BWV 207a Auf, schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten

Nameday of Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland (3 August).

Poet unknown (Picander?).

Probably 3 August 1735, Leipzig; Parody: 1, 5 ← First Brandenburg Concerto, Third Movement and Second Trio, transposed from F to D, BWV 1046; 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 ← BWV 207/1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9.

BG 20, 2, Anh., and 34, Anh.; NBA I/37.

A Drama in Music

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

Resound, pealing notes of the vigorous trumpets,
Ye drums ringing thunder, raise high your report!

    Let charming viols delight now the ear,
    Seek now on flutes(2) the fairest of music,
    And fill ye with beauteous sound
    These our so lovely and flourishing lindens(3)
    And this our happy Muses' choir!

2. Recit. (T)

The quiet Pleisse(4) plays
Amidst its gentle ripples.
The greening bank perceives
Now also its new forces
And doubles inward-stirring humors.
All gleams with clover and soft moss;
There bloom the many lovely flowers;
Aloft to Flora’s fame and honor
Itself a plant here now doth raise
And would its growth exhibit.
And Pallas’ charming grove
Itself in lustrous raiment would renew.
Castalian muses singing lyrics,
The nymphs are ev'rywhere in frolic
And would, now here, now there, among our lindens
Do what? The charming site and place
Of their fairest goal and aim discover!
For this glad day to all brings joy,
But in the Saxon breast
Is this delight with greatest force maintained.

3. Aria (T)

Augustus' nameday's lustrous shimmer
Makes bright the Saxon countenance.

    God keeps the worthy Saxons ever,
    For this our land's own father's chamber
    Doth shine today in new good fortune,
    Which shall paint bright our loyal rev'rence
    Beneath his name's most welcome light.

4. Recit. (S, B)


Augustus' health
Is the loyal Saxons' welfare true;

Augustus' arm protects
The Saxons' verdant pastures,

The Elbe serves
The merchant with so many pleasures;

The court with spendid and flow'r
Presents Augustus' weal to us;

The loyal subjects see
In ev'ry place their prosp'rous life;

And Mars' own shining steel must all our foes now frighten,
That we from all misfortune be protected.

Thus Mercury today is pleased
With all his prudent children
And senses midst this joyful music
Of that first golden age the trace.

Augustus builds the realm.

Irene's(5) laurels ne'er shall fade;

The lindens shall grow ever greener,
That we by their bright flow'r
Amidst this lofty nameday's feast be tended.

5. Aria (B, S)

Here can the sweet repose refresh me,

I can here find my joy and pleasure,

We both reside here most content.


    For here our fertile fields are laughing
    And able to bring much contentment,
    Unpressed by foe and hostile storm.


    Where'er such gracious hours are passing,
    There hath good fortune found true increase,
    Which us a smiling heaven sends.

6. Recit. (A)

Augustus guards the happy farmlands,
Augustus loves the verdant woodlands,
When his most valiant heart
From hunting never sooner rests
Before he's felled some prey of merit.
The peasant looks with joy
Upon his fields and sheaves so lovely.
He is forever sure
That no one may in Sax'ny famish
Who doth but midst his(6) fortune dwell
And doth his powers rightly grasp.

7. Aria (A)

Praise ye, coming generations,
Next to his indulgent fate
Now Augustus' great good luck.

    For within this monarch's actions
    Can ye Saxon weal discover;
    We can in his light read clearly
    Who Augustus hath been truly.

8. Recit. (T, B, S, A)

Ye happy folk, come forth!
Behold, ye Saxons and ye mighty cities,
In Augustus' gracious actions
What wisdom and what power is.
His ever mighty arm in part Sarmatia(7),
In part the Saxons' welfare guards.
We witness as his loyal humble subjects
How wisdom hath for our sake won now concord's banner.
How much he us hath loved,
How firmly he the Saxons e'er hath shielded
His saber's steel declares, before us Saxons flashing.
We may well then our nation's father
As a triumphant conquering hero
In this our mightiest August
With ardent rev'rence now pay honor
And our good wishes increase.

Yes, yes, ye valiant heroes, mark the Saxons’ never-tiring powers
And their exalted patron god and Saxon's rue-filled humors!
Now shall the sound of strings
Give happy joy expression,
Because Augustus’ solid throne
Must make us always happy.

Augustus gives us constant cover,
Who doth all Saxon and Sarmatian fortune guard,
The constant focus of the world,
Whom every eye beholdeth.

O happy, lofty, brilliant name!
O name which doth all joy increase!
O thou most welcome sign of honor,
How strong thou makes our bond!
Ye happy wishes and ye stirring pleasures, rise!
The Pleisse seeks in its expression,
While lindens gain their fresh new branches,
These lovely moments’ joy and health to crown
And to exalt.

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

Live Augustus,
King, now flourish!

    O Augustus, our great shield,
    Show our stubborn foes thy spite,
    Live a long life for thy land,
    God protect thy soul and hand,
    For thus through Augustus' lifetime
    Must our Saxon weal survive,
    And there can no foe oppose us
    And against our fortune strive.

1. Since there is no extant PT for this cantata, the identity of the characters of this Drama per Musica is only conjectural. Dürr suggests the following: Soprano: Irene (Peace); Alto (most unclear): A Forest Deity or Fama (Fame); Tenor: Wisdom or Apollo or Leipzig; Bass: War or Mars.

2. The strings yield to a seven-measure solo for oboe and colla parte flauto traverso where the corresponding line in BWV 207 begins. The parody text appears to have been inspired by the music as well as the earlier text, which emphasizes the concept of the concerto as a kind of contest among the various instruments of the orchestra. Cf. BWV 207, footnote 1.

3. The lindens represent Leipzig, whose name is derived from Slavic lipa 'linden.'

4. With the Elster and Parthe, one of the three small rivers upon which Leipzig lies.

5. For Irene (Peace) see footnote 1. The name is trisyllabic.

6. Midst Augustus' fortune.

7. Sarmatia is the ancient name of Poland and Russia.

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

Back to top