Whit Monday

Monday 1 June 2020

Whit Monday

Today is Whit Monday, the second day of the Pentecost celebrations. Three Leipzig cantatas for you today.

The first cantata, Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut, BWV 173, is a parody of an earlier congratulatory cantata, Durchlauchtster Leopold, BWV 173a, which he wrote in Köthen. The parody is very close to the original, a bit of an exception in Bach's work. On the original manuscript Bach even wrote the new words under the old ones, so to easily keep the structure of the score. The original version of 1724 is lost, this is the version he created in 1727.

Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, BWV 68, is from 1725, at the end of his second cantata cycle, based on a libretto by Christiane Mariane von Ziegler.

The opening Sinfonia of Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte, BWV 174, may sound familiar - no wonder, it reuses parts of the third Brandenburg concerto. The manuscript of this cantata is an illustration of the work pressure Bach put himself in. A copiist copied the opening bars from the Brandenburg concerto, leaving 5 bars open for new parts which Bach wrote straight into the manuscript. Another copiist notes at the end of the Alto part "Fine d. 5 Junii 1729. Lipsiae" (finished June 5th 1729 in Leipzig), so on Whit Sunday, just in time for the first performance of the work the next morning.


  • Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut, BWV 173
    (first performance 29 May 1724, Leipzig period)
  • Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, BWV 68
    (first performance 21 May 1725, Leipzig period)
  • Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte, BWV 174
    (first performance 6 June 1729, Leipzig period)