Bach Cantata BWV 102 was one of six cantatas published early in the 19th century, long before the complete Bach Edition, as examples of the then rather unknown composer's art. Certainly our cantata is a brilliant example of Bach at his brilliant and austere best. The opening chorus is like granite. Both the rigorous opening statement and the two highly individual fugues are brilliantly incorporated into the austere texture. This is Bach at his most unforgiving and Lutheran. The alto aria with obbligato oboe is on a more personal, almost theatrical note. The bass aria with strings has extraordinarily high energy. Its stunning end on a question mark is but one of its unique features. The spiky tenor aria with violin obbligato continues the nastiness of the opening chorus. An extended alto recitative with two oboes leads us into the brilliant harmonization of "Vater unser im Himmelreich" that ends the cantata.

©Craig Smith

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