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WeinencropThree hundred years ago, on 22 April 1714, Bach’s cantata, Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (BWV 12) was first performed in Weimar.

At first hearing, today’s listener may be struck by the thought, “I’ve heard this somewhere,” before realizing that the first chorus of this cantata is the basis for the partially re-written and transposed Crucifixus of Bach’s Mass in B minor (BWV 232). The history of the cantata in Bach’s hands, therefore, stretches over three decades: from its inception before Bach had turned thirty, its initial presentation to the Leipzig congregations in 1724, possible reprises in the 1730s, and its final flowering in Bach’s last decade.

In 1854 and 1862, Liszt based works for piano or organ on the same chorus from Bach’s Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen.

Julian MinchamThe Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach