Bach Cantata BWV 146 is a curious amalgam of instrumental and vocal music. The first movement is a sinfonia that is an enriched version of the first movement of the D Minor Harpsichord Concerto, here arranged for organ. The second movement of that concerto is the underpinning for the opening chorus. An expressive alto aria with violin obbligato follows. Perhaps the greatest thing in this cantata is the lazy and sinuous soprano aria with flute and two oboes d’amore. This has a tone and color both sensuous and melancholy, unique in all of Bach. The big duet with tenor and bass wipes out all sadness in the cantata and ends the work with a joyous, upbeat quality. The chorale most familiarly known as "Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring" ends this long and impressive cantata.

©Craig Smith

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