| 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)
The Squire is good: but yet that taxman,(3)
6. Aria (B)Ah, Sir taxman, be not all too grim,
Nor us wretched peasant people trim!
Easy on our skin;
If our cabbage then
Like the worms you’ve eaten to the stem,
Have done with them!
7. Recit. (S)
To this we’re bound
That than our Squire no better’s found.
One could not hone him any finer
Nor with a gunny sack of pennies pay him his due honor.
8. Aria (S)
Oh, it is so plain,
Our dear Chamberlain
Is a congenial man
Whom no one censure can.
9. Recit. (B, S)
He helps us all, both old and young
And in thine ear I’ll whisper:
Hath this our village not rightly done
At that last levy neatly prosper?
I know in fact a better game,
The Squire o’er taxes hath a name.
10. Aria (S)
That is gallant,
11. Recit. (B)
And this our gracious Dame
12. Aria (B)Fifty dollars, ready coin,
Throat unmoistened forced to muzzle
Is a thing that’s hard to learn
Even when our hair they tousle;
But what’s gone is gone for good;
In another neighborhood
All this sum will we make double;
Let the fifty cause no trouble.
13. Recit. (S)
A serious word!
Before I toward
Our village tavern
Anc think to be a dancer,
Thou shouldst, indeed, our master for revering,
To my new ditty give a hearing.
14. Aria (S)
Nought else today should flourish
But blessings rich and chaste.
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)(S)
And with this we’ve done all that’s fit.
Now ought we not for just a bit
Into our tavern venture?
To wit, thou yet one word wouldst wager:
22. Aria (S)
And that ye all may know,
It is now time to go
Those with a thirst should beckon.
If right hand won’t obey
Then use without delay
The left one.
23. Recit. (B, S)
My dear, thy bidding!
Because we now
Have here no more to do,
We shall in turn with ordered pace
To our old tavern go a-striding.
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