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Bach – Kantaten / Cantatas / Cantates + Presentation (recording of the Century : Karl Richter)

The Mass continued to be the principal service in the Lutheran church after the Reformation, and music played a prominent role in its celebration on both Sundays and feast-days. In Bach’s day the Cantata was the most important musical part of the service, referred to as the ‘’Hauptmusik’’ of ‘’MusiK’’ – ‘’the music’’, quite simply. It comprised a service in miniature within the framework of the whole Mass, in its combination of a so-called ‘’dictum’’ (‘’it is said in the Scriptures’’ : a biblical text, that is, either quoted directly or paraphrased), a strophic hymn, and a madrigalian poetic text; this last, presented in the form of recitatives and arias, set out an explanation (‘explicatio’, literally ‘unfolding’) of the ‘dictum’, and of its significance and application in the Christian life. Just as an opera needs a libretto, therefore, the prerequisite for the composition of a cantata was a poetic text, and such texts were a recognised literary genre in the 18th century. The form of the Lutheran Mass was established long before Bach’s time, and the Cantata was an important component in it not only in Leipzig but everywhere else where figural music was cultivated. It came immediately after the Gospel, read by the minister, and before the Creed. If the Cantata was in two parts, the second part was sung after the sermon, which normally took its theme from the Gospel of the day. This position in the liturgy reflects the close connection between the cantata and the Gospel – the principal Bible reading of the day – and underlines its function; in its own way, the cantata interprets the passage that has just been read and is thus a kind of sermon in itself, using verse and music where the preacher uses speech. The closeness of the connection between the Cantata and the Gospel varied. It was closest when the text of the Cantata began with a direct quotation of a phrase from the Gospel. One example of this is the Cantata for Easter Monday, ‘’Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden’’ (‘Abode with us, for it is towards evening’’, Luke 24:13-35), for these words come at the heart of the Gospel for the day, the story of the risen Christ’s meeting with two of His disciples on the way to Emmaus. The Cantata for Easter Tuesday is a meditation on the greeting ‘’Friede sei mit euch’’ (‘Please be unto you’, Luke 24:36-47), spoken by Jesus on His first appearance to a larger group of His followers after the Resurrection. The reference forges the link to the Gospel reading that the congregation has just heard, but the sermonizing function of the Cantata is underlined by the slight change in the text in the Cantata, where it takes the form ‘’Der Friede sei mit dir’’ : ‘Euch’ is plural but ‘dir’ is singular and therefore more universal, in that it does not address the group of disciples alone. Lines from the gospels for the fourth and fifth Sundays after Easter are also taken up in the cantatas for those days, ‘’Es its euch gut, bass ice hingehe’’ (‘It is expedient for you that i go away’, John 16:7) and ‘’Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten in minem Namen’’ (‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name, John 16:24). The Cantata for the fourth Sunday after Epiphany, ‘’Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen’’, is also based on the Gospel for that Sunday, but the words quoted directly – ‘’Ihr Kleingläubigen’’ (‘O ye of little faith’, Matthew 8:26) – do not come at the beginning but in the fourth movement. A second way to link a Cantata to the Gospel for the day is to take a text from elsewhere in the Bible that helps to explain the Gospel passage, in the spirit of the old theological maxim ‘’BIBLIA SUI IPSIUS INTERPRES’’ (‘the Bible is its own interpreter’). One example of this is found in the fourth movement of the Advent cantata ‘’Nun komm, der Heiden Heirland’’, where the verse ‘’Siehe, ice stehe vor der Tür und klopfe an’’ (‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock’, Revelation 3:20) illuminates the significance of Advent-tide. In the Cantata for the second Sunday after Easter, the Old testament cry ‘’Du Hirte Israel, höre’’ (‘Give ear, o Shepherd of Israel’), introduces a meditation on the Gospel of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-16), and in ‘’Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen’’, the Cantata for the third Sunday after Easter, the connection with the Gospel (John 16:16-23), with its climax at the words ‘’Eure Traurigkeit soll in Freude verkehrt werden’’ (‘Your sorrow shall be turned into joy’’), is sustained by words from Acts, ‘’Wir müssen lurch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen’’ (‘We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God’’). This is sung as the only recitative in the Cantata and thus serves as the dictum. A third way to associate Cantata and Gospel is by means of direct allusion. The Cantata for Quinquagesima Sunday ‘’Du wahrer Gott and Davids Sohn’’ provides an example of this with the plea ‘’Ach! gehe nicht vorüber’’ in the tenor recitative, which relates to the narrative of the healing of the blind man, from the second part of the Gospel for the day, Luke 18:31-43. The fourth and final method of associating the two is especially significant. This is when the Cantata takes the form of a chorale cantata , based on a chorale, or ‘’de tempore hymn’’, on a subject appropriate to the character of the feast day or Sunday in question. No fewer than 22 (of 33) of the Cantatas in the collection belongs in this group. in the nature of things, in a chorale cantata the association between the hymn and the Gospel reading will be more general and at times downright elusive, depending on whether the madrigalian religious poem allied to the hymn in the text of the Cantata makes a specific reference to the Gospel for the day or not. It is possible that a cycle of hymns sung before the sermon, and relating to the character of the day (like the Cantata and the sermon itself), ran parallel with the cycle of chorale cantatas, although each individually would have been regarded as only the shorter, first part of the sermon as a whole. END

