Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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

Cantata BWV 188
Ich habe meine Zuversicht
Discussions - Part 5

Continue from Part 4

Discussions in the Week of October 9, 2016 (4th round)

William Hoffmani wrote (October 16, 2016):
Trinity 21, Cantata 188, "Ich habe meine Zuversicht," Intro.

Three da-capo ABA form movements dominate Bach’s Cantata 188, “Ich habe meine Zuversicht auf den getreuen Gott gericht'” (I have placed my confidence in the faithful God), for the 21st Sunday after Trinity in the post-chorale cantata cycle of the late 1720s. This rhetorical emphasis on balance, repetition and contrast provides substance to an intimate solo cantata as Bach explored the use of instrumental music and instrumental-style vocal music to his later musical sermons. The theme of belief and doubt, hope and fear is explored within the context of the Last Things " the Trinity Time eschatological last Sundays in the "Completion of the Kingdom of Righteousness." This 24 minute work to a Picander text features an eight-minute Sinfonia for organ and strings, a striking pastorale tenor aria, an alto aria, and the closing chorale setting of "Auf meinen lieben Gott" (Of my loving God).1

The opening Sinfonia to Cantata 188, for organ obbligato and strings, itself dates possibly to Weimar 1713-14 when Bach began to create original and transcription concertos for keyboard and orchestra, beginning with the first movement of the Keyboard Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052. It may have originated then, particularly its striking first movement in da capo ABA form with extensive Italianate ritornelli or long passages connecting material that then could be adapted to the Italian da-capo aria form. In the fall of 1725 when Bach was not composing church year cantatas weekly, it is quite possible that he turned to composing at least two keyboard concertos, BWV 1052 and 1053 in E Major. While Bach was seeking printed libretti for his third cantata cycle, he found concerto movements that could be used as cantata sinfonas, as well as occasional arias and choruses with poetic texts. Thus Bach used instrumental music to enhance his cantatas as musical sermons. Finally, in 1738, Bach assembled seven such concertos, BWV 1052-58 with materials that 10 years previous had found there way into cantatas in the third and Picander cycles. The genesis of these concerti is suggested in Christoph Wolff’s essay, “Did J. S. Bach Write Organ Concertos? Apropos the Prehistory of Cantata Movements with Obbligato Organ.”2

Cantata BWV 188, "Ich habe meine Zuversicht" (I have my confidence), was probably introduced on October 17, 1728, at the early main service of the St. Thomas Church before the sermon (not extant) of Pastor Christian Weise Sr. (1671-1736) on the day’s lectionary, says Martin Petzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 1, Trinity Time.3 Cantata 188 was repeated on November 1, 1729, before the sermon (not extant) of Thomas Archdeacon Urban Gottfried Sieber (1669-1741).

The conflict between fear and hope is demonstrated in the two lectionary readings for the 21st Sunday after Trinity in the Lutheran Church in Bach’s time. The Gospel lesson, John 4: 46-54, is the Miracle of the nobleman’s son healed. This Sunday’s Epistle: Ephesians 6:10-17, Put on the whole armour of God, is Paul’s call for the believer to strengthen his faith and defense against doubt. The complete texts are found at BCW, . The German text is that of Luther’s translation published in 1545, the English is the Authorised (King James) Version 1611. The Introit Psalm is Psalm 39, Dixit, Custodiam (I said, I will take heed to my ways), says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 587). Petzoldt describes Psalm 39 as a “Prayer for the Right Death” and the Psalm 39 full text is found at

Cantata 188 closes with the anonymous text, "Auf meinen lieben Gott" (Of my loving God) appearing in Lübeck before 1603, set to the Jacob Regnart 1574 secular song melody, "Venus, du und dein Kind" (Venus, you and your child [Cupid]). The five-stanza, six-line (AABBBB) is found in the Das neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) as No. 299 under the heading "Persecution, Tribulation and Challenge." It also is listed in the Leipziger Kirchen-Andahten of 1694 as the hymn the day for this Sunday and was still listed in the Dresden hymn schedules for this Sunday in 1750, says Günther Stiller in Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig.4 The Dresden hymn schedules also suggest general "Hymns of Lament and Comfort" for this Sunday, including "Auf meinen lieben Gott" and "Was Gott tut, das ist Wohlgetan," says Stiller. The German text and Francis Browne’s English translation of “Auf meinen lieben Gott” is found at BCW

