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Cantata BWV 195
Dem Gerechten muß das Licht immer wieder aufgehen
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of May 12, 2013

Peter Smaill wrote (May 13, 2013):
BWV 195, "Dem Gerechten muss das Licht"-Week of 12 May 2013

Aryeh has kindly asked me to lead the discussion on this Cantata.

It's a pleasure in a paradoxical way to be able to state that any Bach Cantata remains under recorded and under researched; but that is still the case with the Wedding Cantata BWV 195, " Dem Gerechten muss das Licht". Quite remarkable it is, for the orchestra has not only three trumpets and at the end two horns, as well as the usual strings and oboe complement. And for those excited by the OVPP debate, there is explicitly a separate set of ripieno singers in the opening and closing choruses and the final Chorale, "Nun Danket All und bringet Ehr". This chorale forms, in the final version , the entirety of the second part and is a traditional Chorale to be sung at the end of a wedding, according to Gunther Stiller's " Liturgical Life in Leipzig".

It is this finalised version (the one available to us nowadays) that I propose to use to start a few debates running....

Firstly, however, for those unfamiliar with the work, Julian Mincham has an excellent synopsis:

and we have already debated some of the aspects:

Some key questions remain:

For whom could such a splendid work be composed?

For over a century a strict protocol governed the entitlement of various social gradations in Leipzig to the relative degrees of wedding ceremony. Between 1723 and 1730 there were between 245 and 341 weddings annually, graded into quarter, half, and full bridal masses. Only the last category involved the St Thomas' choir and there were only 31 of these during Bach's tenure at the Thomaskirche, with a similar number at the Nicolaikirche. The surmise must be that, whereas the Cantatas for the liturgical cycle were generally kept for future use, the wedding Cantatas may only be a small surviving sample. The lovely early BWV 196 is not one at all, according to Kuester, which leaves only BWV 34a, BWV 120a, BWV 197 and the showstopping BWV 195.

There are also three texts, Anh.I 14; Anh 1 211 and Anh 1 212; in all we know the names of the couple.

The finalised text for 1747/8 has the expression "Hochedles Paar"- the reference to the "Most noble pair," subsequently removed, suggest members of the aristocracy, not burghers. But herein lies a problem, for the noble families generally conducted weddings at the estate church rather than assembling at Leipzig, and thus secured the services of the musicians for the Tafelmusik at the ensuing banquets. Weddings were an especial opportunity to create ostentatious musical groups, as Stockigt et al's " Music at German Courts 1715-1760" demonstrates.

One observation concerning the Leipzig tradition is that it was a vehicle for the burghers to be able to enjoy the trumpet, an instrument hitherto reserved to the aristocracy. Here the triple trumpet battery and the additional horns are either the example par excellence of this dialectical transition - from blue blood to bourgeoisie- or else there was indeed a noble couple who for some reason chose to plight their troth in the City and not at the appropriate Schloss. It is surprising that the Leipzig records seem to give no mention of a splendid wedding taking place at this date; but then it is not impossible that the service took place elsewhere, as we do not have an exact date for it in any church records. Schulze can list several other notable weddings by name in Leipzig, and there has been guesswork on the earlier performances ( ?Pipping/Schuetz, 11 September 1741?), but surprisingly he has no leads on the couple associated with the 1748 (?) late opulent version of the work.

We do know that an earlier version was performed at Ohrdruf on 3 January 1736 by the cantor and organist there, Johann Christoph and Johann Bernhard Bach.

Why the double choir, SATB + ripieno? The ripieno parts are especially studied by Andrew Parrott in his "Essential Bach Choir", and they are not exactly in the choruses a simple doubling of chori by ripieni, for there are chori passages with a variety of forces left unsupported by the ripieni, or only partly supported. There is a clear pecking order with the chori more exposed for vocal effect and with more demanding parts.

Then there is the unusual "scotch-snap", Lombardic rhythm of the bass aria, BWV 195/3. If heard without knowing its origin, a temptation arises to say that for several reasons it might not actually be by J S Bach; Dürr thinks it a parody; and there is in the original materials a curious note in the hand of J.C.F. Bach indicating that the late revision which gives rise to movements 2-4 was also intended for 6-8. The Lombardic rhythm is a favourite of Johann Christian Bach- was he, or Johann Ernst Bach, a student, involved in some way with the composition? Or is it a special instance of Bach becoming modern in his later years? Adding in the reported 20 or so copyists, the entire work must have been connected to the Bach circle like no other. The speed of the revision, a reasonable assumption from the foregoing, almost tempts the analysis that the couple were in a hurry... to the text, there is no mention of Jesus or the wedding at Cana; but in that the work is no different from all the surviving wedding Cantata texts. All have a distinctly Deist view of marriage. However, in this instance, the triple-time BWV 195/5, whose text focusses on the nature of the Deity, seems to me to be indicating the Holy Trinity in its threefold escalation of parts, quite clear in the musical example set out in Julian Mincham's account (see above). The triple trumpets, from BWV 172 onwards (as observed by John Eliot Gardiner) are often associated to Trinitarian imagery.

