Music Monday: Magnificat 1733
Two hundred, ninety years ago…Johann Sebastian Bach performs a revised version of his Magnificat in D major, BWV 243, ending the mourning period for Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland.
Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Magnificat, BWV 243, is a musical setting of the biblical canticle Magnificat. It is scored for five vocal parts (two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass) and a Baroque orchestra including trumpets and timpani. It is the first major liturgical composition on a Latin text by Bach. In 1723, after taking up his post as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, Bach set the text of the Magnificat in a twelve movement composition in the key of E-flat major. For a performance at Christmas he inserted four hymns (laudes) related to that feast. This version, including the Christmas interpolations, was given the number 243.1 in the catalogue of Bach’s works.
Likely for the feast of Visitation of 1733 or another feast in or around that year, Bach produced a new version of his Latin Magnificat, without the Christmas hymns…instrumentation of some movements were altered or expanded and, the key changed from E-flat major to D major for performance reasons of the trumpet parts. This version of Bach’s Magnificat is known as BWV 243.2 (previously BWV 243). After publication of both versions in the 19th century, the second became the standard for performance. It is one of Bach’s most popular vocal works.
In Leipzig, the Magnificat was regularly part of Sunday services, sung in German on ordinary Sundays but more elaborately and in Latin on the high holidays (Christmas, Easter and Pentecost) and on the three Marian feasts Annunciation, Visitation and Purification.
Apart from an early setting of the Kyrie, on a mixed Greek and German text (BWV 233a), all of Bach’s known liturgical compositions in Latin were composed during his tenure as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, from 1723 until his death in 1750. Compared to Lutheran practice elsewhere, an uncharacteristic amount of Latin was used in church services in Leipzig. An early account of Bach showing interest in liturgical practices in Leipzig dates from 1714 when he noted down the order of the service on the first Sunday in Advent during a visit to the town.
Bach assumed the position of Thomaskantor on May 30, 1723, the first Sunday after Trinity, performing an ambitious cantata in 14 movements, Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75, followed by a comparable cantata, Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76 the next Sunday.
Wikipedia Summary & History
Music Monday: Sonata In G Minor 1721
(Johann) Christoph Graupner: born January 13, 1683, in Kirchberg, Saxony and died May 10, 1760 in Darmstadt, Hesse-Darmstadt. In 1706, because of a threat of Swedish invasion, he sought refuge at Hamburg, where he was harpsichordist at the opera under R. Keiser. The most significant genres in which Graupner worked were the chorale cantata, the trio sonata and the concerto. He composed about 1,300 cantatas. His trio sonatas and concerti represent a German assimilation of these Italian forms. Characteristically, the trio sonatas are written in fugal style. Graupner also wrote several operas, many overtures and symphonies and, harpsichord partitas and sonatas.
Christoph Graupner was one of the principal German composers of the period of J.S. Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann. He was highly thought of in his day, much like George Frederic Handel or Telemann, with whom he maintained a lifetime friendship. Composers Johann David Heinichen and Johann Friedrich Fasch were also close friends of his. His first teachers were Mylius and the organist Nikolaus Küster (PDF), whom Graupner followed to Reichenbach in 1694. He entered the Leipzig Thomasschule in 1696, where J.D. Heinichen was a fellow student[…]. [H]e studied under Johann Schelle and Johann Kuhnau and befriended Telemann and his future colleague Gottfried Grünewald […]. Leaving Leipzig in 1706, […] Graupner went to Hamburg […]. [He] composed, there, his first five operas that received great public acclaim […]. In 1709, he became Vice-Kapellmeister at the court of Ernst Ludwig, Landgrave of Hessen-Darmstadt […]. He wrote many operas up to 1719, when he turned to sacred and instrumental composition. [His] remaining years of […] life were spent at the court at Darmstadt. [He] was a prolific and tireless composer. Though blind later in life, he produced immense amounts of music […].
Christoph Graupner is one of the most fascinating, yet, at the same time, underestimated composers of German baroque music: the era of Bach, Händel, Telemann and many other nearly forgotten composers.
Graupner Digital Online
Christoph Graupner (Music Web International/Len Mullenger)
Christoph Graupner Society Website
Complete Score Sheet Music (IMSLP/GWV 724)