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Cantata BWV 103
Ihr werdet weinen und heulen
Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Discussions in the Week of April 16, 2017 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (April 15, 2017):
Jubilate Sunday: Cantata 103, "Ihr werdet weinen und heulen"

Bach’s Cantata 103, “Ihr werdet weinen und heulen” (You will weep and howl), is a unique musical sermon that utilizes a hybrid, mixed form to illustrate the text of the Leipzig poetess Christiane Mariane von Ziegler. Nominally, the 18-minute work is in palindrome form with opening biblical dictum chorus and closing plain chorale interspersed with alternating pairs of recitatives and arias. Having been freed of the severe chorale cantata constraints of the second cycle, Bach in the Easter Season Spring 1725 cantatas achieves a new level of musical setting of creative poetry with various Johannine theological messages.

Bach in Cantata 103 observed the Lutheran progressive dialectic of moving from stern Old Testament law to liberating Gospel-affirmative “Good News” with an unusual orchestra of sopranino (piccolo) recorder contrasted with two oboes d’amore and strings. The opening movement lasts almost half the length of the entire work as Bach contructs an old-fashion motet-style sequence in a modern concertante movement into which he inserts a brief, contrasting bass vox Christi arioso of sorrow amid joy. Bach limits the solos to two voices with a tutti alto yearning aria (no. 3) for healing and mercy while the tenor has an extroverted dancing trumpet song of joy. In contrast in the two recitatives, the tenor introduces the alto with a melisma on the word “Schmerzen” (pains) and the alto introduces the tenor aria with a long run on the word “Freude” (joy), possibly challenging the listener’s sensibilities. The congregation has the last word with its sorrow-joy antithesis hymn (no. 6), Paul Gerhardt’s pietistic 18-stanza "Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott" (Merciful Father, highest God), set to the unusual, affirmative Passion melody, “Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh' allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen), also found in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.1

Cantata 103 was premiered on 2 April 1725 at the early main service of the Thomas Church before the sermon (not extant) of Pastor Christian Weise Sr., says Martin Petzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinityfest.2 Bach repeated Cantata 103 at least once, around 1731. The theme of sorrow turned to joy or the sorrow-joy-antithesis is found in all four cantatas Bach presented in Leipzig on “Jubilate” or the Third Sunday after Easter. Jubilate (3rd Sunday after Easter), as revealed in the Readings: Epistle: 1 Peter 2:11-20 (Suffer patiently for well-doing); Gospel: John 16:16-23 (Now you have sorrow, but your heart shall rejoice). Complete biblical text is the Martin Luther German translation (1545), with the English translation Authorised (King James) Version [KJV] 1611; for complete texts, see BCW Readings,

This Sunday, which opened the Leipzig Spring Fair in Bach’s day, gets its name Jubilate from the opening Introit antiphon, “Make a joyful noise,” which is the beginning of Psalm 66(1-2): “Jubilate Deo” (Be joyful in God all ye lands). In German, the incipit is “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” (Shout for joy to God in every land!). The Introit Psalm 66 is described as a work of great praise for the unfathomable works of God (Lob und Preis der sonderbaren Werke Gottes), says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 811). The full text of Psalm 66 (KJV) is found at Polyphonic motet settings of Psalm 66, “Jubilate Deo,” are among the most popular and Bach had access to some of the finest compositions.

Monumental Opening Chorus

Although no longer composing chorale fantasias to begin the chorale-driven cantatas of the second cycle, Bach uses the poetic text to shape the complex first movement, observes Julian Mincham in his Commentary introduction to Cantata 103 (see, with musical examples; piano-vocal score and music,; J. S. Bach Foundation video, << This is the fifth cantata after Bach had either lost his librettist or deliberately changed tack. It is the first of nine texts known to be provided by the Leipzig poetess Mariane von Ziegler, says Christoph Wolff.4 and it is the second of the four post-Easter cantatas that opens with a large scale chorus which is not a chorale/fantasia.

But what a mighty movement it is! Chorus. The very first line of text establishes that it deals with one of Bach’s favourite, and often most inspiring situations, the simultaneous expression of contrary emotions or assertions -- you will be weeping and wailing but the world will be joyful. How to convey, in the one movement, the seemingly opposing ideas of individual misery and communal rejoicing?

Bach, as always, rises magnificently to challenges of this kind and the scale and enormous complexity of the first movement indicates that he must have given it a great deal of thought. In fact, apart from C 6, this is the first extended opening chorus that he seems to have written since the 1725 Easter celebrations three weeks previously. The choir has rested long enough; let’s now really put them through their paces! Bach may well have temporarily relinquished the idea of the chorale/fantasia but his penchant for composing massive, commanding opening choruses obviously remains.

The entire text comprises only four short lines but they encapsulate three different ideas; you will weep, the world will rejoice, your personal misery will ultimately be transformed into joy. It is reasonable to assume that, in order to effectively combine these ideas within a single movement, Bach may have felt relieved to have released himself from the strictures that the chorale melodies had imposed. As in two other of these last cantatas of the cycle (Cs 6 and 176), in dispensing with the chorale he permits himself to create a structure dictated principally by the text. (The opening chorus of C 74 was similarly not based around a chorale, but its structure was pre-determined; it was a reworking of a movement from C 59).

