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Cantata BWV 46
Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of August 9, 2015 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (August 9, 2015):
Cantata BWV 46, 'Schauet doch und sehet' Intro & Trinity 10 Chorales

Bach’s chorus Cantata 46, “Schauet doch und sehet, / ob irgendein Schmerz sei wie mein Schmerz” (Behold and see if any grief is like my grief, Lamentation 1:12), for the 10th Sunday after Trinity features striking orchestration with two recorders and a pair of oboes da caccia and a text by a talented, unknown librettist that explores the relationship of Luther’s concepts of law and gospel in the typical mirror form involving a prelude and fugue, pairs of recitatives and arias, and a highly elaborate closing chorale of Johann Matthäus Meyfart’s added general stanza, “O großer Gott von Treu” (Oh God great in your faithfulness) to Balthasar Schnurr’s (1632) “O großer Gott von Macht” (O God, great in your power).1

Running 15-20 minutes, Cantata 46 was premiered on August 1, 1723 at the early main service of the St. Thomas Church, following the Gospel of Luke 19:41-48, “Jesus weeps over Jerusalem,” before the sermon of Pastor Christian Weise Sr. (1671-1736), who may have set the text. Particularly impressive is the slow opening prelude, set to the Lamentations of Jeremiah (1:12) over the original destruction of Jerusalem, which ten years later was adapted through contrafaction as the Qui tollis pecca mund (That takes away the sins of the World). The other bookend, the closing chorale is very affirmative and considered the highpoint of work which provides a teaching lesson to the gospel pared teaching in Cantata 105, “Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht” (Lord, do not go into court with your servant, Psalm 143:2), for the previous Sunday with the gospel parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-19).

The other biblical reading for the 10th Sunday after Trinity is the Epistle, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, “Spiritual gifts are diverse.” The German text of the Gospel and Epistle is that of Luther’s translation published in 1545, the English is the Authorised (King James) Version 1611 (see BCW, The opening Introit Psalm is 5, Verba mea airbus (Give ear to my words, KJV), says Martin Petzoldt in BACH Commentary, Vol. 1, Trinity Sundays.2 The full text of Psalm 5 is found at

Also impressive is the bass free-da-capo aria with high trumpet/horn, no. 3, “Dein Wetter zog sich auf von weiten” (The storm you have deserved comes on you from afar). “God's vengeful judgement is seen as a gathering storm,” observes Francis Browne in his “Note on the Text” (see just below), in this classic “rage aria.”

Bach's three extant cantatas for the 10th Sunday after Trinity (BWV 46, BWV 101, and BWV 102) show considerable commonality besides being representative of his three cycles: chorus Cantata 46 (1723), chorale chorus Cantata, “Nimm von uns Herr, du treuer Gott” (Take from us, Lord, you faithful God, 1724) and chorus cantata in two parts, “Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!” (Lord, your eyes look for faith!, Jeremiah 5:3, 1726). All three works use penitential hymns and are rooted in minor keys to reflect the Gospel, Luke 19: 41-48 Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, as well as tonal allegory.

Cantata BWV 46, Movement No. 6, an elaborated chorale in g-D uses the chorale melody and text: “O großer Gott von Macht” (O God, great in your power), Stanza 9,< O großer Gott von Treu” (Oh God great in your faithfulness). It is Bach’s only extant setting. *Chorale Text & Translation: BCW: The text authors are Balthasar Schnurr (1632) & Johann Matthäus Meyfart (verse 9, 1633; Song of Penance). The chorale melody: “O großer Gott von Macht” | Composer: Balthasar Schnurr (1632), source information BCW, The chorale is found in <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> (NLGB) 1682, No. 302 (omnes tempore Psalm-influenced hymn, “Word of God and Christian Church.”