And the final Chorale: as with the very last known Chorale setting by Bach, of 26 August 1748, BWV 69's "Es danke Gott,und lobe dich", it is a delightful marriage of harmonisation and instrumentation appearing towards the end of Bach's life, albeit (as Dürr says) likely adopted from elsewhere, and hence the appearance of the horns.

This Cantata with all its puzzles and points of interest is nonetheless a tour de force within the genre. Whoever paid for the costs of the enlarged choir and orchestra will have been well out of pocket, but perhaps consoled that there can have been few weddings celebrated with such vocal and orchestral splendour. We are still discussing this extravagant affair 265 years later.......

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 13, 2013):
The autograph score is in an oblong "presentation" book, and I wonder if the family or newly wed couple were given this at some point. It's really a beautiful example of Bach's musical handwriting. And this is without a doubt one of my favorite Bach cantatas.

Autograph link:

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 13, 2013):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< This Cantata with all its puzzles and points of interest is nonetheless a tour de force within the genre. >
First and foremost, we MUST restore Bach's original title: "Copulationis Cantata"!

In a cantata with many puzzles, two more aspects to point out:

* Bach marks the cantata "Vor de Trauung" ("befothe wedding") and then after Mvt. 5 "Nach der Trauung" ("after the wedding") before the concluding chorale. This is quite different from Bach's other Big Bridal Blowout, BWV 197, "Gott ist unser Zuversicht" which divides the 10 mvt cantata into two equal parts. The difference may be due to the fact the BWV 197 is a very long cantata.

* In "Bach's Continuo Group", Dreyfus posits that there is dual accompaniment with organ and harpsichord and that a mistake was made in writing out the harpsichord part:

"That cue staves can conceptually substitute for figures is shown in the harpsichord part of Cantata BWV 195, Movement 2. Here an accompanied recitative movement was figured and only later found to be lacking four mesures of music; the original text in the part was crossed out and the entire movement recopied from scratch on an insert -- this time with a cue stave but with the figures omitted. In general, this equivalence between cue staves and figures follows from the observation that a keyboard part - Cammerton or Chorton - contains either figures or cue staves or a combination of both in secco recitative movements"

Peter Smaill wrote (May 13, 2013):
[To Kim Patrick Clow & Douglas Cowling] Thank you for these interesting posts: curiouser and curiouser, for how strange that a presentation copy of the late version seemingly survives, and yet we still do not know the names of the couple involved. What is the provenance of this document? And the Dreyfus point regarding the bar lines of the organ and harpsichord mss. again suggests a hurried working out of the parts...

My own suspicion is that, as in modern times, the wedding service ("he who pays the piper calls the tune") was, unlike other Church services, one in which the participating laity often have strong views as to what should be sung. (Doug, as an organist, will doubtless have tales to tell as the a couple's choices nowadays....) Bach may, for example, had an insistence by others that the traditional chorale , "Nun danket all und bringet Ehr" be incorporated, and that the need to rush away to the banquet meant a shorter second half.

It is the only setting known by Bach of these words by Paul Gerhardt. The independent part for the second horn transforms an otherwise simple harmonisation.

Reading on, Cantagrel dates the NBA late version of the work to "more precisely between the month of August 1748 and October 1749" - rather later than others do - and by then "Bach was definitely losing his sight". If Cantagrel is right then the failure to re-write parts 6-8 (as indicated by the note written out by J C F Bach) might well be down to this factor, plus the question of the "rogue" aria BWV 195/3, comes into play. Poetically it is also separate from the rest of the text, comprising an A and B section, perhaps a special epithalamion or wedding poem composed within the family of one of the bridal group as is customary. "Un air très original" concurs Cantagrel, who also, with his typical (and invariably charming) Gallic enthusiasm states that the opening chorus " has nothing to envy in the grand choruses of the B minor Mass".

Of the Recitative BWV 195/4 with wind band (oboes d'amore naturally predominate) he simply says, "Ravissant!" The flutes he sees as the descending Holy Spirit, a reference made equally (if not even more so) apparent in the flute writing of the final Chorale of BWV 46, "O grosser Gott der treu'".

But Cantagrel goes on, unafraid of speculation:"One can imagine that this air was sung at the marriage of Elisabeth Juliana Frederica, daughter of Bach, with his pupil Johann Christoph Altnickol, celebrated on 20 January 1749. But a propos this wedding mass, celebrated by Christoph Wolle, [Bach's confessor and Archdeacon at the Thomaskirche] Martin Petzoldt comments that it is a question of a half-mass only in this instance, and we know that these were supported with a simple four-voice chorales, without any other figured music".

