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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (Praise the Lord, my soul)

Cantata 69a

  • Twelfth Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: 2 Cor iii. 4-11 (Ministers of a new covenant)
  • Gospel: Mark vii. 31-37 (The deaf man cured)
  • Rating: 2

The cantata opens, quite typically, with a fine festive choral movement introduced by an orchestral ritornello. A choral fugue is developed (on Lobe den Herrn), a second follows (on und vergiss nicht) and then the themes are combined in a double fugue. Then we get the opening choral material repeated and the instrumental ritornello too. After a simple soprano recitative is an attractive tenor aria that skips along, accompanied by flute and oboe da caccia. The bass aria, which follows the final recitative, demonstrates a very skilful contrast with the mood of the tenor aria, the carefree proclamation of God's grace is replaced with a more solemn prayer for preservation of the soul. The flute has disappeared and the oboe da caccia is replaced by the oboe d'amore, providing a darker hue to the accompaniment. The chorale harmonisation that ends the cantata is the same as that of BWV 12. The material in this cantata was re-used many years later in BWV 69.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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