Various other hymns using the alternate text of "Auf Meinen lieben Gott" have used the popular hymn of repentence melody, "Wo sol lich fliehen hin? (Where shall I flee hence?). All these are explained in the BCW chorale melody, "Wo soll ich fliehen hin/Auf meinen lieben Gott", . Bach uses these variants in various omnes tempore Trinity Time Cantatas BWV 5, 89 (Trinity 22), 136; 163, 199, 148; and untexted organ chorale preludes in BWV 646 (Schubler Chorale from a lost cantata) and BWV 694.

Cantata 188 Summary, Sinfonia Reconstruction

The result in Cantata 188 is a vivid, intense work. Among those who have reconstructed the Sinfonia opening Cantata 188, bases on the third movements of Bach’s D Minor Clavier Concerto, BWV 1052/3, is Robert Levin, one of the first, and the “result is hugely exhilarating,” says John Eliot Gardiner in his Cantata 188 summary 2010 liner notes from the 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage.5

“Last in the programme (and the last to be composed [for Trinity 21]) came BWV 188,’Ich habe meine Zuversicht,’ of 1728/9. The opening sinfonia derives from the third movement of the D minor harpsichord concerto BWV 1052, of which only the last 45 bars exist in the autograph score. Robert Levin reconstructed the lost 248 bars with characteristic panache [ ]. The result is hugely exhilarating. The opening aria is one of the most satisfying of all Bach’s tenor arias: pastoral in mood in its ‘A’ section, with the emphasis on Hoffnung (hope), and aspiring to Zuversicht (trust or confidence in God) rather than asserting it, as the vehement and dramatic ‘B’ section makes clear. It is also singer-friendly, a rarity in Bach’s arias for tenor. A long and distinguished bass recitative, ending with a 6/8 arioso, separates this from the alto aria (No.4), presumably an instrumental movement given to organ obbligato with a voice part added. The final chorale, ‘Auf meinen lieben Gott’, has a tune secular in origin associated with Venus, goddess of love. In Bach’s harmonisation it exudes confidence, trust and power.
© John Eliot Gardiner 2010, From a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage

Trinity 21: Cantatas 109, 38, 98, 1886

<<For the 21st Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig, Bach composed four works, the first time since the 16th Sunday after Trinity when he also created a rare fourth cantata with a Picander 1728 published text. This is the final Sunday in Trinity Time when four Bach original musical sermons survive. This significance may be due to the New Testament theme of belief triumphing over doubt, found in all four works that are unique and distinctive examples of Bach's penchant for achieving unity of theme through diversity music. Meanwhile, the final Trinity Time Sundays summarize chorales central to the <omne tempore> church half-year Christian teachings of the eschatological "Last Things" in the "Completion of the Kingdom of Righteousness"

The increasingly optimistic works and first performances of the four cantatas are:

+Cycle 1, chorus Cantata BWV 109, "Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben!" (I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief), October 29, 1723;
+Cycle 2, chorale Cantata BWV 38, "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir" (Out of deep need cry I to Thee), October 29, 1724, with no record of a repeat performance on October 17, 1725;
+Cycle 3 chorus Cantata BWV 98 with the popular dictum, "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" (What God does, that is done well), November 10, 1726; and
+Picander Cycle SATB solo Cantata BWV 188, "Ich habe meine Zuversicht" (I have my confidence), probably October 17, 1728.

