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On November 30, 2002, the concert of "Gloria Ensemble and Choir Vol.10" will be performed. Here is the information of the concert. I belong this group as a harpsichord player. The piece in this year is the whole of J. S. Bach's Mass in B-minor (BWV 232)! It is famous and one of the greatest works of Johann Sebastian Bach! Of course, it needs Basso Continuo's activity and it is heavy work! ... What are waiting for us ? Please read the following...
NOTE : I divide "Gloria Diary 2002" as the following;
This day is the day of the concert of "Gloria Ensemble & Choir". The end of pamphlet says that next "Gloria Ensemble & Choir" will treat J. S. Bach's Mass in B-minor. This thing had been discussed for many weeks, and it is opened now!
I am excited. I always have been thinking and telling my friends, "Playing J. S. Bach's Mass in B-minor had been my dream. I want to play the Basso Continuo of Bach's Mass in Bm at least once until my death." My "dream" is just in front of me! At once, I am afraid. Can we perform this great piece successfully?
I will show the references mainly used for studying this music. Differing with the pieces of "Gloria Vol.9"(J.Haydn and M.Haydn), it is famous music so there are many kinds of references and analysis. Like "Gloria Diary Vlo.9", I can form this "Gloria diary Vol.10" to analysis of J. S. Bach's music. But this year, I will not these kinds of analysis so much. Please refer the following books to refer detailed analysis.
1. BÄRENREITER MINIATURE SCORES
"J. S. Bach MESSE IN H-MOLL BWV 232 - J. S. Bach Misa Ro-tanchô"
(ONGAKU-NO-TOMO-SHA, OGT 601, 1976)(ISBN4-276-90916-3)
This is pocket score of Mass in B-minor. The explanation is in Japanese and German. It is easy to buy it in Japan.
For both of singers and instrumental players, it is necessary to get the full score. It is not enough to get vocal score only, even only with music sheet of each instrumental part!
2. Helmuth Rilling, (translated by Shigeru MATSUBARA), "Bach : Ro-tanchô Misakyoku" (written in Japanese)(Kabushiki-gaisha Sinfonia, 1979)
This is the translation of a book to Japanese. The original book is,
Helmuth Rilling, "Johann Sebastian Bach's H-Moll Messe(HE 24.007) (Hänssler-Verlag, 1979)
written in German.
I propose you to read this with the Reference. 1. It is somewhat difficult and there are opinions opposed to the Reference 1. But the analysis is in detail, and the relationship between the words of Mass and J. S. Bach's writings is explained.
3. Tadashi ISOYAMA, "Johann Sebastian Bach MATTHÄUS-PASSION /Matai Junankyoku" (Tôkyô Shoseki,1994)(ISBN5-487-79100-6) (written in Japanese)
St. Mathews Passion composed by J. S. Bach (BWV 244) is great music comparable to Mass in B-minor. And many of common techniques and much of thinking can be found in these two piece of music. I feel that reading St. Mathews Passion would give me some hints to perform Mass in B-minor. In Japan, The complete score is published by ONGAKU-NO-TOMO-SHA.
Now, we shall go to the music. The starting is "Kyrie". There are two sentences of "Kyrie" in Mass. In the case of "Mass in B-minor", each "Kyrie" has different music each other. That we will see is the first one.
At the beginning, all woodwinds, strings, and chorus saying loudly "Kyrie eleison." After that, we meet the following impressive melody shown on (a).
The first "Kyrie" consists of the fugal development of this theme. So we call it "the theme of Kyrie-fugue" or "Kyrie-fugue theme". We must investigate this melody carefully.
Firstly, we can find that this "Kyrie fugue theme" has many chromatic figures. And its expression is similar to the theme in the last (24th) fugue in "Well-tempered clavier book I" shown on (b).
These chromatic figures can be regarded as "appoggiatura". Many slurs on these chromatic motions appoint it. (In the case of "Kyrie-fugue", slurs are shown when the theme is played by instruments.)
The music sheet on (c) is typical appoggiatura. We can easily find such figure like this in many pieces. (Please see (d) and (e).)
But in the case of "Kyrie-fugue" is NOT completely equal to these other examples (b)-(e).
In (b),(c),(d) and(e), each appoggiatura is on down beat. It is natural to put appoggiatura on down beat, because appoggiatura itself needs somewhat like accent. The reason is; appoggiatura makes dissonant code, which brings some kinds of tension, and the note just after appoggiatura makes laxity. (This sequence is so called "motion of resolution".)
However, "Kyrie-fugue theme" is different. In this case, each appoggiatura is mainly on "up beat". And "motion of resolution" is achieved with the motion of bass. This makes accent on up beat and adds special emotional affection (like syncopation) to the music.
