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Cantata BWV 177
Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of June 22, 2014 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (June 24, 2014):
Cantata 177, “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ”: Intro.

Having created three varied cycles of church year cantatas in his first five years as cantor at St. Thomas church in Leipzig, Bach took an extended cantor’s holiday while finishing and revising three annual Good Friday Passion oratorios according to John, Matthew and Mark. Then in the 1730s, resigning himself to fulfilling his calling there to a “well-ordered church music to the glory of God,” Bach cautiously, deliberately and simultaneously pursued instrumental music as well as progressive secular drammi per musica while completing a Christological cycle of substantial feast day oratorios and Latin service music, and harmonizing sacred songs for church and devotional use as well as hymns for the omnes tempore Trinity Time second half of the church year.

Meanwhile, Bach in 1731 returned to weekly church year music with plans to repeat cantatas from his three cycles, to fill gaps in the cycles, to compose new cantatas for special occasions and eventually to present works of his esteemed colleagues, especially Telemann and Georg Heinrich Stözel cycles. During the two-month Easter Season 1731, follow the premiere on March 23 of his concise chorale parody Passion oratorio, Mark, BWV 247, Bach systematically reperformed cantatas from his first and third cycles. During Trinity Time 1731, the record shows no reperformances but one new composition. For the last and rare 27th Sunday after Trinity on November 25, 1731, Bach serendipitously composed chorale Cantata BWV 140, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme,” popularly known as “Sleepers Awake.”

At Trinity Time 1732, Bach may have begun a repeat of his chorale cantata cycle of 1724-25. For the gaps in the 4th and 6th Sundays after Trinity, Bach first composed Cantata BWV 177, “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (I call to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ), for the composing score is dated “1732,” a rarity with Bach. For the 6th Sunday after Trinity, Bach probably completed another chorale Cantata BWV 9, “Es ist das Heil uns kommen her” (BCML Weekly Discussion, July 6), based on the paraphrase anonymous libretto Bach had not used in 1724 since he and Anna Magdalena had been in Köthen on that Sunday (July 16) at the behest of Prince Leopold. For the other Trinity Time gap, the Reformation Festival (October 31) Bach probably two years prior had complete Cantata 80, “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott,” with all four Luther stanzas set to varied music.

In addition, the scanty record of chorale cantata reperformances, based on manuscript paper for needed new parts for 15 cantata reperformances that only can be dated between 1732 and 35. These show repeats of chorale Cantata BWV 93 for the 5th Sunday after Trinity (July 13, 1732; BCML Discussion Week of June 29), the Sunday following the premiere of Cantata 177; a possible performance of Cantata 137, per omnes versus and composed belatedly in 1725, for the 12th Sunday after Trinity (August 25, 1732); and finally the Christmas Day Luther chorale Cantata 91, Gelobet seist du, Jesus Christ,” in a reperformance. Whether Bach continued the repeat of chorale cantatas in early 1733 for the rest of the Christmas season and Epiphany Time, there is no record. At any rate, the death of the Saxon Elector August II, created an extended closed mourning period of no music at service from February 15, pre-Lenten Quinquagesimae Estomihi Sunday, until July 1, 1733.

Cantata 177 'Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ'

Pure-hymn chorale Cantata BWV 177 BWV 177, “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (I call to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ), Chorale Cantata for the 4th Sunday after Trinity, afforded Bach several significant opportunities to fashion a memorable and substantial hymn-based cantata. The Johann Agricola 5-stanza 1529 proto hymn on Christian Life and Conduct had been popular among the early reformers and remained in Leipzig the most popular and ubiquitous of Trinity Time hymns. Its positive plea of mercy and compassion for the least of people fits well with the Sunday’s Epistle and Gospel parable of self-righteous judging of others. Bach responded with a substantial (25-minute) work with an amazing and poignant extended chorale fantasia, creating special excitement with a new technique of Lombard-style syncopated short-long rhythm; three substantial arias (alto, soprano, and tenor) in tri-partite AAB form, based on the chorale’s Bar AAB form of Stollen reprise melody and contrasting, extended Abgesang melody with seven lines linked with extended ritornelli; and a fitting, consoling congregational hymn stanza familiar to all.

