Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben, BWV 248 IV
Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben (Fall with thanks, fall with praise), BWV 248 IV, is a Christmas cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, composed in 1734 for New Year's Day of 1735 as Part IV of his Christmas Oratorio. The day is the feast of the circumcision and naming of Jesus. It is based on a libretto by an unknown author, and tells the naming of Jesus from the Nativity of Jesus, according to the Gospel of Luke.
|Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben |
BWV 248 IV
|Occasion||New Year's Day|
|Performed||1 January 1735 Leipzig:|
|Bible text||Luke 2:21|
Bach structured the work in seven movements, and scored it for three vocal soloists, a four-part choir, and a festive Baroque orchestra with horns, oboes and strings. The opening chorus and the two arias are based on his earlier secular cantata Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen, BWV 213, composed for the 11th birthday of the crown prince of Saxony on 5 September 1733.
The tenor soloist, in the role of the Evangelist, narrates the Biblical verse in recitative style. The choir sings the elaborate opening movement and the closing chorale, a four-part setting of a stanza from Johann Rist's "Hilf, Herr Jesu, laß gelingen". Four solo movements reflect the name of Jesus, and life for him. Bach led the first performances at the two main churches of Leipzig in a morning service and a vespers service on 1 January 1735.
Background and textEdit
Bach composed Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben in 1734, eleven years after he became Thomaskantor in Leipzig, director of music in major churches in the town in the Electorate of Saxony. The cantata forms Part IV of his Christmas Oratorio which was performed on six occasions of Christmastide, beginning with Part I on Christmas Day:
- Part I, Jauchzet, frohlocket!, for Christmas Day (25 December): Nativity of Jesus
- Part II for the Second Day of Christmas (26 December): Annunciation to the shepherds, Glory to God, peace on earth
- Part III for the Third Day of Christmas (27 December): Adoration of the shepherds
- Part IV, Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben, for New Year's Day (1 January): Naming of Jesus
- Part V for the Sunday after New Year's Day: Biblical Magi
- Part VI for Epiphany (6 January): Adoration of the Magi
The prescribed readings for the feast day were "by faith we inherit" from the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 3:23–29), and from the Gospel of Luke, the ritual circumcision and naming of Jesus eight days after his birth (Luke 2:21).
The librettist of the text is unknown; scholars debate whether he was Picander, who had collaborated with Bach before. After an opening chorus, the Evangelist narrates the short gospel about the naming of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke. It is reflected in the following movements, recitative and arias. Bach structured the work in nine movements, and scored it for four vocal parts and a festive Baroque orchestra with two natural horns, oboes and strings. Several movements rely on music which he had composed earlier, from the secular cantata Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen, BWV 213 (Let us take care, let us watch over), a dramma per musica describing the story of "Hercules at the Crossroads", written for 11th birthday of Crown Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony and first performed on 5 September 1733.
The tenor soloist narrates the verse from Martin Luther's translation of the Bible in recitative as the Evangelist (Luke 2:21). Bach incorporates two chorales, two stanzas from "Jesu, du mein liebstes Leben" by Johann Rist for a soprano complement to bass recitatives, and the 15th stanza of the same hymnist's "Hilf, Herr Jesu, laß gelingen" which the choir sings in a four-part setting with independent orchestra.
Scoring and structureEdit
The cantata is structured in seven movements: an extended choral movement expresses the call to fall down with thanks and praise, a short recitative informs about the naming of Jesus on the day of his circumcision, four movements reflect on the name of Jesus in meditation and prayer, and the cantata closes with an affirming chorale.
The work features three vocal soloists, a four-part choir (SATB) and a Baroque instrumental ensemble of two natural horns (Co), two oboes (Ob), two violins (Vl), viola (Va) and basso continuo. The duration is given as 27 minutes. The music in F major is dominated by two horns and has a more intimate character than the outer parts of the oratorio with bright trumpets.
In the following table, the movement numbers of the Christmas Oratorio are added in brackets. The scoring follows the Neue Bach-Ausgabe (New Bach Edition). The keys and time signatures are from Alfred Dürr, and use the symbol for common time. The continuo, played throughout, is not shown.
|1 (36)||Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben||anon.||Chorus||SATB||2Co||2Ob||2Vl Va||F major||3/8|
|2 (37)||Und da acht Tage um waren||Luke 2:21||Recitative||T|
|3 (38)||Immanuel, o süßes Wort!
