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Cantata BWV 193
Es ist dir gesagt, Mench, was gut ist
Cantata BWV 193a
Zion Ihr Häuser des Himmels, ihr scheinenden Lichter
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of April 21, 2013 (3rd round)

Linda Gingrich wrote (April 22, 2013):
Introduction to BWV 193

This week's cantata, BWV 193, *Ihr Tore zu Zion* (You Gates of Zion), another city elections work, has come down to us in incomplete form but has been reconstructed by several scholars. The continuo is missing throughout, but in the opening chorus the soprano, alto, upper strings and two oboe parts survive, the soprano recitative contains the vocal line, the soprano aria retains vocal, upper strings and oboe, the alto recitative again just the vocal line, and its partnered alto aria the vocal and oboe parts. A bass recitative and final chorus are entirely absent, although typically the opening chorus is repeated in performances (these were noted in a surviving score). It is generally recognized that trumpets and drums would surely have been used.

Reconstructions can be controversial, but no doubt the desire to play musical detective is irresistible, at least for some. Two recordings of this work exist: Ton Koopman's, which uses a reconstruction of his own, and Helmut Rilling's with a reconstruction by Reinhold Kubik. The first movements of these two recordings can be compared on the Cantatas website, Cantata BWV 193 - Music Examples <>.
I downloaded a vocal score from the IMSLP site, a *c* 1890 Breitkopf score with Bernhard Todt listed as the arranger (reconstructor as well?). It's worth a trip to the Bach website: ( to peruse past discussions of this cantata, including an enlightening tracing by Thomas Braatz (from 2008) of the journey of the parts from past to present, the transformation of the word "Tore" to "Pforten" in later editions, and an entertaining postulation as to why. And Julian Mincham's analysis can be found at:

The cantata probably dates back to August 1727, and is, in part, a parody of BWV 193a*, Ihr Hauser des Himmels* (Ye Houses of Heaven), which celebrates the name-day of Augustus II on August 3, 1727, libretto by
Picander. If BWV 193 was indeed performed later in the same month, the pressure of time may explain the lack of an ending chorus. Dürr speculates that BWV 193 may also hark back to an earlier Cöthen cantata.

The jubilant opening chorus calls on Zion's gates to praise God (from Psalm 87:2); there is a delightful syncopated interchange between soprano and alto near the end on the word "freuet" that pops with joy and makes me wonder how the tenors and basses might have "popped" as well.

The soprano recitative draws on Psalm 121:4 to paint God as protector, and the third movement aria thanks God for His goodness.

No. 4 draws a direct connection between Leipzig and Jerusalem, as often happens in these elections cantatas. I would again draw your attention to the cantata discussions from 2008 and some highly intriguing insights by Peter Smaill on the allegorical understanding of the Jerusalem image in Bach's cantatas

No. 5 asks God to send His blessing to and through those who have been elected to lead the city. This alto aria is stunningly challenging; as an alto, I know how difficult it can be to move the voice through those elaborate lines in the low end of the range. I haven't worked with unchanged boy's voices so I can't speak to how it lies in their range.

Possible avenues for discussion: a comparison of the Koopman and Kubick reconstructions; and should reconstructions of any kind be attempted? For instance, several years ago I heard, in concert, Richard Maunder's additions to Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor, and found them rather pedestrian. Any additional thoughts?

William Hoffman wrote (April 22, 2013):
Cantata 193: Regal Music: Purpose & Transformation

In late 1725, Bach resumed his regular service cantata production with his third annual cycle while making a major shift in his creative production. Instead of focusing most of his compositional energies as St. Thomas Church cantor on weekly vocal works for church Sundays and feast days, he renewed and expanded his interests in his primary occupation, director of music in Leipzig. This entailed special sacred events such as the annual Good Friday oratorio Passions and an annual cantata for the installation of his employer, the Town Council, as well as special secular events and instrumental music.

