Thomas Braatz wrote (June 29, 2002):
BWV 177 - Provenance:
Both the autograph score and the original set of parts have come down to us.
It is not clear which Bach son (C.P.E. or W.F.) inherited the original score. Possibly the score went to W.F. It is quite apparent that this cantata was composed in 1732 (relatively late) to fill out a gap in the Chorale-Cantata yearly cycle (Bach’s 2nd yearly cycle of cantatas in Leipzig). The original sets of parts of this cycle went to Anna Magdalena Bach who in turn presented them to the Thomasschule (St. Thomas School) soon after Bach’s death. Through W. F. Bach the autograph score went through the hands of several owners (it may even have been passed to C.P.E. Bach, since there is a figured bass for the final chorale in C.P.E.’s own handwriting, but because C.P.E. Bach’s added handwriting to the score can not be dated precisely, the date could be anytime between 1732 and the time when possibly the manuscript had been C.P.E. Bach’s possession. Because C.P.E. Bach does not have this cantata listed in any of his three estate listings, this route remains entirely speculative and based only on circumstantial evidence. In any case, Georg Poelchau had the autograph score in his possession as part of his collection of 100 Bach autographs. In 1811 it was sold to Abraham Mendelssohn, and he, in turn, sold it to the Berliner Singakademie from where it was sold to the BB (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz) in 1854. This is where it is located today.
Bach’s autograph title on the cover:
Dominica 4 post Trinit: | Ich ruff zu dir H. Jesu Christ. | à | 4 Voci | 1 Violino Concertino | 2 Hautbois | 2 Violini | Viola | Bassono obligato | e | Continuo.| di | Joh. Seb: Bach.
Bach’s autograph title on top of p. 1 of the actual score:
JJ. Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Xst. Doica 4 post Trinit: à 4 Voci. 2 Hautbois | 2 Violini, Viola è Cont di Bach
At the end of the last page, Bach wrote:
Il Fine SDGl. | a[nn]o 1732.
Violino I is on the same staff as the Violino Concertino, but Bach sorted these parts out when he copied the parts. The soprano part was copied by an anonymous copier known as “Dürr Chr 2,” but most of the parts were copied by Bach’s main copier, “E,” whose monogram is JGH. In many instances this copier began copying, but Bach then completed the parts. The ‘bassono-obligato’ was copied entirely by Bach. There is evidence of two other anonymous copiers, Ve and Vm, that did additional work on the Violino 1 part and the organ part, where phrasing marks were added for a later performance c. 1742. Bach made corrections and added articulation marks.
Date of Composition:
1st performance (based upon various facts – by comparing with other cantatas and seeing a flightier handwriting with strike-outs, etc. vs. everything neatly and perfectly aligned – the type of paper and copiers used) was on July 6, 1732.
Because Wolf Hobohm discovered a printed text of the cantata dating from 1725 (he discovered this in St. Petersburg and reported this to the BJ in 1973.) As a result of this discovery he hypothesized that there was yet another cantata, now lost, composed using exactly the same text and that Bach was attempting to increase his reserve of compositions that he could draw upon; and that the cantata was designated specifically for the 3rd (not 4th) Sunday after Trinity in 1725. Bach was faced at this point in his career in looking for a librettist since he had just discontinued working with the texts provided by Mariane von Ziegler. Hobohm contends that Bach did not want to set any more text by Ziegler and now, without any librettist, he was forced to return to the Chorale-type cantata.
The NBA comments: Whether this earlier cantata is identical with the present one, BWV 177, is unclear. If this were the case, then Bach would have radically reworked the earlier composition and the evidence would be clearly seen in the great number of corrections to the 1732 score. More likely, these compositions (the 1725 and 1732) would be completely different, particularly because the 1732 score demonstrates that Bach wrote this score very quickly, a sign that he was composing it directly and not copying from another score. If Bach had reworked the earlier composition, the later score would be in a calligraphic handwriting. Other evidence is also given, so that it becomes quite clear, that the earlier (1725) composition has no connection with the later one (1732) other than the text which both have in common.