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Cantata BWV 75
Die Elenden sollen essen, daß sie satt werden
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of June 7, 2015 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (June 9, 2015):
Cantata 75, “Die Elenden sollen essen" Intro. & Tr.1 Chorales

The beginning of the Trinity Time of the Church Year was an important period for Johann Sebastian Bach as he pursued his calling as director of Leipzig’s church music and Cantor at the St. Thomas Church School. Charged with overseeing the presentation of vocal pieces at the main services on some 60 Sundays and feast days at St. Thomas and St. Niklaus, Bach commenced his tenure with performances of his own compositions in annual cantata cycles. He began his first church year, on Sunday, May 30, 1723, the First Sunday after Trinity, with his official installation and the performance of his festive two-part Cantata BWV 75, “Die Elenden sollen essen, daß sie satt werden” (The wretched shall eat so that they are satisfied).

Bach’s initial cantatas for the first seven Sundays After Trinity show great ambition, being in two parts or dual performances for full ensemble, with proclaiming choruses, instrumental introductions, and instructive and elaborate chorale settings with familiar melodies found throughout Trinity time. The prescribed biblical readings and hymn music are revealed throughout the texts of the first or alpha cyclic cantatas with preparatory organ chorale preludes and free-standing, harmonized, four-part chorales. The initial two cantatas, BWV 75 and 76, are virtual twins: in two parts, with 14 movements each, with full orchestra including high trumpet for the opening chorus prelude and fugue and closing chorale chorus, arias dance-like or galant, with chruses repeated to end part two, which opened with instrumental sinfonias.1

The second cantata, BWV 76, “Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes” (The heavens declare the glory of God, Psalm 19:1) for the Second Sunday after Trinity, June 6, 1723, shares similar biblical themes: Johannine epistles in their definitions of love in relationship eternity through the Lucan Gospel parables of rich man Dives and poor man Lazarus (16: 19-31, Cantata 75) and the Great Supper (banquet) of the rich man for all (14:16-21, Cantata 76), showing love of one’s neighbor (the Great Commandment) and one’s actions (demonstrations of love) in the world.

Cantata 75 & Earlier Cantatas 22/23

Cantata 75 was not Bach’s first performance in Leipzig. That occurred on February 7, 1723, Quinquagesima Estomihi Sunday before Lent, with his two probe pieces, Cantata 22 and 23, observes Julian Mincham’s introduction to Cantata 75, “Chapter 2 BWV 75 Die Elenden sollen essen, .2 They were presented before and after the sermon of Urban Gottfried Sieber (1669-171, archdeacon at St. Thomas church, substituting for sick Pastor Christian Weise (1671-1736). With their chorale choruses and other varied movements, these two twin pieces each ran about half the length (20 minutes) of the two-part twin Cantatas 75 and 76. <<The first performance of a cantata in a regular Sunday service by the newly appointed Cantor must, if only in retrospect, have been a highly significant event. This was not the first of Bach's cantatas to be performed in Leipzig, however. He had presented Cs 22 and 23 earlier in the year as audition pieces supporting his application. Bach made use of them [repeated them, February 20, 1724] later as part of his first complete cycle; essays on them can be found in chapters 44 and 45.

Like the two works which followed, C 75 was a piece of substantial proportions, bi-partite with the sections intended for performance on either side of the sermon. Bach may well have realised that the workload involved in producing weekly works of this dimension was an impossible one since he only wrote a limited number of two-part cantatas for the remainder of this cycle (Cs 76, 21, 147, 186 and 70) and only one (C 20) in that which followed. Nevertheless, from a retrospective examination of this work we are able to infer much about Bach’s ambitions, intentions and aspirations as he set about producing his canon of ‘well regulated’ church music.

It is noticeable that Bach does not open his Leipzig account with a large orchestra with trumpets, horns or drums. One solo trumpet makes its appearance in two later movements but the opening chorus suffices with continuo, strings and a pair of oboes (although a bassoon is specifically called upon to double the continuo line).

What, then, are we to make of this debut work, long, impressive and imposing certainly, but without being unduly strident or flamboyant? Was Bach not yet aware of the additional musicians he could call upon when required, a likely hypothesis as the work is known to have been composed before he took up his new appointment. Did he wish to convey an initial impression of prudence and of not squandering resources unnecessarily? Did he want to demonstrate that he could do the job whilst making only modest demands upon the ecclesiastical purse? It must, however, be remembered that Bach took up his post in the period following Trinity, a sector of the church year which provided fewer opportunities for festive or extravagant musical displays within the services. Bach would have to wait until the Christmas celebrations at the end of 1723 for such an occasion.

But, as seems most likely when one considers the history of Bach’s general disregard for the opinions and budgets of those in authority, is it not most likely that he simply chose the precise resources required for the most effective communication of his music? His choice of instruments must have been made, at least partly, according to the nature of the occasions for which music was required e.g. horns, trumpets and drums for ceremonial occasions. But whatever the complex reasons, there is little doubt that Bach began by giving the Leipzig congregations a clear insight into his ultimate intentions and what he was capable of, as well as offering a practical demonstration of the vast range of musical expression that he could command with minimal resources.

It is also probable that Bach viewed the first two (and possibly even three) of his Leipzig cantatas as a cognate group. Cs 75 and 76 each has fourteen movements, seven in each part. Each section contains three recitatives and two arias and ends with a chorale with independent instrumental parts. In both cases Part 2 begins with an instrumental sinfonia and the initial recitative in each of the four sections is accompanied by full strings. All four voices are used for the arias in both works but in a complementary fashion: Part 1 tenor/soprano (C 75), soprano/bass (C 76); Part 2 alto/bass (C 75) and tenor/alto (C 76). Might this have been an intitial template that Bach was considering to be appropriate for the Leipzig services?

There are minor differences in the structural layouts; for example whilst each voice has one or more recitatives in C 75, there are none for the soprano in 76. But there are enough similarities to suggest that Bach was in the process of formulating an ideal cantata model to form the basis of his canon of' well regulated' church music. Did he abandon it because of the inordinate workload? Or because these large scale works placed too great a demand upon the learning capacities of the young performers? Or was it simply that his endlessly questing imagination led him to discover that there were a number of other equally effective ways in which his music could be structured and presented? Not the least of these would be the solo cantata (making its first Leipzig appearance on the eleventh Sunday after Trinity) and the chorale/fantasia which was to become the mainstay of the second cycle.>>

Bach’s Cantor Installation with Cantata 75

According to tradition, the cantata for the First Sunday after Trinity and the installation of the new Leipzig cantor took place in the principal church of St. Niklaus, with the Superintendent its pastor, Salomon Deyling (1677-1755), presiding and preaching the sermon, although the actual sermon no longer exists. Deyling oversaw all ecclesiastical matters of the Consistory in Leipzig and ruled on matters dealing with the cantor. While Bach chose the chorale and actual text for each cantata, Deyling could reject them, although there is no record that he ever rejected a Bach choice.

There followed Bach’s pursuit of his goal of a “well-regulated church music to the glory of God.” In the first two years, without interruption, he presented cantatas on virtually every occasion. The production of these works was an elaborate and demanding process: secure a “musical sermon” text addressing the designated Gospel readings, usually including congregational hymns (chorales), with all necessary preparation, including composition of the score and parts set with rehearsal a day prior to performance.

Coincidentally, Bach began his work on the First Sunday after the Trinity Sunday Festival, which closed the first half, or de tempore of the Church Year and initiated the second half of the year, omnes tempore or Traditional Time. This also was the beginning of the St. Thomas Church School Year, which required much of Bach’s time and energies. Given his primary responsibility as a teacher, he composed with great ambition, deliberation, intention, and efficiency while facing the challenges of acceptable libretti texts, competent musicians and singers, and limited resources.

As Bach proceeded, the emerging historical performance record suggests that the beginning of each succeeding Trinity Time was a bell-weather or bench-mark for changes in cantata forms and text writers, leading to revision and reconstitution of the three extant church-service cantata cycles and eventual cessation of weekly cantata composition in favor of large-scale Passions, Mass segments, and feast-day oratorios as well as collections of church service songs and organ chorale preludes to complete his grand design.

First Cycle: Heterogeneous Forms & Expansions

Wherever possible in the first year, Bach utilized, adapted and often expanded existing compositions, meeting some one-third of his 60 service needs. Initially, Bach planned music both before and after the sermon, either two-part cantatas or two shorter cantatas. Bach – and his musicians – were able to sustain this pace only for the first seven weeks of the Trinity Time, with two exceptions. Within a period of nine days, From June 24 to July 2, Bach provided compositions for the two feast days, respectively, of John the Baptist, with solo Cantata BWV 167, “Ihr Menschen rühmet Gottes Liebe” (Ye men, extol God’s love) and the Visitation of Mary (the mother of Jesus), with Cantata BWV 147 “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben” (Heart and mouth and deed and life).

