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Cantata BWV 136
Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of August 28, 2011

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 28, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 136 -- Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz

Weekly reminder:

This week we continue Trinity season cantatas with BWV 136, the first of three works for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity.

Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV136.htm

The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham] is especially recommended as an introduction to listening.

The BWV 136 page also has convenient access to notes from the Gardiner [7] and Koopman [4] (notes by Christoph Wolff) CD issues, via links beneath the cover photos.

The chorale text and melody are also accessible via links at the BWV 136 page.

Francis Browne wrote (August 28, 2011):
BWV 136 -- Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz: Notes on the text

As I revise my translations of the cantata texts ,I thought it might be useful to add some explanatory notes - nothing very original, mostly a compilation of information from such standard sources as The Oxford Companion, Dürr, Cantagrel and in particular Schanze, who often discusses the text and is not available in English.

An ideal annotator would be fluent in German and an expert in biblical studies and Lutheran theology - I am none of these things. I anticipate possible hostility both from secularists who think the text does not matter and the religious who value the message more than the music -but I think there must be many ordinary listeners who may appreciate some help in understanding these texts from previous centuries and a world very different from ours.

I add below notes on this week's cantata as a sample. I intend to revise and annotate cantatas as they come up for discussion on the list but do not anticipate posting them on the list in future.

Notes on the text of BWV 136

The author of this text is unknown. Starting from the readings for the day it considers the ideas of sincerity and hypocrisy, true and false prophets and reaches the conclusion that we should depend not on our own flawed achievements but on Christ's blood, a symbol of God's merciful love

The words of the opening movement and so the title of the cantata come from Psalm 139. In Robert Alter's view this "is one of the most remarkably introspective psalms in the canonic collection.... essentially a meditation on God's searching knowledge of man's innermost thoughts, on the limitations of human knowledge, and on God's inescapable presence throughout the created world". It is surprising therefore that Bach should set this earnest penitential Psalm to bright cheerful music and commentators have suggested that he may have used music from an earlier secular cantata.

The recitative in the second movement refers to the curse placed by God on the earth after the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:17) and the question asked by Christ in the section of the Sermon on the Mount used for the gospel this Sunday : "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?". The curse on the earth has affected also the hearts of men so that they produce thorns and thistles of sin.Truth may be difficult to discern because the wicked may present themselves as virtuous (angels of light, in sheep's clothing) and we also may delude ourselves into thinking we can do right with our corrupted nature (gather grapes from thorns).Hence the you plural form (ihr Heuchler) is used at the end of this recitative.

But God's truth will in the end prevail -either at death or the last judgement - and hypocrisy will be revealed for what it is.This idea is presented at the end of the second movement and in the third movement by the common biblical imagery of the day of the Lord, some future decisive action by God.(Malachi 4:1 etc)

The opening of the fourth movement recalls a passage from the Book of Job emphasising the greatness of God and the imperfection of man. But this seeming impasse leads in fact to the turning point where reliance upon the blood of Christ rather than our own merits makes salvation possible. The same idea of salvation through Christ is taken up in the second aria and the concluding chorale. Christ as often is seen as the new Adam who undoes and makes good the damage done by his predecessor. (Romans 5:14, ICorinthians)

The concluding chorale is taken from the ninth stanza of Wo soll ich fliehen hin written in 1630 by Johannes Hermann. Like the opening movement it echoes Psalm 139. Many people may find bizarre the references to blood in this cantata. But blood sacrifice was common in the ancient world and it is an important image in the bible (mentioned 400 times in the Old Testament, and 100 in the New) and so in subsequent Christian tradition. Perhaps it may be understood as an assertion of both God's existence and his love and power.

Compare the conclusion of Geoffrey Hill's poem Genesis :

By blood we live, the hot, the cold,
To ravage and redeem the world:
There is no bloodless myth will hold.
And by Christ's blood are men made free
Though in close shrouds their bodies lie
Under the rough pelt of the sea.

