Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36c

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Schwingt freudig euch empor (Soar joyfully aloft), BWV 36c, is a secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig, most likely in 1725; there is evidence of a performance of this cantata taking place in April or May 1725. He used it as a base for two other secular cantatas and a church cantata for the first Sunday in Advent, Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36.

History and text[edit]

The cantata was probably a homage to one of Bach's academic colleagues, but it is not known which; Johann Matthias Gesner (at the time based in Weimar),[1] and Johann Heinrich Ernesti (the septuagenarian rector of the Thomasschule) have been suggested as possible recipients. Bach reworked this cantata in both secular and sacred versions:

The text is likely by Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander), who in 1727 published another version (Steigt freudig in die Luft), a birthday cantata for the duchess of Anhalt-Köthen. The duchess's birthday cantata was also set by Bach (probably in 1726), but the music is lost.[2][3]

Scoring and structure[edit]

The cantata is scored for three soloists—soprano, tenor and bass—a four-part choir, two oboes d'amore, two violins, viola, viola d'amore and basso continuo.[4]

  1. Coro: Schwingt freudig euch empor
  2. Recitative (tenor): Ein Herz, in zärtlichem Empfinden
  3. Aria (tenor): Die Liebe führt mit sanften Schritten
  4. Recitative (bass): Du bist es ja
  5. Aria (bass): Der Tag, der dich vordem gebar
  6. Recitative (soprano): Nur dieses Einz'ge sorgen wir
  7. Aria (soprano): Auch mit gedämpften, schwachen Stimmen
  8. Recitative (tenor): Bei solchen freudenvollen Stunden
  9. Chorus & Recitatives (soprano, tenor, bass): Wie die Jahre sich verneuen


The opening chorus is a "jolly" gavotte form, highlighting the oboe d'amore (which is also important in introducing the third movement).[5][6] The recitatives are all secco and fairly short, with the tenor recitative being only six measures long.[6]



  1. ^ Finlay, I. (1950). Bach's Secular Cantata Texts. Music and Letters. pp. 189–195. 
  2. ^ Wolff, Christoph (2006). Die Welt der Bach-Kantaten. Metzler/Bärenreiter, Stuttgart and Kassel. ISBN 3-476-02127-0. 
  3. ^ Terry, C. S.; Litti, D. (1917). Bach's Cantata Libretti. Journal of the Royal Musical Association. pp. 71–125. ISBN 3-476-02127-0. doi:10.1093/jrma/44.1.71. 
  4. ^ Dürr, Alfred (1971). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German). 1. Bärenreiter-Verlag. OCLC 523584. 
  5. ^ Crouch, Simon (1999). "Cantata BWV 36c, BC G 35". Classical Net. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Mincham, Julian. "Chapter 99 BWV 36b and 36c". jsbachcantatas. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 

External links[edit]