The reading for this Sunday, the 11th after Trinity, is the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (or Tax Collector) from the Gospel of Luke. In the parable, these two men come into the temple to pray around the same time, but talk to God in very different ways. While the Pharisee puts on a fake show about how good he is, the tax collector is very humble, “wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to heaven” and asks for forgiveness.
“There’s something with this Sunday,” I wrote three years ago, and I still feel that way when I listen to the cantatas Bach wrote for this Sunday in 1723 and 1724.
In 1723, his first year in Leipzig, Bach performed two cantatas on this Sunday: Cantata 179 Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht kein Heuchelei sei(See that your fear of God is not hypocrisy) before the sermon, and his solo cantata for soprano Cantata 199 Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut (from his early years in Weimar) afterwards. Cantata 199 is only loosely related to the Gospel story, and was probably never written with this story in mind. Because of its multi-layered history and the many different recordings, I will discuss that composition some other time.
Cantata 179 focuses on the hypocrisy of the Pharisee, and just like cantatas 46 and 102 I discussed last week, it must have been one of Bach’s own favorites, because he re-used three movements in later works. Read all about it in my post from 2016, which I have updated with better images and new video links.
In 1724, Bach wrote cantata 113 Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, which, surprise, surprise, focuses on the Publican asking for mercy. The only recording that does this cantata justice and gives me the good kind of stomachache is the one by Bach Collegium Japan. Peter Kooij’s and Robin Blaze’s singing is outstanding, and Yukari Nonoshita and Robin Blaze make the duet into a lovely piece of music, which is–judging from a lot of other recordings–not an easy thing to do. I updated my blog post from 2017 with all the correct links to stream or purchase this recording. Please find it here.
We don’t have any letters in which Bach writes about his own compositions, so we officially don’t know which ones were his own favorites. But when we see which cantatas he gave a “second life” in another work, and which cantatas were performed by his sons, we can make an educated guess.
Two of these cantatas, Cantata 46 Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei (from 1723) and Cantata 102 Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben! (from 1726), were written for this Sunday, the 10th after Trinity.
Bach gave the opening chorus from Cantata 46Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei a second life in the Qui Tollis in his Mass in B minor. Find a YouTube video of just that opening chorus, from Herreweghe’s performance at the 2013 Saintes Festival in France, here. Find my post from 2016 about this cantata, with links to translations, score, and my favorite recording here.
Cantata 102 Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben! received even more second lives (see table below), and was performed at least twice in Hamburg by Bach’s second surviving son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. My favorite performance of this cantata was the one by Herreweghe I attended in January 2018 at the Bruges Bach Festival, with Dorothee Mields, Alex Potter, Thomas Hobbs, and Peter Kooij. Alas there is no recording of this. Of all recordings currently available, my favorite is here on YouTube, by oboist Marcel Ponseele’s Ensemble Il Gardellino, with Damien Guillon, countertenor; Marcus Ullman, tenor; and Lieven Termont, bass. Especially the Aria Weh der Seele, die den Schaden by countertenor Damien Guillon and oboist Marcel Ponseele (both pictured at the top of this post) is to die for, and this combination of singer and oboist is simply unrivaled by any other recordings.
Find the texts & translations of Cantata 102 here, and the score here.
Movement from Cantata 102
Movement in later work
Opening chorus of the Missa Brevis in g minor, BWV 235
Soprano aria “Qui tollis peccata mundi” of the Missa Brevis in F Major, BWV 233
Alto aria “Quoniam to solus sanctus” of the Missa Brevis in F Major, BWV 233
A little more about the early “revival” of this cantata by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. In 1768, C.Ph.E. Bach succeeded Telemann as music director of the five largest churches in Hamburg, and remained in that position until his death in 1788. As such, he performed a handful of his father’s cantatas, albeit with adaptations. In 1776 or 1777 as well as in 1781, he performed Cantata 102 Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!
