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Cantata BWV 22
Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of February 21, 2016 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (February 21, 2016):
Cantata BWV 22, 'Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe,' Intro & Estomihi

The Last Sunday before Lent, known as Quinquagesima Estomihi, was a particularly important event for Leipzig and its new music director and cantor, Johann Sebastian Bach. The Lutheran congregations observed this Sunday as the first fasting service with no celebration of Holy Communion, in accordance with established practice. At the same time, this final pre-Lenten Sunday still allowed the performance of figural music during the main service and serendipity enabled Bach to provide Passion music, also performed as an oratorio at Good Friday vespers. “Bach could count on his listeners paying particular attention to the music on Quinquagesima Sunday; hence he quite deliberately designed his cantatas intended for this day as musical highlights of the church year,” says Peter Wollny in his liner notes to the Philippe Herreweghe recordings of Bach’s four cantatas for this Sunday (BWV 22, 23, 127, and 159).1

Quinquagesima Estomihi also gave Bach an unparalleled opportunity to present a full musical sermon as his test-pieces on February 7, 1723: Two-part Cantatas BWV 22, “Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe und sprach” (Jesus took the twelve to himself and spoke, Gospel, Luke 18:31, We go to Jerusalem), and BWV 23, “Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn” You true God and son of David), says Wollny, director of Bach-Archivs Leipzig, and editor of the Bach Jahrbuch. The cantatas were performed at the early main service at St. Thomas Church before and after the Gospel sermon of Archdeacon Urban Gottfried Sieber (1669-1741), who substituted for Pastor Christian Weise (1671-1736), says Martin Petzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinityfest.2 Weise, who was Bach’s Leipzig host and family pastor soon after, had an intermittent throat illness from which he recovered to preach regularly at Easter 1724 onwards. It is possible that Weise assisted Bach in the development and printing of the libretto (not extant) for the 1723 service.

Bach repeated both Cantatas 22 and 23 the next year during his first cycle, February 20, 1724, then divided them, with Cantata 23 having three versions through 1731, according to Thomas Braatz’s BCW Cantata 22-23 Details (NBA KB I/8.1, Christoph Wolff (1992), Both Cantatas 22 and 23 have special musical and structural qualities, as do the other two works Bach composed for Estomihi: 1725 chorale Cantata 127, “Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott,” (Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man); and 1729 chorus Cantata 159, “Sehet! Wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem” (See! We are going up to Jerusalem).

Cantata 22 opens with an unusual pre-Passion scena setting of the Sunday Gospel (Luke 18:31-2) tenor (narrator), “Jesus took the twelve to himself and spoke,” and bass (vox Christi): “Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem, / und es wird alles vollendet werden, und es wird alles vollendet werden, das / geschrieben ist von des Menschen Sohn” (See, we are going up to Jerusalem / and all will be accomplished / that has been written about the Son of Man). It is followed by the chorus (disciples), “But they understood none of this / and did not know what had been said”).

It is followed by two interpretive, dance-style free da-capo arias interspersed with a recitative: (no. 2, alto, pastorale-gigue), “My Jesus, draw me after you”; (no. 4, tenor, passepied-menuette), “My all in all, my everlasting good”; and (no. 3, bass), “My Jesus, draw me, so that I shall hurry after you.” This typical cantata internal alternating aria-recitative is followed by a traditional chorale setting, “Ertöt uns durch dein Güte” (Kill us through your kindness), Stanza 5 of Elisabeth Kreutziger’s 1524 “Herr Christ, der einige Gottes Sohn” Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God). The hymn has elaborated interludes only Bach could master, like “Jesu, joy of man’s desiring).3

The second portion of the two-part Cantatas 22-23 -- only Bach’s second after BWV 21, “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis in meinem Herzen” (I had much affliction in my heart) -- Cantata 23 is an unconventional work in form and content: opening soprano-alto duet, recitative with instrumental Agnus Dei chorale, and closing chorus. To these Bach in Leipzig before the first performance added a four-part Passion chorale chorus with interludes, “Christe, du Lamm Gottes (German Agnus Dei). It is thought to be from his 1717 lost Weimar-Gotha Passion and was reused to close the 1725 chorale version of the St. John Passion, BWV 245).

