Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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
Discussions of General Topics: Cantatas & Other Vocal Works | Performance Practice | Radio, Concerts, Festivals, Recordings

Cantata BWV 102
Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of July 31, 2016 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (July 31, 2016):
Cantata 102: 'Herr, deine Augen sehen' Intro & Trinity 10 Readings

Bach’s two-part chorus Cantata BWV 102, “Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!” (Lord, your eyes look for faith!, Jeremiah 5:3), for the 10th Sunday after Trinity 1726, has many important ingredients rooted in the problematic liturgy and readings for this Sunday. Cantata 102 is a musical sermon in near-symmetrical form with opening chorus (text Jeremiah 5:3) and closing chorale, Nicholas Heermann’s 1630 penitential “So wahr ich lebe” (As truly as I live); three successive arias (nos. 3-5), with the bass vox Christi (text Romans 2:4-5) closing Part 1, and two narrative recitatives (no. 2) for bass and alto (no. 6). Cantata 102 is scored for pairs of flutes and oboes with strings and continuo.1

Its chorus and all three arias were adapted in the late 1730s in the Missae: Kyrie-Gloria, BWV 233 and 235 (see below, Connections). Heermann (1585-1647), a Lutheran pastor and writer, experienced the ravages of the Thirty Year’s Wars (1619-49), as well as fire and plague (see ‘Heerman Chorale, Life’ below). His chorale text is set to Martin Luther’s melody to the 1539 Lord’s Prayer, “Vater unser im Himmelreich.”

Cantata 102 was first performed on August 25, 1726 at the early main service of the St. Thomas Church, before and after the sermon of Pastor Christian Weise (1671-1736), says Martin Perzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 1, Trinity Sundays.2 A repeat performance was held on July 29, 1731 at the Nikolaikirche, Superintendent Salomon Deyling (1677-1755) presiding.

The 10th Sunday after Trinity was a special event in the omnes tempore (Ordinary Time) of the liturgical church year in Bach’s time. The lectionary readings were the Gospel, Luke 19: 41-48 (teaching prophecy, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem) for the main service, and the Epistle, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (Spiritual gifts are diverse) for the vespers service.3 The main and vespers services used polyphonic motet settings of Psalm 137, Super flumina Babylonis (By the waters of Babylon), the exiled Jewish people’s anguish over the destruction of Jerusalem.

The liturgical order for the main service for the 10th Sunday after Trinity was:4 Bells (rung a half hour before service), Service of the Word: motet (sung by choir), Missa: Kyrie-Gloria (sung by choir), Collect (intoned at altar), Epistle (1 Corinthians 12:1-11), Gradual Hymn (sung by congregation), Gospel (Luke 19:41-48, intoned at altar; Nicene Creed (sung by choir in Latin), Bach cantata, Credal Hymn (Wir glauben all an einem Gott), Sermon (with confession and absolution, intercessions notices, peace); Service of Communion: Hymn, Lord’s Prayer (intoned at altar), Communion (organ or choral music and hymns until communion ended), Prayers, Benediction.

In place of the vespers service reading of the day’s Epistle were the traditional readings of Luther organizer Johann Bugenhagen’s Evangelienharmonie, a synoptic view of the Passion gospels, and his “History of the Destruction of Jerusalem,” based on Josephus’ account. This was followed by the presiding pastor’s warning sermon to the congregations at Leipzig, then considered by residents to be the New Jerusalem. (See below, ‘Trinity 10: Biblical, Liturgical Contexts,’ ‘Josephus’ Influence on Bach Cantata Texts,’ ‘Trinity 10 Vespers Epistle Reading,’ ‘Temple Destruction: Gospel References’; followed by ‘Cantata 46, Contempt for Judiasm,’ ‘Cantata 46 Lamentation, Midrash,’ and ‘Luther Anti-Catholic, -Islamic Sentiments.’

Cantata 102 is considered one of Bach’s best by various writers, due to its provocative theme of the perils of profane life fusing graphic text and tonal imagery, as well as the consistently high level of craftsmanship throughout its seven movements, particularly its monumental opening chorus. These observations and others are found (see below) in conductor John Eliot Gardiner's notes on his Bach Cantata Pilgrimage (‘Trinity 10 Perspective, Effect in Cantata 102), Klaus Hofmann in ‘Jerusalem Destruction, Jewish People Punished,’ Eric Chafe's description of tonal allegory, particularly it the first half (‘Cantata 102 Tonal Allegory), and Walter Blankenburg's view of the work as a ‘Sermon of Repentance.’

Trinity 10: Cantatas 46, 101: Chorales

All three extant Bach chorus cantatas for the 10th Sunday after Trinity are rooted in minor keys to reflect the Gospel reading and close with penitential hymns. Cantata BWV 46 in 1723, "Schauet doch und sehet,/ ob irgendein Schmerz sei wie mein Schmerz” (Behold and see if any grief is like my grief, Lamentation 1:12) uses the 1632 "O großer Gott von Macht" (O God, great in your power) of Balthasar Schnurr and Johann Matthäus Meyfart in the NLGB No. 302, “Cross, Persecution & Challenge.” Chorale Cantata 101 of 1724 is Martin Moller’s 1584 “Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott/ Die schwere Straf und große Not” (Take from us, you faithful God, / the heavy punishment and great distress), in the NLGB as No. 316, “Word of God & Christian Church.” “The Dresden hymn schedules for this Sunday prescribe . . .the general direction, “Hymns Concerning Repentance,” says Günter Stiller in JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig,5

The Leipzig liturgy for the 10th Sunday after Trinity includes as the Introit motet three polyphonic settings of texts related to Psalm 137, Super flumina Babylonis, found in Wolfgang Dachstein’s five-stanza 1526 psalm hymn paraphrase, “An Wasserflußen Babylon” (By the Waters of Babylon, NLGB No. 271, Psalms), says Douglas Cowling in BCW Motets and Chorales for Trinity 10, (text scroll down to “Chorale `An Wasserflüssen Babylon'.” “The Babylonian motets are related to [Dachstein’s designated] NLGB Hymn of the Day, based on the same psalm text []. The texts may have been chosen to complement the Gospel, Luke 19:41-48, which describes Christ weeping over the future destruction of Jerusalem,” says Cowling. The introit motet Bach used could have been a setting of Melchior Vulpius, (SSSAATTT; No. 101, Florilegium Portense i, 1618, The designated Chorale for Pulpit and Communion Hymns for Trinity 10 was Johannes Gigas’ 1638 “Ach lieben Christen seid getrost’ (Ah dear Christians be comforted), NLGB No. 326, Death& Dying).

Bach harmonized the "An Wasserflüssen Babylon" melody as a plain chorale in G Major, BWV 268, and set it as a bar-form ritornello organ chorale prelude in F Major in the "Great 18 (Leipzig) Organ Chorales," BWV 653(a). Both settings were appropriate for the 10th Sunday after Trinity. The Dachstein melody also is listed in the Orgelbüchlein, No. 101, under "Christian Life and Conduct," but not set by Bach. Paul Gerhardt in 1653 set Dachstein’s melody to his popular 10-verse Passion text, "Ein Lämlein geht und trägt die Schuld" (A lambkind goes and bears our guilt). Bach performed Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel's Passion Oratorio setting, "Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld," at Leipzig Thomas Church on Good

Friday, April 23, 1734.

An English translation of Dachstein's "An Wasserflüssen Babylon" is found in the On-Line Liberty Library of C. S. Terry's <Bach's Organ Chorales, scroll down to and clock on “[16] An Wasserflüssen Babylon.” A partial translation of the Gerhardt text set to the Dachsten melody is found at, scroll down to 4. “Ein Lämmlein geht” and click on “Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth).”

