J. S. Bach: Meine Seufzer, meine Thränen (BWV 13, #1)

Uploaded on Jun 27, 2015

A dark, complex, texturally rich tenor aria of tremendous depth and beauty, which lends its title to the Cantata BWV 13.

"My sighs, my tears, can't even count, when I daily find woe, and the misery doesn't go away ("nicht verschwindet"), ahh, so must this pain already lead the way to death."

A modern song that only describes misery with no scenario for redemption is generally called "blues." Bach takes advantage of this singularly unforgiving text to weave a correspondingly dark-blue tapestry, the oboe da caccia (here the "unusual" MS English Horn) and the tenor voice in duet accompanied by a pair of recorders generally in thirds and sixths (other times unisono or in close imitation) lamenting in a slowly-rocking 12/8. The oboe da caccia wails away in serpentine strings of scalar sixteenths with the most subtle and poignant harmonic inflections (e.g., m. 6) behind the tenor, and occasionally in foreground. The two duets (tenor/oboe-da-caccia and two recorders) occasionally swap motifs and roles for variety.

The harmonies are quite complex, the basic D minor venturing as far as Bb minor, with Gb's abounding, at the central section ("when I daily find woe...."). The continuo (my realization) is from a mix of Bach's figures (some are in this score, some not) and my own carefree intuition; in any case, the intricacy of the harmony presents a correspondingly difficult realization task.

If you like this beautiful work, find a live performance, too.

The otherwise beautiful MuseScore English Horn is flawed in that it only reaches full volume three seconds into its note, ideal for long notes, but presenting a difficult problem for (automatic) volume-balancing of short notes. You'll hear this. No trills yet; waiting for MuseScore 2.0.2 to do it itself.

Cantata tenor Bach counterpoint recorder aria Meine Seufzer meine Thränen

Pages 12
Duration 07:44
Measures 51
Key signature 1 flat
Parts 7
Part names Recorder(2), English Horn, Voice, Other Woodwinds, Cello, Contrabass
Privacy Everyone can see this score
License None (All rights reserved)
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I couldn't have said it better. Thanks!