Church cantata (Bach)
Johann Sebastian Bach
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.
- 1 History
- 2 Occasions
- 3 Chronology and cycles
- 4 Advent
- 5 Christmas
- 6 After Epiphany
- 7 Pre-Lent
- 8 Lent
- 9 Easter
- 10 Pentecost to Trinity
- 11 Sundays after Trinity
- 11.1 Trinity I
- 11.2 Trinity II
- 11.3 Trinity III
- 11.4 Trinity IV
- 11.5 Trinity V
- 11.6 Trinity VI
- 11.7 Trinity VII
- 11.8 Trinity VIII
- 11.9 Trinity IX
- 11.10 Trinity X
- 11.11 Trinity XI
- 11.12 Trinity XII
- 11.13 Trinity XIII
- 11.14 Trinity XIV
- 11.15 Trinity XV
- 11.16 Trinity XVI
- 11.17 Trinity XVII
- 11.18 Trinity XVIII
- 11.19 Trinity XIX
- 11.20 Trinity XX
- 11.21 Trinity XXI
- 11.22 Trinity XXII
- 11.23 Trinity XXIII
- 11.24 Trinity XXIV
- 11.25 Trinity XXV
- 11.26 Trinity XXVI
- 11.27 Trinity XXVII
- 12 Fixed festivals within the Liturgical Year
- 13 Occasions outside of the liturgical year
- 14 Different occasions
- 15 References
- 16 Sources
- 17 External links
As Thomaskantor, director of music of the main churches of 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.
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 this, 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.
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.
Bach started a second annual cycle on the first Sunday after Trinity of 1724, planned to contain only chorale cantatas, each based on a single Lutheran hymn. He began with O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 20, on the first Sunday after Trinity, composed chorale cantatas to the end of the liturgical year, began the next liturgical year with Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62 for the first Sunday in Advent, and kept the plan up to Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1, performed on Palm Sunday. For the occasions from Easter to Trinity, he composed no chorale cantatas based exclusively on one hymn, but wrote a few of them in later years, such as Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, for the 28th Sunday after Trinity which had not occurred in 1724.
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.
- Trinity I
- Trinity II
- Trinity III
- Trinity IV
- Trinity V
- Trinity VI
- Trinity VII
- Trinity VIII
- Trinity IX
- Trinity X
- Trinity XI
- Trinity XII
- Trinity XIII
- Trinity XIV
- Trinity XV
- Trinity XVI
- Trinity XVII
- Trinity XVIII
- Trinity XIX
- Trinity XX
- Trinity XXI
- Trinity XXII
- Trinity XXIII
- Trinity XXIV
- Trinity XXV
- Trinity XXVI
- Trinity XXVII
Chronology and cycles
Bach's Nekrolog mentions five cantata cycles: "Fünf Jahrgänge von Kirchenstücken, auf alle Sonn- und Festtage" (Five year-cycles of pieces for the church, for all Sundays and feast days), which would amount to at least 275 cantatas, or over 320 if all cycles would have been ideal cycles. The extant cantatas are around two thirds of that number, with limited additional information on the ones that went missing or survived as fragments.
The listing below contains cycle information as available in scholarship, and may include cantatas that are or were associated with Bach (e.g., listed in the BWV catalogue), but were not actually composed by him.
Bach's earliest cantatas date from more than 15 years before he became Thomaskantor in Leipzig in 1723. His earliest extant cantatas were composed in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen. In 1708 he moved to Weimar where he wrote most of his church cantatas before the Leipzig era. These pre-Leipzig cantatas are not generally grouped as one of the five cycles mentioned in the Nekrolog. The extant cantatas of the pre-Leipzig era are primarily known by their recasting as a cantata in one of the Leipzig cycles.
Early cantatas (Arnstadt and Mühlhausen)
Bach's early cantatas are "Choralkonzerte" (chorale concertos) in the style of the 17th century, different from the recitative and aria cantata format associated with Erdmann Neumeister that Bach started to use for church cantatas in 1714. Christoph Wolff points out the relation of Bach's early cantatas to works by Dieterich Buxtehude, with whom Bach had studied in Lübeck. Christ lag in Todes Banden shows similarities to a composition of Johann Pachelbel based on the same Easter chorale. Although there is no evidence that Bach and Pachelbel met, Bach grew up in Thuringia while Pachelbel was based in the same region, and Bach's elder brother and teacher Johann Christoph Bach studied with Pachelbel in Erfurt. Another of Pachelbel's works appears to be referenced in the early Bach cantata, Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150, and there has been recent speculation that Bach wanted to pay tribute to Pachelbel after his death in 1706.
The texts for the early cantatas were drawn mostly from biblical passages and hymns. Features characteristic of his later cantatas, such as recitatives and arias on contemporary poetry, were not yet present, although Bach may have heard them in oratorios by Buxtehude, or even earlier. Instead, these early cantatas include 17th-century elements such as motets and chorale concertos. They often begin with an instrumental sinfonia or sonata (sonatina). The following table lists the seven extant works composed by Bach until 1708, when he moved on to the Weimar court.
|1707?||Penitence||150||Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich||Psalm 25, anon.|
|1707?||Easter||4||Christ lag in Todes Banden||Luther|
|1707?||Penitence||131||Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir||Psalm 130|
|1 Jan 1708?||New Year's Day||143||Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele||mainly Psalm 146, two stanzas of Jakob Ebert's hymn "Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ"|
|4 Feb 1708||Inauguration of the town council||71||Gott ist mein König||mainly Psalm 74, with added biblical quotations|
|5 Jun 1708?||Wedding?||196||Der Herr denket an uns||Psalm 115:12–15|
|16 Sep 1708?||Funeral||106||Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (Actus tragicus)||compilation of seven biblical quotations, three hymns and free poetry|
Bach uses the limited types of instruments at his disposal for unusual combinations, such as two recorders and two viole da gamba in the funeral cantata Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, also known as Actus Tragicus. He uses instruments of the continuo group as independent parts, such as a cello in Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich and a bassoon in Der Herr denket an uns. Wolff notes:
The overall degree of mastery by which these early pieces compare favourably with the best church compositions from the first decade of the eighteenth century ... proves that the young Bach did not confine himself to playing organ and clavier, but, animated by his Buxtehude visit, devoted considerable time and effort to vocal composition. The very few such early works that exist, each a masterpiece in its own right, must constitute a remnant only ... of a larger body of similar compositions.
