Go behind the scenes of the music with our programme notes
The date of composition of this cantata is uncertain. It seems probable that Bach first performed it either during the 1726 Reformation Festival, which was always celebrated in Leipzig on 31st October, or on Trinity Sunday in the following year. Thereafter the piece took its place among the great chorale-based works of his 1724-25 cycle, where it replaced a non-chorale-based cantata, BWV 176.
Johann Olearius’ (1611-1684) hymn ‘Gelobet sei der Herr’ is a quintessential Lutheran chorale.
The cantata “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit” (“God’s time is best”), dates from 1707 when Bach was, for a short while, organist of the Blasiuskirche at Mühlhausen.
One of the very few of Buxtehude’s compositions to be published in his own lifetime, Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin is a set of two works, both funeral music, and the second of which was written in memory of his father – the organist of St Olaf’s, Helsingør, in Denmark – who died in 1674.
Stylistic eclecticism was a distinctive feature of instrumental music by German composers of the mid to late Baroque. Telemann, though professing difficulty in writing concertos, preferring the orchestral suite form for which he was greatly admired by Quantz and others, nevertheless produced over one hundred of them, in which variety of tonal colour and idiomatic instrumental writing are conspicuous features.
Bach’s three Sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord were long thought to be products of his years at Cöthen when he was Kapellmeister to Prince Leopold.
Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) is generally regarded as Germany’s most important composer before JS Bach.