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Cantata BWV 88
Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden
Discussions - Part 4

Continue from Part 3

Discussions in the Week of June 26, 2016 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (June 29, 2016):
Cantata 88: 'Siehe, ich will viel Fischer ausenden': Intro. & Trinity 5

Cantata BWV 88, “Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden” (See, I will send out many fishermen, Leipzig, 1726), for the 5th Sunday after Trinity, from the 1703 Meiningen annual cycle Rudolstadt text (reprinted 1719/1726) is in two parts with opening Old Testament dictum (Part 1, Jeremiah 16:16) and Gospel dictum (Part 2, Luke 5:10). It is a festive SATB solo cantata in seven movements (four arias/ariosi and two recitatives with closing chorale for the full ensemble in palindrome (mirror) form. The ensemble pastoral instruments involves pairs of horns in G and oboes d'amore, and oboe and caccia (hunting oboe or taille) with strings and basso continuo, in single to triple sharp keys (G, D, A Major; e, b, f-sharp minor). Cantata 77 closes (Mvt. 7 7) with a plain chorale setting of Georg Neumark's popular 1657 consolatory hymn, “Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten” (Who only the loving God lets govern), “Sing, bet und geh auf Gottes Wegen” (Sing, pray and go on God's way). 1

Modern opera elements found in Cantata 88 and similar works in the third cycle involve sudden shifts of instrumental color, tempo, and meter (Mvt. 1); narrative recitative (Mvt. 2) leading directly (attica) to aria as in oratorios (sacred operas); and use of the bass arioso to represent the Vox Dei (Mvt. 1) and Vox Christi (Mvt. 4, as well as dance-style arias (Mvt. 1, 3,4b), lyrical soprano-alto duet (Mvt. 5), and effective use of solo instruments (Mvt. 3). It was premiered on July 21, 1726 at the early main service of the Nikolaikirche, before and after the sermon (not extant) on the day’s Gospel by Superintendent Salomon Deyling (1677-1755), says Martin Petzoldt in BACH Commentary, Vol. 1, Trinity Sundays.2

The seven-stanza, six-line Bar form hymn, “Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten,” was one of Bach's favorites and possibly one of his earliest uses in a cantata (BWV 21/9, Stanzas 2 & 5), possibly predating to the lost 1709 Mühlhausen Town Council Cantata BWV Anh. 192 (untitled).3 Found in the 1682 Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB) as hymn No. 303 (Cross, Persecution& Challenge) but not designated for particular services but is the hymn for the 5th Sunday after Trinity in the Leipzig, Dresden and Weißenfels hymn books of Bach's time, says Günther Stiller in JSB & Liturgical Life in Leipzig.4

Bach also used the very popular Neumark tune and text in chorale Cantata BWV 93, for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity 1725. Here, the opening chorale fantasia is set in 12/8 pastorale-style and the work closes with another harmonization of the last stanza. This stanza also is found closing Georg Telemann’s Cantata TVWV 1:310, “Der Segen des Herrn machet reiche ohne Mühe” (The blessing of the Lord makes right without trouble, Proverbs 10:22), which may have been performed at this same service in 1725 during post-Cycle 2/pre-Cyle 3 early Trinity Time (see ‘Cantatas for the 5th Sunday after Trinity,’ below).

Lutheran Church Year Readings for the 5th Sunday after Trinity in Bach’s time were: Epistle 1 Peter 3:8-15 (Be patient in affliction), Gospel Luke 5:1-11 (The miraculous draught of fishes). The full texts are found at The German text is that of Luther’s translation published in 1545, the English is the Authorised (King James) Version 1611. The Introit Psalm is Psalm 8, Domine, Dominus noster (O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! (, KJV, text), says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 109). He describes the readings as: Psalm 8 is the “Prophecy of Christ, his Kingdom, Suffering, and Splendor”; the Epistle is “Ready for Responsibility”; and the Gospel is “Peter’s Fish Foray.”

