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Cantata BWV 198
Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl
Discussions - Part 6

Continue from Part 5

Discxussion inn the Week of November 3, 2013 (3rd round)

William Hoffman wrote (November 2, 2013):
All-Souls Day: Cantata 198 Version

An arrangement of the Bach Funeral Ode, Cantata BWV 198 (BCML Discussion, Week of November 3), exists for performance on All-Soul’s Day, November 2. Although not an authentic Lutheran liturgical work, it uses a general sacred text that replaces profane words found in Gottsched’s original text, in a partial parody. It was arranged by Wilhelm Rust, the BGS editor who in 1865 published the original version, which began with the text, “Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl” (Let, Princess, let one more ray). Following similar practices of Bach who substituted one cantata subject’s name for another in subsequent parody, Rust titled his sacred version, "Laß, Höchster, laß der Hoffnung Strahl" (Let, Highest, let a beam of hope).

Rust’s sacred edition of Cantata 198 exists in a Belwin Mills Kalmus Vocal Score 6940 (no date), English translation A. Kalisch; arrangement of Philipp Wolfrum, piano reduction Otto Taubmann; with Wolfrum's footnotes and Rust's original footnotes and chorale interpolations. A summary of Rust’s sacred version, including textual differences, is found in W. Gillies Whittaker’s The Cantatas of JSB (Oxford University Press, 1959: II, 555-579). Whittaker lauds Rust’s edition that makes the original textually palatable to posterity in “one of Bach’s greatest choral compositions” “with deep personal feeling” (Ibid.: 557). Rust “performed a useful service by writing a text of his own which incorporates all the important points on Gottsched which the composer had illustrated carefully.”

Whittaker’s sole object is Rust’s inclusion of four-part chorales interspersed in the manner of a Bach oratorio Passion. He says that “one can never forget, in spite of the fresh text, the original association of the work, the non-clerical ceremony [memorial service] the tribute paid to the Queen [of Poland] by a private individual [Leipzig University student Hans Karl Kirchbach] through the offices of the seat of learning.” For the record these are the five chorales found in the Kalmus edition: Movement No. 3a, B&H No. 361 (BWV 248/59), "Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit"; No. 4a, BWV 179/6, "Ich armer Mensch; No. 7a, "Ich hab in Gottes Herz," BWV 92/6; No. 8a, "O wie selig," BWV 406; and No. 10a, "Auf, mein Herz," BWV 145a.

Here is a comparison of the opening chorus, in English of the original Gottsched profane text and Rust’s sacred revision:

Let, Princess, let one more ray
Shoot from Salem's starry vaults.
And see, with how many floods of tears
we surround your memorial.
Let, Highest, let a beam of hope
Pour forth from the heights of heaven,
And see how bitter tears flow
At the funeral of our departed.

[Rust’s German text and ©Pamela Dellal’s English translation are found on-line at Emmanuel Music,

The Gottsched original German text and Francis Browne’s English translation are found at BCW, .]

Despite Rust’s effort, his sacred version is not appropriate for a sacred service for All-Souls Day. According to Günter Stiller’s JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, “All Saints (Nov 1) and All Souls (Nov 2) were not celebrated by Bach's churches, primarily because of the former's connections with pre-Reformation displays of relics and intercessory prayer and the latter's emphasis on propitiary prayer for the dead,” says Douglas Cowling in BCML Cantatan198 Discussion No. 3.

To come: BCML Discussion, Week of November 3: Cantata 198

William Hoffman wrote (November 2, 2013):
Cantata 198 (Funeral Ode): Introduction

Bach’s Cantata BWV 198, “Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl” (Let, Princess, let one more ray), the so-called “Funeral Ode,” is both a model of cantata writing and a unique work in its own right. The only Bach cantata composed for a Leipzig University service among various homage works for university faculty, it was presented on Friday, October 17, 1727, in a special memorial service at the university St. Paul Church. Officially, it is known as “Funeral Ode on the Decease of the Consort of Augustus the Strong – Christiane Eberhardine, Queen of Poland and Electoral Princess of Saxony.” The Bach Compendium classifies Cantata 198 as G 34, “Worldly Cantata” “for University-Related Events,” specifically, “Orations.” BCW Details are found on-line at .

