Cantata BWV 77


2011, June 23

JS Bach Cantata BWV 77: Du sollst Gott, deinen Herren, lieben
(Thou shalt love God, thy Lord)
Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity August 22 1723
Scoring: Trumpet da tirarsi, Oboe I,II, Violin I,II, Viola, Continuo
  Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
Bärenreiter vol 8; p 315
Reading: Epistle Galatians 3:15-22
Reading: Gospel Luke 10:23-37

Words: Unknown librettist
Bach Bibliography


Sacred Cantatas Vol 4
Conductor: Gustav Leonhardt
Ensemble: Leonhardt Consort, Knabenchor Hannover, Collegium Vocale, Gent
Soprano: Detlef Bratschke
Alto: Paul Esswood
Tenor: Adalbert Kraus
Bass: Max van Egmond
Label: Teldec 4509-91758-2
Date: 1978
Liner Notes: Ludwig Finscher


Bach Cantatas vol 8
Conductor: Ton Koopman
Ensemble: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Amsterdam Baroque Choir
Soprano: Dorothea Röschmann
Alto: Elisabeth von Magnus
Tenor: Jörg Dürmüller
Bass: Klaus Mertens
Label: Challenge 72208
Release date: 11/08/2005



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


Bach Edition (out of print)
Conductor: Pieter Jan Leusink
Ensemble: Holland Boys Choir, Netherlands Bach Collegium
Soprano: Ruth Holton
Alto: Sytse Buwalda
Tenor: Nico van der Meel
Bass: Bas Ramsclaar
Label Brilliant Classics 93102/104
Date: 1999


J S Bach Clavier-Übung III German Organ Mass
Organist: Masaaki Suzuki
Ensemble: Bach Collegium Japan
Label: Bis 1091/1092
Recording Date: 03/2000






Dürr p 510-513
Whittaker vol 1 p 644-650
Green p 176-178
Terry vol 2 p 287
Boyd p 144
Chafe p 161

This work features the tromba da tirarsi, "a single slide natural trumpet where the whole body of the the trumpet is moved to obtain the slide positions. The Corno da Tirarsi is believed to be the same instrument but used with a horn type mouthpiece to produce a softer tone. The Tirarsi is often specified in Bach Chorales, often in unison with the sopranos, as it can play chromatically within the staff." - Matthew Parker


Though this is one of Bach's shorter cantatas, it is very intense and a rather overwhelming. I have had a great deal of difficulty listening to and writing about it, perhaps because so much has been written by others. Eric Chafe devotes two chapters in his book Analyzing Bach Cantatas, 2000, one to the theological message of the first movement, and another to the musical structure of each of the sections. His treatment is so exhaustive that by the time I finished reading it, I wasn't sure I was reading about music. I had to put the whole thing away and break for a month to recover. Returning after a course in watercolor paints, I find I still have trouble with this short cantata. So I am going to post the few notes I have been able to make, so that I can move on to the next piece.

1 Chorus: Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben von ganzem Herzen, with instrumental chorale

The chorale played by the trumpet is known as the Ten Commandments chorale:
These are the holy ten Commandments
that our Lord God gave us,
through Moses, His faithful servant,
high upon Mount Sinai.
Kyrie eleison!
This reference to the Old Testament commandments is placed in counterpoint to the New Testament summary of the commandments sung by the chorus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

PDF of old score in original clefs, just BWV 77.1

Other treatments of the Ten Commandments chorale by Bach:
PDF score BWV 678
Übung III, German organ mass BWV 678
BWV 678 with scrolling score
James Kibbie at the organ
BWV 678 from James Pressler
Orgelbuchlein BWV 635 with scrolling score
PDF score BWV 635
James Kibbie at the organ
BWV 635 midi file
BWV 635 from James Pressler
Article about BWV 635
PDF score BWV 298
Matt - favorite, 35 seconds
Rilling - very good, 41 seconds
Suzuki - organ overpowering, 39 seconds
Gritton - too slow, 46 seconds

The very complex imitative chorus Bach created for the New Testament statement has been analyzed to death, as noted above.

