Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, BWV 103
|Ihr werdet weinen und heulen|
|Church cantata by J.S. Bach|
Christiana Mariana von Ziegler, author of the cantata text
|Performed||22 April 1725Leipzig –|
|Cantata text||Christiana Mariana von Ziegler|
|Bible text||John 16:20|
|Chorale||by Paul Gerhardt|
Bach composed the cantata in his second year as Thomaskantor in Leipzig and first performed it on 22 April 1725. It is the first of nine cantatas on texts by Christiana Mariana von Ziegler, which Bach composed at the end of his second annual cycle of cantatas in Leipzig. Based on the Gospel reading from the Farewell Discourse, where Jesus, announcing that he will leave, says "your sorrow shall be turned into joy", Bach contrasts music of sorrow and joy, notably in the unusual first movement, where he inserts an almost operatic recitative of Jesus in the fugal choral setting. The architecture of the movement combines elements of the usual concerto form with the more text-related older form of a motet. Bach scores an unusual flauto piccolo (descant recorder in D) as an obbligato instrument in an aria contemplating the sorrow of missing Jesus, who is addressed as a doctor who shall heal the wounds of sins. Bach scores a trumpet in only one movement, an aria expressing the joy about the predicted return of Jesus. The cantata in six movements closes with a chorale, the ninth stanza of Paul Gerhardt's hymn "Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott".
History and words
Bach composed the cantata in Leipzig for third Sunday after Easter, called Jubilate. The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the First Epistle of Peter, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man" (1 Peter 2:11–20), and from the Gospel of John, Jesus announcing his second coming in the so-called Farewell Discourse, saying "your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:16–23). For this occasion Bach had already composed in 1714 Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12, which Bach used later as the basis for the movement Crucifixus in his Mass in B minor.
In his second year in Leipzig, Bach composed chorale cantatas between the first Sunday after Trinity and Palm Sunday, but for Easter returned to cantatas on more varied texts, possibly because he lost his librettist. Nine of his cantatas for consecutive occasions in the period between Easter and Pentecost are based on texts by Christiana Mariana von Ziegler, this one being the first of the series especially written for Bach. He had possibly commissioned them in 1724 for his first cantata cycle but not composed them at that time, due to the exceptional workload creating the St John Passion.
The librettist begins with a quotation from the Gospel, verse 20, and concludes with the ninth stanza of Paul Gerhardt's hymn "Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott" (1653). Her own poetry reflects, in a sequence of recitatives and arias, in two movements sadness at the loss of Jesus, and in two others joy at his predicted return. Bach edited her writing considerably, for example in movement 4, excising two lines of four and rephrasing the others.
Scoring and structure
The cantata in six movements is scored for three soloists, alto, tenor and bass, a four-part choir, trumpet, flauto piccolo (descant recorder in D), two oboes d'amore, two violins, viola and continuo.
- Chorus and arioso (bass): Ihr werdet weinen und heulen
- Recitative (tenor): Wer sollte nicht in Klagen untergehn
- Aria (alto): Kein Arzt ist außer dir zu finden
- Recitative (alto): Du wirst mich nach der Angst auch wiederum erquicken
- Aria (tenor): Erholet euch, betrübte Sinnen
- Chorale: Ich hab dich einen Augenblick
The opening chorus has an unusual structure, which includes an arioso passage for the bass voice. All instruments except the trumpet play a ritornello, after which a choral fugue pictures the weeping and wailing of the text in unrelated musical material, rich in chromaticism. In great contrast the following line, "aber die Welt wird sich freuen" (But the world will rejoice), is conveyed by the chorus embedded in a repeat of the first part of the ritornello. The sequence is repeated on a larger scale: this time the fugue renders both lines of the text as a double fugue with the second theme taken from the ritornello, then the ritornello is repeated in its entirety. The bass as the vox Christi (voice of Christ) sings three times, with a sudden tempo change to adagio, "Ihr aber werdet traurig sein" (But you will be sad) as an accompagnato recitative. Musicologist Julian Mincham notes: "This recitative is a mere eight bars long but its context and piteousness give it enormous dramatic impact. Bach's lack of respect for the conservative Leipzig authorities' dislike of operatic styles in religious music was never more apparent!" Klaus Hofmann compares the recitative's "highly expressive melody and harmony" to Bach's Passions. Finally, the extended sequence of fugue and ritornello with chorus returns transposed, on the text "Doch eure Traurigkeit soll in Freude verkehret werden" (Yet your sorrow shall be changed into joy). According to Alfred Dürr, the architecture of the movement is a large scale experiment combining elements of the older style of a text-related motet with the form of a concerto of instrumental groups and voices, as typically used by Bach.
John Eliot Gardiner, who conducted the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage with the Monteverdi Choir in 2000, notes that Bach's "strategy is to superimpose these opposite moods, binding them in a mutually enlightening whole and emphasising that it is the same God who both dispenses and then ameliorates these conditions.
Movement 2 is a secco recitative for tenor, concluding in an arioso section with a "deeply moving" melisma on the word "Schmerzen" (sorrows). Movement 3, "Kein Arzt ist außer dir zu finden" (Besides You is no doctor to be found) is an aria for alto with the obbligato flauto piccolo, which according to Mincham, employs a "figuration ever striving upwards, moderates the underlying sense of potential tragedy". The alto recitative "marks a change of scene", it begins in B minor, like the opening chorus, but modulates to D-major and ends with a wide-ranging coloratura marking the word "Freude" (joy). Movement 5, "Erholet euch, betrübte Sinnen" (Recover now, O troubled feelings), picks up the joyful coloraturas, supported by the trumpet and fanfares in triads in the orchestra, Mincham notes that the trumpet "bursts upon us with an energy, acclamation and jubilation unheard, so far, in this work". The cantata is closed with a four-part setting of the chorale, sung to the melody of "Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit" which Bach used frequently, including in his St Matthew Passion.
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- Cantatas, BWV 101–110: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Cantata BWV 103 Ihr werdet weinen und heulen: history, scoring, sources for text and music, translations to various languages, discography, discussion, bach-cantatas website
- BWV 103 – "Ihr werdet weinen und heulen": English translation, discussion, Emmanuel Music
- Ihr werdet weinen und heulen: history, scoring, Bach website (German)
- BWV 103 Ihr werdet weinen und heulen: English translation, University of Vermont
- BWV 103 Ihr werdet weinen und heulen: text, scoring, University of Alberta