Thematic Patterns in Bach’s Gospels

“The season of Sundays after Trinity has never seen the scholarly interest that the Christmas and Eastern narratives have received and there is a certain assumption that the Gospel readings do not have the same dramatic significance,” says Douglas Cowling in “Thematic Patterns in Bach's Gospels” (May 3, 2011 (BCW, <<It is worth looking at several literary patterns which Bach would have known intimately. In general, there are three genres in the Trinity season: Parables - short moralized allegories within the larger narratives of events in the life of Christ; Miracles - short self-contained narratives of miraculous healings; Teachings ­ excerpts from longer hortatory discourses by Christ.

There is also a series of groupings which would have been part of the critical apparatus of both theologians and musicians such as Bach who had such a finely-tuned ear for the literary shape of scriptural passages. Although there are no formal divisions in the official books, we see some important groupings which may have influenced Bach¹s cantata composition. A brief outline of the first half of the season. 1) Trinity 1-4 is a four week sequence of parables. 2) Trinity 5-8 has a series of paired miracles and teachings. 3) Trinity 9-19 generally alternates a parable with a teaching or miracle.

“PART TWO: Paired Miracles & Teachings: Trinity 5: Luke 5: 1-11 ­ Miracle: draught of fishes. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.>>

Bach's Lectionary, Today’s

<<Bruce Simonson wrote: ^Pericopes / Lectionaries? How many are in current use in the Lutheran church as in Bach's time? ^ Bach's lectionary was the one-year cycle of readings which Luther adapted from the pre-Reformation Catholic calendar with very few changes. The pope may have been the Antichrist to the Protestants, but both churches, as well as the Anglicans, had the same readings throughout the Wars of Religion.

The one-year cycle was normative in Western Christendom until the 1970's when, after the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church revised the lectionary to a cycle which allowed for the entire New Testament to be read publically over a three-year period. This new lectionary was rapidly adopted by nearly all the [progressive, Protestant] churches, even historically non-liturgical denominations like the Presbyterians.

Although the Catholic Church continued to revise the lectionary unilaterally, it remains almost identical to the Revised Common Lectionary which has been developed by ecumenical consensus among the non-Catholic churches. Although many of the pericopes (i.e. prescribed scriptural passages) occur on the same Sundays as in Bach's time, many have been shifted and, of course, there are dozens of readings which Bach would not have heard.>> Note: This is particularly the case during omnes tempore (Ordinary Time), second half of the church year. For example, this week’s lectionary (The 6th Sunday after Pentecost) is the Gospel, Luke 9:51-62 (The Son of God, our Christ), the Epistle, Galatians 5:1, 13-25 (Freedom and Works of the Flesh).

