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Cantata BWV 74
Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of May 28, 2017 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (May 26, 2017):
Pentecost Sunday Cantata 74, “Wer mich liebet"

Despite using selective, borrowed material, Bach for Pentecost Sunday 1725 was able with his librettist, Mariane von Ziegler, to fashion a full, joyous and varied 24-minute Cantata BWV 74, “Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten” (Whoever loves me will keep my word, John 14:23). Based on Martin Luther’s teaching on this birthday of the church and the Doctrine of Justification, Bach was able to provide a Gospel opening chorus with trumpets and drums, a popular Paul Gerhardt pietist chorale, and provide concise arias for all four voices in a dramatic structure as well as two cautionary recitatives. Cantata 74 closes with the full ensemble performing the chorale, “Gott Vater, sende deine Geist” (God our Father send your spirit); Stanza 2, “Kein Menschenkind hier auf der Erd / Ist dieser edlen Gabe wert” (No human being here on earth / is worthy of this noble gift), set to the anonymous 1490 melody, “Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn” (“Come to me,” says God’s Son), originally set to the 1530 text of Georg Grünwald (

In this eight-movement work, Bach accommodated an additional, central tenor aria (no. 5) with rushing strings, “Kommt, eilet, stimmet Sait und Lieder / In muntern und erfreuten Ton. (Come, hasten, tune your strings and songs, Psalm 33:3), a plea to hurry also opening the festive Easter Oratorio, BWV 249, seven weeks before on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1725. Following the opening chorus, the soprano with oboe da caccia sings the pastorale aria “Komm, komm, mein Herze steht dir offen” (Come, come, my heart lies open to you, The bass sings a moving vox Christi continuo aria (No. 4), “Ich gehe hin und komme wieder zu euch” (I go away and come back to you again). The alto sings a joyous dance style aria (No. 7) with oboes imitating trumpets, “Nichts kann mich erretten / Von höllischen Ketten / Als, Jesu, dein Blut” (Nothing can rescue me / from the chains of hell / but your blood, Jesus); The alto recitative (no. 3) is “Die Wohnung ist bereit” (Your dwelling place is prepared) and the bass accompagnato with oboes (No. 6) is “Es ist nichts Verdammliches an denen, die in Christo Jesu sind” (There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1).1

Cantata 74 was premiered on Pentecost Sunday, 20 May 1725, at the early main service of the Nikolaikirche before the sermon (not extant) on the day’s Gospel, John 14:23-31 (Jesus’ valedictory address, the Holy Spirit shall instruct you in all things), by Deacon Friedrich Werner (1659-1741), substituting for Superintendent Salomon Deyling who during May and June probably was ill or taking the cure in Carlsbad, and also was presented later at the vesper service in the Thomas Church before the sermon (not extant) on the Epistle, Acts 2:1-13 (Descent of the Holy Spirit) of Archdeacon Johann Gottlob Carozov (1679-1767), says Martin Petzoldt in Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinityfest.2

For the Pentecost Sunday service in Bach’s time, the lectionary readings were: Epistle, Acts 2:1-13 (Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles), and Gospel, John 14:23-31 (If a man loves me, he will keep my word). Texts are found at (German, Martin Luther 1545; English, Authorised King James) Version [KJV] 1611). Further, the Introit Psalm for Pentecost Sunday was Psalm 51, Miserere mei, Deus (Have mercy upon me, O God, KJV) and is known as “Davids Bußspiegel (David’s repentance reflection), says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 959). Psalm 51 is one of the Vesper Penitential Psalms and is particularly appropriate during Lent services. The others are Psalms 6, 32, 38, 102, 130, and 143. Psalm 51 provided madrigalian texts and paraphrases for 10 Bach sacred cantatas and a unique Bach setting of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, BWV 1083.

Pentecost Cantatas, Lessons3

Bach’s Pentecost Festival odyssey for the founding of the Christian Church proves to be one of uniformity, complexity, diversity and practicality -- and even some repetition. While not as extensive as the three-day Christmas Festival but much more so than the three-day Easter Festival, Bach’s <Pfingsten> compositions use various well-known chorales with mostly traditional trappings created and presented in a period of more than 30 years until 1746/47, beginning in 1714 in Weimar with Cantata 172, “Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!” (Ring out, you songs, resound, you strings!”). The libretti seem appropriate and competent to fulfill the utilitarian need for parody/recycling of pre-existing materials while Cantor Bach rushed to complete the Thomas School year.

For Pentecost Sunday, the first Day of Pentecost, or Whitsun (White Sunday for the vestment color, while red is observed in the Lutheran church today), Bach seems to have emphasized appropriate church hymns beyond serviceable texts that make perfunctory references to the New Testament Gospel and Epistle lessons with intrinsic themes of fidelity, inspiration, and commitment. In Bach’s time, the story of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit are told not in the Gospel lessons but in the Epistle lessons: Pentecost Sunday, Acts 2:1-13 (The Coming of the Holy Spirit); Pentecost Monday, Acts 10:44-48 (The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit); and Pentecost Tuesday, Acts 8:14-17 (Holy Spirit in Sumaria). The Gospel lessons are: Pentecost Sunday, John 14: 23-31, "Promise of the Paraclete"; Pentecost Monday, John 3:16 (God so loved the world); Pentecost Tuesday, John 10:1-10 (Parable of the sheep).

Beginning with the third Sunday after Easter (Jubilate), the Pentecost Gospel is the last of five unique Jesus’ farewell discourses to his disciples in John’s gospel, Chapters 14-16: Whit Sunday [1st Day of Pentecost], John 14: 23-31 "Promise of the Paraclete" as "The Gift of Peace"; Cantatas BWV 172, BWV 59, BWV 74, BWV 34, BWV 218. The post-Resurrection Sunday Gospels in Bach’s time involving the work and witness of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit, advocate, intercessor) as well as Christ’s farewell and promise of the Second Coming to the Disciples. The Sundays, Gospel themes and Bach works are: 1. Jubilate [3rd Sunday after Easter, "Make a joyful noise"], John 16: 16-23, "Sorrow turned to joy" in "Christ's Farewell"; Cantatas BWV 12, BWV 103, BWV 103 (BWV 224). 2. Cantate [4th Sunday after Easter, "Sing"], John 16: 16-23, "The work of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit)"; Cantatas BWV 166, BWV 108. Rogate [5th Sunday after Easter, "Pray"], John 16: 23-30, "Prayer in the name of Jesus" as Christ's Promise to the Disciples; Cantatas BWV 86, BWV 87. 4. Exaudi [Sunday after Ascension, "Hear"], John 15: 26 - 16: 4, "Spirit will come" in the "Witness of the Paraclete"; Cantatas BWV 44, BWV 183.

