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Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: 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

Cantata BWV 72
Alles nur nach Gottes Willen
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions on the Week of January 29, 2017 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (January 27, 2017):
Cantata 72: “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen”: Intro.

Cantata BWV 72, “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen” (Everything according to God's will, 1 John 2:16a, 17b), is an unconventional musical sermon in several respects. Composed for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany in 1726, it begins with a chorus, unlike other third cycle intimate cantatas for Epiphany Ordinary Time. It has two unusual arias, the first in a rare recitative-arioso-recitative-aria complex, and it may have been a revision of a Weimar cantata. The use of chorus is understandable, since it is the third cantata for this Sunday, beginning with a substantial poetic chorus with the theme of accepting God’s will, and is patterned after the 1724 first cantata BWV 73, “Herr, wie du willt, so schick's mit mir” (Lord, as you will, deal with me). The 1725 chorale Cantata 111, “Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen), opens with the typical chorale fantasia.

In another rare gesture, Bach composed a fourth, virtually different cantata for this Sunday in 1729, BWV 156, “Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe” (I stand with one foot in the grave), to a Picander text. This may have been because of “professional conflict and private grief,” suggests Ruth Tatlow, after Bach’s six years in Leipzig that began so auspiciously (see below, “Bach’s Epiphany 3 Cantatas 73, 111, 72, 156.” At the same time, Bach’s first three cantatas for this Sunday are essentially in the affirmative, based on the day’s gospel, Matthew 8:1-13, Jesus healing a leper and a centurion’s servant following his Sermon on the Mount. Affirmative chorales are central to this cantata tetrology. Bach used the Markgraf Albrecht von Brandenburg 1547 hymn, “Was mein Gott will,” throughout chorale Cantata 111 and the next year set the hymn as a plain chorale to close Cantata 72 ( The initial Cantata 73 begins with Kaspar Bienemann’s 1582 chorale and closes with the Ludwig Helmbold 1563 chorale, “Das ist des Vater’s Wille” (This is the Father’s Will). Solo Cantata 156 closes with the Bienemann chorale and begins vocally with a chorale trope, Johann Heermann’s “Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt” (Deal with me, God, according to your kindness).

Turning to the unorthodox but symmetrical-form 20-minute long Cantata 72, the opening chorus has such spirit and “marked rhythmic structure,” that Bach adapted it through contrafaction as the “Gloria in excelsis Deo” in the Missa: Kyrie-Gloria No. 3 in G Minor, BWV 235, in the later 1730s, observes Julian Mincham in his Cantata 72 notes (see below, “Epiphany 4 Cantatas: Musical Traits”). The alto vocal solo complex follows, beginning with the cantata Gospel motto in the arioso, repeated nine times: 'Herr, so du willt' (Lord, if thou wilt, Matthew 8:2b), the leper’s plea to be cured. The ensuing alto Jesus song has extended ritornelli played by the violins, followed by the bass recitative, with the Vox Christi affirmation, “Ich wills tun!” (I will do it!), Jesus in the Gospel (3b) answering the leper’s plea. The soprano repeats the vow in a dance-like aria that resolves “the dramatic tensions accumulated earlier in the work,” says Alberto Basso in his Cantata 72 commentary (see below, “Cantata 72 Commentary”). Cantata 72 closes with the Markgraf Albrecht chorale, “Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen; details, see below, “Chorale ‘Was mein Gott will’”).1

Cantata 72 was introduced on 27 January 1726 at the early main service of the Nikolaikirche following the sermon (not extant) on the Gospel by Superintendent Salomon Deyling, says Martin Petzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinityfest.2 The gospel and Epistle, Romans 12:17-21 Overcome evil with good, are found at BCW (German text of Luther’s translation published in 1545 and the English in the Authorised (King James) Version 1611). The Introit Psalm for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany in Bach’s time was Psalm 13, Usquequo, Domine oblisvisceris (How long wilt thou forget me> (To the chief Musician, a Psalm of David), says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 461), which he calls “Gebet in Traurigkeit und Herzenangst (Prayer of mourning and heartfelt angst). For the full text of Psalm 13, see

Cantata 72 Movements, Description

Cantata 72 movements, scoring, texts, key, meter (Franck text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW

1. Chorus free da-capo with opening sinfonia (16 mm), ritornelli; chorus free-polyphony & imitation, B section canon structure) [SATB; Oboe I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen, / So bei Lust als Traurigkeit, / So bei gut als böser Zeit.” (Everything according to God's will, / both in pleasure and sorrow, / both in good and evil times.); B. ?Gottes Wille soll mich stillen / Bei Gewölk und Sonnenschein. / A.’ Alles nur nach Gottes Willen! / Dies soll meine Losung sein.” (God's will should calm me / in clouds and sunshine. / Everything according to God's will! / This should be my watchword.); a minor; ¾ time.
2. Recitative secco & Arioso [Alto; Violino I/II, Continuo]: A. Recit., “O selger Christ, der allzeit seinen Willen / In Gottes Willen senkt, es gehe wie es gehe, / Bei Wohl und Wehe.”(O blessed is the Christian, who at all times buries his will / in God's will, come what may, / in prosperity and adversity.); Arioso: “Herr, so du willt, so muss sich alles fügen! / Herr, so du willt, so kannst du mich vergnügen! / Herr, so du willt, verschwindet meine Pein! / Herr, so du willt, werd ich gesund und rein! / Herr, so du willt, wird Traurigkeit zur Freude! / Herr, so du willt, und ich auf Dornen Weide! / Herr, so du willt, werd ich einst selig sein! / Herr, so du willt, - lass mich dies Wort im Glauben fassen / Und meine Seele stillen! - Herr, so du willt, so sterb ich nicht” (Lord, as you will, so must everything happen! / Lord, as you will, you can make me happy! / Lord, as you will, my pain vanishes! / Lord, as you will, I become healthy and pure! /Lord, as you will, sorrow turns to joy! / Lord, as you will, I find pasture from thorns! / Lord, as you will, I shall be blessed once and for all! / Lord, as you will, - let me seize this word in faith / and calm my soul! / Herr, so du willt, so sterb ich nicht, / Lord, as you will, I shall not die); Recit., “Ob Leib und Leben mich verlassen, / Wenn mir dein Geist dies Wort ins Herze spricht!” (though body and life forsake me, / if for me your Spirit speaks this word in my heart!); C Major to d minor; 4/4.
3. Attica: Aria free da capo (shortened); no opening ritornello – first line, ritornello (12 mm), repeat first line [Alto; Violino I/II, Continuo]: A. “Mit allem, was ich hab und bin, / Will ich mich Jesu lassen” (With all that I have and am / I want to abandon myself to Jesus.); B. Kann gleich mein schwachollowser Geist und Sinn / Des Höchsten Rat nicht fassen” Although my weak spirit and mind cannot / grasp the counsel of the Highest), two ritornello (10 mm, 11 mm) and repeats of line, then “Er führe mich nur immer hin / Auf Dorn- und Rosenstraßen!” (may he always lead me along / the ways of thorns and roses!”; A. repeat with 15 mm closing ritornello; d minor; 4/4.
4. Recitative [Bass, Continuo]: “So glaube nun! / Dein Heiland saget: Ich wills tun! / Er pflegt die Gnadenhand / Noch willigst auszustrecken, / Wenn Kreuz und Leiden dich erschrecken, / Er kennet deine Not und löst dein Kreuzesband. / Er stärkt, was schwach, / Und will das niedre Dach / Der armen Herzen nicht verschmähen, / Darunter gnädig einzugehen.” (Therefore now believe! / Your saviour says: I want to do it! / It is his way that his merciful hand / is always willingly stretched out / when the cross and suffering terrify you, / he knows your distress and loosens the bonds of the cross. / He strengthens what is weak / and the lowly roof / of your poor heart he will not scorn / but graciously enter within.); a minor to G major; 4/4.
5. Aria two-part, da-capo suggested & rounded-off ritornelli; 16 mm opening ritornello [Soprano; Oboe, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Mein Jesus will es tun, er will dein Kreuz versüßen.” (My Jesus wants to do this, he wants to sweeten your cross.); B. “Obgleich dein Herze liegt in viel Bekümmernissen, / Soll es doch sanft und still in seinen Armen ruhn, / Wenn ihn der Glaube faßt; mein Jesus will es tun!” (Although your heart lies amid many cares, / it will rest gently and calmly in his arms, / if faith holds him fast: my Jesus wants to do this!); C Major; ¾ ?polonaise-style.
6. Chorale plain in BAR Form [SATB; Oboe I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Continuo): A. Stollen,“Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit, / Sein Will, der ist der beste” (What my God wants always happens, / his will is what is best); A’. “Zu helfen den'n er ist bereit, / Die an ihn glauben feste.” (he is ready to help those / who believe firmly in him.); B. Angesang, “Er hilft aus Not, der fromme Gott, / Und züchtiget mit Maßen. / Wer Gott vertraut, fest auf ihn baut, / Den will er nicht verlassen.” (He helps us in our need, the holy God, / and chastises with moderation. / Whoever puts his trust in God, builds firmly on him, / will never be forsaken by him.); a minor Aeolian or Dorian; 4/4.

Chorale “Was mein Gott will”

A chorale for Epiphany Ordinary Time that affirm God’s protection in the face of death is “Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit” (What my God wants, may it always happen), based upon a personal Reformation Prussian Bar-form text and French lamento melody, prescribed and popular in Leipzig. Albrecht (1490-1568) BCW Short Biography is found at This hymn had been sung in Leipzig on the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany “from time immemorial,” says Günther Stiller in Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig (St. Louis MO: Concordia, 1985: 238). The associated Claudin de Sermisy 1528 melody chosen by Albrecht was set by Bach, noted in the Albrecht and two Paul Gerhardt texts, mostly to cantatas for the Epiphany and pre-Lenten seasons, including two chorale cantatas, BWV 111, and, a week later, BWV 92, “Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn” (I have surrendered to God's heart and mind), Septagesima Sunday 1725, as well as in the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244/25. The Albrecht chorale text is in 4 stanzas BAR Form, 8 lines (ABABCDCD), Verses 1-3; 1547), Anon (Verse 4; 1555), in Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch 1682, No. 325, “Death & Dying,” hymn German text and Francis Browne English Translation, BCW

The chorale first appeared in 1547 on the death of Albrecht’s first wife. Claudin de Sermisy secular song, “Il me suffit de tous mes maulx” was published in Paris in 1529. In 1540 a contrafact of Claudin’s secular melody was accomplished in a Dutch verse form of Psalm 129 which was published in “Souterliedekens” in Antwerp in 1540. Duke Albrecht von Preußen wrote his chorale text in memory of the death of his wife, Dorothea. A fourth and final verse was added by an unknown author in Nürnberg in 1555. It was “first published as a broadsheet at Nurnberg c. 1554, and in Funff Schone Geistliche Lieder (Dresden, 1556),” says Charles Sanford Terry in Bach Chorals, Vol. 2, Cantatas & Motets.3 Details of the melody are found at BCW

Besides Cantatas 111 and 72, Bach set the Albrecht hymn and de Sermisy related melody to the closing plain chorale in Cantata 144, “Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin” (Take what is yours and go on your way, Matthew 20:14), for Septugesima Sunday, February 6, 1724, to an anonymous text (possibly Picander); and to the plain chorale with the same incipit in the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244/25 (1727), after Jesus in the Garden of Gesthsemane says, “Mein Vater, ist's nicht möglich, dass dieser Kelch von mir gehe, / ich trinke ihn denn, so geschehe dein Wille.” (My father, if it is not possible that this cup should pass from me, unless I drink it, then your will be done. Mat. 26:39)

Chorale Melody (Zahn 7568): “Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit,” Composer: Claudin de Sermisy (1528). Sermisy (c1490 or c1495 to 1562) BCW Short Biography, The melody first appeared in print in a collection of secular songs for 4 voices entitled “Trente et quatre chansons…” printed by Pierre Attaingnant on 28 January 1528. The full hymn text and melody were found in the Christliche und tröstliche Tischgesenge (Erfurt, 1572), by Joachim Magdeburg (?1525-after July 1587, see BCW Short Biography,

In the mid 1650s, the progressive poet Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) published two texts to the melody which Bach used (see BCW melody details, above, Ibid.). In Text 2, “Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott” (Merciful Father, highest God), Bach used the 9th verse, “Ich hab dich einen Augenblick, / O liebes Kind, verlassen” (I have for a moment, /my dear child, left you), as a plain chorale to close Cantata 103/6, “Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, aber die Welt wird sich freuen” (You will weep and howl, but the world will rejoice, John 16:20), for Jubilate (3rd Sunday after Easter), April 22, 1725, to a text of Christiane Mariane von Ziegler (1695-1760), BCML Discussion, Week of April 16. Gerhardt Text 3 to the melody “Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit” was set by Gerhardt in 1647 to the text “Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn.” Besides chorale Cantata 92, Bach also set the 10th verse, “Ei nun, mein Gott, so fall ich dir” (Ah now, my God, may I fall), to close the 1724 Epiphany festive chorus Cantata 65, “Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen” (They will all come from Sheba, Isaiah 60:6).

