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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (King of Heaven, be Thou welcome)

Cantata 182

  • Palm Sunday
  • Epistle: Philippians ii. 5-11 (Christ humbles Himself even unto death)
  • Gospel: In place of the Gospel, the Passion according to St. Matthew is read.
  • Rating: 1

The form of this early cantata is a little unusual: Sonata, chorus, recitative, aria, aria, aria, (yes, three in a row!), chorale, chorus. The delicious opening sonata is grave and elegant and is followed by a forthright fugal chorus. After the recitative follow the three arias. The first is a little disappointing, it bustles along in a businesslike fashion but I can't help feeling that Bach could have done better with Mighty love, that Thee, great Son of God, has driven from the throne of Thy glory. The next aria is better though, beautifully poised with a delicate flute accompaniment. The last aria, with only an agitated continuo accompaniment, is one of those movements that really benefits from a good singer to make the most of it. Peter Schreier makes a pretty good job of it for Richter, for example. The chorale has an elaborate and quite beautiful fugal treatment and the final chorus (not dissimilar to the opening of BWV 65) ends the cantata joyfully.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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