Heerman Chorale, Life

Nicholas Heermann’s 1630 chorale, “So wahr ich lebe, spricht dein Gott: mir ist nicht lieb des Sünders Tod” (As truly as I live, says your God: I take no pleasure in the death of a sinner), is set to the Martin Luther 1539 melody, “Vater unser im Himmelreich” (Lord’s Prayer: Our Father in Heaven). Cantata 102 closes with the sixth and seventh (final) Hermann stanzas found in the Rudolstadt text: “Heut lebst du: heut bekehre dich” (Today you live, today be converted) and “Hilf, o Herr Jesu, hilf du mir” (Help, oh Lord Jesus, help me). His text and Francis Browne’s English translation are found at, text and melody information at Heermann’s chorale is not listed in Das neu Leipziger Gesangbuch of 1682 of Melchior Vulpius. It was first published in his Devoti Musica Cordis (Leipzig, 1630).

Heermann (1585-1647, BCW Short Biography faced major adversity. After a successful start to his career in Köben, the plague arrived in 1613, then in 1616 a fire swept through the town. Heermann fell ill once again in 1623 and never fully recovered, his nose and air passages having become infected. The effects of the Thirty Years’ War struck soon afterwards, and Köben was plundered by Catholic troops four times in succeeding years through 1642. He is commemorated in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on 26 October with Philipp Nicolai and Paul Gerhardt (

Luther’s popular chorale melody of the Lord’s Prayer, “Vater unser im Himmelreich,” has special meaning in Bach’s settings. Besides the Heermann 1630 text version in Cantata 102, Bach used the Moller 1584 text in chorale Cantata 101 as well as Moller’s last stanza, “Leit uns mit deiner rechten Hand” (Lead us with your right hand), in Cantata 90, “Es reifet euch ein schrecklich Ende,” (A dreadful end carries you away), for the 25th Sunday after Trinity 1723. Bach’s only use of the Luther text set to the melody is “Dein Will gescheh, Herr Gott” (Thy will be done, Lord God,” the fourth petition of nine stanzas, in the plain chorale (no. 5) in the St. John Passion, BWV 245, at Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. The full text is found at Bach also used the melody in the four-part chorale, BWV 416 (a variant of BWV 245/5), as well as organ chorale preludes BWV 636 (Baptism, Orgelbüchlein), BWV 682/3 (Catechism, Clavierübung III) and BWV 737 (miscellaneous chorales). In all likelihood, Bach would used an organ chorale setting of “Vater unser im Himmelreich” during services for the 10th Sunday after Trinity. Organ preludes BWV 682 and 737 are found in the recording, “Vater Unser,” with Cantatas 101 and 102 in the “Bach in Context” Musica Amphion CD,, BCW Recording details,

Bach’s performance calendar for the 10th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig is:

1723-08-01 So - Cantata BWV 46 Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei (1st performance, Leipzig)
1724-08-13 So - Cantata BWV 101 Nimm von uns Herr, du treuer Gott (1st performance, Leipzig)
1725-08-05 So - no performance documented
1726-08-25 So - Cantata BWV 102 Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben! (1st performance, Leipzig)
1728-08-01 So - Picander P-53 (text only; closing chorale, "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort"
1731-07-29 So – Cantata 102 (2nd performance)
1735-08-14 So - G.H. Stölzel: Zur Zeit, wenn ich sie strafen werde, Mus A 15:273 + Sehet zu, daß nicht je-mand Gottes Gnade versäume, Mus A 15:274.

In Picander's published 1728 church cantata cycle, the text designated for the cantata for the 10th Sunday after Trinity is P-53, "Laßt meine Tränen euch bewegen" (Let my tears move you), closing with the omnes tempore plain chorale, "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort" (O eternity, thou word of thunder, NLGB No. 394, Final Days, Resurrection & Eternal Life), Stanza 13, "Wach auf, o Mensch, vom Sündenschlaf" (Wake up, o man, from the sleep of sin), text found also closing chorale Cantata BWV 20 for the 1st Sunday after Trinity 1724, and in the St. Mark Passion, BWV 247/11(30) in1731, at Christ's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, probably plain chorale BWV 397 in F Major.

Cantatas 46, 101, 102: Great Opening Choruses

What distinguishes the three cantatas Bach composed for the 10th Sunday after Trinity are “their immense opening movements,” observes Julian Mincham in his Cantata 103 Commentary introduction, BCW <<This [BWV 102] is the last of three extant cantatas composed for this day, the others being C 46 (vol 1, chapter 12) from the first cycle and C 101 (vol 2, chapter 11) from the second. All three end with a chorale, 101 and 102 using the same one but with different verses and harmonisations. That for C46 is embellished with two added recorder parts suggestive of the opening chorus, possibly even hinting at those connections between the outer movements to be exploited in the chorale fantasia cantatas of the second cycle.

But what really bind these three works together are their immense opening movements. All are in minor keys and sturdily orchestrated. All commence with a massive instrumental section that introduces much of the essential musical material. That for C 101 stands apart as the only chorale/fantasia, but its powerful depiction of a riven landscape, the result of God′s punishment of continuing sin, aligns it well with the theme of C 46, a picture of the sorrows that the Lord has inflicted upon us. Both in the dark key of D minor, they evoke the distress that God′s righteous anger delivers, C 101 from a public, communal perspective and C 46 more from the viewpoint of the individual.

Cantata 102 Chorus [g minor]. C 102 takes a slightly different approach to the same basic theme and begins with the least anguished of the three choruses. Its standpoint is that of the onlooker and it is therefore less personal and somewhat more objective----Lord, Your eyes demand Faith and those You punish do not feel it----they are harder than rock itself and will not come to You. This chorus is not about we or us, it is about them. It is, however, no less powerful or compelling and remains a fine example of Bach at the peak of his compositional powers. But it differs markedly from the earlier two choruses and provides an excellent illustration of the insights to be gained from examining these works as groups, connected by the particular days for which they were composed.>>

