Cantata BWV 13Meine Seufzer, meine Tränen


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German TextEnglish Text
German TextEnglish Text


Lord, it must have been a miserable existence in early-eighteenth century Leipzig! The poetry alone will have you taking an overdose by the third movement. This one is unrelenting in its gloomy view of life’s sorrows. The gospel for the day was about the (supposedly happy?!) wedding at Cana, at which Jesus performed his first miracle and turned water into wine. The best our librettist can make of this is a passing reference to God being able to turn wormwood gall into a ‘wine of joy’: happy celebrations there are none.

I am sure the music is finely crafted, and the alto chorale is a little brightness in the gloom, but it is otherwise so unremitting in its darkness (and unremarkable in its music) that I can’t love it, so it gets a D vote from me.

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