Die Elenden sollen essen (The miserable shall eat), BWV
75, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach
composed the cantata for the First Sunday after Trinity
and first performed it in the service in the
Nikolaikirche on 30 May 1723, to take up his position
as Thomaskantor. From then he was responsible for the
education of the Thomanerchor, performances in the
regular services in the Thomaskirche and the
Nikolaikirche, and until 1725 also for one of two
services in the Paulinerkirche. He started a project of
composing one cantata for each Sunday and holiday of
the liturgical year, termed by Christoph Wolff "an
artistic undertaking on the largest scale".
The autograph score is written neatly on non-Leipzig
paper, probably while Bach lived still in Köthen.
A Leipzig chronicle, "Acta Lipsiensium academica",
reported the social event: "... führte ... Hr. Joh.
Sebastian Bach ... mit gutem applauso seine erste Music
auf" (... performed ... with good applause his first
music). "Good applause" means "great approval" rather
than clapping of hands. A different translation renders
the note as "... the new Cantor and Director of the
Collegium Musicum, Herr Johann Sebastian Bach, who has
come hither from the Prince's court of Cöthen, produced
his first music here with great success."
The music of the two stanzas of the chorale is
identical. The tune is not a simple four-part setting
as in most of Bach's later cantatas, but the voices are
embedded in a concerto of the orchestra, lead by violin
I and oboe I. The instrumental theme is derived from
the first line of the chorale tune.
Although originally scored for four vocal soloists
(soprano, alto, tenor and bass), a four-part choir,
oboe, violin, viola, and basso continuo, I created this
arrangement for Double Woodwind Quartet (2 Flutes, 2
Oboes - one solo, 2 Bb Clarinets & 2 Bassoons).