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stjohn

The Naming of St. John the Baptist by Fra Angelico, 1434 or 1435. Basilica di San Marco, Florence, Italy.

As I explained in my post for the first Sunday after Trinity in 1724, Bach most probably intended for the first four chorale cantatas of this 1724 Trinity season to form a set, or at least to present some kind of order:

  1. For the first Sunday after Trinity in 1724, June 11: Cantata 20 O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort: French Overture, with cantus firmus in the soprano
  2. For the second Sunday after Trinity in 1724, June 18: Cantata 2 Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein: Chorale motet, cantus firmus in alto.
  3. For the Feast of St. John in 1724, Saturday June 24: Cantata 7 Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam: Italian concerto, cantus firmus in tenor.
  4. For the third Sunday after Trinity in 1724, June 25: Cantata 135 : Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder: Chorale fantasia, cantus firmus in bass.

The Feast of St. John, celebrating the birth of St. John the Baptist, always falls on June 24 (exactly six months before Jesus’ birth). Read more about this feast day in my blog post from last year. This means that in 1724, this date came *after* the second Sunday after Trinity, while of course this year (2017) it came *before* that date.

Because I’m trying to follow the order in which Bach wrote his cantatas in 1724, I did not write about this cantata this past Saturday, but feel it should be presented within the order Bach wrote them in: between this past Sunday and next Sunday. So after the French Overture in cantata 20 and the chorale motet in cantata 2, Bach now presents you with an Italian concerto in this cantata 7 Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam. The performance I like best is the one by Montreal Baroque, because of the opening movement and because of  Charles Daniels singing the tenor aria. Other soloists are Daniel Taylor, countertenor, and Stephan MacLeod, bass. You can enjoy this performance here on YouTube. I realize that Charles Daniels doesn’t have enough power to let the cantus firmus come out in the opening chorus, but the phrasing of the orchestra is beautiful and overall this recording is much more thoughtful and satisfying to me than many others I listened to.

Find the German text with English translation of this cantata here, and the score here.

Wieneke Gorter, June 27, 2017.