Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): – The Church Year – Pentecost: Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! – BWV 172

Bach 150x150 captioned This particular Cantata (BWV172) was composed for Pentecost and dates from the period when Bach was Kapellmeister in Weimar during his time there he composed several large-scale works for some of the major holidays in the Lutheran church calendar, Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. While at Weimar Bach was fortunate in having the poet Salomo Franck as his librettist. Bach responded to the high poetic and literary quality of Salomo’s text and ‘Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!’ (Resound, ye songs, ring out, ye strings!) like all his Weimar works is a very passionate piece of music.

Its structure is like this:

 Chorus recititative (bass) aria (bass) aria (tenor) duet/chorale (sop/alto) chorale.

It begins joyfully with a four-part homphonic chorus reacting  to festive trumpet fanfares and tympani which is followed by  a short arioso bass recitative of John 14:23 this leads to a da capo aria in which the bass asks the Holy Trinity to "come into the tabernacle of our hearts" this heartfelt plea  plea is supported by tympani and three obligato trumpets. Trinitarian symbolism is woven throughout this aria which Bach wrote mostly in intervals of a third. While the tenor aria that follows is in complete contrast – it’s a tranquil piece whose mood is enchanced by the strings that portray the soul being wafted on the breath of the Holy Spirit.

The duet between the soul and the Holy Spirit is the Cantata’s high point it’s a duet for soprano and alto with obbligato oboe accompaniment. Bach went all out to match the complex text with intricately crafted, detailed, and elaborate voice parts. A rather beautiful setting of Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern,  ends the cantata. Music video, text and translation are all below. Enjoy :-)


Text & translation:  Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! – BWV 172

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1Chor: Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!
O seligste Zeiten! 
Gott will sich die Seelen zu Tempeln bereiten.
Chorus: Ring forth o songs, resound, you strings!
O most blessed time! 
God Himself shall prepare our souls for His  temple.
2Rezitativ Bass: Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten, und mein Vater wird ihn lieben, und wir werden zu ihm kommen und Wohnung bei ihm machen. (John 14:23)Recitative Bass: Whoever loves Me will keep My Word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.
3Arie Bass: Heiligste Dreieinigkeit,
Großer Gott der Ehren, 
Komm doch in der Gnadenzei
Bei uns einzukehren,
Komm doch in die Herzenshütten,
Sind sie gleich gering und klein,
Komm und laß dich doch erbitten,
Komm und kehre / ziehe / bei uns ein!
Aria Bass: Holiest Trinity,
Great God of honor,
in the time of grace 
o come and return to us,
o come into the tabernacle of our hearts,
though they are small and insignificant,
come and let Yourself be persuaded,
come and enter within us!
4Arie Tenor: O Seelenparadies,
Das Gottes Geist durchwehet,
Der bei der Schöpfung blies,
Der Geist, der nie vergehet;
Auf, auf, bereite dich,
Der Tröster nahet sich.
Aria Tenor: O paradise of the soul,
fanned by the Spirit of God,
which blew at creation,
the Spirit, which never passes away;
arise, arise, prepare yourself,
the Comforter approaches.
5Arie (Duett mit instr. Choral)
Sopran (Seele), Altus (Heiliger Geist)

Komm, laß mich nicht länger warten,
Komm, du sanfter Himmelswind,
Wehe durch den Herzensgarten!
– Ich erquicke dich, mein Kind. –
Liebste Liebe, die so süße,
Aller Wollust Überfluß,
Ich vergeh, wenn ich dich misse.
– Nimm von mir den Gnadenkuß. –
Sei im Glauben mir willkommen,
Höchste Liebe, komm herein!
Du hast mir das Herz genommen.
– Ich bin dein, und du bist mein! –
Aria (Duet with instr. Chorale)
Soprano (Soul), Alto (Holy Spirit)

Come, do not keep me waiting longer,
come, gentle wind of heaven,
blow through the garden of my heart!
– I shall refresh you, my child. –
O most beloved Love, who are so sweet,
the fullness of all delight,
I faint when I lack You.
– Take the kiss of grace from Me. –
Be welcome to me in faith,
highest Love, come within!
You have taken my heart from me.
– I am yours, and you are Mine! –
(Instrumental Chorale:
Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott,
Erfüll mit deiner Gnaden Gut
Deiner Gläubigen Herz, Mut und Sinn.
Dein brünstig Lieb entzünd in ihn’n.
O Herr, durch deines Lichtes Glanz
Zu dem Glauben versammlet hast
Das Volk aus aller Welt Zungen;
Das sei dir, Herr, zu Lob gesungen.
Alleluja, alleluja.)
("Komm, Heiliger Geist," verse 1)
(Instrumental Chorale:
Come, Holy Spirit, Lord God,
fill with the goodness of Your grace
the hearts, wills, and minds of Your faithful.
Ignite Your burning love in them.
O lord, through the radiance of Your light
You have gathered to Your faith
people from all the languages of the world;
may this be sung, Lord, to Your praise.
Alleluia, alleluia.)
6Choral: Von Gott kömmt mir ein Freudenschein,
Wenn du mit deinen Äugelein,
Mich freundlich tust anblicken.
O Herr Jesu, mein trautes Gut,
Dein Wort, dein Geist, dein Leib und Blut
Mich innerlich erquicken.
Nimm mich
In dein Arme, daß ich warme werd von Gnaden:
Auf dein Wort komm ich geladen.
("Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern," verse 4)
Chorale: A joyful radiance reaches me from God,
when with Your little eye
You cast Your glance on me with friendship.
O Lord Jesus, my dearest good,
Your word, Your Spirit, Your body and blood
shall refresh me within.
Take me
with friendship
in Your arms, so I become warmed with grace:
I come invited by Your word.
Series Navigation<< Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): – The Church Year – Ascenscion: Wer da gläubet und getauft wird – BWV 37Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): – The Church Year – Trinity Sunday: Die Elenden sollen essen (The miserable shall eat) BWV 75 >>

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