The search for the associated happy couple thus continues....

Julian Mincham wrote (May 13, 2013):
[To Peter Smaill] Interesting that discussion of this cantata, the only one which has parts for both concertante and ripieno voices clearly written out, should come up at a time when a major topic of discussion is the composiion of Bach's choir.

It is also fascinating to note the range of structures in the seven extant wedding cantatas. Some have large choruses, some none. Others have sinfonias.What is particularly interesting is the use of chorales. BWV 202, BWV 210 and BWV 196 have none, BWV 195 one and BWV 197 two (BWV 34a is an incomplete work) One possible deduction is that Bach (or the librettist) conferred closely with the wedding pair as to the sorts of themes they would prefer in their cantatas which, in effect, became 'written to order'. This theory is reinforced by the variety of theme, the seasons, the arts, Almighty God etc.

This probably also appealed to Bach who never seemed to want to do exactly the same thing twice!

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 13, 2013):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< One possible deduction is that Bach (or the librettist) conferred closely with the wedding pair as to the sorts of themes they would prefer in their cantatas which, in effect, became 'written to order'. >
I think these cantatas have mother-of-the-bride written all over them.

"Now, meine Frau, if you have trumpets and timpani, it will cost this."

"Money is no object, Herr Cantor! When I was married, all I had was the organ. When my little Frederike gets married, she's going to have the whole band. And throw in a couple of horns while you're at it."

Ed Myskowski wrote (May 13, 2013):
[To Douglas Cowling] Not exactly related, but I am reminded of my friend Ken Clark, who plays a mean Hammond B3 jazz organ, including bass on the pedals. He has emphasized his accordion skills in recent years, because it is a more marketable instrument for wedding gigs.

Which also reminds me of the mother-of-the-bride I once heard say: "Not to worry, we have it all under control. All the guy has to do for a wedding is show up."

William Hoffman wrote (May 14, 2013):
BWV 195, Fugitive Notes, Sacred Wedding Cantatas

195 Dem Gerechten muß das Licht immer wieder aufgehen (On the Righteous Must Light Always Break Anew, Psalm 97:11-12).
*Details are found at BCW
*See Thomas Braatz BCW Provenance (February 21, 2002, from NBA KB 33, Frederick Hudson, Wedding Cantatas, 1958)
*Latest update, also using NBA KB 33 material, is Peter Smaill, BCW, (Yahoo Password and ID needed).
*The key source in English is in Alfred Dürr's <The Cantatas of JSB> (Oxford Univ. Press, 2005: 753-57), citing Peter Wollny's "Neue Bach-Funde," <Bach Jahrbuch> 1997: 7-50.
*The U-tube audio recording of Leusink's performance (Brilliant Classics, Details Recording No. 5) is found at

The significance of Bach's occasional, commissioned works is related in © Klaus Hofmann's 2012 Liner Notes (pp. 5f) to Masaaki Suzuki's Bach Collegium Japan, BIS Recording (Details, Recording No.8;[BIS-1961-SACD].pdf). I have taken the liberty of quoting the pertinent passage:

"The cantatas on this disc bring us to a subsidiary field in Bach's activities as a composer during his Leipzig years: the broad spectrum of occasional and commissioned works. In Bach's time -far more than today -the special oin people's public and private lives were celebrated with specially written poetry and music. Moreover, as all aspects of public and private life had a spiritual as well as a worldly dimension, such highlights were also marked by suitably elaborate church services. The organizer of such events had the task of commissioning the poet, composer and performers. For Bach, such commissions were a welcome supplement to his income as Cantor. In Leipzig, the regular occasions for which such works were required included the annual church service for the council elections; for each of these occasions, the city asked Bach to produce a festive
cantata. In addition there were commissions for noble and bourgeois birthdays, marriages, funerals and other events, as well as a few projects for academic ceremonies connected with Leipzig University.
"Bach approached such commissions with un diminished artistic care. His occasional pieces are in no way inferior in quality to the sacred music he wrote as part of his `day job'. From time to time, however, he made life easier for himself by reusing music that he had composed earlier, if necessary providing it with a new text and adapting it to its new purpose. His resolve in this respect may have been strengthened by the knowledge that the works in question had been planned for just a single performance -and, as some of the movements were highly effective, Bach may have regretted that they would not be heard again. There was, however, some possibility of reusing material for later events with similar musical demands and expectations.
"Bach's sacred occasional pieces are independent works and did not form part of his cantata cycles for the Sundays and feast days of the church year. Probably owing to their associations with specific events, they have been affected more than the works belonging to the cantata years by the loss of original materials after Bach's death. Their special status may also explain why many questions regarding these works remain unanswered -concerning for example their purpose and raison d'être, whether they are parodies, and other contextual issues: the time and place of their composition and thus their position within Bach's life and work. This applies to the four cantatas on this disc as well [BWV 195, BWV 192, 157, and 120a]."

