November 30, 2020

Pentecost: Cantata & Pic of the Week

Cloudgate, Chicago IL 2014

(Click on picture for larger image)

• • •

Today is the great Christian feast of Pentecost, commemorating King Jesus pouring out the Holy Spirit upon his people. In honor of this great event in salvation history, we present magnificent pieces from two different Bach Pentecost cantatas.

The first is the opening Chorus from Cantata BWV 172, “Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!” (“Ring out, you songs, resound, you strings!”). On the great festive days of the Church, nothing is more joyous and celebratory than hearing a choir raise its voices to the accompaniment of the bright sounds of Bach trumpets.

Ring out, you songs, resound, you strings!
Oh blessed times !
God will prepare our souls to be his temples.

• • •

The second selection is a recording by the Choir and Orchestra of the J. S. Bach Foundation, at the Protestant church Trogen in Switzerland, featuring the Alto Solo, “Wohl euch, ihr auserwahlten Seelen,” (Happy are you chosen souls) from Bach’s Cantata BWV 34. The soloist is Margot Oitzinger. Some have called this the most beautiful aria Bach ever wrote, and I think it fitting to combine the bright and brilliant festive nature of our first piece with this intimate and moving song of comfort for those in whom God made his dwelling place.

Happy are you, you chosen souls,
whom God has picked for his dwelling.
Who can choose a greater salvation?
Who can count the abundance of blessings?
And this is the work of God.


  1. Susan Dumbrell says

    Enjoy the Bach. Bach knew his and our God and how to worship Him.

    I start the day with Prayer and Bach. Works for me.


    Holy Spirit sent
    proof God is always with us
    Fire of Grace and Hope

    Pentecost was so well celebrated at my bush Church today. I wish you could have been there with me. Children so involved and included.
    The Holy Spirit shone in the celebration and in the hearts of those joining in the celebration with our fellow worshipers.
    I pray all IMonkers will feel His presence today
    Am I game to ask for God to bless us all?
    I may be out of line.
    Bless me please and yourselves.
    Your day is young. Mine is closing.
    I offered many prayers for us collectively and individually.
    I am sure you know to whom I refer.

    But to all, God’s blessings, take care this week. May God be with you each step of the way.
    “There is no other way”


  2. Susan, May the Lord look after you and fill you with his spirit as you rest tonight !!!

  3. Bach seems to always get the last word simply because after you listen to his music there hardly remains anything left to be said. So I note only that none of these singers and musicians can remain still while they perform. Caught up in this music they bob and weave like leaves on a tree wafted by the wind.

    The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. -John 3:8

  4. This morning I got to see with my own eyeballs what happens in the little Episcopal Church I go to once a month when three low-key gay men showed up and sat down in the pew in front of me. As far as I know they are the first gays in there at least while I’ve been there. They were in no way looking for confrontation, just wanted to worship, and no one batted an eye. They were included in the passing of the Peace, the Lord’s Prayer with joined hands, and the Eucharist with warmth and welcome just like I was when I first showed up there. I’m not sure how many of the congregation would have recognized them as gay, I’m guessing half anyway, maybe more, but I didn’t see anyone treating them any differently than anyone else who might have showed up for the first time. One of them asked me about the priest’s question and discussion time after the Gospel reading, which he found remarkable, and I told him, yes, it was remarkable, that you could go to a hundred other churches and not see it. As I was leaving someone else in the congregation was welcoming them and I saw the pastor heading their way for the same. They weren’t local so I don’t know if they’ll ever be back but I got the impression that they were glad they came and were taking the Spirit of Jesus with them. A little less division and rancor in the world is a big help. I’m giving everyone concerned an A plus.

  5. Dana Ames says

    The title of the album behind the photo is “Eternal Fire, Source of Love”.

    Note the much more gentle sound of the wooden flutes. Also note how the string players “choke up” a bit on their bows; this was the usual Baroque technique. It makes a “shorter” bow to ease playing those 16th and 32nd note runs, and it also makes it easier to keep the vibrato to a minimum, which is also the Baroque style. The vocalist doesn’t generate a lot of vibrato, either. It’s simple, pure, clear sound, a terrific medium for the texts Bach used.

    Very lovely, authentically Baroque sound; this is probably how it sounded in Bach’s day. Thanks, CM.