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Cantata BWV 100
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan [III]
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the week of April 26, 2015 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (April 26, 2013):
Chorale Cantata 100, "Was Gott tut" for Jubilate Sunday?

Samuel Rodigast’s 1675 popular affirmative chorale, “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" (What God does, that is well done) became the vehicle for one of Bach’s last, most progressive and engaging pure-hymn cantatas, BWV 100. It followed by a decade two previous efforts with mixed results, chorale Cantata BWV 99 for the 15th Sunday after Trinity, 1724, and chorus Cantata BWV 98, for the 21st Sunday after Trinity 1726. Probably originally composed for a wedding 1732-35, or other festive event, Cantata was twice repeated in the late 1730s and early 1740s and its joyous character makes it an ideal candidate to fill the Easter Season gap in Bach’s chorale cantata cycle of 1725 for the third Sunday after Easter, known as “Jubilate,” with its Psalm 66 introit, “Jubilate Deo.”

Where all of Bach’s previous efforts at musical sermons for Jubilate Sunday began in sorrow, weeping, and lamentation, ultimately moving to joy, Bach chose to set all six stanzas of Rodigast’s affirmative hymn on overcoming cross, persecution and trial though unwavering faith that is typical of the later Easter season Johananine farewell discourses of Jesus Christ to his disciples encouraging them to sing, prayer and hear the trust of the Holy Spirit following his departure.

Cantata 100 is an unusual pure-hymn setting in that Bach set all four internal stanzas as arias or duets, with no recitatives, and these are among Bach’s last (and progressive) compositions. Although Bach focused on the Rodigast setting, the original incipit, “Was Gott tut,” dates to before 1640 and originally was set by theologian Johann Michael Altenberg. Bach was familiar with both the Rodigast and Altenberg settings as he planned to use them in his Orgelbüchlein, but did not set them. Altenberg also set a similar hymn, “Verzage nicht, o Häuflein klein” (Do not despair, O little flock). Bach’s St. Thomas pastor, Christian Weiss (1677-1736), also had apparent connections to Altenberg’s hymns. He may have been the librettist for Bach’s Cantata 42 for Quasimodogeniti Sunday 1725 with its chorale duet setting of “Verzage nicht,” and he may have encouraged Bach to set the Rodigast version between 1732-35 when Weiss last delivered his annual sets of emblematic sermons, originally begun at Easter 1724 and probably renewed at Easter 1725.

Cantata 100 Genesis1

<< Bach's Cantata BWV 100, "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan [III]" (What God does, that is well done) was one of his last original sacred compositions. It is infused with the special characteristics and is an exemplary summation of his compositional technique. Most significant is his pervasive use of galant style in this valedictory cantata. Bach's generic four-part plain chorales contain three galant characteristics: singable melodies, symmetrical phrases, and homophonic textures. In the two chorale choruses with independent orchestral parts, there are strong rhythms and a sense of uplift. Dance style is found in three of the four chorale arias, as well as transparent scoring with pleasing, virtuosic solo instruments. Alfred Dürr in The Cantatas of JSB,2 points out another galant-style characteristic: the strict symmetrical phrases in the Bar-form folk song of the bass aria (Mvt. 4). Bach continued to sustain a high level of creativity through transformation of his materials, and also found opportunities to make varied use of these chorale cantatas.

Bach had systematically employed other homophonic harmonizations of the "Was Gott tut" text and melody in church cantatas. According to the notes of Marianne Helms and Artur Hirsch in Helmut Rilling's recording of BWV100,3 Bach began in Weimar in Cantata BWV 12, "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" for the Third Sunday after Easter in the closing chorale. He repeated it in the Cantata BWV 69a, "Lobe den Hernn, meine Selle," for the 12th Sunday after Trinity in 1723, with obbligato oboe or trumpet. He also used it in Cantata BWV 144, "Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin," for Setuageisma Sunday in the Epiphany season of 1724 in his first cantata cycle; and in Cantata BWV 99, "Was Got tut" [II] for the 15th Sunday after Trinity in the chorale cantata cycle in 1724. Bach as well employed the chorale twice in chorale choruses: closing Part 1 of his 1723 inaugural Leipzig Cantata BWV 75, Die Elenden sollen essen," beginning the Trinity Season, and as an opening chorale chorus in Cantata BWV 98, "Was Gott tut" [I], for the 21st Sunday after Trinity in 1726 in his third cantata cycle.

