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Notes on Translation
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This is not actually a cantata, but is nowadays more properly classified as a ‘funeral motet’. It survives in two extant versions, one dating from 1736/7 and another from 1746/7. We do not know what funeral occasioned its composition, but the first record of its performance was in 1740 for Count Joachim Friedrich von Flemming on October 11, 1740. The first version used no strings, the second version did.
When first published in 1876, it was regarded as cantata-like, because of the cantata-ish way in which the soprano intones the main melody and the lower three parts sing a couterpoint to it. Traditionally, too, Bach’s motets lack an orchestral accompaniment, so this would not have looked like a motet. It was published as a motet in the more modern NBA, however, and is so generally considered today.