Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben, BWV 77
|Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben|
|Church cantata by J. S. Bach|
|Occasion||13th Sunday after Trinity|
|Performed||22 August 1723Leipzig –|
|Cantata text||Johann Oswald Knauer?|
|Vocal||SATB choir and solo|
Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben (You shall love God, your Lord), BWV 77, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for the thirteenth Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 22 August 1723.
History and words
Bach wrote the cantata in 1723 in his first year in Leipzig for the 13th Sunday after Trinity. The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul's teaching on law and promise (Galatians 3:15–22), and from the Gospel of Luke, the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:23–37). According to Christoph Wolff, the cantata text of Johann Oswald Knauer appeared in Gotha in 1720 in Gott-geheiligtes Singen und Spielen (Holy singing and playing to God). The text relates closely to the readings, even to the situation in which the parable was told, referring to the question of a lawyer what needs to be done to achieve eternal life. The answer, which the lawyer had to give himself, was the commandment to love God and your neighbour. This, the Great Commandment, is the text of the first movement. Accordingly, the following text is divided in two parts, one recitative and aria dealing with the love of God, and a symmetrical part handling the love of the neighbour.
The text of the closing chorale is lost. Karl Friedrich Zelter suggested the eighth stanza of David Denicke's hymn "Wenn einer alle Ding verstünd" (1657) with the first line "Du stellst, Herr Jesu, selber dich", which appears in the edition of the Bach-Gesellschaft. Werner Neumann suggested the eighth stanza of Denicke's "O Gottes Sohn, Herr Jesu Christ" (1657) with the first line "Herr, durch den Glauben wohn in mir", which appears in the Neue Bach-Ausgabe.
Bach first performed the cantata on 22 August 1723.
Scoring and structure
The cantata in six movements is scored for four vocal soloists (soprano, alto, tenor and bass), a four-part choir, tromba da tirarsi (Baroque slide trumpet), two oboes, two violins, viola, and basso continuo including bassoon.
- Chorale: Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben
- Recitative (bass): So muss es sein!
- Aria (soprano): Mein Gott, ich liebe dich von Herzen
- Recitative (tenor): Gib mir dabei, mein Gott! ein Samariterherz
- Aria (alto): Ach, es bleibt in meiner Liebe
- Chorale: Herr, durch den Glauben wohn in mir
The first movement carries Bach's statement on the most important law, on which, according to the parallel Matthew 22:34–40, "hang all the law and the prophets". The words translate to "You shall love God, your Lord, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself". Bach had enlarged on the "dualism of love of God and brotherly love" already in his monumental cantata in 14 movements, Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76, at the beginning of his first cycle. In order to show the law's universality, Bach introduces Martin Luther's chorale "Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot" (These are the holy ten commandments), referring to the commandments of the Old Testament, as a foundation of the movement's structure. The tune is played in a strict canon, the most rigid musical law as one more symbol. The canon is performed by the trumpet in the highest range, and the continuo, representing the lowest range. The tempo of the trumpet is twice as fast as the tempo of the continuo, therefore the trumpet has time to repeat first single lines and finally the complete melody of the chorale. The trumpet enters ten times, to symbolize once more the completeness of the law. The voices, representing the law of the New Testament, engage in imitation of a theme which is derived from the chorale tune and first played by the instruments. John Eliot Gardiner, who provides an extended analysis of the movement, concludes:
"The end result is a potent mixture of modal and diatonic harmonies, one which leaves an unforgettable impression in the mind's ear, and in context propels one forward to the world of Brahms' German Requiem and beyond, to Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time".
In the last aria for alto, taking the form of a sarabande, Bach conveys the "Unvollkommenheit" (imperfection) of human attempt to live by the law of love, by choosing an obbligato trumpet and composing "awkward intervals" and "wildly unstable notes" which would sound imperfect on the period's valveless instruments. In contrast, Bach wrote in the middle section a long trumpet solo of "ineffable beauty", as a "glorious glimpse of God's realm".
- J.S. Bach: Das Kantatenwerk – Sacred Cantatas Vol. 4, Gustav Leonhardt, Knabenchor Hannover, Collegium Vocale Gent, Leonhardt-Consort, soloist of the Knabenchor Hannover, Paul Esswood, Adalbert Kraus, Max van Egmond, Teldec 1978
- Die Bach Kantate Vol. 47, Helmuth Rilling, Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helen Donath, Helen Watts, Adalbert Kraus, Wolfgang Schöne, Hänssler 1983
- Bach Cantatas Vol. 6: Köthen/Frankfurt / For the 12th Sunday after Trinity / For the 13th Sunday after Trinity, John Eliot Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Gillian Keith, Nathalie Stutzmann, Christoph Genz, Jonathan Brown, Soli Deo Gloria 1990
- J.S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 8, Ton Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Dorothea Röschmann, Elisabeth von Magnus, Jörg Dürmüller, Klaus Mertens, Antoine Marchand 1998
- J.S. Bach: Cantatas Vol. 13 – Cantatas from Leipzig 1723, Masaaki Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan, Yoshie Hida, Kirsten Sollek-Avella, Makoto Sakurada, Peter Kooy, BIS 1999
- Bach Edition Vol. 21 – Cantatas Vol. 12, Pieter Jan Leusink, Holland Boys Choir, Netherlands Bach Collegium, Ruth Holton, Sytse Buwalda, Nico van der Meel, Bas Ramselaar, Brilliant Classics 2000
- Dellal, Pamela. "BWV 77 - "Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben"". Emmanuel Music. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Dürr, Alfred (1981). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German) 1 (4 ed.). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag. pp. 422–425. ISBN 3-423-04080-7.
- Wolff, Christoph (2008). "On the first annual cycle of Bach's Cantatas for the Leipzig liturgy (1723–1724)" (PDF). bach-cantatas.com. p. 16. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- "Wenn einer alle Ding verstünd / Text and Translation of Chorale". bach-cantatas.com. 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- "O Gottes Sohn, Herr Jesu Christ / Text and Translation of Chorale". bach-cantatas.com. 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Gardiner, John Eliot (2007). "Cantatas for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity / Dreikönigskirche, Frankfurt" (PDF). bach-cantatas.com. p. 10. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben, BWV 77: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben BWV 77; BC A 126 / Cantata Leipzig University
- Cantata BWV 77 Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben history, scoring, sources for text and music, translations to various languages, discography, discussion, bach-cantatas website
- Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben history, scoring, Bach website (German)
- BWV 77 Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben English translation, University of Vermont
- BWV 77 Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben text, scoring, University of Alberta
- Chapter 16 BWV 77 Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren lieben / Love the Lord, your God. Julian Mincham, 2010