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Cantata BWV 213
Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen

Original Sources:

Both the original autograph score and the original set of parts are located in the BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin) as Mus. ms. Bach P 125 and Mus. ms. autogr. Bach St 65 respectively.

The Autograph Score:

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach inherited this score at the time of the distribution of his father’s estate in 1750. A reference to this score is found in the Verzeichniß des musikalischen Nachlasses des verstorbenen Capellmeisters Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (A List of Unpublished Music from the Estate of the Deceased Capellmeister Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach) which appeared as a printed booklet in Hamburg in 1790. On p. 72 is the entry: Glückwünschungs-Cantate auf einen Sächsischen Prinzen etc. C.P.E. Bach added a separate title page to the front of score which reads:

Glückwünschungs Cantate | auf einen Sächsischen Prinzen | à | Soprano | Echo | Alto, Tenore e Baßo | 2 Corni | 2 Hautb. | 2 Viol. | 2 Viole conc. | Viola | e | Cont. | di | J. S. Bach.

This title was later changed by K. F. Zelter (1758-1832) who added: Die Wahl des Herkules and No. 12. (both of which were underlined). Based upon this along with a separate cantata text which Zelter extracted from Bach’s score and a new binding of the score, it can be concluded that the Berliner Berlin Singakademie of which Zelter was the director acquired the score from C.P.E. Bach’s estate. Also, when the Singakademie offered the score for sale in 1854, it contained the same number of pages, 22, which include the 21 for Bach’s original score and an additional page of text added by Zelter. 1854 was the year when the BB purchased it from the Singakademie.

Details on the Score:

The watermark on all the original pages is a large MA. The large folio pages are numbered by Bach in the upper right corner from 2 through 7. The handwriting is in a good state of preservation and the paper is only slightly brown from aging. Ink damage (ink eating its way through the paper causing holes) is noticeable only in a few places.

The manuscript reveals quite a large number of corrections (this is evidence of a ‘composing’ score). Changes and additions are distributed evenly over almost all movements of this cantata. Only where Bach relies on previously existing sections of movements (Mvt. 11 and Mvt. 13) are the number of errors reduced to only a very few. The style of handwriting can be described as quickly executed and bar-lines are drawn in free hand (not with a guide or ruler). Mvt. 11 (Duetto) shows no corrections at all in the introductory ritornello and very few errors in the instrumental parts in the later sections. The tutti section of Mvt. 13 (Chorus) is essentially the same as that found in BWV 184/6, a Pentecost cantata, composed in 1723 which in turn can be related to a congratulatory cantata composed in Köthen for which the music has been lost. In a comparison between BWV 213/13 and BWV 184/6, the transformation (transposition) was from G major to F major with a different grouping of instrumental parts with the original flute parts replaced with horn parts in the final version.

Bach’s title at the top of the first page reads:

Drama à 4 Voci. 2 Corni da Caccia [2. Trav: {this has been crossed out}] 2 Hautb. 2 Violini, Viola e Cont. di Bach.

Various markings throughout indicating the type of movement to follow (usually given at the end of the previous movement), name of the character singing and which one comes next: Hercules | Recit Aria seque Recit | 2. Wollust Tugend Aria Hercules Hautb | d’Amour Sequitur Recit 1 sub signo Recit 2 sub signo Echo Tugend | Recit Hautb. Violin Tugend Aria Violini unisuoni NB Volti seq |Recitat. Aria Duetto | a due Viole. Aria Duetto. due Viole. certati. e Alto, Tenore con Cont. Volit Recit con accompagn. Chorus Fine DSGl.

Under mm 105 and 106 there is a quick sketch in advance for mm 107-112 of the continuo part for Mvt. 1. This sketch has been crossed out. For comparison, here is the sketch followed by the final version (and a number of other sketches from other movements given here).


The last sketch for the Duetto was rejected (it was crossed out) after it appeared at the top of the page for this movement. The significance of this rejected sketch which can be easily identified as the opening subject of “Et in unum” which appears in the B-minor Mass, BWV 232, has been discussed widely among Bach scholars who arrive at various possible, speculative scenarios:

1. This was Bach’s original sketch for the text before him, but it did not work out, so he abandoned it in favor of another previously composed cantata movement that could be adapted to the existing text more easily.

2. Bach copied this sketch from another earlier cantata composed for a different occasion, very possibly from a secular cantata composed during the Köthen or even Weimar period. It was rejected because Bach realized that it was not suitable for the new text that Picander had provided.

3. Shortly before the first performance of this cantata on September 5, 1733 as Bach was composing this cantata with only three movements still to be completed (one is only a short recitative of 16 bars), Bach decided to stop composing all the movements, a process which took more time than he had available to him and began looking for previously composed music that might be suitable even if only portions of such could be adopted for this purpose. Bach first wrote out this sketch, trying to make it fit the words, but then he abandoned it in favor of another mvt. from a previously composed, unidentified cantata which provided for a better fit.

