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Musical Context of Bach Cantatas
Motets & Chorales for 14th Sunday after Trinity

 

Readings: Epistle: Galatians 5: 16-24; Gospel: Luke 17: 11-19

Dates in the lifetime of J.S. Bach, including works composed for the event

Motets and Chorales for the 14th Sunday after Trinity (Trinity 14)

Douglas Cowling wrote (February 20, 2012):
THE MUSICAL CONTEXT OF BACH'S CANTATAS:
MOTETS AND CHORALES FOR THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Sources:

* BACH'S HYMN BOOK:
Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch des Gottfried Vopelius (Leipzig 1682)",
Berlin: Merseburger, 1969.
ML 3168 G75

* BACH'S MOTET COLLECTION:
Otto Riemer, "Erhard Bodenschatz und sein Florilegium Portense"
Schünigen: Kaminsky,1927
ML 410 B67R4

Partial Index of Motets in “Florilegium Portense” with links to online scores and biographies:
http://www3.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Florilegium_Portense

Dissertation on Bodenschatz Collection (downloadable):
http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi/Chaney%20Mark%20A.pdf?osu1180461416

NOTES:

* The Handl (Gallus) motet is taken from “Opus Musicum”, the composer’s collection of motets for the entire church year.

1) MOTETS for Introit, Before Sermon at mass and vespers for Choir II, and During Communion:

“Repleatur Os Meum” (5 voices) – Jacob Handl (Gallus)

Biography: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Handl-Jakob.htm

Text: Psalm 70 (71):8-9
Let my mouth be filled with praise, that I may sing thy glory; thy greatness all the day long.
Cast me not off in the time of old age: when my strength shall fail, do not thou forsake me.

“Repleatur Os Meum” (8 Voice) – Fattorinus (?)

Text: Psalm 70 (71):8-9

2) HYMN OF DAY (de tempore)

Erbarm dich mein O Herre Gott” [also Trinity 3, 11 & 13]

3) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns:

"Nun lob mein Seel” [also 12, 13, 17 & 18]
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale136-Eng3.htm

“Wohl mir das ist mir lieb”

“Durch Admas Fall” [also Trinity 12]
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale045-Eng3.htm

“Ich dank den Herrn”

 

Chorales for 14th Sunday After Trinity

William Hoffman wrote (January 24, 2012):
Bach's three extant cantatas for the 14th Sunday After Trinity, Cantatas BWV 25, 78, and 17, reveal significant use of popular chorale melodies with poetic texts emphasizing iconic teaching of this Trinity Time Sunday. This Sunday involves the paired thematic pattern of the Miracle of Healing of the Lepers (Gospel, Luke 17:11-19) following the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:23-27) as part of the mini- cycle of the Gospel "Works of Faith and Love," practical in character and application. These works as well as Bach's other endeavors related to this Sunday also portray in music the eternal struggles between good and evil, faith and reason, and flesh and spirit -- producing music of high caliber and distinction.

The cantatas range from BWV 25 with its use of the "Passion Chorale" melody as proclamation and a popular Trinitarian melody to make the text more palatable, a striking personal "Jesus Hymn" in BWV 78, and another popular hymn in Cantata 17. Where Catechism Hymns of Penitence played a major role in Bach's cantatas for the previous 13th Sunday after Trinity, Psalm Hymns dominate the works for the 14th Sunday after Trinity. Bach's use of chorale melodies was one of a myriad of musical devices in his "tool kit," so to speak, that he would exploit through invention and transformation throughout his sacred vocal works

Cantata 25, Tough Text

For the second week in a row in his first annual cantata cycle in Leipzig, Cantor Bach introduced an independent chorale melody into the opening chorus, this time in the solemn yet anxious prelude and free double-fugue of Cantata BWV 25, "Es ist nicht Gesundes an meinem Leibe" (There is nothing healthy in my body, Psalm 38:3) on Aug. 29, 1723. As part of his "well-ordered church music," Bach's use of well-known chorale melodies served several purposes. It engaged the congregation's attention, engendered possible associations with related hymn texts designed for use in particular church year services, and, in the case of Cantata BWV 25, it added a greater dimension to the understanding of a difficult cantata text musical sermon based on the day's Gospel teaching, through the use of affective and effective music.

[Attention is called to Francis Browne's new "BWV 25 Notes on the Text," BCW (Yahoo Group), particularly on the challenges of the text and the use of the chorale texts
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/36082 and the on-going discussion.

The Cantata 25 opening chorus tune, "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" (From my heart I am longing), also known as "Befiehl du deine Wege" (Commend thy ways), is now known as the "Passion Chorale" or by its Catherine Winkworth translation title, "O Sacred Head Now Wounded."

As Julian Mincham observes: "This movement is based upon a similar principle to that of Cantata 77 heard the previous week, but the techniques applied ensure that the resultant musical character is very different. The principle is that of taking a chorale and using phrases of it throughout, separated from each other but consistently played by the same instruments. In Cantata 77 the trumpet and continuo lines carried the [Lutheran Catechism] melody ["Dies sind die Heiligen zehn Gebot" (These are the ten sacred commandments)] albeit in different rhythmic permutations. In Cantata 25 it is a brass quartet of one cornet and three trombones, liberated from their traditional roles of doubling voices, particularly in motet-like choruses." BCW,<The Cantatas of JSB> http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-17-bwv-25.htm

The "Passion Chorale" has many non-Passion uses in Bach's work. Bach, as Mincham observes, may have had the melody quotation from Cantata 25 in mind ten months later when he composed his third Chorale Cantata, BWV 135, "Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder" (Ah Lord, I a poor sinner) in the second Cycle for the Third Sunday After Trinity, June 25, 1724. Here the opening chorale chorus includes the instruments playing the "Passion Chorale" while the chorus sings the associated text to the opening stanza of the Cyriakus Schneegaß hymn unaltered. Previously for the Sunday After New Year, Jan. 2, 1724, Bach closes Cantata BWV 153, "Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind" (Behold, dear God, how my enemies), with a four-part harmonization of the "Passion Chorale" set to the Paul Gerhardt 1563 associated text, "Befiehl du deine Wege." Bach also set the melody to the Paul Gerhardt 1653 Christmas hymn, "Wie soll ich dich empfangen" (How shall I then receive thee) as a plain chorale in the <Christmas Oratorio>, BWV 248/5 for Christmas Day 1734.

