BWV 110 Unser Mund sei voll Lachens

Christmas Day.
Georg Christian Lehms, Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer (Darmstadt, 1711); Facs: Neumann T, p. 257.

1. After Ps. 126:2-3; 3. Jer. 10:6; 5. Lk. 2:14; 7. Kaspar Füger, verse 5 of "Wir Christenleut," 1592.

25 December 1725, Leipzig; Parody: 1 <--- Overture in D Major, BWV 1069; 5 <--- Magnificat in E flat Major, BWV 243a/D.

BG 23; NBA I/2.


1. Chorus [Dictum]1 (S, A, T, B)

Make our mouth full with laughter and make our tongue full with praises. For the Lord hath great things for us achieved.(1)

2. Aria (T)
All ye thoughts and all ye senses,
Lift yourselves aloft this moment,
Soaring swiftly heavenward,
And bethink what God hath done!
He is man(2) for this alone,
That we heaven's children be.

3. Recit. [Dictum] (B)

Thee, Lord, is no one like. Thou art great and thy name, too, is great and thou with thy works canst prove it.

4. Aria (A)

Ah Lord, what is a child of man(3)
That thou wouldst through such pain redeem him?
A worm thy curse tormenteth
While hell and Satan round him stand;
But yet, thy Son, whom heart and soul
In love call their inheritance.

5. Aria [Dictum] (S, T)

Glory to God in the highest and peace be on
earth, now, and to mankind a sign of favor!

6. Aria (B)

Wake up, ye nerves and all ye members,
And sing those very hymns of gladness
Which to our God with favor come.
And ye, ye strings(4) of deep devotion,
To him a song of praise now offer
In which the heart and soul rejoice.
Da Capo.

7. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

Alleluia! All praise to God
We all sing forth now from our heart's foundation.(5)
For God today hath wrought that joy
Which we shall not forget at any moment.


1. This is only a paraphrase of Ps. 126:2-3.

2. More literally: "He becomes man..."

3. Cf. Ps. 8:4.

4. That the oboes cease to double the violins here calls attention to Saiten `strings.'

5. In another musical context one might translate Herzens Grunde more metaphorically, e.g. `sincerely,' but the descending line of the continuo is inspired too clearly by Grunde to let pass unnoticed the sense of `bottom' or `foundation' of the heart.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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