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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory be to God on high)

Cantata 191

  • Christmas Day
  • Epistle: Titus ii. 11-14 (The grace of God appeared to me)
  • Gospel: Luke ii. 1-14 (The Nativity of Christ)
  • Rating: 1*

I can give no other recommendation for this cantata other than to say that the music is taken from the b-minor mass (BWV 191/1 corresponds to the Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191/2 to the Domine Deus, BWV 191/3 to the Cum sancto spiritu). Wonderful stuff! This latin cantata was probably written to celebrate the Peace of Dresden (which ended the 2nd Silesian war) and was performed on Christmas day, 1745. For more details about this and about the origins of this cantata, see John Butt's book Bach: Mass in b-minor, CUP.

Copyright © 1998, Simon Crouch.