One characteristic is Bach's exemplary use of instruments, especially in his last chorale cantatas. There are pairs of hunting horns (BWV 100, BWV 112, and BWV 192) with the added air of festivity and joy. Striking horn solos are found in BWV 14 and BWV 140. In addition, Bach uses pairs of horns for his full instrumental setting of three wedding chorales, BWV 250-252, composed in the early 1730s. One of these, BWV 250, also has Bach's favorite chorale, "What God does, that is done well."

When it came to this final utilization of the chorale, Bach clearly made his ultimate statement regarding this beloved hymn, using all six stanzas verbatim (per omnes versus). As was his custom in the chorale cantatas, he used the opening chorale chorus, Verse 1, borrowing the material from Cantata BWV 99. The rhythmic meter was changed from common time 4/4 to march-like cut time in 2/2, with the addition of two horns and drums supporting the strings, with the interplay of solo flute and oboe d'amore. He did the same with the closing chorale chorus, Verse 6, borrowed from Cantata BWV 75, adding elaborate instrumental texture.

In between, Bach composed four non-da capo arias in succession, set to the original text, Verses 2-5 respectively, with varied accompaniment: continuo only for the alto-tenor duet (Mvt. 2); soprano aria with flute (Mvt. 3), bass aria with strings (Mvt. 4), and alto aria with oboe d'amore (Mvt. 5). The three arias all use dance style, from the feel of the gigue in 6/8 time, then 2/4 pastorale, and finally 12/8 polyphonic siciliano. While 35 of Bach's some 50 chorale cantatas contain movements in dance style, all nine final chorale cantatas have at least one dance-style, three have two (BWV 112, BWV 117, BWV 97), and BWV 100 has three.>>

As Ludwig Finscher writes in the notes to the Gustav Leonhardt recording:4 "the three arias, with their sensitive writing . . . display Bach at his most modern: the Soprano aria has a most taxing flute part, the oboe d'amore is given a dulcet, affective solo to play in the Alto aria (Mvt. 5), and ingratiating parallel third and sixths played by the violins introduce an element of the gallant into the Bass aria (Mvt. 4)." By contrast, the alto-tenor duet (Mvt. 2) is in traditional motet style in the manner of an Italian chamber duet of Handel and Steffani, ideal fare for Bach's Collegium musicum.”

The second and third movement settings are of particular interest, says Dr. Theodor Glaser, in the liner notes to the Rondeau Production.5 “The alto/tenor duet (Mvt. 2), in which - as in the arias - the melody of the chorale is merely hinted at, has a continuo accompaniment, measured even steps charting "the proper path". The musical details are lovingly, sighingly depicted. "betrayal and contentment, misfortune and forbearance". The third verse sees the introduction of the new and highly fashionable flauto traverso with a virtuoso coloratura. "God keepeth faith." It calls to mind the flute of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. He is the healer and miracle-worker, playing the melody of love.”

Rodigast Hymn settings in Cantatas

Separated by a decade, Bach’s settings of the Rodigast hymn in Cantatas 98-100 have certain differences and commonalties, observes John Eliot Gardiner 2004 liner notes to the 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage on Soli Deo Gloria recordings.6 “Although they have successive BWV numbers, Bach’s first and third sof Samuel Rodigast’s hymn Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan are separated by at least a decade, and their points of difference are as intriguing as their shared material (for example, the addition of two corni da caccia and timpani in BWV 100 to the string band with flute and oboe d’amore in BWV 99). In the earlier version, Bach provides just a single aria (No.3), for tenor with flute obbligato.” Cantata 99 “is a salutary piece of musical sermonising, but still a bitter pill to swallow amid the cheerier admonitions of the opening chorus and closing chorale.”

