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Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge, BWV 120a

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Title: Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge, BWV 120a  
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Subject: List of Bach cantatas by liturgical function, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
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Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge, BWV 120a

Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge ("Lord God, ruler of all things"), BWV 120a is a wedding cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach.

History and text

This cantata is primarily a parody of previous works, particularly BWV 120, but also BWV 1006 and BWV 137. It was composed and first performed in 1729.[1]

The chorale text is by Joachim Neander; the rest of the cantata uses an anonymous text.[1]

Scoring and structure

The piece is scored for four solo voices (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) and a four-part choir, three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, two oboes d'amore, two violins, viola, and basso continuo.[2]

The work has eight movements in two parts:

Part 1
  1. Chorus: Herr Gott, Beherrscher aller Dinge (parody of BWV 120/2)
  2. Recitative (tenor, bass, and choir): Wie wunderbar, o Gott, sind deine Werke
  3. Aria (soprano): Leit, o Gott, durch deine Liebe (parody of BWV 120/4)
Part 2
  1. Sinfonia (similar to the Sinfonia of BWV 29/1, a parody of BWV 1006/1)
  2. Recitative (tenor and choir): Herr Zebaoth, Herr, unsrer Väter Gott
  3. Aria (alto, tenor): Herr, fange an und sprich den Segen (parody of BWV 120/1)
  4. Recitative (bass): Der Herr, Herr unser Gott, sei mit euch
  5. Chorale: Lobe den Herren, der deinen Stand sichtbar gesegnet (parody of BWV 137/5)


The opening chorus was later reworked as part of Bach's Mass in B minor. The second movement is in three parts: secco bass recitative, choral intervention, and secco tenor recitative. The first part closes with a "florid" soprano aria in modified ternary form.[3]

The second part opens with a sinfonia adapted from BWV 1006 and later readapted for BWV 29. The following tenor recitative ends with a choral statement of the Litany. The sixth movement is a duet aria in da capo form. The bass recitative, "Bach at his most avuncular", prepares the closing chorale.[3]



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