Pentecost Feast Importance

The importance of the Pentecost Feast and Bach’s first work for the Sunday celebration, Cantata 172, in its context with one of Bach’s first major works, Cantata 21, “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis in meinem Herzen” (I had much affliction in my heart, Psalm 94:9), is explored in Eric Chafe’s recent study.4 His thesis is: “Cantata 21 represents the patterns of traditional hermeneutics and the spiritual goal that those patterns were created to attain: the believer’s progression from scripture, history, and the physical world to a ‘spiritual’ view of existence center on his hopes for a future life.” “The designation ‘per ogni tempo’ [for any time] should undoubtedly, therefore, be understood as an indication of the ‘universality’ of its theological message.” Chafe’s exploration of Cantata 172 is the final chapter in Part Four: Cantatas for Weimar 1714: Chapter 10. Perspectives on the Incarnation: Cantatas 61, 63, 152; 11. The Way of the Cross: Cantatas 182 and 12; and 12. Descent and Indwelling: Cantata 172.

Chafe begins Chapter 12 with an exploration of the significance of Pentecost (Ibid.: 529f). With Christmas and Easter, it is “one of the defining feasts from earliest Christian times” and the “pillars in the first half,” de tempore, of the church year. The three feasts are associated with the three persons in the uniquely Christian concept of the Holy Trinity: Christmas, or the incarnation through God the Father (Creator) of the son, Jesus; Easter Sunday, or the day of the resurrection following the death of the son (Redeemer); and Pentecost, following the Ascension (or return to divinity) of Jesus Christ, through the earthly representation of the first two in the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is based on the Jewish concept of the Fifty Days in Exodus when God required on the 50th day of the Passover, the annual “commemoration of the granting of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai,” says Chafe. The time between the Resurrection and Pentecost, the “Great Fifty Days” of Christianity, are commemorated at Pentecost. This day enables the Christian to recall the historical events of Jesus Christ on earth (de tempore) “and to experience their meaning through intimacy with God – usually described as his ‘indwelling’ (inhabitatio).”

Behind Pentecost lies the Christian “progressive view of salvation history” (the purpose of Jesus’ ritual and real sacrifice on Good Friday, “God’s purposes [for humanity] were increasingly revealed and manifested in the change from literal to spiritual understanding in Christian history, according to Martin Luther’s fourfold sense of scripture: historical (literal), allegorical (figurative), tropological (moral), and anagogic (future). “For many Lutherans, love was the key to the meaning of Pentecost, encapsulated in John 14:23” (KJV), says Chafe: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Beyond the traditional “Seven Gifts of the Spirit” (Isaiah 11:2) and the Christian “fruits” of the Holy Spirit (Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, 5:22), are the “seven aspects derived from John’s Gospel for Pentecost (Jn. 14:23-31), beginning with love and God’s word,” says Chafe.

Other Pentecost Performances

For Bach’s third cantata cycle, Pentecost festival Sunday-Tuesday, June 9-11, 1726, there are no documented performances. It is possible that Bach substituted cantatas to the Rudolstadt texts, possibly lost works of cousin Johann Ludwig Bach (1677-1731). There exist three Rudolstadt texts for the Pentecost Festival, republished in 1726. Accessible to Sebastian, these were originally set to music in 1705 by J. L. Bach’s Meiningen predecessor, Georg Caspar Schürmann (1672/3-1751), and performed on the three-day festival, May 31 to June 2, Pentecost Sunday to Tuesday. The works existing in manuscript are: “Aber über das Haus David,” “Gnädig und barmherzig ist der Herr,” and “Siehe, ich will mich einer Herde.” Bach’s cousin set the Rudolstadt text cycle, first published in 1704-05, for the Meinengen church year 1714-15.

Knowledge of Bach’s Pentecost Festival performing calendar continues to grow. Bach’s Pentecost Cantata “O ewiges Feuer! o Ursprung der Liebe” (O eternal fire, o source of love), BWV 34, is now dated to the 1727 third cantata cycle. Thanks to the recent BCW discussion reference of Peter Smaill we have: Tatiana Shabalina, “Recent Discoveries in St Petersburg and their Meaning for the Understanding of Bach’s Cantatas,” Understanding Bach, 4, 77-99, © Bach Network UK 2009 A recently-found libretto book shows that Bach began repeating his church-year cantatas in 1727. Here are the dates: Pentecost Sunday, June 1, 1727, BWV 34 (new); Pentecost Monday, June 2, 1727 – ‘Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut’, BWV 173 (probable repeat); Pentecost Tuesday, June 3, 1727 – ‘Erwünschtes Freudenlicht’, BWV 184 (repeat); Trinity Sunday, June 8, 1727 – ‘Gelobet sey der Herr’, BWV 129 (new).

Another libretto book exists for the same period in 1731 when Bach reperformed, respectively, Cantatas BWV 172, 173, 184, and 194 for the Pentecost Festival to Trinity Sunday. In addition, source-critical manuscript part changes reveal further repeat performances of BWV 172, 173, and 129 dated between 1732 and 1735.

On Pentecost Sunday, 29 May 1735, Bach could have presented the now-lost Pentecost Oratorio, BWV deest, based on mostly parodied material from previous drammi per musica, as was the case with his 1734-35 Christmas, Easter, and Ascension Oratorios, BWV 248, 249, and 11, respectively. On Pentecost Sunday, 20 May 1736, Bach presented Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel “Der Herr ist in seinem heilgen Tempel (Mus. A 15:197) and “Wisset ihr nicht, daß ihr Gottes Tempel seid” (Mus. A 15:198).

The previously-documented performance of Cantata 34, “O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe,” according to Shabalina, is now dated to Pentecost Monday, May 21, 1747, or May 29, 1746 in Halle, where Sebastian is believed to have revived the work for his oldest son Fridemann’s debut as music director Friedemann, who was required to present major works on the first feast day of high festivals (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost), also may have repeated BWV 34 in 1756 on a double bill with his own Pentecost Cantata setting of the Neumesiter text, “Wer mich liebet,” Fk 72. These dates were established by Peter Wollny.5

Sebastian Bach's expansive Pentecost music performance calendar now appears to be more substantial than Easter. Like the Christmas calendar, which includes various reperformances, revisions, and parodies, possibly including a repeat of the Christmas Oratorio, Bach appears in his later Leipzig years to have strengthened his well-order church music while providing material for son Friedemann, especially in Halle.

