Church cantata (Bach)
Church cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach are cantatas which he composed for use in the Lutheran church, mainly intended for the occasions of the liturgical year. The prescribed readings for each occasion are listed along with the cantata(s) for the occasion, including their BWV number, and the date of their first performance, if known.
- 1 Background
- 2 Advent
- 3 Christmas
- 4 After Epiphany
- 5 Lent
- 6 Easter
- 7 Pentecost
- 8 Trinity
- 9 Sundays after Trinity
- 9.1 Trinity I
- 9.2 Trinity II
- 9.3 Trinity III
- 9.4 Trinity IV
- 9.5 Trinity V
- 9.6 Trinity VI
- 9.7 Trinity VII
- 9.8 Trinity VIII
- 9.9 Trinity IX
- 9.10 Trinity X
- 9.11 Trinity XI
- 9.12 Trinity XII
- 9.13 Trinity XIII
- 9.14 Trinity XIV
- 9.15 Trinity XV
- 9.16 Trinity XVI
- 9.17 Trinity XVII
- 9.18 Trinity XVIII
- 9.19 Trinity XIX
- 9.20 Trinity XX
- 9.21 Trinity XXI
- 9.22 Trinity XXII
- 9.23 Trinity XXIII
- 9.24 Trinity XXIV
- 9.25 Trinity XXV
- 9.26 Trinity XXVI
- 9.27 Trinity XXVII
- 10 Fixed festivals within the Liturgical Year
- 11 Occasions outside of the liturgical year
- 12 Different occasions
- 13 Sources
- 14 References
- 15 External link
Throughout his life as a musician, Bach composed cantatas for both secular and sacred use. In Weimar, he was from 1714 to 1717 commissioned to compose one church cantata a month. In the course of almost four years there he thus covered most occasions of the liturgical year.
As cantor in Leipzig Bach was responsible for the Thomasschule and for the church music at the main churches, where a cantata was required for the service on Sundays and additional church holidays of the liturgical year. When Bach took up his office in 1723, he started to compose new cantatas for most occasions, beginning with Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75, first performed in the Nikolaikirche on 30 May 1723, the first Sunday after Trinity. He collected them in annual cycles, five are mentioned in obituaries, three are extant. Bach started a second annual cycle on the first Sunday after Trinity of 1724, composing only chorale cantatas, each based on a single church hymn, first O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 20, then works such as Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 61, and Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1.
Leipzig observed tempus clausum, quiet time, in Advent and Lent, when no cantatas were performed. All cantatas for these occasions date from Bach's earlier time. He reworked some cantatas from this period for different occasions. The high holidays Christmas, Easter and Pentecost were each celebrated on three days. Additionally, feasts were celebrated on fixed dates, the feasts of Mary, Purification (Mariae Reinigung, 2 February), Annunciation (Mariae Verkündigung, 25 March) and Visitation (Mariae Heimsuchung, 2 July), and the Saint's days of St. John the Baptist (Johannis, 24 June), St. Michael (Michaelis, 29 September), St. Stephen (Stephanus, 26 December, the second day of Christmas) and St. John the Evangelist (Johannes, 27 December, the third day of Christmas). Further feasts on fixed days were New Year's Day (Neujahr, 1 January), Epiphany (Epiphanias, 6 January) and Reformation Day (Reformationsfest, 31 October). Sacred cantatas were also performed for the inauguration of a new city council (Ratswechsel, in Leipzig in August), consecration of church and organ, weddings, confession, funerals, and functions of the University of Leipzig.
The Lutheran church of Bach's time prescribed the same readings every year, a section from a Gospel and, recited before, a corresponding section from an Epistle. A connection between the cantata text and the readings was desired. The readings are listed for each occasion, Epistle and Gospel, and linked to the Bible text in the King James version, an English translation contemporary to Bach's time, which read the translation of Martin Luther.
The church year begins with the first Sunday in Advent, but Bach started his annual cycles on the first Sunday after Trinity, as John Eliot Gardiner points out:
It also marked the beginning of the second half of the Lutheran liturgical year: the Trinity season or "Era of the Church" in which core issues of faith and doctrine are explored, in contrast to the first half, known as the "Temporale" which, beginning in Advent and ending on Trinity Sunday, focuses on the life of Christ, His incarnation, death and resurrection.
