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Cantata BWV 196
Der Herr denket an uns
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata BWV 196 - The Lord thinks of us and blesses us

Event: Cantata for a Wedding
Text: Psalm 115: 12-15

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple

1

Sinfonia

Violino I/II, Viola, Violoncello, Organo, Continuo

2

Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Violino I/II, Viola, Violoncello, Organo, Continuo

Der Herr denket an uns und segnet uns.
The Lord thinks of us and blesses us.
Er segnet das Haus Israel, er segnet das Haus Aaron.
He blesses the house of Israel, he blesses the house of Aaron.

3

Aria [Soprano]

Violino I/II all' unisono, Organo e Continuo

Er segnet, die den Herrn fürchten, beide, Kleine und Große.
He blesses those who fear the Lord, both, small and great.

4

Aria (Duetto) [Tenor, Bass]

Violino I/II, Viola, Organo e Continuo

Der Herr segne euch je mehr und mehr, euch und eure Kinder.
May the Lord bless you more and more, you and your chldren.

5

Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Violino I/II, Viola, Organo e Continuo

Ihr seid die Gesegneten des Herrn, der Himmel und Erde gemacht hat. Amen.
You are the blessed of the the Lord, who has made heaven and earth. Amen.

Note on the text

BWV 196 is almost certainly one of Bach's earliest vocal compositions and probably dates from his time in Mülhausen (1707/8). The original score has not survived, but there is a copy made in the early 1730s by Bach's pupil Johann Ludwig Dietel. This does not specify an occasion and the text chosen - Psalm 115 :12-15 - is not linked with any particular liturgical or non-liturgical use. The brevity of the text and the absence of recitative and chorale are typical of cantatas from the very early years of the eighteenth century and so also suggest an early date.

According to Dürr, Wilhelm Rust, editor of the Bach Gesellschaft edition(1864), and Philipp Spitta, Bach 's biographer, both reached the conclusion that the cantata was written for a wedding. Spitta suggested that that the mention in the text of the House of Aaron could mean that the bridegroom was a clergyman and the mention of children implied he may be a widower with children who was making a second marriage .On such evidence he speculated that the cantata was written for the wedding on June 5, 1708 of Johann Lorenz Stauber, who had officated a few months earlier at Bach's own wedding and who married Regina Wiedemann , an aunt of Bach's wife. The conjecture evokes a pleasing image of the young Bach and his wife returning on a bright summer's day to the small village church (in Dornheim) where they were married with this delightful cantata as their wedding gift.As often happens what was originally speculation is repeated by later commentators and gradually changes into accepted fact.

Certainty is impossible .As Dürr argues it seems unlikely that such s biblical text taken from a single source should coincide in all details with a particular occasion.Konrad Küster casts doubt whether BWV 196 should be regarded as a wedding cantata at all since the text is equally suitable for any other occasion for praise and thanksgiving.

But Psalm 115 is not an obvious text to which to turn for a celebratory text. Most of the psalm is concerned with pointing out God's superiority to false idols. Perhaps someone who knew their bible very well - Pfarrer Stauber or Bach himself - noticed that these verses in the middle of a psalm concerned with other topics could be applied to the situation of Stauber , a clergyman with children making a second marriage. The repetition of segnen(bless) in all four verses also offered musical possibibliteis which Bach exploited. It remains possible that Spitta's reconstruction of the origin of this cantata may contain some truth.

--

This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (March 2002; revised & notes June 2013)
Contributed by Francis Browne (March 2002, June 2013)

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Last update: żAugust 17, 2013 ż14:15:35