3. Bach returned to this sketch (or to a possible earlier cantata movement containing this music) after August 1748 until October 1749 for inclusion as the “Et in unum Dominum” movement that is part of the Symbolum Nicenum section of the B minor Mass BWV 232.

But the reliable facts are as follows:

1. The watermark in the paper is an “MA” (or “AM” as seen from the back side). This is the same watermark that appears on paper that Bach used for the “Missa” (Kyrie, Gloria or Section I) portion of BWV 232 that was prepared in 1733. This watermark was used by Bach from July 6, 1732 until February 2, 1735.

2. The first performance date for BWV 213 is clearly fixed as September 5, 1733, a date documented by a reference in Picander’s printed version of the text, a newspaper report and an entry on September 3, 1733 in Breitkopf’s (a Leipzig printer) account books for the printing of a presentation copy for Bach:

Dem Hn Capellmeister Bach vor ein Drama
auf den Geburtstag des Churprintzen 1 Bogen, 50 RPr.
150 Dr. Pr
. nebst Censur…..2 -

3. All the movements in BWV 213 with the exception of Mvt. 11 (Aria Duetto) and Mvt. 13 show clear evidence that they were original compositions (no parodies involved). This means that the latter two movements are parodies. The parody source for Mvt. 13 has been identified as given above.

Some discussions of this matter can be found in the following sources:

Arnold Schering: Bach Jahrbuch, 1933, p. 49 (Schering was the first to point out the connection between the rejected sketch and the duet mvt. from BWV 323)

Friedrich Smend: Messe in h-moll, NBA KB II/1 Bärenreiter, 1956, pp. 147-151

Werner Neumann: Festmusiken für das Kurfürstlich-Sächsische Haus I, NBA KB I/36, p. 64-65

Robert L. Marshall: The Music ofJohann Sebastian Bach:The Sources, the Style, the Significance, Schirmer Books, New York, 1989, pp. 180-183

John Butt: Bach: Mass in B Minor, Cambridge University Press, 1991, pp. 52-53.

George B. Stauffer: The Mass in B Minor, Schirmer Books, New York, 1997, pp. 111-115

Konrad Küster: Bach Handbuch, Bärenreiter/Metzler, 1999, pp. 508-509

Martin Geck: Bach: Leben und Werk, Hamburg, 2000, pp. 482-483.

Hans-Joachim Schulze: Die Bach-Kantaten, Leipzig, 2006, p. 675

The Original Set of Parts:

The parts are included in a double folder, the inner folder without any writing on it and the outer folder having on it C.P.E. Bach’s title:

Glückwünschungs-Cantate | auf einen Sächsischen Prinzen | a | Soprano | Echo | Alto, Tenore e Baßo | 2 Corni | 2. Hautb. | 2 Viol. | 2 Viole conc. | Viola | e | Cont. | di | J. S. Bach.

As on the autograph score, Zelter added Die Wahl des Herkules and No. 12. The latter number was later crossed out and replaced with 8. Someone later added the text incipit: Laßt uns sorgen.

The chain of ownership is the same as that of the autograph score given above.

The condition of the parts is similar to the autograph score.

There are 17 parts that have been prepared by 10 different copyists in addition to J. S. Bach who also copied certain mvts along with the usual revisions and addition of articulation, ornamentation, phrasings, etc.

1. Canto. Solo: Contains mvts. 1, 3, 4, 13 and tacet for the remaining mvts.
Copyist 1
2. Alto: mvts. 1, 2, 5, 9, 11, 13; tacet for the remaining
Copyist 1: from the beginning until m 96 of Mvt. 11
Copyist 2: from m 96 of Mvt. 11 to the end
3. Echo: Mvt. 5 only; copyist 1
4. Tenore: mvts. 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13
J. S. Bach: Mvt. 8; Copyist 1: all the remaining mvts.
5. Baßo. Solo: mvts. 1, 12, 13
Copyist 1: mvts. 1, 12, 13
6. Cornu 1: mvts. 1, 13
Copyist 1: Mvt. 1; J. S. Bach: Mvt. 13
7. Corn: 2: Copyist 1: Mvt. 1; J. S. Bach: Mvt. 13
8. Hautbois 1mo: mvts. 1, 5, 7, 13
Copyist 1: Mvt. 1; J. S. Bach: mvts. 5, 7, 13
9. Hautbois 2do: mvts. 1 and 13
Copyist 1: Mvt. 1 (except for Bach’s addition of mm 53-60
J. S. Bach: Mvt. 13
10. Violino 1mo: mvts. 1, 3, 7, 9, 12 and 13
Copyist 1: mvts. 1, 3, 12, 13
J. S. Bach: mvts. 7 and 9
11. Violino 1mo: (Doublet) mvts. 1, 3, 9, 12, 13 (13 is incomplete)
Copyist 3: Mvt. 1; copyist 4: Mvt. 3, Mvt. 9; copyist 2: Mvt. 12 and the first 6 mm of Mvt. 13.
12. Violino 2do: mvts. 1, 3, 12, 13
Copyist 1: mvts. 1, 3
J. S. Bach mvts. 12 and 13
13. Violino 2do: (Doublet) mvts. 1, 3, 12 and 13
Copyist 5: Mvt. 1 mm 1-113 and mm 169 to end of the mvt.
Copyist 6: Mvt. 1 mm114-168
Copyist 7: Mvt. 3 mm 1-49.
Copyist 8: Mvt. 3 mm 49-148
Copyist 9: mvts. 12 and 13
14. Viola: mvts. 1, 3, 12, and 13
Copyist 1: mvts. 1 and 3
J. S. Bach: mvts. 12 and 13
15. Viola 1 certata: Mvt. 11 only
Copyist 10 (C.P.E. Bach)
16. Viola 2 certata: Mvt. 11 only
Copyist 10 (C.P.E. Bach)
17. Continuo: (also with title: Basso Continuo where the music begins) contains all mvts.
Copyist 1: almost all the mvts. stopping at m 63 of Mvt. 13
Copyist 2: from m 64 to 80 (the end) of Mvt. 13