In the chorale Rachen is sometimes translated by wrath or anger or vengeance. In German der Rachen (jaws, throat) and die Rache ( vengeance) are easily confused and both meanings give good sense but Rachen cannot here be the dative of Rache.

Paul Farseth wrote (August 28, 2011):
[To Francis Browne] Many thanks, Francis!

Matthew Lanzewski wrote (August 28, 2011):
To Francis Browne] Thanks indeed for these explanatory notes. The compiled information is as interesting as your comments are thought-provoking. I look forward to reading more.

Peter Smaill wrote (August 28, 2011):
[To Paul Farseth] The incipit of this Cantata is a notable Psalm, Ps 139, 23-24; and would have been perhaps especially familiar to Bach's worshippers for two interconnected reasons.

Firstly, Bach's predecessor Sebastian Knüpfer (1633-76) composed a motet for two four-voiced choirs using the text. It was performed after the death of Johanna Lorentz von Adlershelm, wife of the mayor of Leipzig, who died on 28 April 1673; the motet was printed, a rare honour, in conjunction with ther funeral sermon in 1674. Bach himself appears to have favoured this survival and augmented its scoring with colla parte strings, woodwind and brass.

Secondly, in the south chapel of the Nikolaikirche, a large plaque recording the death of Johanna Adlershelm ( and a very beautiful one, all calligraphy and curlicues) still exists with the text, " Erforsche mich, Gott, und ehrfahre mein Herz" as its central inscription. As Melamed concludes in his analysis of the motet's significance, Bach could not have been unaware of the text, may well have performed the motet several times, and would have been aware of the Adlershelm family who had endowed the Thomasschule and Thomaskirche.

Thus it is not surprising that this incipit was taken for use in a Cantata and is one of, by my counting, 29 Psalm texts which form the first lines of a Cantata.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 28, 2011):
Peter Smaill wrote:
< Bach himself appears to have favoured this survival and augmented its scoring with colla parte strings, woodwind and brass >
< As Melamed concludes in his analysis of the motet's significance, Bach could not have been unaware of the text, may well have performed the motet several times, >
Does Melamed make any general comments about colla parte doubling of motets and chorales as a normative practice every Sunday? Can we assume that the orchestra of the weekly cantata had copies of the Bodenschatz collection of motets and the New Leipzig Songbook of hymns and doubled the voices?

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 28, 2011):
Francis Browne wrote:
< As I revise my translations of the cantata texts,I thought it might be useful to add some explanatory notes >
This is a terrific resource and a welcome perspective on the libretto texts which were of such paramount importance to Bach but are so often dismissed as tangential to the music.

A couple of suggestions ... Whenever you can, please include the biblical and theological references. I'm thinking especially of Bach's Cavlov annotations and the works of Luther. I always look at Philip Ambrose's translations (linked to the Cantata pages) because they give many of the scriptural and chorale sources.

Great addition to the site's resources.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 28, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 136 -- Final Chorale

Ed Myskowski wrote:
< http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV136.htm
The link to commentary by Julian [Mincham] is especially recommended as an introduction to listening.
Julian's analysis of the chorus is well worth reading. >
(BTW, the BCML link doesn't go to the right cantata)

Julian, I'm curious to know if you would identify the violin "descant" in the final chorale as a musical image of flowing blood.

In posting the titles of motets and chorales for Trinity 8, I was surprised at the extreme Mannerism of the motet which was sung at the same service as BWV 136:

"Iniquos Odio Habui" (8 voices) - L. Maurentius (Luca Marenzio) Livestreaming: http://tinyurl.com/3ma7ljh

Quite a musical lineup for the middle of July!

Julian Mincham wrote (August 28, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Julian, I'm curious to know if you would identify the violin "descant" in the final chorale as a musical image of flowing blood. >
I recall wondering about this when I worked on this cantata. However the direction of the descant, although often descending, is not predominantly so as is often the case with the pouring or flowing of liquid which is why I suggested the reader form his/her own interpretation.Maybe Bach intended the image of a flowing blood but one which is forceful and potent--this blood is a symbol of power and strength and not of weakness or death. ????