Biblical Readings

Readings for Quinquagesima Estomihi are: Epistle: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (Paul’s Letter, “In praise of charity”); Gospel: Luke 18: 31-43 (Jesus, “We go up to Jerusalem,” Miracle, “The blind man receives sight”). The Quinquagesima Estomihi Sunday Gospel (Luke 18:31-43) has two distinct episodes, of Jesus telling the disciples of going to Jerusalem and his coming Passion as well as the miracle of sight restored to a blind man begging near Jericho. Complete text is the Martin Luther German translation (1545), with the English translation Authorised (King James) Version [KJV] 1611; for complete texts, see BCW Readings,

Introit Psalm for Quinquagesima Estomihi Sunday in Bach's time was Psalm 31, In te, Domine, speravi (In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust, KJV), says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 599). It also is known in German as “In dich hab' ich gehoffet Herr.” Polyphonic motet settings are found in Jan Peter Sweelinck,,_Domine,_speravi_(Jan_Pieterszoon_Sweelinck)
Heinrich Schütz,ütz ;
Josquin des Pres, ;
Nicolas Gombert, ;
Orlando de Lassus, ;
Hans Leo Hassler, ;
Jean-Baptiste Lully, ; as well as Palestrina.

Closing Chorale

"Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn," is based on the 1524 Wittenberg five-verse hymn of Elisabeth Kreuziger (c.1500-35), wife of a Martin Luther pupil and preacher (Kaspar Kreuziger) in the initial "Wittenberg orbit" of reformers. It is a typical BAR Form hymn. Based on the Latin Christmas hymn by Aurelius Prudentius (c.348-413) "Corde natus ex parentis" (Of the Father's Love Begotten) while the melody is derived from a 15th century secular love song, "Mein Freud möcht sich wohl mehren" (My joy will most likely increase). The liturgical use of "Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn" is in the omnes tempore (Ordinary Time) church year thematic time of Lutheran Justification, particularly in later, transitional Advent, Epiphany, and Trinity Times, where it is found in the Gottfried Vopelius Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch of 1682 as Hymn No. 231.

Besides setting the entire hym"Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn" as Chorale Cantata BWV 96, Bach used the closing fifth verse in three other cantatas: BWV 132/6, "Bereite die Wege, Bereite die Bahn!" (Prepare the Way, Prepare the Road), for the 4th Sunday in Advent 1715, BWV 164/6, "Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet" (You, who are yourselves after Christ called), for the 13th Sunday after Trinity in 1725, and chorale chorus closing Cantata BWV 22/5, "Jesus nahm zu zich die Zwölfe (Jesus Took With Him the Twelve), for Estomihi probe 1723. Bach also set the melody in two chorale preludes, BWV 601 and 698. German text and Francis Brwne English translation is found at BCW, More information on text and melody is found at BCW,

Quinquagesima Estomihi Explained

An explanation of this last pre-Lenten Sunday is found in the “Lutheran Church Year,” BCW : “Quinquagesima is the name for the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. It was also called Quinquagesima Sunday or Esto Mihi (Estomihi). The name originates from Latin quinquagesimus (fiftieth), referring to the 50 days before Easter Day using inclusive counting which counts both Sundays (normal counting would count only one of these). Since the 40 days of the Lenten fast included only weekdays, the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, succeeds Quinquagesima Sunday by only three days. The earliest Quinquagesima Sunday can occur is February 1 and the latest is March 7. The reforms of the Second Vatican Council included the elimination of this term for this Sunday (and the two immediately before it - Sexagesima and Septuagesima Sundays), and these Sundays are part of Ordinary Time. The contemporary service books of many Anglican provinces do not use the term but it remains in the Book of Common Prayer. According to the reformed Roman Rite Roman Catholic calendar, this Sunday is now known by its number within Ordinary Time - 4th through 9th, depending upon the date of Easter - or the 4th through the 9th Sunday after Epiphany in the contemporary Anglican calendars, and that of various Protestant polities. The extraordinary form of the Roman rite continues to refer to the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday as Quinquagesima Sunday, and the two Sundays immediately preceding it as Sexagesima and Septuagesima Sundays.”