Roman numerals refer to the position of the given Sunday with respect to a feast day or season. For example, "Advent III" is the third Sunday in Advent and "Trinity V" is the fifth Sunday after Trinity. The number of Sundays after Epiphany and Trinity varies with the position of Easter in the calendar. There can be between 22 and 27 Sundays after Trinity. The maximum number of Sundays after Epiphany did not occur while Bach wrote cantatas.
Advent is celebrated on the four Sundays before Christmas. In Leipzig, only on the first Sunday a cantata was performed, because it was a Fastenzeit (season of abstinence).
- Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 61, 2 December 1714
- Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62, 3 December 1724
- Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36, 2 December 1731 (final version)
- Wachet! betet! betet! wachet! BWV 70a, 6 December 1716 (expanded in 1723 to BWV 170 for Trinity XXVI)
- Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht, BWV 186a, 13 December 1716 (expanded in 1723 to BWV 186 for Trinity VII)
- Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn! BWV 132, 22 December 1715
- Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147a, 20 December 1716 (expanded in 1723 to BWV 147 for Visitation)
The Christmas season was celebrated from Christmas Day through Epiphany. In Leipzig, three days were observed, with a Christmas cantata performed every day. For the Christmas season of 1734 Bach composed the Christmas Oratorio in six parts, to be performed as the cantata in the service on the six feast days, three days of Christmas, New Year, the Sunday after New Year and Epiphany.
- Titus 2:11–14, God's mercy appeared (or
- Isaiah 9:2–7, Unto us a child is born)
- Luke 2:1–14, Nativity, Annunciation to the shepherds and the angels' song
- Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63, 1713? 1716?
- Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, BWV 91, 25 December 1724
- Unser Mund sei voll Lachens, BWV 110, 25 December 1725
- Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe, BWV 197a, 25 December ?1728 (partly lost)
- Jauchzet, frohlocket 25 December 1734 (Christmas Oratorio Part I)
- Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191, 25 December 1745
Second Day of Christmas
- For Christmas:
- Titus 3:4–7, God's mercy appeared in Christ
- Luke 2:15–20, the shepherds at the manger
- for St. Stephen's Day:
- Acts 6:8–15 and 7:55–60, Martyrdom of Stephen
- Matthew 23:35–39, Jerusalem killing her prophets
- Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes, BWV 40, 26 December 1723
- Christum wir sollen loben schon, BWV 121, 26 December 1724
- Selig ist der Mann, BWV 57, 26 December 1725
- Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend 26 December 1734 (Christmas Oratorio Part II)
Third Day of Christmas
- Hebrews 1:1–14, Christ is higher than the angels
- John 1:1–14, prologue, also called Hymn to the Word
- Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget, BWV 64, 27 December 1723
- Ich freue mich in dir, BWV 133, 27 December 1724
- Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt, BWV 151, 27 December 1725
- Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen 27 December 1734 (Christmas Oratorio Part III)
Depending on the position of Christmas, there may be a Sunday before or after the New Year.
- Galatians 4:1–7, Through Christ we are free from the law
- Luke 2:33–40, Simeon and Anna with Mary in the temple
- Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn, BWV 152, 30 December 1714
- Das neugeborne Kindelein, BWV 122, 31 December 1724
- Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende, BWV 28, 30 December 1725
New Year's Day
On 1 January, the New Year was celebrated as well as the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus.
- Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190, 1 January 1724 (instrumental parts lost)
- Jesu, nun sei gepreiset, BWV 41, 1 January 1725
- Herr Gott, dich loben wir, BWV 16, 1 January 1726
- Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm, BWV 171, 1 January ?1729
- Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben 1 January 1735 (Christmas Oratorio Part IV)
New Year I
- Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind, BWV 153, 2 January 1724
- Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 58, 5 January 1727
- Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen 2 January 1735 (Christmas Oratorio Part V)
- Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen, BWV 65, 6 January 1724
- Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen, BWV 123, 6 January 1725
- Herr, wenn die stolzen Feinde schnauben 6 January 1735 (Christmas Oratorio Part VI)
Depending on the date of Easter, a variable number (none up to four) of Sundays occurred between Epiphany and Septuagesima, the third Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
- Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren, BWV 154, 9 January 1724
- Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht, BWV 124, 7 January 1725
- Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen, BWV 32, 13 January 1726
- Mein Gott, wie lang, ach lange? BWV 155, 19 January 1716
- Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 3, 14 January 1725
- Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen, BWV 13, 20 January 1726
- Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir, BWV 73, 23 January 1724
- Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit, BWV 111, 21 January 1725
- Alles nur nach Gottes Willen, BWV 72, 27 January 1726
- Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe, BWV 156, ?23 January 1729
- Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen? BWV 81, 30 January 1724
- Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, BWV 14, 30 January 1735
Septuagesima is the third Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
- Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin, BWV 144, 6 February 1724
- Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn, BWV 92, 28 January 1725
- Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke, BWV 84, 9 February 1727
Sexagesima is the second Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
- Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt, BWV 18, 1713?
