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Cantata BWV Anh 209
Liebster Gott, vergißt du mich
Discussions - Part 1

Discussions in the Week of February 19, 2017 (4th round)

William Hoffman wrote (February 22, 2017):
Lost Cantata BWV Anh. 209, “Liebster Gott, vergisst du mich”

During Bach’s composition of the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, in 1726 and 1727, he had the good fortune to create special, occasional cantatas for three memorial services of dignitaries, music involving adaptations and parodies that constitute part of his great fabric of music of mourning and consolation. The first service came when Bach had virtually ceased composing church cantata after the third cycle. Presented on 6 February 1727 at the estates church in Pomßen, were two cantatas for Christoph von Ponickau, Saxon Chamberlain and Privy Councillor in Leipzig. The service involved Cantatas BWV 157, “Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn!” (I am not letting you go, unless you bless me first!), and BWV Anh. 209, “Liebster Gott, vergisst du mich” (Dearest God, forget'st thou me), text only is extant. Possibly originating in Weimar, these two cantatas would serve dual purposes as musical sermons for the church year services, BWV 157 for the Feast of the Purification, and BWV Anh. 209 for the 7th or 15th Sunday after Trinity.

Cantata Anh. 209, only recently accepted into the Bach Werke Verzeichnis canon, survives only in its Georg Christian Lehms Trinity Time original text and the Christian Friedrich Henrici (known as Picander) selective parody adaptation as a memorial work. Performed more than a year before during the second half of 1725, this intimate musical sermon could have served as a tribute to Salomo Franck, Weimar Court poet and Bach friend. Franck had died in early June of that year and four his texts are instilled in Cantatas 168, 164, 161, and 152, performed at that time in special recognition.

The memorial service for which Cantatas 157 and Anh. 209 were composed is described in detail at the Bach Cantatas Website (BCW), “On October 31, 1726, Johann Christoph von Ponickau, chamberlain, court counsellor and appeal judge, died at the age of 75 and a few days later was buried in the family vault at the Church of Pomßen (about 22 miles southeast of Leipzig). He had been a personality of high repute and in many ways Saxony had been indebted to him. We do not know whether he had any direct links with J.S. Bach. In Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander)'s collection of verse, however, we find an extended funeral ode on his death, followed immediately by the text of the cantata Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn!, BWV 157. It thus seems possible that Picander had a hand in commissioning the cantata from J.S. Bach. This work was performed at a solemn memorial service at Pomßen Church on February 6, 1727. According to the commemoration print of the sermon (though not in Picander), this funeral music had a second part, performed 'after the sermon', namely the cantata Liebster Gott, vergiflt du mich, BWV Anh. I 209. That work had been written for the 7th Sunday after Trinity to a text from Georg Christian Lehms' [1711] collection Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer, which required only slight alterations for the funeral service. Evidently, then, J.S. Bach reused an existing setting of this Lehms text, presumably one that he had composed himself.”

The Ponickau service involved two works with possible origins to Bach’s tenure in Weimar. Cantatas BWV 157 and Anh. 209 apparently were presented by Bach musical assistant, Christoph Gottlob Wecker (1706-1774). Wecker, a member of the Leipzig “Görner” Collegium Musicum and a “participant in Bach’s church music performances” while a law student at Leipzig University, “saw to the publication of the [memorial] cantata texts, the sermons, an the poems in a handsome format,” says Robert L. and Traute M. Marshall.1

Three weeks later, on 26 February 1727, Bach wrote a letter (BD I, no. 18) to the Chemnitz town council recommending (unsuccessfully) Wecker for the vacant post of cantor at the Jacobkirche. Two years later, Bach wrote a testimonial (BD I, no. 60), dated 20 March 1729, and Wecker was appointed cantor at the Dreifaltigkeitskirche in Schweidnitz, Silesia.

