Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 169, "Gott soll allein mein Herze haben," BWV 169 (BC A143)

    Description by Blair Johnston

    Like so many composers of his day, J.S. Bach was not at all afraid to reuse good musical material. Sometimes he plundered the same source more than once; this is the case with the music from which he drew the Cantata No. 169, Gott soll allein mein Herz haben, BWV 169, of 1726 -- a now-lost oboe (or possibly viola) concerto. It is the source not only for two of the numbers in BWV 169 but also for the Harpsichord Concerto in E major, BWV 1053 from about ten years later. Gott soll allein mein Herz haben was composed for the eighteenth Sunday after Trinity (which fell on October 20 in 1726) and is a setting of an anonymous text.

    Bach uses a medium-sized ensemble in BWV 169: solo alto, two oboes (really oboes d'amore), oboe da caccia (or taille), strings, organ obbligato, and alto solo. The opening sinfonia and No. 5, the aria "Stirb in mir" ("Die in me"), are the two portions of music extracted from the lost oboe/viola concerto; each is a whole step lower than its counterpart in the later Harpsichord Concerto (E and C sharp minor in the harpsichord work are D and B minor, respectively, in the cantata). In the sinfonia, the organ obbligato is honored with the task of reproducing the original solo part. In "Stirb in mir," things are not quite so simple: the organ and the alto soloist offer, simultaneously, slightly different versions of the original solo line -- sometimes their two versions line up note-by-note, but sometimes, usually so that the alto might better carry the text, they diverge and become counterpoints to one another. Bach sets a new text to an old melody, that of the Lutheran hymn "Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist," in the final chorale, "Du süsse Liebe."


    1. Sinfonia in D major
    2. Gott soll allein mein Herze haben, Arioso for alto
    3. Gott soll allein mein Herze haben
    4. Was ist die Liebe Gottes?
    5. Stirb in mir, Welt und alle deine Liebe
    6. Doch meint es auch dabei mit ereun Nachsten treu
    7. Du süsse Liebe, schenk' uns deine Gunst

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Harmonia Mundi HMG 502016
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2015 J.S. Bach-Stiftung B 107CD
    2013 Teldec 671897
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099990377
    2011 Elatus
    2011 Decca
    2011 Warner Classics 674147
    2010 Fazer / Finlandia
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2009 Soli Deo Gloria 159
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 902016
    2008 Hyperion CDH55312
    2008 Challenge Classics 72282
    2008 Berlin Classics 0017242
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93668
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946397732
    2007 EMI Classics
    2007 BIS 1621
    2007 Warner Classics
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99368
    2005 Challenge Records 72217
    2005 Naxos 8557621
    2004 Brilliant 92391
    2001 Haenssler 92563
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 74284
    2001 CD Accord 033
    2000 Haenssler 92051
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Finlandia 25325
    1999 Teldec 3984-25709-2
    1997 Vanguard 64/65
    1994 Teldec 4509-91763-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    1989 Hyperion 66326
    1988 Teldec 35658
    Brilliant 99703
    Brilliant 99705/33
    Brilliant 99705
    Brilliant 93102-VOL3
    Fidelio 8826
    Brilliant Classics 93668/36
    Brilliant 93102/63
    Brilliant 92391/36
    Brilliant Classics 99368/2
    Brilliant 99703/17
    Berlin Classics 0011322
    Haenssler 98815