These early “promotions” of this cantata must have inspired more performances or at least discussions about them, and eventually this composition along with some other cantatas likely reached the circle around Mendelssohn. In 1830, shortly after Mendelssohn’s Berlin revival of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in 1829, Adolf Bernhard Marx published three Bach cantatas BWV nrs 101, 102, and 103. It was the firsts time since 1709 that a Bach cantata appeared in print.
Two weeks ago I ran out of time writing this post, but I had discovered so much about Cantata 13 Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen (1726), that I would still very much like to share that cantata here. So I hope you don’t mind going back in time a little bit, to the Second Sunday after Epiphany, which fell on January 19 this year (2020), and on January 20 in 1726.
Before I prepare a new post, I always like to revisit previous posts I wrote about this same Sunday, and listen to those cantatas again. And it always thrills me when during this process I discover that Bach must have done this too: going back, either in his memory or in the physical stack of manuscripts, to the music he previously wrote for this same Sunday. Sometimes I only get a feeling that he did this, but other times, there’s an obvious quote either in the text or in the music.
This time I was excited to find Bach quoting music from Cantata 155 Mein Gott, wie lang, ach lange? in Cantata 13 Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen. Bach had written Cantata 155 already in Weimar in 1716, but performed it again in Leipzig in 1724, also on the Second Sunday after Epiphany.
I invite you to listen to/watch the wonderful alto-tenor duet with bassoon from Cantata 155 Mein Gott, wie lang, ach lange?here, in a performance by the J.S. Bach Foundation, with alto Margot Oitzinger and tenor Julius Pfeifer. Note this theme in the voices:
After that duet is over, I would suggest turning off that recording for now. *
Now listen to/watch the entire recording of Cantata 13 Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen, also by the J.S. Bach Foundation here, with soprano Susanne Seitter, alto Jan Börner, tenor Jakob Pilgram, and bass Wolf Matthias Friedrich.
Find the German text with English translations here, and the score here. Please note that the English translation of the bass aria’s first line is incorrect: the translation of the German word “Sorgen” should be “worries” or “worrying”, not “care.” The correct translation is something like this:
Groaning and pitiful weeping are no help to the sickness of worrying
Pay attention to the recorder parts in the opening movement. The music has a slower tempo, and a more drawn out rhythm, but the theme is the same as in that duet from Cantata 155 you just heard:
There is more in this opening chorus of Cantata 13 that gives us a peek into Bach’s referencing process. Bach often uses recorders to introduce sorrow. Early in his career he had done this in the opening movements of Cantata 106 Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (written in 1707) and Cantata 161 Komm, du süße Todesstunde(1716). Even during his first year in Leipzig, in 1723, he used this “tool” in the opening chorus of Cantata 46 Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei(which would later form the basis for the Qui tollis from the Mass in B minor). And while from the mid 1720s most Baroque composers, including Bach himself, favored the more fashionable French transverse flutes over recorders, Bach still uses recorders to illustrate impending sorrow or death’s slumber in his Easter Oratorio (1725) and his St. Matthew Passion (1727). Click on the links to hear/watch recordings of all these examples on YouTube. Names of performers in all these are listed at the very end of this post.**
If, after listening to / watching Cantata 13 in its entirety, you are wondering why Bach’s illustration of a miracle (Jesus turning water into wine at the Wedding at Cana) is so incredibly sorrowful, read my blog post about Cantata 3 here.
Wieneke Gorter, January 31, 2020.
* read my blog post about Cantata 155, which now includes a link to the J.S. Bach Foundation recording, here.
** Performers in the YouTube recordings of cantata/oratorio movements with recorders are:
Opening movement of Cantata 106: Netherlands Bach Society; Jos van Veldhoven, conductor; Heiko ter Schegget and Benny Aghassi, recorders; Dorothee Mields, soprano; Alex Potter, alto; Charles Daniels, tenor; Tobias Berndt, bass.
