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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (Salvation has come to us)

Cantata 9

  • Sixth Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Romans vi. 3-11 (We may not live in sin)
  • Gospel: Matthew v. 20-26 (Agree with your adversary)
  • Rating: 2

BWV 9 is a chorale cantata written relatively late, somewhere in the period 1732-5. The style might initially suggest a genesis ten years earlier than this but the second aria, a duet for soprano and alto accompanied by flute and oboe d'amore gives the game away. In this movement, instrumental canon is joined by vocal canon in a masterly demonstration of the ease with which Bach was able to write such material, especially towards the latter part of his life. It's an attractive movement to listen to, possibly more attractive still to play. Of the other movements the opening chorus is perhaps the most attractive with it's orchestral accompaniment highlighting the flute and oboe d'amore in a style familiar to the chorale cantatas. In the other aria in the piece, the solo tenor is accompanied by a solo violin in a dark, sombre evocation of spiritual resignation. A really fine singer is needed here to make the most of this. The cantata is concluded by a straightforward chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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