J.S. Bach: The Church Cantatas Vol, 8: O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe, BWV 34

In this video

This cantata BWV 34 (1746/47) for Pentecost is based on a wedding cantata of 1726, but the reworking has fitted it well for the feast of the Spirit. The music of the opening chorus finds its inspiration in the idea of fire and heavenly flames, the movement of the first violin being contrasted to the long notes on `Ewig’. `O Ursprung der Liebe’ has a nice rising figure which moves through all voices. A tenor recitative with high notes on `Herr’ and on `grössten’ leads to a deeply, deeply moving alto aria singing of God taking His habitation in our hearts (which is what Pentecost is about). The music to the word `Wohnung’ could not be more beautiful or intimate. The pastoral scoring for flutes and muted strings finds an explanation in the original from the wedding cantata: `Wohl euch, ihr auserwählten Schafe, die ein getreuer Jacob liebt’, the bridegroom being a pastor. The idea of God living within us is taken up by the tenor recitative and then the closing chorus bursts in with a homophonous `Friede über Israel!’. There are reminiscences of the opening chorus in the trumpets; after a rising figure the choir sings `Dankt!’ three times, there is a sustained `Friede’ and there are fine runs on `dankt’.

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Artists: Netherlands Bach Collegium, Holland Boys Choir, Pieter Jan Leusink (conductor), Marcel Beekman (Tenore), Sytse Buwalda (Alto) & Bas Ramselaar (Basso)

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O ewiges Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe, BWV 34:
00:00 I. Coro. O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung (Coro)
07:56 II. Recitativo. Herr! Unsre Herzen halten (Tenore)
08:41 III. Aria. Wohl euch (Alto)
14:04 IV. Recitativo. Erwählt sich Gott die heilgen Hütten (Basso)
14:41 V. Coro. Friede über Israel! (Coro)

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