Composed in about two weeks, the Funeral Ode has poignant choruses and arias -- as well as distinctive accompanied recitatives -- that Bach was able to recycle in another memorial work for his beloved Prince Leopold in the Köthen Funeral Music, BWV 244a, in 1729 and the core music in the St. Mark Passion, BWV 247, in 1731. The music has an integral text, functional form with varied principals, and striking instrumental support. While using a text in fixed strophic form, this oration also is described as a “tombeau” or remembrance of a beloved person, set to music punctuated with dance and song in the varied “Italian Style” favored at the Catholic Saxon Court in Dresden. At the same time, it is an enlightened tribute to a steadfast monarch presented in a progressive church by lay musicians and students, all directed by Bach. While looking backward, this “Funeral Ode” also focuses on the moment and looks forward to an assured future.

Cantata 198 has a unified text by noted German Enlightenment poet and literary reformer, Johann Christoph Gottsched (1700-1766; BCW Short Biography: . It is set in fixed strophic form of nine 8-line stanzas (ABBACDDC), modified by Bach to fit the madrigalian scheme of 10 movements involving three choruses, four recitatives, and three arias. Gottsched’s original German text and Francis Browne’s English translation are found at BCW, .

Bach’s madrigalian scheme uses all eight lines only in the alto recitative Movement No. 4), verse 3; the tenor aria (No. 8), verse 6; and the closing chorus (no 10), verse 9. The remaining movements with their Gottsched split half-verses are: opening chorus (No. 1), verse 1, lines 1-4; soprano recitative (No. 2), verse 1, lines 5-8, and verse 2, lines 1-4; soprano aria (No. 3), verse 2, lines 5-8; alto aria (No. 5), verse 4, lines 1-4; tenor recitative (No. 6), verse 4, lines 5-8, and verse 5, lines 1-4; chorus (No. 7), verse 5, lines 5-8; No. 9, bass recitative-arioso-recitatve, verses 7 & 8 (lines 1-8). As a result, there are no lyrical choruses and arias in structured da-capo ABA repeat form, only basic rondeau repeated passages usually with two principal melodies interspersed with instrumental ritornelli interludes as well as introductions and closings.

Cantata 198 is scored for: Soloists: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass; 4-part Chorus; Orchestra: 2 transverse flutes, 2 oboes d’amore, 2 sections of violins, violas, 2 violas da gamba, 2 lutes (used for the first time by Bach in a cantata), continuo (both clavichord and organ). Score BGA, see BCW,

The 10 movements of three choruses, three arias and four recitatives offer varied forms, points out Alfred Dürr in The Cantatas of JSB (Oxford University Press, 2005: 866f). Each of the three tutti choruses has a “different musical principal”: the opening half-stanza chorus (No. 1), is a group-concerto for flutes-oboes-strings-gambas in bipartite from, AA1; the vivace half-stanza chorus (No. 7) closing Part 1 is a fugue in two halves; and the concluding full-stanza 12/8 chorus is a song and dance (gigue style), a choral aria in binary dance form with repeats and a unison chorus in the B section. The three arias are (No. 3) a 4/4 soprano free-da-capo with strings, (No. 5) an alto 12/8 dance-style slow pastorale-gigue in free da-capo with gambas and lutes, and (No. 8) a tenor aria in ¾ time in two parts with a quartet of instrumental accompaniment. The four accompanied highly-descriptive and varied recitatives involve the opening soprano (No. 2) declamatory oration with string commentary; the alto (No. 4) bell-tolling elegy with accompaniment descending staccato flutes, oboes, gambas, and lutes; the tenor (No. 6) plaintive tombeau or memory of a notable figure; and (No. 9) the closing, extended (verses 7 and 8) bass three-part eulogy of secco recitative, lyric arioso, and closing accompagnato that is deeply moving.

Julian Mincham’s Commentary of the music is found at: . Thomas Braatz Provenance is found at BCW, . It includes notes on the “Text” with strophic division and variants, and “Performance Practice.” The autograph score appears to have gone to eldest son Friedemann in the 1750 estate division, who apparently gave it to Bach’s first biographer, Johann Nikolaus Forkel where it was listed in his 1819 estate catalogue and purchased by Bach collector Georg Pölchau. It was published in the Critical Edition BGA 13,3 (Berlin, July 1865) editor: Wilhelm Rust (1822-1892), and the Critical Edition NBA I/38 (Bärenriter, 1960) editor: Werner Neumann (1905-1991).

