Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Lutheran Church Year: Main Page and Explanation | LCY - Event Table | LCY 2000-2005 | LCY 2006-2010 | LCY 2011-2015 | LCY 2016-2020
Sundays & Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach | Performance Dates of Bach’s Vocal Works
Readings from the Epistles and the Gospels for each Event | Motets & Chorales for Events in the LCY
Discussions: Events in the Lutheran Church Year: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Readings from the Bible

Musical Context of Bach Cantatas
Motets & Chorales for 27th Sunday after Trinity


Readings: Epistle: 2 Corinthians 5: 1-10 / 1 Thessalonians 5: 1-11; Gospel: Matthew 25: 1-13

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

Motets and Chorales for the 27th Sunday after Trinity (Trinity 27)


Cantata 140: Trinity 27 & Late Trinity Time Chorales

William Hoffman wrote (October 22, 2012):
With Bach's Chorale Cantata BWV 140 "Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme (Wake up, the voice calls us) for the rare 27th Sunday after Trinity, the odyssey through Trinity Time comes to a close on an affirmative note of caution, joy, and preparation for the New Church Year, as reflected in the appointed chorales for this Sunday.

The appointed Readings (Pericopes) in Bach's time for the Last Sunday after Trinity address the culmination of Trinity Time. The appointed readings reflect solemn Christian themes, says Paul Zeller Strodach in <The Church Year: Studies in Introits, Collects, Epistle, and Gospels> (Philadelphia PA: United Lutheran Publications, 1924: 263f). These readings embody the concept of <omnes tempore>, all time: as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, as with the cyclic Church Year, as well as the passing of this time to the Eternity of God's Time (the Day of the Lord) when God's people dwell in peace as the Church Militant becomes the Church triumphant. The Lessons are: Epistle, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (Watch and be sober), Alternative Epistle, 2 Corinthians 5: 1-10 (Assurance of salvation); Gospel, Matthew 25:1-13 (Parable of the 10 Virgins). The texts are found at BCW Readings,

Details of Chorale Cantata BWV 140, are found at BCW,
Francis Browne's BCW Interlinear English Translation,; includes all three stanzas of Philipp Nicolai's chorale.

The Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608) Short Biography is found at, BCW His two most popular hymns are, "Wachet auf" and "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" (How beautifully shines the morning star), in the BCW Discussion, Annunciation, Week of December 2, 2012. Both hymns were published in 1699 in a series of meditations that he called "Freudenspiegel" (Mirror of Joy). Nicolai described "Wachet auf" as the"Voice at Midnight, and the Wise Virgins who meet the heavenly bridegroom."). See details below, "NLGB Trinity 27 Assigned Hymns" (<Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> 1682).

Here are available important sources for Cantata 140:
On-line Recording and Commentary:;
On-line Commentary: Julian Mincham, BCW,; and
Commentary: Bach Cantata 140, Gerhard Herz, editor; Norton Critical Scores, 1972.

BCW Discussions: Beginning almost 10 years ago, there are six discussions of Cantata 140, with considerable information, plus Thomas Braatz' "Provenance" BCW article, Discussion topics include recordings, biblical references, musical studies and German carols., and special attention is given to the most recent BCW Discussions Part 6, (August 17, 2008).

NLGB Trinity 27 Assigned Hymns

For the rare 17th Sunday after Trinity, the NLGB lists four assigned hymns, including both of Nicolai's joyous meditations, "Wachet auf" and "Wie schön leuchtet," as well as the popular Trinity Time hymn, "Nun freut euch lieben Christen g'mein," and the Reformation battle cry, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott: (A Mighty Fortress is our God)

Hymn of the Day, "Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme," Philipp Nicolai (NLGB 315, God's Word & Christian Church), refers to Matthew 25:1-7 (Gospel), Zahn melody 8195a. In 1746, Bach arranged the BWV 140/4 central trio chorale aria for tenors, violins and basso continuo (Stanza 2) as the first of the six organ preludes, BWV 645, in the published Schübler Chorale Collection (Orgelbüchlein IV). Bach's only other possible use of the hymn "Wachet auf" is a doubtful Miscellaneous Organ Chorale Prelude, BWV Anh.II 66 (NBA KB IV/10: 150 (Emans 169). The hymn is found in the Lutheran Book of Worship, "Wake, awake, for night is flying" (Catherine Winkworth), LBW 30, Christmas.

