Thomas Braatz wrote (June 4, 2003):
The Autograph Score:
The autograph score along with the doublets from the original set of parts was probably originally part of the inherited set of scores that went to W.F. Bach. [There is no firm documentation on this.] Johann Georg Nacke (1718-1804) may have acquired it directly from W.F. Bach. There is a date of 1759 on the score in Nacke’s handwriting. As in the case of most of Nacke’s Bach manuscripts, they came into the possession of Johann Gottlob Schuster (1765-1839), from whom Franz Hauser (1794-1870) acquired it in the spring of 1833. While Hauser kept the doublets in his collection, he gave the autograph score as a present to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. After the latter’s death, it was inherited by his younger brother Paul Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1813-1874) and as late as 1881 it belonged to his nephew Ernst von Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1846-1909.) The latter presented it together with other valuable musical manuscripts to the BB (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) in 1908. The (Hauser) doublets had already ended up in the same library in 1904.
In Bach’s handwriting on this score:
J. J. Feria 3 Nativit: Xsti Ich freüe mich in dir etc.
Over Mvt. 2:
Aria deux Hautb é Alto
Over Mvt. 3:
Over Mvt. 4:
Aria Violini é Viola con Sopr.
Over Mvt. 5:
After Mvt. 6:
The Original Set of Parts:
These evidently belonged to Anna Magdalena Bach’s inheritance. In the fall of 1750, she then presented (gave) the set to the St. Thomas School a few months after Bach died.
The same handwriting that wrote the title page for this set can not be determined with any reasonable certainty. It may be someone who belonged to the family or someone who was connected with those who received something from the inheritance. It is the same person who wrote the following documents:
a letter by J.S. Bach to Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe on December 27, 1749.
a formal request by Anna Magdalena Bach on October 17, 1750 for a legal guardian to be assigned to her family.
a formal request by Anna Magdalena Bach on October 21, 1750 for guardianship to be assigned to her children who were still underage: Johann Christoph Friedrich, Johann Christian, Johanna Carolin and Regina Susanna.
The Original Parts:
1. Soprano (Copyist: Johann Andreas Kuhnau)
2. Alto (Kuhnau)
3. Tenore (Kuhnau)
4. Basso (Kuhnau)
5. Cornetto (Wilhelm Friedemann Bach)
6. Hautb: d’Amour 1 (Kuhnau)
7. Hautb: d’Amour 2 (Kuhnau)
8. Violino 1mo (Kuhnau)
9. Violino 2do (Kuhnau)
10. Viola (Kuhnau)
11. Continuo (Kuhnau)
12 Continuo [transposed, figured] (Christian Gottlob Meißner with J.S. Bach doing the figures and revising)
Bach revised all the parts
The doublets that were created after the fall of 1750 are:
Violino 1mo (Copyist: Anonymous Vo)
Violino Secondo (Copyist: Unknown)
Continuo [not transposed] Copyist: Unknown)
The original doublets that were passed on with the autograph score:
1. Violino 1mo (Copyists: Anonymous IIb and IIf) [Later revisions by Bach]
2. Violino 2do (Copyists: Anonymous IIh, and IId)
3. Continuo (Copyist: Anonymous IIe)
The librettist of this cantata text has not yet been determined with any sort of reasonable certainty (2000.) The text is based upon the chorale text of the same name by Caspar Ziegler (1697), the 1st & 4th verses of which are used directly in the 1st and last mvts. of the cantata. The Leipzig hymnals of 1730 and 1739 show the following text variations: [the 1st version is from the hymnals, following it is the cantata text from BWV 133]:
Mein liebstes or Mein zartes Jesulein = mein liebes Jesulein
Der wahre Gottes Sohn or Der holde Gottes Sohn = der große Gottessohn
an diesen Jesum halten = an dich, o Jesu halten
From the Leipzig Hymnal of 1730:
Gott senkt die Majestät, = Getrost! es faßt ein heilger Leib (Mvt. 2)
sein unbegreiflich Wesen = des Höchsten unbegreiflichs Wesen
in eines Menschen Leib,
nun muß die Welt genesen.
Der allerhöchste Gott = …Der allerhöchste Gott (Mvt. 3)
spricht freundlich bei mir ein, = kehrt selber bei uns ein:
wird gar ein kleines Kind, = …wird er ein kleines Kind
und heißt mein Jesulein. = und heißt mein Jesulein.
Wie lieblich klingt es mir, = Wie lieblich klingt es (Mvt. 4)
wie schallt es in die Ohren, = in den Ohren,…
es kann durch Stahl und Erz, = …und wem es nicht durchs Herze geht,
durch harte Felsen bohren, = der muß ein harter Felsen sein.
das liebste Jesulein.
Wer Jesum recht erkennt, = …Wer Jesum recht erkennt, (Mvt. 5)
der stirbt nicht, wenn er stirbt, = der stirbt nicht, wenn er stirbt,
sobald er Jesum nennt. = sobald er Jesum nennt.
Bach’s own notation of the chorale „Ich freue mich in dir“ on the 1st page of the autograph score of the Sanctus in D Major, BWV 232 (version 3) [this later became part of the B minor Mass] points to the fact that Bach was still unfamiliar with the new chorale melody assigned to the Ziegler chorale text. The Leipzig hymnal (1730) shows that this Ziegler Christmas chorale was still being sung to the melody of “Nun danket alle Gott.”
Composition and Performance:
This cantata was composed for its 1st performance on December 27, 1724. Another performance of this cantata (after 1740?) is documented by Bach’s revision of the 1st violin doublet. The changed traits in Bach’s handwriting (musical notation) make this determination possible.