- Leichtgesinnte Flattergeister, BWV 181, 13 February 1724
- Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, BWV 126, 4 February 1725
Estomihi or Quinquagesima is the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
- Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, BWV 22, 7 February 1723
- Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn, BWV 23, 7 February 1723
- Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott, BWV 127, 11 February 1725
- Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem, BWV 159, ?27 February 1729
During Lent, the Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Easter, "quiet time" was observed in Leipzig. Only the feast of Annunciation was celebrated with a cantata, even if it fell in that time. On Good Friday, a Passion was performed in Leipzig in a Vespers service.
- Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54, 4 March 1714 (text for Oculi, music likely for Trinity VII)
- Alles, was von Gott geboren, BWV 80a, 24 March 1715 or 15 March 1716 (music lost)
- Philippians 2:5–11, everyone be in the spirit of Christ (or
- 1 Corinthians 11:23–32), of the Last Supper
- Matthew 21:1–9, Entry into Jerusalem
- Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, BWV 182, 25 March 1714, also Annunciation
- Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1, 25 March 1725, also Annunciation
The Easter season comprises the time up to Pentecost, starting with three days of Easter.
- Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4, probably 1707
- Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31, 21 April 1715
- Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, BWV 66, 10 April 1724
- Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden, BWV 6, 2 April 1725
- Acts 13:26–33, sermon of St. Paul in Antiochia
- Luke 24:36–47, the appearance of Jesus to the Apostles in Jerusalem
- Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiß, BWV 134, 11 April 1724
- Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen, BWV 145, 1729?
- Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158, 1730? mostly lost, also Purification
The Sundays between Easter and Pentecost have Latin names, derived from the beginning of the prescribed readings. The first Sunday after Easter is called Quasimodogeniti. Some sources name the Sunday after Easter the second Sunday in Easter, counting Easter Sunday as the first.
- 1 John 5:4–10, our faith is the victory
- John 20:19–31, the appearance of Jesus to the Disciples, first without then with Thomas, in Jerusalem
- Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ, BWV 67, 16 April 1724
- Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats, BWV 42, 8 April 1725
The second Sunday after Easter is called Misericordias Domini.
- Du Hirte Israel, höre, BWV 104, 23 April 1724
- Ich bin ein guter Hirt, BWV 85, 15 April 1725
- Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, BWV 112, 8 April 1731
The third Sunday after Easter is called Jubilate.
- 1 Peter 2:11–20, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man"
- John 16:16–23, Farewell discourse, announcement of the Second Coming
- Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12, 22 April 1714
- Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, BWV 103, 22 April 1725
- Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal, BWV 146, ?12 May 1726 or ?18 April 1728
The fourth Sunday after Easter is called Cantate.
- James 1:17–21, "Every good gift comes from the Father of lights"
- John 16:5–15, Farewell discourse, announcement of Comforter
The fifth Sunday after Easter is called Rogate.
- James 1:22–27, doers of the word, not only listeners
- John 16:23–30, Farewell discourse, prayers will be fulfilled
- Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch, BWV 86, 14 May 1724
- Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten in meinem Namen, BWV 87, 6 May 1725
- Wer da gläubet und getauft wird, BWV 37, 18 May 1724
- Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein, BWV 128, 10 May 1725
- Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen, BWV 43, 30 May 1726
- Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11, 19 May 1735 (Ascension Oratorio)
The Sunday after Ascension is called Exaudi.
- 1 Peter 4:8–11, "serve each other"
- John 15:26–16:4, Farewell discourse, the promise of the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, and announcement of persecution
- Sie werden euch in den Bann tun, BWV 44, 21 May 1724
- Sie werden euch in den Bann tun, BWV 183, 13 May 1725
Pentecost Sunday (1. Pfingsttag) is also called Whit Sunday.
