Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet, BWV 212

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Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet
BWV 212
Secular cantata by J. S. Bach
Other namePeasant Cantata
OccasionBirthday of Carl Heinrich von Dieskau
Textby Picander
Performed30 August 1742 (1742-08-30)

Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet (We have a new governor), BWV 212, is a secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was entitled the "Cantate burlesque" (burlesque cantata) by Bach himself, but is now popularly known as the Peasant Cantata. It is the latest definitely dated Bach cantata.

History and text[edit]

This cantata's libretto was written by Christian Friedrich Henrici, known as Picander, and was written for performance on 30 August 1742. On that day the Erbherr, Lehnherr and Gerichtsherr Carl Heinrich von Dieskau, Saxon-Crown-Princely Kammerherr to the Rittergut Kleinzschocher near Leipzig, celebrated his thirty-sixth birthday with a huge fireworks display and, as was customary, took homage from the peasants on the same occasion. It is thought that Picander asked Bach to set his poetry to music.

The text describes how an unnamed farmer laughs with the farmer's wife Mieke about the tax collector's machinations while praising the economy of Dieskau's wife, ending by especially cheering on Dieskau. In places it uses the dialect of Upper Saxony ("Guschel" for mouth, "Dahlen" for love-games, "Ranzen" for belly and "Neu-Schock" for a 60 Groschen piece).

Scoring and structure[edit]

The cantata is scored for two voices: the farmer (bass) and Mieke (soprano). The instrumentation includes a string trio of violin, viola and basso continuo, accompanied by a flute, horn and second violin respectively.

The piece has 24 movements, more than any other Bach cantata:[1][2]

  1. Overture (A major- A minor- A major)
  2. Duet aria: Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet (A major)
  3. Duet recitative: Nu, Mieke, gib dein Guschel immer her (A major)
  4. Aria (soprano): Ach, es schmeckt doch gar zu gut (A major)
  5. Recitative (bass): Der Herr ist gut: Allein der Schösser (D major)
  6. Aria (bass): Ach, Herr Schösser, geht nicht gar zu schlimm (D major)
  7. Recitative (soprano): Es bleibt dabei (B minor)
  8. Aria (soprano): Unser trefflicher (B minor)
  9. Duet recitative: Er hilft uns allen, alt und jung
  10. Aria (soprano): Das ist galant (G major)
  11. Recitative (bass): Und unsre gnädge Frau
  12. Aria (bass): Fünfzig Taler bares Geld (B-flat major)
  13. Recitative (soprano): Im Ernst ein Wort!
  14. Aria (soprano): Klein-Zschocher müsse (A major)
  15. Recitative (bass): Das ist zu klug vor dich
  16. Aria (bass): Es nehme zehntausend Dukaten (G major)
  17. Recitative (soprano): Das klingt zu liederlich
  18. Aria (soprano): Gib, Schöne (D major)
  19. Recitative (bass): Du hast wohl recht
  20. Aria (bass): Dein Wachstum sei feste und lache vor Lust! (A major)
  21. Duet recitative: Und damit sei es auch genung
  22. Aria (soprano): Und dass ihr's alle wisst (B minor)
  23. Duet recitative: Mein Schatz, erraten!
  24. Chorus: Wir gehen nun, wo der Dudelsack (F major)


In accordance with the nature of the text, Bach created a relatively simple composition held with short sentences and usually simple accompaniment. He repeatedly drew on popular dance forms, folk and popular melodies (such as La Folia and the folk song "Mit dir und mir ins Federbett, mit dir und mir aufs Stroh", whose title translates as "With you and me in the feather bed, with you and me on the straw") and excerpts from his own pieces (BWV Anh. 11 and BWV 201 / 7).



  1. ^ "BWV 212". University of Alberta. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  2. ^ Mincham, Julian. "Chapter 98 BWV 212". Retrieved 30 May 2014.


External links[edit]