3 The Church Cantata Second in importance to oratorio Cantata = work in several movements for voices & instrumentsCould use sacred or secular textsFeatured solo voice(s) & sometimes chorusChurch cantataAlways based on sacred textUsed solo voices; usually used chorusTexts for Lutheran church cantatas had to fit with fixed Bible readings for each Sunday of the church year
4 The Lutheran Chorale Most Lutheran cantatas use chorales Chorale = German congregational hymnMartin Luther favored hymn singing–he wanted audience participationFrom that time on, the body of German hymns grew steadilyHymns well-known & well-loved by Lutheran congregationsWhen used in cantatas, chorales provided rich source of associations
5 Cantatas & Chorales Cantatas used chorales in several ways Final movement of typical Bach cantata used single verse of a chorale sung straight through with simple harmonizationLonger choruses could present chorale phrases one by one, with a point of imitation on each oneGapped chorales presented chorale melody in spurts, with a continuously recurring ritornello-like idea in between phrases
6 Bach Cantatas Bach wrote over 200 cantatas, most of them for church In Leipzig Bach had to produce cantatas for the entire church yearCantatas were used for every Sunday service at the ThomaskirchePerformed between the Gospel reading & the sermonProvided reflection on the reading in preparation for the all-important sermon
7 Typical Bach Cantata Began with substantial chorus Usually based on a chorale tune (same as the one used at the end)Continued with recitatives & arias for solo voicesConcluded with straightforward harmonized choraleCarefully selected to fit with Bible readings for that Sunday
8 Bach, Cantata No. 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (1) Written in 1707 while Bach was still a small-town organistCantata for Easter SundaySurprisingly serious & stern for EasterReflects on battle between Life & DeathEach stanza does end with a HallelujahFor voices, string orchestra, & continuo
9 Bach, Cantata No. 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (2) Based on a chorale by Luther“Christ Lay in Death’s Dark Prison”
10 Bach, Cantata No. 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (3) Uses all seven stanzas—unusual!One stanza per movement–seven movements altogetherBach arranged the seven movements in symmetrical fashion
11 Bach, Cantata No. 4, Stanza 3 (1) For tenor, solo violin, & continuoGapped chorale settingTenor sings chorale melody with gaps in between phrasesViolin plays ritornello melody at beginning, end, & in gaps between phrasesCelebrates Christ’s victory over deathEngaging, vivacious, dance-like rhythmsRather serious in mood
12 Bach, Cantata No. 4, Stanza 3 (2) Dramatic contrast at “Da bleibet nichts”Violin abandons ritornello for fast chordsShort pause after “nichts” (nothing) interrupts motor rhythmsPause followed by short, slower cadenza on “denn Tod’s Gestalt”Unusual passages in Bach sacred works usually point us to the wordsPause illuminates heart of stanza’s message–Nothing is left of Death’s power because Christ has done away with our sins
13 Stanza 3 Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn, An unser Statt ist kommen Und hat die Sünde weggetan,Damit den Tod genommenAll’ sein Recht und sein’ Gewalt;Da bleibet nichts–denn Tod’s Gestalt;Den Stach’l hat er verloren,Hallelujah!Jesus Christ, the Son of God,Has come on our behalf,And has done away with our sins,Thereby robbing DeathOf all his power and his might;There remains nothing but Death’s image;He has lost his sting.Hallelujah!
14 Bach, Cantata No. 4, Stanza 4 (1) For alto solo, soprano, tenor, & bass voices, & continuoAlto voice sings gapped chorale melodyDouble by the pipe organLong, slow note valuesThe other voices introduce each phraseSoprano, tenor, & bass
15 Bach, Cantata No. 4, Stanza 4 (2) The other voices introduce each phraseThey sing fragments from each chorale phrase in imitationFaster note valuesContinuous feel
16 Bach, Cantata No. 4, Stanza 4 (3) Expressive devicesBusy imitative polyphony suggests warfare against DeathJaunty rhythm & close imitation at “Ein Spott” seems to mock Death
17 Stanza 4 Es war ein wunderlicher Krieg, Da Tod und Leben rungen; Das Leben da behielt das Sieg,Es hat den Tod verschlungen.Die Schrift hat verkündiget dasWie ein Tod den andern frass;Ein Spott aus dem Tod ist worden.Hallelujah!It was a marvelous warWhere Death and Life battled.Life there gained the victory;It completely swallowed up Death.Holy Scripture has proclaimedHow one Death gobbled up the other;Death thus became a mockery.Hallelujah!
18 Bach, Cantata No. 4, Stanza 7 For voices, orchestra, & continuo Straightforward presentation of the hymnSimple homophonic textureSoprano takes the melodyFour-part vocal harmonyVocal parts doubled by instrumentsText turns from battles to confidence of faithMusical setting offers restful, serene conclusion
19 Stanza 7 Wir essen und leben wohl Im rechten Osterfladen. Der alter Sauerteig nicht sollSein bei dem Wort der Gnaden.Christus will die Koste seinUnd speisen die Seel’ allein,Der Glaub’ will keins andern Leben.Hallelujah!We eat and live fitlyOn the true unleavened bread of the PassoverThe old yeast shall notContaminate the word of grace.Christ will be the costAnd alone will feed the soul:Faith will live on nothing else.Hallelujah!
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