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Cantata BWV 67
Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of August 15, 2010

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 15, 2010):
Week of August 15, 2010: ³Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ², BWV 67

Week of August 15, 2010,

³Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ², BWV 67

Cantata for the First Sunday After Easter (Quasimodogeniti)

Introit: ³Quasimodogeniti²
Motet: ³Christus Resurgens²
³Jam Non Dicam²
³Tres Sunt ³
Hymn de Tempore: ³Christ Lag in Todesbanden²
Pulpit Hymn: ³Christ ist Erstanden²
Hymns for Chancel, Communion & Closing:
³Erscheinen ist der Herrlichen Tag²

Performance History: Easter 1724

Friday, April 7: Good Friday
St. John Passion, BWV 245 ­ 1st performance
Sunday, April 9: Easter Day (1st Day of Easter)
³Die Himmel Lacht², BWV 31 ­ 1st performance
³Christ Lag in Todesbanden², BWV 4
Monday, April 10: Easter Monday (2nd Day of Easter)
³Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen², BWV 66 ­ 1st performance
Tuesday, April 11² Easter Tuesday (3rd day of Easter)
³Ein Herz, das seinem Jesum², BWV 134
Sunday, April 16, First Sunday after Easter (Quasimodogeniti)
³²Halt im Gedächtnis², BWV 67 ­ 1st performance

In one 10-day period, Bach presented the 1st performances of the St. John Passion (BWV 245), 4 cantatas, and revived one cantata.

* BCML page: (texts, translations, scores and readings):

* Live streaming:

* Commentary (Mincham):

* Previous Discussions:

* Notes on Movements:

Mvt. 1: Chorus
³Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ²

A glance at the music presented in the Easter season of 1724 above should put to rest the Exhausted Choir Hypothesis. This cantata has two difficult concerted choruses in addition to the two chorales. Bach was putting his performers through a marathon which attests to the high standard of performance which he could ask for in Leipzig. We brood on the problems of the ³Eintwurff² far too much. The Leipzig musical infrastructure was
professional and more than capable of meeting Bachıs extraordinary demands. Bach doesnıt even give the boys a break in this chorus by using a simple sustained chorale as cantus firmus!

Mvt. 2: Aria
²Mein Jesus ist erstanden²

Mvt. 3: Recitative
²Mein Jesu, heißest du des Todes Gift²

From a purely literary point of view, it could be suggested that the order of the recitative and aria have been reversed. The alto seems to gesture back to the opening chorus in recitıs closing line, ³The song of praise we
have been singing² If the aria followed the recitative, the final line would be ³Appear, my Savior, now!² which the chorale answers with ³Appeared is now the glorious day².

Mvt. 4: Chorale
²Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag²

This familiar chorale was sung throughout the Easter season which ended for Bach on Ascension Day (see chorale outline above). For Bachıs listeners, the first verse of the chorale in the middle of this cantata was a
premonition that they would sing the full hymn later in the service. Bach transposes the melody up a major third which carries the soprano line up to a high F#. Was that an aural signal to the congregation not to attempt to
sing along?

Mvt. 5: Recitative
²Doch scheinet fast²

Mvt. 6: Aria & Chorus
²Friede sei mit euch²


Sometime in the last decade of his life, Bach turned with great enthusiasm to the Latin mass as a genre, producing in succession the four ³Lutheran² masses and finally the Mass in B Minor (BWV 232). All of the five masses represent Bachıs parody technique at its most refined and accomplished. It could be argued that the shorter masses are ³dry runs² for the Mass in B Minor. Adapting existing works in German to Latin texts was an infinitely more difficult task than reconciling two German texts in the same poetic metre.

Bach adapts this chorus as the ³Gloria in Excelsis² for the Mass in A Major (BWV 234) and produces a movement probably without precedent in the history of the mass. Where many composers used the opening ³Gloria in Excelsis² as a ritornello which returns to interrupt the movement (Beethovenıs ³Missa Solemnis² is a late example), Bach uses the recurring ³Adagio² to interrupt the rejoicing of the ³Gloria². A comparison reveals Bachıs brilliant rhetorical device of juxtaposing the extrovert Allegro/Vivace section (A) with the reflective Adagio (B):


A1 Introduction Gloria in excelsis
B1 Friede Et in terra (alto)

A2 Wohl Uns Laudamus te
B2 Friede Adoramus te (bass)

A3 Jesus Glorificamus te
B3 Friede Adoramus te (tenor)

A4 O Herr Glorificamus te
B4 Friede Gratias agimus (SATB solo?)