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 29, 2011):
Francis Browne wrote:
< An ideal annotator would be fluent in German and an expert in biblical studies and Lutheran theology ? I am none of these things. I anticipate possible hostility both from secularists who think the text does not matter and the religious who value the message more than the music - but I think there must be many ordinary listeners who may appreciate some help in understanding these texts from previous centuries and a >world very different from ours. >
Perhaps the hostility will be prevented by the anticipation? I find the interlinear format especially useful, from the perspective of an ordinary listener, from a world very different!

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 29, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< (BTW, the BCML link doesn't go to the right cantata) >
Apologies for not doing the quality assurance in advance. The link needs to be corrected.

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 29, 2011):
To Ed Myskowsky & Julian Mincham]
Ed Myskowski wrote: "The link needs to be corrected".
Done.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 29, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Introduction to BWV 136 -- Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz
Details of text, commentary, recordings, and previous discussion are accessible via:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV136.htm >
A few interesting details re the character of the music.

Francis Browne comments (English 3 translation link):

It is surprising therefore that Bach should set this earnest penitential Psalm to bright cheerful music and commentators have suggested that he may have used music from an earlier secular cantata.

From the discussion archives link:

Discussions in the Week of August 14, 2005
Santu de Silva wrote (August 14, 2005):
BWV 136 - Introduction
[5] Duet Tenor and Bass (+unison violins, Continuo [according to Robertson])

The text is about original sin, and cleansing power of the blood of Jesus.

[Robertson claims that it is a strange text for a duet, and that as a result the music is of a 'routine nature.' I initially felt that that it was a perfectly reasonable duet, but the counterpoint is minimal. The waltzy rhythm (of Koopman's recording, at least) is in strange contrast to the somber tone of the words.

(I have heard the dancing introduction to this duet somewhere!)

Finally, from the Chorale Melody link:

>>Buxtehude’s variation ‘suite’ on Auf meinen liebenGott, in which the individual verses or variations are set respectively in the forms of allemande and double, sarabande, courante and gigue, is unique in the history of the organ chorale (indeed, the keyboard style and the absence of an independent pedal part strongly suggest that the work was intended for the harpsichord).<<

I believe this is the conclusion of two quotations from Groves Online Dictionary. Those interested will enjoy the entire page. A possible inference is that the cheerful character of the music originates from Bach’s connection with Buxtehude.

Julian Mincham wrote (August 29, 2011):
Francis Browne comments (English 3 translation link):
< It is surprising therefore that Bach should set this earnest penitential Psalm to bright cheerful music and commentators have suggested that he may have used music from an earlier secular cantata. >
There is no evidence of this at all but Dürr also suspects a lost secular cantata to have been the origin of this work.

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 31, 2011):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< There is no evidence of this at all but Dürr also suspects a lost secular cantata to have been the origin of this work. >
Durr states:
<There are various indications in the sources, however, that Bach might have made use of music composed at an earlier date>

Tantalizing. Presumably, the sources are NBA scholarship, not readily accessible to most of us. For many cantatas, Thomas Braatz has kindly compiled and condensed the NBA scholarship into a Provenance file for the BCW archives. Not yet for BWV 135, unless I have overlooked it.

Personally, sheer hypothesis, I would find it satisfying to ravel (if that is the opposite of unravel) some of those threads together, and find that the Buxtehude variations on the chorale <Auf meinen lieben Gott> (BuxWV 179, including Sarabande, Courante, and Gigue) found their way through some earlier Bach compsoitions, all the way to BWV 136. Plenty of dance character at both ends of the chain.

Possible MA thesis?

Ed Myskowski wrote (August 31, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Personally, sheer hypothesis, I would find it satisfying to ravel (if that is the opposite of unravel) some of those threads together, and find that the Buxtehude variations on the chorale <Auf meinen lieben Gott> (BuxWV 179, including Sarabande, Courante, and Gigue) found their way through some earlier Bach compsoitions, all the way to BWV 136. Plenty of dance character at both ends of the chain. >
Not to lose the thought. Note also that BuxWV 179 does not include pedal for organ, and has been recorded on harpsichord. Perhaps linking through Bachs cantata BWV 136 to the later compilation/composition/publication of Clavierubung III, chorale-based keyboard works systematically with and without pedal.

