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Cantata BWV 69
Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele [I]
Cantata BWV 69a
Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of August 23, 2015 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (August 23, 2015):
Cantata BWV 69a, "Lobe den Herrn," Intro. & Trinity 12 Chorales

For the 12th Sunday after Trinity comes another amazing Bach work, chorus Cantata BWV 69a, “Lobe den Heren, meine Seele” I (Praise the Lord, my Soul). While it has the same basic form as the previous four, it has a grand, celebratory free-style opening chorus, two enchanting dance-style arias and an elaborate closing chorale setting of Samuel Rodigast’s popular, affirmative “Was Gott tut, das it wohlgetan” (What God Does, that is done well).1

While it has a festive mood not expected for the 12th Sunday after Trinity, Cantata 69a, was repeated at least once and then altered for a Town Council installation and possibly other civic events. It shows Bach’s mastery of compositional technique, as well as possible adaptation from previous sources, being a supreme utilizer and exploiter. All three Trinity 12 cantatas (BWV 69a, 137, and 35) are highly affirmative and in keeping with the change in middle Trinity Time mood from penitential to affirmative, with appropriate pulpit and communion hymns, with the repetition of these types of chorales. This Sunday focuses on the second of the paired Gospel parable-miracle teachings with Mark 7: 31-37, Miracle of Deaf Man. Two of these works (BWV 69a and 137) may have been conceived for double duty for a Sunday service and the festive annual town council installation.

Cantata 69a was premiered on August 15, 1723, at the early main service of the Thomaskirche with Thomas Pastor Christian Weise (1671-1736) presenting the sermon, which does not survive, says Martin Petzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 1, Trinity Sundays.2 The scoring is for full, festive orchestra: Orchestra: 3 trumpets, timpani, flute, 2 oboes, bassoon, 2 violins, viola, and continuo.

Lasting about 20 minutes: Cantata 69a continues the established chorus cantata (A) mirror form of the first cycle found in seven consecutive cantatas for early-middle Trinity time from the eighth through the 14th Sundays after Trinity Sunday festival: extended opening chorus with biblical quote (Psalm 103.2), alternating recitatives and arias (SATB), and closing plain chorale (Score, BGA The movements are:

1. Chorus (tutti): “Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele” (Praise the Lord, my Soul); two-part double fugue.
2. Recitative (soprano): “Ach, daß ich tausend Zungen hätte!” (Ah, if only I had a thousand tongues!).
3. Aria da-capo (alto, oboe, violin): “Meine Seele, / auf, / erzähle”), Was dir Gott erwiesen hat!” (My soul, / arise, / tell / what God has shown to you!); 9/8 gigue style.
4. Recitative (tenor): “Gedenk ich nur zurück” (When I only think back to), with closing arioso.
5. Aria (bass, oboe d’amore, strings): “Mein Erlöser und Erhalter” (My redeeemer and support); two-part with ritornelli, ¾ sarabande style.
6. Chorale: Was Gott tut . . . darbei will ich verbleiben” (What God does . . . (I shall keep to this thought).

Cantata BWV 69a, “closes with Bach’s plain-chorale setting of Samuel Rodigast 1676 communion and wedding chorale, “Was Gott tut, das it wohlgetan” (What God Does, that is done well). Bach set closing Stanza 6, “Was Gott tut . . . Dabei will ich verbleiben” (I shall keep to this thought). Rodigast chorale text and translation, Francis Browne, BCW Melody (Zahn: 5629, EKG: 299), Severus Gastorius/Werner Fabricius | Dates: 1674, 1679 (Gastorius); based upon 1659 (Fabricius). One of Bach’s favorite chorales, “Was Gott tut, das it wohlgetan,” also was used on Cantatas 12, 75, 98-100, and 144.

Serendipitously, Bach borrowed his chorale setting from the 1714 Weimar Jubilate Cantata 12. Fifteen days later, on August 30, 1723, the Town Council, Cantata BWV 119, “Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn” (Praise, Jerusalem, the Lord, Psalm 147:12), was premiered, closing with Luther’s Te Deum chorale setting, “Herr Gott, dich loben wir” (Lord God, we praise you). This followed the string of eight chorus cantatas in the “A” form, possibly the text by the same librettist, except for Cantatas 69a and 77 by Knauer. Cantata 119 has the A form plus two recitatives and a chorus.

