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Lutheran Church Year: Main Page and Explanation | LCY - Event Table | LCY 2000-2005 | LCY 2006-2010 | LCY 2011-2015 | LCY 2016-2020
Sundays & Holidays in the Lifetime of J.S. Bach | Performance Dates of Bach’s Vocal Works
Readings from the Epistles and the Gospels for each Event | Motets & Chorales for Events in the LCY
Discussions: Events in the Lutheran Church Year: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Readings from the Bible

Musical Context of Bach Cantatas
Motets & Chorales for Easter

 

Easter Sunday, 1st Day of Easter

Readings: Epistle: 1 Corinthians 5: 6-8; Gospel: Markus 16: 1-8

Dates in the lifetime of J.S. Bach, including works composed for the event

Easter Monday, 2nd Day of Easter

Readings: Epistle: Acts 10: 34-43; Gospel: Luke 24: 13-35

Dates in the lifetime of J.S. Bach, including works composed for the event

Easter Tuesday, 3rd Day of Easter

Readings: Epistle: Acts 13: 26-33; Gospel: Luke 24: 36-47

Dates in the lifetime of J.S. Bach, including works composed for the event

 

Motets and Chorales for Easter

 
 

Easter Chorales & Motets: 1725 Season, Easter Festival

William Hoffman wrote (May 4, 2015):
EASTER CHORALES

The compositional record shows that while Bach's general interest in Easter Season chorale settings diminished by the time of the Ascension and Pentecost festivals, his overall usage and treatment is extensive, varied, and systematic. Of particular note are the wealth of Easter, as well as non-Easter hymns, and the use of thematic hymns such as the Good Shepherd, Communion hymns, and ones that emphasize the Easter proclamation of the Word. Bach also used Easter hymns, as he did during Epiphany, to anticipate the coming feasts, especially for Ascension Day and Pentecost. While Bach uses few available Pentecost hymns in his cantatas, he does set several as organ preludes and four-part chorales, as well as certain Easter hymns. It is particularly interesting to note that for the single feast day at Ascension, Bach was able to accommodate several appropriate chorales, including two settings in his Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11 (“Du Lebensfürst, HJC” and “Gott fähret auf gen Himmel”). Perhaps Bach's possibly-lost Pentecost Oratorio (1735) may have utilized familiar chorales listed but not set in the Orgelbüchlein (see below). The following are the chorales that Bach set for his vocal works during the Easter Season:

Easter Season
*Ach, bleib bei uns <ET> [EM/VH], 6/3(S.1.2) EM; 253, 414 (alt. mel), 649; Anh. 4/6 (S.1.2.), Augsburg Confession 1730
Auf, mein Herz, des Herren Tag (mel. Jesu Meine Zuversicht) <EasterSeason>, 145a(S.1) ET 1729;
Baumherz'er Vater (mel. Was mein Gott will), 103/6(S.9) E3),
+*Christ lag in Todesbanden Easter Season, NLGB 89 [ES-E5/SH, 625(OB34), 695, 718; 4/1-8 (S.1-8) ES, 277, 278=?P28/6(S.6) ES, 279=158/4(ET)
+*Christ ist erstanden Easter Season, NLGB 99 [ES-E5/PH], 627(OB36, vv1-3), 66/6(v.3) EM, 276 (vv1-3); Latin Easter sequence Victimae paschali (1200 Leise), Lutheran setting transformed into 3-part chorale.
Christus ist erstanden, hat überwunden (mel. Allein Gott), 284
*Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, dem ich (Ps. 23), Becker (mel. Allein Gott in der Hoh) <E2> [E2/V(C)H], 104/6(S.1) E2, 85/3(S.1) E2,
Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, halt mir (Ps. 23), Meusel (mel. Allein Gott in der Hoh) <E2>, 112/1-5(S.1-5) E2 CC (5vv)
Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ <ET Dresden>, 67/7(S.1) E1, (143/2 NY); 112CC Tr. 25, OB 125, 1102
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deine Wort, 6/6(S.2) EM, 318, Anh. 50; OB 122 (Word, not set)
+*Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag <ET> 14 vv.) [ET-E1,E3-4/VH], 629(OB 38), 67/4(S.1) E1, 145/5(14) ET
+Erstanden ist der Heil'ge Christ, der den Tod, NLGB 94; 628(OB 37), 306 (PC)
Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (E5) 86/6(11)
Herr Jesu Christ, ich weiß gar wohl (mel. Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut), 166/3 (E4(1)
+*Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn, Kaspar Stolzhagen 1599, NLGB 95 [ES-ET/M, As/VH] (vespers, ET, As.), 630a(OB39); Anh. 190/6=P29/6 EM(mel.)=?342
Komm her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn (S.14-16, Mat. 11:28) JLB 8/8 E3
O süßer Herre, Jesu Christ (mel. Heut triumphert), Anh. 190/6=? (S.3), EM(1729)
Ist Gott mein Schutz und treuer Hirt (mel. Ist Gott mein Schild und Helfersmann, 85/6 E2
Lasset ab von eurer Tränen (mel. Werde munter, mein Gemüte), 146/8(9) E3 (1729) (Wustmann text sub.)
Selig ist die Seele (mel. Jesu meine Freude), 87/7(S.9), (E5)
Surrexit Christus Hodie (Z291, alt. S.5-6 Z8572 C, NLGB 101a); SBCB63; = Erstanden ist der herrliche Christ (Zahn 288, NLGB 101b)
Versage nicht <Dresden E3>, 42/4(S.1) E1
Zeuch ein zu deinen Toren (mel Helf mir Gotts Güte preisse), 183/5(5), E6

Easter, no Bach cantata setting
Auf, auf! Mein Herz, mit Freuden, 441 (SG, Easter)
Als verzig Tag' nach Ostern war'n, 266 (See Erscheinen ist, Easter)
+Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der den, Luther, 3 stanzas, Zahn 1978, NLGB 100; BWV 364 (Easter); 626(OB35); 665, 666 [Great 18];
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns, 363 (Eas.), 626 (OB 78, Eucharist, not set)
Jesu Christ, unser Trost und Leben, 475 (SG, Easter)
O du allersußeste Freude, JLB14/6(1, 5; E4)

