Cantata BWV 151Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt
Discussions - Part 4
Continue from Part 3
Discussions in the Week of December 18, 2016 (4th round)
William Hoffman wrote (Decemer 18, 2016):
Christmas 3, “Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt”: Intro.
For the 3rd Day of of the Christmas Festival (December 27) in Leipzig in 1725 in his third cantata cycle, Bach presented the new, intimate solo Cantata BWV 151, “Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt” (Sweet consolation, my Jesus comes). The approximately 19-minute musical sermon is in typical Neumeister-style symmetrical form with alternating, substantial da-capo-style arias (two) and secco recitatives (two) and closing, congregational plain chorale. It is score for solo SATB flute (violin in the early version), oboe d’amore, strings and continuo. Its striking slow opening movement is a soprano lullaby in pastorale gavotte-gigue style with solo flute, and oboe d’amore is featured in the central alto aria, “In Jesu Demut kann ich Trost” (In Jesus' humility I can find consolation). The two secco recitatives, for bass (no. 2) and tenor (no. 4). It closes with the congregational chorale, Nikolaus Herman’s 1554 “Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich” (Praise God, you Christians, all together), setting the 6th Stanza, “Heut schleußt er wieder auf die Tür / Zum schönen Paradeis” (Today he again unlocks the door / to the beautiful paradise).1
Cantata 151 was premiered in 1725 was premiered at the early main service of the Nikolaikirche before the sermon (not extant) of Archdeacon Friedrich Wilhelm Schütz, says Martin Petzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinityfest.2 There probably were several further performances, one about 1728-1731. The readings for the 3rd Day of Christmas are: Epistle, Hebrews 1:1-14 (Christ is higher than the angels), Gospel: John 1:1-14 (Prologue: “In the beginning was the Word”); Feast of John and Apostle: Ecclesiastical Letters, 15:1-8 (Wisdom embraces those that fear God); Epistle: 1 John 1:1-10 (God is light). The German text is that of Luther’s translation published in 1545, the English is the Authorised (King James) Version 1611. Full texts and translations are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Christmas3.htm. The Introit Psalm for the 3rd Day in Bach’s time was Psalm 100, Jubilate Deo omnie terra (Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands, KJV), says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 199). The full KJV text is found at http://www.biblecloud.com/kjv/psalms/100.
The Georg Christian Lehms libretto observes the third day (December 27) of the Christmas Festival, and makes illusions to this rather than the alternate Gospel-Epistle that observes the Feast of John, the Evangelist. “The text of this cantata has no close connection with the Gospel reading but meditates on the Christmas Epistle (Hebrews 1: 1-14): the coming of Christ and the joyful hope of salvation,” says Francis Browne in his BCW “Note on the text.”3 “Repeated emphasis is placed on the paradox that God's humility has exalted the human race.” A biographical profile of Lehms by Bach scholar Alfred Dürr is found below, “Lehms Biography.”
Cantata 151 movements, scoring, incipits, key, meter:
1. Aria da capo with ritornelli [Soprano; Flauto traverso (solo violin later version), Oboe d'amore col Violino I, Violino II, Viola, Continuo]: A. 12/8 pastorale gavotte-gugue style, “Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt, / Jesus wird anitzt geboren!” (Sweet consolation, my Jesus comes, / Jesus is now born!); B. 2/2 alla breve, “Herz und Seele freuet sich, / Denn mein liebster Gott hat mich / Nun zum Himmel auserkoren” (My heart and soul rejoice, / since my dearest God has / now chosen me for heaven.); G Major.
2. Recitative secco [Bass, Continuo]: “Erfreue dich, mein Herz, /Denn itzo weicht der Schmerz, Der dich so lange Zeit gedrücket. / Gott hat den liebsten Sohn, / Den er so hoch und teuer hält, / Auf diese Welt geschicket. Er lässt den Himmelsthron / Und will die ganze Welt / Aus ihren Sklavenketten / Und ihrer Dienstbarkeit erretten. / O wundervolle Tat! / Gott wird ein Mensch und will auf Erden / Noch niedriger als wir und noch viel ärmer werden.” (Rejoice, my heart, / since now the pain yields / that has oppressed you for so long. / God has sent his dearest son, whom he holds so high and dear, / to this world. / He leaves his heavenly throne / and wants to rescue the whole world / from their chains of slavery / and their servitude. / O wonderful deed! God becomes a man and on earth is willing / to become even more lowly than we are and much poorer.); D Major to e minor; 4/4.