While these two feasts fell on different days during the week (except when one of the feasts fell coincidentally on a Sunday about every seven years) Bach apparently omitted presenting new cantatas on the succeeding Sundays, the Fifth and Sixth after Trinity, June 27 and July 4, respectively. Meanwhile, he was able to expand and perform works composed previously in Weimar for the Third (BWV 21), Fourth (BWV 185), and Seventh Sundays After Trinity as well as Cantata BWV 147, originally composed for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, now serendipitously adapted for the Marian Festival. It can only be conjectured that Bach chose the two feast days for compositions instead of the two Trinity Sundays because of their festive nature and because he previously had been unable to compose feast day cantatas in Weimar, limited to new compositions every fourth Sunday between 1714 and 1716.

Cycle 1 (1723)

05/30 Trinity +1 BWV 75 Die Elenden sollen essen, daß sie satt werden(*)
06/06 Trinity +2 BWV 76 Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes(*)
06/13 Trinity +3 BWV 21 Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis(*)
06/20 Trinity +4 BWV 185 Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe
BWV 24 Ein ungefärbt Gemüte
06/24 John Fest BWV 167 Die Menschen rühmet Gottes Liebe
06/27 Trinity +5 (no performance recorded)
07/02 Visit. Fest BWV 147 Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben(*)
07/04 Trinity +6 (no performance recorded)
07/11 Trinity +7 BWV 186 Agre dich, O Seele, nicht (*)

*Thematic biblical teaching patterns were complemented with systematic and intentional use of familiar omne tempore chorales as Bach traversed the initial Sundays After Trinity.3 Bach’s texts and hymns for the First Sunday After Trinity, cast in the first four two-part Cantatas 75, 20, 39, and 21 reveal an emphasis on Old Testament teachings as the foundation for the Christian Church with celebration and signing to the Lord, then the central message of Love as the Great Commandment in Christian teachings, and finally, the affirmation of the doctrinal Triune Church and Time through God the Creator, Jesus Christ the Redeemer, and the abundant and free grace of the Holy Spirit as Sanctifier.

First Sunday after Trinity Cantatas

All three Cantatas Bach composed for the first Sunday after Trinity “are all large scale” works observes John Eliot Gardiner in his 2004 liner notes to his Bach Cantata 2000 Pilgrimage recordings on Soli Deo Gloria.4 “The three surviving cantatas [BWV 75, 20, 39] for Trinity 1 are all large scale, bipartite works, musically ambitious and of the highest quality. All three take their lead from the Gospel of the day, the parable of Dives and Lazarus, and the theme of pursuing riches on earth or in heaven, and from the Epistle, which defines love of God and the need for brotherly love. Bach’s treatment of these themes in each of the cantatas is diverse. Our grouping them together in a single programme made for a fascinating glimpse into the workings of his imagination – a display of his virtuosic mastery of varied musical rhetoric.”

Bach’s performance calendar, first Sunday after Trinity:

1723-05-30 So - Cantata BWV 75 Die Elenden sollen essen, daß sie satt werden (1st performance, Leipzig)
1724-06-11 So - Cantata BWV 20 O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (1st performance, Leipzig)
1725-06-03 So - ?? repeat BWV 75a, No. 2, bass recitative: “Was hilft des Purpurs Majestät/ Da sie vergeht?” (What use are royal robes [lit.purple]/since they pass away?, Lk. 16:19); No. 6, “Was Gott tut” (Rodigast, S.5); see Cycle 1 above, BWV 75/7. Only documented repeat of portion of Cantata 75, date uncertain.
1726-06-23 So - Cantata BWV 39 Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot (1st performance, Leipzig)
1727-06-15 So - no performance documented.
1728-05-30 So – no performance documented
1729-06-19 So - Picander text only P-42
1734-06-27 So - possible repeat of Cantata 20, abridged
1735-06-12 So - 1.So.n.Trin. - G.H. Stölzel: Wo euer Schatz ist, da ist auch euer 1-Terz, Mus. A 15:219 + Christus ward arm um euret willen, Mus. A 15:220
1736-06-03 So – no Stölzel cantata performance documented

1. Cantata BWV 75 <Die Elenden sollen essen, daß sie satt werden> (The poor shall eat as much as they want, Psalm 22:26); chorales No. 7 & 11, “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” (What God does, that is well-done);
2. Chorale Cantata BWV 20, <O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort> (O eternity, thou word of thunder);
3. Cantata BWV 39 <Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot> (Break your bread with the hungry; Isaiah 58:7-8); chorale, No. 7, D. Deicke “Kommt, laßt euch den Herren lehren” (Come let the Lord teach you); S.7: “Selig sind, die aus Erbarmen/Sich annehmen fremder Not,” (Blessed are those who from pity/take to themselves the needs of others) based on the Beatitudes.
4. [Picander Text only: P42 <Welt, der Purpur stinkt mich an> (World, thy purple robe stinks on me); chorale, No. 5, “Warum sollt ich mich denn grämen? (Why should I myself then grieve?); S. 6, “Was sind dieses Lebens Güter?” [What are these life’s goods]).

Cantata 75: Köthen Origin & Number Symbolism

Cantata 75 probably was composed in Köthen shortly before the Bach family moved to Leipzig and has two parts of seven movements each, the number having symbolic meanings, says Gardiner (Ibid.). <<As Bach’s first official Leipzig cantata on assuming office, BWV 75, “Die Elenden sollen essen,” was performed eight days after heand his family arrived in Leipzig, and two days prior to his formal installation. Judging from the neat appearance of the autograph score and the non-Leipzig paper on which it was written, it seems likely that Bach had begun composing while still in Köthen. The cantata is in fourteen movements (fourteen was Bach’s own symbolic number), seven dealing with wealth and poverty from a material viewpoint, seven with the challenge they represent to the Christian soul.

Bach sets off with a French overture in slow triple time, with an oboe solo playing rhetorical flourishes, very much in the vein of Handel’s opus 3 concerti grossi. The chorus announces that ‘the meek shall eat and be satisfied’ (Ps 22:26) with pathos and a majestic and fitting seriousness. This is balanced by a lively fugue begun by the four Concertisten, ‘your heart shall live for ever’, with an extended tail to each phrase for ‘ewig’ and lively melismas for ‘leben’. Clearly Bach is setting out his compositional stall. The arias that follow are in the style of an up-to-the minute French dance suite: a tenor aria (No.3) as polonaise, a soprano aria (No.5) with oboe d’amore as minuet, an alto aria (No.10) with violins as a stately passepied and a brilliant bass aria (No.12) with trumpet as gigue. Each half of the cantata ends with a presentation of one of Bach’s best loved hymns, ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’, set against a catchy ritornello (which cries out for French ‘inégale’ treatment). But there is more to all this than just show. In the opening chorus Bach emphasises not just the obvious differences between poverty and riches, but the idea that priorities are reversed between heaven and earth. In the second part of the cantata he develops the contrast between ‘Armut’ (privation or poverty) and ‘Reichtum’ (wealth) at a spiritual level: the alto sings ‘Jesus makes me rich in spirit’, to which the bass adds that the individual can recognize the Spirit in the sweetness of love (‘Jesus’ süsse Flammen’). © John Eliot Gardiner 2004 from a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage

Cantata 75: Great Detail

Considerable detail is found in the 1998 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS recording of the complete Bach sacred cantatas.5 <<BWV 75: Die Elenden sollen essen (The miserable shall eat) On 22nd May 1723, Bach moved into residence within the Thomasschule. His duties as Kantor began prior to his formal installation on lst June, with the liturgy for the First Sunday after Trinity. BWV75 can only be the cantata Bach composed for that occasion. Its first performance, at the Nikolaikirche was for that time an epoch-making achievement, and in the annals of the city for that year, the entry 'On the 30th, that is, the First Sunday after Trinity. Herr Bach, newly arrived from Cöthen to take up the post of Kantor, performed his first work, which received much applause'

This cantata is extremely large in scale. There are only two works among the church cantatas with a two-part structure and so great a scale as to comprise 14 movements: the present work and BWV76 for the next Sunday. (Even the large work BWV2I is made up of only 11 movements.) Since it is common knowledge that 14 was Bach's own symbolic number, there is a strong argument that by presenting works with his signature hidden within them, Bach was giving greetings to the audiences at both the Nikolaikirche and the Thomasschule.