Cantata 74 movements, scoring, texts, key, meter (Ziegler text, Francis Browne English Translation, BCW

1. Chorus (Tempo ordinario), canonic & homophonic with ritornelli complex [SATB; Tromba I-III, Timpani, Oboe I-III, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: “Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, / und mein Vater wird ihn lieben, / und wir werden zu ihm kommen / und Wohnung bei ihm machen.” (Whoever loves me will keep my word, / and my Father will love him / and we shall come to him| / and make our dwelling with him, Gospel John 14:23); C Major; 4/4.
2. Aria two-part with ritornelli (Andante) [Soprano; Oboe da caccia, Continuo]: A. “Komm, komm, mein Herze steht dir offen, / Ach, lass es deine Wohnung sein! / Ich liebe dich, so muss ich hoffen: / Dein Wort trat itzo bei mir ein; / Denn wer dich sucht, fürcht', liebt und ehret, / Dem ist der Vater zugetan.” (Come, come, my heart lies open to you, / Ah, grant that it may be your dwelling place! / I love you, therefore I must hope: / your word is now fulfilled in me; / for whoever seeks, fears, loves and honours you, / to him is the Father devoted.); B. “Ich zweifle nicht, ich bin erhöret, / Dass ich mich dein getrösten kann.” (I do not doubt that I have been heard, / so that I can find consolation in you.); F Major; 4/4.
3. Recitative secco [Alto, Continuo]: “Die Wohnung ist bereit. / Du findst ein Herz, das dir allein ergeben, / Drum lass mich nicht erleben, / Dass du gedenkst, von mir zu gehn. / Das lass ich nimmermehr, ach, / nimmermehr geschehen!” (Your dwelling place is prepared. / You will find a heart that is devoted to you. / Therefore do not let me experience / you have any thought of going away from me. / I shall never, ah, never let that happen!); d to a ; 4/4.
4. Aria vox Chirsti (Gospel John 14:28) two-part (Andante) with ritornelli complex [Bass, continuo]: A. “Ich gehe hin und komme wieder zu euch. (I go away and come back to you again.); B. “Hättet ihr mich lieb, so würdet ihr euch freuen.” (If you love me, you would rejoice in this.); e minor; 4/4.
5. Aria free da-capo (Allegro) with ritornelli, dal segno introduction repeat [Tenor; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Kommt, eilet, stimmet Sait und Lieder / In muntern und erfreuten Ton. / Geht er gleich weg, so kömmt er wieder, / Der hochgelobte Gottessohn.” (Come, hasten, tune your strings and songs / in a cheerful tone of rejoicing. / Although he goes away, he comes back again, / the highly praised son of God.); B. “Der Satan wird indes versuchen, / Den Deinigen gar sehr zu fluchen. / Er ist mir hinderlich, / So glaub ich, Herr, an dich.”(Meanwhile Satan seeks / to curse whoever belongs to you. / He is a hindrance to me, / Therefore I believe, Lord, in you.); G Major; 4/4.
6. Recitative secco [Bass; Oboe I/II, Oboe da caccia, Continuo]: “Es ist nichts Verdammliches an denen, die in Christo Jesu sind.” (There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1); e minor to C Major; 4/4.
7. Aria da-capo (Maestoso) concertante [Alto; Oboe I/II, Oboe da caccia, Violino solo, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Nichts kann mich erretten / Von höllischen Ketten / Als, Jesu, dein Blut.” (Nothing can rescue me / from the chains of hell / but your blood, Jesus); B. “Dein Leiden, dein Sterben / Macht mich ja zum Erben: / Ich lache der Wut.); (Your suffering, your death, / make me your heir: / I laugh at [ Hell's] rage.); C Major, 3/8 gigue-passepied dance style.
8. Chorale plain [SATB; Tromba I e Oboe I e Violino I col Soprano, Oboe II e Violino II coll'Alto, Oboe da caccia e Viola col Tenore, Continuo]: “Kein Menschenkind hier auf der Erd / Ist dieser edlen Gabe wert, / Bei uns ist kein Verdienen; / Hier gilt gar nichts als Lieb und Gnad, / Die Christus uns verdienet hat / Mit Büßen und Versühnen.” (No human being here on earth / is worthy of this noble gift, / among us there is no deserving; / here nothing counts but love and grace / which Christ has earned for us / by expiation and atonement.); a minor; 4/4.

Cantata 74: Joyous Pentecost

Cantata 74, along with Ascension Cantata BWV 128, are the only truly joyous works in the Easter/Pentecost mini cycle of Spring 1725, with much original, varied, concise material despite two movements reworked from Cantata 59, observes Julian Mincham in his Cantata 74 Introductory Commentary, <<Since the Easter celebrations of 1725 we find little in the way of truly festive cantatas. If we leave aside the sinfonia to C 42, only C 128 seems to radiate a truly joyous mood. C 74 stands, therefore, as a second rare example of overtly festive writing in the cantatas of the final quarter of the cycle.

The reason is not difficult to determine. Written for Whitsunday 1725 it radiates the joyousness of the faithful Christian, open to and duly receiving, God’s noble gift. True, the chorale suggests that we are still unworthy of this offering and the latter two arias remind us of the chains of hell and Satan’s wiles. But overall, the mood is one of celebration and rejoicing.

One characteristic of this cantata is the re-workings of earlier movements. The opening chorus and second aria originate from C 59, the Whitsunday cantata from the first cycle. (It is recommended that this essay be read in conjunction with that on C 59, vol 1, chapter 58). Bach is well known for the re-cycling of his own works, but much less in the second cycle than anywhere else, so this rare event is noteworthy. The obvious explanation would seem that working under great pressure he was forced to cut some corners. But when we examine the scale of this cantata, that argument has less force. It has eight movements, it is richly scored throughout and contains four arias, the norm for much of the cycle being two or three. Only C 20, a work in two parts, has more. Furthermore, the first of the borrowed movements has been very substantially reworked.

It would seem then, that Bach, rather than attempting to cut back on his workload, went out of his way to produce a work of considerable scale and substance. On the other hand, none of the movements is particularly long. The opening chorus would only last about three minutes in performance, shorter than the average. But it is still surprising that Bach should have reused movements that had been presented to the Leipzig congregations only a year previously. There are numerous occasions, particularly in the first cycle when he brought back cantatas and individual movements from his pre-Leipzig years but they would have been new to the Leipzig congregations. But C 4 aside, to repeat movements heard only one year previously, was unusual.