Not for nothing did Bach take that long walk to visit Buxtehude. After staying several months overtime, not for nothing did he walk back home to Maria Barbara, declining the job package which included marriage to Buxtehudes daughter.

Possible historical romance thriller? Package with the MA thesis?

William Hoffman wrote (August 31, 2011):
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Not for nothing did Bach take that long walk to visit Buxtehude. After staying several months overtime, not for nothing did he waback home to Maria Barbara, declining the job package which included marriage to Buxtehudes daughter.
Possible historical romance thriller? Package with the MA thesis? >
That's the opening chapter, Hamburg 1705, in my Bach novel, "Sebastian," about the great rivalry between Bach and Handel, who also turned down the job, along with Mattheson. A guy named Schiefferdecker took it. I will have more about the illusive origins of BWV 136.

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 31, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< That's the opening chapter, Hamburg 1705, in my Bach novel, "Sebastian," about the great rivalry between Bach and Handel, who also turned down the job, along with Mattheson. A guy named Schiefferdecker took it. I will have more about the illusive origins of BWV 136. >
Can we see an excerpt please?!

Aryeh Oron wrote (September 1, 2011):
BWV 136 – Provenance

Thomas Braatz contributed Provenance page for the ongoing discussion of Cantatas BWV 136.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV136-Ref.htm
Linked from: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV136.htm
[References]

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 1, 2011):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
< Thomas Braatz contributed Provenance page for the ongoing discussion of Cantatas BWV 136. >
It is terrific to have these provenance pages if only for the reconstruction of the circle of musicians who worked with Bach in the performance of the cantatas. Bach directed six copyists, the principal scribe being Johann Andreas Kuhnau, the nephew of his predecessor, Johann Kuhnau, who was enrolled at the school. Nothing better expresses the multi-generational, guild approach to music in Bach's world than the image of a young student from another musical dynasty learning his craft through the copying of music with Bach as his mentor. The copying of music is no longer a part of modern musical education, and students are poorer for it.

Keep these provenance pages coming!

William Hoffman wrote (September 1, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
<< That's the opening chapter, Hamburg 1705, in my Bach novel, "Sebastian," about the great rivalry between Bach and Handel, who also turned down the job, along with Mattheson. A guy named Schiefferdecker took it. I will have more about the illusive origins of BWV 136. >>
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Can we see an excerpt please?! >
It's not on my computer, only in hard copy with four versions, very much incomplete. The prologue is set in Hamburg c.1686, CPE Bach's home; visit from Mozart, Haydn, and the teenager Beethoven. CPE is narrator. Chapter 1, Hamburg 1704. Bach takes trip to Lübeck on foot; Handel and Mattheson earlier had gone in a carriage (documented dialogue); Bach meets them and Keiser and Telemann at a party at an Italian villa following Handel's "Almira" at Hamburg Opera, January 1705. They engage in a mock contest to see who deserves Buxtehude's job; judges are Buxtehude and Reincken. This includes not only a keyboard contest but also a composition contest. Bach wins hands down with Cantata BWV 4. Handel is second with the sarabande from Almira (later "Lascia ch'io pianga") and "Cara figlio/sposa/sposo." Handel accepts an invitation to go to Italy and pursue opera. Meanwhile, Bach remains and from Keiser begins to develop the German Passion-Oratorio.

William Hoffman wrote (September 3, 2011):
Introduction to BWV 136 -- Genesis and Fugitive Notes

With the BCW discussion now focused on the three extant cantatas for the 8th Sunday after Trinity (BWV 136, BWV 178, and BWV 45), two new contributions on Cantata 36 from Thomas Braatz on Provenance and Francis Browne's annotations on the biblical references in the text set to music are exemplary studies of important topics in Bach's sacred church pieces. As Bach entered the middle Trinity Time period in his compositions of each cycle, he had the confidence of having at hand sound texts for his musical sermons appropriate to the particular service as well as engaging musical structures and a variety of musical styles to convey the meaning(s) of each work.

