Among Bach's many duties as Cantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig was the provision of music celebrating the election of the town council. These elections always took place in August; Monday, August 29, 1731 was the first performance of BWV 29. This work drew on an older work, the Prelude to the E Major unaccompanied violin partita, dressed up in a full orchestra version, with the solo being taken by the organ. This elaborate, dazzling sinfonia is the perfect introduction to the brilliant cantata. The chorus that follows, a grand setting of words from Psalm 75 would be used two years later in the Gloria of the B Minor Mass. In 1749 when the Mass reached its final form, the work would reappear as the "Dona nobis pacem." Our Cantata has an ingenious symmetrical form to the arias. The brilliant tenor aria with violin obbligato is the basis for the alto aria with organ obbligato that ends the cantata. In between is a lovely quiet siciliano for soprano, oboe, and strings. A grand harmonization of "Sei Lob und Preis" ends the cantata.

©Craig Smith

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