3. Aria free da-capo with ritornelli [Alto; Oboe d'amore, Violino I/II e Viola all' unisono, Continuo]: A. “In Jesu Demut kann ich Trost, / In seiner Armut Reichtum finden.” (In Jesus' humility I can find consolation, / in his poverty I can find riches.”); B. “Mir macht desselben schlechter Stand / Nur lauter Heil und Wohl bekannt, / Ja, seine wundervolle Hand / Will mir nur Segenskränze winden.” (This same mean condition of his makes me aware of real health and prosperity. / Yes, his wonderful hand / will crown me with a garland of blessing.); e major, 2/2.
4. Recitative secco [Tenor, Continuo}: “Du teurer Gottessohn, / Nun hast du mir den Himmel aufgemacht Und durch dein Niedrigsein / Das Licht der Seligkeit zuwege bracht. / Weil du nun ganz allein /Des Vaters Burg und Thron / Aus Liebe gegen uns verlassen, / So wollen wir dich auch / Dafür in unser Herze fassen.” (You dear Son of God, / now you have opened heaven for me / and through your humble existence / brought about the light of blessedness. / Since now you alone / from love towards us have abandoned / your father's stronghold and throne, / so we want also / because of this to hold you fast in our hearts.); b minor to G Major; 4/4.
5. Chorale plain [SATB; Flauto traverso e Oboe d'amore e Violino I col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Continuo]: “Heut schleußt er wieder auf die Tür / Zum schönen Paradeis, / Der Cherub steht nicht mehr dafür, / Gott sei Lob, Ehr und Preis.” (Today he again unlocks the door / to the beautiful paradise, / the cherub no more stands in front, / to God be glory, honour and praise.); G Major, 4/4.
Nikolaus Herman’s 1554 chorale is an eight-stanza, concise five-line (ABAB) Christmas song to the newborn child, with the final line repeated for emphasis (Text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale097-Eng3.htm. The hymn is found in Bach’s Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch of 1862 as No. 31 under Christmas chorales.
It “may be a sacred contrafactum of an unknown secular melody/dance, ‘Kommt her, ihr lieben Schwesterlein’ (Come over here, all of you dear sisters) as found in Ein Christlicher Abentreien (A Christian Evening Round Dance), Leipzig, 1554” (see BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Lobt-Gott-ihr-Christen.htm). Besides Cantata 151, Bach set an alternate text, Paul Gerhardt’s 1647 festive “Nun danket all und bringet Ehr” (Now thank all and bring joy), as the closing chorale with horns and drums to the c.1736 and later sacred wedding Cantata BWV 195, “Dem Gerechten muß das Licht immer wieder aufgehen” (For the righteous person the light must always rise again, Psalm 97:11). Bach set the original melody as plain chorale BWV 375 in G Major and BWV 376 in A Major, as well as much earlier in the Orgelbüchlein as a Christmas organ chorale prelude in G Major, BWV 609 and an early Miscellaneous organ chorale prelude, BWV 731 in E Major. The hymn was listed as appropriate to the 3rd Day of Christmas in both the Weißenfels, Leipzig Dresden hymn schedules, says Günther Stiller in Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig.4
Cantata 151 Introductory Summary
The intimate scale of the Cantata 151 reinforces suggestions that in 1725 Bach scaled back his requirements for performers, observes Julian Mincham in his introductory commentary at his Bach Cantatas website, http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-8-bwv-151/. << It would appear that Bach intended the musical celebrations for the Christmas of 1725 to be of a very different character from those of the previous two seasons. C 110 (for Christmas Day) was suitably ebullient but not all newly composed, its opening movement having been a resurrected French Overture originally conceived as a secular instrumental piece. C 57 was much more muted than its predecessors (Cs 40 and 121) particularly in the opening movements. C 151 is similarly subdued by comparison with its counterparts, C 64 from the first cycle and C 133 from the second. C 64 includes three chorales amongst its eight movements and opens with an impressive fugal motet. C 133 announces itself with an ebullient chorale/fantasia in D major. By contrast C 151 has no choruses, although it does conclude with the conventional chorale. It opens, however, with a shimmering soprano aria of translucent beauty. Admittedly Bach had composed three cantatas employing trumpets and drums in order to emblazon the Christian message as an appropriate celebration of the actual birthday of Christ. But in 1725 he seems to have taken a more restrained and less extrovert approach to the music for the services of the following days than he had done in previous years.
