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Musical Context of Bach Cantatas
Motets & Chorales for Feast of St. Michael and All Angels

 

Readings: Epistle: Revelations 12: 7-12; Gospel: Matthew 18: 1-11

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

Motets and Chorales for the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels

 

William Hoffman wrote (February 10, 2013):
Cantata 130: Intro. to Michael Festival Music

FEAST OF MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS

With the end of the summer approaching in his first year of service in 1723, Leipzig cantor Johann Sebastian Bach, required to present cantatas during the main Sunday and festivals, faced a major test: composing music for the most popular civic event, the Feast of Michael and All Angels, during the six-month Trinity Time, on Wednesday, September 29. One tradition required particularly festive music to inaugurate the opening of the annual St. Michael Fall Trade Fair (Messe), near the equinox, when esteemed visitors and local dignitaries gathered for the main morning service at the main church of St. Nicholaus.

Following another tradition of St. Michael's fairs traced back to the 12th century, the flourishing cosmopolitan trade center had endowed its largest church with extensive pew boxes for the community's leading citizens and guests at gala special services. These involved such major events during Bach's tenure as thanksgiving services for the Saxon Court, sacred observances of Reformation milestones such as the 200th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession in 1730, and municipal activities such as the annual installation of the new governing Leipzig Town Council on a Monday in late August following St. Bartholomew's Day.

The particularly festive music for the Feast of St. Michael and all Angels also entailed important traditions. Beginning with Martin Luther's Reformation in 1519, he and his followers created special hymn music for the main and vesper services. The festival lesson is based on the Epistle narrative and victory song (Revelation, 12:7-12) of the defeat of Satan and his evil forces by the warrior-leader Archangel Michael, their casting out from heaven, and the triumph of human salvation.

The Reformation's leading theologian, Philipp Melanchthon, in 1539 set 11 hymn verses in Latin as a paraphrase of the original Latin text of the Epistle, >Dicimus grates tibi> (Lord God, to thee we all give praise), using the associated chant melody, followed by his own 11-verse German vernacular paraphrase, "Laßt uns von Hertzen" (Let us from hearts), to an old German melody. Ironically, Melanchthon, who had abhorred the Roman Catholic practice of the veneration of saints and relics, eventually advocated and instituted liturgical observances of the Marian Feasts and saints John the Baptist and the Archangel Michael. Subsequently, in 1554, Paul Eber composed a 12-verse setting of Melanchthon's Latin hymn, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" (Lord God, we all Thank you).


MICHAELFEST MUSIC, INFLUENCES

Interestingly, while this and other associated St. Michael's Day Reformation chorales were sung, the most important music at the service and vespers until Bach's time were the German baroque vocal concerto settings of Luther's vernacular German translation of the Epistle narrative, Revelation Chapter 12: (7) "Es erhub sich ein Streit im Himmel" (There was a war in heaven) and the song, (10b) "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft und das Reich unsers Gottes geworden" (Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God). In particular were motet-style multi-voice works of Heinrich Schütz, Tobias Zeutschner, Matthias Weckmann, Hieronymus and Michael Praetorius, Michael Altenberg, Andreas Hammerschmidt and, most notably, Johann Christoph Bach, Sebastian's second cousin and most significant ancestor. In addition, Sebastian's son Joihann Christoph Friedrich Bach composed two Michael's Day Epistle cantatas, one in association with his brother Emmanuel using the latter's music and music from Sebastian's <Magnificat,> BWV 243.

Johann Christoph Bach's extended, extensive setting of verses 7-11, composed c.1680, features an instrumental sonata and sinfonia, brief arias, small ensemble choruses, and extended antiphonal choruses with the full ensemble of four trumpets, timpani and strings. Sebastian may have heard the traditional festive, militant music as a youngster and later, perhaps as early as 1723, he presented the work in Leipzig and made a powerful impression. His son Emmanuel inherited the nine-minute work and may have performed it in Berlin. Christoph Bach's setting of "Es erhub sich ein Streit" fulfills the tradition established in Venice at St. Mark's cathedral in the late Renaissance, and first practiced in Germany in the music of Praetorius and Schütz, involving polychoral settings using divided massed instruments (chori spezzati), especially brass and drums.