“O großer Gott von Macht” “was the hymn of the day for this Sunday in Weißenfels,” says Günther Stiller in <JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig> (Concordia, St. Louis MO, 1984: 243). “The Dresden hymn schedules for this day [10th Sunday after Trinity] prescribe in addition to specific hymns, the general direction ‘Hymns concerning Repentance.’ Bach chose such repentance hymns for the two other cantatas for this Sunday (BWV 101 and 102).”

Note on the text3

<<BWV 46 was written for the 10th Sunday after Trinity and first performed on August 1st 1723. It is therefore is among the first cantatas Bach wrote at Leipzig. In the gospel for the day Jesus laments the coming destruction of Jerusalem, foresees sufferings to come for the inhabitants 'because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation' and drives the traders from the temple. John Eliot Gardiner [see below] says that at the service of Vespers on this Sunday Josephus' account of the sack of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70 was read aloud and he comments on the resonance this would have in a country where the devastations of the Thirty Years War would still be a vivid memory. Whittaker4 mentions also siege of Vienna two years before Bach's birth and the 13 years of War of the Spanish succession which ended 11 years before this cantata was written.

Whittaker also suggests it must have been a man of knowledge and imagination to have conceived the cantata based on the prophecy and the tale of the terrible calamity which overcame Jerusalem at the hands of Titus in the days after Christ. References in the first recitative to enemies within the gates indicate the writer must have been familiar with Josephus' monumental description of the causes which led to the total destruction of the city and point to some scholar among the clergy of Leipzig. He adds "unfortunately his literary abilities are not commensurate with his learning and vision “. This is somewhat harsh since the anonymous librettist - with his remonstrances, exhortations and warnings in competent rhymed verse - provided Bach with the basis for a cantata that Whittaker himself considers as 'unique among the two hundred for its grim power and tense drama.

The text of the opening movement (Mvt. 1) is taken directly from Lamentations, a brief but striking book of the Jewish bible , which consists of five acrostic poems occasioned by the siege and fall of Jerusalem in 587/586 BC. These laments have been used in Jewish and later in Christian worship as an expression of grief at destruction of the city and also for more generalised sorrow in Christian liturgies Good Friday, as well as an appeal for divine mercy. In the verses quoted the city of Jerusalem herself speaks of her sorrow but in the cantata this is reinterpreted to refer to Jesus' sorrow over Jerusalem (and so by implication to God's sorrow over alienated sinners).

The second movement recitative threatens (Mvt. 2) the city/sinners who take no heed of Christ's tears with the fate of Gomorra (Genesis 19:23).There is a richness- or if it is not to your taste a confusion- of biblical imagery of destroyed cities, overwhelming floods and broken staffs of office to suggest God's response to man's sinfulness.

In the third movement bass aria (Mvt. 3) God's vengeful judgement is seen as a gathering storm that will ineveitably in time burst over the unrepentant sinner . Such imagery gives Bach an opportunity which he vividly exploits. The following recitative (Mvt. 4) makes explicit the application of the general imagery to us sinners who are threatened with having to face a fearful end.

Only in the final aria (Mvt. 5) is consolation offered. Echoing the tender words of Christ's lamentation over Jerin Matthew's gospel (23:27) we are told the devout will be gathered in safety by Jesus.

The concluding chorale (Mvt. 6) is the final strophe of O großer Gott von Macht. This 8 strophe chorale was written by Balthasar Schnurr in 1633 and in a curious form of sung mathematics is based on Abraham's plea with God about the just in Sodom and Gomorra (Genesis 18:23).It is obvious why Johann Matthäus Meyfart thought it necessary to add a concluding more general stanza . He does this skilfully preserving the syntactical pattern and rhyme scheme of earlier stanzas.>>

Gospel Pairing and Cantata 105

This Gospel pairing is the third sequence in Trinity Time: 3) Trinity 9-19 generally alternates a parable with a teaching or miracle. THEMATIC PATTERNS IN BACH¹S GOSPELS, BCML Discussions Part 3, The pairs are: *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.”

