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Musical Context of Bach Cantatas
Motets & Chorales for 13th Sunday after Trinity


Readings: Epistle: Galatians 3: 15-22; Gospel: Luke 10: 23-37

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

Motets and Chorales for the 13th Sunday after Trinity (Trinity 13)

Douglas Cowling wrote (January 1, 2012):


Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch des Gottfried Vopelius (Leipzig 1682)",
Berlin: Merseburger, 1969.
ML 3168 G75

Otto Riemer, "Erhard Bodenschatz und sein Florilegium Portense"
Schünigen: Kaminsky,1927
ML 410 B67R4

Partial Index of Motets in “Florilegium Portense” with links to online scores and biographies:

Dissertation on Bodenschatz Collection (downloadable):


* Motets are not prescribed for Trinity 9, 11 & 13. Is there an intentional pattern here? The omissions seem to indicate that the season of Sundays after Trinity had a generalized “omne tempore” structure. If that is the case, Bach may well have chosen motets from adjoining lists (Trinity 14 has 2 choices).

* The “omne tempore” structure is certainly apparent in the chorales: 3 of the hymns are also prescribed for previous and succeeding Sundays.

1) MOTETS for Introit, Before Sermon at mass and vespers for Choir II, and During Communion:

No motets prescribed Trinity 13

2) HYMN OF DAY (de tempore)

Nun Freut euch” [Also Trinity 12 & 19

3) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns:

"Nun lob mein Seel” [also 12, 17 & 18]

Dies sind die heiigen zehn Gebot” [also Trinity 4 & 6]

Es ist das Heil” [also Trinity 6, 11, 18]

O Herre Gott begnade mich

Erbarm dich mein O Herre Gott” [also Trinity 3 & 11]


Chorales & Biblical Texts for 13th Sunday After Trinity

William Hoffman wrote (December 21, 2011):
Several milestones are found in the cantatas Bach presented for the 13th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig. They involve the first cantata (BWV 77) of 1723 with Bach’s initial use of a chorale trope or insertion, found in the opening biblical dictum chorus; a straight-forward chorale cantata (BWV 33) in 1724, set to a relevant and popular hymn in the second cycle; an intimate, austere solo cantata (BWV 164) in 1725, set to an older Pietistic text emblematic of Bach’s extended yet incomplete third cycle; and the last use of one of the 18 substitute cantatas (JLB-16), composed by cousin Johann Ludwig Bach, with non-Orthodox Lutheran theological overtones, performed in 1726.

In the readings for the Sundays in Trinity Time, the 13th Sunday after Trinity is the beginning of the third mini-cycle, “Works of Faith and Love.” Extending through the Feast of St. Michael and all Angels on September 29, these readings from the New Testament Gospel and the Epistle Letters of Paul are teachings practical in character and application.

Textually, these cantatas and their congregational hymns are as significant as their musical character. While all four works embrace fundamental Christian concepts, they show Bach increasingly using poetic madrigalian, plain-verse and hymn texts of a more didactic yet synchronistic, all-embracing spiritual character. They reflect the teachings as found in the Trinity Time <omnes tempore> half of the Church Year as well as the sentiments of Pietism and the theme/practice of Christ’s Great Commandment and the Law, and, finally, the Christian principles of discipleship and service. Thus among the challenges Bach faced in securing effective libretto texts to set to music was not only their inherent literary quality and adaptability to musical setting but also their theological emphases and sentiments.

Overview: Trinity 13 & Bach’s Response

Here is an overview of the meaning of the 13th Sunday after Trinity and Bach’s creative response, in John Eliot Gardiner, Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000, BCW,[sdg134_gb].pdf

Cantatas for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity
Dreikönigskirche, Frankfurt

“Sure enough, after the breezy pleasures of last week’s celebratory pieces – a brief reprieve – came the cold shower of our man’s resumption of the earnest process of musical exegesis. Bach saw the exposition of scripture-al exegesis as the main meditative goal of his church music, in particular the need to forge audible links in the listener’s mind between the ‘historical’ (‘what [is] written in the book of the law’) and spiritual attributes of the texts to be set. Here, on the 13th Sunday after Trinity, he is faced with a Gospel (Luke 10: 23-37) centered on the parable of the Good Samaritan which stresses man’s slipperiness in evading his responsibilities to his neighbour, and an Epistle (Galatians 3:15-22) in which Paul probes the distinction between faith and the law. This was adopted by Luther in his twelve-verse hymn paraphrasing the Ten Commandments, ‘Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebot’, insisting that their purpose, and the first step in the believer’s understanding of them, was the ‘recognition of sin’ and ‘how one should rightly live before God’, a theme that had preoccupied Bach from the outset of his first Leipzig cycle.