Besides this massed ensemble technique of polyphonic music perfected in the Baroque era of the 17th century (originally called "Common Practice" period), three other related influences impacted on Sebastian Bach's music, particularly for the Feast of Michael and All Angels. These are: (1) the paraphrasing of biblical passages found in the poetic cantata texts developed through Erdmann Neumeister, (2) the significance of the final book in the New Testament, the Revelation of John with its blend of Old Testament metaphors and apocalyptic images found in both its narrative and canticles, and (3) the epic-heroic narrative found in the first two books of John Milton's "Paradise Lost," reflective of both stern Calvinism and the Italian tradition of biblical oratorios.


BACH'S LEIPZIG PRESENTATIONS

When Bach came to Leipzig in 1723, he had perfected Neumeister's technique of the modern opera-style musical sermon with Lutheran chorales in the form of cantatas, as well as biblical oratorios and liturgical Passion settings. During the first of 26 Sundays after Trinity, beginning on May 30, 1723, Bach had composed new music for the weekday festivals of John the Baptist on June 24 (Cantata 167, "Ihr ruhmet Gottes Liebe"), the Visitation of Mary with the <Magnificat> on July 2 (Cantata 146, "Herz und Mund und That und Leben"), and the Town Council inauguration on August 30 (Cantata 119, "Preise Jerusalem, den Herrn"). In order to accommodate the workload, Bach had forgone presenting new cantatas on the closest adjacent Sundays, respectively, of the Fifth and Sixth after Trinity (June 27 and July 4). For the Town Council presentation, Bach probably had been able to borrow music from Cöthen.

The record for the Michaelis service on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 1723, shows no documented performance, likewise for the previous service date, the 18th Sunday after Trinity, September 26. As with his previous composing pattern in the first cantata cycle, Bach presented no original cantata on the adjacent Sunday nearest the feast day. Interestingly, the record shows that Bach never filled these three gaps in his first cycle of Trinity Time Sunday services (Trinity 5, 6 and 18), while he belatedly did fill gaps in his second (chorale) cantata cycle of 1724-25 and his heterogeneous, incomplete two-year third cycle of 1726-28. Meanwhile, Bach in 1723 could have taken the opportunity to present the Christoph Bach cantata, "Es erhub sich ein Streit," which he had known since childhood. (See full details in new week's BCW discussion.). Other speculation for Michael's Day 1723 involves the double-chorus motet, BWV 50, "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft," a possible Michael cantata of Georg Philipp Telemann, and a possible pastiche involving the Christoph Bach work and the motet, BWV 50.

Subsequently, Sebastian Bach at the annual Feast of Michael and All Angels observed another tradition when presenting his own varied cantata settings as well as the music of other composers: trumpets and timpani in all the music for this festival. Bach did not always use trumpets, even in his music for the three chief festivals of three consecutive days each in the <de tempore> timely half of the church year - , Easter, and Pentecost -or in the secondary Marian and Saints festival days. These are the St. Michaels' cantatas associated with Bach (with BCW Discussion dates):
*BWV 130, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir"1 (Lord God, we all praise you; 1724), BCW Feb. 10;
*BWV 19, "Es erhub sich ein Streit" (There was a war, 1726), BCW Feb. 17;
*BWV 149, "Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg" (Songs are sung with joy of victory, 1728), BCW Feb. 24;
*BWV 50, "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft" (Now is salvation and strength, 1723-30), BCW March 3;
*BWV 219/TVWV 1:1328, Siehe, es hat uberwunden der Lowe (Behold, the lion has triumphed (Hamburg, 1723) [by Georg Philipp Telemann, no record of Bach performance], BCW March 10; and
*BWV Anh 198, Concerto in D major (opening sinfonia from a cantata) [BCW Feb. 24].

An overview of the themes and emphasis of each work suggests the following: Cantata 130 makes general references to the readings of the day as a tribute to the angels' protection of mankind; Cantata 19, based on the Epistle battle in heaven, stresses divine intervention, protection, and salvation; Cantata 149 builds on Cantata 19 as a celebration of the defeat of evil, the angels' constant presence, the vigilance of the "watchmen," and praise of God; and Cantata 219 is an allegory of Christ's victory over the devil and sin, with an exhortation to personal humility. Cantata 130 is a paraphrase of the hymn "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" (Lord God, we all praise you) from the second anonymous librettist with the largest number of hymn text adaptations (16 of 42). Cantata 50 is a setting of one line of the Epistle, Revelation 12:11, "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft" (Now is salvation and strength). Cantatas 19 and 149 are pietistic-flavored texts of Picander, and Cantata BWV 219 is a text of Eisenach poet Johann Friedrich Helbig.