The chorus is tri-partite, but not in the conventional sense of being in ternary or da capo form; it simply inserts a recitative between two massive choral fugal statements. It begins with a long orchestral exposition which suggests an Italianate concerto/ritornello structure but this does not eventuate; it occurs only at the beginning and neither separates choral entries nor returns at the end. However, its persistent rhythms and predominant melodic ideas are never far away, first supporting and later being taken over by the singers. Thus it provides the essential material if not the precise skeletal structure.

Four factors determine the character of this movement and the listener will better navigate his/her way through the music after becoming thoroughly familiar with them. The first is the choice of minor, rather than major key; serious and somber and, incidentally, also used for most of the latter movements. The second is the three-note figure of joy heard at the beginning on the oboes, then strings and finally combined on both. The third is the effervescent piccolo (orsopranino recorder) semi-quavers, sounding above everything. The last is the sinewy fugue subject, first introduced on the tenor entry. Its mood is guardedly buoyant, edgy and uneasy but neither totally tragic on the one hand, nor overtly ecstatic on the other. It lies somewhere between the extremes.>>

John: Jesus’ Farewell Discourses

Beginning with the third Sunday after Easter (Jubilate) the post-Resurrection Sunday Gospels in Bach’s time, involving the work and witness of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit, advocate, intercessor), focus on Jesus Christ’s Farewell Discourse and promise of the Second Coming to his Disciples John, Chapter 16). The Sundays, Gospel themes and Bach works are: 1. Jubilate [3rd Sunday after Easter, "Make a joyful noise"], John 16: 16-23, "Sorrow turned to joy" in "Christ's Farewell" (Cantatas BWV 12, BWV 103, BWV 103 (BWV 224); 2. Cantate [4th Sunday after Easter, "Sing"], John 16: 16-23, "The work of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit)"; Cantatas BWV 166, BWV 108. Rogate [5th Sunday after Easter, "Pray"], John 16: 23-30, "Prayer in the name of Jesus" as Christ's Promise to the Disciples; Cantatas BWV 86, BWV 87. 4. Exaudi [Sunday after Ascension, "Hear"], John 15: 26-16: 4, "Spirit will come" in the "Witness of the Paraclete"; Cantatas BWV 44, BWV 183. The Pentecost Gospel is the last of the five unique Jesus’ farewell discourses to his disciples in John’s gospel, Chapters 14-16; Whit Sunday [1st Day of Pentecost], John 14: 23-31 "Promise of the Paraclete" as "The Gift of Peace" (Cantatas BWV 172, BWV 59, BWV 74, BWV 34, BWV 218).

Each cantata for Jubilate Sunday Bach presented in Leipzig between 1724 and 1728 opens with texts of tribulation and lamentation, based on the Bible readings: 1. BWV 12, “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” (Weeping, crying, mourning, sighing) [(John 16:20] (Salomo Franck text, Weimar, 4/22/1714); repeated 4/30/1724; 2. BWV 103, “Ihr werdet weinen und heulen” (Ye shall weep and howl) [John 16:20] (Mariane von Ziegler text, Leipzig, 4/22/1725); repeated 4/15/1731; 3. BWV 146, “Wir müsen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen” (We must through much tribulation into the Kingdom of God enter) [Acts 14:22] (?Picander text; Leipzig, 5/12/1726 or /18/1728); 4. JLB 8, “Die mit Tränen säen” (That with tears seen) [Psalm 126:4-6] (Leipzig 5/12/1726 [uncertain] c.1743-46) (Prince Ernst of Meiningen/Rudolstadt text).

Cantata 12 closes with the hymn “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” (What God does, that is well done), which Bach set as a pure-hymn chorale cantata c.1732-35, and is appropriate for Jubilate Sunday. Cantata 12, “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen,” libretto probably by Salomo Franck, for Jubilate was composed in 1714 in Weimar, repeated in Leipzig in 1724, observes Günther Stiller.5 Although it “is nowhere in the [Leipzig] hymn schedules mentioned as belonging to this Sunday [Jubilate]; in the Dresden hymnbooks for example, besides specific hymns, also hymns generally in the classification “Concerning Cross and Trial” are recommended, and among hymns of that category, this hymn is often found.”

It also is possible that Cantata 150, “Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich” (For you, Lord, is my longing), was presented on Jubilate Sunday, 29 April 1708, in Mühlhausen, suggests Petzoldt (Ibid.: 811). Particularly appropriate for this Sunday in the closing chaconne poetic chorus (no. 7), “Meine Tage in dem Leide / Endet Gott dennoch zur Freude” (My days spent in sorrow /God ends nevertheless with joy).

