Bach Cantata BWV 180 is from the composer's 2nd Leipzig cycle and is based upon the beloved chorale tune "Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele." The opening chorus uses both the two recorders as well as oboe and English horn to create a transparent web of sound over which the wonderful loping string melody is played. The tenor aria with flute obbligato is a jolly affair with the knocking of Jesus humorously portrayed. The chorale tune reappears with a violincello piccolo (today played on viola). Once again the incipient melancholy of the tune is emphasized by the easy-going obbligato. The two recorders reappear to accompany the alto recitative. The sun bursts forth in the wonderful dancing soprano aria with full orchestral accompaniment. The final chorale is one of Bach's greatest chorale harmonizations and brings this great work to a peaceful close.

©Craig Smith

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