Cantata 195 is quite representative of these commissions as its history and content offer a fascinating look at Bach's motives, methods and opportunities for "creating" such elaborate works, especially for important weddings. Cantata 195 as a "composer's holiday" also reveals the possibility that Bach in his last two decades in Leipzig assembled and recycled a repertory of proto-cantatas with a special interest in progressive elements such as Lombard Rhythm ("Scottish Snap), gallant style, and polonaise, blended with traditional ones. Cantata 195 (authors unknown) had a checkered career in various guises, permutations, and combinations:

Earliest version: Leipzig, 1727-1731 (lost); 2nd version: Leipzig, 1742 (incomplete); 3rd version: Leipzig, 1748-1749 (survived).
1st performance: 1727-1732 ? - Leipzig, comical version (?based on earlier music)
2nd performance: January 3, 1736, Naumberg wedding
3rd performance: c. 1742 - Leipzig repeat
4th performance: 1748-1749 - Leipzig revised, two versions

Cantata BWV 195, originally dates to as early as 1727, title unknown, as an apparent comic tribute to a Leipzig couple. Later it evolved into a sacred wedding cantata, "Dem Gerechten muß das Licht immer wieder aufgehen," presented on January 3, 1736 in Ohrdruf, for Naumberg Mayor Heinrich Ripping and Johanna Eleonore Schutz, daughter of a St. Thomas pastor. Still later, in 1748-49 in one of Bach's last efforts, it remained a sacred wedding cantata, with plans (surviving text only in the hand of son J. C. Bach), never realized, for a substantial second part after the wedding proper, restoring an original aria and opening (now supposed closing) chorus parodied in Cantata BWV 30a, a 1737 dramma per musica tribute. Instead, Bach simply replaced these with a plain four-part wedding chorale. The work requires a large ensemble with dual continuo and separate parts written out for concertists and ripienists.

The surviving music closes, after the wedding, with the plain chorale in G Major accompanied by two horns, timpani, and two flutes in unison. Part 1 of Cantata 195 opens and closes with choruses using three trumpets and drums in D Major. Thus the chorale (Bach's only use of that text and melody) "may well have originated in a different context," says Hofmann (Ibid.: 6). It does not appear in Bach son Carl Philipp Emmanuel's Breitkopf published edition of the plain chorales (1784-87) although he inherited the score and parts set. The music was listed in his 1790 estate catalogue under special secular and sacred music, including wedding and undesignated chorale cantatas, located before Latin music, motets, and the annual cycles of church service music: "Copulations-Cantata: Dem Gerechten," with trumpets, timpani, flutes and oboes; in score and also in parts.

Praise & Thanks Chorale

The chorale text is Paul Gerhardt's 1647 "Nun danket all und bringet Ehr" (Now give thanks and bring praise, EKG: 231). The 9-stanza text and English translation of Pastor Don Hougard, Benediction Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, WI, USA, "Paul Gerhardt, The Singer of Comfort, Hope, and Peace in Christ: His Life and Summaries of Seventeen of His Hymns," is found at

Nun Danket All und Bringet Ehr (German 348)
All Ye Who on This Earth Do Dwell (TLH 581)

This hymn is based on the High Priest Simon's prayer of thanksgiving in the 50th chapter of the Book of
Sirach in the Apocrypha, where it says,

Then Simon came down, and lifted up his hands over the whole congregation of the sons of Israel,
to pronounce the blessing of the Lord with his lips, and to glory in His name; and they bowed
down in worship a second time, to receive the blessing from the Most High: "And now bless the
God of all, who in every way does great things, who exalts our days from birth, and deals with us
according to His mercy, May He give us gladness of heart, and grant that peace may be in our
days in Israel as in the days of old. May He entrust to us His mercy! And let Him deliver us in our
days!" (Sirach 50:20-24)

This is the same place that the hymn "Nun Danket Alle Gott" ("Now Thank We All Our God") is based on.
Because of their common origin both hymn are similar in many ways.

Paul Gerhardt carefully follows the prayer. He makes every phrase of it into a verse in this hymn. The first
verse is based on the phrase, "Now bless the Lord of all." The second verse is based on, "Who in every way
does great things." The third verse is based on, "Who exalts our days from birth," and adds the idea that
God is a help in every need. "And deals with us according to His mercy," inspires the fourth verse to which
Gerhardt properly adds, "die Straf erläßt, die Sünd' vergibt," (In grace He lays His anger by). In verse 5
Gerhardt explains what "gladness of heart is", that our heart and mind are at peace and free of fear. The
petition for peace in our land is taken up in the sixth verse and the petition for God's mercy in the seventh
verse. Finally, the phrase "And let Him deliver us in our days," is developed in the last verse with a special
emphasis on the hope of everlasting life through our Savior Jesus Christ.