Opening movement of Cantata 161: Collegium Vocale Gent; Philippe Herreweghe, conductor; Bart Coen and Koen Dieltiens, recorders; Matthew White, alto; Herman Stinders, organ.
Opening movement of Cantata 46: Collegium Vocale Gent; Philippe Herreweghe, conductor. Live recording from the Festival of Saintes, France, July 15, 2013. Recorder players not specified.
Tenor aria “Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer” from Easter Oratorio, BWV 249: Collegium Vocale Gent; Philippe Herreweghe, conductor. Mark Padmore, tenor.
Tenor recitative with choir “O Schmerz, hier zittert das gequälte Herz” from St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Collegium Vocale Gent; Philippe Herreweghe, conductor. Colin Balzer, tenor.
“Adoration of the Magi” triptych of Jan Floreins by Hans Memling, 1479. Memling Museum (Old St. John’s Hospital), Bruges, Belgium. The right-hand panel features “The Presentation at the Temple,” with the Temple really being the former St. Donaas church in Bruges.
If you are reading this in the email you received from WordPress, please click on the title of this post to enjoy the paintings and the formatting 🙂
This post is almost two days late, as it was for Friday February 2, the feast of the Purification of Mary, or Candle Mass, or Presentation at the Temple. If you have time, please read how this holiday was strongly connected to folk culture in my post from last year. In Lutheran reality, this was the day when Simeon’s song of praise Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener in Friede fahren or Nunc Dimittis was celebrated. With his chorale Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin Luther turned Simeon’s song of praise into a message of “Now I can die in peace.” This is why all five cantatas (The famous Ich habe genug 82, 83, 125, 157, and 158) Bach wrote for this holiday are mostly about the joy of dying.
Since I’m following Bach’s chorale cantata writing in Leipzig in 1725, I’m featuring Cantata 125 Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin, written for February 2 of that year, and based on that same chorale by Luther.
My favorite overall recording of this cantata is Herreweghe’s recording from 1998, with Ingeborg Dantz, alto; Mark Padmore, tenor; and Peter Kooij, bass. You can find it here on YouTube. Please consider supporting the artists by purchasing the album on Amazon or on iTunes. It also includes the stunning Cantata 8 (Herreweghe’s personal favorite!) and the beautiful Cantata 138.
Please find the German text with English translations of this cantata here, and the score here.
There are some similarities with last week’s cantata, such as the bass solo that is made up of bits of recitative and bits of chorale melody, but already in the opening chorus a new day is dawning. If you read the history of today’s holiday in my post from last year, you know that Candle Mass was a natural time of year to start with something new.
Could the new inspiration in Bach’s brain be the St. Matthew Passion? It is not unlikely at all. Van Hengel suggests that the opening chorus has elements of the St. Matthew opening chorus, but then argues that that piece was not written yet in 1725. However, Gardiner (in his book Music in the Castle of Heaven) makes a strong case that Bach might have initially planned to have the St. Matthew Passion ready for Good Friday 1725. I’ve pointed out before that we can find preludes to the “Great Passion” in Bach’s cantatas as far back as the fall of 1723 (see posts about cantatas 105 and 46), so it is not unlikely that Bach was working on this in January 1725.
Keeping all this in mind, it is striking that the first aria after the opening chorus is an alto aria in St. Matthew style, full of pietism. Watch a very young Alex Potter (keep reading to find out more about him) sing this aria with the J.S. Bach Foundation here on YouTube. The instrumentation resembles the “Aus Liebe” soprano aria from the St. Matthew Passion: there are no organ chords in the bass, only repeated cello notes, and for the rest it is just flute and oboe da caccia, an unusual combination.
Because of the many connections with this Cantata 125 I’m now going to sneak in a mini review of the Herreweghe/Collegium Vocale concerts I attended in Europe this past week.
