Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 14, "Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit," BWV 14 (BC A40)

    Description by James Leonard

    Composed for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, which fell on January 30, 1735, Bach's Cantata No. 14 "War Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit" (If God were not with us at this time) (BWV 14) sets an anonymous text in its central movements that paraphrases a chorale by Martin Luther based on Psalm 124 used in the first and last movements. The cantata is scored for soprano, tenor, and bass soloists and chorus, corno da caccia, a pair of oboes, strings, and basso continuo. "War Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit" is in G minor with its first, fourth, and fifth movements in the tonic, its second movement in the relative major of B flat major, and its third movement starting in the tonic but ending on its minor dominant, thereby serving as a harmonic upbeat for the tonic of the fourth movement. Both outer movements end with picardy thirds. The first movement, marked Coro, is a gargantuan triple-time choral fugue with two subjects. The second movement is an aria for soprano soloist, full orchestra minus the oboes, and continuo. The third movement is an impassioned recitative for tenor soloist and sweeping continuo. The fourth movement is an aria in the form of a trio sonata for bass soloist, a pair of oboes, and continuo. "War Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit" concludes with a harmonization of the last verse of Luther's chorale for chorus and full orchestra colla parte.

    Parts/Movements

    1. War Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit
    2. Unsre Starke heisst zu schwach
    3. Ja, hätt' es Gott nur zugegeben
    4. Gott, bei deinem starken Schutzen
    5. Gott Lob und Dank, der nicht zugab

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2016 Sony Classical 88985320832
    2013 BIS BIS 2021
    2011 Warner Classics 671962
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2006 Soli Deo Gloria 115
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Teldec Classics 8573812105
    2006 Challenge Records 72220
    2001 Haenssler 92561
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92005
    1999 Teldec 3984-25706-2
    1994 Capriccio Records 10027
    1994 Teldec 4509-91755-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    1991 Teldec 42500
    Soli Deo Gloria 2277
    Brilliant Classics 99704
    Brilliant 99704/12
    Brilliant 93102/88
    Brilliant Classics 93102-VOL4
    Edel Records 1826
    Haenssler
    Teldec
    Haenssler 98859