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Cantatas for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity
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3rd Sunday after Trinity: Performance Calendar, Chorales

William Hoffman wrote (June 16, 2016):
Bach’s Early Trinity Time Performance Calendar in Leipzig shows an interesting pattern of ambitious works for the first two cycles, aided and abetted by numerous repeats and expansions of Weimar works in the first cycle, then virtually no new music in the homogeneous Third Cycle and beyond until the 7th Sunday after Trinity, when Bach systematically produced a third work for each Sunday until the end of Trinity Time and the church year, except for the 18th Sunday after Trinity.

The Third Sunday after Trinity seemed to be a low point when Bach revived his first two-part early Weimar Cantata BWV 21, "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" (I had much affliction in my heart), on June 13, 1723, then in the second chorale cantata cycle the next year, new chorale Cantata BWV 135 "Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder" (Ah Lord, poor sinner that I am), on June 25, 1725. Both cantatas follow the biblical reading for that Sunday, the third of four gospel parables in thematic patterns, Luke 15:1-10, Parable of the lost sheep, and observed the prescribed chorales for that period. Meanwhile, Bach in 1724 also produced chorale Cantatas BWV 7, “Christ unser Herr zu Jordan kam (Christ our Lord to Jordan came), the day before Cantata 135 and BWV 10, “Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn” (My soul magnifies the Lord, German Magnificat) the next Sunday when the feast of the Visitation of Mary fell on that date, July 2. For the next two years, Bach apparently produced or performed no new works. There is no record that Cantatas 21 and 135 were revived again.

Trinity 3 Gospel, Epistle, Introit Psalm

“The first four Sundays in Trinity Time during Bach’s time used Gospel Parables: short moralized allegories within the larger narratives of events in the life of Christ, says Douglas Cowling (May 3, 2011) in BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Readings.htm). The Gospel parable for Trinity 3 is Luke 15:1-10, Parable of the lost sheep: “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?.” Bach's cantatas for the early Trinity Time Sundays continually adhered to the Gospel teachings as emphasized in the sermons. For the Third Sunday after Trinity, Bach's two extant cantatas, BWV 21 and BWV 135, also reflect the Epistle, 1 Peter 5: 6-11 (God's humble flock), specifically verse 7: "Cast all your cares upon Him, for he cares for you," especially in Cantata BWV 21, Part 1.

The Trinity 3 Gospel (Luke 15:1-10) touches on the Good Shepherd theme first found in Second Sunday after Easter (Misericordias Domini) and the Lost Sheep in the Third Day of Pentecost (Whit Tuesday), emphasizing the treasure found in the Parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin. The readings for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity in Bach’s Time are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Trinity3.htm. The German text is that of Luther’s translation published in 1545, the English is the Authorised (King James) Version 1611. The Introit is Psalm 25, Ad te, Domine levavi (Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul; “Prayer about God’s reign, grace, and protection,” says Martin Petzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 1, Trinity Sundays.1

Bach's observance of the Third and Fourth Sundays after Trinity in Leipzig shows his continued consistency in the creation of Trinity Time service cantatas and appropriate plain and organ chorale settings. Responding to similar pairings of themes (prophecies) for these two Sundays with the overall concept of Trust in God through humility and mercy, the didactic chorales build on the principals in the first two Sundays after Trinity, emphasizing God's love and grace for all. Key Trinity Time chorales are used interchangeably, while Bach begins introducing positive, familiar Psalm and Communion Hymns.

Bach’s performance calendar for the Third Sunday after Trinity:

1714-06-17 So - Cantata BWV 21 Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (1st performance, Weimar)
1723-06-13 So - Cantata BWV 21 Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (3rd performance, Leipzig)
1724-06-25 So - Cantata BWV 135 Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder (1st performance, Leipzig)
1725-06-17 So - Agricola text only, “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (probably not BWV 177, Tr. 4, 1732)
1726-07-07 So - presumed Rudolstadt text only “Wo sich aber der Gottlose bekehret” ?JSB lost
1727-06-29 So – no record
1728-06-13 So – no record
1729-07-03 So – Picander text only, P45 “Lass sie spotten, lass sie lachen,” no chorale
1735-06-26 So - G.H. Stölzel: “Kommt her zu mir alle, die ihr mühselig und beladen seid.”