Applause at the end of the concert in the Eglise St. Roch in Paris, January 30, 2018. From left to right in front row: Peter Kooij, Thomas Hobbs, Philippe Herreweghe, Alex Potter, Dorothee Mields. Photo by Aube Neau/Luc Barrière, published with permission.
Let’s take the alto aria from Cantata 125. I call this type of aria a “floating aria” because it has no real basso continuo: there is no melodic line in the cello or chords in the organ, i.e. no foundation for the singer to stand on. These floating arias are incredibly beautiful and the stuff of goose bumps, but also incredibly challenging for the vocal soloist. In the terrific concert in Paris on Tuesday January 30, soprano Dorothee Mields had two such arias: the “Qui tollis” from the Mass in A Major (BWV 234)* and the “Wir zittern und wanken” from Cantata 105. She did an absolutely marvelous job in both of them, but her singing was the most mesmerizing in the “Wir zittern und wanken” aria. Cantata 105 stood out during that Paris performance anyway in my humble opinion. It simply has the best opening chorus of all cantatas Collegium Vocale performed in the three concerts I attended. On top of that, the group (including soloists Thomas Hobbs and Peter Kooij) recorded this in 2012, and you could tell it was still in everyone’s bones and it was a pleasure to see Herreweghe direct the strings as well as the soloists. One of my favorite bass ariosos occurs in that cantata (it makes me think of the “Am Abend da es kühle war” from the St. Matthew) and Peter Kooij’s strong rendition almost made me cry.
Detail of right-hand wing of the “Adoration of the Magi” Jan Floreins triptych by Hans Memling, showing the Presentation at the Temple, or Mary presenting Jesus to Simeon
And then on to countertenor Alex Potter. It was in Bruges’ St. John’s Hospital museum that I saw the Memling painting featured in this post, and this is also where I ran into Alex Potter and was able to tell him how much I enjoyed his singing on Friday January 26. During the concert in Paris on January 30 he even sang a soprano recitative, in that wonderful cantata 105, and did an excellent job at it. But his most impressive performance was the “Quoniam” aria from the Mass in A Major (BWV 234)**, which I heard in Bruges on Sunday January 28 and again in Paris on Tuesday January 30. He had a clear understanding of the text, made the music soar, and seemed to passionately enjoy what he was doing. It was a joy to watch and listen to.
Thank you for following this blog, and thank you for reading this long post all the way to the end!
For Trinity 11, which was last Sunday (August 7 in 2016, August 8 in 1723) we’re listening to Cantata179 Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei, with a superb opening chorus and one of the most beautiful soprano arias Bach ever wrote.
I prefer Bach Collegium Japan’s recording of this cantata. It’s a special recording, with Miah Persson singing the soprano aria. She’s having quite a career now, recently starring in Michel van der Aa’s opera Blank Out, singing Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at the Scala in Milan in September and October, and going on a recital tour in the USA later this season [2016/2017], so I think we’re lucky to have her beautiful voice and sensitive interpretation on this recording from 1999.
Listen to this recording on Spotify. Please consider purchasing this recording on jpc.de, ArkivMusic, Amazon, or iTunes. Soloists on this recording are Miah Persson, soprano; Makoto Sakurada, tenor; and Peter Kooij, bass.
The BBC recorded Gardiner’s live performance of this cantata in 2000, and you can watch that here on youTube. Soloists in this performance are Magdalena Kožená, soprano; Mark Padmore, tenor; and Stephan Loges, bass.
Find the score here (it’s fun to read along with the recording, especially in the opening chorus, to see what Bach does with the fugue).
Find the German text with English translation here.