The previous Cantata 105, “Herr, gehe nicht ins Gerecht” (Lord, do not go into court with your servant, Psalm 143:2) is related in that they have similar forms and “both pieces dig down into the questions of sin and divine punishment and give a sense of closeness to each other through their sincere severity. But the pathetic sound in which two recorders play a remarkable role] in Cantata 46] is unique in this work,” says Tadashi Isoyama in his 1999 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete recording of the sacred cantatas.4 In the closing, elaborate chorale, the instruments overlap the chorus, a technique that “also appears in the final movement of Cantata 105,” observes Isoyama.

Cantata 46 Music and Purpose

Julian Mincham anaylzes Bach’s compositional technique and purpose in these cycle 1 cantatas, “Chapter 12 BWV 46 Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei,” <<The astute listener may have noticed that when Bach settles into the process of producing new works for the Sunday services, instead of relying on ones previously composed, certain incipient patterns emerge. One was the placing of a large scale chorus, possibly in two parts, at the head of the cantata. Another was closing with a chorale, sometimes plainly harmonised but at others adorned with episodes of instrumental material separating the melodic phrases. The third is the occasional omission of the continuo in certain arias, creating a more ethereal effect.

Cs 105 and 46 are conjoined in that they not only share all three characteristics but are identically structured. Nevertheless, a glance ahead at cantatas yet to come shows how dangerous it is to generalise or make predictions about Bach. Just when you think you may have him pigeonholed, his endlessly inventive mind takes him in totally unforeseen directions. C 179, the next in the series, has an opening chorus but it is not bipartite and, motet-like, it makes no use of individual instrumental writing. It retains the six movement structure and ends with a simple chorale setting with all movements supported by the conventional continuo bass.

And in week twelve, C 199, Bach′s first solo cantata at Leipzig will break the mould completely. It has no choruses and no closing four-part chorale; the one hymn tune is given to the soprano against a particularly busy viola obbligato before a recitative and gigue conclude the work.

It seems clear that Bach was continually experimenting with a range of styles, and techniques, structures, textures, timbres and colours in the process of creating a huge repertoire of movement types. He could then draw upon whatever he felt was ideally suited to any particular purpose. Thus we find him returning to all of these approaches at various times but never in such a way that his responses to texts become predictable or formulaic.

Indeed, perhaps the most consistent structure he used was the chorale/fantasia, the basis of the first forty cantatas from the second cycle (beginning with C 20, vol 2, chapter 2). But even there he achieved an amazing amount of variety in the form and character of those fantasias, greatly developed recitative thinking and constantly varied the number and order of the movements placed between the outer choruses.>>

Jeremiah, Jesus, Josephus

Three perspectives on Jerusalem are found in John Eliot Gardiner 2006 liner notes to the 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, Soli Deo Gloria recordings.6 <<Just once in a while in the course of the Trinity season, with its almost unremitting emphasis on the things every good Lutheran should believe, from the Nicene Creed to the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Catechism and so on, comes a vivid shaft of New Testament history and narrative reference to the life of Christ. Here on the tenth Sunday after Trinity the Gospel (Luke 19:41-48) tells us how Jesus predicted the imminent destruction of Jerusalem, tying the event in the listener’s mind to his own Passion story. That link would have been strengthened in Bach’s day by the practice at the Vesper service on this Sunday of reading aloud Josephus’ account of the actual sacking of Jerusalem by the Roman emperor Titus in AD70, one that surely resonated in the minds of those whose families had witnessed the razing of numberless German towns during the Thirty Years War. So with his anonymous librettist choosing to open with a passage from the Old Testament narrative (Lamentations 1:12) for Bach’s first Leipzig cantata for this Sunday, BWV 46, “Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei,” suddenly the separate eras of Jeremiah, Jesus and Josephus appear braced together, a sign of the potency of this particular story with its vivid, unsettling patterns of destruction and restoration, of God’s anger and Christ’s mercy. If any of the faithful of Leipzig gathered in church on a warm Sunday morning in August 1723 were experiencing momentary wobbles of belief, they were in for some bombardment! Josephus’ harrowing eyewitness account crops up again in a contemporary Leipzig chorale collection, the preacher was specifically required to fulminate and deliver a strong-tongued lashing, and Bach, never one to be outdone by a purely verbal harangue, came up with a cantata every bit as startling as the previous Sunday’s “Herr gehe nicht in Gericht,” BWV 105, with which it shares certain thematic features and its structural outline.