The lack of a large-scale chorus in both Cs 57 and 151 has been considered, by some, a practical matter. Observers have commented upon the fact that Bach may have overestimated the abilities of his musicians when he first took up the position of Cantor at Leipzig and needed to accommodate as he learnt from experience. In 1723 he had performed the Magnificat in Eb as well as C 63 on Christmas Day which must surely have stretched his young singers. The seasonal celebrations of 1725 still retained a difficult chorus in C 110, followed by a motet in C 28 and two choruses in C 16! The young choristers were not lacking in new and challenging music required to be learned, almost certainly at short notice!
So perhaps it is not surprising to see Bach making less use of the choir on the second and third days of Christmas on this occasion. Signs of his accommodation may also be found in the very simple harmonisation of the chorale set in the opening fantasia of C 133 (1724) demanding hardly more technical skill than that required by the traditional closing chorales. Practical constraints must have influenced a number of important compositional decisions.>>
Cantata 151: Musical Details
The music of Cantata 151 is described in details in Klaus Hofmann 2008 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete cantatas recordings.5 <<The great opening soprano aria in three sections, one of Bach's finest inspirations, stands proudly above the rest of the cantata. The outer sections of the movement are set in the manner of a Christmas pastorale in rocking 12/8 time. The flute and soprano have broad, arching melodies, and the flute line is moreover richly ornamented. They join forces in an expression of rapturous, eager anticipation of Jesus' arrival. In the lively central part of the aria, however, expectation yields to realization: `Herz and Seele freuet sich' (`My heart and soul rejoice'), and the metre is that of a dance - a gavotte, about which Bach's learned colleague in Hamburg Johann Mattheson (1681-1764) once tellingly observed: `the emotion it conveys is indeed exultant joy'. Agile chains of triplets appear in the vocal line on the word `freuet' (`rejoice'); the flute takes up these figures and makes them the principal motivic element in this part of the aria.
Like the opening aria, the rest of the cantata is also on a scale appropriate for chamber music. Evidently Bach was keen to spare his singers and players, whose workload on those particular days was especially arduous. Three days later, on the Sunday after Christmas, they would have to perform another cantata (BWV 28) and, three days after that - on New Year's Day of 1726 - yet another (BWV 16). The two recitatives are thus accompanied only by basso continuo, and in the alto aria the oboe d'amore, violins and viola are gathered in a single unison part - although, admittedly, the frugality of the movement may also be an allusion to the text, to the lowliness of Jesus' birth, his 'Armut' (`poverty') and his `schlecten Stand' (`hapless [i.e. simple] condition'). On this occasion the choir, too, has only a modest task: it rounds off the cantata with the last strophe of the well-known hymn `Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich' (`Let all together praise our God') by Nikolaus Herman (1560).>> c Klaus Hofmann 2008
Cantata 151: “Intimate,” “Beguiling”
The “most intimate and beguiling of Bach cantatas” is John Eliot Gardiner’s description of Cantata 151 in his 2006 liner notes to his 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage on Soli Deo Gloria recordings.6 <<[The] G major aria in 12/8 marked molto adagio for soprano, obbligato flute and strings, with the oboe d'amore doubling the first violins. It is hauntingly beautiful. Is this the Virgin Mother herself singing a lullaby to her newborn child, or is it simply solace offered to the fragile believer through Jesus' arrival on earth? Though unmistakably Bach-like and ineffably peaceful in mood, there are musical pre-echoes of both Gluck and Brahms, while the arabesques of the solo flute suggest something authentically Levantine or even Basque in origin. Any literal association with the musing Madonna is quickly dispatched the moment the 'B' section bursts out in an ecstatic alla breve dance of joy, part gavotte, part gigue - 'Heart and soul rejoice'. Flute, soprano and the first violins (momentarily) exult in elegant triplet fioriture - similar in style and mood to the kind of music Handel wrote as a young man when he first encountered the works of Scarlatti and Steffani in Italy - before the return of the opening cradle song.