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) – Kantaten / Cantatas / Cantates Part I
    Click to activate the English subtitles for the presentation (00:00–07:00)
    Cantata BWV 61 : Nun Komm, Der Heiden Heiland
    I.Ouvertüre (Chor) : Nun Komm, Der Heiden Heiland (00:00)
    II.Rezitativ (Tenor) : Der Heiland Ist Gekommen (03:55)
    III.Arie (Tenor) : Komm, Jesu, Komm Zu Deiner Kirche (05:20)
    IV.Rezitativ (Baß) : Siehe, Ich Stehe Vor Der Türe und Klopfe An (10:52)
    V.Arie (Sopran) : Öffne Dich, Mein Ganzes Herze (12:09)
    VI.Choral : Amen, Amen! Komm Du Schöne Freudenkrone (17:32)

    Cantata BWV 132 : Bereitet Die Wege, Bereitet Die Bahn !
    I.Arie (Sopran) : Bereitet Die Wege, Bereitet Die Bahn (18:27)
    II.Rezitativ (Tenor) : Willst Du Dich Gottes Kind Und Christi Bruder Nennen (26:11)
    III.Arie (Baß) : Wer Bist Du? Frage Dein Gewissen (29:07)
    IV.Rezitativ (Alt) : Ich Will, Mein Gott, Dir Frei Heraus Bekennen (32:32)
    V.Arie (Alt) : Christi Glieder, Ach Bedenket (35:03)
    VI.Choral : Ertöt Uns Durch Dein Güte (38:47)

    Cantata BWV 63 : Christen, Ätzet Diesen Tag
    I.Chor : Christen, Ätzet Diesen Tag In Metall Und Marmorsteine (40:00)
    II.Rezitativ (Alt) : O Selger Tag! O Ungemeines Heute (45:30)
    III.Duett (Sopran, Baß) : Gott, Du Hast Es Wohl Gefüget (49:19)
    IV.Rezitativ (Tenor) : So Kehret Sich Nun Heut (56:44)
    V.Duett (Alt,Tenor) : Ruft Und Fleht Den Himmel An (57:38)
    VI.Rezitativ (Baß) : Verdoppelt Euch Demnach (1:01:51)
    VII.Chor : Höchster, Schau In Gnade An (1:03:06)

    Cantata BWV 58 : Ach Gott, Wie Manches Herzeleid
    I.Duett (Sopran, Baß) : Ach Gott, Wie Manches Herzeleid (1:09:40)
    II.Rezitativ (Baß) : Verfolgt Dich Gleich Die Arge Welt (1:14:40)
    III.Arie (Sopran) : Ich Bin Vergnügt Um Meinem Leiden (1:16:20)
    IV.Rezitativ (Sopran) : Kann Es Die Welt Nicht Lassen (1:20:11)
    V.Duett (Sopran, Baß) : Ich Hab Für Mir Ein Schwere Reis (1:21:29)