Cantata 88 Movements, Scoring, Text Incipits, Key, Meter5

First Part:
1. Aria in two parts (slow, fast; motet and concerto form) with opening & closing ritornelli (Jeremiah 16:16, Vox Dei) [Bass; Oboe d'amore I e Violino I all' unisono, Oboe d'amore II e Violino II all' unisono, Taille e Viola all' unisono, Continuo]: A. Andante allegro, 6/8 pastorale/barcarolle; “Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden, / spricht derHerr, die sollen sie fischen” (See, I will send out many fishermen, says the Lord, who shall fish them); B. [+Corno I/II], Allegro quasi presto, 2/2; “Und darnach will ich viel Jäger aussenden, / die sollen sie fahen auf allen Bergen / und allen Hügeln und in allen Steinritzen” (And afterwards I shall send out hunters / who shall hunt them on all the hills / and mountains and in all the stony cracks); D Major to G Major.
2. Recitative secco [Tenor, Continuo]: “Wie leichtlich könnte doch der Höchste uns entbehren” (How easily can the Almighty dispense with us); closing, “Und überlässt er uns der Feinde List und Tück?” (and does he abandon us to the deceit and malice of our enemies?); b minor to e minor; attica:
3. Aria two-part with ritornelli [Tenor, Oboe d'amore, Continuo I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo]: A. “Nein, Gott ist allezeit geflissen, / Uns auf gutem Weg zu wissen / Unter seiner Gnade Schein.” (No, God is always concerned / to know that we're on the good way / beneath the light of his grace.); B. “Ja, wenn wir verirret sein / Und die rechte Bahn verlassen, / Will er uns gar suchen lassen.” (Indeed when we have strayed / and abandoned the right way / he would certainly have search made for us.); closing ritornello (Oboe d'amore I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo); 3/8 minuet style; e minor.
Second Part:
4. Recitative ostinato [Tenor] and Arioso [Bass; Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo] (Gospel Luke 5:10, Vox Christi): A. Tenor: “Jesus sprach zu Simon:” (Jesus said to Simon:); 4/4, G Major, attica: B. Bass: “Fürchte dich nicht; den von nun an wirst du Menschen fahen.” (Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch of men.); D Major, 3/4 dance style.
5. Aria two-part fugal imitation with ritornelli (ABB’) (Duet) [Soprano, Alto; Oboe d'amore I/II e Violino I/II all' unisono, Continuo]: A. “Beruft Gott selbst, so muss der Segen / Auf allem unsern Tun / Im Übermaße ruhn” (If God himself arranges, then must blessings / on all our actions pour down abundantly); B B’, “Das Pfund, so er uns ausgetan, / Will er mit Wucher wiederhaben / So hilft er gern, damit es fruchten kann.” (The pound that he gave to us / he wants to receive back with interest / then he helps us willingly so that it may bear fruit.); A Major; 4/4.
6. Recitative [Soprano, Continuo]: “Was kann dich denn in deinem Wandel schrecken” (What can make you afraid in your wandering); closing, “Geh allzeit freudig fort, du wird am Ende sehen, / Dass, was dich eh gequält, die sei zu Nutz geschehen!” (at all times go forward joyfully , in the end you will see / that what in the past tormented you happened for your benefit!); f-sharp to b minor; 4/4.
7. Chorale plain Bar (AA’B, Stanza 7, “Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten”) [SATB; Oboe d'amore I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Taille e Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Continuo]: A. “Sing, bet und geh auf Gottes Wegen” (Sing, pray and go on God's way); A’. “Und trau des Himmels reichem Segen” (and trust in the rich blessing of heaven); B. “Denn welcher seine Zuversicht / Auf Gott setzt, den verläßt er nicht.” (For who places his confidence / in God, he does not abandon.); b minor; 4/4.

Cantata 88 Musical Details, Commentary

Musical details of Cantata 88 and commentary are provided in John Eliot Gardiner’s 2008 liner notes to his 2000 Bach Cantata Pilgrimage recordings on Soli Deo Gloria.6 <<Other than by presenting [Georg] Neumark’s hymn [“Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (Who only the loving God lets govern)] in magisterial harmony as the conclusion to his offering [chorale Cantata 93] on this same Sunday two years later, Bach’s approach in BWV 88 Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden could hardly be more different. This is a double-decker cantata in which he dispenses with a choral opening, appears to ignore the Gospel of the day and turns instead to an Old Testament text reporting on the search parties (fishermen and hunters) sent by the Lord to gather in his scattered people (Jeremiah 16:16). The extended bass aria opens as a lilting 6/8 barcarolle with two oboes d’amore and strings. Suddenly the scene changes to a hunt, ‘allegro quasi presto’, with a rampaging pair of high horns added to the orchestra as though negotiating a steeplechase course. The slow beat and sinuousness of the one, with its constantly varied placement of ‘Siehe!’, and the multiple syncopations of the other, make this a hard nut to crack in terms of ensemble.

Bach steals the rhetorical gambit of a preacher in the following recitative, ending with the question ‘and does He abandon us to the foe’s deceit and spite?’ ‘No!’ answers the tenor to his own question with force at the start of the ensuing aria with oboe da caccia obbligato. Bach holds back the entry of the full strings until the singer has finished, and to compensate for the absent opening ritornello. Declamatory recitative used as a heightened form of speech is then hoisted onto a higher level for the clinching theological statement in a minuet-like aria. Music’s powers are convincingly on display.

