Bach Cantata 78

Topics: Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata, Opera Pages: 3 (917 words) Published: November 4, 2008
Johann Sebastian Bach Cantata number 78 or Jesu, der du meine Seele (Jesus, Thou who wrested my soul), was composed in 1724 for the 14th Sunday after Trinity. The text that was used was based on a hymn by Johann Rist. The scoring for this cantata is transverse flutes, 2 oboes, 2 violins, cello, violone, viola, and continuo with organ. For the singing it is scored for four soloists a Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, and then a 4-part Chorus. It is in the key of g minor and it has 7 movements.

For the first movement which has the form of a Passacaglia which is a harmoniously complete eight measure melody with the emphasis on the theme which can even appear in the treble as it does. In this movement the theme primarily and initially appears as a descending chromatic bass. It is sung by full chorus and the mood is very somber because they open up about how Jesus dies the bitterest death and how it grieves the people of the church. Bach employs the ritornello in the first movement because it is in the form of a Passacaglia. He sets himself up later to have another ritornello later in the piece. For this piece the chorus is the role of the people of the church.

The second movement which is the most famous part of the piece is an aria duet with the soprano and alto. In which the soloist are people begging for forgiveness and help from God. As the sign melodically up a scale they are saying “Our voices are raising to beg thee for succor” which is the main point of this aria. Since Bach marked the violone is "staccato e pizzicato" this movement is very light and crisp and so must the singers be in the style of playing as well. The ending in what seems to be almost un-Bach like in which a cannon in the many repeats of "o Jesu" and "zu dir," and the coloraturas on "erfreulich." It ends with the beautiful effect of final "zu dir" as they say we are for you.

In the third movement which is a recitative for the tenor as he characterizes himself as a sinner and a...
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