“Although it was a deliberate choice during this year to group the cantatas by feast day, slicing through the years of their composition so as to compare Bach’s differing responses to the same text, yet with each previous week’s offerings still ringing in our ears we were always conscious of the connective tissue that binds cantatas week to week within a given annual cycle. Bach announced himself to his twin congregations in Leipzig with two monumental, fourteen-movement cantatas (BWV 75 and 76) in which he set out his compositional stall. His underlying purpose seems to have been to connect the dualism of love of God and brotherly love with a vision of eternity as man’s eschatological goal. All the signs are there that he intended to stretch these thematic links over at least the first four weeks of the Trinity season, first in BWV 75 and 76, and then by reviving two Weimar-composed works, BWV 21 and 185. Now, for the past six weeks, from the Eighth to the Thirteenth Sundays after Trinity, we have been encountering a sequence of works, all newly composed in Leipzig to theologically interrelated texts, based on the principle of reinterpreting an Old Testament dictum in terms of the New Testament Gospel of the day, and then applying it to the contemporary worshipper. All this was in a poetic ssuggesting that the texts may have been the work of a single librettist.”

Four Cantatas for the 13th Sunday after Trinity

The title and subject of Bach’s first cantata (BWV 77) for this Sunday in 1723 is the “Great Commandment,” <Du sollst Gott, deinen Herren, lieben vom ganzen Herzen (Thou shalt, God, thy Lord, love from the whole heart), as the Lutheran Church year cycle enters its mid-point in the half-year Trinity Time. The opening chorus fantasia in mixolydian mode quotes in the solo trumpet the canto of Martin Luther’s fundamental Catechism teaching hymn of 1524, “Dies sind die heiligen zehn Gebot” (These are the sacred Ten Commandments), while the chorus itself gives Jesus’ summary of the Law, quoting the day’s Gospel, Luke 10: 27, as found originally in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. The libretto, possibly by Bach’s pastor, Christian Weiss Sr., is considered “wholly original, connected, and well-reasoned” (W. Gilles Whittaker, <Cantatas of JSB>, London: Oxford University Press, 1959: I, 644-50). The attendant three Luther chorale preludes in G Major reinforce the Cantata BWV 77 basic theme of Discipleship through the “Coming-to-Life of the New Self,” says Calvin R. Stepert in <My Only Comfort: Death, Deliverance and Discipleship in the Music of Bach> (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdman’s Publishing, 2000: 165ff).

The central Lutheran Catechism teaching theme of “Confession, Penitence, and Justification” is portrayed in the 1724 Chorale Cantata BWV 33, <Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ> (Alone with Thee, Lord Jesus Christ), Bach’s meditation on Konrad Hubert’s singular Trinitarian Catechism hymn of 1540. It links the essential Lutheran practice asking for Jesus’ release from the oppressive burdens of sin, leading to penitence and justification through faith alone (<sola fide>), with the act of unconditional love for one’s neighbor, quoted in the Sunday Gospel lesson, Luke 10: 27, and found harmoniously in all three synoptic Gospels.

In 1725, Bach turned to a Salomo Franck 1715 published text for his Cantata BWV 164, <Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet> (You, who are yourselves after Christ called), closing (Movement No. 6) with the plain chorale of Elisabeth Cruciger’s 1524 Catechism Hymn, the melody published with the first text, “Herr Christ, der einge/einig Gottes Sohn” (Lord Christ, God’s only son), using Stanza 5, “Ertöt uns durch dein Güte” (Mortify us by thy grace).

On September 15, 1726, Bach presented cousin Johann Ludwig Bach’s Cantata JLB-16, “Ich aber ging für die über, und sahe dich” (I again go above for thee, and see thee) to a Rudolstadt text, composed for the Meiningen Court, c. 1715. It closes with a plain chorale, “Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit” (It is certainly time) with its judgment overtones; (NLGB Tr. 26). The third cantata cycle Rudolstadt texts, written in 1704 with popular closing chorales, constitute Bach’s furthest venture into sacred cantata poetry and hymn verses that express the widest range of theological and personal sentiments.

