Unser Mund sei voll Lachens, BWV 110

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Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (May our mouth be full of laughter),[1] BWV 110,[a] is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the Christmas cantata in Leipzig for Christmas Day and first performed it on 25 December 1725.


The cantata was composed in Leipzig as a choral work celebrating Christmas Day, as part of Bach's third cantata cycle.[2] It was previously believed that the cantata was written for the end of the War of the Polish Succession in 1734 (the text does not refer directly to the Christmas festival), but scholars in the 1950s revised the composition date back to 1725.[3]

This piece is based on Psalm 126, Jeremiah 10, and the second chapter of Luke.[2] Three arias are settings of verse by Georg Christian Lehms from his Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer (Darmstadt, 1711).

The cantata was not published until 1876 when it appeared in the Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe, the first complete edition of the composer's works.


This cantata is written for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists, four-part chorus, three trumpets, three oboes, oboe d'amore, oboe da caccia, two transverse flutes, bassoon, two violins, viola, timpani, and continuo.[4]

The cantata's movements are:

  1. Chorus: Unser Mund sei voll Lachens
  2. Aria (tenor): Ihr Gedanken und ihr Sinnen
  3. Recitative (bass): Dir, Herr, ist niemand gleich
  4. Aria (alto): Ach Herr! was ist ein Menschenkind
  5. Duet (soprano, tenor): Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe
  6. Aria (bass): Wacht auf, ihr Adern und ihr Glieder
  7. Chorale: Alleluja! Gelobt sei Gott


The opening chorus is "May our mouth be full of laughter and our tongues full of praise", which is an adaptation of the Bach's Overture in D major, BWV 1069. The soprano/tenor duet "Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe" is a version of Bach's Magnificat. The cantata begins with its most powerful section, the opening chorus, which calls for all instruments to be performing besides bassoon. The text concludes with acknowledgement that the Lord has achieved great things for his people.[2]

A tenor aria includes two intertwining flutes as the soloist describes soaring thoughts and senses, prompted by the thought that God-become-man intends that his people be "Himmels Kinder", (heaven's children). A bass recitative (You, Lord, are unlike any other) is followed by an alto aria (Ach Herr, was ist ein Menschenkind) accompanied by oboe d'amore that expresses wonder about the nature of man that the Lord should seek to redeem him through such painful action.[2]

The two voices shine over a simple organ and continuo accompaniment as they offer to God glory in the highest as peace on Earth is awaited because the child has come as a sign of favor.[2]

The closing chorale is related to the third section of the composer's Christmas Oratorio: "Alleluia! All praise be given God from the bottom of our hearts."[2]

Performance time ranges from 25 to 27 minutes.[2]



  1. ^ "BWV" is Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, a thematic catalogue of Bach's works.


  1. ^ Dürr, Alfred (2005) The Cantatas of J.S. Bach, Oxford University Press, p.97 (Translated by Richard P.D. Jones) ISBN 0–19–816707–5
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Johann Sebastian Bach Composer Cantata No.110: Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (Christmas), BWV110 classicalarchives.com
  3. ^ http://www.bach.org/bwv110.php
  4. ^ BWV 110 Unser Mund sei voll Lachens, University of Alberta

External links[edit]