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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Nur jedem das Seine (Only to each his due)

Cantata 163

  • Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Philippians iii. 17-21 (Follow not carnal things, as many do)
  • Gospel: Matthew xxii. 15-22 (The Pharisees and the tribute to Caesar)
  • Rating: 2

The solo cantata BWV 163 is a short work, typically weighing in at well under fifteen minutes, with the particularly simple structure of aria, recitative, aria, recitative, aria (duet) and concluding chorale. Although none of the movements stands out head and shoulders above the rest, the work as a whole is more than the sum of its parts and is quite pleasant to listen to. The opening tenor aria is, although cheerful, rather unmemorable. The bass aria is perhaps the best: Two obbligato cellos share the melody with the singer and the final duet between soprano and alto is attractive, but again without really impressing itself upon the memory.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.