Other works appropriate for the Michael Festival that Sebastian Bach possibly presented include:
*Johann Christoph Bach cantata "Es erhub sich ein Streit" (There was a war; as early as 1723) [BCW Feb. 17];
*Cantata BWV 51, (Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! (Shout for joy to God in every land!), <per ogni tempo> (for any time) and the 15th Sunday after Trinity (c.1730);
*Gottfried Heinrich Stözel Cantata No. 61, "Wer ist, wie der Herr unser Gott, der sich so hoch gestetzet hat?"
(Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high), 1735 [(Schmolck String Cycle, not extant] Psalm 113:5 Laudate pueri (Praise ye the Lord, Roman vespers); and
*Stözel, Cantata No. 61, no incipit (Schmolck Names of Christ Cycle, as early as 1736).

Notes:

No performance at the Feast of St. Michael is documented for Saturday, Sept. 29, 1725, when Bach took a break during Trinity Time in the second half of 1725 and composed only a handful of new cantatas, mostly for special events. It is possible that Bach presented/repeated the Johann Christoph Bach cantata, "Es erhub sich ein Streit," or a repeat of the 1724 Chorale Cantata BWV 130, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," possibly without the opening chorale fantasia, substituting the closing plain chorale harmonization for the opening stanza.

There is no record of a St. Michael cantata from Johann Ludwig Bach. In late 1726, Bach had composed a new cantata, BWV 19, dictum "Es erhub sich ein Streit," based on a Picander strophic poem of 1724-25.


MICHAEL READINGS, LITURGY

The Readings (Lessons Proper) for the Feast of Michael and All Angels are: Epistle, Revelation (Offenbarung) 12: 7-12 War in heaven; Gospel: Matthew 18: 1-11, Who humbles himself shall be exalted, found at BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Read/Michael.htm.

LITURGY (Mass Proper and Vespers)

Introit: Psalm 103, Benedic, anima mea (Bless the LORD, O my soul), includes verses 19-22: "19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. 20 Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21 Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22 Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul." Possible sources for motets include Heinrich Isaac (1450-1517), Motet No. 10, "Benedic Anima mea Domino (1484, 4v.), and Claudin de Sermisy (1495-1562), "Bendic, anima mea" (1535, SATB).

Psalm Responsorium chant (see Chorales and Chants, No. 163, below).

Gradualied chant (between Epistle and Gospel) is found in the <Liber usualis>, <Benedicte Dominum omnes angelieus>, on-line at http://quilisma-publications.info/Liber%20Usualis%20(Full).htm. Pages 1500-1599, scroll down to 1528/9.

Pre-Communion chant (Praefaction) (see Chorales and Chants, No. 164, below).

Benediction (Blessing) chant (see Chorales and Chants, No. 165, below).

VESPERS
1. Antiphona Ad Vesperas: Veni, Sancte Spiritus
2. Antiphona Ad Psalmos: Dum Praeliaretur Michael
3. Psalm 110: Dixit Dominus
4. Psalm 113: Laudate Pueri Dominum
5. Psalm 117: Laudate Dominum
6. Gloria Patri
7. Antiphona Ad Psalmos: Dum Praeliaretur Michael
8. Lectio: Und Es Erhub Sich Ein Streit
9. Hymnus (Alternatim) Christe Sanctorum
10. Antiphona Ad Magnificat: Factum Est Silentium
11. Magnificat Octavi Toni (Alternatim)
12. Antiphona Ad Magnificat: Factum Est Silentium
13. Salutatio & Collecta
14. Benedicamus
15. Postludium Super Veni Creator Spiritus
[Hieronymus Praetorius: Vespers for St. Michael's Day, SEE BELOW]


CHORALES and CHANTS

In Gottfried Vopelius' <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> (NLGB) of 1685, music for the Feast of Michael and All Angels lists the following music:

Communion Hymn, No. 158, "Dicimus grates tibi" (Thanks unto Thee), Philipp Melanchthon's Latin setting of the 11-stanza hymn paraphrase of Revelation 12-7-12, the angels' defeat of satanic forces in heaven and the voice of victory.

Communion Hymn, No. 159, "Laßt uns von Hertzen" (Let us from hearts), Melanchthon's vernacular German translation of "Dicimus grates tibi" in 11 stanzas, set to the old German melody, Zahn 966, NLGB SATB setting, composer unknown. Bach did not set this chorale and no text could be found.