    Cantata BWV 65 : Sie Werden Aus Saba Alle Kommen
    I.Chor : Sie Werden Aus Saba Alle Kommen (1:24:00)
    II.Choral : Die Kön'ge Aus Saba Kamen Dar (1:27:34)
    III.Rezitativ (Baß) : Was Dort Jesaias Vorhergesehn (1:28:16)
    IV.Arie (Baß) : Gold Aus Ophir Ist Zu Schlecht (1:30:29)
    V.Rezitativ (Tenor) : Verschmähe Nicht, Du, Meiner Seele Licht (1:33:07)
    VI.Tenor (Tenor) : Nimm Mich Dir Zu Eigen Hin (not available)
    VII.Choral : Ei Nun, Mein Gott, So Fall Ich Dir (1:36:12)

    Cantata BWV 124 : Meinen Jesum Laß Ich Nicht
    I.Chor : Meinen Jesum Laß Ich Nicht (1:36:12)
    II.Rezitativ (Tenor) : Solange Sich Ein Tropfen Blut (1:40:35)
    III.Arie (Tenor) : Und Wenn Der Harte Todesschlag (1:41:20)
    IV.Rezitativ (Baß) : Doch Ach! Welch schweres Ungemach (1:44:28)
    V.Duett (Sopran, Alt) : Enziehe Dich Eilends, Mein Hertze (1:45:34)
    VI.Choral : Jesum Laß Ich Nicht Von Mir (1:49:45)

    Cantata BWV 13 : Meine Seufzer, Meine Tränen
    I.Arie (Tenor) : Meine Seufzer, Meine Tränen (1:50:57)
    II.Rezitativ (Alt) : Mein Liebster Gott Lässt Mich Annoch (1:58:58)
    III.Choral : Der Gott, Der Mir Hat Versprochen (2:00:14)
    IV.Rezitativ (Sopran) : Mein Kummer Nimmet Zu (2:03:14)
    V.Arie (Baß) : Ächzen Und Erbärmlich Weinen (2:04:48)
    VI.Choral : So Sei Nun, Seele, Deine (2:12:42)

    Cantata BWV 121 : Christum Wir Sollen Loben Schon
    I.Chor : Christum Wir Sollen Loben Schon (2:13:41)
    II.Arie (Tenor) : O Du Von Gott Erhöhte Kreatur (2:16:09)
    III.Rezitativ (Alt) : Der Gnade Unermesslichs Wesen (2:21:11)
    IV.Arie (Baß) : Johannis Freudenvolles Springen (2:22:43)
    V.Rezitativ (Sopran) Doch Wie Erblickt Es Dich In Deiner Krippe? (2:31:33)
    VI.Choral : Lob, Ehr Und Dank Sei Dir Gesagt (2:32:56)

    Cantata BWV 64 : Sehet, Welch Eine Liebe Hat Uns Der Vater Erzeiget
    I.Chor : Sehet, Welch Eine Liebe Hat Uns Der Vater Erzeiget (2:34:08)
    II.Choral : Das Hat Er Alles Uns Getan (2:36:30)
    III.Rezitativ (Alt) : Geh, Welt! Behalte Nur Das Deine (2:37:20)
    IV.Choral : Was Frag Ich Nach Der Welt (2:38:14)
    V.Arie (Sopran) : Was Die Welt In Sich Hält (2:39:16)
    VI.Rezitativ (Baß) : Der Himmel Bleibet Mir Gewiß (2:44:39)
    VII.Arie (Alt) : Von Der Welt Verlang Ich Nichts (2:46:13)
    VIII.Choral : Gute Nacht, O Wesen (2:52:57)

