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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben! (Lord, Thine eyes look towards the Faith!)

Cantata 102

  • Tenth Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: 1 Corinthians xii. 1-11 (Spiritual Gifts are diverse)
  • Gospel: Luke xix. 41-48 (Jesus weeps over Jerusalem)
  • Rating: 2+

Fugue alert! If you, like me, adore the way that Bach elevates the choral fugue from the worthy to the sublime, then try and get some singing friends together and go through the opening movement of this cantata. Bach starts with emphatic declamatory phrases, moves through a fugal texture to arrive at a full blown fugue towards the end of the movement. There are few better examples of this style than this exceptional movement. I wish I could be as enthusiastic about the rest of the cantata but, alas, I find the level of inspiration lacking that attained by the opening. That is not to say that there is anything bad or dull about the rest, it is quite beautifully constructed, it's just lacking that final spark. The opening chorus leads to a recitative and into an expressive alto aria. A bass arioso closes the first part of the cantata. The tenor aria that opens the second part contains the most interesting material outside of the opening movement. There's a most effective violino piccolo (or flute) accompaniment. The cantata closes with a chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.