Part II opens with a direct quotation from the Gospel for the tenor acting as evangelist (‘Jesus sprach zu Simon’), whereupon the Vox Domini (bass) launches into a triple-rhythm arioso over an energetic cello ostinato beginning in speech rhythm but expanding into melismatic dialogue with the continuo. A duet for soprano and alto, with unison violins and oboe d’amore, is cast as a two-part invention, with a memorable sighing motif (voices in thirds) reserved for the last line. At last the relevance of those fishermen and hunters in Part I becomes clear, the opening intended to remind us of that lakeside scene when Peter, the fisherman, was first identified as a disciple. If so it is perhaps an early example of that ‘dialectic of modernity’ to which scholars are so partial: Bach’s way of cultivating memory on the part of his listeners.

Another thought that kept recurring this week was prompted by the return of Georg Neumark’s haunting chorale tune in the two cantatas for this Sunday. What is it about this tune that convinces me that it is old - just the fact that it is modal? Its distinctive elegiac air and intimacy of expression, particularly in Bach’s treatment of it, inclines one to ‘tacet’ the doubling instruments and to perform it very quietly.

The response of the audiences at both the ‘open’ rehearsals [Blasiuskirche, Mülhausen] on the Saturday evening - mostly locals, we were told – and the Sunday itself was attentive and rapturous even by the standards of this pilgrimage, as though in acknowledgment that a genuine thirst had to some extent been slaked.>> © John Eliot Gardiner 2008; From a journal written in the course of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage

Fishermen, Hunters Biblical Influences

The biblical influences of the fishermen in the Gospel text, Luke 5:1–11, and the fishermen and hunters in the Old Testament reading, Jeremiah 16:16, is explored in Klaus Hofmann’s 2008 liner notes to the Masaaki Suzuki BIS complete cantata recordings.7

The fifth Sunday after Trinity has a popular subject, upon which Bach’s Cantata 88, Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden, for the main Leipzig church service on 21st July 1726 is also based. The gospel passage for that day, Luke 5:1–11, tells of Peter’s fishing expedition. It tells of the fisherman Simon – later Simon Peter – on the lake of Gennesaret, of his calling and of a miracle: Simon is urged by Jesus to go out on the lake and cast his nets. Simon hesitates: he has worked all night long without catching anything. But then he does indeed cast his nets and catches an abundance of fish. He and his helpers are seized by fear of what they do not understand. But Jesus tells him: ‘Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men’. And Simon and his men, the Bible text continues, ‘forsook all, and followed him’.

As with “Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen” [Rudolstadt Cantata 43, Ascension Feast 1726] Bach’s cantata text comes from the texts acquired by Johann Ludwig Bach for his ‘cantata year’. The opening words of the cantata, Jeremiah 16:16, must have appealto Bach especially greatly, as they presented him with an opportunity to create two generic musical images: a fishing scene and a hunting scene. He achieved this in a single movement which, although labelled ‘aria’, has a solo part more reminiscent of a motet or spiritual concerto. The voice itself is the bass, traditionally the voice of God. As a musical backdrop to the words describing the sending out of the fisher men there is an orchestral passage in rocking 6/8-time, calling to mind gently lapping waves rippled by the wind. For the hunting scene, however, Bach changes to an alla breve time signature and the tempo marking Allegro e presto. He adds two horns, and the sound image is dominated by signal-like motifs and lively coloraturas.

The content of the introductory Bible verse has no real link with the miracle of the fishing expedition. Instead it describes the vision that one day God will once more seek out the people of Israel, which has become unfaithful, rejected and scattered. But, according to the librettist, that is what God does to us if we have turned away from him. The tenor aria [no. 3] contains a surprise in the form of the violent ‘Nein, nein!’ (‘No, no!’) heard immediately at the outset, without any introduction. This answers the question posed in the recitative: whether God will abandon us to ‘der Feinde List und Tück’ (‘our enemies’ cunning and rancour’). Only then does the obbligato instrument join the voice: an oboe d’amore – as so often in Bach’s music, a symbol of the love of God and thus an unspoken part of the reply. This aria, too, lacks a da capo, and – even more clearly than in “Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen” – Bach concludes the aria (and the first part of the cantata) with a ritornello, the strings joining in at the end of the movement.