Cantata 102 Movements, Scoring, Incipits, Key, Meter.6

First Part: 1. Chorus two-parts with homophonic & free-polyphony (2 fugues) passages, opening sinfonia (text Jeremiah 5:3, Choreinbau insertion) [SATB; Oboe I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. homophonic, “Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!” (Lord, your eyes look for faith!); polyphonic imitative, “Du schlägest sie, aber sie fühlen's nicht; / du plagest sie, aber sie bessern sich nicht.” (You strike them but they do not feel it. / You torment them, but they do not improve themselves); B. polyphonic fugal, “Sie haben ein härter Angesicht denn ein Fels / und wollen sich nicht bekehren.” (They have a face harder than a rock / and are not willing to be converted); closing repetition of A homophonic (7 mm); g minor; 4/4.
2. Recitative secco [Bass, Continuo]: “Wo ist das Ebenbild, das Gott uns eingepräget” (Where is the image that God has stamped upon us, Genesis 1:26-7); “Der Höchste suchet uns durch Sanftmut zwar zu zähmen” (The Almighty strives to tame us through gentleness); B-flat Major; 4/4.
3. Aria free da-capo with brief ritornelli [Alto; Oboe, Continuo]: A. “Weh der Seele, die den Schaden / Nicht mehr kennt” (Alas for the soul, that of its shame / is no more conscious); B. “Und, die Straf auf sich zu laden, / Störrig rennt, / Ja von ihres Gottes Gnaden / Selbst sich trennt.” (and, to bring punishment upon itself, / rushes headlong, / indeed from God's grace / separates itself.); 4/4; f minor.
4. Arioso free da-capo with opening ritornello (22 mm), (text Romans 2:4-5) [Bass; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Verachtest du den Reichtum seiner Gnade, / Geduld und Langmütigkeit? (Do you despise the riches of his grace, / patience and forbearance?); B. “Weißest du nicht, dass dich Gottes Güte zur Buße locket?” (Do you not know that God's goodness should lead you to repentance?); Du aber nach deinem verstockten und unbußfertigen Herzen / häufest dir selbst den Zorn auf den Tag des Zorns / und der Offenbarung des gerechten Gerichts Gottes.” (But you with your stubborn and impenitent heart / are heaping upon yourself anger in the day of anger / and of the revealing of the righteous judgement of God.); E-flat Major; 3/8 ?gigue-style.
Second Part: 5. Aria three-part with ritornelli [Tenor; Flauto traverso solo, Continuo]: A. “Erschrecke doch, / Du allzu sichre Seele!” (Feel fear then, / you soul who are all too confident!); B. Denk, was dich würdig zähle / Der Sünden Joch.” (Think what makes you deserve / the yoke of sin.); C. “Die Gotteslangmut geht auf einem Fuß von Blei, / Damit der Zorn hernach dir desto schwerer sei.” (The forbearance of God goes on a foot of lead but for that reason his anger with you will later be all the heavier.); g minor; ¾ ?passepied-menuett style.
6. Recitative secco [Alto; Oboe I/II, Continuo]: “Beim Warten ist Gefahr; / Willst du die Zeit verlieren?” (In waiting there is danger; / do you want to waste your time?); Der Gott, der ehmals gnädig war, / Kann leichtlich dich vor seinen Richtstuhl führen.” (God, who before now was merciful / can easily bring you before his judgement seat.); “Wo bleibt sodann die Buß?” . . . (Where then is your repentance? . . . ); “Verblendter Sinn, ach kehre doch zurück, / Dass dich dieselbe Stund nicht finde unbereitet!” (Blinded mind, turn back now / so that this very hour does not find you unprepared!); c minor to G Major; 4/4.
7. Chorale plain [SATB; Flauto traverso in octava e Oboe I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Continuo]: “Heut lebst du: heut bekehre dich” (Today you live, today be converted) and “Hilf, o Herr Jesu, hilf du mir” (Help, oh Lord Jesus, help me); g minor, 4/4.

<<Notes on the text

The cantata BWV 102 for the 10th Sunday after Trinity was first performed on 25 August 1726. It is one of a series of cantatas (17, 39, 43, 45, 88, 102 and 187) based on librettos that come from the court of Meiningen. Ernst Ludwig, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen (1672-1724) is said to have written two cycles of church cantatas and evidence suggests the Bach used texts from one of these. The texts were written before 1704 and were set by Georg Caspar Schürmann, the kapellmeister at Meiningen, and by Bach's cousin Johann Ludwig Bach who succeeded Schürmann in 1706.They include 'madrigalian' verse for recitatives and arias and so anticipate the new style of cantata texts -a mixture of traditional German church music and contemporary Italian opera -produced by Erdmann Neumeister a few years later.

The gospel for this Sunday is Luke's account of Christ's warning about the coming destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 18:41-8). The cantata develops this into a general warning about the importance of doing penance in good time. As is customary in the Meiningen cantatas the opening movement is based on a quotation from the Old Testament. In the fifth chapter of Jeremiah the prophet seeks in vain through the streets of Jerusalem for a just man. The quotation ends with the reluctance of people to be converted, and this theme is taken up in the following bass recitative and alto aria. The first part concludes unusually with a bass arioso on a New Testament text - the second chapter of Romans where Paul warns that God's mercy is meant to lead sinners to repentance. In other Meiningen cantatas the New Testament passage begins the second half of the work.

Hans Joachim Schulze [Bach Cantatas] points out that the text from Romans is customarily used as the epistle for Days of Prayer and Repentance and that the following aria and recitative give the cantata the character of a sermon on repentance. The cantata concludes with the final two strophes of the hymn “So wahr ich lebe, spricht dein Gott” [As truly as I live, says your God] by Johann Heermann.

[These notes are only concerned to give some basic information about the text, but I cannot pass by the opening movement without urging anybody who has not heard the opening movement to do so: 'one of the greatest achievements of the mature Bach' says the sage and sober Dürr [Cantatas of JSB].7 Precisely so. Don't miss it.]>> Francis Browne

Trinity 10: Biblical, Liturgical Contexts

The biblical and liturgical contexts for the three cantatas for the 10th Sunday after Trinity are discussed in Peter Smaill’s Commentary in Cantata 102 BCML Part 2 (November 30, 2007),<< BWV 102 is written for the 10th Sunday after Trinity, a date in the Church calendar of especial significance at Leipzig since the account by Josephus of the destruction of Jerusalem was read out, the parallel being the warning to potentially sinful/unbelieving Leipzig. Both BWV 102 and BWV 101 for this day have allusions also to the Crucifixion; BWV 101, as we saw, has a chiastic aria BWV 101/6, the central line being a summation of the doctrine of atonement: "Die Zahlung und das Loesegeld" [the payment and the ransom].

The significance of this Sunday brings me to a theme which has been growing since the Bach B Minor Mass (BWV 232) Conference in Belfast last month. Both BWV 102 and BWV 46, "Schauet doch" are plundered for use in Masses; BWV 102/1 (Mvt. 1) for the Mass in G Minor, BWV 102/3 (Mvt. 3) and 5 for the Mass in F. BWV 46/1 is of course the "Qui Tollis" of the BMM (BWV 232). The view expressed by [Christoph] Wolff in Belfast is that by the time of the BMM (BWV 232) Bach was able to extract from all his 200 Cantatas music of the highest quality. However, although this is true as far as it goes, the special nature of this Sunday and its texts-prefiguring Jesus crucifixion in Jerusalem and his prediction of its destruction, with allusions to OT lamentations over Jerusalem in BWV 46/1 - suggests that Bach was in fact also thinking of the theological appropriateness of his Mass sources. This is despite the fact that the German texts obviously fall away in favour of the Latin; perhaps only Bach would remember the connection.

Since the Ratswahl cantatas [BWV 29, 120] used for parody in the BMM (BWV 232) also relate Leipzig as the new Jerusalem, the linkaof the holy city to the Masses is thus a hidden theme. As regards the BMM (BWV 232), most commentators compare the sense of the texts of the borrowed sections to the sentiment of the Latin. However, the relationship of the affekt of the closing chorales is even more striking, for example: Latin, “Qui Tollis peccata mundum, miserere nobis” (Thou that takest away the sins of the world; Have mercy upon us) [is a contrafaction in the chorus of BWV 232II from Trinity 10 Cantata 46 which closes with] German BWV 46/6, “So sieh doch an die Wunden sein, / sein Marter, Angst und schwere Pein; / Um seinetwillen schone, / Uns nicht nach Suenden lohne." (Then behold his wounds / His torment, anguish and harsh pain; / On his account spare us / And reward us not according to our sins".) This is one of the most unusual extended chorales, the high flute parts IMO suggesting downward procession of the divine Persons and uniting with the mortals' chorale at the end in a remarkably ambiguous cadence (per Chafe). Bach is especially inspired in all his works for this Sunday.

