Cantata BWV 7Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam
Discussions - Part 4
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Discussions in the Week of June 1, 2014 (4th round)
William Hoffman wrote (May 31, 2014):
Cantata 7, “Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam” Intro.
Bach’s musical sermon setting of Martin Luther’s baptismal hymn, chorale Cantata No. 7, “Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam” (Christ our Lord came to the Jordan), celebrates the most important single feast day of the church: the Nativity of John the Baptist and his father, Zachariah’s prophecy of redemption and deliverance from evil, on June 24. That date, observed as Midsummer Day, was exactly six months after the birth of Jesus and the mid-point of the church year as well as the longest day of the year with its fullness of light.
Having observed these two Gospel events (Luke 1:57-80), the previous year 1723 in Cantata 167, “Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe” (You people, sing the praises of God's love), Bach chose Luther’s doctrinal chorale celebrating Jesus’ adult baptism and the beginning of his ministry leading to his sacrifice for the redemption of the believer.
In early omnes tempore Trinity Time two immovable feasts were celebrated, John the Baptist on June 24, and the Visitation of Mary, July 2. In his second cycle of original chorale cantatas Bach was able to compose and present works for each of the Sundays, beginning on June 11 with Cantata 20, “O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” followed by Cantata 2, “Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein,” on the 2nd Sunday after Trinity, with Cantata 7 presented on Saturday June 24, followed by Cantata 135, “Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder,” the next day, the third Sunday after Trinity. A complete tetrology, a cycle, of hymn settings in varied styles was accomplished. Serendipitously, the next Sunday, July 2, the Fourth Sunday after Trinity, also was the Feast of the Visitation of Mary, which Bach chose to observe, setting Cantata 10, “Meine Seele erhebt den Herren” (My soul praises the Lord), the German Magnificat.
The two feast days took precedence over the Trinity Sundays since Bach was able to compose three cantatas for the Feast of John the Baptist, whereas he completed only two for each of the 2nd to the 5th Sundays after Trinity in his three church year cantata cycles composed between 1723 and 1727. Particularly important was the Feast of John the Baptist on the summer solstice. Symbolically it represented “the allusion to the Baptist’s prophecy concerning himself and Jesus: ‘He must increase but I must decrease’ (John 3:30),” observes Walter Blankenburg in his liner notes to the Karl Richter Deutsche Grammaphon recordings of Cantatas to the Fifth Sunday after Trinity.1
Chorale Cantata BWV 7
Chorale Cantata BWV 7, “Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam” (Christ our Lord came to the Jordan), for the Feast of Nativity of St John the Baptist, was performed on Saturday, June 24, 1724. The chorale text of Martin Luther was written between 1524-41 (Mvts. 1, 7), and the paraphrases of Stanzas 2-6 are by an anonymous librettist.2 The readings are: Epistle: Isaiah 40:1-5 (Prepare the way); Gospel: Luke 1:57-80 (The birth of John the Baptist and the Prophecy of Zacharias); German translation Martin Luther 1545, English Translation Authorised King James Version (KJV) 1611, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/John-Baptist.htm.
Cantata 7 is written in traditional chorale cantata near palindrome symmetrical (mirror) form, citing the melody and first and last stanzas in the opening chorus fantasia (Italianate concertante style) and closing plain chorale, and paraphrasing (anonymous librettist) the internal five stanzas in alternating three arias and two recitatives. Movements, scoring, initial text, key, and time signature:3
1. Chorus two-part with ritornelli, C.f. tenor, imitation and free polyphony (SATB); Oboe d'amore I/II, Violino concertante, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo: A. “Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam” (Christ our Lord came to the Jordan); B. “Da wollt er stiften uns ein Bad” (by this he wanted to establish for us a bath); e minor; 4/4.
2. Aria da-capo (Bass, Continuo): A. “Merkt und hört, ihr Menschenkinder, / Was Gott selbst die Taufe heißt (Mark and hear, children of mankind, / what God himself calls baptism); B. “Es muss zwar hier Wasser sein” (There must indeed be water here); G Major; 4/4.