Beyond a "well-ordered church music to the glory of God," Bach developed a process for meeting the greater needs while utilizing existing music composed for special events. Central to this was his celebratory instrumental and vocal music composed previously for the Cöthen court that he began to utilize in Leipzig, beginning with his Town Council cantatas. Music of praise and thanksgiving originally composed for earthly authority -- rendering unto Caesar, as pragmatic Protestant Reformer Martin Luther advocated -- could be refashioned for civic government authority as well as the Saxon Court in Dresden. It eventually would lead directly to profane drammi per musica celebrations that would in turn become sacred Feast Day oratorios while the cantatas would become the impetus for what eventually became the "Great Catholic" B-Minor Mass (BMM), completed at the end of Bach's life.

The best evidence of this new direction and Bach's transformational process is his 1727 Council Cantata, BWV 193, "Ihr Tore/Pforten zu Zion" (Ye Doors/Portals of Zion). Surviving as an intriguing fragmentary work, it embodies music originally composed to celebrate the annual birthday of Prince Leopold or the annual New Year's celebration of his town of Cöthen, then refashioned to observe the Nameday of the Saxon Monarch, August the Strong, on August 3, 1727, subsequently modified and shortened with a sacred text to honor the Leipzig Town Council on August 25, and possibly, eventually, its central duet may have become the impetus for the middle prayer, <Domine Deus, Rex coelestis> (Lord, God, Heavenly King) in the <Gloria> movement of the B-Minor Mass, composed in 1733 for the Dresden Court's new monarch, Augustus III.

Cantata 193, Ihr Tore/ Pforten zu zion, iher Wohnungen, Jakobs, freuet euch! - You gates of Zion, you dwellings of Jacob, rejoice!

Cantata 193, BCW Details,
German text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW,

BWV 193, Bachground

William Hoffman wrote (April 7, 2008):
Intro. to BWV 193 - Fugitive Notes [Revised and expanded, 4/13]

[To Jean Laaninen & Peter Smaill] William Hoffman provides these notes for Cantata BWV 193:

The librettist is probably Picander as he wrote the poetry for the congratulatory parody, Cantata 193a, presented three weeks before for the birthday of Saxon King August. Picander also is the probable lyricist for other Town Council cantatas during this time: Cantata BWV Anh. 4, 1726; Cantata BWV 120, 1728; Cantata BWV 216a, 1729 (only "secular" council work); and Cantata BWV Anh. 3, 1730. The primary biblical references in these council cantatas are to various thanksgiving Psalms.

In Leipzig, Bach probably presented his own cantatas annually on this date in August, 1723-49, traditionally on the Monday following the feast of St. Bartholomew, but the observance is notpart of the church year. Bach's only other annual effort involved Passions on Good Friday, part of his contract with the Town Council.

The source of Cantata BWV 193a in all likelihood is a Cöthen celebratory secular cantata (serenade) for Prince Leopold, possibly presented on New Year's Day 1721 with text probably by Christian Friedrich Hunold (Menantes), who collaborated with Bach from his Halle University post as poet and rhetorician on annual court presentations. The source is Friedrich Smend's "Bach in Köthen" (1951, updated and translated in 1985 by Stephen Daw and John Page). Chapter 7 is devoted to two parodies, Cantatas BWV 190 and BWV 193/a (pp. 69-73). Menantes also authored Cöthen Cantatas BWV 66a, BWV 134a, and Cantatas BWV Anh. 5-7; and possibly BWV 173a, BWV 184a and BWV 194a, which Bach also parodied in Leipzig as sacred cantatas.

Smend cites strong stylistic evidence in Cantata BWV 193: festive opening and repeated closing chorus; extensive oboe work in both arias (Nos. 3 and 5); use of minuet in 3/8 in the soprano aria (No. 3), later double parodied in the 1734 Thomas School Director Gessner tribute, BWV Anh. 210; and the Menantes-style Fame-Fortune Duet in Serenade BWV 193a/5 (not found in Cantata BWV 193), that may have influenced Bach's duet, "Domine Deus," in the <B Minor Mass> (BMM) Gloria section, BWV 232I/7, composed in 1733. George B. Stauffer in his BMM monograph, "The Great Catholic Mass" (Yale Univ. Press 2003: 81) says that "While the text only of the work [BWV 193a] survives, the words of the duet match both the structure and the character of the `Domine Deus' very closely."