It is now more than two months since Bach started his new job in Leipzig, and he is about three weeks into writing a brand new composition every week, and I’m sorry if I sound too casual here, but he’s on a roll. He must now have a vision of what it is he really wants to do for these churches (see the tiny preludes to his Passions he incorporates in cantatas 105 and 46), and he must have the classes at the St. Thomas School organized, and his singers sufficiently trained, so that he can now have them sing a new and challenging opening chorus every week. Just listening to the opening choruses alone, starting with the one of cantata 136 for Trinity 8, I marvel at what he comes up with every time. Every single one of them is stunning, but at the same time completely different from the one of the previous Sunday. This time Bach chooses to write a perfect “old style” (Palestrina-style) motet fugue as opening chorus.
As always, to fully understand the cantata and not miss any of Bach’s hidden messages, it is important to look at the Gospel reading for the day. In this case it is the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (or Pharisee and the Tax Collector), a story Jesus tells as an illustration on how to pray: the Pharisee is full of himself, telling God how good he is, while the Publican in his own prayer merely asks for mercy, and tells God how bad he is. This concept of “how to be a good Christian before God” was very important to Bach and apparently his librettist got the message loud and clear. He or she uses the opportunity to first write a strong protest against fake religion and hypocrisy in “Christianity today” in movements 1 to 3 (probably having certain people in Leipzig in mind), after which he/she states that all Christians should take the humbleness of the publican as example in movements 4 to 6. For another example of how Bach interprets this Bible story, read my post about Cantata 113, written for this same 11th Sunday after Trinity, in 1724.
The most special feature of the fugue in the opening chorus is that since the text talks about beautiful outer appearance versus a bad character, Bach uses a mirror-fugue, which he used as well in fugues 5-7 from the Art of the Fugue (the theme of six bars is first introduced by the basses, and then is answered by the tenors in an “inversion:” every step up from the basses becomes a step down in the tenor part.)
To understand how Bach built this intricate fugue I am sharing the excellent music example and diagram by Dutch Bach writer Eduard van Hengel, with his permission:
Even though the text here is in Dutch, the diagram speaks for itself, with this quick explanation of the numbers and symbols:
1 = The theme (or first half-sentence of the text: Siehe zu, dass deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei). Note the ascending line on the word “Gottesfurcht” (fear of God/love of God) and the descending line on the word “Heuchelei” (hypocrisy).
2 = The counter-subject (or second half-sentence of this text: und diene Gott nicht mit falschem Herzen). Note here that there is a chromatic line every time the word “falschem” appears in the text: for the chromatic line the composers needs accidentals that are not part of the key the piece is written in, which in the “old polyphony” would be seen as “falsch” (not right, off-key).
2* = a more compact (only 4 bars instead of 6 bars long) theme which is derived from the first counterpoint/counter-subject on the words und diene Gott nicht mit falschem Herzen, still with the chromatic line on falschem Herzen.
The numbers at the top are measure (“maat”) numbers.
Bach himself must have greatly valued this cantata. About 15 years later, he used no less than three movements from this cantata for use in his short masses, or Lutheran masses.**
The opening chorus was later “recycled” as the first movement (Kyrie) in the Mass in G Major, BWV 236. Keep listening, or scroll to 18:00 and you’ll discover that the tenor aria Quoniam (sung here by Thomas Hobbs) was, with some changes and a much slower tempo, recycled from the tenor aria in this cantata 179. In cantata 179 the tenor aria gets a colorful accompaniment of two oboes and first violins in unison. The second violins and violas fill in the meaningless middle part (representing the “nothingness, emptiness”). When recycling this later for the Quoniam in the Mass in G Major, Bach uses only one solo oboe for the accompaniment, and completely leaves out all strings (confirming that with a different text, the meaningless middle part is not relevant anymore).
This cantata’s wonderful soprano aria (with two oboi da caccia and basso continuo) was later reworked into the Qui Tollis for the Mass in A Major, BWV 234 (with two flutes and only high strings as continuo). This was actually how I first knew and loved this soprano aria, I didn’t know cantata 179 until I started listening to it for this blog. Please click on this link and listen to the amazing Agnès Mellon sing the Qui Tollis from the Mass in A Major.
Wieneke Gorter, August 14, 2016, updated August 21, 2020.