Cantata 69a is the first Bach new composition in the first annual cycle where the librettist is identified and has the Type A mirror image form of chorus, two recitatives and two arias and a chorale. This form, coincidentally is found in the Johann Oswald Knauer (1690-?) annual 1720-21 Gotha cycle. Francis Browne’s BCW “Notes on the text” (below) discusses the source, biblical basis, and text details (BCW Cantata 69 text & translation, Bach also used the same source for his Cantata 77, “Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben” (You must love God, your Lord, Luke 10:27), for the text, 13th Sunday after Trinity. Only a few librettists in the first cycle have been identified.

Notes on the text

<<BWV 69a was written in Bach's first year at Leipzig for 12th Sunday after Trinity and first performed on 15 August 1723. It was later revived on a number of occasions with various alterations. In 1748 it was used as a basis for the council election cantata BWV 69 which has the same name.

The text of the present cantata is taken from a yearly cycle of cantata texts published in Gotha with the title :Gott-geheiligtes Singen und Spielen des Friedensteinschen Zions.Nach allen un jeden Sonn- und Fest –Tags –Evangelien, vor und nach der Predigt angegestellet/Vom Advent 1720 .bis dahin 1721. The author was probably Johann Oswald Knauer and the cycle seems to have been written for Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, Kapellmeister in Gotha and brother in law of Knauer. The texts were popular and fairly widely used. Johann Friedrich Fasch, who was one of Bach's rivals for the post at Leipzig and from 1722 was the Kapellmeister at Zerbst, set the complete cycle of texts and Stölzel probably did the same. Bach also used this source in BWV 64 [Christmas 3] and BWV 77 [Trinity 13, see BSW Knauer Short Biography,].

Knauer’s text is based on the gospel for the 12th Sunday after Trinity : Mark 7: 31 - , Jesus’ healing of a deaf mute. This particular miracle is seen as symbolic of God’s constant activity and care on man’s behalf and we are therefore enjoined to praise God. The original text had ten movements and was intended to be performed in two parts, before and after the sermon. Bach uses only six movements to make the text more concise and in keeping with the other cantatas he was producing for this period of the church’s year.

The text of the opening movement comes from Psalm 103 and introduces the theme of praise as a response to the goodness of God. Knauer has the aria next but Bach follows with a shortened adaption of the recitative, where the emphasis placed on praising God with a thousand tongues can be understood as an allusion to the healing of the deaf mute. To illustrate how Knauer’s text is adapted, here is the original text of the tenor aria:
Meine Seele, / auf, erzahle / deines Gottes Gütigkeit. / Laß ein gottgefällig Singen /
Durch die frohen Lippen dringen. / Mache dich zum Dank bereit.

The second recitative -the fourth movement- begins as in Knauer but then is changed radically to make a closer connection to the text of the gospel by the quotation of the word Ephphatha used by Christ. The following bass aria has little in common with Knauer but the concluding choral strophe is identical, the sixth verse of the well-known hymn by Samuel Rodigast (1675): Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan.>>

Cantata 69(a) Versions, Alterations

Thiwas the first of three versions of Cantata 69. It was repeated on August 31, 1727, also for the 12 Sunday after Trinity with instrumental changes from a recorder and oboe da caccia to oboe and violin in the pastorale da-capo aria changed from tenor to alto (no. 3). Its greater and more complex revision, BWV 69, was presented as a Town Council Cantata, August 26, 1748, at the installation service in the Nikolaikirche. This may have been one of Bach’s last official performances. Here, only the last clause of the now-alto aria was changed for the more celebratory occasion, as well as the recitatives’ texts. Bach retained the bass aria (no. 5) but changed the final chorale for the civic event.

The first aria, no. 3, “Meine Seele, / auf, / erzähle,” shows a complex revision not to improve the music but to adapt instruments since the talented, original oboist presumably was unavailable in 1727. Also, it is possible that Bach presented only this aria, says Thomas Braatz’ in BCW “Provenance” article, The other option is that this aria, which appears in its final form in Cantata 69 in 1748, was adapted in 1727 and inserted into another cantata.