For the 21st Sunday after Trinity, "Bach came up with no less than four outstanding works all based on the Gospel account of the healing of the nobleman's son (John 4:46-54), marvelously contrasted and subtly differentiated by mood and instrumentation," says John Eliot Gardiner in the program notes for the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000 Soli Deo Gloria recordings (BCW[sdg168_gb].pdf ). The supportive Epistle is Ephesians 6:10-17, "Put on the whole armour of God." Among the musical devices Bach uses, beginning with the initial Cantata BWV 109, are contrasting, conflicting instrumental and vocal forces; dialogues between voices representing faith and doubt; and tonal allegory of harmonic exploration and direction as illustrated by author Eric Chaffe.

Among unique cantata movements Gardiner cites are the affirmative pastoral dance moods in BWV 109/5, the alto aria with two oboes, "The Saviour knows yea his own," and the opening tenor aria, "I have my confidence," in Cantata BWV 188. The opening sinfonia of Cantata 188 was adapted from the third movement of the Clavier Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052.

The basic theme of belief and doubt is found in all four cantatas, says Gardiner. These involve the dialogue and inner struggle in Cantata 109; the hidden granting of faith and the words of comfort and wonder in Cantata 38; the intimate, genial confidence amid human vascillation between doubt and trust in God in Cantata 98; and basic affirmation of belief in Cantata 188.>>

Cantata 188 movements, scoring, incipits, key, meter7

1. Sinfonia three parts ABA’ (da capo; source, Clavier Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052/3) (Oboe I/II, Taille, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo); d minor; 4/4 sarabande style.
2. Aria da capo [Tenor; Oboe, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. Ich habe meine Zuversicht / Auf den getreuen Gott gericht', / Da ruhet meine Hoffnung feste.” (I have placed my confidence / in the faithful God, / there my hope rests firmly.); B. “Wenn alles bricht, wenn alles fällt, / Wenn niemand Treu und Glauben hält, / So ist doch Gott der allerbeste.” (If everything breaks, if everything falls, / if nobody keeps faithfulness and belief, / God is still the best of all.); F Major; ľ polonaise/pastorale.
3. Recitativo secco, arioso [Bass; Continuo]: Recit. 4/4, “Gott meint es gut mit jedermann, / Auch in den allergrößten Nöten.” (God's intentions are good towards everyone, / even in the greatest troubles.); arioso 6/8 “Drum lass ich ihn nicht, er segne mich denn.” (therefore I shall not let him go, until he blesses me.); C Major.
4. Aria free da capo [Alto; Organo obligato, Violoncello]: A. “Unerforschlich ist die Weise, / Wie der Herr die Seinen führt.” / (Inscrutable is the way / in which the Lord leads his people.); B. “Selber unser Kreuz und Pein / Muß zu unserm Besten sein / Und zu seines Namens Preise.” (Even our cross and pain / must be all for the best for us / and for the glory of his name.); e minor; 4/4.
5. Recitative accompagnato [Soprano; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: Die Macht der Welt verlieret sich. / Wer kann auf Stand und Hoheit bauen? / Gott aber bleibet ewiglich; / Wohl allen, die auf ihn vertrauen!” (The might of the world disappears. / Who can rely on status and grandeur? / But God remains forever; / Happy are those who place their trust in him!); C Major to a minor; 4/4.
6. Chorale plain [SATB; ?tutti orchestra]: “Auf meinen lieben Gott / Trau ich in Angst und Not; / Er kann mich allzeit retten / Aus Trübsal, Angst und Nöten; / Mein Unglück kann er wenden, / Steht alls in seinen Händen.” (In my beloved God / I trust in anxiety and trouble; / He can always deliver me / from sorrow, anxiety, and troubles; / he can change my misfortune, / everything is in his hands.); a minor 4/4.