At the beginning of the second part of the cantata, a solemn introductory recitative from the tenor – just two bars in length – creates a mood familiar from Bach’s Passions. This is followed by the words of Jesus, addressed to Peter, in a basso ostinato setting full of earnestness and dignity. The soprano/alto duet is a skilful chamber piece garnered from the main theme, with an obbligato instrumental [oboe d’amore] line. The final chorale, the last strophe of the well-known “Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (Whoever lets the dear God reign) by Georg Neumark (1657) forms a simple conclusion to the work.>> © Klaus Hofmann 2008

Cantata 88 Historical Commentary

Bach used this Rudolstadt text because of its inherent appeal, from the biblical quotations and poetry to the closing chorale. This was noticed by the first Bach scholars while, IMHO, the historical perspective of various Bach writers suggests that Bach scholarship has significantly improved in the past century, as well as the specific focus of the figures such as Philipp Spitta, Albert Schweitzer, W. Gillies Whittaker, and Alfred Dürr.

While these authorities remained faithful to source critical materials, in essence the early writers Spitta and Schweitzer were making the case for the importance of Bach's music and chose evidence (examples) that illustrated features of the form more than the content, often from the contemporary perspective of late romanticism that like Baroque music with operatic qualities. Spitta, who championed biblical aria movements and solo cantatas in his Bach biography, cites the opening Vox Christi aria of Cantata 88, calling it a "grand tone picture in two divisions" that "constitute the romantic aspect of the feeling he desires to depict," also found in the St. Matthew Passion.8 Schweitzer in his Bach biography singles out the wave motive "tone-painting" or "mood painting" and wind fanfares in this same biblical dictum movement.9

Whittaker in The Cantatas of JSB was the first to systematically and extensively explore in depth both the form and the content of each movement of the cantatas, although hampered by Spitta's exacting but flawed dating of the manuscripts that distorted the big picture of Bach's creative world. . Still, Whittaker's findings and observations have an insight and enthusiasm developed from those first expressed by Spitta and Schweitzer.10 Whittaker speaks of Cantata 88 having "a certain spaciousness which is created in" the first movement. "It is not one of the most popular solo cantatas, yet it has a fascination that increases on acquaintance." He also notes the strong contrast between the mood and language of the two parts of the cantata, a rare natural division.

Alfred Dürr in his Cantatas of JSB concludes that these special features “are intentional, peculiar to this cantata, and stimulated by the text.”11

Finally, Bach’s motivation for composing Cantata 88, possible ‘Lost Bach Third Cycle Cantatas,’ the Rudolstadt texts, and Johann Ludwig Bach’s Cantatas to the same text are explored in the Cantata 88, BCM: Discussions Part 3 (July 20, 2011),

Bach performance calendar, 5th Sunday after Trinity:
1723-06-27 So – no performance recorded
1724-07-09 So - Cantata BWV 93 Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (1st performance, Leipzig)
1725-07-01 So - G.P. Telemann: Cantata Der Segen des Herrn machet reich ohne Muhe, TVWV 1:310 (1st performance, Leipzig)
1726-07-21 So - Cantata BWV 88 Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden (1st performance, Leipzig)
1727-07-13 So – no performance recorded
1728-06-27 So – Picander text only P-43, chorales (Mvt. 1 & 5), "In allen meinen Taten"
1735-07-10 So 5.So.n.Trin. - G.H. Stölzel: Gott hat uns gesegnet mit allerlei geistlichem Segen, Mus. A 15:245 + Er reinigte ihm selbst ein Volk zum Eigentum, Mus. A 15:246
Vocal works with no definite date:
(1732-1733) - Cantata BWV 93 Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (2nd performance, Leipzig)

Cantatas for the 5th Sunday after Trinity

Bach composed only two cantatas for the 5th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig, for the chorale cycle No. 2 in 1724, Cantata BWV 93, and BWV 88 for cycle No. 3 in 1726. In 1723, 1725 and 1726, Bach seemed content to focus his energies on works for the Feasts of John the Baptist (June 24) and the Visitation of Mary (July 2). Meanwhile, there were three other cantata texts that were available to him or for the services for which he was responsible, from Franck for Cantata Cycle 1, a Neumeister text used in 1725 probably to a cantata by Telemann, and a Picander text for 1728.