Bach considered but did not complete two works for Jubilate Sunday, BWV 224, and Picander Cycle Cantata P-33. The initial texts of both are quite similar, in a troubling mood, BWV 224, “Reißt euch los, bekränkte Sinnen” (Break away, O troubled spirits); opening soprano aria fragment (librettist unknown); uncertainty whether music is by Bach [1724] or C.P.E. Bach [1732]. The text continues: “Break away, /Let the long accustomed pain / This day gain no place within you; /Break away, O troubled heart.” BCW: (Z. Philipp Ambrose). Picander Cycle, P-33 “Fasse dich, betrübter Sinn” (Control yourself, troubled mind) (Picander text only, ?5/18/1729); Opening chorus or aria text continues: “Thy tears/ are only a little lasting,/ Ah, a little is soon spent,/ Control yourself, troubled mind.” [two lines missing, no da capo indicted in printed text). chorale No. 6, “Ah, I have already perceived this great glory (cf. 162/6, Trinity +20, 1715), melody “Alle Menschen müssen sterben” (All men must die).

On 22 April 1736, Bach probably presented two cantatas of Gotha colleague Georg Heinrich Stölzel, “Euch, die ihr meinen Namen fürchtet” (Malachi 4:2, 3:20, Mus. A 15:168), and “Als die Traurigen, aber allzeit fröhlich” (2 Corinthians 6:10, Mus. A 15:169).

Cantata 103 movements, scoring, text, key, meter (Ziegler German text and Francis Browne English translation)

1. Chorus (SATB, free polyphony fugue with choral insert] and Bass Arioso in free da-capo form with opening sinfonia (3/4 mm 1-26) [Flauto piccolo, Oboe d'amore I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo”: A. Chorus (3/4 mm 27-101), “Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, / aber die Welt wird sich freuen.” (You will weep and howl, / but the world will rejoice, Gospel John 16:20); B. Bass Arioso (4/4 Adagio, mm 101-108) “Ihr aber werdet traurig sein. / Doch eure Traurigkeit soll in Freude verkehret werden.” (But you will be sorrowful. / Yet your sorrow will be turned to joy.); Chorus fugue (Tempo primo, 3/4 mm 109-155) with text beginning “Doch eure Trauerigkeit”); b minor.
2. Recitative secco [Tenor, Continuo]: “Wer sollte nicht in Klagen untergehn, / Wenn uns der Liebste wird entrissen? / Der Seelen Heil, die Zuflucht kranker Herzen / Acht nicht auf unsre [Adagio, arioso] Schmerzen.” (Who would not sink down in mourning / when the beloved is snatched away? / The soul's saviour, the refuge of sick hearts / pays no attention to our [Adagio, arioso] pains.); f-sharp to c-sharp minor, 4/4,
3. Aria two-part with ritornelli [Alto; Violino concertante o Flauto traverso, Continuo]: A. (mm 1-29), “Kein Arzt ist außer dir zu finden, / Ich suche durch ganz Gilead; / Wer heilt die Wunden meiner Sünden, / Weil man hier keinen Balsam hat?” (No physician except you is to be found, / [even if] I should search through the whole of Gilead. / Who heals the wounds of my sins / since here no one has any balm?); B. (mm 29-69), “Verbirgst du dich, so muss ich sterben. / Erbarme dich, ach, höre doch! / Du suchest ja nicht mein Verderben, / Wohlan, so hofft mein Herze noch.” (If you hide yourself, then I must die. / Have mercy, ah! hear me! / You do not seek my ruin, / so come, my heart still hopes.); f-sharp minor; 6/8.
4. Recitative secco [Alto; Continuo]: “Du wirst mich nach der Angst auch wiederum erquicken; / So will ich mich zu deiner Ankunft schicken, / Ich traue dem Verheißungswort, / Dass meine Traurigkeit / In (arioso) ‘Freude’ soll verkehret werden. (After my anguish you will again revive me, / and so I shall prepare for your arrival, I trust in the word of your promise / that my sorrow / will be turned to (arioso) ‘joy’.); b minor to D major; 4/4.
5. Aria in three-part with ritornelli [Tenor; Tromba, Oboe d'amore I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. (mm 1-16), “Erholet euch, betrübte Sinnen, / Ihr tut euch selber allzu weh.” (Recover yourselves, my troubled senses, you make yourselves all too woeful.); B. (mm 16-31), “Laßt von dem traurigen Beginnen, / Eh ich in Tränen untergeh” (Leave off your sorrowful beginning / before I drown in tears.); C.(mm 31-66); “Mein Jesus lässt sich wieder sehen, / O Freude, der nichts gleichen kann! / Wie wohl ist mir dadurch geschehen, / Nimm, nimm mein Herz zum Opfer an!” (My Jesus allows himself to be seen again, / O joy, that nothing can equal! / For all the good that has happened to me through this, / take, take my heart as an offering!); D Major; 4/4.
6. Chorale plain in BAR Form [SATB; Tromba e Flauto traverso e Oboe d'amore I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Continuo]: A. “Ich hab dich einen Augenblick, / O liebes Kind, verlassen” (I have for a moment, / my dear child, left you;); A’. Sieh aber, sieh, mit großem Glück Und Trost ohn alle Maßen” (but see, see, with great good fortune / and comfort beyond all measure); B. “Will ich dir schon die Freudenkron / Aufsetzen und verehren; / Dein kurzes Leid soll sich in Freud / Und ewig Wohl verkehren.” (I shall on you the crown of joy / place and honour; / Your brief suffering will into joy / and everlasting good be changed.); aeolioan or dorian; 4/4.