The Bach scholar Richard D. P. Jones notes in The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach:
"His remarkable flair for test illustration is evident even in the early cantatas, particularly the two finest of them, the Actus tragicus, BWV 106, and Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4. We already sense a powerful mind behind the notes in the motivic unity of the early cantatas, in the use of reprise to bind their mosaic forms together..."
In Köthen, where Bach worked from 1717 to 1723, he restaged some of his earlier church cantatas.
Bach's first (Leipzig) cantata cycle consists of cantatas or similar liturgical works (e.g. liturgical compositions in Latin) first performed from 30 May 1723 (first Sunday after Trinity) to 4 June 1724 (Trinity).
Bach's second (Leipzig) cantata cycle consists of cantatas first performed from 11 June 1724 (first Sunday after Trinity) to 27 May 1725 (Trinity). The first 40 cantatas of this cycle are chorale cantatas, thus this cycle is also known as the chorale cantata cycle (at least the first 40 cantatas of the cycle are known thus). Bach's chorale cantatas written at a later date and restagings of earlier chorale cantatas are also usually understood as being included in this cycle.
Bach's third (Leipzig) cantata cycle is traditionally seen as consisting of cantatas first performed from the first Sunday after Trinity in 1725 to Trinity Sunday in 1726, or otherwise before the Picander cycle. More recent scholarship assigns the qualification "between the third and the fourth cycles" to the few known cantatas written from 1727 to the start of the fourth cycle.
In the "third cycle" period Bach also gave many cantatas composed by his second cousin Johann Ludwig Bach a Leipzig premiere. For the period from Purification, 2 February 1726, to Trinity XIII, 15 September 1726, there are extant copies by Johann Sebastian Bach and his usual scribes for 16 cantatas (JLB 1–16), covering nearly half of the occasions in that period. Another cantata, JLB 21, was likely also given its Leipzig premiere in this same period (Easter, 21 April 1726), but was for some time misattributed to Johann Sebastian Bach as his 15th cantata (BWV 15).
Bach's fourth (Leipzig) cantata cycle, a.k.a. Picander cycle consists of cantatas performed for the first time from 24 June 1728 (St. John's Day) to 10 July 1729 (fourth Sunday after Trinity), or later in 1729 to a libretto from the printed cycle of 70 cantata texts by Picander. Later additions to this cycle, Picander librettos without extant setting by Bach and/or restagings of earlier cantatas in this period can be seen as belonging to this cycle.
Cantatas not belonging to any of the previous: e.g. first performed after the Picander cycle, uncertainty when it was first performed or for which liturgical occasion it was composed, etc. Generally it is not believed that cantatas composed after the Picander cycle amount to a cycle in its own right, at least there are not enough extant cantatas to unambiguously conclude that a fifth Leipzig cantata cycle ever existed.
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, Weimar)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 28 November 1723:
- BWV 61 restaged
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 3 December 1724:
- BWV 36, early version, first presented between 1725 and 1730
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 28 November 1728:
- Machet die Thore weit (same libretto as planned for Palm Sunday 10 April 1729, see below, with no known setting by Bach)
- Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36 (final version), 2 December 1731
- Wachet! betet! betet! wachet! BWV 70a (6 December 1716; in 1723 expanded to BWV 170 for Trinity XXVI)
4 – Picander libretto for 5 December 1728:
- Erwache doch mein Herze (no known setting by Bach)
- Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht, BWV 186a (13 December 1716; in 1723 expanded to BWV 186 for Trinity VII)
4 – Picander libretto for 12 December 1728:
- Alle Plagen, alle Pein (no known setting by Bach)
- Georg Philipp Telemann's Das ist je gewißlich wahr, TWV 1:183 (1719 or 1720; misattributed to Bach as BWV 141)
- Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn, BWV 132 (22 December 1715)
- Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147a (20 December 1716; in 1723 expanded to BWV 147 for Visitation)
4 – Picander libretto for 19 December 1728:
- Vergiß es, doch, mein Herze, nicht (no known setting by Bach)
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.
- Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63 (1714, Weimar)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 1723:
- BWV 63 restaged
- Magnificat, BWV 243a (including Christmas interpolations)
- Sanctus in D major, BWV 238
2 – Second year in Leipzig, 1724:
- Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, BWV 91 (chorale cantata, early version)
- Sanctus for six vocal parts, BWV 232III (early version: a slightly modified version of this Sanctus became the Sanctus, Part III of the Mass in B minor
3 – Third cycle, 1725:
4 – Picander cycle, 1728:
- Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe, BWV 197a (incomplete)
- BWV 110 restaged between 1728 and 1731
- BWV 91 (later version: movement 5 and 6 different)
- Magnificat, BWV 243 (1733, performed on Christmas Day and/or Visitation)
- Jauchzet, frohlocket, BWV 248I (Christmas Oratorio Part I, 1734)
- BWV 238 restaged 1735 and/or later
- Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191 (1745, based on the Gloria of the 1733 Kyrie–Gloria Mass for the Dresden court)
- Uns ist ein Kind geboren, BWV 142 (probably spurious)
Second Day of Christmas
1 – First cycle, 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 1725:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 1728:
- Kehret wieder, kommt zurücke (no known setting by Bach)
- Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend, BWV 248II (Christmas Oratorio Part II, 1734)
Third Day of Christmas
1 – First cycle, 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 1725:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 1728:
- Ich bin in dich entzündt (no known setting by Bach)
- Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen, BWV 248III (Christmas Oratorio Part III, 1734)
- Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn, BWV 152 (30 December 1714)
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 31 December 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 30 December 1725:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 1728 (there was however no Sunday between Christmas 27 December 1728 and New Year 1729):
- Niemand kan die Lieb ergründen (no known setting by Bach)
New Year's Day
On 1 January the feast of the Circumcision of Christ was celebrated, as well as the New Year.
1 – First cycle, 1724:
- Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190 (instrumental parts lost)
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 1725:
3 – Third cycle, 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, 1729:
- Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben, BWV 248IV (Christmas Oratorio Part IV, 1735)
- Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 143 (doubtful)
New Year I
In some years, a Sunday falls between New Year's Day and Epiphany. It is known as the Sunday after New Year's Day or as the second Sunday of Christmas.
