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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten' (Gloomy shadows, be gone!)

Cantata 202

  • Wedding cantata for solo soprano
  • Rating: 1+

Surviving only because of a copy made by Johannes Rinck in 1730, much remains mysterious about this delightful wedding cantata. It may have been composed during Bach's time at Cöthen but suggestions have placed it even earlier, during Bach's Weimar years. Wherever it came from, the meeting of a fine text, with images of love as the melting of the snows of winter and the arrival of spring, together with some lovely music makes for a very fine work.

The mood of the opening is suprisingly mournful for a wedding cantata, with a gloriously sad oboe line intertwining with the soprano soloist. But this is the melting of winter's snows by the ardour of love and the mood of the music soon picks up! The second aria, following a recitative, shares its origin with Bach's violin sonata BWV 1019 and most effective it is here too. The alternating pattern of recitative with aria continues and the third aria with obbligato violin maintains the high standard. The next aria is a real beauty, with the oboe returning in much more cheerful mood. Now it's time for the wedding guests to start dancing in the aisles! One last recitative leads into the excellent final gavotte and the whole party can trip merrily out of the church. It would be fascinating to know who the lucky couple were who benefited from this masterpiece!

Copyright © 1999, Simon Crouch.