“In his third version (BWV 100), which was first performed in Leipzig in 1734, Bach continues the words of the opening chorale unaltered through all six verses while managing never to repeat himself musically nor to allow the hymn tune to outlive its welcome. You sense Bach either responding to criticism (‘Why do you make your cantatas so complicated? Couldn’t you restrict them to a single theological theme?’) or setting himself a new challenge, to provide maximum variety within the constraints of the verse form. The four middle movements are hugely challenging and gripping, without a single recitative to break up the pattern. An alto/tenor duet (No.2), demanding giant lungs and firm control of coloratura, is followed by a siciliano for soprano and flute obbligato (No.3) – probably the most technically challenging of all Bach’s flute obbligati, with its roulades of twenty-four successive demisemiquavers per bar. Then comes a jaunty bass aria accompanied by full strings with lilting syncopations (No.4), and a glorious 12/8 aria for alto with oboe d’amore (No.5) – lyrical and soothing. Bach rounds off the cantata with a repeat (No.6) of the setting we first performed on Trinity 1 (BWV 75), but this time with added horns and timpani.”
© John Eliot Gardiner 2004

Mystery: Cantata 100 Purpose

Despite its festive atmosphere, Bach’s Cantata 100 purpose remains a mystery, observes Misaaki Suzuki in his liner notes to the 2013 BIS recording of the complete sacred cantatas.7 <<This cantata from 1734–35, based on the well-known hymn by the poet Samuel Rodigast (1649−1708) is the last of three works bearing the same title: in 1724 Bach had written a chorale cantata for the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity (BWV 99), and in 1726 his cantata for the 21st Sunday after Trinity had started with the first strophe of this hymn (BWV 98). The setting from 1734–35, another chorale cantata, differs fundamentally from its elder sister because not just the outer movements but also the inner ones (Nos 2–5) are based on the original wording of the hymn (most of the chorale cantatas from 1724–25 used adaptations).

Unlike its similarly named predecessors, this cantata does not provide any information as to its purpose. Its lavish scoring, however, suggests that it was written for a particularly festive occasion. For the introductory chorus, Bach reused the first movement of the 1724 cantata, expanding the score to include timpani and a pair of horns. The hymn melody is in the soprano, which always enters first and is then accompanied by very simple writing for the three lower vocal parts. The orchestra has an especially prominent role in the musical events, with one small but colourful group of instruments – flute, oboe d’amore, first violin and continuo – that regularly stands apart from the rest. The entire movement is characterized by festive splendour and the joy of music-making.

The four inner strophes, all set as arias, show Bach’s concern for variety of musical character, of vocal forces and instrumental colour, of metre, key and structure. The second movement takes the form of a duet between two closely woven imitative voices (alto and tenor) above a basso continuo that progresses in rhythmically even scale motion. The following soprano aria, in B minor, strikes a pensive note; the characteristic dotted rhythms of a siciliano are combined with flute cascades of unprecedented virtuosity. The emotion of joyful certainty dominates much of the fourth movement, a bass aria. With its syncopated melody and gossamer string writing (with constant broken triads after the beat) it comes across as decidedly fashionable. By contrast the fifth movement is elegiac, a duet for alto and oboe d’amore full of wide-ranging, arching melodies, in E minor; its text refers to the ‘bitter chalice’ but also to the ‘sweet consolation’ that eases all pains.

For the concluding chorus, Bach once again turned to an earlier work: the end of the first part of the cantata Die Elenden sollen essen (The meek shall eat), BWV 75 (1723). In the original, simple, homophonically set chorale lines alternate with a memorable orchestral ritornello. Again, Bach has added horns and timpani – and, clearly with the intention of establishing them as an independent group of instruments, he has included some bars specifically for them.>>
© Masaaki Suzuki 2013