The different occasion in 1748 from Trinity 12 to town council installation warranted some text adaptations, sometimes involving partial parody or word substitution. One “may assume that alterations in the verbal text were made by the composer,” says W. Gillies Whittaker in The Cantatas of JSB.3 Meanwhile, “there seems to be no reason for these changes” with new dissonances, “harmonic alterations,” says Whittaker (Ibid.: 603). At the same time, Bach changed the voice in the second recitative from alto to tenor, reversing the roles, so that both cantata versions still required SATB voices. Bach used the Knauer text “in considerably altered forms” and “it is unclear who undertook the revisions,” says scholar Andreas Glöckner’s 2000 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete sacred cantatas.4

Various scholars throughout the years have pointed out the festive scoring for three trumpets and timpani seems out of place in all of Bach’s Trinity Time Sunday cantatas. It is possible that Bach conceived a dual role for the Cantata 69(a) music, both for Trinity 12 Sunday and Town Council Monday in late August, which sometimes fell in the same week. The same double-duty may apply two years later in 1725 to Cantata 137, “Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren” (Praise the Lord, the mighty king of honour). The coincidence of circumstances and conditions is too profound to ignore. Above all, Bach was a supreme utilizer and exploiter.

Cantata 69a: Bach’s Motivations& Techniques

Bach’s motivations and techniques in Cantata 69a are considered in Julian Mincham’s introduction to “Chapter 15 BWV 69a Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele,” 5 << This cantata is not to be confused with C 69 which was latterly derived from it. Dürr gives the known history of the two works, 69a surviving as it was presented for this Sunday in 1723 and adapted as C 69 to celebrate council elections of 1748 (pp 502-3 and 739). In fact Dürr surmises that the cantata was reused by Bach on a number of subsequent occasions.

If indeed C 69a had no predecessor and was composed especially as a part of the first Leipzig cycle, it would seem to be a rare example of Bach′s reusing a religious work for secular purposes; in most cases the process was the reverse. But the scale and festive scoring of the opening movement would suggest that it had originally been conceived for a more celebratory event than one of the Sundays following Trinity. However, there can be no doubt that the ebullient opening chorus lent itself well to such occasions, be they of an ecclesiastical or more worldly nature.

But the question remains, what prompted Bach to write or reuse such a triumphant movement for this twelfth Sunday after Trinity? It was not an isolated event; C 137 (vol 3, chapter 3) also composed for this day but two years later, similarly employs three trumpets and drums. C 35 (vol 3, chapter 23) however, although conceived in two parts and employing an unprecedented two large sinfonias, requires only oboes and strings. So what prompted Bach to set the solitary line of text of the sort to which he elsewhere devoted much less resource, so loudly and flamboyantly here?

So far in the presentation of over a dozen cantatas in Leipzig he had had little opportunity to assail the ears of his congregations with the most extrovert available forces. The Sundays following Trinity are not packed with events that require the sorts of celebrations associated, say with Christmas, New Year or St Michael′s day. Perhaps Bach simply felt that it was time he made something of a splash and wake his audiences up, both literally and figuratively.>>

Cantata 69a Movements & Origins

Besides the complex compositional revision of the first aria, no. 3, “Meine Seele, Bach’s opening chorus commands major attention. “The enormous first chorus [lasting almost one third the length of Cantata 69a], which is freely composed, can be considered as the canter of gravity of the work,” says David Humphries in his OCC: JSB essay.6 The opening and repeated ritornelli uses trumpet motives quasi-fugally, the central section is a double fugue with two contrasted subjects, followed by a modified recapitulation of the opening.

The beginning chorus is described as an integrated prelude and fugue, somewhat different from the previous prelude and fugue forms of the previous cantatas, with “full integration of concertante and fugal elements” in this “festive song of praise,” says Richard D. P. Jones in The Creative Development of JSB.7 It has a choral-like prelude and postlude in effective ritornelli (instrumental interlude) reprises, says Jones, and is similar to the opening of the Christmas Cantata, BWV 40, “Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes” (For this reason the Son of God appeared, John 3:8).

Cantata 69a “may have been adapted from an earlier composition,” suggests Afred Dürr in Cantatas of JSB.8

The two dance arias, in gigue and sarabande style, also may have originated in Köthen as an annual celebratory, serenade for Prince Leopold. It is possible that Bach’s source may be sacred chorus Cantata BWV Anh. 5, “Lobet den Herrn, alle seine Heerscharen” (Praise ye the Lord, all ye of his great armies, by Z. Philip Ambrose; see BCW Details,, says Glöckner (Ibid.: 9). This work was the first since Bach’s move from Leipzig to Cöthen. With only the surviving libretto of court poet Chrtistian Friedrich Hunold (1680-1721), it was performed on the Prince’s birthday, December 10, 1718, at the main service of St. Agnes Church (see background, BCW Article, “Bach’s Dramatic Music: Serenades, Drammi per Musica,” Oratorios Royal Court at Köthen, Citing Psalm 119, the celebratory work has an opening chorus and three alternating recitatives and arias, similar to cantata form A in the first cycle, but without a closing chorale.

