Guide Cantata No. 19: Es erhub sich ein Streit, BWV19

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Mailing List Contact Us. Emmanuel Music in the News Press Releases. Chor Es erhub sich ein Streit. Chorus A struggle arose. Der unerschaffne Michael Und seiner Engel Heer hat ihn besiegt. Recitative B Praise God!

The dragon is prone. The uncreated Michael and his angel host have conquered him. There he lies in the darkness bound with chains, and his place will nevermore be found in heaven's kingdom. We stand sure and certain, and even though his rumbling might terrify us, yet our body and soul are protected by angels. Aria S God sends Mahanaim to us; whether we stay or move we can remain in certain peace from our enemies.

Both near and far, the angel of our Lord camps himself around us with fire, horse, and chariot. Recitative T What is foolish humanity, child of the earth? A worm, a poor sinner. Behold, how the Lord so lovingly regards him, that he does not value him too low and for him the children of heaven, the host of seraphim, for his watch and defense, sets as protection.

C 19 utilises the three trumpets with timpani and oboes although the latter have no independence in the chorus, doubling the upper strings throughout. Each of the three cantatas ends with a four-part version of a chorale, strongly supported by the instruments, trumpets having a degree of independence although, it must be said, only minimally in C However Cs 19 and are further linked in that the chorale melody heard in the tenor aria of the former work is a slightly adapted version of that which concludes the latter. The choruses of all four cantatas are steadfastly major, two in the key of C and two in D.

Only one however, C , is a true chorale fantasia.


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A further, albeit tenuous, link may be found in the rhythmic structures of the vocal entries at the beginning of C 19 and those of the lower voices underpinning the chorale melody in C In each case these fugal themes are formed from initial groups of three quavers transforming into peals of continuous semiquavers, possibly with symbolic connotations. But as we have come to expect with Bach, the emphases are different. The opening stanzas of Cs and concern themselves principally with songs of joy and praise for God who, with His creation of the angel horde, has ensured victory over Satan.

C 19 begins not with the completed conquest but with a picture of the battle—-great discord arose as the enraged serpent vents his terrible vengeance against heaven itself. The text clearly suggests a bipartite movement, the first half dealing with the battle, the second with the victory. The entire first section, ending at bar 42 and later to be reprised in full, sets only the first line, stressing the notion of conflict. What is musically the middle section of a conventional da capo structure bars deals with the remaining five lines of text, beginning with images of the raging serpent.

Chapter 25 Bwv 19

It is not until we are about half way through this section that we reach the point where St Michael triumphs—-Aber Michael bezwingt. Thus, in a movement of bars including the repeat just over 20 are required to portray the victory!

J. S. Bach: Cantata nº 19 BWV 19 Es erhub sich ein Streit III - Aria Soprano

These proportions may seem somewhat bizarre at first sight, but closer observation leads us towards a greater understanding of the work as a whole. He fails to take into consideration the wider picture which an examination of the complete cantata reveals. This is not a simplistic proclamation of praise for the Almighty and His band of angels. The message here is more profound and it is this: He has done this in order to protect even the most miserable of worm-like sinners tenor recitative and it is our responsibility, with the help of the angels, to keep steadfast and true whilst offering eternal gratitude to the God who made all this possible.

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Little wonder then, that Bach chooses to stress the extent of the struggle in the opening chorus because this ensures that the ultimate victory will be seen to be all the more magnificent. After the solid block of forty chorale fantasias in the second cycle, Bach seems to have felt the need to experiment with the structuring of his large choruses. Three memorable examples may be found in the latter half of that canon, Cs 6, and , but it is particularly in this third cycle that Bach can be found innovating with different combinations of ritornello, fugue and da capo structures.

One of his preoccupations seems to have been the cohesive use of material in the instrumental and choral forces, bringing them evermore together to form a series of totally original, fully unified, powerfully convincing conceptions. The first bars marks the end of the A section.

The second bars forms the transition between the two halves of the stanza i. The third, and longest, denotes the end of the middle section and leads back to the da capo repeat.

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This striking sound quickly dissolves into a continuous flowing of semiquavers on the word Streit—-strife, dominating the first section of the movement. The flowing semi-quaver melismas are a continuing feature of the movement, conveying different images on key words: Readers may consider how many of the great choruses begin, like this one, without any form of instrumental pre-amble. It raises the technical issue, how the basses got their first note.

Surreptitiously provided by one of the instrumentalists? While the opening and closing movements of this cantata are confidently set in C major, Em plays considerable significance in the inner movements. Two of the recitatives are set wholly or mainly in this key as is the aria for tenor, the keystone of the entire work. And yet the gloom of the minor mode does not engender a complete sense of triumph or exultation.

Es erhub sich ein Streit, BWV 19 - Wikipedia

The path ahead for sinners may still be hard and there may yet be moments of despair and despondency. The major mode returns for the soprano aria, two oboes giving obbligato support. The text suggests a moment of peace after the battle, an oasis of protective tranquillity under the shields of the angels.

The imagery, to the modern listener, is almost that of a twentieth century American Western film, the wagons encircling a ring of defenders.

But Bach does not give us the undisturbed picture we might expect. In a number of the most subtle ways he indicates that our lives are still not entirely free from tension. The first is the odd three-bar phrasing with which the ritornello begins. Secondly, a constant dialogue between the two wind instruments creates a sense of movement and change rather than one of calm and stillness.

The semiquaver passages which formed such an important part of the melodic lines in the opening chorus are here shorter, but still to be heard on each of the four melodic lines in turn.