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Cantata BWV 186
Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht
Cantata BWV 186a
Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of August 7, 2011 (3rd round)

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 7, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 186 -- Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue Trinity season cantatas with BWV 186, the first of three works for the 7th Sunday after Trinity.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via:

The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham] is especially recommended as an introduction to listening.

The BWV 186 page also has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner and Koopman (notes by Christoph Wolff) CD issues, via links beneath the cover photos.

Chorale texts are accessible via the BWV 186 home page, and the chorale melody is accessible via the chorale text page, or directly from the BWV 186 page.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 7, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham] is especially recommended as an introduction to listening. >
I don't see a link to Julian's commentary on the cantata page.

Evan Cortens wrote (August 7, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] I don't either, but if it helps folks, here's the link:

William Hoffman wrote (August 8, 2011):
Intro. to BWV 186: Trinity +7 Cantatas, Readings, Chorales

The 7th Sunday after Trinity Sunday marks a milestone in Bach's cantata production. It is the beginning of a series of 11 consecutive Middle Trinity Time Sundays with three surviving main service musical sermons each Sunday (and occasionally a fourth), according to a cursory glance at the BCW Discussion list: and This series is followed by another group of five Sundays, from the 19th to the 23rd Sunday After Trinity with at least three cantatas each Sunday. For almost three months or the middle two-quarters of Trinity Time each summer Bach was free from feast day observances between the Visit of Visitation, July 2, and the Feast of St. Michael, September 29.

In the first six or Early Trinity Time Sundays, only two involve three cantatas, the First (BWV 75, 20, 39) and the Fourth (185, 24, 177). This is due to the church year calendar having the fixed Feasts of John the Baptist on June 24 and the Visitation of Mary on July 2, in the midst of the moveable observances of the Trinity Time Sundays starting as early as early May and ending about December 1st. The final six-plus Late Trinity Time Sundays usually also involve two feast days: St. Michael and All Angels, September 29, at the beginning of the Leipzig Fall Michaelmas Fair, and the Reformation Festival on October 31.

Beyond the usual requirements of the Christian Church year, for the 7th Sunday after Trinity Bach settled into a routine after having explored various compositional elements in each of the three distinct cycles: the first involving the widest range of cantata forms set to various librettists, the second as a homogeneous cycle showing the chorale cantata in all its forms, and the third yielding mostly intimate works often utilizing previous Bach materials. Each cycle of his cantata trilogy showed Bach exploring significant facets of his compositional art. Bach's three Cantatas for this Seventh Sunday of Trinity Time -- BWV 186, 107, and 187 -- are emblematic of their respective cycles and the surety Bach acquired as he progressed through the earliest stage of each cycle.

In his ambitious, initial 1723 first year of six Trinity Time Sundays and two feast days, Bach presented five two-part cantatas (BWV 75, 76, 21, 147, 186) and one double bill, BWV 185 and 24, leaving only the Feast of John the Baptist for a single work, Cantata 167, and no extant work for the Fifth Sunday After Trinity. This string of six double-efforts, presented before and after the sermon, ended with Cantata 186, <Ärgre dich, o Seele nicht> (Trouble thyself, o soul, not), for the 7th Sunday after Trinity, June 23, 1724. Cantata 186. demonstrated his mastery of the expansion of his some 20 cantata previously composed in Weimar, particularly his crafting of the both the dramatic recitative form and the Lutheran chorale with its challenging permutations and combinations, including the first expansive, polyphonic chorale choruses.

