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Cantata BWV 10
Meine Seel erhebt den Herren
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of December 16, 2012 (3rd round)

Ed Myskowski wrote (December 15, 2012):
Introduction to BWV 10 -- Meine Seel erhebt den Herren

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue discussions of cantatas for feast days with BWV 10, the second of three works for the Feast of Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (July 2). Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion for this week are accessible via:

The commentary by Julian Mincham, music examples included, is especially recommended as an introduction to listening.

The BWV 10 page has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner, Koopman (notes by Christoph Wolff), Suzuki, and Leusink (and more!) CD issues, via link beneath the cover photo.

The chorale text and melody are accessible via links at the BWV 10 page. Francis Browne has recently added new commentary on the cantata texts to his interlinear translations, linked via [English 3]. We can expect these to continue, not necessarily weekly. Douglas Cowling and William Hoffman are also posting relevant to chorales and other music for the Lutheran Church Year, accessible via LCY pages

I do not always take the time to check all links before posting. Special thanks to the folks who provide timely corrections.

Charles Francis wrote (December 17, 2012):
The surviving performance parts for this cantata are available at:

There is also a manuscript score, but for some reason it is not included on the Bach Digital site.

With regard to the closing chorale, the Cornet-Ton transpose for organ is in the key of F-minor (four flats), a dark sonority that Bach typically uses for death and despair: the praise in the chorale text accordingly seems tempered by such thoughts as "God casts the strong down from their seat Headlong into the sulph'rous pit".

For my Cornet-ton rendition of this chorale, I've concatenated five performances on virtual copies of historic organs - Czech, Hungarian, Saxon (2) and North German:

A third version of BWV 147-6 is also online:


Spelling of Cantata BWV 10 Title? [Off-List]

Free Chin wrote (June 4, 2013):
[To Aryeh Oron] I was looking for text for Bach's Cantata BWV 10 and came across your page:

My earlier source for the Cantata's title shows that to read,
Meine Seel' erhebt den Herrn

But your page shows that title as
Meine Seele erhebet den Herren, with extra "e"s added to the second, third, and fifth words.

Since I do not read German, can you tell me which one of these is correct to use?


Aryeh Oron wrote (June 4, 2013):
[To Free Chin] Thanks for your message.
These are variant spellings.
See explanation at the CM page:
The page you are referring to is of the Chorale Text:
The text of Cantata BWV 10 appears in many pages on the BCW. For example:

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 5, 2013):
We have the autograph score and the original set of parts which all agree that the title should read:
Meine Seel erhebt den Herren

This wording is based on Luther's Bible translation of Luke1:46-55 which was then expanded by Luther for a musical setting of the German Magnificat.

The NBA KB I/28.2 p. 91 indicates that contemporary hymnals from Bach's time already used some "insignificant differences" such as Seele for Seel [no apostrophe!] and Herrn for Herren. The NBA has consistently remained with the exact spelling given above in all of the primary sources notwithstanding modern orthography which would like to add or subtract 'e's.

Free Chin wrote (June 6, 2013):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thanks for the response. I'm hoping for input from someone knowledgeable about those words in German.

I can understand that "Seele" and "Seel'" are probably variants of the same word and the same for "erhebet" and "erhebt." But I have to think that "Herren" is misspelled without the second "e."

Free Chin wrote (June 6, 2013):
[To Thomas Braatz, via Aryeh Oron] I want to thank you and Mr. Braatz for this very helpful note and the reference to the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, Kritischer Bericht citation. It has what I need to follow for the correctness of the title.

Winfried Bernhard wrote (June 6, 2013):
[To Free Chin] Hi, sorry it took so long to reply. I just came back from vacation.

"Meine Seel' erheb't den Herrn " would have been the title during Bach's time.

"Meine Seele erhebet den Herren" is the high German way of saying it.

I would think it is at the chorus director's disgretion how he/she would want it pronounced.

Does that help?

Thanks for using my website.

Free Chin wrote (June 6, 2013):
[To Winfied Bernhard] Thanks for your input. I've decided to go with the "Herren" spelling plus the first spelling you have of the other four words, minus any apostrophes. This conforms with the title as cited by Thomas Braatz and is how the concert program booklet and words /translations page has it. So those will all be consistent and "correct."


Continue on Part 5

Cantata BWV 10: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Using Composition Theory to Analyze a Work by J.S. Bach [J. Reese]

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