For the 6 February 1727 solemn memorial service in nearby Pomßen, a commemoration print of the sermon, shows a second cantata performed after the sermon, says Alfred Dürr in The Cantatas of J. S. Bach (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005: 766f). This is lost Cantata BWV Anh. 209, “Liebster Gott, vergisst du mich” (“Dearest God, will you forget me, Psalm 44:25b), based on a 1711 text by the Darmstadt court poet Georg Christian Lehms (1684-1717). It also may have been composed or planned originally in Weimar for the 7th Sunday after Trinity, 15 July 1714, and adapted through selective parody for this special service.2

Initially, Cantata BWV Anh. 209 was studied in Klaus Hofmann’s monograph of Cantata 157.3 The commemorative print title, reprinted in Hofmann’s article (Ibid., Footnote 8: 53), shows the sermon of Pastor Johann Joachim Steinhäusern was based on Genesis 32:26, the incipit of Cantata 157 “Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn!” (I am not letting you go, unless you bless me first!), with the Carus 2002 score found at

Cantata Anh. 209: Weimar Origin, Genesis

The origin and genesis of Cantata BWV Anh. 209 remains obscured and intriguing. Following Bach’s Weimar appointment on 2 March 1714 as Concertmaster with the duties to compose new cantatas for services every four weeks, he produced four successive cantatas: BWV 182 for Palm Sunday, 24 March; BWV 12 for the 3rd Sunday after Easter (Jubilate), 22 April; BWV 172, for Pentecost Sunday, 20 May; and BWV 21, for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity, 17 June.

Then the record becomes uncertain. For the 7th Sunday after Trinity, July 15, Bach may have composed Cantata BWV Anh. 209 (Hofmann Ibid.: 62-65). At the same time, as Bach considered the Georg Christian Lehms text, he may have composed Cantata 54, “Widerstehe doch der Sünde” (Stand firm against sin), also a Lehms text from the same 1711 annual cycle, designated for Occuli Sunday (Third Sunday in Lent), the day after Bach was appointed Concertmaster. According to Bach scholars, this BWV 54 text also has references appropriate for the readings for the 7th Sunday after Trinity. For the 11th Sunday after Trinity, Bach apparently re-performed soprano solo Cantata BWV 199, set to a Lehms text and probably composed in 1713. There is no record for the next three dates: Trinity 15, 9 September; Trinity 19, 7 October; and Trinity 23, November 4. Four weeks later, on the first Sunday in Advent, 2 December, Bach presented Cantata 61. It is possible that no performances were allowed in Saxe-Weimar during a mourning period for Habsburg Queen Maria Luisa of Savoy, beloved wife of King Philip V of Spain, who died on 14 February 1714. Philip V remarried on 24 December 1714.

Bach could have composed Cantata BWV Anh. 209, “Liebster Gott, vergisst du mich” (“Dearest God, will you forget me?, Psalm 44:25b), for the 7th Sunday after Trinity in 1714 in Weimar, as designated in the Lehms text, made adjustments for the 1727 memorial service, and possibly reverted to the original for the same Trinity Common Time Sunday, 15 July 1725, suggests Martin Petzoldt in his Bach Kommentar, Vol. 1, Advent to Trinityfest.4 A side-by-side comparison of the Lehms 1711 text and the 1727 sermon commemoration print is found in Petzoldt’s monumental study of the biblical sources and theological meaning of Bach’s vocal work texts. The performances for the 7th Sunday after Trinity in Weimar were presented before the sermon (not extant) on the day’s Gospel, Mark 8:1-9, Feeding the multitude, by Superintendent Johann Georg Layritz (1714) and in Leipzig by Pastor ChriWeise (1725), according to Petzoldt.

The text of BWV Anh. 209 shows an intimate musical sermon of an opening recitative, an aria, a scena of a recitative with aria and arioso interspersed, the plain chorale, a recitative, and a closing da-capo aria. Since Cantata 157 before the memorial sermon probably was scored for tenor, bass, transverse flute, oboe d’amore, violin or viola and continuo (with soprano and alto in the closing chorale), it can be assumed that Cantata BWV Anh. 209 after the sermon was similarly scored. The central chorale (no. 4) is the ?Erasmus Alberus 1561 hymn "Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz" (Why are you afflicted, my heart?). The sermon print uses Stanza 2, “Er kann und will dich lassen nicht” (He cannot and will not abandon you), probably chosen by Bach to better conform with the memorial sermon incipit, Genesis 23:26, “Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn!” (I am not letting you go, unless you bless me first!), which also is the incipit for Cantata 157, which may have originated in Weimar as funeral music.

"Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz?" (Why Are You Afflicted, My Heart?), the 14-verse chorale (with variant stanzas), was written before-1563 of Alberus, a pupil of Martin Luther pupil. It is found in Das neu Leipzgier Gesangbuch (NLGB) of 1682 as No. 275, "Of the Cross: Persecution and Trial," for Trinity 7, 9, and 15. 5 Bach’s other uses of this hymn are found in Cantata 138, a 1723 hybrid chorale cantata setting of the first three stanzas, respectively, a chorus fantasia, plain chorale with recitative trope (no. 3), and a closing plain chorale (no. 7). To close Cantata 47 for the 17th Sunday after Trinity 1726, Bach harmonized the 11th stanza, beginning with the text "Der zeitlichen Ehrn will ich gern entbehrn" (Worldly honour I shall do without completely).

Other, selective changes in Cantata BWV Anh. 209 through parody from the original Lehms text,6 probably done by Picander, the librettist of Cantata 157, are found in the sermon print: 1. Recitative, lines 9-10: “Nach einem Bisse trachte” (For just one bite am seeking) becomes “Da ich mein Jock des Creutzes trage” (There I carry my cross’s yoke) and “Und hier vor Hunger fast verschmachte?” (And here from hunger am near dying?) becomes “Jammer fast versage:” (Misery almost disheartened). In aria (no. 2), lines 17-19, “Hertz und Seele will sich scheiden” (Heart and soul seek departure) becomes “Hertz und Seele quilt von Klagen” (Heart and soul full of groaning), “Und diß Marter=volle Leiden” becomes “Plagen” (And this torment-filled suffering, now “torment”), and “Prest mir heißes Blut heraus:” (Drains the feverish blood from me) becomes “heiße Thränen raus” (feverish tears). The second recitative (no. 5), beginning “Mein Geist erholt sich wieder” (My Soul has recovered) then is completely changed from “Da mir so süsse Lieder / Durch meine Seele gehn. / Nun hab ich Trost genung, / Nun will ich auch bestehn!” (Through my soul do course. / When songs so sweet / Through my soul do course / Now have I cheer enough. Now will I also endure!), becomes “Gott schläget zwar darnieder;/ Allein er hilf uns auch. Das ist sein Vater-Brauch, Der legt, der sorget noch” (God strikes so low; / alone he helps us also. This is his father-tradition. He lives, who worries still.).

The biblical references and illusions in BWV Anh. 209, particularly to Psalms, are discussed in Petzoldt’s Commentary (Ibid.), with a comparison of the text and changes. The opening recitative with incipit, “Liebster Gott, vergißtu mich!” (Dearest God, forget'st thou me), is based on Psalm 44:25b, “our belly cleaveth unto the earth” (KJV). The aria (no. 2), with its initial repetition of the incipit, alludes to Psalm 22:2, “Mein Gott, mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen?” (My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?), Jesus’ words on the cross in Mat. 27:46. In the funeral text, this is reinforced with the change in the opening recitative to “Da ich mein Jock des Creutzes trage” (There I carry my cross’s yoke). The scena (no. 2) begins with a recitative, “Bey diesen Worten muß / Ein Schwerde durch meine Seele gehen” (With all these words there must / A sword through my soul be driven), that leads to the aria motto, “Es ist genung Herr Jesu laß mich sterben” (It is enough, Lord Jesus, let me die), a reference to 1 Kings 4bc. The recitative pleads for death and the aria accepts death as an “Angenehmstes” (pleasant portion) and “allerliebstes” (cherished gift). The chorale (no. 4), is the first stanza in Lehms’ libretto, "Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz?," spoken by the Holy Spirit, based on Psalms 42:6 and 106:33a. In the funeral text, Bach chose Stanza 2 of the chorale (no. 4), beginning “Er kann und will dich lassen nicht” (He cannot and will not abandon you), which also is used as the soprano canto in Motet BWV Anh. 159 (see below). This is followed with a new recitative (no. 5) in the funeral text in which the Spirit’s emphasis is changed from death as a sweet song of cheer to God’s intervention. The closing movement, a da-capo aria virtually unchanged at the funeral, begins, “Hör auf zu winseln und zu klagen” (Dispense with moaning and groaning), in the brief B section says, “Darffstu allhier noch nicht verzagen” (Mayest thou while here not yet lose courage), and concludes in the da capo with, “Drum darffstu dich nicht ferner grämen: / So lange Gold noch ewig heist” (Hence mayest thou no longer worry: / So long as gold eternal is).

