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An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV653

1708/17; revised into Leipzig Chorales collection, the '18' circa 1744/7

There is seemingly a conflict between the sentiments expressed by the words, and those radiated by the music. The text comes from the darkly despairing Psalm 137, and although the prelude echoes a sombre sarabande in its rhythm and accents, there is nothing in it which expresses the bleakness of the psalmist’s words. The intertwined treble voices are evolved from the first two lines of the melody, which appears in the tenor over a continuo bass. A different version of this chorale may be found at the end of this disc.

from notes by Ian Carson © 1996

Wie im vorherigen Choral ist auch hier ein scheinbarer Konflikt zwischen den Gefühlen, die im Text ihren Ausdruck finden und jenen, die durch die Musik hervorstrahlen, wahrzunehmen. Der Text ist von dem düster verzweifelten Psalm 137 abgeleitet, und obwohl das Präludium von seinem Rhythmus und seiner Notation her eine finstere Sarabande wiedergibt, enthält es nichts, das die Trostlosigkeit der Worte des Psalmisten ausdrückt. Die ineinander verschlungenen Sopranstimmen haben sich aus den ersten beiden Notenlinien der Melodie heraus entwickelt, die in der Tenorstimme über dem Continuobaß erscheint. Eine andere Version von diesem Choral kann am Ende gefunden werden.

aus dem Begleittext von Ian Carson © 1996
Deutsch: Ute Mansfeldt


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