Chorales and Sacred Meanings

Cantata BWV 77 uses chorales in the opening chorus and closing four-part hymn setting:

Dies sind die heil’gen Zehn Gebot (These are the sacred Ten Commandments) is Martin Luther’s 12-stanza text using the melody of the German c.1200 folk hymn, “In gottes namen faren wir" (In God's name we are traveling). It is found in <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> of 1684 (NLGB) No. 170 (p. 490), under Catechism hymns as well as the <omnes tempore> Pulpit and Communion Hymns for the First Sunday after Epiphany and the Sundays after Trinity Sunday 4, 6, 13, and 18.

For details and translation, see BCW, Motets and Chorales for the 4th Sunday after Trinity, with the full text in English and German of the meaning of each commandment as well as an introduction and conclusion. The hymn has a four-line structure, AABB rhyme scheme, with closing litany <Ky-ri-e-leis’> (Have mercy Lord,); metrical index, 8. 8. 8. 7. 4. Syllables. <The Lutheran Hymnal, Missouri Synod, St. Louis: Concordia, 1941: No. 287, lists Luther’s Catechism hymn as “That man a goodly life may live,” under the heading, “Law and Gospel.”

The genesis of Luther’s teaching chorale is found in Robin Leaver’s <Luther’s Liturgical Music> (Lutheran Quarterly Books; Grand Rapids MI: Eerdman’s, 2007: 116-121). It exists on-line at:, scroll down and click on: Dies sind die heiligen Zehn Gebot 116. It also has Luther’s five-stanza shortened chorale version, “Mensch, wiltu leben seliglich” (Wilt thou, O man, live happily), NLGB 171, which Bach did not set.

Bach's other uses of Luther’s full Ten Commandment hymn, Dies sind die heil’gen Zehn Gebot besides the trumpet melody in Cantata BWV 77, are – all in G Major -- the plain Catechism chorale, BWV 298 in G Major, and, most notably, the three organ chorale preludes settings in the <Orgelbüchelin> first Catechism chorale (No. 61), BWV 635, in a striking melodic and repetitive style, and the two <Clavierübung> (Keyboard Exercise) Catechism chorales, BWV 678, the canon setting, and BWV 679, the fugue setting.

Ach Gott, vom Himmel siehe darein (Ah, God, look down from Heaven) is Bach’s plain chorale harmonization of the 1410 anonymous melody that Luther used in 1524 in six verses to the text setting of Psalm 12 (Plea for help in evil times). It is found in the NLGB as No. 249, and is one of the Psalm chorales under the heading “Christian Life and Conduct/Change.” In the NLGB, this <omnes tempore> chorale is sung at the Sundays after Trinity 1, 2, 8, and 20. Bach used the entire hymn in his Chorale Cantata BWV 2 in G Minor for the 2nd Sunday after Trinity in 1724.

Bach’s plain chorale closing Cantata BWV 77 has no text in the manuscript. Carl Friedrich Zelter, Bach’s first vocal music advocate, chose (<BGA>) Denicke’s 1657 “Wenn einer alle Ding verstünd” (Whence one understands all things; not in the <NLGB>), using the closing Stanza 8, “Du sellst, mein Jesu, selber dich” (You place, my Jesus, yourself the model). Werner Neumann (<Texte>) suggests Denicke’s 1657 "O Gottes Sohn, Herr Jesus Christ" (O God’s Son, Lord Jesus Christ), using the closing Stanza 8, “Herr durch den Glauben wohn in mir” (Lord, dwell in me through faith). Neither Denicke chorale is found in the <NLGB>. (Francis Browne’s BCW translations to come.)

Bach also set the phrygian melody of “Ach Gott, vom Himmel siehe darein” to another text in the opening chorale chorus <Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind> (Behold, Dear God, how mine enemies are), BWV153/1, Sunday after New Years, 1724, and in the organ chorale BWV 741 that is related to the Neumeister Chorale Collection (c.1700), particularly works of Johann Michael Bach and Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, Handel’s teacher, which also are found in the manuscript album. The hymn is listed as No. 114 in Bach’s <Orgelbüchelin> manuscript as one of six Psalm Hymns, none of which was set in that collection.

