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Cantatas for the 4th Sunday after Trinity
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William Hoffman wrote (June 20, 2016):
4th Sunday after Trinity: Cantatas, Chorales

For the 4th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig, Bach presented and reperformed three cantatas, BWV 185 "Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe" (Merciful heart of eternal love); BWV 24, "Ein ungefärbt Gemüte" (An unstained mind of truth); and “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ). The cantatas use popular chorales and emphasize the teaching of the day's Epistle, Romans 8: 18-23 (Hope in Future Glory), and the Gospel, the Thematic pattern of the fourth parable, Gospel (Luke 6: 36-42), the Blind leading the blind. Two of the most popular pietist chorales for early Trinity Time are “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” and “Jesu, meine Freude” (Jesus, my joy).

All three of Bach's three extant cantatas for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity -- BWV 185, BWV 24 and the belated chorale Cantata BWV 177 -- observe the spirit of the day's Epistle, Romans 8: 18-23 (Hope in Future Glory), especially verse 9. "All of creation awaits with eager longing for God to reveal his children," and the Gospel (Luke 6: 36-42), be merciful (compassionate), do not judge, as shown in the parable of the Blind leading the Blind. Readings for the 4th Sunday after Trinity in Bach’s time are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Trinity4.htm. The German text is that of Luther’s translation published in 1545, the English is the Authorised (King James) Version 1611. The Introit reading for the 4th Sunday after trinity is Psalm 112, Beatus vir God-fearing ability and bliss (Praise ye the Lord (KJV, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+112&version=KJV), says Richard Petzoldt in Bach Commentar, Vol. 1: Trinity Time.1

Bach uses three popular early Trinity Time Psalm Chorales found in the NLGB:2 Psalm 23, both settings of "Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt" (The Lord is my Faithful Shepherd); Psalm 46, Luther's "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" (A Mighty Fortress is our God); and Psalm 103, Cyriakus Schneegaß' "Nun lob', mein' Seel', den Herren" (Now praise, my soul, the Lord). Further, Bach also sets three well-known Trinity Time Communion Hymns also found in the first part of the NGB omnes tempore (Ordinary Time) section: Heermann's "Wo soll ich fliehen hin"(Where should I fly from here), Hubert's "Allein zu dir Herr Jesus Christ" (On you alone, Lord Jesus Christ), and Luther's "Dies sind die heilige Zehn Gebot" (These are the holy 10 Commandments).

Bach’s performance calendar for the 4th Sunday after Trinity:

1715-07-14 So - Cantata BWV 185 Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe (1st performance, Weimar)
1723-06-20 So - Cantata BWV 24 Ein ungefärbt Gemüte (1st performance, Leipzig) + Cantata BWV 185 Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe (3rd performance, Leipzig);
1724-07-02 So Mary’s Visitation Feast
1725-06-24 So Johannis - ?G.P. Telemann: Cantata Gelobet sei der Herr, der Gott Israel, TVWV 1:596 (1st performance, Leipzig)
1726-07-14 So - J.L. Bach: Cantata Ich tue Barmherziges an vielen Tausend, JLB (1st performance, Leipzig; Lost) (?)
1732-07-06 So - Cantata BWV 177 Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (1st performance, Leipzig)
Vocal works with no definite date:
(possibly repeat performance in Weimar) - Cantata BWV 185 Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe (2nd performance, Weimar, 1716) (?)
(c1742) - Cantata BWV 177 Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (2nd performance, Leipzig)
(1746-1747) - Cantata BWV 185 Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe (4th performance, Leipzig)

On the Fourth Sunday after Trinity in the first Leipzig cycle, June 20, 1723, Bach presented his first double bill of Cantatas BWV 185 (a Weimar repeat) and newly-composed Cantata BWV 24 before and after the sermon, respectively, each using quite popular chorales:

*Cantata BWV 185 "Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe" (Merciful heart of eternal love), also repeated ?1746-47, with closing plain chorale, No. 6, Agricola's, "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" (I call to Thee, S.1). This chorale played a major role in the Trinity Time services in Leipzig, beginning on the Second Sunday after Trinity as the Hymn of the Day.
*Cantata BWV 24, "Ein ungefärbt Gemüte" (An unstained mind of truth), closing chorale No. 6, Heerman, "O Gott, du frommer Gott" (O God, thou very God), NLGB 564, "Christian Life," Hänssler complete Bach Edition V.83, plain chorale BWV 399 in G Major. BCW text: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale013-Eng3.htm
Melody uses: BCW, www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/O-Gott-du-frommer-Gott.htm.

