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Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, BWV 103

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Title: Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, BWV 103  
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Subject: Church cantata (Bach), Christiana Mariana von Ziegler, Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft, BWV 50, Gott soll allein mein Herze haben, BWV 169, Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, BWV 211
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Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, BWV 103

Ihr werdet weinen und heulen
BWV 103
Church cantata by J. S. Bach
Christiana Mariana von Ziegler, author of the cantata text
Occasion Jubilate Sunday
Performed 22 April 1725 (1725-04-22) – Leipzig
Movements 6
Cantata text Christiana Mariana von Ziegler
Bible text John 16:20
Chorale by Paul Gerhardt
  • SATB choir
  • solo: alto, tenor and bass
  • trumpet
  • flauto piccolo
  • 2 oboes d'amore
  • 2 violins
  • viola
  • continuo

Ihr werdet weinen und heulen (You shall weep and wail),[1] BWV 103,[1] is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, a church cantata for the third Sunday after Easter, called Jubilate (Jubilate Sunday).

Bach composed the cantata in his second year as Thomaskantor in Leipzig and first performed it on 22 April 1725. It is the first of nine cantatas on texts by Christiana Mariana von Ziegler, which Bach composed at the end of his second annual cycle of cantatas in Leipzig. Based on the Gospel reading from the Farewell Discourse, where Jesus, announcing that he will leave, says "your sorrow shall be turned into joy", Bach contrasts music of sorrow and joy, notably in the unusual first movement, where he inserts an almost operatic recitative of Jesus in the fugal choral setting. The architecture of the movement combines elements of the usual concerto form with the more text-related older form of a motet. Bach scores an unusual flauto piccolo (descant recorder in D) as an obbligato instrument in an aria contemplating the sorrow of missing Jesus, who is addressed as a doctor who shall heal the wounds of sins. Bach scores a trumpet in only one movement, an aria expressing the joy about the predicted return of Jesus. The cantata in six movements closes with a chorale, the ninth stanza of Paul Gerhardt's hymn "Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott".


  • History and words 1
  • Scoring and structure 2
  • Music 3
  • Selected recordings 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • Sources 7

History and words

Bach composed the cantata in Leipzig for


  1. ^ a b c d e f  
  2. ^ a b c d e  
  3. ^ a b  
  4. ^ a b c d  
  5. ^  
  6. ^ "Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott / Text and Translation of Chorale". 2006. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Mincham, Julian (2010). "Chapter 45 BWV 103 Ihr werdet weinen und heulen / You shall weep and wail, though the world will rejoice.". Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  8. ^  
  9. ^ "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works / Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit". Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Oron, Aryeh (2015). "Cantata BWV 103 Ihr werdet weinen und heulen". Retrieved 18 August 2015. 


  1. ^ "BWV" is Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, a thematic catalogue of Bach's works.


Recordings of Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, BWV 103
Title Conductor / Choir / Orchestra Soloists Label Year Choir type Orch. type
Bach Made in Germany Vol. 1 - Cantatas IV Ramin, GüntherGünther Ramin
Eterna 1951 (1951) Boys Symphony
Les Grandes Cantates de J. S. Bach Vol. 22 Werner, FritzFritz Werner
Heinrich-Schütz-Chor Heilbronn
Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra
Erato 1966 (1966) Chamber Chamber
Bach Kantaten, Vol. 8: BWV 103, BWV 85, BWV 86, BWV 144 Hellmann, DiethardDiethard Hellmann
Bachchor Mainz
Bachorchester Mainz
DdM-Records Mitterteich late 1960s? Bach Bach
J. S. Bach: Das Kantatenwerk · Complete Cantatas · Les Cantates, Folge / Vol. 26 – BWV 103–106 Leonhardt, GustavGustav Leonhardt
Teldec 1980 (1980) Period
Die Bach Kantate Vol. 32 Rilling, HelmuthHelmuth Rilling
Gächinger Kantorei
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Hänssler 1981 (1981) Bach
Bach Edition Vol. 12 – Cantatas Vol. 6 Leusink, Pieter JanPieter Jan Leusink
Holland Boys Choir
Netherlands Bach Collegium
Brilliant Classics 1999 (1999) Boys Period
Bach Cantatas Vol. 24: Altenburg/Warwick / For the 3rd Sunday after Easter (Jubilate) / For the 4th Sunday after Easter (Cantate) Gardiner, John EliotJohn Eliot Gardiner
English Baroque Soloists
Soli Deo Gloria 2000 (2000) Period
J. S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 14 Koopman, TonTon Koopman
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
Antoine Marchand 2001 (2001) Period
J. S. Bach: "Wir danken dir, Gott" Herreweghe, PhilippePhilippe Herreweghe
Collegium Vocale Gent
Harmonia Mundi France 1999 (1999) Period
J. S. Bach: Cantatas Vol. 36 (Cantatas from Leipzig 1725) – BWV 6, 42, 103, 108 Suzuki, MasaakiMasaaki Suzuki
Bach Collegium Japan
BIS 1999 (1999) Period
J. S. Bach: Kantate BWV 103 "Ihr werdet weinen und heulen" Lutz, RudolfRudolf Lutz
Schola Seconda Pratica
Gallus Media 2010 (2010) Period

The sortable table are excerpt from the selection on the Bach-Cantatas website.[10] For several recordings, the name of the bass soloist is not provided. The type of choir and orchestra is roughly shown as a large group by red background, and as an ensemble with period instruments in historically informed performance by green background.