The hymn and melody of “Was mein Gott will” in English is found as “Who Trusts in God, a Strong Abode” (SATB), No. 450 under “Trust, Guidance,” in the Lutheran Book of Worship (Minneapolis MN: Augsburg, 1978), and currently in the Lutheran Service Book (LSMS, St. Louis MO: Concordia, 2006) as No. 714 (melody only, rhythmic), “Trust,” and as “The Will of God Is Always Best” (isorhythmic, SATB), No. 758, “Hope and Comfort.”

Bach’s Epiphany 3 Cantatas 73, 111, 72, 156

An historical-biographical narrative account of Cantatas BWV 73, 111, 72, and 156 for the Third Sunday after Epiphany, composed over a five-year period in Leipzig, shows Bach’s spiritual pilgrimage, begun “so auspiciously,” became “clouded by professional conflict and private grief,” observes Ruth Tatlow’s 2000 notes in John Eliot Gardiner's Bach Cantata Pilgrimage Archiv Produktion.4 <<In Leipzig the morning of the third Sunday after Epiphany is inevitably chilly. For its 27,000 citizens in Bach’s day, the dark silence was broken by the tolling of the 5.30 matins bell at St Nicholas’s. In spite of the wintry temperatures of late January, the city would soon come alive with answering chimes and the insistent tread of faithful feet heading churchward. With the choirboys in place, the clock struck 7 and the liturgy began. Shortly before 8, the Epistle and Gospel for the day – Romans 12:17-21 and Matthew 8:1-13 – were read, interspersed with congregational singing of the set hymn. The main music, a cantata, was performed immediately before the hour-long exposition of the Gospel reading, and served as musical preparation for the preacher’s message. On intensely cold mornings the choir was allowed to leave during the sermon; as a further concession Bach, whenever possible, made his winter cantatas fairly short.

As he sat down to prepare BWV 73, “Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir” for performance at St Nicholas’s on 23 January 1724, Bach did not find himself working in blissful isolation but amid the bustle of family and school life. He had moved to Leipzig eight months earlier, into an apartment within the St. Thomas’s School building, across the square from St. Thomas’s Church. The three surviving sons from his first marriage, Wilhelm Friedemann (aged thirteen), Carl Philipp Emanuel (aged nine) and Johann Gottfried Bernhard (aged eight), attended the school during the day. His eldest daughter, Catharina Dorothea (aged fifteen), stayed at home to help her stepmother Anna Magdalena (aged twenty-two) and her aunt Friedelena Margaretha (aged forty-eight) with the household duties. Anna Magdalena, Bach’s second wife, was expecting their second child within a few weeks.

The anonymous text of the cantata BWV 73 is reminiscent of a persuasive three-point oration, and may resemble the sermon preached that Sunday by Salomon Deyling, St Nicholas’s chief pastor. The repetition of the opening ‘Wie du willt’ (‘As thou wilt’) progresses to a threefold utterance of ‘So du willt’ (‘If thou wilt’) and is answered by the final chorale ‘Das ist des Vaters Wille’ (‘That is Thy Father’s will’). Bach’s musical setting reinforces the rhetorical structure and underlines the message of faith in the sovereignty of God’s will. In the opening movement he juxtaposes the anxious cries of the soprano and tenor with the corporate strength of the chorus and one steadfast individual, the bass. The solo bass personifies the man of faith, and, uttering phrases that evoke Gethsemane, was possibly intended to represent a Christ-figure.

In his second year in Leipzig, Bach resolved to write a complete annual cycle of chorale cantatas, taking as his starting point the set hymn for the day. Performed on 21 January 1725, BWV 111, “Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit,” belongs to this second cycle. We do not know who prepared the adaptation of Albrecht von Brandenburg’s hymn, but, since the cantata was written to illustrate a sermon by either Deyling or Christian Weiss, the chief pastor at St Thomas’s, it is not unreasonable to surmise that the text is a product of the combined efforts of composer and pastor.

The first two movements of BWV 111 reassure the listener that God helps those who believe in Him. Faith can seem easy to the young and strong, bringing over with optimistic energy. As the duet of the fourth movement rings out with an almost irreverent skittishness, it seems to represent a naive faith, which lacks the wisdom born of testing. But the gravity of death and serene dependence on God returns in the final chorale prayer ‘When the powers of evil assail me, grant that I lose not courage’.

Bach wrote BWV 111 when he was in the prime of life, with few troubles and a young wife by his side. Since his arrival in Leipzig he had subdued his naturally pugnacious tendencies, but by January 1726 some unpleasant difficulties with the authorities had arisen. Realising that he had the weight of a politically divided council to contend with, he decided to appeal Cantatas for the Third Sunday after Epiphany directly to the King and Elector for a just resolution of his problem, which revolved around the directorship of and payment for the old and new services at the University Church. He wrote three letters of complaint to Frederick Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, outlining in great detail the issues at stake. The King’s reply, dated 21 January 1726, is unlikely to have reached Bach before he wrote BWV 72, “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen,” for performance on 27 January. In Weimar a decade earlier Bach had spent many uplifting hours with the elderly court poet Salomon Franck. Franck had died in June 1725, and as Bach sat down six months later to plan his weekly cantata, it is not surprising in view of his problems that he longed for the consoling company of a wise friend. He took down from his shelf a copy of Franck’s Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer (1715) and also possibly a cantata he had written in Weimar. It was a timely spiritual exercise for Bach to reflect once more upon the biblical wisdom in Franck’s text: the absence of an old friend leading him into the company of One More Ancient.

The ensuing three years threw Bach upon the mercy of God as never before, when his family suffered a series of blows from which they would never fully recover. The joy of his second marriage had been crowned by the birth of four healthy children, but in June 1726 their first-born, Christiana Sophia Henrietta, died at the age of three, just two months after the birth of their fourth child. A year later they lost a newborn within three days of birth. By the spring of 1728 Anna Magdalena was pregnant again and, naturally, anxious. On 21 September 1728 their third child, Christian Gottlieb, died at the age of three and a half. Three weeks later Anna Magdalena gave birth to a little girl, who ‘because of weakness’ was baptised at home, the only one of all their twelve children, including those who died within days of birth, not baptised in church. The ‘weakness’ may have been Anna Magdalena’s, in the wake of untold grief and post-natal exhaustion.