A further explanation is that C 59 may have been originally composed not for performances at the Leipzig churches but for a celebration at the university, says Alfred Dürr 6 (and chapter 58 in volume 1). Performances in different circumstances and environments would make it more plausible for Bach to reuse works in the great churches within a short time scale. And let us not forget the position of crisis that Bach may have found himself in if he really had lost his regular librettist (see chapters 1 and 41). He certainly would not wish to present a substandard work for the Whitsunday celebrations but his constant deadlines must have put him under continuous pressure. This cantata is fully fit for purpose; but perhaps the time saved in not actually having to compose two new substantial movements cut him a little slack.>>

Cantata 74 Gospel of Love Emphasis

Cantata 74 centers not on the Epistle of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) but on the Gospel, John 14:23-31, Jesus’ valedictory address to his disciples with the themes of love of mankind for Jesus, God’s love for those who love Jesus, and obedience as the fruit of the love of Jesus, as well as the thematic anticipation of the joyful anticipation of Jesus’ return, says Klaus Hofmann in his 2007 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete cantata recordings.7 <<Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, BWV 74 (If a man love me, he will keep my words). Bach’s cantata for Whit Sunday 1725, which that year fell on 20th May, is not centered around the epistle that describes the actual reason for celebrating the feast – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It refers instead to the gospel reading for this day, John 14:23, an extract from Jesus’ parting words. The subject there is the love of mankind for Jesus, God’s love for those who love Jesus, obedience as the fruit of the love of Jesus and the joyful anticipation of his return. Bach’s librettist, Mariane von Ziegler, placed the words of Jesus that begin this gospel extract at the beginning of the cantata text; later in the work (fourth movement) she also referred back verbatim to a verse from the gospel [John 14:28]. Moreover, there is another Bible quotation, from Romans (8, 1) in the sixth movement. The newly written texts that follow these quotations develop the ideas further: an invitation for Jesus to dwell in the hearts of the faithful, a call for jubilation in the certainty of Christ’s return, and the declaration that Jesus’ suffering and death will lead to our salvation. This last idea recurs and is affirmed at the end of the cantata, in the chorale strophe to words of Paul Gerhardt (1653)

Bach took the introductory chorus from another cantata (BWV 59) that had been written for more modest performance circumstances. In that work he had set the same text as a duet for soprano and bass.In the new version he expanded the orchestral part by adding a third trumpet and three oboes; he also skilfully converted the two vocal parts into a four-part setting. Traces of the original two-part structure are still, however, evident in the extended two-part passages in the choral movement. A special feature of the opening movement is the constant presence of a short motif that is initially heard in the first violin and then the first oboe; in the vocal part it is associated with the words ‘Wer mich liebet’ (‘If a man love me’). Even in its instrumental form it is evidently intended to convey the sense of these words. Through its numerous vocal and instrumental appearances it impresses itself upon the listener as a striking device which, in its shortest form, summarizes the conditions necessary for the fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecies.

The soprano aria (second movement), too, is taken from the older cantata [BWV 59/4], although it is provided with a new text. In the tenor aria (fifth movement) Bach proves to have been directly inspired by the text ‘Kommt, eilet, stimmet Sait und Lieder in muntern und erfreuten Ton’ (‘Come, hasten, tune your strings and songs in a happy and joyful tone’): Bach’s music, scored for strings, hurries along, cheerful and filled with the expression of joy. The alto aria (seventh movement) also has an illustrative quality typical of the baroque: with repeated notes from the oboes and strings, the agitated solo violin arpeggios and the triad motifs of the vocal line, Bach rattles the ‘höllischen Ketten’ (‘fetters of hell’), whilst in the middle section of the aria he sets the ‘lachen’ (‘laughter]’) to music in a similarly drastic manner.
© Klaus Hofmann 2007

Production Notes. BWV 74 exists in the form of the original parts (Berlin State Library, Mus. ms. Bach St 103). Considering the festive nature of the work with its in- corporation of trumpets, we have decided to add the harpsichord.
© Masaaki Suzuki 2007

Notes on Text, Music

The various voices in the movements Cantata 74 constitute a dramatic structure similar to the St. Matthew Passion, with each voiced representing a different address, observes Douglas Cowling in the BCML Discussion Part 2 (June 7, 2007), <<BWV 74 Introduction - Dramatic Structures: Mvt. 1. Chorus: Jesus, to the disciples (and hence to the congregation). (John 14: 23). Mvt. 2. Aria: Soprano, to Jesus. (Ziegler). Mvt. 3. Recitative: Alto, to Jesus. (Ziegler). Mvt. 4. Bass Aria: Jesus, to the disciples. (John 14: 28). Mvt. 5. Aria: Tenor, to the congregation, but the tenor addresses the Lord directly in the line "I believe, Lord, in you", set to music that we all agree beautifully depicts strong faith. (Ziegler). Mvt. 6. Bass recitative: St. Paul, to the - congregation. (Paul's letter to the): Romans 8,1. Mvt. 7. Aria: Alto to Jesus. (Ziegler). Mvt. 8. Chorale: Chorus to the congregation. (Gerhardt).

This is a fascinating dramatic scenario, a factor in the cantatas which we don't discuss enough. The dialogue of "characters" presenting scriptural dicta and commentary is obvious in a work like the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), but there is no less a complex theological drama going on in this cantata. For instance, it's no surprise to encounter a bass singing the words of Jesus -- we've had a whole series of Eastertide cantatas -- but why also as a chorus?>>

Biblical Text, Trinitarian Emphasis

The utilization of the biblical text and the Trinitarian emphasis are discussed in Peter Smaill’s theological study (June 8, 2007, BCML Discussion Part 2, Ibid.): <<BWV 74 accords with the dramatic programme Bach creates following Easter 1725 - the depiction of a living Jesus. Here, the acclamation of the incipit by the choir and festive orchestra, "Wer mich liebet, der wird mein wort halten" accords with the bass aria introductions in previous Cantatas in that it is the words of Christ which are being asseverated. Theologically the interest is in the final Chorale, the words from the hymn to the Holy Ghost "Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist", but set to the tune "Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn". Bach is here emphasising again the relationship between Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit by this combination.

It is also I think the case that in the B Minor Mass (BWV 232) the expression "filioque", the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Son, is given the emphasis by note elongation, a sign that Bach wishes to highlight the Western tradition in this matter. Robin Leaver states "For Luther, the Trinitarian connections with music were explicit rather than implicit..."In Music, the Trinity is expressed in the three notes, "re-mi-fa" with the shift from modal to major/minor tonality in the late sixteenth century, Luther's melodic Trinitarian model was reinterpreted harmonically.... the Trinitarian harmonic triad became the model C, E, G.

