MUS-M 502: Bach Cantatas, Fall 2021

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Daniel R. Melamed       dmelamed (at)


Tue  24 Aug      1. Introduction and overview of J.S. Bach's cantata output; issues

Thu  26 Aug      2. "Christ lag in Todes Banden" BWV 4: Modeling; musical styles; Leipzig adaptation


Tue  31 Aug      3. BWV 4 (cont.)

Thu    2 Sep      4. BWV 4 (cont.)                                                                                                                          Written assignment 1


   Sun 5 Sep 2.30 PM Bloomington Bach Cantata Project: BWV 4


Tue     7 Sep      5. [no class--Rosh hashanah]

Thu     9 Sep      6. "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" BWV 12: Modern texts; aria construction; passacaglia      


Tue   14 Sep      7. BWV 12 (cont.) 

Thu   16 Sep      [no class-Yom kippur]                                                                                                                Written assignment 2


Tue   21 Sep      9. "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" BWV 21: Versions/layers; permutation fugue

Thu   23 Sep    10. BWV 21 (cont.)                                                                                                                       Written assignment 3


Tue   28 Sep    11. "Sie werden euch in den Bann tun" BWV 44: Ritornello forms

Thu   30 Sep    12.  BWV 44 (cont.)                                                                                                                       Written assignment 4


Tue     5 Oct    13. "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" BWV 51: Ritornello forms (cont.)

Thu     7 Oct    14. BWV 51 (cont.)                                                                                                                        Written assignment 5


   Sun  10 Oct   2.30 PM Bloomington Bach Cantata Project: BWV 97


Tue    12 Oct    15. "Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht" BWV 105: Cantata construction

Thu    14 Oct    16.  BWV 105 (cont.)                                                                                                                    Written assignment 6


Tue    19 Oct    17.  Bach's performing materials                                                                                                 
Thu    21 Oct    18. "Wär Gott nicht mit uns dieser Zeit" BWV 14: Original performing materials                                                             


Tue    26 Oct    19. BWV 14 (cont.)     

Thu    28 Oct    20. BWV 14  (cont.)                                                                                                                       Written assignment 7


Tue      2 Nov   21.  "Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott" BWV 127: Chorales; chorale cantata cycle

Thu      4 Nov   22.  BWV 127 (cont.)                                                                                                                     Written assignment 8


   Sun  7 Nov   2.30 PM Bloomington Bach Cantata Project: BWV 99


Tue      9 Nov  23. "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" BWV 140: Liturgy      

Thu     11 Nov  24. BWV 140 (cont.)                                                                                                                      Written assignment 9


Tue     16 Nov   25.  "Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen" BWV 215: secular cantata 

Thu     18 Nov   26.  BWV 215 (cont.)                                                                                                                    Written assignment 10




Tue     30 Nov   27. "Angenehmes Wiederau" BWV 30a and "Freue dich, erlöste Schar" BWV 30: parody

Thu      2 Dec    28. BWV 30a and 30 (cont.)                                                                                                          Written assignment 11   


Tue      7 Dec    29. "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" BWV 80: Revisions; reception 

Thu      9 Dec    30.  BWV 80 (cont.)                                                                                                                      [Last day to submit written work]


[No final exam]


Instructor: Prof. Daniel R. Melamed, dmelamed (AT) indiana (dot) edu.
Office: M325C. Office hours by appointment (e-mail to arrange)
Course Web page:  or

Meetings. Tuesday and Thursday, 1.10-2.25 PM. Please note the dates on the schedule on which there will be no class meeting. Please also note three Sunday afternoon performances by the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project.

Aims and methods: We will examine cantatas by J. S. Bach. Our focus will be on textual and musical analysis, on the performance of the works in Bach's time, and on tools and resources for research. We will use each work as an opportunity to investigate an aspect of 18th-century style, analysis, performance practice, liturgy, scholarship, and so on.

This is a lot of musical analysis in this course. We will spend much of our time in class and all of the written assignments on the close textual and musical analysis of Bach's music.

Prerequisites. Proficiency requirements in music history (M501) and written music theory (T508).

Requirements. Reading, listening, score study; class attendance and participation; weekly short written assignments.

Materials and assignments. Readings, scores, and recordings are online. Daily assignments are on the course Web page; please check each time for changes and revisions. Note that many resources reside on Canvas but it is not necessary to log on there—everything is linked from the course page. Please have texts, diagrams and other handouts available in class. Questions in the assignments are for study; you do not need to write them up.