A comparison of the texts of BWV 193a/3 and 232/7 shows:

BWV 193a/3. Aria (Providence)

Call, then, this thine August god!
Boast, then, Rome, in games and feasting,
Saxon August is the greatest,
For this his own laurels bloom;
Saxon August is unequaled,
For kindness and love have immortalized him.

BWV 232/7 Aria (S1, T), Doimine Deus, Rex coelestis

O Lord God, heavenly King,
God the Father Almighty,
O Lord, the only-begotten Son,
Jesus Christ, the Most High,
O Lord God,
Lamb of God, Son of the Father.

Thus, Bach may have recycled the opening chorus as well as the three arias from the original Cöthen cantata and initially used them in the secular drama per musica, BWV 193a (text only), "Ihr Häuser des Himmels, ihr scheinenden Lichter" (Ye houses of heaven, ye shining lights), presented as a birthday cantata for the nameday of Saxon ruler August II (The Strong), on August 3, 1727 in Leipzig during a royal visit. It was Bach's first and only congratulatory cantata for the Dresden monarch, who died in 1733. The text writer was Picander and he may have utilized, semi-parodied many of Menantes original Cöthen lines.

To these four numbers, two arias were added, possibly parodies since the music has never been found, with Bach setting the five recitative texts and adding a closing vanity scena aria with chorus for a total of 11 numbers. The four allegorical characters are: Providentia (Providence), Fama (Fame), Salus (Health), Pietas (Piety). As the BCW details note: "Picander's [published] text for BWV 193a may have been based on an earlier text by Christian Friedrich Hunold, which Bach set to music in Köthen where the original music for BWV 193 may have been composed" (Cantata BWV 193a BCW Details: Menantes and Picander (and Lehms) used allegorical figures in their texts, including sacred works (Fear, Hope, Soul, Jesus, Believer; BWV 66, 60, 57, 58, Anh. 168). Here is a summary of the 11 movements:

1. Aria (Chorus, Council of the Gods): Ye houses of heaven, ye shining lights; (BWV 193/1);
2. Recitative (Providence): Praiseworthy August;
3. Aria (Providence): Name yourself, August (music lost);
4. Recitative (Fame): O beautiful day;
5. Aria (Providence, Fame): I will/You shall rest (dc, music lost)
6. Recitative (Providence, Fame, Health): So look August not
7. Aria (Health): Lord, so great like thy exhaltation (dc, 193/3=232/7=Anh. 210)
8. Recitative (Piety): As am I yet delivered
9. Aria (Piety): Saxons. Come to the offering-Army (dc, 193/5)
10. Recitative (Piety): Yet for what wish we;
11. Scena (Piety/Chorus): Heaven exhalt (music lost).

Cantata BWV 193a German text and Z. Philip Ambrose English translation is found at:

A comparison of the three texts of BWV 193a/1,7,9 and their BWV 193/1,3,5 counterparts shows:

A. BWV 193a/1 Aria (The Council of the Gods)

Ye houses of heaven, ye radiant torches, bow ye low.
For Augustus' name's great luster
Shall within your radiant borders
This day solemnly be brought.

BWV 193/1 Chorus

You gates/doors to Zion, you dwellings of Jacob, rejoice!
God is the joy of our heart,
we are people of his pasture,
everlasting is his kingdom.

B. BWV 193a/7 Aria (Health)

Sire, though high be thy position,
Graft I will e'en thy well-being
Onto everlasting growth.
I will keep now thy great power,
Like the eagles never aging,
Like the cliffs which firmly stand.

BWV 193/3 Soprano aria

God, we give thanks for your kindness,
since your fatherly disposition
lasts eternally for ever and ever.
You forgive our transgression,
you listen when we pray,
therefore all flesh comes to you.

C. BWV 193a/9 Aria (Piety)

Saxons, come to sacrifice,
Let the incense sweetly burn now,
That his heart may here acknowledge
That ye are his glory worth.