Bach used the "Passion Chorale" beginning in Weimar with Cantata BWV 161, "Komm, süße Todesstunde" (Come, sweet hour of death), initially for the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which fell on a Sunday, February 2, in 1715. The solo Cantata 161 was recycled 20 years later for the 16th Sunday After Trinity, about 1735. The opening movement is one of Bach's first chorale adaptations, also called trope insertions. While the alto soloist sings the dictum aria, the obbligato organ plays the inserted melody, "which also receives vocal treatment in the concluding movement," the four-part plain chorale to a Christoph Knoll text, says Günther Stiller in <JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig> (St. Louis: Concordia, 1984, 252).

Bach also uses the "Passion" melody in the pre-Lent Estomihi Cantatas BWV 159, "Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem" (See, wgo up to Jerusalem), in the alto aria with soprano cantus firmus (about 1729), and 1725 Chorale Cantata BWV 127, "Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott" (Lord Jesus Christ, true Man and God) in the opening chorale chorus with the second melody "Passion" in the basso continuo.
Bach's most impressive use of the "Passion Chorale" is found as the closing chorale chorus in the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248/64, for the Feast of Epiphany, set to the Georg Werner 1648 text, "Ihr Christen auserkoren" originally a Christmas song set to the melody "Valet will ich dir geben," known in English as "All glory, laud and honor," that Bach set as a plain chorale in the St. John Passion.

Bach did not set the "Passion" hymn, "Herzlich tut mich verlangen/Befiehl du deine Wege" in the <Orgelbüchlein> Catechism chorale prelude, designated No. 73, under "Confession, Penitence, and Justification." He did use it in two early Weimar organ chorale preludes, BWV 727 and BWV 742, and it (in the latter title) is found in the three questionable Bach preludes BWV Anh. 79 and deest (Emans 36 and 37), listed in the recent Neu Bach Ausgabe (NBA) KB IV/10 (Reinmar Emans, 2008). Bach also set the hymn in the mature four-part plain chorales BWV 271 and 272 that probably were used in the 1731 St. Mark Passion. He also set the "Passion Chorale" five times as plain chorales in the 1727 St. Matthew Passion.

The significance of Bach's use of chorale melodies is perhaps best expressed in Stiller (<Ibid>: 251):
"Bach's interest in Christian proclamation, as expressed in hymn materials, become most spectacular in those movements in which the church hymn is presented only in a purely instrumental medium." Besides the openings of Trinity Time Cantatas BWV 25, 77, and 161 cited above, Stiller singles out Trinity Time Cantatas BWV 163 (Trinity 23), BWV 185 (Trinity 4), BWV 48 (Trinity 19) and BWV 70 (Trinity 26). He also cites Cantata 12 for Jubilate Sunday, Cantata 23 for Estomihi, Cantata 31 for Easter Day, Cantata 106 for a memorial service, Cantata 172 for Pentecost Sunday, BWV 19 for St. Michael Feast, BWV 10 for Visitation. Many of these cantatas were composed in Weimar, when Bach was focused on organ chorale preludes and church-year cantatas, in the first Leipzig cantata cycle (1723-24) and for festive services. As Minchem noted (Ibid), Bach turned to using chorale materials extensively in the second cantata cycle, where he composed 44 chorale cantatas.

Trinitarian Chorale, Popular Melody

Cantata 25 closes with the plain chorale using Johann Heermann 1630 text, "Treuer Gott, ich muß dir klagen" (Faithful God, I must lament to you). Bach sets Stanza 12 of general affirmation, "Ich will alle meine Tag/ Rühmen deine starke Hand" ("I shall all my days/ extol Thy strong hand"). NLGB 296 ("Weeping and Penitence" under "The Cross, Persecution and Challenges"). Stiller (<Ibid.>: 244) notes that the Heerman hymn in the Dresden and Leipzig hymnals was assigned to the 13th Sunday after Trinity.

The Heermann text is set to the popular melody, "Freu' dich sehr, o meine Seele" (Rejoice greatly, o my soul) originally anonymous c.1510, set by Louis Bourgeois in 1551 and is an <omnes tempore> commentary to Psalm 42(1) ("A Prayer in Sickness," a David Psalm, <Beatus qui intelligent> [Happy are they who consider], found in the 1682 Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) as No. 358 in the section "Vom Tod und Sterben" (Death and Dying). The J. H. Schein setting of the Christoph Demantius 1620 associated text is not designated for any particular <omnes tempore> Sunday in the NLGB. Bach set the 6th and 7th stanzas of Heerman's Trtinitarian plea for help and affirmative prayer, addressed to the Holy Spirit, in a plain chorale to close the Trinity Sunday Feast Cantata BWV 194, Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest" (Highest Wished-for Joy-Feast), in 1724, ending his first cantata cycle with a parody of a Kothen vocal dance suite serenade. Francis Browne's translation of the 12 stanzas is found at BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale032-Eng3.htm

Bach may have set the melody as still-disputed organ chorale preludes in the BWV Anh. 52 (NBA KB IV/10:67) and 53 (NBA KB IV/10:70); and deest (IV/10:72 and 73) as well as an uncatalogued "[no BWV]" listing in Peter Williams' <The Organ Music of JSB> 2nd ed. (Cambridge University Press 2003: 581), "suggesting only a student's pale imitation of the master."

The BCW lists various alternative texts set to the melody while the alternate Deicke Text 4 of 1648 is not found in the NLGB. Bach's melody use to the various alternate texts is found in eight <omnes tempore> cantatas: Text 1, anon. 1620, BWV 19/7 (S. 9, St. Michael) and BWV 70/7 (S. 10, Trinity +26); Text 2, J. Heerman, "Zion klagt mit Angst und Schmerzen", BWV 13/3 (S.2, Epiphany +2); Text 3, J. Heermann, "Treuer Gott, ich muß dir klagen," BWV 25/6 (S. 12, Trinity +14), BWV 194/6 (S. 6 & 7, Trinity Sunday); Text 4, D. Deicke, "Kommt, laßt euch den Herren lehren," BWV 39/7 (S.6, Trinity +1); Text 5, J. Olearius "Tröstet, tröstet meine Lieben," BWV 30/6 (S. 3, St. John Feast); Text 6, P. Gerhardt, "Weg, mein Herz, mit den Gedanken," BWV 32/6 (S. 12, Epiphany +1).