    Cantata BWV 28 : Gottlob! Nun Geht Das Jahr Zu Ende
    I.Arie (Sopran) : Gottlob! Nun Geht Das Jahr Zu Ende (2:54:26)
    II.Chor : Nun Lob, Mein Speel, Den Herren (2:58:10)
    III.Rezitativ und Arioso (Baß) : So Spricht Der Herr : Es soll mir eine Lust sein (3:02:35)
    IV.Rezitativ (Tenor) : Gott Ist Ein Quell (3:04:30)
    V.Choral : Gott Hat Uns Im Heurigen Jahre Gesegnet (3:06:01)
    VI.Choral : All Solch Dein Güt Wir Preisen (3:08:51)

    Cantata BWV 171 : Gott, Wie Dein Name, So Ist Auch Dein Ruhm
    I.Chor : Gott Wie Dein Name, So Ist Auch Dein Ruhm (3:10:06)
    II.Arie (Tenor) : Herr, So Weit Die Wolken Gehen (3:12:11)
    III.Rezitativ (Alt) : Du Süßer Jesus Name Du (3:16:41)
    IV.Arie (Sopran) : Jesus Soll Mein Erstes Wort (3:17:58)
    V.Rezitativ (Baß) : Und Da Du, Herr, Gesagt (3:24:14)
    VI.Choral : Dein Ist Allein Die Ehre (3:26:36)

    Cantata BWV 111 : Was Mein Gott Will, Das G'scheh Allzeit
    I.Chor : Was Mein Gott Will, Das G'scheh Allzeit (3:28:58)
    II.Arie (Baß) : Entsetze dich, mein Herze, nicht (3:34:02)
    III.Rezitativ (Alt) : O Törichter! der sich von Gott entzieht (3:57:52)
    IV.Duett (Alt, Tenor) : So geh ich beherzten Schritten (3:39:10)
    V.Rezitativ (Sopran) : Drum, wenn der Tod zuletzt den Geist (3:47:38)
    VI.Choral : Noch eins, Herr, will ich bitten dich (3:48:59)

    Cantata BWV 81 : Jesus Schläft, Was Soll Ich Hoffen
    I.Arie (Alt) : Jesus Schläft, Was Soll Ich Hoffen ? (3:50:44)
    II.Rezitativ (Tenor) : Herr! Warum Trittest Du So Ferne ? (3:56:19)
    III.Arie (Tenor) : Die Schäumenden Wellen von Belials Bächen (3:57:44)
    IV.Arioso (Baß) : Ihr Kleingläubigen (4:00:59)
    V.Arie (Baß) : Schweig, Aufgetürmetes Meer! (4:02:31)
    VI.Rezitativ (Alt) : Wohl Mir, Mein Jesus spricht ein Wort (4:08:09)
    VII.Choral : Unter Deinen Schirmen (4:08:48)

    Cantata BWV 82 : Ich Habe Genug
    I.Arie (Baß) : Ich Habe Genug! (4:10:14)
    II.Rezitativ (Baß) : Ich Habe Genug! Mein Trost ist nur allein (4:18:24)
    III.Arie (Baß) : Schlummert Ein, Ihr Matten Augen (4:20:07)
    IV.Rezitativ (Baß) : Mein Gott! Wann Kommt Das Schöne : Nun! (4:29:50)
    V.Arie (Baß) : Ich Freue Mich Auf Meinen Tod (4:31:01)

    Baß : Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Theo Adam
    Tenor : Peter Schreier, Ernst Haefliger
    Alt : Hertha Töpper, Anna Reynolds
    Sopran : Edith Mathis, Sheila Armstrong, Lotte Schädle
    Münchener Bach Chor und Orchester
    Karl RICHTER
    Recorded in 1967-72


    Johann Sebastian Bach PLAYLIST (reference recordings)

  2. Why is Christmas on December 25?
    Since there is no evidence that the birth of Jesus Christ occurred on December 25, why is Christmas celebrated on this date? The Encyclopædia Britannica says that church leaders probably chose it ““to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the ‘birthday of the unconquered sun,”’” at the time of the winter solstice. According to The Encyclopedia Americana, many scholars believe that this was done ““in order to make Christianity more meaningful to pagan converts.””

