expectably, excels at depicting theological complexity by musical complexity (cf. BWV 23.1 (http://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/890006)). Here, two oboes wail away in canon at the second (one of the more difficult intervals for canon), a measure apart, at the outset and elsewhere, the two lines tangling in canon as close as two tendrils of a vine, creating poignant and dissonant clashes like sparks from a millstone. Dealing in sin and punishment on the Cross, it is a dark aria, but not tragic or elegiac.

The two oboes are not in canon throughout, but take up canons at the second at various ritornelli ([measure #'s]). At times, the canon is led between soloist and both oboes at once "in harmony" (mm. 1-13), a stunning testament to Bach's fluency.

There is a wholly inexplicable parallel 5th in m. 61, last beat, at "!!!", between Ob 2 and continuo, and a very bold same-onset cross-relation at "!!!" in m. 102 (alto and continuo). The contrary scales of violent passing dissonance in m. 64 (starting at the Bb figured 9-7-5+) are a whole lecture in Bach counterpoint. The execution of the canon a the second, over an elaborated rising scale (one degree per measure) deserves detailed study.


I have realized the continuo from Bach's figures as per the Bachgesellschaft, whence the whole score, including beaming, phrasing, and syllabification choices. I have chosen contrabass doubling and the MS -Panflötenorgel- continuo. The MS oboes are, ... oboy!

Here is a traditional performance by the matchless alto, Julia Hamari: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=in3ilUm9o9U . A wholly wonderful and unusual performance in Arabic with Middle-Eastern instruments, sung by Fadia el-Hage, may be heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmvhGP98Qpw . Look up the performing ensemble "Sarband" [sic].

JSB+BSG: Reißt euch los, bekränkte Sinnen (aria reconstruction from BWV 224 fragment by BSG)

6 parts9 pages03:043 years ago679 views
Oboe, Violin, Voice, Cello
Reconstruction by Bernard Greenberg of a lost aria from a lost Bach cantata (BWV 224) of which only this aria's soprano part survives. Mentioning no theological concepts, it may well belong to a lost secular cantata.

http://digital.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de/werkansicht/?PPN=PPN776720643 is the facsimile soprano part of this aria (thanks to Mike Magatagan!), in CPE Bach's handwriting, on the back of the Pedalexercitum BWV 598. The text tells off ill spirits and grief, that they "will win no place today"': "Tear yourself free, o troubled heart!". Thus, although in the minor, the aria's -affekt- remains "upbeat". As you can see at that link, the score features two long (20 and 12) multi-measure rests, during which instrumental "breaks" are assumed.

I have constructed a da capo aria around this soprano part (I shortened the multimeasure rests ever so slightly and dotted the penultimate note, but otherwise,) keeping the latter intact. I have set it for (soprano,) violin, oboe, and continuo. I have built what I have out of the head motif (which starts the fragment) and its eighth-note could-be-chromatic answer ("bekränkten"), applying expectable -Fortspinnung- techniques (playful intertwined suspension gamboling, sequence, outright canon (at the fifth above, m. 43 ff), walking bass, ubiquitous imitation (esp. at the fifth) and interchange, etc.), to create an aria that is both recognizably Bach's and recognizably my own.

There are some authenticity issues about the fragment (i.e., whether the score is really JSB's composition). To me, there are not enough phrases or repetitions of the basic material, and, significantly, not enough distributed silence during which instruments usually answer the soloist. The fitting of the words to the melody seems tongue-twister-like, and the harmonic direction suggested by the "bekränkten" figure with its Bb-G# not pursued by the solo part. This last gives rise to some inelegance.

There is also gross disagreement on the web as to whether the word is "bekränkten" (sickened) or "bedrängten" (oppressed), but study of the way the copyist writes "k" in "keinen" supports the former hypothesis. The web also thinks that "Sinnen" means "sins" or "sinners" here; it does not–it means "senses", "feelings", etc.

Thanks again to Mike Magatagan for making me aware of this challenge-as-a-fragment. Apologies in advance for undiscovered technical errors.

J.S. Bach: Nimm mich mir und gib mich dir (BWV 163, #5)

6 parts6 pages03:583 years ago506 views
Strings, Voice(2), Other Woodwinds, Cello, Contrabass
A graceful, stately soprano-alto duet punctuated by the hymn "Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht".

This superbly elegant duet is the penultimate movement of the Cantata "Nur jedem das Seine" (BWV 163) ("to each his due", a German proverb now with a "checkered legacy"), soprano, alto and continuo with the chorale "Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht" in unisono strings (in the soprano register) interwoven, rendering the whole an aria, duet, and "chorale-prelude movement". Its airy grace breathes a certain Handelian charm, but that great Baroque composer could not approach these spheres of harmonic and imitative subtlety.

The text translates "Take me from myself and give myself to Thee, and from my will to fulfill Thine; give me of Thy Good that my heart and spirit might remain in Thee forever (für und für)". The setting is accordingly at once tender and noble.

Credit where due, I started with Mike Magatigan's rearrangement and reverted it to the Bachgesellschaft (from IMSLP) state, including the notation of eighth-note runs, put back the voices and strings, changed the tempo, and added the indispensable contrabass and remixed (and edited some other details) to produce a performance resembling those I have loved.

Oh, yes, the continuo. The BGA does not show any bass figures (except in three measures at the end) (go figure!). Therefore, I had to compose the continuo from scratch, from harmonic analysis of the score with some artistic choices. I "cheated" insofar as having (of necessity) looked at the obbligato parts: I deliberately doubled (in thirds and sixths) and otherwise counterpointed other parts (as well as the bass itself) on occasion and imitated gestures and figures ("riffs", not "numbers') liberally (and even added a couple of gratuitous but tasteful suspensions) for a more interesting continuo (although a modern continuo player for a literate ensemble might well do such a thing, a Baroque player did not have access to the other parts).