Was Jesus a Tenor?

I’m going to have to do a lot of circumlocution in this paper. I suppose that the entire point of this project is to get us to identify musical to theological links on our own. That’s probably going to be what I have to do anyway, because I haven’t found a single verifiable source that talks about BWV 38 explicitly yet. There is obviously lots of scholarship on Bach’s cantatas, much more than there is scholarship on Wycliffe and Hus. As I have thought about the process for this last paper I think that perhaps I was coming at it the wrong way. The point isn’t to get inspired by the work of another. Instead, the task is to find an argument in the music for yourself, and then use argument similar to those of more established scholars as evidence for why our argument is correct.

What I know thus far from my research is that BWV 38 comes from the second Leipzig cantata cycle. It was written for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost. I also know that some scholars think it is a rather sad piece, and that the big tenor solo should be omitted. Although I have never been a huge fan of prominent tenor solos, I think the tenor solo in this piece gives it a balance and symmetry that without it the piece would be sorely wanting. The solo also lends itself to deep theological importance. I could see a paper that would focus on the musico-theological connections of this aria alone, despite how much it would pain me to give even more attention to a voice part which too frequently steals the spotlight from its lower brother. 

In summary: although I haven’t found any sources which directly address my piece that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and I might not even need them. If I can find other cases where music historians identify similar musical occurrences in their pieces and link them to a theological argument, I will be able to use their arguments to lend credence to mine.  

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