Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde, BWV 201

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Apollo with the lyre, having defeated Pan in musical competition, with Pan's flute under his foot; sculpture in the Schlossgarten of Schwerin, Germany, 1720

Geschwinde, ihr wirbelnden Winde (Swift, you swirling winds), BWV 201, is a secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, with a libretto by Christian Friedrich Henrici, who published the cantata's libretto under his pen name Picander as Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan (The Dispute between Phoebus and Pan).[1]


The cantata was a commission for a middle-class Collegium Musicum which held its concerts in the Zimmermannsches Kaffeehaus in Leipzig. Bach probably composed it for the opening concert of the Collegium's first season under his direction, which occurred in 1729 – Bach became its head that year and it thus became known as the Bachisches Collegium Musicum.

The work was likely performed again in the late 1730s and in 1749, both in Leipzig.[2]


The cantata text uses the ancient myth of a musical contest between Phoebus-Apollo and Pan as a comment to a controversy between Bach's contemporaries about "popular" and "learned" music, the first being represented by Pan, the latter by Apollo. At the end, Pan is defeated completely.

Scoring and structure[edit]

The work is scored for Momus (soprano), Mercurius (alto), Tmolus (tenor), Midas (tenor), Phoebus (bass), Pan (bass), a six-part choir of those voices, three trumpets, timpani, two transverse flutes, two oboes d'amore, two violins, viola, and basso continuo.[3]

The piece has 15 movements, as follows:

  1. Chorus
  2. Recitative: Phoebus, Pan and Momus with continuo
  3. Aria: Momus with continuo
  4. Recitative: Mercurius, Phoebus and Pan with continuo
  5. Aria: Phoebus with instruments
  6. Recitative: Momus and Pan with continuo
  7. Aria: Pan with violins and continuo
  8. Recitative: Mercurius and Tmolus with continuo
  9. Aria: Tmolus with oboe d'amore and continuo
  10. Recitative: Pan and Midas with continuo
  11. Aria: Midas with violins and continuo
  12. Recitative: all voices with continuo
  13. Aria: Mercurius with transverse flutes and continuo
  14. Recitative: Momus with strings and continuo
  15. Chorus


  • J.S. Bach: Cantata BWV 201, Schwäbischer Singkreis Stuttgart/Ton-Studio Orchestra Stuttgart (1952)
  • J.S. Bach: Kantate Nr. 201, Thomanerchor Leipzig / Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (1953)
  • J.S. Bach: Cantata BWV 201, Moscow Conservatoire Chamber Orchestra (1987)
  • J.S. Bach: Cantate Profanes, RIAS-Kammerchor / Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (1995)
  • Bach: Complete Cantatas, Vol. 4, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir / Ton Koopman (1997)
  • J.S. Bach: Secular Cantatas, Vol. 9. Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki. BIS (2017)


  1. ^ Picander (=Christian Friedrich Henrici). Ernst-Schertzhaffte und Satyrische Gedichte, Volume III. Leipzig: Joh. Theod. Boetii Tochter (1732); 2nd printing 1737, pp. 501–506
  2. ^ "Cantata BWV 201". bach-cantatas. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  3. ^ "BWV 201". University of Alberta. Retrieved 21 May 2013.

External links[edit]