Hymn of the Day, No. 160, "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" (Lord God, we all Thank you) Paul Eber 12 stanzas, Zahn melody 368 (see Cantata 130 below). Paul Eber's German paraphrase of Melanchthon's Latin setting was "generally accepted as the hymn of the day for the Festival of St. Michael" "in all the Leipzig and Dresden hymn schedules," says Günther Stiller in JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig (St. Louis MO: Concordia Publishing, 1984: 247). [See Cantata 130 below.]

Pulpit Hymn, No. 161, "Es stehn für/vor Gottes Throne" I stand before God's throne); Ludwig Humbold 1594, 7 stanzas, Zahn melody 4298, Johannes a Burgk 1594 (Muhlhausen), SATB setting, composer unknown.
Bach plain chorale setting in g minor, BWV 309. It is listed in the Orgelbüchlien for the Michael and All Angels Festival (OB 58) but not set. An organ chorale prelude may be by Bach, BWV deest, Emans NBA/KB IV/10: 65, three-part harmony with pedal, 37 measures in A minor/Major.

Communion Hymn, No. 162, "Fürst und Herr der starcken Helden" M Johann Frentzel (7 stanzas, SSATB; Tobias Michel, Zahn melody 8805 (1652). Bach did not set this chorale and no text could be found.

Psalm Responsorium chant, No. 163, <Te sanctum Dominum> "Thee, O holy Lord, all angels praise in the heavens, saying: Thou art worthy of praise and honour, O Lord" (anonymous, Notre Dame School, 1200, Gregorian chant).

Pre-Communion chant, No. 164, Praefaction, <Dominos vobiscum> (The Lord be with you).

Benediction (Blessing) chant, No. 165, <Benedicamus Domino/Deo dicamus gratias.


Another St. Michael Chorale

"Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr" (From my heart I hold you dear, o Lord), Martin Schalling (1569), 3 stanzas, especially Stanza 3, Ach, Herr, laß dein' lieb' Engelein/ Am letzten End' die Seele mein/ In Abrahams Schoß tragen! (Ah Lord, let your dear angels/ at my last end carry my soul/ to Abraham's bosom). It is based on Psalms 18 (The Lord rewarded m) and 73 (Here this, all ye peoples). Besides "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," it was the "other hymn attested for this festival in the hymn schedules" of Dresden and Leipzig, as well as Weißenfels, says Stiller (Ibid.). It is found in the NLGB No. 324, "Death and Dying." The full text and Francis Browne's English translation is at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale006-Eng3.htm

The anonymous melody (Zahn 8326) was first found in the Orgeltabulatur-Buch, Straßburg (1577). The source of the melody, is found in Thomas Braatz (December 11, 2002): BWV 19 - Commentary: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV19-Guide.htm: The "music/melody evolved as follows: in its 1st incarnation the melody by Matthias Gastritz appeared in "Kurtze vnnd sonderliche Newe Symbola etlicher Fürsten," Amberg, 1571; it was later modified by Bernhard Schmid in "Zwey Bücher einer Neuen Künstlichen Tabulatur auf Orgel und Instrument," Straßburg, 1577 - [this is the melody that remained associated with the chorale text, "Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr," a chorale that still appears in German Lutheran hymnals up to the present day"; "Lord, Thee I love with all my heart," Lutheran Book of Worship, No 325, "Christian Hope."

"Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr" appears in three Picander texts for Bach cantatas, two for the Feast of St. Michael (SEE BELOW), BWV 149/7(S.3) in the Picander 1728 cycle text, P-62, and Cantata BWV 19/5 from Picander poetry (tenor aria, trumpet melody only (SEE BELOW), as well as the Pentecost Monday Cantata BWV 174/5 (S.1), Picander cycle text, P-39, and also in the St. John Passion, BWV 245/40 (S.3) plain chorale BWV 340.


German `Gloria' in excelsis Deo'

"Allein Gott in der Höh, sei Her" (To God alone on high be glory, <Greater Doxology, <Gloria in excelsis Deo>). NLGB No. 145, Trinity, Nicolaus Decius and Martin Luther, 4 stanzas 1522/25, <hymnus angelicus> (angels' song from Luke 2:14; Decius adapted the melody (Zahn 4457) from the <Gloria> in the <Missa Tempore Paschali> of the <Graduale Romanus> (Liber usualis). Full text and Francis Browne's English translation are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale092-Eng3.htm. For a full discussion of the melody and text, see BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Allein-Gott-in-der-Hoh.htm.