Choral four-part, B Minor/aeolian or dorian, 4/4 (tutti): "Ich hab dich einen Augenblick" (I have for a moment). Bach closes with the 9th stanza of Paul Gerhardt's 18 verse sorrow-joy antithesis chorale text, "Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott" (Merciful Father, highest God), set to the affirmative melody, “Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh' allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen). It is Bach's only treatment of Gerhardt's text. The entire 18-stanza chorale text and Francis Browne translation, a psalmic prayer of comfort and prayer, is found at BCW: Information on the melody, based on a French chanson, is found at BCW Bach used the melody in Epiphany Cantatas BWV 72/6 and chorale Cantata BWV 111 (see BCML, Septuageisma Cantata BWV 144/6, and the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244/25.

Cantata 103, Poet Ziegler

The D Major, ¾ time opening fantasia, BWV 103/1, presents energized, affirmative music for oboes d'amore and strings sustained with recorder in the high range that is more reminiscent of the proclaiming high trumpet in the Second Brandenburg Concerto, a sort of Pied Piper. This tripartite chorale fugue with intermediary bass recitative takes up more than half of the approximately 16-minute cantata. It establishes the serendipitous collaboration of a gifted musician with a new poetic voice, that of Christiane Mariane von Ziegler (see BCW biography:, source Cantata 104 BCML Discussions Part 4, .

<< The relevant Gospel text of Cantata BWV 103/1 is John 16:20, found in BCW, [16:20 KJV] “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

Ten years Bach's junior by birth (1695) and, ultimately, by death (1760), the already prominent feminist on short notice produced lyrics to fulfill Bach's structural plans. Her first significant poetic venture reveals an unusual gift for understanding Lutheran theology and biblical allusion (though she had no formal schooling), frequent use of biblical quotation, the themes of proclamation and silence, the Vox Christi/Dei element found in Bach's musical sermons, and a literary "depth of feeling and vibrancy of expression," observes Mark A. Peters.6

Author Peters particularly describes (pp. 94-99) two intrinsic elements in the great opening chorus, BWV 103/1: the use of the Vox Christi central bass recitative in the tri-partite form and its complement in the extended, surrounding opening and closing choruses. The voice of Christ is uniquely used in the middle of the chorus for one recitative-arioso line of sorrow in the midst of John's proclamation of sorrow turning to joy.

The tenor recitative (no. 2) is terse and straightforward, unlike the second recitative that is more expansive in Ziegler's published poetry. While Ziegler's recitative texts are generally simple, communicating the text, there is one example of the striking contrast of the settings of the thematic words "Schmerzen" (pain) in BWV 103/2 and "Freude" (joy) in BWV 103/4, the alto recitative.

The alto aria (no. 3) begins: “Kein Arzt ist außer dir zu finden, / Ich suche durch ganz Gilead; / Wer heilt die Wunden meiner Sünden, / Weil man hier keinen Balsam hat?” (No physician except you is to be found, / [even if] I should search through the whole of Gilead. / Who heals the wounds of my sins / since here no one has any balm?). The referece is to Jeremiah 8:22: "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?," Z. Philip Ambrose footnote,

Author Peters points out an interesting Ziegler technique of "a change in thought over the course of an aria text," (p.111) which progresses from the opening statement to the end and thus, since there is no repetition of the original thought, there is no da-capo repeat but rather a binary form with shortened ritornello to emphasize the change at the conclusion. The speaker in this aria is the Christian Believer, says Peters. The same characteristics hold true for the second aria, No. 5, for tenor, which also has eight lines with the rhyme scheme ABABCDCD.

While Bach used the Vox Christi in eight of his previous cantata opening choruses, mingling biblical with poetic or chorale texts, this is Bach's first and only use of strict biblical dictum for both the chorus and soloist. In the closing chorus section, Bach "represented the text's transformation from sorrow to joy by employing a type of thematic transformation," says Peters. Thus Bach literally and figuratively "turned into" or "transformed" (verkehret) the musical setting of the biblical text from sorrow to joy.

No doubt the Leipzig cantor commissioned Ziegler as early as the Lenten season in 1724 to produce these cantata texts for publication in libretto text books which the congregation would read while following the music. Since Jubilate or the Third Sunday After Easter, April 22, 1725, was the beginning of the series, the initial texts that Bach would set to music must have been edited and compiled for publication four weeks prior, by Holy Week, the last week in March 1725. The series would be printed in two successive publications, one for the four final Sundays in the Easter Season and Ascension Day, and the other for the three-day Feast of Pentecost and then Trinity Sunday, May 27, 1725. Thus, Bach would have secured Ziegler's commitment no later than four weeks prior to Holy Week, or the first of March. This enabled the poetess to submit two cantata librettos weekly, in chronological order, for any editing from Bach and presumably his presiding pastor, Christian Weise, Sr.

