November 20, 2017

18th Sunday after Trinity: Pic & Cantata of the Week

Minden Road Overlook. Photo by David Cornwell

(Click on picture for larger image)

Craig Smith comments on todays cantata, Gott soll allein mein Herze haben (God shall have my heart, BWV 169).

After the first two cantata cycles in Leipzig, Bach became discouraged with the level of players and singers at his disposal. More and more frequently he wrote prominent parts in his cantatas for organ, knowing that his son Carl Philip Emmanuel would play them well and emphasized solo voices over the chorus. Today’s cantata is a prime example. It begins with an arrangement of the first movement of the E major harpsichord concerto transposed to D. The solo part is given to the organ and the original string orchestra is enriched by two oboes and English Horn. The sung portion of the cantata begins with an extended arioso for alto with the continuo instruments. The opening line of text “Gott soll allein” functions as a litany through out both this movement and the following delightful aria with organ obbligato. After a brief recitative the strings of the orchestra reappear in a marvelous adaptation of the second movement of the E major harpsichord concerto. Once again the organ takes the solo part with the voice part laid on top of it. What is fascinating is Bach’s enrichment of the harmony in order to color the text particularly the word “stirb”(to die). After another brief recitative the work ends with an harmonization of one of the most beautiful chorale tunes, “Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist.”

The opening Sinfonia is one of my favorite instrumental pieces by Bach, which he took from the first and second movements of the E Major Clavier Concerto BWV 1053.

Enjoy this beautiful music, and may it lift your heart to a place of beauty and grace this Lord’s Day.

• • •

Photo by David Cornwell at Flickr.

Comments

  1. Susan Dumbrell says:

    Thank you CM.
    After a week I would rather forget, today’s Bach lifts my heart.
    In the words of the music aficionado,
    Corporal ‘Radar’ O’Reilly,
    “Ah Bach”.
    He had it down pat, complete with the head nodding.
    He knew what he liked? or maybe it was the young nurse he liked?
    Whatever, I miss Radar, The world needs more like him,.

    Sunday’s Blessings to all,
    Susan

    • That was a fun episode (they all were). But when the nurse he was enamored of rattled on about “good ol’ Johann Sebastian,” Radar looked confused. Fortunately, Hawkeye was coaching him from behind her. “Ah, Bach!” Radar said again.

      I miss those guys.

  2. WV mtn lover says:

    Pic — Minden as in Thurmond & Minden ghost towns on the New River Gorge in WV?

  3. Dana Ames says:

    The title text:

    Gott soll allein mein Herze haben,
    Ich find in ihm das höchste Gut.
    Er liebt mich in der bösen Zeit
    Und will mich in der Seligkeit
    Mit Gütern seines Hauses laben.

    God alone shall have my heart;
    I find in him the highest Good.
    He loves me in the evil times
    and desires to refresh me
    in blessedness
    with the good things of his house.

    Chorale:
    Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist
    Um den rechten glauben allermeist,
    Daß er uns behüte an unserm ende,
    Wenn wir heimfahren aus diesem elende.
    Kyrieleis!

    Now we pray to the Holy Spirit
    for right faith most of all,
    so that it will protect us at our end
    when we go home, out of this misery; Lord, have mercy!

    Other verses of the chorale address the Holy Spirit as Worthy Light, Sweet Love, and Highest Comforter in all our need.

    ——–
    Report from fire country:
    In parts north of me, some evacuees have been allowed home; other areas of evacuation have widened. Local schools are supposed to be open tomorrow, but not the middle school that’s in the evacuation zone. In Santa Rosa, winds have not been favorable the past 2 days, and the worst of the fires have gained ground. There is some containment of smaller outlying fires in the area, but nothing near 100%. The entire town of Calistoga has been evacuated, and the fire in the northern part of Napa County has crept northward and is closing in on Geyserville, which has also been evacuated. Sonoma Co. Sheriff has asked people to continue to stay off the roads. Geyserville and the fire in the northern part of Santa Rosa are between me and my parish, so I’m staying home today. A couple of families in my parish have lost their houses; many are evacuated and don’t know the status of their homes. Since there is still no power in many areas, some of those who haven’t had to evacuate are “camping out at home”, cooking their thawing meat on the BBQ or Coleman stove. People are rallying to help out however they can; it’s very heartening to see, and hear about.

    Weather is supposed to be hot and dry until Wed. The forecast is for gathering clouds that night, with some rain on Thursday. That would qualify as miraculous, because we don’t normally get rain before the first week of November.

    Thank you for your continued prayers.

    Dana