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 :-)
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