New Year's Day

Wednesday 1 January 2020

New Year's Day

Happy New Year! I wish you all the best, and Bach chips in with no less than 7 cantatas, including the 4th cantata of the Christmas Oratorio. Now you have a very valid alternative for the New Year concert from Vienna!

First up is Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 143, an early cantata from his Mühlhausen period. There is doubt that this cantata is actually from Bach, as there are no manuscripts in his handwriting. The oldest manuscript dates from 1762, so doubt remains.

Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht, BWV 134a, a rare cantata from the Köthen period, served as a model for his 1724 Easter Tuesday cantata, Ein Herz, das seinen Jesum lebend weiß, BWV 134.

Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190, was written for Bach's first New Year in Leipzig, 1724, so he made an extra effort to create a very festive cantata. This cantata served as a source for BWV 170 (with the same title), written for the second day of the 200rd anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (June 26 1730).

Technically, New Year is not a liturgical day; the liturgical new year starts with the first Sunday of Advent. But on that day the Circumcision and naming of Jesus (Luke 2:21) is celebrated, so the cantata Jesu, nun sei gepreiset, BWV 41, uses that as inspiration through a hymn by in three stanzas by Johannes Hermann (1591).

Herr Gott, dich loben wir, BWV 16, from his third complete cantata cycle (1726) relates again to a celebration for the New Year.

Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm, BWV 171 (1729), covers the naming of Jesus again, as does the fourth cantata of the Christmas Oratorio, Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben, BWV 248.

Cantatas

  • Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 143
    (first performance ? New Year's Day 1709-1711?, Mühlhausen period)
  • Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht, BWV 134a
    (first performance 1 January 1719, Köthen period)
  • Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, BWV 190
    (first performance 1 January 1724 - instrumental parts lost, Leipzig period)
  • Jesu, nun sei gepreiset, BWV 41
    (first performance 1 January 1725, Leipzig period)
  • Herr Gott, dich loben wir, BWV 16
    (first performance 1 January 1726, Leipzig period)
  • Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm, BWV 171
    (first performance 1 January ?1729, Leipzig period)
  • Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben, BWV 248
    (first performance 1 January 1735 - Christmas Oratorio Part IV, Leipzig period)

Extra information

The Netherlands Bach Society website (in Dutch) has more information and a performance of BWV 58:
https://bachvereniging.nl/nl/bwv/bwv-58/

Playlist

WBCF0101-New Year's Day

Playlist cover on Spotify

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Image of the day

An impressive fireworks display over Leipzig welcomes the New Year. You can spot the Thomaskirche left of the skyscraper in the center. Happy New Year!

An impressive fireworks display over Leipzig welcomes the New Year. You can spot the Thomaskirche left of the skyscraper in the center. Happy New Year!