"Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl" (Let, Princess,
let still one more glance) is a secular cantata as a
funeral ode by Johann Sebastian Bach, first performed
on 17 October 1727. In Wolfgang Schmieder's catalogue
of Bach's works it is BWV 198.
Bach composed the cantata at the request of the
University of Leipzig as a funeral ode for Christiane
Eberhardine, wife of August II the Strong, and first
performed on 17 October 1727 in the Universitätskirche.
The text was written by Johann Christoph Gottsched,
professor of philosophy and poetry. Divided into 11
movements, the first seven preceded the funeral
oration. Set in the Italian style with recitatives and
arias, for four soloists, four-part choir, two flutes,
two oboes d'amore, two violins, viola, two violas da
gamba, two lutes and basso continuo. Bach himself
directed from the harpsichord.
The text is purely secular, proclaiming how the kingdom
is in shock over the princess' death, how magnificent
she was, and how sadly she will be missed. Sacred
elements pertaining to salvation and the afterlife are
absent. Bach, however, as was his custom, included a
cryptic reference to salvation in the music. The first
movement of the second section Der Ewigkeit saphirnes
Haus ("Eternity's sapphiric house"), which was
performed following the oration, contains underlying
elements of the first movement of the cantata BWV 56,
Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen ("I want to bear
the cross") which Bach had composed one year earlier.
The measures 70--75 contain a direct quote (played by
the oboe) of the bass solo voice in measures 91--98
from BWV 56 where the text is Der führet mich nach
meinen Plagen zu Gott, in das gelobte Land ("which
leads me to God in the promised land after all my
Bach later borrowed from the cantata for his
Markus-Passion and for Klagt, Kinder, klagt es aller
Welt, BWV 244a, another funeral ode written in
Although originally composed for Choir (SATB) and
orchestra, I created this arrangement for Clarinet
Quartet (3 Bb Clarinets & Bass Clarinet).