Thomas Braatz wrote (June 25, 2003):
As Dürr had determined, this cantata belonged to a group of cantatas that were distributed after Bach’s death in 1750 as follows: one son would receive the simple set of parts (without the doublets), while another son would get the autograph score + doublets. In the case of this cantata (BWV 151), Johann Christian Bach received the former while the latter still appears in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s estate listing in 1790. It appears that J.C. Bach may have entrusted C.P.E. Bach with the original set of parts which he had originally inherited just before leaving for a stay in Italy. From C.P.E. Bach the original set of parts came into the possession of Johann Friedrich Hering who, in turn, gave?/sold? it to the Voß family. From the Voß-Buch Bach manuscript collection, J.C. Bach set of parts was acquired by the Royal Library of Berlin (Staatsbibliothek Berlin – date of acquisition not given.) C.P.E. Bach’s autograph score + doublets went first to Georg Poelchau (1773-1836), who, in turn, sold it to Ernst Ludwig Gerber (1746-1819.) The next owner was Johann Anton André (1775-1842) of Offenbach/Main, who placed it up for sale in a catalog in London in 1828/29. It was not sold and later a relative, Julius André, inherited it, but just how the Duke of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha came into possession of it is unknown. The autograph score + doublets now belong to the Art Collection of the Veste Coburg while the original set of parts is currently in the BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin.)
In Bach’s own handwriting:
At the top of the 1st page of the score:
J. J. Feria 3. Nativitatis Christi Concerto.
Title for mvt. 2 : Recit
Title for mvt. 3: Aria. Violini e Viola in unisono
Under the 4th part of mvt. 5: Heut schleust Er etc.
At the very end: Fine SDG.
The Original Set of Parts:
The parts include:
Soprano, Alto, Tenore, Basso, Traversiere, Hautbois d’Amour, Violino 1mo, Violino 1mo, Violino 2do, Violino 2do, Viola, Continuo, Continuo (transposed, partly with figured bass) [The untransposed, not figured original continuo part is missing.]
The greatest portions of the copy work were completed by Johann Andreas Kuhnau (1703- after 1745) and J. S. Bach (who, in this instance, helped in copying more than he usually does. Johann Heinrich Bach (1707-1783) helped with the continuo parts and Anna Magdalena Bach (1701-1760) and the 15-year-old W.F. Bach with the doublets.
The autograph score gives no indications as to which instruments are intended. The NBA gives a very detailed, in-depth analysis of the possible stages and quick modifications that Bach was required to undertake before the 1st performance and the possibilities of changes in subsequent performances. In any case, Bach was forced to make a number of last-minute changes quickly before the 1st performance. This is reflected in Bach’s considerable effort in copying the parts where he makes modifications (Stimmknickung = adjusting for the special ranges of the newly introduced obbligato instruments by forcing the part [from the autograph score] up or down an octave in order to accommodate the actual, natural playing range of the instrument) for the instrument which became available to him for this performance. There is no doubt that this cantata was performed several times under Bach’s direction, although physical proof of this is only possible by means of watermark analysis which determined that the violino 1mo part originally copied by Kuhnau but expanded by adding additional paper and copied by J. S. Bach points to the time span from 1728-1731. The NBA prints both versions of this part, the original one copied by Kuhnau and the later one by J. S. Bach.
Bach used the libretto supplied by Georg Christian Lehms (1684-1717) from his collection entitled: “Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer” “Nachmittags=Andacht Auf den dritten Weyhnacht=Feyertag.” (Darmstadt, 1711.) By selecting a lesser text intended for an afternoon service (not as demanding as that for the morning service), Bach was thinking of his student soloists and musicians who were being ‘stressed out’ by the numerous performances required of them during the Christmas season.
Noteworthy is the fact that Lehms was already using the more modern forms of German words such as ‘kommt, anjetzt’ and ‘jetzo’ while Bach and his copyists reverted to the older forms such as ‘kömt’ ‘anitzt’ and ‘itzo.’
Lehms also suggested using as the concluding mvt. the final vs. of “Lobt Gott, ihr Christen alle gleich” [the hymnals of Bach’s time use ‘allzugleich’] by Niklaus Herman (1560). In the autograph score, Bach indicates only the beginning of this vs.” Heut schleust Er p.”