Based on the Gregorian chant "Gloria in excelsis" (Zahn 4457), Bach used the melody more than any other chorale, as an organ chorale in three settings each of the "Great 18 Chorales" (BWV 662-64), Clavierbüchlein III German Organ Mass (BWV 675-77) and Miscellaneous Chorales (BWV 715-17), in the plain chorale, BWV 260 in D/B Major, and listed it for Trinity Sunday in the Orgelbüchlein as an organ chorale prelude (OB 53) but not set. The melody, usually transmitted in G and F Major, is set to various texts in Cantatas BWV 85, 104, 112, and 128 for the Easter Season. In 1739, Bach observed the 200th anniversary of the introduction of the Reformation into Leipzig with the composition of the Clavierbüchlein III and the beginning of the revision of the "Great 18 Chorales," originally composed in Weimar (c.1710-17). The fughetta super setting of the German <Gloria> from the Clavierbüchlein III, BWV 677, is found in the Hänssler Bach Edition of Bach Chorales, Vol. 82, Incidental Festivals (St. Michael).

"O Gott, der du aus Herzensgrund" (O God, You Whom from the depths of our hearts),
SEE BELOW: Cantata BWV 219/TVWV 1:1328, Siehe, es hat uberwunden der Lowe (Behold, the lion has triumphed)


Other Chorales used in Michael Festival Cantatas

"Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele" Cantata BWV 19, "Es erhub sich ein Streit im Himmel" (There was a war in heaven).

"Nun lob mein Seel, den Herren" (Now praise, my soul, the Lord), Cantata BWV 51 (Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! (Shout for joy to God in every land!)


CHORALE CANTATA 130

Background

Chorale Cantata BWV 130 "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir"1 (Lord God, we all praise you; Leipzig, 1724) uses Bach's customary format in the second cycle with an opening chorus fantasia singing Stanza 1 and closing with a plain chorale setting of the last stanzas (Nos. 11 and 12), and paraphrases of the internal stanzas as recitatives: Movement No. 2, alto, Stanzas 2-4, and No. 4, soprano and tenor, Stanzas 7-9, and two arias, No. 3, bass with trumpets and timpani, Stanzas 4-6, and No. 5, tenor with flute, Stanza 10. Details, including Francis Browne's English translation, Julian Mincham's informative commentary, and the Recordings, some with liner notes, are found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV130.htm. Of special note is Peter's Smaill's Part 2 BCW Discussion Introduction (Sept. 9, 2006), http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV130-D2.htm.

Gardiner commentary

John Eliot Gardiner, in his notes to the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000 recordings of the four cantatas for the Feast of St. Michael, says of Cantata 130:

BWV 130 Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, from Bach's second Leipzig cycle, is based squarely on one of the set hymns for the day, Paul Eber's paraphrase of Melanchthon's Dicimus gratias tibi (1539), and opens with a song of praise and gratitude to God for creating the angelic host. Using instrumental forces identical to those in BWV 50, Bach begins by presenting a tableau of the angels on parade: these are celestial military manoeuvres, some of them even danced, rather than the battle itself. That is reserved for the centrepiece of the cantata, a C major bass aria scored exceptionally for three trumpets, drums and continuo. The battle is presented not as a past event, but as an ongoing danger from `the ancient dragon [who] burns with envy and constantly devises new pain' intended to break up Christ's `little flock'. Though there is brilliance aplenty in the steely glint of Michael's sword (fifty-eight consecutive semiquavers for the principal trumpet to negotiate - twice!), this is not an episode in a Blitzkrieg. Bach is more concerned to evoke two superpowers squaring up to one another, the one vigilant and poised to protect the `kleine Häuflein' against assault (cue the tremulant throbbing of all three trumpets in linked quavers), the other wily and deceitful (one wonders whether the kettledrums and continuo are perhaps intended to be on the dragon's side?). The secure protection God offers the believer through His guardian angels is portrayed in a soothing duet for soprano and tenor with reference to past successes - Daniel in the lions' den and the three men in the fiery furnace. Gratitude for the services the angels provide is now expressed as a gavotte, with an aria for tenor and virtuosic flute symbolising perhaps the fleetness of angelic transport `on Elijah's chariot'. Human and angelic praise are combined in the final chorale, with God's elect borne aloft by the angelic trumpets. [Cantata 130, BCW Details, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV130.htm, scroll down to Recording No. 11]


Epistle Paraphrase Chorales

The author of "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" chorale text is Paul Eber (1511-1569) and the first appearance of this is from 1554. Francis Browne's English translation of the Eber text is found at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale113-Eng3.htm. It is Eber's paraphrase/translation of Lutheran reformer Philipp Melanchthon's (1497-1560) 11-stanza, 4-lines Latin verse >Dicimus grates tibi> (Lord God, to thee we all give praise) which first appeared in 1539. "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" is listed in the NLGB as No. 160 under music for the Feast of Michael and All Angels, Zahn melody 368, in the J. H. Schein setting in F Major for SATB 1627.