Thus it is contended that Bach considered both music and the theological purpose (and setting) of the original pieces, in achieving appropriate “affect” in his choice of parody sources in the Masses. Not every Cantata was an equally eligible target, as evidenced by the fact that and the 10th Sunday in Trinity had especial significance for his purposes.>>

Josephus’ Influence on Bach Cantata Texts

<<Douglas Cowling wrote (December 2, 2007): Peter Smaill wrote: <BWV 102 is written for the 10th Sunday after Trinity, a date in the Church calendar of especial significance at Leipzig since the account by Josephus of the destruction of Jerusalem was read out, the parallel being the warning to potentially sinful/unbelieving Leipzig. > The passage in question is Luke 19:41-48, which is of course a post-facto "prediction" of the Fall of Jerusalem in 72 C.E. Josephus was a Jewish historian whose chronicles are not part of either the Jewish or Christian canon of scripture but which provide an extra-biblical context for the period after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. I doubt that Bach knew the writings.

Peter Smaill wrote (December 2, 2007):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thanks for your interest in Josephus. He supplies to the Cantata texts also the image of "Sodom's apple", shiny outside but rotten within, perhaps the only text in the Cantatas from outside the Christian world of Bible, Apocrypha, sermons, doctrine and mysticism which otherwise are the fabric of the librettists. Certainly Bach knew him, for the "History of the Jews" was in Bach's library as recorded by Spitta and Leaver; 2 thaler were paid for a folio copy at Bach's death.

As to 10th Sunday in Trinity, Chafe explains that Luther's "pastoral organizer," Bugenhagen, instituted the tradition of reading out a version of the Josephus' account of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 at Vespers on this day. In chorale books of Bach's time in Leipzig the Josephus passages were tied up with biblical quotations predicting the destruction and Passion chorales, again Leaver is the source.

So there is good evidence as to why this Sunday's cantatas were felt appropriate targets for parody in Masses, in which the Passion is central, and Bach's choices were not purely from considerations of musical attractiveness: Bach is attracted in his capacity as, in Leaver's phrase, "musical theologian".>>

The reading on the 10th Sunday after Trinity of Flavius Josephus’ account of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, The Jewish War, Book 6, is part of the prescribed Lutheran Church Book Agenda observed in Leipzig, Martin Petzoldt points out in his article “Liturgy and Music in Leipzig’s Main Churches” (see BCW Thomas Braatz English translation, Pages 1, 4f, The reading is described as the “Appalling Destruction of the City of Jerusalem,” as part of Agenda’s “The Historical Accounts of the Painful Suffering and the Joyful Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This reading is preceded by Johann Bugenhagen’s Evangelienharmonie, a synoptic view of the Passion based on Matthew, Mark and Luke. Based upon the books of Josephus and Hegesipp, the second reading is followed with a warning sermon, based on the Gospel, Luke 19:41-48. “The connections to this event are clearly noticeable in Bach’s Leipzig” Cantatas BWV 46, 101, and 102, says Petzoldt. “Likewise, the effects of the print version of the Evangelienharmonie . . . can be seen at every turn in Bach’s Passions and Oratorios.” Petzoldt’s Bach Commentary, Vol. 1, Trinity Sundays (Ibid.: 217) discusses Bugenhagen’s “History of the Destruction of Jerusalem.”

Trinity 10 Vespers Epistle Reading

The Buggenhagen Jerusalem reading was given as the Epistle in the afternoon vespers service on the 10th Sunday after Trinity, as found in Chapter 3, “Bach’s Cantata on the Destruction of Jerusalem,” says Michael Marissen in BACH& GOD (Ibid.: 77f).8 The vespers in Bach’s time was a Service of the Word, which is one of two services in the morning Main Service(s) of the Word and Sacrament). As such, the Lutheran Vespers Service of the Word focused on the day’s interpretive teaching Epistle lesson, usually from the Epistles of the Apostle Paul to Christian congregations, followed by the presiding pastor’s sermon and Luther’s German Magnificat on Jesus’ conception/incarnation, sung by the congregation, except that the Latin Magnificat setting instead was performed on feast days.

Unlike the Roman Catholic Vespers, the Lutheran Vespers had the reading of only one psalm, the day’s Psalm read at the lectern, as well as hymns (chorales). The Vespers Service was, as follows (Marissen: 77): Church Bells, Organ Music, Motet, Hymn, Psalm, Lord’s Prayer, Hymn, Epistle, Sermon/prayers, Magnificat, Collect, Benediction, followed by hymn and catechism examination.

Temple Destruction: Gospel References

The Gospel for the Tenth Sunday After Trinity (Luke 19:41-48) begins with Jesus' weeping over the pending destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, found only in Luke, 19:41-44. In all three synoptic Gospels, there are two further references to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, in the so-called "Eschatological Discourse: Prophecy of the Destruction of the Temple" (Matthew 24:1-2, Mark 13:1-2, and Luke 21:5-6) and the curtain of the temple torn in two at Jesus' death (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45b) just before the Passion, as well as Jesus admonition to the Daughters of Jerusalem not to weep for him but for themselves, at the beginning of the Road to Golgatha, the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross), found only in Luke 23:27-30. Interestingly, Bach in his St. John Passion inserted the temple rending from Matthew 27:51.

The eschatological reference to the prophecy of the destruction of the Temple can be associated with the so-called "Four-Fold Allegory" (Douglas Cowling, BWV 244 SMP: Spheres, BCML Discussions Part 15, April 10, 2009, Beyond the literal, allegorical, and moral levels is the fourth, the Anagogic" or spiritual level, also referred to as the "Eschatological" level involving "signs before the end" and the "end times." It relates ultimately to the relationship of the soul to God with implications found in Cantata 102 to the use of tonal allegory to depict human frailty in the face of the end times.” Chafe in "Analyzing Bach Cantatas" expounds on these fourfold allegory ("The Hermeneutic Matrix") and how they tie into Lutheran theology, including Bach's choices of keys and harmonizations and even into the theological concepts behind temperedtuning.

Jesus' personal warning to the Daughters of Jerusalem is effectively portrayed in the St. John Passion, "Zerschmettert mich, ihr Felsen und ihr Hügel" (Crush me, you rocks and you hills), BWV 245b. This graphic tenor da capo aria with pulsating strings is a reference to Luke 23:30 (KJV): "For then they shall begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us." It was found in the 1725 second SJP version, as No. 11, when Peter weeps bitterly at his denial of Christ, and may have originated in the lost Weimar-Gotha Oratorio Passion of 1717, BC D-1. Showing the influence of Weimar Court poet Salomo Franck and the Brockes Passion text, it was removed from the third SJP version c.1730.

Cantata 46, Contempt for Judaism

Composed for the 10th Sunday after Trinity in 1723, “Bach’s great church cantata Schauet doch und sehet (BWV 46) expresses a marked contempt for Judaism, as it reflects irremediably damningly on God’s purported punishment of Jews for rejecting Jesus as God’s Son and Messiah, something explicitly reinforced in the accompanying liturgical prayers and also in the readings of” Josephus “that were rendered within the Leipzig church,” says Marissen (Ibid.: 5f).

Luther’s central theme of Justification by grace through faith alone girded the polemical, dialectical theological argument of juxtaposing comparative Old Testament teachings of the strict law with the New Testament teachings of the positive, Christ-centered Gospel. All Christians should acknowledge that God’s given law should produce a strong, kerygmatic belief in the redeeming power of Christ’s sacrificial death. Using this technique, the earliest chorale text writers, sermon preachers and much later librettists of German cantatas (musical sermons), particularly dealing with the omnes tempore (Ordinary Time) thematic teachings, would use this transformational, rhetorical argument. The direction of the cantata is usually from the cautionary to the affirmative. This is particularly true of the early (1704) Rudoldtadt orthodox cantata texts Bach favored in his third annual cantata cycle which literally begin with an Old Testament prophetic or psalm quotation and open the second part with a New Testament dictum. Form-wise, as a musical sermon, the cantata often would entail the rhetorical elements of the sermon: introduction, key statement (biblical text), text investigation, application, and conclusion.