Easter (NLGB, no Bach setting)
Der Heilgen Leben of Johann Spangler, 6 stanzas, NLGB 91
Victimae Paschali laudes, 8 stanzas, NLGB 92
Christo dem Osterlämmelein, Nicolaus Hermann, 10 stanzas, NLGB 93
Christus ist erstanden von des Todes, 5 stanzas Zahn 1144, NLGB 96
Wilkommen sey die frölich Zeit, Melchior Francke, 7 stanzas, Zahn 531, NLGB 98
Dieses ist der Tag der Wonne, Joh. Fracke, 8 stanzas, Zahn 3704, NLGB 102
Also heilig ist der Tag, J.H> Schein, 1 stanza, Zahn 7149, NLGB 104
Betrachten wir heut zu dieser Frist (Böhmen Brüder), 14 stanzas, Zahn 25a, NLGB 106

Ascension (not in NLGB):
*Auf Christi Himmelsfahrt (mel. Allein Gott) <As> [As/VH], 128/1 Asc. (1) 3 vv.
*Du Lebenfürst, Herr Jesu Christ (mel. Ermuntre dich) <As> [As/VH], 43/11 (S.1,13) Asc., 11/6(S.4) Asc. 1735,
Joh. Rist 1641, 14 st. text, http://www.hymnary.org/text/du_lebensfuerst_herr_jesu_christ
*Gott fähret auf gen Himmel (mel. Von Gott will ich) <As> [As/VH], 11/11(7) Asc.
Mein Jesu hat nunmehr (Asn., Rudolstadt) <As Dresden> , 43/5-10(1-6) PS, 1725), text only

Ascension, no cantata setting
+Gen Himmel aufgefahren ist, Melchior Franck 6 stanzas, Zahn 189 OB 40 not set, NLGB 115
+Nun freut euch, Gottes Kinder all, 16 stanzas, Erasmus Alberus, Zahn 364, NLGB 114; OB 41, not set; 734, 387

Ascension (NLGB, no Bach setting)
Christ fur gen Himmel, 2 stanzas, NLGB 111
Nun begehen wir das Fest, J.H. Schein, 6 stanzas, NLGB 113
|Freut euch ihr Christen alle, Petrus Hagius, 4 stanzas, mel. Von Gott will ich nicht lassen; NLGB 116
Christus ist heut gen Himmel gefahrn, 6 stanzas, Zahn 663; NLGB 117 = Ascendit Christus hodie
Als viertzig Tag nach Ostern warn, Niclaus Hermann, 14 stanas, NLGB 118
Wir danken dir, HJC, der den gen Himmel, Biclaus Selnneccer, 13 stanzas, NLGB 119

Pentecost: (OB, 3 of 9 set, one twice)
*Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, NLGB 233 Justification, Vopelius NLGB 234, 9 st., Z5920; [PM/VH), 68/1 (cle. chs.) PM
*Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist (also, Kommt her zu mir) (mel. Enzeldruck zu mir) <Asc., Dresden E4> [PS/VH], 108/6 (E4, S.10)
Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn, Christian Life & Conduct, 86/3 (16) E5
*Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott (also, O Gottes Geist, mein Trost und Rat, NLGB 124 (Veni sancte spiritus, PS/VM) [PS-T/SH]; 59/3(P)=175/7(PT), 59/5 (S.3, music ?6/6, mel. Erhalt uns), 172/5 ob. mel. P; 226/2 (motet), P38/2, 7 (1,3) P; OB 43 not set; 651-2(GL18); 1005/1 (mel.)

Pentecost, no cantata setting:
Brunnquelle aller Gütter, SG 445(1,6), deest Wiemer 4 (7)
Dir, dir Jehova, will ich singen, SG 452(1) (prayer)
+Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend, NLGB 314 Word of God & Christian Church (OB 49), BWV 332, 632, 659(18), 709, 726, 749
+Leibster Jesu, wir sind hier, 373, 633-34=OB50-51 (distinctius)
+Komm Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist, Luther 7 st., NLGB 129; BWV 370, 631=OB44, 667(18), 218/5=TVWV1:634; =Veni creator spiritus, 6 stanzas, Zahn 295, NLGB 128
+Komm, heiliger Geist, erfüll die Herzen deiner Glaübigen, NLGB 123; OB 42 not set; mel. only
+*Nun bittwir das Heil'gen Geist, Luther, 4 stanzas, Zahn 2029a, NLGB 130 [PS-T/PH], BWV 385, OB 45 not set
+O Heil'ger Geist, du göttlich's Feuer, OB 47 not set; not in NLGB
+O Heiliger Geist, o heilger Gott, 6 st., Zahn 2016b, NLGB 135, OB 48 not set,
+*SpiritussSancti gratia NLGB 125 Zahn 370b = Des Heil'gen Geistes reichte Gnad NLGB 126 [PS/M], BWV 295, OB 46 (not set)

Pentecost (NLGB, no Bach setting)
Als Jesu Christus Gottes Sohn, Michael Weiss (Böhmen Brüder), mel. Spiritus sancti gratia; 14 st., NLGB 131
Veni sancte Spiritus et emitte, 10 st., NLGB 132
Heiliger Geist du Tröster mein, 9 st., NLGB 133
Ein Täublein kein hat keine Gall, Vitti Wolffrum, mel. Spiritus sancti gratia, 1638, 4 st. Zahn 662, NLGB 134

Various Occasions:
Ach Gott, wie Manches Herzelied (mel. O Jesu Christ, meins), 44/3(S.1), E6; 3/6 Eph.2, 153/9 SaNY
Alle Menschen müssen sterben, P33/6 E3=?162/6(Tr20), 262=?P-70 (Tr26); 643 (OB131 Death/Dying), 1117
Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (Eas.5) 86/6(S.11); 9/7 (Tr.6) 638 (OB77, Confess), 155/5 (Eph.2); 251 (mel. Sei Lob & Herr), wed./Thanks), 117/4,9 (no service, ??E5)
Ich danke dir, liebe Herre, 36/6(S.4) (Asc.); 347-348=P20/5(Septuag.), 147a/6 (S.6, Adv.4, music lost)
In allen meinen Taten (Passion mel., O welt, ich muss dich lassen); 44/6(S.15) E6; 97/1-9 (no occ., ??Exaudi 1735; 13/6 (S.15) Eph.2
*Nun freut euch, liebster Christian G'mein [As-E6/SH] (communion hymn), 307, 388 S.1,9 (Eas.); 755 (Adv.), 248/59 (Eph.)
O Gott, du frommer Gott (or O Jesu, meine Lust), 128/5(4) Asc./2 (Ziegler, Habermann mel.); 45/7 (Tr8), 94/8(Tr9), 399 P52,55,57(Tr.+), 24/6(Tr4) -- diff. mels. Ziegler, Heermann, Pfefferkorn
Valet will, ich dir geben, 415=?P.36/7 (Asc.), 736; BWV 245/52, OB132 (not set, Death)
Verleih uns Frieden, 42/7(S.1) E1; 126/6 (Sexag); Anh. 4a/4 (Council)
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan <Cross & Trial>, 12/7=69a/6(S.6) E3; 100 & 250 wed., 144/3 Septua., 99/6 Tr.15
Welt ade, ich bin dein müde, 158/2 ET, 27/6 (Tr.16)
Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist <ET>, no OB; 31/9(S.5) ES; 95/7 (Tr.16), 428, 429, 430=?247/41, 15/11 > Anh III 157=JLB21/11(S.4) ES
Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende (mel. Wer nur den lieben Gott laßt wahlten, 166/6 E4; 84/5 Septuag.)
mel. Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, 172/6 PS, 37/3 Asc. 1724; 436/Anh.199 (?Ann.),
36/4 Adv, 1/6 Ann.