There is also a theory that the work was begun in Cöthen, but as the composer's autograph is in a hasty hand, it suggests that the composition was done amid the confusion immediately following the move to Leipzig. The instrumentation is comparatively simple, comprising two oboes (one switching to oboe d'amore), strings and continuo with trumpet.

The Gospel text for the First Sunday after Trinity is the story of the rich man and Lazarus from the l6th chapter of Luke's Gospel. Hungry and destitute, Lazarus dies and is carried to heaven to Abraham's bosom, while the rich man is taken to the torments of hell, where he cries out to Abraham for mercy. But Abraham receives his pleas coldly, and does not stretch out his hand to help... Taking this somewhat vengeful passage as his theme, the librettist (whose identity is unknown) has produced a text that warns against the pursuit of riches on earth, urging us to welcome poverty as the heart of God. The work is in two parts, falling on either side of the sermon in the liturgy: the first part treats wealth and poverty as a concrete problem of this world, and the second considers it as a problem of the soul. Bach structured the first section around E minor, and the second around G major. Both forms are generalized by Samuel Rodigast's chorale (1674). This chorale appears three times with the colouring of winds and strings, forms the bridge between parts I and 2, and closes the entire work. The motifs for soprano and bass aria also derive from this chorale melody. While the recitatives remain simple. the arias are dance-like or opera galant pieces, and all in all it is a cantata that entirely gives a modem impression.

Part One: The cantata opens with the idea that 'the miserable shall eat and be satisfied', an Old Testament prophecy (which comes from what is known as one of the Passion psalms) (opening chorus, E minor). But what the music reflects is not the fulfillment of the prophecy but its precondition. the suffering of the poor. A ritornello centered around the oboe drives the movement, surrounding the chorus. The second half is a fugue on the text 'your heart shall live forever'. This two-part structure and the use of dotted rhythms in the first half are reminiscent of the French style, and it is possible to imagine that Bach has hidden the allegory of the beginning of work' in this movement (Bach often used the French style to characterize 'beginning'). However, the first half is in three, and the second part switches into four, revealing Bach's device.

The second movement is an accompanied recitative for bass. Here the vacancy of power, wealth and pleasures takes the form of a cross.

In movement 4 (tenor recitative), the message the reversal of the order of this wor1d , which is at the heart of the Gospel text, is expounded upon. From this point. A soprano aria tells of the resolution joyfully to take 'the sufferings of Lazarus' upon the self. The sorrowful tone of A minor still reflects some trouble of the heart; but the elegant minuet-like rhythms seem to predict joy of the soul.

The soprano continues with a recitative (No.6). in which is presented the idea that death itself is the ultimate accomplishment of the will of God. But the concepts of suffering (Not) and death (Tod) still present a threat and this cannot be overlooked. Carrying on with this idea, the chorale at last appears (No. 7, G major. A joyfully springing motif in the introduction and interludes uses the chorale melody.

Part Two: The second part opens with a lively sinfonia in G major. This is an orchestral arrangement of the chorale tune in the last movement of Part One, and is accompanied by a concerto-style string ensemble, while the trumpet plays the chorale melody in an accompanied recitative (alto), the theme of wealth and poverty is examined from within. That is poverty in one's lifestyle is a good thing, but the problem of how to conquer poverty of the spirit remains. This question is clarified in the ensuing alto aria (No. 10. E minor). The wealth of the spirit comes from Jesus, and through him poverty of spirit will turn to plenty. Concealing a passepied rhythm, this aria has a mystical quality, and its basic foundation is the walking motif.

Entering the recitative in No. 11, the bass tells of his expectations looking towards the end. Those who remain in Jesus sill find themselves and God. once this world has vanished away. The bass then proceeds to a splendid aria with trumpet obbligato (No. 12, C major). Bach can be thought to have combined the images of the brightly burning flame of love and the victory of Judgment Day.

In this way, the cantata proceeds through the admiration of 'the poverty that surpasses wealth' (No.13, tenor recitative), anfinally, the chorale from movement 7, in the same G major arrangement but using a different verse of the hymn praising the good works of God ends the entire work.>> © Tadashi Isoyama 1998

1st Sunday after Trinity Chorales

Here is an in-depth look at the chorales Bach uses in his Cantatas for the First Sunday After Trinity, including four-part chorales with elaborate interludes closing both parts of his first two Leipzig Cantatas 75 and 20, twin works each totaling 14 movements. In addition, Bach uses the chorale “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” in two Chorale Cantatas (BWV 99 and 100) as well as in four other Cantatas (BWV 98, 144, 12, and 69a) and as a wedding setting and an organ chorale prelude.

Cycle 1 (1723)

05/30/23 Trinity +1 BWV 75/7, 8 & 14. Samuel Rodigast’s c.1675 hymn, “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” is the title of three Bach Cantatas BWV 98I, 99II, and 100III. Each of the six stanzas begins with the dictum, “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” (What God does, that is done well). Part 1 of Cantata 75 closes with the elaborated plain chorale with interludes, Movement No. 7 (Stanza 5): “ . . . / Muß ich den Kelch gleich schmecken . . . Laß ich mich doch nicht schrecken” ( . . . / If I have to taste the chalice (New Covenant) . . . I shall not let myself be frightened). Part 2 begins with an orchestral sinfonia (No. 8) that sounds the chorale melody in the high solo trumpet. This version, transcribed for cello, opens the Yo-Yo Ma Sony CD 60681, “Simply Baroque II: Bach and Boccherini,” with Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra:

Cantata BWV 75 Part 2 closes with No. 14 (S.6): “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, / Dabei will ich verbleiben” (What God does, that is done well, / I shall keep to this thought). The closing plain chorales of both parts are the same setting with different texts. Stanza 6 also is found in closing four-part chorales in Cantata BWV 12/7 for Easter +3 and the same setting in Cantata 69a/6 (Trinity +12), Cantata 99/6 (Trinity +15), and Cantata 100/6.

The settings of BWV 76/7=14 and 99/6 are found in the current choir book, <Bach for all Seasons>, Chantry Music (Augsburg Fortress Press) 1999, for “General” and “Funeral (Cross & Comfort).” The biblical source cited is Romans 8:28-30, “The Future Glory” (King James version): “28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

The American Lutheran hymnals cite the chorale as “Trust, Guidance,” based on Deuteronomy 32:4: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship, Marilyn Kay Stulken, Fortress Press 1981: 474).

The associated melody also is used with Stanza 1 as chorale fantasias to open Trinity Time Cantatas 98I/1 for Trinity +21, Cantata 99II/1 for Trinity +15, and 100III/1, undesignated, as well as Cantata BWV 144/3 for Septuagesima Sunday (<omne tempore>) and chorale BWV 250 (wedding opening). Two chorale cantata settings are extant: BWV 99 with stanzas 2-5 paraphrased), and BWV 100 (pure-hymn cantata, no service designation; suggested for Trinity +15 or +21. The opening elaborate chorale chorus of Cantata 99 also is used to open Cantata 100.

According to the 1687 Nordhäuser Hymnal (BCW) Rodigast wrote this hymn to cheer his friend, Severus Gastorius, precentor at Jena, who had become seriously ill. Gastorius not only recovered, but went on to write the tune for Rodigast’s words, based on an earlier tune by Fabricius. Composers Johann Pachelbel, Johann Gottfried Walter and Telemann used the hymn, as well as Bach students Kellner, J. L. Krebs, Homilius, Doles, and Kirnberger, primarily as chorale preludes. The six verses speak to affirmation, confidence, good health, fidelity, comfort, and assurance.

Other melodic references are found in the early chorale prelude collections, the Orgelbüchlein No. 112, “Christian Life and Conduct” (not set), and Neumeister chorale prelude (No. 69), BWV 1116. The chorale is not found in the 1682 <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> (NLGB) but is first found in the 1690 Nürnberg Gesangbuch. The chorale is listed as a Communion hymn for Trinity +12 in the Leipzig and Dresden hymn schedules; for Trinity +21, Cantatas 98 and 100 are appropriate, according to Stiller (see Bibliography)

Cycle 2 (1724)

06/11/24 Trinity +1 BWV 20, Johann Rist’s 1642 chorale text, <O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort>, is found in the 1682 Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch as No. 1006 (shortened version, 12 of 16 stanzas printed; omitting the original Stanzas 4, 7, 8, 12). The associated chorale melodies are “Wach auf, mein Geist, erhebe dich” (1642 early version) and “O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort” (1653 later. modified version set to Rist text), attributed, respectively, to composers Johann Schop and Johann Crüger. It is not cited in Stiller.