The fascinating history of the melody, “Ach Gott, vom Himmel siehe darein,” used by Luther’s “unity” reformers circle beginning in 1523, is found in BCW, “Chorale Melodies Used in Bach’s Vocal Works,”

Chorale Cantata
BWV 33, “Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

The central Lutheran Catechism theme of “Confession, Penitence, and Justification” is portrayed in the 1724 Chorale Cantata BWV 33, <Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ> (On you alone, Lord Jesus Christ), NLGB No. 178 (P. 512). This Catechism hymn, also Trinity 3 (Pulpit & Communion Hymn), “Confession and Repentence”; melody anonymous; See BCW In the <NLGB> it is the Hymn of the Day for Third Sunday After Epiphany and is listed for Trinity 11, 21, 22, 24.

Bach's uses are: Chorale Cantata BWV 33, Trinity 13, 1723 (BWV 33/6 closing plain chorale doxology, S.4, "Ehr sei Gott in dem höchsten Thron" [Honour be to God on his highest throne, Francis Browne trans.]; plain chorale BWV 261 in A Minor-Major; Neumeister organ chorale prelude BWV 1100; and listed in the Orgelbüchelin <omne tempore> Catechism (No. 70; “Confession, Penitence, and Justification”) but not set. BCW Francis Browne Text & Translation:

Cantata BWV 164

The closing chorale in solo Cantata BWV 164, “Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet” (1725), “Herr Christ, der einge/einig Gottes Sohn” (Lord Christ, God’s only son) is found in the <NLGB> as No. 231 (P. 614). It is an <omnes tempore> Catechism Hymn and also can be sung on the 18th Sunday after Trinity and the First and Sixth Sundays After Epiphany; Bach’s uses are as the plain closing chorale in Weimar solo Cantata 132/6 for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, 1715* (based on its use at Advent 3 and 4 in the Weimar hymn books of 1708 and 1713); in Cantata BWV 22/5 (S. 5, Estomihi 1723); and as Chorale Cantata Trinity 13 (Tr. 18; 1724; repeated 1734, 1745). Cantata BWV Anh. 156 (Breitkopf Catalog 1761, JSB attribution), “Herr Christ, der einge Gottes Sohn,” is now attributed to Telemann as an Annunciation Cantata, TVWV 1:732 (text Neumeister IV, 1714-17) (*BWV 132/6 (1715), is a setting of verse 5 of Elisabeth Kreuziger’s (1524) “Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn”. “It is called for at this point in the librettto, but Alfred Dürr believes that there is no missing chorale setting and that Bach may have intentionally dropped the idea of performing a chorale at this point” [BCW, Francis Browne Text & Translation of Chorale,].)

Almost all extant settings are for early organ chorales: BWV 601 in A Major is found in the <Orgelbüchlein> (Little Organ Book collection of Preludes), No. 3, melody chorale setting for Advent, that also lists its second text, “Herr Gott, nun sei gepreiset” (Lord God, now be glorified), “Grace after Meals” hymn from the Bapst’s Hymnbook of 1553. It “appears to be the initial entry in the autograph” manuscript (1708-1712, fair copy), says Russel Stinson, <Bach: The Orgelbüchlein> (Oxford University Press, 1999: 3, 77ff).

Organ Chorale (fughetta) BWV 698 in G Major is found in the J. P. Kirnberger Collection of 24 miscellaneous organ chorale preludes from the Leipzig Breitkopf publisher in 1777. It is one of seven Advent and Christmas concise fughettas (brief fugues) and has “thematic complexity” in a “twenty-bar miniature” making it “hard to put earlier than 1725,” says Peter Williams, <The Organ Music of JSB> (Cambridge University Press, 2003: 429f, 437ff).

Also extant are three organ chorale settings considered questionable: BWV Anh. 55 (NBA IV/10: 76), BWV Anh. 75 (NBA IV/10: 78), and BWV Anh. 77 (NBA IV/11: 73); and two doubtful from (J.) C.H. Rinck Collection, BWV <deest>, Emans 85 (NBA IV/10: 79) and BWV <deest>, Emans 86. Organ chorales BWV Anh. 55 and 77 are described briefly P. Williams, 577ff). The Rinck library also contained the Neumeister Collection of 82 organ chorales, including 31 of JSB, BWV 1090-1120. It contains an early, inventive mixed-form organ chorale setting of distant uncle Johann Michael Bach, 1648-1694, found in the opening Advent section as JMB-3. Michael and brother Johann Christoph (1642-1703) are considered the first of the Bach Family members to compose organ chorales, with Christoph compiling a collection of “44 chorales [1703] that can be used for preludising during the divine service,” according to Reinmar Emans in the program notes to “The Bach Family Organ Works,” Teldec CD 4509-92176 (1993).

