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Cantata BWV 149
Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg in den Hütten der Gerechten
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of October 8, 2017 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (October 8, 2017):
Michaelfest Cantata 149: "Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg"

Bach's final cantata for the Feast of St. Michael and All-Angels, BWV 149, "Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg" (Songs are sung with joy of victory, Psalm 118:15-16), probably was composed in 1728 or 1729 in collaboration with poet Picander. Bach's latest work became the culmination of the Lutheran two-century musical and textual tradition of this feast, as well as the meaning and significance of the Book of Revelation text, especially as treated in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Cantata 149 was Bach’s most extensive expression of the significance of this festival. The Michaelistag feast with the morning service and afternoon vespers set the stage for the Leipzig fall fair, beginning the next Sunday. The original score and parts, now lost, were copied in 1756 and the dating of the premiere is determined by the libretto publication in 1728 and a draft of the first movement extant in 1729.

With trumpets and drums, the opening chorus in 9/8 dance style is a parody setting of Psalm 118:15, and the closing chorale is Martin Schalling’s 1569 "Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr" (From my heart I hold you dear, o Lord), using Stanza 3: Ach, Herr, laß dein' lieb' Engelein” (Ah Lord, let your dear angels). In between Bach provides three arias interspersed with two recitatives, set to a Picander text. The initial aria (no. 2) for bass and continuo, “Kraft und Stärke sei gesungen” (Strength and might be sung), establishes the theology of the Christological sacrifice of the blood of the lamb. The second, 3/8 dance-style aria (no. 4) is the soprano with strings affirmation, “Gottes Engel weichen nie” (God's angels never retreat). The alto-tenor duet with bassoon (no. 6) cautions, “Seid wachsam, ihr heiligen Wächter” (Be watchful, you holy watchmen). In the recitatives, the alto as believer affirms (no. 3), “Ich fürchte mich / Vor tausend Feinden nicht” (I am not afraid / of a thousand enemies), while the tenor offers a prayer of gratitude, “Ich danke dir, / Mein lieber Gott, dafür” (I thank you, / my dear God, for this).1

Bach's three previous festival presentations had utilized the essential elements of the day’s Epistle text, Revelation 12:7-12: the angels’ defeat of evil in Cantata 50, "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft” (Now is salvation and strength, Revelation 12:11); the 1725 chorale Cantata 130 setting of the Hymn of the Day, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" (Lord God, we all Thank you), the popular Paul Eber hymn praise to God; and 1726 Cantata 19, "Es erhub sich ein Streit" (There was a war, Revelation 12:7), based on Picander's 1724/25 Sammlung Erbaulicher Gedanken, poetic expression of the heavenly canticle of praise. Picander’s earlier strophic poem paraphrase involves two movements newly written and the concluding chorale, the ninth verse of the hymn “Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele,” the third movement [soprano aria] adopted literally from the original poem, the fourth [tenor recitative with strings] a somewhat freer madrigalian rendering of the first strophe, and the sixth (soprano recitative) was more radically altered (more details, see below, “Leipzig Michaelmas Presentations”).

Michaelfest Liturgy, Motets, Chorales2

The Readings (Lessons Proper) for the Feast of Michael and All Angels are: Epistle, Revelation (Offenbarung) 12: 7-12 War in heaven; Gospel: Matthew 18: 1-11, Who humbles himself shall be exalted, found at BCW Liturgy (Mass Proper and Vespers) Introit: Psalm 103, Benedic, anima mea (Bless the LORD, O my soul), includes verses 19-22: "The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul." Possible sources for motets include Heinrich Isaac (1450-1517), Motet No. 10, "Benedic Anima mea Domino (1484, 4v.), and Claudin de Sermisy (1495-1562), "Bendic, anima mea" (1535, SATB). Gradualied chant (between Epistle and Gospel) is found in the Liber usualis, Benedicte Dominum omnes angelieus.

Vespers Service Order [Hieronymus Praetorius: Vespers for St. Michael's Day]: 1. Antiphona Ad Vesperas: Veni, Sancte Spiritus; 2. Antiphona Ad Psalmos: Dum Praeliaretur Michael; 3. Psalm 110: Dixit Dominus; 4. Psalm 113: Laudate Pueri Dominum; 5. Psalm 117: Laudate Dominum; 6. Gloria Patri; 7. Antiphona Ad Psalmos: Dum Praeliaretur Michael; 8. Lectio: Und Es Erhub Sich Ein Streit; 9. Hymnus (Alternatim) Christe Sanctorum; 10. Antiphona Ad Magnificat: Factum Est Silentium; 11. Magnificat Octavi Toni (Alternatim); 12. Antiphona Ad Magnificat: Factum Est Silentium 13. Salutatio & Collecta; 14. Benedicamus; 15. Postludium Super Veni Creator Spiritus.

In Gottfried Vopelius' Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682, music for the Feast of Michael and All Angels lists four chorales. Communion Hymn, No. 158, Dicimus grates tibi (Thanks unto Thee), is Philipp Melanchthon's Latin setting of the 11-stanza hymn paraphrase of Revelation 12-7-12, the angels' defeat of satanic forces in heaven and the voice of victory. Communion Hymn, No. 159, "Laßt uns von Hertzen" (Let us from hearts), is Melanchthon's vernacular German translation of Dicimus grates tibi in 11 stanzas, set to the old German melody (Zahn 966, NLGB), SATB setting, composer unknown (Bach did not set this chorale and no text could be found). Hymn of the Day, No. 160, is "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" (Lord God, we all Thank you) Paul Eber 12 stanzas (Zahn melody 368). Pulpit Hymn, No. 161, is "Es stehn für/vor Gottes Throne" I stand before God's throne); Ludwig Humbold 1594, 7 stanzas (Zahn melody 4298), with a Johannes a Burgk 1594 text (Muhlhausen), SATB setting, composer unknown.

Insight Into Bach’s Michaelmas Cantatas

Insight into Bach’s four Michaelmas cantatas and the special qualities of Cantata 149 are presented in Julian Mincham’s Cantata 149 Commentary introduction ( <<Dürr (p 703) suggests that this cantata was first performed in 1728 or 1729. The opening chorus is a paraphrase of the closing chorus from C 208, Bach′s earliest known secular cantata written at least 25 years previously. It is probable, but not absolutely certain, that the remaining movements were composed specifically for C 149. Contextual comments on the cantatas for St Michael′s Day may be found in the essays on C 19 (chapter 25) where the common feature of imposing opening choruses is noted, and C 130 (vol 2, chapter 17). C 19 stands alone of the four choruses in that the text of the first verse specifically mentions the challenge to St Michael, the raging serpent and dragon, the hellish Satan himself. But, as duly noted in that essay, Bach diminishes Satan′s significance by devoting the majority of the music to his vanquishing rather than to his actions or stature.

In C 149, as in Cs 130 and 50 (fragment only), mention of the enemy′s name is generally avoided. The emphasis is entirely upon the victory and the appreciation of, and praise for, God and his principal lieutenant. Satan′s name is only articulated in the first aria of this cantata and nowhere else in the other six movements. Let us remind ourselves of the large forces required for all four choruses: three trumpets and oboes, timp, strings and continuo, with an essential and significant solo bassoon in C 149. This would seem to indicate that Bach was able to draw upon these additional instruments when he considered them necessary. Certainly, some celebratory days were of greater significance than others and would have required more impressive musical observance, and it would seem that on these occasions the resources were at hand, very probably drawn from the Collegium Musicum which consisted mainly of university students. Presumably issues of cost were factors precluding large forces for every Sunday service.>>

Sacrificial Blood of the Lamb

Most significant in Picander's Michaelfest text of Cantata 149 is the first and only appearance - in any of the four festival cantatas - involving Jesus Christ as the sacrificial Blood of the Lamb and the substitute for Michael as the ultimate force that defeats evil in the second half of the Revelation allegorical/eschatological drama,3 beginning with Chapter 12. This same Christological satisfaction theory of atonement is the thematic core of John Milton's epic-heroic poem, Paradise Lost of 1667 (see below,” Paradise Lost: Italian Oratorio”). The Cantata 149 reference is found in the text of the second movement, a bass aria (italic emphasis): “Kraft und Stärke sei gesungen / Gott, dem Lamme,das bezwungen / Und den Satanas verjagt, / Der uns Tag und Nacht verklagt. / Ehr und Sieg ist auf die Frommen / Durch des Lammes Blut gekommen.” (Strength and might be sung / to God, to the Lamb, who conquered / and drove away Satan / who accused us day and night. / Honour and victory has come upon those who are devout / through the Lamb's blood.). Another reference is found in the Cantata 149 closing chorale (no. 7), “o God's son, my saviour and throne of mercy!” (see below). Another new reference is in the alto-tenor duet(no. 6) about the eschatological night watchman.

Apocalyptic Themes, Timeless Truths, Hymns

Biblical apocalyptic literature was part of a prophetic tradition to counsel God’s people in their covenantal relationship to God, dealing with the rewards or calamities they could experience, depending upon their actions and responses. Of central importance in the Book of Revelation is the future hope for the arrival of the kingdom of God for Christian followers in the first century living in poverty under Roman oppression. A chronological summary of the cautionary themes, beginning with the Prophet Isaiah and following in the New Testament is provided in Craig R. Koester’s “Historical Study of Revelation.”4 The cautionary note is sounded in Isaiah, Chapters 24-27, that “speaks of judgement followed by a final end to death,” says Koester, beginning with Chapter 24, “The Lord Will Punish the Earth,” and culminating in Chapter 27 with “Judgement and Restoration.” The Gospels of Matthew and Mark “speak of tribulations at the end of the age” (Matt. 24:1-5; Mk. 13:1-37). In Paul’s Letters to the Christian congregations, often divided or struggling, he “tells of future resurrection and the defeat of death (1 Cor. 15:1-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).” The “Dead Sea Scrolls tell of a final conflict between the forces of Good and Evil. An ‘apocalypse’ differs from these writings in that it brings these elements together in a narrative framework,” says Koester.