Apparently Friedeman also received the Prince Leopold Köthen Funeral Music, BWV 244a, and also gave it to Forkel but the manuscript is lost. Other memorial cantatas (early BWV 106, 150, 131; Leipzig BWV 157) were distributed to members of the Bach family or the St. Thomas Church, which also retained the Motets, BWV 225-231, that were composed mainly for funerals. Besides Cantata 198 for the Saxon Queen (1727), and Cantata BWV 144a for Prince Leopold (1729), Bach may have composed an early Weimar tribute. The extended, two-part sacred funeral cantata for Weimar Prince Johann Ernst was presented on Thursday, April 2, 1716, titled “Was ist, das wir Leben nennen?” (What is this that we call life?) BC B-19, with a surviving text possible by Salomo Franck. No music is extant but the work contained 22 movements. It may have been the work of court composer Johann Samuel Drese.

Cantata 198 is set in the "Italian Style," which John Butt in Oxford Composer Companions: JSB (Trauer Ode: 481ff) says relates to the Italian cantata sequence of choruses, arias and recitatives as well as the idioms appropriate to that style: opening chorus, "concerted texture"; accompanied recitatives (ariosoi) Mvt. 2, Mvt. 4, Mvt. 6 and 9; simple recitative opening 9; motet-fugue chorus Mvt. 7; striking arias Mvt. 3, Mvt. 5 and Mvt. 8; and closing dance-like chorus (Mvt. 10).

Italianate also is the unusual combination of "antique" instruments, pairs of violas da gamba and lutes (as well as separate harpsichord) both in continuo and obbligato functions. The utilization of these instruments in explored in detail in Joshua Rifkin's "Performance questions in Bach's Trauerode" (Bach Studies 2, Cambridge University Press, 1995). In summary, Rifkin suggests Bach drew his vocal and instrumental forces from a "variety of sources" (p.124) in Leipzig. The use of gambas and lutes, he suggests relates to royalty and death, as well as the gentle gender of the deceased (p.131). He suggests that they may be used in dual function as "an idiosyncratically expanded ensemble" or as a "self-contained adjunct" (p.131). He also suggests that the selective use of the harpsichord offers a special sonority with the lutes and gambas (p.150), particularly in the alto aria Mvt. 5, "How died the heroine," which is the heart and soul of the work. Another striking use of the whole ensemble is the preceding alto arioso, "The mournful Bells," descending in pitch from pairs of flutes and oboes to gambas and lutes.

Here is the composition timeline, cited in Rifkin (Ibid.: 120ff: Her Majesty's death, Sept. 5, 1727; Royal Mourning period begins, September 7 (ban on all musical performances); Leipzig University student Hans Karl Kirchbach requests memorial service with music at Paulinerkirchke, September 12; while awaiting August the Strong's approval (October 3), Gottshed text and Bach's music solicited; Görner protest, October 7; compromise (one-time event) with Görner compensation, October 11; Bach completes score, October 15, performance October 17.

The event was reported in Christoph Ernst Sicul's Das thränende Leipzig: "In solemn procession, while the bells were rung, the Town Officials and the Rector and Professors of the University entered St. Paul's, where many others were present, namely, princely and other persons of rank, as well as not only Saxon but also foreign Ministers, Court and other Chevaliers, along with many ladies. When everyone had taken his place, there had been a prelude by the organ, and the Ode of Mourning written by Magister Johann Christoph Gottsched, member of the Collegium Marianum, had been distributed among those present by the Beadles, there was shortly after heard the Music of Mourning, which this time Capellmeister Johann Sebastian Bach had composed in the Italian style, with Clave di Cembalo, which Mr. Bach himself played, also organ, violas di gamba, lutes, violins, recorders, transverse flutes, &c., half being heard before and half after the oration of praise and mourning" [Source The New Bach Reader No. 136 (BD II: 232), Baroque Music on-line].

