Instrumentation (this edition): Piano Reduction, SATB Choir
Originally for: SATB Choir, Orchestra
Work Languages: English, German
Size: 7.5 x 10.6 inches
Urtext / Critical Edition
The cantata "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" BWV 1 was written for 25 March 1725, when the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary coincided with Palm Sunday. It forms the conclusion of Bach's cantata cycle of 1724/25.
The anonymous librettist retained the outer verses 1 and 7 of Philipp Nicolai's text (1599) which is assigned to the feast of Epiphany according to old tradition but was also sung at the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary. Verses 2 to 6 form the basis for the tenor and bass recitatives and the soprano and tenor arias.
Bach's composition has a particularly festive brilliance with his use of 2 horns, 2 oboes da caccia and the two concertante solo violins. The violins' lively figurations clearly reflect an image of the shining morning star.