The hymn was written in celebration of the Peace of Westphalia, which brought to an end the Thirty Year's
War (1618-1648), probably the most devastating war Europe ever experienced. It was first published in

1. Nun danket all und bringet Ehr,
ihr Menschen in der Welt,
dem, dessen Lob der Engel Herr
im Himmel stets vermeldt

2. Ermuntert euch und singt mit Schall
Gott, unserm höchsten Gut,
der seine Wunder überall
und große Dinge tut.

3. Der uns von Mutterleibe an
frisch und gesund erhält
und, wo kein Mensch nichhelfen kann,
sich selbst zum Helfer stellt.

4. Der, ob wir ihn gleich hoch betrübt,
doch bleibet gutes Muts,
die Straf erläßt, die Schuld vergibt
und tut und alles Guts

5. Er gebe uns ein fröhlich Herz,
erfrische Geist und Sinn
und werf all Angst, Furcht, Sorg und Schmerz
in's Meeres Tiefe hin.

6. Er lasse seine Frieden ruhn
auf unserm Volk und Land;
er gebe Glück zu unserm Tun
und Heil zu allem Stand.

7. Er lasse seine Lieb' und Güt;
um, bei und mit uns gehn,
was aber ängstet und bemüht,
gar ferne von uns stehn.

8. Solange dieses Leben währt,
sei er stets unser Heil,
und wenn wir scheiden von der Erd,
verbleib er unser Teil.

9. Er drücke, wenn das Herze bricht,
uns unsre Augen zu
und zeig uns drauf sein Angesicht
dort in der ewgen Ruh.

1. All ye who on this earth do dwell,
Give thanks and glorify
The Lord whose praises ever swell
In seraph songs on high.

2. Lift up your hearts in praise to God,
Himself best Gift of all,
Who works His wonders all abroad,
Upholding great and small.

3. Since first our life began to be,
He has preserved our frame;
And when men's strength was vanity,
He as our helper came.

4. Though often we His patience try
And well deserve His frown,
In grace He lays His anger by
And pours new blessings down.

5. 'Tis He revives our fainting soul,
Gives joyful hearts to men;
And when great waves of trouble roll,
He drives them back again.

6. May He adorn with precious peace
Our own, our native land
And crown with joys that never cease
The labors of our hand.

7. His love and goodness may He let
In and around us be,
All that may frighten us and fret
Cast far into the sea.

8. Long as we tarry here below
Our saving Health is He;
And when from earth to heaven we go,
May He our Portion be! Amen.

9. He giveth His beloved sleep
When these frail heart-beats cease;
And in His presence then will keep
Our souls in endless peace.

The chorale melody, "Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich" is attributed to anonymous or Nikolaus Herman (1554) (See, "Chorale Text 2: Nun danket all und bringet Ehr | EKG: 231. Text by Paul Gerhardt. Usually associated with this CT is the CM by the same name (EKG 231) by Johannes Crüger (1653). However, Bach used this CT with the CM Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich (Zahn: 198, originated from Kommt her, ihr lieben Schwesterlein) and not Crüger's melody from 1653."

Sacred Wedding Cantatas

As Thomas Braatz notes in his BCW Cantata 195 Provenance article: Wedding Cantatas:

The NBA editors [KB 33] surmise that Bach may have easily performed as many as 60 wedding cantatas (they list all the possible marriages that included the designation, "gantze Brautmeße," these being the weddings that included ceremonial music on a grand scale.) Not all of these would have had Bach's own compositions, and for those occasions where he did, he may have repeated or modified his own to make them suitable. What has come down to us is only a fraction of those that must have existed: BWV Anh. 14 exists only in text form, BWV 34a, and BWV 120a only exist partially. This leaves us with only BWV 195, BWV 196, BWV 197. All the remainder are irretrievably lost. It is also possible that he may have used BWV 9, BWV 93, BWV 97, BWV 99, BWV 100, BWV 117 since they have texts that might fit a wedding ceremony in a very general sense. Bach also has 3 special 4-pt. harmonizations that were used for "eine halbe Brautmeße," for more modest wedding ceremonies: BWV 250 (Before the Ceremony), BWV 251 (After the Ceremony), and BWV 252 (After the Benediction.)

