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Wedding Cantata BWV 202

Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)

Concerto Copenhagen (photo credit: Keith Saunders)

Concerto Copenhagen (photo credit: Keith Saunders)

Composer
Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)
Composition Year
circa 1718-23
Work Movements
1. Aria: Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten
2. Recitative: Die Welt wird wieder neu
3. Aria: Phoebus eilt mit schnellen Pferden
4. Recitative: Drum sucht auch Amor sein Vergnügen
5. Aria: Wenn die Frühlingslüfte streichen
6. Recitative: Und dieses ist das Glücke
7. Aria: Sich üben im Lieben
8. Recitative: So sei das Band der keuschen Liebe
9. Aria: Gavotte – Sehet in Zufriedenheit
Artists
Concerto Copenhagen (Peter Spissky, Fredrik From, Antina Hugosson [violins], Torbjörn Köhl [viola], Kate Hearne [cello], Mattias Frostenson [bass], Fredrik Bock [archlute, Guitar], Lars-Ulrik Mortensen [harpsichord, Director])

Programme Note Writer:
© Norah O' Leary

Johann Sebastian Bach’s secular cantatas fell into limbo after the composer’s death and were only re-discovered a few years after the church cantatas. For a long time they were considered of little consequence but numerous indications prove that Bach considered them as important as his other works. We can only presume that more than the four cantatas such as BWV 202 were written that fall into the category of Wedding Cantatas, however, even out of the four works we know, only two have survived. In fact it is only through chance that we have a copy of BWV 202 – in 1730 a thirteen year-old schoolboy, Johannes Ringk copied the manuscript signed by Bach, and although we do not know the origin or date of the work, nor the identity of the couple or poet, certain stylistic features point towards the work dating from the Köthen period. Recent literary scholarship has assigned the text to Salomo Frank, Weimer court poet who provided most of Bach’s libretto during the time.

It is presumed that Bach wrote this music for a couple close to his own age and station due to the lack of mention of nobility, rank or learned profession in the text. Some scholars have even suggested the cantata was written for his own wedding to Anna Magdelena in 1721 and have gone so far as to propose that she might have sung it herself. It is scored for solo soprano and strings, punctuated by wind instruments. The recitatives are very free in style with secco beginnings accompanied solely by the continuo group, and they end in an arioso style – melodically and rhythmically flexible - typical of Köthen cantatas. The poem portrays the vernal rebirth of nature, the unexpected appearance of Phoebus and Cupid, celebrating the birth of love and ends with inevitable good wishes.

The opening aria begins with one of Bach’s best exhibitions of descriptive music. The strings introduce a dreamy spring melody in the oboe, with the voice then calmly and sweetly overcoming the strings. The second aria contains a bouncing continuo line evoking the image of Phoebus riding on his chariot. In contrast to this, the steady pace of the violin in the third aria depicts Cupid creeping forward to witness and relish the happiness he has brought. The fourth aria is a swaying triple-metre dance followed by the conclusive Gavotte aria which more than likely had another section than the singular strophe that survives as the singer does not come in until the middle with variations on the Gavotte theme.

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Wedding Cantata BWV 202

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)
Performance date: Sunday 3rd July 2016
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)
Work Title Wedding Cantata BWV 202
Composition Year circa 1718-23
Work Movements 1. Aria: Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten
2. Recitative: Die Welt wird wieder neu
3. Aria: Phoebus eilt mit schnellen Pferden
4. Recitative: Drum sucht auch Amor sein Vergnügen
5. Aria: Wenn die Frühlingslüfte streichen
6. Recitative: Und dieses ist das Glücke
7. Aria: Sich üben im Lieben
8. Recitative: So sei das Band der keuschen Liebe
9. Aria: Gavotte – Sehet in Zufriedenheit
Artist(s) Concerto Copenhagen (Peter Spissky, Fredrik From, Antina Hugosson [violins], Torbjörn Köhl [viola], Kate Hearne [cello], Mattias Frostenson [bass], Fredrik Bock [archlute, Guitar], Lars-Ulrik Mortensen [harpsichord, Director])
Performance Date Sunday 3rd July 2016
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:19:04
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Small Mixed Ensemble
Instrumentation ob, 3vns, va, hpd
Programme Note Writer © Norah O' Leary

Johann Sebastian Bach’s secular cantatas fell into limbo after the composer’s death and were only re-discovered a few years after the church cantatas. For a long time they were considered of little consequence but numerous indications prove that Bach considered them as important as his other works. We can only presume that more than the four cantatas such as BWV 202 were written that fall into the category of Wedding Cantatas, however, even out of the four works we know, only two have survived. In fact it is only through chance that we have a copy of BWV 202 – in 1730 a thirteen year-old schoolboy, Johannes Ringk copied the manuscript signed by Bach, and although we do not know the origin or date of the work, nor the identity of the couple or poet, certain stylistic features point towards the work dating from the Köthen period. Recent literary scholarship has assigned the text to Salomo Frank, Weimer court poet who provided most of Bach’s libretto during the time.

It is presumed that Bach wrote this music for a couple close to his own age and station due to the lack of mention of nobility, rank or learned profession in the text. Some scholars have even suggested the cantata was written for his own wedding to Anna Magdelena in 1721 and have gone so far as to propose that she might have sung it herself. It is scored for solo soprano and strings, punctuated by wind instruments. The recitatives are very free in style with secco beginnings accompanied solely by the continuo group, and they end in an arioso style – melodically and rhythmically flexible - typical of Köthen cantatas. The poem portrays the vernal rebirth of nature, the unexpected appearance of Phoebus and Cupid, celebrating the birth of love and ends with inevitable good wishes.

The opening aria begins with one of Bach’s best exhibitions of descriptive music. The strings introduce a dreamy spring melody in the oboe, with the voice then calmly and sweetly overcoming the strings. The second aria contains a bouncing continuo line evoking the image of Phoebus riding on his chariot. In contrast to this, the steady pace of the violin in the third aria depicts Cupid creeping forward to witness and relish the happiness he has brought. The fourth aria is a swaying triple-metre dance followed by the conclusive Gavotte aria which more than likely had another section than the singular strophe that survives as the singer does not come in until the middle with variations on the Gavotte theme.