In the Spring of 1725, Bach appears to have renewed his exploitation and utilization of the three basic principles or devices of musical rhetoric: symmetry, repetition, and contrast. Besides the limited time, certain other intervening factors required close collaboration between composer and lyricist. The texts would have to take into account a symmetrical plan or movement blueprint for each cantata, as well as for the individual aria and chorus structure, such as da-capo, binary or tri-partite forms. Repetition would involve both textual themes such as "sorrow-joy" for Jubilate Sunday and the deployment of the Vox Christi/Dei tradition, as well as Bach's first major venture into selective parody of arias from previous compositions for the cantatas for the three-day feast of Pentecost, BWV 74, 68, and 175. For contrast Bach would summon a wealth of movement combinations, embed recitatives in arias and choruses, and make special use of particular obbligato woodwind instruments and the violoncello piccolo as well as textural combinations of instruments and voices.

Bach framed his first and last Ziegler cantatas (BWV 103 and BWV 176) with his traditional, near-palindrome or mirror-form similar to the chorale cantatas of the second cycle and the first cycle six-movement cantata series of the mid-Trinity Season: chorus-recitative-aria-recitative-aria-chorale, designated ABCBCA. For the seven cantatas in between, Bach also eschewed both the first-cycle expansive cantata form with two chorales and the first-cycle cantata form with opening sinfonia, most recently found in Quasimodogeniti Cantata BWV 42, "Am abend aber desselbigen Sabaths" (On the evening after that same Sabbath), and a form which Bach would utilize prominently in his third cycle. Bach also avoided using the third, more terse Cycle No. 1 cantata-form with two chorales used in the 1724 Easter Season and most recently found in Cantata BWV 42, "Ich bin ein gutter" (I am a Good Shepherd), for Misericordias, the Second Sunday after Easter.

Just about any form goes in the remaining seven Ziegler cantatas, displaying diversity and originality. While there are no cantatas with double chorales and no overt use of the three Cycle 1 established forms, Bach composed three cantatas without opening chorus (BWV 87, BWV 183, BWV 175), three with opening choruses (BWV 128, BWV 74, BWV 68 - the first and last are chorale fantasias) and one cantata (BWV 108) with a chorus in the middle, a rare Bach practice. Instead, Bach duplicated in Cantatas BWV 183 and BWV 175 the form of opening recitative-aria-recitative-aria-chorale; used back-to-back arias (another rare practice) to open Cantata BWV 108 and close Cantata BWV 87, and placed the double-aria in the exact middle of the expanded, eight-movement Pentecost Cantata BWV 74, a true palindrome form: ABCBBCBA.>>

Other Cantata 103 Commentary

The Cantata 103 opening movement is the “most complex and imposing of the Ziegler-texted 1725 Johannine cantata movements (the others being 108/4, 74/1, and 68/5), observes Richard D. P. Jones.7 The movement is “a remarkable synthesis of ritornello form, fugue and recitative.” The sopranino recorder signified rejoicing while the main fugue subject “sets the ‘weeping and lamenting’ text.” The ritornello reinforces the joy text.

Because of the celebratory nature of Jubilate Sunday opening the Leipzig Spring fair in his time, Bach uses opening choruses that refer to John’s Gospel 16:20 and quoted in full in Cantata 103. For Cantatas 12 and 146, Bach makes reference only to the passage in his opening choruses, observes David Schulenberg in his Cantata 103 essay.8

In contrast to Bach’s pietist-flavored librettists Christian Weise and Picander, the Ziegler text “is free from the extravagances which the [opening] Scriptural quotation would have induced some of his other librettists to give vent to; the scheme is clear, the progression of thoughtinevitable, and the verse sensitive,” says W. Gillies Whttaker.9

Cantata 103 Provenance

“The autograph score came into CPE Bach’s possession after his father’s death” says Thomas Braatz in BWV 103 Provenance ( “At the same time he also received several doublets [Violine I, Violine II, Basso continuo] from the original set of parts. This is confirmed in the list of his father’s compositions drawn up after his (CPE’s) death in 1790. The next owner was the Berliner Singakademie. In 1855 the BB (Deutsche Staatsbibliothek Berlin) acquired the score and the doublets. The original set of parts came to the BB via Karl Otto Friedrich von Voß who acquired these parts after 1806. There is no clear evidence regarding the interim period between 1750 and c. 1806,” although it is possible that the parts set was inherited by oldest son Friedemann Bach.

Autograph Score (Facsimile): D B Mus. ms. Bach P 122 [Bach Digital],; The title in Bach’s hand: “Dominica Jubilate / Ihr werdet weinen und heulen. etc. à 4 Voci, Tromba, Fiauto piccolo, 2 Hautb: d’Amour, 2 Violini, Viola e
Continuo di Joh: Sebast: Bach.” Provenance: J. S. Bach - C. P. E. Bach - Georg Poelchau (?) - Sing-Akademie zu Berlin - BB (now Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (1855).
Parts Set, D B Mus. ms. Bach St 63, [Bach Digital],; 1725 copyists: Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Andreas Kuhnau (1703–nach 1745) = Main copyist A, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710–1784), Anon. IIe, Anon. IIf,
Anon. L 18, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788); 1731 copyist: Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713–1780), (Violine conc. / Flauto traverso in place of Flauto piccolo); Provenance: J. S. Bach - ?Friedemann Bach – Karl Otto Friedrich von Voß-Buch (after 1806) - BB (now Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (1851).