In Cantata BWV 20, there are three chorale uses in F Major: No. 1 chorale fantasia (S.1); No. 7 (S.11[8]) “Solang ein Gott im Himmel lebt” (As long as God lives in heaven); and No. 11 (S.16[12]) “O Schwert, das durch die Seele bohrt (O sword that pierces through the soul). The closing plain chorales of both parts are the same setting with different texts. The hymn also begins Cantata BWV 60 (Trinity +24, troped chorale with aria); is found in plain chorale BWV 397 in F Major (S. 13 [9], “Wach auf, o Mensch, vom Sündenschlaf” (Wake up, O Man, from the sleep of sin), which probably was used in the <St. Mark Passion>, BWV 247/30, where the apostles sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane; and as BWV 513, Anna Magdalena 1725 Notebook No. 42 (last item, p. 121) in F Major for soprano and basso continuo in Anna Magdalena’s early handwriting.

Pre-Cycle 3 (1725)

06/05/25 Trinity +1 ?? repeat BWV 75a, No. 2, bass recitative: “Was hilft des Purpurs Majestät/ Da sie vergeht?” (What use are royal robes [lit.purple]/since they pass away?); No. 6, “Was Gott tut” (Rodigast, S.5); see Cycle 1 above, BWV 75/7. It is the only documented “repeat” performance of a cantata for the First Sunday After Trinity.

Cycle 3 (1726)

06/23/26 Trinity +1 BWV 39 /7. David Deicke’s 1648 11-stanza hymn “Kommt, laßt euch den Herren lehren” (Come let the Lord teach you) is based loosely on the Beatitudes (Matthew, Chapters 5-7, Sermon on the Mount). Stanza 6 closes Cantata 39: “Selig sind, die aus Erbarmen/ Sich annehmen fremder Not” (Blessed are those who from pity / take to themselves the needs of others). The plain chorale is set to the popular melody, “Freu’ dich sehr, o meine Seele” (Rejoice greatly, o my soul) originally anonymous, by Louis Bourgeois in 1551 and is a commentary to Psalm 42, found in NLGB 918. The BCW lists various alternative texts set to the melody and alternate Deicke Text 4 of 1648 is not found in the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB). Bach’s melody use to the various alternate texts is found in seven< omne tempore> cantatas: original Deicke Text 1, BWV 19/7 (S. 9, St. Michael) and 70/7 (S. 10, Trinity +26); J. Heerman Text 2, “Zion klagt mit Angst und Schmerzen”, BWV 13/3 (S.2, Epiphany +2); J. Heermann Text 3, “Treuer Gott, ich muß dir klagen,” BWV 25/6 (S. 12, Trinity +14), BWV 194/6 (S. 6 & 7, Trinity Sunday); J. Olearius Text 5, “Tröstet, tröstet meine Lieben,” BWV 30/6 (S. 3, St. John Feast); P. Gerhardt Text 6, “Weg, mein Herz, mit den Gedanken,” BWV 32/6 (S. 12, Epiphany +1).

Use of Alternate Melody (Zahn 1294) by Bach: BWV 1119 (Neumeister organ chorale prelude), “Wie ach ein Wasserquelle” (Orgelbüchlein No. 121, “The Word of God and the Christian Church,” not set), and BWV 743 (miscellaneous organ chorale prelude, questionablauthenticity). J.S. Bach use (doubtful): “Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele,” Chorale Prelude for Organ, BWV Anh. 52 and Anh. 53 (recording: Stephen Rapp, “21 Newly Published Organ Chorales attributed to J. S. Bach,” Raven CD OAR-420, 1998). Primary Source:

Cycle 4 (1729)

06/19/29 Trinity +1 P42 Welt, der Purpur stinkt mich an (World, thy purple robe stinks on me); No. 5, closing chorale, “Warum sollt ich mich denn grämen?” (Why should I myself then grieve?); Why should I myself then grieve?); Text, Paul Gerhardt, 1653. /PaulGerhardt/Warum_Sollt_Ich_Mich_Den_Grämen.htm

S.10 of 12 stanzas, “Was sind dieses Lebens Güter?” [What are these life’s goods]); associated melody adapted from D. Vetterer 1713, from J. G. Ebeling 1666). Also may be harmonized as S.6, closing chorale, in Pcander cycle, P-63/5, “Gott, du Richter, der Gedanken” (Trinity +19).

Bach’s uses: Motet BWV 228 (S. 11 & 12 in soprano “du mist mein, ich bin dein” [your are mine, I am yours] in A Major), ?1726. BWV 422, four-part chorale in C/G Major, ? after 1730; listed as hymn of “Trusting in God, Cross, and Consolation (Hänssler complete Bach edition (No. 85), A Book of Chorale settings, No. 8, CD 92.085 (1999).

Same melody set to P. Gerhardt text, “Frölich soll mein Herze springen diese Zeit” (Joyfully shall my heart sopring up this time, 1656), as four-part chorale in Christmas Oratorio (Part 3, Adoration of the Shepherds), “Ich will dich mit Fleiß bewahren” (I will firmly cherish three), BWV 248/33 (248III/10), “Und die Hirten kehrten wieder um” (And the shepherds went back again), 1734. “(W)e know concerning Leipzig, that the hymns of Paul Gerhardt did not achieve general significance until Bach’s time, that is at the beginning of the thirties of the 18th century” (Stiller: 235). Only two Gerhardt service settings, pp. 71f and 104, are found in the Vopelius <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch>. (updated)

Motets and Chorales for the First Sunday After Trinity


Readings: Epistle: 1 John 4: 16-21 (God is love); Gospel: Luke 16: 19-31 (Parable, Dives and Lazarus),
Dates in the lifetime of J.S. Bach, including works composed for the event,

Sources: * BACH'S HYMN BOOK: Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) des Gottfried Vopelius (Leipzig 1682)", Berlin: Merseburger, 1969. ML 3168 G75. * BACH'S MOTET COLLECTION: Otto Riemer, "Erhard Bodenschatz und sein Florilegium Portense"; Schünigen: Kaminsky,1927 ML 410 B67R4.

NOTES: * The introit was taken from the pre-Reformation feast of Corpus Christi which was celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday but abolished by Luther. The music was retained for that week. * The Bodenschatz collection provides 1-4 motets for each Sunday After Trinity, although there are a fair number for which there is no provision. Discussion as we reach them. * "Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend"(Lord Jesus Christ! Turn towards us) appears to have been the pulpit hymn [sung at the beginning of sermons] for all of the two dozen Sundays after Trinity. [It appears as one of four general hymns sung every Sunday in the main service and at vespers, says Günther Stiller.6 The German text and Francis Browne English translation are found at BCW]

1) MOTETS for Introit, Before Sermon at mass and vespers for Choir II, and During Communion: "Homo Quidam" (Gregorian chant responsory) (6 Voices) Melchoir Vulpius (1560-1615), Biography:; Text: "A certain man organized a great dinner and sent his servant at the hour of dinner so that he said to his guests to come: Because everything is prepared. Come to eat my bread and to drink my wine that I prepared for you."

2) HYMN OF DAY (de tempore), "Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl" (The unknown mouth speaks well) (Luther) (NLGB 250, Christian Life & Conduct); Set by Bach as BWV 308 (4-part chorale, Bb Major); melody, Johann Walter; text, after Psalm 14 (Human Wickedness), Martin Luther. Listed as an <omne tempore> Psalm hymn (Hänssler complete Bach edition (No. 82), A Book of Chorale settings, No. 5, CD 92.082 (1999). Chorale Prelude, “Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl” (Rudorff Collection), BWV deest: ^Kevin Bowyer, JSB Complete Organ Works, Vol. 14, Vol. 14: The Rudorff Chorales; Nimbus CD; ^ Franz Haselböck, Organ Chorale From the Rinck and Rudorff Collections; Musical Heritage Society (Hänssler) CD 85295, 2006; Text:

"Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend" (Lord Jesus Christ, be present now): It is found in the NLGB 314, “Word of God and Christian Church,” Zahn melody 624); text Duke Wilhelm II Saxe-Weimar (?) 1651; melody 1628, (3 verses & Doxology). It is a prayer and organ chorale interlude before the sermon (Williams: 297). Bach’s uses are: a 4-part chorale BWV 332 (G Major, 8 bars). I cannot find this setting in the Hänssler Book of Chorale settings, It is found in the Bach 2000 Teldec, Vol. 7,, scroll down to V-18. The organ chorale prelude settings are: BWV 632 (Weimar Orgelbüchlein No. 49, Pentecost), BWV 659 (Great 18); and early miscellaneous preludes, BWV 709 (formerly “Kirnberger Collection), and BWV 726. Organ chorale BWV 749 is a fughetta “somewhat in the manner of the 44 Choralë attributed to” Johann Christoph Bach (1703), says Peter Williams in The Organ Music of JSB, 2nd ed. (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003: 492).

4) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns (found in< Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch>, NLGB):
1. Weltliche Ehr und zeitliche Gut" (World honors and transient goods) is found in the (NLGB 240, Christian Life & Conduct), text M. Weise 1531 (10 stanzas), melody M. Vulpius, Vögelin GB 1563; Bach’s 4-part chorale setting, BWV 426 (C Major).
2. "Es war einmal ein reicher Mann" (There once was a rich man). (NLGB 236, Christian Life & Conduct); “Schein, Cantional oder Gesangbuch Augspurgischer Confession (4, 5 ou 6 voix), Verlag des Autors; Leipzig 1627. Dédicacé au maire et au Conseil de Leipzig. Augmenté en 1645 : « mit 27 schönen Gsgn. vermehr », J. Schuste, Leipzig 1645”: “Es war einmal ein reicher Mann, SATB” [lyrics based on introit (Gospel) text]: no Bach setting extant.
3. "Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein" (Ah God, look down from heaven) (NLGB 249, David Psalms); text, Luther, Psalm 12 (Prayer for Help) (6 stanzas); melody, anonymous c.1410. [used in Chorale Cantata BWV 2/1,6 for Trinity 2], . Same associated melody with text, “Schau, lieber Gott, wie mein Feind (BWV 153/1, S.1, Sunday after New Year); with text “Wenn einer alle Ding verstünd (BWV 77/6, S.8, Trinity +13).
4. "Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sonn" (NLGB 234, Christian Life & Conduct). Hymn, G. Grünwald 1530 to folksong c.1490; text Easter/Pentecost: (Mat. 11:28; 16 stanzas); Bach usages: JLB 8/8 (S.14-16) E3; 86/3 (S.16) E5; mel. in 108/6, “Gott Vater, senden deine Geist” (S.10) E4; mel. in 74/8, “Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist” (S.2) Pentecost.

"Versage nicht, O Häuflein" (O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe, NLGB 317, Word of God & Christian Church), <Stiller> 240, Dresden E3; BWV 42/4(S.1) E1, is Stanza 1 of the ?Fabricus text that may be a marching song of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. The melody is derived from "Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn" (Dürr <JSB Cantatas> 297, Whittaker <JSB Cantatas> I:298 ref. Terry Bach's Chorales). Grunwald's text, "Kommt her zu mir," is based on Mat. 11:28, Jesus preaching. Thus the Fabricus texts and Grunwald tune have the related themes of comfort and peace.

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978, Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship), Hymn No. 361, "Do Not Despair, O Little Flock" (Community in Christ); text, Johann M. Altenberg, 1584-1630 (four stanzas); tune, "Kommt her zu mir," Nuernberg, 1534. I can't find the C.S. Terry reference, cited in Whittaker I:298: htttp// Previous two and succeeding Lutheran hymnals do not have this hymn.

Other hymns also related to Trinity +1 readings, found in NLGB

1. “Ach Herr mein Gott, straft mich doch nicht” (NLGB 243); not set by Bach
2. “Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder” (Ah Lord, poor sinner that I am), (NLGB 246); text (6 stanzas), Cyriakus Schneegaß (1597), based on Psalm 6; melody, H. Hassler “Befiehl du deine Wege” (Herzlich tut mich verlangen, Passion chorale) 1601; Bach usage: chorale Cantata BWV 135 (Trinity +3). Bach did not set the hymn as Orgelbüchlein Catechism chorale prelude No. 73, “Confession, Penitence, and Justification” but did set the melody in the possibly very young Bach miscellanous organ chorale prelude BWV 742 (Neumeister Collection).
3. “Herr nicht schicke deine Rache” (245), not set by Bach
4. “Herr, straf' mich nicht in deinem Zorn/Das bitt ich dich von Herzen,” (NLGB 244); text, J. Crüger 1640 (6 stanzas; based on Psalm 6); melody unknown ?1640; Bach uasage: BWV 338 (A minor/major); listed as Psalm hymn (Hänssler complete Bach edition (No. 82), A Book of Chorale settings, No. 5, CD 92.082 (1999). See BCW
4a. “Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn/großer Gott, verschone.” (Do not rebuke me in your anger, Ps. 6:1) Text 1, J. G. Albinus (7 stanzas, 1676; based on Psalm 6), melody anonymous 1681; not set by Bach
4b. Listed in NLGB 243 as “Ach Herr mein Gott, straf mich doch nicht” and as “Herr, straf' mich nicht in deinem Zorn.”
4c. Text 2: “Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit,” J. B. Freystein (1695); Bach usage in chorale Cantata BWV 115/1(S.1),6(S.10( (Trinity +22).
5. “Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesus Christ” (I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ) (NLGB 235, Christian Life & Conduct); text, J. Agricola by 1530 (5 stanzas), melody, J. Klug GB 1535; Bach’s usages: Chorale Cantata BWV 177/1,5 (Trinity +4); Cantata 185/6 (S.1) and 185/1 (melody in trumpet & oboe) (Trinity +4). Plain chorale BWV 1124, “Christian Life and Expectation” (Hänssler complete Bach edition (No. 83), A Book of Chorale settings, No. 6, CD 92.083, 1999). Stiller: This hymn “is specifically assigned to this Sunday in the Leipzig and Dresden hymnals” (P. 242) and in Leipzig for the < omne tempore> Third Sunday After Epiphany (p. 238).
6. “Mit dank wir sollen loben” (NLGB 248), not set by Bach
7. “In allen meinen Taten” (In all my deeds) (NLGB 239, Christian Life & Conduct), text Paul Flemming 1642 (9 stanzas); Bach set the text to the familiar melody “O Welt, ich muß dich lassen,” based on H. Isaac 1490 melody, “Innsbruck, ich muß dich lassen.” Bach works: Cantata BWV 13/6 (Trinity +3), BWV 44/7 (Easter +6), the pure-hymn Chorale Cantata BWV 97, not assigned to a specific service. The associated melody of Johann Quirsfeld 1679 is found in the NLGB and was used as the opening hymn to church weddings, plain chorale BWV 367 in C Major (“Trust in God, Cross and Consolation,” Hänssler complete Bach edition (No. 85), A Book of Chorale settings, No. 8, CD 92.085 (1999).
8. “Nun danket alle Gott” (NLGB 238, Christian Life & Conduct). Hymn after sermon; text, Marin Rinckart 1636 (3 verses); melody, J. Crüger 1647. Stiller: hymn with main service festival <Te Deum> (p. 81f), after wedding service benediction (BWV 252 in G Major (S.1), p. 94, Hänssler V.83, “Praise & Thanks”), New Year’s Day (chorale Cantata BWV 192 in G Major), and Reformation Festival (Cantata BWV 79/3 (S.1) plain chorale in G Major). Other Bach uses: BWV 386 in G Major, same as BWV Anh. 164/2 (S.3, transposed to A Major), (Hänssler V.83, “Praise & Thanks”); and organ chorale prelude BWV 657 (Great 18).

Selected Bibliography

BCW (Paul Gerhardt, Bach uses 22 hymns):
Häfner, Klaus. “Der Picander Jahrgang,” <Bach Jahrbuch> 61 (1975): 107.
Stiller, Gunther. <JSB & Liturgical Life in Leipzig>, Concordia, 1984.
Stinson, Russell. <Bach: The Orgelüchlein>, Oxford University Press, 1999.
Williams, Peter. <The Organ Music of JSB> (Second Edition), Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Wolff, Christoph. “The Neumeister Collection of Chorale Preludes from the Bach Circle,” in <Bach: Essays on His Life and Music>, Harvard University Press, 1991.
Vopelius, Gottfried, <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> (1682); glossary, Jürgen Grimm, Berlin: Merseburger, 1969. ML 3168 G75

Readings, First Sunday After Trinity7

While Bach rarely quoted the actual Lectionary Psalm readings (Introit, Psalm, Gradual, and Verse) of the day, his use of Psalm citations in his sacred music “sermons” reflects the trial and triumph dual emphasis found in the Psalms, as well, perhaps, as the succeeding actual sermon of the day which dwelled on the Gospel and Epistle with continual allusions to the Psalms. See BCW, “Psalms in Bach’s Vocal Works, IMVHO, Bach’s cantatas for Trinity Time consistently embrace, in varying degrees, a systematic use of Old Testament Psalms; general Christian themes of love, light, etc.; and references to the greater Triune concept of God the Creator, Jesus Christ the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as sanctifier. Besides the use of the Epistle and Gospel readings for the day, Bach also utilized the opening Introit Psalm. The Introit reading for the First Sunday after Trinity is Psalm 62, Nonne Deo? (Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation, KJV),, according to Martin Petzoldt,

Bach-Commentary, Vol.1, Trinity Time.8

INTROIT: Psalm 13:1-4 (A Prayer for Help in Trouble)
1. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever?
How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2. How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
3. Consider and hear me, O LORD my God:
lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4. lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him;
and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
Antiphon: Psalm 13:5-6
5. But I have trusted in thy mercy;
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
6. I will sing unto the LORD
because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis 15:1-6 (God’s Covenant with Abram)
1. After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 . And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3. And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowelshall be thine heir. 5. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

Julian Mincham wrote (June 10, 2015):
BWV 75

[To William Hoffman] Just to add a few intriguing questions to Will's comprehensive notes.

