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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Was willst du dich betrüben, o meine liebe Seel' (Why wilt thou trouble thyself, oh my dear soul)

Cantata 107

  • Fifth Sunday After Trinity
  • Epistle: 1 Peter iii. 8-15 (Be patient in affliction)
  • Gospel: Luke v. 1-11 (The miraculous draught of fishes)
  • Rating: 2+

Cantata BWV 107 is a chorale cantata set per omnes versus, that is, with all the verses of a hymn set unaltered. This was an old-fashioned procedure even at that time but, musically, the form that Bach adopts for this work (the music of the inner verses bearing no relationship to the chorale melody) anticipates later style chorale cantatas. Ludwig Finscher suggests that Bach may have been having trouble with (or in finding) a librettist and was thus forced into this innovation! The music of the opening verse has a beautifully intimate feel to it, yet another fine example of Bach's opening choruses. After a recitative, there are four arias in a row for bass, tenor, soprano and tenor respectively. These are, perhaps, less interesting than the outer movements but the penultimate, for soprano has a lovely wind accompaniment and the last, for tenor (the most catching of the four) benefits from a delightful flute accompaniment. The cantata closes with a gorgeous siciliano setting of the chorale.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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