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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Christus, der ist mein Leben (Christ who is my life)

Cantata 95

  • Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Ephesians iii. 13-21 (Paul prays that the Ephesians may perceive the love of God)
  • Gospel: Luke vii. 11-17 (Dives and Lazarus)
  • Rating: 2

A common theme in the cantatas, a meditation on death as welcome release from the travails of this life. And no less than four chorales in the same cantata. The first two are incorporated in the first chorus and are set off against each other, one in G Major the other in g minor linked by a tenor solo. A recitative leads into the next chorale, this time for solo soprano with the oboes d'amore alternating a striking motif with the lines of the hymn. A further recitative leads into the only aria in the cantata, for tenor. There's a very striking use of pizzicato throughout this movement, imitating the tolling of the bells describes in the libretto. One final recitative and the cantata is completed by a further chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.