Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 143, "Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele" (doubtful), BWV 143 (BC T99)

    Description by Brian Robins

    One of two cantatas bearing this name ("Praise the Lord, my soul"), BWV 143 is considered by most authorities to be of doubtful provenance, although it is included in the New Bach Edition. It is a cantata for New Year's Day known only through a manuscript dating from 1762, 12 years after Bach's death. According to the great nineteenth-century Bach scholar Philipp Spitta it was first performed on New Year's Day in 1735 -- an assertion now known to be inaccurate. Most scholars are now agreed that if the cantata is genuine it must be an early work dating either from the period Bach spent as organist at Mühlhausen (1707 - 1708), or his early Weimar years (1708 - 1714). The cantata, which takes its text from three verses of Psalm 146, and two verses of "Du Friedfürst, Herr Jesu Christ" ("Thou prince of peace, Lord Jesus Christ," by Jacob Ebert [1601]), is a festive work appropriate to the season. The scoring includes, uniquely among Bach's sacred cantatas, parts for three corni da caccia (hunting horns) in addition to timpani strings and continuo. It opens with a joyous chorus in dance-like rhythm, the horns contributing celebratory fanfares. The first of several chorale interpolations follows, with the melody sung by the soprano soloist, who is supported by free material for the strings and continuo. The psalm now continues, set as tenor recitative; the text quietly affirms that all will be well for the man who puts his trust in God. This theme continues in an aria (also for tenor) in which the disturbed state of those who fail to so place their trust is emphasized by the cantata's sole use of the minor mode. A bass aria proclaiming that "the Lord is King everlastingly" follows, with the powerful declamation supported by the horns. The penultimate number is another tenor aria, gracefully lyrical in its melody line and supported by the strings and organ quietly playing the chorale tune. The final chorus combines text from both the psalm and hymn, with the sopranos singing the chorale in sustained notes against the joyful "Hallelujah" of the psalm in the lower parts.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele
    2. Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ
    3. Wohl dem, des Hulfe der Gott Jakobs ist
    4. Tausendfaches Ungluck, Schrecken
    5. Der Herr ist König ewiglich
    6. Jesu, Retter deiner Herde, bleibe ferner unser Hort
    7. Halleluja - Gedenk, Herr Jesu, an dein Amt

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94947BR
    2013 Teldec 467189
    2012 SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) / Soli Deo Gloria SDG 718
    2011 Warner Classics 674148
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2008 SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) 150
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2007 Warner Classics
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2001 Haenssler 92563
    2000 Haenssler 92044
    2000 BIS 841
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Teldec 3984-25708-2
    1994 Capriccio Records 10027
    1994 Teldec 4509-91762-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    1993 Teldec 4509-92627-2
    Brilliant 99704/17
    Brilliant 99704
    Brilliant 93102/93
    Brilliant 93102-VOL4
    Teldec 42630
    Haenssler
    Haenssler 98870
    Challenge Records 72221