Attendance. Every student is expected at each class meeting; exceptions are only for illness or personal emergency. Please inform the instructor in advance if you are forced to miss a class. You should come equipped with materials (scores, posted handouts) and fully prepared to take part in discussions. There's no point in being in the course otherwise.

Grading. The course grade will be based on the written assignments and on active, frequent and well-informed class participation.


Written assignments: A—carefully prepared, edited, and proofread; substantively insightful.
                                  B—fundamentally appropriate but with problems in presentation or substance
                                  C—poor presentation or substance

Class participation:  A—frequent, insightful, respectful of others
                                 B—insightful but less frequent
                                 C—infrequent, poorly prepared

Disability and Religious Observance. These will be accommodated according to University guidelines ( and Please speak with the instructor in advance of your need.

Academic conduct. You may consult and collaborate with classmates in preparing daily assignments. You may discuss written assignment topics and analyses with others, but all written work must be entirely your own. Every use of the work of others must be fully documented. If you violate the standards of academic conduct you will fail the course.

Guidelines for written assignments


Basic reference tool
Basic questions about research materials on Bach are answered in

Daniel R. Melamed and Michael Marissen. An Introduction to Bach studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. [Ref ML134.B1 M45] [online]

Texts and translations online
Original texts of J.S. Bach's vocal works are available online in reasonably good versions at English translations (of a particular kind) by Z. Philip Ambrose are available online at

Scores online
Scores from the 19th-century complete edition published by the Bach-Gesellschaft are at,_Johann_Sebastian).

Original sources online
Most of the original sources of Bach's music are available online at



"Es ist nicht Gesundes an meinem Leibe" BWV 25

Text and translation        Score        Recordings:  Suzuki    Herreweghe    Rilling    Koopman

Some scriptural texts

"Christ lag in Todes Banden" BWV 4

Text and translation      Score      

Recordings: Junghänel [please start with this one]    Suzuki   Harnoncourt      Rilling

Chorale melody        A setting by Johann Walter (Geystliches gesangk Buchleyn, 1524) [come prepared to sing]

List of original parts   

1. Look up this work in the BWV and BC; refer to An Introduction to Bach Studies to identify these reference works and for a guide to what is in them. What kind of information is summarized there?

2. Find the work in the BG and NBA (including the supplemental critical report to the NBA; again, An Introduction to Bach Studies can help you figure out these editions. How is the work presented in each? Why did we need a new one?

3. Listen to several different recordings. How different are they? Where is there room for different realization or "interpretation?"

4. What is there to know or investigate about this music? How should a modern performer or listener approach it?

5. Study the text of Bach's cantata. How is it constructed? What are the consequences of this construction for a musical setting?

6. One way to look at this piece is as a sampler of musical styles and techniques applied to this chorale tune and text. What kind of movements are represented?

7. Study the text and music of Johann Pachelbel's setting of this same text. What points of comparison are there to Bach's work? 

                            Score       Recordings: Les Agremens  Rosenmülller Ens

 Outlines of BWV 4 and Pachelbel settings

Written assignment 1, due Tuesday after we study the cantata: Write 250 words comparing or contrasting one aspect of Pachelbel and Bach's setting of the first stanza of "Christ lag in Todes Banden." Do not try to write about everything; do not describe nor narrate the settings. I suggest you begin "In setting the first stanza of 'Christ lag in Todes Banden,' Pachelbel [xxx] whereas Bach [yyy]." [Or " . . . Pachelbel and Bach both [zzz]."] Then explain in musical detail.

Guidelines for written assignments are here.

"Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" BWV 12

Text and translation    Score    Recordings:  Suzuki    Koopman    Leonhardt     Rilling    Junghänel    Rifkin

  Diagrams of BWV 12/4-5-6            Diagram of BWV 243a/6

1. This is a libretto of the new modern type. What kinds of texts does it contain? How are they organized?

2. Examine the poetic texts. How is each organized? We have no original text source, so the text is a transcription from the musical setting. Look especially at the repetition of lines. Are these part of the design of the text, or are they the composers' imposition? How might you tell?

3. It is not difficult to understand why Bach chose the bass line he did in the first vocal movement. But what kind of material is presented over it in the voices and instruments? How is the poetic text handled in the passacaglia section? How is the B section of this da capo movement handled? Why is it treated that way?

4. Recitatives usually set poetic texts, but not this one. What kind of text is this, and what effect does that have on the setting? What musical elements are available to make this short piece reflect the text? What roles do the various instrumental lines play?