Cantata 23 Movements, Scoring, Incipits, Key and Meter.4

1. Arioso [Tenor, Bass] & Chorus 5-part canon [SATB; Oboe, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: Tenor: “Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe und sprach” (Jesus took the twelve to himself and spoke: Bass: “Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem, / und es wird alles vollendet werden, und es wird alles vollendet werden, das / geschrieben ist von des Menschen Sohn” (See, we are going up to Jerusalem / and all will be accomplished / that has been written about the Son of Man); Chorus: “Sie aber vernahmen der keines / und wußten nicht, was das gesaget war” (But they understood none of this / and did not know what had been said); g minor; 4/4.
2. Aria free da-capo [Alto; Oboe solo, Continuo]: A. “Mein Jesu, ziehe mich nach dir” (My Jesus, draw me after you); B. Wohl mir, wenn ich die Wichtigkeit / Von dieser Leid- und Sterbenszeit / Zu meinem Troste kann durchgehends wohl verstehn!” (Happy am I, if the importance / of this time of suffering and death / I can thoroughly understand for my consolation); c minor; 9/8 pastorale-gigue.
3. Recitative secco [Bass; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: “Mein Jesu, ziehe mich, so werd ich laufen” (My Jesus, draw me, so that I shall hurry after you); E-flat; 4/4.
4. Aria free da-capo {Tenor; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: Mein alles in allem, mein ewiges Gut, / Verbeßre das Herze, verändre den Mut” (My all in all, my everlasting good, make better my heart, change my disposition); B. Doch wenn ich nun geistlich ertötet da bin, / So ziehe mich nach dir in Friede dahin!” (but when I am spiritually dead, / then draw me after you in peace.); B-flat Major; 3/8 passapied-menuette style.
5. Chorale plain with interludes [SATB; Oboe, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: B-flat Major; 4/4.

Bach’s Mastery, Practicality, Motivation

Bach’s mastery, his practicality under challenging circumstances and his motivation to show “ideal concepts, forms and techniques,” is demonstrated in Julian Mincham’s introduction to Cantata 22 and short synopses of Cantatas 22 and 23 (BCW <<C 22 was one of two cantatas submitted by Bach for his audition as Cantor at St Thomas′s Church and is declared as such on an existing copy of the score. It is paired with C 23, thought also to have been used in Bach′s audition and a part of the practice of presenting one cantata (or the first part of a longer one) before the sermon and a second one after it (see Dürr pp 242-247).

One might, therefore, look at this work from a number of different perspectives. Bach was applying for a prestigious position and naturally would have wished to impress his prospective employers and this raises a number of questions. How much might the audition scenario have been a factor in the compositional decisions he made? If he had wanted to create the optimum impression, might he not have started with an imposing chorus and large orchestra? Of course trumpets and drums were usually only called upon for particular events of festivity and may not have been deemed appropriate in these circumstances. That being so, Bach seized the opportunity of demonstrating just how ebulliently show-stopping he could be without them.

Might he, as suggested in essays at the beginning of this volume, have been trying to demonstrate that he could produce the maximum range of expressive effect from the minimum of resources, something that is always appreciated by penny pinching authorities? In the light of future developments that seems somewhat unlikely. Or, and from what we know of the man′s character and integrity this seems highly probable, was he simply setting out to demonstrate his view of what ′well regulated′ church music could and would be like under his guidance and direction?

