Cantata BWV 131
2010, January 27
JS Bach Cantata BWV 131: Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu dir
(From the deep, Lord, I Cried to Thee)
Mühlhausen Penitential service? 1707?
Scoring: Oboe, Violin, Viola I,II, Bassoon, Continuo
Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
Bärenreiter vol 14; p 345
Words: Psalms 130
After the holidays, back to the cantatas roughly in the order written. Cantata 131 is a through-composed piece, based on Psalms 130, with no recitatives or arias; the solos are sung in counterpoint to a chorale in another voice. There are no catchy tunes that keep running through my head. I especially love the bassoon in the final chorus. And I love the polyphony which sets a quick part against the slow notes of the chorale in parts two and four.
Leusink has doubled the organ bass line with a cello in the Tenor / Alto 131.4. This is very effective and the cello part adds substance. He also plays at a slower tempo, which is nice.
Whittaker, vol 1, p 35, offers a description of the second part: The second chorus consists of a short adagio, … chord passages separated by florid runs for alto and tenor, and a long Largo fugue, in which the waiting of the soul is contrasted with a repeated expression of hope, in subject and countersubject. Oboe and violin incessantly dovetail each other while the violas answer each other in groups of two notes, resulting in long stretches of eight part writing which show an early command over intricate polyphony.
Dürr, p 777-779, states that BWV 131 consists not of independent, self-contained movements but of various kinds of sections that run stright into each other. …the design of the choruses is largely analagous to the instrumental form of prelude and fugue. …Forms here still put together in a fresh and nonchalant fashion would later be more purposefully and consistently united. Nevertheless, we already sense the power of genius here, particularly in the fugal movements.
C.S. Terry (vol 2 p 389) states that the chorale melody "Herr Jesu Christ du hochstes Gut", below right, used in part two and part four is "the tenor (slightly altered) of a four-part setting of 'Wenn mein Stundlein vorhanden ist,'" below left. Unfortunately, he does not show us the four-part setting, only the top voice melody, from which he says the derivation is patent. Maybe to him.
Biblical references for each part
References for the text: Luther's German Bible
|1||Psalms 130:1,2||Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu dir.
Herr, höre meine Stimme; laß deine
Ohren merken auf die Stimme meines Flehens!
So du willst, Herr, Sünde zurechnen, Herr, wer wird bestehen?
Denn bei dir ist die Vergebung, daß man dich fürchte.
Erbarm dich mein in solcher Last, "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut", vs 2
|3||Psalms 130:5||Ich harre des Herrn; meine Seele harret, und ich hoffe auf sein Wort||Chorus|
|Meine Seele wartet auf den Herrn von einer Morgenwache bis zur andern
Und weil ich denn in meinem Sinn, vs 5 "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut" vs 5
|5||Psalms 130:7,8||Israel hoffe auf den Herrn; denn bei dem Herrn ist die Gnade und viel Erlösung bei ihm; und er wird Israel erlösen aus allen seinen Sünden.||Chorus|
References for the text: King James Bible
|1||Psalms 130:1,2||Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be
attentive to the voice of my supplications
If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
Have mercy on me burdened so, "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut", vs 2
|3||Psalms 130:5||I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope||Chorus|
|My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning
And since in my mind, as I lamented before, vs 5 "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut" vs 5
|5||Psalms 130:7,8||Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all iniquities.||Chorus|
Instruments and voices for each part
|1||Psalms 130:1,2||Oboe, Violin, Viola I,II, Bassoon, SATB and continuo (NBA: organ)|
|2||Psalms 130:3, 4||Oboe obbligato, Soprano chorale, Bass solo and continuo (NBA: organ)|
|3||Psalms 130:5||Oboe, Violin, Viola I,II, Bassoon, SATB and continuo (NBA: organ) with choral fugue|
|4||Psalms 130:6||Tenor solo, Alto chorale and continuo (NBA: organ)|
|5||Psalms 130:7, 8||Oboe obbligato, Violin, Viola I,II, Bassoon, SATB with choral fugue at close continuo (NBA: organ)|
Once again, my favorite recording is Rifkin's with one voice per part, organ continuo, no one part overbearing at any time.
Emmanuel Notes BWV 131
Emmanuel Translation BWV 131
Discussion from Bach Cantatas Website
Recordingsfrom Bach Cantatas Website
www.answers.com Brian Robins
John Eliot Gardiner Cantatas Recording
Classical.net discussion, Simon Crouch
London Bach Society Database entry BWV 131
Article AllMusic.com BWV 131