Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten! BWV 214
History and text
Bach composed this cantata in 1733 to honor the 34th birthday of Maria Josepha, Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony. It is also known as Glückwünschkantate zum Geburtstage der Königin (Congratulation cantata to the queen's birthday). It was first performed on 7 December 1733. The librettist of the text is unknown, but may have been Bach himself.
Scoring and structure
The work features four vocal soloists: Bellona (soprano), Pallas (alto), Irene (tenor), and Fama (bass). It is also scored for a four-part choir, three trumpets, timpani, two flutes, two oboes, oboe d'amore, two violins, viola, cello, violone, and basso continuo.
It has nine movements:
- Chorus: Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!
- Recitative (tenor): Heut ist der Tag
- Aria (soprano): Blast die wohlgegriffnen Flöten
- Recitative (soprano): Mein knallendes Metall
- Aria (alto): Fromme Musen! meine Glieder
- Recitative (alto): Unsre Königin im Lande
- Aria (bass): Kron und Preis gekrönter Damen
- Recitative (bass): So dringe in das weite Erdenrund
- Chorus: Blühet, ihr Linden in Sachsen, wie Zedern
The opening chorus is a very long da capo form. Unusually for Bach, it opens with a timpani solo. The vocal lines are mostly homophonic or imitative – it is the instrumental forces that are the focus of the movement. Musicologist Julian Mincham notes that "the sweeping exhilaration of this movement is impossible to describe in words".
The tenor recitative conveys imagery of a thunderstorm and is followed by a soprano aria and recitative representing the "clashing of arms" and the battlefield. The alto aria, the only movement in the minor mode, includes a prominent oboe d'amore, while the following recitative is accompanied by chordal strings.
The bass da capo aria has a majestic obbligato trumpet line that underlines the "triumph, dignity and splendor" of the queen. The text focuses on the dual themes of fame and virtue. The penultimate movement is a bass recitative with a woodwind accompaniment. The piece ends with a dance-like chorus.
- Kantorei Barmen-Gemarke, Helmut Kahlhöfer, J.S. Bach: Cantatas BWV 207a & BWV 214, Cantate 1961
- Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Ton Koopman. J.S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 4. Antoine Marchand, 1996
- "BWV" is Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, a thematic catalogue of Bach's works.
- Autograph score in the Berlin State Library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin)
- Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!, BWV 214: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- BWV 214 – "Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!": English translation, discussion, Emmanuel Music
- Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!: history, scoring, Bach website (German)
- BWV 214 Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!: English translation, University of Vermont
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