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Cantata BWV 145
Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen

First Performance: April 19, 1729 or later

The earliest copies of the score are from the 19th century and add two mvts. that were not part of Henrici-Picander’s original text printed in 1729. Two mvts. precede Picander’s text: 1st verse of Caspar Neumann’s chorale Auf, mein Herz, des Herren Tag, (1700) [CM Jesus, meine Zuversicht] and Georg Philipp Telemann’s choral mvt. So du mit deinem Munde bekennest Jesum. The fact that these mvts. are not in Picander’s text would seem to indicate that these mvts. were added later by someone else other than Bach himself or that Bach might have added these mvts. when the cantata originally designated by Picander for the 2nd Day after Easter to Easter itself necessitated a more festive opening mvt. Quite puzzling, however, is the placement of a simple chorale setting as the opening mvt. of a cantata unless this cantata was the second part of a bipartite composition with the first part (or cantata) being performed before the sermon, and the second after with the 2nd half or another cantata beginning with a chorale.

Telemann’s cantata is named So du mit deinem Munde bekennest, (Romans 10:9 for Easter Sunday) for 2 oboes, 3 colascione, timpani, glockenspiel, strings, and basso continuo, 1723, TWV 1:1350; the chorus from TWV 1:1350 (=BWV 145) is found in the BGA, J.S. Bach: Werke, xxx (1884) and in NBA, J.S. Bach: Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, l/10 (1955); Alfred Dürr was responsible for the NBA KB I/10 published in 1956.

It is not known whether Bach intended these two mvts. (the chorale Auf, mein Herz, des Herren Tag and Telemann’s choral mvt. from TWV 1:1350) as part of this cantata. The NBA I/10 pp. 141-148 prints these two mvts. as an appendix, attributing the choral mvt. to Telemann. The actual cantata begins on p. 113 with the Duetto. A footnote explains that the transmission of this cantata allows for two titles: Ich lebe, mein Herze and So du mit deinem Munde bekennest, the latter title used for the version in the appendix which gives the two mvts. that precede the Duetto.

Without the two mvts. preceding the Duetto, BWV 145 appears rather short. This has prompted experts to consider a comparison with other cantatas in this yearly cycle, cantatas which have instrumental sinfonias to open the cantata (BWV 174, BWV 188). However, there is no direct evidence available to support the possibility that an instrumental sinfonia did precede the Duetto, however, another consideration that might speak in favor of such an instrumental introduction is that, on March 20, 1729, Bach assumed the directorship of the former Telemann Collegium musicum in Leipzig. This might possibly have provided him with an incentive for composing (or recycling) such instrumental sinfonias because he now had the opportunity to call upon even more talented musicians than he already had at his disposal for performances of his church cantatas.


The autograph score and original set of parts are missing. The three copies of the score, two of which were copied from the first, go back only to the 19th-century. Another 18th-century copy which had been in private hands, a copy which did not agree entirely with the other three, has, unfortunately, been lost. Other evidence consists of copies of the Telemann cantata and various printings of the Bach chorales as well as the original Picander text from 1729.

The primary cantata copy came via a Bach manuscript collector from Frankfurt a/O, Dr. Peters, who sent this copy to Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758-1832), the director of the Berlin Singakademie. Zelter acknowledged receiving the score on May 24, 1816 and commented that it contained many careless errors.

Although it is generally assumed that Wilhelm Friedemann Bach inherited the Picander Cantata Cycle, there are indications that Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach may have been involved in creating the pasticcio which includes the mvt. from a Telemann cantata. This transformation could have been undertaken at some point after 1750 and before 1782. As a successor to Telemann’s position in Hamburg, CPE Bach would have had easy access to the former composer’s musical materials. The fact that this cantata (pasticcio) is not listed in CPE Bach’s estate at the time of his death in 1788 does not detract from the viability of this idea. CPE Bach, during his lifetime, could easily have given this cantata to Johann Christoph Westphal, a music seller in Hamburg who published a list of available manuscripts in 1782 on which the following music item under the category Geschriebene Musicalien, Oratorien, Opern etc. is offered:

Bach Joh. Sebast.: --Oster-Cantate: So du mit deinem Munde bekennest. Partit

This is the oldest record for the existence of a score for this cantata in a version that has the Telemann mvt. preceding J.S. Bach’s Duetto.

