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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Herr Gott, dich loben wir (Lord God, we praise You)

Cantata 16

  • Circumcision (New Year's Day)
  • Epistle: Galatians iii. 23-29 (We are all one in Christ)
  • Gospel: Luke ii. 21 (His name shall be called Jesus)
  • Rating: 2

Cantata 16 opens with chorus based on Luther's German translation of the Te Deum and, appropriate to the day, the mood is one of general rejoicing. In fact, the chorus is cut short for the interjection of a recitative and the following movement picks up the theme of the first with a shout of joy from the chorus that alternates with a bass aria. Following the next recitative is a long tenor aria that is, perhaps, something of a disappointment. There's a perfectly respectable oboe da caccia accompaniment and sometimes the voice and the oboe together hint at beautiful things but all in all, it doesn't quite come off. The cantata is concluded by a straightforward chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.