BWV 211 Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Kaffeekantate)

Specific occasion unknown, probably in Zimmermann's Coffee House.

Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander), Ernst-Schertzhaffte und Satyrische Gedichte, Teil III (Leipzig, 1732); Facs: Neumann T, p. 348 (the last two movements are not in the PT). Late 1734 or early 1735, Leipzig.

BG 29; NBA I/40.



Coffee Cantata

Liesgen (S), Narrator (T), Schlendrian (1)(B)

1. Recit. (T) Narrator

Be quiet, chatter not,
Give ear to what will now transpire:
Now Mister Schlendrian
Comes with his daughter Liesgen here
And rumbles like a honey bear;
Now listen what she's done to him!

2. Aria (B) Schlendrian

Don't we have with our own children
Hundred thousand woes to see!

    What I'm ever daily saying,
    To my daughter Liesgen praying,
    Passeth fruitless on its way.

3. Recit. (B, S) Schlendrian and Liesgen

(Schlendrian)
Thou naughty child, thou wanton hussy,
Ah, when will I achieve my way?
For me, off coffee lay!

(Liesgen)
Dear Father, do not be so strict!
For if I may not thrice each day
My little cup of coffee drink,
I'll turn indeed to my distress
Into a dried-up goat for roasting.

4. Aria (S) Liesgen

Ah! How sweet the coffee's taste is,
Sweeter than a thousand kisses,
Milder than sweet muscatel.

    Coffee, coffee, I must have it,
    And if someone wants to treat me,
    Ah, my cup with coffee fill!

5. Recit. (B, S) Schlendrian, Liesgen

(Schlendrian)
If thou for me not coffee quit,
Thou shalt attend no wedding feast,
Nor ever take a stroll.

(Liesgen)
Agreed!
But here to me my coffee leave!

(Schlendrian)
Here now I've got the little monkey!
I will most sure a whalebone dress of latest girth refuse thee.

(Liesgen)
I can with ease learn this to bear.

(Schlendrian)
Thou shalt not to the window venture
And no one see who walks beneath it!

(Liesgen)
This also; but heed my petition
And grant that I my coffee keep!

(Schlendrian)
Thou shalt as well not from my hand
A silver or a golden band
Upon thy bonnet gain thee!

(Liesgen)
Yes, yes! But leave to me my pleasure!

(Schlendrian)
Thou wanton Liesgen thou,
Then dost thou yield me ev'rything?

6. Aria (B) Schlendrian

Maidens who are steely-hearted
Are not easily persuaded.
But just hit the proper spot,
Oh, ye'll have a happy lot.

7. Recit. (B, S) Schlendrian, Liesgen

(Schlendrian)
Now, follow what thy father bids!

(Liesgen)
In all things, only coffee not!

(Schlendrian)
Go on, thou must then be contented
To lack as well a husband ever.

(Liesgen)
O yes! Dear Father, please, a man!

(Schlendrian)
I swear it, it will never be.

(Liesgen)
Until from coffee I abstain?
Well! Coffee, be forever conquered!
Dear Father, mark, I'll never drink a bit.

(Schlendrian)
And thou in turn at last shalt get him.

8. Aria (S) Liesgen

This day, still,
O dear Father, do it, please!
Ah, a man!
Truly, he would suit me fine!

    If it only soon might happen
    That at last in coffee's stead,
    Ere I yet shall go to bed,
    I a gallant lover find me!

9. Recit. (T) Narrator

Old Mister Schlendrian now goes to seek
How he for this his daughter Liesgen
Soon may a husband here procure;
But Liesgen secretly makes known:
No suitor come into my house
Unless he's made to me the promise
And put it in the marriage contract, too,
That I shall be allowed to brew,
Whenever I desire, my coffee.

10. Chorus (S, T, B)

A cat its mousing never quits,
A girl remains a coffee-nurser.

    The mothers love to use the brew,
    The grandmas fondly drank it too,
    So who would now the daughters censure?

1. This name translates into something like "Stick-in-the-mud" or "Slowpoke."


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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