The text for this chorale cantata is particularly dark, having been adapted from a hymn by Martin Moller describing the horrors of the plague and praying for deliverance from them. In keeping with this, the opening chorus is a subtle and sombre piece that may not immediately grip you. If, however, you are already a confirmed afficianado of Bach's organ chorale preludes, you may find the idiom much more accessible. The chorale melody plays a larger role than is perhaps usual throughout this cantata, appearing in all movements except the tenor aria. The tenor aria is the biggest disappointment: The only thing of note is the lively violin accompaniment. The following recitative includes intonation of some of the chorale melody and the bass aria starts with the first line of the chorale, only to follow it with free composition. This aria has an attractive accompaniment from bassoon, a pair of oboes and a tenor oboe (taille). The next recitative follows the pattern of the first and the final soprano/alto duet has a gentle and attractive tune with a lovely accompaniment from the flute and oboe da caccia. The cantata ends with a straightforward setting of the chorale.
Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.