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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Ich habe meine Zuversicht auf den getreuen Gott gericht (I have placed my confidence in the true God)

Cantata 188

  • Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity
  • Epistle: Ephesians vi. 10-17 (Put on the armour of God)
  • Gospel: John iv. 46-54 (The nobleman's son healed)
  • Rating: 2+

BWV 188 is one of the few surviving cantatas from Bach's fourth annual cycle (the Picander cycle), the eighteen pages of which were divided up and are now scattered about the world. Although not written out in the score itself, a note therein indicates that the third movement of the keyboard concerto BWV 1052, adapted for organ, should form the opening sinfonia. You may recall that the first two movements of this concerto have appeared in BWV 146 and also that the keyboard concerto is itself modelled on a lost violin concerto. Here it forms a very attractive opening to the cantata. The tenor aria that follows is probably the most interesting and attractive part of the work: A long aria based around a very beautiful melody. I must admit that I can't decide whether this is one of Bach's truly great movements or one of his near misses: Does he really make the most of developing that tune? I'm going to have to live with this one a little longer and in the meantime I urge you to listen to it and make up your own mind. After that movement, the alto aria that follows a recitative, comes as something of a disappointment. An interesting organ obbligato over cello continuo with a really rather dull vocal part and over long as well. Robertson suggests that this is a case of a hurried adaptation of another work. After a really rather effective short recitative, the cantata draws to close with a very beautiful chorale harmonisation.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.

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