Not used by Bach:
*Trinity, Christ fuhr gen Himmel [As/PH] BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Chorale-OldGrove.htm
(Pre-Reformation Hymn, C. S. Terry 1952)

Easter Season Abbreviations:
Services: ES=Easter Sunday, EM=Easter Monday, ET=Easter Tuesday, E1=1st Sunday After Easter, E2=2nd Sunday After Easter, E3=3rd Sunday After Easter, E4=4th Sunday After Easter, E5=5th Sunday After Easter, As=Ascension Day, E6=6th Sunday After Easter, P1=Pentecost Sunday, P2=Pentecost Monday, P3=Pentecost Tuesday; * [--/--] Douglas Cowling: Easter Season in Leipzig: Sacred Songs: M=Motet (Introit), SH=Service Hymn (de Tempore), PH=Pulpit Hymn, VH=Various Hymns for Chancel, Communion & Closing; VM-
Vesper Motet.
+ Orgelbüchlein (OB): Easter, Bach set all 6 (OB 34-39=BWV 625-30).

(Edition Bachakademie Vol. 80: A Book of Chorale-Settings for Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity; Chorales: BWV 266, 276-278, 284, 293, 295, 304, 306, 317, 342, 364, 365, 370, 378, 385, 387-388, 415, BWV deest/ Wiemer 4, 9, 10; Sacred Songs: BWV 441, 445, 452, 462, 475, 479, 480, 482; Chorale Preludes: BWV 626-628, 630a, 631a, 652a, 667a, 718, 728, 736; Fuge: BWV 716. Full Recording details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV250-438-Rilling.htm, scroll down to CH-7.

Orgelbüchlein 1st Church Year Chorale Collection

Bach’s first systematic setting of music for the church year is found in the collection of chorale preludes for organ, the Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book) in Weimar, about 1713-16.

Easter (6 of 6 OB, 10 others set):
OB# BWV# Melody title; other chorale settings
34. BWV 625 — “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (Z7012a); CC BWV 4, BWV 277-279(PC); SBCB59, BWV 695(a?)(KC), BWV 718(MC); ?Anh. 171(MC), ?Emans 42
35. BWV 626 — “Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der den Tod überwand” (Z1978); SBCB60, BWV 665-6(18), BWV 364(PC); cf. OB 78 (…ddT, der von uns)
36. BWV 627 — “Christ ist erstanden” (Z8584); BWV 276(PC), SBCB65-66, BWV 746(MC, by Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer)
37. BWV 628 — Erstanden ist der heil'ge Christ (Z288); BWV 306(PC), Anh. 51 (MC-D);
38. BWV 629 — Erschienen ist der herrlich’ Tag (Z1743); BWV 67/4(PC); SBCB61,68
39. BWV 630(a) — “Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn” (Z2585); BWV 342(PC), SBCB66-67
-- “Ach bleib bei uns”; BWV 253(PC); BWV 649(SC)=6/3
-- “Als verzig Tag’ nach Ostern war” (*Erschienen ict die Herrlich’ Tag, OB 38); BWV 266(PC)
-- “Auf! Auf! mein Herz mit Freuden”; BWV 441(SG)
-- “Christus ist erstanden, hat überwunden”; BW284(PC)
-- “Gott, wie gross ist dein Güte”; BWV 462(SG)
,-- “Jesu, meine Zuversicht”; BWV365(PC), BWV 728(MC); See God, Cross & Trust, “Auf mein Herz,”
-- “Jesu, unser Trost und Leben”; BWV 475(SG)
-- “Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn”; BWV 86/3(PC)
-- “Kommt, wieder aus der finstren Gruft”; BWV deest/Wiemer 10(PC); BWV 480(SG)
-- “Nun freut euch, Gotteskinder all” (Z364; BWV 387(PC), SBCB69; = Ihr lieben Christen, freut euch nun”
-- “Surrexit Christus Hodie” (Z291, alt. S.5-6 Z8572 C, NLGB 101a); SBCB63; = Erstanden ist der herrliche Christ (Zahn 288, NLGB 101b)

Ascension (0 of 2 OB, 3 others set)
40. Gen Himmel aufgefahren ist (Z189); Melchior Franck motet* (NLGB 115); melody, “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen” (see OB 93, Christian Life), BWV 11/11(CC); SBCB72; = “Coelos ascendit hodie” (Z188a)
41. Nun freut euch, Gottes Kinder, all; Kauffmann, HS*, BWV 387(PC)
-- “Christ fuhr gen Himmel” (Z8586); SBCB70-71
-- “Du Lebenfurst. Herr Jesu Christ”; melody “Ermuntre dich, mein schwachter Geist,” Christmas); BWV 43/11(PC), 11/6(PC)
-- “O Gott, du frommer Gott” (text “O Jesu, meine Lust); BWV 128/5(PC); see OB 96, Christian Life