Trinity 12 Chorales and Lessons9

Bach’s three surviving cantatas and their chorales for the 12th Sunday After Trinity represent an important shift in Trinity Time, from cautionary and didactic texts and related music to a respite and renewal of praise and thanksgiving, earmarks of the <de tempore> Christology of the first half of the church year. This change continued with a blending of both types of hymns to the final Trinity Time Sundays that embrace popular transitional sacred songs leading to the beginning of the church year. This particular Sunday in <omnes tempore> time on the teachings and themes of the Christian Church stimulated Bach to compose music that reflected both the buoyancy of the appropriate choraleand the serendipitous occurrences of related festive events in Leipzig.

This Sunday is a benchmark in the Christian Church second half-year of Trinity Time. It marks the mid-way point in this six-month period and begins the final quarter of the entire church year of 60 Sundays and feasts days. This change in emphasis may be due in part to this Sunday’s proximity to the observance in Leipzig of the sacred festival of the annual installation of the Town Council, on the Monday following St. Bartholomew’s Day, August 24. This Sunday afforded Bach the opportunity to use a cantata for double duty for both the main Sunday service as well as the Monday installation of the municipal governing body -- and Bach’s employer -- at the Nikolai Church in Leipzig.

This affirmative change of mood is found in English conductor and writer John Eliot Gardiner notes to his “Bach Cantata Pilgrimage” in 2000:

“We, on the other hand, had come to Köthen with a rarity – one of the most cheerful programmes of the whole Trinity season. After so many consecutive weeks of fire and brimstone and dire warnings against devilish temptations, forked tongues, false prophets and the like, it came as a huge relief to encounter three genial, celebratory pieces, one with an organ obbligato and two featuring Bach’s talismanic trumpets and drums. Fears that these C or D major trumpets-and-drums opening choruses might become slightly formulaic and repetitious are misplaced: in fact they are subtly differentiated in mood, texture and Affekt.” [“Cantatas for the Twelfth Sunday After Trinity; Jakobskirche, Köthen”; BCW:[sdg134_gb].pdf]

Bach produced three affirmative cantatas for the 12th Sunday After Trinity: the 1723 chorus Cantata BWV 69a, “Lobet den Heren, meine Seele” (Praise the Lord, my Soul); the belated 1725 chorale Cantata 137, “Lobe den Herren, den mächtgen König der Ehren” (Praise to the Lord, the Mighty King of Glory); and the 1726, alto solo Cantata BWV 35, “Geist und Seele wird verwirret” (Spirit and Soul Become Disordered). Petzoldt (Ibid.: 303), finds that Bach could have used two other, undesignated pure-hymn chorale Cantatas BWV 117, “Sei Lob Her dem Höchsten Gut” (1728-31) and BWV 100, “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan III" (1732-35) since their chorales, while appropriate for weddings, also are appropriate for middle Trinity Time.

The Leipzig Cantor was able to take a brief musician’s holiday, so-to-speak, during the three-months of middle Trinity Time when there were no feast days between the Marian Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on July 2 and the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, opening the Leipzig Fall Fair on September 29. Gardner’s observation reinforces Bach scholar Günter Stiller’s characterization of this 12th Sunday After Trinity in the Leipzig chorale schedules as one containing “primarily hymns of praise and thanksgiving” (<JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig>, Concordia Publishing, St. Louis Mo, 1984: 244).

Scripturally and theologically speaking, this 12th Sunday after Trinity is grounded in the Gospel lesson, Mark 7:31-37, Jesus’ first act of healing at the beginning of his ministry, involving the deaf man. This represents the positive teaching in the paired parable-miracle sequence of repentance and recovery for the 11th and 12th Sundays After Trinity: *Trinity 11: Luke 18: 9-14 - Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. *Trinity12: Mark 7: 31-37 ­ Miracle of Deaf Man. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.