Anna Magdalena was still just twenty-eight years old. Was Bach to lose her too? As he chose Picander’s text ‘Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe’ (‘I stand with one foot in the grave’) for BWV 156, the cantata for the third Sunday after Epiphany in January 1729, expressions of zealous faith were far from his thoughts. The simplicity of the oboe line in the opening sinfonia seems to encapsulate the sentiment of the final chorale, the believer’s desire for God alone, whether in life or in death.

Through his musical setting of these four cantatas, written to expound the same biblical readings and hymn texts in collaboration with the same two preachers, we can catch a glimpse of Bach’s spiritual pilgrimage during this period, one which had begun so auspiciously in 1723 with his move to Leipzig and his installation as Thomaskantor but which before long was clouded by professional conflict and private grief.
© Ruth Tatlow, 2000>>

Epiphany 4 Cantatas: Musical Traits

The first three Bach Cantatas for the Third Sunday after Epiphany (BWV 73, 111, 72) begin with imposing choruses while Cantata 72 and Cantata 73 show similarities in text references and treatment, while all three use the same closing chorale, shows Julian Mincham in his Commentary introduction to Cantata 72 at his Bach Cantata website, << There are four extant cantatas written for this day. C 73 was composed for the first Leipzig cycle (chapter 38) and opens with a chorus of substance and originality incorporating metrical recitative passages. Its fundamental theme is the need to accept the will of the Almighty. C 111 is one of the chorale cantatas from the second cycle (chapter 36), beginning with a raging, swirling, minor-mode fantasia of enormous energy and exploring a similar theme. C 72 continues the tradition of beginning the cantatas for this day with an imposing chorus, later to be broken in C 156 (vol 3, chapter 40), probably fiheard in 1729 (Dürr: Ibid: 212). There Bach requires the chorus for the closing chorale only and returns to the practice of commencing with an instrumental sinfonia, an arrangement of the slow movement of the keyboard concerto in Fm, itself probably originating from a lost violin concerto.

C 72 is another work that suggests that Bach may have been in the habit of looking over the scores of previous cantatas written for the same day; Dürr (p 208) points out the similarities in the libretto for this and the earlier C 73. Furthermore, the opening choruses of Cs 72 and 111 are in the same key (Am), they both begin with two forceful crotchets on the same notes (a and e) and each is carried along with torrents of semi-quaver passages.

Finally, the two works are linked by the fact that Bach uses the same chorale to close them and to form the basis of the C 111 fantasia.

But if the listener feels any sense of déjá vu about the first movement of C 72 it is probably because it is known from a different context. Bach later re-used it for his popular Mass in G minor BWV 235. Both the spirit of the original setting and its marked rhythmic structure made it entirely suitable for the later setting of the Gloria.

C 72, first performed in Jan 1726, was the last original cantata that Bach presented in the Leipzig churches for almost four months. Instead, he performed eighteen cantatas by Johann Ludwig Bach (Wolff pp 281/2) returning to a more regular presentation of his own works for the important Easter celebrations. To what extent he planned a sabbatical of this kind is not known. But if he did prepare for it, he would almost certainly have wished to withdraw, albeit temporarily, with an impressive work and to return with one equally imposing. Bach was a proud man, well aware of his musical abilities and, as the incumbent Cantor, he would not have wished his works to be compared unfavourably with another′s.

The break would certainly have given him a breathing space and time to prepare his next batch of cantatas, several of which are extremely impressive works. The magnificent sinfonia for [Jubilate] C 146 (chapter 14), albeit an arrangement, speaks for itself and, although the cantatas for, and following, Easter of 1726 appear to have no obvious uniting principle, it is interesting that in C 129 (chapter16) Bach returned to the chorale/fantasia format for the important date of Trinity. We may also remind ourselves that the St Matthew Passion was to receive its first performance for the Easter celebrations of the following year and Bach, in addition to his ongoing duties, must have also been composing it at this time.>>

Cantata 72 Commentary

Cantata 72 may have originated in Weimar in 1715 and was “revived at Leipzig in a totally revised version,” suggests Alberto Basso in his commentary essay in the Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, ed. Malcolm Boyd (Oxford University Press, 1999: 9). << . . . . Since the text of BWV 72 is by Salomo Franck, who was active at the Weimar court, and was published in his Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer (Weimar, 1715), it has been conjectured that the cantata was composed at Weimar for 27 January 1715 and revived at Leipzig in a totally revised version. It is scored for SATB with two oboes, two violins, viola, and continuo, and divided into six movements (in the BG edition and in Schmieder [BWV] 1 and 2 the second and third movements are seen as one, making the total five).

The liturgy for the third Sunday after Epiphany includes two readings of particular importance and instruction to Christian worshippers. The Epistle (Romans 12: 17-21), recalling the words of Solomon (Prov. 25: 21-2), extols the virtue of charity towards one's enemy. The precept is fundamental to the Christian way of life, and in fact the whole of St Paul's chapter is so charged with exhortation and admonition, and so rich in content, that it might be compared with the Sermon on the Mount in St Matthew's Gospel. The appointed Gospel reading is in fact St Matthew 8: 1-13. It presents Jesus as a worker of miracles in healing the leper and the centurion's servant – a perfect expression of the spirit of charity.

The text of the cantata refers to the biblical readings in a general way, as an act of faith - a testimony to the blind faith that the believer, in good times and in bad times, should place in the Lord. Franck's libretto had designated the opening number an aria, but Bach set it as a chorus in concertante style. It is ternary in form and predominantly imitative in texture, but with passages of chordal writing systematically and symbolically tied to the word 'alles' ('all'), which is repeated almost obsessively. This chorus was later parodied in the Missa in G minor BWV 235.