This Lutheran argument that Marissen calls “theologically conventional contrasts of type with anti-type” reflects the writing of 17th century theologians Heinrich Müller and Johann Olearius (Ibid: 77ff) as found in Bach’s personal library and in direct, verbatim references in some cantatas and the St. Matthew Passion. This convention also is found in baroque law-and-grace paintings in Bach’s time in Leipzig churches, particularly St. Thomas and St. Nicholas (Ibid: 67). Turning to the 10th Sunday after Trinity, Marissen explores the main service Gospel lesson, Luke 19:41-48, the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem), as well as the vespers service Epistle reading, Bugenhagen’s summary account, “The Destruction of Jerusalem,” based on Josephus’ writing. While none of the sermons for these services is extant, the evangelical narrative recitatives in Bach’s cantatas usually contain the sermon arguments as applied to the daily lives of the listeners.

“It soon becomes apparent that on narratively addressing Old Jerusalem [in Part 1], the tenor recitative [no. 2] of Cantata 46 further echoes Müller, Luther and other [theological] writers in Bach’s library by teaching not merely a critical but also a strongly contemptuous attitude towards the city and towards those of its descendants who are not turned to Jesus,” says Marissen (Ibid.: 77f). Further, a vespers service Prayer and Collect that Marissen quotes (Ibid.: 91-93) express the “notion that those who are not turned to the grace of Jesus shall be utterly condemned” as “expressed in several devotional and liturgical prayers customarily offered in Bach’s day on the 10th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig.”

The pertinent text in the tenor recitative, “So klage du. Zustörte Gottesstadt” (So lament, you destroyed City of God, Marissen translation, Ibid: 116f), is: Weil dich betroffen hat / Ein unsetzlicher Verlust / Der allerhöchsten Huld” (since there has befallen you / an irreparable [Marissen’s emphasis] loss / of the Most High’s favor). The other is the closing, “Da Gott . . . Den Stab zum Urteil bricht” (as God breaks the [covenant, Marissen’s insertion, Ibid.: 118] staff in judgment). This line “appears to allege that those who are to be not now turned away from the ways of the old to the new covenant are understood as utterly condemned, not only temporarily, but eternally, by asserting that ‘God breaks the staff in judgment,” Marissen says (Ibid: 86).

Although the “main point” of Bach’s Cantata 46 text, like the liturgical prayers and readings “was to call Christians to turn away from their own sin, such theological anti-Judaism as there is within the cantata must be considered fundamental to the work’s messages about God’s temporal and eternal wrath,” concludes Marissen Ibid.: 112). “For all who wrestle with God and for any who behold and see its tidings of great sorrow, Cantata 46 may well represent Bach’s art at its musically and theologically grimmest” (Marissen, Ibid.: 115).

Cantata 46 Lamentations, Midrash

In Cantata 46, “we deal with a central text to Christian theology, ‘Behold and see if there is any sorrow like unto my sorrow’," says Peter Smaill’s commentary (September 4, 2005), Cantata 46, BCML Discussions Part 2, “But these words . . . are not the words of Jesus. They are from Lamentations OT, and again form the technique of ‘midrash,’ in which words of the OT are taken to be a prefiguring of the Gospels, and thus a fulfillment of prophecy.” “The progress in thought is from extended tears over the destruction of Jerusalem, caused by the sinfulness of man, to the zeugma in BWV 46/5 [alto aria], "Doch Jesus will auch bei der strafe / Der Frommen Schild und Beistand sein," (Yet Jesus desires even in punishment, / to be the shield and support of the righteous."

Chafe in his recent study of J. S. Bach’s Johannine Theology,9 says of Cantata 46 that it “binds together Jeremiah’s words of lamentation over the destruction of Jerusalem in the OT with Jesus’s prediction of its second destruction in the NT (in the Gospel for the Day), giving the whole an extensive tropological orientation toward the contemporary believer, and bringing out the opposition of God’s wrathful judgment and Jesus’s loving protection of the faithful as the counterpart of the fate of Jerusalem. The final chorale [no. 6] makes clear that this destruction/restoration dynamic is the direct outcome of Jesus’s ‘Marter, Angst und schwere Pein’ (torment, anxiety and heavy pain – in other words, the Passion.”

Luther Anti-Catholic, -Islamic Sentiments

Anti-Catholic and anti-Islamic sentiments in Bach’s Cantatas 18 and 126 also are cited in Marssen’s article [Ibid.: Footnote 98: 107). In the chorale Cantata 126, Erhalt uns, Herr, bein deinem Wort” (Preserve us, Lord, with your word), Luther’s chorale against the “Papists and Turks.” When Luther composed it in 1541-42, the Ottoman army had occupied Buda and Pest. Meanwhile, Pope Paul III instituted the Roman Inquisition on 21 July 1542. The second line said: “Und steur' des Papsts und Türken Mord” (and control the murderous rage of the Pope and the Turks). Luther wrote his hymn for children learning the Catechism to guard “against the two arch-enemies of Christ and His Holy Church.”10 It was changed in subsequent hymnbooks. The original nine-stanza, four-line Luther text and Francis Browne English translation are found at BCW

In Leipzig, Bugenhagen’s account was read aloud and the comments on the resonance this would have in a country where the devastations of the Thirty Years War (1619-39) would still be a vivid memory, observes John Eliot Gardiner (see below, ‘Cantatas for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity’). Further, the Turkish siege of Vienna two years before Bach's birth and the 13 years of War of the Spanish succession, which ended 11 years before Cantata 46 was written, also stirred apocalyptic visions, writes W. Gillies Whittaker in The Cantatas of J. S. Bach.11

A summary of the Cantata 102 text is provided in Alfred Dürr’s essay in The Cantatas of JSB (Ibid.: 488f): “The [Rudolstadt] text refers to the Sunday Gospel but without going into details, merely drawing from it the warning to do penance at the proper time. Part 1 describes the dangers that threaten the impenitent soul; and in Part 2 the poet endeavours to shake the soul into wakefulness and call upon it to convert. The expected reference here to God’s offer of grace, sealed by Christ’s death on the Cross, such as we find in Cantata 46, for example, is absent on this occasion . . . .” Dürr provides a summary of the three successive arias: alto solo (no. 3) has a melodic line that is “a single highly graphic portrayal of the soul that ‘cuts itself off from God’s grace’”; bass aria (no. 4) middle section “strikingly illustrates the stubbornness of the heart”; and tenor aria (no. 5), “seeks to shake the sinner awake.”

Kyrie-Gloria Missae Connections

Much later in the late 1730s, Bach used the three choicest lyric movements in Cantata BWV 102 in affectively appropriate movements of two of the four <Lutheran Missae (Kyrie-Gloria, BWV 233-36). The opening chorus, "Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!" (Lord, your eyes look for faith!) is the opening <Kyrie/Christe eleison> (Lord/Christ have mercy), of the Missa in G Minor, BWV 235: Kyrie (Herr, deine Augen), Christe (Du schlägest see), Kyrie (Sie haben ein härter Angesicht). In the Gloria of the Missa in F Major, BWV 233, the movement, <Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis> (Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us) comes from the alto 6/8 free da-capo trio aria, No. 3, "Weh der Seele, die den Schaden/ Nicht mehr kennt" (Alas for the soul, that of its shame/ is no more conscious), while the movement <Quoniam to solus sanctus> (For thou alone are the Holy One) comes from the tenor trio aria, No. 5, "Erschrecke doch,/ Du allzu sichre Seele!" (Feel fear then, you soul who are all too confident!).