The Introit Psalm is Psalm 34, Benedicam Dominum (I will bless the Lord at all times, KJV text,, says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 303) which he calls a “Note of thanks for God’s friendliness.” Bach also had the opportunity to use a polyphonic motet setting of Psalm 70, Deus, in Audutorium (Make haste, O God), perhaps the Orlando Lassus version (see Motets & Chorales below).

These two Sundays are a transition from the “New-Life-of-Righteousness” smaller Trinity cycle of six Sundays to the new cycle of “a group of Sundays whose teaching is preeminently practical in character and application. One may generalize and say that the < New Life of Righteousness> will show itself in the <Works of Faith and Love>; what it means to be a Christian,” says Paul Zeller Strodach, The Church Year.10

This teaching cycle of Sundays, continuing until the Feast of St. Michael at the end of September, is exemplified in this Sunday’s Pauline Epistle Lesson, II Corinthians 3:4-11, “The Ministers of the New Covenant/Testament” (13:6) emphasizing orderly, spiritual instruction rather than the demands of literal, exclusive law (<Lutheran Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version>, Augsburg Press, Minneapolis, 2009: 1897f). The German and English (KJV) full texts for the Gospel and Epistle for the 12th Sunday after Trinity 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.

This shift to praise and thanksgiving also is reflected in the choice of chorales listed for this Sunday in <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch 1682> (NLGB), Bach’s primary Lutheran hymnbook. As Douglas Cowling observers in the November 28 BCW Discussion: “There appears to be some patterning in the omni tempore use of chorales in the Trinity season. Examples: ‘Nun lob mein Seel’ is prescribed for Trinity 12, 14 & 19; ‘Nun freut euch’ on Trinity 12, 13, 17 & 18 (and 27); the use of the German Te Deum, ‘Herr Gott dich loben Wir.’ as a general hymn is odd. Its normal place was at morning Matins (sung in St. Nikolai at 5 am) and on occasions of civic celebrations.”

Previously, Trinity Time Sundays in the NLGB primarily listed repetitive liturgical (often Catechism) hymns and thematic sacred songs often emphasizing penitence, righteousness, and Psalm teachings. In succeeding Trinity Sundays in the NLGB these chorales are blended with previous Trinity Time hymns. The final seven Sundays of Trinity also incorporate timely chorales for the end of the church year, such as “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” (How lovely shines the Morningstar; NLGB 313, Word of God & Christian Church), “Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme” (“Sleepers Awake,” NLGB 315) and “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A mighty fortress is our God, Reformation; NLGB 255), originally Luther’s Psalm 46 setting)

For details of the Trinity Time Hymn of the Day, “Durch Adams Fall” (Through Adam’s fall, NLGB 229, Catechism hymns) see BCW: “Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales for 6th Sunday After Trinity,”

Pulpit, Communion Hymns

1. "Nun lob' mein' Seel', den Herren" (Now praise, my soul, the Lord, NLGB 261,) is based on Psalm 103, “Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness.” Bach’s plain chorale usages include the Pivot Time (turn of the year) Cantata BWV 28/2 (Sunday After Christmas, 1725) and Motet BWV 225/2(3) (?New Years), as well as Cantata BWV167/5 (St. John the Baptist Feast, 1723), and four-voice chorales BWV 389 and BWV 390 [See BCW text and translation,]

2. “Herr Gott, dich loben wir” (Lord God, we praise Thee) is Martin Luther’s German <Te Deum> hymn (NLGB 167, liturgical hymn, thanksgiving & praise). Bach’s uses are found in two New Year’s Cantata BWV 16/1 (?1726), Cantata BWV 190/1,2 (1724, ’36-40); Town Council Cantatas BWV 119/9 (1723) and BWV 120/6 (1728); and plain chorale BWV 390. [See text and translation, C.S. Terry,]

3. “Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein” (Now rejoice, dear Christians all, NLGB 232, is a Catechism communion hymn (Stiller <Ibid.>: 128). Martin Luther’s 10-verse Advent hymn is a “ballad on Christ’s Incarnation,” later associated with Ascension and Sundays after Trinity” (Peter Williams, <Organ Music of JSB> 2nd ed., 2003: 476f); Bach’s uses of Luther’s associated melody are found in: the <Christmas Oratorio>, BWV 248/59 (IV/6) plain chorale set to Paul Gerhardt’s 1653 Epiphany text, “Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier” (I stand on your manger here); as the trumpet tune in the arioso with chorale, “Ah, shall not this great day,” in Cantata BWV 70, “Wachet? Betet” (Awaken, pray) for the last Trinity Sunday (26) in 1723; and in the Miscellaneous Organ Chorale Prelude, BWV 734. It is listed but not set in the <Orgelbüchlein>, organ chorale preludes, as No 85, for Communion. [See text and translation, C.S. Terry,

