Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren, BWV 137
|Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren|
|chorale cantata by J.S. Bach|
Joachim Neander, the author of the hymn text
|Occasion||Twelfth Sunday after Trinity|
|Performed||19 August 1725Leipzig –|
|Chorale||Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren|
|Vocal||SATB choir and solo|
Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren (Praise the Lord, the mighty King of honour), BWV 137, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig for the twelfth Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 19 August 1725. It is based on the hymn by Joachim Neander (1680).
History and words
Bach composed the cantata in Leipzig for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity. In his second year Bach had composed chorale cantatas between the first Sunday after Trinity of 1724 and Palm Sunday, but for Easter had returned to cantatas on more varied texts, possibly because he lost his librettist. Later Bach composed again chorale cantatas to complete his second annual cycle. This cantata is one of the completing works. It is based entirely on the unchanged words on the chorale "Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren" (1680) by Joachim Neander.
The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, the ministry of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:4–11), and from the Gospel of Mark, the healing of a deaf mute man (Mark 7:31–37). Unlike most chorale cantatas of the second cycle, but similar to the early Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4, Bach left the chorale text unchanged, thus without a reference to the readings.
John Eliot Gardiner assumes, looking at the festive instrumentation and the general content of praise and thanksgiving, that the cantata was also performed that year to celebrate Ratswahl, the inauguration of the town council. Bach used in 1729 the final chorale, transposed to D major, to conclude the wedding cantata Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge, BWV 120a.
Scoring and structure
- Chorus: Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren
- Aria (alto): Lobe den Herren, der alles so herrlich regieret
- Aria (soprano, bass): Lobe den Herren, der künstlich und fein dich bereitet
- Aria (tenor): Lobe den Herren, der deinen Stand sichtbar gesegnet
- Choral: Lobe den Herren, was in mir ist, lobe den Namen
As Alfred Dürr and Gardiner observed, the text as well as the chorale melody is present in all movements. The cantata is constructed in symmetry: the soprano carries the melody in the outer movements, in movement 2 it is sung by the alto, and in movement 4 played by the trumpet. In the central movement, the beginning of both the vocal and the instrumental theme are derived from it in the most intimate setting of the work. The melody in bar form has a "Stollen" of unusual five measures and reaches a climax at the beginning of the "Abgesang", which Bach also stresses in a variety of means in the movements.
In the opening chorus the trumpets, oboes and strings play a concerto; the soprano sings the cantus firmus while the lower voices prepare the entries by imitation on the instrumental motifs. For the words "Kommet zu Hauf, Psalter und Harfen, wacht auf" ("Come in multitudes, psaltery and harps, awake!") the setting is homophonic and accented.
In movement 2, a violin accompanies the embellished melody of the chorale. Bach included this movement in his Schübler Chorales, but on a text for Advent, "Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter auf Erden".
In great contrast to C major and G major, the central duet is in E minor. Two obbligato oboes take part in the setting. In an unusual way, the first vocal section is repeated three times; only the words "In wieviel Not" ("in how much suffering") are set differently in "grinding chromatic descent".
Movement 4 is in A minor, but the cantus firmus of the trumpet is nonetheless in C major, in "a battle for harmonic supremacy". In the final movement of his Christmas Oratorio Bach would later embed the chorale in doric mode in a concerto in D major. The independent vocal line "quotes" parts of the chorale melody several times. The words "Denke daran" ("consider this") are accented to a different meter.
Bach set the closing chorale for four vocal parts and three independent trumpet parts, for an affirmative conclusion. Gardiner notes: "He knew exactly how best to use the resources of the ceremonial trumpet-led orchestra and choir of his day to convey unbridled joy and majesty."
- "Bach Kantaten BWV 137-21", Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Auger-Wenkel-Schreier-Lorenz-Adam, Thomanerchor Leipzig, Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum, 1984, BERLIN Classics, 1994.
- Bach Made in Germany Vol. 1 - Cantatas VII, Günther Ramin, Thomanerchor, Gewandhausorchester, soloists of Thomanerchor, Helmut Krebs, Franz Kelch, Eterna 1953
- J.S. Bach: Cantatas BWV 137 & BWV 190, Hans Thamm, Windsbacher Knabenchor, Consortium Musicum, Teresa Żylis-Gara, Ingeborg Ruß, Peter Schreier, Franz Crass, EMI 1966
- Les Grandes Cantates de J.S. Bach Vol. 27, Fritz Werner, Heinrich-Schütz-Chor Heilbronn, Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra, Ingeborg Reichelt, Barbara Scherler, Friedrich Melzer, Bruce Abel, Erato 1973
- Bach Cantatas Vol. 4 - Sundays after Trinity I, Karl Richter, Münchener Bach-Chor, Münchener Bach-Orchester, Edith Mathis, Julia Hamari, Peter Schreier, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Archiv Produktion 1977
- Die Bach Kantate Vol. 10, Helmuth Rilling, Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Arleen Augér, Gabriele Schreckenbach, Adalbert Kraus, Walter Heldwein, Hänssler 1982
- Bach Made in Germany Vol. 4 - Cantatas IV, Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Thomanerchor, Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum, Arleen Augér, Ortrun Wenkel, Peter Schreier, Theo Adam, Eterna 1982
- J.S. Bach: Das Kantatenwerk - Sacred Cantatas Vol. 2, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Tölzer Knabenchor & Chorus Viennensis, Concentus Musicus Wien, boy soprano of the Tölzer Knabenchor, Paul Esswood, Kurt Equiluz, Albert Hartinger, Teldec 1983
- Bach Edition Vol. 19 - Cantatas Vol. 10, conductor Pieter Jan Leusink, Holland Boys Choir, Netherlands Bach Collegium, Marjon Strijk, Sytse Buwalda, Knut Schoch, Bas Ramselaar, Brilliant Classics 2000
- Bach Cantatas Vol. 6: Köthen/Frankfurt, John Eliot Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Katharine Fuge, Robin Tyson, Christoph Genz, Peter Harvey, Soli Deo Gloria 2000
- J.S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 18, Ton Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Johannette Zomer, Christoph Prégardien, Klaus Mertens, Antoine Marchand 2002
- J.S. Bach: Cantatas Vol. 40, Masaaki Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan, Yukari Nonoshita, Robin Blaze, Makoto Sakurada, Peter Kooy, BIS 2007
- Dürr, Alfred (1981). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German) 1 (4 ed.). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag. pp. 417–419. ISBN 3-423-04080-7.
- Wolff, Christoph. The transition between the second and the third yearly cycle of Bach's Leipzig cantatas (1725) (PDF). pregardien.com. p. 2. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- Gardiner, John Eliot (2007). "Cantatas for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity / Jakobskirche, Köthen" (PDF). bach-cantatas.com. p. 4. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
- Mincham, Julian (2010). "Chapter 3 BWV 137 Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren". jsbachcantatas.com. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
The first source is the score.
- Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren, BWV 137: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
Several data bases provide additional information on each cantata:
- Cantata BWV 137 Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren history, scoring, sources for text and music, translations to various languages, discography, discussion, bach-cantatas website
- BWV 137 - "Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren" text, English translation, discussion, Emmanuel Music
- Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren history, scoring, Bach website (German)
- BWV 137 Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren English translation, University of Vermont
- BWV 137 Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren text, scoring, University of Alberta