Cantata BWV 25
2011, July 08
JS Bach Cantata BWV 25: Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe
(There is nothing sound in my body)
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity August 29, 1723 Scoring: Trumpet I, Trombone I,II,III, Recorder I,II,III, Oboe I,II, Violin I,II, Viola, Organ, Continuo
Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
Bärenreiter vol 8; p 391-426
Reading: Epistle: Galatians 5:16-24
Reading: Gospel: Luke 17: 11-19
Words: Unknown librettist
Bach Edition (out of print)
Conductor: Pieter Jan Leusink
Ensemble: Holland Boys Choir, Netherlands Bach Collegium
Soprano: Marjon Strijk
Alto: Sytse Buwalda
Tenor: Knut Schloch
Bass: Bas Ramsclaar
Label Brilliant Classics 93102/95
Bach Cantatas vol 7
Conductor: Ton Koopman
Ensemble: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Soprano: Lisa Larsson
Tenor: Gerd Türk
Bass: Klaus Mertens
Label: Challenge 72207
Venue: Waalse Church, Amsterdam, Netherlands 09/1997 - 10/1997
Release date: 08/09/2005
Bach Cantatas vol 13
Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
Ensemble: Bach Collegium Japan
Soprano: Yoshie Hida
Alto: Kirsten Sollek
Tenor: Makoto Sakurada
Bass: Peter Kooij
Label: Bis 1041
Release Date: 11/21/2000
Dürr p 520-523
Whittaker vol 1 p 676-681
Green p 59-61
Terry vol 2 p 192
Boyd p 164
This short cantata presents with a more than average amount of Baroque rhetoric on the subject of sin. This is an occasion when a lack of knowledge of the German language is an asset. Dürr says: The text, whose graphic Baroque metaphors seem to us today barely tolerable, and anything but poetic, refers to the Sunday Gospel, applying its account of the healing of the lepers to the situation of mankind as a whole. The Fall of Man has stained everyone, the whole world is a hospital, for sin has made man sick.
Whittaker brings up the list of sins of the flesh found in Galatians 5:19-21: Adultery, fornication uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like. Whittaker calls the text describing the human condition as nauseating lapses of taste.
1 Chorus: Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe
Green says this part presents the most significant challenges. Bach has written a four-part fugue for the chorus which is sometimes accompanied only by continuo, sometimes harmonically supported by the strings, and sometimes directly doubled. Against this choral fugue he has juxtaposed a five-part setting of the chorale in the brass and winds. The choral singers must be capable of maintaining their parts independently against this chorale. Great care will need to be given to establishing an effective balance between these contrasting timbral elements.
Stephen A. Crist in Boyd agrees that the first and fifth movements are the most interesting. Of the first section he says Throughout this contrapuntal tour de force, by judicious use of chromaticism and harmonic instability, Bach conveys a vivid sense of the hhysical and spiritual sickness that are the subject of the work.
2 Tenor recitative: Die ganze Welt ist nur ein Hospital
This recitative, and the following two sections are sung with continuo only as instrumental support.
3 Bass aria: Ach, wo hol ich Armer Rat
Dürr says that Jesus here appears a trifle pale as an almighty miracle-worker rather than as the oblation for our sins.
4 Soprano recitative: O Jesu, lieber Meister
5 Soprano aria: Öffne meinen schlechten Liedern
Dürr states a preference for the text of the second aria, part five, saying it is perhaps the most successful poetically of the cantata. Musically, he also finds this part the most appealing; After all the agonizing helplessness described in the text up to this point, after the elaborately constructed opening chorus and the three scantily scored intervening movements, the dancing minuet-like melody of this movement opens up a new perspective. The music has a tender, song-like, ethereal sound. One is reminded baroque representations of angels playing music--not least, of course, because they are mentioned in the text.
6 Chorale: Ich will alle meine Tage (Treuer Gott, ich muß dir klagen, last verse)
Instruments and voices for each part
|1||Chorus, cornetto, trombono I,II,III, recorders I,II,III in unison, oboe I with violin I, oboe II with violin II, viola, continuo (NBA: organ)|
|2||Tenor recitative, continuo (NBA: organ)|
|3||Bass aria, continuo (NBA: organ)|
|4||Soprano recitative, continuo (NBA: organ)|
|5||Soprano aria, recorders I,II,III, oboe I with violin I, oboe II with violin II, viola, continuo (NBA: organ)|
|6||Chorale SATB, cornetto, recorders I,II, III, oboe I, violin I with soprano, trombono I, oboe II, violin II with alto, trombono II, viola with tenor, trombono III with bass, continuo (NBA: organ)|
Biblical references for each part
References for the text: King James Bible
|1||Psalm 38:4||For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.|
References for the text: Luther's German Bible
|1||Psalm 38:4||Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe vor deinem Dräuen, und ist kein Friede in meinen Gebeinen vor meiner Sünde.|
Emmanuel Notes BWV 25.
Emmanuel Translation BWV 25.
Discussion from Julian Mincham
Discussion from Bach Cantatas Website.
Recordingsfrom Bach Cantatas Website.
Classical.net discussion, Simon Crouch.
John Eliot Gardiner Cantatas Recording.