Now what Bach actually does in BWV 59/BWV 74 in the opening Chorus is to sharpen the third note (progression G A ornament, B), then invert the triad (G E C). But the reference to the Trinity is IMO apparent, especially given the text ("and my Father will him love, and we will come to him and dwelling with him make"). BWV 59 and BWV 74 are thus meditations on the Trinity as is appropriate to Whitsun, and Bach responds with not only two splendid and related Cantatas but each with a hermeneutic substrate.>>

Johannine Gospel Emphasis

Cantata 74 librettist Mariane von Ziegler’s emphasis on the Johannine Gospel text is explored in Mark A. Peters’ “Theological Context,” Chapter 2, “Anonymous Voice: Mariane von Ziegler’s Sacred Cantata Texts.” 8 Some “possible motivations” assured that such an approach was “eminently practical,” especially since these texts “came very early in Ziegler’s poetic career (before any of her published poetry),” says Peters. Given her lack of theological training (unavailable to women), this approach was a “way to ensure the theological and liturgical appropriateness of her cantata texts.” “Such a close adherence to the Gospel text” could have avoided further criticism and enabled her to use actual Gospel texts that were not her words, paraphrases or poetic interpretation.

Further, “Ziegler’s dependence on the Gospel” ensured “that her texts aligned closely with the writings of prominent Lutheran theologians, including those of Martin Luther himself,” says Peters Three sources are cited in Peters writing: Luther’s Haus Postille, Johann Olearius commentary on John 14 in his Biblische Erklärung of 1681 (also cited extensively in Petzoldt [Ibid.] and found in Bach’s library), and prayers for Pentecost in the Leipziger Kirchen-Staat of 1710, “similar in content and expression between Ziegler and these authors.” While Ziegler may not have used these sources, “she shared with them an approach to biblical interpretation founded in the Gospel Text, particularly in Cantata 74.

Luther’s third sermon for Pentecost Sunday 1532 on the Gospel reading (John 14:23-31) is connected to Ziegler’s text, which also centers on the opening verse found in the initial chorus. The succeeding soprano aria “expounds on the main themes of dwelling in God, of love, and of God’s word,” and concludes with a link between “the believer’s comfort” and “God’s indwelling,” as also described in Luther’s sermon. Similar connections are found in the alto recitative (No. 3) and tenor aria (No. 5) and “are even more striking” in the final alto aria (No. 7). Here the theme of individual salvation, while not explicit in the Gospel reading but prominent in Luther’s sermon, says Peters, is expressed in Ziegler’s text through “Jesus’ blood, passion and death” (als, Jesu, dein Blut, “dein Leiden, dein Sterben), related in Luther to the opening verse. The last aria concludes with the believer laughing at hell’s fury, also found in Luther’s sermon, says Peters.

Beyond Ziegler’s grounding in the Gospel text is her poetic “depth of feeling” and “vibrancy of expression.” Peters cites (Ibid.: 74f) Albert Schweitzer’s and Philipp Spitta’s commentary on the quality oZiegler’s texts, “rarely found to such a degree in cantatas by Bach’s other librettists.” Besides the entire closing aria, the “memorable phrases” include the ending of the alto recitative, “Dass du gedenkst, von mir zu gehn. / Das lass ich nimmermehr, ach, / nimmermehr geschehen!” (you have any thought of going away from me. / I shall never, ah, never let that happen!), and the opening lines of the tenor aria (No. 5): “Kommt, eilet, stimmet Sait und Lieder / In muntern und erfreuten Ton” (Come, hasten, tune your strings and songs / in a cheerful tone of rejoicing). Two arias are singled out in W. Gillies Whittaker’s commentary:9 the tenor aria, a “splendidly impulsive number,” and the closing alto aria, “remarkable” with its “stark realism.” “Ziegler’s sacred cantatas of 1725 thus exhibit the richness and variety of poetic structures and the facility of language that would come to characterize her later poetry,” Peters concludes (Ibid.: 76).

Both Cantata 59 and 74 begin with the Johannine dictum 14:23 as the focal point of the texts, Erdmann Neumesiter in Cantata 59 and Ziegler in Cantata 74. There is “a significant divergence in their treatment” of the Johannine statement, says Nicholas Anderson in his Cantata 74 essay.10 “While Neumeister addresses the Christian believer in collective, congregational terms, Ziegler is more concerned with personal, individual responses to faith.11

Pentecost Celebration

“In contrast to the other principal feastdays of the year, Pentecost celebrates an event that centers not on Jesus but on the disciples, and in deed, on the church and the individual Christian believer,” observes Eric Chafe in J. S. Bach’s Johannine Theology.12 The New Testament focus on the three-day Pentecost feast there is a “division between the historical and spiritual sides of the coming of the Holy Spirit,” says Chafe. The historical account found in the Epistle readings from Luke’s the Book of Acts narrates the coming of the Hply Spirit forst to the disciples, then to gatherings in Caesarea and Samaria, “the latter generally associated, like the coming of the Magi at Epiphany, with the gentiles.” The Gospels, all from John, center on Jesus’ words, “the quality that Luther associated with John,” says Chafe, and the spiritual sense or tropoligical involving “the methodological understanding of scripture (hermeneutics), says Chafe.

To observe the Pentecost Sunday feast, Bach initially focused in his first three Pentecost cantatas (BWV 172, 59 and 74) on the Gospel theme of the coming of the Holy Spirit, with blazing trumpets. For the more intimate second and third Pentecost feast days and the next week’s Trinity Sunday Festival, Bach initially created parodies from Köthen secular celebratory serenades (BWV 173a, 174a, and 194a). Meanwhile, Bach sought a particular Johannine emphasis for his next cycle of original works when he commissioned Ziegler. This min-cycle “has a far more complex theological character,” Chafe observes (Ibid.: 524). “Instead of concentrating on the doc trine of the Holy Spiirit, Ziegler follows the ideas presented in the [Johannine] Gospel readings” in the “circular, me3ditative style associated with John.”

