Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 151, "Süsser Trost, mein Jesus kömmt," BWV 151 (BC A17)

    Description by Brian Robins

    During Bach's first two years as cantor in Leipzig (1723 - 1724) he expended great energy in building up two annual cycles of cantatas. The end of 1725 saw the start of a period of considerably less activity in this field; the composer turned instead to the performance of cantatas by other composers, notably his cousin Johann Ludwig Bach -- 18 of whose cantatas are known to have been performed in 1726. The reason for this may partly have been Bach's planning of the St. Matthew Passion, the first version of which was probably given in 1727, and on which he is now believed to have started work as early as 1725. The four extant cantatas (the others are Nos. 110, 57, and 28) from the latter part of this year are all for the Christmas season; BWV151 ("Sweet comfort, my Jesus comes") is for the third day after Christmas. The text by the Darmstadt court poet Georg Christian Lehms (whose poetry Bach also set in cantatas 110 and 57) does not draw on the gospel for the day, but is instead a consideration of the Christmas Epistle (Hebrews chapter 1) forecasting the birth of Jesus. The cantata was first performed on December 27, 1725. It dispenses with an opening chorus (perhaps, as one authority has suggested, to give the boys a rest after the hectic Christmas period), opening instead with a soprano aria considered by J. G. Whittaker to be "one of the most supremely beautiful in the whole range of cantatas." It is lightly scored for flute, violins, viola, and continuo, while the radiant solo part considers the "sweet comfort" of the coming of Christ. In keeping with the exhortation for "heart and spirit to rejoice," the central section is more animated. After a bass recitative, the second aria is allotted to the alto. If not quite as memorable as the soprano aria, it also possesses considerable, if reticent beauty, this time in the minor mode. A short recitative for tenor leads to the final number, a simple chorale harmonization of the hymn "Lobt Gott, ihr Christen allzugleich" (1560) by Nikolas Herman. The original autograph score and parts survive and are today housed in the Kunstsammlungen der Veste in Coburg.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Süsser Trost, mein Jesus kommt
    2. Erfreue dich, mein Herz, denn itzo weicht der Schmerz
    3. In Jesu Demut kann ich Trost
    4. Du teurer Gottessohn, non hast du mir den Himmel aufgemacht
    5. Heut schleusst er wieder auf die Tur

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2015 B 261CD
    2013 Warner Classics 381164
    2013 Teldec 467189
    2012 SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) / Soli Deo Gloria SDG 718
    2011 Accent ACC 25314
    2011 Warner Classics 674467
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2009 BIS 1761
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93668
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2006 Soli Deo Gloria 127
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2005 Challenge Records 72218
    2004 Brilliant 92391
    2001 Haenssler 92563
    2000 Haenssler 92046
    2000 Fine Classics 4428
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Koch International Classics 374622
    1999 Teldec 3984-25709-2
    1998 Fine Tune 3306
    1994 Teldec 4509-91762-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    Brilliant 99703
    Brilliant 93102-VOL3
    Brilliant 93102/73
    Brilliant Classics 93668/38
    Brilliant 92391/38
    Brilliant 99703/27
    Teldec 42631
    Teldec 35654
    Haenssler
    Haenssler 98825