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For this Sunday, Trinity 10, August 1, 1723 Bach wrote cantata 46 Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei.

This is another exquisite cantata, worth listening to (or worth watching for a bit, see link below for a wonderful video of the opening chorus by Herreweghe live at the Saintes Festival).

I recommend Herreweghe’s recording from 2012, on the same album already discussed in my previous post for cantata 105.

Purchase this recording on Amazon (the album also includes last week’s cantata 105, and two more cantatas from the 1723 Trinity season).

Listen to this Herreweghe recording from 2012 on Spotify.

Or, listen to this same recording on YouTube, via playlist I created (if this shows up as a visual on your screen,  and clicking on the main “play button” results in a “this video cannot be played” message, click on the icon on the top left where it says 1/6, and it should work):

Or watch these same performers in a live video of the opening chorus only from the Festival de Saintes.

Please find the text here, and the score here.

I especially enjoy this cantata because of the beautiful opening chorus, the dramatic bass aria (with corno da tirarsi!) and the alto aria.

You’ll recognize the first part of the opening chorus. Bach must have liked this enough to re-use it later as the Qui Tollis in his Mass in B minor. The illustration of the “Schmerz” with two recorders and two oboi da caccia in the orchestra is beautiful.

Last week, with cantata 105, Bach started using features that preluded his passions. In the alto aria in this cantata 46, there is again a reference to the St. Matthew Passion. The pastoral character of the music, as well as the text reference to Küchlein (chicks) make me think of the Sehet Jesus hat die Hand alto aria. I am a huge fan of counter-tenor Damien Guillon. In 2011, I heard him sing for the first time in a live performance of the St. Matthew Passion by Herreweghe in Europe, and have been collecting his recordings since then. He appears on recordings with his own ensemble Le Banquet Celeste, cantata recordings by Herreweghe from 2011 and later, and on several recordings of Marcel Ponseele’s ensemble Il Gardellino. Watch an interview with him (with English subtitles) on YouTube:

Wieneke Gorter, July 30, 2016, links updated August 16, 2020.