Trinitatis IV or 4th Sunday after Trinitatis
2 July 2023 – Today is Trinitatis IV or the 4th Sunday after Trinitatis. 3 cantatas for you today, one from Weimar and two from Leipzig.
Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe, BWV 185, is one of the about 20 cantatas Bach wrote in Weimar, where he was expected to write a cantata every month. The libretto is by court poet Salomon Franck like several other Weimar cantatas. It evoques the evangelical reading of the day, the Sermon on the Mount. Bach performed this cantata at least once more in Weimar, and at least twice in Leipzig, including a performance in 1723 on his first Trinitatis IV.
In that initial Leipzig period Bach often performed two cantatas, one before and one after the sermon. That Sunday in 1723, BWV 185 was played after the sermon, and was preceded by Ein ungefärbt Gemüte, BWV 24, composed for the day. This is actually the first cantata Bach composed in Leipzig itself; the preceding Sundays and holy days since his appointment he performed Weimar cantatas, or in the case of BWV 75 and 76, two cantatas he already prepared in Köthen prior to his arrival in Leipzig.
Finally Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 177, composed in 1732, is a choral cantata he wrote to complete his chorale cantata cycle. In 1724 Trinitatis IV coincided with Visitation, which took precedence as a celebration because of its importance. So in 1732 he filled that gap. Because he did not have an appropriate librettist in those later years, he often uses the lyrics of the chorale literally as his libretto (this is called "per-omnes-versus"). The hymn on which it is based is written in 1530 by Johann Agricola (1494-1566).
- Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe, BWV 185
(first performance 14 July 1715, Weimar period)
- Ein ungefärbt Gemüte, BWV 24
(first performance 20 June 1723, Leipzig period)
- Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 177
(first performance 6 July 1732, Leipzig period)
The Netherlands Bach Society website (in Dutch) has more information and a performance of BWV 185:
WBC45-Trinitatis IV or 4th Sunday after Trinitatis
Choose one of these streaming services to listen to this playlist:
Image of the day
The Sermon on the Mount, 1598, by Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625), J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.