3. Recitative (Tenor, Continuo): . . . Gott “sprach: Dies ist mein lieber Sohn” (God said: This is my beloved son); e minor to d minor; 4/4.
4. Aria dal segno (Tenor; Violino concertante I/II, Continuo): “Des Vaters Stimme ließ sich hören” (The Father’s voice makes itself heard); a minor; 9/8 (¾) gigue character.
5. Recitative (Bass; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo): . . . Arioso, Jesus “sprach er zu seinen Jüngern: / Geht hin in alle Welt und lehret alle Heiden” (Jesus said to his disciples: go out to all the world and teach all the Gentiles; e minor to b minor; 4/4.
6. Aria song-like (Alto; Oboe d'amore I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo): “Menschen, glaubt doch dieser Gnade”; e minor; 4/4.
7. Chorale Bar Form (SATB; (Oboe d'amore I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Continuo): “Das Aug allein das Wasser sieht” (The eye sees only water); e minor to b minor; 4/4
Cantata 7 Movements Summary
Following a monumental opening sinfonia, chorale Cantata 7 unfolds as a bleak musical sermon, says John Elliot Gardiner in his 2004 liner notes to his Soli Deo Gloria complete cantata recordings.4 <<For the same feast the following year, as the third chorale cantata in his second year cycle, Bach composed BWV 7 Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam. It is a monumental piece, especially its opening chorale fantasia, a stirring setting of Luther’s baptismal hymn with the melody in the tenors over a French overture for two oboes d’amore, solo violin and strings, replete with grandiloquent baroque gestures to suggest both the processional entrance of Jesus and the powerful flooding of the River Jordan. Getting the tempo right is just one of the many interpretative challenges – one that can accommodate the natural momentum for the violin barriolage representing the surging of the river, yet remain spacious enough for the rhetorical gestures to make maximum impact.
In No.2, an aria for bass and continuo (‘Merkt und hört, ihr Menschenkinder’) Bach does the preacher’s job for him to perfection, with varied inflection, lengths and stresses – and a dash of humour (was there a particular Leipzig cleric whose mannerisms and delivery were being parodied here?). A tenor recitative (No.3) prepares us for Christ’s teaching, in an aria (No.4) which describes, through its pair of soaring violins, the circling flight of the Holy Spirit as a dove. The bass returns with an accompagnato (No.5) to remind the listener that Christ’s passion and resurrection were the inspiration behind the conversion and baptism of the heathen. This leads to an unusual, terse aria (No.6) for alto (with the two oboes d’amore doubling the violins), exhorting mankind to be cleansed by faith and baptism and not to ‘perish in the pit of hell’. That seems to be the theological kernel of what is otherwise a rather depressing doctrinal dismissal of the benefits of good works and a blameless life. Johann Walther’s tune, heard in the opening chorale fantasia, then returns with Luther’s baptismal words about faith alone being capable of understanding ‘the power of the blood of Christ’.>> © John Eliot Gardiner 2004, from a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage
Jesus’ Baptism in Jordan River
Jesus’ baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist in the subject of chorale Cantata 7 using a Martin Luther hymn, says Klaus Hofmann in the 2002 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete cantata recordings.5 <<Among the experimental features of the chorale cantata year was the first sign of a cyclical arrangement in the sequence of cantatas – although this remained confined to the first four works. In the introductory chorus of the first cantata, O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (BWV20), Bach sets the melody as a cantus firmus in the soprano; in the second, Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein (BWV2), he assigns it to the alto; in the third (the present cantata) he gives it to the tenor; and in the fourth, Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder (BWV135), to the bass. Bach’s method has a programmatic character: the motto is variety of artistic form. In the same way that he associated cantata and French overture form in the first cantata, here he combines the first strophe of the hymn (‘Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam’ (‘Christ our Lord came to the Jordan’), in an archaic, motet-like setting) with the extremely modern formal model of the violin concerto.
