Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten

BWV 172 // For Pentecost (Whitsunday)

(Resound now, ye lyrics, ring out now, ye lyres!) for soprano, alto, tenor and bass, vocal ensemble, trumpets I-III, timpani, bassoon, strings and continuo.

Bach initially composed cantata BWV 172 in 1714 for Pentecost in Weimar, but revised and re-performed it several times throughout his Leipzig years, even transposing it from C major to D major. Considering the work’s outstanding musical quality, it is not surprising that these constant revisions led Alfred Dürr to conclude that Bach placed particular value on the composition. The number of versions, however, makes recording a representative rendition of the work quite a challenge. The performance on this recording is the version in C major (1714/1731), although it includes the repetition of the introductory chorus at the end of the work that is only proved to belong to the 1724 version. Based on its stylistic similarity to his other works, the libretto is attributed to the Weimar court poet Salomo Franck. Indeed, with three successive arias and almost no recitatives, this highly cantabile work is most typical of Frank’s cantata texts.

J.S. Bach-Stiftung Kantate BWV 172


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«Lutzogram» for the introductory workshop

Rudolf Lutz’s manuscript for the workshop
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The sound recording of this work is available on several streaming and download platforms.






Eva Oltivànyi

Markus Forster

Bernhard Berchtold

Raphael Jud


Susanne Frei, Guro Hjemli, Noëmi Tran Rediger

Jan Börner, Antonia Frey, Dorothee Labusch

Walter Siegel, Clemens Flämig, Marcel Fässler

Fabrice Hayoz, Philippe Rayot, Chasper Mani


Rudolf Lutz

Renate Steinmann, Martin Korrodi, Silvia Gmür, Sabine Hochstrasser, Mario Huter, Livia Wiersich

Susanna Hefti, Joanna Bilger, Martina Bischof, Anna Pfister

Martin Zeller

Iris Finkbeiner

Susann Landert

Tromba da tirarsi
Patrick Henrichs, Peter Hasel, Klaus Pfeiffer

Martin Hoffman

Nicola Cumer

Musical director & conductor

Rudolf Lutz


Karl Graf, Rudolf Lutz

Reflective lecture


Georg Kohler

Recording & editing

Recording date

Recording location

Sound engineer
Stefan Ritzenthaler

Meinrad Keel

Production manager
Johannes Widmer

GALLUS MEDIA AG, Switzerland

J.S. Bach Foundation of St. Gallen, Switzerland

About the work


probably Salomo Franck

Text No. 2
John 14:23

Text No. 6
Philipp Nicolai, 1599

First performance
1714, Weimar

In-depth analysis

The introductory chorus, an elegant da-capo choir aria with a middle-section fugue, is surprisingly tender given its large orchestration; it radiates the fresh charm of Bach’s Weimar cantata oeuvre. Of particular effect are the movement’s speech-like and resplendent trumpet setting of “Resound now, ye lyrics!” and its literal interpretation of “ring out now ye lyres!” (accompanied by strings), not to mention the elongation of the “happiest hours” on the euphonious (!) seventh interval. Following a brief bass recitative with arioso ending, the first aria responds with a festive fanfare, in which the praise of the “most Holy Trinity” is manifested by three trumpets, while the more cantabile middle section captures the text’s shift to an entreating, heartfelt plea.
The ensuing three-voice tenor aria “O paradise of souls” combines a fully instrumented unison string setting (brightened by a flute one octave higher in the 1724 version) with a striding continuo and a vocal cantilena of enticing tenderness. The following duet, for its part, is one of the jewels of Bach’s Weimar cantata movements. Here, the soprano and alto, tacitly personifying the Soul and Jesus, enter into an intimate dialogue over the cantabile cello accompaniment and express a longing for the comfort of the Holy Ghost. This is augmented by the chorale melody “Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott!” – richly ornamented in the style of Bach’s organ preludes – that articulates a higher dimension, albeit without words. In the original versions, the chorale melody is scored for obbligato organ or oboe (or oboe d’amore); in this recording, however, this “gentle heavenly wind” is lent an earthy timbre through the inclusion of Bach’s much-loved instrument, the viola. Characterised by the text and aura of the Song of Solomon, this arresting moment of unity of soul, saviour and comforter effectively brings time to a halt.
The closing chorale is given a similarly intimate mood through the ascending upper instrumental voice, thereby elucidating the mysterious events of Pentecost: humankind, weak and cold, is raised and transformed through the warming breath of mercy. While the reprise of the introductory chorus is shortened here to its effective opening statement, this interpretation is not only typical of Bach performances in the 19th century, but also corresponds to the baroque modified da-capo technique employed by the composer in the bass aria of this cantata and elsewhere.


Seele (Sopran)
Heiliger Geist (Alt)

1. Chor

Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!
O seligste Zeiten!
Gott will sich die Seelen zu Tempeln bereiten.

2. Rezitativ (Bass)

Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten,
und mein Vater wird ihn lieben,
und wir werden zu ihm kommen
und Wohnung bei ihm machen.

3. Arie (Bass)

Heiligste Dreieinigkeit,
grosser Gott der Ehren,
komm doch in der Gnadenzeit
bei uns einzukehren,
komm doch in die Herzenshütten,
sind sie gleich gering und klein,
komm und lass dich doch erbitten,
komm und ziehe bei uns ein!

4. Arie (Tenor)

O Seelenparadies,
das Gottes Geist durchwehet,
der bei der Schöpfung blies,
der Geist, der nie vergehet;
auf, auf, bereite dich,
der Tröster nahet sich.

5. Arie (Duett Sopran, Alt)

Komm, lass mich nicht länger warten,
komm, du sanfter Himmelswind,
wehe durch den Herzensgarten!
Heiliger Geist:
Ich erquicke dich, mein Kind.
Liebste Liebe, die so süsse,
aller Wollust Überfluss,
Ich vergeh, wenn ich dich misse.
Heiliger Geist:
Nimm von mir den Gnadenkuss.
Sei im Glauben mir willkommen,
höchste Liebe, komm herein!
Du hast mir das Herz genommen.
Heiliger Geist:
Ich bin dein, und du bist mein!

6. Choral

Von Gott kömmt mir ein Freudenschein,
wenn du mit deinen Äugelein
mich freundlich tust anblicken.
O Herr Jesu, mein trautes Gut,
dein Wort, dein Geist, dein Leib und Blut
mich innerlich erquicken.
Nimm mich
in dein Arme, dass ich warme werd
von Gnaden:
Auf dein Wort komm ich geladen.

7. Chor

Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten!
O seligste Zeiten!
Gott will sich die Seelen zu Tempeln bereiten.

Bibliographical references

All libretti sourced from Neue Bach-Ausgabe. Johann Sebastian Bach. Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, published by the Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut Göttingen and the Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Series I (Cantatas), vol. 1–41, Kassel and Leipzig, 1954–2000.
All in-depth analyses by Anselm Hartinger (English translations/editing by Alice Noger-Gradon/Mary Carozza) based on the following sources:  Hans-Joachim Schulze, Die Bach-Kantaten. Einführungen zu sämtlichen Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs, Leipzig, 2nd edition, 2007; Alfred Dürr, Johann Sebastian Bach. Die Kantaten, Kassel, 9th edition, 2009, and Martin Petzoldt, Bach-Kommentar. Die geistlichen Kantaten, Stuttgart, vol. 1, 2nd edition, 2005 and vol. 2, 1st edition, 2007.

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