It was J. S. Bach's special technique. And it is found his other works. The following example is the famous aria, "Blute nur, du liebes Heltz.(Bleed, your heart to love.)"from his "St. Mathews Passion(BWV 244)".
In this music, we can find that the world "Blute(Bleed)" is emphasized with "appoggiaturas on up beat".
I have already told too much. In "Kyrie-fugue theme", the seventh should be remarkable, but I will not say here. Of course, we must consider what it means.
It is the date of the 1st training of "Gloria Choir" today. I have not to go it, because I am an instrumental player, and I am not a member of chorus. But it is nice day to go out from my house and I want to meet the members of the chorus again after 3 months from last concert. I go to watch "how the training of chorus proceeds" to Sôgô bunka center.
The training is for the 1st "Kyrie". I feel that it is not enough to unify the tones or pronunciation, but it was already OK to read the notes. After a little rest, the reading of the 3rd piece, i.e., the 2nd "Kyrie" was started. The reading is very smoothly proceeding. I was surprised. I felt that I should read the notes of my part more faster.
During the reading training of the 2nd "Kyrie", the conductor, Mr. Kataoka came and sat down in my neighborhood. He told with me and gave interesting suggestions.
He said, "This Mass in B has various style of writing music."
"Yes." I replied. "For example, the 2nd 'Kyrie' has ancient style."
"Right. 'Gratias agimus tibi' is so. I like this piece." he said.
I added, "The first half of 'Gloria in excelsis Deo' has 'new style', that is, baroque concerto style."
"By the way" and he continued that how we had better to think the 1st piece and the 2nd piece in "Symbolum Nicaenum " i.e. Credo. I said my thought,i.e.,
"I feel they are deeply connected. Because the beginning words ('Credo in unum Deum') are in common, and basso continuo's behavior are similar to each other."
Mr. Kataoka's and my talking was as above. I felt that I got some of hints to approach this large music.
After the training of chorus had been ended, we had drinking party. It was very enjoyable. But I cannot remember it exactly, because I got drunk with beer and wine.(Bomb!)
The next day, my health condition was bad.x-(
A few days ago, I got the music sheet titled with "Organo". This indication of "Organo" appoints not only organ but also any of the keyboard part of continuo, including harpsichord. (This is "realized". I must not obey this music sheet, but it is easier to read harmony than only figured bass. :P)
But the way, what a large volume it is ! It is consist of 112 pages. And each page separated in each paper. It means that I must make "a book of music sheet". from these huge numbers of papers.
I started to stick these papers together with glue. I should be careful not to stick wrong order of pages. If I am wrong, I should remove them carefully not to tear it. I sometimes mistook and wasted many of times. When the "book" was completed, it is about two hours after.
I put cover on this music sheet as the following.
It is written in multi languages! Oh? Is it strange? I don't think so! :-P
Today, Professor Isoyama, who is the professor of Kunitachi Ongaku Daigaku and whose handle name is "Prof.I. " :-), will give a lecture for us in Utsunomiya. "Prof.I. " it is the name of the most highest level of research or studying of J.S.Bach and his music and he is well-known in the international world. (He also his website which is named I-kyôju no Ie (Prof.I.'s house. It is in Japanese.) I would like to say thank you to Prof.Isoyama who always very busy. On ,the other hand, I also say thanks for Mr. Sugaya's contribution to prepare these lecture.
Professor Isoyama have wrote a great volume book of his study ("Johann Sebastian Bach MATTHÄUS-PASSION " Matai Junankyoku" (Tôkyô shoseki,1994)(ISBN5-487-79100-6) (written in Japanese)), however, he does not a book mainly treating B-minor Mass. So today's lecture is important because we can attach the recent study of the newest approach to J.S.Bach's Mass in B-minor.
The lecture started 5:00 p.m. The audience is not only the members of Gloria Choir but also the member of Gloria Ensemble. It was very rich in its contents and it was heated. Based on the knowledge of Church music and the music of Christian, showing the copy of Bach's autograph, Prof.Isoyama leads J.S.Bach's posture and how should I treat this music deductively.
Although the lecture would have been end on 7:00 p.m., it was continued until 7:30 p.m. But nobody felt it was too long.
After the lecture, the doubts that I had have was solved and I feel that I can grasp "how to approach this huge music". But it is not show clearly. My feel is still somewhat confused and I must organize them.
The members of the instrumental section in "Gloria Ensemble & Choir" perform "Kick-off training camp" every year. Usually in this camp, we have " the first reading " of the main volume of music adopted in the next stage.The schedule of our training is as follows.