Much of Bach′s output was, indeed, presented in order to demonstrate ideal concepts, forms and techniques. The Art of Fugue, Musical Offering, Bm Mass and a great deal of the keyboard music can all be seen in this light. A surprisingly large proportion of his output was designed and used for teaching purposes. It would be unsurprising, therefore, if one of Bach′s aims in presenting his audition cantatas was pedagogical. It was not just a simple matter of ′this is what I am capable of doing′. It might equally have been a statement such as ′this is a fair example of the range of music which is suitable for worship and from which others might learn′. Viewed in this way, the sheer variety of forms and musical expression in these two cantatas is explained and justified.

C 22 seems to begin as an aria but transforms into a choral fugue. Two arias of vastly contrasting character and different instrumental forces are then separated by a fully accompanied recitative. The work concludes not with a plain four-part chorale but with one uplifted and supported by a surging and virtually unbroken semiquaver obbligato line in the upper parts, similarly with quavers in the continuo.

Its sister work, C23, commences with a duet of great emotional intensity followed by an accompanied recitative and a somewhat more conventional chorus. It concludes with a setting of not one but three verses of a chorale, each supported by completely contrasting instrumental textures. Apart from the inclusion of a sinfonia or a chorus using trumpets (or horns) and drums, it is difficult to see what more Bach might have offered in order to demonstrate the sheer range anvariety of the music he was capable of providing.>>

Background Material

Interesting background material is found in Aryeh Oron’s Introduction to Cantata 22 BCML Discussions Part 1 (March 2, 2003), <<Cantata BWV 22 was Bach’s Probestück (test piece) for the position of Kantor in St. Thomas’ Church, Leipzig. He composed it at Köthen right after Cantata BWV 23 ‘Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sons’ (Thou very God and David’s son), which Bach has originally intended as his test piece, but had changed his mind because he felt that BWV 23 was more suitable in its format for the connoisseur aristocracy of the Köthen court than for the Leipzig bourgeois congregation at St. Thomas. The latter were accustomed to the regular cantata of Bach’s predecessor, Johann Kuhnau: five movements, instead of the three he had set for BWV 23 in its original outlay.

Christoph Graupner had set his trial piece on the five-movement cantata format three weeks before Bach’s performance. Graupner had impressed the Leipzig Council so much with it that they had chosen him to be Kantor, without even having heard Bach. Graupner, however, had to decline the position, as he could not obtain his release from Darmstadt, so Bach’s chance came on February 7, 1723.

It is assumed that Bach himself wrote the libretto for this cantata, based on Luke 18: 31-34. The librettist had a choice in writing for Estomihi Sunday: either of Christ’s journeying to Jerusalem and His prophetic words about its significance, or the healing of the blind man on the way. Bach found the first option as the most appealing, and the result is one of Bach’s most admirable librettos among the church cantatas, a true meditation consistently worked out. Unless the congregation were stupid as the disciples, it must have made deep impression on those who first heard it. This impression has not been diminished even slightly to this day. On the contrary, as with many other Bach’s works, the impression even strengthens with every repeated hearing.>>

Cantata 22 Movement Summary

A summary of the movements is found later in Oron’s Introduction <<(The background below is based mostly on Robertson’ book and something of my own): Mvt. 1 Arioso [Tenor, Bass] & Chorus [SATB]. After the introductory ritornello the tenor soloist sings the first words of Luke 43: 31 after which the bass soloist continues with the second part of the same verse. The poignance of Jesus’ words – for Bach would have in mind what He goes on to tell the Twelve – is emphasized by one small two-bar motif, first heard on the oboe in the introductory ritornello and repeated many times at various pitches. For the rest the oboe’s melody suggests the start of the journey. The aria is followed, without break, by a choral fugue, allegro, which vividly illustrates the disciples’ inability to understand their Master’s dire prophecies. Bach brings in the oboe and strings to reinforce the climax and, when the voices cease, to depict the confusion left by the disciples’ mind.

