«THE NEUMEISTER COLLECTION OF CHORALE PRELUDES OF THE BACH CIRCLE: AN EXAMINATION OF THE CHORALE PRELUDES OF J. S. BACH AND THEIR USAGE AS SERVICE ...»
This seems to occur most frequently at final cadences.49 The culmination of this technique can be seen in the later chorale preludes; in The Neumeister Collection, he experiments with the placement of pedal points by putting them in the soprano.
Tussler also states that the usage of sequence and repetition are important elements in Bach’s style. In the “bound” category of chorale prelude forms, one can expect to find many melodic sequences; harmonic sequences occur more frequently in the “free” forms, particularly in the interludes between chorale phrases in chorale fantasies and the episodes and codettas of chorale fughettas. Bach uses repetition to create unity, especially in large segments of music. Two types of repetition which he uses are short, repeated motives approximately one to two measures in length, and repetitions which involve long separations between statements, generally one or more chorale phrases in length. In both of these instances, the repetition may vary from its original statement by the alteration of one voice either melodically or rhythmically.50 Finally, this study will present a general overview for the playing of polyphonic music on the organ, which may serve as a guide for the student who wishes to achieve a stylistic performance of the chorale preludes in The Neumeister Collection; specific applications of these principles will accompany the pedagogical presentation later in this chapter. Because the organ sustains tones as long as a key is depressed, attack and
release of keys (and pedals) is extremely important in correct organ technique. Also, the organ offers no variance in dynamics with the depression of the keys, so the primary method of achieving loudness or emphasis on a note in Baroque music is through the use of articulation and touch. Other factors such as thickening texture and registration also affect loudness. In addition to this, a detached style of playing due to the grouping of notes and early fingering practices is used to execute music of this era on the organ.
The organ method book by George Richie and George Stauffer entitled Organ Technique: Modern and Early offers excellent insight into the historical perspective of playing early to late-Baroque music. It refers to the touch required in executing this
music as the “ordinary touch,” and defines it as:
...the sound that results from connecting two adjacent white notes as smoothly as possible with one finger or one toe.51 This technique utilizes modern finger action, but the lateral hand movements are very different from those used today; in these chorale preludes, the hand physically shifts from one location to another. An excellent presentation on the subject of early fingerings is given in the doctoral dissertation Organ Technique: An Historical Approach, by Sandra Soderland. Richie and Stauffer’s method book, on the other hand, gives more specific information on hand shifting, “ordinary touch,” and articulation of note groupings in various meters.52 Richie, George and George Stauffer, Organ Technique: Modern and Early (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1992), 172.
Richie & Stauffer, 172-255.
“Ordinary touch” is also defined by Richie and Stauffer as an “articulated legato” which they state affects all notes and rests including repeated and adjacent notes. They further add that meter is the determining factor in articulation, both of individual notes and of the entire work. In the case of hymns (or chorales), the text dictates the strong or weak beats according to its stressed or unstressed syllable. Furthermore, early- to late-Baroque music uses an articulation that is aligned vertically, rather than the horizontal orientation of later music. This vertical alignment is predicated upon the theory that all notes and rests are equal in terms of articulation.53 The degree of space to be executed between specific combinations of notes, such as repeated notes, adjacent notes, convergent voices, and melodic notes is very important in organ music. Factors affecting the amount of separation between notes are tempo, acoustics, registration, and context. In faster tempi, more space is needed between notes; also, in resonant rooms the separation needs to be greater than in nonresonant ones. Registrations which are clear and bright, as well as those using fastspeaking pipes provide separation between notes. Context is another very important aspect of articulation of notes; factors such as primary and secondary accents, heirarchy of voice parts, rhythmic considerations, contour and phrasing of the melodic line, consonance and dissonance, and converging parts also play an important role. Table 11 lists some of the various principles involved in determining articulation and offers to the student specific musical examples; in each case, the first example shows the notation as written and the second example illustrates how the passage is actually played.
Example 8: BWV 742, Ach Herr, mich Armen Sünder, M. 15 Ragatz, 42-44.
9. In the case of a moving part converging with a stationary part, the moving part is given precedence and the stationary part is broken.57 Example 9: BWV 1099, Aus tiefer Not, schrei ich zu dir, Mm. 23-24
II. Specific Examples of Articulation:
10. Conjunct/Disjunct Motion:More separation is used between notes displaying disjunct motion than those using conjunct motion.
Example 10: BWV 1105, Jesu, meine Freude, Mm. 5-6
Example 11: BWV 1105, Jesu, meine Freude, Mm. 14-15 Richie & Stauffer, 50.
12. Figurations:Rapid-note figurations must be articulated with more separation between the last notes of the figuration preceeding beats one and three.ise for block chords in Allegro movements of homophonic textures.
Example 12: BWV 957, Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt, Mm. 1-2
13. Anacrusis: Notes occurring before downbeats are generally given more articulation to establish a strong accent on beat one.
Example 13: BWV 1095, O Lamm Gottes unschuldig, Mm. 12-13
Example 16: BWV 1095, O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig, Mm. 12-13
17. Suspensions which are interrupted by one note before resolving are played by detaching both the suspended note and the note of interruption.
Example 17: BWV 1093, Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen, M. 16
Richie & Stauffer, 189-195.
The remainder of this chapter will consist of a pedagogical discussion of BWV 957, Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt, and BWV 1093, Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen. Both of these works were chosen for representation in this study because of a particular structural element or organ technique: BWV 957 is in the form of a chorale fughetta followed by the chorale itself in a four-voice setting, offering excellent teaching material on the articulation of figurations and the playing of chorales, with suggestions for alternate voicings; the chorale prelude Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen, BWV 1093, is a melody chorale which offers a wide representation of the articulation principles contained in Table 11. These two chorale preludes also differ greatly in tempo; BWV 957 is a lively composition, with the “A” section containing rapid passagework, while BWV 1093 is more somber and stately, affording the student an opportunity to focus on performance techniques.