Bachıs manipulation of the mass text is astonishing: he links the peaceful worshipful ³Et in terra², ³Adoramus² and ³Gratias² with ³Friede sei², and the joyful ³Gloria², ³Laudamus² and ³Glorificamus² to the cantataıs Allegro section. I canıt think of another composer who looked at the mass text and thought of this musical and thematic dichotomy (is there anything similar in the Dresden repertoire?).

The finishing touches are exquisite: the adagio ³peace² theme passes successively through the alto, bass and tenor voices, concluding with all four ³soloists.² This movement shows the mature Bach at his finest and is merits comparison with anything in the Mass in B Minor. That the four masses are ignored by scholars and performers alike as poor cousins is a scandal.

Mvt. 7: Chorale
²Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ²

In the first chorale of this cantata, Bach sets up a dynamic interface with his listeners by using a chorale that they themselves will sing later in the same service. In contrast, his use of this chorale is not determined by its liturgical context but by its thematic reference to Christ as the ³Prince of Peace², a theological extension of Christıs words, ³Peace be with you.² This theological approach allows him to use a chorale which was not associated with the Easter season and which would have drawn its listenersı attention precisely for its novel appearance. Bach used the same chorale in the disparate cantatas BWV 116 for Trinity 25 and BWV 143 for New Yearıs Day. In both cantatas, the reference to Christ as the Prince of Peace triggers the association with ³Du Friedefürst² in Bachıs mind.

Neil Halliday wrote (August 21, 2010):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
>Mvt. 6: Aria & Chorus
²Friede sei mit euch²<
This is multi-section movement (8 sections); another example is BWV 127/4 (7 sections) discussed a few weeks back. Both mostly consist of varied repetitions of two contrasting sections.

(I downloaded the excellent Gardiner version of BWV 172/4.)


Cantata 67: Addendum

William Hoffman wrote (September 8, 2010):
Johannine Easter Season: Quasimodogeniti

The first Sunday After Easter, Quasimodogeniti, (As newborbabes desire the sincere milk of the word), as the Octave of the Resurrection, concludes the Feast of Easter and begins the Johannine Christological transformation of Jesus Christ as he completes his earthly life and ministry with the second half of the Great Parabola, the ascent following the descent and the kenosis or emptying.

Douglas Cowling wrote (Readings, April 15, 2007):
With the exception of the Three Days of Easter and Ascension Day, all of the gospel readings during the fifty days of the Easter season are from the Gospel of John. This is the pattern inherited from the pre-Reformation church and confirmed by Luther.

Quasimodogeniti [1st Sunday after Easter, "As newborn babes"] John 20: 19-31, Christ Appears to Disciples; BWV 67, 42

Misericordias Domini [2nd Sunday after Easter, "Goodness/tender mercies"] John 10: 12-16, Good Shepherd; BWV 104, 85, 112

Jubilate [3rd Sunday after Easter, "Make a joyful noise"] John 16: 16-23, Christ's Farewell; BWV 12, 103, 146 (224)

Cantate [4th Sunday after Easter, "Sing"] John 16: 5-15, Work of the Spirit; BWV 166, 108

Rogate [5th Sunday after Easter, "Pray"] John 16: 23-30, Christ's Promise to the Disciples; BWV 86, 87

Ascension Day Mark 16: 14-20; BWV 37, 128, 43, 11

Exaudi [Sunday after Ascension, "Hear"] John 15: 26 - 16: 4, Spirit will come; BWV 44, 183

Whit Sunday [1st Day of Pentecost] John 14: 23-31, Promise of the Spirit; BWV 172, 59, 74, 34, 218

Whit Monday [2nd Day of Pentecost] John 3: 16-21, God so loved the world; BWV 173, 68, 174

Whit Tuesday [3rd Day of Pentecost] John 10: 1-10, Parable of Sheep; BWV 184, 175

The Gospel for Quasimodogeniti, John 20: 19-31, Christ Appears to the Disciples, and the Epistle, I John 4:5-12, Faith through Testimony, emphasize the process of a collective, committed, living Baptism, beginning with the symbolic wearing of white, for This White Sunday and White Week.