Mvt. 2 Aria [Alto]. The spiritual journey with the Saviour to Jerusalem, as if traversing the Via Dolorosa, is poignantly expressed in the melody of this aria. Bach uses a motif which he frequently employed to express sorrowful emotion. The words of the middle section pray that the full meaning of Jesus' grief and death may be understood by the soul.

Mvt. 3 Recitative [Bass]. The text dwells on the soul's shame in recognising, as the disciples did, the transfigured Jesus on Mount Tabor but not the crucified Jesus at Golgotha, and praying, as in the aria above, to be enlightened by having worldly desires crucified and to go joyfully then on the road to Jerusalem. A brief arioso illustrates these last words, the strings carrying the vocal phrase of joy up to a high peak of emotion.

Mvt. 4 Aria [Tenor]. The soul prays to be wholly converted and to become spiritually dead to worldly desires. The burden of the beautiful middle section is 'So draw me in peace after you in peace thither'. There are two wonderful moments, the long sustained note on 'peace' and the exultant eleven-bar phrase at 'eternal good'.

Mvt. 5 Chorale [SATB]. This is the fifth verse of E. Kreutziger's Christmas hymn 'Herr Christ, der einig Gott's Sohn', with the melody given an exquisitely consoling instrumental accompaniment.>>

The significance of Bach’s Cantataa 22-23 is explored in Peter Smaill’s commentary in BCML Discussion Part 2 (June 25, 2005). <<The probe Cantatas BWV 22 and BWV 23 are so well explored, marking as they do a turning point in Bach's career and a transition from the Weimar years via the (sacred cantata-barren) Köthen period to the apogee of Bach's career at Leipzig, such that my efforts this week are to pull together some themes from those who have commented before.

Of BWV 22 and BWV 23 - a very basic question; did Bach in any way have access to any forces at Köthen to "try out" these masterworks? Presumably they had to be practised, not at Köthen where only secular cantatas were performed; but at Leipzig in the few days before the Probe took place? So the Leipzig forces must presumably have prepared these two works in a matter of days, perhaps accounting for the relatively undemanding choral input.

Was BWV 22 deigned to please the ears of the Graupner - seeking councillors, attuned to the melodies of Kahn, with BWV 23 as the piece de resistance? Thom Braatz gives good evidence in his 2003 commentaries for this line of reasoning. And yet ... In BWV 22 it is instantly recognisable that the Arioso and Chorus (BWV 22/1) is employing a multiplicity of devices. Entries are at several pitches, the step image is illustrated, the fugal writing has interjections prefiguring the turba choruses of the Passions. As has been pointed out, the use of a bass voice to depict Jesus is an anticipation of Passion music; it is quite rare in the Cantatas (BWV 67, "Halt im Gedaechhtnis Jesum Christ," a post-easter Cantata, is another instance).

In imagery terms, the emphasis on the picture of Jesus "drawing" the soul, which Thomas B. developed as theme earlier this year, is a throwback to mystical imagery. Among the intensive word-painting, Malcolm Boyd points out that in the recit (BWV 22/3), the expression "ein Feste Burg" has a momentary, fleeting quotation from the famous Chorale, an almost Wagnerian leitmotif, as distinct from the complete quotation of the chorale more generally found.

So, while the Leipzigers were not be shocked by the Probe, there is also, at many levels, points of sophistication in BWV 22 which mark it out as a work of innovation and allusion. This view is taken by me only in contrast to Graupner's "Der Tod Jesu"; has the music for Graupner's test pieces survived ("Lobet den Herrn/ Aus der Tiefen")?

It would be an interesting musical experience to set both Bach and Graupner's offerings as a blind tasting (no names) before an audience (hard-rock trained sophomores will do nicely), whose task will be to act as if they were the Leipzig council sitting in judgement! Thus became immortal the name of the otherwise forgettable Councillor Abraham Christoph Platz: "Since the best could not be obtained, a mediocre one would have to be accepted" (!).