Subsequently, early Christian writers on the Book of Revelation generally took the high road, emphasizing and interpreting the last Book of the New Testament as “Timeless Truth” rather than “Future Prediction,” says Koester. They urged patience with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, while explaining that a “future millennial kingdom on earth” showed God’s justice, while in martyrdom for their faith, God would give them life again while restoring “creation to a condition of perfection,” says Koester (Ibid.: 4). At the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, Luther initially dismissed Revelation in his 1522 preface to his translation of the book, calling it “neither apostolic nor prophetic,” but instead drawing “people into dangerous speculations about the future,” says Koester(Ibid.: 11f). In light of political developments, Luther in his second preface of 1530, began to conflate these evil forces in Revelation with heretics and the Papacy. Finally, Luther considered the book’s warnings and comforts, the embattled church facing forces internal and external throughout its history, and finally affirming that “Christ is with us” always. “These final comments provide a helpful alternative to reading Revelation without either dismissing its message or reducing it to a code, says Koester.” It would take Philipp Melanchthon, author of the 1530 Augsburg Confession, to translate the "Dicimus grates tibi" (Thanks unto Thee), the 11-verse exegesis of Revelation 12:7-12, in 1539, as an Epistle paraphrase chorale (see below, “Lutheran Theology & Musical Treatment”).

Timeless truths are emphasized in today’s lectionary Epistle readings from Revelation in Sunday services of Mainline Protestants and Catholics, Koester observes (Ibid. 32). Six short passages are read in the C series (every three years), including the opening and concluding greetings of God and Christ as the Alpha and Omega, together with four scenes of the saints in glory. These are read during the Sundays after Easter which deals with the Gospel of John’s Farewell Discourse, and occasionally one is read on All Saints Day or King Sunday in November, While “Revelation can be read as a critique of Roman imperial power,” observes Koester (Ibid.: 33ff), Christian hymns and liturgies are the most direct encounter with the six vision cycles in Revelation: “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” of God and the risen Christ; “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” as a song of praise (Rev. 4:8-10); “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ name,” a hymn of praise (Rev. 6:9-11); “Ye Servants of God,” a vision of the great multitude in Heaven (Rev. 7:10-12); Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, the “Lord God Omnipotent” (Rev. 11:15), and “The Kingdom of this World” (Rev. 19:6); “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” as the vision of judgement (Rev. 14:19-20); and the closing Revelation view of the New Jerusalem inspiring such hymns as “Awake, Awake for Night Is flying,” Bach set as chorale Cantata 140, and “For All the Saints.”

Cantata 149 movements, scoring, text, key, meter (Picander text and Francis Brown translation with see BCW,

1. Chorus (?solo-tutti) da-capo, imitation (more fugal in B section), sectional ritornelli [SATB; Tromba I-III, Timpani, Oboe I-III, Fagotto, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg / in den Hütten der Gerechten:” (Songs are sung with joy of victory / in the tents of the virtuous); B. “Die Rechte des Herrn behält den Sieg, / die Rechte des Herrn ist erhöhet, / die Rechte des Herrn behält den Sieg!” (the right hand of the Lord wins the victory, / the right hand of the Lord is exalted, / the right hand of the Lord wins the victory!); D Major 9/8 gigue-passepied style (
2. Aria two-part, opening ritornello (8 mm) dal segno [Bass; Violone, Continuo]: A. “Kraft und Stärke sei gesungen / Gott, dem Lamme,das bezwungen / Und den Satanas verjagt, / Der uns Tag und Nacht verklagt.” (Strength and might be sung to God, to the Lamb, who conquered /and drove away Satan / who accused us day and night.); B. “Ehr und Sieg ist auf die Frommen / Durch des Lammes Blut gekommen.” (Honour and victory has come upon those who are devout through the Lamb's blood.); b minor; 4/4 with menuet-polonaise influences (
3. Recitative secco [Alto, Continuo]: “Ich fürchte mich / Vor tausend Feinden nicht, / Denn Gottes Engel lagern sich Um meine Seiten her; / Wenn alles fällt, wenn alles bricht, / So bin ich doch in Ruhe. / Wie wär es möglich zu verzagen? Gott schickt mir ferner Roß und Wagen / Und ganze Herden Engel zu.”(I am not afraid / of a thousand enemies, / since God's angels are encamped / around me; / though everything falls, though everything breaks, / yet I am still at peace. /How would it be possible to despair? / God will send me horses and chariots / and whole hosts of angels.); e minor to D Major; 4/4 (, scroll to 6:48).
4 Aria free da-capo, opening ritornello [24 mm) dal segno [Soprano; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Gottes Engel weichen nie, / Sie sind bei mir allerenden.” (God's angels never retreat, / they are with me everywhere.”); B. (Wenn ich schlafe, wachen sie, / Wenn ich gehe, / Wenn ich stehe, / Tragen sie mich auf den Händen.” (When I sleep, they watch over me, / when I go, / when I stand still / they bear me in their hands.); A Major; 3/8 passepied-menuett style (
5. Recitative secco [Tenor, Continuo]. “Ich danke dir, / Mein lieber Gott, dafür; / Dabei verleihe mir, / Dass ich mein sündlich Tun bereue, / Dass sich mein Engel drüber freue, / Damit er mich an meinem Sterbetage / In deinen Schoß zum Himmel trage.” (I thank you, / my dear God, for this; / grant to me as well / that I may repent my sinful actions, so that my angel may have cause for rejoicing, / and then on my deathbed carry me / to your bosom in heaven.); C to G Major; 4/4 (scroll to 5:17).
6. Aria (Duetto) in canon, free da-capo, opening ritornello (16 mm), dal segno [Alto, Tenor; Fagotto obbligato, Continuo]: A. “Seid wachsam, ihr heiligen Wächter, / Die Nacht ist schier dahin.” (Be watchful, you holy watchmen, / the night is almost past.): B. Ich sehne mich und ruhe nicht, / Bis ich vor dem Angesicht / Meines lieben Vaters bin.” (I am filled with longing and shall not rest / until I am before the face / of my dear father.); G Major; 4/4 (
7. Chorale BAR Form [SAT,B; Tromba I-III, Timpani (last measure only), Continuo, Violino I e Oboe I col Soprano, Violino II e Oboe II/III coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Fagotto col Basso]: A. “Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein / Am letzten End die Seele mein / In Abrahams Schoß tragen,” (Ah Lord, let your dear angels / at my last end carry my soul / to Abraham's bosom); A’. Den Leib in seim Schlafkämmerlein / Gar sanft ohn einge Qual und Pein / Ruhn bis am jüngsten Tage!” (while my body in its narrow chamber of sleep / gently without pain and torment / rests until the last day!); B. “Alsdenn vom Tod erwecke mich, / Dass meine Augen sehen dich / In aller Freud, o Gottes Sohn, / Mein Heiland und Genadenthron! / Herr Jesu Christ, erhöre mich, erhöre mich, / Ich will dich preisen ewiglich!” (Then awaken me from death, / so that my eyes may see you / in all joy, o God's son, / my saviour and throne of mercy! / Lord Jesus Christ, hear me, hear me, / I want to praise you for ever!); C Major; 4/4 (ß-dein-lieb-engelein-choral).

A summary of the Cantata 149 movements’ text is found in Melvin Unger’s Handbook to Bach’s Sacred Cantata Texts.5

They are: No.1, “Victory song of Lord’s triumph;” No. 2,”Praise to the Lamb who conquered Satan by his blood;” No. 3, “Peace in face of foes, God’s angel hosts protect me;” No. 4, “Angels of God keep watch over me wherever I go”; No. 5 ,“Repentance sought so an angel will take me to heaven”; No. 6, “Yearning for heaven; the night watch is almost over”; and No. 7, “Prayer: Bring my soul to thee & raise my body on last day.”

Cantata 149, Parodies, Original Opening Chorus.

A detailed examination of the sources of Cantata 149, including the parody of the opening chorus and possible parodies of the bass aria (no. 2) and the alto-tenor duet (no. 6), as well as the original draft of the opening chorus, are found in Klaus Hofmann’s 2011 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki recording.6 << Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg in den Hütten der Gerechten (The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous), BWV 149. This cantata was composed for Michaelmas 1728. Traditionally this falls on 29th September, and commemorates Archangel Michael and all the other angels. It centres on the gospel reading for that day, with the visionary passage – Revelation 12:7–12 – about war in heaven, in which Michael and his angels fight successfully against the great dragon: ‘the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world’.

Battle scenes were a popular subject, often depicted in works of art and frequently taken up in the church music of the period as well. Picander’s cantata text, too, draws on the gospel reading, although the opening Bible quotation, especially in the German version (Psalm 118:15–16), assumes that the battle is already over: ‘Man singet vom Sieg’ (‘Of victory is sung’). At times the first aria is close to the exact Bible text – the words ‘the Lamb, who vanquished and cast out Satan who accused us day and night.’ In chapter 12:10 we read: ‘for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.’ Starting with the following recitative, the individual Christian has his say, telling of the personal protection he receives from God’s angels. The final strophe, ‘Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein’ (‘Oh Lod, let your dear little angels’) by Martin Schalling (1532–1608) – which also concludes Bach’s St John Passion – looks forward to death and prays for guidance from the angels on the Soul’s journey to heaven, intoning a song of praise.

Bach’s lively opening chorus strikes a triumphant tone. At the beginning is a trumpet signal that pervades the entire movement and later appears in the vocal parts as well. Here it is combined with words that express the signal’s hitherto hidden message: ‘Die Rechte des Herrn behält den Sieg.’ (‘the right hand of the Lord will be victorious’) The lively vocal writing conjures up the atmosphere of a victory song so tellingly that one can hardly believe how the music originated. Bach’s introductory chorus is in fact a parody, an arrangement of a piece that originally had a very different character: the finale of his birthday tribute to Duke Christian of Sachsen -Weißenfels, the so-called ‘Hunt Cantata’ (BWV 208, composed in 1713). The movement begins with the words: ‘Ihr lieblichste Blicke, ihr freudige Stunden / euch bleibe das Glücke auf ewig verbunden!’ (‘Ye fairest glances, ye joyful hours / Happiness will always remain associated with you!’); both textually and musically it is entirely attuned to the charms of court life. The reworking to suit the different emotional climate of the new text is a masterstroke in itself. Bach lends the movement splendour by replacing the original pair of horns by three trumpets and timpani, transposing the whole piece from F major to D major and expanding it on every level. Recourse to the birthday music had not, however, been planned from the outset, as is proved by a page of music, preserved by chance, that contains the first draft of the beginning of a wholly different setting of the text. Only while working on the piece, apparently, did it occur to Bach that the psalm text was excellently suited for combination with the finale of the ‘Hunt Cantata’ of 1713.