A. Chorale Cantata BWV 93, “Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten” (Who only the loving God lets govern) (Leipzig, 1724, repeated 1732 or 1733), is a seven-movement work which uses all seven of Georg Neumark's popular 1657 consolatory hymn in structured and creative fashion, having text tropes with original poetry, possibly by Picander, and the melody presented by Bach, according to Charles S. Terry's study, BCW:, scroll down to Cantata XCIII.

B. Rudolstadt Cantata BWV 88 <Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden> (Behold, I will send many fishers forth), (Leipzig, 1726), from the 1703 Meiningen annual cycle text (reprinted 1719/1726), two parts. The closing chorale (no. 7) is Stanza 7, “Sing, bet und geh auf Gottes Wegen,” (Sing, pray and go on God's way) of Neumark's chorale, “Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten.”

There may have been as many as three other opportunities for Bach to have presented cantatas on this Sunday in three other cycles, for a total of five possibilities:

C. For Cycle 1 in 1723, it seems that Bach and his still-unknown librettist(s) focused their weekly cenergies on producing two cantatas for the adjacent feast days of John the Baptist (June 24, BWV 167) and the Visitation of Mary (July 2, BWV 147 from Weimar) instead of on the Fifth and Sixth Sundays After Trinity, June 27, and July 4, respectively. Bach had available for the 5th Sunday after Trinity a cantata text of Salomo Franck from his 1715 annual cycle, Evangelisches Andachtsopfer (Evangelical Devotional Offerings), which Bach had used for the previous week in Weimar (July 14, 1717) to compose Cantata BWV 185, which he repeated the previous week in Leipzig, June 20, 1723. Thus no Bach work for the 5th Sunday after Trinity is extant for Cycle 1 in Leipzig.

D. For post-Cycle 2, a libretto text book exists for the cantatas presented in the Leipzig main churches in mid 1725 for early Trinity Time from the Third to the Sixth Sundays after Trinity, June 17 to July 8, and the two intervening feasts of St. John and the Visitation of Mary, when Bach took his first break and probably was in Köthen. In the middle of that period, for the 5th Sunday after Trinity (July 1, 1725) the book lists the cantata, “Der Segen des Herrn machet reiche ohne Mühe” (The blessing of the Lord makes right without trouble, Proverbs 10:22), from Neumeister's first "modern" cantata cycle, Geistliches Singen und Spielen (Sacred Songs and Plays), Gotha 1711. Bach used the Neumeister 1711 cycle to compose Weimar Cantata BWV 18,< Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt> (As the rain and snow fall from Heaven) for Sexageismae Sunday.

The most likely candidate for the 5th Sunday after Trinity in 1725 is Telemann's Cantata TVWV 1:310, using the Neumeister text and composed in Frankfurt in 1719. The work has a brief opening chorus set to Proverbs 10:22, and can be found on YouTube: The Telemann work includes a second chorus (No. 3), Bless he who the Lord feareth (Ps. 128:2), two arias, and, significantly, an omnes tempore plain chorale: No. 5 the popular “Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten” (closing Stanza 7, "Sing, pray and walk on God's own pathways). Neumeister's original text is found in Werner Neumann's Sämtliche von JSB vertonte Texte, Leipzig 1974: 106, 435.

Two texts in the 1725 libretto book also are from the Neumeister cycle, "Gelobet sei der Herr," der Gott Israel" (Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel; Luke 1:68) for the feast of John the Baptist, and "Wer sich rauchet" (He who avenges, Ecclesiasticus 28:1-2), for the 6th Sunday after Trinity, both also part of Telemann's 1719 cycle setting of Neumeister's text, TVWV 1:596, and TVWV 1600.