More Background

More background on Cantata 22 is found in Peter Bright’s Introduction to BCML Discussions Part 2 (Ibid., June 20, 2005). <<(The following notes are based on the AMG entry (Brian Robins), the Oxford Composers Companion (Robin A Leaver) and the notes from the Suzuki cantatas series, vol. 8 (Tadashi Isoyama). 1723 was a year that would mark a turning point in Bach's career, the year in which he gained the cantorship of the Thomasschule in Leipzig. It was not a straightforward appointment. The original choice of the Leipzig city council had been Telemann, a composer already well known in Leipzig. But Telemann rejected the post in favor of staying in Hamburg, and eventually the choice came down to Bach and Christoph Graupner, Kapellmeister at Darmstadt and favorite for the cantorship. Both were required to submit to examination and trial which included the performance of two cantatas at St. Thomas' Church. Graupner's test took place on January 17 1723, Bach's following on February 7. It was for this trial that Bach composed Cantatas Nos. BWV 22 and BWV 23, the former being given before the sermon - the usual place in the Lutheran liturgy for the cantata - while Cantata No. BWV 23 was sung later during communion.

In the event, the contest was needless since Graupner's employers refused to release him. Bach thus became cantor and his two examination cantatas herald the great series of Leipzig cantatas that flowed from his pen during the next few years. Although short, both works show every evidence that Bach set out to display his formidable talents in all their diversity. Scored for solo oboe, bassoon, strings, and continuo bass, BWV 22 is the more modestly orchestrated. The anonymous text is based on the Gospel for the day (Luke 18: 31-43), the Sunday before Lent (Quinquagesima). Before leaving for his final journey to Jerusalem, Jesus tells the disciples of his coming passion and resurrection, an event narrated in the opening arioso chorus for tenor and bass, the disciples' lack of understanding articulated in a choral fugue. The arias for alto and tenor form personal comment on these events, the former pleading for understanding of the meaning of the passion, the latter a lively movement in passepied dance rhythm, in which the singer announces his intention to "renounce the things of the flesh" in favor of spiritual peace.

The passion connection explains the generally restrained nature of this “test piece” cantata as a whole and its simple orchestration for strings and oboe. Of all the movements, the concluding extended chorale is probably the most well known, commonly heard in instrumental arrangements, and recalls the insistent journeying of the first movement (Mvt. 1). In this closing chorale, it seems possible that Bach was writing in intentional imitation of his predecessor, Johann Kuhnau.>>

Selective Commentary

Selective commentary is drawn from Thomas Braatz’s BCW summary article (March 8, 2003), Philippe Spitta has a synopsis, Albert Schweitzer offers views of the text, and Alfred Dürr provides effective analysis.

<<Spitta: Bach’s audition composition was performed under Bach’s direction on February 7, 1723. The designated Sunday, Estomihi, is the last one before Lent, which is a period in which the congregation is to prepare itself for the time of Christ’s suffering. In BWV 22, in contrast to BWV 23, Bach tried to accommodate the listening public in Leipzig which was more accustomed to a more cheerful operatic treatment and to Kuhnau’s gentle melodies. The 1st chorus with fugue demonstrates simplicity of counterpoint of the type commonly found in Telemann’s compositions. This is rather unlike the real Bach. After a graceful tenor solo and the ‘vox Christi’ sung by the bass, there follows an easily understandable choral section, a rather simple 4-pt. composition. The remaining mvts. go deeper than the 1st mvt. Here the emphasis is placed upon the instrumental accompaniment which becomes more than simply an accompaniment as it takes on an independence that allows it to stand alone on its own merits. It is evident here that Bach really understood what he was doing.