BWV 193/5 Alto aria

Send your blessing, Lord,
may those people grow and prosper
who administer justice in your presence
and are a protection for the poor!
Send your blessing, Lord!

The text for the tenor or bass recitative, BWV 193/6, is lost since no music with text survives. Ton Koopman's version of BWV 193/6 exists in his recording and is a copy of his Erato recording in Cantata BWV 120/5, Cantatas Vols. 19 and 20 respectively:

Now, Lord, may you yourself consecrate this government with your blessing,
so that all evil may flee from us
and righteousness may flourish in our dwellings,
so that your father's pure seed
and your blessed name
may be glorified among us!

Smend in his 1950 study of the B-Minor Mass, NBA KB II/1 (Bärenreiter Cassel), also thought that the opening BMM "Gloria in excelsis Deo" came "from a lost concerto movement, perhaps a piece from Bach's Cöthen years," says Stauffer (Ibid: 66f), who cites Jeremy Rifkin (Nonesuch BMM liner notes) suggesting a now-lost Leipzig cantata and John Butt (BMM, Cambridge Music Handbook) suggesting BWV 206/1. Butt notes that Bach composed new da-capo opening choruses with trumpets and drums in a series of secular congratulatory cantatas in the late 1720s and early 1730s (201, 206, 207, 214, and 215. They are similar to such movements in Council Cantatas BWV 119, BWV 193, BWV 120, BWV 29, and BWV 69, showing that Bach had shifted his interest from new celebratory cantatas for the Leipzig Town Council to ones for the governing Saxon Court. Further, two movements became sacred parodies: BWV 214/1 opens the Christmas Oratorio (1734) and BWV 215/1 became the BMM Osana by 1748. Another BMM movement, the festive chorus "Cum Sancto Spiritu" closing the Gloria, also has been suggested as having Cöthen roots (Ibid.: 94f), although Smend said it was original (Stauffer, Ibid.: 94f. It turns out that, coincidentally, the three BMM movements - "Gloria," "Domine Deus," and "Cum Sancto Spiritu" - that were thought to have originated in Cöthen were used in contrafaction in the Latin Christmas Cantata BWV 191, "Gloria in excelsis Deo," c.1743-46. The music opens with the festive Gloria," the pastoral-style Neapolitan love song "Domine Deus" became the Lesser Doxology "Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui sancti"; and the festive "Cum Sancto Spiritu," became the closing part of the Doxology, "Sicut erat in principio."

Jerusalem Image & Use in BMM

Peter Smaill wrote (April 6, 2008):

The Text of this Cantata [193] opens up an important theme in the worship in Bach's Leipzig, namely the image of Leipzig as Jerusalem.

In line also with the first known civic Cantata, BWV 71, for Mühlhausen, there is no mention of Jesus in the text, only God, and it is only a single image, that of the city of light, that can be tentatively linked to the New Testament.

We also come across the destruction of Jerusalem as a significant feature in Lutheran worship, as in the text of BWV 46 and in the reading of the Josephus account on the appropriate day, the 10th Sunday in Trinity and in Holy Week. In this context, Jerusalem serves for Luther as the "analogy of faith"; it is not so much the historic fact of its destruction that matters, but the need of the believer to hold to the belief in the Holy City; in this analogy, Jerusalem is the church.

Significantly IMO the choice of Cantata sources for the BMM includes three with Jerusalem-referentiality: BWV 46 [Qui tollis], BWV 29 [Gratias agimus tibi], and BWV 120 [Et expecto]. [The last two, BWV 29/2, and BWV 120/2, are festive choruses composed initially for Town Council cantatas, and will be studied in the next two BCW Discussions.]