Chorale Cantata 78, Jesus Hymn

Chorale Cantata BWV 78, "Jesu, der du meine Seele" (Jesus, who this my spirit) was presented on the 14th Sunday after Trinity, Sept. 10, 1724, and may have been repeated on the same Sunday, Sept. 2, 1725. The is Johannn Rist 1641 is a "Jesus Hymn." For complete details, see "Chorus Cantata BWV 105, Associated Chorales," BCW, "Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales for 9th Sunday after Trinity," http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity9.htm. Francis Browne's translation of the 12-stanza text is found at BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale022-Eng3.htm. His interlinear translation of the Cantata 78 text that paraphrases the internal 10 stanzas in three arias and two recitatives is found at BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV78-Eng3.htm

The record shows that Bach in his Chorale Cantata Cycle in September 1724 turned to two other "group" librettists for the first time: Streck's "3rd group" for Cantata BWV 33 for the 13th Sunday after Trinity (September 3) and then Streck's "1st group" for Cantata BWV 78, "Jesu, der du meine Seele" for the succeeding 14th Sunday after Trinity (September 10).

Interestingly, much later Bach student and St. Thomas Choir Prefect Christoph Friedrich Penzel did not copy and perform Cantata BWV 78 on the 14th Sunday After Trinity, September 14, 1755. Later, however, when he was cantor at Merseberg between 1767 and 1770, Penzel may have presented some of Bach's cantatas that he had copied. Instead of Cantata BWV 78, Penzel probably performed Cantata BWV 25 that he copied in score (P 1022 M) on August 25, 1770. Bach's autograph score is lost (Friedemann's doing?) and the original parts set, probably given to C.P.E. and possibly performed in Hamburg between 1770 and 1780, was not listed in his 1790 Estate Catalog and only later turned up with his collection in the BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin), says Thomas Braatz, Cantata 25 Provenance, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV25-Ref.htm

Cantata 17 Popular Chorale

Cantata BWV 17 Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich (Who thanks offers, he praises me) was presented on Sept. 22, 1726, as part of the third cantata cycle. It closes with the plain chorale, Graumann's Psalm 103 Hymn "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren," that serendipitously is listed as one of the recommended hymns for the 14th Sunday after Trinity in the NLGB. Stiller: (<Ibid.>: 244) writes that this hymn generally was designated for this Sunday in the hymnbooks, particularly in Leipzig, Dresden and Weißenfels.

As was the trend increasingly in middle Trinity Time, Bach's <Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> 1682 definitive hymnbook repopular hymns introduced earlier in Trinity Time, in clusters of three: "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren (Trinity 12, 14, 19), "Erbarm dich meine O Herre Gott" (Have mercy on me, a Lord God; Trinity 3, 11, 13, 14), and "Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt" (Through Adam's Fall is wholly corrupted; Trinity 6, 9, 12, 13). Now a more positive note is introduced on this Sunday with the addition of two Psalm hymns: "Ich dank dem Herren von ganzem Herzen" (I thank the Lord with all my heart, Psalm 111; NLGB No. 186, a Catechism penitential song from old falsbordone) and "Fröhliche wollen wir Allelujah singen" (Joyously would we sing `Allelujah', Psalm 117, Johann Agricola; NLGB No. 262, "Christian Life and Hope"). Bach set neither <omnes tempore> lesser-known hymns nor "Erbarm dich meine O Herre Gott", perhaps content with the affirmative expression found in the chorales in Cantata 25, 78, and 17.

In "Nun lob', mein' Seel', den Herren" (Now praise, my soul, the Lord), Bach uses Stanza 3, "Wie sich ein Mann erbarmet/ Über sein' junge Kinderlein" (As a father takes pity on his children (Psalm 103:13)
It is found in the NLGB as No. 261. Johann Gramman 1525, 5 stanzas is an <omnes tempore> setting of Psalm 103 (<Bendicta anima mea>, Love of God), with the Johann Kugelmann 1540 melody. Bach's uses (all plain chorales except BWV 51/4) are: BWV 389 in C Major (Praise & Thanksgiving, Hänssler v. 83), BWV 390 in C Major (Psalm chorale, Hänssler, v.82); Cantatas BWV 17/7 (Trinity +14, S.3), BWV 29/8 in D w/3 tps., timp.; Council, S.1), 51/4 (S. aria, Trinity +15, S.5), BWV 167 (Johns Day, S.5); motet chorales, Cantata BWV 28/2(Sunday after Christmas)=Motet BWV 231=BWV Anh. 160/2 (S.5), Motet 225/2 (S.3). Francis Browne's translation of the five stanzas is found at BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale136-Eng3.htm.

Picander Collaboration

Cantata 17 was Bach's last sacred cantata set to a Rudolstadt text. For the rest of Trinity Time 1726, Bach resorted to using a variety of old published texts, probably directing Picander to adapt Neumeister and Helbig texts (BWV 27, 56, 47), as well as Picander's own poetry (BWV 19, 49, 98, 55, 52). For the church year beginning in Advent 1726, Bach ceased the regular production of service cantatas, selectively relying primarily on Picander to provide texts to fill gaps in the third cycle at Epiphany/pre-Lent 1727 and special events such as feast days.

Interestingly, Bach had come full circle with his poet Picander. At this Trinity Time exactly three years before in 1723, Bach appears to have first turned to Picander to assist in the assembly of poetic cantata texts, possibly beginning in Cantata 25 with the utilization of Johann Jacob Rambach's pietistic poetry published in Halle in 1720 (see Francis Browne's Cantata 25 Notes, BCW: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/36082 . The Rambach original is entitled "Ich seufze Jesu" (I sigh about Jesus). For the next Sunday, the 15th After Trinity, Picander may have assisted with Cantata BWV 138. Cantata 95 for the 16th Sunday After Trinity is an amalgamation of various chorale texts while Cantata 148 for the 17th Sunday After Trinity is attributed "after Picander 1724/25 (Weg ihr ihrdischen Geschafte) stark umgearbeitet" [Werner Neumann <Handbuch der Kantaten JSB> 5th Edition (Weisbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1984; p. 164).