*Schweitzer: The unknown poet has taken from the Gospel for this last Sunday before the Passion (Luke 18:31-43) only the 1st and 4th vs. –Christ’s announcement to the disciples of His coming Passion; he unfortunately passes over the expressive series of pictures in the 2nd and 3rd vs. following tradition, the bass gives out the words of Jesus in an arioso; the orchestra – strings and oboes – adds a symphonic accompaniment that is wonderfully expressive of the sorrow of Jesus and His inner firmness. The whole mvt. has a somewhat march-like character. The succeeding chorus, “Sie aber vernahmen der keines,” reproduces very effectively the mutual questionings of the disciples. The charming syncopated theme of the aria “Mein Jesu, ziehe mich nach dir” [“Jesus, draw me near to thee”] paints the picture suggested in the words –[1st 3 ms. of the oboe solo in mvt. 2].

The aria “Mein alles in allem, mein ewiges Gut” [“My all in all, my endless treasure,”] which is based on the ‘joy’ motive, is overpowering in the energy of its flight. The final chorale has a ravishing orchestral accompaniment. Themes of a syncopated style (Schweitzer sees mvt. 2 as an example of this), always embody the idea of something being drawn or dragged along. *Dürr: A note affixed to a copy of the score prepared by Bach’s frequent copyist, Johann Andreas Kuhnau, states, “This is the audition composition for Leipzig.” From this one can conclude that Bach prepared 2 cantatas, just as Christoph Graupner, a few weeks earlier had done, one to be performed before the sermon (BWV 22) and the other after it (BWV 23.) There is even another performance documented by a printing of the text for Estomihi (February 20th) of the following year 1724. The text of this cantata, written by an unknown librettist, actually creates a unit (is completed by) the text of BWV 23 which treats the healing of the blind man. The text for BWV 22 treats the journey to Jerusalem. As if to provide a caption/title for the cantata, the librettist has the verses from Luke 18:31&34 precede everything. Here we learn of Christ’s announcement of his imminent suffering as well as the disciple’s inability to understand Christ’s message. The mvts. that follow attempt to place the focus upon the contemporary Christian who wishes now that Jesus would take him along on his path of suffering, so that he/she may better understand this event and find comfort in it. The Christian is compared with the disciples, who do not understand the need for Christ’s suffering, nor do they want to be part of it, although they do wish to partake of Christ’s transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. The libretto ends with the request to bring about desire and courage to renounce the way of the flesh, so that Jesus will be able to draw the deceased Christian after him. The final chorale is the 5th vs. of the chorale “Herr Christ, der einig Gotts Sohn” by Elisabeth Creutziger (1524) allows the entire congregation to join in the request already stated.

The 1st mvt. is bipartite. The 1st half, covering Luke 18:31, is introduced with an orchestral ritornello (oboe, strings, and bc.) The tenor begins as an evangelist as he reports: “Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe und sprach:” [“Jesus took onto himself the twelve and spoke:”] whereupon the bass, as the ‘vox Christi’ announces his imminent suffering. The musical material presented by the bass is a ‘Vokaleinbau’ which repeats material already in the orchestral ritornello. Sometimes longer sections are repeated, at other times only parts thereof. The 1st section concludes with an instrumental ritornello. Then the report from the gospel continues: “Sie aber vernahmen der keines….” [“Neither knew they the things which were spoken…”] (Luke 18:34.) This is conveyed not by an evangelist, but rather by a choral fugue, at first only by solo voices and continuo, then increased to a tutti that adds the ripieno choir and colla parte instruments, after which a short instrumental postlude concludes the mvt.