The chorale, “Herr Christ, der einge Gottes Sohn,” is “loosely based on the Latin Christmas hymn <Corde natus ex parentis> (Born from his father's heart) by Aurelius Prudentius. Chorale melody usage is found in BCW, “Chorale Melodies used in Bach’s Vocal Works,”

Johann Ludwig Bach Cantata JLB-16

On September 15, 1726; Bach presented cousin Johann Ludwig Bach’s Cantata JLB-16, “Ich aber ging für die über, und sahe dich” (I again go above for thee, and see thee) to a Rudolstadt text, composed for the Meiningen Court, c. 1715. It closes with a plain chorale, “Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit” (It is certainly time).

The Rudolstadt 1704 texts found in the 18 JLB Cantatas and seven Bach Cantatas (BWV 43, BWV 39, BWV 88, BWV 187, BWV 45, BWV 102, BWV 17), show elements of Pelagianism, says Peter Smaill, “Bach among the Heretics: Inferences from the Cantata texts,” <Understanding Bach>, 4, 101-118; (c) Bach Network UK, 2004. Smaill’s essay examines the various, mostly Protestant, theological perspectives and belief practices of Bach’s time which were influential in his cantata texts. Pelagianism was fostered by early English (Anglican) ecclesiastics who emphasized that the need for self-reform was at the heart of salvation. The third annual cantata cycle “is rich in a sequence of Pelagian-leaning texts (two incline to Pantheism) where the other [Lutheran] doctrines whether away as a consequence,” says Smaill.

The key Lutheran Protestant doctrine is <sola fide> (by faith alone) while Pelagianism tended to remain both hierarchical authoritarian and personally submissive. Smaill (p. 111) cites sentiments in Cantata BWV 45 (Trinity 8, 1723), “Es ist dir gesagt, O Mensch, was gut ist” (It is told to you, O man, what is good), Alto Recitative No. 6: “Und Gott will mir den Lohn nach meinem Sinn erteilen:” (and God wants to grant me my reward according to what I have intended), and closing chorale, No. 7: “Gib, daß ich tu mit Fleiß,/ Was mir zu tun gebühret,” (Grant that I may do with diligence what it is proper for me to do). This is Stanza 2, "O Gott, du frommer Gott" (O God, Thou Righteous God), of Johann Heermann’s 1630 eight-stanza hymn of “Christian Life” (BCW translation, Francis Browne) for Cantata BWV 45, composed for the 7th Sunday after Trinity in 1726 [See Francis Browne’s new “Notes” in the Interlinear Translation, BCW, Smaill wonders whether by 1726, Leipzig church superintendent (“bishop”) Salmo Deyling still “was exercising any theological control from a strict Lutheran perspective.”

Three other incipts of the movements of JLB-16, “Ich aber ging für die über, und sahe dich” (I again go above for thee, and see thee), also suggest various sentiments: No. 3, “Yet the highest with pity (soprano aria with cello and bassoon); No. 5, “Werewith He loves us (bass aria); and No. 7, “There mourns God in eternity” (tutti chorus).

The melody, “Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit” said to be derived by Luther from a song “Wach auf, die schöne” Rach out, the beautiful) is attributed to Joseph Klug, Wittenberg 1529, and published in <Aus Geistliche Lieder>, Wittenberg, 1535 in the <Joseph Klug Gesangbuch>. Bach set the Klug melody to three different texts:

1. "Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein" (Now rejoice ye, dear Christians all), Martin Luther’s 1524 ten-verse Advent hymn, a ballad on Christ’s incarnation, later associated with Ascension and Trinity Time; NLGB No. 232 (P. 616), in the <omnes tempore> section between the end of Catechism hymns and the beginning of the topical hymns of “Christian Life and Conduct.” Tr. 12, 13, and 17. The others, besides this and No 231, “Herr Christ, der einge Gottes Sohn,” are No. 229, “Durch Adams Fall ist gantz verderbt”; No. 230, “Es ist das Heil uns kommen her”; and No. 233, “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt.” All five set by Bach

2. “Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit,” Bartholomäus Ringwaldt’s 1582 seven-stanza setting of the Latin <Requiem, Dies ire> sequence. NLGB 390 (p. 996), sung to Luther’s melody "Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein" last of NLGB <omnes tempore> topics, “Last Judgment” in the “Miscellaneous category, but is not designated for any particular service.
Text & Translation:

3. “Ich steh on diner Krippen hier” (I stand by thy manger here), Paul Gerhardt 15-stanza 1656 Feast of the Epiphany text, is found in the <Christmas Oratorio> plain chorale, BWV 248/59(VI/6), stanza 1. Pietist Gerhardt’s chorale is not listed in the <NLGB> but his chorales were popular and utilized extensively by Bach in Leipzig. See Paul T. McCain BCW biography,

The organ chorale, BWV 734 in G Major, double title of “Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit” and "Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein," also is found in Johann Michael Bach’s Advent organ chorale setting in the Neumeister Collection, JMB 5). Dietrich Buxtehude also composed organ chorale settings of "Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein," BuxWV 210, and “Herr Christ, der einge Gottes Sohn,” BuxWV 191 and 192.

The four-voice setting of "Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein" in D Minor/Major is catalogued as BWV 388 but is not found in the Hanssler Complete Bach Edition, Advent & Christmas CD, Volume 78. It is found in the Teldec “Complete” Bach 2000 CD Edition, Vol. 7, “Motets, Chorales, and Songs, 25712

The four-voice setting of “Es is gewißlich an der Zeit” in B-flat Major is catalogued as BWV 307 and is found in the Hanssler Edition CD V. 85, under the later <omnes tempore> heading, “Dying, Death and Eternity.”

Bach also used the melody only of “Es ist gewißlich an der Zeit” as a trumpet canto in the bass recitative with chorale trope, “Ach, soll nicht dieser große Tag,/ Der Welt Verfall” (Ah, should not this great day, the ruin of the world).

Further Trinity 13 Performances

While there is no documentation that Bach reperformed any of the cantatas for the 13th Sunday after Trinity (BWV 77, BWV 33, BWV 164 or JLB 16), there is evidence that Bach may have composed a chorale setting (BWV 399) for that Sunday in 1728, presented another composer’s work on that date in 1735, and that Chorale Cantata BWV 33 was, after Bach’s death, presented in Leipzig in 1755.

Chorale, BWV 399. Picander’s cantata cycle published text (1728) for the 13th Sunday after Trinity, August 22, 1728, Cantata P-56; “Können meine nassen Wangen,” closes with chorale, <Herr/O Jesu Christ, meines Lebens Leben> (Lord/O Jesus Christ, my Life’s Life), using Stanza 11, “Auf deinen Abschied, Herr, ich trau'” (In your farewell, Lord, I place my trust). Bach’s setting of Stanza 1 of Martin Behm’s 1610 14-stanza text set to Seth Calvisius’ 1594 adaptation of the melody <Rex Christe factor omnium> is found in his funeral motet, BWV 118, as well as various cantata settings of alternate texts and melodies (see BCW, Bach also harmonized Behm’s melody in his chorale, BWV 399 in B Major, also known as “O Jesu, du, mein Bräutigam” (O Jesu, thou, my bridegroom), associated with Johann Heermann’s 1630 hymn of 12 four-line stanzas by C.P.E. Bach in his 1786 publication of his father’s 371 plain chorales. The Behm-Calvisius hymn setting is found the <NLGB> Hymn Book as No. 374 in the final, Miscellaneous section as a sacred journey of Christian death to eternal life. It carries the double title of <Herr/O Jesu Christ, meines Lebens Leben> and O Jesu, du, mein Bräutigam” and is found in Volume 84, “Jesus Hymns” (<per omnes versus>) of the Hanssler Complete Bach Edition of CDs.

Stölzel's "Saitenspiel" (String-Playing) Jahrgang cantatas for the 13th to the 19th Sundays after Trinity probably were performed by Bach at the Thomas Church in 1735, according to Andreas Glöckner, “Ein weiterer Kantatenjahrgang Gottfried Heinrich Stölzels in Bach’s Aufführungsrepertoire? (Further Details of a Cantata Annual Cycle of GHS in Bach’s Performance Repertory), Bach-Jahrbuch 2009: 95-110.

The work in question for September 4 is “Wie schon und lieblich du, du Liebe in Wollüsten” (How lovely and loving thou, thy love in desiring). It was a two-part cantata in eight movements, similar to the Rudoldtadt works of 1726 with biblical dicta opening each part and chorales closing each, flanked by a recitative and aria in each part. The cycle, text by Benjamin Schmolckens, was first presented in the 1731-32 church year at the Scholß-Capelle of Friedenstein in Gotha.

