Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot, BWV 39 by Johann Sebastian Bach

Summary

', is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig and first performed it on 23 June 1726, the first Sunday after Trinity. About three years earlier, on the first Sunday after Trinity of 1723, Bach had taken office as and started his first cycle of cantatas for the occasions of the liturgical year, and on the first Sunday after Trinity 1724 he began his second cycle, consisting of chorale cantatas. As he composed no new work for the first Sunday after Trinity 1725, '' is regarded as part of his third cantata cycle.

The text is from a 1704 collection attributed to Duke Ernst Ludwig von Sachsen-Meiningen. The symmetrical structure of seven movements is typical for this collection, beginning with a quotation from the Old Testament, culminating in a central quotation from the New Testament and ending with a chorale. The theme is an invocation to be grateful for God's gifts and to share them with the needy.

Bach set the opening movement as a complex choral structure, but the central movement as a simple solo for the bass voice, traditionally considered the voice of Jesus. The instrumentation is for woodwinds and strings, including recorders as a symbol of poverty, need and humility. It is possibly the last time that Bach scored recorders in his cantatas.

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