1 Cantata 103 BCW Details & Discography, Score Vocal & Piano,; Score BGA,; PDF Score [Dotmus], Score Examples: BWV 103/1 flauto piccolo and bass solo, 103/3 flauto piccolo, References: BGA XXIII (Cantata 101-110, Wilhelm Rust 1876), NBA KB I/11.2 (Jubilate, Reinmar Emans, 1989: 28ff), NBA Critical Report 2011: 138ff; Bach Compendium BC A 69, Zwang K 119.
2 Martin Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 811).
3 Polyphonic motet settings include the 8-part setting of Hans Leo Hassler,,_psalmum_dicite_a_8_(Hans_Leo_Hassler; the four-part setting of Orlando di Lasso,; the five-voice setting of Palestrina,, and the four-voice setting of Heinrich Schütz,ämtliche_Werke_(Schütz,_Heinrich), as well as music of Monteverdi and Gabrielli.
4 Christoph Wolff, Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013 Updated Edition: 279).
5 Günther Stiller, Johann Sebastian and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, ed. Robin A. Leaver (Sty. Louis MO: Concordia Publishing, 1985: 240f).
6 Mark A. Peters, A Woman's Voice in Baroque Music: Mariane von Ziegler and J. S. Bach (Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2008: 74).
7 Richard D. P. Jones, The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach, Volume II: 1717-1750. “Music to Delight the Spirit” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013: 166)).
8 Schulenberg in Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, ed. Malcolm Boyd (London: Oxford University Press, 1999: 238).
9 Whittaker, W. Gillies Whittaker. The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (London: Oxford University Press, 1958: II:209f).


To Come: Cantata 103, Part 2: Commentary of John Eliot Gardiner, Kaus Hofmann, and Eric Chafe’s J. S. Bach’s Johannine Theology; Jubilate Sunday Cantatas BWV 150 and 146.

William Hoffman wrote (April 18, 2017):
Cantata 103, "Ihr werdet weinen und heulen": Commentary

Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000

The Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000 found a fitting venue in Altenburg on Jubilate Sunday, which in Bach’s time in Leipzig began the Easter trade fair and in 1725 saw the premiere of Cantata 103, observes John Elliot Gardiner in his liner notes to his Soli Deo Gloria recording.1 <<Traces of Bach’s own music-making are in some ways more vivid in places like this [Altenburg] than in the more famous metropolitan shrines. Standing in the middle of the palace chapel, listening to the majestic sounds of the Trost-Orgel sounding out the concerto-like opening to BWV 146 and aware of the audience’s rapt response to the way Bach’s music unfolds, any lingering doubts about the logistical difficulties in coming to Altenburg for Jubilate Sunday just fell away.

All three of Bach’s cantatas for Jubilate [BWV 12, 103, and 146] concern themselves with the sorrow surrounding Jesus’ farewell to his followers, with the trials that await them in his absence, and with joyful thoughts of seeing him again. Each is a journey, a theological and musical progression. Two of the three begin in deepest gloom and anguish and end in celebration. Standing behind the Gospel for the day, ‘Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy’, is a verse from Psalm 126, ‘They that sow in tears shall reap in joy’, and memories of two extraordinary settings of these words by William Byrd and Heinrich Schütz came to mind during our drive through the cornfields of eastern Saxony, green and vigorous at this flag-leaf stage, promising a good harvest in a couple of months’ time.

Jubilate in Leipzig traditionally marked the start of the Ostermesse, the Easter trade fair when, for three weeks, a flood of visitors – craftsmen, international commercial travellers, book dealers, hawkers, street entertainers – swelled the resident population to some 30,000 citizens. Bach, who timed the publication of the four sets of his Clavier-Übung to coincide with these fairs, would have understood the need to produce special music during this period, as trading was not permitted on Sundays, and (as his predecessor Kuhnau pointed out) ‘since visitors and distinguished gentlemen [would] certainly want to hear something fine in the principal churches.’

This they would have done on 22 April 1725 when Bach first presented BWV 103, “Ihr werdet weinen und heulen.” It opens with a glittering fantasia for a concertante violin doubling a ‘sixth flute’ - a soprano recorder in D. These are pitted against a pair of oboes d’amore and the string band, engaging in apparently festive dialogue. Only with the entry of the four vocal concertisten to an angular fugal theme (comprising an augmented second and an upwards seventh) do we realise that we have been caught unawares: the festive instrumental theme represents not the disciples’ joy at Christ’s resurrection but the sceptics’ riotous laughter at their discomfort – hence the malicious cackles of the high recorder. A more conventional approach might have been to leave the antithesis of the two opening clauses intact with, say, a gloom-laden slow movement (as in BWV 12 and 146), followed by some form of chuckling scherzo. What Bach does is altogether more astonishing. Anticipating by a century the Dankgesang of Beethoven’s A minor string quartet Op.132, his strategy is to superimpose these opposite moods, binding them in a mutually enlightening whole and emphasising that it is the same God who both dispenses and then ameliorates these conditions. Abruptly the music slows to adagio e piano while the bass soloist intones ‘Ihr aber werdet traurig sein’ (‘And ye shall be sorrowful’) while the recorder and violin contribute fragmentary arabesques. Just when joy seems most distant, it comes bounding back with a return of the fugal subject, with the earlier festive/mocking theme now turned to genuine delight.

