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Cantata BWV 192
Nun danket alle Gott
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of October 29, 2017 (4th round)

Daniel Melamed wrote (October 31, 2017):
Blog post: Bach and Reformation commemoration

Here's a blog post on Bach and musical commemorations of the Reformation on the 500th anniversary, timely if you are listening to BWV 79, BWV 80, BWV 76, or BWV 126.

William Hoffman wrote (November 1, 2017):
[To Daniel Melamed] Awesome. I am working on Cantata 192 as well as Bach's other Reformation compositions for this weeks BCML Discussion. Stay tuned.

William Hoffman wrote (November 4, 2017):
Multi-Use Sacred Cantata 192, “Nun danket alle Gott”: Reformation & Beyond

The most versatile and concise of Bach’s chorale cantatas, the Martin Rinckart 1636 pure-hymn chorale setting of BWV 192, “Nun danket alle Gott” (Now all thank God), apparently was a per ogni tempo (for anytime) composition, undesignated in its surviving part set but appropriate for weddings and the Reformation Festival. Only two Bach cantatas were specifically composed for the Reformation Festival on October 31: BWV 80, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A mighty fortress is our God) decveloped between 1723 and as late as 1740, and BWV 79, "Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild" (God the Lord is Sun and shield) of 1725. Many others cantatas are a veritable gold mine of music of praise and thanksgiving with associations to the Reformation Festival, as well as to celebratory music for weddings, town council installations, New Year's and Michael feasts, and the Trinity Sunday Festival.

Rinckart’s chorale has only three stanzas which Bach set lasting 15 minutes as three extensive madrigalian movements in dance-style of 3/4, 2/4 and 12/8 gigue-style — no recitatives or plain chorales, only two tutti chorale chorus fantasias flanking a soprano-bass duet prayer in the manner of a Soul-Jesus dialogue of love, “Der ewig reiche Gott / Woll uns bei unserm Leben / Ein immer fröhlich Herz / Und edlen Frieden gene” (May God who is forever rich / be willing to give us in our life / a heart that is always joyful / and noble peace). The opening chorus hymn of praise is a typical fantasia with the melody in the soprano with imitative writing in the other three voices, all supported with a stirring, independent orchestra of pairs of flutes and oboes with strings and continuo, lacking only three trumpets and drums ( Bach made up for this with his plain chorale setting, BWV 252, also composed about 1730, scored for orchestra with horns in G Major, the key of Cantata 192, which also could have been performed after the hymn-setting musical sermon.

The year 1730 was a milestone for the Lutheran church, especially in Leipzig. It marked the bicentennial of Philipp Melanchthon’s Augsbug Confession, with a three-day festival of celebratory works on Sunday through Tuesday, June 25-27, alternating between St. Nikolaus and St. Thomas churches. Bach presented parodies of festive music: Cantata BWV 190a, “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied” (Sing to the Lord a New Song, Psalm 149:1); Cantata BWV 120b “Gott, man lobet dich in die Stille” (God, one praises Thee in the stillness, Psalm 65:2), and Cantata BWV Anh. 4a, “Wünschet Jeusalem Glück” (Wished-for Jerusalem Fortune, Psalm 122:6-7). He closed each with a Luther hymn, respectively: 1524 "Es woll uns Gott genädig sein" (May God be gracious to us), Stanza 3, “Es danke Gott und lobe dich” (Now thank, O God, and praise Thee); 1524 “Komm Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott” (Come, Holy Spirit, Lord God); Stanza 3 “Du heilige Brunst, süsser Trost,” (O thou holy flame, comfort sweet); and the Luther/Melanchthon 1579 hymn “Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ” (Oh, bide with us, Lord Jesus Christ); details, see below, 1730: Cantata 79, Augsburg Celebration).

Recent research suggests that Bach may have composed two undesignated, pure-hymn cantatas for festive services at the duchy of Weißenfels, specifically Cantata 192 for the Trinity Festival, 4 June 1730, at the Schlosskapelle in Sangerhausen (see below “Weißenfels Festive Services Connections”). Later, for the Reformation festival of 1730, Bach also could have presented a double bill of the premiere of Cantata 192 and an intermediate version of Cantata BWV 80, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A mighty fortress is our God). There is no documentation other than the Cantata 192 parts dated to the fall of 1730, from copyist Johann Ludwig Krebs, who did similar work for Cantata BWV 51 for the Fifteen Sunday after Trinity, on September 17. There also is the possibility that Bach also performed one or two of the Cantatas BWV 79, 80, and 192, at the Pauliner (University) Church during Reformation Day services.

Reformation Festival: Hymns, Liturgy, Readings2

<< The Feast of the Reformation main service was observed in Leipzig on October 31. The date of October 31 for was first established in 1617 at the Jubilee Year Centennial Celebration of the Reformation. In electoral Saxony the date was established in 1667, on the 150th anniversary of Luther's posting of the 95 Theses. The "Reformation anniversary was never considered fully equal to the other festivals of the church year, despite its increasing significance in the 18th century," says Günther Stiller in Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig.3 This is reflected in Bach's hymn book, Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682, where there is no separate listing of hymns to be sung at the Reformationfest, also known as "Luther Festival." Meanwhile the recognized Reformation chorales are found in the appropriate NLGB thematic section of Trinity Time such as "Psalm Hymns" ("Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott," No. 255) and "Christian Life and Conduct" ("Nun danket alle Gott," No. 238).

The “omission of music for the Sacrament [Communion hymns] in the Reformation anniversary, however, is evidently to be traced to the feast that in the main service of that festival there was not only the usual cantata, but after the pulpit service of the preacher” [sermon] “the Te Deum laudamus [NLGB 166, chant HDEKM I,1) was performed with trumpets and drums,” says Stiller (Ibid.), with the Latin Kyrie (NLGB 143) at the beginning of the service “in addition to the usual Introit motet.” The Te Deum laudamus also was performed on the Feast of Michael and All Angels, a Reformation-related service celebrating the defeat of evil and the triumph of the believer as found in the chorales appropriate for the Feast of the Reformation.

