The Jury Talks Back


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 12, Plus a Bonus Offering Written by Patterico

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the third Sunday after Pentecost. Today we have a Bach cantata, and then a special treat: an offering to God written by yours truly, many years ago, but newly transcribed and turned into a MIDI file.

It’s probably a bad idea to put my own offering up in the same post as one from Bach. But my piece was inspired by Bach, so it’s appropriate even if it makes the contrast in quality too obvious.

Let’s start with today’s Bach cantata: “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” (Weeping, lamenting, worrying, fearing). This is a lovely live performance:

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 9:51-62:

Samaritan Opposition

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.

The Cost of Following Jesus

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

Cross and crown are bound together,
struggle and reward are united.
Christians have at all times
their suffering and their enemy,
yet their comforts are Christ’s wounds.

I follow after Christ,
I will not let go of Him
in prosperity and hardship,
in life and mortality.
I kiss Christ’s shame,
I will embrace His cross.
I follow after Christ,
I will not let go of Him.

Bach used the beginning of first chorus for the Crucifixus portion of the Credo in his Mass in B minor:

That makes for a nice tie-in to my piece, which was inspired by Bach’s Mass in B minor.

The current setting of my piece is for string quartet. It’s a piece I always envisioned being sung by a choir, but I would have to transpose it to a different key (which I may do in the future) for that purpose, as the notes don’t fit the usual vocal ranges of a church choir. I warn you that it is somewhat rhythmically monotonous, but I like the various resolution of the different dissonances — and I hope that for a 2 1/2 minute piece, you find that it has an arc to it that makes up for the dirge-like rhythm.

Here is the score:


And here it is as performed by a wooden MIDI string emsemble:

I always saw it as a Kyrie, since the very beginning was inspired by the Kyrie from Bach’s B minor mass. Here are a few seconds from the Kyrie from Bach’s B minor mass so you can see the similarity of the opening:

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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