Bach is in a long line of composers from Victoria and Gesualdo who have found moving ways to set the words from Lamentations ‘Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow’ (including of course Handel, two decades later in Messiah). Bach’s opening chorus is instantly familiar as the ‘Qui tollis’ from the B minor Mass, of which it is an early draft, but with subtle differences: of key (D minor for B minor), of rhythmic impulsion (no reiterated pulse by the cellos on all three beats of every bar), and of instrumentation (recorders in place of flutes, and the addition of two oboes da caccia and a corno a tirarsi to double the vocal lines at their second entry, thus giving rise to an unexpected intensification of the choral utterance and of the overall texture). There is also the bonus of an atmospheric 16-bar instrumental prelude which serves to present the fate of Jerusalem as a symbol of the believer’s crumbling faith, with all three of Bach’s upper stringed instruments engaged in a persistent sobbing commentary. The next surprise is the way a choral fugue breaks out from this familiar-sounding lament. Starting with just two voice lines and continuo, it fans out to at times as many as nine parts. It is uncompromising in its contrapuntal wildness and grim, dissonant harmony. Christ might weep over Jerusalem, Bach tells us (Prelude), but the Lord has no compunction in inflicting sorrow ‘in the day of fierce anger’ (Fugue). Whittaker describes the effect of the fugue as ‘one of terrific power and terrible grimness’ and concludes that ‘chorally [it is] the most difficult work ever written by Bach’. Surely not. I can think of at least half a dozen that we have already tackled this year that are technically more challenging. But it is one of the most powerful and combative fugues in all Bach’s church cantatas and at its conclusion it leaves one utterly spent.

The accompagnato for tenor (No.2) points to Jerusalem’s guilt as the cause of its downfall. Since Jesus’s tears (conveyed by the paired recorders in five-note mourning figures) have gone unheeded, a ‘tidal wave of zealotry’ will soon engulf its sinning citizens, cue for one of Bach’s rare tsunami arias for bass, trumpet and strings (No.3). Is it just the superior quality and interest of this music that makes it so much more imposing, and indeed more frightening, than any operatic ‘rage’ aria of the time by, say, Vivaldi or Handel? One could also point to the component of divine vengeance ‘gathered from afar’, the fact that here the rage is not that of the soloist or ‘character’, but is objectified by the singer-preacher and encapsulated by the trumpet and strings as his soundtrack, so alerting the listener to his imminent ruin (the brewing storm ‘must be more than you can bear’). In total contrast, and staving off this meteorological and retributive assault, there follows an alto aria (No.5) scored as a quartet with two recorders and two unison oboes da caccia providing a bass line. The promise of redemption via Jesus’ propitiatory role in deflecting God’s wrath from harming his ‘sheep and chickens’ was the lifeline to which Germans of the previous century clung during times of hardship, and just in case anyone was sitting too comfortably now that the storm had passed, back it comes in five dramatic bars as though to underscore the way Jesus ‘helps the righteous to dwell in safety’. For his closing chorale Bach brings together both ends of his instrumental spectrum, the trumpet and strings, who up to now have stood for God’s wrathful side, and the flauti dolci (or recorders) who have symbolised Christ’s tears and mercy and are now allotted isolated little episodes between the lines of the chorales. It is only in the last couple of bars that the recorders, who have been exchanging E flats and E naturals in their strange little arabesques, finally agree and settle on E natural. Are we supposed, then, to hear the final D (major) chord as the tonic, a symbolic return to the tonality (D minor) of the opening movement, or as its dominant, or poised somewhere between the two in deliberate ambiguity? Is this last line ‘uns nicht nach Sünden lohne’ / ‘and do not reward us for our sins’ genuinely a part of Meyfart’s chorale (1633) or a late addition, Bach’s way of suggesting to his listeners that the prospect of God’s mercy is not guaranteed but is contingent on His grace? These are just some of the loose ends, including even greater discrepancies of articulation in the surviving instrumental parts than is the norm with Bach’s incomplete surviving performing material, that we faced in our preparations. © John Eliot Gardiner 2008, From a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage

Jerusalem Temple Destruction

The Gospel for the Tenth Sunday After Trinity, Luke 19:41-48, begins with Jesus’ weeping over the pending destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, found only in Luke, 19:41-44. In all three synoptic Gospels, there are two further references to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, in the so-called “Eschatological Discourse: Prophecy of the Destruction of the Temple” (Matthew 24:1-2, Mark 13:1-2) and Luke 21:5-6) and the curtain of the temple torn in two at Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45b), as well as Jesus admonition to the Daughters of Jerusalem not to weep for him but for themselves, at the beginning of the Road to Golgatha, the <Via Crucis> (Way of the Cross), found only in Luke 23:27-30.

The eschatological reference to the prophecy of the destruction of the Temple can be associated with the so-called “Four-Fold Allegory” (Douglas Cowling, BCW April 10, 2009, BWV 244 Discussion). Beyond the literal, allegorical, and moral levels is the fourth, the Anagogic” or spiritual level, also referred to as the “Eschatological” level involving “signs before the end” and the “end times.” It relates ultimately to the relationship of the soul to God with implications found in chorus Cantata 102 to the use of tonal allegory to depict human frailty in the face of the end times, composed for the same Sunday in 1726.

Cantata 46: Tears to Zeugma

The progress in Cantata 46 from tears to zeugma of different senses, with the insights of Bach scholar Eric Chafe, to the closing chorale, are discussed in Peter Smaill’s commentary (September 4, 2005), Cantata 46, BCML Discussions Part 2, << In the appreciations of BWV 46, "Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei" we deal with a central text to Christian theology, "Behold and see if there is any sorrow like unto my sorrow". But these words, set so exquisitely set by Victoria (adumbrated by Robertson and anlaysed by Doug Cowling in these discussions), and also one of the great chromatic motets of Gesualdo, are not the words of Jesus. They are from Lamentations OT, and again form the technique of "midrash", in which words of the OT are taken to be a prefiguring of the Gospels, and thus a fulfilment of prophecy.

The most penetrative discussion of the special significance of this Cantata is the essay by Eric Chafe, forming part of the chapter on "Bach's Reflection on the Past" (in Analyzing Bach Cantatas," OUP. On the 10th Sunday after Trinity in the Lutheran church there was read Josephus' account in translation of the destruction of Jerusalem. It seems to me likely that the destruction of many German towns in the Thirty Years' war would intensify the resonance of this reading.

The progress in thought is from extended tears over the destruction of Jerusalem, caused by the sinfulness of man, to the zeugma in BWV 46/5, "Doch Jesus will auch bei der strafe," / "Yet Jesus desires even in punishment, to be the shield and support of the righteous."

The magical moment of the Cantata is surely the beautiful prayer that concludes the work, in the form of an extended chorale. Again we have progressed, as in the preceding few Sunday's libretti, from the hopelessness of Man under the old law, to salvation under the new; the offering of Jesus as propitiation. This is the theology of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244), rather than the "Christus Victor" of the St John.

[Discussion leader’s note: this is the Anselm theory of satisfaction through atonement. Chafe in his recent study of J. S. Bach’s Johannine Theology7 says of Cantata 46 that it “binds together Jeremiah’s words of lamentation over the destruction of Jerusalem in the OT with Jesus’s prediction of its second destruction in the NT (in the Gospel for the Day), giving the whole an extensive tropological orientation toward the contemporary believer, and bringing out the opposition of God’s wrathful judgment and Jesus’s loving protection of the faithful as the counterpart of the fate of Jerusalem. The final chorale makes clear that this destruction/restoration dynamic is the direct outc ome of Jesus’s ‘Marter, Angst und schwere Pein’ [torment, anxiety and heavy pain]– in other words, the Passion.”]