The readings for the Reformation Festival in Leipzig in Bach’s time, while not prescribed and subject to the preached sermon, were: apostle Paul’s Epistle, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8, a plea to the congregation to remain steadfast in its faith against the adversary until the Second Coming, and the Gospel, Revelation 14:6-8, two angels with the “everlasting Gospel” to “Fear and Honor God.” The German text of Luther’s 1545 published translation and the English Authorised (King James) Version 1611 is found at BCW

The appropriate Introit setting is Psalm 46, Deus noster refugiam (God is our refuge, Gott ist unser Zuversicht). Psalm 46 text (KJV) is found at Zuversicht (confidence) is a theme found in Bach’s Cantatas BWV 197,” Gott ist unsre Zuversicht” (God is our confidence), a c.1736-37 sacred wedding cantata, and 1728 SATB solo Cantata 188, “Ich habe meine Zuversicht / Auf den getreuen Gott gericht'? (I have placed my confidence / in the faithful God), for the 21st Sunday after Trinity, set to a published Picander text (see Francis Browne’s Notes on Text, “Mvt. 2: Tenor Aria,” BCML Cantata 188 Discussions Part 5 (October 9, 2016), Motet settings of Psalm 46, “God is our refuge,” include: “Gott ist unser Zuversicht,” Psalm 46 by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) and “Deus noster refugium” by Michel-Richard Delelande (1657-1726).4

For the Leipzig annual celebration of the Reformation Feast, the main services were held at the Nikolaikirche and the St. Thomas Church, with Bach also presenting a festive cantata at the University Paulinerkirckhe, as was his responsibility on feast days as Leipzig music director. Reformation Festive Vespers were held in Leipzig on the eve of the festival. The music may have included the organ Prelude, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott," BWV 720; Psalm 46 setting, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" (NLGB No. 255); the German Magnificat, "Meine Seele erhebt den Herr" (NLGB No. 153); Cantata BWV 79; Versicles; Nunc dimittis, Canticum Simeonis (NLGB No. 55); Collects; Benediction; Recessional Hymn, "Nun danket alle Gott" (NLGB No. 238); and organ chorale postlude, "Nun danket alle Gott," BWV 657.

(Based on recording information, Frederick Grimes, Holy Trinity Bach Choir & Orchestra; Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works; BCW,

Bach’s calendar for performances of cantatas for the October 31 Reformation Festival and special observances involves cantatas designated for that festival (BWV 80 and 79); music probably composed for that event, chorale Cantata BWV 192, “Nun danket alle Gott”; music arranged for that festival, Cantata BWV 76 Part 1, and Cantata BWV 194 Part 1; music composed for another service but appropriate for that observance, pure hymn chorale Cantata BWV 129, composed for Trinity Sunday 1726; and music composed for another service but possibly adapted for Reformation fest, BWV 63, in 1718 in Halle. Also of special note are three Picander published parodies of Town Council Cantatas BWV Anh. 4 (1725) and BWV 120 (1728 or 1729) and New Year’s chorus Cantata BWV 190 (1724) adapted for the 200th anniversary of the singing of the Augsburg Confession, June 25-27, 1730.

In addition to the special services, Bach in 1730 also could have presented three cantatas on Reformation Day, Tuesday, 31 October. Chorale Cantata 80, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" (A Mighty Fortress is our God,” probably was performed, as well as a repeat of Cantata 79, “Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild.” They would have been presented at the Nikolaikirche and St. Thomas Churches. In addition, pure-hymn chorale Cantata BWV 192, “Nun Danket alle Gott” (Now thank we all our God), composed in 1730 but with no service designation on the title page of the surviving manuscript score, could have been performed at the University Church, with either Cantatas 80 or 79. Bach here would have performed the music with trumpets and horns played by members of his Collegium musicum, which he directed beginning in 1729.

Another major observance of the Reformation, took place in Leipzig in 1739, commemorating the community’s and Saxony’s acceptance of the Reformation. Most notable was an appearance from Martin Luther on Pentecost Sunday, 25 May 1539, at the St. Thomas Church and in an evening vesper service at the Pleissenburg Castle on the Leipzig square, where Luther preached on the day’s Gospel, John 14:23, “He who loves me will follow my word.” Previously in 1519, Luther, had conducted a theological disputation in Leipzig at the beginning of the Reformation. On August 12, 1739 was the bicentennial observance of the adoption of Reformation theology and practice at the Leipzig University5 with a special celebration service at the Paulinerkirche University church. Later, a three-day observance of the Reformation Jubilee was held from October 31 to November 2, with a special new introit setting. In addition, the community marked the bicentennial of its first publication of a Lutheran hymnbook in 1539, Valentin Schumann’s Geistliche Lieder auffs new gebessert, with 68 chorales, 29 being by Luther.

Another major event in Reformation music was the jubilee centennial celebration in 1617, just before the 30 Years War broke out. A conjectural reconstruction of a service in Dresden features the music of Michael Praetorius and Heinrich Schütz (

Dance-style Movements. As to the dance element, the time signatures alone of the three movements of Cantata 192 lend themselves to such possibilities: ¾, 2/4, and 12/8 respectively. The third movement chorale fantasia is classified as a gigue in Little-Jenne Dance and the Music of Bach and Finke-Hecklinger Dance Character in the Music of JSB. Imagine, dancing hymns! Why not! Bach sacred and secular cantatas are replete with dance elements, not just because they make good music but, I think, as Bach thumbing his nose at the Pietists, having his cake and eating it too! Remember all those dancing choruses and arias finding their way from dramma per musica to the parodied feast day oratorios, as well as those great closing choruses in the Leipzig Oratorio Passions: sarabande in BWV 244, minuet in BWV 245, and gigue in BWV 247, uniting a time to mourn and a time to dance. As for Bach spicing up his cake with a little hanky-panky, that's quite possible. Virtually all of Bach's scared and secular wedding cantatas, according to Finke-Heckling, have dance movements: BWV 196/4, BWV 216/5,7; BWV 202/3,7,9; BWV 195/1, BWV 117/3,7; BWV 120a; BWV 97/2,7; BWV 100/3-5; BWV 210/2,4,8; BWV 197a/3, and BWV 195/1. Caveat amoritus et musicantus!

Ubiquitous, Versatile Chorale

"Nun danket alle Gott" is the most ubiquitous and versatile of all Lutheran hymns. It is found in all German hymnals and is a general sacred song of thanksgiving and praise, often called the "German Te Deum." Its text can be dated to the centennial of Philipp Melanchthon's Augsburg Confession that was celebrated in Saxony on June 25-27, 1630. For this anniversary, Martin Rinckart wrote four sacred plays, entitled "Lutherus augustus," parodying biblical passages. "One of these was on Sirach 50:22-24, which is the first stanza of Nun danket alle Gott," says Anne Leahy in J. S.Bach’s Leipzig Chorale Preludes.6 Stanza 1 also drew on Sirach 39:35 (KJV): "And therefore praise ye the Lord with the whole heart and mouth, and bless the name of the Lord.” Stanza 2 "continues with the theme of God's goodness,” says Leahy (Ibid.: 110), and a prayer to deliver humanity from "all distress.” Stanza 3 is a triune doxology to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” suitable for the Trinity Festival.