There are no settings of cantatas for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity in the 1726 third cycle or the 1728 published Picander Cycle: July 14 (Trinity +4), Rudolstadt text "Ich tue Barmherzeges an viel Tausend" (no musical setting found); and July 10, 1728, first Picander cycle service, text only P45 "Lass sie spotten, lass sie lachen"; No. 6, plain chorale "Jesu, meine Freude" (Jesus, my joy), Johann Franck (6 stanzas) 1653, Johann Crüger 1653 melody; S. 6, "Weicht, ihr Trauergeister" (Go away, mournful spirits), ?BWV358 in D Major=??1105, "Jesus Hymn," Hänssler complete Bach Edition V.84.

For the 4th Sunday after Trinity, “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ) is set as plain chorale Cantata BWV 177. Bach chose it as the subject of Chorale Cantata BWV 177, for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity, presented in 1732, to fill that service gap in Cycle 2. It is found in the BCML Discussion, Part 4 (June 22, 2014), http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV177-D4.htm, with mire information under “Popular Chorale.” The chorale is found in the NLGB as No. 235, “Christian Life and Conduct” etc. (Nos. 234-274). The full text and Francis Browne’s English translation are found at BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV177-Eng3.htm. Bach’s other use is in the Orgelbüchlein Collection, OB 91 and set as BWV 639. "Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ" was 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.

4th Sunday after Trinity Chorales

Service Chorales, Fourth Sunday after Trinity (NLGB) are: HYMN OF DAY (de tempore) Trinity +4 "O Herre Gott begnade mich" (O Lord God, have mercy on me. PULPIT HYMN: "Herr Jesu Christ, dich uns wend," translation: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/l/j/ljcbpnow.htm. CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns: "Wo soll ich fleihen hin" and "Allein zu dir Herr Jesu Christ"; And "others from [the] Confession and Penitence [section]"

The NLGB (p.297) also lists the following three hymns for the Fourth Sunday After Trinity: 1. "Dies sind die heilige Zehn Gebot" (These are the holy 10 Commandments), Martin Luther text (12 stanzas); melody, German folk hymn, `In gottes namen faren wir" (In God's name we are traveling); text: http://www.fullbooks.com/The-Hymns-of-Martin-Luther1.html, Book 2.

Early Trinity Time Chorales

In general in Bach’s time congregations and organists were more familiar with the de tempore chorales for Christmas and Easter events in the life of Jesus Christ, the omnes tempore usually being less familiar. The exception were the pietists with their interest in personal and devotional sacred songs. Most of the new chorales, while still based on popular melodies, often dealt with the omnes tempore themes that orthodox Lutheran pastors sought to teach and sermonize on, particularly in Leipzig where Bach could enjoy the best of both worlds, so tspeak. The wealth of established omnes tempore chorales enabled Bach to chorale cantatas and the pastors to sermonize on the chorale.

While the Trinity Time hymns rarely spoke directly to the Sunday Gospel lessons, the chosen themes often related to the lessons. They served as the theological, liturgical, and catechismal underpinnings of the word of God through the service of the sermon and the cantata as the musical version of the sermon. During Trinity Time, there was a great deal of flexibility in the use of hymns although many traditions were being developed, such as the chorale and emblematic sermons addressing a series of themes and characteristics pastors and composers for the hymn of the day (de tempore) and the pulpit and communion hymns. At the same time there were cyclical themes appropriate for the early and late Trinity Time as well as the later Epiphany Time Sundays and Pre-Lenten “gesimae” 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: 91).

2 Information on “Motets and Chorales for the 4th Sunday after Trinity (Trinity 4)” are found at BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-Trinity4.htm.

Select Bibliography

BCW (Paul Gerhardt, Bach uses 22 hymns): www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Gerhardt.htm.
Häfner, Klaus. "Der Picander Jahrgang," <Bach Jahrbuch> 61 (1975): 107.
Stiller, Gunther. <JSB& Liturgical Life in Leipzig> (St. Louis: Concordia, 1984).
Stinson, Russell. <Bach: The Orgelüchlein>, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).
Williams, Peter. <Organ Music of Bach> (Second Edition), Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Wolff, Christoph. "The Neumeister Collection of Chorale Preludes from the Bach Circle," in < Bach: Essays on His Life and Music>, Harvard University Press, 1991).
Vopelius, Gottfried, <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> (1682); glossary, Jürgen Grimm, Berlin: Merseburger, 1969. ML 3168 G75.

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TO COME: Motet “Jesu meine Freude,” BWV 227, Intro.

 


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