Motet BWV Anh. 159, Ich lasse dich nicht

About 1713, Bach probably composed his first motet (double chorus) to the same incipit, “’Ich lasse dich nicht,” BWV Anh. III 159, which could have been for the 13 July 1713 funeral of Margareth Feldhaus (née Wedemann), wife of the burgomaster of Arnstadt, says the BCW In the second section, the choir is no longer divided, the soprano sings the cantus firmus of the chorale, "Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz," to the text, Stanza 3, “Weil du mein Gott und Vater bist” (Since you are my God and father). Meanwhile the lower voices engage in imitative polyphony of the opening incipit.

The original publication of the motet BWV Anh. 159 included a harmonization of the hymn "Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz," Stanza 3, but later an alternate stanza, “Dir, Jesu, Gottes Sohn, sei Preis," Stanza 8 in one version of the chorale text. “The closing chorale was not part of the score but appeared first in the first print of the motet in 1802 by Johann Gottfried Schicht, also a Thomaskantor,” says Wikipedia.7 “He found the setting [BWV 421 variant] in Bach's chorales collected by Carl Philip Emanuel Bach and Johann Philipp Kirnberger in 1787, transposed it from A minor to F minor and adjusted the time to the motet.” Plain chorale BWV 420, also in A Minor, could be a setting found in BWV Anh. 209/4, Bach’s most complex harmonization.

Bach’s Trinity 7 Performance Calendar

Bach’s performance calendar for the 7th Sunday after Trinity shows two and possibly a third cantata composed in Weimar and available in Leipzig. For the first cycle in 1723, Bach chose chorus Cantata BWV 186a “Ärgre dich, o Seele nicht, which he expanded to two parts with the addition of a second plain chorale and four recitatives. Lost Cantata BWV Anh. 209 may have been performed in 1725 in the pre-Cycle 3 Trinity Time when Bach selectively presented only a handful of works. Brief solo alto Cantata 54, also appropriate for this Sunday, apparently was never performed in Leipzig although its opening movement was parodied in the 1731 St. Mark Passion as the aria (no. 19 [53]), “Falsche Welt, dein schmeichelnd Küssen” (Untrue world, thy fawning kisses), at Judas’ betrayal (Mark 14:45). In 1724 for the second cycle, Bach composed chorale Cantata 107, “Was willst du dich betrüben,” and for the third cycle set a two-part Rudolstadt text for chorus Cantata, “Es wartet alles auf dich.”

The second group of Trinity Time Cantatas (the Sixth to the 11th Sunday After Trinity) "is rich with practical indications of the Right Manner of Life the Kingdom of Grace," emphasizing the "new life of righteousness," says notred Lutheran theoogian Paul Zeller Strodach in The [Lutheran] Church Year: Studies in the Introits, Collects, Epistles and Gospels (Philadelphia PA: United Lutheran Publication House, 1924: 198ff). Like the Christian comparison and contrast of the New Covenant in the Blood of Christ" with the Old Testament covenants between God and the People of Israel, the "new righteousness" the Old Testament models of righteousness of the law, from the Scribes and Pharisees, with the "new" Christian concept of righteousness through the Sacrament of Baptism, also known as the Sacrament of Initiation into Christianity.

This theme of the “new life of righteousness” “is being progressively developed Sunday after Sunday” (Strodach, Ibid.: 201f), and emerges in both Lessons for the Seventh Sunday After Trinity. While the two readings, especially the day’s appointed Gospel of the miracle of the feeding of thousands (Mark 8:1-9), suggest the bounty from the Heavenly Father, the “new life of righteousness” theme is particularly found in the Epistle Romans 6:19-23, “The wages of sin is death.” [19] “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.”

There is the exhortation, “even so now [ye] yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (verse 19) to avoid the yielding of earthly “fruit” producing the “wages” (cost) of sin. Thus, the servant of sin earns the wages of death while the servant of God earns the gift of eternal life. The Gospel offers the compassion and assurance that Jesus has collective “compassion on the multitude” (verse 2), offering the bounty of sustenance. The reward for the righteous will be the blessings. Thus Cantata BWV Anh. 209 was appropriate for the 7th Sunday after Trinity” in Bach’s time, reflecting the Epistle teaching that “The wages of sin is death,” although Bach’s three Leipzig-composed cantatas BWV 186, 107, and 187 are more appropriate for the Gospel on the bounty of sustenance.

