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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Die Freude reget sich  (Joy is unconfined)

Cantata 36b

  • Homage to ""Rector Magnificus" J. F. Rivinus
  • Rating: 2+

The cantatas in the familily associated with cantata BWV 36 had a complicated genesis which I won't attempt to fully unravel here other than to say that much of the music is derived from the earliest, secular, cantata BWV 36c. In this family, all except for the music of BWV 36a survive. Throughout the cantata, there is a fairly straightforward correspondence between movements of the various members of the family.

The opening movement is a jolly affair and is soon followed by the first recitative. The oboe d'amore gets to feature prominently in the following tenor aria with a lovely introductory line. The aria itself is attractive without being as memorable as the introduction would lead you to believe it should be.

The second part of the cantata opens with an unremarkable but jolly alto aria. Here again, the attractive string introduction might suggest that better is to come. In the other survivng secular cantata version (BWV 36c), this is pretty much a Happy birthday to you aria! The final aria, for soprano, is the best one, where for once the vocal line doesn't let the instrumental line down. This is a delicate little beauty worth making a detour for. The cantata draws to a close with another jolly chorus with interpolated recitative. A close inspection of the libretto of this cantata leads to the conclusion that a further close inspection of the libretto is probably not required!

As far as I am aware, there is only one recording of this cantata, by Wolfgang Unger on Thorofon CTH2369.

Copyright © 1999, Simon Crouch.