The full-three stanza BAR-Form text probably was published in 1636 just before the plague at Eilenberg where Rinckart was Archdeacon. The full text with music was published in 1647 by Johann Crüger with the melody in Praxis Pietatis Melica (Berlin), for the peace of the Thirty Years War. The chorale also closed the Leipzig special service of Good Friday vespers where Bach annually presented Passion music. Rinckart’s chorale is found in Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682, No. 238, “Christian Life and Conduct,” also in Das Evangelische Kirchengesangbuch (EKG)” with the melody attributed to Rinckart and adapted by Johann Crüger, 1647. 7

Stanza 1 is an expression of thanks to God and paraphrases Sirach 50:22-24, “And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth” Rinckart also drew on Sirach 39:35 (KJV), “And therefore praise ye the Lord with the whole heart and mouth, and bless the name of the Lord,” says Leahy (Ibid.: 118). Stanza 2 “continues with the theme of God’s goodness,” says Leahy (Ibid.: 110): The reference to delivering humanity from “all distress” is from Palm 25:22 (NIV): “Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!” Stanza 3 is a trinitarian doxology, hymn of praise and thanksgiving: “Glory, honour and praise be to God, to the Father and to the Son and to Him, who is equal to both,” with the important reference to Revelation 4:8b (KJV): “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, whiwas, and is, and is to come.”

The “implicit reference to salvation,” says Leahy, reflects “important eschatological issues,” particularly with the use of “Nun danket alle Gott” that closed the Leipzig Good Friday Vespers after one of Bach’s Passions was performed. John Butt’s new recording (Linn CKD419) of the “St. John Passion,” BWV 245, uses the liturgical Vespers music, including the NLGB SATB setting (No. 238), particularly appropriate for the Christus Victor emphasis of Evangelist John [see Butt’s recording notes:, download nos. 80-81].

“Nun danket alle Gott” “was used on any occasion of Thanksgiving and praise in the Lutheran Liturgy, says Leahy (Ibid.), citing Günther Stiller (Ibid.). Bach observed this in his various settings of the Reformation chorale. It was sung along with the Te Deum at festival services for St. Michael, Reformation, and New Year’s Day (Ibid.: 81, 248, 236); the Sundays and festival day Vespers following the Magnificat (Ibid.: 258), and after the closing Benediction in weddings (Ibid.: 94), and possibly at the Trinity Sunday Festival closing the de tempore (Proper Time) first half of the church year.

For these sacred occasions, Bach also composed “Great 18” organ chorale BWV 657(a) in G Major (composed in Weimar and revised in Leipzig c.1741), as the main service prelude or postlude and the Good Friday Vespers postlude (; the wedding chorale, BWV 252, with obbligati horns in G Major (BWV 250-252,; timing 2:00); and plain chorale BWV 386 in A Major for general use ( A feast of Bach’s hymn settings of “Nun danket alle Gott,” involving BWV 79/3, 192, 252, 386, and 657 is found at Organ chorale BWV 657 “is both a splendid exercise in the Pachelbel form and a jubilant musical expression of the triumphant hymn,” says Charles S. Terry.8

Cantata 192, movements, scoring, key, meter; Rinckart text and Francis Browne English translation,

1. Chorus chorale fantasia, two-part BAR Form, chordal & imitation, ritornello structure with sinfonia (mm1-24) [SATB; Flauto traverso I/II, Oboe I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. Section (Stollen A, mm 25-135),Nun danket alle Gott / Mit Herzen, Mund und Händen” (Now all thank God / with heart, mouth and hands); A’, “Der große Dinge tut / An uns und allen Enden” (He does great things / for us and all our purposes;); B Section (mm 136-169, Abgesang), B. “Der uns von Mutterleib / Und Kindesbeinen an / Unzählig viel zugut / Und noch jetzund getan.” (He for us from our mother's womb / and childish steps / countless great good / has done and still continues to do.), G Major; 3/4 dance style (
2. Aria (Duetto), two-part (A, A’), in canon; independent orchestra, ritornelli, opening (mm. 1-15) [Soprano, Bass; Flauto traverso I e Oboe I e Violino I all' unisono, Violino II, Viola, Continuo]: A. (mm 16-52) “Der ewig reiche Gott / Woll uns bei unserm Leben / Ein immer fröhlich Herz / Und edlen Frieden gene” (May God who is forever rich / be willing to give us in our life / a heart that is always joyful / and noble peace); A’. (mm 52-112), “Und uns in seiner Gnad / Erhalten fort und fort / Und uns aus aller Not / Erlösen hier und dort.” (and in his mercy / maintain us for ever and ever / and free us from all distress / here and there (both on earth and in heaven); D Major; 2/4 dance-style (
3. Chorus chorale fantasia, two-part, free polyphony, independent orchestra; ritornelli [SATB; Flauto traverso I e Oboe I e Violino I all' unisono, Flauto traverso II e Oboe II e Violino II all' unisono, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Lob, Ehr und Preis sei Gott, / Dem Vater und dem Sohne / Und dem, der beiden gleich Im hohen Himmelsthrone” (Glory, honour and praise be to God, / to the Father and to the Son / and to Him, who is equal to both / on heaven's high throne); B. “Dem dreieinigen Gott, / Als der ursprünglich war / Und ist und bleiben wird / Jetzund und immerdar.” (to the triune God, / as he was from the beginning / and is and will remain / now and forever); D Major; 12/8 dance style gigue (, 9:28.


The following Cantata 192 summary commentaries on the music are found in the first BCML Discussion (August 22, 2003, Aryeh Oron,

<<General & Mvt. 1 Chorus [SATB]
+W. Murray Young (1989): Bach decorates in his own style the hymn-tune for this stanza, creating a marvellous chorale fantasia. The divided choral parts sing the lines in canon and, at the end of the stanza, they repeat the first line twice in unison.
+Kenneth Winters (1985, liner notes to Iseler’s recording): The joyous and exuberant opening chorale-fantasia of Cantata BWV 192 is based on the familiar Rinckart (words)-Cruger (music) chorale ‘Nun danket alle Gott’.
+Christiane Krautscheid (1999, liner notes to Rotzsch’s recording): Although it ranks among Bach’s shortest works in this genre, it is just as sumptuous and richly scored as the other Reformation cantatas. Bach retains the 3 stanzas of Martin Rinckart’s song without making any changes. The first stanza of this chorale was first used in the third movement of his Cantata BWV 79. The work opens and closes with extended chorale settings entrusted to the chorus.
+Nele Anders (1989, liner notes to Harnoncourt’s recording): For this text, Bach had recourse to three verses of the hymn of the same name by Martin Rinckart. But Bach’s mastery of his art is evident in his treatment of the three stanzas of Rinckart’s text, which are absolutely identical in terms of form. The four-part choir, whose lost tenor part can easily be reconstructed from the context, can be heard in the two outer movements with their respectively contrasting treatment. In verse 1, Bach combines contrapuntal writing with the concertante principle and places alongside the choral writing evolved from the chorale melody thematically independent instrumental section, whose individual groups of instruments (2 flutes, 2 oboes, strings) even engage in concertante dialogue amongst themselves.
+David Schulenberg (1999, Oxford Composer Companions): The opening chorus is a chorale fantasia of the type familiar from the 1724-1725 cycle of chorale cantatas. But whereas those works usually present the cantus firmus (text and melody) one line at a time, here the first two verses of the chorale melody, in the soprano, are preceded by an extended fugal exposition of their text by the three lower voices, using an essentially unrelated subject. Following a repetition of the same music for phrases 3-4, the Abgesang (phrases 5-8) is treated in similar fashion. Throughout, the orchestra of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, and strings provides a contrapuntal accompaniment derives from the opening ritornello.