Pulpit Hymn: "Nun freut euch lieben Christen g'mein" (Martin Luther 1524), often is known by the alternate title "Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit" (It is certainly time) appears in the NLGB (No. 232) as a Catechism "Justification" hymn following Catechism Communion hymns. "Nun freut euch" also appears in the NLGB as assigned hymns for Trinity 12 (Communion), Trinity 13 (*Hymn of the Day), Trinity 17 (Hymn of the Day) & Trinity 18 (Communion). For text and translation, see

Communion Hymns

"Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott: (A Mighty Fortress is our God) in NLGB 255 (Zahn melody 7377), also is the Assigned hymn for Trinity 23 (Pulpit) and Lent 2 and 3. For details, see Motets and Chorales for the Third Sunday after Trinity, BCW,

Wie schön leuchtet den Morgenstern Philipp Nicolai; NLGB 313 (God's Word & Christian Church, Psalm 45, and Song of Salomon (Zahn 8359), also is assigned to Epiphany 2 (Hymn of the Day) and Trinity 20 (Communion Hymn). Bach set it as Chorale Cantata BWV 1 (Annunciation 1725). Other Bach uses are: Cantatas: BWV 1/1, BWV 1/6, BWV 36/4, BWV 37/3, BWV 49/6, BWV 61/6, BWV 172/6, BWV Anh 199/3; Plain Chorale: BWV 436, Organ Chorale: BWV 739

The chorales of the Last Sunday in Trinity Time deal with important Christian themes, especially God's Word and the Christian Church and its related theme of The Church Militant with its Psalm Hymns (both under the heading of "Persecution & Tribulation", NLGB Nos. 275-304). In addition there is the category of Eternity, best exemplified by "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort" (O Eternity, thou Thunderword), under the general NLGB heading of Judgement Day, Resurrection of the Dead, and Eternal Life (Nos. 390-96). These hymns are found in the Sunday main services during later Trinity Time. Here are the plain chorale and organ chorale settings of Bach in these categories, beginning with the original Orgelbüchlein numbers.

[Persecution & Tribulation NLGB 275-304]

a) The Church Militant (Psalm Hymns)
114. "Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein"; CC BWV 2, BWV 741(MC)*
115. "Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl" (Psalm 14); BWV 308; Walther, LV 85*
116. "Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott' (NLGB No. 255, Christian Life, Psalm 46, Luther); CC BWV 80, BWV 720(MC)*; BWV 247/38=302-03(PC)
117. "Es woll' uns Gott gnädig sein"; BWV 311-12(PC), Walther, LV 18*
118. "War' Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit"; CC BWV 14(Ep.4); Walther, LV 112*
119. "Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt"; (Psalm 124 ,NLGB 698 Z4437), CC BWV 178, BWV 257(PC)=?247/26, BWV 258(PC)=?247/3; BWV 1128=Anh. II 71(MC); also "Ach lieben Christen sei getrost"; CC BWV 114, BWV 256(PC)
-- "Danket den Herren, denn er ist so freundlich" (Psalm 136); BWV 286(PC)
-- "Der Herr ist meine Getreue Hirt, dem ich" (Psalm 23, mel."Allein Gortt"); BWV 83/3 aria, BWV 104/6(PC)
-- "Der Herr ist meinGetreue Hirt, hält mir" (Psalm 23, mel. "Allein Gott" OB 53), CC BWV 112(Es.1)
-- "Herr, straf mich nich in deinem Zorn" (Psalm 6), BWV 338(PC)
-- "Gott sei uns gnädig und barmherzig" (Psalm 67), BWV 323(PC)
-- "Laß, o Herr, der Ohr sich neigen" (Psalm 86), BWV 372(PC)
-- "Lobet den Herren, denn er ist so freundlich" (Psalm 147), BWV 374(PC)
-- "Lobet Gott, unsern Herren" (Psalm 150), melody "Befiehl du deine Wege," BWV 272(PC); BWV 1126(PC)
-- "Wenn ich in Angst und Not" (Psalm 121), BWV 427(PC)
-- "Wo Gott zum Haus nicht gibt sein Gunst" (Psalm 127); BWV 438(PC), BWV 1123(PC)

