Cantata for the Sunday Estomihi
The chorale cantata „Herr Jesu Christ, wahr’ Mensch und Gott“ is designated for the Sunday Estomihi, the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday. He performed it for the first time on 11th of February 1725. The cantata is the second last of his chorale cantata cycle, which he started on the 1st Sunday after Trinity Sunday in 1724 with BWV 20. In Leipzig at Bachs time this was the last Sunday where figural music was allowed in the service.
The cantata is based on Paul Ebers church song Herr Jesu Christ, wahr Mensch und Gott. As in most of the choralcantatas in the 2nd Leipzig cycle the cantata starts with the first verse of the song and closes with the last verse. The recitatives and arias alterate the chorale text, only hinting at the text of the verses (in opposite to the so called „per omnes versus“ technique as for example in BWV 4 „Christ lag in Todesbanden“). The librettist who did those changes for BWV 127 is unknown.
The score has the 3rd aria, a delicate piece for soprano, two flauto dolce, oboe obligato, strings and continuo. Bach took a very special instrumentation for the death bells with two flauti, the strings start in the second part of aria with pizzicato.