Jesu, du mein liebstes Leben
|Recitativo e chorale||B
|4 (39)||Flößt, mein Heiland||anon.||Aria||S||Ob||C major||6/8|
|5 (40)||Wohlan, dein Name soll allein
Jesu, meine Freud und Wonne
|Recitativo e chorale||B
|6 (41)||Ich will nur dir zu Ehren leben||anon.||Aria||T||2Vl (solo)||D minor|
|7 (42)||Jesus richte mein Beginnen||Rist||Chorale||SATB||2Co||2Ob||2Vl Va||F major||3/4|
The opening chorus, "Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben vor des Höchsten Gnadenthron!" (With gratitude, with praise, fall before the Almighty's throne of grace!), is a complex long form (ABA'). The instrumental ritornello is dominated by two natural horns.
The tenor sings in a secco recitative the only verse from the Biblical Christmas story, "Und da acht Tage um waren, dass das Kind beschnitten würde" (And when eight days had passed, when the child would be circumcised), after Luke 2:21.
In a combination of recitative and chorale, the bass recitative, "Wer will die Liebe recht erhöhn" (Who can rightly exalt this love), is balanced with line-by-line commentary[A] with the first stanza from Rist's hymn "Jesu, du mein liebstes Leben" (Jesus, o my dearest life). The voices are supported by strings.
In the central soprano da capo aria, "Flößt, mein Heiland, flößt dein Namen auch den allerkleinsten Samen jenes strengen Schreckens ein?" (O my Savior, does your name instill even the very tiniest seed of that powerful terror?), the singer asks Jesus two questions and imagines the answers as "no" and "yes", illustrated in the form of an echo-aria. An oboe is the obbligato instrument.
In symmetry to the third movement, another bass recitative, "Wohlan, dein Name soll allein in meinem Herzen sein!" (Well then, Your name alone shall be in my heart!), is commented by another stanza, "Jesu, meine Freud und Wonne" (Jesus, my joy and delight) from the same hymn. The voices are again supported by strings.
The tenor aria, "Ich will nur dir zu Ehren leben" (I will live only for Your honor), expresses eagerness to live only for the honour of Jesus. It is a fugal trio composition with two solo violins.
The cantata is closed with the chorale "Jesus richte mein Beginnen" (May Jesus order my beginning), the 15th stanza of Rist's hymn "Hilf, Herr Jesu, laß gelingen". All instruments play interludes which recall the opening movement.
- Singers in Bach's oratorios could play different roles: recitative, ensemble commentary, solo commentary (accompanying the recitative, or as an aria). Each of these roles was written in a different musical style to help guide listeners into understanding the difference between narrative and commentary.
- Dürr & Jones 2006, p. 157.
- Bach Digital 2018.
- Dürr & Jones 2006, p. 144.
- Dürr & Jones 2006, p. 104.
- Wessel 2015, p. 47.
- Bach Digital 213 2018.
- Rathey 2016, p. 152.
- Hofmann 2005, p. 4.
- Dürr & Jones 2006, pp. 157–159.
- Dürr & Jones 2006, p. 104.
- Dürr & Jones 2006, p. 159.
- Bischof 2018.
- Dellal 2018.
- Melamed 2005, pp. 50–51.
- Dürr & Jones 2006, p. 105.
- Dahn 2018.
- "Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben / (Christmas oratorio, part 4) BWV 248 IV; BC D 7 I". Bach Digital. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- "Lasst uns sorgen, lasst uns wachen (Dramma per musica) BWV 213; BC G 18 / Secular cantata (unknown purpose)". Bach Digital. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- Dürr, Alfred; Jones, Richard D. P. (2006). The Cantatas of J. S. Bach: With Their Librettos in German-English Parallel Text. Oxford University Press. pp. 144, 157–162. ISBN 978-0-19-929776-4.
- Hofmann, Klaus (2005). Foreword (PDF). Johann Sebastian Bach / Weihnachtsoratorium / Christmas Oratorio. Carus-Verlag. p. 4.
- Melamed, Daniel R. (24 March 2005). Hearing Bach's Passions. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-988346-2.
- Rathey, Markus (2016). Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio: Music, Theology, Culture. Oxford University Press. pp. 148–152. ISBN 978-0-19-027526-6.
- Wessel, Jens (2015). "Köthen (1717–1723)". J. S. Bach und die italienische Oper / Drammi per musica für das kurfürstlich-sächsische und polnische Königshaus zwischen 1733 und 1736 ( PDF) (dissertation) (in German). Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. pp. 25–44, 47, 99–100.
- Bischof, Walter F. (2018). "BWV 248IV Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben / Weihnachts-Oratorium IV". University of Alberta. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- Dahn, Luke (2018). "BWV 248(4).42(7)". bach-chorales.com. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
- Weihnachtsoratorium, BWV 248: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!, BWV 214: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)