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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen (He calls His sheep by name)

Cantata 175

  • Whit Tuesday
  • Epistle: Acts viii. 14-17 (The Holy Spirit descends)
  • Gospel: John x. 1-10 (Christ, the door of the sheepfold)
  • Rating: 2

A surprising and most striking introduction to this cantata is provided by an opening recitative accompanied by three recorders over a pedal bass. The recorders remain for the following alto aria which is pastoral in its feel (with a 12/8 siciliano rhythm) but whose attractiveness is perhaps derived more from its texture than from any great melodic beauty. The next recitative leads into a tenor aria that is a parody of the seventh movement (Dein Name gleich des Sonnen geh) of the secular Cantata BWV 173a (Durchlauchster Leopold). Most notable is the accompaniment provided by a solo violoncello piccolo that skips along with considerable fleetness of foot. A further recitative is followed by a majestic bass aria introduced and accompanied by a pair of trumpets. Maybe not as effective as it might have been but still a fine and rousing movement. The cantata is concluded by an elaborate setting of verse nine of Johann Rist's hymn O Gottes Geist, with melody Komm, heilger Geist. The four part vocal harmony is supplemented by the three recorder high above. A most effective setting.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.