"Peace be with you" is the basic theme in Bach's cantatas or musical sermons for Quasimodogeniti, BWV 67 in 1724 and BWV 42 in 1725, and perhaps the emblematic theme for the sermon preacher, Christian Weiss Sr. at St. Thomas. It is Christ's post-Resurrection first greeting to his disciples, Luke 24:36 ("Friede sei mit euch"), the Gospel for Easter Tuesday, and the corresponding greeting, John 20: 21 ("Der Friede sei mit dir"), the Gospel for Quasimodogeniti. Bach also sounds the theme from John in the opening (and closing) of the beginning recitative of Cantata BWV 158 for Easter Tuesday 1725.

Bach uses comfort and peace-related chorales for both Quasimodogeniti Cantatas BWV 67 and BWV 42, which, like the 1724 Cantata 6 for Easter Monday 1724, are in Bach's traditional cantata form (biblical dictum/internal chorale) of the first cantata cycle of 1723-24. In Cantata BWV 67, "Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ," he uses the four-part setting of the Easter chorale Hermann's "Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag" (No. 4) and closes with Ebert's "Du Friedefürst," Herr Jesu Christ" (No. 7, Stanza 1).

"Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag" would have been most appropriate as a chorale cantata setting, although it has 14 stanzas requiring the middle 12 to be paraphrased in four movements (two recitatives and two arias). It is listed as the hymn for Chancel, Communion or Closing for Quasimodogeniti Sunday in Leipzig, as well as for Easter Tuesday and the Third and Fourth Sundays After Easter Sunday. Other Bach settings are BWV 629, chorale prelude in the Orgelbüchlein (OB 38), composed in Weimar 1712-13, and the closing chorale (No. 5) of Cantata BWV 145 (Stanza 14). It is one of three chorales specifically listed in Leipzig hymn books for Easter Tuesday

"Du Friedefürst," Herr Jesu Christ" is an <omnes tempore> chorale best known as Chorale Cantata BWV 116 for the 25th Sunday After Trinity in 1723. The chorale is also listed for Easter Tuesday in the Dresden hymn schedules (Stiller, ibid. 240). Bach's earliest setting of "Du Friedefürst," is as a Neumeister Chorale prelude, BWV 1102, c.1700. This chorale and the <omnes tempore> chorale, Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deine Wort," also appear in the Neumeister Collection as BWV 1103. "Du Friedefürst" is the basis of Chorale Cantata BWV 126 for Sexagesima Sunday, Feb. 4 1725, one of Bach's last second cycle chorale cantatas using paraphrases.

In 1725, for Cantata BWV 42, Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats" Bach uses two <omnes tempore> chorales, "Versage nicht, O Häuflein," as a chorale duet (No. 4), and closes with the plain chorale (No. 6), "Verleih uns Frieden., gnädiglich"

"Versage nicht, O Häuflein" (O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe), <Stiller> 240, Dresden E3; BWV 42/4(S.1) E1, is Stanza 1 of the ?Fabricus text that may be a marching song of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. The melody is derived from "Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn" (Dürr <JSB Cantatas> 297, Whittaker <JSB Cantatas> I:298 ref. Terry Bach's Chorales). Grunwald's text, "Kommt her zu mir," is based on Mat. 11:28, Jesus preaching. Thus the Fabricus texts and Grunwald tune have the related themes of comfort and peace.

Luther's prayer for peace "Verleih uns Frieden" (Grant us peace, Dona nobis pacem) is a setting of the plainsong melody "Veni redemptor gentius," and a textual translation of the Latin antiphon litany, "Da pacem Domine." Bach's other four-part setting closes Chorale Cantata BWV 126, "Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort" (Lead us, Lord, with Thy Word) for Sexigeisma Sunday 1725. Luther's text also is the closing chorale (No. 6) in Bach's lost Cantata BWV 4a, "Wünschet Jerusalem Glück," for the Town Council Installation in August 1725, to a Picander setting.

