Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 29, "Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir," BWV 29 (BC B8)

    Description by Brian Robins

    BWV 29 ("We thank thee, O God, we thank thee") is one of a number of cantatas J.S. Bach composed for the ceremonies attending the installation of new members of the Leipzig city council (other examples are cantatas Nos. 119 and 120). An important part of these ceremonies, which traditionally took place at the end of August, was the church service held at St. Nicholas'. The present work was composed for the event in 1731, the service taking place on August 27 that year. In keeping with the festive and ceremonial pomp of the occasion, Bach's cantata is lavishly scored for an orchestra including three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, strings, and continuo bass, and vocal forces including the usual four-part chorus, and soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists. An unknown librettist provided the text glorifying the power of God and extolling him to protect "town and palaces." This cantata opens with a sinfonia in the form of a remarkable arrangement of the Prelude from the Violin Partita in E major, BWV 1006. The violin part is given to obbligato organ, the material largely imitated in the orchestral parts to produce a concerto-like structure. Many listeners will recognize the fugal opening chorus, since it is a reworking of what would eventually become the "Gratias agimus tibi" and "Dona nobis pacem" sections of the monumental Mass in B minor, BWV 232. The text is drawn from Psalm 75:1. Three arias interspersed by recitatives follow. The first aria, for tenor, has a violin obbligato, and Bach returns to its A section, a setting of the words "Hallelujah, strength and might," for the alto aria that forms the penultimate number. In between comes a soprano aria in gentle siciliano rhythm with an obbligato part for oboe. The final number is a four-part setting of the fifth stanza of Johann Gramann's hymn "Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren" (1549), the trumpets and drums adding their magnificence and splendor to this jubilant work.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Sinfonia in D major
    2. Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir
    3. Hallelja, Stärk und Macht
    4. Gottlob! es geht uns wohl!
    5. Gedenk an uns mit deiner Liebe
    6. Vergiß es ferner nicht, mit deiner Hand uns Gutes zu erweisen
    7. Hallelja, Stärk und Macht
    8. Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295975135
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875173752
    2016 Querstand VKJK 1511
    2013 La Dolce Volta LDV 1180
    2012 BIS BIS 1981
    2011 Brilliant Classics 93578
    2011 Warner Classics 671866
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Harmonia Mundi 5908363
    2010 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 88697602662
    2009 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi / Sony Music Distribution 88697567942
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2008 Berlin Classics 018421
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Teldec Classics 8573812075
    2006 Challenge Records 72220
    2001 Haenssler 92561
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 901690
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92009
    1999 Teldec 3984-25706-2
    1995 Berlin Classics 0090552
    1994 Teldec 4509-91756-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    1991 Hyperion 66502
    Brilliant 99704/30
    Brilliant 93102/106
    Brilliant Classics 99704
    Brilliant Classics 93102-VOL4
    Vanguard 88
    Edel Records 1829
    Harmonia Mundi 2981690
    Haenssler
    Teldec 35034
    Teldec
    Haenssler 98857