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Bachs Oboe

A library of J.S.Bachs music for oboe

BWV 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut

Cantata for the 11th Sunday after Trinity

Complete score d-minor
Oboe d-minor
Continuo d-minor
Complete score c-minor
Oboe c-minor
Continuo c-minor

“Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut” is a solo cantata for soprano solo written in Bachs Weimar time and was performed for the first time on 12th of august in 1714 (maybe one year earlier). On 2nd of march in 1714 Bach got a promotion as Concert-Meister at the Weimar court. One of his new duties was to write a new cantata every four weeks (“…Er Monatlich neüe Stücke ufführen”). BWV 199 is one of Bachs rare solo cantatas, he titles it “Cantata a Voce sola”.

The cantata is based on the gospel for the 11th sunday of trinity (Luke 18, 9-14), the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The libretto is from Georg Christian Lehms “Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer”, a collection of libretti for the whole liturgical year. The 6th movement is the 3rd verse of Johann Hermanns “Wo soll ich fliehen hin”:

3 Ich, dein betrübtes Kind,
So viel ihr in mir stecken
Und mich so heftig schrecken,
In deine tiefen Wunden,
Da ich stets Heil gefunden.

The cantata concerns all about the gospels text: sinner seeking and finding redemption through humility as shown by the publican in contrast to the self-righteousness of the pharisee. The cantata goes through this self reflection, leading to final joyful aria “Wie freudig ist mein Herz”.

Bach seemed to like this cantata a lot, he reperformed it in his Köthen time around 1720 (maybe for a concert in Hamburg?) and in Leipzig on 8th of August 1723 (together with BWV 179 “Siehe zu, dass deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei”, as many of the first Leipzig year cantata performances consisted of two parts, one before and one after the sermon). He transposed the cantata from c-minor to d-minor, as the strings in Leipzig were tuned in the lower Kammerton pitch opposed to Weimar, where they used the one second higher so called Chorton (additionally he changed the solo viola part in the choral to violoncello piccolo).

The score contains the second aria for oboe obligato, “Stumme Seufzer, stille Klagen”, a very delicate piece, mourning about the humans sinful nature. But even in Weimar the oboe played in d-minor, a much better key for the baroque oboe. Bach wrote the oboe part by himself in Weimar. It is a very nice (and unfortunately rare) example of his ideas for articulations in the parts. I added the c-minor version, but strongly advise not to perform it on the baroque oboe, as Bachs oboe player never did (the strings need to tune in the Chorton with a pitch distance of one large second higher than the wood winds, who should use the Kammerton).

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15, 1-10
Gospel: Luke 18, 9-14

Bach cantatas website
Cantata text
Facsimile bach-digital.de
Facsimile parts bach-digital.de Weimar
Facsimile parts bach-digital.de Köthen
Facsimile parts bach-digital.de Leipzig
Facsimile full score

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