Speculative conclusions can be drawn from the Picander collaboration. It appears from collateral evidence that Bach found Picander useful in producing texts that were poetically and politically acceptable. Picander increasingly was able to utilize pietistic sentiments favorable to the cantor conservative faction on the Town Council while integrating the lyrics within the context of acceptable Lutheran chorales, especially in his complete annual cantata cycle text published in 1728 that shows the use of acceptable, more general chorales, especially at Trinity Time. In addition, Picander became eminently skillful at adapting new text underlay to established lyrics, called "parody."

It is possible that Picander also assisted in the paraphrasing of chorale texts, working with Steck's proposed four collaborators on groups of texts, especially during middle Trinity Time 1724 when Bach again may have been pushing the envelope with the Town Council, his employer, daring to step on the tails of dragons while mesmerizing them with beguiling music. While Picander's poetry continues to disturb contemporary sensibilities, especially in Cantata 25, and still is an embarrassment to Bach scholars, his wordsmithing could very well have enabled Bach to secure original lyrics to create such unique, appealing, lasting music.

Picander's cantata text P-57, "Schöpfer aller Dinge" (Creator of all things) for Trinity 14 (Sept. 29, 1728) in the published cycle closes with the plain chorale, "O Gott, du frommer Gott" (O God, Thou very God), in the 1630 8-stanza text of Johann Heermann. The chorale is listed in NLGB as No. 202 for Trinity Time ("Christian Life") but is not one of the recommended hymns for a particular Sunday. Francis Browne's translation of the chorale text is found in BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale013-Eng3.htm. Full details are available at BCW, "Musical Context of Bach Cantatas
Motets & Chorales for 8th Sunday after Trinity," http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity8.htm.

Heerman's "O Gott, du frommer Gott" must have been a serendipitous hymn for Bach in Leipzig and a favored chestnut all the way around. Bach used four variant melodies to seven associated texts in at lest seven sacred cantatas, three sacred songs, and an organ chorale. Bach librettist Picander in his 1728 cantata cycle designated the Heermann text stanzas as plain chorales closing cantatas for Trinity 9, 12 and 14. It reminds one of the old public relations adage, "If you've got good news, share it."

Stözel's 1734-35 Cycle

Bach presented Stözel's two-part Cantata "Ich bin der Herr, dein Artz" (I am the Lord, thy healer) for the 14th Sunday after Trinity, Sdept. 11, 1734. The cantata has chorales closing in both parts; Part 2 begins with dictum, No. 5, "Opfere Gott Dank, und bezahle dem Höchsten deine Gelubde" (Offer God thanks, and pay the Highest thy vow); part of annual cycle "Saitenspiele des Hertzens" (String Music of the Heart). More research should determine the chorales presented.

Gardiner's Take on Trinity 14 Cantatas

At the expense of boring some readers, here are extensive and empathetic selections from English conductor and Bach scholar John Eliot Gardiner:

Cantatas for the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Abbaye d'Ambronay

You sometimes get the feeling that Bach would have understood Beethoven's inner turmoil, even if the musical language in which it came to be expressed would have seemed partially (and at that time terribly) foreign to him. For the fact is that Bach too experienced, and became expert in expressing, the gladiatorial struggles within the human breast between good and evil, spirit and flesh. His music tells us this and so do the private jottings and underlinings he made in his copy of Calov's Bible commentary. All through this Trinity season he has been offering us example after example of the stark moral choices that face us every day of our lives. Since his terms of reference and the set texts of these Trinitarian cantatas are of course unequivocally Lutheran, we have quickly got used to the way the human actor is positioned in scenarios of faith and the Fall, sin and Satan. But this does not in any way diminish the humanism of Bach's basic approach on the one hand, or the audacity of his musical response on the other.

Take these three cantatas for Trinity 14, which are all based directly or more loosely on the Gospel reading of the day, the story of Jesus' healing of ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). In his first attem, BWV 25 Es ist nicht Gesundes an meinem Leibe, first performed on 29 August 1723, Bach and his anonymous librettist treat the leper theme as an allegory for humankind in general, in language of graphic extremes: Adam's Fall `has defiled us all and infected us with leprous sin' - the whole world `is but a hospital' for the terminally ill. The solution? `Thou alone, O Jesus Christ, my physician, knowest the best cure for my soul' (No.3). So, characteristically, as in so many cantatas, a spiritual journey is planned for the individual sinner, sick of heart; a path is signposted and the painful process of healing can begin. Some may find the words and the whole concept difficult to stomach, but as ever, we can turn to Bach's music and find that it goes a long way towards purging the worst of the verbal excesses.

The pick of the cantatas for this Sunday is undoubtedly the chorale cantata BWV 78 Jesu, der du meine Seele, one in which an exceptional level of inspiration is maintained through all its movements. It is one of the few I remember getting to know as a child, even singing as a treble the wonderful second movement, the duet `Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten'. BWV 78 opens with an immense choral lament in G minor, a musical frieze on a par with the preludes to both the surviving Passions for scale, intensity and power of expression. It is cast as a passacaglia on a chromatically descending ostinato. How characteristic of Bach to take a dance form such as the passacaglia - which has heroic and tragic connotations in music we know but he probably didn't, in the music of Purcell (Dido's lament) and Rameau, to name but two great exponents of it - and to turn it to which has heroic and tragic connotations in music we know but he probably didn't, in the music of Purcell (Dido's lament) and Rameau, to name but two great exponents of it - and to turn it to theological/rhetorical purposes. We have encountered it already twice before this year in the early Easter cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV 4, and two Sundays later in Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen BWV 12. Here the persistence of the chromatic ground is even more pronounced, sung by the basses at every appearance of the chorale.

One of dozens of original but unobtrusive features is the way the ground acts as a counter-balance to the cantus firmus traditionally linked to Johann Rist's hymn of 1641, weaving all manner of contrapuntal lines around and into it. It gives powerful emphasis to the line describing the way Jesus has `most forcefully wrested' the Christian soul `from the devil's dark cavern and from oppressive anguish'. Just where you might expect the three lower voices to give respectful accompaniment to the cantus firmus, Bach gives them an unusual prominence: mediating between passacaglia and chorale, preparing and interpreting the chorale text in the way that the preacher of the sermon might do. Indeed such is the power of exegesis here, one questions whether Bach was yet again stealing the preacher's thunder (inadvertently?) by the brilliance of his musical oratory. At all events it is one of those opening cantata movements in which you hang on every beat of every bar in a concentrated, almost desperate attempt to dig out every last morsel of musical value from the notes as they unfold.

