Bach, Johann Sebastian
- Bach, Johann Sebastian
- Fine autograph manuscript of the revised first violin part for Cantata no.130, Herr Gott Dich loben alle wir, inscribed by Bach "Aria. Sub Signo...Violino 1"
- ink on paper
2 pages, folio (c.35.3 x 22cm), untrimmed, 13 hand-ruled staves per page, [Leipzig, probably c.1732-1735], left-hand edge reinforced, minor paper-loss slightly affecting text, the paper generally strong, with only a few tiny cracks from oxidization of Bach's ink, some show-through on the verso, a little browning at corners
HERR GOTT DICH LOBEN ALLE WIR BWV 130 IS A CHURCH CANTATA OF STRIKING GRANDEUR, PARTICULARLY IN THIS BASS ARIA. The first version of Cantata No.130 was composed for the Michaelmas, 29 September 1724. It is based on a hymn by Paul Ebners and is part of the sequence of great chorale cantatas written in Bach’s second year in Leipzig.
Unavailable for study for many years, this manuscript is not recorded by Marianne Helms in her critical report for the Neue Bach-Ausgabe (1974). It offers many new insights into Bach's working practices, showing him forever rethinking his music as he revised it.
Manuscripts wholly in the hand of Bach are rare at auction; apart from a four-page manuscript sold last year, none has been offered at auction for over twenty years. In the case of Cantata no.130, Bach revised his original orchestration of 1724, writing out this completely new violin part, sometime between 1732 and 1735, when he rescored the bass aria 'Der alte Drache brennt vor Neid'. It had been originally accompanied by three trumpets, the leading part, written for the virtuoso Johann Gottfried Reiche (1667-1734), being especially demanding. When Bach revived the piece in the 1730s, possibly after Reiche's retirement, his remaining trumpeters were either unable or unwilling to accompany this aria. Bach re-wrote the parts for violins and viola, inserting the additional leaves into the original string parts prepared in 1724. The trumpets were retained just for the opening chorus and final chorale. A striking aspect of Bach's genius is his skill at renewing his compositions in new instrumental arrangements.
Bach has added dynamics and bowing (or phrasing) consistently throughout the manuscript, much of which diverges from the published phrasing for trumpet. Staccato or at least non legato marks are added to bars 13, 57 & 79. There is also an additional note inserted at the beginning of bar 3 and two extracted at bars 4 & 48 (the repeat). The additional viola part survives at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, and the additional second violin part at the Bodmer Foundation in Cologny, Switzerland. The paper-type used for these manuscripts accords with that used by Bach in other pieces during the years 1732-1735. For the original 1724 trumpet part for this cantata (in the hand of C.G. Meissner, but annotated by the composer), see Sotheby's sale, 18 May 1995, lot 71.
The emergence of this Violin part, entirely in Bach's hand, is significant, since he did not normally act as a copyist for the playing parts in his cantatas. They were generally written out by assistants, and then annotated or corrected by the composer; many contain only a few lines or annotations in his hand. Most of Meissner's copies for the 1724 performance are untraced, including for the first violin, the bass voice, the flute and fragments of the tenor voice and basso continuo. Some of these copies went missing during the nineteenth century and, indeed, the present leaf was unrecorded before appearing at auction for the only time at K.E. Henrici of Berlin in 1910. For much of the last century it was owned by the celebrated conductor and Bruckner pupil, Franz Schalk (1869-1931).