b) God's Holy Word (Word of God & Christian Church, NLGB 305-22))
120. "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" (NLGB 313, Word of God & Christian Church, Trinity 20); CC BWV 1(Ann.), BWV 436 (PC), 739(MC)*; BWV 763 (MC)
121. "Wie nach einer Wasserquelle" (Riemenschneider 29 et al); BWV 1119(NC)*; Anh. 50(MC)
122. "Erhalt' uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort"; BWV 1103(NC)*;
123. "Lass' mich dein sein und bleiben" (Riemenschneider 2 et al or Zahn 5427); BWV 742 (MC, mel. ""Herzlich tut, mich verlangen" (BWV 724)*
--- "Nimm von uns, Herr, die treuer Gott" (mel. "Vater unser im Himmelreich); CC BWV 101
--- "Keinen hat Gott verlassen"; BWV 247/41=BWV 369(PC)
--- "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme"; CC BWV 140(Tr.27)

In time of War (Word of God & Christian Church)
124. "Gieb Fried', O frommer, treuer Gott", Cyriacus Schneegaß (Riemenschneider 100? or Gotha)
125. "Du Friedefurst, Herr Jesu Christ"; CC BWV 119, BWV 1102(NC)*
126. "O grosser Gott von Macht (NLGB 302, Persecution, Zahn 5101a); BWV 46/6(PC); BWV deest

The life eternal (Justification Catechism);
157. "Jesu, meines Herzens Freud'" (Zahn 4797); BWV 361-62(PC)
158. "Ach, was soll ich Sunder machen"; BWV 259, 770(MC)*
159 BWV 644 Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig"; CC BWV 26
160 . "Ach, was ist doch unser Leben" (Zahn 1208); BWV 743(MC)*
161. "Allenthalben, wo ich gehe (NLGB 380, Death & Dying), Wisconsin Synod 1912 Hymnbook (No. 652, Zahn 1338b, melody)
162. "Hast du denn, Jesu, dein Angesicht/Lobe den Herrn den Mächtigen König; BWV 57/8(PC)
163. "Sei gegrusset, Jesu gutig"; BWV 307, 768(CP)* See OB 82
164. "Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele" (CH); CC 180, BWV 654(18), BWV 759(CP)*

[Last Days, Resurrection of the Dead, Eternal Life]
--- "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort"; CC BWV 20/1,7,11; BWV 247/11=BWV 397(PC)

The other Trinity Time chorale categories, discussed earlier, involve the liturgical and Catechism hymns, especially Penitence and Communion, Christian Conduct, as well as the non-liturgical Morning and Evening Hymns not discussed.

Thus, with the conclusion of the second half of the church year (<omnes tempore>), the BCW discussion next week turns to the Church Year special feast days of the three Marian Festivals (Purification, Annunciation, and Visitation), the saints festivals of John the Baptist and Michael and All Angels, and Reformation Day.


Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Table of Motets & Chorales for Events in the Lutheran Church Year

Lutheran Church Year: Main Page and Explanation | LCY - Event Table | LCY 2000-2005 | LCY 2006-2010 | LCY 2011-2015 | LCY 2016-2020
Sundays & Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach | Performance Dates of Bach’s Vocal Works
Readings from the Epistles and the Gospels for each Event | Motets & Chorales for Events in the LCY
Discussions: Events in the Lutheran Church Year: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Readings from the Bible


Back to the Top

Last update: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 01:41