As Chafe says, the destruction of Jerusalem was closely linked to the Passions at Leipzig. As noted previously, one of the few non-biblical images set by Bach is the "Sodom's apple" references, also drawn from Josephus.

So this Cantata is related directly to Lutheran hermeneutics, the Reformation idea of the destruction and restoration of the old Church. And with what strange harmonies and texture does it end ; the highpitched canonic imitation of the blockfloten (or what you will), restlessly falling until they find repose in the final, ambiguous cadence leato D major even though the previous two flats signature had generally produced in each line minor key final chords (tho "Pein" is set to C major).The intrusion of e natural at last in the blockfloeten over the pedal point is masterful, the whole raising the question as to whether " the final chord is in the dominant or tonic to an extraordinary degree" (Chafe).

The ethereal quality of the blockfloeten (Chafe says recorders) without continuo is one of the most striking instrumental effects in the Cantatas. Coupled with the deep theological purpose and solemnity of the service for this Sunday it is one of the works which demonstrate Bach's use of radically unusual harmonic devices and orchestral colour in reponse to a libretto.

The librettist is unknown but the structure of transition from OT to NT argues to me at least that the same hand as BWV 105 and BWV 136 is at work; however, none of these are in the four groupings of same-hand cantatas produced by Harald Streck based on writing style, covering 46 of the unattributable approx 120 cantata texts.>>

Trinity 10 Cantatas and Chorales

Bach’s three extant cantatas for the 10th Sunday after Trinity (BWV 46, 101, and 102) show considerable commonality besides being representative of his three cycles: chorus cantata (1723), chorale chorus cantata (1724) and chorus cantata in two parts (1726). All three works use penitential hymns and are rooted in minor keys to reflect the Gospel, Luke 19: 41-48 Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, as well as tonal allegory (see BCW, Musical Context: Motets & Chorales for 10th Sunday after Trinity,

Chorale Chorus Cantata BWV 101

“The basic text of [Chorale] Cantata BWV 101 is a hymn specifically listed in the Leipzig and Dresden hymn schedules,” says Stiller, “Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott/ Die schwere Straf und große Not (Take from us, you faithful God,/ the heavy punishment and great distress). Author: Martin Moller (1584). It is the first alternate text set to the anonymous/Luther text, “Vater unser im Himmelreich” (Our Father in the Heavenly Kingdom, better known as the Lord’s Prayer).

Movement No. 7, plain chorale (d minor): “Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott” (Take from us, you faithful God): Stanza 7, “Leit uns mit deiner rechten Hand” (Guide us with your right hand) Chorale Text & Translation: BCW: Chorale source information: BCW: Chorale “Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott” is found in the NLGB, No. 316, “Word of God & Christian Church.”

Two-Part Chorus Cantata BWV 102

Cantata BWV 102, “Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!” (Lord, your eyes look for faith!)
*Cantata Text & Translation:

Movement No. 7, plain chorale (in c minor), melody “Vater unser im Himmelreich” (NLGB 505, The Lord’s Prayer), Composer: Anon/Martin Luther. Text No. 3 Author: Johann Heermann (1630), “So wahr ich lebe, spricht dein Gott:/ mir ist nicht lieb des Sünders Tod” (As truly as I live, says your God:/ I take no pleasure in the death of a sinner): Stanza 6: “Heut lebst du, heut bekehre dich” (Today you live, today be converted), Stanza 7: “Hilf, o Herr Jesu, hilf du mir” (Help, oh Lord Jesus, help me) Chorale Text & Translation: BCW: Chorale source information: BCW:


Partial Index of Motets in “Florilegium Portense” with links to online scores and biographies: Dissertation on “Florilegium Portense” (downloadable):

NOTES: * Unlike Trinity 9 which had no prescribed motets, Trinity 10 has four motets with three settings of text from Psalm 136, “By the Waters of Babylon.” * The Babylonian motets are related to the Hymn of the Day, based on the same psalm text. The texts may have been chosen to complement the Gospel, Luke 19:41-48, which describes Christ weeping over the future destruction of Jerusalem.