JUBILATE (3rd Sunday After Easter)8

<<The theme of sorrow turned to joy or the sorrow-joy-antithesis is found in all four cantatas Bach presented in Leipzig on “Jubilate” or the Third Sunday after Easter. Jubilate (3rd Sunday after Easter), as revealed in the Readings: Epistle: 1 Peter 2:11-20 (Suffer patiently for well-doing); Gospel: John 16:16-23 (Now you have sorrow, but your heart shall rejoice). Complete biblical text is the Martin Luther German translation (1545), with the English translation Authorised (King James) Version [KJV] 1611; for complete texts, see BCW Readings,

The opening Introit antiphon, “Make a joyful noise,” and Psalm are the beginning of Psalm 66(1-2): “Jubilate Deo” (Be joyful in God all ye lands; sing the glory of his name and praise; how awesome are your deeds, through your great power your enemies submit. The Introit Psalm 66 is described as a work of great praise for the unfathomable works of God (Lob und Preis der sonderbaren Werke Gottes), says Martin Petzoldt in his Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinityfest.9 In German, the incipit is “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen.” The full text of Psalm 66 (KJV) is found at

Polyphonic motet settings of Psalm 66, “Jubilate Deo,” are among the most popular and Bach had access to some of the finest compositions. The include the 8-part setting of Hans Leo Hassler,,_psalmum_dicite_a_8_(Hans_Leo_Hassler; the four-part setting of Orlando di Lasso,; the five-voice setting of Palestrina,, and the four-voice setting of Heinrich Schütz,ämtliche_Werke_(Schütz,_Heinrich), as well as music of Monteverdi and Gabrielli.

Each cantata for Jubilate Sunday opens with texts of tribulation and lamentation, based on the Bible readings:

1. BWV 12, “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” (Weeping, crying, mourning, sighing) [(John 16:20] (Salamo Franck text, Weimar, 4/22/1714); repeated 4/30/1724
2. BWV 103, “Ihr werdet weinen und heulen” (Ye shall weep and howl) [John 16:20] (Mariane von Ziegler text, Leipzig, 4/22/1725); repeated 4/15/1731.
3. BWV 146, “Wir müsen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen” (We must through much tribulation into the Kingdom of God enter) [Acts 14:22] (?Picander text; Leipzig, 5/12/1726 or /18/1728).
4. JLB 8, “Die mit Tränen säen” (That with tears seen) [Psalm 126:4-6] (Leipzig 5/12/1726 [uncertain] c.1743-46) (Prince Ernst of Meiningen/Rudolstadt text)

Bach considered but did not completetwo works for Jubilate Sunday, BWV 224, and Picander Cycle Cantata P-33. The initial texts of both are quite similar, in a troubling mood BWV 224, “Reißt euch los, bekränkte Sinnen” (Break away, O troubled spirits); opening soprano aria fragment (librettist unknown); uncertainty whether music is by Bach [1724] or C.P.E. Bach [1732]. The text continues: “Break away, /Let the long accustomed pain / This day gain no place within you; /Break away, O troubled heart.” BCW: (Z. Philipp Ambrose)

Picander Cycle, P-33 “Fasse dich, betrübter Sinn” (Control yourself, troubled mind) (Picander text only, ?5/18/1729); Opening chorus or aria text continues: “Thy tears/ are only a little lasting,/ Ah, a little is soon spent,/ Control yourself, troubled mind.” [two lines missing, no da capo indicted in printed text). chorale No. 6, “Ah, I have already perceived this great glory (cf. 162/6, Trinity +20, 1715). “Alle Menschen müssen sterben”

From Sorrow to Joy

Bach’s Easter Season musical sermons portray the initial sorrow of Christ’s disciples and his followers at his death leading at the resurrection to an initial, brief inward joy which grows in Christ’s final 40 days on earth to Ascension Day at which, “They worshiped him and went back to Jerusalem, filled with great joy, and spent all their time in the Temple giving thanks to God” (Luke 24:52-53, the conclusion of Luke’s Gospel).

The juxtaposition of sorrow and joy is a central theme in Bach’s works, especially in the great closing choruses of all three extant Passions for Good Friday, and is based upon Ecclesiates 3:4: “There is a time for sorrow and a time for joy, for mourning and dancing.” Each of the rest-in-the grave choruses of Bach’s original Passion settings of John, Matthew, and Mark uses sorrowful texts set to dance music, respectively: “Rest well, ye holy limbs,” a 3/4 minuet; “We sit our selves down in tears,” a 3/4 sarabande; and “By thy rock grave and great tombstone,” a 12/8 gigue.

