Johann Pachelbel: Christ ist erstanden

Osterkantate für Sopran, Violine und Basso Continuo
Ed. Christoph Eglhuber.
“Sacri Concentus Ratisbonenses” XIV, v + 9pp.
Edition Walhall EW962. ISMN: M-50070-962-6

Calling this piece a cantata is stretching things a little – after a 25 bar Sonata for the scordatura violin and continuo, the soprano sings the opening chunk of text, followed by the violin’s musing on the same material. The third portion starts at Bar 75 with chords in the violin and a true dialogue for the first time. A more elaborately imitative “Alleluia” is followed by the final portion of the chorale text, rejoicing in the glory of the risen Christ.

The publication consists of a score with introduction and critical notes, a separate score without a cover but including the editor’s realisation of the continuo part, a violin part in sounding pitch (unplayable without fudging or simplifying the chords), a scordatura violin part (though with extra accidentals for the bottom two strings rather than a complex key signature) and a figured bass part.

The original is available online so editorial decisions on beaming shorter notes (or not, as the case may be) can be scrutinized by those who are interested in such things. Similarly, where the editor has extrapolated the underlaid text from the symbols used by the copyist. In fact, he has not – as he claims in his introduction – reproduced the source as closely as possible while adhering to modern notational conventions, because he consciously breaks a beam in the violin part after the first notes of Bars 120 and 124 where Bokemeyer does not. In fact, I think a lot of notational decisions were left to Sibelius’s default settings (and the tie symbol was used for several slurs…) I also think Eglhuber missed an error in the violin part at Bar 120, where notes 11 and 12 should surely be one step lower. These are however small details that can easily be fixed in rehearsal or for a second print run.

Brian Clark