Summarizing and distilling all available sources, Alfred Dürr has concluded that there are basically only two different versions of BWV 145:

1. The cantata Ich lebe, mein Herze for the 2nd Day of Easter (3. Ostertag)

a) Henrici-Picander’s printed text from 1729
b) a lost manuscript copy mentioned in the BGA
c) a slight possibility that Zelter’s corrections to the primary source were based on the availability to him of an unknown source
d) the final chorale as printed in 1765 and 1784 editions of Bach’s 4-pt. chorales

2. The cantata So du mit deinem Munde including the chorale Auf, mein Herz, des Herren Tag for Easter Sunday (1. Ostertag)

a) the primary copy with all its derivatives
b) Westphal’s lists from 1782 and 1830
c) manuscripts of and a set of parts for the Telemann cantata mvt. So du mit deinem Munde
d) printed editions from 1765, 1784 and 1787 of both 4-pt. chorales

Due to the unclear transmission of this cantata, Bach experts have had to speculate widely and have come up with a variety of hypotheses, some of which showed great insight and others which have turned out to be wrong. Philipp Spitta (1841-1894), acquainted mainly with both versions above, came to the conclusion regarding the 2nd version: Die Art der Melodieführung und Fugirung ist nicht Bachisch, eher Telemannisch (“The manner in which the leading of the melody and the construction of fugues takes place is not like Bach but rather more like Telemann”).

Rudolf Wustmann (1872-1916), one of the editors of the BGA, offered the following opinion in his book on Bach’s cantata texts (Leipzig, 1913): Bach added the two mvts. to precede the Duetto, weil ihm Picanders Dichtung sonst zu klein war und er auch am Anfang die rechte Begründung der Freude vermißte (“Picander’s poetic text seemed to him [Bach] to be too short and he felt the proper basis of joy was not properly established at the beginning”).

The next expert to offean opinion on this cantata was Arnold Schering ( (1877-1941) in his Bach Jahrbuch article (1938, pp. 78ff.): Schering thought that this cantata was intended to be performed on Easter Tuesday at one of the church services held at St. Paul’s, the University of Leipzig church. For this he constructs overly complicated arguments. He thought that the two 4-pt chorales were genuine Bach, but he doubted not only the authenticity of the choral mvt. but even that of the Duetto. He thought that the bass aria was a parody of an undetermined secular mvt. According to Schering, Picander, in 1732 reworked (expanded) the text so that it could be performed on Easter Sunday in one of the main Leipzig churches. Schering also contends: “Proof is lacking that Bach, in creating a parody, would ever take an existing cantata and add to it a movement composed by someone else.”

A decisive step forward was taken by Friedrich Smend (1893-1980) who began analyzing the Leipzig Bach cantatas for their precursors in the Cöthen Period and discovered the origin of BWV 66 (Smend’s book on the cantatas, 1947-1950). Then he expanded his search by analyzing stylistic features of other cantatas for which no proof of their origin during the Cöthen Period is available. Together with BWV 184 and the present cantata, BWV 145, Smend hoped to use this technique to reinstate as authentic certain cantata mvts. that were being viewed as inauthentic. In his book, Bach in Köthen, 1951, he repeated his claim (pp. 45ff.) and stated that the choral mvt. of BWV 145 was a parody of a middle mvt. of a secular cantata composed in Cöthen. Mm 3b to 7 erwecken nicht nur den Verdacht, sondern sie beweisen, daß die jetzt darunter liegenden Worte nicht ursprünglich zu dem Tonsatz gehörten, daß also Parodie vorliegt (“not only awaken the suspicion but even prove that the words underlying the notes did not originally belong to music, thus this is a case of parody”). Smend places the time of composition at the end of Bach’s position in Cöthen: Nicht nur die Verwendung der Oboi d’amore, sondern auch…die weiterentwickelten Formen der Sätze veranlassen uns zu dieser Ansetzung. Dem Chor werden hier schwierigere Aufgaben zugeteilt, als Bach dies in den früheren Werken wagte (p. 73ff.) (“Not only the use of the oboi d’amore, but also the more developed forms used in these mvts. lead us to this assessment. Greater demands than those Bach dared to make in his earlier works are made of the choir.”)

Meanwhile Spitta’s suspicions have been confirmed. The Telemann cantata has been clearly identified as a cantata for Easter Sunday (Bach Jahrbuch, 1951-52, pp. 371). It is clear now that the remaining mvts. are definitely by J. S. Bach. No confirming evidence for Wustmann’s supposition that Bach himself placed the two mvts. in front of the Duetto or for Schering’s hypothesis that the cantata was performed in 1723/1725 in the Leipzig University Church has been found. Schering’s view that Bach never included in his cantatas a mvt. by another composer cannot be refuted based on all original materials currently available, but this possibility cannot be definitely excluded either.