Cantata 177 was only one of two pure-hymn cantatas, the other, Cantata 100, “Was Gott tut das ist wohgetan” (after 1732), “lacking recitatives altogether, underlining the gulf between the strict chorale cantata and the pseudo operatic type that Bach otherwise cultivated,” says Richard D. P. Jones in his The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach, Volume II: 1717-1750.1 “In addition, the melodic invention in the inner movements is not always entirely free, but instead is sometimes governed by the chorale melody.” In the first internal aria of Cantata 177, No. 2 (alto), “Ich bitt noch mehr, o Herre Gott,” the main vocal theme is a paraphrased version of the first line of the chorale melody,” says Jones (Ibid.).

At this time, Bach was beginning to selectively compose in the style of other progressive music favored by the Saxon Court at Dresden and its enlightened, dominant faction in Leipzig. Besides the Lombard-style syncopated, short-long Scottish (snap-skip) style, increasingly in favor were the stile misto mixed sacred style of archaic Catholic Latin music and progressive Neopolitan opera-style, as well as the polonaise dance favored by the Saxon Protector who also held the title of King of Poland. All this was part of the generic, melodically simple yet rhythmically quirky pre-classical galant style and the sentimental “empfindsamkeit” style of simple melody that would lead to comedic German singspiel along the lines of Bach’s “Coffee” and “Peasant” Cantatas and Italian opera buffa.


The Readings for the 4th Sunday after Trinity are: Epistle: Romans 8:18-23, Yearning of all creatures for redemption (God’s children await the body’s redemption); and Gospel: Luke 6:36-42 (Be merciful and do not judge, parable). The Luther 1545 German translation and the English Authorised (King James) Version 1611 are found at Bach's three extant cantatas for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity, BWV 185, BWV 24 and the belated BWV 177, observe the spirit of the day's Epistle, Romans 8: 18-23 (Hope in Future Glory), especially verse 9. "All of creation awaits with eager longing for God to reveal his children," and the Gospel (Luke 6: 36-42), be merciful (compassionate), do not judge, as shown in the parable of the Blind leading the Blind.

The Introit reading for the 4th Sunday after trinity is Psalm 112, Beatus vir God-fearing ability and bliss (Praise ye the Lord (KJV,, says Richard Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar, Vol. 1: Die geistlichen Kantaten des 1. Bis 27. Trinitas-Sontagges.2 The first performance on July 6, 1732, was at the early service of the St. Thomas Church, sermon preached by Pastor Christian Weise (1671-1736) on the Gospel parable (Lk 6:36-42), 2nd performance: c1742 (June 17).

Popular Chorale

The text of Johann Agricola (1492-1566 is per omnes versus, 5 stanzas (one to each movement), “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (Psalm 17:6a). It is found in the Neu Leipzgier Gesangbuch (NLGB) No. 235, Christian Life and Conduct, 5 with no composer identified in the NLGB. The text originally was published as a broadsheet with melody in 1529 amongLuthers’ reformers and then in Joseph Klug’s Geistliche Lieder zu Wittemberg (Wittenberg, 1535 with the melody (Zahn 7400). The Agricola BCW Short Biography is found at. “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” is sometimes associated with Laurus Spengler’s “Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt / Menschlich Natur und Wesen” (Through Adam’s fall human nature / and character is completely corrupted), NLGB No. 229, “Justification” (Zahn melody 7549).

"Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ" (I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ) in the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB No. 235) is one of the most ubiquitous Trinity Time chorales. The Johann Agricola ?1529 five-stanza chorale is assigned in the NLGB as the Hymn of the Day for the Second, 19th and 21st Sundays after Trinity and as a communion hymn on the Sundays after Trinity +5, +6, +8, and +22. Bach chose "Ich ruft zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" as the subject of Chorale Cantata BWV 177 (BCW Discussion June 26), for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity, presented in 1732, to fill that service gap in Cycle 2. Bach also uses the first stanza as the closing chorale with violin obbligato (No. 6) in Cantata BWV 185, "Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe" (Merciful heart of love everlasting [by Richard Stokes]), premiered in Weimar in 1715 and possibly repeated in 1716, in Leipzig in 1723 and 1746-47.

"Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ" is also listed as the NLGB Hymn of the Day for the Third Sunday After Epiphany omne tempore ordinary time, as well as for Septuagesimae and Sexagesimae Sundays before Lent. The melody of Johann Agricola's 1529 five-verse hymn appears as a chorale prelude in the Orgelbüchelin (No. 91), BWV 639, in the fifth omne tempore listing of 26 after the Catechism, under the heading "Christian Life and Conduct." Its variant setting is BWV Anh. II 73 (doubtful, arranged by C. P. E. Bach). It is set as a plain chorale, BWV 1124, in G Major, as one of four new Bach chorales copied in 1735 in the hand of Bach student Johann Ludwig Dietel (NBA KB III/2.1, 1991), in a collection of later Bach four-part chorales. An intriguing early two-voice, 31-measure organ chorale prelude in e minor, simply labeled “Aria,” is catalogued as “Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ Aria BWV deest (Emans Nr. 21) in the NBA KB IV/10 Organ Works (Bärenreiter BA 5251, 2008). The manuscript source dates to c.1800 in the Christian Heinrich Rinck collection (Yale University). The Neumeister Collection of organ chorale preludes has two settings of "Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ," Nos. 44-45, under the heading “Christian Life & Experience,” composer “anonymous,” catalogued as Johann Michael Bach, JMB App. 29, 30). It was popular in English in the 19th century under various titles.

The suggested introit motets and chorales for the 4th Sunday after Trinity are:3

1) MOTETS for Introit, Before Sermon at mass and vespers for Choir II, and
During Communion:
i) "Domine Quis Habitat" (7 voices) - J. Caes. Gabut
ii) "Domine Quis Habitat" (8 voices) - Anonymous
Text: Psalm 15
"Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbour no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman."
2) HYMN OF DAY (de tempore)
"O Herre Gott begnade mich," Matheus Greitter, NLGB No. 257 (Psalm 51, Christian Life & Conduct), no Bach setting (Zahn melody 8451).
"Herr Jesu Christ, dich uns wend," NLGB No. 314, Word of God & Christian Church; Bach’s uses, plain chorale BWV 332 and organ chorale prekudes BWV 632, 655, 709, 726, 749.
4) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns:
"Wo soll ich fleihen hin," Johann Heermann 1675, NLGB No. 182, Catechism Penitence (melody “Auf meinen Lieben Gott); Bach’s uses, chorale Cantata 5 (Trinity+19), and plain chorales 89/6 and 136/6.
"Allein zu dir Herr Jesu Christ," Conradi Huberti, NLGB No. 178 Catechism Penitence (Zahn melody 7292), Bach uses, plain chorales BWV 33/6, and 261, Neumeister organ chorale prelude BWV 1100.
And "others from [the] Confession and Penitence [section]," NLGB Nos. 177-189.

Movements, scoring, initial text, key, time signature:4

1. Chorus Verse 1, fantasia concertante with extanded ritornelli between lines (SATB; Oboe I/II, Violino concertante, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo); A. “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ); g minor, 3/8 Lombard rhythm
2. Aria Verse 2, tri-partite AAB (Alto, Continuo): A. “Ich bitt noch mehr, o Herre Gott . . . Daß ich werd nimmermehr zu Spott” (I pray still more, o Lord God, / that I shall never again be mocked); B. Voraus, wenn ich muß hier davon” (assuming now the time when I have to depart from here); c minor, 4/4.
3. Aria Verse 3, dal segno, extended tri-partite AAB (Soprano; Oboe da caccia, Continuo) “Verleih, daß ich aus Herzensgrund / Mein' Feinden mög vergeben” (Grant that from the bottom of my heart / I may forgive my enemies); B. “Dein Wort mein Speis laß allweg sein” (let your word always be my food); E-Flat Major; 6/8 passepied-minuet.
4. Aria Verse 4, dal segno AA’BB’ with ritornelli (Tenor; Violino concertante, Fagotto obligato, Continuo): A. Laß mich kein Lust noch Furcht von dir / In dieser Welt abwenden” (Let no pleasure or fear / in this world turn me away from you); A’ “Beständigsein ans End gib mir” (Give me constancy until the end); B. Du hast's allein in Händen” (you alone have it in your power); B’ “Und wem du's gibst, der hat's umsonst” (and the person to whom you give it has it for free); B-Flat Major; 4/4.
5. Chorale Verse 5 Bar form AA’B (SATB; Oboe I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Fagotto) Continuo): A. “Ich lieg im Streit und widerstreb” (I lie amidst strife and I resist);
A’ “An deiner Gnad allein ich kleb” (To your grace alone I cling); B. “Kömmt nun Anfechtung, Herr, so wehr” (If temptation now comes, Lord, defend me); g minor; 4/4)