    When Was Jesus Born?
    The Bible does not give a specific date for the birth of Jesus Christ, as these reference works show:
    ““The true birth date of Christ is unknown.””—New Catholic Encyclopedia.““The exact date of Christ’s birth is not known.””—Encyclopedia of Early Christianity.While the Bible does not directly answer the question, ‘When was Jesus born?’ it does describe two events surrounding his birth that lead many to conclude that he was not born on December 25.

    Not in Winter.
    The registration. Shortly before Jesus was born, Caesar Augustus issued a decree ordering ““all the inhabited earth to be registered.”” Everyone had to register in ““his own city,”” which might have required a journey of a week or more. (Luke 2:1-3) That order—probably made to support taxation and military conscription—would have been unpopular at any time of year, but it is unlikely that Augustus would have provoked his subjects further by forcing many of them to make long trips during the cold winter.The sheep. Shepherds were ““living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks.”” (Luke 2:8) The book Daily Life in the Time of Jesus notes that flocks lived in the open air from ““the week before the Passover [late March]”” through mid-November. It then adds: ““They passed the winter under cover; and from this alone it may be seen that the traditional date for Christmas, in the winter, is unlikely to be right, since the Gospel says that the shepherds were in the fields.””

    In early fall.
    We can estimate when Jesus was born by counting backward from his death on Passover, Nisan 14 in the spring of the year 33 C.E. (John 19:14-16) Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his three-and-a-half-year ministry, so he was born in the early fall of 2 B.C.E.—Luke 3:23.

  3. Karl Richter est un des pionniers de la Renaissance Barroque après la seconde guerre mondiale. Cependant il me paraît que des versions plus modernes, comme Kuijken, Bruggen et surtout Leonhardt / Harnoncourt sont plus belles et plus "respectueuses" de la volonté de Bach que Richter, qui me paraît malgré tout vieillissant.

  4. master by master voices and privileged instrumentalists on the direction of an extraordinary conductor is the recording of bach

  5. At last: the Bach recordings of the man who for me is the greatest Bach conductor of the previous century – certainly far preferable over any so-called HIP recording.

  6. Whenever I listen to Bach I am at peace. His music touches my heart and moves me like almost no other. And the Richter records are the finest there are – with all due respect to the great contributions of Herreweghe, Harnoncourt and so many more esteemed others.


  8. Today everybody play historical, period…but I still find interpretations like this one or Münchinger, Jocum, Klemperer etc unsurpassed.

  9. Realmente insuperable. Por el autor, por el director, por las voces, por los coros, por la orquesta y por los años en que fueron hechas las gloriosas tomas.

  10. Love Richter’s interpretations of these Sunday cantatas. Don’t care if he was a Christian or not. We don’t have to be a Christian to understand the awe some true believers (Bach?) felt in that Presence. Nothing to do w good & bad, with which qualities we are all amply furnished, but w wishing something higher than the (tragic) human condition. Because he believed, Mozart said Death had become his best friend. But what we hear in these masterworks is, above all, life & respect for its ever flowing rivers through our veins & souls.

  11. Unfortunately we have here among the commentators a "zealot" of the so called HIP( Historical Informed Performance), a gang of HIPocrites, self appointed guardians of the musical morals and cultural fascists who intimidated directors to the point they abandoned baroque music, leaving it to founders of groups that played with obvious technical deficits and a café chantant musicality. But now the vice of the philological rigidity is over, we are tired of style experts with their scratchy instruments, thin choirs and orchestras, modest singers. We like and listen to Karl Richter, a genial interpreter and musician. Point.

  12. La obertura de BWV 61 es abrumadoramente hermosa. El coro surge repentinamente tras los primeros acordes como un viento celestial.

  13. It's funny listening to this when you speak German. 🤣 I even lived a few years in Leipzig.

  14. I love Bach`s cantatas,especially nos.61,82 are my all-time favourites,and my favourite performers are Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and of course Peter Schreier [sadly passed away on Christmas Day 2019],and he`s got a great tenor voice,also a conductor,as well as performing lieder [such as Brahms,Schubert,etc.],as well as opera [such as Mozart,Wagner,etc.],but I think he`s excellent on Bach,which is my all-time favourite composer,when I was 9 years old and knew his music,but I do miss him so much and he`s the best.

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