PDF Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht - No. 1 from Cantata no. 55, BWV55

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As usual, the instrumental ritornello of the opening movement encapsulates several of the textual implications. The main theme is first carried by the flute and oboe in sixths, a haunting and somewhat hesitant melody, nevertheless poignant and lingering. From bar 9 the main melody strives upwards as if an effort is being made to gaze upon the fearful visage of the just Lord; but to no avail.

The trembling violin figure is finally heard on the wind instruments before ushering in the solo tenor. And what a striking entry he makes, his initial phrases continuously stretching upwards towards a high g and even going beyond it to a b and b flat.

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The stress of the sinner is communicated by the tension of the performer, forced to deliver his lonely song of desolation in the extreme upper registers of his vocal range. The structure of the aria is one that Bach employed frequently at this time, a ritornello theme at the beginning, middle and end, also separating two main vocal blocks. The central statement is shortened by four bars and the roles of the instruments are reversed, strings taking the main theme with the trembling figure on flute and oboe. It is difficult to over-praise the exquisite phrases Bach has wrought for the soloist.

They rise and fall with a sense of the breathless anticipation with which the sinner awaits his verdict, always beautiful and utterly memorable. Perhaps the most telling is the tortuous falling scale which ends both vocal blocks—-I stand before God, fearful and trembling, awaiting His judgement. The long first recitative narrates the background, preceding the point of arrival at the place and time of judgement—-I have not followed His path and wheresoever I might flee He will find and punish me—-the earth itself would engulf me and in Heaven God would judge me.

This sense of being trapped and terrified between the extremes, is encapsulated particularly in the wide ranging final phrases, spreading themselves over two octaves. Note the use of the high b flat on the word Gott just before the end, momentarily emphasising the elevated and terrifying seat of Divine judgement. Sometimes it is not clear why Bach chooses to write an unaccompanied secco recitative; on occasions the demands of time and deadlines may well be a factor.

BWV 55 Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht I

Here there is no need to cast around for explanations. The solo melodic line set against the most minimal of harmonic support is ideal for expressing the state of the lone and friendless sinner.

The second aria is almost as long as the first and certainly as memorable. It is a personal prayer for mercy—-allow my tears to soften Your heart and abate Your fury. Presumably it is the undulating arabesques characterising the melodic line that determined this option. Listeners who follow the texts closely will notice the change of emphasis that takes place at this stage of the cantata.


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Now the sinner turns to the one escape route he has remaining, earth and heaven both, as has been made clear, denying him. Only repentance and a heartfelt plea for mercy can offer him hope, and these responses must be real and genuine. The second aria encapsulates them both and Bach invokes the act of pleading in the first three notes. The chromatic e flat is lent upon in the very first bar, the expressive Neapolitan 6th chord suggesting a moment of imploring entreaty.

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Ich armer Mensch, ich Sundenknecht - No. 1 from Cantata no. 55, BWV55

Bach led the first performance on 17 November The cantata in five movements is scored for a tenor soloist, a four-part choir only for the final chorale , flauto traverso , oboe d'amore , two violins , viola , and basso continuo. A rich polyphonic setting for flute, oboe d'amore and two violins, without viola, accompanies the opening aria. The motifs seem to illustrate the faltering steps and a despairing heart of the steward summoned before his master. The first recitative is secco, but the second one accompanied by string chords.

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The last three movements of the autograph score differ from the Leipzig performance parts, leading some to conclude they were originally part of an earlier composition, possibly the lost Weimar Passion. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Bach The final page from the original manuscript of BWV 55, with the concluding four-part chorale. Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Very personal Thus shall God take me again into His grace. Pipe dreams. New technology is making life easier — and warmer — for organists via Viscount Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra.

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