Laetare

Sunday 22 March 2020

4th Sunday of Lent or Laetare

Again no cantatas this Sunday because of Tempus Clausum. So for your enjoyment I've selected three more cantatas for which no orignal occasion or first performance date is known.

Bach wrote the first cantata, Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131, at the tender age of 22 in 1708 in Mühlhausen, making it one of the earliest Bach cantatas. Bach was employed as organist in the Divi Blasii church, but this cantata was commissioned by the pastor of the Marienkirche, maybe for the town council's inauguration, or possibly for a penitential service for a great fire that had ravaged Mühlhausen just before Bach arrived.

Nun danket alle Gott, BWV 192, was written in 1730 in Leipzig and is a late addition to the 1725-1725 choral cantata cycle. Some scholars put the first performance on Trinitatis (the first Sunday after Pentecost), but there seems to be evidence for an unknown occasion in the autumn of that year. It is a short cantata with only three movements, because it follows the stanzas and the libretto of the hymn it is based on.

Is O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118, a cantata or a motet? It has only one movement but was ranked as a cantata in the 19th century by the Bach Gesellschaft; the Neue Bach-Ausgabe however considers it a motet, even though it has an instrumental part. Well, I think it deserves a spot in my calendar.

Cantatas

  • Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131
    (first performance ? 1707, Mühlhausen period)
  • Nun danket alle Gott, BWV 192
    (first performance ? Autumn 1730, Leipzig period)
  • O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118
    (first performance ? 1736/1737, Leipzig period)

Playlist

WBC23-4th Sunday of Lent or Laetare

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Image of the day

The interior of the Marienkirche in Mühlhausen, where the cantata Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131, was first performed in 1707.

The interior of the Marienkirche in Mühlhausen, where the cantata Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131, was first performed in 1707.