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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren (My dearest Jesus is lost)

Cantata 154

  • First Sunday after Epiphany
  • Epistle: Romans xii. 1-6 (We are at one with Christ)
  • Gospel: Luke ii. 41-52 (Jesus in the temple)
  • Rating: 2+

This short but impressive cantata starts with an impassioned tenor aria in which the soul bemoans the loss of Jesus. According to Robertson, you may wish to listen carefully for a pre-echo of the sword motif from Wagner's Ring hidden between the final sentences of this aria! A recitative leads into a straightforward chorale harmonisation which itself leads to the gem of this cantata: The alto aria Jesus, let me find Thee. This gentle and beautiful aria (in which, unusually, the harpsichord doubles the strings, replacing the continuo) is well worth going a long way to hear. Arioso leads into recitative and we arrive at the final aria which is a duet for alto and tenor. This itself is very attractive, if not quite up to the standard of the preceding alto aria. The cantata closes with an attractive, if straightforward, chorale harmonisation.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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