The other two texts were very popular and appropriate for their respective services, the< omne tempore chorale, Johann Agricola's "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" (I call to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ) for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity, and Luther's German <Magnificat setting>, "Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn" (My soul magnifies the Lord, Luke 1:47) for the Feast of the Visitation of Mary. Given that Bach as cantor was responsible (as he had been the previous two years) for the printing and distribution of the five-cantata libretto book to subscribing congregants four weeks prior to the 3rd Sunday after Trinity, it is highly likely that he worked closely with his second, Georg Balthasar Schott, music director of the progressive Leipzig New Church, who often presented popular Telemann Cantatas.

E. The most intriguing situation regarding a libretto text for the 5th Sunday after Trinity is found in Picander's annual Cantata Cycle, Kantaten Auf die Sonn- and Fest-Tage, published in Leipzig on the Feast of St. John, June 24, 1728, for all coming 70 services of the church year, including all eight Sundays in Advent and Lent, the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany and the 26th Sunday after Trinity. Besides beginning the actual cycle in early Trinity Time, the publication, like the same time period in the 1725 Trinity Time libretto book, begins with popular incipits (titles), repeating "Gelobet sei der Herr" for St. John's Day, and “Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn” for Visitation (July 2).

Most intriguing of all is the title for the intervening 5th Sunday after Trinity, June 27, 1728, Picander text P-47: "In allen meinen Taten," (In all my deeds), the title of Paul Fleming's popular 1642 hymn text of submission and humility set in 1670 to Paul Gerhardt's 1648 Passion melody, "O Welt, ich muss dich lassen" (O world, I must leave thee), found in the 1682 Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (NLGB No. 239, Christian Life & Conduct) for Trinity Time. The Picander libretto uses Stanza 1 for the opening movement and the final stanza 9, "So sei nun, Seele, deine und traue dem alleine" (Therefore, my soul, be true to yourself and trust him alone), as a plain chorale in the final movement, No. 5.

Klaus Häfner's study, "Der Picander-Jahrgang," Bach Jahrbuch 61 (1965: 70-113), says that none of the three Picander texts with well-known incipit titles is related, respectively, to Bach's pure-hymn Chorale Cantata BWV 97 setting of all nine stanzas of "In allen meinen Taten," autograph date "1734" for unspecified church service; the Neumeister text of "Gelobet sei der Herr," or the German Magnificat Bach setting, chorale Cantata BWV 10, for Visitation 1724. Nor is there any parody (text substitution) relationship between movements in the three Picander texts and any known Bach cantatas, as there is in most of the nine extant Picander texts Bach set as cantatas.

A work attributed to Bach in the 1770 Breitkopf catalog, BWV Anh. 1, <Gesegnet ist die Zuversicht> (How blessed is the confidence; trans. by Z. Philip Ambrose), possibly was composed by Georg Philipp Telemann for the 7th Sunday after Trinity, Cantata TVWV 1:616.

Lutheran Church Year Traditions, Practices

The 5th Sunday after Trinity often falls close to the Day of the Apostles Peter and Paul, June 29, known as the Apostles Day, usually after the summer equinox. In Leipzig, these saints days generally were observed on the actual day (Stiller: <JSB & Liturgical Life in Leipzig>, 1984: 57). The only saints' feast days to be observed with Bach's music were John the Baptist (June 24; BWV 7, 30, 167) and Michael (September 29; BWV 19, 50, 130, 149), as well as the half-holidays of Stephen, the first Christian martyr (December 26; BWV 40, 57), and the Evangelist (Gospel writer) John (December 27, BWV 151), which respectively coincided with the Second and Third Feast Days of Christmas. Thus, Luther's and the Reformation's themes of discipleship and service are paramount during this Trinity Time Sunday in the teachings of the Christian Church.