2 Bass recitative: So muß es sein

Wonderful in the Koopman recording with Klaus Mertens, ever popular. A simple straightforward statement. Pedal points in the continuo are not held in any of the recordings. This is my favorite part of the cantata.

3 Soprano aria: Mein Gott, ich liebe dich von Herzen

The oboe parts, with their rocking accompaniment in thirds and sixths are running through my head for hours after listening.

4 Tenor recitative: Gib mir dabei, mein Gott! ein Samariterherz

A prayer by the tenor, the soul pleading for the heart of the Samaritan, a reference to the gospel reading of the day, Luke 10:33.

5 Alto aria: Ach, es bleibt in meiner Liebe

The trumpet part in this section has a very different sound from the part with the first chorus; here there is a quality to the sound that makes it seem always a little sharp to my ears.

6 Chorale: Herr, durch den Glauben wohn in mir (O Gottes Sohn, Herr Jesu Christ verse 8)

Here the trumpet blends so well, it is much less noticeable.

Charles S. Terry discusses the origins of this final chorale melody in a PDF excerpt.
Final chorale melody notes from Bach

All scholars note the omission of the verse choice for this section.


The music

BWV 77 - Ton Koopman: Quick tempo, Klaus Mertens on bass recitative

BWV 77 - Leonhardt 1 Chorus, 2 Bass recitative, 3 Soprano aria: Slower tempo, especially chorus
BWV 77 - Leonhardt - 4 Tenor recitative, 5 Alto aria, 6 Chorale

Complete cantata in old clefs, PDF

Instruments and voices for each part

Section Instruments, voices
1 Chorus, SATB, with instrumental chorale in tromba da tirarsi, violin I,II, viola, continuo
2 Bass recitative, continuo
3 Soprano aria, oboe I,II, continuo
4 Tenor recitative, violin I,II, viola, continuo
5 Alto aria, tromba da tirarsi, continuo
6 Chorale Soprano c tromba da tirarsi, oboe I,II, violin I, Alto c violin II, Tenor c viola, Bass, continuo


Biblical references for each part

References for the text: King James Bible

  Scripture Text
1 Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
4 Luke 10:33-10:36 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?


References for the text: Luther's German Bible

  Scripture Text
1 Luke 10:27 Er antwortete und sprach: Du sollst Gott, deinen Herrn, lieben von ganzem Herzen, von ganzer Seele, von allen Kräften und von ganzem Gemüt und deinen Nächsten als dich selbst.
4 Luke 10:33-10:36 Ein Samariter aber reisete und kam dahin; und da er ihn sah, jammerte ihn sein, ging zu ihm, verband ihm seine Wunden und goß drein Öl und Wein und hub ihn auf sein Tier und führete ihn in die Herberge und pflegete sein. Des andern Tages reisete er und zog heraus zwei Groschen und gab sie dem Wirt und sprach zu ihm; Pflege sein; und so du was mehr wirst dartun, will ich dir's bezahlen, wenn ich wiederkomme. Welcher dünket dich, der unter diesen dreien der Nächste, sei gewesen dem, der unter die Mörder gefallen war?



Emmanuel Notes BWV 77.
Emmanuel Translation BWV 77.

Julian Mincham's discussion
Discussion from Bach Cantatas Website.
Recordingsfrom Bach Cantatas Website.

John Eliot Gardiner Cantatas Recording. discussion, Simon Crouch.


The Complete Cantatas
Barenreiter cat# TP 2004

Enter TP2004 in full text search box on the left.

This Website

This web site offers free midi, QT, MusicXML and PDF files of Bach's four-part harmonized chorales. They can be downloaded individually or in complete sets. Be aware that other sites offering files downloaded from this site in the past may not have current updates. Please see Chorale Editions, File Accuracy.


The revision is complete. Please read about tenor clef.

The old list of updates and corrections can be found in the Corrections Archive.


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