5. For each of the arias, map out the structure: use of musical material, presentation of units of text, harmonic areas. Examine the ritornello of each. How is it constructed? What effect does the choice of scoring have (single obbligato, two-part obbligato, continuo aria) have on the movement's construction and on the design of musical material?

6. The third aria has an instrumental cantus firmus; the tune is "Jesu, meine Freude."  What effect does this have on the movement?

Written assignment 2, due Thursday: Make a diagram of the ritornello structure of BWV 61/3 and BWV 61/5 following the model we have used in class. Write a paragraph for each in which you summarize in words the overall structure. (Note: This will be more descriptive and narrative than is usually a good idea in writing about music.) Feel free to use the Word template below as your starting point if you want to type the diagrams.

      Score of BWV 61        Diagram template with texts and translations    Recording: Suzuki

"Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" BWV 21

Text and translation        Score    Recordings:  Suzuki    Koopman    Rilling     Purcell Quartet

Two outlines      BWV 21/5-6 diagrams      BWV 21/11 diagram

1. Bach’s Cantata 21 has a complicated history. The earliest version probably consisted of three Psalm verses (the last coupled with a hymn text) and three free poems. (See the first outline.)

Study the text of these movements. How do the Psalm verses fit together? What is their topic? Who is the speaker, and who is being addressed? What is the prosody (meter, line length) of these lines? In the last movement, what is the relation of the Psalm text to the hymn stanzas?

What is the topic of the three free poems in the middle of the cantata? Who is the speaker, and who is being addressed? What is the prosody of these lines?

Now listen to the cantata this way, skipping the other movements. How are the various elements you considered in the text reflected in Bach’s musical setting? What kind of text leads to what kind of movement?

2. Bach later expanded this cantata into an 11-movement piece in two parts. (See the second outline.)

Listen to these movements. What is the function/effect of the opening instrumental sinfonia? The last chorus is clearly cut from different cloth. What aspects of the musical setting are distinctive? How are the texts of movements 7 and 8 constructed? How is this reflected in Bach’s setting?

Now listen to the entire 11-movement cantata. How does the cantata work in two parts? Is this the real/best/genuine Cantata 21? An improvement over the earlier one? The same piece in two versions, or two different pieces? Are these even the right questions?

3. Study the various movements that set Psalm verses. How is the text treated? What is the organization and approach in the first  ("Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis") and second ("Was betrübst du dich?") of them? How does the third, "Sei nun wieder zufrieden," work?

4. Carefully analyze the portion of this second Psalm movement that sets the text beginning "dass er meines Angesichtes Hülfe." Begin by tracing the material in each vocal and instrumental part in two-measure units. What do you find? Examine the continuo line and the underlying harmonies. What does this reveal? How are the various contrapuntal sections closed off? A portion of the last movement is constructed in the same way. Trace its construction. What else is in the texture besides this contrapuntal material?

5. Trace the organization of each of the arias as ritornello forms.

6. "Bäche von gesalznen Zähren" and "Erfreue dich, Seele" are each motto arias, a type we have seen before. What kinds of text makes this possible?

Written assignment 3, due Tuesday of next week: Make a diagram and write a short analysis of "Dein Alter sei wie deiner Jugend" BWV 71/3. Don't just describe or narrate the piece or your diagram—find something to say about how this particular piece works. Suggestion: Consider how Bach makes this more than just a run through some contrapuntal permutations. How does he make sections/musical units? How does he escape from the statements of his subjects? How does he end? Make a point about something Bach does.

Dein Alter sei wie deiner Jugend, und Gott ist mit dir in allem, das du tust. / May your old age be like your youth, and God is with you in everything that you do.  

Score of BWV 71    Recording: Gardiner 

"Sie werden euch in den Bann tun" BWV 44

Text and translation         Score        Recordings:   Herreweghe     S. Kuijken     Rilling   Suzuki

1. Study the texts of the two arias nos. 3 and 6. How are their texts organized both in prosody (meter, rhyme, etc.) and in meaning? How are the ritornellos of the two arias constructed? What is their balance of musical functions/sections? How strongly articulated are the sections? How is ritornello material used instrumentally in the aria? What is the relation of the vocal material to the ritornello?

2. How does the middle chorale setting work as a ritornello form?

3. How is the text of the first movement divided? Why? What kinds of musical treatment do the two segments receive? How is each of the sections organized musically?