Original Sinfonia Loss, Surviving Materials

The history of the mutilation and lost of the major portion of the opening Sinfonia in Cantata 188 and the use of surviving materials is described in Klaus Hofmann’s 2010 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki complete BIS cantata recordings.8 <<This cantata is among the works from the 1728–29 year that have survived in fragmentary form. The original parts are lost, and only extracts from Bach’s autograph score still exist. Apparently the introductory concertante organ movement (apart from its final bars) became separated from the rest at an early stage, and later parts of the rest of the score were cut into strips, probably for distribution as ‘relics’ to various heirs, or for sale to collectors. Copies made between the separation of the first movement and the barbaric mutilation of the rest allow us to recreate movements 2–6. For the introductory instrumental movement we have the opportunity of making an approximate reconstruction based on the fact that it was also used as the last movement of the Harpsichord Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052, and an alternative version of the same piece that can be traced back to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, BWV 1052a. The two harpsichord versions, which date from the 1730s, are transcriptions of a violin concerto (now lost) by Bach, which he presumably also used as the basis for the cantata movement.

Picander’s text for the 21st Sunday after Trinity 1728 (17th October) is a lesson about faith in God. The poet here takes a very generalized doctrine from the Sunday gospel text, John 4:47–54, which tells of a noblemen whose son is ill; in faith and trust he asks Jesus for help, whereupon Jesus cures his son. The two arias (second and fourth movements) form to some extent a contrasting pair. The unusually simple tenor aria [no. 2] contains hints of folk music: the 3/4-time with its striking subdivision of the first crotchet is a characteristic feature of the then fashionable polonaise, a dance form that also makes its mark on the idiosyncratic, often syncopated declamation of the text. The alto aria once more brings the organ to the fore, with an important concertante part. Unlike in the tenor aria, the range of musical development is wide; the figuration of the organ part is delicate and highly instrumental in character. Nonetheless, in the course of this aria the vocal part also comes into its own, for instance with the chains of triplets emphasiz ing the words ‘und zu seines Namens Preise’ (‘and in praise of His name’).

There is a flash of drama in the brief soprano recitative [no. 5], but this is followed immediately by solemn repose. The last words are ‘Wohl allen, die auf ihn vertrauen’ (‘happy are all they who place their trust in him’), and trust in God is also the subject of the sixteenth-century hymn strophe that brings the cantata to an end.>>
Klaus Hofmann 2010

Notes on Music, Text

Mvt. 2: Tenor Aria

The da capo tenor aria (no. 2) with oboes and strings, “Ich habe meine Zuversicht auf den getreuen Gott gericht'” (I have placed my confidence in the faithful God), “is the most substantial movement and will I suspect be the highlight of the cantata for most people, says Francis Broin his BCML Cantata 188 Discussion Part 2 (May 4, 2008),

The Sinfonia is followed by "the first aria [is] a full-textured piece for strings with an oboe part that in places doubles the first violin and elsewhere achieves independence as a soloist,” says Alfred Dürr in the Cantatas of J. S. Bach.9 “The introductory ritornello is dance-like in effect, resembling the Polonaise from the sixth French Suite. Its phrase structure fluctuates between two- and three-bar groups (twice 2 + 2 + 3 bars), which creates a hovering, relaxed impression. The tenor takes up the opening theme in the A section, sometimes indeed singing it in octaves with the top instrumental part, which causes an easy, unproblematic effect. The relatively brief middle section brings a sudden change of mood at the words `When all breaks, when all falls, when no one holds up loyalty or faith'. Here, lively string figuration and falling oboe motives illustrate the text; and, significantly, only at the closing line of this section, 'God is indeed best of all', does the thematic material of the principal section return” (recording,

Whittaker in The Cantatas of Johannn Sebastian Bach10 regards this aria as "a number of outstanding beauty and one of the most grateful pieces of writing for that voice in the cantatas. The chief melody is winning in its graciousness [see example 371 at:

].... There is a felicitous touch in one portion to da ruhet meine Hoff­nung feste' (`there rests my hope secure'), where a waving figure enters in imitation: [see example 372] The section `Wenn alles bricht, wenn alles fällt, wenn niemand Treu' und Glauben hält' ('When all breaks, when all falls, when nobody faithfulness and belief holds') has leaping figures in voice and continuo, dropping staccato passages for oboe, and the upper strings, massed into unison, picture the confusion of the world. 'So ist doch Gott der allerbeste' ('So is yet God the best of all') recalls the opening idea, and in five and four bars from the Da Capo are splendid leaps for violin, expressing exuberance at the thought that God is the best of all."