As was Bach’s usual compositional practice during Trinity Time, he did not use these four NLGB hymns in Cantatas BWV 69a, 137, and 35 for the 12th Sunday After Trinity. Bach did use them in other sacred works, including “Herr Gott, dich loben wir,” in two Town Council Cantatas BWV 119, “Preise, Jeusalem, den Herrn” (Praise, Jerusalem, the Lord, 1723) and BWV 120, “Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille” (God, one praises Thee in the stillness), in 1728. In the NLGB, these four hymns for Trinity 12 are cross-references to the topics the “Cross” and “Persecution,” as are cross-references for Trinity Sundays 16-18.

Bach’s Trinity 12 & Town Council Cantatas

In 1724, on August 27 (Trinity Sunday 12) there is no documentation of any performance during the chorale cantata cycle. Likewise, the next day, Monday, August 28, there is no documentation for a Town Council cantata, although the possibility may exist that Cantata 69a was presented. The only extant score of BWV 69 is for the Town Council Installation, August 26, 1748, now with the closing communion and Psalm 67 chorale, Luther’s “Es wohl uns Gott” (S.3) and song of thanksgiving [See: BCW, “Musical Context,” “Chorales for the 2nd Sunday After Trinity,” “Other Chorales” (Cantata BWV 76).

In 1725, on August 19 (Trinity Sunday 12), chorale Cantata BWV 137, “Lobe den Herren, den mächtgen König der Ehren” (Praise to the Lord, the Mighty King of Glory), is thought to have been presented. It is a <per omnes versus> (pure-hymn) setting of Joachim Neander’s five-stanza chorale known in English as “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation” (ELW 858). It also is based on Psalm 103 (1-6) as well as Psalm 150. As Stiller notes (<Ibid>: 244), the Leipzig hymn schedules for this Sunday “do not contain the relatively new hymn of the time” (1680). Cantata 137 was presented belatedly in 1725 for Trinity 12 when Bach was not regularly composing in this Trinity Time. Bach’s uses of this hymn text to the 1665 melody (“Hast du denn, Jesu, dein Angesicht; listed in Orgelbüchlein as Appendix No. 162, not set) are found in the plain chorale closing Cantata 57/8 (St. Stephen’s Day, 1725 Lehms text). Bach repeated the closing plain chorale setting, BWV 137/5, to close the 1728 sacred Wedding Cantata, BWV 120a/8, “Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge” (Lord God, Ruler of All Things; Stanzas 4 & 5), and transcribed the alto trio aria (No. 3) as the Schubler Organ Chorale No. 6, BWV 651, known as “Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel” (Are you coming now, Jesu, from Heaven). The text and Catherine Winkworth translation are found at

There is recent documentation that for the August 27, 1725, Town Council Installation lost Cantata BWV Anh 4, “Wünschet Jerusalem Glück” (Wished-for Jerusalem Fortune), to a surviving Picander text, was first performed, and was repeated on August 28, 1741. Cantata BWV Anh. 4 closes with “Verlieh uns Frieden,” Martin Luther’s German setting of the Latin Mass Proper closing litany,< Dona nobis pacem> (Grant us peace). It is based on the Ambrosian fourth century hymn, <Veni, redepmtor, genitum> (O come, redeemer of the earth), first found in the 1530 Nürnberg hymnbook, and his translation of the Latin antiphon chant text, <Da pacem Domine> (Grant peace, Lord), published by Luther in 1531. In the <Deutsche Messe> (German Mass), Luther’s hymn occurs after the closing <Benediction> and intonation of <Da pacem> (Robin A. Leaver <Luther’s Liturgical Music>, Eerdman’s Publishing, 2007: 218). Bach may have reused one of the two plain chorale 1725 closing settings in chorale Cantata BWV 126 for Septuagesima Sunday or Cantata 42 for the First Sunday After Easter (Quasimodogeniti). C.S. Terry text and translation:

In 1726, on September 8 (Trinity Sunday 12), Cantata BWV 35, “Geist und Seele wird verwirret” (Spirit and Soul Become Disordered) as performed as part of the third cycle to a Lehms text with no closing chorale. For the Town Installation almost two weeks previous, August 26, no Bach cantata is documented although it is possible that Bach may have repeated one of his appropriate, extant works, Cantatas BWV 119, 69a, 137, or Anh. 4.