An accounting shows the following authenticated sacred wedding cantatas (Bach Compendium (BC, B series), 1985-90):

B 11, BWV 196, Der Herr denket an uns, 1708 [BCW Discussion, June 23, 2013]
[B 12] BWV Anh. 14, Sein Segen fließt daher wie ein Strom, 1725 [see below]
B 13, BWV 34a, O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe, 1726 [BCW Discussion, January 30, 2011]
[B 14a, BWV 195], Dem Gerechten muß das Licht (first version), 1727-31 [BCW Discussion, May 12, 2013]
B 14b, BWV 195]. Dem Gerechten (second version, incomplete), 1736 [BCW Discussion, May 12, 2013]
B 145c BWV 195, Dem Gerechten (latest version), 1748-49 [BCW Discussion, May 12, 2013]
B 15, BWV 120a, Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge," ?1729 [BCW Discussion April 28, 2013]
B 16, BWV 197, Gott is unsre Zuversicht, 1739-42 [BCW Discussion September 25, 2011]
B 17, BWV 250-252, Three Wedding Chorales, c.1730 [BCW Discussion July 12, 2009]

The Bach Compendium then lists the following undesignated pure-hymn (per omnes versus) chorale cantatas:

BC BWV BGA NBA date title
A 187 BWV 117 XXIV I/34 1728-1731 Sei Lob und Ehr dem höchsten Gut (BCW Dis., July 7, 2013]
A 188 BWV 192 XLI I/34 1730 Nun danket alle Gott [BCW Discussion, June 30, 2013]
A 189 BWV 97 XXII I/34 1734 In allen meinen Taten [BCW Discussion, July 14, 2013]
A 191 BWV 100 XXII I/34 1732-1735 Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (III) [BCW Dis., July 21, 2013]

New Schmieder BWV listings (1998) are:

BWV Anh 211, Der Herr ist freundlich dem, der auf ihn harret, 1729 (Picander text only)
BWV Anh 212, Vergnügende Flammen, verdoppelt die Macht, 1729 (Picander text only)

Other Sacred Wedding Cantatas:

Bach's first Leipzig wedding cantata is BWV Anh. 14, Sein Segen fließt daher wie ein Strom (His blessing flows like a stream), Details, BCW; text and Z. Philip Ambrose translation with notes, BCW, The work is in two parts, before and after the vows, with no chorales listed.

The recent findings of Bach scholar William Scheide, age 99!, suggest that as many as all four arias from the lost sacred wedding Cantata BWV Anh. 14 of Feb. 12, 1725, may survive, adapted in the Great Mass in B Minor (BWV 232). They are opening aria, "His blessings flow" (Ecc. 39:22), as No. 5, "Laudamus Te" for alto and violin; BWV Anh. 14/3, aria "Happy are you" (Ezek 47:1,4), as No. 10, "Quoniam," for bass and horn; Arioso No. 4, "Bitterness withdraws from you" (Ex. 18:25) as No. 22, Benedictus qui venit," for soprano and flute; and Aria No. 6, "So step into paradise" (Gen. 2:11), as No. 18, "Et in Spiritum Sanctum" for bass and two oboes d'amore. While all the music is lost, Bach took the text directly from the Bible, as he had done in some of his earliest cantatas. See "Sein Segen fließt daher wie ein Strom, BWV Anh. I 14: A Source for Parodied Arias in hde B-Minior Mass?," <About Bach>? (Urbana & Chicago, Univ. of Illinois Press, 2008: 69-77).

The date of Feb. 12, 1725 is significant in Bach's compositional process. The previous day, Quinquagesima Estomihi Sunday, Bach presented his penultimate chorale cantata in the second cycle. The next day, the beginning of Lent, he presented this wedding cantata, which may have been the springboard for his Great Mass; on February 23 his Weissenfels serenade BWV 249a, which became the first of his parodied oratorios, for Easter, April 1; on February 24, the last extant chorale cantata in the cycle, Cantata BWV 1, for the Feast of the Annunciation; and on Good Friday, March 30, the second version of his St. John Passion, in lieu of a Picander Poetic Passion, text only BWV Anh. 169, which became the textual basis for the St. Matthew Passion of 1727.

Picander Text Wedding Cantatas

Surviving published Picander sacred wedding texts came to light with Hildegard Tiggemann's article, "Unbekannte Textdrucke zu drei Gelegensheitkantaten J. S. Bach aus dem Jahr 1729" (Unfamiliar Printed Texts of Three Occasional Cantatas of J.S. Bach From the Year 1729), <Bach Jahrbuch 1994: 7-22>. They received BWV Anh. listings as 211 and 212 the 1998 Schmieder Catalogue summary. The other text is to Cantata BWV 210, "O angenehme Melodei" (O pleasing melody), homage cantata for the visit of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weißenfels on January 1, 1729 at the Leipzig winter fair.