** These are called “short” or “Lutheran” masses because they consisted of only the Kyrie and Gloria part of the traditional Catholic mass. Bach wrote four of them (BWV 233-236), and they are all made up of existing movements from cantatas, but reworked and compiled in a very smart way and they are all absolutely beautiful. You can purchase an album with Herreweghe’s recording of all of them on jpc.de, iTunes, or Amazon.
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):
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.
My apologies for the delay in posting this – the cantata for Trinity 9 (July 25, 1723 / July 24, 2016) is cantata 105 Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht.
In the previous episode of this special 1723 Leipzig Trinity series we saw how Trinity 8 marked the start of the shorter cantata, containing only around 6 movements instead of 10 to 14 movements. However, that weeks’ cantata was probably still based on earlier compositions. This means that cantata 105 Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht could be considered the start of the true Leipzig cantata.
Two striking “Leipzig only” features make an appearance in this cantata: clear references to Bach’s future Passions (see below), and the “corno da tirarsi” (slide horn).
Only three cantatas (Trinity 10’s cantata 46, as well as 162 and 67) show the full name corno da tirarsi written in the manuscript, but there are 27 cantatas from Leipzig requiring a corno in which that part is not playable on a natural horn, so must have been written for this corno da tirarsi as well. Cantata 105 is included in that group. Bach is the only composer who ever mentioned this instrument in writing, and most probably his principal brass player Gottfried Reiche was the only one who ever played it. After Reiche’s death in 1734 Bach did not write for this instrument anymore, and for repeat performances of any cantatas containing a corno da tirarsi part, Bach rewrote it for other instruments. Read more about this inOlivier Picon’s article on the “corno da tirarsi” from 2010.
Herreweghe has recorded this cantata105 Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht twice: first in 1992 (with soloists Barbara Schlick, Gerard Lesne, Howard Crook, and Peter Kooij), and again in 2012 (with soloists Hana Blazikova, Damien Guillon, Thomas Hobbs, and again Peter Kooij).
Though that first recording from 1992 is excellent, and the soprano aria on that recording has more character to my taste, I recommend the 2012 recording for the following reasons:
At the time of the 1992 recording, no corno da tirarsi was available, which means that on that recording the tenor aria on that recording has an oboe accompaniment. The recording from 2012 does feature a corno da tirarsi in this aria.
The “Herr, Herr” exclamations are more prominent in the opening chorus of the 2012 recording, and the tempo of the opening chorus is also a bit faster, which I like.
The album, which includes three other cantatas, focuses on 1723 Trinity cantatas only, which of course is extra special for this blog’s special 1723 Trinity series.
Listen to this 2012 recording by Herreweghe on Spotify.
Listen to this 2012 recording on YouTube, by way of a playlist I created (it is possible that this only works for readers in the USA):
Support the artists and purchase this recording on Amazon or on iTunes. (it’s always worth it, but this time you’ll get three more cantatas in that same album that will be discussed on this blog in the coming weeks!)
Read the German text with English translations here, and find the score here.
Listen for the “Herr, Herr” exclamations in the opening chorus. They will appear in the opening chorus of the St. John Passion in early 1724. The exquisite soprano aria has no bass instrument in the continuo. Bach will later use that feature more often in other Leipzig cantatas, to either show purity or uncertainty, and it is a strong feature of the Aus Liebe aria from the St. Matthew Passion. And last but not least: when I listen to the bass arioso from this cantata 105, I am strongly reminded of the bass arioso Am Abend da es kühle war from the St. Matthew Passion. The music is not 100% the same, but very similar, and there are also references in the text.
Other stunning features of this cantata 105: the strings accompanying the soprano aria illustrate the “shivering” and “quavering” in the text, and those same “uncertain” strings turn up again in the orchestra part of the closing chorale.
Wieneke Gorter, July 30, 2016, links updated August 8, 2020.