This is the only English translation of this important book by the world's most distinguished Bach scholar. This work is widely regarded as the most authoritative and comprehensive treatment of the Bach cantatas. It begins with a historical survey of the seventeenth-century background to the cantatas, and performance practice issues. The core of the book is a work-by-work study in which each cantata in turn is represented by its libretto, a synopsis of its movements,and a detailed analytical commentary. This format makes it extremely useful as a reference work for anyone listening to, performing in, or studying any of the Bach cantatas. In this edition all the cantata librettos are given in German-English parallel text. The most recent (sixth) German edition appeared in 1995. For the English edition the text has been carefully revised to bring it up to date, taking account of Bach scholarship since that date.