Heroic pathos and grandiose sublimity characterize the bass aria [no. 2] – wholly in accordance with the text, which closely resembles the Bible words. The wildly agitated basso ostinato can doubtless be understood as an image of the coiled up ‘great dragon, that old serpent’. With its mellifluous beauty and beguiling charm, the soprano aria provides the greatest imaginable contrast. From a musical point of view, it is a minuet with the then fashionable polonaise accents. It is possible ththis movement also harks back to an earlier composition – something that can be said with greater certainty of the duet [no. 6] ‘Seid wachsam, ihr heiligen Wächter’ (‘Be alert, ye holy guardians’) with its idiosyncratic, strikingly triad-influenced bassoon solo.7 The movement’s musical originality is beyond question; perhaps Bach was mindful of the fact that at Michaelmas Leipzig, with its important trade fairs, would be full of visitors from far-away places. For the same reason, he may also have been tempted to show off a little with surprising touches – such as the unexpected trumpet and timpani flourish that concludes the chorale verse. >>
© Klaus Hofmann 2011

Production Notes. “The main materials for this cantata are the full score and parts in the hand of Christian Friedrich Penzel, who was one of J. S. Bach’s last pupils. The work does not exist in the composer’s own hand. In addition to a part marked ‘Continuo’ there are also three extant parts for Basso Ripieno, Violono grosso and Bassono Ripieno. Therefore, in the second movement in particular, bearing in mind the contents of the text sung, keyboard instruments in the form of organ and harpsichord are complemented by cello, bassoon and in some sections by violone.”
© Masaaki Suzuki 2011

Cantata 149 Angel Chorale

Cantata 149 closes with the chorale "Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr" (From my heart I hold you dear, o Lord), of Martin Schalling (1569, 3 stanzas), here using Stanza 3: Ach, Herr, laß dein' lieb' Engelein / Am letzten End' die Seele mein / In Abrahams Schoß tragen! (Ah Lord, let your dear angels / at my last end carry my soul / to Abraham's bosom). It is based on Psalms 18 (The Lord rewarded me) and 73 (Here this, all ye peoples). Besides "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," it was the "other hymn attested for this [Michael] festival in the hymn schedules" of Dresden and Leipzig, as well as Weißenfels, says Günther Stiller.8 It is found in the NLGB as No. 324, omne tempore "Death and Dying."

The full text and Francis Browne's English translation is at BCW, “The text was written by Martin Schalling (1532-1608) with two dates given (probably printed editions in which it was first found) 1569 and 1571,” says Thomas Braatz (BWV 19 - Commentary: “Schalling was born in Straßburg (Alsace), was a pupil of Melanchthon, and later a pastor in Regensburg, Amberg and Vilseck, then court preacher in Amberg, a general superintendent of the Lutheran region of the Upper Palatinate, due to his theological views he was driven from his post as pastor four times, in 1585 he became the pastor at the Frauenkirche in Nürnberg and became blind toward the end of his life.”

The anonymous melody (Zahn 8326) was first found in the Orgeltabulatur-Buch, Straßburg (1577). The source of the melody, is found in Braatz’s Commentary (Ibid.). <<The "music/melody evolved as follows: in its 1st incarnation the melody by Matthias Gastritz appeared in "Kurtze vnnd sonderliche Newe Symbola etlicher Fürsten," Amberg, 1571; it was later modified by Bernhard Schmid in "Zwey Bücher einer Neuen Künstlichen Tabulatur auf Orgel und Instrument," Straßburg, 1577.>>, as well as the “Pasch. Reinigius 1587.” This is the melody that remained associated with the chorale text, "Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr," a chorale that still appears in German Lutheran hymnals up to the present day"; "Lord, Thee I love with all my heart," Lutheran Book of Worship, No 325, "Christian Hope."

"Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr" appears in three Picander texts for Bach cantatas, two for the Feast of St. Michael (BWV 149/7(S.3) and Cantata BWV 19/5 from Picander poetry (tenor aria, trumpet melody only,, as well as the Pentecost Monday Cantata BWV 174/5 (S.1). It also is found as plain chorales in the St. John Passion, BWV 245/40 (S.3, and the plain chorale BWV 340 in C Major (Dietel 53,,

Cantatas 149, 19 Similarities

Cantata 149 displays various musical and textual similarities to its predecessor of 1726, Cantata 19, "Es erhub sich ein Streit" (There was a war), opening only with this dictum from the Epistle reading. The comparison is found in John Eliot Gardiner's Bach Pilgrimage 2000 Recording notes:9 <<The fact that Picander had a hand in the text of both this cantata (BWV 19) and the last which Bach composed for this day, BWV 149 `Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg', accounts for certain similarities, particularly in the inner movements. The reference to God sending `horse and chariot' as well as providing a host of supportive angels occurs in both the soprano aria [no. 3] with two oboes d'amore in BWV 19 and in the alto recitative [no. 3] of BWV 149. Even if the soprano aria BWV 149 No. 4 is no match for the ravishing tenor aria in BWV 19 [no. 6] with its imploring gestures, describing the watchfulness of the guardian angels, the underlying idea is basically the same.

What separates `Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg' from the other cantatas for St Michael's day is its tone of voice. For example, its opening chorus is festive rather than combative, while using the same apparatus of trumpets, drums, oboes and strings as all the others. This is as we might expect in a movement cleverly recycled by Bach from the closing chorus of his `Hunt' cantata (BWV 208) composed in 1713, his first `modern' cantata in that it employed both recitatives and da capo arias. "Furthermore, the emphasis here is on the guardian angels as `holy watchmen', which could explain the robust bassoon obbligato added to the alto/tenor duet (No.6), as well as the opening chorus where the bassoon is required to function in dialogue with the principal trumpet, and (by implication at least) its appearance in the bass aria (No.2) to reinforce the image of that visionary `great voice' referred to in Revelation, which now announces the Lamb `that has defeated and banished Satan’.”>>
© John Eliot Gardiner 2006

A summary comparison of Picander's texts for Cantata 19 (paraphrase) and 149 is found in Alfred Dürr.10 Using the Epistle dictum to establish the opening choruses, both works describe the defeat of Satan (the dragon), God's angels' continual protection of humanity, and the human desire that the angels carry the redeemed soul to heaven, found in the chorale reference. "New in the present libretto (Cantata 149) is the notion of the vigilance of the watchmen (`the night is nearly over', sixth movement), which is based on Isaiah 21.11," says Dürr (Ibid.).

Leipzig Michaelmas Presentations

When Bach came to Leipzig in 1723, he had perfected Neumeister's technique of the modern opera-style musical sermon with Lutheran chorales in the form of cantatas, as well as biblical oratorios and liturgical Passion settings. During the first of 26 Sundays after Trinity (omne tempore, Ordinary Time), beginning on May 30, 1723, Bach had composed new music for the weekday festivals of John the Baptist on June 24 (Cantata 167, "Ihr ruhmet Gottes Liebe"), the Visitation of Mary on July 2 with the Magnificat, BWV 243, and Cantata 147, "Herz und Mund und That und Leben"), and the Town Council inauguration on August 30 (Cantata 119, "Preise Jerusalem, den Herrn"). In order to accommodate the workload, Bach had forgone presenting new cantatas on the closest adjacent Sundays, respectively, of the Fifth and Sixth after Trinity (June and July 4). For the Town Council presentation, Bach probably had been able to borrow music from Cöthen.

The record for the Michaelis service on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 1723, shows no documented performance. Bach could have taken the opportunity to present the Christoph Bach cantata, "Es erhub sich ein Streit," which he had known since childhood (see below, “Bach Family Michaelmas Music”). Other speculation for Michael's Day 1723 involves the double-chorus motet, BWV 50, "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft," a possible Michael cantata of Georg Philipp Telemann, BWV 218, or a possible pasticcio involving the Christoph Bach work and the motet, BWV 50.

Subsequently, Sebastian Bach at the annual Feast of Michael and All Angels observed another tradition when presenting his own varied cantata settings as well as the music of other composers: trumpets and timpani in all the music for this festival. Bach did not always use trumpets, even in his music for the major festivals of three consecutive days each in the de tempore timely half of the church year — Christmas, Easter and Pentecost — or in the secondary Marian and John the Baptist feast days. These are the St. Michaels' cantatas associated with Bach: BWV 130, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" (Lord God, we all praise you; 1724, reperformance 1732-35); BWV 19, "Es erhub sich ein Streit" (1726); BWV 149, "Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg" (1728/29); BWV 50, "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft" (1723-30); BWV 219/TVWV 1:1328, Siehe, es hat uberwunden der Lowe (Behold, the lion has triumphed (Hamburg, 1723) [by Georg Philipp Telemann, no record of Bach performance].

An overview of the themes and emphasis of each work suggests the following: Cantata 130 makes general references to the readings of the day as a tribute to the angels' protection of mankind; Cantata 19, based on the Epistle battle in heaven, stresses divine intervention, protection, and salvation; Cantata 149 builds on Cantata 19 as a celebration of the defeat of evil, the angels' constant presence, the vigilance of the "watchmen," and praise of God; and Cantata 219 is an allegory of Christ's victory over the devil and sin, with an exhortation to personal humility. Cantata 130 is a paraphrase of the hymn "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," from the second anonymous librettist with the largest number of hymn text adaptations (16 of 42) in the second cycle. Cantata 50 is a setting of one line of the Epistle, Revelation 12:11, "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft" (Now is salvation and strength). Cantatas 19 and 149 are pietistic-flavored texts of Picander, and Cantata BWV 219 is a text of Eisenach poet Johann Friedrich Helbig.

Other works appropriate for the Michael Festival that Sebastian Bach possibly presented include: Johann Christoph Bach cantata "Es erhub sich ein Streit" (as early as 1723); Cantata BWV 51, (Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! (Shout for joy to God in every land!), per ogni tempo (for any time) and the 15th Sunday after Trinity (c.1730); Gottfried Heinrich Stözel Cantata "Wer ist, wie der Herr unser Gott, der sich so hoch gestetzet hat?" (Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high), 1735 [(Benjamin Schmolck String Cycle text, not extant] Psalm 113:5 Laudate pueri (Praise ye the Lord, Roman vespers); and Stözel, Cantata No. 61, no incipit (Schmolck Names of Christ Cycle text, as early as 1736).

