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Bachs Oboe

A library of J.S.Bachs music for oboe

BWV 110 Unser Mund sei voll Lachens

Cantata for Christmas Day

Complete score
Oboe d’amore

The cantata „Unser Mund sei voll Lachens“ belongs to Bachs 3rd Leipzig cantata cycle and its first performance occured on 25.12.1725. The libretto is based on Georg Christian Lehms „Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer“ (1711) which is divided in two parts: one for the morning services (which Bach chose as the base for BWV 110) and the other for the afternoon services (where Bach took the libretto for BWV 199 & 54 in Weimar and BWV 57, 151, 16, 32, 13, 170 & 35 in Leipzig).

The libretto alterates between bible word and arias and finishes with the last verse from Kaspar Fügers chorale „Wir Christenleut habn jetztund Freud“:

  1. Choir „Unser Mund sei voll Lachens“ - Psalm 126,2
  2. Aria „Ihr Gedanken und ihr Sinnen“ - G.C.Lehms
  3. Recitativo „Dir, Herr, ist niemand gleich“ Jeremia 10,6
  4. Aria „Ach Herr, was ist ein Menschenkind“
  5. Aria Duetto „Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe“ Luke 2,14
  6. Aria „Wacht auf, ihr Adern und ihr Glieder“ - G.C.Lehms
  7. Chorale „Alleluja! Gelobt sei Gott“ - Kaspar Füger

For the opening chorus Bach reused one of earlier orchestral works, the Ouverture from his 4th orchestral suite BWV 1069, a masterpiece on his own, where he added a chorus as only a genius from his caliber were able to do. Another example of reusing his wonderful work is the music for the 5th movement. It is taken from the 4th annex of the Magnicat BWV 243a „Virga Jesse floruit“.

The score has the 4th movement, an aria for alto, oboe d’amore and b.c. As in many oboe arias in Bachs cantatas, it reflects from the human, sinners perspective (seeing mankind as a cursed worm - even more contrasting to the previous recitativos text, where Jeremia praises god). But there is redemption through the love of Jesus in the second part of the aria:

Ach Herr, was ist ein Menschenkind,
Dass du sein Heil so schmerzlich suchest?
Ein Wurm, den du verfluchest,
Wenn Höll und Satan um ihn sind;
Doch auch dein Sohn, den Seel und Geist
Aus Liebe seinen Erben heißt.

The scores are based on Bachs facsimile full score and the autograph parts.

Epistle: Titus 2, 11-14 or Jesaja, 9 1-7
Gospel: Luke 2, 1-14

Bach cantatas website
Cantata text
Facsimile bach-digital.de
Facsimile parts bach-digital.de

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