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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende (God be praised! Now goes the year to its end)

Cantata 28

  • Sunday after Christmas
  • Epistle: Galatians iv. 1-7 (Christ is sent to redeem those under the law)
  • Gospel: Luke ii. 33-40 (Christ is born for the redemption of Israel)
  • Rating: 3+

The use of Erdmann Neumeister's cantata texts belongs to Bach's pre-Leipzig period. Here, as part of the third Leipzig cycle, is the single surviving exception. The most notable feature of this cantata is the second movement for chorus, which is a mighty chorale motet. It's certainly worth giving this cantata a listen for this verse alone. Unfortunately, the rest of the cantata is something of a disappointment. The opening soprano solo movement starts encouragingly with an attractive orchestral motif but, alas, Bach makes very little of it. After the big chorus, there's a gentle bass arioso, a recitative and an alto/tenor duet that are all pleasant enough but not particularly memorable. The cantata ends with a straightforward chorale harmonisation.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.