No performance at the Feast of St. Michael also is documented for Saturday, 29 Sept. 29 1725, when Bach took a break during Trinity Time in the second half of 1725 and composed only a handful of new cantatas, mostly for special events. It is possible that Bach presented/repeated the Johann Christoph Bach cantata, "Es erhub sich ein Streit," or a repeat of the 1724 Chorale Cantata BWV 130, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," possibly without the opening chorale fantasia, substituting the closing plain chorale harmonization for the opening stanza. Meanwhile, there is no record of a St. Michael cantata from Johann Ludwig Bach, as there is no record in his cycle of cantatas for other secondary feast days. In late 1726, Bach composed a new cantata, BWV 19, dictum "Es erhub sich ein Streit," based on a Picander strophic poem of 1724-25.

Initial Opening Chorus Draft

About the time that Bach composed Cantata 149, he began a similar opening cantata movement orchestral introduction that apparently introduced the biblical dictum, "Man" (singet mit Freuden vom Sieg") (Psalm 118:15f). It is a 14-measure, 10-stave single page draft, now cataloged as Concerto in D Major, BWV Anh. 198, with Bach's heading: "J. J. Concerto Festo Michaelis Concerto a 4 Voci (SATB), 3 Trombe Tamburi, 2 Haut. 2 violini, viola e cont. Bach" (Anh. 194 draft, in BWV 201/5, Bl. 12v).11 Below, Bach composed the opening sinfonia with the entire lines for trumpet 1 and basso continuo in alle breve (2/2) time, the two oboes response beginning in Measure 4, and the bass voice chorus entrance at measure 14 on a low A pick-up note with the word "Man." Bach then began to put in measure rests in the initial pickup to Measure 1 to Measure 3 for the top Trumpets 2 and 3 and timpani and ceased composing, putting an "X" through the entire page, the two violin and one viola staves having no rests.12

Apparently, as part of Bach’s compositional process, he had already began this cantata knowing the opening chorus biblical dictum and having the Picander printed text, but realized when starting to compose the chorus that the text easily could be parodied from his first secular cantata, the Weissenfels birthday hunting serenade, Cantata 208, "Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!" (What pleases me is above all the lively hunt!). Besides the festive mood and orchestration, the Salomo Franck-texted original closing da-capo chorus (no. 15) has a similar rhyme scheme and line length, beginning “Ihr lieblichste Blicke, ihr freudige Stunden” (You loveliest glances, you joyful hours,'Ihr_Lieblichste_Blicke/'_Kurt_Equiluz; sheet music,, scroll to 6:58). “While the ritornelli were transferred bodily, the vocal parts are almost completely rewritten,” says W. Gillies Whittaker.13 “The same general ideas are employed for the choir, but there is more imitative treatment and there is less squareness of phrase.” In the orchestration, Bach rescored the two hunting horns and oboe parts in F Major to three trumpets in D Major while the opening ritornello is 19 measures from 11 measures in the original and its A-B section expanded to 138/88 measures from 52/28, particularly the repeat A section. The brief polyphonic choral passage in the B section is parodied to erhöhet (exalted) from besieget (conquered) with the result an arrangement rather than a simple, verbatim parody (; sheet music,

Subsequently, Bach took out the ruled score sheet, turned it over and inserted it into secular Cantata BWV 201, "Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde" (Hurry, you whirling winds), set to a Picander text, premiered in the autumn of 1729, possibly October 1,14 with parts main copyist Johann Ludwig Dietel, plus copyists Johann Ludwig Krebs, and Emmanuel Bach. The record in 1728-1729 is unclear but the involvement of Krebs began in autumn 1729 when Cantata 149 also was composed by then, although the libretto had been printed a year earlier as part of the published Picander Cycle, Ernst-Schertzhaffte und Satyrische Gwedichte.

The origiHunting Cantata 208, composed in 1713 for the birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weißenfels, is considered as Bach’s first “modern” cantata with da-capo chorus and arias as well as secco recitatives interspersed. It also was Bach’s earliest recognized borrowing, with the closing chorus (no. 15) arranged to open Cantata 149, and this version probably parodied in 1740 as the opening chorus of Town Council Cantata BWV Anh. 193, “Herrscher des Himmels, König der Ehren” (Ruler of heaven, king of all honor).15 Two Cantata 208 arias were parodied in the 1725 Easter Monday Cantata BWV 68, “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt” (God so loved the world, John 3:16; BCML Part 5, BWV 68/2, soprano gigue-style aria (new vocal line), “Mein gläubiges Herze”, from BWV 208/13, “Weil die wollenreichen Herden,” The bass pastorale-style aria, BWV 68/4, ”Du bist geboren mir zugute” is parodied from BWV 208/7, “Ein Fürst ist seines Landes Pan” Subsequently, the soprano aria, BWV 68/2, was parodied again in Council Cantata BWV Anh. 193/5, “Dancke Gott, daß er in Segen.”

William Hoffman wrote (October 8, 2017):
Michaelfest Cantata 149: "Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg" Part 2

Cantata 149 Provenance:

The nine extant cantatas Bach composed using texts from Picander's 1728-1729 printed annual church cycle involve six with borrowed material: BWV 149, 188, 171, 156, 145, and 174. Bach's autograph score and parts for Cantata 149 are lost but originally may have been part of the first cycle estate division between Friedemann and Emmanuel. In the actual manuscript division conducted after Bach's death in Leipzig in 1750, Friedemann probably found three cantatas (BWV 130, 19, and 149) designated for the Michaelfest and simply assumed that BWV 149 was part of the first cycle, since he was studying in Mersebiurg at the time of its composition (1728-1729). It is documented that Friedemann received both the score and parts for the final seven cantatas presented in late Trinity Time 1723. On 12, March 1756 in Leipzig, former Bach student and St. Thomas prefect Christoph Friedrich Penzel (1737-1801) completed copying the score and parts of Cantata 149 from the original manuscript (parts, Penzel is known to have copied other Bach cantata manuscripts in the possession of Friedemann and loaned to him, as well as the chorale cantata parts sets in the possession of the Thomas School.

Book of Revelation & Bach

The Book of Revelation emphasizes the interest initially found in the Gospels concerning the so-called “last things,” involving definitive judgement, symbolically related to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. This interest is called eschatology, or the study of last things. The concepts of Christology and eschatology are found in the New Testament and Bach and his Lutheran associates understood and applied their theological principles.

Bach set various verses from Revelation for church year cantatas celebrating the Feasts of St. Michael, Christmas, 1st Sunday in Advent, and possible special occasions in Weimar.16 Assuming Bach's authorship, the Michaelmas motet Cantata BWV 50, "Nun ist das Heil" (Now is the Salvation) is one of five Bach cantata movements using passages from the New Testament Book of the Revelation to John. They constitute five different musical forms and could be performed together as a Michaelfest composite pasticccio cantata, opening and closing with chorale fugues using trumpets and drums, the latter using the same text as Handel’s “Messiah” chorus,“Worthy is the lamb” (Rev. 5:12-13). The works and their movements with Revelation texts (Francis Browne English Translation) are:

1. Eight-voice motet fugal chorus, "Nun ist das Heil" (Now is the Salvation), BWV 50, Michaelmas, September 29, ?1723: “Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft und das Reich / und die Macht unsers Gottes / seines Christus worden, weil der verworfen ist, / der sie verklagete Tag und Nacht vor Gott.” (Now is the salvation and the strength and the kingdom and the might of our God / become [those] of his Christ, / since he has been cast out / who complained about them day and night before God. [Rev. 12:10]),
2. Recitatve/Arioso (bass, continuo), "Der Freide sei mit dir" (Peace be with you, John 20:21, Easter Tuesday Gospel), Cantata 158, ?pasticcio, origins uncertain, (text ?Salomo Franck): B. “Der Friede sei mit dir, / Der Fürste dieser Welt, / Der deiner Seele nachgestellt, / Ist durch des Lammes Blut bezwungen und gefällt.” (Peace be with you, / the prince of this world / who hunted after your soul, / is conquered and felled through the Lamb's blood.” [cf Rev. 12:11],
3. Soul-Jesus (soprano-bass) aria, "Wie soll ich dich, Liebster der Seelen, umfassen?" (How should I embrace you, most beloved of souls?), Cantata 152, "Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn" (Step forward on the way of faith), Sunday after Christmas 1715, Movement 6 (S. Franck text), last line (bass): “Dir schenk ich die Krone nach Trübsal und Schmach.” (I bestow on you the crown after trouble and disgrace, [Rev. 2:10]),
4. Arioso (bass, continuo) "Siehe, ich stehe vor der Tür" (See, I stand before the door), Cantata 61, "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland" (Now come, saviour of the gentiles; Erdmann Neumeister text), First Sunday in Advent 1714, Movement 6: “Siehe, ich stehe vor der Tür und klopfe an. / So jemand meine Stimme hören wird und die Tür auftun, /zu dem werde ich eingehen / und das Abendmahl mit ihm halten und er mit mir.” (See, I stand before the door and knock. / If anyone will hear my voice / and open the door / I shall go in / and have supper with him and he with me [Rev. 3:20]),
5. Closing chorus prelude and fugue, "Das Lamm, das erwürget ist" (The lamb that was slain), Cantata 21, "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" (I had much affliction; S. Franck text), Movement 11: Das Lamm, das erwürget ist, ist würdig zu nehmen Kraft und Reichtum und Weisheit und Stärke / und Ehre und Preis und Lob. / Lob und Ehre und Preis und Gewalt / sei unserm Gott von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit. / Amen, Alleluja!” (The lamb that was slain is worthy to receive / power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and praise and glory. / Glory and honour and praise and power / be to our God for ever and ever. Amen. Alleluia! [Rev. 5:12-13]).

Cantata 21 has a checkered history with possible multiple uses. Like Cantata 51, Bach designated it "Per ogni tempo" (for any time). The closing chorus may have originated as part of Bach's lost Mühlhausen Town Council Cantata, BWV Anh. 192, on Feb. 4, 1709. In its earliest form (Salomo Franck text) Cantata 21 may have been presented in January 1711 in Weimar on the departure for of Prince Johann Ernst to the University of Utrecht; reperformance possibly on May 19, 1714, church dedication.

In addition to the above five settings are two free-standing liturgical chorales for the Michaelistag festiv: "Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr,” BWV 340 (see above, “Cantata 149 Angel Chorale”); “Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir,” BWV 326-27 (see below, “Early Michaelmas Chorales”).

