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Excerpt from the trumpet part of Cantata 5 Wo soll ich fliehen hin? copied out by J.A. Kuhnau, Bach’s principal copyist, a nephew of Bach’s predecessor at Leipzig. Bach-Archiv Leipzig/Bach Digital.

The cantata from 1724 for this Sunday, the 19th after Trinity, is terrific, with a beautiful tenor aria with viola (or violin on some recordings) and rousing bass aria with trumpet. I prefer Bach Collegium Japan’s recording of this Cantata 5, Wo soll ich fliehen hin? because of Peter Kooij’s singing in the bass aria, Azumi Takada’s viola playing in the tenor aria, and the many colors of Susanne Rydén’s voice. Listen to it on YouTube via a playlist I created. Soloists are Susanne Rydén, soprano; Pascal Bertin, countertenor; Gerd Türk, tenor; Peter Kooij, bass.

Koopman’s recording of this cantata is good too, with perhaps a nicer tempo in the opening chorus, fabulous trumpet playing by Stephen Keavy in the bass aria, and good singing by Christoph Prégardien in the tenor aria. Listen to Koopman’s recording here. Soloists on this recording are Sybilla Rubens, soprano; Annette Markert, alto; Christoph Prégardien, tenor; Klaus Mertens, bass.

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

Bach’s principal trumpet player, Gottfried Reiche, was an excellent musician, probably famous in the entire region, and apparently the only one who could play the tromba da tirarsi (slide trumpet) or corno da tirarsi (read more about that instrument in this post). And since Anna Magdalena’s father and all her three brothers-in-law were trumpet players at the regional courts, Bach knew their world well, and was most likely very well connected to many excellent players and their students. Around the feast of St. Michael’s (September 29), thousands of visitors from all over Europe would come to the Fair in Leipzig, and stay for a bit. Did Bach want to show Reiche off to all these visitors on September 29 (for Cantata 130, see below) and again this time on October 15, 1724, or were the trumpeter and/or bass singer themselves guests from out of town?

Bach paired the trumpet most often with the bass voice when writing arias. The most impressive bass arias with trumpet the Leipzig congregations would have heard between June 1723 (when Bach started working in Leipzig) and October 1724 are:

July 2, 1723: “Ich will von Jesu Wundern singen” from Cantata 147 (J.S. Bach Foundation recording from 2015 with Wolff-Matthias Friedrich, bass; Patrick Henrichs, trumpet)

August 1, 1723: “Dein Wetter zog sich auf von weiten” from Cantata 46 (Herreweghe recording from 2012 with Peter Kooij, bass; Alain De Rudder, Tromba da tirarsi).

November 14, 1723: “So löschet im Eifer der rächende Richter” from Cantata 90 (Bach Stiftung video with Klaus Häger, bass; Patrick Henrichs, trumpet)

May 28, 1724: “Heiligste Dreieinigkeit” from Cantata 172 (Leonhardt recording from 1985 with Max van Egmond, bass; Friedemann Immer, Klaus Osterloh, and Susan Willems, trumpets)

June 11, 1724: “Wacht auf, wacht auf, verloren Schafen” from Cantata 20 (Koopman recording from 1998 with Klaus Mertens, bass; Stephen Keavy, Tromba da tirarsi)

September 29, 1724, feast of St. Michael’s: “Der alte Drache brennt vor Neid” from Cantata 130 (Koopman recording from 2007 with Klaus Mertens, bass; Stephen Keavy, Jonathan Impett, and Michael Harrison, trumpets)

Wieneke Gorter, October 22, 2017, updated October 15, 2020.

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