The outstanding feature of BWV 17 Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich, composed in 1726, is not its multi-sectional opening choral fugue, exhilarating and florid though it be. Nor is it the soprano aria with two violin obbligati in E major, nor yet even the bourrée-like concluding tenor aria, which follows a narrative recitative that sounds as though it could have been lifted straight from a Passion oratorio. It is rather the extended final chorale `Wie sich ein Vat'r erbarmet', the third verse of Johann Gramann's hymn Nun lob, mein Seel den Herren. This is a triple-time version of the central movement of the great double-choir motet Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied BWV 225 and is every bit as poignant here as in the motet (which is nowadays thought to date from around this same period, of 1726/7), with wonderful word-painting for the `flower and fallen leaves' and `the wind [which] only has to pass over it'.

John Eliot Gardiner, Bach Pilgrimage:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Gardiner-P07c[sdg124_gb].pdf

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 24, 2012):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Cantata 25, Tough Text >
Is this a typo for Rough Text, as in first draft?

Indeed, many of them are tough, but is this one unusually so?

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 24, 2012):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Bach's most impressive use of the "Passion Chorale" is found as the closing chorale chorus in the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248/64, for the Feast of Epiphany, >
Interestingly it is both the first and last chorale in the Christmas Oratorio, the first in austere A minor, the second in a triumphant D major. It is clearly an arch which unifies the whole work. Less clear is what the tune "means" to Bach. Certainly he would be surprised to see it labelled "Passion Chorale" in all modern hymn books.

Linda Gingrich wrote (January 26, 2012):
Bach's three extant cantatas for the 14th Sunday After Trinity, Cantatas BWV 25, 78, and 17, reveal significant use of popular chorale melodies with poetic texts

Some may be interested to know that there are several allegorical connections between BWV 78 and the cantata for the following Sunday, BWV 99. To give a couple of examples, their texts seem to be two sides of the same theological coin, supported by an interesting tonal relationship—BWV 78, in G minor, has a strong emphasis on the cross of Christ; BWV 99, in G major, has a strong emphasis on the cross of the believer. And the ostinato in 78's first movement and an important string motive in 99 appear to be related. There are other connections, but these are among the juiciest.

BWV 78's first movment is also chock full of musical and allegorical weight--number symbolism, an amazingly broad spectrum of musical styles and substance--it's an incredible work on multiple levels. The text is deeply personal and penitential, and in light of Bach's fascination with the number 14 I suspect that its appearance on the 14th Sunday is no accident! It is truly a towering cantata.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 26, 2012):
Linda Gingrich wrote:
< BWV 78's first movment is also chock full of musical and allegorical weight--number symbolism, an amazingly broad spectrum of musical styles and substance--it's an incredible work on multiple levels. >
This cantata symbolizes Bach's greatness to me. The opening chorus has a mind-boggling complexity: a sarabande ritornello over a bass ostinato supporting a fugal chorale-fantasy. And it's achingly beautiful!

And if that challenge to the mind was not enough, the following duet has a charm and lightness like a peal of laughter from the Bach household.

This is why I'm seriously considering getting the JSB monogram as a tattoo.
Could it ever go out of fashion?

Linda Gingrich wrote (January 26, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< And if that challenge to the mind was not enough, the following duet has a charm and lightness like a peal of laughter from the Bach household.
This is why I'm seriously considering getting the JSB monogram as a tattoo
Could it ever go out of fashion? >
The duet is wonderful, isn't it!

JSB tattoo! Maybe his portrait as well?

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 26, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< This is why I'm seriously considering getting the JSB monogram as a tattoo.
Could it ever go out of fashion? >
Depends where you locate it! I believe Julian made this point one other time.

Lex Schelvis wrote (January 26, 2012):
[To Douglas Cowling] Whenever someone complains about the seriousness, the sombre tone of Bach, I always let the person listen to this duet. Concerning Bach I am an apostle. I want them to see the link between Bach and happiness and I am sure I can teach people to see this link.

So please, teach me to see the link between Bach and a tattoo. Because yes, tattoos can get of fashion.

Julian Mincham wrote (January 26, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Depends where you locate it >
Yes i wondered that---but didn't like to ask!

Neil Halliday wrote (January 26, 2012):
Linda Gingrich wrote:
< BWV 78's first movment is also chock full of musical and allegorical weight--number symbolism, an amazingly broad spectrum of musical styles and substance--it's an incredible work on multiple levels. >
I notice Gardiner has adopted a daringly slow tempo (6.38) for this chorus, promising much beauty, to judge by the classics online sample (linked from the BCW).

Also of interest: the previous track on the CD, ie, the closing chorale of BWV 25.
I think it was Doug who mentioned, some time ago, the plain closing chorales as a drawback for popular consumption of the cantatas.
Notice how well this chorale 'dresses up' with the "colla parte" trombone quartet that is employed in the first movement of BWV 25. Compare it with the much more subdued effect of the closing chorale in 78. Maybe a trombone quartet should always be on hand, to 'glamorize' those closing plain 4-part chorales that fail to soar naturally!

The other problem is the seccos. Ugly continuo practice, as ever, on the Gardiner CD.

[From the OCC pg. 123: "...J.C. Kittel's report that Bach would intervene to add additional notes whenever the student entrusted to the harpsichord furnished an insufficient accompaniment in a church work...Lorenz Mitzler mentioned Bach improvising accompaniment so intricate they sounded (like) written out obbligato counterpoint."]. (No doubt these remarks apply to organ continuo as well).

William Hoffman wrote (January 26, 2012):
[To Julian Mincham] Put it on BOTH cheeks -- or maybe even on all four, and dance ways the night, cheeks to cheeks.

Linda Gingrich wrote (January 26, 2012):
Hmm, painful, but maybe worth it!

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 29, 2012):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Put it on BOTH cheeks -- or maybe even on all four, and dance ways the night, cheeks to cheeks. >
Well! The ball is in Dougs court, so to speak.

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 29, 2012):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Well! The ball is in Dougs court, so to speak. >
Puts new meaning into "Rückspositif"!

