When beginning research on Bach, one must first realize the sheer amount of scholarly resources that exist. There are so many resources because Bach wrote an incredible amount of music in his lifetime. I decided to research Bach’s cantata, Christus, der ist mein Leben, BWV 95. An overview of its Wikipedia article informed me that it draws on multiple chorales from other composers, and a Spotify searched informed me that it is technically gorgeous. A search on Catalyst brought up few specific results. There are books of analyses of Bach cantatas, yet not many on this specific one. The best resources I have found are the resources listed on the Wikipedia, most of which came from a website titled bach-cantatas.com. Also included is an essay from John Eliot Gardiner, in which he discusses specific musical motives within the cantata, which will definitely be useful as I try to work out a thesis.
Christus, der ist mein Leben translates as “Christ, you are my life,” and the texts of the cantata contemplate death in a joyful manner, where the choir and the soloists view death as an end to all suffering. Bach adapted four different funeral hymns, fitting for the subject matter.
The difficulty in writing about Bach is not the lack of specific resources, but rather deciding on a thesis, as my peers have stated below. Because Bach was so intentional about his compositions and where he drew melodies and themes from, it seems silly to argue that he was intentional, because to any trained musician, obviously he was. As I delve more into the particular usage of each of these funeral hymns, hopefully I will find inspiration for an arguable thesis about this cantata.