“This accompanied recitative [No. 4] features the tolling of the bells by the orchestra, including the flutes, strings, and lutes. This effect was not lost on the Leipzig crowd, as reported by Christoph Ernst Sicul in Das thränende Leipzig: "Then comes a remarkable example of pictorial expression, the tolling of the bells for the Queen. The ringing ceases by degrees, the final sound of the bass acting as cadence figure" [Bach Choir of Bethlehem on-line:].


There is a recording reconstruction of the memorial service lead by Philippe Pierlot,Tombeau de Sa Majeste la Reigne de Pologne (Bach’s incipit), see BCW, . The music is: Missa Kyrie-Gloria in A major, BWV 234; Preludio in B minor, BWV 544a; Cantata BWV 198, Part 1; Kirchbach’s hour-plus oration, Chorale Prelude Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV 727; Kirchbach’s oration; Cantata BWV 198, Part 2; and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544b. Gilles Cantegral’s liner notes (translation Charles Johnston) include a brief biography of the princess and detailed descriptions of the service and the music. Available on line are:

Leonhardt,; and

Cantata 198 was presented after Bach had ceased composing three complete church-year cantata cycles. Having premiered his demanding St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) on Good Friday, March 11, 1727, he has vast performing resources available (including gambas and lutes). Also, on August 3, he had presented Cantata BWV 193a for the August II Name Day, his first for the Saxon Court. No longer writing weekly cantatas, he broadened hhorizons and got his foot in the royal door. He composed music for this ode "in the Italian style," strongly favored by the Court at Dresden (see Carol Baron, "Tumultuous Philosophers," Bach's Changing World, p.54). The service was an "august" event (pun intended!).

The commissioned text is by the noted Leipzig Enlightenment professor and poet, J.C. Gottsched, where, in the alto aria (Mvt. 5), the verses focus on the moment of the Queen's death and Bach silences all the instruments, save the gambas and lutes. Bach and Gottsched collaborated on two other cantatas (music lost, probably parodies), BC G42 (1725), a wedding serenade, and BWV Anh. 13 (1738), another university commission, for Augustus III.

Cantata BWV 198 has been adapted as a sacred work for all-Souls Day (November 1), altered text and added chorales by Wilhelm Rust, BGS editor, available as Kalmus Vocal Scores 6940. Only Bach's original score survives. The parts undoubtedly were salvaged by Bach for the parodied Köthen Funeral Music, Cantata BWV 244a (Part 1, opening and closing choruses), and the parodied St. Mark Passion (BWV 247) (core lyrical music: both choruses and all three arias).

No parody model for the central chorus, No. 7, “An dir, du Fürbild großer Frauen/ . . . War dieser Großmut Bild zu schauen” (In you, model of great women/ . . . Was this image of a great soul to be seen), has been found. Dürr suggests: “It is quite conceivable, however, that it found a new place in a work that no longer survives, possibly one of the biblical-text [turba] choruses in the St. Mark Passion” (Ibid.: 867). It may have been parodied in the turba chorus, No. 116(39d), Chief Priests and Scribes, “Er hat andern geholfen” (He saved others), says Gustav Adolph Thiel, who did the first complete “reconstruction” (Bonn: Forberg-Verlag, 1980). The text length is comparable, the source is a funeral work, and the motet chorus is a stile antico style found in other Bach Passion music, particularly extended passages of prophecy or law. This chorus may be a parody from an earlier source, suggests W. Gillies Whittaker in The Cantatas of JSB (Oxford University Press, 1959: II, 565f ): “A florid and energetic chorus, vii, which concludes Part 1, is so different in style from the rest of the Ode that one may opine that already existing music was utilized.”

----Coming this week: recycled Funeral Ode music in the Köthen Funeral Music, BWV 244a, and Music for Academic occasions, including homage to University faculty and Thomas School Events.