In 1727, on August 31 (Trinity Sunday 12), the quartet da-capo tenor aria, BWV 69a/3, “Meine Seele, Auf, erzähle, Auf, erzähle, Was dir Gott erwiesen hat!” (My soul, arise, tell what God has shown to you!) was revised and possible performed (See Thomas Braatz’ BCW “Provenance” article, It is doubtful that Bach regularly performed service cantatas at this Trinity Time, as was the case at Trinity Time 1725. Instead, Bach had begun to compose sporadically a few cantatas from the Picander cycle (BWV 157 and 84), as well as Cantata BWV 193, “Ihr Tore (Pforten) zu Zion” (Ye Doors/Portals of Zion), with no closing chorale, text probably by Picander, for the annual Town Council Installation, on August 25, 1727, six days prior to Trinity Sunday 12.

In 1728, on August 15 (Trinity Sunday 12), Picander hoped that Bach would use his published text P-55, “Ich bin wie einer, der nicht höret” (I am as one who does not hear) using Stanza 9 of the closing chorale, “O Gott, du frommer Gott” (O God, Thou very God). Picander also listed Stanzas 5 and 9 for Trinity 9, P-52, and Trinity 14, P-57, respectively, suggesting the possibility that this Morning chorale, NLGB 564, was increasingly used in middle Trinity Time in the late 1720s in Leipzig. On August 30, Bach probably presented Cantata BWV 120, “Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille” (God, one praises Thee in the stillness) for the Town Council Installation, probably to a Picander text.

Provenance: Trinity 12 Cantatas

The three cantatas composed for the 12th Sunday after Trinity were distributed equitably in 1750 as follows: Cantata 69a, Friedemann inherited parts set survives but score is lost; Cantata 137, parts set to Anna Magdalena then to the Thomas Church, score presumably to Friedemann and lost; and Cantata 35, Emmanuel received both score and parts set that survive. There is a record of only one performance in the half century after Bach’s death. Thomas prefect Christian Friedrich Penzel copied out a score from the Cantata 137 parts set on July. 27, 1755, and probably performed it on the 12th Sunday after Trinity. Thomas Braatz suggests that the Cantata 69a score may have been in such poor condition due to various revisions that it was not distr(see BCW Provenance (Ibid.,


1 Cantata 69a, BCW Details & Discography, References: BGA XVI Anh. (Wilhelm Rust, 1868); NBA KB I/20 (Trinity 12 Cantatas, Klaus Hoffman 1985), Bach Compendium BC: A 123, Zwang K 39.
2Petzoldt, BACH Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 308; Trinity 12 commentary, 303-05; Cantata 69a, text 304-08, commentary, 308-16.
3 Whittaker, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (Oxford University Press: London, 1958: 1:600).
4 Glöckner notes,[BIS-CD1041].pdf; BCW Recording details,
5 Mincham, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach: A listener and student guide, Revised 2014; Home Page,
6 Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, ed. Boyd, Malcolm (Oxford University Press: New York, 1999: 270).
7 Jones, The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach, Volume II: 1717-1750. “Music to Delight the Spirit” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013: 123f).
8 Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones (Oxford University Press, New York, 2005: 503).
9 Original Source: BCW “Musical Context of Bach Cantatas, Motets & Chorales for 12th Sunday after Trinity,
10 Strodach, The Church Year: Studies in Introits, Collects, Epistles and Gospels (United Lutheran Publication House, Philadelphia PA, 1924: 216).


TO COME: Town Council Cantata 119, “Preise, Jeusalem, den Herrn” (Praise, Jerusalem, the Lord).

Aryeh Oron wrote (August 25, 2015):
Cantata BWV 69a - Revised & updated Discography

The discography pages of Cantata BWV 69a “Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele” for the 12th 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 of 3 trumpets, timpani, flute, 2 oboes, bassoon, 2 violins, viola & continuo. See:
Complete Recordings (5):
No Recordings of Individual Movements.
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 69a 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 69: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movemnts
Cantata BWV 69a: Details & Complete Recordings
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 06:21