Ed Myskowski wrote (January 29, 2012):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Puts new meaning into "Rückspositif"! >
EM:
My last words on the subject, tonight, from the Harvard Dictionary of Music:
<Ruckpositif: A division of an organ [...] requiring an organist to turn completely around in order to play it.>

Continue of this part of the discussion, see: Continue - Part 8 [General Topics]

Ed Myskowski wrote (February 3, 2012):
William Hoffman wrote:
<< Cantata 25, Tough Text >>
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Is this a typo for Rough Text, as in first draft?
Indeed, many of them are tough, but is this one unusually so? >
After reading through some of the commentary and previous discussion, perhaps this is many folks nomination for Bachs grittiest cantata libretto?

Personally, I find many of the spiritual pangs throughout the texts equally tough, but that may be a luxury of my 21st C, leprosy free, USA lifestyle.

 
 

William Hoffman wrote (September 3, 2014):
Cantata BWV 78, Part 2: Chorales, Liturgical Themes, Passion

1st part of this message, see Cantata BWV 78 - Discussions Part 6

Chorales for 14th Sunday After Trinity

William Hoffman wrote (January 24, 2012):3 <<Bach's three extant cantatas for the 14th Sunday After Trinity, Cantatas BWV 25, 78, and 17, reveal significant use of popular chorale melodies with poetic texts emphasizing iconic teaching of this Trinity Time Sunday. This Sunday involves the paired thematic pattern of the Miracle of Healing of the Lepers (Gospel, Luke 17:11-19) following the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:23-27), as part of the mini-cycle of the Gospel "Works of Faith and Love," practical in character and application, extending to the Feast of Michael and all Angels, September 29, says Paul Zeller Strodach in The Church Year.4 These works in Middle Trinity Time about the meaning of being Christian, as well as Bach's other endeavors related to these Sundays, also portray in music the eternal struggles between good and evil, faith and reason, and flesh and spirit -- producing music of high caliber and distinction.

The cantatas range from BWV 25 with its use of the "Passion Chorale" melody as proclamation and a popular Trinitarian melody to make the text more palatable, a striking personal "Jesus Hymn" in BWV 78, and another popular hymn in Cantata 17. Where Catechism Hymns of Penitence played a major role in Bach's cantatas for the previous 13th Sunday after Trinity, Psalm Hymns dominate the works for the 14th Sunday after Trinity. Bach's use of chorale melodies was one of a myriad of musical devices in his "tool kit," so to speak, that he would exploit through invention and transformation throughout his sacred vocal works.

Cantata 25, Tough Text

For the second week in a row in his first annual cantata cycle in Leipzig, Cantor Bach introduced an independent chorale melody into the opening chorus, this time in the solemn yet anxious prelude and free double-fugue of Cantata BWV 25, "Es ist nicht Gesundes an meinem Leibe" (There is nothing healthy in my body, Psalm 38:3) on Aug. 29, 1723. As part of his "well-ordered church music," Bach's use of well-known chorale melodies served several purposes. It engaged the congregation's attention, engendered possible associations with related hymn texts designed for use in particular church year services, and, in the case of Cantata BWV 25, it added a greater dimension to the understanding of a difficult cantata text musical sermon based on the day's Gospel teaching, through the use of affective and effective music.

[Attention is called to Francis Browne's new "BWV 25 Notes on the Text," BCW (Yahoo Group), particularly on the challenges of the text and the use of the chorale texts: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/36082 and the on-going discussion. The Cantata 25 opening chorus tune, "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" (From my heart I am longing), also known as "Befiehl du deine Wege" (Commend thy ways), is now known as the "Passion Chorale" or by its Catherine Winkworth translation title, "O Sacred Head Now Wounded." As Julian Mincham observes: "This movement is based upon a similar principle to that of Cantata 77 heard the previous week, but the techniques applied ensure that the resultant musical character is very different. The principle is that of taking a chorale and using phrases of it throughout, separated from each other but consistently played by the same instruments. In Cantata 77 the trumpet and continuo lines carried the [Lutheran Catechism] melody ["Dies sind die Heiligen zehn Gebot" (These are the ten sacred commandments)] albeit in different rhythmic permutations. In Cantata 25 it is a brass quartet of one cornet and three trombones, liberated from their traditional roles of doubling voices, particularly in motet-like choruses." BCW,<The Cantatas of JSB> http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-17-bwv-25.htm

The "Passion Chorale" has many non-Passion uses in Bach's work. Bach, as Mincham observes, may have had the melody quotation from Cantata 25 in mind ten months later when he composed his third Chorale Cantata, BWV 135, "Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder" (Ah Lord, I a poor sinner) in the second Cycle for the Third Sunday After Trinity, June 25, 1724 (BCML Discussion, Week of June 8, 2014; https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BachCantatas/conversations/messages/38068). Here the opening chorale chorus includes the instruments playing the "Passion Chorale" while the chorus sings the associated text to the opening stanza of the Cyriakus Schneegaß hymn unaltered. Previously for the Sunday AfNew Year, Jan. 2, 1724, Bach closes Cantata BWV 153, "Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind" (Behold, dear God, how my enemies), with a four-part harmonization of the "Passion Chorale" set to the Paul Gerhardt 1563 associated text, "Befiehl du deine Wege." Bach also set the melody to the Paul Gerhardt 1653 Christmas hymn, "Wie soll ich dich empfangen" (How shall I then receive thee) as a plain chorale in the <Christmas Oratorio>, BWV 248/5 for Christmas Day 1734.

The significance of Bach's use of chorale melodies is perhaps best expressed in GüntheStiller (JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig: 251): "Bach's interest in Christian proclamation, as expressed in hymn materials, become most spectacular in those movements in which the church hymn is presented only in a purely instrumental medium." Besides the openings of Trinity Time Cantatas BWV 25, 77, and 161 cited above, Stiller singles out Trinity Time Cantatas BWV 163 (Trinity 23), BWV 185 (Trinity 4), BWV 48 (Trinity 19) and BWV 70 (Trinity 26). He also cites Cantata 12 for Jubilate Sunday, Cantata 23 for Estomihi, Cantata 31 for Easter Day, Cantata 106 for a memorial service, Cantata 172 for Pentecost Sunday, BWV 19 for St. Michael Feast, BWV 10 for Visitation. Many of these cantatas were composed in Weimar, when Bach was focused on organ chorale preludes and church-year cantatas, in the first Leipzig cantata cycle (1723-24) and for festive services. As Minchem noted (Ibid), Bach turned to using chorale materials extensively in the second cantata cycle, where he composed 44 chorale cantatas.