Pentecost: (OB 4 of 9 set)
42. Komm, Heiliger Geist, erfüll die Herzen deiner Gläubigende (Z8594, NLGB 123); BWV deest (Emans 122(MC)
43. Komm, Hiliger Geist, Herre Gott (Riemenschneider 69); BWV 651(18)*; 651a, 652(a) (Weimar); Emans (MC-D) 123, 124
44. BWV 631 — Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist; 370, BWV 667(18), 667(a,b, Weimar); Emans (MC) BWV deest(2)
45. Nun bittern wir, die Heil’gen Geist (NLGB 130, Z2029a); BWV 385(PC), Emans BWV deest, Walther, LV 42*
46. “Spiritu Sancti gratia” (Zahn 370a,b NLGB 125, 127), or “Des Heil’gen Geistes reiche Gnäd (NLGB 126); BWV 295(PC)
47. O Heil’ger Geist, du Göttlich’s Feuer (Zahn 2027, no NLGB); none
48. O Heiliger Geist, o Heiliger Gott (NLGB 135, 6 stanzas, Zahn 2016a); Kaufmann, HS*
49. BWV 632 — Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend (PH, Liturgy); BWV 332(PC), BWV 655(18), a (Weimar), b, c; 709(KC); BWV 726(MC), 749(MC-D)
50- BWV 634 -- Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier (Liturgy); also see OB 51, BWV 633; 706(KC), 730-31, 754-D
51 BWV 633(distinctius) — Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier; BWV 288(PC)
-- “Brunnquelle aller Gütter”; BWV 445(SG); BWV deest/Wiemer 4(PC)
-- “Dir, dir Jehova, will ich singen”; BWV 452(SG)
-- “Kommt, Seelen, dieser Tag”; BWV deest/Wiemer 9(PC); BWV 479(SG)
-- “O Herre Gott, dein Göttliche Wort”; BWV 184/5(PC)

The chorale preludes of the Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book) fall into the seasons and times of the liturgical year:

GLOSSARY

AMB – Anna Magdalena Buch
AS = Alternate setting
CP = Chorale Partitas, BWV 765-771
Cü III = Clavierübung III (Mass & Catechism Chorales), BWV 669-689
D = Doubtful work of JSB
KC = Kirnberger Chorales, BWV 690-713
MC = Miscellaneous Chorale Preludes, 714-64, etc.
NC = Neumeister Chorale Collection, BWV 1090-1120
OB = Orgelbüchlein Collection, BWV 599-644
PC = Plain Chorale, BWV 250-438, etc., c.1730
SBCB = Sebastian Bach’s Chorale Buch c.1740
SC = Schubler Chorales, 645-50 1746
SG = Schmelli Gesangbuch 1736
18 = Great 18 (Leipzig) Organ Chorale Collection, BWV 651-668
CH = Communion (& vesp) hymn
GH – Gradual Hymn (between Epistle & Gospel), Hymn de tempore
PH = Pulpit Hymn before sermon
CC = Chorale Cantata, (CC) = Chorale Chorus
EC = Elaborated Chorale setting
OC = Organ Chorale
EOC = Emans Organ Chorales = NBA KB IV/10 (2007)
NLGB = Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> 1682 (Gottfried Vopelius)
Z = Johannes Zahn Melody Catalogue

EASTER FESTIVAL

The three-day Easter Festival of Sunday (Easter Day, the Resurrection of our Lord), Monday (2nd Day of Easter), and Tuesday (Third Day of Easter) was established by the Reformers to observe the three most important events in the most important feast:1 Jesus’ Christ’s resurrection, the Walk to Emmaus, and Christ’s appearance to his disciples. The lessons were: Easter Sunday, Epistle 1 Cor. 5:6-8 (Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us), Gospel, Mark 16:1-8 (Christ is risen); Easter Monday, Epistle Acts 10:34-41 (Peter preaches Christ to Cornelius); Gospel Luke 24:13-35 (Christ appears on the road to Emmaus); Easter Tuesday, Epistle: Acts 13:26-33 (Paul at Antioch preaches Christ is risen), Gospel: Luke 24:36-47 (Jesus appears to the Twelve). The full texts (KJV), are Easter Sunday, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/Ostersonntag.htm; Easter Monday, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/Ostermontag.htm; Easter Tuesday, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/LCY/Osterdienstag.htm. The complete biblical text is the Martin Luther German translation (1545), with the English translation Authorised (King James) Version [KJV] 1611.

By Bach’s time, the Third Day of Easter (Easter Tuesday) was becoming less important because the same event, Jesus’appearance before the disciples, in Luke 24:36-47, also is found on “Quasimodogeniti" (1st Sunday after Easter) in John’s Gospel, 20:19-31 with Christ’s same greeting initial, “Friede sei mit euch!” (Peace be unto you, 20:19). The first two days of the Easter Festival had highly structured liturgy while the third day used the ordinary liturgy. Gradually since Bach's time, Easter Tuesday and then Monday disappeared from the festival celebration but the gospel readings are retained in the three-cycle readings for Easter established by Vatican II a half-century ago and adopted by mainline Protestant denominations.

Interestingly, this closing season on Christ's life, with the feasts of his resurrection, ascension, and the descent of the Holy Spirit, has fewer service cantatas than the other de tempore seasons. Bach's output during both the Easter season festivals and the Sunday services fell sharply although in terms of the busiest musical times of the year it ranks second only to Christmas in terms of opportunities for cantatas and oratorios. The first event, Easter Sunday, sets the tone in the succeeding cycles and yields less original composition in Leipzig, as Bach scholar Alfred Dürr points out in Cantatas of JSB.2 He says that the history of Protestant church music and Bach's compositions reveal a "rich store" of Passion music "but relatively few outstanding pieces of Easter Music."

The best-known Easter Season chorales are the hymn de tempore (hymn of the day), Luther’s Christ lag in Todesbanden” (Chrst lies in death’s bondage); the Pulpit hymn, Luther’s “Christ ist erstanden” (Christ is arisen); and the Hymns for Chancel, Communion, and closing: Stoltzhagen-Gesius “Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn” (This day in triumph, God’s Son) and Nicolaus Hermann “Erscheinen ist der Herrlich’ Tag” (Here shining is the splendid day).

Doug’s listings, THE SUNDAY MUSICAL CONTEXT OF BACH’S CANTATAS IN THE EASTER SEASON, based on Charles S. Terry’s findings, conforms to a great extent with Günther Stiller’s work.

