Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 17, "Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich," BWV 17 (BC A131)

    Description by James Leonard

    Composed for the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, which fell on September 22, 1726, Bach's Cantata No. 17 "Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich" (He who offers thanks praises me) (BWV 17) is in two parts. The first is based on anonymous text from the Old Testament (Psalm C) and the second is based on a text from the New Testament (Luke 17, 15-16). There also is a closing harmonization based on a chorale by Johann Gramann from 1530. As suits a text offering praise and thanks, the tone of the music is fundamentally joyous, albeit with two sorrowful movements. The cantata is scored for alto, soprano, tenor, bass and soloists, chorus, plus a pair of oboes, strings, and basso continuo. The cantata is in A major with its first and seventh movements in the tonic, its second and fourth movements are in the relative minor of F sharp minor, its third in the dominant of E major, its fifth in the subdominant of D major, and its sixth in the dominant's relative minor of C sharp minor. The first movement opens a grand orchestral sinfonia followed by a triumphal choral fugue. The second movement is a gloomy recitative for alto soloist accompanied only by the basso continuo. The third movement is an aria for soprano soloist with the first and second violins providing an invention-like texture above the continuo. The fourth movement starts the second part of the cantata with a dour recitative for tenor soloist and continuo. The fifth movement is a confident aria for tenor accompanied by strings and continuo. The sixth movement is a desolate recitative for bass and continuo. "Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich" concludes with a fully scored harmonization of Gramann's hymn for the entire chorus and orchestra.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich
    2. Es muss die gauze Welt ein stummer Zeuge werden
    3. Herr, deine Güte reicht, so weit der Himmel ist
    4. Einer aber unter ihnen, da er sahe
    5. Welch Übermass der Güte schenkst du mir
    6. Sieh' meinem Willen an
    7. Wie sich ein Vat'r erbarmet

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2019
    Accentus
    ACC 30471
    2016
    BIS
    BIS 9055
    2011
    Warner Classics
    671962
    2010
    BIS
    1851
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Brilliant Classics
    94050
    2008
    Teldec
    69943-7
    2007
    Accent
    25305
    2006
    Soli Deo Gloria
    124
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    93102
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    99697
    2006
    Teldec Classics
    8573812095
    2005
    Challenge Records
    72217
    2001
    Haenssler
    92561
    2000
    Amati
    9802
    1999
    Teldec
    25704
    1999
    Haenssler
    92005
    1999
    Various Artists
    Teldec
    3984-25706-2
    1994
    Archiv Produktion
    439 368-2AX26
    1994
    Archiv Produktion
    439387
    1994
    Teldec
    4509-91755-2
    1994
    Teldec
    4509-91765-2
    Brilliant Classics
    99703/13
    Brilliant Classics
    93102/59
    Brilliant Classics
    99703
    Brilliant Classics
    93102-VOL3
    Teldec
    42501
    Haenssler
    Teldec
    35031
    Haenssler
    98868
    Teldec