Cantata 177 Summary

A concise summary of the features of Cantata 177 is found in John Eliot Gardiner’s 2008 liner notes to the Bach 2000 complete cantata pilgrimage Soli Deo Gloria recordings.5 <<Strikingly different in mood is BWV 177 Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, composed in 1732, a chorale cantata per omnes versus based on Agricola’s hymn set unaltered and with no recitatives. For the opening chorus Bach singles out a concertino violin with two oboes answered by the full strings to weave an elaborate, instrumental fantasia before the three lower voices enter, followed by the oboe doubled cantus firmus in the sopranos. Even by his standards the interweaving of the three lower voices is emotionally charged and poignant: penitential writing at its lyrical best. The three arias are all long, but beautifully contrasted: for alto with continuo (No.2), a minuet-like soprano aria with oboe da caccia (No.3), and a jaunty, ritornello formed piece for tenor with the unusual obbligato combination of violin and bassoon (No.4). It is a plea for steadfastness and mercy, its irrepressible cheeriness twice giving way to something much darker at the words ‘errett’ vom Sterben’, marked pianissimo and then ‘dying’ away to a fermata. The cantata ends with a strong, plain, four-part harmonisation of Agricola’s hymn. © John Eliot Gardiner 2008; From a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage

Chorale Cantata Significance, Artistry

The significance and artistry of Bach’s chorale cantatas is discussed in Julian Mincham’s Cantata 177 overview commentary, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach: A listener and student guide.6 <<By the time he came to compose this impressive work, Bach had written about fifty chorale fantasias. He was clearly highly experienced in the process of analyzing a chorale, noting its musical potential and textual suggestions and forging a wholly original and often quite massive work from these modest starting points.

The forttwo fantasias from the second cycle demonstrate the range of imagination, technical skill and sheer inventiveness he brought to this task on a weekly basis. The later twelve additions to this canon show no signs of falling back on cliché or established formulae. It seems as if every time Bach approached the problems inherent within this structure, he came to them anew, with a fresh mind and a determination to create yet another unique piece of art. C 177 is no exception, boasting a fantasia of great intensity and mammoth proportions as well as three arias, each of which, as we shall see, stirs the soul and displays highly original thinking. The chorale was originally written by Johann Agricola (Dürr p 423) not Bach’s pupil who later collaborated with Bach’s son CPE Bach to write the famous Obituary, but a man with a somewhat chequered career, once having been a friend of Luther himself. For this work his text was unchanged with no extra lines or paraphrasing. This probably accounts for the slightly unusual structure: three arias between the fantasia and chorale and, somewhat surprisingly at this stage of Bach’s career, no recitatives. (NB a list of the nine cantatas which Bach set in this manner may be found at the end of the essay on C 97: vol 2 chapter 59). The date of this composition is clearly fixed for July 1732 (Dürr ibid) making it one of the last three or four fantasia cantatas that Bach composed. It is as well to remember this date because certain stylistic aspects of the work might seem to link it with his last decade. The first movement, and to a lesser extent the first aria, have a quality of desolate remoteness which, to a degree, appears to connect them emotionally and technically with such works as the Art of Fugue and the Musical Offering.

All of which only goes to show the dangers of relying upon internal evidence alone. We know that this piece was written fully eighteen years before Bach died and any perceived stylistic links with those last great works do no more than indicate the stages of development that his harmonic and general compositional thinking were making a decade into his Leipzig years.

There may well be an intentional link with the earlier second cycle however. Because of a quirk of the calendar no cantata was required for the fourth Sunday after Trinity in 1724 and Dürr has suggested that Bach intended this one to fill that gap (ibid).>> An overview of three of Bach’s last composed chorale cantatas in the first half of the 1730s, presumably to fill gaps in the second cycle shows the composer putting a greater emphasis on progressive styles, observes Klaus Hofmann’s 2012 liner noted to the Misaaki Suzuki complete BIS cantata recordings.7

<<The three cantatas on this recording (BWV 9, 97, 177) come from the first half of the 1730s, by which time all of Bach’s annual cantata cycles were already complete. Therefore, unlike in his first Leipzig years, the composer wrote a new cantata no longer every week, but just occasionally. More clearly and decisively than before, each of these cantatas is an independent piece that reveals its own artistic challenges. In addition, Bach’s characteristic affinity for instrumental colour comes more clearly to the fore in his late contributions to the genre, both in the great opening choruses and also in the solo arias. At times, too, we can detect influences from the then current trends, elements of the style galant and empfindsamer Stil with its tendency towards expressive melodies rich in syncopations and suspensions, and towards homophonic writing.