Comments on the Original Parts:

Many questions have been raised regarding the very large number of copyists employed by Bach and the confusion apparent in the various stops and stops and even interleaving of efforts by those who prepared the violin doublets. As in the case of other sacred cantatas, particularly those that were prepared for performance during the extended Christmas-New Year, Easter and Pentecost feast days, a very similar situation prevailed. One explanation which helps to account for the not so unusual situation encountered here is that J. S. Bach was pressed for time and waited until the last possible moment (figuratively) before beginning to compose this cantata and had the primary copyists begin copying out the parts before the entire score had been completed.

The evidence from the score, as listed above, makes it quite clear that Bach gave up composing each movement from scratch when he began Mvt. 11 as indicated by the change in the appearance of the score from a ‘composing’ score with many corrections to that of a ‘clean copy’ with few or no corrections.

Note the interruption of the copy process by the primary copyist (1), who copied the greatest portion of all the parts, in the Alto part in the middle of Mvt. 11; in both Cornu parts Mvt. 1, but not Mvt. 13; in Violino 2do mvts. 1 and 3, but not 12 and 13; in Viola mvts. 1 and 3, but not 12 and 13; and in Continuo all mvts. but not the end of Mvt. 13. All of these instances point to the fact that Bach had not yet finished copying (transposing? and arranging) music from mvts. that had been composed to a different text at an earlier time. That Bach initiated the copy process with his main copyists before completing the final mvt. or mvts. of a cantata can be sufficiently documented by a number of instances where it is obvious that Bach composed and later added the final chorale to the parts personally after all the copy work had been completed by the copyists with the exception of the final mvt. or mvts.

Along with the 19-year-old C.P.E. Bach, who was probably called upon at a very late stage of the copy process after J. S. Bach had completed Mvt. 11, there is a ‘little army’ of very young copyists who are called upon to copy the Violino 1mo and Violino 2do doublets from the already existing first copies of these parts. Note that J. S. Bach personally copied mvts. 12 and 13 for the Violino 2do from his score and then turned it over to five copyists (only 4 mvts. are involved here!). Nevertheless, even under the watchful eyes of the master, copyist 5 breaks off in the middle of Mvt. 1, while copyist 6 continues from that point but does not finish this movement, leaving the remaining to be completed by the original copyist 5 who had begun copying this mvt. Three additional copyists are used for the remaining three mvts. The NBA KB (p. 52) comments: “Die Vielzahl der hier eingesetzten Kopisten, von denen die meisten einen recht unbeholfenen Duktus schrieben, läßt an pädagogisch bestimmte Maßnahmen Bachs denken. Gerade die Bachschen Violindubletten sind häufig der Tummelplatz für frühe Schreibversuche.” [The large number of copyists used here, most of whom demonstrate rather clumsily flowing lines in their penmanship suggests that Bach had some pedagogical purpose in mind. It is precisely these violin doublets which become the playground for early attempts at writing musical notation."]

There is only one continuo part since this was not performed in a church where a transposed Organo would have been necessary. Since Bach, in checking over the Continuo part added the direction pizzicato tthe beginning of Mvt. 5, a direction not found in the score, it is clear that the Continuo part was intended for harpsichord with only string instruments (a single string instrument?) as part of the continuo group and that these instruments would be reading their parts from this single Continuo part. The NBA KB makes no mention of a figured bass for this Continuo part, but this might easily be explained by Bach not having sufficient time to include a figured bass, particularly if Bach himself were to conduct the performance from the harpsichord. It is also highly likely that the performers in Bach’s Collegium musicum would have performed this music at sight without any rehearsal, a procedure well-documented by members of the ensemble who played and sang under Bach’s direction (See: Bach’s Collegium musicum in Leipzig and Its History).


[based on the NBA KB I/36 (Werner Neumann, 1962), pp. 28-80]
Contributed by Thomas Braatz (September 14, 2008)

Cantata BWV 213: 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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