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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herze (Examine me, God, and learn of my heart)

Cantata 136

  • Eighth Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Romans viii. 12-17 (We are joint heirs of Christ)
  • Gospel: Matthew vii. 15-23 (Beware of false prophets)
  • Rating: 2

The high points of this cantata are at the beginning and at the end. The opening is a delightfully attractive choral fugue on a pleasantly meandering theme and the close is an especially attractive setting of a very beautiful chorale melody (Auf meinen lieben Gott, the melody set for verse six of Heermann's Wo soll ich fliehen hin) with the horn high up in its register. In between these two pillars, the inspiration is not quite so uniformly high. Following the opening chorus a recitative leads into the first aria, for alto accompanied by oboe d'amore and continuo. The accompanying oboe d'amore gets the best of it, the vocal line being somewhat dull. A further recitative leads into duet for tenor and bass. Again, here the accompanying violins are the most attractive feature of the movement, with a gently rocking theme.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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