Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 110, "Unser Mund sei voll Lachens," BWV 110 (BC A10)

    Description by Erik Eriksson

    Composed in Leipzig as a choral work celebrating Christmas Day, Bach's Cantata No. 110 "Unser Mund sei voll Lachens" is scored for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists and four-part (SATB) chorus. Fashioned after Psalm 126, Jeremiah 10, and the second chapter of Luke, the text is joyful and celebratory, direct and exultant. For his instrumental ensemble, therefore, Bach employs three trumpets in addition to three oboes, two transverse flutes, fagotto (bassoon), strings, tympani, and continuo. As in other instances, Bach was not loath to engage in some borrowing from some of his earlier works. The opening chorus, "May our mouth be full of laughter and our tongues full of praise," is an adaptation of the composer's Overture in D major, BWV 1069, and the soprano/tenor duet "Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe" is derived from Bach's original (E flat) edition of his Magnificat. Running time ranges from 25 to 27 minutes. The cantata begins with its most powerful section, the opening chorus, which calls for full forces minus bassoon. Calling for laughter and praise, the text concludes with acknowledgement that the Lord has achieved great things for his people. A tenor aria benefits from two intertwining flutes as the soloist describes soaring thoughts and senses, prompted by the thought that God-become-man intends that his people be "Himmels Kinder," (heaven's children). A bass recitative (You, Lord, are unlike any other) leads to an alto aria (Ach Herr, was ist ein Menschenkind) accompanied by oboe d'amore that expresses wonder about the nature of man that the Lord should seek to redeem him through such painful action. The soprano/tenor duet that comes next is a model of expressive economy. The two voices shine over a simple organ and continuo accompaniment as they offer to God glory in the highest as peace on Earth is awaited now that the child has come as a sign of favor. The penultimate section, a bass aria, exhorts listeners to "Wacht auf, ihr Adern und ihr Glieder" (Awaken, you veins and every other member), to sing hymns of joy to God, a song of praise from the heart and soul. The closing chorale is related to one from the third section of the composer's Christmas Oratorio. "Alleluia! All praise be given God from the bottom of our hearts."

    Parts/Movements

    1. Unser Mund sei voll Lachens
    2. Ihr Gedanken und ihr Sinnen
    3. Dir, Herr, ist Niemand gleich!
    4. Ach Herr! was ist ein Menschenkind
    5. Ehre sei Gott in der Hohe
    6. Wacht auf, ihr Adern und ihr Glieder
    7. Alleluja! gelobet sei Got!

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Brilliant Classics 95853
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2015 J.S. Bach-Stiftung B 107CD
    2013 Teldec 671853
    2012 SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) / Soli Deo Gloria SDG 718
    2012 Rondeau ROP 4043
    2011 Warner Classics 674288
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2009 BIS 1761
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2008 Berlin Classics 018421
    2007 Warner Classics
    2007 Teldec Classics 8573811765
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2005 Soli Deo Gloria 113
    2004 Erato 4614012
    2004 Haenssler 98836
    2004 Challenge Records 72215
    2003 Harmonia Mundi 2908135/39
    2003 Haenssler 98459
    2002 Harmonia Mundi 908119
    2001 Haenssler 92562
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92035
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 2951594
    1999 Teldec 3984-25708-2
    1996 Harmonia Mundi 901594
    1994 Teldec 4509-91760-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    Brilliant Classics 99704/1
    Brilliant Classics 93102/77
    Brilliant Classics 99704
    Brilliant Classics 93102-VOL4
    Harmonia Mundi 2981594
    BBC Music Magazine 287
    Haenssler
    Haenssler 98824
    Arts Music 47717-8