Historically, the Lutheran Mass Propers for this 5th Sunday after Trinity "closes the first of the smaller internal cycles within the Trinity Season. It may be called the cycle of the `Invitation,' or the `Call to the Kingdom of Grace'," says Paul Zeller Strodach in The Church Year.12 The focus of the first five Sundays after Trinity in Bach’s time was on Martin Luther's principals of the individual's "Calling" or Vocation and "Grace freely given." The Calling (“Berufung”) is derived from Paul's Letter, 1 Corinthians 7:17: "But as God has distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches."13

The Calling was particularly relevant and crucial to the 20th Century German Lutheran Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship, of the individual's choice between "costly grace" or "cheap grace." Drawn from the "Sermon on the Mount," his 1937 study is a "compelling statement of demands of sacrifice and ethical consistency from a man whose life (1907-1945) and thought were exemplary articulations of a new type of leadership inspired by the Gospel, and imbued with the spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty," says publisher Touchstone,


1 Cantata 88 BCW Details& Discography, Score Vocal & Piano [1.76 MB],, Score BGA [2.24 MB], References: BGA XX/1 (Cantatas 81-90, Wilhelm Rust 1872), NBA I/17.2 (Trinity 5 Cantatas, Reinmar Emans, 1993, Bach Compendium, BC A 105, Zwang: K 144.
2 Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Die geistlichen Kantaten des 1. Bis 27. Trinitas-Sontagges, Vol. 1; Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastian Bachs, Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2004: 138.
3 See Musical Context of Bach’s Cantatas: Motets and Chorales for the 5th Sunday after Trinity, BCW, and Charles S. Terry,>, scroll down to Cantata XCIII. The German text and Francis Browne’s English translation are found at BCW Text and melody information are found at BCW Neumark (1621-81) BCW Short Biography, see
4 Stiller, Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, ed. Robin A. Leaver (St. Louis MO: Concordia Publishing,1985: 242).
5 Cantata 88 German text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW
6 Cantata 88 Gardiner notes,[sdg141_gb].pdf; Recording details,
7 Cantata 88 Hofmann notes,[BIS-SACD1791].pdf; BCW Recording details
8 Philipp Spitta, Johann Sebastian Bach (London: Novello & Company, 1989 (trans. Clara Bell & J. A. Fuller-Maitland); 3-volume edition (New York: Dover Publications, 1951: II: 472, 561).
9 Albert Schweitzer, J. S. Bach (Leipzig: Breitfkopf & Härtel, 1911 translation by Ernest Newman; New York: Dover Publications: 1966: II: 44, 76, 256).
10 W. Gillies Whittaker, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach: Sacred & Secular (London: Oxford University Press, 1958: I:425ff).
11 Alfred Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones (New York: Oxford University Press, New York, 2005: 432).
12 Strodach, The Church Year: Studies in the Introits, Collects, Epistles and Gospels (Philadelphia: United Lutheran Pub. House 1924: 195ff).
13 A summary of the subject is found in, Search: Our Calling and God's Glory by Gene Edward Veith,
A noted 20th century Swedish theologian writing on Our Calling was Einar Billing (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964).

Aryeh Oron wrote (June 30, 2016):
Cantata BWV 88 - Revised & updated Discography

Cantata BWV 88 "Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden" (See, I will send out many fishermen) was composed in Leipzig for the 5th Sunday after Trinity of 1726. The cantata is scored for soprano, alto, tenor & bass soloists; 4-part Chorus; and orchestra of 2 horns, 2 oboes d'amore, taille, 2 violins, viola, & continuo

The discography pages of BWV 88 on the BCW have been revised and updated. See:
Complete Recordings (11):
Recordings of Individual Movements (4):
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 & 1 video of the cantata. A short description below the audio/video image is linked to the full details at the discography pages.

I believe this are the most comprehensive discography of the cantata. If you are aware of a recording of BWV 88 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 current discussion of the cantata in the BCML (4th round):



Cantata BWV 88: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Recordings & Discussions of Cantatas: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Cantatas BWV Anh | Order of Discussion
Discussions of General Topics: Cantatas & Other Vocal Works | Performance Practice | Radio, Concerts, Festivals, Recordings


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Last update: Monday, September 11, 2017 15:26