THE EASTER SEASON IN LEIPZIG (Cowling)

EASTER DAY (First Day of Easter)
Introit: “Resurrexi (LU 777)
|Motet: “Heut triumphiret Gottes Sohn”
Hymn de Tempore: “Christ Lag in Todesbanden”
Pulpit Hymn: “Christ ist Erstanden”
Hymns for Chancel, Communion & Closing:
“Heut triumphret Gottes Sohn”
Vespers Motets:
“Dum Rex Gloriae”
“Vespere Autem”
“Quem Quaeris Maria”

The popular introit Psalm for Easter Sunday is Psalm 110, Dixit Dominus (The Lord said unto me), says Martin Penzoldt, Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinityfest.3

EASTER MONDAY (Second Day of Easter)
Introit: “Introduxit Vos” (LU 785)
Motet: “Heut triumphiret Gottes Sohn”
Hymn de Tempore: “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (until Ascension)
Pulpit Hymn: “Christ ist Erstanden” (until Ascension)
“Ach Bleib Bei Uns” (9 stanzas)

Introit Psalm: Psalm 62 Nonne Deo (God alone), says Petzoldt (Ibid: 705)

The chorale “Ach blieb bei uns” (9 stanzas) is one of three used on Easter Monday in Leipzig, says Günther Stiller in JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig.4 It is based on the Gospel lesson, Luke 24:29, the Walk to Emmaus and is one of the few Easter Season chorales reflecting the appointed Gospel, beyond the Resurrection story. The other two, hymns although not used by Bach on that date but later in the Easter season, are “Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag” (14 stanzas) and “Wenn Mein Stündlien vorhanden ist.” (5 stanzas)

EASTER TUESDAY (Third Day of Easter)
Introit: “Aquae Sapientiae” (LU 789)
Motet: “Heut triumphiret Gottes Sohn”
Hymn de Tempore: “Christ lag in Todesbanden”
Pulpit Hymn: “Christ ist Erstanden”
Hymns for Chancel, Communion & Closing:
“Erscheinen ist der Herrlichen Tag”

Introit Psalm: Ps. 16 Conserva me, Domine (Preserve me, O god), says Petzoldt (Ibid.: 735)

Stiller lists three hymns in the Leipzig hymn schedules assigned for the Third Easter Day (Main and vesper services): “Ach bleibe uns, Hert Jesu Christ,” “Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag,” and “Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist.”

Interestingly, Stiller (p. 87), identifies “Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn” as the opening hymn in the morning and vesper services for Easter Tuesday and Ascension Day. Bach use of the triple-beat “Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag” is found in two four-voice chorale settings in Cantata BWV 67/4 (S.1) Quasimodogeniti 1724 (?Ch. Weiss libretto), and in BWV 145/5 (S. 14), Easter Tuesday 1729 (Picander Text) and in chorale prelude BWV 629, Orgelbüchlein No. 38.

Three facts about the surviving Bach cantata materials for Easter Tuesday show that there is no separate primary chorale specified for the third day of the Easter Festival, that Bach omitted chorales from his first cycle Cantata BWV 134 and JLB-11 in the third cycle; and that it appears for the second cycle that Cantata BWV 158 was presented on a double bill, with a repeat of Cantata 4, <Christ lag in Todesbanden>, on April 3, 1725 at the University Church. Cantata 158 closes with the fifth verse of “Christ lag,” “Here is the true Easter lamb.” This collateral evidence could suggest that Bach had no need to compose a chorale cantata for this feast day.

Individual Chorales for Easter Festival

Easter Sunday: the Luther chorale “Christ lag in Todesbanden” is best known in the chorale Cantata BWV 4 per omnes versus (pure-hymn, 7 stanzas and closing “Allelujah!” unaltered) Bach’s other uses of this best-known Luther Easter Season Leipzig service hymn: organ prelude BWV 625 (Orgelbüchlein No. 34), composed in Weimar c.1712-13 with five of the other six Ob settings. “Heut tiriumphieret Gottes Sohn” was composed earlier, 1708-12. There are two miscellaneous organ chorale settings: BWV 695 (Kirnberger Collection) perhaps composed in early Weimar period, like “Heut triumphiert,” and BWV 718, showing early North German influence, c.1700. Two free-standing, unattached four-part chorales, BWV 277 and 278, appear to have been composed subsequent to Cantata 4 closing chorale in 1724. Since all three are in the key of E Minor, they may have been alternate settings for subsequent performance of Cantata 4 for the Easter Festival of 1725 and later. Bach may have planned to use either BWV 277 or 278 in his Picander cycle to close P-28, using stanza 6 (no other music was set) on Easter Sunday, April 29, 1729. In addition, four-voice choraleBWV 279 was composed to close Cantata BWV158, “Der Friede sei mit dir” (1 Samuel 25:6) in E Major, probably for Easter Tuesday 1725. It should be noted that Bach composed no substantial new vocal music for Easter Sunday in Leipzig. Cantatas BWV 4 and 31 are repeats, and the Easter Oratorio is a parody of lyric music from a recent secular birthday serenade.

Easter Sunday chorale settings:
1724: Chorale Cantata 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden”; Cantata 31/9, N. Hermann, “Wenn mein Stündlein” (S.5); Cantata 31 repeated in 1731
1725: Easter Oratorio, BWV 249, no chorale found
1726: BWV 15=JLB21/11, N. Hermann, “Wenn mein Stündlein” (S.4)

For Easter Monday, April 2, 1725, Bach presented Cantata BWV 6, “Bleib bei uns, denn ist will Abend werden,” a non-chorale cantata, text possibly by Christian Weiss. It is in the same form as the cantatas composed in the Easter Season 1724 for the First through the Sixth Sundays After Easter (BWV 67, 104, 166, 86, 37, 44): biblical words, aria, chorale, recitative, aria, chorale -- and also possibly set to texts of Christian Weiss Sr. In addition, the 1725 cantatas for the First and Second Sunday After Easter, BWV 42 and 85, also have the same form.

Cantata 6 has a remnant of a planned chorale cantata. The third movement is a soprano trio aria with the chorale melody, “Ach, bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ” (Ah, abide wth us, Lord Jesus Christ, Luke 24:29) set to the first two stanzas of Nicolaus Selnecker’s nine-stanza chorale. It is No. 307 in the NLGB under the omnes tempore category “Word of God & Christian Church,” with only the original two stanzas listed, No. 1, Vespera iam venit, translated by Philipp Melanchthon 1579, and No. 2, “In dieser letzt'n betrübten Zeit” (In these last, troubled times), (Nikolaus Selnecker 1572). The full nine-stanza German text is found at http://www.hymnary.org/text/ach_bleib_bei_uns_herr_jesu_christ and the English translation, as “Lord Jesu Christ, with us abide,” at http://www.hymnary.org/text/lord_jesus_christ_with_us_abide

“Ach, bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ,” is listed as a Leipzig Easter Tuesday chorale (Günther Stiller: JSB & Liturgical Life in Leipzig: 240), with “Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag” and “Wenn meinstündlein vorhanden ist.” “Ach, bleib bei uns,” is a main service hymn for Easter Monday in Leipzig (BCW: Terry/Cowling). Bach also set the hymn as a four-part chorale, BWV 253 in A Major; used the melody in BWV 414, “Uns ist ein Kindlein heut’ gebor’n” for Christmas; in the Schubler Chorale, BWV 649, setting of chorale aria BWV 6/3; and the first two stanzas of Cantata BWV Anh. 4/6, for the Augsburg Confession Jubilee, 1730. It is possible that plain chorale BWV 253 in A major was composed originally in 1725 to close a projected chorale cantata for Easter Monday and was used in 1730 for a now-unextant Jubilee Cantata or as a substitute closing chorale (No. 6) for Cantata 103, “Ihr werdet weinen und heulen” (You will weep and howl).