The later use of the opening chorus and two arias in the Missae: Kyrie-Gloria Missae is described in Uri Golomb’s commentary on the first movement, leading BCML Discussions Part 2 (November 25, 2007; Ibid.).

<<As I write my own introduction to this cantata, I am in the middle of a different yet related project: writing an article on the four short Masses (BWV 233-236) [BCW, As many of you are aware, these Masses consist almost entirely of "parodied" movements -- that is, movements drawn from earlier cantatas. This cantata proved quite attractive for Bach in this context: he used its opening movement as the Kyrie of the Mass in g minor (BWV 235); two arias were re-used in the F-major Mass (BWV 233): "Weh der Seele" became "Qui tollis", "Erschreke doch" became "Quoniam". Arguably, Bach's choice to "plunder" this cantata means that he considered it one of his best -- that is, he considered the music of these three movements (the others -- with the possible exception of the bass arioso (Mvt. 4) -- were not really usable in a Mass anyway) particularly worthy of extended preservation and re-use, albeit with some modifications. Incidentally, it was also one of the first Bach cantatas to be published in the 19th century (as Konrad Küster points out in the Oxford Composer Companions to Bach).12

Dürr referred to the opening chorus as "one of the great achievements of the mature Bach" (p. 488 of the English edition), referring, among other things, to its "formal complexity"; as he later points out, the formal sophistication is intensified as Bach covers his tracks -- the movement is structured as a modified da-capo, but "the reprise of A' [...] may be exactly fixed only by the analytic eye, scarcely by the impartial listening ear" (this tendency to hide formal points of demarcation is quite typical of Bach).

The formal complexity contributes to the movement's severe demeanour; the text, from Jeremiah, is one of those of statements that gave the Old Testament its reputation for harshness and severity. Something of this severe demeanour affects much of the rest of the cantata -- the bass arioso (Mvt. 4) and tenor aria (Mvt. 5) have, initially, a lighter, elegant atmosphere, but both have harsher, more insistent passages. In the opening chorus, the sense of severity is also noticeable in the performing instructions -- that is, in the staccato dots that appear (at least in the Bach-Gesellschaft edition -- I was unable to consult a more up-to-date edition) above the words "Du schlaegest sie" (You strike them) -- one of the few places where Bach explicitly calls for aspirated phrasing. (According to the Bach-Gesellschaft edition -- and in all the performances I've heard -- the equivalent place in the g minor Missa has no such staccato instruction -- presumably because the new text, Christe eleison, does not call for the "striking" word-painting).>>

Trinity 10 Perspective, Effect in Cantata 102

The perspective of the 10th Sunday after Trinity and its effect on Cantata 102 are discussed in John Eliot Gardiner’s 2008 liner notes to the 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage.13 <<Just once in a while in the course of the Trinity season, with its almost unremitting emphasis on the things every good Lutheran should believe, from the Nicene Creed to the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Catechism and so on, comes a vivid shaft of New Testament history and narrative reference to the life of Christ. Here on the Tenth Sunday after Trinity the Gospel (Luke 19:41-48) tells us how Jesus predicted the imminent destruction of Jerusalem, tying the event in the listener's mind to his own Passion story. That link would have been strengthened in Bach's day by the practice at the Vesper service on this Sunday of reading aloud Josephus' account of the actual sacking of Jerusalem by the Roman emperor Titus in AD70, one that surely resonated in the minds of those whose families had witnessed the razing of numberless German towns during the Thirty Years War.

Bach's third cantata, BWV 102 <Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!> [1726], has, in contrast to the others, neither the Gospel text nor one of the main hymns of the day as its point of departure. What prompted A. B. Marx to select this and its predecessor, BWV 101 [Trinity 10, 1724], along with <Ihr werdet weinen und heulen> BWV 103 [Jubilate 1725], with which it shares a similar ground plan, as the three Bach cantatas to be published in 1830 (the first to appear in print since 1708/9![BWV 71])? Composed for 25 August 1726 [BWV 102] it is one of a series of works that Bach based on librettos written some twenty years earlier and attributed to Duke Ernst Ludwig of Saxe-Meiningen. As so often, it is the opening movement withholds the greatest fascination (Dürr calls it `one of the great achievements of the mature Bach'). Here is a setting of Jeremiah 5:3, `Lord, are not Thine eyes upon the truth! Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock, and they have refused to return'.

Who could have guessed that Bach would preface this grim text with such a genial orchestral ritornello for two oboes and strings? Is the understatement a deliberate way to point up the contrast with the third, fugal section, describing the hardened faces and giving Bacha fresh crack at conveying `Gottes Zorn' - `God's wrath'? But then Bach in this mood is anything but predictable, even to the extent of blurring the formal divisions of the text, not simply by interpolating instrumental sinfonias but by means of partially disguised textual overlapping. The culminating fugue, for instance, with its dramatic upward hoist of an augmented fourth followed by an exclamatory quaver rest and the more conventional downward slither of its counter subject, then merges into a restatement of the whole text in a truncated musical reprise.

One senses that Bach lavishes more care than usual on the construction of his themes, not just to paint the words but to replicate the speech rhythm. This in turn encourages a strongly rhetorical delivery; but then he takes one completely unawares by sculpting a fourteen-bar fugato out of an extremely peculiar vocal subject, splitting the first syllable of `schlä-gest' [strike-est] with discrete staccato melismatic groupings separated by rests, until one realises that he is intent on depicting some form of godly clonk on a barely sentient head.

There are two fine recitatives, one secco for bass (No.2), one for alto with two oboes (No.6), and three arias. First comes a fine lament (No.3) for alto with oboe obbligato: both enter on a long, held, d flat dissonance, a study of a spiritual pariah `cutting himself off from God's grace'. The second, for bass and strings, is headed `arioso' (No.4) and gives the impression of starting midstream. Bach has been criticised for his word-setting here. But while the stress on the `wrong' syllable of `VERachtest' [despise] is `corrected' by the upwards lurch of a minor seventh, the wrong stress on `GEduld' [patience] is no such thing the moment one interprets it as a hemiola: `GNA-de [grace], Ge-DULD'. Midway Bach captures the `frantic impotent battering of the evil-doers against the decrees of the Almighty' (Whittaker [Ibid” 673]) by means of a gripping four-fold repetition of a three-note motif - D flat, C, D flat over a pedal C. As a da capo movement this `arioso' ends part one of this cantata with the rhetorical question `Do you not know that God's goodness draws you to repent?', so inviting the preacher of the sermon to expatiate on the theme of how not to incur God's anger.

Just in case he declines the prompt, Bach, as so often, does the job for him, but in an unusual fashion: he allocates a dislocated figure to the tenor soloist [No. 5], one that recalls the `du schlä-gest' fugato theme from the opening chorus, as the first of several ingenious means to startle the presumptuous and errant soul (`du allzu sichre Seele!') with its representative, the flute, and, of course, the listener. But it is not until the middle section that the prospect of God's anger dislodges the flute's serenity, which is now replaced by a flurry of (fear-injected?) semiquavers.

