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Voices of Music performs the first aria from the cantata “Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen” (BWV 51) on original instruments. Featuring Laura Heimes, soprano, and John Thiessen, baroque trumpet.
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Q. What is Early Music performance, or historical performance?
A. We play on instruments from the time of the composers, and we use the original music and playing techniques: it’s a special sound.
Q. Why are there no conductors?
A. Conductors weren’t invented until the 19th century; since we seek to recreate a historical performance, the music is led from the keyboard or violin, or the music is played as chamber music~or both 🙂
Q. What are period instruments or original instruments; how are they different from modern instruments?
A. As instruments became modernized in the 19th century, builders and players tended to focus on the volume of sound and the stability of tuning. Modern steel strings replaced the older materials, and instruments were often machine made. Historical instruments, built individually by hand and with overall lighter construction, have extremely complex overtones—which we find delightful. Modern instruments are of course perfectly suited to more modern music.
Q. Why is the pitch lower, or higher?
A. Early Music performance uses many different pitches, and these pitches create different tone colors on the instruments. See https://goo.gl/pVBNAC
Bach’s cantata is Italian in nature and makes extensive use of ritornello form within the larger framework of the Da Capo Aria. The original manuscripts are unusual in that they have “doublets” or extra parts for the strings, along with minimal solo and tutti markings. This performance features musicological research by Voices of Music into the works of Bach, and is also part of our Great Works series, which makes available exciting and historically based performances, along with editions of the music, free for teachers and students anywhere in the world.
Jauchzet Gott is the only cantata by Bach for both solo trumpet and solo soprano, and the highly virtuosic solo parts are demanding even by Bach’s standards. The soprano part covers two octaves and extends to high C. It is not known for whom the solo parts were composed; presumably the trumpet part was penned for the brilliant trumpeter Gottfried Reiche, and it is tempting to assume, as previous scholars have noted, that the solo soprano part was written for a visiting singer, as there was no known local singer at that time with a similar repertory. The first noted performance of the cantata was on the15th Sunday after Trinity, on 17 September 1730; the ms. is also marked “et in ogni tempo”, meaning that it could be performed at any time during the year.
Many authors have noted the resemblance in the opening and closing arias to the Italian concerto style, and for this reason, combined with the presence of the extra string parts and the soli and tuti markings, one can make a good case for doubling the string parts. In addition to the doublets, the original set of parts contains extra continuo parts, which we have assigned to the violone and archlute. We have added solo parts for the first violin where we think it is stylistically appropriate.
Pitch: A=415 Hz; temperament: Neidhardt 1724.