- Acts 2:1–13, the Holy Spirit
- John 14:23–31, Farewell discourse, announcement of the Spirit who will teach
- Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! BWV 172, 20 May 1714
- Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, BWV 59, 28 May 1724
- Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, BWV 74, 20 May 1725
- O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe, BWV 34, 1 June 1727
Pentecost Monday (2. Pfingsttag) is also called Whit Monday.
- Acts 10:42–48, sermon of Peter for Cornelius
- John 3:16–21, "God loved the world so much ..." from the meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus
- Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut, BWV 173, 29 May 1724
- Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, BWV 68, 21 May 1725
- Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte, BWV 174, 6 June 1729
Pentecost Tuesday (3. Pfingsttag) is also called Whit Tuesday.
- Erwünschtes Freudenlicht, BWV 184, 30 May 1724
- Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen, BWV 175, 22 May 1725
- O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad, BWV 165, 16 June 1715?
- Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest, BWV 194, first 2 November 1723 for the consecration of church and organ in Störmthal
- Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding, BWV 176, 27 May 1725
- Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott, BWV 129, 16 June 1726?, also for Reformation Day
Sundays after Trinity
A variable number of Sundays occurs between Trinity and the first Sunday in Advent, a maximum of 27, if Easter is extremely early.
- Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75, 30 May 1723
- O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 20, 11 June 1724
- Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot, BWV 39, 23 June 1726
- Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76, 6 June 1723
- Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, BWV 2, 18 June 1724
- 1 Peter 5:6–11, Cast thy burden upon the Lord
- Luke 15:1–10, parable of the Lost Sheep and parable of the Lost Coin
- Romans 8:18–23, "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God."
- Luke 6:36–42, Sermon on the Mount: be merciful, judge not
- Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe, BWV 185, 14 July 1715
- Ein ungefärbt Gemüte, BWV 24, 20 June 1723
- Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 177, 6 July 1732
- Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten, BWV 93, 9 July 1724
- Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden, BWV 88, 21 July 1726
- Romans 6:3–11, "By Christ's death we are dead for sin"
- Matthew 5:20–26, Sermon on the Mount: better justice
- Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170, 28 July 1726
- Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV 9, c 1732–1735
- Romans 6:19–23, "the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life"
- Mark 8:1–9, The Feeding of the 4000
- Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54, 15 July 1714 (text written for Oculi)
- Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht, BWV 186, 11 July 1723 (adapted from BWV 186a for Advent III)
- Was willst du dich betrüben, BWV 107, 23 July 1724
- Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187, 4 August 1726
- Romans 8:12–17, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God"
- Matthew 7:15–23, Sermon on the Mount: warning of false prophets
- Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz, BWV 136, 18 June 1723
- Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält, BWV 178, 30 July 1724
- Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist, BWV 45, 11 August 1726
- 1 Corinthians 10:6–13, warning of false gods, consolation in temptation
- Luke 16:1–9, parable of the Unjust Steward
- Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht, BWV 105, 25 July 1723
- Was frag ich nach der Welt, BWV 94, 6 August 1724
- Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort, BWV 168, 29 July 1725
- 1 Corinthians 12:1–11, different gifts, but one spirit
- Luke 19:41–48, Jesus announces the destruction of Jerusalem, Cleansing of the Temple
- Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei, BWV 46, 1 August 1723
- Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott, BWV 101, 13 August 1724
- Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102, 25 August 1726
- 1 Corinthians 15:1–10, on the gospel of Christ and his (Paul's) duty as an apostle
- Luke 18:9–14, parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
- Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199, 12 August 1714
- Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei, BWV 179, 8 August 1723
- Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, BWV 113, 20 August 1724
- Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69a, 15 August 1723
- Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren, BWV 137, 19 August 1725
- Geist und Seele wird verwirret, BWV 35, 8 September 1726
- Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben, BWV 77, 22 August 1723
- Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 33, 3 September 1724
- Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet, BWV 164, 26 August 1725
- Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe, BWV 25, 29 August 1723
- Jesu, der du meine Seele, BWV 78, 10 September 1724
- Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich, BWV 17, 22 September 1726