This high level of invention is very nearly maintained in the following recitative/aria pairings, in which the antithesis between ‘Schmerzen’ (suffering) and ‘Freuden’ (joys) is pursued. The alto aria (No.3), with violin obbligato in F sharp minor, is an attempt to illustrate divine medical help dispensed to the repentant sinner. The tenor aria (No.5) features one of those hair-raising trumpet parts in which, amid the prevailing mood of exuberant relief, the player is expected to produce several non-harmonic (i.e. technically impossible) notes to match the singer’s recall of ‘betrübte Sinnen’ (‘troubled feelings’)
.>> © John Eliot Gardiner 2005, From a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage

Cantata 103, Ziegler Text

Cantata 103 begins the series of nine works by Leipzig poetess Mariane von Ziegler, observes Klaus Hofmann’s 2007 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete cantata recordings.2 << “Ihr werdet weinen und heulen” (Ye shall weep and lament, BWV 103). With Bach’s cantata for Jubilate Sunday 1725, 22nd April, he began a series of nine works to texts by the Leipzig poetess Mariane von Ziegler (1695–1760). Later appointed poeta laureata of Wittenberg University, this writer had a thorough musical education; she apparently wrote these texts especially for Bach, and later published them separately. This text makes an immediate association with the gospel passage for the day (John 16, 16–23) by means of quoting a Bible verse. The words are from Jesus’ words of parting to his disciples; the polarity of sadness and joy dominates the entire cantata.

For the introductory chorus Bach chose a most unusual sound image: the normal orchestral strings are joined by two oboi d’amore and a flauto piccolo, in modern terminology a descant recorder in d'' (Bach gave this rarely used instrument a concertante solo part of the utmost virtuosity). Bach has clearly written the change of emotional states into his music, but has also created a musical link between the two emotional poles: this emerges particularly strongly in the vocal passages. Bach surprises the listener by switching over to a recitative ‘Ihr aber werdet traurig sein’ (‘And ye shall be sorrowful’) sung by a solo bass – the voice of Jesus. With its highly expressive melody and harmony, this is extremely reminiscent of the world of Bach’s Passions. After this moment of repose, Bach returns to the concept of a contrapuntal association between the two emotional spheres. Admittedly the new text, ‘doch eure Traurigkeit soll in Freude verkehret werden’ (‘but your sorrow shall be turned into joy’), does not appear with new music; instead, Bach uses slight variations of the previously heard themes.

In the alto aria, the flauto piccolo once more makes its presence felt with a virtuosic obbligato line. The striking manner in which the repart begins is echoed not only in the opening words, ‘Kein Arzt ist außer dir zu finden’ (‘No doctor other than you is to be found’) but also in the further course of the text, where it is varied and continued in various ways. In a sense the alto recitative marks a change of scene. Introduced by a wide-ranging alto coloratura on the word ‘Freude’ (‘joy’), the following tenor aria rouses the ‘betrübte Sinnen’ (‘distressed minds’) to joyful confidence. Brief moments of distress – portrayed musically by harmonic ‘disturbances’ – are swept away by the sound of the trumpet and fanfare-like triad motifs from the orchestra, and by vivacious ‘joy’ coloraturas in the solo part.

The concluding choral strophe (from Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott [Merciful Father, Highest God] by Paul Gerhardt, 1653) seems to put words into Jesus’ mouth and once again confirms the promise that the suffering of His people will one day be transformed into joy.>> © Klaus Hofmann 2007

Johannine Theology

Jubilate Sunday presents the Johannine Gospel Chapter 16 sequence of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse to his disciples on the themes of his departure and how the faithful will live “in the world under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,” which is alluded to in the synoptic Gospels during his Last Supper with the disciples, observes Eric Chafe.3 (Ibid.: 433). The discourse is the Gospel reading for the third to sixth Sundays after Easter. After the 5th Sunday (Rogate) comes Ascension Day the next Thursday, marking the 40 days of Jesus on earth after his resurrection. Then comes the 6th Sunday (Exaudi), followed by Pentecost, 10 days after Ascension. The feasts of Ascension and Pentecost observe John’s worlds “above” and “below,” the first describing an upward motion or “lifting up” of Jesus Christ the Son to God the Father and the second the descending or coming of the Holy Spirit, completing the Trinitarian complex in a parabola of anabasis and catabasis.

In her texts for the nine consecutive Spring 1725 cantatas from Jubilate Sunday to Trinityfest, poet Mariane von Ziegler “explores the “above/below aspect of John in terms of antithetical and complimentary in the cantatas that lead to and culminate on Ascension Day,” says Chafe (Ibid.: 434). Running through her texts for Bach’s Cantata 103 “is a theme complex that closely reflects the eschatological [last things] character of the above/below complimentary” involving the seeing of Jesus with his disciples prominent in the cantatas of the earlier part of the Easter season and the theme of hearing him in the later part, “a symbolic motion from external to internal that leads to Pentecost and the ‘indwelling’ of God in the faithful” through the presence of the Holy Spirit. This dialectical “double sense of the present/future, physical/spiritual seeing” is particularly clear in the first and second cantatas based on the Farewell Discourse, BWV 103 for Jubilate and BWV 108 for the succeeding Cantate Sunday.

