An energetic orchestral introduction leads the opening movement to the choral entry on Es ist dir gesagt whose frequent repetition throughout certainly gets the message home. (He showeth to thee, man, what right is, from Micah). This is one of Bach's very fine choral opening movements where there's something for everyone. It's a joy to sing and it certainly sounds as if the violins and oboes enjoy their part. Oh, and there's a fugue too, what more could you want? The tenor aria, which follows the first recitative, has a very attractive string accompaniment and the melody itself, particularly at the opening, is a joy to sing. Bach takes particular care to emphasise Qual und Hohn (pain and scorn) and Drohet (threaten), the latter with extended vocal runs. The second part of the cantata opens with an extended arioso, directly quoting the Gospel of the day, with an agitated violin accompaniment that adds to the strength of the denunciation of the false prophets. The following alto aria is perhaps a little too musically gentle for words that include Hell's fires will sore oppress thee but the flute accompaniment is irresistible! The cantata closes with a recitative followed by a straightforward chorale setting.
Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.