Written assignment 4, due Tuesday of next week: Study the text and music of "Hört, ihr Völker, Gottes Stimme" BWV 76/3. Consider that there are actually two kinds of ritornellos. One is the spinning-out type we have discussed, and the ritornello in this aria is the other. (The two kinds are illustrated here.) Write 250-300 words in which you explain how this ritornello is organized and how this organization affects its use in the aria. (You could consider how the vocal material relates to the ritornello, or how returns of the ritornello are handled.) Include a diagram of the movement.

BWV 76 text and translation        BWV 76 score

"Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" BWV 51

Text and translation    Score   

Recordings: Suzuki/Sampson    Koopman/Petersen    Walker/Kirkby    Gellman/Schwartzkopf    Newman/Battle/Marsalis [2 mvts only]   

Alternative text    List of original parts    Diagram of BWV 51/4

1. This piece probably comes closest to the term "cantata" of anything we've studied. What features of the text and musical setting might make that true?

2. Study the first movement especially carefully. How is its text distributed musically? How can you explain the choice of musical material? How does Bach reconcile the use of trumpet and strings? How does his choice of instrumentation affect the organization of the movement? How is the movement organized?

3. How does Bach use his forces in the second movement? How is its text segmented?

4. What is noteworthy about the ritornello of the third movement? How do the opening passages work?

5. What are the challenges of setting the chorale melody used in the fourth movement? How does Bach design material to meet them?

6. The text does not provide much organization for the last 2/4 section. How is this movement put together?

Written assignment 5, due Tuesday of next week: J. S. Bach's original performing parts for BWV 51 are available here. Most of the parts (S, 2xV1, 2xV2, Va, Tr, 3xBc) are from J. S. Bach's performance(s) but two (Tr2, Timp) are from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's later use of the piece. Examine these two parts, available here.

Then write 250-300 words in which you explain how WFB created them—what role these added instruments play and what specific musical things they do. [I suggest you annotate your own score to show where these instruments play, or even pencil them in.]

"Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht" BWV 105

Text and translation    Score   

Recordings: Suzuki    Herreweghe    Rilling   

1. Study the text of the cantata--its textual types, organization, and implications for musical setting.

2. Examine Bach's musical response to the points you considered above. What is the overal musical organization? How does Bach use his vocal and instrumental forces movement to movement?

3. Some movements or sections of movements represent musical elaborations of basic types. What are these, and how does Bach amplify them?

4. Study the three ritornello movements along the lines we have discussed.

5. How do the two type of recitative work in relation to each other?

Written assignment 6, due Tuesday of next week: Study the text and score of "Jesu, nun sei gepreiset" BWV 41. Write 250-300 words in which you make a point about Bach's use of vocal and instrumental forces in the cantata as a whole--that is, movement-to-movement scoring and roles.

"Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit" BWV 14

Text and translation    Raw materials of the text: "Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit"    Psalm 124    Mt 8:23-27

Derivation of the text of BWV 14

Recordings:    Gardiner        Koopman        Suzuki    Rilling

1. Study the text of this cantata before you listen. How is it assembled? What does it owe to various sources, including the hymn (itself derived from a psalm) and Gospel reading (provided above)?

2. Listen to the cantata, but do not use a score or any other references other than the text. Make yourself an outline of the work from your listening, noting movement types, scoring, and the other sorts of things you might usually work out from a score. To the extent you can, diagram the formal outlines of movements from your listening.

3. Examine the original performing parts for this cantata. Most are available online:

     --Main set from the Bach-Archiv in Leipzig
    --Additional parts transmitted separately, from the Berlin library
    --One more part transmitted separately, from the Fitzwilliam Museum [poor copy, unfortunately]

Print the template here, and go carefully through each part noting the movements present. (Put the movement number in the appropriate column if it is in the part; leave the column blank if the movement isn't there. The first part (Corne) is done for you as an example. What is in each part? What are the principles by which this set of parts is constructed, especially as concerns which movements go in which parts? What information is supplied to singers and instrumentalists? What is not?

4. Now listen to the cantata again, following each movement from a part of your choice. This might be particularly instructive with vocal parts, which we do not often use today. What view of the piece do you get from this?

Written assignment 7, due Tuesday after we study this cantata: The autograph score of this cantata survives as well; it's online here. Examine the notation of the final chorale. [Do not be overly concerned with the odd way Bach notated the not-quite-literal repeat of the A section.] Consider what is specified in the score and what is not.

Now imagine you are a Leipzig copyist in the 1730s and have been assigned to copy this chorale from the score into performing parts for the cantata. What, precisely, would you put in each part? Be complete and specific--what line in what part(s), what clefs, at what pitch, how many copies (where appropriate). Consider every vocal and instrumental element; do not forget that vocalists need to know what text to sing.

