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Work

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach Composer

Cantata No.110: Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (Christmas), BWV110

Performances: 14
Tracks: 70
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Musicology:
  • Cantata No.110: Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (Christmas), BWV110
    Year: 1725
    Genre: Cantata
    Pr. Instruments: Voice & Chorus/Choir
    • 1.Chorus: Unser Mund sei voll Lachens
    • 2.Aria (Tenor): Ihr Gedanken und ihr Sinnen
    • 3.Recitative (Bass): Dir, Herr, ist niemand gleich
    • 4.Aria (Alto): Ach Herr! was ist ein Menschenkind
    • 5.Duet (Soprano, Alto): Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe
    • 6.Aria (Bass): Wacht auf, ihr Adern und ihr Glieder
    • 7.Chorale: Alleluja! Gelobt sei Gott
Composed in Leipzig as a choral work celebrating Christmas Day, Bach's Cantata No. 110 "Unser Mund sei voll Lachens" is scored for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloists and four-part (SATB) chorus. Fashioned after Psalm 126, Jeremiah 10, and the second chapter of Luke, the text is joyful and celebratory, direct and exultant. For his instrumental ensemble, therefore, Bach employs three trumpets in addition to three oboes, two transverse flutes, fagotto (bassoon), strings, tympani, and continuo. As in other instances, Bach was not loath to engage in some borrowing from some of his earlier works. The opening chorus, "May our mouth be full of laughter and our tongues full of praise," is an adaptation of the composer's Overture in D major, BWV 1069, and the soprano/tenor duet "Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe" is derived from Bach's original (E flat) edition of his Magnificat. Running time ranges from 25 to 27 minutes. The cantata begins with its most powerful section, the opening chorus, which calls for full forces minus bassoon. Calling for laughter and praise, the text concludes with acknowledgement that the Lord has achieved great things for his people. A tenor aria benefits from two intertwining flutes as the soloist describes soaring thoughts and senses, prompted by the thought that God-become-man intends that his people be "Himmels Kinder," (heaven's children). A bass recitative (You, Lord, are unlike any other) leads to an alto aria (Ach Herr, was ist ein Menschenkind) accompanied by oboe d'amore that expresses wonder about the nature of man that the Lord should seek to redeem him through such painful action. The soprano/tenor duet that comes next is a model of expressive economy. The two voices shine over a simple organ and continuo accompaniment as they offer to God glory in the highest as peace on Earth is awaited now that the child has come as a sign of favor. The penultimate section, a bass aria, exhorts listeners to "Wacht auf, ihr Adern und ihr Glieder" (Awaken, you veins and every other member), to sing hymns of joy to God, a song of praise from the heart and soul. The closing chorale is related to one from the third section of the composer's Christmas Oratorio. "Alleluia! All praise be given God from the bottom of our hearts."

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