For the inaugural Pentecost Sunday Cantata 74, three biblical dicta or themes are annunciated in three sections of the eight-movement work, involving two from John’s Gospel Chapter 14, verses 23 and 28, and Paul’s Epistle to the Roans 8:1). This Johannine “quality of ‘atemporality’” “is essential to the character of the season whose principal message is the means by which the events of Jesus’s life and work move out of history to permeate the life of faith,” says Chafe (Ibid.: 525). The first stage with the John 14:23 motto (No. 1, chorus) “centers on the necessity of love and keeping God’s word to the believer’s state of readiness for reception of the Spirit.” The second stage motto, John 14:28 (No. 4 vox Christi), places Jesus’ “announcement of his departure and return in the context of the love and its implications of joy for humanity. The third-stage motto from Paul (No. 6, bass recitative) “takes up the message of humanity’s inheritance from Jesus’s [Johannine] victory over Satan” through the Theology of the Cross and the Doctrine of Justification.

“Ziegler takes pains to bind these themes into a continuity by making the ending of each stage anticipate the theme of the next,” says Chafe. Further, she “seems to have wanted to create a relationship between the two New Testament authors whose writings were central to Luther’s thought, John and Paul.” After stating the two key themes of the Johannine Farewell Discourse of Jesus to his disciples, Ziegler turned to Paul for the “indwelling” of the Spirit concept that is central to Pentecost: “the gift of the Spirit is entirely unearned by humanity; only Jesus’s Passion and the love that motivated it make it possible for humanity to receive the spirit.” The final chorale “states that emphatically”: “Kein Menschenkind hier auf der Erd / Ist dieser edlen Gabe wert, / Bei uns ist kein Verdienen; / Hier gilt gar nichts als Lieb und Gnad, / Die Christus uns verdienet hat / Mit Büßen und Versühnen.” (No human being here on earth / is worthy of this noble gift, / among us there is no deserving; / here nothing counts but love and grace / which Christ has earned for us / by expiation and atonement.).

Musically, Bach treats the three stages in three distinct key areas: the natural, flat and sharp regions of the C Major/a minor ambitus, and uses special instruments to characterize the four arias. The oboe da caccia reinforces the soprano’s “very personal plea to the deity” (No. 2) with its “indwelling” of “Father and Son within the human heart through love and the Holy Spirit a conception shared with Cantatas 108 (Cantate] and 172.” The central bass vox Christi (John 14:28] with basso continuo focuses on the effect of love that Jesus’ “departure and return [now] bring joy to the believer.” This second motto is followed by the tenor aria with rushing strings (No. 5) that “directly responds to its ‘word’ of promise, “I go away and come back to you again. If you love me, you would rejoice in this.” “It is “joy, pure and simple.”

The third section follows with the bass accompagnato (No. 6) and pastorale oboe quartet playing to the Pauline Holy Spirit, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1), in which the later apostle “describes the role of the life-giving Spirit of Christ in freeing humnkind from the law of sin and death,” says Chafe (Ibid.: 529). Luther found that Paul saw in Pentecost the “the new law of the Spirit that the church celebrated as counterpart to the Jewish Pentecost,” the 50-day Shavu'ot festival of the giving of the Torah fundamental law and the concluding feast of the grain harvest. The alto dance with oboes sounding like trumpets and violin solo in the style of a concerto (No. 7) has the extroverted character of Jesus’ successful struggle against the forces of evil. The closing chorale in a minor instead of the relative C Major opening “makes the theological point that humanity is not worthy (and has not in any way earned the benefits of) Jesus ‘s sacrifice,” Chafe suggests (Ibid.: 531), underlying the Luther and Paul “inveighing against ‘works righteousness,” known as Luther’s Doctrine of Justification by grace through faith alone, as found elsewhere in Paul's Epistle to the Romans (1:17).

For the two remaining cantatas for the Pentecost Feast of Monday and Tuesday, BWV 68 and 175, Bach and Ziegler find unique expression, especially in the return of the now-joyous violoncello piccolo and the brass instruments. Pentecost Monday Cantata 68, “Also hat Gott die Welt beliebt” (God so loved the world, John 3:16) “equates the coming of the Holy Spirit with Jesus’s second incarnation, now within the human heart,” says Chafe (Ibid.: 508). Pentecost Tuesday Cantata 175, “Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen”

(He calls his own sheep by name), the second Good Shepherd day during the Easter/Pentecost season in Bach’s time, the believer through metaphoric seeing and hearing encounters Jesus reas coming in faith as the Good Shepherd and the Christus Victor, with the addition of the recorders which “establish a new framework, that of the comporting inner voice of the Spirit.”

Gerhardt Chorale

“Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist” closes Bach’s Pentecost Sunday chorus Cantata BWV 74, “Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten” (Whoever loves me will keep my word, John 14:23), premiered four weeks after Cantata 108, on 20 May 1725, Ziegler text. In Cantata 74, Bach sets Stanza 2, “Kein Menschenkind hier auf der Erd / Ist dieser edlen Gabe wert” (No human being here on earth / is worthy of this noble gift; ). The Cantata 108 closing chorale (no. 6), “Dein Geist, den Gott vom Himmel gibt” (Your Spirit, which God gives from heaven), is Stanza 10 of Gerhardt’s 1653 Pentecost hymn, “Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist” (God our Father, send your spirit), set to the anonymous 1490 melody, “‘Kommt her zu mir,’ spricht Gottes Sohn” (“Come to me”, says God’s Son, Matthew 11:28), based on the Georg Grünwald 1530 Ascension Day text. The Gerhardt text and Francis Browne English translation of the first 10 stanzas are found at BCW “Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist” appears for Pentecost Sunday as No. 31 in Gerhardt’s Register über Zuordnung der Lieder zu den Sonn- und Feiertagen des Kirchenjahres, along with "Zeuch ein zu deinen Toren"(Move into thy gates), No. 29, and “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt” (God so loved the world), No. 25. The Gerhardt (1607-1676) BCW Biography is found at

“Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist,” the Paul Gerhardt 16-stanza, six line (AABCBC) pietist chorale is listed in the Dresden hymnbooks for Cantate Sunday, says Günther Stiller.13 It is listed in the Dresdner Gesangbuch 1725/36 as a de tempore hymn for Cantate and Exaudi Sundays (No. 190: 142), says Pezoldt (Ibid.: 858). It was first published in the 1653 (Berlin) edition of Cruger’s Praxis Pietatis Melica, to a melody by Johann Crüger, “Den Herren meine Seel’ erhebt.” Bach follows general use in associating the hymn with the tune “Kommt her zu mir,” as it appeared first in Gerhardt’s Geistliche Andachten (Berlin, 1667). The Gerhardt (1607-1676) Biography is found at BCW

