To me, Bach’s Cantata BWV 1 is a “Glorious Lullaby for the Soul”. If you are in need of consolation and/or uplifting, this music about how lovely shines the Morningstar, full of grace and truth from the Lord, will wrap you in its lilting musical phrases that are among the most comforting I know of in all Bach’s cantatas. The message is one of thanks and praise to the Lord, reflected in every note. From the opening choral movement with a hypnotic, swaying melody in the strings—punctuated by brass and organ—we experience Bach’s contrapuntal cradle of comfort and joy. Bach delivers his sermon via the sopranos singing (at a much slower tempo) the same melody found in the final legato chorale which stands out above the men’s allegro line, with bass and cello lines supporting the structure until we’re soaring way above whatever was in our minds prior to listening.

I also hear the soprano aria as a lullaby, with its sweet melody accompanied by the oboe da caccia and the organ.

There are no rough edges in the entire cantata: the prayer of gratitude near the end offered by the tenor is accompanied by two violins in harmony above the orchestra, and reflects gentleness and elevation of hearts and mind heard throughout BWV 1.

This cantata, written in 1725, has an indefinable quality that almost requires repeated listening: nirvana for a me as a Bach aficianado—I hope you enjoy it!

Liz Diamond
Music Appreciation teacher and lifelong lover of Bach