The associated melody for “Ach, bleib bei uns” is Seth Calvesius’ 1594 “Danket dem Herren heut und allzeit” (Thank the Lord today and always), and is identified as Zahn 493 (alternate) and is found in BWV 6/3, 253, and chorale prelude BWV 649. It also is used in plain Christmas chorale BWV 414, “Uns ist ein Kindlein heut’ gebor’n” to a 1579 text found in the Psalmodia des Luc. Lossius.

Besides Aria BWV 6/3, there are five chorale cantatas composed earlier in the 1724-25 second cycle with internal movements which are unaltered pure-hymn texts instead of being paraphrased by Bach’s librettist: BWV 92/4, 107/3-6 (in the only pure-hymn cantata composed in the 1724-25 cycle), 113/2, 114/4, and 178/4. The chorale aria “Ach, blein bei uns” is the only setting which has two stanzas, the other four have one. If aria BWV 6/3 was originally composed in 1725 as part of a standard chorale cantata, the movement in question would not have used the opening stanza unaltered, always used as the text of the opening chorale fantasia chorus. Bach would have set the Selnecker melody to another unaltered stanza later in the cantata.

The soprano chorale aria “Ach, bleib bei uns” was adapted as a Schubler organ chorale, BWV 649, and is similar in trio form with obbligato instrument and basso continuo as four other Schubler chorales (BWV 645, 647, 648 and 650) which are transcriptions of chorale cantata arias (unaltered stanzas), respectively, BWV 140/4, 93/4, 10/5, and 137/2). Three of the four cantatas have pure-hymn texts and were not composed in 1724-25 as part of the chorale cantata cycle: Cantata 140 for the 27th Sunday After Trinity, 1731; Cantata 10, for the Feast of the Purification, 1724; and Cantata 137, for the 12th Sunday After Trinity, 1725, and possibly for the adjacent Town Council installation in late August 1725.

Bach may have considered using the Easter Season Leipzig pulpit hymn, “Christ ist Erstanden,” three-stanza setting of the Latin Easter sequence Victimae paschale laudes (1200 Leise) transformed into a 3-part chorale. This unusual chorale setting has there stanzas each of different poetic meter and different tunes. Bach’s definitive setting (1712-13) is found in the Orgelbüchlein No. 36 (BWV 627) and was set in three separate movements, unlike any other composer’s treatment in a single work (Stinson, <Bach Ob.> p. 113f. Bach also composed two four-voice plain-chorale settings: the closing chorale in Cantata BWV 66, for Easter Monday 1724, which uses only the third, “Allelujah” verse, and the full three-stanza plain chorale, BWV 276, which appears to have been composed later in Leipzig because of its tonal shifts, opening in D minor and Closing in F-sharp minor, and intricate and wide-ranging voicing. The Miscellaneous Organ Chorale Prelude setting, “Christ ist Erstanden,” BWV 746, is attributed to J.K.F. Fischer. The best authority is Peter Williams' The Organ Music of JSB.5

Easter Monday chorale settings:
1724: BWV 66/6, Klug “Christ ist erstanden” (S.3)
1725: BWV 6/6, Luther “Erhalt uns, Herr” (S.2)
1726: JLB10/7 ?chorale
|1729: BWV Anh. 190/6=Picander P-29, “Heut triumphiret Gottes Sohn” (S.3) (Wustmann text sub.)

For Easter Tuesday, Bach’s puzzling use of Easter chorales on Easter Tuesday in Leipzig seems to reflect a lack of interest. In 1724, he used no chorale to close the dialogue parody from Köthen, BWV 66. In 1725, Bach composed no new work, either a chorale cantata or a repeat of the traditional cantata form (biblical dictum/internal chorale) of the day before, Easter Monday, Cantata 6. Instead, he began the first repeat of a previous Leipzig service cantata, BWV 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden,” and probably paired it with a hybrid old-new Cantata BWV 158, “Der Friede sei mit dir” (Peace be with you), Christ’s greeting to his disciples, blending old music from a Weimer Purification work (Nos. 2-3) with newly-composed music (No. 1 recitative and 4 plain chorale), ending with a new setting of Stanza 5, “Here is the true Easter Lamb, “ from “Christ lag in Todesbanden.”

There is only a slight possibility that Bach considered Stolzhagen’s six-verse “Heut triumphiret Gottes Sohn” as a chorale cantata. Bach first set the chorale as an Orgelbüchlein prelude, BWV 630(a) (Ob. No. 39) in its earliest Easter setting (1708-12, Stinson). The third stanza is found in the lost Easter Monday Cantata BWV Anh. 190/6, 1729 Picander text) and is quite possibly the four-part setting, BWV 342.

Easter Tuesday chorale settings:
1724: 134 (no chorale),
1725: 158/2, Welt ade, ich bin dein müde; 158/4 Luther “Christ lag” (S.5) (new), ?repeat of BWV 4
1726: JLB-11 no chorale
1729: 145=P-30/a, C. Neumann “Auf, mein Herz” (S.1); 5, Hermann “Erschienen ist (S.14)

EASTER CHORALES

The confusion over the appropriate Easter season chorale comes, as found in Stiller’s JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig (p.239f), is in the variants in the various hymn books and the flexibility of chorale use during the Easter Season. Further, Luther’s “Christ lag in Todesbanden” derived from two other sources, the Latin Easter sequence 8-stanza Victimae Paschali laudes (NLGB 92, related to Zahn 8759, “Wir Christen all itzt fröliches”) and Luther’s “Christ ist erstanden (Zahn 8584, 3 stanzas). Further complicating matters, by the time of the pietist Schmelli Gesangbuch of 1736, various contemporary sacred songs were set to older, popular melodies.

