Puneet Varma

Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36c

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Schwingt freudig euch empor (Soar joyfully aloft), BWV 36c, is a secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig, most likely in 1725; there is evidence of a performance of this cantata taking place in April or May 1725. He used it as a base for two other secular cantatas and a church cantata for the first Sunday in Advent, Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36.


History and text

The cantata was probably a homage to one of Bach's academic colleagues, but it is not known which; Johann Matthias Gesner (at the time based in Weimar), and Johann Heinrich Ernesti (the septuagenarian rector of the Thomasschule) have been suggested as possible recipients. Bach reworked this cantata in both secular and sacred versions:

  • Steigt freudig in die Luft, BWV 36a, secular
  • Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36, sacred
  • Die Freude reget sich, BWV 36b, secular
  • The text is likely by Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander), who in 1727 published another version (Steigt freudig in die Luft), a birthday cantata for the duchess of Anhalt-Köthen. The duchess's birthday cantata was also set by Bach (probably in 1726), but the music is lost.

    Scoring and structure

    The cantata is scored for three soloists—soprano, tenor and bass—a four-part choir, two oboes d'amore, two violins, viola, viola d'amore and basso continuo.

    1. Coro: Schwingt freudig euch empor
    2. Recitative (tenor): Ein Herz, in zärtlichem Empfinden
    3. Aria (tenor): Die Liebe führt mit sanften Schritten
    4. Recitative (bass): Du bist es ja
    5. Aria (bass): Der Tag, der dich vordem gebar
    6. Recitative (soprano): Nur dieses Einz'ge sorgen wir
    7. Aria (soprano): Auch mit gedämpften, schwachen Stimmen
    8. Recitative (tenor): Bei solchen freudenvollen Stunden
    9. Chorus & Recitatives (soprano, tenor, bass): Wie die Jahre sich verneuen


    The opening chorus is a "jolly" gavotte form, highlighting the oboe d'amore (which is also important in introducing the third movement). The recitatives are all secco and fairly short, with the tenor recitative being only six measures long.


  • Bach made in Germany Vol. VII – Secular Cantatas I, Peter Schreier, Berliner Solisten, Kammerorchester Berlin, Edith Mathis, Peter Schreier, Siegfried Lorenz, Eterna
  • Edition Bachakademie Vol. 139 – Congratulatory and Hommage Cantatas, Helmuth Rilling, Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Eva Oltiványi, Marcus Ullmann, Andreas Schmidt, Hänssler
  • J.S. Bach: Kantate Nr. 36c, Kurt Thomas, Thomanerchor, Gewandhausorchester, Adele Stolte, Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Theo Adam, Eterna
  • J.S. Bach: Weltliche Kantaten · Secular Cantatas · Cantates Profanes, Reinhard Goebel, Ex Tempore, Musica Antiqua Köln, Dorothea Röschmann, Axel Köhler, Christoph Genz, Hans-Georg Wimmer. Archiv Produktion
  • J.S. Bach: Secular Cantatas Vol. 3, Masaaki Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan, Joanne Lunn, Hiroya Aoki, Makoto Sakurada, Roderick Williams, BIS 2013
  • References

    Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36c Wikipedia

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