Cantata BWV 186 represents Bach's penultimate essay in the into the two-part cantata form in the first cycle, with Cantata BWV 70 presented on the last (26th) Sunday in Trinity Time (November 21, 1723). Bach opened his second, chorale cantata cycle with two-part BWV 20 for the first Sunday After Trinity (June 11, 1724). In the third cycle, he fashioned eight original two-part cantatas to Rudolstadt texts, as well as presenting most of the J. L. Bach 18 Rudolstadt-texted cantatas in two parts

In his chorale cantata cycle, Bach produced a plethora of opening chorus movements using the chorale melody and its first stanza text: French Overture (BWV 20), motet-style (BWV 2), "violin concerto" (BWV 7) and the chorale fantasia (BWV 135) [Alfred Dürr <Cantatas of JSB> p. 32]. Then Bach created BWV 10 using an ancient psalm tone instead of a chorale for the Feast of Visitation/Trinity +4, followed two weeks later by the full use of both the chorale tune and text in Cantata BWV 93 for the Sixth Sunday After Trinity 1724. Meanwhile, Bach had put aside a pure-hymn text for the previous Sunday and finally setting it to music as Cantata BWV 9 a decade later in one of his last original essays into the cantata form. For the 7th Sunday after Trinity 1724, Bach set his first Leipzig and second overall of 10 pure-hymn cantatas, BWV 107, <Was willst du dich betrüben> (Why wilt thou thyself trouble). They are BWV 4, 107, 137, 129, 192, 140, 117, 177, 97, 100)

For his third cycle, the record is murky and enigmatic. For Trinity Time 1725, after possible repetition of portions of his first two Cantatas, BWV 75 and 76, in one part each without the choruses, cantatas followed with documented texts of Erdmann Neumeister (1711, three), the German Magnificat and an Agricola chorale, <Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ> (I call to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ). The Neumeister texts were set by Georg Philipp Telemann (TVWV 1596, 1:310, 1:600) for the Fourth to Sixth Sundays After Trinity 1719.

In addition, a cantata once attributed to Bach and catalogued as BWV Anh. 1 (the first Appendix work), <Geseget ist die Zuversicht> (Blessed is the confidence), also was set by Telemann in 1719, TVWV 1:617, in the same cycle to the Neumeister text, for the 7th Sunday after Trinity. See BCW: The incipit attributed to Bach was listed in the Leipzig publisher Breitfkopf's 1770 Catalog (NBA KB 1/18 118f) while that music is lost. The Telemann score is available:

Thus Trinity Time 1725 may have begun with two abridged Bach cantata reperformances, followed by a series of previously-composed cantatas by other composers, mostly drawn from Neumeister texts. It is possible that Bach, required to present a church piece at all Leipzig Sunday and festival services, relied primarily on this "extraneous" music for the remainder of thTrinity Time. There is documentation that Bach did present his own compositions on at least four occasions: Cantatas BWV 168 (Trinity +9), 137 (Trinity+12), Cantata BWV 164 (Trinity +13), and 79 (Reformation Day). Bach increasingly performed works of his colleagues in place of his own, not only from numerous cantata cycles of Telemann and Stözel but also possibly Fasch, Graupner, and others.

For the 7th Sunday after Trinity, July 15, 1725, when Bach returned from his first vacation, he had on hand possibly two other Weimar cantatas appropriate for this Sunday: BWV 54, <Wiederstehe doch der Sünde> (Resists then the sin, 1714, originally for Oculi Sunday),, and BWV Anh. 209, <Liebster Gott, vergißt du mich> (Loving God, forget me not, 1714), both based on the 1711 cantata cycle libretto, Gottgefälliges Kirchen=Opffer, of Georg Christian Lehms

In this five-month hiatus in the second half of 1725, Bach probably began searching for appropriate, already published (and acceptable) libretto texts for his third cycle. At the beginning of this cycle, he used six and possibly two more Lehms cantata settings for the Christmas Season and the early Epiphany Time (January 1726), BWV 110, 57, 151, 16, 32, 13. There is no record that Bach reperformed Weimar Cantata 54 in Leipzig, while Cantata BWV Anh. 209 was presented in a double-bill with Cantata BWV 157 for a funeral on February 6, 1727.