It seems that although Bach had held the ambition to create a body of 'well regulated' church music for some years, he had not formed a clear idea (if, indeed he ever did) as to the form it might take.

For instance: For the first six weeks at Leipzig he presented two-part cantatas (it is usually assumed one part on each side of the sermon) OR two cantatas presented at the one service. He rapidly abandoned this plan--there are few more cantatas of this type in the first cycle and only one in the second, although he did return to the form in a few of the later cantatas. Why did he abandon it when he did? Was the music dominating the service too much? Had Bach overestimated just how much of his time, settling as he was into a new and demanding post, the weekly production of cantatas of 12 or more movements would take? Did he begin to feel, even at this early stage that his efforts were not sufficiently appreciated?

A similar situation arises with the instrumental sinfonias. They were dropped even more rapidly. Only one of the second cycle BWV 42 has an extended sinfonia (discounting the short introduction to the repeated early work, BWV 4).But Bach returns to the practice in the later cantatas prducing some of the largest in scale, sometimes plundered from early works, sometimes newly written. Why? Does this indicate a change in public taste? In church policy? Or did Bach have his own reasons for these different approaches?

Similarly at the time of BWV 75 Bach had not really begun to explore the possibilities of the recitative, the hybrid examples of which became common in the second cycle. He had certainly grasped its potential significance by the time of BWV 75 which contains recitatives for all four voices. Similarly, both 75 and 76 contain recits accompanied by strings, sometimes quite fulsomely with hints of arioso as appropriate. But the experiments with instrumental ritornello and fugal sections and wind instruments were yet to come.

The use and placement of the chorale is another interesting topic. Both 75 and 76 present the chorale in complex orchestra settings, used to end both sections. But in a number of the later cycle 1 works, Bach experimnets with both the placement and number (one, two and even three) chorales within the cantata proper. It is again, in the second cycle that he determines a pattern of a four-part choral statement of the chorale to conclude (although even here he cannot resist the occasional more flamboyant presentation). This placement was probably determined by the decision to open the first forty 2nd cycle cantatas with a long and complex chorale fantasia. It is logical to present the chorale at the end in a relatively unadorned style as a concluding guesture. Interestingly, the chorale presentation in BWV 75 is almost a miniature chorale fantasia in itself; the seeds were already sown.

These are some of the questions I find interesting to muse upon, albeit with the realisation that definitive answers will not be forthcoming. Nevertheless, they do underline aspects of Bach's development as an artist and composer.

William Hoffman wrote (June 10, 2015):
[To Julian Mincham] Here are previous thoughts from BCW on the double-double cantatas. Please note the last paragraph on Wolf's Bach's Fifth Cycle. Please excuse my repetition. As for the chorale cantata movements types and directions, see Richard D. P. Jones, The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach, Volume II: 1717-1750. “Music to Delight the Spirit” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013): pp. 126-129, in the first cycle showing the development of the chorale cantata cycle.

BCW, “Events in the Church Year, Part 6),; scroll down to “Early Trinity Time Cantatas,” William Hoffman wrote (July 6, 2011): Reflections on Bach's Early Trinity Time Cantatas”

Besides exhibiting diversity and new interests, Bach was both an experimenter and an adherent of tradition and practice, particularly in his early Trinity Time cantatas. Some of the key trademarks of his cantatas are found here. From the beginning, Bach created various diverse forms of cantatas, including extended two-part works and double-bill cantatas before and after the sermon. He was not content with a perfunctory opening chorus, alternating da-capo arias and short recitatives with biblical quotations, and a closing chorale; nor did he produce endless perfunctory solo cantatas for one voice. Bach utilized musical forces and keys and tonalities appropriate to the less-celebratory Trinity Time with its few feast days. He selected non-festive Trinity Time chorales using familiar melodies with either didactic texts found in the Lutheran Catechism and devotional books or comforting Psalm and communion hymns. Bach spun engaging melodies for the human voice, often with equally poignant solo obbligato instruments in duets and trios; he created engaging symbolic vocal duets for the Soul and Jesus; and his recitatives could be at turns dramatic, reflective, and compelling. Dance style infused many of his arias as well as choruses.

There are a few general and specialized studies of Bach's Trinity Time cantatas. The basic understanding of the works, their forms and features, is found in the late Alfred Dürr's omnibus, definitive <The Cantatas of J. S. Bach> (Oxford University Press, 2005). The book features a very informative overview Introduction, and covers each cantata by Church Year event, from Advent to Trinity Time to the festivals, as well as incidental works.

The Bach scholar William H. Scheide (b. 1914) has spent many years studying the first cantata cycle, in addition to his revelatory <Bach Jahrbuch> writings on the Johann Ludwig Bach cantatas. Here is the only description of his manuscript: "Sizeable through they are, these varied contributions pale in bulk alongside Scheide's regrettably still unpublished monumental study of the first cantata <Jahrgang>, "Bach Achieves His Goal: His First Year of Regular Church Music Following the Leipzig Lutheran Canendar," modestly referred to by its author as "B-A-G." Treating virtually every aspect of Bach's cantata production - calendrical and liturgical considerations, textual and musical forms, theological content, scoring, performance, etc. -- from the time of his arrival in Leipzig until mid-1724, the multi-volume typescript has become something of a legend in its time, thanks not least to the author's generous granting of access to fellow -scholars. It is the present editors' hope to see its status as an "underground classic" changed to that of a widely circulated standard work." Editors Paul Brainard and Ray Robinson wrote this in their "Foreward" to <Essays in Honor of William H. Scheide> (Bärenreiter / Hinshaw), published in 1993 but originally planned for Scheide's 75th birthday in 1889.

Sadly, there are no major studies of Bach's cantatas by cycle, genre, use, or type, only a scattering of essays. The best insight into the Trinity Time Cantatas in particular are found in American author Eric Chafe's two studies of tonal allegory. <Tonal Allegory in the Vocal Music of JSB> (University of California Press, 1991) has a general look at the cantatas in Weimar and some 40 in Leipzig, a surprising number for Trinity Time, as well as other chapters on the St. John and St. Matthew Passions. The topic of tonal allegory may seem a bit arcane but is very applicable in Chafe's second book, <Analyzing Bach Cantatas> (Oxford University Press 2000). Much of the focus here is on Trinity Time cantatas: BWV 9, Trinity +6, as a chorale cantata; BWV 21, Tr. +3, individual movements; BWV 60, Tr.+24; book summary, BWV 77 Tr.+13, the 10 Commandments (theology, individual movements). Also there are studies in of the influeof modal chorales such as Luther's Catechism "Dies sind" die heilge Gebot (BWV 77), "Durch Adams Fall" BWV 21 (modal) & BWV 109 Tr. +21 (I believe, modal), "Ach Gott, vom Himmel" BWV 2 (Chorale Cantata 2, Tr. +2, modal) "O grosser Gott BWV 46 (modal) (Tr. +10).

Turning briefly to tonality in the first four Trinity Sunday cantatas, the emphasis moves from the celebratory, festive Trinity Sunday and First Sunday After Trinity in the sharp keys of G and D to the flat, poignant side and often in the minor, from C Minor (3 flats) to A Minor (no accidentals). At the same time, it is interesting that Bach begins using chorales in Phrygian mode rather than keys. Wikipedia: "The two chorales [closing Parts 1 and 2] in Johann Sebastian Bach's cantata Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76 [Trinity +2, Cycle 1, 1723], elaborate the Phrygian mode of the original melody, by Matthaeus Greiter (c. 1490-1552) (Braatz 2006)," BCW: The rest of Cantata 76 is in the key of C Major and E Minor, gravitating to the sharp of center.

