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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Wer mich liebet, der Wird mein Wort halten (Whosoever loves me will keep my word)

Cantata 74

  • Whitsunday
  • Epistle: Acts ii. 1-13 (The descent of the Holy Spirit)
  • Gospel: John xiv. 23-31 (If a man loves Me, he will keep My word)
  • Rating: 2+

If you, like me, were rather disappointed and puzzled at the lack of development of the material of BWV 59, come and take a listen to this cantata where Bach makes so much more of those same ideas. The opening chorus is transformed into a magnificent piece and the first soprano aria sounds so much better with an oboe da caccia obbligato than with the violin. This cantata continues with a recitative that leads into a sparely accompanied bass aria. The tenor gets his moment next with an energetic and upbeat aria which is introduced by a very catchy string tune. A further recitative leads into the fine and upbeat alto aria (Nothing can save me from Hellish chains) and the cantata draws to a close with a straightforward harmonisation of a particularly attractive chorale melody. If you were to ignore cantata BWV 59 and to come and listen here, you would not be missing out.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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