Thomas Braatz wrote (October 6, 2002):
BWV 169 - Provenance:
The Autograph Score:
The autograph score (along with the original set of parts – although it appears that the parts were separated from the score for a while) is in the BB (Staatsbibliothek Berlin.) There is some uncertainty about the ‘trail’ left by this score. Normally the cantatas of the 3rd yearly cantata cycle (this was determined by Alfred Dürr) would have gone to C.P.E. Bach at the time of the division of the estate in 1750 and only the doublets may have gone to Johann Christian Bach. From the listing of C.P.E. Bach’s estate, it is unclear whether the ‘Stimmen’ [‘parts’] which are mentioned refer to the original set of parts or to the doublets. The score is not mentioned at all. There are some indications that the score may have been in C.P.E. Bach’s possession for at least a while before it came to the Berlin Singakademie that offered it for sale along a set of parts. It was then purchased by the BB in 1855. The watermark is a goblet, a writing tablet with capital letters, “SW” that are double-lined, and above the goblet there is a cross. The autograph title is:
Dominica 18 post Trinit: | Gott soll allein mein Hertze haben. | à | Alto Solo è | 3 Voci Ripieni | [and now in lighter brown ink the addition:] Organo obligato | [returning once again to the normal, black ink:] 2 [ which was corrected from the previous ‚3’] Hautbois | Taille | 2 Violini | Viola | e | Continuo | di | Joh: Sebast: Bach
On top of the title page Bach wrote:
J. J. Doīca 18 post Trinit. Concerto à 3 Hautb. 2 Violini Viola etc.
[Note that Bach designated this cantata as ‘Concerto’ although it is considered a ‘solo’ cantata. For BWV 51 “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen,” a ‘solo’ cantata for soprano, for instance, Bach wrote ‘Cantata’ instead of ‘Concerto.’ ‘Cantata’ remains a rare term in Bach’s own vocabulary, when it is applied to a composition to be performed in a church.]
At the end of the final chorale he wrote :
Fine | SDG.
The Original Parts:
These were copied mainly by Johann Heinrich Bach with some help of anonymous copyists. J. S. Bach filled in the figured bass parts for one of the continuo parts (the other continuo part was left ‘unfigured.’ He made corrections, added trills, but everything seems to have been done very quickly as many mistakes were left uncorrected. It also appears that J. H. Bach began copying from the pages of the score (‘hot off the press’) before J. S. Bach had finished composing (or transposing two mvts. of it) the entire cantata. In the original set of parts, the only part missing is that for ‘Obligato Organ,’ but there is serious doubt whether such a part ever existed since all the other cantatas from the same yearly cantata cycle (BWV 35, BWV 47, BWV 49, and BWV 170) also do not have a separate organ part. The score could have been used for this purpose.
The librettist is unknown. The only connection to the Gospel reading (Matt 22:34-46) for the designated Sunday occurs in mvt. 6 where the relationship between love for God and love of one’s neighbors is established. The 3rd verse of Luther’s chorale, “Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist” (1524) [“Now we ask of the Holy Spirit”] is selected for the final chorale.
The Date of Composition:
Based upon the watermark and the fact that Johann Heinrich Bach served as the main copyist for the parts, Alfred Dürr has assigned this cantata to the 3rd yearly cantata cycle (1726) in Leipzig. The only possible date during that year would have been October 20th.
The Original Source of the 1st and 5th Mvts.:
The NBA KB for BWV 1053 (published in 2001) gives an extensive, on-going history of research (with recordings) that points toward a possible E flat Concerto for Oboe that appears to be the source for these two mvts. This means that Bach masterfully transformed a slow mvt. from an instrumental concerto into a magnificent aria. Imagine trying to write an additional vocal line of such import while ‘juggling’ words so that everything has its place as if it had been an original conception and not a question of ‘Vokaleinbau!’ This is truly the work of a genius!