The three cantatas on this disc are linked not only by their late dates of composition but also by type: they are all chorale cantatas. As such they are contributions to a genre that had been the focus of an unparalleled large-scale project during Bach’s second year in Leipzig (1724–25): it had been his intention to compose and perform a cantata based on a well known-hymn for every Sunday and feast day of the church year, starting at Whitsun 1724. A peculiarity of the form was that the first and last strophes of the hymn remained unchanged, whilst the strophes in between were reworked into recitative and aria texts. For the reworking of these texts Bach evidently had a theologically proficient poet at his disposal. Probably the poet in question was Andreas Stübel (1653–1725), the former deputy headmaster of the Thomasschule, be cause a few weeks after his death in January 1725 – with the cantata for Palm Sunday – Bach’s set of chorale cantatas comes to a halt, presumably because no librettist was available to make further adaptations. Bach’s ambitious project thus remained, for a while, a fragment. Later, however, Bach continued with his plan. Soon after breaking off the project he started to fill in isolated gaps when, in the church years that followed, there was a chance to perform a chorale cantata on one of the ‘missing’ Sundays or feast days. Almost always, however, he then had to accept a deviation from the original concept: instead of using adaptations of the inner strophes for recitatives and arias, he used the original texts. Of the three cantatas here only one – BWV 9 [the paraphrased hymn text probably written for the 6th Sunday after Trinity, July 16, 1724, when Bach was out of town in Köthen] – corresponds to the older type with reworked inner strophes, whilst the others confine themselves to the unaltered hymn text.>> Connection to the day’s Gospel and special musical treatment in the hymn are found in Cantata 177, “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ,” says Hofmann (Ibid.). <nd July every year) and was thus celebrated as a Marian feast day. The choice of the hymn Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ) for that specific day’s cantata must have been straightforward. In Bach’s time this hymn – which was probably written by Johann Agricola (1492/94–1566), a pupil and friend of Luther’s, and remains popular today – was one of the congregational hymns sung on this Sunday. The reason for this clearly lies in its close relationship to the gospel passage for that day, Luke 6:36–42), an extract from the so-called Sermon on the Plain, which states: ‘Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.’ Jesus’ words connect with the beginning of the hymn’s third strophe: ‘Verleih, dass ich aus Herzensgrund / mein’ Feinden mög vergeben’ (‘Allow that from the bottom of my heart / I may for give the cantata’s introductory chorus follows the formal pattern that Bach preferred in his chorale cantatas: a thematically independent orchestral part, which frames and subdivides the movement, is contrasted with a choral part in which the soprano presents the hymn melody line by line as a cantus firmus, supported by freely polyphonic writing for the alto, tenor and bass. Bach varied this model many times, and here too he succeeds in drawing something new from it. What is surprising is that he converts the hymn melody to triple time, thereby giving the movement a sprightliness which does not reflect the text itself, but at most the secret hope of The person an attentive listener will notice – as so often with Bach – a sermon-like realization of the words combined with exceptional musical artistry. The instrumental writing has a connection to the text, yet still leads an independent existence. the oboe ‘call’ at the beginning of the movement is directly related to the text – the jump of a fifth, starting on the up-beat and with an over long held note is a musical image of ‘calling’ – and the motif does indeed become associated with the words ‘Ich ruf’(‘I call’) when the choir enters, after which it makes it presence felt in a variety of forms through out the movement. Right at the outset, however, this is contrasted with a solo violin motif, distinctly instrumental in character. Both of these ideas – in alternation with the hymn melody and the often extended lower-voice introductions to the cantus firmus entries – determine the highly complex course of events in a movement that is almost 300 bars in the three following strophes are all set as arias, and Bach increases the complement of performers from one strophe to the next. Strophe 2 is an alto aria accompanied by basso continuo with a lively, ostinato-like ‘basso obbligato’; strophe 3, in a charming 6/8-time, is a duet for soprano and oboe da caccia with basso continuo; and finally strophe 4 is a quartet for tenor solo with an exquisite accompaniment in which the solo violin (which had already appeared in the introductory chorus) is vivaciously combined with an obbligato bassoon and basso continuo; and finally strophe 4 is a quartet for tenor solo with exquisite accompaniment in which solo violin (which had already appeared introductory chorus) is vivaciously combined with obbligato bassoon and basso continuo.. © Klaus Hofmann / / / / my the speaking an in the / / enemies’). The it. An length. The 2012 Bach Trinity+4 Performances

