On Sunday January 14, 1725, the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, Bach performed Cantata 3 Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid. I discussed this cantata in great detail two years ago, so I gladly refer you to that blog post. Even if you already read it at the time, you will hear this cantata in a new light, knowing a little bit more and/or having listened to the cantatas that came before this one in the 1724/1725 chorale cantata cycle. I also added a YouTube link and updated a few other links.

Around this time in 1725, Bach most likely intended to keep writing a new chorale cantata every Sunday until Trinity, according to the “system” he had started on June 11, 1724, so he would complete a full cycle of these.

But things would not go as planned, and he would write only six more chorale cantatas this year … Keep following this blog to find out what happened.

Coming up:

January 21: Cantata 111 Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit for the third Sunday after Epiphany

January 28: Cantata 92 Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn for Septuagesima Sunday (the third Sunday before Lent)

January 31: would the sudden death of a friend change things for the immediate future?

Friday February 2: Cantata 125 Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin for the Purification of Mary / Presentation at the Temple

February 4: Cantata 126 Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort for Sexagesima Sunday (the second Sunday before Lent)

February 11: Cantata 127 Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott for Estomihi Sunday (the Sunday before Lent).

March 25: Cantata 1 Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern for the Annunciation of Mary.

There were no other cantatas during Lent (the 40 days before Easter). This period was considered a tempus clausum (“closed time”) for the churches in Leipzig, which meant no figural music during services, only chorale-singing. A good time for Bach to … take a break? Ha! he was most probably incapable of doing such a thing. He used this time to considerably revise his St. John Passion from last year, and write an entire Easter Oratorio.

Wieneke Gorter, January 10, 2018