During Early Trinity Time 1726, Bach used old Rudolstadt texts (1704), alternating cantatas of his cousin Johann Ludwig Bach or setting the text to his own work. On the Sixth Sunday After Trinity (July 28, 1726), Bach added a Lehms text for Cantata 170, "Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust" (Pleasant rest, beloved stirring of the soul). For the next Sunday, he resumed using Rudolstadt texts for five original Trinity Time works (BWV 88, 187, 45, 102, and 17). Cantata BWV 187, <Es wartet alles auf dich> (There wait all things on thee) is a typical Bach Rudolstadt-style work in two parts, with opening Old Testament dictum (Psalm 104:27-28) and New Testament dictum (Gospel, Matthew 6:31-32), in palindrome form with three successive central arias (later parodied as Gloria Mass movements in BWV 235), flanked by recitatives, opening with a chorus (also used BWV 235 Gloria), and the closing chorale.

It turns out that Bach wasn't through with cantatas for the 7th Sunday after Trinity. On July 27, 1727, he may have presented Cantata BWV Anh. 209. However, there is no record of any Bach church year performances after the three Gesima Pre-Lent Sundays in 1727. Further, there was a closed mourning period in for the late Saxon Princess Christine Eberhardine, from September 27, to December 24, 1727, involving the 16th to the 25th Sundays of Trinity Time.

The history of the lost music for BWV Anh. 209 (only the text survives) remains murky. It may have been composed for the same Trinity +7 Sunday, July 15, 1714, in Weimar. The Lehms text shows seven movements of four each alternating recitatives and arias with the chorale, "Warum betrübst dich mein Herz" (Why grieve thee my heart), placed as No. 5. Bach set it as a plain chorale, BWV 420. Verse 10 (no BCW translation available) of the chorale closes Picander's text in his annual cycle to Cantata P-50 <Ach Gott, ich bin von dir> (Ah God, I am of Thee), for the 7th Sunday after Trinity, July 11, 1728

Lutheran Church Year, Readings for the 7th Sunday after Trinity, BCW:, lists the following five cantatas for this Sunday:

BWV 186 Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht (Leipzig, 1723)
BWV 107 Was willst du dich betrüben (Leipzig, 1724)
BWV 187 Es wartet alles auf dich (Leipzig, 1726)
BWV Anh 1 Geseget ist die Zuversicht (? - music lost)
BWV Anh 209 Liebster Gott, vergißt du mich (Leipzig, 1727 - music lost)

In later years, Bach reperformed two of these cantatas for the 7th Sunday after Trinity: BWV 186 between 1746 and 1749, and BWV 187 twice, between 1736 and 1739 and on July 20, 1749. It is also possible that Bach repeated BWV 107 in a reperformance of the chorale cantata cycle in the church years of the first half of the 1730s.

Readings and Themes for the 7th Sunday after Trinity (King James Version)

As was noted recently: The second group of Trinity Time Cantatas (the Sixth to the 11th Sunday After Trinity) "is rich with practical indications of the <Right Manner of Life in the Kingdom of Grace>," emphasizing the "new life of righteousness." Like the Christian comparison and contrast of the New Covenant in the Blood of Christ" with the Old Testament covenants between God and the People of Israel, the "new righteousness" the Old Testament models of righteousness of the law, from the Scribes and Pharaisees, with the "new" Christian concept of righteousness through the Sacrament of Baptism, also known as the Sacrament of Initiation into Christianity.

This theme of the "new life of righteousness" "is being progressively developed Sunday after Sunday" (Ibid., p. 201f), and emerges in both Lessons for the 7th Sunday after Trinity. While the two readings, especially the day's appointed Gospel of the miracle of the feeding of thousands (Mark 8:1-9), suggest the bounty from the Heavenly Father, the "new life of righteousness" theme is particularly found in the Epistle Romans 6:19-23, "The wages of sin is death." [19] "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness."

There is the exhortation, "even so now [ye] yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness" (verse 19) to avoid the yielding of earthly "fruit" producing the "wages" (cost) of sin. Thus, the servant of sin earns the wages of death while the servant of God earns the gift of eternal life. The Gospel offers the compassion and assurance that Jesus has collective "compassion on the multitude" (verse 2), offering the bounty of sustenance. The reward for the righteous will be the blessings.