Table 12, which is inserted before the musical scores, is a key to the articulation markings included in the edited scores. The student should be aware that these are academic;
performance also includs artistic nuances which can only be managed successfully after the techniques discussed here are mastered.
The first of the two J. S. Bach chorale preludes to be examined is BWV 957, Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt. The work was originally classified as a keyboard fugue until the discovery of The Neumeister Collection revealed another nine measures which contained the chorale. It was then reclassified as a chorale fughetta and The Neumeister Collection became the first concordance of this composition.60 It is a combination form,
with the “A” section consisting of a chorale fughetta and the second part, “B,” written as a melody chorale with the melody located in the soprano voice. A copy of the Urtext Edition61 is included; the only difference in notation is the changing of stem directions for melodic notes buried in the figurations of the “A” section.
Score I.A. is an edited version of the chorale; articulation and hand-sharing of notes has been included in the score. Numbers of the articulation principles stated earlier have been inserted wherever articulation editing has occurred.
Score I.B. is a variant of Score I.A. In this edited version of the chorale, the bass voice is played by the pedals with the soprano, alto, and tenor voices played by the hands
on a single manual. The following pedal markings have been inserted as a guide:
The student should note that the pedal is marked for toes only; it is doubtful that at this time organ pedalboards facilitated the use of the heel. In addition to this, the pedal notes are played with the same articulated legato touch used in the manuals, so that any techniques used to connect pedal notes, such as use of the heel, substitutions, and glissandos are unnecessary.
This chorale offers several possibilities for variety using different voice placements.
A common practice on organs with a variety of pedal ranks is to play the melody in the pedals using an 8', 4', or 2' stop with a softer accompaniment played in the manuals. Score I.C. has been edited in this manner.
Key to Articulation Markings in Scores 1 Repeated notes using rest units = shortest note value 2 Repeated notes using rest units = ½ value of preceeding note 3 Repeated notes in melodic lines 4 Repeated notes following ties 5 Dotted repeated notes 6 Repeated notes in ternary meter 7 Converging parts of equal importance 8 Converging parts using a heirarchy 9 Converging parts: Moving & stationary parts 10 Conjunct/Disjunct Motion
15 Syncopated Notes 16 Suspensions resolving immediately 17 Suspensions using one-note interruption 18 Suspensions using many-note interruption
Example 20: BWV 957, Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt, Mm. 13-15 The chorale prelude Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen, is the only organ setting J. S. Bach wrote of this beautiful Passion chorale. It is ideal for the beginning organist because it is in the form of a CF melody chorale, with the melody clearly audible in the soprano voice. Also, this composition requires a minimum of sharing between the
hands and is played entirely on the manuals. Scores included are as follows:
Score II. is a rewriting of the Urtext Edition. The markings are reproduced as possible to the manuscript. Score II.A. is an edited version of the Urtext Edition with suggestions for modern fingeringn; articulations have been written into the score and the number of the articulation principle is inserted at the point of editing. Stem direction is not necessarily an indication of voicing, but a suggestion for hand sharing of inner voices.
Score II.B. is a revoicing of BWV 1093, putting the cantus firmus melody in the pedals and accompanying voices in the manuals. This score has also been edited with regard to fingering, note sharing between hands, articulation, and pedaling.
In conclusion, the finding of The Neumeister Collection in 1982 by musicologists Christoph Wolff and Hans-Joachim Schultz, as well as Yale librarian Harold E. Samuel proved to be one of the most significant discoveries of the twentieth century. The compendium was compiled by Johann Gottfried Neumeister sometime after 1790, and at his death, was passed to Johann C. Kittle, a favorite pupil of Johann Sebastian Bach. Lowell Mason, a Yale University professor, purchased Kittle’s collection of manuscripts, and bequeathed it that university in 1873.
From 1873 to 1985, The Neumeister Collection has remained uncatalogued among the archival materials at Yale University.
The contents of the collection include a total of eighty-two chorale preludes by several German Baroque organists and composers including Johann Pachelbel, Daniel Erich, Friederich W. Zachow, Johann Christoph Bach, Johann Michael Bach, and, most importantly, Johann Sebastian Bach. The Neumeister Collection has provided the first known concordances for several works and corrected the authorship of nine chorale preludes.
The compendium has great historical significance: in addition to providing concordances and correcting authorship, it also augments the number of known chorale compositions for all of the above composers, with the largest amount belonging to Johann Michael Bach (twenty-five works) and Johann Sebastian Bach (thirty-three works). Because of the similarities between The Neumeister Collection and the later collection of chorale preludes by J. S. Bach, the Orgelbüchlein, Christoph Wolff has proposed that The Neumeister Collection provided the prototype for the later collection, and that the Orgelbüchlein was a continuation of a systematic, liturgical, functional anthology of service music for the active church organist.
The inclusion of three of the J. S. Bach chorale preludes also contained in virtually identical settings of other collections is a rare occurrence. These three works are BWV 601, Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn; BWV 639, Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ; BWV 737, Vater unser im Himmelreich. The chorale preludes Herr Christ, der einig Gottes Sohn and Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ and both contained in The Neumeister Collection and the Orgelbüchlein;
Vater unser im Himmelreich can also be found in the Miscellaneous works of J. S. Bach. The inclusion of these three chorale preludes in such an early collection of Baroque service music has changed the way in which musicologists date the works of J. S. Bach, resetting the parameters of dating his early works.