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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (What God does, surely that is right)

Cantata 99

  • Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Galatians v. 25 - vi. 10 (The fruits of the Spirit)
  • Gospel: Matthew vi. 23-34 (Avoid worldly cares)
  • Rating: 2+

As with it's companion BWV 100, this chorale cantata must have originally benefited from the presence of a quite outstanding flute player and in this case, it's the flute part that provides most of the interest. The opening chorus is a quite outstandingly beautiful and delicate elaboration of the chorale melody already strongly featuring the flute with another gorgeous instrument, the oboe d'amore providing a supporting role. If you hear nothing else in this cantata, make sure that you hear this chorus. A recitative is followed by the tenor aria which is most obviously a vehicle for the virtuosity of the flautist. The poor singer really doesn't get much of a look in and his vocal line is not particularly outstanding. A further recitative is followed by a duet for soprano and alto accompanied by another duet for flute and oboe d'amore. This time the honours are more evenly split between the instrumentalists and the vocalists! The cantata draws to a close with a straightforward and attractive setting of the chorale melody, warmly accompanied by the orchestra.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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