The cantata was written in 1724 for the feast of John the Baptist, celebrated annually on 24th June to commemorate Jesus’ prophetic forerunner. The epithet ‘the Baptist’ refers to the events reported in Matthew 3, verses 13-17, when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan. This story is also the focus of the hymn by Martin Luther (1541, to a 15th-century melody) upon which this cantata is based. Luther provided the powerful, Dorian melody with a rather prosaic text that is heavily laden with theology – a text that must have seemed to some extent antiquated even in Leipzig in 1724. All the more important, therefore, was the meaningful reworking of the text by Bach’s theological and poetic librettist, who transformed verses 2-6 into arias and recitatives; only the first and last strophes of the hymn remain true to the original text of Luther’s poem.
To some extent the first movement represents the meeting of two epochs: the vocal writing, with its broadly paced cantus firmus in the tenor, is structurally reminiscent of motets from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. By contrast, the violin concerto was a genre that was then new and current. Bach assigned a quite individual and important rôle to the instruments: the movement is dominated by a stylized orchestral ritornello of the French type with concertante moments for the solo violin (or two solo violins: among Bach’s original materials there are two identical solo parts; it seems unlikely, though, that the part was really doubled in performance); the main violin solo episodes, however, are at first linked to the choral entries, but gradually assume larger proportions and greater independence as the movement progresses.
Of the remaining movements, special emphasis should be placed on the tenor aria ‘Des Vaters Stimme ließ sich hören’ (‘The Father’s voice has spoken’; No. 4). With two solo violins that constantly imitate each other, long stretches of the movement acquire the character of an instrumental trio, to be exact a gigue – a strongly stylized dance form that is often found as the last movement of suites and sonatas. The text is about the Trinity, the mystical combination of God, the Son and the Holy Ghost; and, indeed, the number 3 seems to play a special part in Bach’s setting. Not only is the instrumental writing in three parts, but also the piece is in triple time – and markedly so: not only is the time signature 3/4, but also the crotchets are each divided into triplets so that, in practical terms, the result is 9/8. The form of the aria is rather unusual; its three solo sections are all variants of a single model that is presented in the opening and concluding ritornellos.
The sequence that this creates – three different forms of the same musical substance – is evidently to be understood as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. One textual formulation requires some explanation to a modern audience: ‘Der Geist erschien im Bild der Tauben’ (‘The Spirit appeared in the form of a dove’). In Matthew’s gospel the text reads: ‘And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him’. The Spirit of God – visualized in the form of a dove – seems also to have inspired the composer. In literature about Bach, the ascending violin figures at the beginning of the ritornello are sometimes interpreted as the beating of the dove’s wings, and it is also pointed out that, with the words ‘Der Geist erschien im Bild der Tauben’ (‘The Spirit appeared in the form of a dove’), the direction of these violin figures changes, as though the Spirit of God were descending from above.
The bass recitative ‘Als Jesus dort nach seinen Leiden’ (‘When Jesus after his passion’, No. 5) possesses theological gravitas; following the model of the hymn strophe upon which it is bed, it paraphrases the purpose of Jesus' mission - which is also a baptismal purpose - after Mark 16, verses 15-16: 'Geht hin in alle Welt und lehret alle Heiden: wer gläubet und getaufet wird auf Erden, der soll gerecht und selig werden' ('Go into to all the world and teach all the gentiles, that whoever on earth believes and is baptized will be saved and be blessed'). The alto solo that follows, 'Menschen, glaubt doch dieser Gnade' ('Mankind, believe in this grace', No.6), serves as a commentary upon this, a thoughtful but rather song-like aria which, for the sake of a direct correspondence of content, does without an instrumental prelude and begins straight away with the vocal part (this, too, is part of the 'experiment' that was the chorale cantata year). A richly and harmonically well balanced setting of the final verse of the hymn brings the cantata to an end.>> © Klaus Hofmann 2003
Additional Cantata 7 BCW Commentary is found on-line at various sources. Thomas Braatz (June 29, 2001), citing Albert Schweitzer, J. S. Bach (1908); Alfred Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach (1971); Nicholas Anderson, Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach (1998); Eric Chafe, Analyzing Bach Cantatas (2000), see BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV7-Guide.htm. Also Braatz has a Commentary on the Recordings: Leonhardt , Rilling , Koopman , and Leusink , BCML Discussions Part 1, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV7-D.htm. Also of special note is Braatz’s translation of Konrad Küster’s Bach Handbuch (Bärenreiter, 1999: 248ff), “BWV 7 & Begin of 2nd Leipzig cycle” (June 14, 2006), see BCML Discussion Part 2, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV7-D2.htm.