The Jerusalem image, which derives from medieval ideas, is understood three ways: allegorically (the Church), tropologically (the soul) and eschatologically (the Kingdom of Heaven) (Chafe, understanding Bach's Cantatas, ,pp 241-242. The image is referred to over a dozen times in Helene Werthemann's "Die Bedeutung der alttestamentlichen Historien in Johann Sebastian Bachs Kantaten", pioneering work on the textual hermeneutics from 1960. Cantata 193 BCW Discussion 2,


Bach had systematically recycled his some 24 sacred cantatas composed in Weimar (1714-16), almost entirely in the first Leipzig cycle of 1723-24. He often expanded them with recitatives and plain chorales to reinforce their application to a specific Sunday main service or their new application when necessary. His some 20 serenades and cantatas thought to have been composed in Cöthen (1718-22) selectively were recycled and parodied with new sacred texts, initially in the first Leipzig cycle for the second and third feast days of Easter and Pentecost from secular serenades in 1724 (BWV 66, 134, 173, 184) and Trinity Sunday (BWV 194).

Meanwhile, Bach had begun to use individual movements from now lost Cöthen mostly instrumental works as well as occasional vocal pieces. In the summer of 1723 Council Cantata BWV 119, "Preise Jerusalem, denn Herrn" (Praise the Lord, Jerusalem) Bach had set an instrumental French Overture as the opening sinfonia and chorus with the dictum from Psalm 147:12-14a), as well as the festive fugal tutti da capo chorus (No. 7), "Der Herr hat Guts an uns getan" (The Lord has done good things for us), with its added secular trumpet motif found at princely courts and perhaps originating in a Cöthen homage cantata.

For his second cycle (1724-25), Bach turned almost exclusively to composing original, ambitious chorale cantatas until the final 20 services of the 1725 Easter Season. On Easter Sunday, Bach introduced the Easter Oratorio, BWV 249, his first major parody from a month-old birthday serenade for Duke Christian of Weißenfels. There followed mostly less ambitious solo cantatas set to texts of Mariane von Ziegler and occasionally utilizing previously-existing materials. These included an instrumental da-capo concerto movement, probably from Cöthen, as the opening sinfonia to Cantata BWV 42, "Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats" (On the evening of the same Sabbath), for the First Sunday after Easter (Quasimodogeniti).

Others involved various sketches and drafts using old materials, particularly pure-hymn chorale Cantata BWV 97, "In allen meinen Taten" (In all that I do [usually Francis Browne BCW translations]), possibly begun for the Sunday (Exaudi) after the Ascension Thursday feast. The material probably came from a Cöthen, orchestral suite of dances with an opening French Overture that was set to a wedding chorale and a movement for tenor and virtuoso violin obbligato, "Ich traue seiner Gnaden" (I trust in his grace), set to an allemande. Later in the 1720s, Bach would set Cöthen solo violin pieces for Council Cantata BWV 120, Sonata (BWV 1019a) in the soprano aria, Heil und Segen/ Soll und muss zu aller Zeit (Salvation and blessing/ will and must at all times) and the Partita Preludio (BWV 1006) as a sinfonia first in Cantata BWV 120a, 1729 wedding version, and later to open Council Cantata BWV 29 in 1731. [See Cantata BWV 97, BCW Discussion 2,]

Cantata 97 took 10 years to be reach its final form in 1735, and as with other Bach undesignated pure-hymn cantatas, may constitute a repertory of praise and thanksgiving music for occasional sacred celebratory events such as weddings, town council installations, and the Reformation Festival that are not part of the annual cycles of church music for Sunday and festival main services. Undesignated chorale cantatas, pure hymn (per omnes versus), listed in the <Bach Compendium> (BC) as "Sacred Works for Special Occasions" "Wedding Mass," are:

A 187 117 XXIV I/34 1728-1731 Sei Lob und Ehr dem höchsten Gut
A 188 192 XLI I/34 1730 Nun danket alle Gott
A 189 97 XXII I/34 1734 In allen meinen Taten
A 191 100 XXII I/34 1732-1735 Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (III)

These four works will be the BCW Discussion for the weeks of June 30 to July 28 as "Cantatas for Various Occasions." The Bach Compendium also lists Bach wedding settings of three of these chorales, composed c.1730.