The 1st aria (mvt. 1) requires an obbligato oboe, which underlines by means of expressive gestures the requests indicated by the text. It is interesting to observe how Bach treats the words “ich will von hier und nach Jerusalem zu deinen Leiden gehn” [“I want to go from here and to Jerusalem where your suffering takes place.”] First Bach has a scale passage moving upwards, but then, on the word “Leiden” [“Suffering”] ms. 68, he uses a related (by the interval of a 3rd) C# major harmony above which movement of the oboe seems to be held up and unable to move forward properly. The 2nd aria (mvt. 4) is a dance-like mvt. for strings that is more reminiscent of the Cöthen period than of the Leipzig Bach. But there are two noteworthy passages: one is in the middle section (ms. 61-64: on “Friede” [“peace”] and the other on “ewiges” [“eternal”] (ms. 100-107) where the orchestral parts continue to move while the singer is holding a long note. Between both arias, there is a bass recitative accompanied by the strings (mvt. 3) which approaches an arioso because the vocal part has a lyrical declamation of the text and the bc is very actively accompanying the voice at the end. The final chorale is given a richer treatment than usual with an independent instrumental section in which the oboe + 1st violin dominate the m. with running 16th notes. Into this texture a plain 4-pt. chorale is embedded.>>

Bach Quinquagesima Estomihi performance calendar

1723-02-07 So – Probe: Cantata BWV 22 Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (1st performance, Leipzig) + Cantata BWV 23 Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn (1st performance, Leipzig)
1724-02-20 So - Cantata BWV 22 Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (2nd performance, Leipzig) + Cantata BWV 23 Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn (2nd performance, Leipzig)
1725-02-11 So - Cantata BWV 127 Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott (1st performance, Leipzig)
1726-03-03 So - J.L. Bach: Cantata Ja, mir hast du Arbeit gemacht, JLB-5 (1st performance, Leipzig)
1727-02-23 So – possible repeat, Cantata 22/23
1728-02-08 So – no record
1729-02-27 So - Cantata BWV 159 Sehet! wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem (1st performance, Leipzig)
1730-02-26 So – possible repeat, Cantata 22/23
1735-02-20 So – no record
1736-02-12 So Estomihi - G.H. Stölzel: Siehe, das ist Gottes Lamm, welches der Welt Sünde trägt [Not extant]

While there is no evidence yet that Bach repeated Cantatas BWV 127 and BWV 159, the sister Cantatas BWV 22 and BWV 23 may have been presented in some form in 1724, 1727, and 1730. There is no record for Estomihi 1728 but Bach did present another work on March 3, 1726 -- Johann Ludwig Bach’s Cantata JLB 5, “Ja mir du arbeit gemacht” (Yes, now hast thou labor made).


1Wollny notes, recording details, BCW, ; recording,
2 Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 603).
3 Cantata 22 BCW Details and revised and updated Discography,
Score Vocal & Piano [1.65 MB],, Score BGA [2.24 MB], References: BGA VI (Cantatas 21-30, Wilhelm Rust, 1855), NBA: I/8.1 (Quinquagesima, Christoph Wolff 1998), Bach Compendium BC A 48, Zwang: K 27; Provenance, BWV 22 & BWV 23 Details
4 Cantata 22 German text and Francis Browne English translation at BCW,


To Come: Cantata 23, “Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn” You true God and son of David).

Aryeh Oron wrote (February 26, 2016):
Cantata BWV 22 - Revised & updated Discography

The discography pages of Cantata BWV 22 "Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe" (Jesus took the twelve to himself) for or Quinquagesima Sunday [Estomihi] on the BCW have been revised and updated.
The cantata is scored for alto, tenor & bass soloists; 4-part chorus; and orchestra of oboe, 2 violins, viola & continuo. See:
Complete Recordings (18):
Recordings of Individual Movements (43)
The Chorale (Mvt. 5) is very popular and has been arranged to piano, organ, orchestra and other instrumentation. These arrangements/transcriptions are grouped by type.
The revised discography includes many listening/watching options to recordings directly from the discography pages, just below the recording details.

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

I believe this is the most comprehensive discography of this cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 22 missing from these pages, or want to correct/add details of a recording already presented on the BCW, please do not hesitate to inform me.

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


Cantata BWV 22: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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


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Last update: Monday, September 11, 2017 15:23