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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Falsche Welt, dir trau ich nicht (False world, I do not trust you)

Cantata 52

  • Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Phil. iii. 17-21 (Follow not carnal things, as many do)
  • Gospel: Matthew xxii. 15-22 (The Pharisees and the tribute to Caesar)
  • Rating: 2

One may ask What's a bit of Brandenburg Concerto doing here?. Indeed, given the somewhat pessimistic outlook of the rest of the cantata, an adaptation of the first movement of BWV 1046 does seem a little out of place. It does establish the key of F major nicely I suppose, but perhaps it's simply that a bunch of Sebastian's friends were in town that week and he wanted to give them something to play! The recitative that follows the opening sinfonia establishes the mood of gloom and the soprano aria counters that with trust in God. This latter is a pleasant piece, with attractive string accompaniment. The next recitative is followed by another attractive soprano aria that reiterates the message of faith in the Lord being the one true salvation. Robertson points out that the opening orchestral gesture (played by the oboes) in this movement bears a resemblance to the aria V'adoro pupile from Handel's Giulio Cesare. You might like to judge for yourself whether this is one master quoting another or simply a coincidental use of common musical language. The cantata is completed by a straightforward chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.