The way that Franck constructed the recitative 'O selger Christ, der allzeit seinen Willen' (Mvt. 2) led Bach to organize his setting (for alto and continuo) in three sections: recitative-arioso-recitative. The central arioso brings into prominence the nine-fold repetition of 'Herr, so du willt' ('Lord, if thou wilt'), which is set to similar (in the first three cases) or varied melodic phrases. The second recitative section is followed without a break by the alto aria 'Mit allem, was ich hab und bin' [With all that I have and am], the voice begins immediately, anticipating the instrumental ritornello, which takes the form of a fugato for the two obbligato violins. A final aria, 'Mein Jesus will es tun' (Mvt. 5, for soprano with oboe, strings, and continuo), resolves, with its dance-like (polonaise) character, the dramatic tensions accumulated earlier in the work. The cantata ends with the first strophe of the chorale ‘Was mein Gott will, das gscheh allzeit’ by Margrave Albrecht of Brandenburg (1547) in a straightforward four-part harmonization, with instruments doubling the voices.>>

Cantata 72 Origin, Cantata 73 Model

The suppositions that Cantata 72 originated in a different form and that Cantata 73 “may have been modeled on” the Franck text for Cantata 72, is discussed in Alfred Dürr’s The Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005: 208f). If “Bach did compose a Weimar cantata to this text, it must have had little in common with the present work,” says Dürr. “The Franck text adheres closely to the Gospel, and moreover exhibits a striking similarity with that of Cantata 73,” he says. “The ideas that follow from this, however, are not so exclusively concerned with death as in the other texts for this Sunday. Instead, the Gospel account of the healing of the sick is treated as an occasion for trusting Jesus’ promise that ‘He will sweeten your cross.’ Looking at the text, you will find verbal parallels with the Gospel reading.”

The textual and musical and associations are described in Thomas Braatz’s Cantata 72 Commentary translation of Dürr’s earlier German version ( <<Movement 1 begins with an introductory choral section which Franck had really intended to be an aria. The thematic material is revealed in a concertante instrumental ritornello. The violins dominate the orchestra made up of 2 oboes, strings and continuo in this part with 16th-note figures which eventually also occur in the basso continuo. The choir then enters and plays a prominent role, but gradually this role is passed back to the orchestra. The mvement has a da capo form which provides the frames for a middle section. Each da capo section ends with a Choreinbau [choral insertion], while the middle section features the tightly interlaced canonic imitation by the voices on “Gottes Wille soll mich stillen” accompanied by the instruments

In movement 2, the ‘Arioso’ contains an anaphora (the 9-fold repetition of “Herr, so du willt.) This is similar to what happens in BWV 73. The second recitative is based upon Matt 8:3 where a leper asks Jesus to heal h: “Und Jesus streckte seine Hand aus, rührte ihn an und sprach: Ich wills tun.” [“And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”] Franck applies this text to the present: “So glaube nun! Dein Heiland saget: Ich wills tun! Er pflegt die Gnadenhand | Noch willigst auszustrecken…” [Therefore now believe! / Your saviour says: I want to do it! / It is his way that his merciful hand / is always willingly stretched out]. Also, in movement 5, Franck falls back upon the same biblical passage with the words “Mein Jesus will es tun.” Finally, in movement 4, Franck bases his text upon the words of the captain from Capernaum: “Herr, ich bin nicht wert, daß du unter mein Dach gehest” [“Then the officer said, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home”] when he writes: “Und will das niedre Dach | Der armen Herzen nicht verschmähen, | Darunter gnädig einzugehen” [and the lowly roof / of your poor heart he will not scorn / but graciously enter within].

Movement 3 begins directly without any ritornello and the alto enters directly all alone with the first two lines of the text. This is one of the very few aria ritornelli that are constructed as a fugal exposition. The two obbligato violins (with bc) having a running, imitative 16th-note theme. The ritornello closes with an epilogue, after which the main section of the aria (constructed out of repetition of the beginning after which a Vokaleinbau is superimposed over the fugal exposition) begins. Once again this entire section is repeated before the middle part, which has a freer treatment, is introduced. This then leads into shortened form of the da capo section. This aria is a modified da capo form that is much more like the bar-form (A A B A’).

After a secco recitative, the second aria [no. 5], in contrast to the first one, has a more song- or dance-like character which allows the instruments much more freedom than usual. The ritornello consisting of 16 measures is repeated entirely after the short statement of “Mein Jesus will es tun” by the vocalist. Only then does the main section really po egin with somewhat less strictly observed repetition of the ritornello that includes a Vokaleinbau. The 2nd section of the aria, using the coloring of a minor key, expresses the text much more directly on the words “Obgleich dein Herze liegt in viel Bekümmernissen” [Although your heart lies amid many cares], and using long, held notes underlines the words “still in seinen Armen ruhn” [calmly in his arms]. At the very end of the final ritornello, the motto appears once again: “Mein Jesus will es tun” [my Jesus wants to do this!]. The final chorale setting is a very simple one.>>

Cantata 72 “Total Revision”

A “totally revised version” of Cantata 72, as Basso says, that “must have had little in common with the present work,” says Dürr, is a possibility, according to compositional practice and collateral evidence of Bach’s methods. Interestingly. there is no other extant cantata that evidences a significant revision, although Bach on rare occasions composed a new, substitute cantata movement or in the case of the 1724 Easter Tuesday Cantata 134, revised the parodied recitatives. It is quite possible that Bach did compose the original version of Cantata 72 to the Franck text for the same Sunday in Weimar, 27 January 1715 since it corresponds with his schedule of compositions every four weeks, the previous being Cantata 152 for the Sunday after Christmas, 30 December 1714, and the next being Cantata 18 for Sexagesima Sunday, 24 February 1715.

The version of Cantata 72 presented in 1726, most notably its alto recitative-arioso-aria complex, is unlike any movement composed in Weimar and shows Bach’s skill at adapting this challenging text. Likewise, the opening chorus may have supplanted the original aria-texted opening movement since it shows features similar to the other contrafaction choruses in the third cycle that Bach later adapted as “Kyrie,” “Gloria,” or “Cum sancto spiritu” movements in the Missae Breves: Kyrie-Gloria, BWV 233-236. As to the bass recitative (no. 5), its tonal direction and allegory is a bridge between the unorthodox alto aria and the soprano aria with its dance-song character in ¾. As Dürr’s commentary above points out, Cantata 72 text was a model for Cantata 73 with

characteristics Bach later replicated in Cantata 72. It can only be conjectured that Bach found the opportunity to “improve” on his original text setting and make it more compatible with the two previous chorus Cantatas BWV 73 and 111, as well as Salomon Deyling’s 1726 sermon. It certainly was a serendipitous situation as Bach took liberties to explore his settings of musical sermons that he would intentionally and selectively resume at the Feast of the Ascension in 1726 with Cantata 43 following his exclusively presentation of cantatas of Meiningen cousin Johann Ludwig while he began in earnest to compose the St. Matthew Passion.