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 5, 2013):
Cantata 198 (Funeral Ode): Elegy vs. Requiem

William Hoffman wrote:
While using a text in fixed strophic form, this oration also is described as a “tombeau” or remembrance of a beloved person, set to music punctuated with dance and song in the varied “Italian Style” favored at the Catholic Saxon Court in Dresden. >
Giving the mourning an elegaic classical form also avoids Lutheran scruples about praying for the dead in a requiem. It was no accident that Luther posted his 95 theses on Hallowe'en, the Eve of All Saints, to counter the Catholic theology of purgatory, indulgences and the intercession of the saints. After the Reformation, the entire apparatus of expiatory prayer for the dead was swept away, even to the point that the body was never brought to the church, but rather buried directly from the home. I remember in the anniversary year of Bach's death that much non-historical nonsense was written about what a grand church funeral Bach must have been given, when in fact he was buried from his home, and the funeral commemoration for the mourners in St. Thomas was highlighted by a revised version of a motet by a Bach relative.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (November 5, 2013):
Cantata 198 (Funeral Ode): Purgatory

Douglas Cowling wrote:
< After the Reformation, the entire apparatus of expiatory prayer for the dead was swept away, >
Well. not all of it.

Philipp Melanchthon, Apology of the Augsburg Confession:

"a core statement of Lutheran doctrine, from the Book of Concord, states: "We know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit; but we disapprove of the application ex opere operato of the Lord's Supper on behalf of the dead. "

I think that was more than likely to avoid *any* connection of paying priests and churches for saying masses, etc. And Luther's position even on purgatory was an evolving one as well, and his writings on how to conduct funeral services, and his attitude towards them, well, contradictory.

"When in 1518 [Luther] further explained his fifteenth thesis, he remarked: 'I am very certain that there is a purgatory,'... In the Leipzig debate of the following year purgatory was discussed at length...Luther there said he knew that there is a purgatory."

Folks may find this very detailed information interesting, located @

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 6, 2013):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< "a core statement of Lutheran doctrine, from the Book of Concord, states: "We know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit; but we disapprove of the application ex opere operato of the Lord's Supper on behalf of the dead. " >
It's always surprising to see the continuity of pre-Reformation Catholic doctrine and practice with the Lutheran compromise. It came as a complete surprise to me that Bach made his private confession every week. So too that 15th century German Catholics were singing vernacular chorales during mass for a century before Luther "invented" chorale singing. Luther certainly held a "high" doctrine about Purgatory and the intercession of saints, but he abolished all suggestions that the mass — which was still the central act of worship for Lutherans — had a propitiary aspect which aided the departed in the next life. The canon of the mass – the eucharistic prayer after the Sanctus — was completely expunged except for the scriptural Words of the Institution at the Last Supper and the Lord's Prayer. The consecration of the bread and wine was effected by the proclamation of scripture not priestly prayer.

The doctrine of Purgatory was a theological muddle even in the middle ages. De fide, Purgatory was an interim state for souls who had died repentant and in communion with the church but needed to purge the stain of original sin. All souls in purgatory were ultimately destined for heaven. Souls who died unrepentant went to hell; souls with perfected virtue — the saints — bypassed Purgatory and went directly to heaven.

Dorothy Sayers (the mystery writer) has a superb lay person's introduction to the theology and popular misconceptions of Purgatory in volume 2 of her Penguin translation of Dante's 'Divine Comedy'. Reading the three prefaces to Hell, Purgatory and Heaven is an entertaining Catholic Doctrine for Dummies. Highly recommended.

William Zeitler wrote (November 6, 2013):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< It came as a complete surprise to me that Bach made his private confession every week. So too that 15th century German Catholics were singing vernacular chorales during mass for a century before Luther "invented" chorale singing. >
I would be very interested in resources/further reading on these.


Peter Smaill wrote (November 6, 2013):
[To William Zeitler] Towards the end (1740's) Bach's confessor was Christian Weiss jr who, inter alia, spoke English, I recall.

Douglas Cowling wrote (November 6, 2013):
Bibliography fo rHistory of Lutheran Liturgy

William Zeitler wrote:
< I would be very interested in resources/further reading on these. >
Three superlative sources that are must-reads:

*Stiller: "Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig"

* Herll: "Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism: Choir, Congregation, and Three Centuries of Conflict"
Portions available online:

* Leaver: "Luther's Liturgical Music: Principles and Implications"
Portions avaonline:

Petzold's new book promises to build on these deeply revisionist studies of Lutheran music from pre-Luther to Bach.