The connection to Bach is thought to have come from Georg Balthasar Schott, cantor and music directorserving with Capellmeister Stölzel. Schott previously had been music director at the Leipzig New Church until 1730, and also had relinquished his position as director of the Leipzig <Collegium musicum> to Bach. Prior to the Stölzel 1734-35 cantata cycle in Leipzig, Bach had performed Stölzel’s Passion Oratorio “Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld” (A little lamb goes and carries the guilt) on Good Friday (April 23, 1734) at the Leipzig Thomas Church, probably Bach’s first annual performance of a non-liturgical Passion in Leipzig.

Chorale Cantata BWV 33,Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ,” was performed as part of a revival of the Chorale Cantata Cycle in 1755. It probably was presented on the 13th Sunday after Trinity (September 7) by Bach student and St. Thomas Choir Prefect Christian Friedrich Penzel, who copied the score from the original performing parts set on August 25, 1755, according to Penzel’s notes. Bach's successor, J.G. Harrer, had died on July 9, 1755, and Penzel served as the temporary cantor, presenting Bach’s chorale cantatas until the cantor post was filled later that year by J.F. Doles, who served until 1789.

Trinity 13 Hymn Schedules and Biblical Teachings

The <NLGB> listing of Pulpit and Communion hymns for the13th Sunday after Trinity13th Sunday after Trinity, shows six scheduled chorales that had previously been listed for Trinity Time Sundays, with three for further Sundays. They are:

Nun freut euch” (Tr. 12, 13, 17) - (“Es ist gewißlich” -- Tr. 26);
Dies sind die heilige zehn Gebot” (Tr. 4, 13, 18);
Es ist das Heil uns hommen her” (Tr. 6);
O Herre Gott begnade mich” (Tr. 11);
Erbarme dich mein Gott, o Herre Gott” (Tr. 3).

The chorales from Bach’s three Cantatas BWV 164, BWV 77, and BWV 33 are outlined in Günther Stiller’s <JSB and Liturgical Life in Leipzig> (St. Louis: Concordia, 1986: 244:

“Herr Christ, der einge Gottes Sohn,” BWV 164/6, “in the Dresden hymn schedules is listed first among the hymns to be sung”;
Ach Gott, vom Himmel siehe darein,” BWV 77/6, also is listed for this Sunday in the Dresden hymn schedules”; and
Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ,” BWV 33, “was sung in the Weißenfels services of this Sunday but in the older Leipzig hymnbooks was already assigned to the 11th Sunday After Trinity and in the Leipzig and Dresden hymn schedules of Bach’s time was already assigned to the 13th Sunday after Trinity.”

The Gospel text for Trinity Time is found in PART THREE: Paired Parable. Teachings & Miracles (BCW, Douglas Cowling):

Trinity 13: Luke 10: 23-37 – The Great Commandment and the Parable of the good Samaritan: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead (10:30).

Trinity 14: Luke 17: 11-19- Miracle of healing of the lepers And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

Chorale Cantatas: Varied Theological Perspectives

The chorale cantata cycle begins with works with a variety of theological perspectives until Cantata BWV 33 for the 13th Sunday after Trinity, according to Peter Smaill, “Bach among the Heretics: Inferences from the Cantata texts, <Understanding Bach>, 4, 101-118; (c) Bach Network UK, 2004 (p.116):

“The incursion of Calvinism and anti-Calvinism in the <Jahrgang> II casts further doubt on the identity of the librettist. Harald Streck has identified four groups of texts in <Jahrgang> II, suggesting several contributors.64 The author has been considered to be a theologian, but the sweep of ideas from the potentially chiliastic BWV 20 [June 11, 1724; First Sunday after Trinity] through the ultra Trinitarian and anti-Calvinistic texts of BWV 7 [June 24, St. John] to the proto- Calvinistic images in the three works quoted [BWV 93/5, BWV 107, and BWV 135/5,4; Trinity 5, 7, 3] suggests either a person of highly variable outlook, or that pressures from various parties in Leipzig induced the writer to manipulate the chorale series to satisfy party predelictions. Deyling does not appear to be exercising theological control, at least not until BWV 33 [September 3, Trinity 13].*

“Thus it is conceivable that the first set of published texts for <Jahrgang> II had provoked a reaction from the theologically alert congregation (which included [Town] Council members) of St. Thomas; while later on, the specific possibilities are that the Meiningen [Rudolstadt] cantatas as a whole, or the <Ascension Oratorio> (BWV 11); or the St. Mark Passion (BWV 247) at some point caused trouble for Bach, judging by the 1739 altercation over the St. John Passion.

