Birthday of Augustus III of Poland, Elector of Saxony
7 October 2021 – The day before yesterday we celebrated the anniversary of the election of Augustus III of Poland and Elector of Saxony. And today it's his birthday. Imagine getting a Bach cantata for your birthday! Well, being head of state at Bach's time and Bach being court composer probably grants you that prerogative.
So on October 7th, 1736, Bach created Schleicht, spielende Wellen, und murmelt gelinde, BWV 206, for him in Leipzig, with a performance in Café Zimmermann.
The librettist is unknown, but most likely it is Picander. He uses the allegory of four rivers that play an important part in the life of Augustus: the Weichsel in Poland; the Elbe which flows through Dresden, the residence of Augustus; the Donau, linked with the family of his wife Maria Josepha, the Habsburgs; and finally the small river Pleisse which flows through Leipzig.
- Schleicht, spielende Wellen, und murmelt gelinde, BWV 206
(first performance 7 oktober 1736, Leipzig period)
The Netherlands Bach Society website (in Dutch) has more information and a performance of BWV 206:
WBCF1007-Birthday of Augustus III of Poland, Elector of Saxony
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Image of the day
A portrait of Augustus III of Poland, aged 19, done in 1715 by the French painter Nicolas de Largillière.