Selected recordings

Movement 2 is a secco recitative for tenor, concluding in an arioso section with a "deeply moving" melisma on the word "Schmerzen" (sorrows).[7] Movement 3, "Kein Arzt ist außer dir zu finden" (Besides You is no doctor to be found)[1] is an aria for alto with the obbligato flauto piccolo, which according to Mincham, employs a "figuration ever striving upwards, moderates the underlying sense of potential tragedy".[7] The alto recitative "marks a change of scene", it begins in B minor, like the opening chorus, but modulates to D-major and ends with a wide-ranging coloratura marking the word "Freude" (joy).[4][7] Movement 5, "Erholet euch, betrübte Sinnen" (Recover now, O troubled feelings),[1] picks up the joyful coloraturas, supported by the trumpet and fanfares in triads in the orchestra,[4] Mincham notes that the trumpet "bursts upon us with an energy, acclamation and jubilation unheard, so far, in this work".[7] The cantata is closed with a four-part setting of the chorale, sung to the melody of "Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit"[9] which Bach used frequently, including in his St Matthew Passion.[7]

John Eliot Gardiner, who conducted the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage with the Monteverdi Choir in 2000, notes that Bach's "strategy is to superimpose these opposite moods, binding them in a mutually enlightening whole and emphasising that it is the same God who both dispenses and then ameliorates these conditions.[8]

John Eliot Gardiner, 2007

The opening chorus has an unusual structure, which includes an arioso passage for the bass voice. All instruments except the trumpet play a ritornello, after which a choral fugue pictures the weeping and wailing of the text in unrelated musical material, rich in chromaticism. In great contrast the following line, "aber die Welt wird sich freuen" (But the world will rejoice),[1] is conveyed by the chorus embedded in a repeat of the first part of the ritornello. The sequence is repeated on a larger scale: this time the fugue renders both lines of the text as a double fugue with the second theme taken from the ritornello, then the ritornello is repeated in its entirety. The bass as the vox Christi (voice of Christ) sings three times, with a sudden tempo change to adagio, "Ihr aber werdet traurig sein" (But you will be sad)[1] as an accompagnato recitative. Musicologist Julian Mincham notes: "This recitative is a mere eight bars long but its context and piteousness give it enormous dramatic impact. Bach's lack of respect for the conservative Leipzig authorities' dislike of operatic styles in religious music was never more apparent!"[7] Klaus Hofmann compares the recitative's "highly expressive melody and harmony" to Bach's Passions.[4] Finally, the extended sequence of fugue and ritornello with chorus returns transposed, on the text "Doch eure Traurigkeit soll in Freude verkehret werden" (Yet your sorrow shall be changed into joy).[1] According to Alfred Dürr, the architecture of the movement is a large scale experiment combining elements of the older style of a text-related motet with the form of a concerto of instrumental groups and voices, as typically used by Bach.[2]

The cantata begins in B minor, illustrating sorrow, but in movement 4 shifts to the relative major key of D major, illustrating the theme of consolation in Ziegler's text.[2]


  1. Chorus and arioso (bass): Ihr werdet weinen und heulen
  2. Recitative (tenor): Wer sollte nicht in Klagen untergehn
  3. Aria (alto): Kein Arzt ist außer dir zu finden
  4. Recitative (alto): Du wirst mich nach der Angst auch wiederum erquicken
  5. Aria (tenor): Erholet euch, betrübte Sinnen
  6. Chorale: Ich hab dich einen Augenblick

The cantata in six movements is scored for three vocal soloists (alto, tenor and bass), a four-part choir, trumpet, flauto piccolo (descant recorder in D), two oboes d'amore, two violins, viola and continuo.[2]

Flauto piccolo (bottom), shown in comparison to other recorders

Scoring and structure

Bach first performed the cantata on 22 April 1725 with the Thomanerchor. For later performances, he revised the instrumentation, replacing the flauto piccolo by a flauto traverso.[3]

The librettist begins with a quotation from the Gospel, verse 20, and concludes with the ninth stanza of Paul Gerhardt's hymn "Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott" (1653).[6] Her own poetry reflects, in a sequence of recitatives and arias, in two movements sadness at the loss of Jesus, and in two others joy at his predicted return. Bach edited her writing considerably, for example in movement 4, excising two lines of four and rephrasing the others.[2]

In his second year in Leipzig, Bach composed chorale cantatas between the first Sunday after Trinity and Palm Sunday, but for Easter he returned to cantatas on more varied texts, possibly because he lost his librettist.[3] Nine of his cantatas for consecutive occasions in the period between Easter and Pentecost are based on texts by Christiana Mariana von Ziegler, this one being the first of the series especially written for Bach.[4] He had possibly commissioned them in 1724 for his first cantata cycle but not composed them at that time, because of his exceptional workload in creating the St John Passion.[5]

[2].Mass in B minor in his Crucifixus

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