Musical Context of Bach Cantatas

Pre-Cycle 3, 1725.2 A surviving service cantata libretto book provides the texts for five cantatas presented on the Third, Fifth and Sixth Sundays after Trinity, June 17 to July 8, 1725 as well as two feast days. For the Third Sunday after Trinity, June 17, the full Agricola text of the chorale "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" is printed. Bach set the same text as a pure-hymn Cantata BWV 177, for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity, in 1732 and repeated it in 1742. BCW Cantata 177 text is http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV177-D4.htm, and the chorale text is at BCW www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV177-Eng3.htm (Francis Browne English translations).

For the Fourth Sunday After Trinity, that coincidentally fell on the Feast of St. John the Baptist, June 24, the Neumeister 1711 text, "Gelobet sei der Herr, der Gott Israel," is listed, possibly in the Georg Philipp Telemann setting, TVWV 1:596, for that feast, which survives. For Monday, July 2, the Feast of the Visitation, a setting of the German Magnificant, "Meine Seele erhebt den Herren," is printed, possibly by Johann Mattheson (c/1716) to a text of Maria Aurora von Königsmarck (1662-1728). 3

It is quite possible that Bach composed no settings for the 2nd and 3rd Sundays after Trinity 1725 around the feasts of John the Baptist (June 24) and Visitation of Mary (July 2). The 5th and 6th Sundays after Trinity 1723 are the only two dates in the first cycle lacking music for cantata performances. In the initial first cycle during early Trinity Time 1723, the 5th (June 27) and 6th (July 4) Sundays after Trinity fell around the Feasts of John the Baptist (BWV 167) and the Visitation of Mary (BWV 147).

Cycle 3 1726 possible Bach performance calendar (JLB = Johann Ludwig Bach):

Date|Service BWV JLB Text incipit (Rudolstadt)
06/23|Tr.+1 BWV 39 “Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot”
06/24|John JLB 17 “Siehe, ich will mienen Engel senden”
06/30|Tr.+2 (?) JSB? deest “Und der Herr Zabaoth wird allen Völkern”
07/02|Viist. JLB 13 “Der Herr wird ein Neues im Lande erschaffen”
07/07]Tr.+3 (?) JSB deest “Wo such aber der Gottlose behekret”
07/14|Tr.+4 (?) JLB deest “Ich tue Barherzigkeit an vielen Tausenden” or ?BWV 24,
07/21|Tr.+5 BWV 88 “Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussernden”
07/28|Tr.+6 (?double bill) JLB 7 “Ich will meinen Geist in euch geben” and BWV 170 “Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust” (Lehms text 1711)

For Cycle 3 (1726) during early Trinity Time, Bach established a compositional pattern for the third cycle in which he apparently alternated compositions of Johann Ludwig Bach (JLB) with his own, using the same Rudolstadt texts (published 1704/19/26) for original, mostly two-part compositions. Two of the five presumed works (JSB deest) for Trinity 2 and 3 are not extant (and may never have been composed by Sebastian) and one JLB deest (07/14|Tr.+4) is found in the Christoph Brinkmann published Nuremberg Cycle 1728 (Blanken, Ibid.: 20f). Cantatas JLB 17 (John), 13 (Visitation), and 7 (Tr. 6) are extant. Bach’s Cantatas BWV 39 (Tr.1), 88 (Tr. 5), and 170 (Tr. 6) are extant and were part of the 1750 estate division of the third cycle, with Emmanuel receiving the score and Friedemann tparts (all extant). Emmanuel inherited the 18 J. L. Bach works in manuscript. For the 4th Sunday after Trinity, it is possible that Bach reperformed Cantata 24, “Ein ungefärbt gemüte,” initially presented in 1723b at the same Trinity 4 service on a double bill with Weimar Cantata 185.