Lutheran Theology & Musical Treatment17

<< The Feast of Michael and All-Angels was the Lutheran Reformation core expression of the themes of religious freedom, defeat of evil, and ultimate salvation, as found in the motets and poetic chorales based on the Book of Revelation. Poetically from Renaissance theologian Philipp Melanchthon in 1539 to Enlightened poet Johann Gottfried Herder in 1770, musically from Heinrich Schütz and the Praetorius brothers on the cusp of the Baroque era to Sebastian Bach and his sons Johann Christoph and Emmanuel at the transition to the Enlightenment, the meanings of the angelic heavenly victory of the Blood of the Lamb and humanity were established and celebrated.

Lutheran Reformation interest in Michael and All Angels began with Philipp Melanchthon, theologian and author of the Augsburg Confession of 1530. In 1539, he wrote the first of the Epistle paraphrase chorales found in Bach's Leipzig hymnbook, the NLGB, which was Bach's primary chorale source for the poetic libretti of his Leipzig cantatas.

Michaelfest Communion Hymn, NLGB No. 158, "Dicimus grates tibi" (Thanks unto Thee), is Philipp Melanchthon's 1639 original Latin exegesis in the 11-stanza, 4-line hymn paraphrase of Revelation 12:7-12, the angels' defeat of satanic forces in heaven and the voice of victory. Melanchthon's text is found in the NLGB as No. 158, (Zahn melody 974).

In particular, Melanchthon focuses on Christ in Stanza 7, "Yet o'er us watch the heav'nly troops of angels/ Following Christ, their Captain and Commander," as well as the angels in the closing 11th stanza as God's "watchmen o'er Thy temple ever.” Melanchthon's original Latin text and Matthew Carver English Translation, © Matthew Carver, 2011,

Initially, Melanchthon's Latin text was set to the anonymous 1535 Passion melody, "Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ, dass du für uns gestorben" (We thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, that you have died for us). Much later, about 1714, Bach set the same melody "Wir danken dir . . . ," in the Weimar Orgelbüchlein organ chorale prelude OB 26, BWV 623, as a Passion hymn ( A second text is "Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht” (Christ, you who are day and light), based on Christe qui lux es et dies, 6th century Latin hymn). The text was published in Wittenberg in 1525 (seven-stanzas, EG 469, EKG 354), attributed to Wolfgang Mueslin (1526) (text,, and published in Joseph Klug's Geistliche Lieder, 1543. The English hymn version is “O Christ, who art the light and day” (

This hymn, "Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht,” also has its own melody (Zahn 343), and is found in the NLGB No. 205, Catechism Evening Song, which also is a Passion hymn, attributed to Martin Luther (1529), published in Wittenberg 1533 and Valentin Bapst (1545) About 1700, Bach set this melody as a Neumeister organ chorale prelude, BWV 1096 ( Bach also set this hymn as a liturgical plain chorale, BWV 272 in g minor (, (Rilling vol. 85, The melody also is listed but not set in the Orgelbüchlein, OB No. 149 (Evening Song), but not set ( An alternate text is listed as OB No. 83, “Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ, Dass du das Lämmlein” (Communion), not set, not in Gotha (1715) and alternate melody (Zahn 479).

Early Michaelmas Chorales

Four leading early Lutheran reformers -- Philipp Melanchthon, Paul Eber, Nikolaus Herman, and Martin Schalling - had created newly-composed hymns for congregational use for the Michaelfest. These establish the sense of praise and thanksgiving for the defeat of evil and the significance of protective angels, emphasizing salvation over sin with redemption from the fall through Christ's victory over death and the devil. The "vigorous hymnic production of the early years of the Reformation [1519-77] was giving way to a transitional period" after the signing of the Formula of Concord in 1577, writes Carl Schalk in "German Hymnody.”18

The new era of German hymnody is called "The Period of Lutheran Orthodoxy or Lutheran Scholasticism (c.1577-1617)." Chorales of "popular objectivity and often child-like naivete," says Schalk (Ibid. 24) are found in the work of Nikolaus Selnecker, Bartholomäus Ringwalt, Ludwig Helmbold, and others. Polyphonic motets also flourished, based on the Epistle, Michael and All Angels defeat of Satan and the hymn of salvation and praise, from which the earlier chorales had drawn their inspiration.

Melanchthon himself provided the first German vernacular translation of the Epistle chorale. It is the Michaelfest Communion Hymn, NLGB No. 159, "Laßt uns von Hertzen" (Let us from our hearts), translation of his Dicimus grates tibi in 11 stanzas, set to the old German melody, Zahn 966, NLGB SATB setting, composer unknown. Bach did not set this chorale and no text could be found.

Early Lutheran hymn writers Paul Eber and Nikolaus Herman followed with their own versions of Melanchthon's Dicimus grates tibi, set to other melodies, emphasizing the Hymn of Praise. The author of "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" chorale text is Paul Eber (1511-1569) and the first appearance is in 1554. Francis Browne's English translation of the Eber text is found at BCW, It is Eber's paraphrase/translation of Lutheran reformer Melanchthon's11-stanza, 4-line Latin verse Dicimus grates tibi (Thanks unto Thee -- Lord God, to thee we all give praise) which first appeared in 1539. "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" is listed in the NLGB as No. 160 under music for the Feast of Michael and All Angels, Zahn melody 368 (anonymous, 1551), in the J. H. Schein setting in F Major for SATB 1627. It is also listed in the Evangelische Gesangbuch/Neu Evagelisches Kirchengesangbuch (EG/NEK) as No. 557. It is best known today as the Doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow." Eber BCW Short Biography is found at

Nikolaus Herman (1480-1561). Heut singt die Liebe Christenheit (Today all loving Christendom sings; 1560 text after the version by Melanchthon's Dicimus grates tibi with a later arrangement of Detlev Block) (EG 143). It is not found in the NLGB and was not set by Bach. For the original Herman text and melody, see (SLOW!), 7 stanzas, omits Stanza 6. "Gar oft erregt er Ketzerei"; also see current text (8 stanzas, 6 lines): See Herman BCW Short Biography, Other Hermann texts of Herman include three related hymns: +Den die Hirten lobeten sehre (2. Textteil) (EG 29, Advent); +Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ, dass du vom Tod erstanden bist (that you have arisen from the dead; Stanza 1; EG 107, Easter), is a 3-stanza text, based on 2. Tim. 1,10, is found at +Wir wollen singen ein' Lobgesang (We will sing a hymn of praise; text after the version by Philipp Melanchthon) (EG 141); 6-stanza, 4-line text based on Mark 1:1-8, is found at; after "Aeterno Gratias Patri" of Philipp Melanchthon (1539) folksong for John the Baptist Feast; Melodie: Bartholomäus Gesius 1603.

Other Melanchthon (1497-1560) texts still used include: "Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ" (original Latin text for a later arrangement of Stanza 1) (EG 246, MG 329), "Heut singt die liebe Christenheit" (original Latin text for a later arrangement by Nikolaus Herman und Detlev Block) (EG 143), and "Wir wollen singn ein' Lobgesang,” original Latin text for a later arrangement of Nikolaus Herman (

The other major Michaelmas chorale composed about this time (c.1560), in addition to the Melanchthon, Eber, and Herman Revelation paraphrases, was "Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr" (From my heart I hold you dear, o Lord), of Martin Schalling (1569), discussed above in Cantata 149.

Helmbold's `I stand before God's throne'

The best known Michaelfest chorale of this second period is Ludwig Helmbold's "Es stehn vor Gottes Throne" (I stand before God's throne). Helmbold's seven-stanza text to an unknown melody (Zahn 4298) was published by Johannes a Burgk in Mühklhausen in 1594. In Bach's Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682, it is the Pulpit Hymn (No. 161) for the Michaelfest. Helmbold's BCW Short Biography is found at

Bach set "Es steh'n vor Gottes Throne" once as a plain chorale setting in g minor, BWV 309 (, It is listed in the Orgelbüchlein for the Michael and All Angels Festival (OB 58) but not set. An organ chorale prelude may be by Bach, BWV deest (Emans NBA/KB IV/10: 65), three-part harmony with pedal, 37 measures in A minor/Major.

There are some 30 references to the "throne" in Revelation. "Es stehn vor Gottes Throne" is based on Revelation 7:15, "Therefore, are they before the throne of God." Another important passage is Revelation 20:11, "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it." Other references include Handel's Messiah closing chorus (Revelation 5:13), "Blessing and honour, glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever."

Another important theme in Revelation, is the voice. In the Michaelmas Epistle, the war in heaven and the defeat of evil is followed with the hymn of praise, "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft" (Now is the salvation and the strength), found in Chapter 12, and introduced in verse 10a: "And I heard a loud voice saying." See the Melchior Franck and Christoph Demantius motet settings described below. Other significant voice passages in Revelation include: "Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels" (5:11); "They cried out with a loud voice, `O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'" (610); "When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders [God] spoke" (10.3); and "And I beheld, and heard an angel [eagle] flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!'" (8:13).

Reformation Centennial Celebration, 1617

The second period of German hymnody reached its watershed in the centennial celebration of the Reformation in 1617. "Festive Music for the Reformation Celebration 1617" (Christophorus Recording) has (Johann) Michael Altenburg's Gaudium Christianum," as well as selected Michaelmas motets by Heinrich Schütz (Es erhub sich ein Streit, SWV Anh. 11 [doubtful], a 18, 1620), Samuel Scheidt (Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, a 3, 1635), Melchior Franck (Und ich hörte eine grosse Stimme, a 4; Rev. 12: 10-12, 1624), and Christoph Demantius (Und es ward eine Stille, a 6) and organ music of Jan Sweelinck (Echo Fantasia in Aeolian mode, SwWV 275) and Franz Tunder (In dich hab ich gehoffet Herr). It also has Johann Christoph Bach's 1680 motet, "Es erhub sich ein Streit," a 22. Some free sheet music is available. Details:, scroll down to "Festive Music,” and

The composers of the second Reformation hymn period and their music are:
+(Johann) Michael Altenberg (1584-1640). For the Reformation jubilee in 1617 is the polychoral, six-part, 30-minute "Gaudium Christianum" by the cantor and pastor Michael Altenburg: multiple-choir tradition with three choirs of 19 voices and various instruments, including trumpets and timpani. Recording:
Das Lutherische Jubelgeschrey and II. Die Prophezeiung von Luthero; Youtube:; III. Das Lutherische Schloss, Youtube:;
IV: Die Engelische Schlacht, V. Das Amen. Item Von Nun an bis in Ewigkeit, VI. Das Amen Gott Vater und Sohne); Youtube: Biography, Wikipedia:
+Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654): "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" (chorale motet), STB, bc, SSWV 321; S xi, 90 (Halle, 1635); organ chorale motet, Youtube: Scheidt BCW Short Biography:
+Melchior Franck (c.1579-1639, "Und ich hörte eine große Stimm', die sprach im Himmel" (And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Rev. 12:10a-11). Sheet music:,_Melchior, scroll down to "Und ich hörte." BCW Short Biography,
+Christoph Demantius (1567-1643) Und es ward eine Stille, "is a masterpiece which begins with an eloquent depiction of the `silence in heaven' and then leads to a vivid description of the battle between the dragon and the archangel Michael. This was written for the Feast of St Michael." Johan van Veen; see; and BCW Short Biography,>>

Paradise Lost: ItalOratorio

<<The 17th century Italian oratorio had a profound influence on John Milton's heroic-epic "Paradise Lost." The overall structure, purpose, subject matter, and musical forms in the oratorio are manifest in Milton's poetic masterpiece first published in 1667. Milton's Italian visit in 1638-39 to complete his Renaissance education served to provide him with the classical learning and musical knowledge to help forge his goal to create a major work based on a major theme, the defeat and expulsion of evil from heaven (Revelation) and God's creation of the world and Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Genesis), the Omega and the Alpha of the Bible. For the Thirty Years War, see Wikipedia,'_War.

