Sunday 7 June 2020

First Sunday after Pentecost or Trinitatis

Today is Trinitatis, the first Sunday after Pentecost, the liturgic day upon which the Holy Trinity is celebrated. It is also the first Liturgic day after the Easter period, which ends with the Pentecost celebrations. All following Sundays, up until Advent, are numbered from Trinitatis.

Trinitatis was special for Bach, as he arrived in Leipzig around that date and created his first cantata on the following Sunday, which is why the three complete Leipzig cantata cycles begin and end around that liturgical day.

The first cantata, O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad, BWV 165, probably dates from Weimar but it is equally likely that he performed or created this cantata at the end of his first year in Leipzig.

Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest, BWV 194, was created on November 2nd 1723 for the consecration of the church and organ in Störmthal (and I'll present you this cantata again on November 2nd), but it is certain that Bach wrote the cantata specifically for liturgical reuse, which he did the following Trinitatis in 1724.

Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding, BWV 176, is the last of the nine cantatas based on poems by Christiane Mariane von Ziegler (1695-1760) and dates from 1725, so at the end of his second Leipzig cycle.

Bach's original intention for that second cantata cycle (1724-1725) was a complete cycle of choral cantatas, so cantatas based on chorals from the liturgical songbook. That cycle abruptly ended in March of that year, with the death of his librettist, Andreas Stübel. In later years he completed the cycle, and Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott, BWV 129, from 1727, is the first of those later choral cantatas.


  • O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad, BWV 165
    (first performance 16 June 1715?, Weimar period)
  • Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest, BWV 194
    (first performance 2 November 1723, Leipzig period)
  • Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding, BWV 176
    (first performance 27 May 1725, Leipzig period)
  • Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott, BWV 129
    (first performance 8 June 1727, Leipzig period)