“The word Zuversicht is important in this aria and also in BWV 197. My German- English dictionary gives 'confidence, faith' The Wahrig Deutsches Wörterbuch suggests Vertrauen in die Zukunft (trust in the future) feste Hoffnung (firm hope) Uberzeugung (conviction); Langenscheidt suggests a firm belief that something positive will happen. Luther uses it 32 times in his translation of the bible, mainly in the psalms where the Authorised Version generally translates refuge. In poets such as Rist and Gerhardt, whose writings are used by Bach, it is often used with such words as Trost (consolation), Hoffnung ( hope), Heil (salvation).

“Perhaps to be very verbose and over-explicit we could say: Ich habe meine Zuversicht and Gott ist unsre Zuversicht would mean that God is the firm and unshakeable foundation for my unwavering conviction based on committed faith that whatever happens in the future will be for the best and -- no matter how unlikely it may seem at times -- will in the end prove to be positive, and this fundamental reassurance is my refuge from all life's troubles, a refuge that is secure since it is based on the omnipotent God.”

The Sinfonia is a “furious vortuoso movement,” followed by the tenor aria that “sound, appropriately, as a confident respite (‘I have my assurance),’ says David Schulenberg in the Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach. FN FN David Schulenberg, Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, ed. Malcolm Boyd (Newn York: Oxford University Press, 1999: 231). Its “character falls somewhere between a polonaise and a sarabande; it is in da capo form, making a dramatic change of character and texture – with broken chord in the strings – for the B Section,” “Wenn alles bricht, wenn alles fällt, / Wenn niemand Treu und Glauben halt” (If everything breaks, if everything falls).

Extended Bass Recitative

An extended bass recitative (no. 3), “Gott meint es gut mit jedermann” (God's intentions are good towards everyone) can be construed as a vox Dei. “A plain secco recitative follows (no. 3), which flows into arioso (with a change of time signature [6/8]) for the closing paraphrase of Genesis 32.26, says Dürr (Ibid.: 610). “An extended bass recitative concludes with an imitative setting of Jacob's words to the angel, `I will not let thee go, except thou bless me' (Genesis 32: 26); a rising melisma marks the crucial word 'segne' (`bless'),” says Schulenberg (Ibid.) (music,, complete Cantata 188, Kay Johannsen,

Alto Free Da-capo Aria

The alto free da-capo with organ obbligato (no. 4), “Unerforschlich ist die Weise, / Wie der Herr die Seinen führt.” / (Inscrutable is the way / in which the Lord leads his people.), “has evoked very different reactions,” observes Browne in his BCML Commentary (Idid.) Dürr thinks that it is probably the most significant piece in the cantata: "[It] is scored for alto voice, obbligato organ, and cello, which doubles the organ bass line in continuo style. Like the first aria, this movement has a hovering rhythm, here caused by the syncopated opening theme and the clustered figure-work of the upper organ part which is rhythmically articulated in multifarious ways.” On the other hand earlier English commentators Whittaker and Alec Robertson criticize the aria for faulty declamation although no concerto or aria source is suggested. “The number for alto, iii, recalls the first aria of BWV 169; it is an instrumental movement given to organ obbligato (written a tone lower) and a voice part adapted. In this case a 'cello doubles the left hand of the organist: [see Ex.373] for which there is no indication as to 8 or 16 ft. and no figuring. There is no continuo part proper; perhaps 8 ft. tone was intended in all these obbligati. The organ part sounds better without the vocal addition; the latter makes the number sound laboured. The first part of the text is devoid of suggestions for musical treatment - 'Uner­forschlich ist die Weise, wie der Herr die Seine führt' ('Unfathomable is the way (in) which the Lord His own guides ') - and the emean nothing. The previously composed music does not prevent the remainder - 'Selber unser Kreuz and Pein muß zu unserm Besten sein, and zu seines Namens Preise' ('Even our cross and pain must to our best (interest) be, and to His name's glory') - from being admirably expressed in the vocal line, there are leaning tones on 'Kreuz' and 'Pein', Preise' rejoices in lengthy flourishes and the final words of this section are set in coruscating trills and leaps. 'Unserm Besten', however, does not mate comfortably with coloratura.”

