New Year I

Sunday 5 January 2020

First Sunday after New Year

Today is the first Sunday after New Year's day, which, together with Epiphany, closes Christmastide in the liturgical calendar. So again an important day, with 3 cantatas, all from the Leipzig period, including the 5th cantata of the Christmas Oratorio.

This liturgical day only occurs if the Sunday after New Year occurs before Epiphany, which happens only in 4 out of 7 years.

The first cantata, Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind, BWV 153, dates from Bach's first Leipzig Christmas period, during which his musicians created new works like the Magnificat, BWV 243 and other cantatas, so after this busy period Bach proposes this cantata with a very modest setting to spare his Thomanerchor and orchestra.

The same remark can be made for Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 58, created in 1727, and actually a chorale cantata completing the 1724 cantata cycle, because this liturgical day did not occur in January 1725.

Finally there's the fifth cantata of the Christmas Oratorio, Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen, BWV 248, which covers the voyage of the Three Magi.

Cantatas

  • Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind, BWV 153
    (first performance 2 January 1724, Leipzig period)
  • Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 58
    (first performance 5 January 1727, Leipzig period)
  • Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen, BWV 248
    (first performance 2 January 1735 - Christmas Oratorio Part V, Leipzig period)