Inevitably this inspirational aria overshadows the sequel. A pair of secco recitatives (Mvt. 2 and Mvt. 4) frame an alto aria 'In Jesu Demut' ('In Jesus' meekness'), with a pair of oboes d'amore doubling violins and viola in praise of the spiritual richness to be found in Jesus' physical poverty. The 'garlands of blessing' (Segenskränze) alluded to in the 'B' section seem to be the image which prompted Bach's imaginative response to the entire aria, including its head motif - the handicraft of weaving melodic threads on the 'loom' of the regular bass line. The eighth strophe of Nikolaus Herman's chorale 'Lobt Gott, ihr Christen, allzugleich' (1560) with which the cantata ends is frankly solid. A little like Hymns Ancient and Modern, it needs an extra dose of festive spirit to come alive, a measure of brandy to set the Christmas pudding aflame.>> © John Eliot Gardiner 2006, From a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage.
Commentary: Dürr, Spitta, Voigt, Schweitzer
Other commentary by Alfred Dürr, Philipp Spitta, Woldemar Voigt, and Albert Schweitzer is provided in Thomas Braatz’s BCW Cantata 151 Commentary, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV151-Guide.htm.
<<Thomas Braatz wrote (June 25, 2003), Commentary by Dürr: “Lehms’ libretto does not show a direct connection with the Epistle or Gospel reading for this special holiday, but it does generally express the joy felt at the blessing received through the arrival of the Christ child. Several times the libretto points out the paradox contained in the humiliation/lowering of God’s position while humanity is being raised up. The final vs. the concluding chorale expands the listener’s viewpoint by pointing out the original Fall of Man (a falling from grace): The paradise, out of which Adam had been driven, is once again open for mankind.
“Out of consideration for the considerable demands being placed upon the Thomaner choristers and instrumentalists, Bach chooses the modest instrumentation of a smaller chamber-music ensemble: the choir sings only in the final chorale and the instruments used involve 1 flute, 1 oboe d’amore, strings and continuo. At the same time, Bach makes the music fit the intimate character of the text which utilizes almost exclusively 1st person forms which serve to emphasize God’s act of salvation (of healing) of the individual.
“The introductory aria, the best-known mvt. of the entire cantata, is one of Bach’s most inspired creations. From the text, Bach selects and isolates the (relative) contrast between “Trost” [comfort] and “Freude” [joy] which is represented musically by the contrast between a main section with the time indication “molt’ adagio” and a middle section entitled ‘vivace.’ Quite unique are the broadly conceived melodic phrases in the introductory ritornello which are developed from the ornamental passages of the flute and are accompanied by the oboe d’amore and strings ‘piano sempre’ [always at a soft dynamic level.] The soprano then begins with a simplified vocal version of this, but then after only 2 ms., the flute picks up the melody again and continues with a repeat of the ritornello in an expanded form while the soprano sings a peaceful, cantabile melody, but then, just before the end of the main section, it once again states the main motif which it had previously relinquished to the soprano. The instrumental bridge to the middle section repeats the ritornello which has now been reduced to half of its original size. The faster-moving middle section is dominated by the motif “Herz und Seele” sung first by the voice but quickly picked up and expanded by the instruments, then interrupted by the melismata consisting of triplet figures on “freuet sich,” a figure then picked up and further developed by the flute. A ‘da-capo’ repeat rounds off this movement.