Mvt. 2 Duet [Soprano, Bass]

Young: They sing their lines in canon, with the bass leading in the first half of the stanza and the soprano in the last half. They are accompanied by a flute, an oboe, a violin and strings, which also play an interlude between the two halves of the stanza. This duet is a fervent song of thanks to God, who has protected us in out troubled lives and will continue to do so. Whittaker states that ‘while bright and effective, the duet is not particularlnotable’. I would disagree with this judgement, since I feel that both the text and Bach’s musical interpretation of it have deeply emotional appeal for the listener in Bach’s mystical transformation.

Krautscheid: These two sections enclose a duet for soprano and bass, its motivic substance partly derived from the initial part of the chorale.

Anders: The harmonically complex, two-part second verse with its measured, dance-like air, clearly periodic structure, orchestral ritornelli, which are one again thematically independent, and chorale melody presented by the soprano and bass soloists, forms an effectively contrasting, calm central section.

Schulenberg: The ritornello of the second movement, a duet, opens with several short fragmentary phrases of the type favoured by galant composers (including C.P.E. Bach). These later provide an affecting accompaniment to the more sustained lines of the soprano and bass soloists, whose parts employ the quasi-fugal imitations typical of Italian operatic duet of the time. The movement falls into a highly regular binary symmetry, the second half presenting almost precisely the same material as the first even though the long note of the opening vocal subject, on 'ewig' ('eternally'), no longer accords with the text, 'uns' ('us').

Mvt. 3 Chorus [SATB]

Young: This third stanza of the hymn is set to a pastoral melody, with the transverse flutes and the oboes doubling the strings in a dance-like tune. Perhaps Bach wished to paint a picture of an assembly giving joyous thanks to the Trinity. There is a joy-motif in the music, which evokes an image of the Good Shepherd with His flock in their pasture, rather than merely a solemn hymn of praise suggested by the text.

Anders: Verse 3, on the other hand, takers its character from the dance-like triple rhythm of the gigue; here, polyphonic vocal writing and the orchestral ritornello are based on the chorale melody, which is allotted to the soprano in the long note-values.

Schulenberg: The work closes with a second, considerably more compact, choral fantasia setting the chorale's doxology-like final strophe. The ritornello theme is reminiscent of the gigue from the third Orchestral Suite (probably performed, if not composed, during the same period).>>

Weißenfels Festive Services Connections

Bach’s four undesignated settings of four pure-hymn (per omnes versus) chorale cantatas (BWV 97, 100, 117 and 192) may have originated at the Saxe-Weißenfels Court, says Marc Roderich Pfau.9 An early performance of Cantata 192 , may have been presented during the Trinity Sunday festival on 4 June 1730 at the Schlosskapelle in Sangerhausen, based on a printed text book that shows all three verses of Rinckart’s hymn. In February 1729, Bach received the official title of court Kapellemeister, which he maintained until Duke Christian’s death in 1736.

Bach had a long association with the Saxon duchy, based on his seminal works, Hunting Cantata 209 of 1713 and Shepherds’ Serenade, BWV 249a, of 1725, both for the Duke’s birthday. For the Duke’s visit to Leipzig in January 1729, Bach conducted a homage parody, soprano solo Cantata 210a. The four undesignated chorale cantatas were most appropriate for festive services of Trinity Sunday, as well as services for Christmas time, as well as the Reformation festival at Weißenfels. It is possible that Cantata BWV 192 also was presented during the Christmas Season, "for we learn from Weißenfels that the main services of the Sunday after Christmas and of New Year's Day concluded with the hymn,” "Nun danket alle Gott," says Stiller (Ibid.: 236).

Nun danket alle Gott" "was used on any occasion of Thanksgiving and praise in the Lutheran Liturgy, says Leahy (Ibid.), citing Stiller. Bach observed this in his various settings of the Reformation chorale. It was sung along with the German Te Deum at festival services for St. Michael, Reformation, and New Year's Day (Stiller, Ibid.: 81, 248, 236); the Sundays and festival day vespers following the Magnificat (Stiller, Ibid.: 258), and after the closing Benediction in weddings (Ibid.: 94), and possibly at the Trinity Sunday Festival closing the de tempore first half of the church year, according to other sources.

Pure-Hymn Chorale Cantatas

“We now have a number of theories for BWV 192; for a wedding, for Trinity Sunday; or for the Reformation Festival. I can see reasons for all but perhaps to even out the debate it is worth setting out the Wedding case, referred to by Alfred Dürr,10 who takes that line,” says Peter Smaill (July 31,2008; Smaill cites Stiller (Ibid.: 93f): << "No public weddings or funerals were held without the participation of a choir, already because the choir was indispensable for leading public singing. A small choir would take part even in weddings at home.Thus we are told of a house wedding at which eight pupils were appointed to sing the usual wedding hymns. At the beginning they sang "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" and "In allen meninen Taten," then after the vows the hymn "Sei Lob und Ehr dem höchsten Gut" and after the benediction "Nun danket alle Gott".

Stiller goes on : "These are the same hymns about which Johann Sebastian Bach composed Cantatas that significantly lack application to a worship service... and cannot be assigned to a specific Sunday of the year. These are cantatas BWV 97, BWV 100, BWV 117, BWV 192 [. . .] it must be concluded that Bach composed those cantatas for weddings, although that does not preclude a later use of these works in Sunday services".

Stiller then argues that the known wedding cantatas are all in two parts, whereas as we note BWV 192 (c.15 mins) is only of three movements. So, if it was part of the wedding service at a "full bridal mass" in 1730 there would likely have been also a separate earlier Cantata or motet in the service, and as he hints, perhaps both. But, this being the case, Bach had quite a varied formula for music at wedding services and the case for BWV 192 is therefore not wholly certain; setting the traditional hymns is not an invariable practice.>>

Cantata 192 for Trinity Sunday

“The idea that this work [Cantata 192] would have been suited to Trinity Sunday by virtue of the unique three-verse structure and rare explicit reference to the triune Trinity ("dreieinigkeit") seems to have legs, quite apart from the emphatic triplet figuration, noted by Dürr [Ibid.: 783] in BWV 192/3, the doxology itself, where IMO the hermeneutic intent can be heard in the music,” says Smaill (Ibid.: August 2, 2008). “Like BWV 129 for Trinity Sunday, BWV 192 consists of a text purely derived from the exact text of a chorale. Here Bach is of course not working with a living librettist, so the choice of text is perhaps exclusively his own by taking the words as it were, off the shelf.”