The Gospel reading emphasizes two themes for the Christian, the believer. The first theme is that the disciples at Jesus' instruction furnished the "seven loaves" and "small fishes"; the people responded by provisioning (enabling) themselves the physical sustenance, after gaining spiritual sustenance from Jesus' earlier preaching.

The second theme is found in Douglas Cowling's BCW on the Trinity Time "Gospel Thematic Patterns, Paired Miracle and Teachings (Part 2, Trinity +5 to +8).

* Trinity 7: Mark 8: 1-9, Miracle of feeding of the four thousand

[6] And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

* Trinity 8: Matthew 7: 15-23, Teaching: Beware of false prophets

[15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. [16] Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles.

The teaching, found in the Gospel for the succeeding Eighth Sunday After Trinity, cautions the Christian against "false prophets."

The opening Introit Antiphon and Psalm 47:1, 3 is a song of triumphant rejoicing, anticipating the Epistle-Gospel s:

[1] O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
[3 ] He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.

Chorales from Bach Cantatas for 7th Sunday after Trinity

Bach utilized four different chorales for cantatas performed at the 7th Sunday after Trinity:

1. BWV 186/6,11 (1723): Speratus, <Es ist das Heil uns kommen her> (S. 12, 11). <Omnes tempore chorales; hymn of the day, see: Sixth Sunday After Trinity (Stiller: JSB & Liturgical Life in Leipzig: 242); in 1682 Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) 230.
S. 12, <Ob sichs anließ, als wollt er nicht> (Although it seems that he is unwilling)
S. 11, <Die Hoffnung wart' der rechten Zeit> (Hope waits for the right time)

2. BWV 107 (1724): Heerman <Was willst du dich betrüben> (Why wilt thou thyself trouble), Johann Heermann (1630), 7 stanzas; not in NLGB. Set to 1557 anonymous popular melody <Von Gott will ich nicht lassen> (I will not leave God); composer unknown from French secular song 1557. ); melody set to 3 texts: 1. Ludwig Helbold 1563, 8 stanzas 73/5; 2. Gott fähret auf gen Himmel> (God ascends to the Heavens) Gottfried Wilhelm Sacer (1697), 7 stanzas; 3. Heerman. Bach's usages: chorale Cantata BWV 107/1,5,7 (Stiller: 243, "interesting choice," Bach already used "Warum betrübst dich mein Herz" in BWV 47/5, "a hymn closely related in context" to No. 4 below)). Other Bach usages, plain chorales BWV 417 (B Major), 418 (A Major, "Trust in God, Cross & Consolation," Hänssler v.85), 419 (A Major); 658a (Great 18 organ chorale prelude; w/BWV 417, 419 in Hänssler v.84, "Patience & Serenity"); listed in Orgelbüchlein No. 93, "Christian Life & Conduct" (not set

3. BWV 187/7 1726): "Singen wir aus Herzens Grund" (We sing from the bottom of our hearts), NLGB 589. Text, Erfurt, Hans Vogel 1563 (Frankfurt/Oder 1508); music, G.B. der Böhm. Brüder 1544. (Stiller 243: Table prayer; "assigned to this Sunday in the Leipzig hymn schedules of Bach's time.) Bach's only usage.
S. 4, <Gott hat die Erde zugericht'> (God has set up the earth in such a way)
S. 6, <Wir danken sehr und bitten ihn> (We give great thanks and pray to him

4. BWV Anh. 209/5 (S.1, 1727?), "Warum betrübst dich mein Herz" (Why grieve thee my heart), anonymous text and music (1565), attributed to Hans Sachs. NLGB 714 as pulpit and communion hymn for Trinity +7. (Stiller 243: "a hymn closely related in context" to <Was willst du dich betrüben>, No. 2 above; 1693 Leipzig hymn books list both as "Concerning the Cross, Persecution & Trial." Popular in 17th & 18th century hymn books for Trinity +7 +15. also Picander P-50, closing chorale, S. 10, no BCW text; Bach's other usages: plain chorales BWV 420-421; Cantata BWV 47/5 (Trinity 17), Cantata BWV 138 (Trinity +15, 1723).