“After this unusual aria, everything else that follows fades in importance. 2 secco recitatives surround an alto aria designated ‘andante’ but with a time signature of cut-time! All 3 instruments (oboe d’amore, violino 1 & 2, viola) play the obbligato part in unison! Bach creates dynamic levels [Terrassendynamik] by indicating ‘piano’ when the voice is singing. This means that only the oboe or 1st violin would be playing at that time while the other strings would not be playing at all. The final chorale is a plain, 4-pt. setting.”
Spitta: The normal innocent, blessed state of Christmas has here taken on its own special characteristic of being transfigured. The silvery-toned soprano voice hovers like an angel of peace over the night-enshrouded town below as it produces its long drawn-out, simple and blissful melodies through which the oboe d’amore tenderly entwines itself. The middle section of this introductory aria has a very different time signature and rhythm, a technique which Bach uses rather frequently in his Leipzig cantatas. The 2nd aria gracefully sways back and forth in a rocking motion in a lower region/range. This short, beautiful cantata concludes with a vs. from the Christmas chorale “Lobt Gott, ihr Christen allzugleich.”
Voigt: The aria, with which this cantata opens, belongs (particularly in the main section of it) to the most beautiful of all of Bach’s arias. With a solemn, yet effusive melody line, the soprano voice goes on its way while the flute weaves garlands around it. Since the main section surpasses in many ways the middle section in beauty of sound as well as poetic profundity, it is recommendable to repeat the 1st section entirely. At the most, the introductory ritornello can then be skipped if it is deemed necessary to do so. In the following alto aria, the opposite situation prevails: the middle section elicits warmer sounds and emotions than the main section which can be shortened in its reprise by playing only the initial 8 ms. and stopping at that point. Voigt recommends replacing “schlechter” [bad] with “schlichter” [simple] in accordance with modern usage since “schlechter” [understood in Bach’s time with the meaning ‘simple’ among other things] no longer means ‘bad’ in German today.
Schweitzer: The cantata for the 3rd Day of Christmas consists, apart from the recitatives, simply of 2 arias and the final chorale. In the 1st aria the strings (‘piano sempre’) sing a lullaby over the infant Jesus (ms. 1 & 2 of mvt. 1 in the strings) to which the flute adds exuberant runs and figures (ms. 1 & 2 of mvt. 1 in the flute part only.) The theme of the alto aria is constructed on the same lines as that of “Gerne will ich mich bequemen” in the SMP (BWV 244). It represents humility (“Demut”); it sinks, rises again, again recovers, and in the final cadence quite goes to pieces, as it were. The ties that Bach has marked for the instruments here are particularly instructive. The indications in the orchestral part as to the cooperation of the strings and the oboe are interesting in themselves, and no doubt applicable to many other scores. They play ‘unison’ until a ‘piano’ comes, when the violins cease, leaving the oboe to continue alone. The alto aria is accompanied by the oboe d’amore; in the ‘tutti’ passages, however, this part is played by the whole of the violins and violas.>>
Other Commentary: Whittaker, Anderson
W. Gillies Whittaker: The opening aria one of the most supremely beautiful arias in the while range of the cantatas” (P. 161). The alto aria (no. 3) “posseses a quiet beauty all its own” (p.162). The recitatves are based on the Epistle.7
The opening aria is “one of Bach’s most sublime,” being “lightly and translucently scored” with the text that “meditates on the significance of Christ’s birth.,” says Nicholas Anderson in the OCC: JSB.8
Lehms Biography, Libretto
The librettist Lehms biography and the libretto source are discussed in Alfred Dürr’s Cantatas of J. S. Bach.9 << Georg Christian Lehms was born in 1684 at Liegnitz (now Legnica, Poland), attended school at Goerlitz, and studied at the University of Leipzig. At the end of 1710 he took up the post of court poet and librarian at Darmstadt, and before 1713 was appointed to the court council. On 15 May 1717, however, pulmonary tuberculosis brought his life to an untimely end. Lehms is best known for his dictionary Teuschlands galante Poetinnen (Germany's galant Poetesses; Frankfurt, 1715), yet he also wrote novels, opera librettos, numerous occasional poems, and several church-year cycles of cantata texts for services at the Darmstadt court, set to music by the resident Capellmeisters Christoph Graupner and Gottfried Grünewald. Bach adopted several texts from the first