The overall sequence of the first four cantatas balances “the future and present aspects of their eschatological themes,” says Chafe (Ibid.: 438). In Cantata 103 the disciples will be persecuted by “the world” while Jesus’ return brings joy; Cantata 108 shows the way to the other, spiritual world; in Cantata 87, prayer overcomes this world, turning sorrow into joy; and in Ascension Day Cantata 128, based on the Gospel of Mark 16:14-20, Jesus ascending in glory to the world above “provides the foundation for all future hopes: the certainty of salvation.”

The four progressive temporal levels of theological understanding are expressed throughout Cantata 103: the literal-historical is the opening biblical motto; the allegorical in the analogy between the disciples and the church; the tropological in the change from the collective to the personal response; and the eschatological future emerges in the “crown of joy” in the closing chorale, says Chafe (Ibid.: 439).

In its opening three-part Gospel motto, John 16:20, the opposition between the spiritual disciples and temporal “the world” develops ( The first section states the dictum: “Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, / aber die Welt wird sich freuen.” (You will weep and howl, / but the world will rejoice.” The third section repeats the fugal music set in exact parody: Doch eure Traurigkeit soll in Freude verkehret werden.” (Yet your sorrow will be turned to joy.). In between is the brief, contrasting bass vox Christi arioso: “Ihr aber werdet traurig sein” (But you will be sorrowful.). The concept of musical reprise as the symbol of Jesus’ return is central to Cantata 103. To different texts the four closed movements feature musical reprises, says Chafe (Ibid.: 441): the opening chorus, alto and tenor arias, and closing chorale (Nos. 1, 3, 5, and 6). In “each case, the nature of the reprise is illuminating since it necessarily involves change of text.”

“In Cantata 103, the texts of the first [tenor] recitative and [alto] aria make clear that the disciples sorrow is the result of Jesus’s departure, describing him first as the beloved who is snatched away, then as a physician who cannot be found by the one whose ‘wounds of sin’ are in need of healing,” even without the balm of Gilead (, says Chafe (Ibid.: 438). In the alto recitative (no. 4), the motto is paraphrased in the contemporary terms of the poetess Ziegler. “The believer now voices willingness to await Jesus’s return,” says Chafe (Ibid.: 439).

“The subsequent aria (tenor, no. 5) makes clear that the joy is the result of Jesus’s reappearance” (, says Chafe. The music with trumpet and strings (no. 5), “Erholet euch, betrübte Sinnen (Recover yourselves, my troubled senses), addresses the “troubles senses,” which are human “qualities that are viewed as stumbling blocks to faith,” “setting immanent sorrow and adversity up against Jesus’s promise of his return [Second Coming], which is viewed in eschatological (future) terms,” says Chafe (Ibid.: 388). The closing chorale (no. 6) is an elaboration of Jesus’ words to the disciples, now directed to the believer personally” (, says Chafe (Ibid.: 449).


1 Cantata 103 Gardiner notes, BCW[sdg107_gb].pdf; BCW Recording details; Opening chorus
2 Cantata 103 Hofmann notes, BCW[BIS-SACD1611].pdf; BCW Recording details,
3 Eric Chafe, J. S. Bach’s Johannine Theology: The St. John Passion and the Cantatas for Spring 1725, Chapter 10, “Jubilate to Ascension Day: Cantatas 103, 108, 87, and 128”; “Introduction: Jesus’s departure and return, seeing and hearing” (Oxford University Press, 2014: 433f).

Aryeh Oron wrote (April 28, 2017):
Cantata 103 - Revised & updated Discography

Cantata BWV 103 "Ihr werdet weinen und heulen" (You will weep and howl, but the world will rejoice) was composed by J.S. Bach in Leipzig for for Jubilate Sunday [3rd Sundayafter Easter] of 1725, and was performed again on the same event of 1731. The cantata is scored for alto, tenor & bass soloists; 4-part Chorus; and orchestra of trumpet, piccolo flute, transverse flute, 2 oboes d'amore, 2 violins, viola & continuo.

The discography pages of BWV 103 on the BCW have been revised and updated. See:
Complete Recordings (15):
Recordings of Individual Movements (11):
The revised discography includes many listening/watching options to recordings directly from the discography pages, just below the recording details.

I also put at the BCW Home Page:
2 audios & 2 videos of the cantata. A short description below the audio/video image is linked to the full details at the discography pages.

I believe this is the most comprehensive discography of this cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 103 missing from these pages, or want to correct/add details of a recording already presented on the BCW, please do not hesitate to inform me.

You can also read on the BCW the recent discussion of the cantata in the BCML (4th round):


Cantata BWV 103: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion
Discussions of General Topics: Cantatas & Other Vocal Works | Performance Practice | Radio, Concerts, Festivals, Recordings


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Last update: Monday, September 11, 2017 15:26