1 – First cycle, 2 January 1724:
- BWV 58, although not fully conforming to the chorale cantata format, was a later addition to the chorale cantata cycle (there hadn't been a Sunday between New Year and Epiphany in 1725).
3 – Third cycle or "between the third and the fourth cycles", 5 January 1727:
- Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 58 (early version, incomplete)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 2 January 1729:
- Steh auf, mein Herz (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 58, later version: 4 January 1733 or 3 January 1734 — although not fully conforming to the chorale cantata format this cantata was later added to the chorale cantata cycle.
- Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen, BWV 248V (Christmas Oratorio Part V, 2 January 1735)
1 – First cycle, 1724:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 1725:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 1729:
- Dieses ist der tag (no known setting by Bach)
- Herr, wenn die stolzen Feinde schnauben, BWV 248VI (Christmas Oratorio Part VI, 1735)
Depending on the date of Easter, a variable number (up to six) of Sundays occurred between Epiphany and Septuagesima, the third Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
1 – First cycle, 9 January 1724:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 7 January 1725:
3 – Third cycle, 13 January 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 9 January 1729:
- Ich bin betrübt (no known setting by Bach)
- Gedenke, Herr, wie es uns gehet, BWV 217 (very doubtful, possibly composed by Johann Christoph Altnickol)
- Mein Gott, wie lang, ach lange? BWV 155 (19 January 1716)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 16 January 1724:
- BWV 155 restaged
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 14 January 1725:
3 – Third cycle, 20 January 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 16 January 1729:
- Ich hab in mir ein fröhlich Herze (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cycle, 23 January 1724:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 21 January 1725:
3 – Third cycle, 27 January 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, 23 January 1729:
- BWV 73 restaged 1732–35 and 1748–49
1 – First cycle, 30 January 1724:
- No Epiphany IV in 1725 – see below: Septuagesima
- BWV 14 (see below) was later added to the chorale cantata cycle
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 3 February 1726:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Gott ist unser Zuversicht, JLB 1 (BDW 8231)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 30 January 1729:
- Wie bist du doch in mir (no known setting by Bach)
- Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, BWV 14 (30 January 1735: latest of Bach's extant chorale cantatas, added to the corale cantata cycle)
There is no extant Bach-cantata for Epiphany V, nor for Epiphany VI, Sundays that did not occur every year. In Bach's first year in Leipzig the last Sunday before Pre-Lent was Epiphany IV. In his second year it had been Epiphany III (Bach's chorale cantata for Epiphany IV was composed a decade later, see above). In his third year in Leipzig the last Sunday before Pre-Lent was Epiphany V, on which occasion he staged a cantata by Johann Ludwig Bach. In the Picander cycle the last Sunday before Pre-Lent was also Epiphany V, but there is no extant cantata for that occasion in 1729.
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 10 February 1726:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Der Gottlosen Arbeit, JLB 2 (BDW 8241)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 6 February 1729:
- Erwache, du verschlaffnes Herze (no known setting by Bach)
Picander provided a libretto for the sixth Sunday after Epiphany in his 1728–29 cycle of cantata texts, although that Sunday did not occur in the liturgical year for which he wrote his cycle. Epiphany VI did not occur in any of the years Bach was composing his cantata cycles.
4 – Picander cycle, libretto for Epiphany VI:
- Valet will ich dir geben (no known setting by Bach)
Septuagesima is the third Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
1 – First cycle, 6 February 1724:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 28 January 1725:
- Darum will ich auch erwählen, JLB 3 (17 February 1726, BDW 8184)
- Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke, BWV 84 (9 February 1727)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 13 February 1729:
- Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Stande (no known setting by Bach; around 1733–34 C. P. E. Bach set the three first movements of the libretto, see below)
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Stande (c.1733–34: setting of the first three movements of the Septuagesima cantata libretto of the Picander cycle, BDW 9341)
Sexagesima is the second Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
- Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt, BWV 18 (early version in G minor, Chorton: 24 February 1715)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 13 February 1724:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 4 February 1725:
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 24 February 1726:
- Darum säet euch Gerechtigkeit, JLB 4 (BDW 8243)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 20 February 1729:
- Sey getreu biß in den Tod (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 181 restaged c.1743–46
- Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn, BWV 23 (1722–23, C minor, three movements)
1 – Audition and first cycle, 7 February 1723 (Leipzig audition for the post as Thomaskantor) and 20 February 1724 (first cycle):
- Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, BWV 22
- BWV 23 restaged in its first Leipzig version (B minor, four movements)
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 11 February 1725:
- Ja, mir hast du Arbeit gemacht, JLB 5 (3 March 1726, BDW 8208)
- BWV 23 restaged 1728–31, in its final version (C minor, four movements)
4 – Picander cycle, 27 February 1729:
- BWV 23, final version: this version was possibly premiered in 1730 or 1731, see above
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.
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 6 March 1729:
- Weg, mein Herz, mit den Gedanken (no known setting by Bach)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 13 March 1729:
- Ich stürme den Himmel mit meinem Gebethe (no known setting by Bach)
- Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54 (4 March 1714?)
- Alles, was von Gott geboren, BWV 80a (24 March 1715 or 15 March 1716; music lost)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 20 March 1729:
- Schliesse dich, mein Herze zu (no known setting by Bach)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 27 March 1729:
- Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (no known setting by Bach)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 3 April 1729:
- Böse Welt, schmäh immerhin (no known setting by Bach)
The only two extant church cantatas Bach composed for Annunciation (see below) are also Palm Sunday cantatas. He composed one for this combined occasion in Weimar (BWV 182). In Leipzig Annunciation was the only occasion for which concerted music could be performed during Lent, apart from the Passion performed on Good Friday. When 25 March, the normal date for the feast of Annunciation, fell in Holy Week the feast for Annunciation was moved forward to Palm Sunday, which happened in 1728, the second time Bach restaged his Weimar cantata for the combined Annunciation and Palm Sunday occasion.
The other cantata Bach composed for the combined occasion was the last chorale cantata written in his second year in Leipzig, first performed on 25 March 1725 (BWV 1). In 1729, the Picander cycle year, Annunciation fell more than two weeks before Palm Sunday (10 April). Picander did however not provide a separate libretto for Palm Sunday in his 1728–29 cycle: he proposed to use the same libretto as for Advent I (see above). There is no extant setting of this libretto by Bach, nor of the separate Annunciation libretto.
