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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding um aller Menschen (The heart is wicked and deceitful in every mortal creature)

Cantata 176

  • Trinity Sunday
  • Epistle: Romans xi. 33-36 (Who can know the riches and wisdom and judgements of God?)
  • Gospel: John iii. 1-15 (Nicodemus comes to Christ in the night)
  • Rating: 2

This very short cantata opens with the words of the title set to a what Robertson describe as a "vigorous and condemnatory fugue". I can think of no better description! If you're a fugue fan then this is probably the highlight of this work. If not, then the soprano aria that follows the scene setting recitative (referring to the Gospel of the day) must be. Not an outstanding piece but it is, none the less, an attractive gavotte. A further recitative precedes the final alto aria which is pleasant enough but not particularly memorable. The cantata ends with a straightforward chorale harmonisation.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.