William Hoffman wrote (November 10, 2013):
Under the secular cantata category of music for academic occasions, Bach created works that enabled him to begin extensive reuse of existing materials that characterized much of his transformational activities in the final two decades of his life. Bach’s 1727 Funeral Ode, Cantata WV 198, provided borrowings for two major works, the 1729 Köthen Funeral Music, BWV 244a, and the 1731 St. Mark Passion, BWV 247. Bach recycled five versions of Cantata BWV 36, including two for academic activities. As cantor at the Thomas School, Bach also created through parody three congratulatory homage works in the early 1730s.

Wilhelm Rust’s sacred edition of Cantata 198 exists in a Belwin Mills Kalmus Vocal Score 6940 (no date). It is found on-line at BCW Cantata 198 Details page, “Score Vocal & Piano [4.42 MB], . The first page has a new title but has Rust’s footnotes at the bottom of the page in German. The English translation in italics is missing from this page but the full footnotes are found in succeeding pages. The vocal & piano score also has the four chorale interpolations.

Funeral Ode Parodies

Bach parodied the opening and closing choruses of the 1727 Funeral Ode, Cantata BWV 198, twice: in the 1729 Köthen Funeral Music, Cantata BWV 244a, for Prince Leopold, opening and closing Part 1, and in the 1731 St. Mark Oratorio Passion, BWV 247, opening Part 1 and closing Part 2. The motet chorus, BWV 198/7, presumably was parodied in BWV 244a and possibly in BWV 247.

*“Laß, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl” (Let, Princess, let one more ray), BWV 198/1

“Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt” (Cry, children, cry to all the world), BWV 244a/1

“Geh, Jesu, geh zu Deiner Pein!” (Go, Jesus, go unto thy pain), BWV 198/1

*“Doch, Königin! du stirbest nicht” (Yet, Queen, you do not die), BWV 198/10

“Komm wieder, Theurer Fürsten Geist” (Return now, worthy princely soul), BWV 244a/7

“Bey deinem Grab und Leichen-Stein” (By thy rock grave and great tombstone), BWV 247/46(132)

*The motet chorus, BWV 198/7 closed Part 1: “An dir, du Fürbild großer Frauen, . . . War dieser Großmut Bild zu schauen.” (In you, model of great women, . . . Was this image of a great soul to be seen.)

Presumed parody, BWV 244a/8: “Wir haben einen GOtt, der da hilfft, und denn” (We have a God who comes to our aid) [Psalm 68:21]

Possible parody (Dürr/Theil): “Er hat andern geholfen” (He saved others), BWV 247/ No.39d(116), Chief Priests and Scribes [Mark 15:31b].

Cantata 36 Versions

During Lent 1725, Bach had taken a break from his second church cantata annual cycle and the composition of a new Passion, to create and present two major repertory secular cantatas, Shepherd’s serenade, BWV 249a, and congratulatory cantata, BWV 36c, Schwingt freudig euch empor (Swing yourselves joyfully on high). Both were recycled extensively through parody (new-text underlay), probably in collaboration with Bach’s librettist Picander. Cantata BWV 36c was used twice more for profane celebrations as well as the First Sunday in Advent.

The first version probably was presented about April 5, 1725, two days after Easter Sunday, celebrated the birthday of an old, unnamed teacher. Previously that teacher was believed to be Johann Matthis Gesner, rector of St. Thomas, who actually took that position in 1730. The Bach Compendium (1989) catalogs the work as G 35, for university-related events while Dürr, Cantatas of JSB (Idid.: 873-876) discusses it under the heading “Leipzig Music of Hom age for Court, Nobility and Bourgeoisie,” where it will be part of the BCW November 10 weekly Discussion for “For Members of the Nobility,” leading with Cantata 212 as well as interrelated, parodied works BWV 249b, 210a, Anh 10, and, 30a.

Bach’s last extant tribute to a Leipzig university member is Cantata BWV 36b, Die Freude reget sich (Joy stirs itself), a congratulatory cantata for the Leipzig learned Rivinius family, probably for Johann Florens Rivinus, on his appointment to the Rectorship of Leipzig University, July 28, 1735. It is the fifth and last version of cantatas numbered BWV 36, to a parody text perhaps of Picander for eight movements of opening and closing choruses and three arias, as well as three new alternating recitatives. The German text is found on-line at and the Z. Philip Ambrose English translation on at .