On the Fourth Sunday after Trinity in the first Leipzig cycle, June 20, 1723, Bach presented his first double bill of Cantatas BWV 185 (a Weimar repeat) and newly-composed Cantata BWV 24 before and after the sermon, respectively, each using quite popular chorales:

*Cantata BWV 185 "Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe" (Merciful heart of eternal love), also repeated ?1746-47, with closing plain chorale, No. 6, Agricola's, "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" (I call to Thee, S.1). The librettist is Salomo Franck, Weimar Court poet, published 1715. This chorale played a major role in the Trinity Time services in Leipzig, beginning on the Second Sunday after Trinity as the Hymn of the Day.

*Cantata BWV 24, "Ein ungefärbt Gemüte" (An unstained mind of truth), closing chorale No. 6, Heerman, "O Gott, du frommer Gott" (O God, thou very God), NLGB 564, "Christian Life," Hänssler complete Bach Edition V.83, plain chorale BWV 399 in G Major. BCW text: Melody uses: BCW,

Pre-Cycle 3, 1725. A surviving service cantata libretto book provides the texts for five cantatas presented on the Third, Fifth and Sixth Sundays after Trinity, June 17 to July 8, 1725 as well as two feast days. For the Third Sunday After Trinity, that coincidentally fell on the Feast of St. John the Baptist, June 24, the Neumeister 1711 text, "Gelobet sei der Herr, der Gott Israel," is listed, possibly in the Georg Philipp Telemann setting, TVWV 1:596, which survives. For Monday, July 2, the Feast of the Visitation, the Neumeister 1711 setting of the German Magnificant, "Meine Seele erhebt den Herren," is printed. For the Third Sunday after Trinity, June 17, the full Agricola text of the chorale "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" is printed. Bach set the same text as a pure-hymn Cantata BWV 177, for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity, in 1732 and repeated in 1742.

There are no settings of cantatas for the Third and Fourth Sundays after Trinity in the 1726 third cycle or the 1728 published Picander Cycle: July 7, 1726 (Trinity +3), Rudolstadt text "Wo sich aber der Gottlose bekehret" (no musical setting found); July 14 (Trinity +4), Rudolstadt text "Ich tue Barmherzeges an viel Tausend" (no musical setting found); July 3, 1729 (Trinity +3), P44 Wohin, mein Herz?; and July 10, 1728
07/10/28, Trinity +4 P45 "Lass sie spotten, lass sie lachen"; No. 6, plain chorale "Jesu, meine Freude" (Jesus, my joy), Johann Franck (6 stanzas) 1653, Johann Crüger 1653 melody; S. 6, "Weicht, ihr Trauergeister" (Go away, mournful spirits), ?BWV 358 in D Major=??1105, "Jesus Hymn," Hänssler complete Bach Edition V.84.
+Two Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel cantatas from different church cycles, performed in 1736 and possibly 1737. On June 24, 1736, Bach performed Stölzel a lost two-part cantata from the cantata cycle "Das Namenbuch Christi," (Book of Names of Christ), using a Benjamin Schmolck text with chorales closing both parts. In 1737 or later Bach performed another Stölzel/Schmolck cycled that does not survive.

Thematic Patterns in Bach's Gospels, Douglas Cowling wrote (May 3, 2011): THEMATIC PATTERNS IN BACH¹S GOSPELS (BCW,

The season of Sundays after Trinity has never seen the scholarly interest that the Christmas and Eastern narratives have received and there is a certain assumption that the Gospel readings do not have the same dramatic significance.

It is worth looking at several literary patterns which Bach would have known intimately. In general, there are three genres in the Trinity season:

+Parables - short moralized allegories within the larger narratives of events in the life of Christ
+Miracles - short self-contained narratives of miraculous healings.
+Teachings ­ excerpts from longer hortatory discourses by Christ.

There is also a series of groupings which would have been part of the critical apparatus of both theologians and musicians such as Bach who had such a finely-tuned ear for the literary shape of scriptural passages.

Although there are no formal divisions in the official books, we see some important groupings which may have influenced Bach¹s cantata composition. A brief outline of the first half of the season.

