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Musical Context of Bach Cantatas
Motets & Chorales for 6th Sunday after Trinity


Readings: Epistle: Romans 6: 3-11; Gospel: Matthew 5: 20-26

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

Motets & Chorales for the 6th Sunday after Trinity (Trinity 6)

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 25, 2011):


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

Dissertation on Bodenschatz Collection (downloadable)


* "Claritas Domini" rather bizarrely takes the angelic message to the shepherds as its text. Christmas in June?

1) MOTETS for Introit, Before Sermon at mass and vespers for Choir II, and During Communion:
i) "Claritas Domini" (8 voices) - Caspar Vicentius (1580-1624)
Flemish composer. He was civic organist of Speyer in c1602-1615, and after a period in Worms became organist of Würzburg Cathedral in 1618. He edited the first three volumes (1611-13) of the motet collection Promptuarium musicum with Abraham Schadaeus and compiled the fourth (1617) himself; the motets include 25 of his own, which are mainly conservative in style.

Edition of Motets:

Text: Luke 2:9-12
"... the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10
But the angel said to them, ³Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."

i) "Ecce Quam Bonum" (8 voices) - Unknown Composer
Text: Psalm 133

Text: "How good and pleasant it is
when Godıs people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaronıs beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore."

Comparison: Hassler "Missa Ecce Quam Bonum". Sample:

2) HYMN OF DAY (de tempore)
"Es ist das Heil uns kommen her". Sample:

"Herr Jesu Christ, dich uns wend"

4) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns:
"Mensch willtu leben"
"Durch Adams Fall"
"Dies sind die heilige zehn Gebot"
"Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ". Sample:


Trinity +6 Chorales

William Hoffman wrote (July 27, 2011):
As the first quarter of Bach's Trinity Time Sundays (1-6) closes, it becomes apparent that a repertory of chorales is being established to be presented throughout the entire second half or the <omne tempore> of the church year. This growing collection of hymns relates to the doctrines and teachings of the Christian Church as promulgated by the Lutheran Reformers and found particularly in the music of Bach. To build on the congregation's understanding of the Christian Faith, various types of chorales are introduced, particularly the Catechism teachings of Martin Luther, communion hymns and psalm hymns.

At the same time, the librettists of Bach's cantatas did not always exactingly follow the hymnals' preferences. It is thought that Bach probably had a certain degree of flexibility in the choice of particular hymns, usually to close the cantatas. When Bach first began to compose service cantatas on a regular (monthly) basis in Weimar in early 1714, he previously had relied primarily on established, published texts of Pastor Erdmann Neumeister and Georg Christian Lehms, emphasizing basic Lutheran thought in Italian aria madrigalian and secco blank-verse recitative style with some well-known closing chorales.

Now, Bach turned to his Weimar Court colleague, poet Salomo Franck, who conceived his works as descriptive yet didactic musical sermons designed to instill progressive yet somewhat rigid orthodoxy. This is followed in Franck's cantata texts using the Trinity Time hymn, "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her" (Salvation has come to us) for the Bach Cantatas BWV 155 and BWV 186 (see below, Hymn of the Day). Interestingly, Franck did not always rigidly adhere to the service assigned hymn, as later Bach and his Leipzig librettists likewise remained flexible.

At the same time, there are occasions when no cantata chorale is necessary or it is optional. Such is the case in Leipzig for the 6th Sunday after Trinity. In 1726, for Cantata BWV 170, Bach chose a Lehms 1711 text, "Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust" (Pleasant rest, beloved stirring of the soul), with three contemplative arias (the first two in ritornello repeat form, the last in da-capo) interspersed with two terse recitatives constituting a symmetrical five-movement palindrome or diamond shape with no concluding chorale.

The choice of chorale to close the 1726 double bill, Johann Ludwig Bach's Cantata JLB 7, "Ich will meinen Geist in auch geben" (I will my spirit in likewise give), No. 9, could not be determined. Picander's text for the 1728 cantata, P.49 "Gott, gib mir ein versöhnlich" (God, give me a reconciliation) text only, also has no chorale. It is assumed that Picander, in creating an annual cantata cycle of texts for Bach, had the approval at least of church authorities, and possibly of the Town Council, which reviewed the actual service libretto books before publication.

Interestingly, Bach in 1724 kept in reserve the appropriate Sunday chorale with parahrased text, "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her," which he belatedly, finally wrought as a chorale cantata, BWV 9, probably in 1734. Meanwhile, Neumeister's choice of the popular Trinity Time hymn, "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" (I call to The, Lord Jesus Christ," filled the bill in 1725, closing the cantata "Wer sich rächet, an dem wird sich der Herr wieder rächen" (He who avenges, on him will the Lord again avenge).