Cantata 36b Details, BCW . Cantata BWV 36b also will be part of the BCW discussion, featuring Peasant Cantata 212, next week.

Other Lost University Homage Cantatas

Serendipitously, Bach’s documented first cantata for a Leipzig University faculty member is probably BWV Anh. 195, Murmelt nur ihr heitern Bäche (Murmur on, ye merry waters), a homage serenade for the June 9 evening torchlight installation tribute of Leipzig professor Johann Florens Rivinius, doctor of jurisprudence and member of a prominent learned Leipzig family (BCW Details, ). The music probably was presented in front of the family home. The music, performed by the Collegium musicum on a student commission with students attending, is lost and all that survives is the text by an unknown poet, probably a university colleague.

Bach also may have composed a second cantata, in this case a congratulatory serenade, for a Leipzig University law professor. “Erschallet mit doppelter Anmut und Schöne“ (Resound With Double Charm and Beauty), was presented on September 12, 1729, for the name day of Gottlieb Kortte. So far, no direct connection can be made to Bach, who presented the dramma per musica (congratulatory serenade), Cantata BWV 207, Vereinigte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten (United discourse of varying strings) for Korte’s installation on December 11, 1726.

In the years 1727 to 1731, Bach transitioned from sacred church-year cycle cantatas to profane cantatas, particularly in mid-1729 when he took over leadership of the Leipzig Collegium musicum for performances year-round at Zimmermann’s Coffeehouse and Gardens. Each year between 1725 and 1727, Bach composed and presented three major cantatas, BWV 205, 107, and 198, in the secular category of “Leipzig Music of Homage for Court, Nobility and Bourgeoisie,” specifically for “University-Related Events” (Bach Compendium (BC), Category G 36, 37, and 34, respectively.

Thomas School Homage Cantatas

Besides homage music to faculty at the University of Leipzig, Bach also composed profane music (which only survives in individual movements) for special observances at the Thomas School where he worked and lived with his family through his Leipzig tenure from 1723 to 1750. These involved four cantatas: a congratulate a teacher in 1725 (BWV 36c, Ibid.); the reopening of the school on June 5, 1732 (BWV Anh. 18); the departure of rector Johann Matthias Gesner on October 4, 1734; and the greeting for his successor, Johann August Ernesti, on November 21, 1734. For information about the Thomas School , see Wikipedia on-line at .

For Thomas School Events

BC, BWV, [BGA]/NBA-KB), Year Presented, Title, → Parodies [lost]
G 35, 36c, [XXXIV]/I/39, 1725, “Schwingt freudig euch empor” → BC A 3a/b, G 12, G 38;
[G 39] Anh 18, 1732, I/39, “Frohe Tag, verlangte Stunden” (music lost) → BC D 9, G 17;
[G 49] Anh. 210, 1734, “Wo sind meine Wunderwerke” (music lo) → BC B5, ??E 6, [G 15];
[G 40] Anh 19, 1734 I/39 “Thomana saß annoch betrübt” (music lost) → BC ??A57, [G 30], G 46.

*Neue Bach Ausgabe (NBA) Kritischer Bericht (Critical Commentary), Festmusiken für Leipziger Rats- und Schulfeiern / Huldigungsmusiken für Adelige und Bürger (Festival Music for the Leipzig Town Council and School Events / Homage Music for Nobles, and Buourgeoise) Werner Neumann, Critical Commentary, Bärenreiter, 1977.

Thomas School Rectors

As Leipzig church cantor, Bach’s immediate supervisor was the Thomas School rector. Bach served under three rectors: Johann Heinrich Ernesti (1652-1729), Johann Mathias Gesner (1691-1761), and Johann August Ernesti (1707-1781). The first Ernesti was rector when Bach came to Leipzig in 1723. Following Ernesti’s death, Bach’s friend and school reformer, Gesner, served from 1730 to 1734, and was succeeded by the second Ernesti, with whom Bach had conflicts. Both Ernestis were educated at the University of Leipzig. Further information on the second Ernesti, Johann August, is found in Carol K. Baron’s lead article, “Tumultuous Philosophers, Pious Rebels, Revolutionary Teachers, Pedantic Clerics, Vengeful Bureaucrats, Threatened Tyrants, Worldly Mystics: The Religious World Bach inherited,” in the Leipzig study, Bach’s Changing World: Voices in the Community (University of Rochester (NY) Press, 2006).

