Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen, BWV 32
|Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen|
|Dialogue church cantata by J. S. Bach|
Thomaskirche, Leipzig 1885
|Occasion||First Sunday after Epiphany|
|Performed||13 January 1726Leipzig –|
|Cantata text||Georg Christian Lehms|
|Chorale||by Paul Gerhardt|
Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen (Dearest Jesus, my desire), BWV 32, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the dialogue cantata in Leipzig for the first Sunday after Epiphany and first performed it on 13 January 1726.
History and words
Bach composed the cantata in his third year in Leipzig for the First Sunday after Epiphany. The prescribed readings for the Sunday were taken from the Epistle to the Romans, speaking of the duties of a Christian (Romans 12:1–6), and from the Gospel of Luke, the finding in the Temple (Luke 2:41–52). Bach composed a text written by Georg Christian Lehms, court poet in Darmstadt, who published it in 1711. Lehms treated the Gospel to an allegorical dialogue of Jesus and the Soul, staying close to the Gospel. Bach had set a similar work by Lehms a few weeks earlier, Selig ist der Mann, BWV 57 for the second day of Christmas. In the Concerto in Dialogo (Concerto in dialogue), Bach assigned the Soul to the soprano voice and gave the words of Jesus to the bass as the vox Christi, the voice of Christ, disregarding that the Jesus in the Gospel is still a boy. As Klaus Hofmann notes, the poet "takes up the general motifs of the story: the loss, the search for Jesus and his rediscovery, and places them in the context of the believer’s relationship with Jesus". The dialogue also refers to medieval mysticism and to imagery of the Song of Songs. Bach added as a closing chorale the twelfth and final stanza of Paul Gerhardt's hymn "Weg, mein Herz, mit den Gedanken" (1647). It is sung to the melody of "Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele", which was codified by Louis Bourgeois when setting the Geneva Psalm 42 in his collection of Pseaumes octante trios de David (Geneva, 1551). Bourgeois seems to have been influenced by the secular song Ne l'oseray je dire contained in the Manuscrit de Bayeux published around 1510.
Scoring and structure
- Aria (soprano): Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen
- Recitative (bass): Was ist's, daß du mich gesuchet
- Aria (bass): Hier, in meines Vaters Stätte
- Recitative (soprano, bass): Ach! heiliger und großer Gott
- Duet aria (soprano, bass): Nun verschwinden alle Plagen
- Chorale: Mein Gott, öffne mir die Pforten
The dialogue is opened by the soprano as the Soul in an aria in E minor, accompanied by an obbligato oboe, described by John Eliot Gardiner as "a solo oboe as her accomplice in spinning the most ravishing cantilena in the manner of one of Bach’s concerto slow movements". Julian Mincham distinguishes in the oboe line two different "ideas", in the first five measures a "sense of striving, effort and stretching upwards", then "garlands" of content in achieving a union, as the last lines of the text say "Ach! mein Hort, erfreue mich, laß dich höchst vergnügt umfangen" (Ah! My treasure, bring me joy, let me embrace You with greatest delight.). The bass answers in a short recitative and a da capo aria in B minor, embellished by a solo violin, which "encircles the voice with triplets and trills". The words "betrübter Geist (troubled spirit) appear whenever mentioned in "minor-mode colourings in the melody and harmony". In the following dialogue recitative, the soul answers with a paraphrase of the opening line of Psalm 84, "Wie lieblich ist doch deine Wohnung" (How amiable is Thy dwelling), which both Heinrich Schütz and Johannes Brahms set to music, Brahms as the central movement of Ein deutsches Requiem. Bach sets the text as an "evocative arioso with a pulsating string accompaniment". The two voices never sing at the same time. A duet finally unites both voices and also their "associated obbligato instruments (oboe and violin), so far heard only separately". Gardiner writes: "It is one of those duets … in which he seems to throw caution to the winds, rivalling the lieto fine conclusions to the operas of his day, but with far more skill, substance and even panache". A four-part setting of Paul Gerhardt's hymn "returns the cantata – also in terms of style – to the sphere of reverence appropriate for a church service".
- J.S. Bach: Cantatas No. 140, No. 32, Hermann Scherchen, Wiener Akademie-Kammerchor, orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, Magda László, Alfred Poell, Westminster/Archipel 1952
- Les Grandes Cantates de J.S. Bach Vol. 13, Fritz Werner, Heinrich-Schütz-Chor Heilbronn, Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra, Agnes Giebel, Barry McDaniel, Erato 1963
- J.S. Bach: Cantatas BWV 32 & BWV 39, Wolfgang Gönnenwein, Süddeutscher Madrigalchor, Consortium Musicum, Edith Mathis, Franz Crass, EMI 1965
- Bach: 13 Sacred Cantatas & 13 Sinfonias, Helmut Winschermann, Deutsche Bachsolisten and choir, Ileana Cotrubas, Hermann Prey, Philips 1970
- J.S. Bach: Das Kantatenwerk · Complete Cantatas · Les Cantates, Folge / Vol. 9 – BWV 31-34, Gustav Leonhardt, Knabenchor Hannover, Leonhardt-Consort, soloist of the Knabenchor Hannover, Max van Egmond, Telefunken 1974
- Die Bach Kantate Vol. 22, Helmuth Rilling, Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Arleen Augér, Walter Heldwein, Hänssler 1981
- Bach Cantatas Vol. 18: Weimar/Leipzig/Hamburg / For Christmas Day & for Epiphany / For the 1st Sunday after Epiphany, John Eliot Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Claron McFadden, Peter Harvey, Soli Deo Gloria 2000
- Bach Edition Vol. 18 – Cantatas Vol. 9, Pieter Jan Leusink, Holland Boys Choir, Netherlands Bach Collegium, Ruth Holton, Bas Ramselaar, Brilliant Classics 2000
- J.S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 17, Ton Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Johannette Zomer, Klaus Mertens, Antoine Marchand 2002
- J.S. Bach Kantaten, Bernhard Forck (de), Members of Berliner Philharmoniker, Christine Schäfer, Peter Kooy, IPPNW-Concerts 2004
- J.S. Bach: Cantatas Vol. 42 – BWV 13, 16, 32, 72, Masaaki Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan, Rachel Nicholls, Peter Kooy, BIS 2008
- Dürr, Alfred (1981). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German) 1 (4 ed.). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag. pp. 176–178. ISBN 3-423-04080-7.
- Wolff, Christoph (2002). Bach's Third Yearly Cycle of Cantatas from Leipzig (1725–1727), II (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- Gardiner, John Eliot (2010). "Cantatas for the First Sunday after Epiphany / Hauptkirche St. Jacobi, Hamburg" (PDF). bach-cantatas.com. pp. 13–14. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- Hofmann, Klaus (2008). "Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen, BWV 32 / Dearest Jesus, my desire" (PDF). bach-cantatas.com. p. 4. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- "Weg, mein Herz, mit den Gedanken / Text and Translation of Chorale". bach-cantatas.com. 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works / Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele". bach-cantatas.com. 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- Mincham, Julian (2010). "Chapter 11 BWV 32 Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen". jsbachcantatas.com. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
The first source is the score.
Several databases provide additional information on each cantata:
- Cantata BWV 32 Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen history, scoring, sources for text and music, translations to various languages, discography, discussion, bach-cantatas website
- BWV 32 - "Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen" English translation, discussion, Emmanuel Music
- Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen history, scoring, Bach website (German)
- BWV 32 Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen English translation, University of Vermont
- BWV 32 Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen text, scoring, University of Alberta