Birthday of Christian, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels

Bach Cantata Day Information:
Birthday of Christian, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels

Occurs every February 23rd. Not a liturgical day.

Occurrences:


Music for this day

  • Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!, BWV 208
    (first performance 23 February 1713, Weimar period)
  • Entfliehet, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen, BWV 249a
    (first performance 23 February 1725, Leipzig period)


In 1713 Bach was court organist in Weimar, and he went with his employer, William Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, to the 31st birthday celebrations of the neighbouring ruler, Christian, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels, who was a keen hunter.

After an extended hunting party, Bach performed this cantata on the evening of that day as a birthday gift by his employer. It is Bach's oldest known secular cantata.

In 1725 Bach again composed a birthday cantata for the duke, even though the duke then was no longer his patron. This cantata, Entfliehet, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen, BWV 249a, is also know as the "Shepherds Cantata". The original music is lost but the text by Picander survived. The cantata could be reconstructed, because Bach reused this music for his Oster-Oratorium, BWV 249, first performed a good month later, on April 1st 1725.

The first reconstruction was done in the sixties by Friedrich Smend and Hermann Keller, which led to the first recording by Helmut Rilling and the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart in 1967. But I have chosen the more recent recording by Alexander Grychtolik.

That same Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels visited Leipzig many years later, on January 12, 1729, and Bach wrote as a homage the cantata O angenehme Melodei, BWV 210a.


In 1713 Bach was court organist in Weimar, and he went with his employer, William Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, to the 31st birthday celebrations of the neighbouring ruler, Christian, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels, who was a keen hunter.

After an extended hunting party, Bach performed this cantata on the evening of that day as a birthday gift by his employer. It is Bach's oldest known secular cantata.

In 1725 Bach again composed a birthday cantata for the duke, even though the duke then was no longer his patron. This cantata, Entfliehet, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen, BWV 249a, is also know as the "Shepherds Cantata". The original music is lost but the text by Picander survived. The cantata could be reconstructed, because Bach reused this music for his Oster-Oratorium, BWV 249, first performed a good month later, on April 1st 1725.

The first reconstruction was done in the sixties by Friedrich Smend and Hermann Keller, which led to the first recording by Helmut Rilling and the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart in 1967. But I have chosen the more recent recording by Alexander Grychtolik.

That same Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels visited Leipzig many years later, on January 12, 1729, and Bach wrote as a homage the cantata O angenehme Melodei, BWV 210a.

Playlist

WBCF0223-Birthday of Christian, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels

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Image of the day

Hotel Jaegerhof in Weissenfels originally was the hunting lodge of the Dukes of Saxe-Weissenfels, and the location for the first performance of Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!, BWV 208 in 1713.

Hotel Jaegerhof in Weissenfels originally was the hunting lodge of the Dukes of Saxe-Weissenfels, and the location for the first performance of Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!, BWV 208 in 1713.