1) Trinity 1-4 is a four week sequence of parables
2) Trinity 5-8 has a series of paired miracles and teachings
3) Trinity 9-19 generally alternates a parable with a teaching or miracle

Whether these literary patterns influenced Bach deserves investigation in both librettos and scores.

PART ONE: Four Parables
* Trinity 1: Luke 16: 19-31- Parable of Dives and Lazarus
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fsumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
* Trinity 2: Luke 14: 16-24 - Parable of the great supper
A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
* Trinity 3: Luke 15: 1-10 - Parable of the lost sheep
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
* Trinity 4: Luke 6: 36-42 - Parable: Blind leading the Blind
And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

PART TWO: Paired Miracles & Teachings
* Trinity 5: Luke 5: 1-11 ­ Miracle: draught of fishes
And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
* Trinity 6: Matthew 5: 20-26 ­ Teaching: Agree with your adversary
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer

thy gift.
* Trinity 7: Mark 8: 1-9 ­ Miracle of feeding of the four thousand
And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people

* Trinity 8: Matthew 7: 15-23 ­ Teaching: Beware of false prophets
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistl

PART THREE: Paired Parable. Teachings & Miracles
*Trinity 9: Luke 16: 1-9 - Parable of the unjust steward
There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
*Trinity 10 Luke 19: 41-48 ­ Teaching: Jesus weeps over Jerusalem And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, *Trinity 11: Luke 18: 9-14 - Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. *Trinity12: Mark 7: 31-37 ­ Miracle of Deaf Man And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. * Trinity 13: Luke 10: 23-37 - Parable of the good Samaritan A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. * Trinity 14: Luke 17: 11-19 - Miracle of healing of the lepers And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: * Trinity 15: Matthew 6: 23-34 - Teaching: Avoid worldly cares if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! * Trinity 16: Luke 7: 11-17 - Miracle of the raising of the son of the widow of Nain And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise * Trinity 17: Luke 14: 1-11 - Miracle of the dropsical man & Parable of wedding And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; * Trinity 18: Matthew 22: 34-46 - Teaching: The great commandment Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. * Trinity 19: Matthew 9: 1-8 ­ Miracle of palsied man And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. FOOTNOTES

1 Jones, The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach, Volume II: 1717-1750. “Music to Delight the Spirit” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013: 282). 2 Martin Petzoldt, Bach KommentarPetzoldt, Vol. 1; Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs, Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2004: 91, text 104-05, commentary, 105-108). 3 Source revised, BCW “Motets & Chorales for 4th Sunday after Trinity,”

4 Cantata BWV 177, BCW Details & Discography,
Scoring, Soloists: Soprano, Alto, Tenor; 4-part Chorus; Orchestra: 2 oboes, violin concertante, 2 violins, obbligato bassoon, viola, continuo (organ for parts of some movements)
Score Vocal & Piano [2.21 MB],; Score BGA [3.39 MB],; Provenance, BCW . References: BGA: XXXV (church cantatas 171-180, Alfred Dörffel, 1888), NBAKB I/17.1 (Cantatas Trinity+4, Kirsten Beißwenger, 1993); Bach Compendium BC A103, Zwang K 186.
5 Gardiner notes,[sdg141_gb].pdf; BCW Recording details,
6 Mincham, Chapter 56 BWV 177 Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ,, Revised 2014; Home Page,
7[BIS-1991-SACD-booklet].pdf; BCW Recording details,

Aryeh Oron wrote (July 16, 2014):
Cantata BWV 177 - Revised & updated Discography,

The discography pages of the Chorale Cantata BWV 177 “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” for the 4th Sunday after Trinity on the BCW has been revised and updated.
The cantata is scored for soprano, alto & tenor soloists; 4-part Chorus; and orchestra of 2 oboes, violin concertante, 2 violins, obbligato bassoon, viola, continuo (organ for parts of some movements). See:
Complete Recordings (12):
Recordings of Individual Movements (9):
The revised discography includes many listening/watching options to recordings directly from the discography pages, just below the recording details.

I believe this is the most comprehensive discography of this chorale cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 177 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.


Cantata BWV 177: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion
Discussions of General Topics: Cantatas & Other Vocal Works | Performance Practice | Radio, Concerts, Festivals, Recordings


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Last update: Sunday, May 28, 2017 07:12