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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (What God does, that is well done)

Cantata 100

  • Unspecified (Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity?)
  • Epistle: Galatians v. 25-vi. 10 (The fruits of the Spirit)
  • Gospel: Matthew vi. 23-34 (Avoid worldly cares. Seek first the Kingdom of God)
  • Rating: 1

The chorale cantata BWV 100 is thought to be one of the latest of Bach's cantatas to survive and is not specific to any particular Sunday. I've noted 15th after Trinity above because of the similarity of the text of this piece to the similarly titled BWV 99. In fact, Bach composed three cantatas with this title (the third being BWV 98), so you might like to listen to these three together. They all use words from Samuel Rodigast's hymn, Was Gott tut, but there are more than enough verses to go around! The opening chorus is the same (apart from a more impressive instrumentation) as in BWV 99 and the final chorus is taken from BWV 75.

There must have been a virtuoso flutist in town on the Sundays when this cantata was performed. The instrument appears immediately (in a part of great technical difficulty) in the impressive opening chorus. The following four stanzas are set as arias (the first being a duet) and each of them has considerable interest. The duet has a lovely "walking bass" and the following aria is accompanied by a solo flute part again of considerable difficulty and of not inconsequential beauty. It makes my fingers hurt even thinking about it. The next aria has a deeply moving string accompaniment and the final aria introduces one of those fine, plaintive oboe d'amore lines that Bach was so accomplished at writing. The final chorale has a simple harmonisation and a very fine orchestral accompaniment.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

Trumpet