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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Was frag ich nach der Welt? (What care I for the world?)

Cantata 94

  • Ninth Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: 1 Corinthians x. 6-13 (Take heed lest you fall)
  • Gospel: Luke xvi. 1-9 (Parable of the unjust steward)
  • Rating: 2

Sounds like a flute virtuoso was in town this week. He makes his presence felt immediately in the opening movement of this chorale cantata, with fast florid runs that leave my fingers aching just thinking about it. This movement is a chorus in extended chorale style, so the orchestra introduces and interpolates between the sung lines of the chorale. This is followed by an athletic bass aria that is very sparely accompanied by continuo alone. A recitative/chorale alternation follows and then we are into an even more florid piece of flute playing to accompany the alto aria. The flute part is quite amazing but, alas, the vocal line is less interesting. A further recitative/chorale is followed by a more interesting aria, for tenor this time, with an attractive string accompaniment. The final aria goes to the soprano who is accompanied by very pleasant oboe d'amore line. The cantata closes with a straightforward chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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