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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei (Behold then and see if there is any sorrow)

Cantata 46

  • Tenth Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: 1 Corinthians xii. 1-11 (Spiritual gifts are diverse)
  • Gospel: Luke xix. 41-48 (Jesus weeps over Jerusalem)
  • Rating: 2+

The Lamentations of Jeremiah to begin with, we move rapidly to a spot of good old fashioned hell-fire and damnation and end up with some compassion barely veiling the threat of vengeance against sinners! The opening chorus was later borrowed for the Qui Tollis of the b-minor Mass. Here it has its own instrumental introduction (rather than being abutted onto the Domine Deus) and seems better for it. The first aria, following an interesting recitative, is a showpiece for the bass and for the trumpeter. Great fun!

After a less interesting recitative there is a tender alto aria (with a sting in the tail) in which the oboes da caccia take the continuo part while two recorders weave their merry ways above. The final chorale is interesting for the exploits of the recorder players decorating the chorale melody.

Copyright © 1995 & 1997, Simon Crouch.