of these cycles, which appeared in print in 1711 under the title Gottgefalliges Kirchen-Opffer (Church Offering, Pleasing to God). This publication is divided into two parts: a cycle for the morning service, containing only biblical words, arias, and occasional chorales; and another for the evening service, characterized by its predominance of madrigalian verse, including recitatives. This evening cycle is thus a successor to Neumeister's cycles, and was probably conceived mainly for solo voice. From it, Bach set Cantatas 199 and 54 in Weimar and another seven cantatas later in Leipzig (BWV 57, BWV 151, BWV 16, BWV 32, BWV 13, BWV 170, and BWV 35). From the morning cycle, on the other hand, he set only a single text: Cantata no (Leipzig, 1725). An eleventh cantata, Liebster Gott, vergifit du mich, BWV Anh. I 209, originated at an unknown date, perhaps in Weimar, but is no longer extant. Other church-year cycles by Lehms survive, dating from 1712, 1715, and 1716, but as far as we know Bach set no texts from them.>>
Cantata 151: Provenance, Text Notes
<<Thomas Braatz wrote (June 25, 2003): Provenance: As Dürr had determined [NBA KB I3.1: 146], this cantata belonged to a group of cantatas that were distributed after Bach’s death in 1750 as follows: one son would receive the simple set of parts (without the doublets), while another son would get the autograph score + doublets. In the case of this cantata (BWV 151), Johann Christian Bach received the former while the latter still appears in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s estate listing in 1790. It appears that J.C. Bach may have entrusted C.P.E. Bach with the original set of parts which he had originally inherited just before leaving for a stay in Italy. From C.P.E. Bach the original set of parts came into the possession of Johann Friedrich Hering who, in turn, gave?/sold? it to the Voß family. From the Voß-Buch Bach manuscript collection, J.C. Bach set of parts was acquired by the Royal Library of Berlin (Staatsbibliothek Berlin, ) C.P.E. Bach’s autograph score + doublets went first to Georg Poelchau (1773-1836), who, in turn, sold it to Ernst Ludwig Gerber (1746-1819.) The next owner was Johann Anton André (1775-1842) of Offenbach/Main, who placed it up for sale in a catalog in London in 1828/29. It was not sold and later a relative, Julius André, inherited it, but just how the Duke of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha came into possession of it is unknown. The autograph score + doublets now belong to the Art Collection of the Veste Coburg [not available on digital] while the original set of parts is currently in the BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin.)
In Bach’s own handwriting: At the top of the 1st page of the score: “J. J. Feria 3. Nativitatis Christi Concerto.” At the very end: “Fine SDG.”
The Original Set of Parts: Soprano, Alto, Tenore, Basso, Traversiere, Hautbois d’Amour, Violino 1mo, Violino 1mo, Violino 2do, Violino 2do, Viola, Continuo, Continuo (transposed, partly with figured bass) [The untransposed, not figured original continuo part is missing.] The greatest portions of the copy work were completed by Johann Andreas Kuhnau (1703- after 1745) and J. S. Bach (who, in this instance, helped in copying more than he usually does. Johann Heinrich Bach (1707-1783) helped with the continuo parts and Anna Magdalena Bach (1701-1760) and the 15-year-old W.F. Bach with the doublets.
Instrumentation: The autograph score gives no indications as to which instruments are intended. The NBA gives a very detailed, in-depth analysis of the possible stages and quick modifications that Bach was required to undertake before the 1st performance and the possibilities of changes in subsequent performances. In any case, Bach was forced to make a number of last-minute changes quickly before the 1st performance. This is reflected in Bach’s considerable effort in copying the parts where he makes modifications (Stimmknickung = adjusting for the special ranges of the newly introduced obbligato instruments by forcing the part [from the autograph score] up or down an octave in order to accommodate the actual, natural playing range of the instrument) for the instrument which became available to him for this performance. There is no doubt that this cantata was performed several times under Bach’s direction, although physical proof of this is only possible by means of watermark analysis which determined that the violino 1mo part originally copied by Kuhnau but expanded by adding additional paper and copied by J. S. Bach points to the time span from 1728-1731. The NBA prints both versions of this part, the original one copied by Kuhnau and the later one by J. S. Bach.