Bach's Passion settings are not listed as cantatas, nor are such Passions usually included in cantata cycles. As an indication of which Passion was performed in the course of which cycle they are listed here:
- "Keiser"'s St Mark Passion, version BC D 5a (early 1710s, with possibly a few movements added or arranged by Bach)
- Weimarer Passion (26 March 1717, lost)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 7 April 1724
- St John Passion, BWV 245, 1st version
2 – Second year in Leipzig, 30 March 1725:
- "Keiser"'s St Mark Passion, version BC D 5b (19 April 1726, slight revision of BC D 5a)
- St Matthew Passion, BWV 244b (on a libretto by Picander: possibly 11 April 1727)
4 – Period of the Picander cycle, 15 April 1729:
- BWV 244b possibly premiere, or repeat performance
- St Luke Passion, BWV 246 (by anonymous composer; 7 April 1730 and 8 April 1735; revised version: 16 April 1745)
- St Mark Passion, BWV 247 (music lost; 23 March 1731; revised version: 3 April 1744)
- BWV 245 restaged at least 11 April 1732 (third version) and 4 April 1749 (fourth version)
- Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel's Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld (23 March 1734)
- St Matthew Passion, BWV 244, revised version of BWV 244b restaged 30 March 1736; next revision staged 23 March 1742; later revision(s) probably not staged during Bach's lifetime.
- Georg Philipp Telemann's and Georg Frideric Handel's settings of the Brockes Passion libretto (some movements of the last one also in a pasticcio with movements of the "Keiser" St Mark Passion) and/or the Wer ist der, so von Edom kömmt pasticcio: late 1730s to 1740s.
The Easter season comprises the time up to Pentecost, starting with three days of Easter.
- Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4 (early version probably 24 April 1707; chorale cantata)
- Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31 (Weimar version: 21 April 1715)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 9 April 1724:
- BWV 4 restaged (Leipzig version)
- BWV 31 restaged (Leipzig version)
2 – Second year in Leipzig and/or chorale cantata cycle, 1 April 1725:
- BWV 4 restaged (expanded Leipzig version; adopted into the chorale cantata cycle)
- Kommt, eilet und laufet, BWV 249 (first version of the Easter Oratorio, then still a cantata)
3 – third year in Leipzig, 21 April 1726:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Denn du wirst meine Seele nicht in der Hölle lassen, JLB 21 (misattributed to J. S. Bach as BWV 15)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 17 April 1729:
- Es hat überwunden der Löwe, der Held (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 31 restaged (25 March 1731, Leipzig version)
- BWV 249 restaged several times (expanded into an Oratorio)
- Georg Philipp Telemann's Ich weiß, daß mein Erlöser lebt, TWV 1:877 (composed 1725; misattributed to J. S. Bach as BWV 160)
1 – First cantata cycle, 10 April 1724:
2 – Second cantata cycle, 2 April 1725:
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 22 April 1726:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Er ist aus der Angst und Gericht genommen, JLB 10 (BDW 8247)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 18 April 1729:
- Ich bin ein Pilgrim auf der Welt (fragment of a setting of this libretto by J. S. or C. P. E. Bach is known as BWV Anh. 190, BDW 1501)
- BWV 6 restaged (perhaps already 13 April 1727, and at least two further undated performances)
- BWV 66 restaged (26 March 1731 and 11 April 1735)
1 – First cantata cycle, 11 April 1724:
2 – Second cantata cycle, 2 April 1725:
- BWV 158? – dating of the cantata is uncertain (see below). Despite its brevity (four movements) the cantata appears as a pasticcio involving two movements of an earlier (Weimar?) cantata for Purification. Its two outer movements fit it to the Eastertide occasion: the text for the first movement is based on the gospel reading for Easter Tuesday, and its last movement sets a stanza of Luther's Easter hymn "Christ lag in Todes Banden", echoing the chorale cantata based on that hymn which was performed at Easter 1724 and 1725.
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 23 April 1726:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Er machet uns lebendig, JLB 11 (BDW 8195)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 19 April 1729:
- Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen, BWV 145 (composed by J. S. or C. P. E. Bach; contains a chorus by Telemann, TWV 1:1350; BDW 0177)
- Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158 (c.1730?; incomplete?)
- BWV 134 restaged 27 March 1731, and probably also 12 April 1735
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 – First cantata cycle, 16 April 1724:
2 – Second cantata cycle, 8 April 1725:
- Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats, BWV 42
- An abandoned sketch of seven bars, BWV deest, BC A64, is possibly Bach's first attempt to compose a cantata for this Sunday (BDW 1529).
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 28 April 1726:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Wie lieblich sind auf den Bergen, JLB 6 (BDW 8245)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 24 April 1729:
- Welt, behalte du das deine (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 42 restaged 1 April 1731
The second Sunday after Easter is called Misericordias Domini.
1 – First cantata cycle, 23 April 1724:
- Ich bin ein guter Hirt, BWV 85 (15 April 1725, premiered in Bach's second year in Leipzig)
- BWV 112 (see below) later added to chorale cantata cycle
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 5 May 1726:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Und ich will ihnen einen einigen Hirten, JLB 12 (BDW 8300)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 1 May 1729:
- Ich kan mich besser nicht versorgen (no known setting by Bach)
- Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, BWV 112 (chorale cantata, 8 April 1731 → chorale cantata cycle)
The third Sunday after Easter is called Jubilate.
- Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12 (22 April 1714, Weimar)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 30 April 1724:
- BWV 12 restaged in a version with a slightly modified instrumentation
2 – Second year cycle, 22 April 1725:
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 12 May 1726:
- Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal, BWV 146 (or: 1728, see below)
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Die mit Tränen säen, JLB 8 (BDW 8290)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 8 May 1729:
- Faße dich betrübter Sinn (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 146 premiered 18 April 1728?
- BWV 103 restaged probably 15 April 1731
The fourth Sunday after Easter is called Cantate.