The earliest sketches for "Paradise Lost," possibly predating Milton`s Italian journey, already showed the influences of operatic, dramatic, chorus and allegorical elements. As the work progressed towards its final structure, Milton placed more emphasis on narration as a unifying agent as he expanded the scope of the work. Various commentators have pointed out the general musical qualities, including the poem's "spiritual music," "doctrinal music in heaven," and the "grand opera scene in Pandemonium."

Specifically, Milton apparently encountered Giacomo Carissimi's (1604-74) oratorios, called <drama sacro per musica>, in the autumn of 1638 during his extended stay in Rome. These expansive, static music dramas set to biblical stories explored the themes of lamentation and temptation, with continual use of narration of the personage Historicus, borrowed from the German Passion play, as well as laudi or hymns for instruction rather than music as operatic entertainment.

Sung throughout, Carissimi's oratorios featured dramatic scenes involving the extended recitative of the narrator (testo), the ariosi or melodic recitatives of the main characters, arias conveying specific emotions, choral ensembles as commentary, and instrumental, transitional interludes. Among the ingredients in Carissimi's oratorios also found in "Paradise Lost" are: biblical text supplemented with lyrical passages of poetry in "Baltazar," unified narrative connecting different scenes in "Iazarus," and the theme of lamentation in "The Judgment of Solomon."

Elements specific to "Paradise Lost" include a secondary narrator such as the Archangel Raphael, who narrates the war in heaven and the Creation in Books VI and VII; the quarrelling of the women reminiscent of Adam and Eve quarrelling in Book IX; the bass solo in Carissimi's brief oratorio "Lucifer," similar to Satan's solos and invocations throughout "Paradise Lost"; and Jeptha's war-like choruses and turbulent symphonies in Book VI.

An oratorical outline of "Paradise Lost" shows secondary oratorios in books or combination of books: Books I and II are a "Lucifer" oratorio, Book III is a "Te Deum" of celestial choruses, Books IV and V are a biblical temptation oratorio, Book VI is a war oratorio, Book VII is a creation oratorio similar to Haydn's "Creation," Book VIII is a prelude to another temptation oratorio in Book IX, and Books X and XI are a biblical oratorio of Man's Fall.

Vocal-style music plays a dominant role in "Paradise Lost." Examples of recitatives include the narrator's story throughout, Raphael's story of the war in heaven, various conversations between participants, and the divine speeches of God, Christ, and Raphael. The ariosi are sung by earthly participants and Satan. The invocations of both the narrator and Satan show soaring, emotional characteristics similar to the arioso. Satan's other ariosi are: his call to war in Book I, his address to his followers in Book II, his justification speech in Book IV, and his victory speech in Book X. Most of the choruses are sung by the angels in brief passages in Books III, VI, VII, and XI. The dissonant songs of the devils are found in Books I and II. Brief hymns are sung by the angels after Christ's acceptance of his mission in Book III and the Te Deum during the Creation in Book VII.

Among the instrumental symphonies (interludes) with chorus in "Paradise Lost" are the devil's parade and drinking songs and the building of the baroque Pandemonium into an Aeolian organ in Book I; Satan's flight through chaos, Book II; and the sounds of war, Book VI. [Sources: William Hoffman graduate studies term papers, "Milton's Paradise Lost as a Renaissance Oratorio" and "Musical Elements in Milton's Paradise Lost," 1969-70, English 403 (Milton), Eastern New Mexico University]>>

German Hymnody III: 30 Years' War, Literary Interests. The Reformation Centennial of 1617 ended with the formal beginning of the Thirty Years (Religious) War in Central Europe. "Confronted with the horrible killing and pillaging of the Thirty Years' War, the individual sought enlightenment, self-understanding, comfort and consolation in a personal and subjective approach to God," says Johannes Riedel.19 The German Hymnody Period III is dated 1618-c.1675 and is characterized by the impact of the Thirty Years War and the emergence of simple hymn poetry, especially of Paul Gerhardt, and closes with the establishment of Pietism (c.1675-1750) with such Trinitarian chorale themes as Cross and Consolation that affected Bach.

Bach Family Michaelmas Music20

<<Bach, as did members of the Bach Family, presented significant works on the feast of St. Michael, which in Leipzig was particularly important. This celebration opened the annual Fall Fair, the most important of the three (also Winter at Epiphany and Spring, on Jubilate Sunday after Easter) in this most significant commercial city.

The impetus for all Bach's Michaelfest music was steeped in German musical tradition that used biblical texts set as motets and imaginative poetic paraphrase through Lutheran hymns. Following cousin Christoph's musical lead, Sebastian Bach's synthesis of Michaelfest original poetry produced four cantatas, BWV 130, 19, 149, and 50. Subsequently, sons Johann Christoph Friedrich and Carl Philipp Emanuel would produce more Michaelfest music in the late 18th century gallant style. Following his chorale cantata setting of the Luther canticle of praise, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" (Lord God, we all praise you), BWV 130, for the Feast of Michael and All Angels in 1724, Bach in 1726 turned to the battle dictum, "Es erhub sich ein Streit" (There was a war) beginning the biblical Epistle reading from Revelation 12:7-12, for his next (third) cycle Cantata BWV 19, presented in 1726. Building on popular German tradition, Bach began utilizing various related themes melding praise and thanksgiving with the heavenly victory of the angelic forces over Satan and the forces of evil, thereby redeeming mankind. Collaborating with the poet Picander in Cantata 19 and the next Cantata, BWV 149, "Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg" (Songs are sung with joy of victory), in 1728, Bach sought texts set to similar uplifting music. In addition, Bach probably composed the eight-voice motet, Cantata 50, "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft" (Now is salvation and strength).

Bach had begun in 1723 possibly with musical underpinnings of the Epistle (Revelation 12:7-12) describing the Angels' metaphoric victory over evil in heaven and the canticle of Praise to God. These were found in Johann Christoph Bach's 40-year-old motet style "Es erhub sich ein Streit" (Rev. 12:7-11) as well as Verse 10b alone in Cantata 50, "Nun ist das Heil.” In 1724, Sebastian presented chorale Cantata 130 that makes general references to the biblical lesson of the day as a tribute to the angels' protection of mankind. In 1726, Bach returned to and built on the dictum to open Cantata 19, based on the Epistle battle in Heaven that begins with a militant chorus fantasia using only Verse 7. He then presented music with the sentiments of joy found previously in the chorale, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," celebrating and affirming divine intervention, protection, asalvation for mankind.

Conductor John Eliot Gardiner describes in detail the significance of angels for Bach as well as the Archangel Michael's triumph in his notes to the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000 recordings of the four cantatas for the Feast of St. Michael (Ibid.): “One only has to think of the Sanctus in the B minor Mass to realise that Bach took the Book of Revelation and the concept of the angelic hosts very seriously. Accordingly he believed in a cosmos charged with an invisible presence made of pure spirit, just beyond the reach of our normal faculties. As incorporeal beings, angels had their rightful place in the hierarchy of existence: humanity is ranked ‘a little lower than the angels’ in Psalm 8. The concept of a heavenly choir of angels was implanted in Bach as a schoolboy in Eisenach, when even the hymn books and psalters of the day gave graphic emblematic portrayal of this idea; the role of angels, he was instructed, was to praise God in song and dance, to act as messengers to human beings, to come to their aid, and to fight on God’s side in the cosmic battle against evil. Probably no composer before or since has written such a profusion of celestial music for mortals to sing and play. From the initial planning of the pilgrimage year I had marked September 29 as a red-letter day, and one to look forward to. A dazzling cluster of cantata-movements composed to honour the archangel Michael have survived from the most productive years of Bach’s cantata composition, the 1720s.

“Michael the archangel (the name means ‘Who is like God?’) is one of the few figures to appear in the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha and the Koran. He appears as protector of the children of Israel (Daniel 12:1), inspiring courage and strength, and was venerated both as the guardian angel of Christ’s earthly kingdom and as patron saint of knights in medieval lore, and, significantly, as the being responsible for ensuring a safe passage into heaven for souls due to be presented before God (hence the Offertory prayer in the Catholic requiem mass: ‘sed signifer sanctus Michael repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam’ - ‘may the holy standard-bearer Michael bring them into the holy light’). Since it was first established under the Roman Empire some time in the fifth century, Michaelmas (Michaelisfest) had become an important church feast, coinciding with one of the traditional quarter days on which rents are levied and agreed in northern Europe, the start for many of the new agricultural year, and in Leipzig, with one of its three annual trade fairs. When Lucifer, highest of the Seraphim, led a mutiny against God, he became transmogrified into the Devil, appearing either as a serpent or a ten-headed dragon; Michael, at the head of God’s army in the great eschatological battle against the forces of darkness, was the key figure in his rout.”