No chorale settings are found in the other two works associated with Bach for Quasimodogeniti. the First Sunday After Easter: 1726, Johann Ludwig Bach Cantata JLB-6, "Wie lieblich sind auf den Bergen," and 1729, Picander text P-31, "Welt behalte du das Deine," no music surviving.

EASTER 1 (Quasimodogeniti) (Cowling/Terry)

Introit: "Quasimodo geniti" (LU 809)
Motet: "Christus Resurgens"
"Jam Non Dicam"
"Tres Sunt "
Hymn de Tempore: "Christ Lag in Todesbanden"
Pulpit Hymn: "Christ ist Erstanden"
Hymns for Chancel, Communion & Closing:
"Erscheinen ist der Herrlichen Tag"

Ed Myskowski wrote (September 8, 2010):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Johannine Easter Season: Quasimodogeniti
The first Sunday After Easter,
Quasimodogeniti, (As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of >the word), as the Octave of the Resurrection, concludes the Feast of Easter and begins the Johannine Christological transformation of Jesus Christ as he completes his earthly life and >ministry with the second half of the Great Parabola, the ascent following the descent and the >kenosis or emptying.
Douglas Cowling wrote (Readings, April15, 2007):
With the exception of the Three Days of Easter and Ascension Day, all of the gospel readings >during the fifty days of the Easter season are from the Gospel of John. This is the pattern >inherited from the pre-Reformation church and confirmed by Luther. >
Compare JEGardiner, notes to Vol. 23 (SDG 131) of the Pilgrimage cantata series:
<...with BWV 67 [Remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead] we enter a different world. [...] Evidently much thought went into the planning of this impressive cantata, the first in a series of five leading up to Whit Sunday--almost a mimi-cycle within Bachs first annual Leipzig Jahrgang of 1723/4 [...]. His purpose is to depict the perplexed and vacillating feelings of Christs disciples, their hopes dashed after the Crucifixion, and to maintain the tension between Thomas legitimate doubts and the paramount need to keep faith [...].>

Note that the parallels between spiritual tension of the texts and musical tension is a rewarding area of inquiry and appreciation, regardless of ones personal beliefs.

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 9, 2010):
William Hoffman wrote:
< EASTER 1 (Quasimodogeniti) (Cowling/Terry)
Introit: "Quasimodo geniti" (LU 809)
Motet: "Christus Resurgens"
"Jam Non Dicam"
"Tres Sunt " >
Given that Bach was fluent in Latin and that the teaching of Latin in ecclesiastical schools regularly included the translation of scriptural and liturgical texts, it might be instructive to add the texts of the prescribed motets to the literary background of the cantatas.

The text of "Jam Non Dicam" is drawn from the Epistle of the day. Terry does not list the composers in Bach's motet collection, but it may well have been Lassus' double-choir setting.

The other two Easter texts were frequently set by Renaissance composers Bach's collection may have contained Gabrieli's double choir setting. Score:

I'll try to add these texts so that we can check for literary influences on the cantata librettos.

1) Christus resurgens ex mortuis,
jam non moritur,
mors illi ultra non dominabitur.
Quod enim vivit, vivit Deo, alleluia.

Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more;
death shall no more have dominion over him;
for in that he died, he died once:
but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God, alleluia.
(Romans 6 vv 9-10)

2) Tres sunt, qui testimónium dant in terra:
Spíritus, et aqua, et sanguis: et hi tres unum sunt.
Si testimónium hóminum accípimus, testimónium Dei,
quod maius ets: Quóniam testificátus etst de Fílio suo.
Qui Cerdit in Fílium Dei, habet testimónium Dei in se

There are three who give testimony in heaven;
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
And there are three that give testimony on earth;
the spirit, the water, and the blood:
and these three are one. If we receive the testimony of men,
the testimony of God which is greater: for this is the testimony of God
which is greater,
because He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth in the Son of God
hath the testimony of God in himself.
(1 John 5, 4-10)

3) Jam non dicam vos servos,
sed amicos meos, quia servus nescit,
quid faciat Dominus eius, alleluia.
Vos autem, dixi amicos omnia
quaecumque audivi a patre meo
nota feci vobis, alleluia.

I will not now call you servants:
for the servant knows not what his lord does.
But I have called you friends because all things,
whatsoever I have heard of my Father
I have made known to you. alleluia
(John 15:15)


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