Whit Tuesday

Bach Cantata Day Information:
Whit Tuesday

Tuesday after Whit Sunday. Liturgical period : Ordinary time II.

Occurrences: May 21 2024, June 10 2025, May 26 2026, May 18 2027, June 6 2028, May 22 2029, June 11 2030, June 3 2031, May 18 2032, June 7 2033, May 30 2034, May 15 2035, June 3 2036, May 26 2037.

Music for this day

  • Erwünschtes Freudenlicht, BWV 184
    (first performance 30 May 1724, Leipzig period)
  • Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen, BWV 175
    (first performance 22 May 1725, Leipzig period)

Whit Tuesday is day 3 of the Pentecost celebrations. Two cantatas for this day, both from the Leipzig period.

The first cantata, Erwünschtes Freudenlicht, BWV 184, dates from 1724, one year after his start as Thomaskantor, a year in which he wrote a cantata for every liturgical day (so most Sundays) and wrote the Johannes Passion. After the Johannes he wrote 13 more cantatas up to this day, so on average a cantata every four days... No wonder that for this cantata he reuses parts of an earlier secular cantata from the Köthen period, which is unfortunately lost. BWV 184a was most likely a celebratory cantata for his employer in Köthen, Prince Leopold - it is even suggested that "Freudenlicht" has the same rhytm as "Leopold".

Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen, BWV 175, is based on the scripture of John for that day, where Jesus is presented as a good shepherd. Pentecost in itself is not mentioned in one of the four Gospels, but in the Acts of the Apostles, so it could never be used as a scripture reading. But the shepherd calling his sheep is a clear reference to the events on Pentecost.


WBC40-Whit Tuesday

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Image of the day

Pentecost by Italian painter Giotto (1267-1337), National Gallery, London.

Pentecost by Italian painter Giotto (1267-1337), National Gallery, London.