The theme reflecting sorrow at Christ’s death and joy at his resurrection is based on the service Gospel reading, John 16:16-23, “Jesus’ Farewell,” in Jesus’ Farewell Discourses to his disciples in John’s Gospel, Chapters 14-17. It is the first of four Discourses used as the Gospel readings for the final four Sundays After Easter:

Jubilate [3rd Sunday after Easter, "Make a joyful noise"], John 16:16-23 Christ’s Farewell;
Cantate [4th Sunday after Easter, "Sing"], John 16: 5-15, Work of the Spirit;
Rogate [5th Sunday after Easter, "Pray"], John 16:23-30, Christ’s Promise to the Disciples;
Exaudi [6th Sunday after Easter, "Hear"], John 15: 26-16: 4, Spirit will come.

Cantata 100 Movements, Scoring, Text (all stanzas unaltered), Key, and meter are10

1. Chorus fantasia with ritornelli [SATB; Corno I/II, Timpani, Flauto traverso, Oboe d'amore, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo): “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan / Es bleibt gerecht sein Wille” (What God does, that is done well / His will remains just); G major, 2/2
2. Aria (Duet) motet style [Alto, Tenor; Continuo]: “Was Got tut . . . / “Er wird mich nicht betrügen” (What God does . . . / he will not deceive me); D major, 4/4.
3. Aria in two parts, with ritornelli, dal segno opening sinfonia repeated [Soprano; Flauto traverso solo, Continuo] A. “Was Gott tut . . . / Er wird mich wohl bedenken” (What God does . . . / he will take good care of me); B. “Gott ist getreu”(God is faithful); b minor; 6/8 gigue style.
4. Aria in four-parts AABC with ritornelli [Bass; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Was Gott tut” . . . Er ist mein Licht, mein Leben” (What God does . . . / he is my light, my life); A “Der mir nichts Böses gönnen kann” (who can have no ill will towards me); B. “In Freud und Leid!”(in joy and sorrow!); C. “Es kommt die Zeit, / Da öffentlich erscheinet, / Wie treulich er es meinet.” (The time will come / when it will be clearly apparent / how faithful his intention is); G major; 2/4 pastorale style,
5. Aria in two-parts with ritornelli [Alto; Oboe d'amore, Violoncello, Violone, Continuo]; “Was Gott tut . . . Muß ich den Kelch gleich schmecken / Laß ich mich doch nicht schrecken” (What God does . . . / If I have to taste the chalice . . . / I shall not let myself be frightened); B. “Weil doch zuletzt / Ich werd ergötzt” (since in the end / I shall feel delight); e minor, 12/8 polyphonic siciliano style.
6. Chorale four-voice [SATB; Corno I/II, Timpani, Flauto traverso, Oboe d'amore, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo): “Was Gott tut . . . / Dabei will ich verbleiben” (What God does . . . / with this belief I want to stay firmly in agreement); G major, 4/4.

The texts of the general Easter hymns had virtually no relationship to the Johanine Gospel lessons for the six Sundays after Easter as well as the feasts of Ascension, Pentecost (three-days) and the Trinity fest). The one exception was Misericordias Domini (“goodness/tender mercies), the 2nd Sunday after Easter, with the John Gospel 10:12-15, the Good Shepherd description Jesus provides to the skeptical Pharisees, as well as the designated Introit Psalm 23.