Cantata BWV Anh 211
Der Herr ist freundlich dem, der auf ihn harret (The Lord is good to them that wait for him, Lamentations 3:25-26) was composed for the private wedding in Leipzig of professor Johann Friedrich Höckner and Jacobina Agnetha Bartholomaï on January 18, 1729.
Details, BCW
1. [?Chorus, biblical dictum,] "Der Herr ist freundlich dem" (The Lord is good to them)
2. Aria dc, "Ich habe Gott in meinen Augen" (I have God in my sight)
3. [Recitative,] "Vergnügte Brautigam, es ist dein Sinns" (Contented bridegroom, this is thy sense)
4. Aria, "Vergnügte dich" *(Content thyself)
5. [Part 2, Chorus] biblical dictum, "Meine Gnade will ich nicht von ihm wende" (My covenant will I not break, Psalm 89:34)
6. Aria dc, "Wohl dir! Du treuer lobtes Paar" (Delight yourselves, loving pair)
7. [Recitative,] "Ja! Ja! Es wird dir auch nicht fehlen" (Yes, Yes, it will not fail you)
8. Aria dc, "So blühe dein Haus" (So flourish, your house)
9. Repeat of No. 6

Cantata BWV Anh 212
Vergnügende Flammen, verdoppelt die Macht (Contented flames, double the power) was composed for the wedding of Christoph Georg Winckler (Leipzig Kaufmann family) and Caroline Wilhelmine Jöcher on July 26, 1729, in the Thomas Church. The prescribed wedding chorale after the ceremony (No. 5), was either BWV 251, or a setting found in the Dietel Collection.
Details, BCW
1. [Chorus] dc, "Vergnügende Flammen, verdoppelt die Macht (Contented flames, double the power)
2. [Recitative], "Beglüchtes Paar, Vergnügte doch" (Fortunate Pair, be content)
3. Aria, "Solche seelen, die so ebel sich erwehlen" (Such souls, that so noble yourselves refrain)
4. [Recitative], "So geh, vergnügter Brautigam" (So go, contented bridegroom)
5. Chorale, "Sei Lob und Ehr' dem hochsten Gut" (Be praise and honor to the highest good)
6. [Part 2) Aria dc, "Ergöse dich, beliebtes Paar" (Delight yourselves, beloved pair)
7. [Recitative,] "Gott selber liebet diese Flammen" (God Himself loves these flames)
8. Aria dc, "Wohl euch! Ihr habt es gut" (Well for thee, you have it good)
9. [Recitative], "Beehrteste, wer euer Haus" (Favored you, your house)
10. [?Chorus, biblical dictum] "Der Seegen des Herrn sei über euch" (The blessing of the Lord be over you, Psalm 129:8)

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 14, 2013):
To William Hoffman:
The NBA editors [KB 33] surmise that Bach may have easily performed as many as 60 wedding cantatas (they list all the possible marriages that included the designation, "gantze Brautmeße," these being the weddings that included ceremonial music on a grand scale.) Not all of these would have had Bach's own compositions, and for those occasions where he did, he may have repeated or modified his own to make them suitable. What has come down to us is only a fraction of those that must have existed.
end quote
It's remarkable the scholars were able to find the documentary evidence for these weddings. But, it's very sad most of this music has not survived.

Thanks for a great write up!

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 15, 2013):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< The NBA editors [KB 33] surmise that Bach may have easily performed as many as 60 wedding cantatas (they list all the possible marriages that included the designation, "gantze Brautmeße," >
Stiller is rather vague on the wedding rite itself. Does "Brautmesse" indicate that a mass was celebrated after the marriage, or is the term a convention like "Christmas (= Christ-Mass) in English?

William Hoffman wrote (May 18, 2013):
BWV 195, Fugitive Notes II, Sacred Wedding Music

Bach's sacred wedding cantata, BWV 195 Dem Gerechten muß das Licht immer wieder aufgehen (On the Righteous Must Light Always Break Anew, Psalm 97:11-12) is a fine representation of both the genre and his compositional direction at the beginning of the last two decades of his life and Leipzig tenure as civic music director and church cantor. At the midpoint of his four-decade intentional compositional career and calling in 1730, Bach had reached his watershed.

Having ceased composing church pieces (cantatas) for three cycles of the main service church year of Sundays and Feast Days, Bach in the previous year had turned to wedding pieces and probably composed least four for the full sacred bridal mass. These involved the full, two-part Cantatas 120a, and Anh. 211 and 212, as well as the collection of three elaborate wedding service chorales, BWV 250-252, with trumpets and drums. One expanded to the pure-hymn chorale cantata BWV 117, "Sei Lob und Ehr' Dem höchsten Gut" (Let there be praise and honour for the highest good), dated 1728-31.

Bach seized the opportunity and may have presented commissioned music for as many as 60 sacred weddings, although only about a dozen are identified. The events ranged from quarter masses with only the accepted three or four chorales to the full mass with motets, a two-part cantata, and possibly other traditional wedding chorales of with the themes of praise and thanks and Christian life, along with the customary biblical readings focusing on Psalms of praise and thanks, and the sermon, based upon emblematic readings and possibly hymn texts.