"Persistent and pleading three-note motifs and a change of instrumentation (a pair of oboes now to replace the flute) characterise the final accompagnato (No.6), suggesting penitence and even the chance of an eleventh-hour reprieve, which is formalised as a collective prayer in the final chorale set to the melody `Vater unser im Himmelreich' (`Our Father, who art in Heaven'). Bach thought highly enough of this cantata to use movements of it again in two of his short Masses (BWV 233 and 235), and Carl Phillip Emanuel revived it several times in Hamburg during the 1770s and 80s" [copyists H. Michel, S. Hering]. © John Eliot Gardiner 2008, From a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage>>

Jerusalem Destruction, Jewish People Punished

The 10th Sunday after Trinity since ancient times has observed the destruction of Jerusalem “as a divine punishment for the Jewish people, observes Klaus Hofmann in his 2009 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete cantatas recording.14 Word-painting in the opening chorus, a vocal lament (no. 3), a vox Christi (no. 4), and the tenor arias as an exhortation and warning” are Hofmann’s descriptions of the madriglian movements in Cantata 102. <<On the tenth Sunday after Trinity the gospel passage, Luke 19: 41–48, relates Jesus’ lament about Jerusalem and his vision of the city’s destruction as a divine punishment for the Jewish people that has descended into blindness and stagnation. Since ancient times the church has celebrated this day as a commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and the sermon also tends to deal with the fate of the Jewish people. The Old Testament words of the prophet that open the cantata (Jeremiah 5:3) likewise form part of a lamentation about Jerusalem and the Jewish people. As a good Lutheran, however, the poet focuses not upon the Jewish people but on the Christians, their stagnation and unwillingness to repent.

Bach’s cantata for 25th August 1726 must have overwhelmed many of its listeners with its large-scale and wide-ranging opening chorus. Bach binds together the long, multifaceted text in a formal conception that is primarily based on the themes and motifs first heard in the instrumental introduction. These themes are associated with the various sections of the text, sometimes subliminally and in the background, but elsewhere more clearly, even assertively. Whereas the words ‘Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben’ (‘O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth?’) are mostly set as block-like, four-part choral writing, returning in various forms as a refrain, the sections ‘Du schlägest sie…’ (‘Thou hast stricken them…’) and ‘Sie haben ein härter Ange sicht…’ (‘they have made their faces harder…’) are treated fugally. Despite all the technical complexity of the writing, Bach does not miss the opportunity musically to illustrate the words of the text. Examples of this include the striking madrigal-like quality of ‘Du schlägest’ (‘Thou hast stricken’) or the thrice occurring tritone in the fugue theme on the words ‘Sie haben ein härter Angesicht denn ein Fels’ (‘they have made their faces harder than a rock’): the augmented fourth, traditionally shunned for its allegedly unmelodic nature, is here used as a musical expression of inhuman hardness.

A theatrical, admonishing ‘Weh!’ (‘Alas’) opens the third movement, an alto aria rich in sorrowful sighs, in which the oboe participates melodically in the vocal lament. The fourth movement, with words from St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Romans 2:4–5), is – unusually for a Bible quotation in this context – set as an aria. By using a bass voice, Bach seems to be placing the words into Jesus’ own mouth [vox Christi]. The voice declaims the text emphatically and with in tense emotion; at the words ‘Du aber nach deinem ver stockten und un bußfertigen Herzen’ (‘But after thy hardness and impenitent heart’) the insistent repetition of motifs creates an image of obstinate hardness.

Exhortation and warning are also the messages of the tenor aria with solo flute (fifth movement). Of the musical images used by Bach, the depiction of terror makes an especially vivid impression, with its flickering melodic line, broken up by pauses, at the beginning of the vocal part. In the following recitative about ‘den Augenblick, der Zeit und Ewig keit scheidet’ (‘a moment that parts time and eternity’), Bach makes the two oboes illustrate this moment all through the movement by means of a figure that could equally well depict either the blinking of an eye or the forward motion of the second hand on a clock. The first of the two chorale verses (Johann Heermann, 1630) takes up the exhorting tone of the sermon, whilst the second concludes the cantata in the manner of an urgent prayer.>> © Klaus Hofmann 2009

Cantata 102 Tonal Allegory

Cantata 102 is a descent or catabasis cantata, with "deeper flat keys to emphasize the urgent need to repent in the present life," says Eric Chafe in Tonal Allegory in the Music of JSB.15 The emphasis on minor keys in the movements, with their cautionary texts, means the "work is completely admonitory." The great opening chorus "depicts the unfelt blows by a staccato fugue th," says Chafe, whose views are reflected in Gardner's comments above. The fourth line, another fugal theme of "hard-heartedness of the unrepentent" has two tritones (discordant minor fourth intervals) on the words "härter" (harder) and "Fels" (rock): "Sie haben ein härter Angesicht denn ein Fels" (They have a face harder than a rock).

The "severest points" of Cantata 102 are found in the succeeding No. 2 bass recitative (B-Flat Major to B-Flat Minor [five flats]), the preacher deploring the dark heart, and No. 3 alto aria in F Minor, the Soul's "lament" in the "tortured expressive sphere." Movement No. 4, the bass arioso framed in E-Flat Major that closes Part 1 brings no relief or moving pivot: "persistent leaps of a seventh" (another egregious interval), "(sometimes in descending sequences) in several variants of the first theme" lead to the third theme in the fourth line: "Du aber nach deinem verstockten und unbußfertigen Herzen/ häufest dir selbst den Zorn auf den Tag des Zorns" (But you with your stubborn and impenitent heart/ are heaping upon yourself anger in the day of anger), "all represent man's despising God's gift of grace (the E-Flat itself, perhaps). In fact, Cantata 102 is the classic example of Bach's choosing tonal anabasis in conjunction with the flat-minor key sphere to depict the gravity of the human condition."

Sermon of Repentance

On a more pragmatic and literal chord, Bach scholar Walter Blankenburg points out that Bach divided the so-called Rudolstadt-published text after the bass arioso admonition (no. 4), instead of opening the second part: "It may well be that this represents a reference to the sermon for the Sunday in question," "a persistent call to repentance" ("Bach's Cantatas for the Middle Sundays After Trinity," Karl Richter Archiv Production notes, BCW Recording details, 1978,, music This movement refers to the Sunday Epistle, Romans 2:4-5, with its "marked Old Testament affinities:” “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;" (King James Version). (For Americans, this tone might smack of Jonathan Edwards' Calvinist sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," the epitome of the "First Great Awakening" revival in New England, starting in 1733.)

Cantata 102 Production Notes

The use of obbligato transverse flute or violin piccolo in the tenor aria (no. 5) are considered, as well as the authorship [son Emmanuel or Sebastian] of the added staccato marks in the opening chorus, in conductor Masaaki Suzuki’s 2010 notes to his recording (Masaaki Suzuki recording, FN 14, Ibid: 10). <<The first problem as far as BWV 102 is concerned is that of selecting the obbligato instrument to be used in the tenor aria that constitutes the fifth movement in the work. ‘Traverso solo’ appears in Bach’s manuscript of the full score, supposedly resolving the issue, but there is also a version in which it is allocated to the violino piccolo. Moreover, this part and a copy of the full score, both in the handwriting of S. Hering (a colleague of C. P. E. Bach), are marked ‘Fl: Tra; o violin Piccolo’. It is evident from these materials that the obbligato part was performed also on the violino piccolo. This latter needs to be considered not merely from the musico-logical standpoint, but also in terms of which instrument would be most appropriate for the music with its severe text issuing a dire warning to souls that covet peace and tranquility. It is by no means easy for a flauto traverso to perform in an manner appropriate to this text, especially bearing in mind that the part is written in G minor, a key not well suited to the instrument. In particular the section from bar 54 in which the solo instrument performs the theme in E flat major cannot be brought off convincingly by the flauto traverso.

In contrast, this key is ideally suited to the violino piccolo – a smaller violin tuned a third higher than a normal one. The use of the open string on the third beat of the theme is particularly effective and is ideally suited to the music, although it should be said that this particular note is not unsuited to the flauto traverso either.