- Leb ich, oder leb ich nicht, BWV Anh. 191 (19 May 1715; music lost, extant libretto by Salomon Franck published Weimar 1715; BDW 1502)
1 – First cantata cycle, 7 May 1724:
2 – Second year cycle, 29 April 1725:
- Es ist euch gut, daß ich hingehe, BWV 108 (C. M. von Ziegler libretto)
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 19 May 1726:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Die Weisheit kömmt nicht, JLB 14 (BDW 8305)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 15 May 1729:
- Ja! Ja! Ich bin nun ganz verlassen (no known setting by Bach)
The fifth Sunday after Easter is called Rogate.
1 – First cantata cycle, 14 May 1724:
2 – Second year cycle, 6 May 1725:
- Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten in meinem Namen, BWV 87 (based on a C. M. von Ziegler libretto)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 22 May 1729:
- Ich Schreye laut mit meiner Stimme (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cantata cycle, 18 May 1724:
2 – Second year cycle, 10 May 1725:
- Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein, BWV 128 (C. M. von Ziegler libretto)
3 – Third cantata cycle, 30 May 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 26 May 1729:
- Alles, alles Himmel-werts (no known setting by Bach)
The Sunday after Ascension is called Exaudi.
1 – First cycle, 21 May 1724:
2 – Second cycle, 13 May 1725:
- Sie werden euch in den Bann tun, BWV 183 (C. M. von Ziegler libretto)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 29 May 1729:
- Quäle dich nur nicht, mein Herz (no known setting by Bach)
Pentecost to Trinity
Leipzig publications with the text of the cantatas for the four occasions from Pentecost to Trinity are extant for 1727 and 1731.
Pentecost Sunday (1. Pfingsttag) is also called Whit Sunday.
- Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! BWV 172 (Weimar version in C major: 20 May 1714)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 28 May 1724:
- BWV 172 restaged in its first Leipzig version (D major)
- Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, BWV 59
2 – Second cycle, 20 May 1725:
- Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, BWV 74 (C. M. von Ziegler libretto)
- O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe, BWV 34 (1 June 1727)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 5 June 1729:
- Raset und brauset ihr hefftigen Winde (no known setting by Bach, however in 1740 Johann Friedrich Doles, then a student of Bach, produced a setting of this libretto, see below)
- BWV 59 and BWV 172 (second Leipzig version in C major) restaged 13 May 1731
- Johann Friedrich Doles' Raset und brauset ihr hefftigen Winde (on a libretto of the Picander cycle, composed and possibly performed in Leipzig in 1740)
- BWV 34 restaged on 12 May 1746 in Halle (start of W. F. Bach's tenure there)
- Georg Philipp Telemann's Gott der Hoffnung erfülle euch, TWV 1:634, spuriously attributed to J. S. Bach as BWV 218.
Pentecost Monday (2. Pfingsttag) is also called Whit Monday.
2 – Second cycle, 21 May 1725:
- Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, BWV 68 (C. M. von Ziegler libretto)
- Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut, BWV 173 (2 June 1727)
4 – Picander cycle, 6 June 1729:
- BWV 173 restaged 14 May 1731
Pentecost Tuesday (3. Pfingsttag) is also called Whit Tuesday.
1 – First cycle, 30 May 1724:
2 – Second cycle, 22 May 1725:
- Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen, BWV 175 (C. M. von Ziegler libretto)
- BWV 184 restaged 3 June 1727
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 7 June 1729:
- Ich klopff an deine Gnaden-Thüre (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 184 restaged 15 May 1731
- O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad, BWV 165 (16 June 1715)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 4 June 1724:
- Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding, BWV 176 (27 May 1725; last of the extant cantatas on a C. M. von Ziegler libretto)
- BWV 129 (see below) later added to chorale cantata cycle
- BWV 194, second Leipzig version with the movements in a different order, restaged 16 June 1726
- Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott, BWV 129 (8 June 1727, chorale cantata added to the chorale cantata cycle)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 12 June 1729:
- Gott will mich in den Himmel haben (no known setting by Bach)
- Nun danket alle Gott, BWV 192 (4 June 1730, probably not in Leipzig)
- BWV 194, first Leipzig version, restaged 20 May 1731
Sundays after Trinity
A variable number of Sundays, up to 27 if Easter is extremely early, occurs between Trinity and the next liturgical year, which starts with the first Sunday of Advent.
Bach's first two Leipzig cantata cycles start on the first Sunday after Trinity: it was the first occasion of his tenure as Thomaskantor (30 May 1723: BWV 75), and the next year he composed the first cantata of his chorale cantata cycle for this occasion (11 June 1724: BWV 20).
After his cantata for Trinity 1725 (BWV 176, see above), which concluded his second year in Leipzig, there are however no extant cantatas before BWV 168 for the ninth Sunday after Trinity, considered the first cantata of the third cycle. For the first Sunday after Trinity 1726 he composed BWV 39, considered as a later addition to the third cycle.
The incomplete fourth cycle was supposed to start on St. John's Day 24 June 1728, followed by a cantata for the fifth Sunday after Trinity on 27 June, at least as far as the first print of Picander's libretto of this cycle is concerned. Bach's oldest extant setting of a libretto of this cycle is however a cantata for the 21st Sunday after Trinity, 17 October 1728, and when the cycle's librettos were printed for the second time in 1732 Picander indicated 1729 as the year of the cycle.
The elusive fifth cycle has an even less clear start. It is not known which cantatas exactly belonged to this cycle: it may have been a collection of cantatas written before Bach's Leipzig time that were not otherwise added to one of the other numbered cycles, and of cantatas written at a later date.
1 – First cycle, 30 May 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 11 June 1724:
- Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot, BWV 39 (23 June 1726)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 19 June 1729:
- Welt, dein Purpur stinckt mich an (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cycle, 6 June 1723:
- Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76 (in two parts)
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 18 June 1724:
- Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, BWV 2
- BWV 76, part I, restaged (or: in 1725)
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 10 June 1725:
- BWV 76, part I, restaged (or: in 1724)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 26 June 1729:
- Kommt, eilet, ihr Gäste, zum seligen Mahle (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 76, part II, restaged after in 1740 (for Reformation Day?)?
- Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV 21 (C minor, Weimar: 17 June 1714; D minor, Köthen/Hamburg: 1720)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 13 June 1723:
- BWV 21 restaged (third version in C minor)
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 25 June 1724:
- Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder, BWV 135 (25 June 1724)
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 17 June 1725:
- BDW 1669: Johannes Agricola's chorale "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" was published in Leipzig as the text for the cantata performed on Trinity III 1725. As it is the same text that was used for the Trinity IV cantata BWV 177 (see below) it may have been an early version of that cantata. Alternatively the 1725 publication may refer to a setting by someone else, e.g., Telemann (BDW 1669)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 3 July 1729:
- Wohin? mein Herz (no known setting by Bach)
- Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe, BWV 185 (14 July 1715)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 20 June 1723:
- BWV 185 restaged
- Ein ungefärbt Gemüte, BWV 24
- BWV 10: in 1724 Trinity IV fell on 2 July, and thus coincided with the Feast of the Visitation (see below)
- BWV 177 later added to the chorale cantata cycle as Trinity IV cantata (see below)
3 – Third year in Leipzig, 24 June 1725:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 10 July 1729:
- Laß sie spotten, laß sie lachen (no known setting by Bach)
- Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 177 (6 July 1732: chorale cantata, added to the chorale cantata cycle — libretto published in 1725 for Trinity III, see above)
- BWV 185 restaged around 1746–47
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 9 July 1724:
- Der Segen des Herrn machet reich ohne Mühe, BNB II/An/2 (1 July 1725, music lost, not necessarily composed by Bach – also Telemann suggested as possible composer, BDW 11069)
- Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden, BWV 88 (21 July 1726)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 27 June 1728:
- In allen meinen thaten (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 93 restaged 1732–33
- BWV 9 later added to the chorale cantata cycle (see below)
- Wer sich rächet, an dem wird sich der Herr wieder rächen, BNB II/An/10 (8 July 1725, music lost, not necessarily composed by Bach – also Telemann suggested as possible composer, BDW 1670)
- Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170 (28 July 1726)
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Ich will meinen Geist, JLB 7 (28 July 1726, BDW 8226)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 4 July 1728:
- Gott, gieb mir ein versöhnlich Herze (no known setting by Bach)
- Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV 9 (20 July 1732): chorale cantata, added to the chorale cantata cycle)
1 – First cycle, 11 July 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 23 July 1724:
- Gesegnet ist die Zuversicht, BWV Anh. 1 (probably 15 July 1725; probably identical to Telemann's TWV 1:617 or 616)
- Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187 (4 August 1726)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 11 July 1728:
- Ach Gott! ich bin von dir (no known setting by Bach)
- Liebster Gott, vergisst du mich, BWV Anh. 209 (before 6 February 1727 when it was combined with BWV 157; The cantata's music, probably by Bach, is lost)
1 – First cycle, 18 June 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 30 July 1724:
- Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist, BWV 45 (11 August 1726)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 18 July 1728:
- Herr, stärcke meinen schwachen Glauben (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cycle, 25 July 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 6 August 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 29 July 1725:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 25 July 1728:
- Mein Jesu, was meine (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 94 probably restaged 1732–35
- BWV 168 presumably restaged after 1745
1 – First cycle, 1 August 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 13 August 1724:
- Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102 (25 August 1726
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 1 August 1728:
- Laßt meine Thränen euch bewegen (no known setting by Bach)
- Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199 (12 August 1714: Weimar version in C minor; restaged in Köthen in a version in D minor)
1 – First cycle, 8 August 1723:
- BWV 199 restaged (Leipzig version in D minor)
- Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei, BWV 179
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 20 August 1724:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Durch sein Erkenntnis, JLB 15 (1 September 1726, BDW 8308)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 8 August 1728:
- Ich scheue mich (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cycle, 15 August 1723:
- BWV 137 later added to the chorale cantata cycle
- Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren, BWV 137 (19 August 1725, chorale cantata added to the chorale cantata cycle)
- Geist und Seele wird verwirret, BWV 35 (8 September 1726, generally seen as a third cycle cantata)
- BWV 69a restaged around 1727
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 15 August 1728:
- Ich bin wie einer, der nicht höret (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cycle, 22 August 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 3 September 1724:
- Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet, BWV 164 (26 August 1725)
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Ich aber ging für dir über, JLB 16 (15 September 1726, BDW 8229)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 22 August 1728:
- Können meine nasse Wangen (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cycle, 29 August 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 10 September 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 22 September 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 29 August 1728:
- Schöpffer aller Dinge (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 78 restaged after 1735
1 – First cycle, 5 September 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 17 September 1724:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 5 September 1728:
- Arm, und dennoch frölich seyn (no known setting by Bach)
- Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51 (17 September 1730)
- Komm, du süße Todesstunde, BWV 161 (6 October 1715 or 27 September 1716)
1 – First cycle, 12 September 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 24 September 1724:
- Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben? BWV 8 (first version in E major)
3 – Third cycle, 6 October 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 12 September 1728:
- Schließet euch, ihr müden Augen (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 161 from around 1735 recast as a cantata for Purification (see below); a second version of BWV 161 is possibly not by Bach
- BWV 8 restaged 17 September 1747 (second version in D major)
1 – First cycle, 19 September 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 1 October 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 13 October 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 19 September 1728:
- Stolz und Pracht (no known setting by Bach)
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 8 October 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 20 October 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 26 September 1728:
- Ich liebe Gott vor allen Dingen (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 96 restaged 24 October 1734 and around about 1746–47
1 – First cycle, 3 October 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 15 October 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 27 October 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 3 October 1728:
- Gott, du Richter der Gedanken (BWV Anh. 2 may be the start of a 1729 abandoned setting of this libretto)
- Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162 (25 October 1716 or possibly 3 November 1715)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 10 October 1723:
- BWV 162 restaged
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 22 October 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 3 November 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 10 October 1728:
- Ach ruffe mich bald (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cycle, 17 October 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 29 October 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 10 November 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, 17 October 1728:
1 – First cycle, 24 October 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 5 November 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 17 November 1726:
- Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht, BWV 55 (two versions, so 17 November 1726 is probably not the only date)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 24 October 1728:
- Gedult, mein Gott, Gedult (no known setting by Bach)
- Nur jedem das Seine, BWV 163 (24 November 1715)
1 – First year in Leipzig, 31 October 1723:
- BWV 163 possibly restaged
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 12 November 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 24 November 1726:
- Schnöde Schönheit dieser Welt (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 139 restaged around 1744–47
1 – First cycle, 7 November 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 19 November 1724:
- Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig, BWV 26 (chorale cantata, 19 November 1724)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 7 November 1728:
- Küsse mein Herze, mit Freuden die Ruthe (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cycle, 14 November 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 26 November 1724:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 14 November 1728:
- Eile, rette deine Seele (no known setting by Bach)
1 – First cycle, 21 November 1723:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 21 November 1728:
- Kömmt denn nicht mein Jesus bald? (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 140 is a later addition to the chorale cantata cycle
- Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140 (25 November 1731, chorale cantata added to the chorale cantata cycle)
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.