The Bach’s chosen melody, “Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn” also is set to its own Grünwald (1530) text as a chorale aria (no. 3) in solo Cantata 86, “Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch” (Truly, truly, I say to you; John 16:23, for Rogate Sunday 1724, which also probably has the same unknown librettist, possibly Christian Weise Sr., and form as Cantata 166, presented a week earlier. This chorale has 16 stanzas and is found in Das neu Leipziger Gesangbuch as No. 234 under “Christian Life and Conduct.” Information on the melody, “Kommt her zu mir,” is found at BCW The Georg Grünwald (c.1490-1530) BCW Short Biography is found at For further information on “Motets & Chorales for Pentecost, see BCW

Text and Musical Transformations 14

As Bach transformed Cantata BWV 59 into BWV 74, he undertook major changes in the music but also the texts. The only two mvts. that come into question as seen above are Mvt. 1 and Mvt. 4 as the recitative and chorale were dropped from BWV 59. As Alfred Dürr [Ibid.: 354] points out, Bach was very clever and inventive as he took the existing mvt. 1 from BWV 59 ( and expanded it to include one more trumpet part added to the two that already existed. He added a new 'choir' of oboes (3 in all - 2 oboes and 1 oboe da caccia) and took parts from the original string parts and divided them up so that the oboes and strings would separated into groups that would now engage in a dialog with each other ( What originally was a soprano and bass duet was changed as follows: 1. Parts that were originally entirely instrumental were given to vocal ensemble; 2. The original bass vocal part was given to the alto voice; 3. The original basso continuo was also used as the new bass vocal part; 4. Additional independent new vocal parts were added; 5. The soprano part sometimes stays in the soprano, at other times goes to the tenor voice. The bible quotation from John 14:23 is, of course, retained unchanged.

The transformation of mvt. 4 of BWV 59 ( into Mvt. 2 of BWV 74 ( involved the following changes: 1. The transposition of the composition from C major to F major; 2. The solo violin part is replaced by an oboe da caccia part; 3. The solo bass part is changed to a solo soprano part; 4. The text is entirely new which forces Bach to undertake a major modification in the soprano part to make it fit the words.

Here is the original text by Erdmann Neumeister (1714) used in Cantata BWV 59: "Die Welt mit allen Königreichen, / Die Welt mit aller Herrlichkeit / Kan [sic] dieser Herrlichkeit nicht gleichen, Womit uns unser Gott erfreut: / Daß Er in unsern Hertzen thronet, / Und wie in einem Himmel wohnet. / Ach Gott! wie seelig sind wir doch! / Wie seelig werden wir erst noch, / Wenn wir nach dieser Zeit der Erden / Bey dir im Himmel wohnen werden?"

Bach really had to 'hack up' the line beginning with, "Ach Gott!" so that the exclamation would be properly emphasized, but this line is completely transformed in the subsequent version. I will include this section in my examples from the score, so that you can 'take a peek into Bach's workshop' and see how he does this.

Commentary & Examples from the Score, BCW from NBA I/13, Contributed by Thomas Braatz (June 9, 2001), (For an English translation look up mvt. 4 of BWV 59, BCW

Now the new text for the same music from Christiane Mariane von Ziegler's (1728) "Versuch in Gebundener Schreib-Art" [The brackets indicate Bach's substitution of words to replace existing ones]. "Komm, komm, mein Hertze [Herze] steht dir of= | fen, / Ach [ach] laß es Deine [deine] Wohnung seyn. [sein!] / Ich liebe dich, drum [so] muß ich hoffen, [:] / Dein [dein] Wort trifft würklich [itzo] bey [bei] mir | ein. / Denn wer dich sucht, fürcht, liebt und | ehret, / Dem ist der Vater zugethan. [zugetan] / Ich zweifle nicht, ich bin erhöret, / Wes ich mich süß [daß ich mich dein] getrösten kan. [kann]."

Cantata 74 Provenance

Cantata BWV 74 Provenance, Composing & Copy Process is described in Thomas Braatz (June 9, 2007), <<The Autograph Score. The original score may have been inherited by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach at the time of the distribution of scores after JSB's death. No record of its existence has been found after 1750. It can be assumed to be irretrievably lost.

The Original Set of Parts [D-B Mus. ms. Bach St 103,]. Soon after JSB's death, this set of parts was inherited by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who, at some later point, separated the doublets (Violino 1 & 2 and an incomplete continuo part) from the larger set. For these parts CPE created a titled cover folder in which they were inserted. For a while they still remained in CPE's possession until at some point in his life CPE gave the main set of parts to a choir prefect in Hamburg, S. Hering. From Hering's estate this main set was acquired by the manuscript collector, Count Karl Otto Friedrich von Voß-Buch (1786-1864) who donated his vast collection of manuscripts to the Staatsbibliothek Berlin (known then as "die Königliche Bibliothek Berlin" in 1851. Here the doublets were once again united with the main set of parts. Bach Digital also lists the Provenance as: J. S. Bach - C. P. E. Bach - S. Hering (?) - Voß-Buch - BB (now Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz) (1851); Doublets: J. S. Bach - C. P. E. Bach - Sing-Akademie zu Berlin - BB (1855).

The parts with the identification of the copyists are as follows: 1. Soprano JAK (Johann Andreas Kuhnau); 2. Alto JAK; 3. Tenore JAK;4. Baßo JAK; 5. Tromba 1 JAK; 6. Tromba 2 JAK; 7. Tromba 3 JAK; 8. Tamburi JAK; 9. Hautbois 1mo. JAK; 10. Hautbois 2do JAK; 11. Hautbois d'Caccia JAK; 12. Violino 1mo. JAK; 13. Violino 1mo. [doublet] WFB(?) p. 1r and p. 2v; (only staves 1-3 and 5); Anonymous IIe p. 1v staves. 4-5 and staves 9-13, p. 2r staves 1-8; p. 2r stave 8 m 3-13; Last page: JAK; 14. Violino 2do JAK; 15. Violino 2do Anonymous Iif; 16. Viola JAK; 17. Continuo [Primary] JAK; 18. Continuo [incomplete] Copyist 6; 19. Continuo [transposed and figured] pp. 1r to 4r; main copyist C; p 4v main copyist B; figured bass by JSB?