Festive, intricate, militant - sometimes bellicose -- music for the Feast of Michael and All Angels came to dominate the Michael Festival works of German baroque composers, including the Bach Family, as contrasted to the chorale-based music of the Lutheran Reformers focusing on the hymn of praise, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," also based on the Epistle for that feast day. For basic information on the Michaelmas Feast, see Wikipedia, The Feast of Michael and All-Angels became the Lutheran Reformation core expression of religious struggle and freedom as found in the Revelation motets and poetic chorales. Poetically from Renaissance theologian Philipp Melanchthon in 1539 to Enlightened poet Johann Gottfried Herder in 1770, musically from Heinrich Schütz and the Praetorius brothers on the cusp of the Baroque era. The final three generations of the Bach Family contributed sacred concertos/cantatas for Michaelmas with Sebastian Bach influenced by the monumental works of his cousin Johann Christoph (1642-1703) and the work of his second-youngest son, Johann Christoph Friedrich (1732-95), who in turn was influenced by his father. Further, J.C.F and his older brother Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-88) produced a pasticcio that reflects Enlightenment stylistic transition and interpretation of the meaning of the angelic heavenly victory of the Blood of the Lamb.

Christoph Bach's Michaelmas Cantata

Sebastian's angelic interest probably had been cultivated at the annual Bach Family gatherings in Eisenach or nearby Arnstadt or Erfurt, where his second cousin, Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703), was the church organist. Johann Christoph's best-known composition is his cantata setting of all but the final verse (12) of the St. Michael's Epistle (Rev. 12:7-12), "Es erhub sich ein Streit im Himmel" (There was a war in heaven). Sebastian performed this festive, militant, 22-voice motet at least once in Leipzig, preserving the only surviving copy, and he "may have been inspired by it to write his Cantatas No. 19 ("Es erhub sich ein Streit"), and No. 50 ("Nun ist dal Heil")," says Karl Geiringer.21 Geiringer’s companion study contains the first publication of the full score, originally composed about 1680. Geiringer also suggests that Sebastian "may have learned the rudiments of organ playing from J. Christoph before he left Eisenach at the age of 10" (Anthlogy, Ibid.: 29), when his father, Johann Ambrosius, died. In all likelihood, Ambrosius as an Eisenach Stadtpfeifer knew well the trumpet parts in first cousin Christoph's Michael cantata.

The full text of the Christoph Bach cantata is the Epistle, Revelation (Offenbarung) 12:7-12, of the war in heaven (narrative), 7-10a, and the canticle of praise, 10b-12, in the King James Version translation. 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10a And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 10b. Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. (King James Version, 1611):

The Scoring 22 is SATBB chorus concertante, SATBB chorus ripieno; 2 violins, 4 violas, 4 trumpets, timpani, continuo (bassoon and organ). Manuscript score, Petrucci download,; published scores, Carus-Verlag ( and Hänssler No. 49. The movements are : Part 1, 1. Sonata (2 violins, 2 violas, continuo); 2. Solo (2 basses, continuo): 7. es erhub sich ein Streit im Himmel . . . (add trumpets and timpani) Und der Drache stritt und seine Engel (6 measure instrumental interlude); 3. Choruses, tutti orchestra: 7. es erhub sich ein Streit im Himmel . . . .; Part 2, 1. Concertante (SATBB), strings, continuo: 8. auch ward ihre nicht mehr funden im Himmel; 2. Solo (2 basses, continuo): 9 Und es ward ausgeworfen der große Drache, die alte Schlange, die da heißt der Teufel und Satanas; 3. Tutti ensemble: der die ganze Welt verführt, und ward geworfen auf die Erde, und seine Engel wurden auch dahin gew; Part 3, 1. Sinfonia (tutti ensemble); 2. Solo (B, continuo): 10a Und ich hörte eine große Stimme, die sprach im Himmel; 3. Tutti ensemble: 10b Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft und das Reich unsers Gottes geworden und die Macht seines Christus worden; 4. Concertante (SATBB), strings, continuo: (text altered): "weil der Verkläger unserer Brüder verworfen ist, der sie verklagte Tag und Nacht vor Gott" becomes "weil der verworfen ist, der sie verglaget Tag und Nacht für Spott”; 5.Tutti ensemble: Und sie haben ihn überwunden (trumpets tacet, antiphonal choruses), durch des Lammes Blut und durch das Wort ihres Zeugnisses; 6. Concertante (SATBB), strings, continuo: und haben ihr Leben nicht geliebt bis an den Tod; and 7. Tutti ensemble (antiphonal choruses): Rev. 12:12 Darum freuet euch, ihr Himmel und die darin wohnen (omit remainder).

Christoph Fredrich’s Cantata

Johann Christoph Friedrich, the "Bückeburg Bach," Sebastian’s second youngest child and a prolific composer in the gallant style,23 like Christoph also set the Revelation text (12:7-12) for both the battle and the song of salvation, unlike his father, Sebastian, who used only the dictum (Rev. 12:7), "Es erhub sich ein Streit" (And there was war in heaven), in Cantata BWV 19, setting Picander's paraphrased description of the battle. Friedrich's work, "Michaels Sieg: Der Streit des Guten und Bösen in der Welt," BR F 4, Wf XIV/5 [Sü II/8] (Michael's victory: the struggle between good and evil in the world), uses a text of the Bückeburg (later Weimar) Court poet Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), Herder's text includes original poetry as well as the biblical verses alternating with the melody of the Lutheran call-to-battle hymn, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (A mighty fortress is our God), in a rondo-like construction in three parts involving the battle plan, battle, and victory.

This information is found in Geiringer's "The Bach Family” (Ibid: 401). The opening battle is a chorus, "Wie wird uns werden?" (What will become of us?). The following victory song is set in the three remaining movements, an accompagnato recitative and coloratura aria in the Italian style and the closing chorus, "Nun ist da Heil," which includes the melody of “A mighty fortress.” The work was presented in Hamburg in 1771, probably on St. Michael's Day. Geiringer offers a comparison of the melody “Nun ist das Heil” in the Sebastian and Christoph Friedrich choruses. While both are composed in ¾ time beginning with repeated notes, Sebastian’s setting shows the “inadequacy of the later version,” says Geiringer.

Christoph Friedrich and his much older brother, Emmanuel, collaborated in 1785 in Hamburg on another Michael's Day "Michaelis-Cantata," SW XIV/6 [Sü II/9], a pasticcio, also involving a probable Herder text, with father Sebastian's closing five-part chorus, Sicut locust est fugue, from the Magnificat, BWV 243, in a German contrafaction. Emmanuel contributed the basso continuo accompaniment and the first 15-measures of his four-voice German Sanctus setting, "Heilig" (Holy, German), Wq. 218 (H 827), introducing the fugue. Friedrich contributed three numbers from "Michaels Sieg" and three newly-composed movements, the work ending with the chorus "Heilig" and the Sicut locust est fugue.

Earlier, Emanuel has compose and first performed his “Helig” in “an arrangement of his father’s cantata, Es erhub sich ein Streit (BWV 19) as the Michelmas Quartlalstück for 1776,” says Paul Corneilson.24 The double-choir “Heilig,” says Corneilson, “was incorporated into several other works for Hamburg including three other Quartlalstücke: Wenn Christus seine Kirche schützt [protects], based on the cantata Michaels Sieg (WF XIV/5) by Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, in 1778 . . . . ” Emanuel spoke of his father's performance of Christoph Bach's cantata in a letter dated Sept. 20, 1775, to Johann Nicolaus Forkel, Bach's first biographer (1802), Emanuel says: "This composition in 22 parts is a masterpiece. My blessed father performed it once in a church in Leipzig and everybody was surprised by the effect it made. I have not enough singers here [in Hamburg], or else I would produce it sometime" (quoted in Geiringer, Ibid.: 57).

In Emanuel's estate catalog of 1790 were found listings (Page 82) of the parts set of Friedrich's "Michaels Sieg" cantata, the parts set of the pasticcio "Michaelis-Cantata" with Emanuel's "Heilig" in a manuscript bearing the initials of its two authors (JCFB and CPEB). The catalog lists the Altbachisches Archiv collection parts sets beginning (Page 84), Emmanuel inherited from Sebastian, along with the 22-part Christoph Bach "Es erhub sich ein Streit." Also found in Emanuel's estate catalog as well was Emmanuel's own copy of the score and parts set of Christoph Bach's "Es erhub sich ein Streit," "in the hand of his [Emanuel's] principal Berlin copyist, doubtless for a performance there, though the occasion is unknown," says Daniel Melamed.>>25

Peter Smaill wrote (October 7, 2015): [To William Hoffman] It is perhaps significant in the context of this discussion that the last Cantata of the Christmas Oratorio [BWV 248a] is considered by Martin Geck to be originally a Cantata for the Feast of St Michael [see also, “Discussions in the Week of November 1, 2009,”]; the opening chorus text gives the game away, with its battle and talons and victory calls. As St Michael was considered a special protector of the Virgin Mary there is a case for the bass aria, " Starker Herr" in the first Cantata, with its declaratory trumpet, also acting as a representation of this Saint.>>. Dating to c1734, no text of the original BWV 248a sacred cantata has survived, only the closing chorale chorus setting of the "Passion Chorale," "Herzlich tut mich verlangen." It is possible that the text was written by Picander, thus he may have contributed to the texts of three Michaelmas cantatas, this as well as BWV 140 and 19.

Haydn’s Creation, Four "Archangels"

Haydn's "The Creation" Oratorio (1798) is based primarily on the Book of Genesis, with references to the Creation in Milton's "Paradise Lost." The three Archangels, Raphael (bass), Uriel (tenor), and Gabriel (soprano) sing of creation in both narrative recitatives, replacing a single Evangelist (narrator), and commentary arias, in Parts 1 and 2, before the appearance of Adam and Eve (see below, “Four ‘Archangels’”).

Michael (the name means "Who is like God?") is said to be the captain of the heavenly armies. He is mentioned in the Scriptures in Daniel 10:13, 31 and 12:1 (where he is said to be the prince of the people of Israel); in Jude 9 (where he is said to have disputed with the devil about the body of Moses); and in Revelation 12:7 (where he is said to have led the heavenly armies against those of the great dragon). He is generally pictured in full armor, carrying a lance, and with his foot on the neck of a dragon. (Pictures of the Martyr George are often similar, but only Michael has wings.)

Gabriel (the name means "God is my champion") is thought of as the special bearer of messages from God to men. He appears in Daniel 8:16; 9:21 as an explainer of some of Daniel's visions. According to the first chapter of Luke, he announced the forthcoming births of John the Baptist and of our Lord to Zachariah and the Virgin Mary respectively.

