Gott ist unsre Zuversicht, BWV 197
History and text
In 1728 in Leipzig, Bach composed a Christmas cantata, Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe, BWV 197a (Glory be to God in the Highest), which he revised in 1736–37 into this wedding cantata. Movement 5 is a chorale stanza by Martin Luther, the final movement is by Georg Neumark; the rest of the poetry is anonymous.
Scoring and structure
The work's ten movements are divided into two parts of five movements each, to be performed before and after the wedding sermon.
- Part 1
- Chorus: Gott ist unsre Zuversicht
- Recitative (bass): Gott ist und bleibt der beste Sorger
- Aria (alto): Schläfert allen Sorgenkummer
- Recitative (bass): Drum folget Gott und seinem Triebe
- Chorale: Du süße Lieb, schenk uns deine Gunst
- Part 2
- Aria (bass): O du angenehmes Paar
- Recitative (soprano): So wie es Gott mit dir
- Aria (soprano): Vergnügen und Lust
- Recitative (bass): Und dieser frohe Lebenslauf
- Chorale: So wandelt froh auf Gottes Wegen
The opening movement is a chorus in da capo form with a prominent trumpet part and an active violin line. The vocal parts use fugal techniques. The bass recitative is secco and "set to a melody of almost childlike naivety and simplicity". The alto aria's structure combines elements of da capo and ritornello form; the instrumental introduction does not completely recur and the reprise differs significantly from the opening section. The fourth movement is a bass recitative with chordal strings. The section closes with a four-part setting of the chorale tune with varied phrase lengths.
The second section opens with a bass aria that "has a lavishness of sound which is almost unparalleled". A two-part secco soprano recitative leads to an aria that was for bass in BWV 197a but in BWV 197 is scored for soprano. The aria is in the style of a siciliano. The penultimate movement is a bass recitative with chordal oboes and interjecting strings. The final chorale setting is relatively simple and in minor mode.
- Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Ton Koopman. J.S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 21. Antoine Marchand, 2002.
- Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart / Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, Helmuth Rilling. Die Bach Kantate Vol. 66. Hänssler, 1984.
- Holland Boys Choir / Netherlands Bach Collegium, Pieter Jan Leusink. Bach Edition Vol. 19. Brilliant Classics, 2000.
- Cantatas, BWV 191–200: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Gott ist unsre Zuversicht: history, scoring, Bach website (German)
- BWV 197 Gott ist unsre Zuversicht: English translation, University of Vermont