Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel's Cantata Cycle X (1737/38)

We have received the following from Christian Ahrens (Berlin):

Observations on the Cantatas from Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel's Cantata Cycle X (1737/38) in the Manuscript 40370, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

In his 1976 publication on cantatas of the Gotha Kapellmeister Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690–1749), Fritz Hennenberg counted 414 sacred cantatas preserved either in whole or in part (p. 13). Added to this were over 300 works known only through printed libretti, text incipits, titles, or dates (p. 158). Of the twelve extant cantata cycles, which were composed between 1720 and 1744, the tenth cycle (1737/38) only included eight works (p. 15 f.). In 1993, Hartmut Hell successfully demonstrated that the content of a long-known manuscript collection containing 51 cantatas by an unnamed composer – shelfmark 40370 – in the former Preußische Staatsbibliothek could without a doubt be attributed to Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel and that the pieces belong to cycle X. A list of the cantatas in this manuscript with information on the instrumentation as well as music incipits was published in the catalog Die Signaturengruppe 40 000 ff  in 1997 (p. 646–651).

The order of the cantatas in the manuscript discussed here follows the church year. Since there were some gaps, one of the catalog's editors, Helmut Hell, tried to reconstruct the presumed original form of cycle X by drawing upon cantatas from other Berlin collections ( 21412 in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz) that had the same structural similarities, according to Hennenberg's analysis, as the works preserved in 40370. The seven cantatas from the manuscripts in the shelfmark group 21412 are attributed to Stölzel in an unknown hand in the table of contents of each manuscript: these are (according to Hell's numbering) numbers 1, 2, 4, 23, 25, 26, and 28. In the printed libretto (see below), these are numbers 2, 3, 5, 28, 33, 34, and 37.

Unfortunately, Hell overlooked the fact that the library of Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha held a copy of the printed libretto of the complete cycle (see image). Incredibly, Hennenberg was not aware of it, either. The title reads:

Musicalisches Lob= und Danck=Opfer des Friedensteinischen Zions, dem grossen GOTT zu Ehren Sonn= und Festtäglich vom Advent 1737. bis dahin 1738. gebracht, und auf Hochfürstl. gnädigsten Befehl harmonisch= und poetisch abgefasset von Gottfried Heinrich Stöltzeln, F. S. Capellmeister. Gotha, Gedruckt bey Johann Andreas Reyhern, privil. Hof=Buchdrucker.

The Musicalisches Lob- und Dank-Opfer contains 71 sets of texts. Hell had presumed there were 72 compositions total and could identify a total of 58 in the Berlin collection. In all, 60 cantatas are preserved in whole, with music, and another two are incomplete (only the opening chorus). Nine cantatas are known to have existed only though their printed libretti; their music, according to the present state of knowledge, is lost: in the libretto, these are numbers 15, 16, 17, 29, 30, 36, 61, 62, and 68.

An important source for cantata cycle X is manuscript Am.B 568 from the former Amalien-Bibliothek, which contains, according to a title page which is not contemporary, fourteen church pieces by "G. H. Stölzel" (see the image of the title page). Without exception, all pieces in this manuscript collection are by him, though only each respective opening chorus is notated. Two cantatas, numbers 6 and 7 in the libretto, are unique to this manuscript, and the remaining twelve cantatas are duplicates.

Opening choruses from cantatas belonging to Stölzel's cycle X can be found in another collective manuscript at the Staatsbibliothek Berlin: Am.B 597, which was not considered in Hennenberg's study and also goes unmentioned by Hell. The handwritten title on the cover, added later, reads: "Fünfundzwanzig Kirchenmusiken für bestimmte Sonntage." The name of the composer is missing. As we know, all cantatas, of which only the opening choruses are notated, are by Stölzel. Four cantatas belong to cycle X (numbers in the libretto: 9, 10, 18, and 19; Am.B 597 numbers 3–6). These are all duplicates, and the cantatas in 40370 are preserved in full. (For these and additional references to duplicate copies I would like to thank my colleauge Bert Siegmund, Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein, who is currently preparing a catalog of works for Stölzel.) The remaining 21 opening choruses belong to cycle XII (1743/44). A libretto to this cycle can be found in the Forschungsbibliothek Gotha of the Universität Erfurt with the shelfmark Cant.spir 8° 876.

Image: Title page of the libretto to the cantata cycle. Forschungsbibliothek Gotha der Universität Erfurt, Cant.spir 8° 878. Image courtesy of the author (CC BY-SA).


Catégorie : Library collections

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