1 – First year in Leipzig, 1724:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 1725:
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Mache dich auf, werde licht, JLB 9 (1726, BDW 8233)
- Ich habe genug, BWV 82 (first version in C minor: 1727)
- BWV 83 probably restaged 1727
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 1729:
- Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener in Friede fahren (no known setting by Bach)
- BWV 82 (second version in E minor: 1731; two further versions in C minor)
- BWV 161: used to be a Trinity XVI cantata (see above): from around 1735 restaged as Purification cantata
- BWV 125 restaged after 1735
- BWV 157, originally a funeral cantata (see below), was later restaged as cantata for Purification
- BWV 158, surviving in a version for Easter Tuesday (see above), may, at least for its two inner movements, be based on a cantata for Purification
- Johann Ernst Bach II's Mein Odem ist schwach (misattributed to J. S. Bach as BWV 222; BDW 0279)
- Georg Philipp Telemann's Ich habe Lust abzuscheiden, TWV 1:836 (1724; misattributed to Bach as BWV Anh. 157, BDW 1468)
The Annunciation (Mariae Verkündigung) is celebrated on 25 March, or (in Leipzig) on Palm Sunday when 25 March falls in Holy Week (see above). Bach's only extant Annunciation cantatas were composed in years when Annunciation coincided with Palm Sunday.
- Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, BWV 182 (performed on Palm Sunday 25 March 1714)
1 – First year in Leipzig, Palm Sunday 25 March 1724:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, Palm Sunday 25 March 1725:
- BWV 182 restaged on Palm Sunday 21 March 1728
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 25 March 1729:
- Der Herr ist mit mir, darum fürchte ich mich nicht (no known setting by Bach)
- Georg Philipp Telemann's Herr Christ der ein'ge Gottessohn, TWV 1:732, was misattributed to Bach as BWV Anh. 156 (BDW 1467)
St. John's Day
1 – First cantata cycle, 1723:
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 1724:
- Erdmann Neumeister's 1711 cantata libretto Gelobet sei der Herr, der Gott Israel was printed in 1725 in Leipzig as the text of the cantata performed on that day: whoever set the libretto (Bach? Telemann?), no composition is extant (BDW 1673)
- Johann Ludwig Bach's Siehe, ich will meinen Engel senden, JLB 17 (1726, BDW 8310)
- Gelobet sey der Herr (first libretto in the original 1728 print of the cycle; no known setting by Bach)
- Freue dich, erlöste Schar, BWV 30 (1738)
- Lobt ihn mit Herz und Munde, BWV 220 (unknown composer)
- Johann Gottlieb Goldberg's Durch die herzliche Barmherzigkeit (1745–46, continuo part copied by Bach who was presumably Goldberg's teacher at the time; BDW 9155)
1 – First cantata cycle, 1723:
- Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 (adaptation of BWV 147a, a Weimar cantata for Advent IV, see above)
- Magnificat, BWV 243a (early version without Christmas interpolations possibly first performed on 2 July 1723)
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 1724:
- Meine Seele erhebet den Herrn (1725, cantata text by an unknown librettist without extant composition by Bach, BDW 1672)
4 – Picander cycle, libretto planned for 1728:
- Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn (no known setting by Bach)
- Magnificat, BWV 243 (D major version: 2 July 1733?)
- Melchior Hoffmann's Meine Seele rühmt und preist, BWV 189 (BDW 0229) and Meine Seel erhebt den Herren, BWV Anh. 21 (a.k.a. Kleine Magnificat, BDW 1329)
St. Michael's Day
St. Michael's Day (Michaelis) is celebrated on 29 September.
2 – Chorale cantata cycle, 1724:
3 – Third cycle, 1726:
4 – Picander cycle, libretto originally planned for 1728, setting(s) 1729:
- Concerto, BWV 149/1a (previously known as BWV Anh. 198): opening movement of a cantata, considered to be the abandoned start of a setting of this libretto
- Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg, BWV 149
- BWV 130 restaged with a slightly modified instrumentation
- Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft, BWV 50 (year and purpose unknown: movement of an incomplete or lost cantata, possibly for Michaelmas)
- Georg Philipp Telemann's Siehe, es hat überwunden der Löwe, TWV 1:1328 (misattributed to Bach as BWV 219)
Reformation Day is celebrated on 31 October.
1 – First cycle, 1723:
- Early version of BWV 80/80b?
- BWV 80 is a later addition to the chorale cantata cycle
3 – Third cycle, 1725:
- In 1728 Reformation Day coincided with Trinity XXIII (see above)
- Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80 and early version 80b (c.1727–31 and later; chorale cantata later added to the chorale cantata cycle)
- BWV 129 no longer associated with Reformation Day.
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 election or inauguration of a new town council was celebrated with a service. Normally this was an annual event. The cantata written for such celebrations were indicated with the term "Ratswechsel" (changing of the council) or "Ratswahl" (election of the council).
- In Mühlhausen the celebration was held on 4 February:
- 1708: Gott ist mein König, BWV 71 – Bach's first printed work.
- 1709: second Ratswahl cantata for Mühlhausen, BWV Anh. 192 – although there is some evidence it was printed too, no part of an actual composition has been recovered. Bach had started working in Weimar in 1708, but in Mühlhausen the organ of the church where he had been organist was still in the process of being remodelled according to his plans, works he supervised until their completion in 1709.
- In Leipzig the service was held at the Nikolaikirche on the Monday following Bartholomew (Bartholomäus), 24 August:
- Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn, BWV 119, 30 August 1723
- Wünschet Jerusalem Glück, BWV Anh. 4, 27 August 1725 (only Picander's text extant)
- Ihr Tore zu Zion, BWV 193, 25 August 1727?