With its florid organ part, the alto aria “contrasts sharply with the previous aria, particularly with its expressive chromatic appoggiaturas in the B Section at ‘Kreuz und Pein (‘Cross and suffering’), ” says Schulenberg (Ibid.).

Soprano Recitative

The soprano recitative (no. 5), “Die Macht der Welt verlieret sich. . . . Wohl allen, die auf ihn vertrauen!” (The might of the world disappears. . . . But God remains forever), “is scored with strings, which depict in concise but graphic figures the waning of earthly might (tremolos) and the eternity of God (held notes and ongoing accompaniment figures)," says Dürr. Says Brwne: “Whittaker, as usually more expansive says:” “The penultimate number is a fine little recitative for soprano. 'Die Macht der Welt verlieret sich' ('The might of the world loses itself') is heralded with crashing chords for strings, both lines of violins and violas being in double stopping, and followed by an arpeggio descent. 'Wer kann auf Stand Hoheit bauen?' ('Who can on rank and position build?') is accompanied by detached chords. After a sustained chord to 'God but abides eternally', the strings pulsate in gentle repeated quavers, the prayer-motive, during' (It is) well for all who in Him trust.'”

Closing Chorale

“The melody of the final chorale is one of those secular tunes which curiously came to serve for hymns, 'Venus du and dein Kind' ('Venus thou and thy child'),” says Whittaker (Ibid.). Another instance is H. Isaak's 'O Welt, ich muß dich lassen' ('O World, I must thee leave'), which was originally Innsbruck, I must thee leave'. The melody of the song about the goddess of love came to be associated with two hymns: J. Heermann's 'Wo soll ich fliehen hin' and S. Weingärtner's (?) 'Auf meinen lieben Gott', and it is the first stanza of the latter which is set here: ‘On my beloved God, Rely I in anguish and need; He can me always deliver From trouble, anguish and needs, My misfortune can He turn, Stands everything in His hands’.” For much more detailed information on this, see Thomas Braatz's discussion on the BCW:

Concerto Movement to Sinfonia

Bach’s motivations for using this concerto movement to open Cantata 188 and the context of similar transcriptions from concerto movements to mostly sinfonias with organ obbligato are examined in Julian Mincham’s Cantata 188 study, << Sinfonia. This cantata has been transmitted in the most fragmented form but fortunately most of it is redeemable. It is consequently performable, in a structure that probably closely approximates to the original. The score was dismembered and distributed in fragments in the nineteenth century, the greatest casualty being the opening sinfonia of which just over 70 bars have survived. Nevertheless, this is sufficient to show that it was a reworking of the last movement of the keyboard concerto in D minor BWV 1052, itself thought to be an arrangement of a lost violin concerto. Bach had already incorporated the first and second movements of this concerto into C 146 (chapter 14) the former of which, with three added oboe parts and organ playing the solo role, became the opening sinfonia.

All this gives us sufficient information to reconstruct the movement, particularly since Bach generally retained the macro-structure of such paraphrased works unaltered. Directors do still perform the cantata without the sinfonia but this is unfortunate. Ton Koopman has effectively reconstructed it and it may be heard on box 19 of his recordings of the complete cantatas.11

Whilst we may not be able to say much about the restored movement per se, we can, at least, seek to understand why Bach chose it as the prelude for this particular cantata. Certainly the original concerto, of which he made at least three versions, must have been one that he thought highly of, and with good reason. Its three movements, all unusually in minor modes, form one of the most intensely dramatic and original musical statements from the Baroque era. From beginning to end it is a passionate and concentrated outpouring of emotion and ferocious relentlessness.

