Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille (God, You are
praised in the stillness), BWV 120, is a sacred cantata
by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for
the occasion of Ratswechsel, the inauguration of a new
town council in a church service, probably in 1742.
Parts of the cantata appeared in a wedding cantata (BWV
120a) and a cantata (BWV 120b) commemorating the
Augsburg Confession in 1730. Bach reworked the choral
second movement for the Symbolum Nicenum of his Mass in
Bach composed the cantata in Leipzig for the
inauguration of the newly elected town council, which
took place in a festive service at the Nikolaikirche on
the Monday following St. Bartholomew's Day (24 August).
A first performance in 1728 or 1729 was regarded as
likely, but more recent sources such as Klaus Hofmann
date it to 1742. The autographed score of that
performance is preserved, with the heading "J. J.
Concerto à 4 Voci. due Hautb. due Violini, Viola, 3
Trombe, Tamburi è | Continuo". Parts of the cantata
appear in the wedding cantata Herr Gott, Beherrscher
aller Dinge, BWV 120a and a cantata Gott, man lobet
dich in der Stille, BWV 120b for the 200th anniversary
of the Augsburg Confession in 1730. The latter work's
music is lost, only parts of the former cantata are
extant. Bach reworked the first part of the second
movement Jauchzet, ihr erfreuten Stimmen for the Et
expecto resurrectionem mortuorum in the Symbolum
Nicenum (Credo) of his Mass in B minor.
The first movement is based on Psalm 65:2. It is
unusual for Bach to open a festive cantata with a solo
voice, but the words "aus der Stille" (out of silence)
may have prompted him to write it for alto and two oboe
d'amore. The first part of the jubilant second
movement, a chorus dominated by the full orchestra, was
adapted for the Mass in B minor. The soprano aria with
solo violin is probably based on an earlier work from
Bach's time in Köthen that served as a model also for a
movement of a violin sonata BWV 1019a. The tenor
recitative is accompanied by strings to underline its
character as a prayer for justice and future blessings.
The words for the final chorale are taken from the
German Te Deum "Herr Gott, dich loben wir" by Martin
Although it was originally written for four soloists,
soprano, alto, tenor and basso, a four-part choir,
three trumpets, timpani, two oboes d'amore, two
violins, viola, and basso continuo, I created this
arrangement for Oboe, Concert (Pedal) Harp and Strings
(2 Violins, Viola & Cello).