Luther’s "Christ Lag in Todesbanden" (Christ lies in death’s bondage, NLGB 89, 7 stanzas of 7 lines each, BAR form, Zahn melody 7012a; hymn de tempore for the Easter Season until Rogate Sunday. The Pulpit hymn is Luther’s “Christ ist erstanden” (Christ is arisen), whose folk melody, or Leise, is related to “Christ lag,” also through Rogate Sunday, NLGB 99, 3 stanzas, Zahn melody 8584. The Hymn for Chancel, Communion & Closing are: Easter Sunday and Monday, ?Kaspar Stolzhagen 1601 (text) Bartolomäus Gesius 1601 (melody Zahn 2585) “Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn” (This day in triumph, God’s Son) NLGB 95, 6 stanzas, Zahn 2585; Easter Tuesday to Cantate Sunday, Nicolaus Hermann “Erscheinen ist der Herrlich’ Tag” (Here shining is the splendid day) NLGB 103, 14 stanzas, Zahn 1743; and Rogate Sunday only, Luther’s “Vater unser in Himmelreich” (Lord’s Prayer), NLGB 175 Catechism, 9 stanzas Zahn 2561.

The impetus for Bach's first Easter Sunday Cantata No. 4 was the old Lutheran Reformation chorale, which is closely related to Luther’s Easter hymn "Christ ist erstanden." Bach probably encountered the ubiquitous "Christ Lag in Todesbanden" beginning at the turn of the 18th century in the vocal works of Buxtehude, Pachelbel, and Kuhnau and the organ chorale preludes of Tunder, Scheidt, Böhm, and Zachow.

Bach's earliest use of the chorale in his organ preludes is obscured because of various sources of transmission by students. The BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale012-Eng3.htm cites its use in three chorale preludes, BWV 625, 1713/15 (Orgelbüchlein); BWV 695 (Kirnberger); 1700/17?; BWV 718 (Miscellaneous), 1700/17. On stylistic grounds, all three were completed by the end of Bach's Weimar period (1708-17), when virtually all his chorale preludes were composed. Prelude BWV 695 was composed for the incomplete Orgelbüchlein church year collection, while the other two, with their North German techniques and earlier influences could have begun as early as 1700.

The two singular four-part chorale settings of "Christ Lag in Todesbanden," BWV 277-278, could have been used as alternate closing chorales in subsequent performances of Bach's Easter Festival cantatas. Three of Bach four settings, BWV 4/8, BWV 279=BWV 158/4, and 278, begin in E Minor and close in E Major. Chorale BWV 277 in D Major could have closed a repeat performance of the Easter Monday Cantata BWV 66, a parodied work originating in Köthen.

The Hänssler Bachakademie Bach CD edition, Chorale, V. 80, "Easter, Ascension, Pentecost Trinity," has the chorales BWV 277 and 278, followed by the organ chorale prelude, BWV 718.

Here is BCW's Francis Browne translation of "Christ Lag in Todesbanden," with “Notes on the text” and “Scripitural References”: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV4-Eng3.htm. The associated melody, Christ lag in Todesbanden | Composer: Anon / Martin Luther & Johann Walter (1524), is discussed at length at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale012-Eng3.htm

The Pulpit hymn is Luther’s 1529 “Christ ist erstanden” (Christ is arisen), which is related to “Christ lag,” also is the Pulpit Hymn through Rogate Sunday, NLGB 99, 3 stanzas, EKG: 75, text and Francis Browne English translation, BC, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale090-Eng3.htm. The Zahn melody is 8584, Christ ist erstanden, Composer: Wipo of Burgundy (1040) and Martin Luther & Johann Walter (1533), details BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Christ-ist-erstanden.htm. This chorale is based upon the original Latin Easter sequence Victimae paschali laudes. Bach set the first two stanzas as a plain chorale, BWV 276, and Stanza 3 “Allelujah!” as plain chorale (No. 6) closing Cantata BWV 66, “Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen” (Rejoice, you hearts), a parody of a Köthen celebratory serenade of 1718, for Easter Monday, 1724. Both chorale settings are in f-sharp minor. The three verses have a melodic form AAB “but neither gives the melody the same form as BWV 627” Orgelbüchlein chorale, says Peter Williams (Ibid.: 287ff). The prelude has passages in d minor, F major and closes in D major.

Chorale Heut Triumphieret Gottes Sohn

The Hymn for Chancel, Communion & Closing (NLGB) for Easter Sunday and Monday is “Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn” (This day in triumph God’s Son). The full German text (and various English translations), originally attributed to Seth Calvesius (1597), is found at http://www.hymnary.org/text/heut_triumphieret_gottes_sohn. The melody originally was attributed to Basilius Förtsch. Stiller (p. 87), identifies “Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn” as the opening hymn in the morning and vesper services for Easter Tuesday and Ascension Day. The composer Gesius (1562-1613) biography is found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartholomäus_Gesius. Bach set it as a plain chorale, BWV 342 (music, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Typ8Hdxmk4
, and Orgelbüchlein chorale prelude BWV 630 for Easter. The English poetic translation of Charles S. Terry (omitting Stanza 4) is:6

i. To-day God’s only-gotten Son
Arose from death, and triumph won,
Alleluya, Alleluya,
In mighty pomp and rich array;
His therefore be the praise alway.
Alleluya, Alleluya.
ii. Lo! Death is crushed—nay, Death must die,
By Jesus smitten hip and thigh.
Alleluya, Alleluya.
Like armoured knight, with skilful thrust
Christ made His foeman lick the dust.
Alleluya, Alleluya.
[199]
iii. Almighty Lord of great and small,
Redeemer of poor sinners all,
Alleluya, Alleluya,
Grant us, for great Thy mercy is,
To reign with Thee in endless bliss.
Alleluya, Alleluya.
* * *
v. We hymn Thee, Christ, our living Head,
Hereafter Judge of quick and dead.
Alleluya, Alleluya.
At doomsday spare us, mighty King,
That we may always say and sing
Alleluya, Alleluya.
vi. To God the Father on His Throne,
To Jesus Christ, His Son alone,
Alleluya, Alleluya.
To God the Holy Paraclete,
Be laud and glory infinite.
Alleluya, Alleluya.

The Hymn for Chancel, Communion & Closing from Easter Tuesday to Cantate Sunday, is Nicolaus Hermann “Erscheinen ist der Herrlich’ Tag” (Here shining is the splendid day) 1560, NLGB 103, 14 stanzas, EKG 80; text and Francis Browne English translation, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale091-Eng3.htm. Details of the melody, Zahn 1743, also attributed to Hermann 1560, is found at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Erschienen-ist-der-herrlich-Tag.htm. Bach set the hymn as an internal plain chorale (No. 4) in Cantata BWV 67, “Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ” (Keep in memory Jesus Christ, 2 Timothy 2:8), to a possible text of Christian Weiss for Quasimodogeniti (1st Sunday after Easter), 1724. Bach also set the closing (14th) stanza, “Drum wir auch billig fröhlich sein” (Therefore we burden-free are glad) as a plain chorale (No. 5), closing Cantata BWV 145, “Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen” (I live, my heart, for your delight), to a Picander text for Easter Tuesday, probably 1729.

