Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 128, "Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein," BWV 128 (BC A76)

    Description by James Leonard

    As the title indicates, Bach's Cantata No. 128 "Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein" (On Christ Ascent to Heaven Alone) (BWV 128) was composed for the Feast of the Ascension, which fell on May 10, 1725. Bach's cantata sets a text by Marianne von Ziegler based on a hymn by Josua Wegelin von Ernst Sonnemann from 1661 and ends with Matthäus Avenarius' 1673 chorale O Jesu, meine Lust. The cantata is scored for tenor, bass and alto soloists, chorus, strings, and basso continuo and, as suits the festive occasion, a large orchestra that includes a pair of horns, a pair of oboes, an oboe d'amore, and a solo high trumpet in the central third movement. "Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein" is in G major, with its first and fifth movements in the tonic and its central movements in the minor mediant of B minor. The first movement is a huge chorale fantasia in which the sopranos intone the hymn melody above the intricate counterpoint of the other voices while the orchestra of horns and oboes doubling the upper strings elaborates the chorale's parts over a sempre staccato continuo. The second movement is a brief secco recitative for soloist and continuo. The third movement for bass soloist, virtuoso solo trumpet, strings, and continuo starts and ends as a triple-time aria, but the aria breaks off two-thirds of the way through for an intensely dramatic common time recitative for soloist against string chords. The fourth movement is a 6/8 time da capo duet aria in the form of a trio sonata for alto and tenor soloists, solo melancholy oboe d'amore, and continuo. "Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein" concludes with a harmonization of Avenarius' chorale for chorus with strings and winds colla parte and the pair of horns providing a descant.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein
    2. Ich bin bereit, komm, hole mich!
    3. Auf, auf, mit hellem Schall
    4. Sein' Allmacht zu ergrunden, wird sich kein Mensche finden
    5. Alsdann so wirst du mich

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2013 SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) SDG 185
    2013 Teldec 671846
    2013 Rondeau ROP 4041
    2011 Warner Classics 674150
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Archiv Produktion / DG Archiv / DG Deutsche Grammophon 4778735
    2010 DG Archiv 477 873-5
    2008 Challenge Classics 72285
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2007 BIS 1571
    2007 Teldec Classics 8573811705
    2007 Warner Classics
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2005 Berlin Classics 0032912BC
    2004 Challenge Records 72215
    2004 Haenssler 98837
    2003 Leipzig 1800
    2002 Haenssler 94027
    2001 Haenssler 92562
    2000 DG Archiv 463583
    2000 Haenssler 92040
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Teldec 3984-25708-2
    1998 Berlin Classics 0090 952BC
    1994 Teldec 4509-91761-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    Brilliant 99703/28
    Brilliant 99703
    Brilliant 93102/74
    Brilliant 93102-VOL3
    Edel Records 1805
    Haenssler
    Haenssler 98886
    Haenssler 98886