The 7th Sunday after Trinity has a similar biblical theme and teaching as the 15th Sunday after Trinity, “Christian trust in God despite false teachings and appearances,” through the parables, miracles, and teachings of Jesus. In 1723 Bach chose a chorale for the 15th Sunday after Trinity, also appropriate for the 7th Sunday after Trinity, for Cantata 138, “Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz?” (Why are you afflicted, my heart), with the appropriate theme of “Cross, Persecution and Challenge.”

Cantata Anh. 209 Status

Recent scholarship shows that during this pre-third cycle period of Trinity Ordinary Time (omnes tempore) in the second half of 1726, cantatas set to texts of Salomo Franck were selectively composed or reperformed, involving BWV 168, 164, and 161 and 152. When Bach came to Leipzig in 1723 with some two dozen Weimar sacred cantatas available, he utilized all but one, BWV 54, for a sacred church year service, mostly in the first cycle. At Trinity Time 1725 he composed two Weimar cantatas to Salomo Frank texts, BWV 168 and 164, selectively, for the 9th and 13th Sundays after Trinity, 29 July and 26 August, respectively. These two cantatas Bach originally may have planned to present in 1715 but was unable to because of the closed mourning period for Prince Johann Ernest, who died on 1 August. No performances were allowed from the 7th to the 21st Sundays after Trinity when the ban was partially lifted on 10 November.8 A decade later, Franck had died in June 1725 when Bach was not presenting cantatas on a regular basis, his first sacred cantata composing break since coming to Leipzig in 1723. Instead, Bach well may have reperformed BWV Anh. 209 on the 7th Sunday after Trinity, 15 July, or the 15th Sunday after Trinity, 9 September, and composed and presented Cantatas 168 and 164 as further tributes to his beloved friend.

Bach also probably, selectively reperformed two other Franck-texted cantatas, BWV 161 on the 16th Sunday after Trinity, 16 September, and BWV 152 for the Sunday after Christmas on 29 December, according to research of Christine Blanken.9 She examines a published annual cycle in Nuremberg in 1728 by Bach assistant Christoph Birkmann (1703-1771) and Leipzig University theology and liberal arts student, who participated in local collegia musica. Birkmann doubtless had access to Bach’s copies of the published or so-to-be-published cycles. In his annual cycle compilation, Gott geheilighte Sabbaths-Zehnden (God-Devoted Sunday Tithes), Birkmann used the texts of Franck, Lehms, and Picander10 that Bach utilized, as well as his own writings. The cycle includes the original version of Cantata Anh. 209 with the Lehms text, says Blanken, while Birkmann “allocated it to the 15th Sunday after Trinity. In view of the current gap in the chronology of Bach’s Leipzig cantatas it seems likely that this cantata – in an unknown composition using the original version of the Lehms text – was also performed at Leipzig’s main churches, most likely in the year of 1725. Whether this occurred on the 7th or the 15th [Sunday] after Trinity cannot be answered at present, although the 15th Sunday after Trinity [9 September] seems more probable, as Birkmann allocated reused texts to the same Sundays as were performed in Leipzig.”

Regarding lost Cantata BWV Anh. 209, it probably was not part of the 1750 cantata cycles’ estate division primarily between Friedemann and Emmanuel, since no trace of the score or parts set has been found. When adapting the work for the Ponickau funeral, Bach simply had Picander make slight changes in the Lehms text wording for the vocalists’ parts as Picander was compiling the memorial book in the distinguished, printed format (cited above). It is possible that Bach had the Ponickau family presented with the score and parts set of this work to accompany the printing and further satisfy the commission. This may be the reason other Bach works composed for the Saxon court and its Leipzig dignitaries, survive only as printed texts, particularly the various occasional drammi per musica, BWV Anh. 9, 11, 12, and 13, as well as Cantatas 216 and Anh. 10, 14, 195, and 196. Cantata BWV Anh. 10 was one of three birthday serenades Bach presented to honor Count Joachim Friedrich von Flemming, Saxon City Governor in Leipzig, whose favor Picander courted and also parodied in BWV 249b and 210a in 1731, 1726, and possibly as early as 1729, respectvely.11

Cantata 157, Possible Weimar Source?