Copyists Involved

At the time when this cantata was researched and printed in the NBA [KB I/13, Dietrich Killian, 1960: 91ff], many of the copyists were yet unknown; hence the designations: "Hauptkopist A, B, C" and Anonymous IIx or no categorization at all. In the meantime (since 1960) most of these copyists have been identified - see some of the cantatas discussed in January and February for some of these names: 1. Johann Andreas Kuhnau (previously only identified as "Hauptkopist A"); 2. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (probably); 3. Anonymous IIe; 4. (not identified in 1960 as yet); 5. Anonymous IIf; 6. (not identified in 1960 as yet); 7. (main copyist C = "Hauptkopist C"); 8. (main copyist B = "Hauptkopist B"). [Scribe in detail, Bach Digital: parts: J. A. Kuhnau, W. F. Bach, Christian Gottlob Meißner, Johann Heinrich Bach, J. S. Bach, Anon. IIe, Anon. IIf, Anon. L 19, Anon. L 20; title page 1: J. A. Kuhnau; title page 2 (for doublets): C. P. E. Bach].

Sequence of Preparation Process: a) the composition of the score; from indirect indications obtained from a close examination of the original parts, a reasonable conjecture would be that it was very much a composing score with more than the usual amount of corrections and additions. It was however completed (the final chorale as well!) at the time when JAK began copying out the bulk of the parts. b) JAK received the autograph score and worked directly from it as he copied the bulk of the parts. c) the doublets were copied by other copyists as soon as JAK had finished copying out the primary parts (1st & 2nd violins and continuo). (Note that 3 copyists were involved with the 1st violin doublet part and note also the unfinished continuo part.). d) JSB corrected the parts and made some additions, but this was done rather superficially.

Evidence of Haste : a) the inclusion of a number of mvts. from another cantata (BWV 59) with few substantial changes; b) indirect evidence from the parts points to the score having been hastily composed; c) even JSB's most reliable and accurate copyist working from the completed score, JAK, makes more than the usual number of errors which JSB corrected using tablature; d) greater than usual number of mistakes in transposition made in the transposed continuo copy; e) Wilhelm Rust, in preparing the first BGA printing of this cantata commented that he had to clean up an unusually large number of mistakes (more than encountered elsewhere in Bach's original parts) made by the copyists("mehr als anderwärts mit ungewohnlich vielen Schreibfehlern aufzuräumen"); f) contrary to evidence from other sets of parts, there are hardly any additional markings by JSB (trills, etc.) in the parts [All of the above determinations made by Bach experts point to the fact that Bach assembled, composed and performed this cantata within a very limited time frame amounting most likely to no more than just a few days.].>>

Pentecost Sunday Cantata Distribution

For the festive Pentecost Sunday, Bach composed four works, two possibly in Weimar, BWV 172 and 59, the Ziegler setting of BWV 74 in 1725 and the 1727 BWV 34, “O ewiges Feuer! o Ursprung der Liebe” (O eternal fire, o source of love). In the 1750 estate division, the first cycle Cantata 172 shows Emmanuel receiving the parts set and Friedemann probably the score, now lost. For the second cycle, Friedemann received the Cantata 34 score while the parts set of this non-chorale cantata is lost, although Friedemann could have kept it and used it to perform the work on Pentecost Sunday 1746-47 in Halle with a repeat in 1756. For the third cycle, Cantata 74 score is lost but the parts set survive through Emmanuel (see above). Also in that estate catalogue (p. 78) under the listings for Pentecost Sunday the is score and most of the parts for BWV 59 as well as the parts set of BWV 172. If Bach composed a now-lost Pentecost Oratorio in 1735, the 1750 estate division pattern suggests that Friedemann received the score and parts set for use in Halle, while Emmanuel received all the materials for the Christmas and Ascension Oratorios, as well as the surviving version of the Easter Oratorio, while Friedemann could have received the materials for the original 1725 version of this music, now lost. Similarly, Emmanuel received the Passion oratorio materials for the St. John, BWV 245, and St. Matthew, BWV 244, while Friedemann received the St. Mark, BWV 247, and apocryphal St. Luke, BWV 246, both later listed available for copying in the Leipzig Breitkopf 1761 catalogue, the former (BWV 247) not lost.


1 Cantata 74 BCW Details & Discography, Score Vocal & Piano,, Score BGA References: BGA XVIII (Cantata 71-80, Wilhelm Rust, 1870), NBA KB I/13 (Pentecost, Dietrich Kilian 1960), Bach Compendium BC A 83, Zwang K 124.
2 Martin Petzoldt, 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: 984).
3 Source materials, Cantata 172 BCML Discussion Part 5 (15 May 2016),
4 Eric Chafe, Tears Into Wine: J. S. Bach’s Cantata 21 in Its Musical & Theological Contexts (New York: Oxford University Press: 2015).
5 Peter Wollny in “Wilhelm Friedemann Bach’s Halle performances of Cantatas by his father” in Bach Studies 2, ed. Daniel R. Melamed (Cambridge University Press, 1995; 210, 213).
6 Alfred Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005: 350f).
7 Cantata 74 Hofmann/Suzuki notes,[BIS-SACD1571].pdf; BCW Recording details,
8 Mark A. Peters, A Woman’s Voice in Baroque Music: Mariane von Ziegler and J. S. Bach (Aldershot GB & Burlington VT: Ashgate Publishing, 72f).
9 W. Gillies Whittaker, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (London: Oxford University Press, 1958: II: 49f).
10 Nicholas Anderson in Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach (Oxford University Press: 1999:520).
11 See James Day, The Literary Background to Bach’s Cantatas (London: Dover, 1961: 40-42).
12 Eric Chafe, J. S. Bach’s Johannine Theology: The St. John Passion and the Cantatas for Spring 1725, Chapter 11, “Exaudi and Pentecost: Cantatas 183, 74, 68 and 175” (Oxford University Press, 2014: 522ff).
13 Günther Stiller, Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, ed. Robin A. Leaver (St. Louis MO, Concordia Publishing, 1985: 241).
14 Source, Thomas Braatz, BCML Cantata 74 Discussion Part 1 (June 6, 2001),

Aryeh Oron wrote (May 29, 2017):
Cantata BWV 74 - Revised & updated Discography

Cantata BWV 74 "Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten" (Whoever loves me will keep my word) was composed by J.S. Bach in Leipzig for for Whit Sunday [1st Day of Pentecost] of 1725. The cantata is scored for soprano, alto, tenor & bass soloists; 4-part Chorus; and orchestra 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, oboe da caccia, 2 violins, viola & continuo.

The discography pages of BWV 74 on the BCW have been revised and updated. See:
Complete Recordings (14):
Recordings of Individual Movements (18):
The revised discography includes many listening/watching options as part of the recording details. When you click a link to video/audio, a new window will open above the discography page and the video/audio will start to play.

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

I believe this is the most comprehensive discography of this cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 74 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 74: 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
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