In writing this assignment you can take into account other comparable cantatas we have studied.

"Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott" BWV 127

Text and translation    Score    Recordings: Suzuki     Koopman    Gardiner    Richter    Rilling

Text of "Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott"

1. This is a cantata from Bach's second Leipzig annual cycle, the one based largely on chorales. The construction of the text of this piece is largely typical. Carefully compare the text of the cantata with the complete text of the hymn. What is the process by which the librettist created the cantata text from the hymn? What changes? What stays the same? What features does the librettist evidently want to create in the cantata text?

2. How does Bach respond musically to the cantata text? Where does the origin of the text in a chorale show through? How?

3. The aria is certainly full of colorful effects. But how is it organized as a characteristic ritornello piece?

4. The accompagnato is even more full of strange things. What is Bach's approach overall? How do you account for the individual things that happen, and what holds this together?

5. The opening movement requires to listen for many things and in many ways. Break it down stylistically into its various elements. What governs its overall organization? What is the relationship between voices and instruments? How does it deal with the chorale melody? What else is in here that sounds as though it might be pre-existent? Why do you think so? How is it integrated?

Written assignment 8, due Tuesday of next week: BWV 38/4 (score here) is a rare but striking example. The entire cantata adapts Martin Luther's hymn "Aus tiefer Not" in the same way we have seen (derivation here, if you want to see the whole). The text of this movement is obviously designed to be set as a recitative. As you can see, Bach figured out a way to make the cantata's chorale tune the bass line of the recit. How does this work? How has he made an idiomatic recitative, especially at cadences? How are the melodic and harmonic features of the chorale tune incorporated? Write 250-300 words in which you explain his strategy and techniques.

"Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" BWV 140

Text and translation   Score    Recordings: Harnoncourt    Suzuki    Rilling    Rifkin


Epistle (1 Thess 5:1-11) and Gospel (Matt 25:1-13) for Trinity 27

Bach's notation of the order of service (Notated in 1723 on the autograph score of BWV 61)

Excerpt from Ulrich Meyer. Biblical quotation and allusion in the cantata libretti of Johann Sebastian Bach. Lanham, Md., 1997. [A reference work that documents connections between the texts of Bach cantatas and biblical passages.]

Liturgical calendar, with Epistle and Gospel readings, from D. Melamed and M. Marissen. An introduction to Bach studies.  [The church year, with appropriate cantatas by Bach.]

1723-24 liturgical calendar for Leipzig

Liturgies in outline from Charles Sanford Terry. Joh. Seb. Bach cantata texts sacred and secular. London, 1926 and reprints. [This consists of an outline of the liturgy for the 27th Sunday after Trinity in abbreviated form. The outlines for the 26th Sunday, the 1st Sunday after Trinity, and the 1st Sunday in Advent  are needed to supplement the abbreviated listing for the 27th Sunday.]

Excerpt from Günther Stiller. Johann Sebastian Bach and liturgical life in Leipzig. Transl. H.J.A. Bouman et al. St. Louis, 1984. [On church music in Leipzig; somewhat dense and selective in detail, but very informative.]

1. From the readings above, figure out the place of this cantata in the liturgy for its Sunday. What do you make of Bach's outline of the order of service?

2. What is the relation between the cantata text and the Gospel and Epistle readings for the day? What themes, images and ideas do they share?

3. What is the relation of the hymn to the other material for the day? (The original subtitle of the hymn was "Of the voice at midnight, and of the wise virgins, who meet their heavenly bridegroom. Matthew 25." Its three stanzas are all represented in the cantata text.)

4. How is all this material turned into a cantata libretto? Who are the characters in the two duets?

5. Do we really need to know all this? Can we make sense of the cantata without this background? Should we?

6. This piece dates from well after the years of the chorale cantata cycle but is constructed on the same principles. Examine the various chorale settings in analytical detail. The middle one is particularly famous. How does it work?

Written assignment 9, due Tuesday of next week: The instrumentarium of this cantata includes a "violino piccolo." You can see the original performing parts here. Examine the role of this instrument throughout the cantata, including noting the movements in which it is not used and its relationship to other instruments (especially V1) when it does play. Write 250-300 words giving an overview of the role of the instrument in the cantata and accounting for Bach's decisions to use or not use it in various movements and for the particular way he writes for it.

"Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen" BWV 215

Text and translation    Score    Recordings: Koopman    Rilling    Beringer

Original text print    Original score    Original performing parts    List of original parts       Contents of vocal parts

1. Study the text of this work, which Bach wrote for the anniversary of the Saxon Elector's ascent to the Polish throne. What kinds of texts are there, and what musical treatments do the texts lead you to expect?

2. Study the score in overview. What sort of movements are there and how do they relate to the textual types?

3. Examine the first movement. How is it organized, and how does it use its forces? In particular, what are the roles of the eight vocal lines?

4. Examine the use of voices overall in the cantata. How are duties distributed?

5. How are instrumental forces used in the work overall?

6. How can you account for the musical topics and scorings chosen for the arias?

7. Are there features of the piece that point to outdoor performance?

Written assignment 10, due Tuesday of next week: Study the text and score of "Lust der Völker, Lust der Deinen" BWV 213/13, the last movement of another work Bach composed for the Saxon royal house. A recording is here. Write 250-300 words in which you explain (by making a point) the formal organization of the movement and how Bach uses vocal and instrumental forces to articulate and project that form. Warning: not everything is a ritornello form.

"Angenehmes Wiederau" BWV 30a and "Freue dich, erlöste Schar" BWV 30

BWV 30 and 30a: Texts and translations    Scores: BWV 30a   BWV 30    

Recordings: BWV 30a: Rilling    Koopman         BWV 30:  Rilling    Koopman    Suzuki  

1. Study the text and music of BWV 30a, composed in honor of a noble official named Hennicke from a place called Wiederau. How is it constructed? What kinds of texts are present? How is its designation as a "drama" realized? How does Bach respond to the text? How is the piece organized musically? How does it use its forces?

2. On parody, please read

"Parody." In Malcolm Boyd, ed. Oxford composer companions: J.S. Bach. Oxford, 1999. [Ref ML410.B12 J15]

You can optionally also read

Hans-Joachim Schulze. "The parody problem in Bach's music: an old problem reconsidered." Bach 20, no. 1 (1989): 7-21.

3. Compare the texts of BWV 30a and BWV 30 (a church cantata for the Feast of St. John), which are (mostly) related to each other by parody. How is the text of the church cantata derived from the earlier secular cantata? What features are preserved? What is changed? Why has the librettist made these choices?

4. Examine Bach's musical setting of the liturgical text. What choices has he made in adapting the older work? What is preserved and what is new? How do the textual and musical types from the secular cantata translate to the sacred context?

5. What role should our knowledge of the original play in our interpretation of the derived version?

Written assignment 11, due Tuesday of next week: Choose an aria whose music is shared between BWV 30a and BWV 30, and carefully compare Bach's adaptation of the vocal line for new words. Write 300-500 words in which you explain how Bach adapted the melodic line. Refer to particular places in the music that illustrate your points. Stick to the vocal line (not other musical lines) and focus on technical aspects like rhythm, meter, accent, syllabification, and so on.

"Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" BWV 80

Text and translation        Score [with some issues]       Recordings: Suzuki    Rilling    Jones/Gonnewein [BG version]   

Text of "Alles, was von Gott geboren" BWV 80a

Score of "Gaudete omnes populi" and "Manebit verbum Dominum"        Recording:    Koopman

1. Cantata 80 has a long and complex history. Please read the overview here

Christoph Wolff. "Bach’s cantata Ein feste Burg: history and performance practice." In Bach: Essays on his life and music, 152-161. Cambridge, Mass. 1991.

and detail on one movement here

Daniel R. Melamed. "The evolution of 'Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel war' BWV 80/5." In The Century of Bach and Mozart. Perspectives on Historiography, Composition, Theory, & Performance, 189-205. Cambridge: Harvard University Department of Music, 2008.

2. Study the text of "Alles, was von Gott geboren" BWV 80a, a Weimar-piece for a Sunday in Lent. We have only the first couple of pages of the score and the original text; everything else known about the piece comes from presumed reuse of the music. The first movement apparently had an instrumental cantus firmus. Overall, what can you tell about the organization and music of this work?

3. Study the text of BWV 80 and BWV 80b (presumed to be the same). What is their exact relationship to BWV80a, from which some or much of their music derives?

4. Study the music of BWV 80. How are the stanzas of the chorale integrated into the work? What sort of movement is the first? How is it assembled? What other movement we've recently studied does it resemble?

5. The trumpet and drum parts are not J.S. Bach's, and they do not actually belong to this cantata. (They stem from arrangements by W.F. Bach of two movements.) They are interesting nonetheless; what can we learn from them?

6. What do you make of the way these pieces are represented in the BG?