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The Servant Sending his Fellow Servant to Prison, from The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, bound in Thesaurus Sacrarum historiarum Veteris et Novi Testamenti, 1585.
Anonymous, Netherlandish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (not on view).

I’m back! I’m starting with a small step, but stay tuned … a more considerable post is coming next week.

For this coming Sunday, the 22nd Sunday after Trinity, Bach wrote Cantata 89 in 1723, Cantata 115 in 1724, and Cantata 55 in 1726. Two years ago I wrote about the soprano aria from Cantata 115, not really being able to choose between Susanne Rydén with Bach Collegium Japan or Dorothee Mields with Herreweghe. I also included a link to the soprano aria from Cantata 89. Read that post here.

I still recommend the Herreweghe recording from 2017 for an overall recording of this cantata. However, sometimes it is nice to *see* a performance, and I would like to celebrate an important event in the world of Bach Cantata recordings that happened in the past year: The J.S. Bach Foundation in Switzerland (Bachstiftung) decided to make all their live video recordings of their Bach cantata performances available on YouTube, in full length. Previously, they had only made one movement of each cantata available on YouTube, and one would have to purchase the DVD or buy a live stream subscription in order to see the rest of the cantata.

So in this post I would like to share the Bachstiftung recording of Cantata 115. It was recorded on October 21, 2016, and published to YouTube on October 26, 2018.

Find the German texts with English translations here and the score here.

What is so special about this video recording is that you can see wonderful flutist Marc Hantaï at work in the opening chorus and in the soprano aria. He doesn’t appear on video that often, and they made a good choice to put him in front, so you can see his playing, and of course this way also the microphones pick up his sound better. (to hear more of what I believe is his playing, go to this post).

corno da tirarsi

Other instrumentalists to watch in this video: Olivier Picon on corno da tirarsi, and Balázs Máté on violoncello piccolo. Only three cantatas (46, 162, and 67) show the full name corno da tirarsi written in the manuscript, but there are 27 cantatas from Leipzig requiring a corno in which that part is not playable on a natural horn, so must have been written for this corno da tirarsi as well. Cantata 115 is included in that group. Bach is the only composer who ever mentioned this instrument in writing, and most probably his principal brass player Gottfried Reiche was the only one who ever played it. After Reiche’s death in 1734 Bach did not write for this instrument anymore, and for repeat performances of any cantatas containing a corno da tirarsi part, Bach rewrote it for other instruments. Read more about this in Olivier Picon’s article on the “corno da tirarsi” from 2010. The 27 cantatas are mentioned on page 22 of the article.

To find more of the Bachstiftung videos, search their Archive on their Bachipedia.org website. Most of the videos are “unlisted” on YouTube, so you won’t find them by doing a search within YouTube. Or, for the Dutch readers of this blog, you can use Eduard van Hengel’s new website (another terrific event of this past year!) and click on the links for all YouTube recordings he conveniently provides at the top of each page under the header “Beluister” (for an example, see the one for Cantata 115 here).

Wieneke Gorter, November 15, 2019.