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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin (Take what is thine and go)

Cantata 144

  • Septuagesima
  • Epistle: 1 Corinthians ix. 24-27, x. 1-5 (Our life is like a race)
  • Gospel: Matthew xx. 1-16 (The labourers of the vineyard)
  • Rating: 2+

This is a fairly short cantata with libretto reflecting upon the gospel for the day about the labourers in the vineyard. Thus the theme is one of "take what is yours and don't complain about what is given to others". As such, the music throughout has a very gentle feel, starting with the outstanding opening chorus which is in strict fugal style. I found faint hints of Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BWV 61) about this. If you are a lover of Bach's fugues, you should make sure that you get to hear this movement. The alto aria that follows has a gentle lilting dance-like feel to it with a very attractive violin accompaniment. A simple chorale setting is followed by a recitative which then leads into the second aria of the cantata, this time for soprano. A delightful oboe d'amore line provides the accompaniment in this aria in which the word contentment is repeated fifteen times! The cantata draws to a close with a straightforward chorale harmonisation.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.