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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Ich freue mich in dir (In Thee do I rejoice)

Cantata 133

  • Christmas Tuesday
  • Epistle: Heb i. 1-14 (Christ is preferred above the angels) or
     Eccles. xv. 1-8 (Wisdom embraces those that fear God)
  • Gospel: John i. 1-14 (In the beginning was the Word) or
     John xxi. 15-24 (Jesus commands Peter to feed his lambs)
  • Rating: 2

BWV 133 is a chorale cantata for Christmas week in which you will notice that the poor overworked choir gets something of a rest. They only have to sing in two of the movements and in both their work is straightforward. The opening chorus is of the form of a chorale prelude with the choir singing the lines of the chorale, interspersed with orchestral interludes. In this case the orchestral interpolation is quite substantial and this makes for a thoroughly attractive movement. Since the choir is getting a rest in this cantata, it is natural that the soloists take centre stage. There are two substantial arias in this work, the first for alto and the second for soprano. The alto aria is pleasant without being particularly memorable but benefits from an attractive oboe d'amore accompaniment. The soprano aria is longer (perhaps it overstays its welcome somewhat) and has a similarly gentle lilt but has a more memorable tune and a fine string accompaniment. The choir round the cantata off with a straightforward chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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