Since the lowest pitch used in the piece is d', it is clear that Bach originally conceived the part to be performed on the flauto traverso. It is evident that Bach himself was also involved in preparing the violino piccolo part, however, since the parts written out by Hering are based on Bach’s own set, which has been lost. It is difficult to judge whether this set was already in existence at the time of the first performance or whether it had been prepared for a subsequent performance. Bach often changed the instrumentation of his cantatas when they were performed on subsequent occasions after their first performance, but the only works for which the instrumentation was changed to violino piccolo are BWV 96 and BWV 102/5. In the case of BWV 96, Bach seems to have made the change because of the high pitch range of the part. In the case of BWV102/5, however, the part could perfectly well have been performed on an ordinary violin, implying that Bach decided on the violino piccolo for some specific musical reason and not as a compromise because a flauto traverso player was un available for the performance. We decided therefore to create two versions when we made the recording, eventually opting for the version with violin.

Another problem related to BWV 102 concerns the involvement of C. P. E. Bach, who made use of the handwritten full score and entered various annotations into the score. Accordingly, in the first movement in particular, it is not clear whether the expressive markings – and especially the staccato markings that appear in bar 38 and from bar 45 on wards – were entered by J. S. Bach or by C. P. E. Bach. On the occasion of this performance, we asked the Bach scholar Yoshitake Kobayashi to examine the manuscript of the full score. Professor Kobayashi concluded that it was highly probable that these markings are indeed in the hand of J. S. Bach himself. (Details of his findings can be found in the programme notes [in Japanese] to the 86th regular concert of the Bach Collegium Japan.) We thus became more confident that the staccato markings given at the point where the word ‘schlägest’ appears in the sung text are by J. S. Bach himself and have therefore observed them in this performance . . . .>> © Masaaki Suzuki 2010


1 Cantata 102, BCW Details and Discography, Score Vocal & Piano [2.32 MB],, Score BGA [3.29 MB], References: BGA XXIII (Cantatas 101-110, Wilhelm Rust, 1876), NBA KB I/19 (Trinity 10, Robert L. Marshall 1989), Bach Compendium BC A 119, Zwang K 148.
2 Martin 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: 237).
3The German text of the Gospel and Epistle for the 10th Sunday after Trinity was that of Luther’s translation published in 1545, the English is the Authorised (King James) Version 1611 (see BCW, The opening Introit Psalm is 5, Verba mea airbus (Give ear to my words, KJV), says Petzoldt(Ibid.: 215). The full text of Psalm 5 is found at
4 Cited in Michael Marissen BACH & GOD (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016: 77) as “Table 3.1, Overview of the Leipzig liturgy for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity,” source: Chares Sanford Terry, Joh. Seb. Bach: Cantata Texts, Sacred and Secular’ with a Reconstruction of the Leipzig Liturgy of His Period (London: Constable, 1926).
5 Günther Stiller, Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, Ed. Robin A. Leaver (St. Louis MO: Concordia Publishing, 1985: 243).
6 Cantata 102 Rudolstadt text and Francis Browne English translation and “Notes on the text,” BCW
7 Alfred Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005: 488).
8 Michael Marissen (Ibid.: xix, FN 4), updated version of “The Character and Sources of the Anti-Judaism in Bach’s Cantata 46,” Harvard Theological Review 96 (2003): 63-99.
9 Chafe, J. S. Bach’s Johannine Theology: The St. John Passion and the Cantatas for Spring 1725 (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2014: 87), cited in Cantata 46 BCML Discussions Part 4 (August 9, 2015),, scroll down to “Cantata 46: Tears to Zeugma.”
10 Cited in Robin A. Leaver’s Luther’s Liturgical Music, Principles and Implications, Chapter II, “Musical Catechesis” (Grand Rapids MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007: 107).
11 W. Gillies Whittaker, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach: Sacred & Secular (London: Oxford University Press, 1958: I:637ff).
12 Konrad Küster Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, ed. Boyd, Malcolm (Oxford University Press: New York, 1999: 215).
13 The source of this material is Cantata 102 BCML Discussions Part 3 (November 2, 2011: “Fugitive Commentaries”),; Gardiner notes,[sdg147_gb].pdf .Recording details,
14 Masaaki Suzuki recording with Klaus Hofmann liner notes, BCW[BIS-SACD1851].pdf ; BCW Recording details,
14 Masaaki Suzuki recording with Klaus Hofmann liner notes, BCW[BIS-SACD1851].pdf ; BCW Recording details,
15 Eric Chafe: Tonal Allegory in the Music of J. S. Bach (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991: 208f).

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 1, 2016):
Cantata BWV 102 - Revised & updated Discography

Cantata BWV 102 "Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!" (Lord, your eyes look for faith!) was composed in Leipzig for the 10th Sunday after Trinity of 1726. It was performed again in Leipzig c1737. The cantata is scored for alto, tenor & bass soloists; 4-part Chorus; and orchestra of transverse flute (solo), 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola & continuo.

The discography pages of BWV 102 on the BCW have been revised and updated. See:
Complete Recordings (21):
Recordings of Individual Movements (9):
The revised discography includes many listening/watching options to recordings directly from the discography pages, just below the recording details.

I also put at the BCW Home Page:
2 audios & 2 videos of the cantata. A short description below the audio/video image is linked to the full details at the discography pages.

I believe this are the most comprehensive discography of the cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 102 missing from these pages, or want to correct/add details of a recording already presented on the BCW, please do not hesitate to inform me.

You can also read on the BCW the current discussion of the cantata in the BCML (4th round):


William Hoffman wrote (August 1, 2016):
Cantata 102: 'Herr, deine Augen sehen' Intro & Trinity 10 Readings

Two references in this week’s BCML Discussion of Cantata 102 require further notes: the Cantata 46 commentary and Johann Bugenhagen’s Evangelienharmonie, a synoptic view of the Passion gospels, Michael Marissen BACH & GOD (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016) has Chapter 3, “Bach’s Cantata on the Destruction of Jerusalem.” The book examines “positive and negative religious aspects of Bach” based on “the importance of religion to an understanding of Bach’s music,” says Marissen in his NY Times interview, May 25, 2016: New York Times: Interview. Part II “concerns the taking up of Lutheran and biblical anti-Judaism in Bach’s cantatas,” says Marissen (p. 5). Chapter 3 focuses on the destruction of Jerusalem as found in Cantata BWV 46, “Schauet doch und sehet” (Behold and see, Lamentations 1:12). Cantata 46 was Bach’s first cantata for the 10th Sunday after Trinity, 1723.

Bugenhagen’s Evangelienharmonie, was read during the vespers service, before his account of the destruction of Jerusalem, in place of the day’s usual Epistle reading. The Passion harmony set the stage for the prophecy of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalm in the day’s Gospel, Luke 19:41-48. There is quite a history of musical accounts of the Passion in the harmony of the gospels. The best known is “The Seven Last Words from the Cross,” set by Haydn and many others. Bach and his colleagues were drawn to the popular Brockes Passion harmony account, which emphasizes apostle John’s graphic descriptions of Jesus Christ’s confrontations with authority, followed by his suffering and death (the Catholic Stations of the Cross or via crucis). A similar perspective is found in the Oberammergau Passion Play. Chorale harmonization settings also are found in Paul Stockman’s 1636 34-stanza “Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod" (Jesus suffering, pain and death), and Seybold Hayden’s 23-stanza “O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross (O Man, Bewail Thy Grievous Fall).


Cantata BWV 102: 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
Discussions of General Topics: Cantatas & Other Vocal Works | Performance Practice | Radio, Concerts, Festivals, Recordings


Back to the Top

Last update: Monday, September 11, 2017 15:26