BWV 214 Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!

Drama per Musica

Birthday of the Maria Josepha, Princess Elector of Saxony and Queen of Poland (8 December).

Poet unknown; PT (Leipzig, 1733); Facs: Neumann T, p. 406.

8 December 1733, Leipzig; Parody: 1, 5, 7, 9 ---> BWV 248I/1, 248II/6, 248I/8, 248III/1.

BG 34; NBA I/36.


A Drama in Music

Irene (T), Bellona (S), Pallas (A), Fama (B)(1)

1. Chorus (S, A, T, B)

Sound, all ye drums now! Resound, all ye trumpets!
Resonant viols, make swell now the air!
Sing now your anthems, ye vigorous poets,
Vivat regina! How happy the shout!

    Vivat regina! the hope of the Saxons:
    Long live the Queen, may she flourish and prosper!

2. Recit. (T) Irene

This is the day
When ev'ryone may find delight.
This is the shining hour
To celebrate the Queen's glad birthday,
Which Poles and Saxons, all of us,
In greatest joy and bliss revealeth.
Mine olive
Tree with sap and richness runs.
It showeth yet no leaves of yellow;
I fear no storm, flash,(2) clouds of sadness,
gloomy weather.

3. Aria (S) Bellona

Blow the well-tuned, well-played flutes now,
That foe, lilies, moon be blushing,
Ring triumphantly with song!
Let your weapons clearly sound!
Such a feast demandeth gladness,
For both mind and spirit nurture.

4. Recit. (S) Bellona

My clanging metal's sound
As in the air the charges burst with thunder,
The joyful peal;
The spectacle's enchantment;
The joy which Saxons now perceive
Doth touch the hearts of many.
My flashing piece of arms,
Next these my sons in order marching,
And their heroic sense of honor
Increase each moment more and more
The present day's delightful pleasure.

5. Aria (A) Pallas

Faithful Muses! My companions!
Sing not long outmoded anthems!
May this day bring you delight!
Fill with gladness now your breast!
Cast aside both quill and tablets
And rejoice with thrice the pleasure!

6. Recit. (A) Pallas

This our Queen o'er all the nation,
Sent to us as heaven's angel,
Is the Muses' hope and shield.
My Pierians(3) can do it:
They, who kiss her very hem in rev'rence,
For her constant happiness
Thanks and due and sound alway shall raise.
Yea, their hope is that her lifetime
May afford us lasting pleasure.

7. Aria (B) Fama

Crown and star of crownéd ladies,
O great Queen! With thy name's honor
I will fill the orb of earth.

    All that virtue e'er doth prize,
    Glory of heroic women,
    These are native to thy being.

8. Recit. (B) Fama

Let press forth now throughout the earthly ball
My mouth, which with the queen's repute is filled!
Her fame shall to the axis
Of yon fair starry heaven prosper,
The Queen of all the Saxons and of Poland
Be e'er to heaven's care commended.
Through her will heaven' pole(4)
Make firm her many subjects' long awaited goal.
And may the noble Queen yet long amongst us here now tarry
And late, ah, late to heaven hasten.

9. Chorus (S, A, T, B) Bellona, Pallas, Irene, Tutti

(Irene)
Flourish, ye lindens(5) in Sax'ny like cedars!

(Bellona)
Echo with weapons and wagons and axles!

(Pallas)
Sing now, ye Muses, make full now the sound!

(Tutti)
O joyful hours, o ye joyous ages!
Grant us more often these golden occasions:
Life to the Queen, yea, yet long may she live!


1. The names of the characters are found only in the PT (and in this order). Irene (trisyllabic) is Greek for "Peace," Bellona is the Roman goddess of War, Pallas is another name for Athena (the Roman Minerva), and Fama is the Roman god of fame or rumor.

2. Literally, "lightning."

3. Pieria is a region of Macedonia considered to be the seat of the Muses.

4. There seems to be a play between pole and Poland.

5. An allusion to the etymology of Leipzig from Slavic lipa 'linden tree.'


© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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