Also, there are no extant settings of cantatas for the Third and Fourth Sundays after Trinity in the 1726 third cycle or the 1728 published Picander Cycle: July 7, 1726 (Trinity +3), Rudolstadt text "Wo sich aber der Gottlose bekehret" (no musical setting found); and July 3, 1729 (Trinity +3), Picander P44, “Wohin, mein Herz?,” no chorale setting.

Trinity Sunday 3 Chorales

Bach uses well-known Trinity Time chorales in the two surviving cantatas for the Third Sunday after Trinity: Georg Neumark's 1657 "Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten" (BWV 21/9) and Cyriacus Schneegas’s 1597 "Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder" with the Passion chorale melody (Chorale Cantata BWV 135).

Bach's cantatas continually adhered to the Gospel teachings as emphasized in the sermons. For the Third Sunday after Trinity, Bach's two extant cantatas, BWV 21 and BWV 135, reflect the Epistle, 1 Peter 5: 6-11 (God's humble flock), especially in verse 7: "Cast all your cares upon Him, for he cares for you," especially Cantata BWV 21 with a direct quotation. The Gospel (Luke 15:1-10 touches on the Good Shepherd theme first found in Second Sunday after Easter (Misericordias Domini) and the Lost Sheep in the Third Day of Pentecost (Whit Tuesday), emphasizing the treasure found in the Parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin.

Bach's first Leipzig cycle two-part Cantata, BWV 21 "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" (I had much affliction in my heart), was presented on June 13, 1723, the Third Sunday after Trinity. Composed in Weimar as early as 1713, it uses two stanzas of the popular chorale, Georg Neumark `s 1657 (7 verse) "Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten" (Whoever lets only the dear God reign"). It is found in Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682 as No. 303, “Cross, Persecution and Challenge.” It is used in Movement No. 9, chorus (Psalm 116/7), "Sei nun wieder zufrieden" (Be satisfied again now, my soul), quote from Epistle (1 Peter 5:7), followed by the tenor chorale (S. 2) "Was helfen uns die schweren Sorgen?" (What help to us are heavy sorrows), the continued Psalm chorus response, "denn der Herr tut dir Guts" (for the Lord does good to you). The soprano chorale setting of Stanza 5 concludes the movement: “Denk nicht in deiner Drangsalshitze, / Daß du von Gott verlassen seist” (Do not think in the heat of your distress / that you have been abandoned by God).

For Leipzig Cycle 2 in 1724, Bach set chorale Cantata BWV 135, "Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder," for the Third Sunday after Trinity, June 25. The chorale is found in the NLGB No. 246, Psalm chorales); text (6 stanzas), Cyriakus Schneegaß (1597), based on Psalm 6 (Prayer for Help in Time of Trouble); melody, Hans Leo Hassler "Befiehl du deine Wege" (Herzlich tut mich verlangen, Passion chorale) 1601. The cantata theme is found in the last verse of the Gospel (Luke 15:10): [10] “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth ”(KJV).

"Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ" (I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ) in the NLGB 234, “Christian Life and Conduct,” is one of the most ubiquitous Trinity Time chorales. The Johann Agricola ?1529 five-stanza chorale is assigned in the NLGB as the Hymn of the Day for the Second, 19th and 21st Sundays after Trinity and as a communion hymn on the Sundays after Trinity +5, +6, +8, and +22. Bach chose "Ich ruft zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" as the subject of pure-hymn Chorale Cantata BWV for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity, presented in 1732, to fill that service gap in Cycle 2.

Trinity 3 Service Chorales

The service chorales for the Third Sunday after Trinity are: HYMN OF DAY (de tempore) Trinity +3: "Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ," see Chorales in Cantatas for Third & Fourth Sundays Trinity, Cantata BWV 185. Text, BCW www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV177-Eng3.htm.

CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns: "Erbarm dich mein, O Herre Gott" (Be merciful to me, O Lord God), Erhardt Hegenwalt 1524 5 stanzas, melody Johann Walter Gesangbuch 1521 (NLGB 256, Christian Life & Conduct) for use with the Third, 11th, 14th and 22nd Sundays after Trinity), setting of Psalm 51, Prayer for Forgiveness (penitence).
"O Herre Gott begnade mich" (O Lord God, pardon me), NLGB 257, Christian Life & Conduct), Tr.+8, 11+, 13+, 19+, is the Bishop Coverdale setting of Psalm 51 (Prayer for Forgiveness) 5 stanzas; psalm tune, Matthäus Greitter 1525 (Calvin published in 1539). Greitter, cf Trinity +2, "Es wolle Gott uns gnädig sein" 1524 (NLGB 680). English translation: http://matthaeusglyptes.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html, scroll down to "O Herre Gott." No Bach use extant.
"Wo soll ich fliehen hin"(Where should I fly from here), Johann Heerman 1630 (11 stanzas). NLGB 182, Catechism (Communion, Trinity Sunday +3,) text BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale021-Eng3.htm.
"Allein zu dir Herr Jesus Christ" (On you alone, Lord Jesus Christ), Conrad Hubert 1540 (4 stanzas), melody anonymous 1540. NLGB 178 Catechism, Hymn of the Day, Third Sunday After Epiphany; Trinity +11, 21, 22, 24, text http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale111-Eng3.htm.
Also, "and others from Confession and Repentance," NLGB 170-189.

Early Trinity Time

Looking back at Bach’s earliest Trinity Time cantatas in 1723, after two extensive, original two-part works, BWV 75, 76, beginning on May 30, for the next five weeks Bach was able to draw almost entirely on works he had composed originally in Weimar and recycle them in Leipzig. Serendipity enabled him to utilize five Weimar works: two-part chorus Cantata 21 (1713) for Trinity 3, chorale solo Cantata BWV 185 (1715) with new solo Cantata BWV 24 on a double bill for Trinity 4; chorus Cantata 167 (1715) for John the Baptist (June 24), expanded two-part Weimar chorus Cantata 147 (1716) for the Visitation Feast (July 2), and another expanded two-part Weimar chorus Cantata 186 (1716) for Trinity 7.

The next year in Leipzig, 1724, Bach made up for the lack of Trinity Time Sundays preceding the two summer feast days in his second, chorale cantata cycle with Cantata 7 for the Feast of John the Baptist followed the next day (Trinity 3) with chorale Cantata 135. The next week, he was fortunate that the Visitation Feast and Trinity 4 feel on the same Sunday, July 2. Although Bach was able to compose three Trinity Time cantatas for virtually all of the twenty-plus Sundays, he left only two works for Trinity 2 (BWV 76, 2), Trinity 3 (BWV 21, 135) and Trinity 5 (88, 93). He did present three cantatas for the 4th Sunday after Trinity (BWV 24, 185 (Weimar), and 177). In the interim pre-Cycle 3 1725 Trinity Time, he scheduled performances of other composers for the first Sundays and in 1726 Rudolstadt texts set to cousin Johann Ludwig Bach and his own works.. In 1728-29 he eschewed any settings of Picander cycle texts for these early Trinity Time Sundays.

FOOTNOTES

1 Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Die geistlichen Kantaten des 1. Bis 27. Trinitas-Sontagges, Vol. 1; Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs, Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2004, Trinity +3, 69).
2 Materials below, except where noted, come from BCW “Motets & Chorales for 3rd Sunday after Trinity,” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity3.htm.
3 Christine Blanken, “A Cantata-Text Cycle of 1728 from Nuremberg: A Preliminary Report on a Discovery relating to J. S. Bach’s so-called “Third Annual Cantata Cycle” (Understanding Bach 10: 9-30, Bach Network UK 2015, http://bachnetwork.co.uk/ub10/ub10-blanken.pdf (far more detailed account expected to be published in Bach-Jahrbuch 2015). Biography, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Aurora_von_Königsmarck (copy and paste Google).

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To Come: Missae Breves in g minor BWV 235, in G Major, BWV 236.

 


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