With Cantata BWV 136, Bach also began the technique of utilizing and transforming previously-existing music as well exploiting two other principles: tonal allegory in his portrayal of the internal drama and musical cohesion of each individual work, as found in the writings of Eric Chafe, particularly focusing on the middle Trinity Time cantatas (cited in John Eliot Gardiner's Bach Pilgrimage notes [7]) as well as the Passions of Matthew and John, and the theological themes of "Death, Deliverance, and Discipleship in the Music of Bach," found in these and the other Bach vocal works as well as the scared chorale preludes as discussed in Calvin R. Stapert's <My Only Comfort> (Eerdmans Publishing, 2000).

The origins of the music in Cantata 136, Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz (Search me, God, and know my heart) are documented in Thomas Braatz' Provenance page contributed for the ongoing discussion. See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV136-Ref.htm.

Braatz' exemplary documentation of the Provenance of Cantata 136 (with extensive, crucial sources), shows that Bach the Borrower-Transformer used older materials, as he did throughout Cantata Cycle 1. In the case of BWV 136, the results are intriguing. It is the first of Bach's sacred cantatas using the mostly six-movement traditional text structure of opening biblical dictum followed by alternating arias and recitatives with a closing chorale, in one of three variant formats, possibly using the same, still-unknown author (Dürr, <Ibid>, pp. 26-28). Also of distinction, Cantata BWV 136 is at the same time the first Bach Leipzig cantata to adapt borrowed material(s) of earlier origin, a technique-practice Bach would use increasingly in the remainder of his Leipzig service.

Braatz' study cites:

Alfred Dürr, <Cantatas of JSB> (German p. 509) (English-Jones, p. 454):
"There are various indications in the sources, however, that Bach might have made use of music composed at an earlier date. Only the 12/8 section of the third movement and the final chorale are incontestably ad hoc compositions. It is tempting to imagine that the remainder might have originated in a secular work, or possibly in a church cantata for another occasion (and hence with a different concluding chorale). As yet, however, it has not proved possible to establish any further particulars."

Another key element is:

Hans-Joachim Schulze, Die Bach-Kantaten, (Leipzig, 2006), p. 348.
"The fact that the final chorale has five parts instead of four by adding a high violin part in counterpoint opens additional questions about its origin. This type of treatment would point more toward Bach's Weimar rather than his Leipzig cantata style."

There are several possible secular works that Bach composed in Weimar and Köthen but with virtually no documented existence:

In Weimar, Bach also may have set Salomo Franck texts to two court cantatas, for the wedding of Ernst August, January 24, 1716, titled "Diana, Amor, Apollo, Ilmene," and a birthday cantata for his new Duchess Eleonore from Köthen, on May 18, 1716, titled "Amor, die Treue und die Beständigkeit," (cited by Wolff and Smend). No music survives. Bach may have presented music or participated in other performances elsewhere during his Köthen period (1717-1723): a homage cantata for Friedrich II of Saxe-Gotha, August 2, 1721; a church performance at the Schleiz Court of Heinrich XI Count von Reuss, around August 10, 1721; and a birthday cantata, O vergnügte Stunden, BWV Anh. 194, for Prince Johann August of Anhalt-Zerbst, July 29, 1722, or August 8, 1722.

