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Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187

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Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187

Es wartet alles auf dich (Everything waits for You), BWV 187, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for the seventh Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 4 August 1726. Bach later used the music from four movements of this cantata for his Missa in G minor, BWV 235.

History and words

Bach wrote the cantata in 1726 for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity as part of his third annual cycle. The prescribed readings for the Sunday are from the Epistle to the Romans, "the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life" (Romans 6:19–23), and from the Gospel of Mark, the feeding of the 4000 (Mark 8:1–9). The opening chorus is based on Psalms 104:27–28, directly related to the reading. Part two is opened by a bass aria on Matthew 6:31–32 from the sermon on the mount. The cantata is closed by verses 4 and 6 of Hans Vogel's chorale "Singen wir aus Herzensgrund" (1563). The poet of the other movements is unknown; Walther Blankenburg suggested Christoph Helm. The poet paraphrased in movement more lines from Psalm 104 and in movement 3 Psalms 65:12.[1]

Bach performed the cantata at least three times, first on 4 August 1726, a second time between 1735 and 1740, and a third time on 26 July 1749.[1] He used the music of four movements, the opening chorus and the arias, for movements of the Gloria of his Missa in G minor, BWV 235.[2]

Scoring and structure

The cantata is scored for soprano, alto and bass soloists, a four-part choir, two oboes, two violins, viola, and basso continuo.[1] Its seven movements are in two parts, movements 1 to 4 to be performed before the sermon, the others after the sermon.

Part I
1. Chor: Es wartet alles auf dich
2. Recitativo (bass): Was Kreaturen hält, das große Rund der Welt
3. Aria (alto, oboe): Du, Herr, du krönst allein das Jahr
Part II
4. Basso solo (violins): Darum sollt ihr nicht sorgen
5. Aria (soprano, oboe): Gott versorget alles Leben
6. Recitativo (soprano, strings): Halt ich nur fest an ihm
7. Choral: Gott hat die Erde zugericht


In the opening chorus Bach achieves a unity of form, but at the same time an individual handling of the four ideas of the text, as in a motet. The motifs of the instrumental sinfonia of 28 measures are continued through most of the movement, creating unity. "Es wartet alles auf dich" (a) is expressed in free polyphony embedded in the instrumental music, then repeated together with "daß du ihnen Speise gibest" (b) in free polyphony with canonic imitation on two themes, with the instruments playing mostly colla parte, then a and b are repeated within a part of the sinfonia, which is continued instrumentally. In the following second section, "Wenn du ihnen gibest ..." (c) is the theme of a choral fugue, "Wenn du deine Hand auftust ..." (d) is the countersubject. The instruments play colla parte first, then add motifs from the sinfonia. In the third concluding section the complete text is repeated within a part of the sinfonia.

The first aria praises God as the sustainer of life, accompanied by the full orchestra in a dance-rhythm with irregular grouping of measures in the ritornellos.

In movement 4 the bible word from the sermon of the mount is given to the bass as the vox Christi (voice of Christ), accompanied by the violins in unison and the continuo, which also takes part in their motifs.

The soprano aria is in two contrasting parts, the first one accompanied by festive dotted rhythms and a broad melody of the solo oboe, the second, marked un poco allegro, again like a dance. Only the instruments repeat the dotted rhythm of the beginning. The last words of the soloist in the recitative are enriched by the strings, like the vox Christi in Bach's St Matthew Passion.

The final chorale is a four-part setting for the choir and all instruments.[1]




The first source is the score.

Several databases provide additional information on each cantata:

  • Cantata BWV 187 Es wartet alles auf dich history, scoring, sources for text and music, translations to various languages, discography, discussion, bach-cantatas website
  • Emmanuel Music
  • Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187 history, scoring, Bach website (German)
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Alberta
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