- Galatians 5:25–6:10, admonition to "walk in the Spirit"
- Matthew 6:23–34, Sermon on the Mount: don't worry about material needs, but seek God's kingdom first
- Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz, BWV 138, 5 September 1723
- Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, BWV 99, 17 September 1724
- Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51, 17 September 1730
- Ephesians 3:13–21, Paul praying for the strengthening of faith in the congregation of Ephesus
- Luke 7:11–17, Raising of the Young man from Nain
- Komm, du süße Todesstunde, BWV 161, 6 October 1715
- Christus, der ist mein Leben, BWV 95, 12 September 1723
- Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben? BWV 8, 24 September 1724
- Wer weiß, wie nahe mir mein Ende? BWV 27, 6 October 1726
- Ephesians 4:1–6, admonition to keep the unity of the Spirit
- Luke 14:1–11, Healing a man with dropsy on the Sabbath
- Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens, BWV 148, ?19 September 1723
- Ach, lieben Christen, seid getrost, BWV 114, 1 October 1724
- Wer sich selbst erhöhet, der soll erniedriget werden, BWV 47, 13 October 1726
- 1 Corinthians 1:4–8, Paul's thanks for grace of God in Ephesus
- Matthew 22:34–46, the Great Commandment
- Herr Christ, der einge Gottessohn, BWV 96, 8 October 1724
- Gott soll allein mein Herze haben, BWV 169, 20 October 1726
- Ephesians 4:22–28, "put on the new man, which after God is created"
- Matthew 9:1–8, Healing the paralytic at Capernaum
- Ich elender Mensch, wer wird mich erlösen, BWV 48, 3 October 1723
- Wo soll ich fliehen hin, BWV 5, 15 October 1724
- Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen, BWV 56, 27 October 1726
- Ephesians 5:15–21, "walk circumspectly, ... filled with the Spirit"
- Matthew 22:1–14, parable of the great banquet
- Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162, 3 November 1715 or 25 October 1716
- Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 180, 22 October 1724
- Ich geh und suche mit Verlangen, BWV 49, 3 November 1726
- Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben, BWV 109, 17 October 1723
- Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 38, 29 October 1724
- Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, BWV 98, 10 November 1726
- Ich habe meine Zuversicht, BWV 188, ?17 October 1728
- Philippians 1:3–11, Thanks and prayer for the congregation in Philippi
- Matthew 18:23–35, parable of the unforgiving servant
- Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim, BWV 89, 24 October 1723
- Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit, BWV 115, 5 November 1724
- Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht, BWV 55, 17 November 1726
- Philippians 3:17–21, "our conversation is in heaven"
- Matthew 22:15–22, the question about paying taxes, answered by Render unto Caesar...
- Nur jedem das Seine, BWV 163, 24 November 1715
- Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott, BWV 139, 12 November 1724
- Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht, BWV 52, 24 November 1726
- O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 60, 7 November 1723
- Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig, BWV 26, 19 November 1724
- Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende, BWV 90, 14 November 1723
- Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 116, 26 November 1724
- 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11, be prepared for the day of the Lord
- Matthew 25:1–13, parable of the Ten Virgins
- Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, 25 November 1731
Fixed festivals within the Liturgical Year
The Purification of Mary (Mariae Reinigung) and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple are celebrated on 2 February.
- Malachi 3:1–4, the Lord will come to his temple
- Luke 2:22–32, the purification of Mary and the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, including Simeon's canticle Nunc dimittis
- Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde, BWV 83, 2 February 1724
- Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin, BWV 125, 2 February 1725
- Ich habe genug, BWV 82, 2 February 1727
- Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn, BWV 157, 6 February 1727 (first funeral)
- Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158, 1730? mostly lost, also Easter Tuesday
The Annunciation (Mariae Verkündigung) is celebrated on 25 March.
- Isaiah 7:10–16, prophecy of the birth of the Messiah
- Luke 1:26–38, the angel Gabriel announces the birth of Jesus
- Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, BWV 182, 25 March 1724 – first on Palm Sunday 25 March 1714
- Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1, 25 March 1725, also Palm Sunday
St. John's Day
The day of John the Baptist (Johannistag) is celebrated on 24 June.
- Isaiah 40:1–5, the voice of a preacher in the desert
- Luke 1:57–80, the birth of John the Baptist and the Benedictus of Zechariah
- Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe, BWV 167, 24 June 1723
- Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BWV 7, 24 June 1724
- Freue dich, erlöste Schar, BWV 30, 24 June 1738 or later
- Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147, 2 July 1723 (adapted from BWV 147a for Advent IV)
- Meine Seel erhebt den Herren, BWV 10, 2 July 1724
St. Michael's Day
St. Michael's Day (Michaelis) is celebrated on 29 September.