Of special interest is Bach's Cycle 2 Chorale Cantata 135, "Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder" (Trinity +3), which has both ends, the opening chorale fantasia and closing plain chorale, in Phyrigian mode while the inner recitatives and arias trend toward the flat side minor of D and G Minor. By the time Bach reaches the Fourth Sunday After Trinity in the first two cycles, Cantatas 24 and 185 double bill and Chorale Cantata 177 (belatedly composed in 1732 to fill a gap), he is firmly in flat keys. Cantata 185 is a repeat from Weimar, like the two-part Cantata BWV 21 for the Third Sunday in Trinity firmly in flat keys and performed the week before the double bill. Interestingly, the repeat Cantata 185 originally was in the key of F-Sharp Minor in Weimar but Bach simply transposed it up a half step to G Minor in Leipzig to accommodate it to its companion Cantata BWV 24 and its predecessor (BWV 21).

Also interesting is the fact Bach composed no Cycle 1 Cantatas for the Fifth, Sixth, and 18th Sundays After Trinity in 1723. He focused instead on composing cantatas for feast days: John the Baptist (BWV 167 in G Major with solo trumpet), the Visitation of Mary (BWV 147), Weimar expansion with solo trumpet in C and G Major), and an undetermined cantata for St. Michael's (Sept. 29). Reformation Day coincided with the 23rd Sunday After Trinity, October 31, 1723. Bach never filled these gaps in Cycle 1. On the other hand, the third cycle, began after Bach's first hiatus from composing weekly cantatas at Trinity Time (last half of 1725), has only one new early Trinity Time Cantata, BWV 39, for the First Sunday After Trinity (June 23, 1726), in B-Flat Major. Instead, Bach substituted cantatas of cousin J. L. Bach for the two feast days, June 24, and July 2, finally composing Cantata 88 for the Fifth Sunday After Trinity (July 21, 1726).

Besides the desire and need to provide cantatas for the two early Trinity Time feast days in 1723 (Bach had no Weimar cantatas available since he was unable to compose feast day works except when they fell on Sundays), Bach would have had to provide a double bill or a two-part cantata for the Fifth and Sixth Sundays After Trinity. He was only able to continue this practice every Sunday, begun with the First Sunday After Trinity, through the Seventh Sunday After Trinity, when he composed two-part Cantata BWV 186, <Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht>, with 11 movements. He was able to resume this provision on eight more occasions (four feast days) in Cycle 1: BWV 179 and 199 for Trinity +11; 2-part BWV 70 for Trinity +26); BWV 63 and 238 for Christmas Day; BWV 181 and 18 (Weimar repeat) for Sexagesimae Sunday; BWV 22 and 23 for Quinquagesimae Sunday; BWV 182 (Weimar repeat from Palm Sunday) and Anh. 199 for Annunciation; BWV 31 and 4 (Weimar repeats) for Easter Sunday; BWV 172 (Weimar repeat) and 59 for Pentecost Sunday; and BWV 194 (Cöthen) and 165 (Weimar repeat) for Trinity Sunday.

Bach scholar Christoph Wolf suggests that these seven two-part cantatas and seven double bills, totaling 21 church pieces involving 11 previously-composed works, may constitute a proto cantata cycle ("Wo bleibt Bachs fünfter Kantatenjahrgang?" [Where is Bach's Fifth Annual Cantata Cycle?], <Bach Jahrbuch 1982, p 151f [Kleine Beitrage - Brief Contributions]). Bach would compose no two-part chorale cantatas but take up the form again in Cycle 3 (1726) to Rudolstadt texts (BWV 43, 39, 88, 187, 45, 102, 35, 17) for, respectively, Ascension Day and seven Trinity Time Sundays (+1, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14), alternating them with cantatas of J. L. Bach.

Stephen Clarke wrote (June 10, 2015):
BWV 75 meta-comments

Julian Micham wrote:
< Just to add a few intriguing questions to Will's comprehensive notes.
It seems that although Bach had held the ambition to create a body of 'well regulated' church music for some years, he had not formed a clear idea (if, indeed he ever did) as to the form it might take.
These are some of the questions I find interesting to muse upon, albeit with the realisation that definitive answers will not be forthcoming. Nevertheless, they do underline aspects of Bach's development as an artist and composer. >
[To Julian Micham & Aryeh Oron] In general: thank you both - and all other distinguished contributors! - for the altogether wonderful discussions regarding the art of JSB. He was one of my first serious influences and remains so, after many others have had their fling. Although neither a musician nor composer, I appreciate the wealth of factual detail continually coming in regarding JSB's craft. As a professional mechanic and service provider for BMW and Mercedes-Benz, I see the same kind of Germanic thoroughness and diligence displayed in both the areas of music and engineering - as well as in their beer! A standard to aspire to in any walk of life!

Specifically, Julian addressed: "...aspects of Bach's development as an artist and composer." While this aspect of analysis hardly ever devolves into banal reductionism (and never with Julian) - the sturdy integrity of JSB's artistry resolutely defeats this tendency which is too often dominant in scholarly pursuits - it is the aspect of synthesis or integration in intention by JSB that most interests me. Of course he signed off as "Soli Deo Gloria", but this is a signature that could be unfolded as endlessly as examination of the structure of the scores themselves. Few seem to have examined what might be implied by this, which might involve more than a pious Lutheranism, although surely at least this. Religious devotion, pursued to committed focus, inevitably overlaps with mystical contemplation as well as spiritual initiation. Indication of this latter cannot be located in details of composition but can be, to one similarly inclined and professionally trained, found in the affect of the music and in the context of its perceived inspiration. This context, for instance, could be located either in kabbalistic Hochmah (as I propose as a not unreasonable line of inquiry) or in the area of Steinerian Inspiration - a term of some technical art. Perhaps there is a tradition within the art of music itself which addresses this most idiomatically, in its own vernacular?

What I have termed affect is, as many here have remarked, is not merely a least-common denominator of sentimental feeling; the most that supertitiously atheistically materialists may grant, but a fully-loaded set of spiritual intention that can be endlessly unpacked and unfolded, like all spiritually potent symbols do, when subjected to appropriate contemplation and reflection. With some combination of persistence in listening and responding grace, one might not only hope but expect, eventually - to enter into communion with the same source of inspiration that gave rise to Bach's. The "Music of the Spheres" is, of course, reported as an experiential actuality by many who have extended their consciousness therein. The analogy of Plato's Cave applies. Surely, by the obvious evidence of JSB's mupotency, he was one of them who, by whatever means, knew about this.

Of course, some may dismiss this line of thought as beyond their range of interest, or even pointless if not a priori impossible. I will not argue with those, but surely there are those here who have mulled over such perspectives and even pursued them to some extent, possibly to some good result. As someone who has worked in a variety of spiritual pathways, my own testimony is that JSB remains as one of the most potent spiritual illuminators in Western culture - to us as Buddha was/is to the Orient - hence his universal allure and what lies at the heart of his reputation. My proposition. Above and beyond being the exemplar of the conscientious craftsman, who always worked to his own, self-motivated, 100% standard; never a slack moment. Simple skill does not suffice for this; the intention must be something that lies at the heart of what it means to be human standing tall under something even greater, and a responsibility owed to that.

So this is the sort of discussion that I would find of most interest. Cheers to all regardless.

Jane Newble wrote (June 10, 2015):
Stephen Clarke wrote:
"With some combination of persistence in listening and responding grace, one might not only hope but expect, eventually - to enter into communion with the same source of inspiration that gave rise to Bach's.."
"Of course, some may dismiss this line of thought as beyond their range of interest, or even pointless if not a priori impossible. I will not argue with those, but surely there are those here who have mulled over such perspectives and even pursued them to some extent, possibly to some good result........"
Although I usually just read the comments these days (when I have time), I can not resist replying to this.

Quite a few years ago I bought the book about Bach and his Calov Bible, which is very interesting, and shows how Bach marked his Bible, and obviously found in it great inspiration for his music.

Even unbelievers have to accept that Bach often wrote remarks in his music that showed that he wrote to the glory of God.

There are three notations in this Bible that I found most illuminative, and they show clearly that he was a believer:

Exodus 15:20 -- “First prelude for two choirs to be sung to the glory of God.”
I Chronicles 25 -- “This chapter is the true foundation of all God-pleasing church music.”
II Chronicles 5:12-13 -- “In devotional music, God is always present with His Grace.”

Especially in his cantatas and passions we find his faith worked out in music in all sorts of ways. He often uses the music to underline the truth of the words, and to strengthen its effect on the hearer. That is, if the hearer takes time and is willing to find out the connection between the words and the music. In that way he has inspired many listeners (me included) to find a deeper and more meaningful faith in God.

Julian Mincham wrote (June 10, 2015):
[To Stephen Clarke] Thank you for the comments Stephen.

