Bach sacred cantata – Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! BWV 172

Bach wrote this cantata, while in Weimar, on May 20, 1714, for Pentecost Sunday. The libretto is based on John 14:23–31. It is one of my very favorite Bach cantatas!

The work is in six movements, and scored for four vocal soloists, four-part choir, three trumpets, timpani, oboe, bassoon and a string orchestra of two violins, two violas, and basso continuo. The orchestra for the holiday occasion is festive compared to the two works previously composed in Weimar. The cantata opens with a chorus, followed by the recitative, in which words spoken by Jesus are sung by the bass as the vox Christi (voice of Christ). A bass aria with trumpets addresses the Trinity, and a tenor aria then describes the Spirit that was present at the Creation. This is followed by an intimate duet of the Soul (soprano) and the Spirit (alto), to which an oboe plays the ornamented melody of Martin Luther‘s hymn “Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott” and a solo cello provides the bass line. The theme of intimacy between God and Man is developed further in the following chorale, after which Bach specified an unusual repeat of the opening chorus.

While Bach served as Thomaskantor – director of church music – in Leipzig from 1723, he performed the cantata several times, sometimes in a different key and with changes in the scoring. Musicologists agree that he loved the cantata’s Gospel text, “If ye love me …”, and the Pentecost hymn used in the duet, setting both the text and the hymn several times. John Eliot Gardiner writes that Bach “particularly valued” this cantata. It contains features that he used again in later compositions of cantatas, oratorios and his masses, for example movements with three trumpets and timpani in a triple meter for festive occasions, and duets as a symbol of God and man.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erschallet,_ihr_Lieder,_erklinget,_ihr_Saiten!_BWV_172

Video recorded in the Protestant church Trogen in Switzerland.

Choir and Orchestra of the J. S. Bach Foundation – Rudolf Lutz (conductor)

Soloists:

  • Soprano: Eva Oltivànyi
  • Alto: Markus Forster
  • Tenor: Bernhard Berchtold
  • Bass: Raphael Jud
1Chorus [S, A, T, B]
Tromba I-III, Timpani, Violino I/II, Viola I/II, Fagotto, Continuo
Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!
Ring out, you songs, resound, you strings !
O seligste Zeiten!
Oh blessed times !
Gott will sich die Seelen zu Tempeln bereiten.
God will prepare our souls to be his temples.
2Recitative [Bass]
Continuo
Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten,
Who loves me will keep my word
und mein Vater wird ihn lieben,
and my father will love him
und wir werden zu ihm kommen
and we shall come to him
und Wohnung bei ihm machen.
and make our dwelling with him. (John 14:23)
3Aria [Bass]
Tromba I-III, Timpani, Fagotto, Continuo
Heiligste Dreieinigkeit,
Most holy Trinity,
Großer Gott der Ehren,
great God of honour,
Komm doch, in der Gnadenzeit
come then, in this time of grace,
Bei uns einzukehren,
to visit and stay with us,
Komm doch in die Herzenshütten,
come then into the shelter of our hearts,
Sind sie gleich gering und klein,
though they are poor and small
Komm und laß dich doch erbitten,
come and allow us to ask you,
Komm und ziehe bei uns ein!
come and move in with us!
4Aria [Tenor]
Violino I/II e Viola I/II all’ unisono, Continuo
O Seelenparadies,
O paradise of souls
Das Gottes Geist durchwehet,
through which the Spirit of God breathes,
Der bei der Schöpfung blies,
who blew at the creation
Der Geist, der nie vergehet;
the Spirit, who never passes away,
Auf, auf, bereite dich,
up, up, prepare yourself,
Der Tröster nahet sich.
the comforter draws near.
5Aria (Duet) Soprano (Soul) , Alto (Holy Ghost)
Oboe, Violoncello obligato
Soprano (Soul):Alto ( Holy Spirit):
Komm, laß mich nicht länger warten,
Come , let me wait no longer,
Komm, du sanfter Himmelswind,
come, you gentle wind of heaven,
Wehe durch den Herzensgarten!
blow through the garden of my heart
Ich erquicke dich, mein Kind.
I refresh you, my child
Liebste Liebe, die so süße,
Dearest love, who are so delightful,
Aller Wollust Überfluß,
abundance of all joys,
Ich vergeh, wenn ich dich misse.
I shall die, if I have to be without you
Nimm von mir den Gnadenkuß.
Take from me the kiss of grace.
Sei im Glauben mir willkommen,
Welcome in faith to me,
Höchste Liebe, komm herein!
Highest love, come within!
Du hast mir das Herz genommen.
You have taken my heart from me
Ich bin dein, und du bist mein!
I am yours, and you are mine!
6Chorale [S, A, T, B]
Violino I/II, Viola I/II, Fagotto, Continuo
Von Gott kömmt mir ein Freudenschein,
A joyful light from God comes to me
Wenn du mit deinen Äugelein
when with your dear eyes
Mich freundlich tust anblicken.
you look on me as a friend.
O Herr Jesu, mein trautes Gut,
Oh Lord Jesus, my beloved good,
Dein Wort, dein Geist, dein Leib und Blut
your word, your spirit, your body and blood
Mich innerlich erquicken.
refresh me within.
Nimm mich
Take me
Freundlich
like a friend
In dein Arme, daß ich warme werd von Gnaden:
in your arms, so that I may become warm with your grace
Auf dein Wort komm ich geladen.
To your word I come invited (Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, Philipp Nicolai 1599)
7Chorus [S, A, T, B]
Tromba I-III, Timpani, Violino I/II, Viola I/II, Fagotto, Continuo
Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!
Ring out, you songs, resound, you strings !
O seligste Zeiten!
Oh blessed times !
Gott will sich die Seelen zu Tempeln bereiten.
God will prepare our souls to be his temples.

If you can read music, here is the score scrolling as the music plays!

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