Smaill then points out that Bach had <<ten surviving Cantatas composed purely of the Chorale, commencing with BWV 4, "Christ lag in Todesbanden", by Luther (c.1708). Never does Bach return to a Chorale author to set another of the writer’s? Chorales again in this way, even of? the prodigious Luther himself. Thus each stands as a representative work?for each Chorale poet. Apart from Luther we have (alphabetical by poet, with BWV number): Johann Agricola, “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (1529), BWV 177 (1732, Trinity 4); Paul Fleming, “In allen mienen Taten” (1642), BWV 97 (undesignated, 1734; Trinity 5 1767) ; Johann Heermann, “Was willst du, dich betrüben” (1630), BWV 107 1724, Trinity 7); Wolfgang Meuslin, “Der Herr is meine getruer Hirt” (c.1530), BWV 112 (c.1729/31), Misericordias Domini); Joachim Neander, “Lobe den Herrn, den mächtigen König der Ehren” (1680), BWV 137 (1725, Trinity 12); Johann Olearius, “Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott” (1665), BWV 129 (?Trinity, 1726/27, ?Reformation 1726); Martin Rinckart, “Nun danket alle Gott” (1636), BWV 192 (undesignated, 1730, ?Trinity (June 4), ?Reformation, ?weddi); Samuel Rodigast, “Was Gott tutu, das ist wohlgetan” (1674), BWV 100 (c.1732-35, undesignated, ?Trinity 12); and Johann Jakob Schütz, “Sei Lob und Ehr dem höchsten Gut (1675), BWV 117 (c. 1728-31, undesignated, ?Trinity 12). [The undesignated, presumed wedding Cantatas 117 and 192 date to about 1730 while Cantatas 100 and 97 date later to about 1734, all possibly for the Weißenfels Court. Further, except for Cantatas 177 and 107 for Trinity Time 1724, the other chorale Cantatas were composed after the second cycle: Cantatas 137 (1725), BWV 129 (1726/27), and BWV 112 (c.1729/31), as enumerated in another Alfred Dürr chorale cantata study.]11

It would be interesting if there is more to be said about this distinctive sub-group of the Cantatas and to discover whether there is any overarching reason why from time to time Bach simply reaches for the hymnbook?to find?a text!>> An analysis of these 10 pure-hymn cantatas suggests that Bach’s emphasis was on Reformation poets in the extended third period (c1618-1685) of the development of new literary concerns, following the Luther circle of the early Reformation period (c1517-1577) and the period of Lutheran Orthodoxy (c1577-1617).11a The exceptions are Luther and Agricola in the early period and, Neander in the second era. Bach’s choice of hymn poets for all the 52 chorale cantatas with 16 in the first period (11 by Luther), 17 in the second period, and 19 in the third period, as shows in Dürr’s study (Ibid.: 117f).

The early Luther chorales with their emphases on liturgical settings and Catechism teachings from the bulwark of congregational singing and sustained Lutheran piety in the next 200 years. A recent BCML study of these chorales began with the Catechism Organ Preludes, BWV 669-689 (,, Luther’s Deutsche Messe (; Penitential/Communion Chorales (, and Chorales Psalms, Christian Life, Troubles, Thanks, Weddings (

Cantata 192 Details

Details of Cantata 192 are found in Klaus Hofmann’s 2012 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete cantata recordings.12 << “Nun danket alle Gott” (Now Thank We All Our God, BWV 192). Most of Bach’s original set of parts has survived for this cantata, using three strophes from the hymn Nun danket alle Gott (Now Thank We All Our God) by Martin Rinckart (1586–1649) – a hymn that is often sung even today – although the tenor part and the original cover have been lost. Fortunately the tenor part can be reconstructed with sufficient trustworthiness. The loss of the cover page probably deprives us of one important piece of information: a reference to the occasion for which the cantata was intended. The hymn (alluding to Sirach 50:24–26) is about praise and thanks for God’s care and, in conjunction with the relaxed, even cheerful tone of Bach’s music, indicates that the event was a happy one. To judge from the paper used and the copyists involved, the cantata was probably written in 1730 or early 1731.

In structure, the first movement corresponds to that of the opening choruses usually found in Bach’s choral cantata year (1724–25): the hymn melody appears in the soprano, presented one line at a time, as a cantus firmus in long note values, combined with lively imitatory writing for the lower voices and embedded in a thematically independent orchestral texture. One peculiarity here, however, is that the choral part begins with an exclamation of ‘Nun danket alle Gott’, for all four parts (including sopranos) but independent of the cantus firmus. This exclamation recurs at the beginning of the third line to the words ‘der große Dinge tut’ (‘who wondrous things has done’)‚ and then once more at the end of the movement, with the original words but musically altered. Moreover, the piece acquires a special charm from the lively writing for the orchestra; the use of flutes and oboes in the interludes is often reminiscent of chamber music.

In the second movement Bach avoids the chorale melody except for a slight reference to it at the beginning of the vocal part. A gracefully striding ritornello, at first almost hesitant, develops into an imitatory duet in which the word ‘fröhlich’ (‘joyful’) is emphasized by coloraturas, although more detailed illustration of the text is lacking.

The final chorale follows the pattern of the chorale cantata year, but in a more compact form. Here, too, the choral strophe is presented line by line, and is led by the sopranos; but on this occasion the lower voices appear simultaneously with the sections of the cantus firmus, rather than between them and independently. This spirited movement in 12/8-time embodies dance music, a gigue – a form that in instrumental music traditionally ended the suite and often fulfilled the same function in sonatas and concertos too.>> © Klaus Hofmann 2012

“Production Notes. Nun danket alle Gott, BWV 192. The only surviving materials of this cantata are the original parts held in the collection of the State Library in Berlin. The autograph score has been lost, as has the tenor part, although it can be reconstructed on the basis of the melodic movement in doubling instruments and other parts.”
© Masaaki Suzuki 2012

Cantata 192: Contrast to BWV 79, 80

In between Cantatas 79 and 80, is Bach’s Cantata 192 is a jewel of contrast, says John Eliot Gardiner in his 2005 liner notes to the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000 recording.13 << The little three-movement cantata Nun danket alle Gott BWV 192 risked giving the impression of a shrinking violet dwarfed by two such hot-house blooms (BWV 79 and 80). In fact with its modest instrumentation it provides an attractive contrast, an alternative and less bombastic approach to the celebrations. The first movement is a skilfull and unconventional chorale fantasia. Twice the sopranos abandon their chief function of intoning Crüger’s hymn tune and switch to being an integral part of the four-part choral fabric. Meanwhile the instruments, thematically quite independently and divided by families (flutes, oboes and strings), engage in concertante dialogue. But Bach is not content to leave things so neatly separated. Imperceptibly he weaves the two together and then, when all seems done and dusted and with the final strophe of the hymn completed, he suddenly brings back the choir for a final shout of praise over the last bars of the orchestral play-out.