Chorale Cantata 78, Jesus Hymn

Chorale Cantata BWV 78, "Jesu, der du meine Seele" (Jesus, who this my spirit) was presented on the 14th Sunday after Trinity, Sept. 10, 1724, and may have been repeated on the same Sunday, Sept. 2, 1725. The is Johannn Rist 1641 is a "Jesus Hymn." For complete details, see "Chorus Cantata BWV 105, Associated Chorales," BCW, "Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales for 9th Sunday after Trinity," http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity9.htm. Francis Browne's translation of the 12-stanza text is found at BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale022-Eng3.htm. His interlinear translation of the Cantata 78 text that paraphrases the internal 10 stanzas in three arias and two recitatives is found at BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV78-Eng3.htm. Both Jesus Hymns -- "Jesu, der du meine Seele" and the related "Jesu, meines Lebens Leben" - are the basis of organ chorale preludes attributed to Bach, although neither is found in the 1682 Das Neu Leipziger Gesgangbuch (NLGB) or is mentioned in Günther Stiller's JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig.

The record shows that Bach in his Chorale Cantata Cycle in September 1724 turned to two other "group" librettists for the first time: Streck's "3rd group" for Cantata BWV 33 for the 13th Sunday after Trinity (September 3) and then Streck's "1st group" for Cantata BWV 78, "Jesu, der du meine Seele" for the succeeding 14th Sunday after Trinity (September 10).

Provenance History: Cantatas 25, 78

Interestingly, much later Bach student and St. Thomas Choir Prefect Christoph Friedrich Penzel did not copy and perform Cantata BWV 78 on the 14th Sunday After Trinity, September 14, 1755. Later, however, when he was cantor at Merseberg between 1767 and 1770, Penzel may have presented some of Bach's cantatas that he had copied. Instead of Cantata BWV 78, Penzel probably performed Cantata BWV 25 that he copied in score (P 1022 M) on August 25, 1770. Bach's autograph score is lost (Friedemann's doing?) and the original parts set, probably given to C.P.E. and possibly performed in Hamburg between 1770 and 1780, was not listed in his 1790 Estate Catalog and only later turned up with his collection in the BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin), says Thomas Braatz, Cantata 25 Provenance, BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV25-Ref.htm.

The authentic source and repeat performance of Cantata 78 are found in the BCW “Provenance” article of Thomas Braatz (September 18, 2001, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV78-Ref.htm): “Authentic Source: The set of original parts (the autograph score has been lost.) The NBA (KB) does not list any later performance of this cantata in Bach's lifetime. For many years it was thought that Bach performed it a second time, dropping the "Corno" part and only using the flute colla parte. The "Corno" is used in both the opening mvt. as well as in the final chorale (Mvt. 7.).” The second performance took place about 1735-1740. The dates of the first performances of the three Cantatas for the 14th Sunday after Trinity is:

1723-08-29 So - Cantata BWV 25 Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe (1st performance, Leipzig)
1724-09-10 So - Cantata BWV 78 Jesu, der du meine Seele (1st performance, Leipzig)
1725-09-02 So ???
1726-09-22 So - Cantata BWV 17 Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich (1st performance, Leipzig)

The autography score, probably in the possession of Friedemann, was copied about 1755 in Leipzig. The copy, Berlin (West) SPK 962, was in the possession of Friedrich Doles, the new cantor. Its provenance was Friedrick Schneider (Thomas Organist, 1713), then Wilhelm Rust (1843-46), BGA editor, and in 1913 to the Berlin Bibliothek.

Cantata 17 Popular Chorale

Cantata BWV 17 Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich (Who thanks offers, he praises me) was presented on Sept. 22, 1726, as part of the third cantata cycle. It closes with the plain chorale, Graumann's Psalm 103 Hymn "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren," that serendipitously is listed as one of the recommended hymns for the 14th Sunday after Trinity in the NLGB. Stiller: (<Ibid.>: 244) writes that this hymn generally was designated for this Sunday in the hymnbooks, particularly in Leipzig, Dresden and Weißenfels.

In "Nun lob', mein' Seel', den Herren" (Now praise, my soul, the Lord), Bach uses Stanza 3, "Wie sich ein Mann erbarmet/ Über sein' junge Kinderlein" (As a father takes pity on his children (Psalm 103:13). It is found in the NLGB as No. 261. Johann Gramman 1525, 5 stanzas is an <omnes tempore> setting of Psalm 103 (<Bendicta anima mea>, Love of God), with the Johann Kugelmann 1540 melody. Bach's uses (all plain chorales except BWV 51/4) are: BWV 389 in C Major (Praise & Thanksgiving, Hänssler v. 83), BWV 390 in C Major (Psalm chorale, Hänssler, v.82); Cantatas BWV 17/7 (Trinity +14, S.3), BWV 29/8 in D w/3 tps., timp.; Council, S.1), 51/4 (S. aria, Trinity +15, S.5), BWV 167 (Johns Day, S.5); motet chorales, Cantata BWV 28/2(Sunday after Christmas)=Motet BWV 231=BWV Anh. 160/2 (S.5), Motet 225/2 (S.3). Francis Browne's translation of the five stanzas is found at BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale136-Eng3.htm.

NLGB Trinity +14 Hymns

For the 14th Sunday after Trinity, the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB)5 lists the following: HYMN OF DAY (de tempore): Erbarm dich mein O Herre Gott” CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns: "Nun lob mein Seel den Herren” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale136-Eng3.htm; “Wohl mir das ist mir lieb”; “Durch Adams Fall ich ganz verderbt” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale045-Eng3.htm’ “Ich dank den Herrn von ganzen Herzen.”