The Hymn for Chancel, Communion & Closing for Rogate (6th Sunday after Easter) is Luther’s 1539 “Vater unser in Himmelreich” (Lord’s Pr), NLGB 175 Catechism, 9 stanzas. The melody, Zahn 2561, is described in detail at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Vater-unser-im-Himmelreich.htm . The 9 stanza German text and Chrales S. Terry’s English translation are found at, http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/754/87921, click on
“XXXI.: Vater unser im Himmelreich. Our Father, Thou in Heaven above. In Klug’s Gesangbuch, 1543.”

Easter Season Chorales Bach Utilized

Emphasis on Easter is apparent in Bach’s later cantata settings using seasonal chorales found in Bach’s hymnbook with music and text, Das neu Leipziger Gesangbuch of 1682.8 For Easter, Bach composed 23 cantatas using Easter chorales and only six set as either organ preludes or four-part unattached chorales. Meanwhile, for Ascension Day and Pentecost, only eight cantatas or oratorios have appropriate chorales while 12 are set as individual preludes or hymns. Of the 17 <omnes tempore> (anytime) chorales Bach used in cantatas for the Easter season, only three are for Ascension Day and one, “Du, o schones Weltgebaude,” is appropriate for Pentecost, another major festival.

Given this record during the Easter season, it seems problematic whether Bach in 1725 could have set chorale cantatas for all 13 Easter season services, including seven feast days, if he had available, appropriate texts for internal arias and recitatives paraphrasing all but the first and last stanzas. The record shows that during the previous Easter season of 1724, Bach already had used major Easter Season chorales, with notable exceptions. For the Third Day (Tuesday) of the Easter Festival in 1724, Bach had used no chorale in Cantata 134 and none for Pentecost Monday in Cantata 173. Bach also omitted chorales in the Easter Oratorio, BWV 149, in 1725.

The record also shows that for the projected 1725 13 Easter Season chorale cantatas, Bach did provided chorale settings involving at least five cantatas:

*Two pure-hymn chorale cantatas, Cantata 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden,” for the Easter Festival, and Cantata 112, “Der Herr ist meine getreue Hirt,” for the Second Sunday After Easter 1725, completed about 1731.
*Two chorale opening choruses, BWV 128/1, “Aus Christi Himmelfahrt Allein,” for Ascension Day 1725, and BWV 68/1, “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt,” for Pentecost Tuesday in 1725;
*A chorale aria, “Ach bleib bei uns,” BWV 6/3, for Easter Monday 1725;
*Possibly later three pure-hymn chorale works: Cantata 100, “Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,” for the Third Sunday After Easter; Cantata 117, “Sei Lob und Her dem Höchsten Gut,” for the Fifth Sunday After Easter; and Cantata 97, “In Allen meinen Taten,” for the Sixth Sunday After Easter, which Bach apparently began about 1725.

Sketches for the beginning of opening instrumental sinfonias for possibly chorale cantata fantasias for both the first and sixth Sundays after Easter (Quasimodogeniti and Exaudi) exist, suggesting that Bach at least considered the possibility of other chorale cantatas for the Easter season without selecting the particular hymn to be paraphrased and soliciting a libretto.

It is possible that Bach in the1725 Easter Season had no appropriate chorale choices for chorale cantatas for the First and Fourth Sundays After Easter and was limited in the possibilities for Easter and Pentecost Tuesdays, and the Third Sunday After Easter.

Complicating matters, various Easter chorales were challenging to set as chorale cantatas. Three lacked sufficient stanzas: Luther’s famous “Christ ist erstanden,” which has one three-part stanza (AAB), Luther’s “Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der den” has only 3 verses, and the popular Pentecost chorale “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt” has only one stanza. Other chorales that have too many stanzas to paraphrase include “Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag,” ¾ time 14 verses, and “Erstanden ist der Heil’ge Christ, der den Tod,” ¾ time which has varying numbers of stanzas, 19 in one version, and intersperses four “Hallelujahs” in each stanza. “Komm, heiliger Geist, erfülle die Herzen deiner Glaübigen” listed as Orgelbüchlein OB 42 but not set, is a vespers litany response and is not found as a congregational hymn in later Lutheran hymn books.

Further complicating matters, in Leipzig service and Bach usage, certain Easter chorales could be sung throughout the season, later Easter Sundays had no designated chorales, and some were used to anticipate the succeeding Feasts of Ascension and Pentecost, as Bach had done with Epiphany chorales anticipating the three pre-Lenten “Gesima” Sundays. For example Cantata BWV 108, for the Fourth Sunday After Easter 1725 in the von Ziegler text, closes (No. 6) with Gerhardt’s Pentecost chorale, “Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist.” The chorale “Heut triumphiret Gottes Sohn” was the Introit hymn for the Easter Festival and the vespers hymn for Ascension Day. Beyond designated chorales for the three-day Pentecost festival, the second and third days have no dedicated chorales only for those two days.

FOOTNOTES

1 Easter is called the Feast of Feasts or the King of Days, says Paul Zeller Strodach in The Church Year: Studies in the Introits, Collects, Epistles and Gospels (Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publication House, 1924: 149.

2 Dürr, Cantatas of J. S. Bach, revised and translated by Richard D. P. Jones (Oxford University Press, New York, 2005: 263).
3 Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 669).
4 Stiller, Günther. Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig, Ed. Robin A. Leaver (Concordia Publishing: St. Louis, 1985” 240).
5 Williams, The Organ Music of JSB, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003: 491).
6 Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach’s Chorals. Part III: The Hymns and Hymn Melodies of the Organ Works, by Charles Sanford Terry (Cambridge University Press, 1915-1921). 3 vols. Vol. 3. April 29, 2015. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2057.
7 Martin Luther, Dr. Martin Luther’s Deutsche Geistliche Lieder. The Hymns of Martin Luther set to their original Melodies with an English version, ed. Leonard Woolsey Bacon and Nathan H. Allen (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1884). May 2, 2015. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/754.
8 NLGB, BACH'S HYMN BOOK: Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch des Gottfried Vopelius (Leipzig 1682),"Berlin: Merseburger, 1969. ML 3168 G75.

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To Come: Motets and Chorales for the Sundays after Easter.

 

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