Chafe Tonal Allegory in the Vocal Music of J. S. Bach (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991: 203). << In Cantata BWV 108, “Es ist euch gut, daß ich hingehe,” anticipation of the Spirit’s descent and the relinquishing to it of all self-determination –“Dein Geist wird mich also regieren” (rec.), “Dein Geist, den Gott vom Himmel gibt, der leitet alles, was ihn liebt, auf wohlgebähntem Wege” (final choral) – prompts a plan of descent from A major (chorus) through F sharp minor (aria) and D major (recitative and aria) to B minor (aria and chorale). Cantatas emphasizing these qualities can also make a return ascent. [Cantata 108 will be the BCML Discussion, the Week of April 23]. In Cantata BWV 72, “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen” (1726), for example, after the opening A minor chorus, the 2nd mvt., a complex of recitative, arioso, and aria, moves downward from its 1st words, “O sel’ger Christ, der allzeit seinen Willen in Gottes Willen senkt.” The aria, in D minor, emphasizes the weak individual’s submission to Christ. The following recitative brings out Jesus’ help, through faith, in suffering and oppression; near the end of the phrase “Er stärkt, was schwach” moves to close in G minor as if to illustrate human weakness; but with the final G major chord treated as the dominant of the ensuing C major aria, “Mein Jesus will es tun,” the cantata can close in its original key of A minor. Here the flat region is associated with human weakness, the relative [C] major with Jesus’ aid.>>

Spitta, Schweitzer Commentaries

Earlier Cantata 73 commentaries of scholars Philipp Spitta and Albert Schweiter offer positive assessments of Bach’s work and the Franck text, as found in the BCW Commentary of Thomas Braatz (Ibid.).

Spitta, Johann Sebastian Bach (London: Novello, 1989; London: Dover 1951: II: 415f). <<This is one of the most appealing of the texts by Franck. While it seems to follow the basic thoughts of the other texts by Franck and was undoubtedly influenced by them, where the special nuance in these other texts seems to emphasize a more pious feeling of being resigned to suffering, the text for BWV 72, however, praises a blessed state of satisfaction that arises from a feeling that one is everywhere supported by the kind hand of God. In contrast to the other cantatas on Franck texts, some of which have a dark, foreboding quality about them, BWV 72 demonstrates a trusting, childlike intimacy which is almost overpowering. This feeling is best demonstrated in the soprano aria in the words “Mein Jesus will es tun, er will dein Kreuz versüßen” [“My Jesus wants to do this, he wants to ‘sweeten’ your cross/suffering.”] This is one of the loveliest vocal pieces that Bach ever wrote. The rest of the cantata is not less charming: a stirring alto aria “Mit allem was ich habe und bin, Will ich mich Jesu lassen,” with a preceding Arioso, in which a duple and triple rhythms are effectively merged, and, finally, the introductory choral mvt. with its splendid breadth boiling over with intimacy/depth.>>

Schweit, J. S. Bach, trans Ernest Newman (London: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1911; London: Dover 1966, II:198f): << [Bach] does not even shrink from finding a musical symbol for the abstract idea of “time.” In BWV 27 the flight of time is suggested in the orchestra by a mysterious pendulum stroke that never ceases throughout the opening chorus. There is a similar representation in the 1st chorus of the BWV 72. In the opening chorus of BWV 72, the main musical theme is prompted by a word of quite subordinate importance. It is the word “Zeit” [“time,”] –“Alles nur nach Gottes Willen…so bei gut als böser Zeit” [“God’s will be done…both in good and evil time.”] Bach expresses it by the stroke of the pendulum, as in BWV 27. The monotonous rhythm in the bass, in which the rest of the orchestra also joins {example: the bc of ms. 1-6 of mvt. 1} is accordingly maintained from the beginning to end of the chorus. It is to this impressive tick-tack that the choir sings the moving text. In the almost dance-like prelude to the soprano aria “Mein Jesus will es tun” [“This will my Jesus do,”] the upper voices several times pause suddenly on a chord, while the bass of the theme—{1st 2 ms. of the oboe part of mvt. 5} continues. The only other in which this occurs is “Wirf mein Herze, wirf dich noch in des Höchsten Liebesarme” [“Cast thyself, oh my heart, into the loving arms of God,”] in BWV 155 in which passionate mvt. it depicts the heart at rest in God’s arms. Bearing this musical identity in mind, let us look again at the text of the aria “Mein Jesus will es tun.” The passage is at once seen to mean “Although thy heart is overwhelmed with heaviness, it shall rest gently in His arms.” This is one of the cases where the meaning of Bach’s music becomes clear by the comparison of two quite unconnected passages.>>

Cantata 73 Movement Analysis

An analysis of the movements, with comparisons to other Bach music, are found in Douglas Cowling’s Cantata 72 Introduction to the BCML Discussion Part 2 (Week of September 23, 2007,

<< Mvt. 1: Chorus, “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen” Originally planned as an aria by Franck, Bach creates a whirlwind depiction of the transitoriness of human life, not unlike the opening of “Ach Wie Flüchtig” [BWV 26]. The chorus “feels” like it is going to be a chorale-fantasy but it is very freely composed beginning with a unison canon for the voices. The use of echo effects and very loosely-developed counterpoint is reminiscent of the “Omnes generationes” in the Magnificat (BWV 243). Particularly effective are the great shouts of “Alles” which give the movement extraordinary energy. Oddly the movement does not have a concluding ritornello. Schweitzer in one of his more poetic flights of fancy hears the swinging of the pendulum of a clock in this movement.
Mvt. 2: Recitative & Arioso – Alto, “O selger Christ, der allzeit seinen Willen.” Movements 2-5 are laid out as sections of one large-scale quadripartite movement, almost an operatic “scena” from Handel. Bach experimented with this type of multi-sectioned movement in the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) but this is somewhat of a rarity in the cantatas. The recitative opens with a lovely rising seventh and ornamented "sel¹ger." The arioso has flowing 3/8 reflecting the embrace of joy in the text. The movement is interrupted by the recitative “ob Leib und Leben.”
Mvt. 3: Aria – Alto, “Mit allem, was ich hab und bin.” The opening is actually an extension of the previous recitative and the orchestra does not begin its introduction until bar 5 when new thematic material is introduced. The aria is shaped by the fugal exposition of the orchestra (the Double Violin Concerto comes to mind). The biggest surprise is the B section in which the opening figure returns and is developed at length. It is fascinating to watch Bach dissolve the boundaries of his forms and create such a complex movement.
Mvt. 4: Recitative ­ Bass, “So glaube nun.” The words of the captain give this recitative a dictum-like quality appropriately given to the bass soloist. All of the recitative in this cantata are filled with large intervals of sevenths and octaves.
Mvt. 5: Aria – Soprano, “Mein Jesus will es tun, er will dein Kreuz versüßen.” Schweitzer called this movement a polonaise but more scholarly dance historians have disputed this. The “sweetness” of the C major and the soprano voice suggest that the soloist is taking the symbolic role of the healed servant. The long sustained notes on “kreuz” are linked with the similar word-painting at “still” and “rühn.”
Mvt 6: Was Chorale, “Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit.” A rich harmonization of the chorale is marked with sonorous voice-pairings in the tenors and basses.