You can find " free training". It was a cunning thing. It is playing other chamber music or make drinking party. Especially, "Free training" of the night of Apr. 4, it was mixed with drinking party. And it became chaotic. Even after 0:00 midnight, there are no people sleeping.
I felt that my body is not strong. So I trid to go to bed, but the shouting, "Hey! Do not escape! We will perform Trio Sonata!" brings me to drinking room. The 2nd day of the camp (Apr., 7) I had been lain down.
By the way, the result of "Mass in B-minor"we got was, "It cannot be understand before chorus is mixed."(Bomb!)
In "Gloria Ensemble and Choir", the keyboard instrument for Basso Continuo is only my harpsichord. But;
There is a portative pipe organ and it can be used in the concert performance. It is needed to check and decide which instrument is to be used. Today is the date to do it.
The checking was started after the chorus training has been end. The player of organ is Ms. Sakamoto. She is the pianist of training "Gloria Choir" and enough skill to "accompany" or "synchronize" in ensemble. She, Mr. Kataoka and I start the beginning of music.
Then, we have found the problem of the pitch. The organ is tuned to a=441Hz. "Gloria ensemble and Choir" usually use the pitch of a=442Hz. You may ask "Only 1Hz? ". But the difference between "a=442Hz" and "a=441Hz" is;
1200 × log(442/441) ÷ log(2) = 3.92... cents
Semitone in modern temperament is 100 cents. So the difference is about 4% of semitone. It is not small. In addition, nobody knows the person who can tune organ. Ms. Sakamoto said that she would look for it, but nobody can say it will be able to be solved this problem.
For the present, I tune my harpsichord to the pitch of 441Hz. And Ms Sakamoto, Mr. Kataoka, and I checked and trained continuo. This checking and training is not so difficult. Roughly saying, we conclude that the organ joins the music with (so called in Bach's period) "ancient" style, and the harpsichord joins the music with (so called in Bach's period) "new" style. I think it is reasonable conclusion.
Today is the date of "the 1st training combining the ensemble and the choir" or "the 1st combined training". The starting time is 2:00 p.m. (I mistakenly memorized that the starting time was 5:00 p.m. but I remember exact time. I should not have been in time.) When I arrived the place of training, there were already many people and I felt some kinds of "high tension". I brought my harpsichord into the training hall and added the training.
The progress of the training was surprisingly fast! We began with "Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy)" and 4 hours after, we were already "Et resurexit (He resurrected)" in "Symbolum Nicaenum", i.e., "Credo (I believe)". The chorus may have been already grasped the whole of this long music. Mr. Kataoka, the chief conductor, notified the orchestra rather than the chorus. The orchestra seemed to be able to follow his notation.
Then, let me tell what I thought during today's training ... it is difficult! Mr. Kumekawa, the chief of orchestra, said, "It is easier than G. F. Händel's 'Messiah'. Don't worry about it." But I want to say "No." to his words for the instruments of basso continuo, that is, cello, double bass, and keyboard (organ and harpsichord). For example, let me show the music from the 60th bar in "Cum sancto spiritu (with the Holy Spirit)" in "Gloria" with indication of "Vivace".) It is the deluge of the scale of b-minor.
And let me show another section, that is, the 2nd piece of " in "Symbolum Nicaenum", i.e., "Credo (I believe)". (It has probably the tempo of "Vivace".
There is the other deluge of the scale.
And mostly what I was confused is;
J. S. Bach's "Mass in B-minor" has many sections composed with fugue. Usually, performing the music with fugue form, we emphasize the theme of fugue. But in "Mass in B-minor", there are the places where basso continuo performs the theme of fugue or not. For example, the 2nd piece of " in "Symbolum Nicaenum", i.e., "Credo" --
The above music, continuo makes unison with the bass of the chorus and performs the theme of fugue. But the following,
Continuo also seems to make unison with the bass of the chorus. But can it be said that continuo performs the theme of fugue? I should be clear about this thing.
Additionally saying, I should not admit my score reading was enough especially for solo or duet pieces. After the training was end, I ate dinner with some members of the orchestra in the restaurant near from the training hall. Mr. Baba, the chief of cello part, said,
"Well, we could make sounds tracing the sheet music, but it is nothing but tracing. We cannot perform with considering the meaning of the sheet music, can we?"
This words are seriously applies me. Recently, I was worrying which could I select, "continuo with harpsichord" or "solo piano". But it is not the time of worrying. I should devote my music life to the continuo of Mass in B-minor! At least the next "combined training"...
Please let me know your impression via e-mail or BBS.
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