Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, BWV 162
(Ah! I see, now, when I go to the wedding), BWV 162, is
a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed
it in Weimar for the 20th Sunday after Trinity and
first performed it in 1715 or 1716.
On 2 March 1714 Bach was appointed concertmaster of the
Weimar court capelle of the co-reigning dukes Wilhelm
Ernst and Ernst August of Saxe-Weimar. As
concertmaster, he assumed the principal responsibility
for composing new works, specifically cantatas for the
Schlosskirche (palace church), on a monthly schedule.
He wrote the cantata for the 20th Sunday after Trinity,
first performed on 3 November 1715 (according to the
musicologist Alfred Dürr) or on 25 October 1716. The
prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the
Epistle to the Ephesians, "walk circumspectly, ...
filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:15--21), and from
the Gospel of Matthew, the parable of the great banquet
(Matthew 22:1--14). The cantata text was provided by
the court poet Salomon Franck, published in
Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer (1715). He refers to the
gospel and reflects how essential it is to follow the
loving invitation of the Lord. Franck's language is
rich in contrasts, such as Seelengift und Himmelsbrot
(poison for the soul and bread of heaven), and of
images derived from the Bible, such as Der Himmel ist
sein Thron (Heaven is his throne) after Isaiah 66:1.
The closing chorale is stanza 7 of "Alle Menschen
müssen sterben" of Johann Rosenmüller (1652).
Bach performed the cantata again on 10 October 1723 in
his first year in Leipzig in a revised version,
including a corno da tirarsi, a baroque wind instrument
mentioned only in Bach's music and thought to have been
similar to the slide trumpet (tromba da tirarsi).
Bach's score is lost, and some parts seem to be missing
The cantata opens with a bass aria, accompanied by
three instruments in a polyphonic setting, the two
violins and the viola (with the corno). The motif for
the first words is present most of the time. The
soprano aria seems to lack a part for an obbligato
instrument. For the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage of the
Monteverdi Choir (and John Eliot Gardiner), Robert
Levin reconstructed a version for flauto traverso and
oboe d'amore. The duet is also accompanied only by the
continuo, but seems complete. The melody of the closing
chorale is rare elsewhere, but appeared in Weimar not
only in this work, but also in a chorale prelude of
Johann Gottfried Walther.
Although this cantata is scored for a small ensemble,
four soloists, corno da tirarsi (likely added in
Leipzig), two violins, viola, and basso continuo, I
created this arrangement for String Quartet (2 Violins,
Viola & Cello).