Angenieta – Rob Smith
Bist du bei mir – Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (arr. Rob Smith) – source material for “Angenieta” (may be performed as an introduction to “Angenieta”)
- 8′ (or 11′ with Stolzel aria)
- 2 violins, viola, cello, & double bass
- published by Skitter Music Publications
Karol Bennett (soprano) Ingrid Gerling (violin), Dominika Dancewicz (violin), Caleb Quillen (double bass), Nina Bledsoe (viola) & Patrick Moore (cello) performing “Bist du bei mir” (G.H.Stölzel) and “Angenieta” (Rob Smith).
Composed in honor of commissioner Jan van Lohuizen’s mother, who passed away in 2013, Angenieta is a celebration of Maria Angenieta van Lohuizen-Meijer’s ninety-two years of life. A truly international citizen, Maria Angenieta spoke three languages and spent significant portions of her life in Indonesia, South Africa and her native Holland.
Music brought Angenieta great comfort and pleasure, especially the music of J.S. Bach, and it may be her experience singing in a Bach choir that explains her particular fondness for Bach’s music. Her strict adherence to proper social etiquette and manners – always realized with extreme graciousness – is the reason her family often referred to her as having been “born with white gloves on”. This trait led me to incorporate altered melodic lines from one of her favorite Bach arias, “Bist du bei mir” (“If Thou art with me”), as a ground bass throughout much of the work to capture her sense of dignity and discipline.It is important to note, however, that the melody for “Bist du bei mir” (BWV 508) is not Bach’s creation, but rather comes from an aria composed by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel. It is attributed to Bach because it is one of the works found in the 1725 Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (No. 25), and was most likely added to the collection by Anna Magdalena Bach herself, as the entry in the Notebook is hers. The aria may have come from the inventory of the Leipzig Opera that had gone bankrupt in 1720, or it may have simply been a commonly known popular work in Leipzig.
Angenieta was shy and reserved, but when drawn out by others she was an engaging conversationalist with great wit and the ability to find the humor in any situation. To represent her laughter – she had an infectious giggle and loved the occasional off-color joke – I combined short melodic fragments from the Bach aria in close rhythmic imitation. This material is often the catalyst that moves the work away from the “proper” sounds of the Bach, imagining the freedom and expressiveness of her personality that was only experienced by those who knew her best.
If a soprano is available, a performance of Stölzel’s aria before the performance of “Angenieta” is encouraged to highlight the origins of the quintet.