Theological Sources, Text Review

The theological sources of Bach’s cantata texts and their subject to review by Leipzig authority are discussed in Peter Smaill’s commentary to the Cantata 72 BCML Discussion Part 3 (January 24, 2010, <<This Cantata is indeed a rarity but in part that observation can be made as a compliment, for the text sees Bach setting, very unusually, a litany: this is the bass recitative BWV 72/2, "O selger Christ". As Dürr points out, the falling phrase on "Herr, so du willt" is rendered so as to create an arioso. Of the scholars' comments who have looked into this text, the most intesting is a neglected observation by James Day in 1961 ("The Literary background to Bach's Cantatas"). While it is indeed the case that the origin of the text is proximately Salomo Franck's, in fact it appears that the text ultimately bears a close resemblance to a sonnet by the famous Silesian school poet Hoffman von Hofmanswaldau.

Renate Steiger devotes 30 pages of analysis to this work in her " Doctrina et Pietas" volume, "Gnadengegenwart; Lutherische Orthodoxies und Froemmigkeit", and focusses on the theme of Christian resignation, which reaches an almost Quietistic intensity in this cantata; she quotes the Pietist Arndt in context, and refers to the [August] Muller sermon collection which decidedly influenced other Bach works. So, ignored or not, BWV 72 emerges as a work of especial poetic and theological significance. It is also perhaps numerologically significant; Hirsch detects 163 notes in the arioso itself, equal to the number alphabet count of "Herr, so du willt.">>

February 1, 2010. << In my essay on "Bach among the Heretics: Inferences from the Cantata Texts" ( I noted that Rochlitz, normally considered a dependable source, had stated (set out in Stiller's "Liturgical Life in Leipzig") that Bach presented in advance of a given Sunday three texts for Deyling to choose from. However, the several examples of the influence of non-Lutheran ideas suggests that (while not actually heretical) the texts show an assimilation of Calvinist and Quietist emphases, with the 1726 [Rudolstadt] texts from Meiningen strangely allusive to semi-pelagianism (justification through one's efforts) and even pantheism. The definition of the Trinity is shaky in one of the few trio settings by Bach; and maybe even he is himself interested in millenarianism, for Bach notes in the margins of his Calov Bible two possible computed dates for the end of the world (One was from memory 1942).

The discernible shifting to and fro in emphases across the cycles suggests to me that Deyling, who outlived Bach, did not exercise much control. It is the secular [Town] Council which bans the 1739 (probable) St. John Passion (BWV 245) [performance], Bach saying "if it is on account of the words, it had been performed many times before". Hence my hunt for some terrible heresy in Bach - but what it was, is still an open question. The St Mark Passion (BWV 247) may have been considered Universalist - all get to Heaven in two of the arias - whether you believe or not. Whether for surethis is the upset; or a pretext for the Pietists on the Council to ban the St John by mistake - is a subject for others to conclude!

Hunting for the "heresy" was an interesting exercise in tackling and analysing the texts. If others can access the essay at the BNUK website (UB4, Conference in Oxford January 2009), I will be more than happy in this esoteric area to have comments, suggestions, and feedback. For technical reasons my (necessarily subjective) spreadsheet analysing every Cantata by doctrinal emphasis could not be published but I will be happy to let anyone specially interested have a copy.>>

Theme “Giving Oneself up to God’s Will”

“Giving oneself up to God’s will, based on a line in the day’s Gospel, is the theme of Bach’s Cantata 72, observes Klaus Hofmann in the 2008 liner notes to the Masaaki Sukuki complete cantata recording on BIS recordings.4 <<Bach’s Cantata 72 to words by Salomon Franck for the third Sunday after Epiphany was heard in Leipzig on 27th January 1726. The gospel passage for that Sunday, Matthew 8:1–13, tells of Jesus’ healing of a leper: ‘And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.’ The key words for the poet are ‘Lord, if thou wilt’; his theme is giving oneself up to God’s will. As he says in the opening movement, ‘Alles nur nach Gottes Willen, dies soll meine Losung sein’ (‘All things according to God’s will! This shall be my motto’), and the phrase ‘Herr, so du willt’ (‘Lord, if thou wilt’) appears nine times in the following alto recitative.

Both of these features must have made a deep impact on Bach’s cantata audience in Leipzig. The poet probably intended the opening movement to be a solo aria, but Bach sets it for choir in order to lend greater emphasis to the words. The rich motivic content of the introductory ritornello supports the musical development for long stretches. The emphatic, almost omni present chords are linked with the choir’s use of the word ‘alles’ (‘all things’), and similarly the instruments constantly seem to be calling out ‘all things’. And the choir repeatedly intones ‘Alles nur nach Gottes Willen’ homophonically in two, three or all four parts.

Of the two arias, the one for alto [no. 3] has a pronounced instrumental character. The thematically independent vocal line is surrounded by a concertante fugue from the two violins and continuo. In the soprano aria, the words ‘Mein Jesus will es tun, er will dein Kreuz versüßen’ (‘My Jesus will do it, He will sweeten your cross), an expression of the confidence that faith brings, appear in a sound context of dance-like lightness in which the vocal line and oboe join in a charming dialogue. A well-known hymn strophe by Duke Albrecht of Prussia (1547) summarizes the message of the cantata with words that will have been familiar to the congregation: ‘Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit, sein Will, der ist der beste’ (‘What my God wants always happens, His will is the best’).>>
© Klaus Hofmann 2008

Production Notes.
Alles nur nach Gottes Willen, BWV 72. Bach’s own manuscript of this cantata is housed in the Berlin State Library (P 54). Thirteen original parts are housed in three collections: ten at the Berlin State Library (St 2), two at the Berlin University of the Arts, and one at the Bachhaus in Eisenach. The materials that constitute St 2 include not only the original parts but also a separate set of parts copied by Johann Friedrich Hering [see below, “Cantata 72 Provenance”].