Although conjectural, the source of Cantata 157 may have been Bach’s two-part lost Cantata BWV deest [BC B-19], “Was ist, das wir Leben nennen” (What is this we call life), performed on 2 April 1716 at the Weimar Court Chapel for Prince Johann Ernst III, Bach’s beloved friend (biography & compositions, The music is lost while the text survives, probably by court poet Salomo Franck. The text shows 22 movements: three choruses, six recitatives, four chorales, seven arias, and two ariosi. Because of its tenuous connection to Bach, this funeral cantata has not been accepted into the official canon of the Bach Werke Verzeichnis.

The extended, two-part sacred funeral cantata for Weimar Prince Johann Ernst was presented on Thursday, April 2, 1716. It may have been the work of the ailing court composer Johann Samuel Drese (c.1644 to 1 December 1716) or his son and successor, Johann Wilhelm Drese (1677-1745). The chorales (with Bach's harmonizations) are Michael Franck's "Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig" (Ah, how fleeting, ah how transitory), cf. plain chorale (A minor), BWV 26/2 (Trinity 24, 1724); Knoll's Passion chorale "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" (Heartily doth await me), cf. plain chorale in D Major, BWV 271=247/58 (Mark Passion, 1731); and Stanzas 1 and 3 of Vulpius' "Christus, der ist mein Leben" (Christ, You are my life), cf. plain choraBWV 281-2 (F, G Major).

Access to the complete printed text in the Weimar Court Library could assist in determining if this is a work of Bach and through a selective parody process, that music may have been utilized in Cantata 157. A cursory examination of the incipits found in the Bach Compendium BC B 19,12 suggests that among the five movements could be several with similar philological characteristics. The movements are: Aria (duet in canon), no. 1, “Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn!” I am not letting you go, unless you bless me first!), in aria no. 8, “Die Gerechten kommen bald zur stolzen Ruh” (The righteous come directly to their proud rest); no. 2, aria in two parts, “Ich halte meinen Jesum feste” (I hold my Jesus firmly), in aria (no. 12), “Der Himmel gönnt erlauchte Seelen” (The heavens sustain uplifted souls); Recitative (no. 3), “Mein lieber Jesu du” (My dearest Jesus, you), probably not possible as parody. and no. 5, chorale “Meinen Jesum lass ich nicht” (My Jesus, I will not leave thee), newly composed. The other movement, Scena (no. 4) involves an Aria (three part) and recitative with alternating repeats of Aria A and C sections: A. “Ja, ja, ich halte Jesum feste, / So geh ich auch zum Himmel ein” (Yes, yes, I hold on firmly to Jesus, / and so I also enter into heaven); B. “Da laß ich nicht, mein Heil, von dir, / Da bleibt dein Segen auch bei mir.” (There I do not let go, my saviour, of you / there, your blessing remains also with me.).

Summary Conclusion

Previously, Bach scholars had focused primarily on Bach’s talented students at the Thomas School, who served primarily as parts copyists while studying composition and keyboard performance. Through the collegia music and other learned connections, Bach cast a wider net, relying increasingly, for example, on university theology and law students Christoph Birkmann, who wrote texts, and Christoph Gottlob Wecker, preparing to be a cantor. During this third cycle and beyond, Bach also increasingly relied on main copyists, nephew Johann Heinrich Bach and university student Christian Gottlob Meißner,13 both also destined to become cantors. At the same time, recent research has come to fill some of the gaps in Bach’s performing calendar as well as reveal his greater use of the works of other composers, particularly Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel in the mid-1730s.

Following the initial performance of his Passion on Good Friday, 11 April 1727, Bach received another memorial commission: 17 October 1727 at the Leipzig University Paulinerkircke, Christiane Eberhardine, Queen of Poland and Electoral Princess of Saxony, Cantata BWV 198, “Laß, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl” (Let, Princess, let one more ray); and finally, 23-24 March 1729 in Cöthen at the Jacobikirche, Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, Memorial Cantata BWV 244a, “Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt” (Cry, children, cry to all the world; Z. Philip Ambrose translation). Bach used material in Cantata 198, as well as the Passion, for the Cöthen performance shortly before his second version of the Passion three weeks later on Good Friday, 15 April. Common to all three memorial works was the poet Christian Friedrich Picander, who used the process of parody, or new-text underlay, to alter BWV Anh. 209, and possibly BWV 157, to parody the music from the Passion, BWV 244, and BWV 198 in BWV 244a, and subsequently parodied BWV 198 core music in the St. Mark Passion in 1731.


