Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51

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Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen (Exult in God in all lands), BWV 51, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it for the 15th Sunday after Trinity but also for general use, and first performed it on 17 September 1730 in Leipzig. The cantata has five movements and is scored for a soprano soloist, trumpet, two violins, viola, and basso continuo. It is Bach's only church cantata scored for a solo soprano and trumpet.

History and words[edit]

Gottfried Reiche, for whom the trumpet part of Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen was probably written

Bach wrote the cantata in Leipzig for the 15th Sunday after Trinity. The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul's admonition to "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25–6:10), and from the Gospel of Matthew, from the Sermon on the Mount the demand not to worry about material needs, but to seek God's kingdom first (Matthew 6:23–34).[1]

In 1726, the Sunday had been Michaelis, the feast of St. Michael, therefore a cantata for the occasion was missing in Bach's third annual cycle. Bach's manuscript indicates that it was written for the 15th Sunday after Trinity "et in ogni tempo" ("and at any time"). The latter phrase indicates the possible general use of the work, as the cantata text has no real direct relevance to the scriptural readings. The author is unknown. He incorporates in a recitative ideas from Psalms 138:2, Psalms 26:8 and Lamentations 3:22–23. The closing chorale is the fifth stanza of "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren", added to Johann Gramann's hymn in Königsberg in 1549.[1] Bach used the same verse in a different setting to close his cantata Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29.[2]

The cantata is one of only four sacred cantatas that Bach wrote for a solo soprano (if one excludes the arrangement made by Bach of the cantata for solo bass and oboe BWV 82, for flute and soprano BWV 82a) and no other vocal soloists (the others being Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht, BWV 52, Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke, BWV 84, and Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199). There are, however, several secular cantatas for solo soprano (BWV 202, BWV 204, BWV 209 and O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit, BWV 210).

Both the soprano part, which covers two octaves and calls for a high C, and the solo trumpet part, which at times trades melodic lines with the soprano on an equal basis, are extremely virtuosic. Alfred Dürr assumes that Bach had an unusually gifted singer, adding that a female voice was unlikely in conservative Leipzig.[clarification needed] The trumpet part was probably written for Gottfried Reiche, Bach's principal trumpeter at the time. The scoring is unique in Bach's cantatas, but was frequently used by Italian composers such as Alessandro Scarlatti. Bach's son Friedemann Bach arranged the work by adding a second trumpet and timpani.[1]

According to Christoph Wolff, Bach may have written the cantata shortly before 1730 for an unknown performance, before he used it for the 15th Sunday after Trinity on 17 September 1730. The performance material survived but does not reveal further detail, other than indicating one later performance.[3] Hofmann sees a connection to the court of Weißenfels where a scoring of solo soprano and trumpet was popular. Bach had written two birthday cantatas for that court, the Hunting Cantata, BWV 208, in 1713 and the Shepherd Cantata, BWV 249a, in 1713.[4]

Scoring and structure[edit]

The cantata in five movements is scored for solo soprano, trumpet, two violins, viola and basso continuo. It is the only church cantata by Bach scored for solo soprano and trumpet.[1]

  1. Aria: Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen
  2. Recitative: Wir beten zu dem Tempel an
  3. Aria: Höchster, mache deine Güte
  4. Chorale: Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren
  5. [Finale]: Alleluja

Music[edit]

The music is concertante and virtuoso for both the trumpet and the soloist. The first aria and the concluding Alleluja are in the style of an Italian concerto.[4]

The first aria is in da capo form, with extended coloraturas. The only recitative is first accompanied by the strings, a second part is secco but arioso The second aria is also accompanied only by the continuo "quasi ostinato"[4] which supports expressive coloraturas of the voice. The lines in the continuo, in constant movement in 12/8 time seem to constantly rise, towards the addressed "Höchster" (Highest).[5] The chorale is a chorale fantasia, with the soprano singing the unadorned melody to a three part accompaniment of two violins and continuo. The chorale leads without a break to a concluding fugue "Alleluja" with the trumpet, bringing the cantata to a particularly festive close.

Selected recordings[edit]

The piece was recorded by sopranos such as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (from 1948), Maria Stader (1959), Elly Ameling (1970), Edith Mathis (1972), Edita Gruberova (1979), Lucia Popp (1980), Helen Donath (1983), Elizabeth Parcells (1983), Monika Frimmer (1984), Barbara Hendricks (1989), Christine Schäfer (1999), Siri Thornhill (2007).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Dürr, Alfred (1971). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German) 1. Bärenreiter-Verlag. OCLC 523584. 
  2. ^ "Nun lob, mein' Seel', den Herren / Text and Translation of Chorale". bach-cantatas.com. 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Wolff, Christoph (2001). "The cantatas of the period 1726–1731 and of the Picander cycle (1728–29)" (PDF). bach-cantatas.com. pp. 12–14. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Hofmann, Klaus (2005). "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!" (PDF). bach-cantatas.com. p. 6. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Mincham, Julian (2010). "Chapter 53 BWV 51 Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen". jsbachcantatas.com. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 

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