Having focused on Zechariah's Canticle and Prophecy (Luke 1:68-79) in his 1723 first cantata for the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, BWV 167, "Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe" (You people, sing the praises of God's love), Bach moved on in his 1724 chorale cantata cycle to Martin Luther's Catechism hymn on the actual baptism in Cantata BWV 7, "Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam" (Christ our Lord came to the Jordan), see BCML Discussions Part 3, week of January 20, 2013, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV7-D3.htm
John the Baptist Festival
For the John the Baptist Festival, Bach was able to use Latin Mass festive music for the Sanctus as well as the initial Kyrie-Gloria. Previously, when Bach premiered Cantata 167, he also had presented a special setting of the “Sanctus in C Major,” BWV 237, with an orchestra including two trumpets and drums, as part of the elaborate festive service. As Douglas Cowling noted in his Motets and Chorales for this feast day, "The Feasts of the Birth of John the Baptist (June 24) and the Visitation of Mary (July 2) were both celebrated as principal festivals which could displace the Sunday observance. Both required the performance of a cantata and a concerted Latin Missa and Sanctus." See, “Musical Context of Bach Cantatas, Motets & Chorales for Feast of John the Baptist” (January 20, 2013), BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-John.htm
Bach's festive Sanctus in C, BWV 237 was composed at the beginning of his first year in Leipzig, possibly for the Pentecost and Trinity Festivals in May and certainly for the Feast of John the Baptist, June 24, 1723. The Mass ordinary Sanctus was presented between the MassPropers Latin Prayer, the Praefaction (Preface, Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch [NLGB] p. 440), and the Words of Institution at Communion. Bach followed tradition in his Sanctus setting by omitting the succeeding Osana and Benedictus.
As for a Latin Missa setting of the Kyrie-Gloria following the festival service initial Introit, it is possible that Bach presented Johann Christoph Pez' "Missa Sancti Lamberti" in C Minor, BWV Anh. 24, for chorus and strings. Bach originally had copied a continuo part for a performance in Weimar of the Kyrie in A Minor and then copied both the Kyrie and Gloria in Leipzig. The Missa was part of the BCML Discussion, week of August 18, 2013, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWVAnh24-26-Gen.htm
Cantata 7, Luther's Baptist Hymn
Details, Julian Mincham's Commentary, previous Discussions, and Recordings of Cantata 7, "Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam," are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV7.htm.
The chorale "Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam" (Christ our Lord came to the Jordan) was written by Martin Luther 1524-41. It has 7 stanzas and is listed in the NLGB No. 176, Catechism Baptism. See Francis Browne's English translation of the chorale, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale106-Eng3.htm. Luther's hymn is based on the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist in all four Gospels -- Mat. 3:3-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, and John 1:29-34 - as well as Christ's Great Commission to his disciples, Mat. 28-16-20 (Stanza 5). As Luther's last Catechism teaching hymn, it is titled: "A Spiritual Song of our Holy Baptism, which is a fine summary of What is it? (Stanzas 1, 4, 7) Who established it? (Stanzas 2, 3) What are its benefits? (Stanzas 5-6)."
Bach set Stanza 1 in the opening chorale fantasia of chorale Cantata BWV 7 (1724, Feast of John the Baptist), and Stanza 7, "Das Aug' allein das Wasser seiht" (The eye sees only water) in the closing plain chorale. Browne's translation of Cantata BWV 7 text paraphrasing Stanzas 2-6, is found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV7-Eng3P.htm.