Chorale Texts & Usages

For better selection, Bach or his librettist turned to other Leipzig and Dresden hymnals. For example, Cantata 12, “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen,” libretto probably by Salomo Franck, for Jubilate (3rd Sunday after Easter) in 1714 in Weimar, repeated in Leipzig in 1724, closes with “Was Got tut, das ist wohlgetan” (What God does that is well-done), says Günther Stiller in JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig.11 Although it “is nowhere in the [Leipzig] hymn schedules mentioned as belonging to this Sunday [Jubilate]; in the Dresden hymnbooks for example, besides specific hymns, also hymns generally in the classification “Concerning Cross and Trial” are recommended, and among hymns of that category, this hymn is often found.” In Das neu Leipziger Gesangbuch of 1682,12 the category is called “Cross, Persecution & Challenge” (Vom Creutz, Verfolung und Anfechtung), Nos. 275-304, but does not include “Was Gott tut.”

“Cross, Persecution & Challenge” is one of Bach’s favorite categories for setting chorales and also is known as “In Time of Trouble” under the general heading “Christian Life and Conduct” (“Persecution”) in his Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book), with two different texts but neither set by Bach, Nos. 111-112. Chorale No. 112, “Was Gott tut” . . . Es bleibt gerecht sein Wille” is the traditional setting of Samuel Rodigast/Gastorius-Fabricius. Chorale setting No. 111, “Was Got tut . . . Kein ein(z)ig Mensch ihn tadeln kann” (What God does . . . no single man can reproach him) is the earlier work of Michael Altenberg (1584-1640), with a different melody (Riemenschneider 45 or Zahn 2524). Altenberg also is the composer of the chorale, “Verzage nicht, o Häuflein klein” (Do not despair, O little flock), addressing the disciples at Christ’s departure, and has some reminiscences of the other Altenberg hymn. Bach set “Verzage nicht,” which is found in the Dresden hymn schedules for Jubilate Sunday (Stiller: Ibid.: 240), as a chorale duet in Cantata 42 (No. 4) for Quasimodogeniti Sunday (Easter 1) in 1725, possibly to a text by Christian Weiss. For Altenberg’s biography, see

In 1650, the incipit “Was Got tut, das ist wohlgetan” was found in a four-part setting of Samuel Scheidt to a different melody in the Görlitzer Tabulatur Buch that contains 100 organ chorales in 4-part harmonizations.

It is based on Deuteronomy 32:413 (KJV): “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” The sources of the popular incipit were a conflation of several psalms, says Matin Petzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 1, Trinity Sundays.14 The psalms (KJV) are: 37:5, “Commit the way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass”; 111:3, “His work is honorable and glorious; and his righteousness endureth forever”; 116:12, “What shall I render unto the Lordfor all his benefits toward me?”; and 13:6, “I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully to me.”

Bach’s earliest use of the melody of the same name, “Was Gott tut” (Zahn 5629, EKG 299), originally attributed to various composers, is found in the Neumeister Collection of organ chorales, BWV 1116 (1700-1705) as one of seven death-related hymns (BWV 1111-1117, towards the end of the collection listed by church-year use. The melody date and attribution are 1674, 1679 (Severus Gastorius, 1646-82); based upon 1659 (Werner Fabricius, 1633-79), says BCW, “Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works,”

The Samuel Rodigast chorale text of 1675, “Was Gott tut,” although in traditional Bar form (six stanzas, same first line, seven lines each), was first found published with music in the 1690 Nürnberg Gesangbuch. The full text and Francis Browne English translation is found at BCW, The Rodigast (1649-1708) BCW Short Biography is found at It is one of Bach’s favorites. It is set as the incipit for three cantatas, BWV 98, 99, and 100, usually designated for Trinity Time, with chorus Cantata 98 for the 21st Sunday after Trinity, 1726 (3rd cycle), and chorale Cantata 99 (with paraphrased internal movements of 1724) for the 15th Sunday after Trinity. Cantata 100 and Cantata 177 are listed for the 12th Sunday after Trinity, on the basis of textual reference to that Sunday’s Gospel (Mk. 7:31-37) and Epistle (2 Cor. 3:4-11), says Petzoldt (Ibid: 303). “Was Gott tut” is often considered a general chorale (per ogni tempo, for any time) because of its application throughout the church year in various hymnals as well as Bach’s unaltered use of the same chorale chorus or plain chorale in various works. For example, Cantata 100 uses the opening chorale chorus from Cantata 99 of 1724 and closes with the same chorale chorus that closes Part 1 of Cantata 75, Bach’s first church-year work for the 1st Sunday after Trinity 1723.