Chorales for the 6th Sunday after Trinity (Douglas Cowing, Musical Context) and Bach's usage:

2) HYMN OF DAY (de tempore): "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her" (Salvation has come to us). Paul Speratus' 1524 text (14 verses) was set to the anonymous 1524 Wittenberg melody of the same title. Bach's usage of the hymn is found as Chorale Cantata BWV 9, c. 1734, repeat c.1740-47, for the 6th Sunday after Trinity (S. 1-12, paraphrases Stanzas 2-11) with the melody found in the opening chorale chorus and closing plain chorale (No. 5). Bach's other cantata usages are in
*Cantata BWV 155 closing chorale (No. 5, S.12; S. Franck text) for the 2nd Sunday After Epiphany, 1716, repeat 1724;
*Cantata BWV 186/6 closing chorales, Parts 1 and 2 (Nos. 6 and 11, Stanzas 10, 9; S. Franck text), for the 7th Sunday After Trinity, 1723, repeat 1746-50; and
*Cantata 86 (closing chorale No. 6, Stanza 9; ?C. Weiss Sr. text) for Easter +4 (Rogate), 1724.
The anonymous melody also is found in the Orgelbüchlein chorale prelude No. 77 (Confession, Penitence, Justification), BWV 638(a). It is a hymn of belief and faith, based on Roman's 3:28, Luther's doctrine, "Justification by faith alone," and originally was an Easter song, "Freu' dich du werthe Christenheit," which was in use in 1478.

"Es ist das Heil uns kommen her" is found in the 1682 <Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch> (NLGB), No. 230 in 12 stanzas; also for use at Epiphany +4, Septuageisma, and Trinity +13 and +18. It is found in the Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978; No. 297, "Justification," 5 stanzas, 7 lines 87.87.887, and the melody as LBW No. 194 for Baptism, set to the Danish bishop Thomas Hansen Kingo (1634-1703) text, "All who believe and are baptized" (2 stanzas).

Bach also used the 1524 melody set to the wedding hymn text (Stanza 1), "Sei lob und Her dem höchsten Gut" (Be praise and honor to the highest good) in wedding chorale BWV 251 (?1729), after the vows (Stiller 94) and the same Jakob Schütz nine-stanza 1675 text in the undesignated pure-hymn chorale Cantata BWV 117 (1729-35), with the Wittenberg melody in the opening chorale chorus and the plain chorales Nos./Stanzas) 4 and 9.

"Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend" (Lord, Jesus Christ, be with us now) is one of four hymns sung in the Leipzig main service every Sunday (Stiller 117, 124) and vespers (p.258). Originally, it was a nominal Pentecost hymn, 1651, closing with the Trinity Time Lesser Doxology. The text is attributed to Wilhelm II, Saxe-Weimar (1598-1662) in 1676 (4 verses, 4 lines,, anonymous melody Dresden 1628, in NLGB 817). There is no extant Bach setting of this chorale in a cantata. Instead, he uses the melody as a plain chorale BWV 332 (G Major, 8 bars; Teldec CD 25712/3), and this setting could have been appended to a repeat performance of Cantata BWV 170, which is in D Major. Bach also uses the melody as organ chorale preludes played as interludes before the pulpit sermon (P. Williams, <Organ Music of JSB>: 296f) in the <Orgelbüchlein> (OB49, Pentecost) chorale prelude, BWV 632, trio super BWV 655 (Great 18); and miscellaneous, BWV 709, 726, and 749. Here is the Catherine Winkworth translation (Chorale Book for England, 1865), also in the Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978; No. 253, "Beginning of Service":

Lord Jesus Christ, be present now!
And let thy Holy Spirit bow
All hearts in love and fear today,
To hear the truth and keep Thy way.

Open our lips to sing Thy praise,
Our hearts in true devotion raise,
Strengthen our faith, increase our light,
That we may know Thy name aright:

Until we join the host that cry
"Holy, Holy art Thou most High,"
And 'mid the light of that blest place
Shall gaze upon Thee face to face.

Glory to God, the Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One!
To Thee, O blessed Trinity,
Be praise throughout eternity!

4) CHORALES for Pulpit and Communion Hymns:

A. "Mensch willtu leben" (Man, if you will live blessedly) (NLGB 493), Luther's second hymn on the 10 Commandments; also designated for the Fourth Sunday After Trinity; not set by Bach.

B. "Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt Menschlich Natur und Wesen" (Through Adam's fall is completely corrupted of manly nature and character). Lazarus Spengler 1524 (9 stanzas, 8 lines), anonymous melody (Reformation battle sing 1525) in Klug's Sacred Songs, Wittenberg 1529. Catechism chorale (Penitential texts) the need for Saviour and for faith (Williams 303f); NLGB 606, "Christian Life and Belief." "Vindication/Justification)" "is very likely the category to which Bach understood this chorale text to belong" ( Bach's cantata usage is
*BWV 18, text Neumeister III, No. 5 (closing chorale, S. 8), Sexageisma 1713/15, 1724, 1732-35; and
*BWV 109, No. 6 (closing chorale, S.7), Trinity +21, 1723.
Bach melody usage is found in three organ chorale prelude settings: Orgelbüchlein (OB 76; "Confession, Penitence, Justification)" BWV 637; Miscellaneous (Kirnberger), BWV 705; and Neumeister BWV 1101 (b1710).

C. "Dies sind die heilige zehn Gebot" (These are the 10 Holy Comandments), Catechism chorale, NLGB 490; designated for Trinity +4, +6, +13, +18.

D. "Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesu Christ" (I call to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ), NLGB 627; designated for Trinity +2, +5, +6, +19, +21.

The incipits of these chorales as well as the titles of the cantatas Bach used or considered for the 6th Sunday after Trinity provide a short-hand or beginning to understanding the readings, teachings and themes of this Sunday: next time.


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

Lutheran Church Year: Main Page and Explanation | LCY - Event Table | LCY 2000-2005 | LCY 2006-2010 | LCY 2011-2015
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

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Last update: ŭOctober 1, 2011 ŭ16:54:42