The melody of 1541 is attributed to Luther colleague Johann Walther, as Zahn 7246, previously identified with "Es woll uns Gott genädig sein" (May it be God's will to be gracious to us, Psalm 67), Zahn melody 7247. Full details of the melody, "Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam" are at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Christ-Jordan.htm. Walther's earlier 1524 melody to Luther's setting of Psalm 67 is a "general prayer for grace and blessing" while the latter "is an exposition of the specific grace and blessing of baptism," says Robin A. Leaver in Luther's Liturgical Music (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmann's Publishing, 2007: 138ff). This "theological association" may very well be why Luther used the redundant tune, emphasizing "musical hermeneutics" says Leaver. The English title is "To Jordan Came the Christ, Our Lord," No. 79, Epiphany, Lutheran Book of Worship (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing, 1978).
Bach used the melody, "Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam," sung in the tenor in the opening chorale fantasia of Cantata BWV 7, his only such use in a cantata fantasia. He also harmonized the melody set to Stanza 7 in the plain chorale in E minor/dorian/aeolian, closing Cantata 7, and as a free-standing plain chorale, BWV 280, in D minor/dorian/aeolian, set to Luther's text. The Walther melody is set twice as a Catechism organ chorale (1739) in the Clavierübung III, liturgical German Catechism Organ Mass, BWV 684 with cantus firmus in bass in G minor 4/4, and BWV 685 "alio modo manualiter" in ¾ with modal progression. It is listed as a chorale prelude in the Orgelbüchlein collection (Weimar, c.1714) but not set. The melody is harmonized to the Paul Gerhardt Text No. 2, "Was alle Weisheit in der Welt" (What all knowledge in the World), Stanza 8, "Auf daß wir also allzugleich/ Zur Himmelspforten dringen" (In this way therefore we/ break through to the gates of heaven) in E-flat Major, plain chorale closing (No. 6), Cantata BWV 176, "Es ist ein trotzig and verzagt Ding" (There is something obstinate and desperate), for Trinity Sunday 1725.
Martin Luther’s three-stanza 1524 “Es woll uns Gott genädig sein,” text and Francis Browne English translation is found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale108-Eng3.htm. The Chorale Melody “Es woll uns Gott genädig sein,” composer Matthias Greiter (1524), is found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Es-woll-uns.htm. Bach harmonized the melody sets to Stanzas 1 and 3, respectively, to close Parts 1 and 2 of Cantata 76, “Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes” (The heavens are telling the glory of God), for the 2nd Sunday after Trinity 1723. Stanza 3 is harmonized to close Cantata 69, “Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele [I]” (Praise the Lord, my soul) for the Town Council in 1748. There are two other free-standing harmonization’s, BWV 311 and 312 in F-Sharp Major and E Major, respectively.
“Es woll uns Gott genädig sein” is known in English as “Would that the Lord would grant us grace.” Luther originally wrote the three-stanza text in the later part of 1523, “probably at the same time he wrote the other Psalm paraphrases” (12, 14, and 130), says Ulrich S. Leupold in Luther’s Works: Liturgy and Hymns.6 The Phrygian melody is as adaptation of an older German hymn to the Virgin, “Maria du bist Gnaden voll.” The hymn is found in the NLGB of 1682 as No. 258, “Christian Life and Conduct: Psalms. It is considered the first missionary hymn of Protestantism and was the Closing Hymn in the service, since it ends with “Amen.” It is found as No. 335, “May God bestow on us His Grace,” under the omnes tempore category “Christian Hope,” says Marilyn K. Stulken’s Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship.7
1 Blankenburg, Bach Cantatas Vol. 3 - Ascension Day, Whitsun, Trinity, BCW Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Richter.htm, scroll down to C-3.
2 Chorale Text: “Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam,” text and Francis Browne English translation, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale106-Eng3.htm. Chorale Melody: “Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam,” Composer: Anon/Johann Walter (?), BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Christ-Jordan.htm.
Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Motets & Chorales for Feast of John the Baptist, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-John.htm.