64 As analyzed in Arthur Hirsch, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantatas in Chronological Order,’ <BACH, The Journal of the Riemenschneider Instiutute III (July 1973), 18-35.”

* Smaill notes that at that time “the congregation were told in no uncertain terms what to think in BWV 33: ‘Since time began there is nothing to be ordained’ (BWV 33/1), and ‘Simply give me out of mercy / The true Christian faith’ (BWV 33/4).

For this second cycle of original chorale cantatas, Bach had already presented 11 new compositions and may have been struggling to find theologically acceptable paraphrases of the internal stanzas of the chosen Lutheran hymns. Hirsch’s “Texts by Bach” relates that Streck (<Die Verskunst in den poetischen Texten zu den Kantaten J.S. Bachs>, diss., University of Hamburg, 1971) “proves that several authors can be identified by style, technique of verse, and language – though not by name, particularly as far as the Chorale Cantatas are concerned; and he has established four groups of cantatas – each group of which might be written by one author.”

The Chorale Cantata Cycle began with Cantata BWV 20 on the First Sunday after Trinity (June 11, 1724) with a libretto, says Streck (cited by Hirsch on Page 19), produced by the librettist of the cantatas of the “4th Group, possibly various authors and of inferior poetic quality,” who produced the next six libretti (BWV 2, 7, 135, 10, 93, 178, and 94), omitting BWV107, “Was willst du dich betrüben,” for the 7th Sunday after Trinity, Bach’s first pure-hymn cantata since BWV 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden,” probably for his Easter Sunday probe in Mühlhausen in 1707.

For the 10th Sunday after Trinity (August 13), the libretto of Cantata BWV 101, “Nimm von uns, Herr,” appears to havbeen written by the unknown author of Streck’s “2nd Group,” who previously had produced the text for Cantata BWV 9, “Es ist das Heil uns kommnen her,” for the 6th Sunday after Trinity, but set aside because Bach was visiting Köthen that Sunday (July 16, 1724) and not set by Bach until 1732-35, to fill the gap in the Chorale Cantata Cycle.

That same “2nd group” librettist, according to Streck, produced the libretto for the next Sunday (Trinity 11, August 20), BWV 113, “Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut.” Then, the record shows that for the next two week Bach performed no cantatas, either for the 12th Sunday after Trinity on August 27 or the annual Installation Service of the Town Council, the next day, on Monday, August 28, as was his duty. Bach did make amends the next year, presenting his next original pure-hymn Cantata BWV 137, “Lobe den Herren, den Mächtigen König der Ehren,” for the 12th Sunday after Trinity (August 19, 1725). Apparently no paraphrased chorale cantata text was written for the 12th Sunday after Trinity in 1724 and its is possible that Bach originally intended to compose Cantata BWV 137 a year earlier for the 1724 Town Council installation, set to a non-controversial pure-hymn text with no contemporary paraphrases of the internal stanzas.

The record also shows that Bach continued his Chorale Cantata Cycle in September 1724 by turning to two other “group” librettists for the first time: Streck’s “3rd group” for Cantata BWV 33 for the 13th Sunday after Trinity (September 3) and then Streck’s “1st group” for Cantata BWV 78, “Jesu, der du meine Seele” for the succeeding 14th Sunday after Trinity (September 10). From then on until Easter Sunday, April 1, 1725 (repeat of Cantata 4), Bach initially alternated “group” librettists, often in a pattern similar to his third cycle at Trinity Time a year later in 1726, his last effort at composing Trinity Time cantatas on a regular basis. The Streck classification shows that Bach switched librettists usually every two weeks until the three-day Christmas Festival of 1724 when he turned to the “3rd group” librettist almost exclusively until Lent Time 1725, when Bach ceased composing chorale cantatas in the final segment of the second cycle, Easter-Pentecost Season. Perhaps, Bach had tired of the “vexations” from the various political and theological parties on the Town Council, be they Orthodox (Evangelical), Pietist, Enlightened (Humanists), Mystics, or even crypto Calvinist- or Catholic-leaning.


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Last update: ýMarch 11, 2012 ý23:36:41