Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (May our mouths be full of
laughter), BWV 110, is a church cantata by Johann
Sebastian Bach. He composed the Christmas cantata in
Leipzig for Christmas Day and first performed it on 25
The cantata was composed in Leipzig as a choral work
celebrating Christmas Day. This piece is based on Psalm
126, Jeremiah 10, and the second chapter of Luke.
The opening chorus is "May our mouth be full of
laughter and our tongues full of praise", which is an
adaptation of the Bach's Overture in D major, BWV 1069.
The soprano/tenor duet "Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe" is a
version of Bach's Magnificat. The cantata begins with
its most powerful section, the opening chorus, which
calls for all instruments to be performing besides
bassoon. The text concludes with acknowledgement that
the Lord has achieved great things for his people.
A tenor aria includes two intertwining flutes as the
soloist describes soaring thoughts and senses, prompted
by the thought that God-become-man intends that his
people be "Himmels Kinder", (heaven's children). A bass
recitative (You, Lord, are unlike any other) is
followed by an alto aria (Ach Herr, was ist ein
Menschenkind) accompanied by oboe d'amore that
expresses wonder about the nature of man that the Lord
should seek to redeem him through such painful
The two voices shine over a simple organ and continuo
accompaniment as they offer to God glory in the highest
as peace on Earth is awaited because the child has come
as a sign of favor.
The closing chorale is related to the third section of
the composer's Christmas Oratorio: "Alleluia! All
praise be given God from the bottom of our hearts."
Bach structured the cantata in seven movements. An
opening chorus and a closing chorale frame a sequence
of arias, a recitative and a duet. Bach scored the work
for four vocal soloists (soprano (S), alto (A), tenor
(T), bass (B)), a four-part choir and a Baroque
instrumental ensemble of three trumpets and timpani
(Ti), two transverse flutes (Ft), three oboes (Ob)
(also oboe d'amore and oboe da caccia), two violins
(Vl), viola (Va), and basso continuo including bassoon.
The heading of the original parts reads: "J.J. Feria 1
Nativitatis Xsti. Concerto. a 3 Trombe, Tamburi. 3
Hautb. / Baßon. 2 Violini e Viola, 4 Voci č Continuo.",
which means "Jesus help. First feast day of the birth
of Christ. Concerto for 3 trumpets, timpani, 3 oboes,
bassoon, 2 violins and viola, 4 voices and
I created this arrangement of the Aria: "Ach Herr, was
ist ein Menschenkind" (Ah, Lord, what is a human being)
for Bb Clarinet, French Horn & Cello.