3 Scoring, Soloists: Alto, Tenor, Bass; 4-part Chorus; Orchestra: 2 oboes d’amore, 2 violins, concertante violin, viola, continuo (partly with organ). Score Vocal& Piano [1,71 MB], http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Scores/BWV007-V&P.pdf; Score BGA [3.22 MB]. References BGA I (Cantata 1-10, Moritz Hauptmann ed. 1851), NBA KB I/29 (Cantatas for St. John, Frieder Rempp ed.1984, Bach Compendium BC: A 177, Zwang K 76.
4 Gardiner notes, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Gardiner-P01c[sdg101_gb].pdf;
BCW Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Gardiner-Rec2.htm#P1.
5 Hofmann notes, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Rec-BIG/Suzuki-C22c[BIS-CD1321].pdf; BCW Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Suzuki-Rec2.htm#C22.
6 Liturgy and Hymns, Vol. 53 (Fortress Press: Philadelphia PA, 1965: 232f).
7 Stulken (Fortress Press: Philadelphia PA 1981: 391).
To Come: ”Musical Context of Bach Cantatas, Motets & Chorales for Feast of John the Baptist,” BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/M&C-John.htm.
Douglas Cowliung wrote (June 1, 2014):
William Hoffman wrote:
< the Nativity of John the Baptist and his father, Zachariah’s prophecy of redemption and deliverance from evil, on June 24. That date, observed as Midsummer Day, was exactly six months after the birth of Jesus and the mid-point of the church year as well as the longest day of the year with its fullness of light.In early omnes tempore Trinity Time two immovable feasts were celebrated, John the Baptist on June 24, and the Visitation of Mary, July 2. >
Calendrical point … When Luther reformed the church calendar, he cut down the medieval series of feasts which created a cycle of the Life of the Virgin which ran parallel to the Life of Christ:
December 8 – Conception of the Virgin (aka Immaculate Conception)
February 2 – Purification of the Virgin (Presentation of Christ in the Temple)
March 25 – Annunciation to the Virgin (Conception of Christ)
July 2 – Visitation of the Virgin (Conception of John the Baptist)
September 8 – Nativity of the Virgin (9 months after Dec 8)
August 15 – Assumption of the Virgin (aka Dormition, Death)
Luther struck off Dec 8, Aug 15 & Sept 8 because they were non-scriptural events and had become an intense focus of Counter-Reformation polemic. The Annunciation, Visitation and Purification were important parts of Luther's Christo-centric reform of the Calendar. They were also important seasonal markers which Luther was obviously loathe to expunge. The Birth of John the Baptist (Midsummer's Day) was linked with this sanctoral cycle because John Baptist is an important figure in the narrative of the Infancy of Christ.
Oddly, Luther removed the pre-Reformation narrative of the Baptism of Christ from the First Sunday after Epiphany where it begins the cycle of Ministry stories. The addition of the Baptism chorales to June 24 ensured that the feast had a double theme – the Birth and Life of the Baptist.
Julian Mincham wrote (June 1, 2014):
[To Douglas Cowling] With regard to this day I have often wondered if Bach initially misjudged its significance in Leipzig. BWV 167, the cantata he wrote in the first cycle is a rather puny effort (no chorus, one aria, a duet, two recitatives and a final chorale, albeit a rather souped-up one) compared with the later two----BWV 7, now under discussion, and the 12 movement BWV 30.
William Hoffman wrote (June 1, 2014):
Cantata 7: John the Baptist Feast Chorales
See: Motets & Chorales for Feast of John the Baptist
Aryeh Oron wrote (June 6, 2014):
Cantata BWV 7 - Revised & Updated Discography
The discography pages of Cantata BWV 7 “Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam” for alto, tenor, bass; 4-part chorus; 2 oboes d’amore, 2 violins, concertante violin, viola, & continuo (partly with organ) on the BCW has been revised and updated. See:
Complete Recordings (13): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV7.htm
Recordings of Individual Movements (8): http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV7-2.htm
The revised discography includes many listening/watching options to recordings directly from the discography pages, just below the recording details.
I believe this is the most comprehensive discography of this choral cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 7 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.