Ruth Tatlow has done quite a bit of work on the C18 notions of perfect proportions in music and Bach's rewriting of a number of sets of works to ensure that the overall bar numbers fit those proportions. As in most cases this would not be noticable by the listener, it raises the interesting idea that possibly Bach was less interested in the effect his music had on humans, being more preoccupied with the desire to produce music that would be played in heaven. We can't know of course, but I think that there is a strong possibility that this might have been his ultimate ambition--the production of music that complied with the philosophical notions of perfect proportions that made it acceptable at the seat of heaven. And it is possible that his working on the notion of a 'well regulated' body of church music had more to do with whether it was acceptable to the Trinity than to (possibly largely) disinterested congregations was one which ever drove him to improve and refine what he produced. Certainly something drove him to experiment continually and to enhance and enrich everything he wrote.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 10, 2015):
Jane Newble wrote:
< Exodus 15:20 -- “First prelude for two choirs to be sung to the glory of God. >
Which Handel did exactly in "Israel in Egypt":

Stephen Clarke wrote (June 11, 2015):
[To Douglas Cowling] Great Handel clip! Plus you get to hear the entire oratorio if you let the clip play out and "rewind." Nice performance, too.ontrast between Bach and Handel. Handel seems to me to have worked out of the human side of things; there's a lot of him in his music (being an impressario and all . . .) although not as egoistically in your face as a lot of Beethoven. Bach, on the other hand, and as a functionary of the establishment, seems as if he was mediating something transpersonal; its not really about him at all. Handel lays it in your lap, Bach makes you work for it.

I must admit I sometimes feel a grudging sympathy for the church officials who had to put up with Bach's bursting-at-the-seams genius and who had to deal with congregational confusion and who had less esoteric concerns in the forefront.



Douglas Cowling wrote (June 11, 2015):
BWV 75 Bach & the Ecclesiatical Authorities

I must admit I sometimes feel a grudging sympathy for the church officials who had to put up with Bach's bursting-at-the-seams genius and who had to deal with congregational confusion and who had less esoteric concerns in the forefront.

Handel ran afoul of church authorities quite often. Dean Jonathan Swift (of 'Gulliver's Travels' fame) wouldn't allow the choir boys of Dublin Cathedral sing in the premiere of 'Messiah' because he and the Anglican hierarchy disapproved of the actual words of Scripture being sung in theatres and opera houses. Performances of 'Messiah' were initially prohibited in Anglican churches because of the theatrical connection and because women and castrati were used as soloists (neither Lutherans or Anglicans used castrati) This prohibition had eased by the end of Handel's life, and women soloists were used on occasion in the Chapel Royal if they were invisible in a gallery.

Handel also had an argument with the Archbishop of Canterbury about the words of the Coronation Anthems and rejected the prelate's suggestions. This has always been held up as an instance of Handel's artistic independence. In fact, Handel had already researched the music by Purcell and Blow for previous coronations, and clearly knew the traditional texts better than His Grace.

I know this has caused a flame-war in the past, but the documentary records do not show endless battle with church official over librettos (all of the fights were with the town council and mostly about money) In fact, I suspect that Bach had a good working relationship with his Superintendent (Lutheran equivalent of bishop). It's not beyond the realm of possibility that they discussed the theological shape of the cantatas as colleagues. Bach must have been subject to a pro forma censorship to receive the imprimatur necessary to publish the word books (no printer wanted to run afoul of the ecclesiastical establishment). The only time that "morality" seems to have crept in was the rather abrupt end of Bach's collaboration with Marianne von Ziegler. The conservative clergy may well have thought that poetry of such a prominent saloniste crossed the boundaries of the Old Boys' ecclesiatical world.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (June 11, 2015):
[To Douglas Cowling] But even Handel could meet his match on artistic goals, e.g. Handel objected to no violins in the Royal Fireworks music, which was commissioned by the King of England in 1749. Finally Handel relented, and the King got what he wanted for the first performance, no "fiddles.".

Fireworks displays, for whatever it's worth, often had music commissioned, and in fact Telemann, years before Handel, composed two suites for fireworks celebrations for the coronation for the Holy Roman Emperor, for large wind forces (no strings) which makes wonder, was there some sort of tradition here? Telemann's music vanished, and we only know about it from the bills submitted to the Hamburg City Government (for two sets of timpani).

Many thanks to Thomas Braatz for this information from a German book of Telemann research.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 11, 2015):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] Fireworks displays, for whatever it's worth, often had music commissioned, and in fact Telemann, years before Handel, composed two suites for fireworks celebrations for the coronation for the Holy Roman Emperor, for large wind forces (no strings) which makes you wonder, was there some sort of tradition here? Telemann's music vanished, and we only know about it from the bills submitted to the Hamburg City Government (for two sets of timpani).

It would be interesting to know what repertoire the City Waits/Pipers played during Bach's Sunday mass. Doubling hymns? Playing interludes in hymns? Instrumental music during communion?

Stephen Clarke wrote (June 11, 2015):
[To Douglas Cowling] Who were the City Waits/Pipers? What was their function and status?

Also: Was there a stadtpfieffer (trumpeter) in Bach's family circle while in Leipzig (rumor)? If so, is there any record of him having played in JSB's performances?

Telemann is always a good listen; those extravaganza compositions you mention must have been something else

William Zeitler wrote (June 12, 2015):
< I bought the book about Bach and his Calov Bible… >
Which book is that?

William Hoffman wrote (June 12, 2015):
More thoghts coming with Cantata 76 re. Bach's spirituality and purpose. As for fireworks music, the 1719 opening of the Dresden Opera House was August the Strong's display of the importance of music. Handel, Telemann and many other composers were there; Bach was there. Along the Elbe river there were many evening serenades as well as fireworks and water music. I also think the French celebrated along the Seine in Paris with similar music.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (June 12, 2015):
[To William Hoffman] Yep the fireworks and water music festivities were a common thing in the baroque, but we've been reduced to only thinking of Handel as having done the music for such events. There is some fascinating research about the fireworks displays in Germany and Europe during this time.

Fasch himself wrote a serenata for the marriage of Sophie Friederike Auguste to the Tsar of Russia in 1745. While she wasn't there to hear the music, but the court in Zerbst celebrated (music is lost). The text book survives, and there allusions in one aria to fireworks and descibes them swooshing up and down. There was an outdoor fireworks display apparently and the music is believed to be the large "Concerto" for 3 choirs. it is scored for three choirs, each consisting of three trumpets, timpani, three oboes and bassoon - and there are hints that the (at least) oboe parts were doubled. Interesting sidebar: fireworks of this period were basically white. Color fireworks were only invented by an Italian family in the 19th centyr.

The opening page of the autograph score is sent for illustration purposes.

The Fasch Fireworks music has been recorded, 4 movements.

Douglas Cowling wrote (June 12, 2015):
[To Kim Patrick Clow] WONDERFUL!

Love the minuet.

Jane Newble wrote (June 12, 2015):
[To 'William Zeitler'] The book about Bach and his Calov study Bible is called 'Bach and Scripture', by Robin Leaver.

Stephen Clarke wrote (June 12, 2015):
[To Jane Newble] I was also impressed by Calvin R Stapert's My Only Comfort - Death, Deliverance, and Discipleship in the Music of Bach.

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 19, 2015):
Cantata BWV 75 - Revised & updated Discography

The discography pages of Cantata BWV 75 “Die Elenden sollen essen, daß sie satt werden” for the 1st 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 trumpet, 2 oboes, oboe d’amore, bassoon, strings & continuo. See:
Complete Recordings (13):
Recordings of Individual Movements (26):
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 and 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 75 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):

Ed Myslowski wrote (June 19, 2015):
[To Aryeh Oron] I am posting in response to Aryeh's discography notice, although perhaps BCW discussion pages would be a more appropriate destination.

I have commented in the past in suppport of the Craig Smith/Emmanuel Music 2-CD set (BCW entry [9]) which includes BWV 75. One detail which is evident from that entry, but easily overlooked, is that the September 11 2001 terrorist attack on the USA occurred while the recording session was ongoing. The trauma of that event was a factor contributing to the failure of the Emmanuel Music cantata series, projected as a complete set, to proceed further.

On the positive side, there is an abundance of fine recordings available, and that competition, in place or planned, was also a contributing factor. We are fortunate to have a commercially published documentation of the contribution of Emmanuel Music to the Boston music scene and to the ongoing vitality of Bach cantatas in a liturgical setting, which Emmanuel continues weekly . As time passes and wounds heal, the date of the recording session is also a reminder of the endurance of the the positive aspects of the human spirit, which is nowhere better represented than in the music of JS Bach.

Hello to old friends, and special thanks to Will Hoffman for his efforts to add new material, and to tidy up the BCW discussion archives for posterity while the recording sessions----


Cantata BWV 75: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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