1 Marshalls, Exploring the World of J. S. Bach: A Traveler’s Guide (University of Illinois Press, 2016: 176), published in cooperation with the American Bach Society.
2 Cited in Malcolm Boyd, Cantata 157 essay, Oxford Composer Companions: J. S. Bach, ed. Boyd (Oxford University Press: New York, 1999: 233). Cantata 157 funeral text originally published in Picander’s Ernst-Scherhaffte und Satyrische Gedicht, Vol. 1 (Leipzig 1727), The Picander printed text of Cantata 157 is preceded by a Picander strophic funeral ode for Ponickau, as was the custom, and probably delivered at the graveside burial in early November 1726.
3 Klaus Hofmann, “’Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn,’ BWV 157: Überlegungen zu Entstehung, Bestimmung und originaler Werkgestalt” (Reflections concerning, origin, purpose, and original version), Bach Jahbuch 1982: 78.
4 Martin Petzoldt, Martin. Bach Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 164). Dürr (Ibid.: 448), citing Hofmann (Footnote 3 above), briefly discusses Cantata BWV Anh. 209 for the 7th Sunday after Trinity and includes the incipits of the six movements.
5 Alberus text and Francis Browne's English translation found in BCW, Alberus (1500-53) BCW Short Biography is found at The melody is attributed to Bartholomeus Monoetius, Crailsheim 1565 (Appendix to Das gros Kirchen Gesangbuch, Straßburg 1560). Details of the Chorale Melody, text, and Bach's uses of this 14-stanza, 5-line (AABCC) hymn are found in BCW,
6 Translation courtesy of Philip Z. Ambrose: © Z. Philip Ambrose, translator, Web publication:
7 Wikipedia,,_BWV_Anh._159#cite_note-Pages-6), citing the source, Kurt Pages, See also,_du_segnest_mich_denn,_BWV_Anh._159_(Johann_Sebastian_Bach) and
8 Dates confirmed in The Routledge Research Companion to Johann Sebastian Bach, ed. Robin A. Leaver (London & New York: Routledge, 2017: 495).
9 Blanken, “A Cantata-Text Cycle of 1728 from Nuremberg: A preliminary report on a discovery relating to J. S. Bach’s so-called ‘Third Annual Cycle’,” Understanding Bach 2015, Vol. 10: 20f (Bach Network UK,, German version due in Bach Jahrbuch 2016.
10 Franck, Lehms, and Picander texts and their influences on sacred opera are discussed in Robin A. Leaver’s “Opera in der Kirche: Bach und der Kantatenstreit im frühen 18. Jahrhundert,” Bach Jahrbuch 2013: 170-201).
11 These and other progressive works for Saxon nobility are discussed in Szymon Paczkowski’s “Bach and the Story of an ‘Aria Tempo di Polonaise’ for Joachim Friedrich von Flemming, BACH, Riemenschneider Bach Institute (Berea, Ohio, Vol. 38 No. 2, 2007: 64-98). Bach’s dramatic occasional compositions are surveyed in William Hoffman’s “Bach’s Dramatic Music: Serenades, Drammi per Musica, Oratorios,” Bach Cantatas Website Articles, August 2008,
12 Bach Compendium: Analytisch-bibliographisches Repertorium der Werke Johann Sebastian Bachs, ed. Hans-Joachim Schulze and Christoph Wolff; Vol. 1, B Kirchenstücke für besondere Aässe, Funeral and Memorial Service, 898f (Leipzig: Peters, 1985-1989). The text, Des hochseeligste Printzen Johann Ernst Hertzogs zu Sachßens Tofesfall und Gedächtnüs, is located at the Staatsarchiv Weimar, Hofmarschallamt Nr. 2785.
13 Johann Heinrich Bach and Christian Gottlob Meißner are the subjects of Tatina Shabaline’s “Activities around the Composer’s Desk: The Roles of Bach and his Copyists in Parody Production” Understanding Bach 11 (2016): 9-38, Bach Network UK.



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