BC B 17, BWV 250-252, Three Wedding Chorales:
1. Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan
2. Sei Lob und Ehr' Dem höchsten Gut
3. Nun danket alle Gott

During Easter Season 1725, Bach also recycled two previously-composed dance numbers for the Pentecost Festival, set to Ziegler aria texts. One is the soprano gigue aria from the Wessenfels birthday Cantata BWV 208, "Was mir behagt" (What pleases me) parodied in Cantata 68, "Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt" (God so loved the world), for Pentecost Monday, as well as the reconstructed 1740 Council Cantata BWV Anh. 193, "Herrscher des Himmels, König der Ehren" (Ruler of Heaven, King of Glory) as aria (No. 5), "Danke Gott, daß er in Segen" (Thanks to God, that he in blessing). The other borrowing is the male gavotte aria (No. 7) from Cöthen serenade BWV 174a, "Durchlauchster Leopold," parodied in Cantata 175, "Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen" (He calls his own sheep by name), for Pentecost Tuesday 1725. It is the only serenade music Bach did not use in Cantata 173 for Pentecost Monday 1724.

Thus Bach early in Leipzig particularly recycled regal festive dance music for use in sacred Leipzig music of praise and thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Bach began setting popular sacred chorales for special sacred occasions and composing sacred music to do double duty for regular and special occasional services.

At the beginning of the summer Trinity Time 1725, after presenting his own new music in two church year cycles, Bach took a half-year break. First, he scheduled main service cantatas of his colleague and Leipzig favorite, Georg Philipp Telemann, then the record shows Bach composed only a handful of works for special evens or usage. Bach finally was pursuing other interests while smusic and acceptable texts for new cantata presentations in his third church cycle, beginning on Advent Sunday, December 2, 1725. These interests included keyboard partitas as the first part of a series of four published studies; family instruction and fun in the Anna Magdalene Notebooks; plans for the revival of instrumental concerti, suites, and sonatas; occasional secular cantatas, serenades and <drammi per musica>; and an examination of the Weimar organ chorales. Of particular note are the nine Cöthen instrumental suite and concerto movements that were used as sinfonias opening cantatas in the 1725 Easter season, and for sacred services, 1726-28, third cantata cycle and Picander-text settings.

Meanwhile Bach presented his annual Council Cantata, BWV Anh. 4, "Wünschet Jerusalem Glück" (Wished-for Jerusalem fortune), on August 27, 1725. Almost no music survives, although Bach recycled it with minor changes for the special three-day Feast of the 200th Anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, June 27, 1730, as well as revival for a council installation, August 28, 1741. It was the second active collaboration with poet Picander, who was beginning to become Bach's primary text parodist. It is possible that the lost music originated in now-lost Cöthen Court works that Bach cannibalized in Leipzig. While most of the 10 secular works Bach composed for the annual December 10 Prince Leopold birthday and New Year's Day civic celebrations have been identified through surviving texts and music, only one of 10 lost sacred works performed at the St. Agnes Calvinist church have been identified. It is "Lobet den herrn, alle seine Heerschaaren" (Praise ye the Lord, all ye of his great armies, Psalm 119:175), for the 10 December 1718 Divine Service, text only by court poet Hunold/Menantes survives (Cantata BWV Anh. 5 Details, BCW

Early in the third cantata cycle, Bach on Christmas Day 1725 used the festive French Overture of Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1069/1, to began his new festive work, Cantata BWV 110, "Unser Mund sei voll Lachens und unsre Zunge voll Rühmens" (May our mouth be filled with laughter and our tongue full of praise; Psalm 126 2-3, the fortunes of Zion restored). In Epiphany Time early in 1726, Bach ceased presenting new cantatas set to the 1711 published texts of the Darmstadt poet Georg Christian Lehms and turned exclusively to presenting cantatas of his Meiningen cousin Johann Ludwig Bach, enabling him to focus his compositional efforts on the St. Matthew Passion with poet Picander. The two began collaborating on a "new" cantata, BWV 146, "Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen" (We must through much sorrow enter into God's Kingdom; Acts 14:22) for the Third Sunday (Jubilate) after Easter, with Bach using the first two movements of the Cöthen Clavier Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052, to provide the opening Sinfonia and chorus.

