Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Be still, stop
chattering), BWV 211,[a] also known as the Coffee
Cantata, is a secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach.
He composed it probably between 1732 and 1735. Although
classified as a cantata, it is essentially a miniature
comic opera. In a satirical commentary, the cantata
amusingly tells of an addiction to coffee.
Bach regularly directed a musical ensemble based at
Zimmermann's coffee house called a collegium musicum,
founded by Georg Philipp Telemann in 1702. The libretto
suggests that some people in eighteenth-century Germany
viewed coffee drinking as a bad habit. However, the
work is likely to have been first performed at the
coffee house in Leipzig.
The cantata's libretto (written by Christian Friedrich
Henrici, known as Picander), features lines like "If I
couldn't, three times a day, be allowed to drink my
little cup of coffee, in my anguish I will turn into a
shriveled-up roast goat".
Bach wrote no operas: the cantata was written for
concert performance, but is frequently performed today
fully staged with costumes.
The work is scored for three vocal soloists and the
orchestra consists of flauto traverso, two violins
obbligato, viola, cembalo and basso continuo.
I created this arrangement of the third Aria: "Mädchen,
die von harten Sinnen" (Girls of stubborn mind) for
Viola & Guitar.