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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Gott, der Herr, ist Sonn und Schild (God, the Lord, is Son and Shield)

Cantata 79

  • Reformation Festival
  • Rating: 2+

Robertson, in The Church Cantatas of J.S. Bach, suggests that Bach should have stopped after the chorale Nun danket Alle Gott and we would have had an excellent short cantata. I agree with him. The opening chorus of this Reformation cantata is absolutely superb, more splendid and ebullient even than that of Ein' feste Burg (BWV 80) but perhaps with not quite so much contrapuntal interest. The following aria is pretty without being outstanding and the chorale Nun danket is as good as you might expect. It's all down hill from here. A recitative leads into a duet between soprano and bass that despite its interesting violin accompaniment tends to overstay its welcome. The cantata draws to a close with a straightforward chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.