1) MOTETS for Introit, Before Sermon at mass and vespers for Choir II, and During Communion: i) “Hymnum Cantate” (8 voices) - Tibutio Massaine (Massaini) (before 1550 ­ after 1609)
Biography: (second half of text, “Super Flumina,” Text: Psalm 136:3-4: “Sing us one of the songs of Sion. How shall we sing the Lord's song : in a strange land?”
ii) “In convertendo” (8 voices) ­ Orlando (di Lasso?) (1532-94). Biography:
List of Online Scores:; Score:
Text: Psalm 126:1-6: “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
iii) “Super Flumina Babylonis” (8 voices) ­ Melchior Vulpius; Biography: List of Online Scores:
Text: Psalm 136:1-2: “By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept : when we remembered thee, O Sion. As for our harps, we hanged them up : upon the trees that are therein.
iv) “Super Flumina Babylonis² (8 voices) ­ Antonio Savetta (? - ?, Biographical information is lacking for Antonio Savetta). Text: Psalm 136:1-2: [see above]

2) HYMN OF DAY (de tempore), “An Wasserflüssen Babylon,” Melody & Translation: Online Sample:

3) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns: “Ach lieben Christen seid getrost,” Text & Translation:

Other Chorales for Trinity 10

In Picander’s published 1728 church cantata cycle, the text designated for the 10th Sunday after Trinity is P-53, “Laßt meine Tränen euch bewegen” (Let my tears move you), closes with the <omnes tempore> plain chorale, “O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort” (O eternity, thou thunder-word), Stanza 13, “Wach auf, o Mensch, vom Sündenschlaf” (Wake up, o man, from the sleep of sin), text found also closing Cantata BWV 20 for the 1st Sunday after Trinity, and in the St. Mark Passion, BWV 247/11(30), at Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Get. See BCW: , Musical Context,Chorales for 1st Sunday after Trinity, Trinity Time, Cycle 2 (1724).

<The New Leipzig Song Book> (NLGB) of 1682 lists two <omnes tempore> hymns for the 10th Sunday after Trinity: “An Wasserflüssen Babylon” and “Ach lieben Christen seid getrost.”

*Chorale ‘An Wasserflüssen Babylon’ *Hymn of the Day, NLGB No. 271, “An Wasserflüssen Babylon” (On Babylon’s flowing waters), a non-liturgical setting of Psalm 137 (<Super flumina>, A Lament of Israelites in Exile). Of the original Wolfgang Dachstein 1526 five-verse translation of the vesper Psalm 137, Bach used only Dachstein’s melody that Paul Gerhardt in 1653 set to his popular ten-verse Passion text, “Ein Lämlein geht und trägt die Schuld” (A lambkind goes and bears our guilt). An English translation of Dachstein’s “An Wasserflüssen Babylon” is found in the On-Line Liberty Library of C. S. Terry’s <Bach’s Chorales>. Original German Text: Wikipedia:üssen_Babylon.

*Chorale “Ach lieben Christen seid getrost” (Ah dear Christians, be comforted). Communion Hymn, NLGB No. 326, “Death & Dying.” Authors: David Spaiser (Verse 1, 1521) and Johann Gigas (Verses 2-6, 1561). Chorale Melody: Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns halt, Composer: Anon (1529). Bach set the melody and text to Chorale Cantata BWV 114 for the 17th Sunday after Trinity 1725, as well as a harmonized plain chorale, BWV 256, in A minor-Major that may have been intended for the Christmas Festival 2 (Dec. 6, 1728), based on the Picander published 1728 text, P-6, Kehret wieder, kommt, zurücke; Stanza 5, “Dein' Seel' bedenk', bewahr dein'n Leib” (Consider your soul, preserve your body). BCW Text & Translation:

