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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Gott der Hoffnung erfülle euch (May the God of Hope fill you)

Cantata 218

  • Whitsunday
  • 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

The cantatas BWV 217-222 are all now regarded as either being of dubious provenance or, in some cases, are definitely identified as being by composers other than J.S. Bach. However, it's worth considering them here because it is still possible that one or two of them may actually be genuine and since there is also a good quality recording available of this set (conducted by Wolfgang Helbich on CPO 999139-2), so that listeners can come to their own conclusions!

BWV 218 has been identified as being by Telemann and is now found as TVWV 1:634 in the catalogue of his works. A reference for the identification is Dürr, Bach-Jahrbuch 1951/2, 38f. This ten minute work starts with a jolly and attractive chorus followed by a fairly undistinguished alto aria. A long four voice recitative separates this from the pleasing but routine soprano aria. A simple chorale setting ends the cantata. I find it difficult to believe that this short work was ever attributed to Bach!

Copyright © 1998, Simon Crouch.