It is clear that Bach had become more ambitious with respect to the presentation of demanding sinfonias throughout the third Leipzig cycle where lengthy movements from the Brandenburg and other earlier concerti were resurrected with some regularity. The question, then, is not why use a sinfonia, but why this particular one. Had he already planned the passionate alto aria with organ obbligato and sought an equally intense work, also featuring the organ, to balance it as well as setting the scene? Were the textural ideas of perishable earthly entities set against the enduring might of the Lord so powerful as to provoke these almost violently passionate responses in Bach? Did Bach intend the inexorable energy and force of the concerto movement to depict the immutable and unstoppable power of the Lord? Some such notions must have motivated him in the choosing of this piece over the many others of his previously composed works that would have been available.>> © Klaus Hofmann 2010

Lost Original, Suzuki Reconstruction.

The loss of the original and the reconstruction of the concerto movement is discussed in detail in Masaaki Suzuki Production Notes to the BIS recording (Thomas Braatz also provides a BCW Provenance Article, << The history of transmission of this cantata can only be described as highly unfortunate. Around one half of the full score in manuscript – which probably consisted of 18 leaves – was lost at an early stage. As to the remaining eight leaves, each one was separately detached during the 19th century and cut in halves or thirds to end up in the hands of collectors in various parts of the world. Moreover, none of the parts that are likely to have been used for the first performance by J. S. Bach himself are extant. As a consequence most of the first movement has been lost, but the extant fragment consisting of 32 bars makes it clear that this movement was based on the third movement of the same violin concerto that was used in BWV 146/1, a concerto that is still extant in the form that it assumed after being subsequently rearranged as a harpsichord concerto (BWV 1052 in D minor).

The Sinfonia that constitutes the first movement can be restored on the basis of BWV 1052. Our performance here is based on the reconstruction by Werner Breig but, as Breig has himself pointed out,12 there are points that remain unclear as regards octave relationships that affect performance of the organ part1. The problem is that it seems likely that the upper range used in the violin concerto probably extended to a''' in the first movement and at least to e''' in the third movement2, pitches which would be impossible to perform on the organ of Bach’s time, the range of which generally extended up to c''' in the notation (sounding d'''). Breig has therefore proposed that on the organ this part should be played an octave lower making use of the 4-foot register. However (as I wrote also in my production notes for Volume 44), using the 4-foot register as one’s basis, the overtones that accumulate above this are extremely limited and the resonance of the organ is inadequate. If one in stead performs the part an octave lower using the 8-foot register, the result will sound like the 16-foot based registration – with certain unwanted consequences such as unnecessary parallelism and pitches below the range of the basso continuo. Considering that the orchestra sound is also based on the 16-foot of the violone, and that the usage of the 16-foot register on the large organs can be regarded as a basic concept of organ playing, there should nevertheless be no problem whatsoever to perform the part in this manner, i.e. one octave lower than the original violin part with the registration based on the 8-foot register. It is advisable to omit the 8-foot register in a few places to avoid the above mentioned negative consequences, and doing so also will also result in a beneficial differentiation in sound.

Another point is that Breig suggests13 that the obbligato part in the alto aria that constitutes the fourth movement would have been performed on the violin, but Bach’s own manuscript of the full score states clearly that this part should be played by the organ and indeed it has been transposed for use by the organ. Moreover, the Chorton D minor (sounding E minor) is ideally suited for tuning purposes, and since also the upper range does not go above c''', it seems entirely natural to perform the part on the organ.
© Masaaki Suzuki 2011

Other Bach Trinity 21 opportunities:

+On October 26, 1727, there was no performance during the mourning period of Sept. 7, 1727, to Jan. 8, 1728, for deceased Saxon Queen Christiane Eberhardine.
+ On November 17, 1734, chorale Cantata BWV 38, may have been reperfromed, possibly as part of performance of the entire second cycle.
+On Trinity, November 6, 1735, Bach probably performed a Stözel two-part cantata, now work identified, as part of the cycle "Saitenspiele testeddes Hertzens" (Music Playing of the Heart), text by Benjamin Schmolck, with two chorale settings not identified.
+About October 28, 1736, Bach may have performed Stözel's two-part cantata, "Die Schläge des Liebhabers meinen es recht gut" from the cantata cycle "Das Namenbuch Christi," (Book of Names of Christ), Schmolck text, No. 63. No musical source with the presumed chorales is extant.