It is fascinating to watch how Bach mitigates the sapping metric regularity of a hymn-stanza when setting it for solo voices as in the soprano/bass duet (verse 2), through subtle variations and repetitions of his material. But he reserves his best music for the third verse, a paraphrased doxology set here as a lilting gigue. This is surely first cousin to the one in D which concludes his third Orchestral Suite (BWV 1068). Whittaker is not alone among commentators in finding this movement ‘singularly unsuitable for such a day of triumphant national rejoicing’. But to me it seems entirely apt – Bach’s particular way of celebrating the joyous throwing off of shackles achieved by Luther’s Reformation.>>.
© John Eliot Gardiner 2005; From a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage

Bach’s Reformation Festival Performance Calendar

Bach’s performance calendar for the Reformationfest, October 31, is quite extensive and complex, being compiled through evidence in the manuscript scores and parts sets, as well as copies and other documentation [Cantata 79 BCML Discussion, Ibid.). The record shows thBach composed the following: four evolving versions of Cantata 80, “Ein feste Burg ist Unser Gott”; programmed various Trinity festival-related Cantatas BWV 76, 194, and 129; created an undesignated pure-hymn setting of Cantata 192, “Nun danket alle Gott”; may have presented Reformation-type works of Georg Philipp Telemann and Johann Friedrich Fasch, and possibly even allowed his son Friedemann access to Cantatas BWV 80, 194, 129 in the 1740s in Dresden and Halle. In addition, Bach created other cantatas, mostly parodied for special, Reformation-related services such as the 200th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession in 1730 (see below). Three chorale Cantatas 80, 129, and 192 are appropriate for Reformation.

1717 (Halle) – Cantata BWV 63(a) Christen, ätzet diesen Tag (Christians, engrave this day) my have been presented on the 200th Anniversary of the Reformation, 1717 (Details, BCW; BWV 63: Genesis”). It appears that an altered-text version of Cantata BWV 63 by Gottfried Kirchoff (1685-1746), Halle organist, was presented during the bicentennial Jubilee Festival of the Reformation in Halle’s Liebfrauenkirche, October 31, 1717. Its text is found in a printed collection of festival sermons and commentaries, compiled in 1718 by Johann Michael Heineccius (1674-1722), church pastor, to whom the text is attributed. Heineccius officiated at Bach’s unsuccessful probe on Dec. 13, 1713, to succeed Friedrich Wilhem Zachow, Handel’s teacher. In 1717 it is believed that Bach could have presented a version of Cantata 63 that omitted the original recitatives, later revised for the special Reformation service. This original, festive Christmas Day Cantata 63 was first presented in Weimar in 1713 and/or 1714 (Source, Cantata 63, BCML Discussion 4,

1723-40. For the Reformation Festival in Leipzig in 1723, Bach presented the initial version of Cantata BWV 80(b) “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott,” opening with a plain chorale setting, possibly BWV 302 (Cantata 80 Details, BCW The music that followed was Weimar solo SATB Cantata BWV 80a, “Alles was von Gott geboren” (All that is born of God), beginning with the bass aria,” libretto by Salomo Franck, for Lenten Occuli Sunday in Lent 1715. This version originally closed with the plain chorale setting (BWV 304) of Stanza 2 “Mit unsrer Macht ist nichts getan” (By our own power nothing is accomplished), the second stanza of Luther’s “Ein feste Burg,” At this time, or in the subsequent Leipzig version of Cantata 80 about 1728-31, Bach set the Stanza 2 text to the canto oboe melody in the original bass aria, forming a chorale duet. At the same time, Bach composed a chorale chorus (No. 5), with the tutti orchestra accompanying the chorus in unison singing the canto of Stanza 3, “Und wend die Welt voll Teufel wär” (And if the world were full of devils). Bach added the closing (no. 8) plain chorale, Stanza 4, “Das Wort sie sollen lassen stahn” (They shall pay no heed to God's word). Finally, in 1735-40, to complete Cantata 80 as a chorale Cantata, Bach set the first stanza as an elaborate chorale fantasia, in place of the plain chorale, The chorale is found in Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch of 1682 (NLGB), No. 255, psalm chorales, Martin Luther paraphrase of Psalm 46, Deus noster refugiam, and Luther melody (Zahn 7477a+b), published in 1529. Details of the chorale are found on-line, Wikipedia:

1724. Probably in 1724, Bach presented only Part 2 of Cantata BWV 76, movements 8-14, beginning with the recitative,“Gott, segne nich die treue Schar” (God, bless still the faithful host), for the Reformationfest, using Cantata 76, “Der Himmel erzählen” (The heavens proclaim), composed for the 1723 Trinityfest. The venue for BWV 76II may have been the Leipzig University, St. Paul Church in 1724, with repeats in 1729, 1740, and 1745 (see Giles Cantegral, Les cantates de J. S. Bach, Fayard, 2010, p. 1201 ( See Cantata 76 Details, BCW Cantata 76 closes with Luther’s 1524 three-stanza chorale, “Es wohl uns Gott genädig sein” (May God be gracious to us), Stanza. 3, “Es danke, Gott, und lobe dich” (Thank you, God and praise you). It is a paraphrase of Psalm 67, Deus Misereatur (God be merciful unto us). It is found in the NLGB (No. 258) as a Psalm Choral with the Matthias Greiter (1524) Zahn melody 7247 (EKG 182); text and Francis Browne English translation, see BCW, melody and text, BCW