Bach composed “Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf” (The Spirit helps in our weakness, Romans 8:26), this 8-voice (2 choirs) motet for the Gedächtnispredigt (memorial sermon) at the funeral service, October 30, 1729, for Johann Heinrich Ernesti, rector of the Thomas School and Professor of Poetry at the University of Leipzig, who had died a couple of days earlier. Bach’s rapport with him had been most friendly, unlike his dealings with his successor, Johann August Ernesti, who was not related. During the tenure of the first Ernesti, who became rector in 1684, the Thomas School declined significantly and Gesner undertook various reforms as well as a major renovation and expansion that included the Bach family residence in the school building

Cantata BWV Anh. 18

Cantata BWV Anh 18, “Frohe Tag, verlangte Stunden” (Joyous day, desired hour) was composed and presented for the reopening consecration of the renovated Thomas School, in front of the large, multi-story building, next to the Thomas Church, on Thursday, June 5, 1732, at the beginning of the new school year. This celebratory two-part, 10-movement secular work provided materials for Bach to parody in both secular and sacred music. Its madrigalian three choruses and three arias were parodied in Cantata BWV Anh. 12, Frohes Volk, Vergnügte Sachsen (Happy folk, contented Saxons) for the name day of the new Saxon Elector, Augusts III, on August 3, 1733 at Zimmermann’s Garden. Its festive opening chorus was parodied at the opening chorus in the Ascension Oratorio, BCW 11, of 1735. It’s sixth movement, “Geist ind Herz sind begierig” Heart and spirit are most eager”), opening Part 2, “after the Speeches,” may have been parodied in the bass aria, “Domine Deus, Rex coelestis” (Lord God, heavenly King), of the Missa Kyrie-Gloria in F Major, BWV 233/3. See Details at BCW with Johann Heinrich Winckler German text and Z. Philip Ambrose English translation on-line at .

Following the presentation of BWV Anh. 18, Bach may have presented the chorale cantata second church-year cycle, beginning the next Sunday, June 8, 1732, the first Sunday after Trinity.

Cantata BWV Anh.210

Bach honored Gesner, noted reformer, scholar and humanist, on October 4, 1734 with two cantatas: a lost festive departure homage work, BWV Anh. 210, “Wo sind meine Wunderwerke” (Where are my works of wonder) probably in front of the Thomas School, and an intimate soprano solo Italian cantata, BWV 209, “Non sa che dolore” (He knows not what is pain), probably at Zimmermann’s Coffeehouse. The latter is the final BCML Discussion work, on December 29, under the final Secular Cantata category, “Various Occasions.” Both works as well as Gesner will be discussed at length then. See Gesner’s biography at Wikipedia, .

Cantata BWV Anh. 19

Six weeks after Gesner’s departure, on November 21, 1734, Bach, for Gesner’s successor, J. A. Ernesti, presented another lost parodied academic homage work, Cantata BWV Anh. 19, “Thomana saß annoch betrübt” (St. Thomas sat till now in grief). Little also is known about this nine-movement work that survives in a Breitkopf printed text in Reimer’s Chronicle, but it appears that the emphasis is on obsequious poetry with four extended recitatives, three perfunctory arias, an arioso, and a closing chorus that may be a parody of the closing chorus from the 1729 dramma per musica extravaganza, Cantata BWV 201, The Contest Between Phoebus and Pan, “Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde” (Hurry, you whirling winds). See Cantata BWV Anh. 19 Details at BCW, with Johann August Landvoigt’s German Text and Z. Philip Ambrose English translation on-line at .

Further information on the second Ernesti, Johann August, is found in Carol K. Baron’s lead article, “Tumultuous Philosophers, Pious Rebels, Revolutionary Teachers, Pedantic Clerics, Vengeful Bureaucrats, Threatened Tyrants, Worldly Mystics: The Religious World Bach inherited,” in the Leipzig study, Bach’s Changing World: Voices in the Community (University of Rochester (NY) Press, 2006).


Cantata BWV 198: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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
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