- Gott, gib dein Gerichte dem Könige, BWV Anh. 3, 1730 (lost)
- BWV 137 (chorale cantata for Trinity XII, see above): "A performance on 25.8.1732 (Spitta II, p. 286f. and others) on the occasion of inauguation of the new city council is not proved." (quoted from BDW 0169)
- Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29, 27 August 1731 (reused 31 August 1739 and 24 August 1749)
- Herrscher des Himmels, König der Ehren, BWV Anh. 193, 28 August 1740 (only text extant)
- 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, 5 June 1708?
- Sein Segen fließt daher wie ein Strom, BWV Anh. 14, 12 February 1725 (lost)
- Auf, süß entzückende Gewalt, BWV Anh. 196, 27 November 1725 (music lost)
- 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?
- Der Herr ist freundlich dem, der auf ihn harret, BWV Anh. 211 18 January 1729 (music lost)
- Vergnügende Flammen, verdoppelt die Macht, BWV Anh. 212, 26 July 1729 (music lost)
- 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), 1708? (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 (secular, 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])
- Christoph Wolff (1991). Bach: Essays on his Life and Music. ISBN 978-0-674-05926-9.
- John Eliot Gardiner (2004). "Cantatas for the First Sunday after Trinity / St Giles Cripplegate, London" (PDF). monteverdiproductions.co.uk. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Johann Friedrich Agricola. "Nekrolog" (full title: "VI. Denkmal dreyer verstorbenen Mitglieder der Societät der musikalischen Wissenschafften; C. Der dritte und letzte ist der im Orgelspielen Weltberühmte HochEdle Herr Johann Sebastian Bach, Königlich-Pohlnischer und Churfürstlich Sächsicher Hofcompositeur, und Musikdirector in Leipzig"), pp. 158–176 in Lorenz Christoph Mizler's Musikalische Bibliothek, Volume IV No. 1. Leipzig, Mizlerischer Bücherverlag, 1754, p. 168
- Alfred Dörffel. Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe Volume 27: Thematisches Verzeichniss der Kirchencantaten No. 1–120. Breitkopf & Härtel, 1878. Introduction, p. VI
- Günther Zedler. Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach: Eine Einführung in die Werkgattung. Books on Demand, 2011. ISBN 9783842357259, p. 24–25
- Philipp Spitta. Johann Sebastian Bach: His Work and Influence on the Music of Germany, 1685–1750 in three volumes. Translated by Clara Bell and J. A. Fuller Maitland. Novello & Co. 1884–1885. 1899 edition, Vol. 2, Book V: "Leipzig", pp. 348–349
- Dürr 2006, p. 264.
- Wolff 2002, p. 99.
- Jones 2007, p. 5.
- Geck 2006.
- Isoyama 1995, p. 6.
- Wolff 2002, p. 100.
- Dürr 2006, p. 11.
- Dürr 2006, p. 12.
- Wolff 2002, p. 158.
- Wolff 2002, pp. 162–163.
- Jones 2007, p. 131.
- Joshua Rifkin (2001). Liner notes to Three Weimar Cantatas, Dorian 93231
- Richard D. P. Jones (2006). The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach, Volume I: 1695-1717: Music to Delight the Spirit. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191513244, p. 212
- Tatiana Shabalina "Recent Discoveries in St Petersburg and their Meaning for the Understanding of Bach’s Cantatas" pp. 77-99 in Understanding Bach 4, 2009
- Alfred Dörffel. Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe Volume 27: Thematisches Verzeichniss der Kirchencantaten No. 1–120. Breitkopf & Härtel, 1878. Introduction, pp. V–IX
- BWV2a, p. 454
- Daniel R. Melamed. "J. F. Doles's Setting of a Picander Libretto and J. S. Bach's Teaching of Vocal Composition" in The Journal of Musicology, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Autumn, 1996), pp. 453-474. University of California Press.
- BWV2a, p. 458
- Alfred Dürr, Yoshitake Kobayashi (eds.), Kirsten Beißwenger. Bach Werke Verzeichnis: Kleine Ausgabe, nach der von Wolfgang Schmieder vorgelegten 2. Ausgabe. Preface in English and German. Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1998. ISBN 3765102490 - ISBN 978-3765102493, p. 458
- Zweite Mühlhäuser Ratswahlkantate BWV Anh. 192 / Anh. I 4→; BC (B 2) at www
- Mincham, Julian. "BWV 71". Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- Eidam, Klaus (2001). "Ch. V". The True Life of Johann Sebastian Bach. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-01861-0.
- (BWV2a) Alfred Dürr, Yoshitake Kobayashi (eds.), Kirsten Beißwenger. Bach Werke Verzeichnis: Kleine Ausgabe, nach der von Wolfgang Schmieder vorgelegten 2. Ausgabe. Preface in English and German. Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1998. ISBN 3765102490 - ISBN 978-3765102493
- Dürr, Alfred (1971). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German) 1 (4 ed.). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag. ISBN 3-423-04080-7.
- Alfred Dürr: Johann Sebastian Bach: Die Kantaten. Bärenreiter, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1476-3 (in German)
- Dürr, Alfred (2006). The Cantatas of J. S. Bach: With Their Librettos in German-English Parallel Text. Translated by Richard D. P. Jones. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-929776-4.
- Geck, Martin (2006). Johann Sebastian Bach: Life and Work. Translated by John Hargraves. Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-100648-9.
- Jones, Richard D. P. (2007). The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach, Volume I: 1695–1717: Music to Delight the Spirit. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816440-8.
- Taruskin, Richard (2010). Music in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The Oxford History of Western Music 2. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-538482-6.
- Wolff, Christoph (2002). Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-393-32256-9.
- Gardiner, John Eliot (2007). "Cantatas for Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday / Georgenkirche, Eisenach" (PDF). Bach-Cantatas. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Gardiner, John Eliot (2007). "For the First Sunday after Easter" (PDF). Monteverdi Choir. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- "Joh. Seb. Bach's Kirchencantaten ; Bd. 1 / No. 1 - 10". Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- 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)
- Christoph Wolff/Ton Koopman: Die Welt der Bach-Kantaten Verlag J.B. Metzler, Stuttgart, Weimar 2006 ISBN 978-3-476-02127-4 (in German)