As was the trend increasingly in middle Trinity Time, Bach's NLGB 1682 definitive hymnbook lists popular hymns introduced earlier in Trinity Time, in clusters: "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren” (Now praise, my soul, the Lord, NLGB 261, Psalm 53’ Trinity 12, 13, 17, &18), "Erbarm dich meine O Herre Gott" (Have mercy on me, a Lord God, BLGB 256, Psalm 51; Trinity 3, 11, 13) and "Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt" (Through Adam's Fall is whocorrupted, NLGB 229, Justification; Trinity 6, 9, 12, 13). Now a more positive note is introduced on this Sunday with the addition of two more Psalm hymns: "Ich dank dem Herren von ganzem Herzen" (I thank the Lord with all my heart, Psalm 111; NLGB No. 186, a Catechism penitential song from old falsbordone) and "Fröhliche wollen wir Allelujah singen" (Joyously would we sing `Allelujah', Psalm 117, Johann Agricola; NLGB No. 262, "Christian Life and Hope"). Bach set neither omnes tempore lesser-known hymns nor "Erbarm dich meine O Herre Gott," perhaps content with other harmonized settings of the Psalms as well as the affirmative expression found in the chorales in Cantata 25, 78, and 17.

Picander Collaboration in First Three Cycles?

Cantata 17 was Bach's last sacred cantata set to a Rudolstadt text. For the rest of Trinity Time 1726, Bach resorted to using a variety of old published texts, probably directing Picander to adapt Neumeister and Helbig texts (BWV 27, 56, 47), as well as Picander's own poetry (BWV 19, 49, 98, 55, 52). For the church year beginning in Advent 1726, Bach ceased the regular production of service cantatas, selectively relying primarily on Picander to provide texts to fill gaps in the third cycle at Epiphany/pre-Lent 1727 and special events such as feast days.

Interestingly, Bach had come full circle with his poet Picander. At this Trinity Time exactly three years before in 1723, Bach appears to have first turned to Picander to assist in the assembly of poetic cantata texts, possibly beginning in Cantata 25 with the utilization of Johann Jacob Rambach's pietistic poetry published in Halle in 1720 (see Francis Browne's Cantata 25 Notes, BCW http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/message/36082. The Rambach original is entitled "Ich seufze Jesu" (I sigh about Jesus). For the next Sunday, the 15th After Trinity, Picander may have assisted with Cantata BWV 138. Cantata 95 for the 16th Sunday After Trinity is an amalgamation of various chorale texts while Cantata 148 for the 17th Sunday After Trinity is attributed "after Picander 1724/25 (Weg ihr ihrdischen Geschafte) stark umgearbeitet" [Werner Neumann Handbuch der Kantaten JSB 5th Edition (Weisbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1984; p. 164).

Speculative conclusions can be drawn from the Picander collaboration. It appears from collateral evidence that Bach found Picander useful in producing texts that were poetically and politically acceptable. Picander increasingly was able to utilize pietistic sentiments favorable to the cantor conservative faction on the Town Council while integrating the lyrics within the context of acceptable Lutheran chorales, especially in his complete annual cantata cycle text published in 1728 that shows the use of acceptable, more general chorales, especially at Trinity Time. In addition, Picander became eminently skillful at adapting new text underlay to established lyrics, called "parody."

It is possible that Picander also assisted in the paraphrasing of chorale texts, working with Streck's proposed four collaborators on groups of texts, especially during middle Trinity Time 1724 when Bach again may have been pushing the envelope with the Town Council, his employer, daring to step on the tails of dragons while mesmerizing them with beguiling music. While Picander's poetry continues to disturb contemporary sensibilities, especially in Cantata 25, and still is an embarrassment to Bach scholars, his wordsmithing could very well have enabled Bach to secure original lyrics to create such unique, appealing, lasting music.

Picander's cantata text P-57, "Schöpfer aller Dinge" (Creator of all things) for Trinity 14 (Sept. 29, 1728) in the published cycle closes with the plain chorale, "O Gott, du frommer Gott" (O God, Thou very God), in the 1630 8-stanza text of Johann Heermann. The chorale is listed in NLGB as No. 202 for Trinity Time ("Christian Life") but is not one of the recommended hymns for a particular Sunday. Francis Browne's translation of the chorale text is found in BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale013-Eng3.htm. Full details are available at BCW, "Musical Context of Bach Cantatas, Motets & Chorales for 8th Sunday after Trinity," http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity8.htm.

Heerman's "O Gott, du frommer Gott" must have been a serendipitous hymn for Bach in Leipzig and a favored chestnut all the way around. Bach used four variant melodies to seven associated texts in at lest seven sacred cantatas, three sacred songs, and an organ chorale. Bach librettist Picander in his 1728 cantata cycle designated the Heermann text stanzas as plain chorales closing cantatas for Trinity 9, 12 and 14. It reminds one of the old public relations adage, "If you've got good news, share it."

Stözel's 1735 Cycle

Bach presented Stözel's two-part Cantata "Ich bin der Herr, dein Artz" (I am the Lord, thy healer) for the 14th Sunday after Trinity, Sept. 11, 1735. The cantata has chorales closing in both parts; Part 2 begins with dictum, No. 5, "Opfere Gott Dank, und bezahle dem Höchsten deine Gelubde" (Offer God thanks, and pay the Highest thy vow); part of annual cycle "Saitenspiele des Hertzens" (String Music of the Heart). More research should determine the chorales presented. As early as September 2, 1736, Bach presented another cycle, “The Book of the Names of Christ,” of the Gotha composer Gottfried Heinrch Stölzel and pietist court poet Benjamin Schmolck.

The authentic source and the paraphrasing in Cantata 78 are found in the BCW “Provenance” article of Thomas Braatz (September 18, 2001, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV78-Ref.htm): << Authentic Source: The set of original parts (the autograph score has been lost.) The NBA (KB) does not list any later performance of this cantata in Bach's lifetime. For many years it was thought that Bach performed it a second time, dropping the "Corno" part and only using the flute colla parte. The "Corno" is used in both the opening mvt. as well as in the final chorale (Mvt. 7.)

FOOTNOTES

1BCML Discussions - Part 3, Week of August 20, 2006, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV78-D3.htm.
2 Linda Gingrich’s The seen and the unseen: Hidden allegorical links in the Trinity season chorale cantatas of J. S. Bach; D.M.A., University of Washington, 2008, 146; 3303284 (http://pqdtopen.proquest.com/pqdtopen/doc/251359759.html?FMT=AI).
3 “Motets and Chorales for the 14th Sunday after Trinity,” BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity14.htm.
4 Strodach, “Studies in the Introits, Collects, Epistles and Gospels” (Philadelphia PA: United Lutheran Publication House, 1924: 216).
5 NLGB, BACH'S HYMN BOOK: Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch des Gottfried Vopelius (Leipzig 1682)", Berlin: Merseburger, 1969. ML 3168 G75.

 

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