Reviewed by Geoffrey Webber*
4. The Music
1.2 In a similar format to previous publications
from A-R Editions, Inc. the volume opens with details about the life of
the composer (which happen to be particularly interesting), and continues
with a discussion of the contents of the publication and performance issues,
followed by texts, translations, and plates showing pages from the original
print. The Critical Report is placed at the end of the volume following
the music itself. The standard of presentation and accuracy in the volume
is high, though two minor
errors in the continuo part appear in several places, and there are
the usual instances of isolated
2.2 One of the principal problems facing
an editor of a printed source of this nature is that the original notes
all have separate stems, though slurs appear regularly in the parts. Walker
decides to adopt conventional modern beaming and reproduce the slurs exactly
as they appear in the source. It is generally understood that the slurs
in publications such as this were provided to help indicate text underlay,
as described by Praetorius.(note 1)
Walker points out the often "rather inconsistent, not to say haphazard,
manner" in which the slurs appear in the source, and decides to retain
them not for any positive reason but rather "just in case some sort of
significance might later be discovered to attach to them." A broader understanding
of slurs in this context needs at least to entertain the notion that some
sort of performance indication is involved, even if the presentation in
the source is as inconsistent in this regard as it is with underlay. How
else can the slurs that appear during a melisma in measure 112 of No.
9, Ich weiß, daß der Herr, be understood, unless as
an error? A further avenue of investigation concerns the evidence provided
by manuscript copies of works that were copied from a publication. How
is the beaming supplied in such cases? How are the slurs reproduced? No
mention is made by Walker of any manuscript copies of the compositions
from Capricornus's publication, but to judge from the incipits provided
by Harald Kümmerling in his Katalog der Sammlung Bokemeyer (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1970), two of the works, Der Herr ist gerecht
and Ad te suspiro do indeed survive in manuscript form as part
of the late seventeenth-century core of the Bokemeyer collection. What
do these copies reveal?
3.2 A lack of reference to historical authority
is again evident when the editor discusses pitch and tempo relationships.
Clearly there is not space in an edition to consider these problem areas
in much detail, but it is surely possible to point the interested reader
in the direction of the relevant literature. Regarding pitch, Walker deduces
from the range C-a'' in one of the concertos that "this
suggests (at least
given the nature of modern voices) a pitch level rather close to A 440." Not only does the author give no bibliographical pointers to the inquiring
reader, but even his statement concerning modern-day singers is open to
question, as in my experience there are many more sopranos who can sing
above a top a'' than basses who can sing a bottom C. (At least this serves
soberly to remind us how two commentators writing at the same timewhether
then or nowcan give conflicting accounts of the same issue.) On tempo
relationships Walker refers only to proportio tripla, stating that "one semibreve of duple meter equals three semibreves of triple." How
does one then interpret the other triple time signatures in the piece
(e.g. 3/2 and 6/8)? Where can one turn for historically informed guidance
in such matters? (note 3)
*Geoffrey Webber (email@example.com) is the author of North German Church Music in the Age of Buxtehude (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996 [reviewed in this Journal, vol. 5.1 (1999)]) and Director of Studies in Music at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He has recently recorded a collection of largely unpublished church music by William Child (1606-1697) and the new reconstruction of J. S. Bach's St Mark Passion using recitatives and turbae by Reinhard Keiser recently published by Bärenreiter, both on the ASV label.
Return to beginning
Notes1. See John Butt, Bach Interpretation: Articulation Marks in Primary Sources of J. S. Bach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 24 ff.
Return to text
2. Praetorius, for example, in the third part of his
Syntagma Musicum recommends the addition of imitative phrases and
diminutions to the continuo part in certain circumstances.
3. Useful remarks on the subject are made by Daniel
Friderici in his widely-circulated treatise Musica Figuralis (Rostock,
1618), as noted in my North German Church Music in the Age of Buxtehude
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 190-91.
4. Edited by O. Drechsler and M. Geck in the series
Das Erbe deutscher Musik (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1972).
RemarksTwo minor errors in the continuo part:
Not all of the original 3-sharp figures have been modernized to 3-natural, and in a number of cases where 5 is given over a B the necessary sharp has not been added.
Return to text
Ex. 1, m. 2, Ex. 2, m. 4: the specimen realizations have missing F sharps.
Wrong notes and figures, either uncorrected from the original or in the
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