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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben! (I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief)

Cantata 109

  • Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Ephesians vi. 10-17 (Put on the armour of God)
  • Gospel: John iv. 46-54 (The nobleman's son healed)
  • Rating: 2+

The outer movements of BWV 109 provide the main interest. The opening movement is a solemn and mighty chorus with an orchestral introduction that will tug at your heart strings and the final movement is an extended chorale setting, again with a fine orchestral accompaniment. In the two arias, one each for tenor and alto, between these two great pillars, the quality is not maintained at quite such a high level. The tenor aria is accompanied by an agitated, repetitive and catchy string figure but the vocal line, although it supports the words well in its texture, is not very memorable. The alto aria is better. A pleasant and genial piece with a memorable oboe accompaniment, but still not quite reaching to the standards set by the opening.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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