The fragmented record shows that Bach apparently began to alternate presenting Ludwig Bach cantatas and his own compositions set to various texts of Rudolstadt, Lehms, others, and finally Picander, incorporating borrowed Cöthen instrumental materials that would be the impetus for most of his "new" cantatas sporadically composed until Pentecost 1729.

For the Town Council annual installation on Monday, August 26, 1726, no record exists of a Bach performance. The previous day, the 10th Sunday after Trinity, Bach presented a wholly original work, Cantata BWV 102, "Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glaugen" (Lord, your eyes look for faith!, Jeremiah 5:3), and also a birthday festive cantata parody, BWV 249b, Die Feyer des Genius (Festival of Genius, Drama per Musica): "Verjaget, zerstreuet, zerrüttet, ihr Sterne" (Dispel them, disperse them, destroy them, ye heavens). Count Joachim Friedrich von Flemming, Picander text; music lost, survives as parody in Easter Oratorio, BWV 249; characters: Genius, Mercurius, Melpomene, Minerva. A serenade, one of three for the birthday of Leipzig resident and Saxon court adviser and leading Bach patron Count von Flemming,BWV BWV 210a, 1729-30, and repeats for him and unknown patrons (through text revisions) between 1735-1740, and BWV Anh. 10, 1731, Picander text.

Two monthly later, in the fall of 1726, having exhausted virtually all printed texts for original works, Bach turned to recycling Cöthen music for the final two months of Trinity Time, probably with the textual help of Picander and Christian Weiss Sr., to create a string of solo cantatas.

The proximity of the annual council installation to the 12th Sunday after Trinity, has lead to the assumption that Cantatas BWV 69 and 137 did double duty, perhaps in the same year. "There is no evidence to support Spitta's conjecture [II: 455f), since adopted wholesale by Bach scholarship that due to its suitable content, Cantata 137 . . . might have been performed not only on its proper occasion, the 12th Sunday after Trinity, but at a council election service (on 25 August 1732). Such a performance is, of course, conceivable, just as it is in the case of other cantatas of similarly appropriate content, such as BWV 97, 100, 117, and 192," says Alfred Dürr in <The Cantatas of JSB> (Oxford Univ. Press, 2005: 740f). At the same time, Dürr points out three special traits in Cantata 137: not part of the original chorale cantata cycle, a rare pure-hymn cantata, and use of melody in all movements (Ibid.: 505). Meanwhile, circumstantial and collateral evidence suggests a council installation relationship, given Bach's use of interrelated chorales, the texts' references to Psalms, related cantatas parodies, and the use of festive orchestras.

A summary of the composition of Bach's council and Trinity 12 cantatas for 1725-27 shows the following:

Bach's Trinity 12 & Town Council Cantatas

+In 1723, on August 15 (Trinity Sunday 12) Cantata BWV 69a, "Lobet den Heren, meine Seele" (Praise the Lord, my Soul), was presented, with its opening chorus, an expansive double fugue "which might have been adapted from an earlier composition," says Dürr (Ibid.: 503), citing the NBA KB I/20, Klaus Hofmann & Ernst May, Cantatas for the 11th and 12th Sundays after Trinity, Bärenreiter Cassel, 1985/86: 125-26). Dürr notes that the chorus "calls for an instrumental ensemble [with trumpets and drums] that was exceptionally festive for an ordinary [Trinity Time] Sunday" (Ibid.). This could have been Bach's first borrowing in Leipzig from a Cöthen cantata. Given its non-dance form and Psalm 103:2 text, it could have been composed for the New Year's Day Service at the St. Agnes Church, as late as 1 January 1723 when Bach began applying for the Leipzig Music director post. Cantata BWV 69a closed with Bach's plain-chorale setting of Samuel Rodigast's communion and wedding chorale, "Was Gott tut, das it wohlgetan" (What God Does, that is done well). The original score does not survive but, serendipitously, Bach borrowed his setting from the extant 1714 Weimar Jubilate Cantata 12. Fifteen days later, on August 30, the Town Council, Cantata BWV 119, was premiered, closing with Luther's <Te Deum> chorale setting.