Trinity 10 Cantatas: Repeats and Provenance

Surviving musical materials for the three cantatas for the 10th Sunday after Trinity show that Cantatas 101 and 102 may have been repeated later in Leipzig and performed by Bach’s sons. As for the estate division of Cantatas 46, 101, and 102, Cantata 46 parts and score were inherited by Friedemann and the original score is lost. In the first cycle division, beginning with the Feast of John the Baptist, Friedemann and Emmanuel no longer alternated division of the score and parts. It appears that Friedemann kept both score and parts for Trinity Sundays monthly, apparently for special services, with the scores of Cantatas 167 (John) and 69a (Trinity 12), 162 (Trinity 20), and 70 (Trinity 26) also subsequently lost.

Chorale Cantata 101 was divided between Friedemann (score) and Anna Magdalena (parts) with both surviving. Friedemann performed the opening fantasia in Halle about 1761-63, “possibly in connection with Catechism Prayers,” says Peter Wollny in “Wilhelm Friedemann Bach’s Halle performances of Cantatas by his father,” in Bach Studies 2, Ed. Daniel Melamed (Cambridge Univ. Press: New York, 1995: 211). Earlier, Bach student and Thomas prefect Christian Friedrich Penzel on July 27, 1755, copied and performed Cantata 101 on the 10th Sunday after Trinity.

Chorus Cantata 102 score and parts were inherited by Emmanuel, and copied in 1776 by Heinrich Michel in Hamburg for possible performance.


1Cantata 46, BCW Details and Discography, Scoring: Soloists: Alto, Tenor, Bass; 4-part Chorus; Orchestra: trumpet, 2 transverse flutes (or recorders), 2 oboes da caccia, strings, continuo. Score Vocal & Piano [2.15 MB],; Score BGA [3.97 MB], References: BGA X (Cantatas 41-50, Wilhelm Rust, 1860), NBA KB I/19 (Trinity 10, Robert L. Marshall, 1989), Bach Compendium BC A 117, Zwang: K 37.
2 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: 215).
3 Source: Cantata 46 text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW
4 Whittaker, W. Gillies. The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (Oxford University Press: London, 1958: I:637ff).
4 Isoyama notes,[BIS-CD991].pdf; BCW Recording details,
5 Mincham, Julian. The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach: A listener and student guide, Revised 2014; Home Page,
6 Gardiner notes, BCW[sdg147_gb].pdf; BCW Recording details,
7 Chafe, J. S. Bach’s Johannine Theology: The St. John Passion and the Cantatas for Spring 1725 Oxford Univ. Press: New York, 2014: 87.
8 Sources: * BACH'S HYMN BOOK: Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch des Gottfried Vopelius (Leipzig 1682)", Berlin: Merseburger, 1969; ML 3168 G75. * BACH'S MOTET COLLECTION:

Otto Riemer, "Erhard Bodenschatz und sein Florilegium Portense, "Schünigen: Kaminsky, 1927; ML 410 B67R4.

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 13, 2015):
Cantata BWV 46 - Revised & updated Discography
The discography pages of Cantata BWV 46 “Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei” for the 10th Sunday after Trinity on the BCW have been revised and updated.
The cantata is scored for soprano, alto, tenor & bass soloists; 4-part chorus; and orchestra trumpet (or corno da tirarsi), 2 transverse flutes (or recorders), 2 oboes da caccia, 2 violins, viola & continuo. See:
Complete Recordings (15):
Recordings of Individual Movements (5):
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 of the cantata. A short description below the audio/video image is linked to the full details at the discography pages.

I believe this is the most comprehensive discography of this cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 46 missing from these pages, or want to correct/add details of a recording already presented on the BCW, please do not hesitate to inform me.

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


Cantata BWV 46: 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 06:05