Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort, BWV 168

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Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort
BWV 168
Church cantata by J.S. Bach
Teachings of Jesus 31 of 40. parable of the unjust steward. Jan Luyken etching. Bowyer Bible.gif
Occasion Ninth Sunday after Trinity
Performed 29 July 1725 (1725-07-29) – Leipzig
Movements 6
Cantata text Salomon Franck
Chorale by Bartholomäus Ringwaldt
Vocal SATB solo and choir
Instrumental

Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort (Settle account! Word of thunder), BWV 168, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for the ninth Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 29 July 1725.

History and words[edit]

Bach composed the cantata in Leipzig for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity as the first cantata of his third cantata cycle.[1] The libretto is by Salomon Franck. Bach had often set Franck's texts while working in Weimar. Franck published the text of Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort in Weimar in 1715 in Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer, and Bach would probably have used at the time had it not been for a period of mourning for Prince Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar.[1]

The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the Epistle to the Romans, a warning of false gods and consolation in temptation (1 Corinthians 10:6–13), and from the Gospel of Luke, the parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1–9). Franck's text is closely related to the Gospel, beginning with a paraphrase of verse 2 in the opening aria. The situation of the unjust servant is generalized; he is seen wanting mountains and hills to fall on his back, as mentioned in Luke 23:30. Franck uses explicit monetary terms to speak about the debt, such as "Kapital und Interessen" (capital and interest). A turning point is reached in movement 4, referring to the death of Jesus which "crossed out the debt". The cantata is concluded by the eighth stanza of Bartholomäus Ringwaldt's hymn "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut" (1588).[2][3] Bach had treated the complete chorale a year before in his chorale cantata Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, BWV 113, for the eleventh Sunday after Trinity.

Bach first performed the cantata on 29 July 1725,[2]

Scoring and structure[edit]

Bach scored the cantata intimately, as he did for many of Franck's works. The singers consist of four vocal soloists (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) plus a four-part choir only in the chorale. The instrumental parts are for two oboes d'amore, two violins, viola and continuo.[1] It is in six movements:

  1. Aria (bass): Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort
  2. Recitative (tenor): Es ist nur fremdes Gut
  3. Aria (tenor): Kapital und Interessen
  4. Recitative (bass): Jedoch, erschrocknes Herz, leb und verzage nicht
  5. Aria (soprano, alto): Herz, zerreiß des Mammons Kette
  6. Chorale: Stärk mich mit deinem Freudengeist

Music[edit]

Christoph Wolff notes:

Bach translates Franck's baroque poetry into an extraordinarily gripping musical form. The virtuoso string writing in the opening aria prepares and then underscores the emphatically articulated "word of thunder, that can shatter even the rocks" ("Donnerwort, das die Felsen selbst zerspaltet"), and which causes the blood to "run cold" ("Blut erkaltet").[1]

The recitative is the first movement with the full orchestra.[1] The oboes first play long chords, but finally illustrate figuratively the text, speaking of toppling mountains and "the flash of His countenance". The closing chorale[4] is a four-part setting.[2]

Recordings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Christoph Wolff. "The transition between the second and the third yearly cycle of Bach’s Leipzig cantatas (1725)" (PDF). bach-cantatas.com. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Dürr, Alfred (1971). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German) 1. Bärenreiter-Verlag. OCLC 523584. 
  3. ^ "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut / Text and Translation of Chorale". bach-cantatas.com. 2006. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works / Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut". bach-cantatas.com. 2006. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 

External links[edit]