1725. Chorus Cantata 79 performed.
1726. Bach presented a special, abridged version of Cantata 194(b), Cantata BWV 194(b), “Sprich Ja zu meinen Taten” (Say yes to my deeds), opening with S. 9 of “Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe” (Awake my heart and sing), followed with the closing Stanza 10, “Mit Segen mich beschütte” (Protect me with your blessing.” Bach student Christian Köpping about 1726 made a copy of Cantata BWV 194, “Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest” (Most greatly longed for feast of joy), Trinity Sunday, 1724, using only Movements Nos. 12, 2-5, and 10. Details, BCW The chorale is “Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe”; Paul Gerhardt (1647/1653) 10-stanzas; Text and Francis Browne English translation at BCW; Chorale Melody: “Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren” (Now let us to God, the Lord), composer Nikolaus Selnecker (1587); Zahn melody 159, EKG 348 (Morning Song). Melody and associated texts, see BCW, (Text No. 2). This version uses Bach’s added organ obbligato in two arias (bass no. 2, and soprano-bass duet, no. 7) in the manner of similar passages in third-cycle Cantatas BWV 170/3,5 (Trinity 6), BWV 35/2,4 (Trinity 12), BWV 47/2 (Trinity 17), BWV 169/3,5 (Trinity 18), BWV 49/2, 27/3 (Trinity 20), 188/4 (Trinity 21).14
1726. Cantata BWV 129 “Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott” (Praise be to the Lord, my God; chorale), has quite a history as a Trinity Sunday Festival work. It was performed on June 8, 1727 (Trinity Sunday), when Bach began presenting cantata reperformances at Pentecost, according to libretto text book, Tatiana Shabalina, “Text zur Musik,” BJ 2008). Details, BCW It also was repeated 1732-5, c.1743-46, and ?1744-47. It is a pure-hymn chorale cantata per omnes versus (Zacharias Canticle, NLGB No. 150); “O Gott, du frommer Gott” - Melody 3, set to Johann Olearius (1665), 5 stanzas hymn (not in NLGB). Text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW, Chorale Melody: O Gott, du frommer Gott, Melody 3, Composer: Ahasverus Fritsch (1679); Zahn 5206b, EKG: 461
1727. No performance, mourning period, Saxon Princess Christine Eberhardine
?1730 - Cantata BWV 192 “Nun danket alle Gott” (all thank God) (1st performance, Leipzig; incomplete, tenor part missing); chorale cantata (NLGB 238); Details, BCW; BCW Discussion 2,, William Hoffman wrote (July 27, 2008): Intro. to BWV 192: Fugitive Notes. Pure-hCantata BWV 192 is dated to 1730, based primarily on the surviving parts from copyist Johann Ludwig Krebs, who did similar work for Cantata BWV 51 for the Fifteen Sunday after Trinity, on September 17. Because of the proximity of the date of the latter and the former's hymn for Reformation Day Festival, BWV 192 is often dated to October 31, 1730. It is possible that Bach presented an intermediate version of Cantata BWV 80, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott," for Reformation Day, either alone or on a double bill with Cantata BWV 192.
About 1734. Possibly performed was Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758) Cantata “Welt und Teufel, tobt ihr noch?” Fwv D:W 2 (World and devils, rage ye yet?) (source “Andreas Glöckner, “Neuekenntnisse zu JSBs Auffurungskalendar (1729-35), BJ 1981: 68).
1735-36. No Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel Reformation cantatas is listed in librettist Benjamin Schmolck ”String” or “Names of Christ” cycles that Bach presented in Leipzig. It is possible that Stölzel was not required to present Reformationfest cantatas in Gotha.

Other Reformationfest Connections

Addendum: Three vocal works with Reformationfest connections that also may have been presented during Bach’s Leipzig tenure, but with little supporting documentation, are: BWV 163, “Nur Jedem das Seine!,” for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity, which fell on the Reformationfest, 31 October 1723; Georg Philipp Telemann’s Easter motet, "Der Herr ist König" (The Lord is King); TVWV 8:6, also conducive for Reformationfest performance c.1724, and Bach’s son-in-law Johann Christiph Altnikol’s 1748 Motet, Nun denket alle Gott,” BWV Anh 164.

Bach’s oldest son Friedemann apparently had access to the music of Cantata 80 in Dresden where he was the organist at the Sophienkirche from 1733 to 1746. Between 1740 and 1746, Friedemann probably presented his Latin version (contrafaction) of the opening chorale fantasia, Gaudet, omnes populi, and the chorale chorus setting of Mvt. 5, Manebit verbum Domini,” both with three added trumpets and timpani. Three copies of Cantata 80 exist from the second half of the 18th century. Two other cantatas with Reformationfest connections are linked to possible Friedemann performances: Trinity Cantata 194 for a Halle feast day (1746-67), and Cantata 192, for the Dresden peace celebration, January 9, 1746. Apparently Sebastian lent his oldest son these works, as well as Cantatas 79 and 80.15

Bach student and son-in-law Johann Christoph Altnikol (1720-59) copied the final, extant version of Cantata 80 during his time in Leipzig (1744-48). Altnikol compose his own motet (SSATB) setting, “Nun danket alle Gott,” BWV Anh. 164 about 1748 ( It opens with a setting of Sirach 50:22-24, on which Stanza 1 of Rinckart’s “Nun danket alle Gott” is based (see above). It closes with Sebastian’s plain chorale setting of Stanza 3, “Lob, Herr, und Preis sei Gott” (Laud, honor and praise be to God), BWV 386, transposed to G Major from the original A Major. Altnikol married Bach daughter Elisabeth Juliane Friedrike (1726-81) in 20 January 1749 and it is quite possible that he composed the motet for their wedding, using Sebastian’s plain chorale setting. It also is possible that Bach’s festive wedding Cantata 195 was performed at this time.

1730: Cantata 79, Augsburg Celebration

Cantata 79 was repeated about 1730 during the time of another special Reformation anniversary, the 200th observance of Reformation theologian Philipp Melanchthon’s Augsburg Confession of Protestant articles of faith, in contrast to Roman Catholic teaching. The special three-day event was held on the exact anniversary dte from June 25 to 27 (Sunday to Tuesday). Bach composed three cantatas (BWV 190a, 120b, and Anh. 4a, set to published parodies by Picander, divided into two parts, before and after the sermon, with new chorale settings and recitatives reflecting the specific sermons. The following dates, venues, cantatas, and chorales are:

*June 25 (St. Nicholas): Cantata BWV 190a, “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied” (Sing to the Lord a New Song, Psalm 149:1) has two new chorale settings. Movement No. 2 is recitative with chorale trope, Martin Luther’s 1529 setting of the German Te Deum, “Herr Gott, dich loben wir” (Lord God, we praise Thee, German Te Deum); and No. 7, Luther’s 1524 "Es woll uns Gott genädig sein" (May God be gracious to us), Stanza 3, “Es danke Gott und lobe dich” (Now thank, O God, and praise Thee). From the original Cantata BWV 190 for New Year’s Day 1724 (text ?Picnder), Bach used unchanged the opening chorus and the polonaise-style alto aria (no. 3), “Lobe, Zion, deinen Gott” (Praise, Zion, thy God), he parodied the duet (no. 5), and composed new recitatives (nos. 4 and 6). It is possible that some of the music in Cantata 190 was parodied16 from Cöthen sacred Cantata BWV Anh. 5, “Lobe den Herrn, alle seine Heerscharen” (Praise ye the Lord, all ye of his great armies, Psalm 103:21), for the birthday of Prince Leopold, 7 December 1718, performed at the palace church in the reformed service, set to a text of Hunold/Menantes, says Christoph Wolff.17 Details are found at BCW; Discussion,, “August 23, 2016: BWV 190: Praise & Thanksgiving.”
*June 26 (St. Thomas): Cantata BWV 120b “Gott, man lobet dich in die Stille” (God, one praises Thee in the stillness, Psalm 65:2), has a closing choral, No. 6, Luther’s 1524 “Komm Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott” (Come, Holy Spirit, Lord God); Stanza 3 “Du heilige Brunst, süsser Trost,” (O thou holy flame, comfort sweet). Details, BCW, discussion (August 13, 2017), The 1730 Augsburg Confession parody, Cantata 120b (text only extant), is a perfunctory adaptation with little more than some text changes. Like its original, 1728 or 1729 Town Council Cantata 120, it opens with a repeat of the alto aria, "Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille), followed by the chorus parodied with new text, "Zahle, Zion, die Gelübde" (Pay, O Zion, all thy pledges), then a possible parody of the Cantata 120/3 recitative, now "Ach, du geliebte Gottesdtadt" (Ah, thou beloved city of God). It closes with a possible repeat of Luther's Pentecost chorale, "Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott," from the 1729 funeral motet, BWV 226, "Der Geist hilf unsre Schwacheit auf" (The Spirit uplifts our weakness).
*June 27 (St. Nicholas): Cantata BWV Anh. 4a, “Wünschet Jeusalem Glück” (Wished-for Jerusalem Fortune, Psalm 122:6-7), closes with a chorale setting, No. 6, Luther/Melanchthon 1579 hymn “Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ” (Oh, bide with us, Lord Jesus Christ). Only the published Picander text survives as a parody of BWV Anh. 4, same title, for the Town Council inauguration, 27 August 1725 (discussion August 6, 2017, A comparison of the texts shows that for the 1730 version, Bach used the same text for the opening chorus and the da-capo section A of the succeeding aria, then composed a new B section and recitative (no. 3). Then Bach composed a new aria (no. 4) in place of an arioso, and a new recitative (no. 6) in place of an aria with an inserted recitative apparent parody in the 1741 Town Council reperformance. Both versions close (no. 6) with different plain chorale settings appropriate to the occasion, as do Cantatas 120(b) and 190(a).