There is no evidence that the other three Bach cantatas for the 21st Sunday after Trinity -- BWV 109, 38, 98 -- were reperformed in his lifetime. One, chorale Cantata BWV 38, "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir," was presented in 1770 by Christoph Friedrich Penzel, cantor and one of Bach's last students. As St. Thomas prefect in 1755, he had copied and performed 10 mostly middle Trinity Time chorale Cantatas (BWV178, 94, 101, 113, 137, 33, 99, 114, 129, and 140). Penzel's manuscript source in 1770, when he selectively presented some eight cantatas (BWV 97, 157, 159, 106, 158, 112, 25, 38), was primarily Friedemann Bach, who charged to have copies made of the chorale cantata scores he possessed, while Penzel continued to access Leipzig publisher Breitkopf for copies of the other cantata manuscripts.


1 Cantata 188, BCW Details & Discography, Score Vocal & Piano [1.92 MB],, Score BGA [1.48 MB], References: BGA: XXXVII (Cantatas 181-190, Alfred Dörffel 1891), NBA KB I/25 (Trinity 21, Ulrich Bartels, 1991, Bach Compendium BC A 154, Zwang: K 168.
2 Christoph Wolff, “Did J. S. Bach Write Organ Concertos?,” in Bach and the Organ, ed. Matthew Dirst, Bach Perspective 10, American Bach Society (Urbana Ill: University of Illinois Press, 2016: 60-75).
3 Martin Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Die geistlichen Kantaten des 1. Bis 27. Trinitas-Sontagges, Vol. 1; Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs, Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2004: 605).
4 Günther Stiller, Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, ed. Robin A. Leaver (St. Louis MO: Concordia Publishing, 1985: 246).
5 Gardiner notes, BCW[sdg168_gb].pdf; BCW Recording details,
6 Source Material, BCW Motets & Chorales for the 21st Sunday after Trinity,
7Picander text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW
8 Klaus Hofmann notes,[BIS-SACD1891].pdf; BCW Recording details,
9Alfred Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones New York: (Oxford University Press, 2005: 609).
10 W. Gillies Whittaker. The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach: Sacred & Secular (London: Oxford University Press, 1958: 262).
11 Cantata 188 Sinfonia, (Koopman download,; BCW Recording details,; liner notes,[AM-3CD].pdf. Recording Kay Johannsen,
12 J. S. Bach, Cantata BWV 188, ‘Ich habe meine Zuversicht’, re constructed and edited by Werner Breig, Breitkopf und Härtel, 2007.
13 Neue Bach Ausgabe (NBA), VII/7.

Aryeh Oron wrote (October 19, 2016):
Cantata BWV 188 - Revised & updated Discography

Cantata BWV 188 "Ich habe meine Zuversicht" (I have placed my confidence) was composed by J.S. Bach in Leipzig for the 21st Sunday after Trinity of 1728 (or the following year). The cantata is scored for soprano, alto, tenor & bass soloists; 4-part Chorus; and orchestra of 2 oboes, taille, 2 violins, viola, organ obbligato & continuo.

The discography pages of BWV 188 on the BCW have been revised and updated. See:
Complete Recordings (10):
Recordings of Individual Movements (11):
The revised discography includes many listening/watching options to recordings directly from the discography pages, just below the recording details.

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

I believe this are the most comprehensive discography of the cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 188 missing from these pages, or want to correct/add details of a recording already presented on the BCW, please do not hesitate to inform me.

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



Cantata BWV 188: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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


Back to the Top

Last update: Monday, September 11, 2017 15:22