Text: Bach used the libretto supplied by Georg Christian Lehms (1684-1717) from his collection entitled: “Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer” “Nachmittags=Andacht Auf den dritten Weyhnacht=Feyertag.” (Darmstadt, 1711.) By selecting a lesser text intended for an afternoon service (not as demanding as that for the morning service), Bach was thinking of his student soloists and musicians who were being ‘stressed out’ by the numerous performances required of them during the Christmas season. Noteworthy is the fact that Lehms was already using the more modern forms of German words such as ‘kommt, anjetzt’ and ‘jetzo’ while Bach and his copyists reverted to the older forms such as ‘kömt’ ‘anitzt’ and ‘itzo.’ Lehms also suggested using as the concluding mvt. the final vs. of “Lobt Gott, ihr Christen alle gleich” [the hymnals of Bach’s time use ‘allzugleich’] by Niklaus Herman (1560). In the autograph score, Bach indicates only the beginning of this vs.” Heut schleust Er p.”>>
1 Cantata 151, BCW Details and Discography, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV151.htm. Score Vocal & Piano [0.97 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV151-V&P.pdf (no chorale); Score BGA [1.28 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BGA/BWV151-BGA.pdf.; Autograph Score (Facsimile): D B Mus. ms. Bach St 89 (BWV 151: Parts) [Bach Digital], https://www.bach-digital.de/receive/BachDigitalSource_source_00002419;jsessionid=C2B22EACD2DCADDE6038D0454F7EC6C6?lang=de. References: BGA XXXII (Cantatas 151-160, Ernst Naumann, 1886), NBA KB I/3.1 (Christmas 3, Alfred Dürr, 2000), Bach Compendium BC A 17, Zwang K 134.
2 Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 231).
3 Francis Browne “Note on the text, Lehms German text and Browne English translation, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV151-Eng3.htm.
4Günther Stiller, Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, ed. Robin A. Leaver (St. Louis MO: Concordia Publishing, 1985: 235).
5 Klaus Hofmann Cantata 151 notes, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Suzuki-C43c[BIS-SACD1761].pdf; Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Suzuki-Rec3.htm#C43.
6 Gardiner Cantata 151 notes, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Gardiner-P15c[sdg127_gb].pdf; Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Rec3.htm#P15.
7 W. Gillies Whittaker, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (London: Oxford University Press: 1958: 2:160ff).
8 Anderson Cantata 151 essay, Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, ed. Malcom Boyd (Oxfdord University Press, `1999: 472f).
9 Alfred Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005: 16).
Aryeh Oron wrote (January 1, 2017):
Cantata BWV 151 - Revised & updated Discography
The Solo Cantata BWV 151 "Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt" (Sweet consolation, my Jesus comes) was composed by J.S. Bach in Leipzig for the 3rd Day of Christmas [St John's Day] of 1725. It was performed again in 1728-1731, also in Leipzig. The cantata is scored for soprano, alto, tenor & bass soloists; 4-part Chorus; and orchestra of transverse flute, oboe d'amore, 2 violins, viola & continuo.
The discography pages of BWV 151 on the BCW have been revised and updated. See:
Complete Recordings (22): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV151.htm
Recordings of Individual Movements (27): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV151-2.htm
The revised discography includes many listening/watching options to recordings directly from the discography pages, just below the recording details.
I also put at the BCW Home Page: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/
2 audios & 2 videos of the cantata. A short description below the audio/video image is linked to the full details at the discography pages.
I believe this are the most comprehensive discography of this solo cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 151 missing from these pages, or want to correct/add details of a recording already presented on the BCW, please do not hesitate to inform me.
You can also read on the BCW the recent discussion of the cantata in the BCML (4th round): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV151-D4.htm
Happy New Year,
Cantata BWV 151: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4