First performed about 1734, “Was Gott tut” “was revived on several occasions (c. 1737 and c.1742), ” says Dürr (Ibid.: 792). Cantata 100 was one of four undesignated pure-hymn cantatas, as well as BWV 97, 117, and 192, composed between 1730 and 1735 and are appointed as wedding hymns. “It must be concluded that Bach composed those cantatas for weddings, although that does not preclude a later use of these works in Sunday services,” says Stiller (Ibid.: 94).

In Bach’s estate division of 1750, the four pure-hymn chorale cantatas were equally divided between Emmanuel (BWV 97 and 100) and Friedemann (117 and 192). In Emmanuel’s estate catalog of 1789, Cantata 100 is listed on Page 81 just after the church year late Trinity works as being one of three “incomplete” works, with a Matthew Passion and Cantata 190 for New Year’s. Like Cantata 117, Cantata 100 has only internal arias, with no recitatives.

“Was Got tut” remains a popular chorale. The English version, “What God Ordains Is Good Indeed,” is No. 776 under the heading “Trust and Guidance,” in the current Evangelical Lutheran Worship Hymnbook (Augsburg Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 2006).


1 Original source material, Cantata 100, BCML Discussions, Part 2,
2 Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones (Oxford University Press, New York, 2005: 793).
3 Rilling BCW Recording details,
4 Finscher liner notes, BCW[Teldec-2CD].pdf.
5 BCW Recording details, BCW
6 Gardiner liner notes,[sdg104_gb].pdf; BCW Recording details,
7Suzuki liner notes,[BIS-2021-SACD_booklet].pdf; BCW Recording notes,
8 Revised material originally from BCML Cantata 12, Discussion Part 3,
9 Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 811).
10 Cantata 100 BCW Details and Discography, Scoring, Soloists: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass; 4-part Chorus; Orchestra: 2 horns, timpani, transverse flute, oboes d’amore, 2 violins, violoncello, violone, viola, organ, continuo. References: Score Vocal & Piano [2.48 MB], Score BGA [4.03 MB],; BGA XXII (Cantatas 100-109, Wilhelm Rust, 1875); NBA KB I/34 (various services, Higuchi 1990), Bach Compendium BC A191, Zwang: K 188.
11 Stiller, Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, Ed. Robin A. Leaver (Concordia Publishing: St. Louis, 1985: 240f).
12 NLGB, BACH'S HYMN BOOK: Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch des Gottfried Vopelius (Leipzig 1682),"Berlin: Merseburger, 1969. ML 3168 G75.
13 According to Marilyn Kay Stulken, Hymnal Companion to The Lutheran Book of Worship (Fortress Press: Philadelphia, 1981: 474.
14 Petzoldt, Martin. 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: 338).

William Hoffman wrote (April 27, 2013):
Chorale Cantata 100, "Was Gott tut" for Jubilate Sunday?


One of Bach’s earliest cantatas, BWV 150, “Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich” (For you, Lord, is my longing), a general, possibly penitential piece, primarily based on Psalm 25, can be performed on Jubilate Sunday, says Martin Petzoldt in his Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinityfest (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 811, 815). He cites the first two lines of the closing chorus (No. 7), “Meine Tage in dem Leide / Endet Gott dennoch zur Freude” “My days spent in sorrow / God ends nevertheless with joy” with the sorrow to joy language so typical of Bach’s other Jubilate Cantatas 12, 103 and 146, from the Epistle of 1 Peter 2:11-20 (Suffer patiently for well-doing) in the first line (1 Peter 2:20b) to the Gospel: John 16:16-23 (Now you have sorrow, but your heart shall rejoice) in the second line (Joh. 16:20). Details of Petzoldt’s work can be found at “Theology,” BCW, and Liturgy and Music in Leipzig’s Main Churches, By Martin Petzoldt, Translated by Thomas Braatz © 2013,


Cantata BWV 100: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion
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Last update: Sunday, May 28, 2017 05:17