Raphael (the name means "God heals") is mentioned in the Apocrypha, in the book of Tobit, where, disguised as a man, he accompanies the young man Tobias on a quest, enables him to accomplish it, and gives him a remedy for the blindness of his aged father. In "Paradise Lost" Raphael is the narrator of the War in Heaven in Book VI.

Uriel (the name means "God is my light" -- compare with "Uriah", which means "the Lord is my light") is mentioned in 4 Esdras. [Ref., Michael & All Angels,].

Recent/CurreMichaelmas chorales

The 20th century Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirchengesangbuch (EKG) lists two hymns for the Pre-Communion chant (Praefaction) for the Feast of the Archangel Michael and all Angels (Erzengels Michael und aller Engel).: 1. Herr, Gott, dich loben alle wir (latin "Dicimus grates tibi" of the Lutheran theologian Philipp Melanchthon (1539) German of Paul Eber 1561) (EKG 115); and 2. Heut singt die liebe Christenheit (Nikolaus Hermann 1560) (EKG 116)

The Lutheran Service Book has three hymns for the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (September 29), all loosely based on Revelation 12:7-12: +520, Stars of the morning, so gloriously bright; melody (4 stanzas, 4 lines; Joseph the Hymnographer, c. 810-86); melody "O Quanta Qualia”; +521, Christ, the Lord of hosts, unshaken (6 stanzas, 6 lines; Peter M.Prange); melody Fortunatus New ©; and +522, Lord God, to Thee we all praise (8 stanzas, 4 lines; Paul Eber); melody "Erhalt uns, Herr.” [Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, St. Louis, Concordia Publishing, 2006].

Angels' Significance in Lutheran Studies

The significance of angel is found in Lutheran liturgy for the Sundays in Lenten (Passiontide) Time. Of particular note are the Psalm and Gospel readings and Martin Luther's hymn, "Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott" (A mighty fortress is our God), that had its origins as a Lenten hymn. For the First Sunday in Lent (Invocavit), the Psalm reading is 91, "You who dwell" (qui habitat), Verses 11-16 (KJV): "For he [the Lord] shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation."

The Gospel reading today for Invocavit is Luke 4:1-13, The devil tempts Jesus in the wilderness. The three temptations or tests are similar to those offered Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: food, power, and immortal life. In the third temptation, the devil cites Psalm 91:11-12, and Jesus replies: "It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (Deut. 6:16).

In Bach's time, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott," was a communion hymn (NLGB) for the Second and Third Sundays in Lent (Reminiscere and Oculi). Called the "Battle hymn of the Reformation," it is Martin Luther's chorale paraphrase of Psalm 46, "God is our refuge" (Deus noster refugium), set to his original melody c.1528 (Zahn 7377a+b). The four stanzas focus on the struggle against evil, led by Jesus Christ. Bach originally set Cantata BWV 80 for Occuli Sunday in Weimar (March 24, 1715) to a Salomo Franck text beginning with the bass aria with chorale melody, "Alles was von Gott geboren" (All that was of God born), BWV 80a, that closes with the second verse of "A mighty fortress," "With our might nothing is done."

Angel Canticles: Gloria and Sanctus

In the Roman Catholic Mass Ordinary the two sections flanking the central Creed are angels' canticles of praise: the "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Glory to God in the Highest) and the "Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth" (Holy, Lord God of Hosts). They have their German vernacular equivalents in the hymns of Martin Luther's Deutsche Messe (German Mass), found in Bach plain chorale settings, respectively, "Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr'" (To God alone on high be glory), BWV 260, and "Heilig, bist du Herr Gott Zebaoth!" (Holy, You are the Lord God Zebaoth), and in Latin, BWV 325. In both cases, Luther wrote poetry in 1525 for the Catechism of doctrine and instruction, using traditional Ordinary chant. It is possible that during the feast day Masses, Bach used various settings of the Gloria and Sanctus, both in the Latin Mass Ordinary and the Deutsche Messe, the Gloria following the Introit and Kyrie, and the Sanctus during communion.

Is it also possible during Bach's later years in Leipzig that he performed the Orchestral Suites Nos. 1, 3, and 4 with trumpets and drums during the feast day Mass services? The French overtures could have been part of the prelude, with the dance movements played during communion, and the closing movements as postludes. It also is tempting to suggest that additional festival music was presented at special Mass services of allegiance, thanksgiving, and Reformation celebrations.

Luther's German Gloria

The German Gloria also begins with the angels' canticle, Luke 2:14, modeled on various Psalms and canticles. Luke attributed the song to the angels at Jesus' birth. It is called the Greater Doxology, which Bach used in the Latin Christmas Cantata, BWV 191. Its authorship and age are unknown. By the fourth century it was associated with morning prayer (lauds). Luther's four-stanza setting of the canticle and Trinitarian stanzas is No. 145 in the NLGB for Trinity Sunday Festival in the J. H. Shein SATB setting with the Nikolaus Decius (1522) Zahn melody Z4457 (EKG 131). The full Luther text with Francis Browne English translation (BCW,

Closing Commentary

While Bach’s Cantata 149 is not technically part of a Christological cycle, it’s emphasis on the sacrificial satisfaction atonement of the blood of the lamb clearly links it to the Christological, theological importance of related works dealing with the Passion and post-Passion events central to Christianity. Bach’s Christological cycle begins with the conception and incarnation found in the Magnificat anima mea (My soul doth magnify the Lord), BWV 243, Mother Mary’s canticle of praise to God and human destiny, as well as Martin Luther’s German vernacular counterpart, Cantata BWV 10 “Meine Seele erhebt den Herren.” It is followed by the beginning of Jesus’ descent in the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, through the major earthly events, ending with his crucifixion on Good Friday in the three oratorio Passions. Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday is the Johannine Christus Victor atonement model, found in the Easter Oratorio as the embodiment of Jesus Christ’s divine nature, as well as the watershed of Christology. His lifting up in the Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11, signifies the completion of the sacred Great Parabola, followed at Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit, the birthday of the Christian church and the embodiment of Luther’s doctrine of justification. Finally is the entire summation and affirmation of Bach’s and the Christian’s faith, found in the “Great” Mass in B Minor, BWV 233.


1 Cantata 149 BCW Details & Discography, Score Vocal & Piano,, score BGA
References: BGA XXX (Cantatas 141-150, Paul Graf Waldersee, 1881), NBA KB I/30 (Michaelfest, Marianne Helms, 1974), Bach Compendium BC A 181, and Zwang K 168.
2 Source material: BCW Motets & Chorales for St. Michael,, contributor Douglas Cowling.
3 A comprehensive understanding of eschatology is found in the final chapters of Robert J. Marshall’s The Mighty Acts of God: An Overview of Scripture (Minneapolis MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1990: 233-48). For Christology, see Wikipedia A new sub-topic, eschatological Christology, see “Pannenburg’s Eschatological Christology,”, and "Eschatology, Liturgy, and Christology - Liturgical Press,”
4 Craig R. Koester, Chapter 1, “Interpreting the Mystery,” Revelation and the End of All Things (Grand Rapids MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2001: 28).
5 Melvin Unger, Handbook . . .: An Interlinear Translation with Reference Guide to Biblical Quotations and Illusions (Lanham MD: Scarecrow Press, 1996: 451ff).
6 Cantata 149, Hofmann/Suzuki notes, BCW;
7 Besides the opening chorus, “The remaining components of BWV149 may also be parodies of music which Bach had written earlier in his life but, if so, no evidence exists to confirm this,” says Nicholas Anderson in his Cantata 149 essay in Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, ed. Malcolm Boyd (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999: 281).
8 Günther Stiller in JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig (St. Louis MO: Concordia Publishing, 1984: 247).
9 See Gardiner BCW notes,, p. 17, BCW Recording details,
10 Alfred Dürr. Cantatas of J. S. Bach (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006: 702f).
11 Bach Digital notes, Bach Digital; Bach
12 The original composing score is classified as "BWV Anh. I 198 = BWV 149/1a" in the Schmieder 1998 updated Summary Edition catalog as well as Bach Compendium BC A 182. A copy of the sketch, the printed music and notes are found in Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel, pp. 166-68: SUPPLEMENT (BA 5291) / Beiträge zur Generalbass- und Satzlehre, Kontrapunktstudien, Skizzen und Entwürfe, ed. Peter Wollny.
13 W. Gillies Whittaker, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (London: Oxford University Press, 1959: I: 314).
14 Cantata BWV 201 score,, parts, Krebs BCW Biography,
15 Bach Digital description, Bach Digital. Text, Z. Philip Ambrose English translation and notes,
16 Source: Cantata BWV 216, BCML Discussion (March 10, 2013),
17 Information on Michaelmas music from the Reformation to Bach’s works as well as the liturgy and contemporary chorales is found at BCW “Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales for Feast of St. Michael and All Angels,” Information related to Michael and All-Angels, including historical chorales and Reformation celebrations with Michaelmas music and the influence of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” are found in the BCML Discussion of Cantata 50, Part 3,
18 Carl Schalk, "German Hymnody," in Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship, Marilyn Kay Stulken (Philadelphia PAS: Fortress Press, 1981: 24ff).
19 Johannes Reidel, The Lutheran Chorale; It's Basic Traditions (Minneapolis MN” Augsburg Press, 1967), cited in Schalk, Ibid.: 26f.
20 Source: Cantatas BWV 50, 219, BCML Discussion Party 4,
21 Karl Geiringer The Bach Family: Seven Generations of Creative Genius (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1954: 57), and Geiringer, Music of the Bach Family: An Anthology (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1955: 30).
22 References: Altbachisches Archiv (ABA), (Max Schneider ed.; Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig 1935, 1966). Recordings: 1. Cantus Cölln, 2. Rosenmüller Ensemble, 3. Musica Antiqua Köln:1. Recording information, BCW; 2. Recording information:; 3. Recording: YouTube, (Goebel, Musica Antiqua Köln).
23 Johan van Veen’s biography from the CPO liner notes of J.C.F. Bach’s sonatas and trios is found at A more detailed biography from the Bach-Archiv Leipzig is found at
24 Paul Corneilson, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works (2005-) (Los Altos CA: Packard Humanities Council),
25 Daniel Melamed, J. S. Bach and the German motet (Cambridge University Press, 1995: 166ff).


To Come next week: Music of joy and thanksgiving: occasional wedding cantatas BWV 196, 195, 197

Cantata BWV 149: Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg in den Hütten der Gerechten for Feast of St Michael and All Angels (1728/1729)
Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions: 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


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Last update: Sunday, October 08, 2017 06:33