BWV 212 Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet (Cantate Burlesque)
In Honor of Carl Heinrich von Dieskau as new Lord of the Manor
Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander), Neu herausgegebene Ernst- Schertzhafte und Satyrische Gedichte, Teil V (Leipzig, 1751); Facs: Neumann T, p. 356.
30 August 1742, Klein-Zschocher near Leipzig; Parody: 14 <--- II (BWV Anh. 11)/7; 20 <--- BWV 201/7.
BG 29; NBA I/39.
2. Aria(1) (S, B)
We've got a bran-new guvernor
3. Recit. (B, S)
4. Aria (S)
Ah, it tastes a bit too sweet,
5. Recit. (B)
6. Aria (B)
Ah, Sir taxman, be not all too grim,
7. Recit. (S)
To this we're bound
8. Aria (S)
This our excellent,
9. Recit. (B, S)
He helps us all, both young and old.
10. Aria (S)
11. Recit. (B)
And this our gracious Dame
12. Aria (B)
Fifty dollars, ready coin,
13. Recit. (S)
A serious word!
Thou shouldst, indeed, in honor of the Master
To this new song of mine first listen.
14. Aria (S)
15. Recit. (B)
That's much too smart for thee,
16. Aria (B)
We hope now that ducats ten thousand
17. Recit. (S)
That sounds too lackaday.
18. Aria (S)
Give us, Lady,
19. Recit. (B)
Thou art quite right.
20. Aria (B)
Thine increase be steady and laugh with delight!
Doth for thee thy fields prepare
In which shall bloom thy might.(9)
21. Recit. (S, B)
22. Aria (S)
And that ye all may know,
23. Recit. (B, S)
Have here no more to do,
24. Chorus (S, B)
We march now where the dudelsack
1. The text of this movement is in the dialect of Upper Saxony. Dialect is represented in the remainder of the cantata in only a few expressions: Guschel 'mouth,' Dahlen 'amorous dalliance,' Ranzen `belly,' prinkel `a little.' The characters are a peasant man and woman. The woman is twice referred to with a diminutive form of the name "Mary."
2. Dürr, p. 698, points out that at the end of this line the instruments quote the melody of the folk song "Mit dir und mir ins Federbett, mit dir und mir aufs Stroh; da sticht uns keine Feder net, daß uns auch kein Floh" ("With thee and me in the featherbed, with thee and me in the hay; there not a feather sticks us, no, there bites us not one flea").
3. Dieskau was the chief revenue officer around Leipzig. Picander, who in 1740 became Stadt-Trank-Steuereinnehmer, Weininspektor und Visir, was thus his immediate subordinate. The "taxman" may well have been Picander himself, or a colleague (cf. Dürr, p. 697).
4. Dürr suggests that this line refers to violation of local fishing laws.
5. The Neu-Schock = 60 Groschen, the Schock was the land-tax (cf. Engl. shock 'heap of hay.')
6. Neighboring villages, less fortunate in the recent recruitment.
7. The Fledermaus `bat' was a mis-struck Adler 'eagle' and, hence, coin of little value. The frugal wife turns her pennies into dollars. The extensive vocabulary of local coinage contributes in two ways to the purpose of the cantata: It points to the civil position of Dieskau as a tax official and invokes prosperity upon Dieskau and his subjects.
8. Until now the Dieskaus had had five daughters and no sons!
9. This movement is a parody of BWV 201/7, the contest aria of Pan, the peasant god. Ironically, it becomes here an example of the urbane style.
10. The identity of Herr Ludwig is unknown, and perhaps not so important as the technique, old as comedy itself, of involving the audience in the drama and fun.
© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose