Das neugeborne Kindelein (The new-born infant child),
BWV 122, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Bach composed the chorale cantata in six movements in
Leipzig for the Sunday after Christmas and first
performed it on 31 December 1724.
Bach composed the cantata in his second year as
Thomaskantor in Leipzig for the Sunday after Christmas.
The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the
Epistle to the Galatians, "through Christ we are free
from the law" (Galatians 4:1–7), and from the Gospel of
Luke, Simeon and Anna talking to Mary (Luke 2:33–40).
The chorale cantata is based on a hymn by Cyriakus
Schneegaß (1597) with the same title as the cantata.
The librettist is unknown.
The opening chorus is a chorale fantasia with a long
opening and closing ritornello bookending a chorale
theme with four entries and lengthy interspersed
episodes. The three lower voices imitate the soprano
thrice in the chorale phrases and then move into a fast
The second movement is a lengthy and chromatic bass
aria discussing sündigt (sinning). This is the longest
movement of the cantata. The continuo accompanying the
vocal line is "tortuous and chromatically
The soprano recitative is accompanied by a simple
recorder trio, a combination designed to represent the
"aura of the angels". As this is the only movement to
include the recorders, the parts were likely performed
by the oboe and taille players.
The fourth movement is a trio of the soprano, alto and
tenor voices; the alto sings the chorale line with the
strings while the soprano and tenor perform a duet
aria. The movement is in D minor and 6/8 time.
The bass recitative begins in major before modulating
to the G minor of the final movement. It is accompanied
by high chordal strings and a continuo line.
The closing chorale is fast and short. It is in block
The "rather muted" music of the first chorus and the
bass aria (the opening line of which translates as "O
mortals, ye who sin daily") have been described by one
writer as giving listeners a "moral hangover" after the
possible overindulgence of the Christmas holidays.
Although originally scored for four vocal soloists
(soprano, alto, tenor, and bass), a four-part choir,
three recorders, two oboes, taille, two violins, viola,
and basso continuo with organ, I created this
arrangement for Oboe, Clarinet, French Horn & Cello.