The set of original parts does not include any parts containing harmonic figuration for the continuo, and the continuo part transposed for the organ that would normally have existed has been lost. The set of parts copied by Hering does, however, contain harmonic figurations not only in the part transposed for the organ but also in the untransposed continuo parts. It seems probable that this set was copied not on the basis of Bach’s own score but on the basis of the original parts used at the first performance, and it is therefore quite possible that harmonic figurations were included in the original, untransposed continuo parts. Taking our cue from this, we decided therefore to use both the organ and the harpsichord.
© Masaaki Suzuki 2008

Bach’s Leipzig performance calendar for the Third Sunday after Epiphany:

1724-01-23 So - Cantata BWV 73 Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir (1st performance, Leipzig)
1725-01-21 So - Cantata BWV 111 Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit (1st performance, Leipzig)
1726-01-27 So - Cantata BWV 72 Alles nur nach Gottes Willen (1st performance, Leipzig)
1727-01-26 So - Ich will, so, mein liebster Gott (solo cantata text only, Christoph Birkmann)
1728-01-18 So - Last Epiphany Sunday (no performance recorded)
1729-01-23 So - Cantata BWV 156 Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe (1st performance, Leipzig (?)
?1732-35 So - Cantata BWV 73 Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir (reperformed, organ part replaced horn)
1736-01-22 So - no G.H. Stölzel cantata cycle performance recorded
1748-01-21 So - Cantata BWV 73 Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir (2nd performance, Leipzig) (or 1749-01-26)

Cantata 72 Provenance

Thomas Braatz wrote (April 9, 2003, BCW, <<The Autograph Score: The autograph score was inherited by C. P. E. Bach {listed in the catalog of his estate (1790.)} The next owner was the Berliner Singakademie which, at the time of the sale to the BB [Staatsbibliothek Berlin], also included 10 of the original parts. This score is in very poor condition (1996) and has not been restored since time of its original creation (1726.) The Title on Top of Page 1: J.J Concerto Dominica [Doica abbr. is used] 3. post Epiphanias [Digital Autograph Score (Facsimile): D-B Mus. ms. Bach P 54,].

The Original Parts: At the time of the distribution, the doublets went with the autograph score, while the original set went a different, but unknown path. It is assumed that set of original parts were located in Berlin, perhaps even with C. P. E. Bach. [A separate set of parts was copied by Johann Friedrich Hering. (ca. 1760–1789); Provenance: J. F. Hering/S.Hering/? - Voß-Buch - BB (now Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (1851). Digital Parts Set, D-B Mus. ms. Bach St 2 Faszikel 1,; DigitalParts Set Copy, D-B Mus. ms. Bach St 2, Faszikel 2, Johann Friedrich (1724–1810), and S(amuel ?) Herring, possibly his son (18th cent.), were musicians, copyists and manuscript collectors at the Prussian Court in Berlin, associated with the Library of Princess Anna Amalia where Emmanuel served and made available his manuscript inheritance for copying by a cadre of scribes, many still not identified, supervised by Johann Philipp Kirnberger, composer, theorist and Sebastian student (1739-41). The collection included Bach’s B-Minor Mass, St. Matthew Passion, and 45 cantatas.]

The 3 Original Doublets: The doublets (Violino 1 & 2) are presently located in the Bibliothek der Hochschule der Künste zu Berlin and the Continuo doublet is in the Bachhaus in Eisenach. Missing is the figured bc part which must still have existed in 1769. At the bof the 19th century, all 3 doublets may still have been in the possession of Carl Philipp Heinrich Pistor from whose estate it went to his daughter Betty who was married to Adolf Rudorff. The 2 violin doublets were inherited by Rudorff’s son, Ernst, through whom they came into the possession of the Bibliothek der Hochschule der Künste zu Berlin, while the continuo doublet went its own way until it turned up in the possession of Friedrich Wilhelm Jähns. There were one or more interim owners (unknown) before it was auctioned off by the Antiquariat Leo Liepmannssohn on May 21/22, 1909. It is now in the Bachhaus in Eisenach.

The Parts are as follows: 1. Soprano, 2. Alto, 3. Tenore, 4. Basso; 5. Hautbois 1, 6. Hautbois 2, 7. Violino 1, 8. Violino 2, 9. Viola, 10. Continuo (not figured, not transposed); 11. Violino 1 (Doublet); 12. Violino 2do (Doublet); 13. Continuo (Doublet – not figured, not transposed). The main copyist for these parts is Bach’s nephew, Johann Heinrich Bach, who copied parts 1-10 with J. S. Bach doing Mvt. 6 [Chorale] and the revision in each of these parts. The other parts were copied by Anonymous IIe, IIf, and IIIb.

Date of Composition: This cantata belongs to the 3rd Leipzig cantata cycle and received its 1st performance on January 27, 1726. This was determined by the watermarks of the paper used and the specific copyists involved. There is no proof of later performances under Bach’s direction.

Parody: Sometime after 1735 Bach adapted (by revision, change of text and transposition) Mvt. 1 of this work as the Gloria section of the Mass in G minor BWV 235.

Text: The text is taken from Salomon Franck’s “Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer…in geistlichen Cantaten…zu musiciren angezündet,” (Weimar, 1715; pp. 35-37) (“Auf den dritten Sonntag | nach der Offenbahrung CHristi.”

Mvt. 6 uses the 1st verse of the chorale “Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit” by Albrecht von Brandenburg. Franck includes only the 1st 2 vs. of this chorale. The only change that Bach made to Franck’s text is in Mvt. 5, line 4 where Franck had “Wenn ihn der Glaube faß’t” but Bach used “Wenn es der Glaube faßt.”>>


1 Cantata 72 BCW Details & Discography, Score Vocal & Piano,; Score BGA, References: BGA: XVIII (Cantatas 71-80, Wilhelm Rust, 1870); NBA KB I/6 (Epiphany 3 & 4, Peter Wollny 1996: 59), Bach Compendium BC A 37, Zwang K 139.
2 Martin 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: 484).
3 Terry, The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Cantatas and Motetts (Cambridge University Press, 1915-1921). 3 vols. Vol. 2; (patience!), scroll down to Cantata CXI.
4 Hofmann notes, BCW[BIS-SACD1711].pdf; BCW Recording details,


To Come: Cantata 156, “Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe” (I Stand With One Foot in the Grave).


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