Cantata BWV 195, provided the surviving template of content, style, and form. Originally composed c.1727 as a joyous celebration for an unknown Leipzig couple with trumpets and drums, only the two festive, original opening and closing choruses survive: a two-part choral fugue set to Psalm 97:11-12, and the da-capo mostly homophonic chorus, "Wir kommen, deine Heiligkeit" (We come, your holiness), a ¾ time polonaise popular in Saxony. Two subsequent wedding versions survive in at least three performances in 1736, c.1742, and 1748-49. These include a free da-capo bass aria, "Rühmet Gottes Güt und Treu" (Praise God's goodness and truth) in 2/4 modern Lombard Rhythm ("Scotish snap") and an elaborate closing plain chorale with trumpets and drums, "Nun danket all und bringet Ehr" (Now give thanks and bring praise).

As this proto-cantata evolved, it is likely that Bach composed only the new intervening free-verse recitatives, possibly by Picander, for the specific couple and date. Another compositional element is the ultimate, intended insertion of two parodied lyrical dance numbers into the second part: a syncopated 4/4 gavotte alto aria and a generic bi-nary 2/4 dance chorus with trumpets and drums. These two were drawn from another proto-cantata composed originally in the late 1730s as an occasional <dramma per musica> homage Cantata BWV 30a, that was altered a year later for the sacred Festival of St. John. Bach's usual parody procedure in two-part wedding cantatas was to utilize the core music in one of the two parts. He then could add a lyrical aria or two from another proto-cantata at the request of the music's commissioner and use a new, tailored text, like a clothing alteration. Cantata 30(a) also involved other multiple parodies from existing cantatas and/or movements to be parodied again.

Bach also enabled the "piper" (the bride's family) to chose an extra, appropriate chorale from a four-part selection already composed. This he did with the chorales "Lobe den Herrn" in Cantata BWV 120a and "Nun bittern wir" and "Wer nur den lieben Gott" in Cantata BWV 197a of c.1739-42. Bach in the early 1730s set most of his so-called 150 free-standing chorales from newer, popular texts for particular, mostly <omnes tempore> (all times) main services, as well as newer, mostly <omnes tempore> sacred songs in the Schemelli Gesangbuch of 1736. Bach's four undesignated, pure-hymn cantatas using wedding chorales -- BWV 100, BWV 117, BWV 192, BWV 97 - were composed primarily between 1728 and 1732 when Bach's composing efforts were focus on weddings and other ceremonial music. They are:

Cantata BWV 100, Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan
Cantata BWV 117, Sei Lob und Ehr' Dem höchsten Gut
Cantata BWV 192, Nun danket alle Gott
Cantata BWV 97, In allen meinen Taten

All four cantatas probably were composed originally for sacred weddings and could be reused for other special events such the annual Town Council installations in the 1730s and services of thanksgiving, Reformation-related, Apostles feasts, and allegiance. In addition, it is possible that Bach utilized these works for various weddings, substituting event-specific language in place of individual stanzas set to the already-composed internal arias and recitatives. Not part of Bach's liturgical service cantata cycles, these four works were divided between his two oldest sons, Friedemann getting Cantatas BWV 117 and BWV 192 (in addition to the some 42 second-cycle chorale cantatas), and Emmanuel receiving Cantatas BWV 97 and BWV 100. In the division of the wedding cantatas, Emmanuel received BWV 34a, and BWV 195, and Friedemann BWV 120a, and BWV 197a ?fragments. The same happened with the Town Council cantatas: Emmanuel, BWV 29 and 71, and Friedemann, BWV 119, 120, and BWV 193. For the Reformation Festival, Friedemann got Cantatas 80 and 163, and Emmanuel Cantata 79. The funeral and memorial works, including the motets, were distributed among Leipzig sources, including Cantatas BWV 106, 131, 150, 157, and 198. Some of these will be discussed beginning the week of May 19. For further details see BCW Discussion Order 2013,

During and subsequent to Bach's composition of wedding cantatas and undesignated chorale cantatas, his other major vocal compositions in the remainder of the1730s involved almost entirely non-service music -- celebratory <drammi per musica> that often were parodied as other occasional pieces or as sacred oratorios, as well as special sacred works such as the Kyrie-Gloria on the B-Minor Mass, BWV 232I and Cantata 248a, also involving parody. Most of the music included trumpets and drums that Bach could draft from his Collegium musicum, as well as polonaise-style arias and other music with the progressive Lombard style. The best source on these works involving Lombard Style is Gerhard Herz's "Lombard Rhythm in Bach's Vocal Style," in <Essays on J.S. Bach> (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1985: pp. 250-260.


Cantata BWV 195: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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