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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Mein Gott, wie lang', ach lange? (My God, how long, ah how long?)

Cantata 155

  • Second Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Romans xii. 6-16 (Love and other duties are required of us)
  • Gospel: John ii. 1-11 (Christ turns water into wine)
  • Rating: 2+

A rather gloomy soprano recitative opens this cantata in which the theme is a common one: The redemption from a desperate life to be had through Christ. So the pattern is set: Desperation followed by resignation to be replaced by aspiration! The following alto aria provides the greatest interest in this cantata: A fine duet between alto and tenor accompanied by a solo bassoon line that may remind you of Philip Glass. Hypnotic and wide ranging, this must be a piece that bassoonists must love and fear. Following the central recitative, there is an aria for soprano that is introduced by an agitated and attractive violin accompaniment. However, after a promising start the vocal melody is, perhaps, a little less interesting that the accompaniment. This short cantata is drawn to a close with a straightforward chorale setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.