- Revelation 12:7–12, fight of Michael with the dragon
- Matthew 18:1–11, heaven belongs to the children, the angels see the face of God
- Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, BWV 130, 29 September 1724
- Es erhub sich ein Streit, BWV 19, 29 September 1726
- Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg, BWV 149, ?29 September 1728 or ?1729
- Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft, BWV 50, year unknown (movement of incomplete or lost cantata)
Reformation Day is celebrated on 31 October.
- Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild, BWV 79, 31 October 1725
- Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80, 1727–31
- Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott, BWV 129, originally 16 June 1726?, Trinity Sunday
Occasions outside of the liturgical year
Consecration of church and organ
- Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest, BWV 194, 2 November 1723 (consecration of Störmthal church and organ, adapted from BWV 194a, also Trinity Sunday)
The inauguration of a town council was celebrated with a service. Normally this was an annual event. In Leipzig the service was held at the Nikolaikirche on the Monday or Friday following Bartholomew (Bartholomäus), 24 August. The cantatas are sometimes called "Ratswahlkantaten", cantatas for the election of the town council.
- Gott ist mein König, BWV 71, 4 February 1708 (inauguration of Mühlhausen town council)
- Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn, BWV 119, 30 August 1723 (inauguration of Leipzig town council)
- Ihr Tore zu Zion, BWV 193, 25 August 1727?
- Gott, gib dein Gerichte dem Könige, BWV Anh 3, 1730 (lost)
- Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29, 27 August 1731
- Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille, BWV 120, 29 August 1742
- Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69, 1743–48 (adapted from BWV 69a)
- Der Herr denket an uns, BWV 196, ?1707–08
- O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe, BWV 34a, 1726 (partly lost, probably for a wedding)
- Dem Gerechten muß das Licht, BWV 195, 1727–31?
- Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge, BWV 120a, ?1729 (adapted from BWV 120, partly lost)
- Gott ist unsre Zuversicht, BWV 197, 1736/37 (partly based on 197a)
- Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV 106 (Actus tragicus), ?1707–08 (funeral)
- Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn, BWV 157, 6 February 1727 (funeral, also Purification)
- Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl, BWV 198, 17 October 1727 (funeral)
- Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt, BWV 244a, 24 March 1729 (music lost, related to the St Matthew Passion, funeral of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen)
- O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118, c. 1736/1737 (funeral procession)
- Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150, ?before 1707 (Bußgottesdienst [Confession Service])
- Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131, 1707 (Bußgottesdienst [Confession service])
- Sei Lob und Ehr dem höchsten Gut, BWV 117, c. 1728–1731 (use unknown)
- Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille, BWV 120b, 26 June 1730 (second day of 200th anniversary of Augsburg Confession)
- Nun danket alle Gott, BWV 192, Autumn 1730 (partly lost, Reformation Day or wedding)
- Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, BWV 100, c. 1732–1735 (use unknown)
- In allen meinen Taten, BWV 97, 25 July 1734 (5th Sunday after Trinity)
- Bekennen will ich seinen Namen, BWV 200, c. 1742 (fragment of lost cantata, possibly for Epiphany or Purification, arrangement of the Aria "Dein Kreuz, o Bräutgam meiner Seele" from the Passion Oratorio "Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld" of Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel by Johann Sebastian Bach (Source: BJ 2008, p. 123, Peter Wollny))
- Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, BWV 1083, c. 1745–1747 (Bußgottesdienst [Confession service])
- Alfred Dürr: Johann Sebastian Bach: Die Kantaten. Bärenreiter, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1476-3 (in German)
- Alfred Dürr: The Cantatas of J.S. Bach, Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-19-929776-2
- Christoph Wolff/Ton Koopman: Die Welt der Bach-Kantaten Verlag J.B. Metzler, Stuttgart, Weimar 2006 ISBN 978-3-476-02127-4 (in German)
- Werner Neumann: Handbuch der Kantaten J.S.Bachs, 1947, 5th ed. 1984, ISBN 3-7651-0054-4
- Hans-Joachim Schulze: Die Bach-Kantaten: Einführungen zu sämtlichen Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs (in German)
- Bach and the cantata · Cantatas for Sundays and Feast Days of the Church year Carus-Verlag
- The Liturgical Calendar at Leipzig Boulder Bach Festival