Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 74, "Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten," BWV 74 (BC A83)

    Description by James Leonard

    Composed for Whitsunday, or Pentecost, which fell on May 20, 1725, Bach's Cantata No. 74 "Wer mich liebet der wird mein Wort halten" (Who loves me keeps my commandments) (BWV 74) sets a text by Marianne von Ziegler into which lines from the day's Gospel According to John are used in the first, fourth, and sixth movements and the second, third, fifth, and seventh movements comment upon the Gospel. Bach uses the final verse of a traditional Whitsunday hymn by Paul Gerhardt as the cantata's eighth movement. Additionally, the first two movements of the cantata were taken from an earlier Whitsun cantata (BWV 59), but enlarged and expanded for this cantata. The cantata is massively scored for soprano, alto, bass and tenor soloists, chorus, two oboes, oboe da caccia, strings, basso continuo, three trumpets, and tympani in the outer movements. "Wer mich liebet der wird mein Wort halten" starts in C major with its first, sixth, and seventh movements in the tonic; its second movement in the major subdominant of F major; its third in the relative minor of A minor; its fourth in the mediant minor of E minor; its fifth in the dominant of G major; but ends with its eighth and final movement in the relative minor of A minor. The first movement is a large-scale and joyous work for chorus and the full orchestra, with the four bodies of musicians -- the strings, the winds, the brass, and the voices -- used as distinctly different choirs. The second movement is a pastoral aria in the form of a trio sonata for soprano soloist soloist, solo oboe da caccia, and continuo. The third movement is a very brief secco recitative for alto soloist and continuo. The fourth is a virtuoso aria for bass soloist alone above the continuo. The fifth is the heart of the work, an extended tenor aria accompanied by the highly embellished first violins, plus the other strings and continuo. The sixth is a recitative for bass soloist, a pair of oboes, oboe da caccia, and continuo. The seventh movement is a forceful triple-time aria for alto soloist scored for winds, strings, and continuo. "Wer mich liebet der wird mein Wort halten" concludes with a harmonization of Gerhardt's chorale for chorus and full orchestra colla parte.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten
    2. Komm, komm, mein Herze steht dir offen
    3. Die Wohnung ist bereit
    4. Ich gehe hin, und komm wieder zu euch
    5. Kommt! eilet! stimmet Sait' und Lieder
    6. Es ist nichts Verdammliches an denen, die in Christo Jesu
    7. Nichts kann mich erretten
    8. Kein Menschenkind hier auf der Erd

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2013 Teldec 671863
    2012 Rondeau ROP 4026
    2011 Warner Classics
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Archiv Produktion 477 873-5
    2010 Archiv Produktion / Deutsche Grammophon 4778735
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2007 BIS 1571
    2007 Warner Classics
    2007 Teldec Classics 8573811915
    2006 Soli Deo Gloria 121
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2004 Challenge Records 72214
    2002 Haenssler 94038
    2001 Haenssler 92562
    2000 Amati 9802
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 463584
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92023
    1999 Teldec 3984-25707-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91758-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    Brilliant Classics 99704
    Brilliant 99704/22
    Brilliant 93102/98
    Brilliant 99705/33
    Brilliant Classics 99705
    Brilliant Classics 93102-VOL4
    Haenssler
    Haenssler 98887