No chorales are found in BWV 54 and Anh. 1.

One Bach plain chorale is found in the NLGB, No. 710, "Lobet Gott unsern Herren" (BWV 1126); Author: Anon (1603); Chorale Melody: Befiehl du deine Wege (I) (BWV 272) | Composer: Bartholomäus Gesius (1603); BCW:

The following pulpit and communion hymns for the 7th Sunday after Trinity are listed as NLGB chorales:

No. 686, Nun lob mein Seele der Herren (Psalm 103, "Praise & Thanks"), used in Cantata BWV 17/7 (Trinity +14, 1726), Cantata BWV 29 (Council, 1729), plain chorales 389-390;
No. 505, Vater unser in Himmelreich (Lord's Prayer, Catechism hymn); see Trinity +5
No. 714, "Warum betrübst dich mein Herz" (see above)
No. 702, Wohl dem der in Gottes Furcht steht (not used by Bach)

Others chorales not set by Bach but appropriate for Trinity Time as found in the NLGB include:

No. 676, "O Herre Gott begnade much"
No. 682, "Herr Gott du unsre Zuflucht bist"
No. 685, "Wer sich des Höchsten Schirm vertraut"
No. 690, Fröhlich wollen wir Allelujah singen
No. 692, Lobt Giott mit Schall ihr Heinden all
No. 694, "Ich heb mein Augen (sehnlich, No. 393) auf
No. 713, "Lobet Gott in seinem Heiligtum"

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 8, 2011):
[To William Hoffman]

I'm confused-- is the music to the Telemann piece (TVWV 1:617) lost or the supposed Bach piece?

Just wondered.

Thanks for a wonderful post!

William Hoffman wrote (August 8, 2011):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] The source cited has the music, once attributed to Bach: "The Telemann score is available:"

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (August 8, 2011):
[To William Hoffman] Thanks for the link. Unfortunately they only have a libretto. :/

Barenreiter published an edition in 1978, and it has 2 recorders! Pity it's not recorded.

Thanks again Will! :-)

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 9, 2011):
Evan Cortens wrote:
< I don't see a link to Julian's commentary on the cantata page. >
The link at BCW cantata page is available now. Full disclosure: I did not check previously, perhaps it has been added in the interim?

Thanks to Evan for support with details, as well as ongoing updates on current Bach scholarship.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 9, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< In later years, Bach reperformed two of these cantatas for the 7th Sunday after Trinity: BWV 186 between 1746 and 1749, and BWV 187 twice, between 1736 and 1739 and on July 20, 1749. It is also possible that Bach repeated BWV 107 in a reperformance of the chorale cantata cycle in the church years of the first half of the 1730s. >
Thanks for the details of multiple performances of the church works, through the period when Bach was also consolidating his keyboard (Klavier) compositions for publication and/or preservation. See parallel discussion, and Aryehs ongoing work on the BRML discography.

The chorale references are a valuable addition to the BCW archives!

Listeners to Brian McCreaths Bach Hour on radio and webcast likely noticed a neat calendar coincidence: our discussion cycle was in phase with the liturgical calendar for Trinity +6 and +7. Brian chose the works under discussion for broadcast, in the recent or ongoing release cycles by Gardiner (BWV 9) and Suzuki (BWV 186), last week and this.

Brians broadcasts will move forward with the annual calendar cycle, while we enjoy a couple more weeks discussing the other works for Trinity +7. I did not look ahead, but I belive we must be in phase again sometime next year?


Continue on Part 4

Cantata BWV 186: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Cantata BWV 186a: Details
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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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