+In 1724, on August 27 (Trinity Sunday 12) there is no documentation of any performance during the chorale cantata cycle. Likewise, the next day, Monday, August 28, there is no documentation for a Town Council cantata, although the possibility may exist that Cantata BWV 69a was presented. The only extant score of Cantata 69 is for the Town Council Installation, August 26, 1748, now with the closing communion and Psalm 67 chorale, Luther's "Es wohl uns Gott" (S.3) and song of thanksgiving [See: BCW, "Musical Context," "Chorales for the 2nd Sunday After Trinity," "Other Chorales" (Cantata BWV 76).

+In 1725, on August 19 (Trinity Sunday 12), chorale Cantata BWV 137, "Lobe den Herren, den mächtgen König der Ehren" (Praise to the Lord, the Mighty King of Glory), was presented. It is a <per omnes versus> (pure-hymn) setting of Joachim Neander's five-stanza chorale known in English as "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation" (ELW 858). It also is based on Psalm 103 (1-6) as well as Psalm 150. As Stiller notes (<Ibid>: 244), the Leipzig hymn schedules for this Sunday "do not contain the relatively new hymn of the time" (1680). Cantata BWV 137 was presented belatedly in 1725 for Trinity 12 when Bach was not regularly composing in this Trinity Time.

Bach's uses of this hymn text to the 1665 melody ("Hast du denn, Jesu, dein Angesicht; listed in Orgelbüchlein as Trinity Time Appendix No. 162, not set) are found in the plain chorale closing Cantata 57/8 (St. Stephen's Day, 1725 Lehms text). Bach repeated the closing plain chorale setting, BWV 137/5, to close the 1728 sacred Wedding Cantata, BWV 120a/8, "Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge" (Lord God, Ruler of All Things; Stanzas 4 & 5), and transcribed the alto trio aria (No. 3) as the Schubler Organ Chorale No. 6, BWV 651, known as "Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel" (Are you coming now, Jesu, from Heaven). For Cantata BWV 137 information, see Wikipedia:,_the_Almighty. There is recent documentation that for the 27 August 1725 Town Council Installation, lost Cantata BWV Anh 4, "Wünschet Jerusalem Glück" (Wished-for Jerusalem Fortune), to a surviving Picander text, was first performed, and was repeated on August 28, 1741.

+In 1726, on September 8 (Trinity Sunday 12), alto solo Cantata BWV 35, "Geist und Seele wird verwirret" (Spirit and Soul Become Disordered) was performed as part of the third cycle to a Lehms text with no closing chorale. It recycles all three movements from the Cöthen Clavier Concerto No. 9 in D Minor, BWV 1059, the first and last as sinfonias opening both parts and the middle da-capo siciliano as the opening aria. For the Town Installation almost two weeks previous, August 26, no Bach cantata is documented although it is possible that Bach may have repeated one of his appropriate, extant works, Cantatas BWV 119, BWV 69a, BWV 137, or BWV Anh. 4.

+In 1727, on August 31 (Trinity Sunday 12), the quartet da-capo tenor aria, BWV BWV 69a/3, "Meine Seele, Auf, erzähle, Auf, erzähle, Was dir Gott erwiesen hat!" (My soul, arise, tell what God has shown to you!) was revised and possible performed (See Thomas Braatz' BCW "Provenance" article, It is doubtful that Bach regularly performed service cantatas at this Trinity Time, as was the case at Trinity Time 1725. Instead, Bach had begun to compose sporadically a few cantatas from the Picander cycle (BWV 157 and BWV 84), as well as Cantata BWV 193, "Ihr Tore (Pforten) zu Zion" (Ye Doors/Portals of Zion), with no closing chorale, text probably by Picander, for the annual Town Council Installation, on August 25, 1727, six days prior to Trinity Sunday 12.

[Source: Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales for 12th Sunday after Trinity, BCW,]


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