Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cantatas for the Third Sunday after Epiphany

Cantatas for the Third Sunday after Epiphany include BWV 72, BWV 73, BWV 111, BWV 156.

All four of the cantatas are uniformly "upbeat," without any of the mournful or doleful movements which were so noticeable in some of last week's cantatas.

Recordings of these cantatas can be found at the following links:

BWV 72,

BWV 73,

BWV 111,

BWV 156.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cantatas for the Second Sunday after Epiphany

For the Second Sunday after Epiphany, are these cantatas:  BWV 155, BWV 3 and BWV 13.

Recordings of BWV 155 are here.
Movements 2, 4 and 5 are real gems

Recordings  of BWV 3 are listed here.
With the theme centering on sorrow and grief encountered on the way to heaven, not surprisingly, the opening chorale and the bass aria have a mournful tone.  The second movement, the recitative and chorale, is the most upbeat of all the movements of this cantata.

BWV 13 recordings can be found here.
The fifth movement is over 10 minutes long, and is seemingly one of the most doleful amongst those listed since Christmas.  It is preceded by a striking soprano recitative. Likewise the eight minute opening tenor aria is similarly doleful as befits the theme of woe, misery and weeping, yet with a call in the final chorale to "traue dem alleine," trust Him alone. The chorale of the third movement provides some relief from the generally sad tone of this cantata.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cantatas for the Sunday after Epiphany

Cantatas for the Sunday after Epiphany include BWV 154, BWV 124 and BWV 32.

Recordings of BWV 154 can be found here.

Recordings of BWV 124 are located here.

Recordings of BWV 32 are listed here.

These three cantatas are musically at a lower energy level compared to most that have been heard since Christmas.  The highlight for each of the above cantatas are the last two movements in each, with the 5th (and second to the last) of BWV 32 deserving special recognition.

Of the three cantatas, BWV 124 is probably the most uniformly pleasing.

Monday, January 6, 2014


The "Adoration of the Magi" by Peter Paul Rubens forms the altar piece at King's College Chapel, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England. 

Though there is strong evidence that January 6, Epiphany, was originally celebrated by Christians as a remembrance of Jesus' baptism, in most churches it commemorates the arrival of the Magi to the Christ Child.

Cantatas for Epiphany

Cantatas for Epiphany include BWV 65 and BWV 123.

Recordings of BWV 65 can be found here.
This majestic cantata reflects a stately procession of the Magi and then the offering of gifts to the Christ child.

Recordings of BWV 123 are listed here.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday after New Year

The text Bach chose for BWV 53 draws a "contrast between earthly suffering and heavenly comfort," [Durr].  One line in the Alto Recitative illustrates the earthly suffering with the words, "I dwell here among nothing but lions and dragons."  In the above two photos, taken on Saturday January 4, 2014, are Chinese guardian lions in front of Chinese restaurants in Evansville, IN.

Cantatas for the Sunday after New Year

The cantatas for the Sunday after New Year include BWV 153 and BWV 58.

BWV 153 can be heard here.
BWV 153 is divided into three parts, each of which in turn includes a Chorale, Aria, and Recitative, but in a different order for each of the three parts.  The concluding Chorale includes three verses of a hymn that would have been known by the congregation.

BWV 58 recordings are available here.
The concluding Soprano/bass aria/chorale is memorable.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Day - Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

These photos were taken on January 1, 2014 at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Henderson, Kentucky. 

Cantatas for New Years Day

The cantatas for New Years Day include BWV 190, BWV 143, BWV 41, BWV 16 and BWV 171.

Recordings for these cantatas can be found at:

BWV 190
The trumpets in the opening Chorus and closing Chorale are striking.

BWV 143
Striking opening and closing Choruses with similar rhythmic structures nicely frame this cantata, which includes three memorable arias one after the other.  Note the accompaniment on the tenor aria.
Some have questioned if Bach even wrote this cantata, or all parts of this cantata.

BWV 41
BWV 41 begins with a long opening Chorus which, at points, is reminiscent of Brandenburg Concerto 2 (mvt. 3).  There is a memorable tenor aria and closing Chorale.

BWV 16
The opening Chorus and bass aria are marvelous, as is the oboe accompaniment to the tenor aria.

BWV 171
BWV 171 is majestic throughout.  Note the trumpet echos in the closing Chorale as well as the violin accompaniments of the tenor and soprano arias.