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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein ich meine Nachfahrt grunde (On Christ's Ascension alone will I base my following)

Cantata 128

  • The Ascension
  • Epistle: Acts i. 1-11 (Christ prepares His disciples for the Ascension)
  • Gospel: Mark xvi. 14-20 (Christ ascends into heaven)
  • Rating: 2

The chorale cantata BWV 128 opens with a substantial and attractive orchestral introduction before the choir enters singing the chorale, whilst the orchestra continues to weave its way around the voices. A chorale fantasia, if you like. A recitative leads into the bass aria which is introduced and accompanied by a spectacular virtuoso trumpet part. This is thoroughly appropriate for the words of the aria which talk of Jesus sitting at the right hand of God on high. Listen to this if only to be thankful that you're not a trumpeter. If you are a trumpeter then, well, good luck! After the excitement of this aria, the following duet may come as something of a disappointment, the attractive oboe d'amore figure is really not enough to sustain the rather plain melody over the considerable length of the aria. The cantata comes to an end with an attractive setting of the chorale melody, with full orchestral accompaniment in which the horns get their own independent part in the harmony.

Copyright © 1995 & 1998, Simon Crouch.