Melanchthon's setting of >Dicimus grates tibi> is found in thNLGB as No. 158, Zahn melody 974 in the J. H. Schein setting for SATB, No. 158. Matthew Carver's Hymnoglyph English translation from the original Latin text (both) are found at http://matthaeusglyptes.blogspot.com/2011_09_01_archive.htm, scroll down to <Dicimus grates tibi>.

Melody to "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" (anonymous Geneva Psalter 1551, Psalm 134, Ecce nunc, Behold now, bless the Lord)2, is discussed at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/CM/Herr-Gott-loben-alle.htm. The chorale melody is used as the Christian Doxology, "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow." In this form the melody is often referred to as the "Old 100th (Psalm 100, Jubilate Deo, Be joyful to the Lord)

In Cantata BWV 130, the melody is found in the opening chorale fantasia in the soprano (4/4, C Major), set to Stanza 1, and in the closing plain chorale (Mvt. 6), set to the final two stanzas, S. 11 and 12 (3/4, C Major): "Darum wir billig loben dich" (Therefore we freely praise you) and "Und bitten dich, wollst allezeit/ Dieselben heißen sein hereit" (And we ask that it may always be your will/ to command them [the angels] to be ready).

Bach also set the melody as plain chorales in D Major, BWV 326, 4/4 in B-flat Major, and BWV 3127, ¾ in D Major set to the associated text, "Für deinen Thron tret ich hiermit" (Before your throne I appear herewith). The Bodo von Hodenberg 1646 15 stanza text also is associated with the Louis Bourgeoise 1543 melody (Zahn 394) as the hymn "Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein" (When we are in utmost need). Ludwig Erk's C. F. Peters edition of Bach chorales (1850) lists a spurious plain-chorale setting of "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," BWV Anh. 31, with two obligation trumpets in D Major (B. F. Richter No. 130, ?AII/4 Breitkopf). The composer, using a variant melody in quarter notes, is unknown.

[1] Not to be confused with the <Te Deum laudamus> = Herr Gott, dich loben wir [Luther's German Tedeum] (different melody, Zahn 8652, Apostels' Feast and New Years Day) nor with "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren" (Now praise the Lord my soul), which has the same melodic incipit (Zahn 8244) but differs thereafter [and as a thanksgiving hymn (Psalm 103), is appropriate for the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist (June 24)].

[2] The BWV Verzeichnis gives Zahn 368 with the melody title "Ihr Knecht des Herren allzugleich."
Another source gives Zahn 6002, "Preis, Lob und Dank sei Gott dem Herren" (Geneva Psalter, 1551), but Zahn 460 is also related to the Geneva Psalter, 1551.

--------

Next Week: BCW Discussion of Cantata BWV 19, "Es erhub sich ein Streit," as well as other composers' settings of the Epistle, Revelation 11:7-12.

William Hoffman wrote (February 10, 2013):
Cantata 130: Intro. material insert

Another St. Michael Chorale

"Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr" (From my heart I hold you dear, o Lord), Martin Schalling (1569), 3 stanzas, especially Stanza 3, Ach, Herr, laß dein' lieb' Engelein/ Am letzten End' die Seele mein/ In Abrahams Schoß tragen! (Ah Lord, let your dear angels/ at my last end carry my soul/ to Abraham's bosom). It is based on Psalms 18 (The Lord rewarded me) and 73 (Here this, all ye peoples). Besides "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir," it was the "other hymn attested for this festival in the hymn schedules" of Dresden and Leipzig, as well as Weißenfels, says Stiller (Ibid.). It is found in the NLGB No. 324, "Death and Dying." The full text and Francis Browne's English translation is at BCW, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale006-Eng3.htm

 

Musical Context of Bach Cantatas: Table of Motets & Chorales for Events in the Lutheran Church Year

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Last update: ưApril 24, 2013 ư16:53:19