Bach Cantata BWV 175 is something of a curiosity. Most of the music probably comes from secular sources, but only the tenor aria is known in another version. The work begins with a gorgeous tenor recitative with three obbligato recorders. That same instrumental texture continues in the pastoral alto aria. Another tenor recitative follows, this time secco. The tenor aria has a delightful bouncy cello obbligato that underpins the anticipation of the coming of Jesus in the text. The following recitative is curiously the only movement that calls for violins and violas. The bass aria with brilliant obbligati for two trumpets changes the character of the cantata from pastoral to martial. The harmonization of "Komm, heiliger Geist" is one of the greatest chorale harmonizations in all of the cantatas, and the doubling of the voice parts up an octave by the recorder gives it a particularly lustrous sheen.

©Craig Smith

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