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Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69

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Title: Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69  
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Subject: List of Bach cantatas by liturgical function
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Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69

Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (English: Praise the Lord, my soul), BWV 69, is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach.

History and text

Bach composed a cantata with this title (BWV 69a) in 1723 in Leipzig. Much later, in 1748, he reworked it to mark the inauguration of a town council. In this form, it was first performed on 26 August 1748.[1] The recitatives and the chorale were changed for the occasion.

The text of the first movement is from Psalm 103. The chorale is the third verse of Es woll uns Gott genädig sein by Martin Luther (1524). The author of the rest of the text is unknown.[1]

Scoring and structure

The cantata is scored for four solo voices (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass), a four-part choir, three trumpets, timpani, three oboes, oboe d'amore, bassoon, two violins, viola, and basso continuo.[2]

The work is in six movements:

  1. Chorus: Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele
  2. Recitative (soprano): Wie groß ist Gottes Güte doch
  3. Aria (alto): Meine Seele, auf, erzähle
  4. Recitative (tenor): Der Herr hat große Ding an uns getan
  5. Aria (bass): Mein Erlöser und Erhalter
  6. Chorale: Es danke, Gott, und lobe dich


The chorus and the bass aria are taken without significant alteration from BWV 69a. The second movement is a secco soprano recitative which opens much like in the original version before modulating to G major. The other aria is transposed from the tenor original for the alto voice, and is accompanied by violin and oboe instead of flute and oboe da caccia. The following tenor recitative with string accompaniment is "an example of Bach's highly emotional recitative melodic line at its most mature and expressive", but midway through moves into a dissonant and chromatic passage. The closing chorale includes prominent parts for trumpet and drums.[3]



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