Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 215, "Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen," BWV 215 (BC G21)

    Description by James Leonard

    Bach's Cantata No. 215 "Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen" (Praise your fortune, blessed Saxons) was written to celebrate the anniversary of the election of Augustus III as king of Poland on October 5, 1734. It is a setting of a text by Johann Christoph Clauder, and took only three days to compose. Augustus III himself heard the first performance from a window overlooking a market place in Leipzig; a torchlight parade of 600 students led by four Counts preceeded the performance, and the King "did not leave the window as long as the music lasted but listened and was heartily pleased." The cantata is scored for tenor, bass, and soprano soloists and double chorus, pairs of flutes and oboes, bassoon, a trio of trumpets plus tympani, strings, and basso continuo consisting of lute, harpsichord, cello, and double bass.

    "Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen" opens with a monumental hymn of praise for double chorus and full orchestra, which Bach later re-used in the Osanna of his Mass in B minor (BWV 232). This is followed by pairs of recitatives for tenor, bass, and soprano soloists. The tenor's recitative is accompanied by oboes, bassoon, lute, and harpsichord and his aria is accompanied by a pair of oboe d'amore, bassoon, strings, and continuo. The bass' dramatic secco recitative is followed by a brilliant aria accompanied by oboes, bassoon, strings, and continuo. The soprano's delicate recitative is accompanied by sighing flutes and continuo and her following supple aria is lightly scored for flutes, oboes d'amore, strings, and continuo. The penultimate recitative and arioso is set for all three soloists plus full orchestra. The final movement is a stately hymn of praise to Augustus III for double chorus and full orchestra.


    1. Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen
    2. Wie kommen wir, Grossmächtigster August
    3. Freilich trotzt Augustus' Name
    4. Was hat dich sonst, Sarmatien, bewogen
    5. Rase nur, verweg'ner Schwarm
    6. Ja, ja! Gott ist uns noch mit seiner Hulfe nah'
    7. Durch die von Eifer entflammeten Waffen
    8. Lass doch, o teurer Landesvater, zu
    9. Stifter der Reiche, Beherrscher der Kronen

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 BIS BIS 2231
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2008 Corona Classics 0002402CCC
    2008 Berlin Classics 0184202
    2007 Rondeau ROP 2006
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Brilliant 93038
    2004 Challenge Records 72204
    2000 Musicaphon 51355
    2000 Haenssler 92068
    1999 Teldec 3984-25710-2
    1997 Erato 0630 15562-2
    1996 Berlin Classics 0092252
    Brilliant 93102/120
    Brilliant 93038/6
    Brilliant Classics 99705
    Brilliant Classics 93102-VOL5
    Brilliant 99705/14