It is more likely that Bach used materials from a previously-composed sacred work, given that the Cantata BWV 136 opening biblical dictum (Psalm 139:23) would have been a most serendipitous parody or new-text underlay from a secular, profane cantata. Since Bach's sacred cantatas in Weimar were set almost entirely to published texts of Frank, beginning in 1714, such a work more likely would have been composed in Köthen. According to stylistic studies of W. Gillies Whittaker (<Cantatas of JSB, 2 vols.) and Friedrich Smend (<Bach in Köthen>, 1985) some Leipzig sacred cantata movements were composed originally in Köthen, possibly for annual sacred royal performances in the St. Agnes Calvinist Church on December 10 or January 1. They include Cantata BWV 32, BWV 97/1, BWV 145/3,5, and BWV 193. In addition, supplemental performing parts from Weimar Cantatas BWV 21, BWV 172, and BWV 199, were written out on manuscript paper with Köthen watermarks (Stephen Daw, Editor's Notes from NBA KB editions, Smend <Ibid.>, pp. 217-220). Festive Cantatas BWV 21 or BWV 172 are suggested as possible probe pieces for Bach's 1720 Hamburg audition.

There are extant three Cantatas for 8th Sunday after Trinity

BWV 136, Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz (Search me, God, and know my heart) (1723)
BWV 178, Wo Gott derr Herr nicht bei uns halt (If God does not abide in us) (1724)
BWV 45, Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist (It is told to you, O man, what is good) (1726)

During the post-Cycle 2 Trinity Time of 1725, for the 8th Sunday after Trinity, July 22, Bach may have repeated Cantata BWV 178 without the opening chorale fantasia, substituting instead the opening stanza as harmonized in the closing plain choral, Movement No. 6 (Stanzas 7 and 8). There is collateral evidence that Bach, perhaps two months earlier, presented his extant, abridged versions of the two-part Cantatas BWV 75 and BWV 76 without opening choruses. There also is documentation that during this 1725 Trinity Time, Bach may have given his boys' chorus a break when only feast days and Town Council cantatas required choruses and well as additional brass and timpani. Bach continued this practice in Cycle 3.

The printed text for the Picander Cycle (4), shows that Cantata P51, Herr, stärke mein Schwacken (Lord, strengthen my weakness), shows no plain chorale.

There are no documented Bach reperformances of the three extant cantatas for the 8th Sunday after Trinity (BWV 136, BWV 178, BWV 45).

Turning to the biblical sources, the paired themes (*) are found in Douglas Cowling's BCW on the Trinity Time "Gospel Thematic Patterns, Paired Miracle and Teachings (Part 2, Trinity +5 to +8).

* Trinity 7: Mark 8: 1-9, Miracle of feeding of the four thousand

[6] And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

This Gospel reading emphasizes two themes for the Christian (the believer). The first theme is that the disciples at Jesus' instruction furnished the "seven loaves" and "small fishes"; the people responded by provisioning (enabling) themselves the physical sustenance, after gaining spiritual sustenance from Jesus' earlier preaching.

* Trinity 8: Matthew 7: 15-23, Teaching: Beware of false prophets

[15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. [16] Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles.

The teaching, found in the Gospel for the succeeding 8th Sunday after Trinity, cautions the Christian against "false prophets" whose fruits corrupt the people but people will accept the true prophet by following the will of Jesus' Father and entering His Kingdom without having to prophesy, cast out devils and do works (full Gospel, King James Version, Matthew Chapter 7.

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Epistle: Romans 8: 12-17 We are joint heirs with Christ

[12] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Francis Browne's new annotation to his BCW August 27 translation of Cantata WV 136 text, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV136-Eng3.htm, has marginal citations to biblical illusions which are discussed in his notes. I take the liberty of citing his original introduction to these notes:
"As I revise my translations of the cantata texts ,I thought it might be useful to add some explanatory notes - nothing very original, mostly a compilation of information from such standard sources as The Oxford Companion, Dürr, Cantagrel and in particular Schanze, who often discusses the text and is not available in English.
"An ideal annotator would be fluent in German and an expert in biblical studies and Lutheran theology - I am none of these things. I anticipate possible hostility both from secularists who think the text does not matter and the religious who value the message more than the music - but I think there must be many ordinary listeners who may appreciate some help in understanding these texts from previous centuries and a world very different from ours."

To come: the musical-theological or dualistic view, the chorales for the 8th Sunday after Trinity, and more thoughts about tonal allegory and theological themes of death, deliverance and discipleship.

 

Cantata BWV 136: Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Last update: ýSeptember 8, 2011 ý07:11:56