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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! (Ring out, you songs, resound, you strings!)

Cantata 172

  • Whit Sunday
  • Epistle: Acts ii. 1-13 (The descent of the Holy Spirit)
  • Gospel: John xiv. 23-31 (If a man loves Me, he will keep my word)
  • Rating: 2

Let the trumpets and drums ring out to praise the Lord! If you are a trumpet player this is one of those cantatas to get your lips around. There's a resounding opening chorus followed by a recitative which itself is followed by an aria that greets the Holy Trinity with fanfares. The brass section then seems to have been sent off to the pub, since things quieten down a lot. In the slightly unusual pattern of two arias and a duet in a row, the next aria has the strings accompanying the tenor with gentle legato phrases and the following duet between the Soul and Christ (soprano and alto) has minimal accompaniment. The cantata ends with a chorale setting. There is perhaps less substance in this cantata than the heroic opening would suggest. The arias are pleasant, without being particularly memorable and there isn't really a thematic centre to get your teeth into.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.