Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4 by Johann Sebastian Bach

Summary

''''' (Christ lay in death's bonds), also written Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4, is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is one of Bach's earliest cantatas, and was probably intended for a performance at Easter in 1707, related to his move from Arnstadt to Mühlhausen. John Eliot Gardiner describes the work as Bach's "first-known attempt at painting narrative in music".

It is a chorale cantata, a type of composition in which both text and music are based on a Lutheran hymn, in this case the hymn of the same name by Martin Luther. In each of the seven vocal movements, Bach used the unchanged words of one of the seven stanzas of the chorale, and its tune as a cantus firmus.

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