, ,

The Holy Trinity: Son (Jesus), Father (God), and Holy Ghost (depicted by a pigeon) by Hendrick van Balen the Elder (Flemish), 1620s. Sint-Jacobskerk (St. James’ Church), Antwerp, Begium.

In 2018, I was following Bach’s writing in 1725. My last post that year was about this Sunday, Trinity Sunday. Read that post here.

Judging by the cantatas that are left to us, Bach didn’t write any church cantatas during the months of June and July in 1725. Instead, he performed three cantatas by Telemann that summer:

  • Gelobet sei der Herr, der Gott Israel (TVWV 1:596), on June 24
  • Der Segen des Herrn machet reich ohne Muhe (TVWV 1:310), on July 1
  • Wer sich rachet, an dem wird sich der Herr wider rachen (TVWV 1:1600), on July 8

We don’t know why this happened. There are several possibilities:

  1. Bach was exhausted from the 1725 Easter to Trinity season – read more about this in my previous post
  2. Telemann had begged Bach to bring some of his cantatas to the attention of the Leipzig congregations and Bach’s Leipzig orchestra members. Oh, how we all wish that the correspondence between Bach and Telemann had survived! They were good friends since Bach’s Weimar years. Judging from some of Telemann’s letters that did survive, he could make a good pitch.
  3. Bach thought that after two cycles of cantatas in Leipzig (from Trinity 1723 to Trinity 1725) he had created a sufficient amount of music to be used during church services that he didn’t necessarily need to write a new cantata for each Sunday.

I’ll pick up the 1725 thread on August 1st, the 9th Sunday after Trinity, for which Bach finally picked up his pen again, writing Cantata 168 Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort.

Stay tuned for a discussion of this year’s online version of Bachfest Leipzig: “Bach’s Messiah,” which will take place from June 11 to 15.

Wieneke Gorter, May 30, 2021.