The dating of BWV 145 with the Telemann mvt. included would most likely not be earlier than 1723 (Hamburg), the earliest record of the Telemann cantata, but an earlier date for the Telemann cantata from Frankfurt or Eisenach is not entirely out of question. Still rather convincing, although not yet provable, is Smend’s thesis that the original source for the musical material goes back to Bach’s Cöthen Period. The reworking of this music would then most likely have taken place in collaboration with Picander. Schering thought that this would have taken place in 1732; however the most likely date is currently assumed to be Easter, 1729.

The range of the oboe d’amore would place its use in Bach’s oeuvre no earlier than 1723. Comparison of the textual structures employed by Hunold (Cöthen) and Picander (Leipzig) have led to no viable conclusions that would be helpful in regard to BWV 145.

The date of Picander’s printed version of the text (1729) appears to preclude reasonably for the most part any date of composition before 1729. Later dates than this are less convincing. Thus is can be assumed with some degree of certainty that the recitatives were new, original compositions for Easter, 1729, with a slight possibility that the Duetto and the bass aria might have originated in Cöthen. It is difficult to arrive at any secure results that might arise from a comparison, particularly in regard to their introductory mvts., with other cantatas in the Picander cantata cycle. There are three cantatas which have or most likely had large-scale choral mvts.: BWV 149, BWV 197a, and BWV 171. Three others begin with an instrumental mvt. adapted from already existing instrumental concerti: BWV 188 (based on BWV 1052), BWV 156 (based on BWV 1056) and BWV 174 (based on BWV 1048). Two cantatas, BWV 84 and BWV 159, only feature a solo instrument using a simpler instrumental form. This demonstrates that we cannot easily arrive at any definite conclusions about the possible existence or nature of any introductory mvt. for BWV 145. Instrumental concerti do introduce a number of sacred cantatas: BWV 35, BWV 49, BWV 52, BWV 120, BWV 146, BWV 156, BWV 169, BWV 174, BWV 188 and the Easter Oratorio (BWV 249) (three from this list are from the Picander Cantata Cycle). This has caused some to believe that the mvts. preceding the Duetto were already part of BWV 145 in 1729; accordingly, Bach changed his conception of the cantata after the text had already been agreed upon. This scenario is, however, not very probable, particularly since some of the critical sources point to the existence of the cantata Ich lebe, mein Herze which was intended for a performance on the 2nd Day after Easter (Osterdienstag).

Two major possibilities can be considered:

1. The reworking of the cantata to become So du mit deinem Munde was undertaken by Bach personally during the period from 1730 to 1750. Bach added the choral mvt. by Telemann to provide a strong introductory mvt. and the chorale Auf, mein Herz, des Herren Tag might have been intended to follow the Telemann mvt. or even to replace the final chorale. Simultaneously, the designation of the cantata was shifted from the 2nd Day after Easter to Easter Sunday. After Bach’s death the cantata may have been passed on to WF Bach and not to CPE Bach. The latter inherited the Easter Sunday cantatas BWV 249 and BWV 31, but not BWV 145. [Of all the cantatas in Bach’s Picander Cantata Cycle, only one is listed in CPE Bach’s estate at the time of his death.]

2. The version Ich lebe, mein Herze was maintained intact until 1750. At the time of the distribution of the cantatas, CPE Bach received the manuscript. In Hamburg, either he or another musician decided on expanding the cantata and creating the pasticcio which was intended for a performance on Easter Sunday. Before his death, CPE Bach gave away the manuscript of BWV 145, possibly directly to Westphal. In CPE Bach’s estate there is only one cantata for the 2nd Day after Easter (BWV 134) while another one is missing. It is conceivable in this instance that WF Bach inherited BWV 145 and not CPE Bach. WF Bach might then have undertaken the changes or simply gave it to someone else who did.

In both cases one might assume that the repositioning of the chorale Auf, mein Herz to the very beginning of the cantata took place at a much later time. Perhaps the reason for this change was simply done for regrouping the mvts. Why, otherwise, would such a deliberate effort be made between 1782 and 1830 to cite the title for this cantata with a title which did not derive from the name of the chorale Auf, mein Herz?


Based on Alfred Dürr’s research and discussion of BWV 145 as contained in the NBA KB I/10, pp. 128-160.
Contributed by Thomas Braatz (June 20, 2008)

Cantata BWV 145: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

References: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-249 | Chorales BWV 250-300 | Chorales BWV 301-350 | Chorales BWV 351-400 | Chorales BWV 401-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-524 | Vocal Works BWV Anh
BGA | NBA | BC: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | Sources
Discussions of BWV Numbering System: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


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