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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet (You, who call yourselves after Christ)

Cantata 164

  • Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Galatians iii. 15-22 (The promises made to Abraham)
  • Gospel: Luke x. 23-37 (The parable of the good Samaritan)
  • Rating: 2+

The gently flowing 9/8 melody of the opening alto aria of cantata BWV 164 perhaps sits a little strangely with the words which scold the professed Christian for the stony heart that allows him to pass by on the other side before the good Samaritan arrives. Still, it is an attractive opening, one that is reinforced by the delightfully gentle and beautiful aria that follows the first recitative. This piece is simply set for continuo, two flutes and alto voice and benefits from a lovely and straightforward text that would allow it to stand quite happily on its own. Do try to hear this, it is a little gem! A recitative is followed by a pleasant duet for soprano and bass which is introduced by an attractive orchestral accompaniment. The cantata closes with a straightforward setting of a particularly attractive melody.

Copyright © 1997 & 1998, Simon Crouch.