Cantata 192 Provenance

The autograph parts (Facsimile) of Cantata 192 are found at The primary copyist was Bach student Johann Ludwig Krebs, dated to the fall of 1730, who did similar wfor Cantata BWV 51. In the estate division of 1750, Bach’s Reformation cantatas were part of the occasional works not found in the cantata cycle distribution, although these works seems to have been divided between the two oldest sions, Friedemann and Emmanuel, the latter inheriting both the score and parts set, while Friedemann both the score and parts set of Cantata 80. The parts set of Cantata 192 is found in a 19th century cover inscribed by Siegfried W. Dahn (1799-1858, Bach scholar, collector, and BGA editor ( The title page (Bach Digital), in Dahn’s hand is: “Nun danket alle Gott' / Cantate von Joh. Seb. Bach. / [links:] Canto / Alto / Basso. [rechts:] Violino 1. dupl. / Violino 2. dupl. / Hautb. 1. / Hautb. 2 / Travers. 1. / Travers 2. / Continuo. tripl.”). The Cantata 192 provenance is: J. S. Bach - ?Friedemann - G. Poelchau (?) - BB (now Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (before 1852).


1 Cantata 192, BCW Details & Discography, Score Vocal & Piano,; Score BGA, BGA XLI (Cantatas 192-193, Alfred Dörffel, 1894), NBA KB I/34 (various sacred cantatas, Ryuichi Higuchi, 1990: 59ff), Bach Compendium BC A 188, Zwang K 181. Sheet music scores: Kalmus 1933,; G. Schirmer (1940, OOP); Breitkopf & Härtel 1964 (; Carus-Verlag 2016 (Ibid.
2 Source: Cantata 79, BCML Discussion Part 5 (October 30, 2016),
3 Günther Stiller in Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig (St. Louis MO: Concordia Publishing, 1984, 85).
4 One Introit motet that Bach probably knew is the cantata “Alles, was ihr tut” (Whatsoever Ye Do, Col. 3:17), BuxWV 4a (c.1668), of Dieterich Buxtehude (1637–1707); Recording: Youtube,; Text & translation:,_was_ihr_tut_(Dietrich_Buxtehude) ; Music download,, pdf file: main file.
5 Dates in 1739 confirmed in Robin A. Leaver, Part VI Chronology, Chapter 20, “Life and Works 1685-1750,” in The Routeledge Research Companion to Johann Sebastian Bach, ed. Robin A. Leaver (London & New York: Routeledge, 2017: 530).
6 Anne Leahy, J. S. Bach’s “Leipzig” Chorale Preludes (Great 18), ed. Robin A. Leaver (Lanham MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011: 109).
7 See “Nun danket alle Gott,” Wikipedia,; Rinckart BCW Short Biography,; and Crüger BCW Short Biography,
8 Terry, Bach Chorals. Part III: The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works (Cambridge University Press, 1915-1921). 3 vols. Vol. 3 (Online Library of Liberty,
9 Marc Roderich Pfau, “Entstanden Bachs vier späte Choralkantaten “per omnes versus” für Gottesdienste des Weißenfelser Hofes?” Bach Jahrbuch (2015: 341-349). For details of this and other sources, see Carus-Verlag score 2016 (, Christine Blanken Forward: 4f).
10 Alfred Dürr, The Cantatas iof J. S. Bach, ed. & trans. Richard D. P. Jones (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005: 781). Source: account of the services and festal music at St Thomas Leipzig, 1716, Johann Christoph Rosten.
11Alfred Dürr, “Bach’s Chorale Cantatas,” Cantors at the Crossroads: Essays on Church Music in Honor of Walter E. Buszin (St. Louis MO: Concordia, 1967: 507-517); reprinted in Ya Tomita ed., BACH essays (Burlington, VT : Ashgate Pub., 2011: Chapter 11, 111-119).
11a As discussed in Carl Schalk’s “German Hymnody,” in Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship (Philadelphia PA: Fortress Press: 19-29).
12 Klaus Hofmann, Masaaki Suzuki notes,
13 Gardiner notes,, no.9, “LinerNotes”;
14 Matthew Cron, “Music from Heaven: An Eighteenth-Century Context for Cantatas with Obbligato Organ,” Bach and the Organ, ed. Matthew Dirst, Bach Perspective 10, American Bach Society (Urbana: University if Illinois Press, 2016: `1-9-116).
15 Details of Friedemann’s performances of Cantata 80 and 194 are found in Peter Wollny’s “Wilhelm Friedemann Bach’s Halle performances of cantatas of his father,” in Bach Studies 2, ed. Daniel R. Melamed (Cambridge University Press, 1995: 202-228. Wollny notes on p. 217 that Cantata 79 survives as an “18th century copy on paper manufactured in Halle.”
16 Christoph Wolff, “Bachs Leipziger Kirchenkataten: Repertoire und Context,” Der Welt der Bach Kantaten, Vol. 3, Der Komponist in Seinen Welt (Metzler/Bärenreiter, Stuttgart/Weimar, Kassel, 1999: 64).
17 Christoph Wolff, Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician (New York: W. W. Norton, 2013 Updated Edition: 199).
18 See D B Mus. ms. Bach St 71 (Bach Digital, Bach Digital.


To Come Sacred Wedding Cantata 197, “Gott ist unsre Zuversicht”


Cantata BWV 192: Nun danket alle Gott [incomplete] for Feast of Reformation / Wedding (1730?)
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